The first official MTO AAR of Mission #1 of the B-26 MTO Expansion, Nov. 1942.
It was a long mission, 12 zones, from Maison Blanche to Djedeida in Tunisia. The target was a marshalling yard. Light flak was was expected and the bombing altitude was 2000 feet.
Four bombers took off in fair weather and formed a Diamond and flew over the vast, emptiness of the Saharan Desert toward Tunisa. The B-26s entered enemy airspace, but no bandits were seen at this stage, probably due to the small formation and low level. The enemy here was poor weather as we we flew over Telergma. Soon there after two ships had to abort the mission, the lead and #2. Were they damaged by the poor weather? Hopefully they landed safely at Telergma.
Close to Tunisia a 110C-4 attacked from 10 high. It went for #3, who had taken over the lead, my B-26 was at first flying as #4 in the Diamond. My top turret gunner fired and hit that 110. One, maybe two, were seen to jump from the plane, but since we were at this low level we don’t know the fate of those two enemy pilots. The mission continued without any further encounters with enemy fighters.
Two Zones later we reached our target are, but the weather was bad so we aborted, dumped our bombs and set course for Maison Blanche. In the same area where we had encountered that 110, two 109F-4s attacked from 6 o’clock. The tail guns jammed when Corporal Cornelius Thompson spray fired. One was hit and was later confirmed as a KIA. The second 109 made two successive attacks. The first was from 5 high, and then damaged by the top turret gunner. The tail guns were now inoperable, they had been too damaged by the long burst before. This fighter had hit my ship in the aft bomb bay, but the damage was superficial. The next attacked came from 9 low. The radio operator spray fired, jammed the gun and drove it off. It was not confirmed as a KIA.
There were no more enemy attacks.
We were off course twice on the route back, but the navigator in #3 had no difficulty in finding our way back to the station at Maison Blanche. Approximately 75 miles from home we encountered poor weather and #3 disappeared. We found ourselves alone when we reached the station in poor weather.
I decided to land, but it was a bad landing and the B-26 was damaged, but repairable and my crew injured. The pilot and tail gunner were seriously injured and sent home. Two men received only scratches and two were lightly injured. They will return 3 and 6 days, respectively.
The mission would have ended like this…. but I am cheating! (Please, don’t tell anyone.) I have a House Rule, and this rule gave me a Lucky Charm on this mission. One of my gunners rolled “12” on the Spray Fire To Hit roll. That “12” also gave me a Lucky Charm. I used this lucky charm to save my B-26 when it landed… so it and my crew members are safe. We need some luck – actually, a lot of it… to survive this war.
PLAY-TEST COMMENTS/Thoughts 1: First impression is that it works fine. It is possible to fly different formations with 3 to 18 to more bombers. It seemed to be too much at first, but it doesn’t seem to be difficult to understand and use. After a few more missions I will be able to tell if I have to change this somehow.
PLAY-TEST COMMENTS/Thoughts 2: Table MT-2 Small Formations. It is used when you fly with a small number of bombers when you check for enemy encounters. It is somewhat different from the regular MT-2 and after the last attacking wave you check again. On this mission, there were no other waves attacking after the first. I may have to change it or one or two DR modifications… for more action. It did not seem to be that much different from the regular MT-2. I assume a small formation is more difficult to spot, but once spotted and attacked, it will be attacked with more intensity.