Target Germany

outwardly, the most intrepid member of Tar- baby's crew. Having been graduated from high school and worked a year with a well-drilling outfit, Ball Turret is Tarbaby's crack shot, with a claimed bag of five Nazi birds. He calls his twin fifties “Spit and Spat.” Ball Turret had once operated on the principle that “anything without four engines oughta get it” and proudly claimed a string of near misses on a Spitfire and a chip off a P-47. Combat experience has chastened and reformed him. Seated in the rear row, sunk in oversize flying clothes, he is now trying his best togo to sleep. S-2 takes the stand, pointer in hand. The lights are lowered. A picture of the plant at Huls is flashed on the screen. This is the plant at Huls. It produces approximately twenty-nine percent o f Germany's synthetic rubber and eighteen percent o fits total rubber supply. With Germany at present so short o f rubber that she's trying to bring it through in blockade runners from the Far East, I don't need to emphasize the importance o f this target. The plant area is a square, approximately 3500fe eton aside. Your approach will be inhere. Your aiming point is here,on the gas plant. This is the butadiene plant and this ...The copilot of Tarbaby is twenty-one, big and blond, and was on his way to becoming a mining engineer when he started flying training fourteen months ago. He is boisterous, gregarious, and, privately, a little disappointed that there are no Dawn Patrols and champagne binges in this war he finds himself fighting. His one ambition is to abe first pilot— to sit on the left. He is wearing his flying boots, a sheepskin-lined jacket, and a Denver souvenir, a red scarf with Pinkie (last name forgotten) crocheted upon it. As S-2 starts, he is wondering where the hell his laundry is. But the problem o f HUls interests him and he begins to listen closely. ...across these railway sidings, which will be on your right as you cross the target, you will seethe Auguste Viktoria coalmine, which serves the plant. This Group will be bombing from 25,000 feet. After bombing you will continue to this point, where a turn to... Tarbaby's bombardier is called“ Deadeye” because he is. Small and fair, he looks decep­tively cherubic in repose. His capacity for watery English beer is a legend in Group 500. Sitting in the third row, he is wearing a disreputable coverall which he insists brings him good luck. His two loves are Tarbaby and the Dodgers, in that order. His eyes are closed now. He is memo­rizing, with infinite anticipation, the exact pattern of the gas plant at Hills, near Recklinghausen. Weather has taken the stand. He has been up all night, and looks it. A vertical cross section of the weather en route to the target—a layer cake of clouds and meteorological symbols from ground level to 35,000 feet— is shown on the screen. Weather talks rapidly, as though he were telling an old, old story: A t base you'll have 6-8/10 thin cirro-stratus above 25,000. Visibility two miles in haze. Traces o f strato-cumulus over the English coast out.going Thin patches o f alto-stratus up here at 12,000 with tops at 14,000 and towering to 19,000 over the North Sea. Freezing level 11,000 ...Radio is the one newman on Tarbaby's crew. The old Radio stopped a small piece of flak over Bremen and is now convalescing and writing jeering postcards back from an Air Force rest camp. This is the new Radio’s first mission. He’s twenty-three and has worked in the dispatching office of an airline on the West Coast back home. Right now he’s frightened to death—and would admit it if anyone took the trouble to ask him. Weather finishes. Radio is wondering whether he ought to take his tin hat to the ship. The Flak Officer stands before the map of enemy antiaircraft batteries, using a billiard cue as a pointer. He is apologetic, as flak officers usually are. We've routed you today so that the flak you get will be, in general, just deterrent. He waits for a laugh—and gets it. Here, where you cross this island just off the German coast, there's a four-gun heavy battery. I f you stick to your course you'll be out o f range. There'll be moderate heavy flak here and ...After Flak, the sergeant gunners leave the briefing. Ike and Mike, Tarbaby's waist gunners, trail along with them. Ike and Mike (christened George and Lester) both wear their lined trou­sers and jackets, for the subzero breezes blow at the open waist gates. As the recognized clowns of Tarbaby, they are concocting a story of mis­adventures to hand to the new Radio during the first dull hour of flight. Ike and Mike consider themselves hardened veterans—and are. They hate flak and respect enemy fighters. It is 0450 as the gunners pile aboard the jeeps and trucks for the dispersal points. The eastern sky is pale with dawn now, though the field still lies in darkness. In the main briefing room Flying Control has concluded the preparation for Mis­sion 95 with the time-tick, during which the crews set their watches. Twenty seconds before 5
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