We flew more missions. We shot down more German fighters. We
The Commander of the Allied Air Forces, Sir Trafford Leigh- Mallory credited the B-26 Groups in the ETO as being the most effective in destroying V-1 and V-2 launch sites, even though all types of Allied aircraft attacked them at one time or another.
I had just received a promotion to the rank of Major about two weeks ago. Our Group was about to move to France, to an X-Luftwaffe Air Base near Paris. But I wasn't going to France. I was going home. I hoped to be around for just 5 more days when I would reach my 23rd birthday. Since this was my 78th mission I sure wanted to complete ar least two more before leaving. With 80 missions I would be eligible for a 14th cluster to my Air Medal and, if just one out of the last two could be across the German border I would be eligible for a 3rd Battle Star on my ETO Ribbon. Well, I made one more mission to work over those coast guns at Brest, but I never completed my 80th mission. I almost got No. 80. I attended 5 straight briefings as lead bombardier to attack a section of the Siegfred Line of German fortifications. We actually formed up over England about 4 times, but it was not meant to be. Every one of those 5 missions was scrubbed, probably all due to bad weather. I couldn't wait for another try or I would miss ny flight out of Prestwick, Scotland for home. It was almost as if my Guardian Angel was saying, "Don't try it again. You might not come back". My plane left Prestwick and landed at Washington D.C. National Airport on SePt. 26th with me on board. I walked up to my parents home in Wichita Falls, Tx. on the last day of Sept. without ever telling them that I was on my way home. - - - But, back to our attack or. Brest. Towering storm clouds made navigation difficult. Smith, who was leading the second flight, and I both had short bombing runs. With a little luck all of our bombs appeared to fall in the target area. Strike photos were "cloudy". We couldn't be sure of just what damage we did. Everyone involved appeared to rate the mission a success. There wasn't much flak and we didn't see many German fighter planes. It wasn't always this easy. After this mission large numbers of A-26s began arriving, gradually replacing the workhorse B-26. But no airplane could ever replace my affection and admiration for B-26 #606 - "RAT POISON". It finished its job in August of 1945 with lots of patches. It retired after 176 combat missions, mostly out in front in the lead position, right where it belonged!