Misfortune


03:00 | 06:15 | 10:45 | 11:17 | 11:30


06:15 - Great Ashfield

The 385th Bomb Group is on the alert. The GO signal can be expected within 15 minutes. Fog thickened, it's already difficult to see the planes on the next hardstand. Orderlies rushing around with the feared message: "Start is cancelled, wait for new orders." The crews leave their posts, make chats, ignore the No Smoking ordinance, impatiently stamping their feet in the chilly mist, some slowly leaving their buddies with toilet paper in hand...

6:50 - Jagdgeschwader 26 - Woensdrecht (Netherlands)

Lieutenant Jörg Kiefner, third Staffel, first Gruppe of the famous German Jagdgeschwader 26 leaves to his airbase in Woensdrecht. The ground personnel report the number of available Focke-Wulf 190 fighters and these are divided among the pilots. Today Jörg will be the Kacmarek (wingman) of Staffelkapitän Hermichen (3./JG26).

The pilots consume their breakfast.


contributed by Luc Cox

07:10 - Zoersel (Belgium)

Michel Bosman (in 1944)

The 16-year-old Michel Bosman is on bivouac with his Antwerp Scouts group along the side road Zoersel to St. Antonius. He wakes up by the sunrays beaming into his eyes. He goes out curiously finding out such a beautiful day.

It is a sin to go on sleeping, thus, forcing everybody to be out of his sleeping bag. It will be a perfect day to romp around in the bushes and into the woods, forgetting for a while the dark years of the war.



07:40 - 385th BG - Great Ashfield

The GO signal is given. To wait longer for the fog to disappear is out of the question. Canceling again the take-off will mean that they have to fly over the unknown airfields of North Africa in darkness. The fog is still so thick that it is necessary to give the pilots extra lighting to reach the runway. Despite of the danger of air collision, the heavy plane bombers are taking off laboriously and assemble without any accident.

08:20 - JG 26 - Woensdrecht

Reports are coming in that American units are forming over England. It is not at all a surprise for the weather confirms it, just a perfect day to fly for the Ami's. News reports are continuously pouring in. It takes long for the bomber planes to reach the mainland meaning a huge air attack is at hand.

10:35 - Lowestoft - English Coast

2nd Leutenant MacClatchey, navigator of the 'The Jolly Roger', reports to his pilot that they are reaching the mainland within 25 minutes. Pilot Paul Sommers is silently cursing; the assembly of the bomber groups costs them a lot of time and fuel, and they have just short kerosene reserves. While crossing the North Sea he gives the order to test the machineguns. The plane shivers from the short gun-blasts.

Flying in tight combat formation, with crew on oxygen and guns geared, 'The Jolly Roger' is heading the Dutch coast, ready for any encounter.

From his panoramic view, tail gunner Joe Schreppel is watching the English Coastline disappearing slowly...


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