A-20J Sweet Suzie
Mission No: 1/1
Campaign: Normandy, 1-5 June 1944
Date: 1 June 1944
Primary Target: Field Battery, Calais/Marck, France (bombing by Flights)
Mission Profile: 9,500 Ft, Flight Lead, Lead Flight, Box II, Lead Group
Results: Target Destroyed
Individual: Off Target, 0%
Box I: 70%, Good
Box II: 75%, Excellent
EA engaged: None
Formation Losses: None
Crew Mssns EA
Pilot: 1LT William (Bill) Howell (0) (0)
Bomb/Nav: 2LT Kenneth (Ken) Rodgers (0) (0)
Engineer: Sgt Kang Zhao (0) (0)
Gunner: Cpl John Maxwell (0) (0)
Damage: Superficial x4 (4), Fuel Tank Self Seal (5), Rubber Raft Destroyed (10), Starboard Wing Root x1 (25) = 44 Peckham Points, AC ready next day.
Something big is up! The 135th had its training cut short to get us in theater and then were given minimal familiarization flying before being sent on this, our first combat mission. The target was a field battery located near Calais/Marck on the French Channel coast. Maj. Hanson came down with the stomach flew at the last minute so I and Sweet Suzie were moved up to lead the second box. We were going in at medium altitude and once at the target would split up and attack by flights.
Heading out over the Channel we linked up with our escort, P-38s of the 474th FG. Nearing the French coast it appeared that Box I (Formation) Lead was slightly off course as we turned and headed up the coast. Weather over the target was clear and there were no EA to greet us, the 474th must have been doing its job. Overall Flak was moderate, but the German gunners seemed to have our number, Sweet Suzie taking multiple hits closely grouped. Despite the clear skies, smoke from Box I’s bombing partially obscured the target and Ken (2LT Rodgers) as late in dropping our bombs. Fortunately, the other flights did better, post-strike photo analysis showing the battery was destroyed.
We got hit again on target egress. Again Jerry seemed to have our number, Sweet Suzie taking more concentrated fire. Then it was time to reform the boxes followed by an uneventful flight home and landing back at Chalderton.
TSgt Ballard says his crew will have Sweet Suzie back in flying condition quickly, though not necessarily quickly enough to go out on the second mission scheduled for today.
William Howell, 1LT, commanding
A-20J, Sweet Suzie
130th Squadron, 135th Bomb Group (L)
(Note: Flak hit three out of four times and every time it was multiple hits to the same location!)
Here is the Play-By-Play: