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Back to Mission 27 Mission 28 Thursday, 15 June 44 Tours Forward to Mission 29
Mission 28
What little of Germany enjoying clear weather was assigned to the B-17 groups. Most of the 8th Air Force were given targets in France and Belgium. The 492nd drew a railroad bridge at Tours-la-Frillerie. We are led to believe that means, the village of La Frillerie near Tours.
The Group put up 26 ships without any aborts. They flew under the command of 1st Lt Joe Harris, the pilot of Crew 707.
Fighter Protection
France was practically blanketed with Allied fighters. While bomber wings were still being given escorts, the assigned number of escorts was small, compared to that of a raid into Germany. The latest strategy for protection over France relied more on area patrols and fighter sweeps that flew ahead of the bomber wings.
Enemy Resistance
The Luftwaffe was trying to get back into the war. Thus far their contribution to defending Normandy hardly amounted to anything. On this day, they made a rallying effort with what little they had left in France. For the first time in a long time, the 14th Wing encountered the Luftwaffe over French soil. The Luftwaffe tried to blend in having painted Allied invasion stripes on their planes.
About ten minutes before the target, over 50 Me-109s and FW-190s made three passes at the 14th Wing. It was the Abbyville Kids, the same gruppe they had fought before on 19 May over Brunswick. About half of them flirted with the 492nd, one hitting McMurray Crew 801. If things weren't bad enough, another group of B-24s came in and crossed the 492nd's path, flying over and under them to avoid collisions.
S/Sgt Dulka of the Scott Crew 712 was credited for knocking down one of the Me-109s. None of the B-24s in the 14th Wing were immediately brought down, but two of the damaged ones crashed in Allied territory. One of them belonged to the 492nd's McMurray Crew 801.
McMurray was forced to drop out of formation and attempted to return home. The remaining 25 planes continued on with the 14th Wing. The 392nd flew over the target first and destroyed the bridge. The 492nd moved on to a secondary target, an old airfield which could be reused by the Luftwaffe.
Returning Home
The McMurray Crew 801 had a rough time making the relative short trip back to Allied lines. As their engines were giving out it became questionable if they could even make the Allied beachhead. The crew bailed out directly over the battle front. Some landed behind the Germans while others landed on the American side. Eventually, everyone was able to make it inside friendly territory and all were returned to duty.
On the lighter side, we read that the bombardier, Lt Pascual, was awarded the Purple Heart for the injuries (scratches) he substained from landing in some rose bushes.
Even the so-called milk runs were dangerous. While small casualty figures and losses are often taken lightly by historians and readers, they aren't anywhere close to being small to those involved. The 492nd was lucky as no one was killed or captured and lost only one plane.
Their sister group, the 392nd, salvaged their crippled ship after it crashlanded in England. One of the crewmen was already dead, killed during the battle when his tail turret was hit by cannon fire from an Me-109. Two others had bailed out near the target to become prisoners. The 392nd gunners were credited with two enemy kills.
"Something should be done about the Luftwaffe," Lt Kaufman said in his mission debriefing. He was the pilot of replacement crew number R-05. He had been flying combat since the beginning of June but this was the first time he had to lock horns with the Luftwaffe. After experiencing this new degree of danger, he now had to mentally process his fears like his fellow veterans did during May. His fears and concerns were well justified, as he and his crew were killed by the Luftwaffe five days later.
Mission Data
Mission: 28
Date: 15 Jun 44
City: Tours,
Target: Airfield
Bomb Load
Tons: 86
Type: 250 lb GPs
100 lb Frags
Result: Excellent
Enemy Action
Flak: Moderate
GAF: 25-50
Counter Action
492nd Casualties
More Info
This mission's impact
on the overall war
Prytulak Crew 907
O'Sullivan Crew 713
Prytulak Crew 907
McMurray Crew 801
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