A Gunner’s Tale; Part 3

B17 Tail Gun Turret

B-17 Tail Gun Turret

It’s hard to believe my father was ever 19-years-old, especially sitting in a tail gun turret shooting .50 caliber machine guns at approaching enemy aircraft. I have a hunch a lot of people my age are thinking the same thing about their fathers. He sometimes talks about his experience and he admits that he was nervous up there. “They called me ‘puke in the face Dewey,'” he said, “because I always puked up the chocolate bars I ate into my mask, or else the updraft would toss it back in my face.”

Published with permission by NKD

N.K. Dewey in B-17 flight gear

Jan 9th  Been stand downs past couple of days and weve been going to school 8hrs a day and go again tomorrow  Just brushing up on every thing in general

Jan. 13th – Mainz was the target – 6 one thousand lb. Bombs – Temp. was – [minus] 43 degrees and my heated suit was screwed up and I got pretty cold.

Jan 14th. Magdeburg and we went by Berlin and Hannover – Had fighters and they got several bombers in our group although they never attacked our sq. but as they turned away from the low sq. I could get them in my sights and it scared the devil out of me my lower ball man and I opened fire but they were a long ways out about 1000 yds. I would say I was more scared than Ive ever been in my life.

Jan 16.th Plaven and we hit marshling yards and we called it cooks tour of Germany and we were just trying to draw up fighters and we had ample support of 51s but we never got hardly any flack. We landed at a limey base and stayed for the night and had fresh eggs.

1-25-45  Got Busted down to a Pvt.  for hunting in the woods in back of camp.

Jan. 29. Hit Kassel jet air craft plant and results were unknown. Fighters were in area but we never seen any. 12- 5 hundred lb. Bombs.  This was our first missions for 12 days we had 6 scrubs and 3 standowns.

Feb. 3rd. My most famous raid I gues cause Berlin is the most dangerous target in Germany and we bombed the heart of the city and it caused quite a write up in the papers

Potsdamer Platz, Berlin, 1945. On the left the...

Potsdamer Platz, Berlin, 1945. On the left the Columbushaus, on the right the ruin of Hotel Fürstenhof. Canadian soldiers in the jeep. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

– We had good coverage of P-51s and all the way they kept in pretty close. There were fighters in the Area but we never saw them. I got my second cluster to my Air metal [medal?] today – Flack was pretty heavy and we picked up a few flack holes.

2-6-45  We went to Chemnitz today near Munich and it was quite a ride thru Germany on Oxygen for 6 hrs and there wasn’t any flack over the target but we ran thru ample on the way out near Frankfurt and most or about half of our ships landed on the continent in Belgium and France but had a lot of gas so we came back to camp. We were alone over France as the formation run up against bad weather so we split up. I saw 5 large ships that were sunk near the coast of France and the towns we went over were in pretty bad shape cause when an army goes thru a place they really ruin it. This was my 19th mission and Ive only 16 more to go.

2-7-45 Had a Big personal inspection today by a 2 star General and 1 star general  first General Ive ever had look at me in the eye, boy this place is really turning chicken shit – we also have a new CO.

2-16-45  Went to Hamm and Got hit pretty bad sent the ship to sub depot cause every gas tank had a hole in it and the Flack was pretty heavy – some hit the flack suit of the Togglei[e]r and it was his 53 mission but no one got hurt.

To be continued . . .

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About Dana J. Dewey

I was a slow learner as a child and to overcome my fear of school, as an adult I attended many of them. I ended up with a master of science degree in counseling psychology and I'm a licensed mental health counselor who is passionate about mental health. This blog is about life, joy, and the pursuit of good mental health, and the eclectic way in which it's achieved. I'm blogging a memoir, The Tail Gunner's Daughter, and later, Parent-Able: Seven Strategies for Raising a Physically Disabled Child Without Going Insane.
This entry was posted in Family, Feature articles, history, stories, Tail Gunner, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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