05.12.2012: fixed the broken link to the YANK article.
For some time, I had an article that my father had torn out of YANK magazine. On the article, he had written “This happened in my outfit and its a true story.” I have no real way of verifying this, I am suspecting the names in this story have been fictionalized and I have no date for the actual incident.
I do have a vague memory of my father telling a rare story about his experiences in World War II–he told a story of being found and housed by an Italian family for a day or two while awaiting someone in his unit to come for him. Of course, dad kept the story to minimal detail and related to us the experience he had with that family–how he enjoyed the food (Army food was bad), and that he was warm and was given a bed to sleep. He did not say how he had ended up in the family’s home or why he was there. I was a kid, I didn’t know the questions to ask. How I wish I did now!
I did find the article online to at least find the date it was published. To my surprise, the magazine is archived online! You can locate the article here: YANK January 26, 1945. I have the full scan of the article also here with my dad’s handwritten note here: http://dmcmanus.biz/family/Lone_Wolf_entire.pdf.
As a teaser, here’s the introduction to the action:
Your call sign is Lonesome,” said the major.
The sign was appropriate. We were to fly this night as lone wolves without fighter protection. If we succeeded, it meant that American heavy bombers would no longer have to remain grounded, as they did last winter when weather made formation flying under escort impossible. The four Fortresses from our group were to take off at close intervals, and bombers from other groups were to fly at the same time to the same target. The bombers, each flying over a different route and at a different altitude and speed, would come in over Blechhammer one after the other. Our mission was to end the bogey of bad weather.
Must say, Cpl. Barrett writes a good story!
I’m not a military historian, and would love to hear from anyone who may have information on the raids on Blechhammer.