Veteran Stories:
Jim Adams

Air Force

  • Mr. Jim Adams, January 2012.

  • Inside Mr. Adams' Flying Log Book. The entry indicates a mission flown on October 28th 1944 relating to the destruction of a bridge under heavy anti-aircraft fire near the city of Roermond in the Netherlands. The bridge was destroyed (as indicated on the picture attached) and his aircraft took two hits, probably from ground fire.

    Jim Adams
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"So we would go in where they knew that these Tiger tanks were in the forest, just waiting to set up a raid to the allies ground crew [...] we’d go in and bomb those bushes to knock out the tanks if we possibly could."

Transcript

We ended up in Scotland and went on a train and came down to London and then down to Bournemouth, that’s a big holding unit there [Mr. Adams served as a gunner with 88 SQN of the Royal Air Force]. And got set up with the air crew and sent for OTU in Britain [Observation Training Unit]. And we did an OTU with our crew and we flew on Hudsons [the Lockheed A-29 Hudson, an American light bomber] and then we went to another OTU which had Bostons [the Douglas A-20/DB-7 Havoc, an American light bomber] and Mitchells [the North American B-25 Mitchell, an American medium bomber] and we spent time there learning to fly in formation of six, which was our routine for all flights that were going to bomb Germany and France and Belgium and Holland and anyplace that our squadron was to bomb was a rail yards, bridges and factories where they knew that there was ball bearings being manufactured or guns or whatever was there. So that most of our targets were based on going after those targets.

So that’s what I did for 43 trips, that was, every time we flew, we were going after bridges, we were going after bridges at railway crossings, bridges at road crossing, anywhere where the Germans were bringing supplies in to the D-Day area or any possibility of them being pushed away, we were blocking them off of getting away on the train or by road. So that was the major operation of our squadron, was going after those type of targets to stop the Germans from retreating.

And then we had a few trips where the Tiger tanks [the German Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. E tank, also known as the Tiger I], they had 88 millimeters guns on them and they could knock our tanks off a dime a dozen. So we would go in where they knew that these Tiger tanks were in the forest, just waiting to set up a raid to the allies ground crew, a military boys, we’d go in and bomb those bushes to knock out the tanks if we possibly could. Which was quite interesting and they just turned those big 88 millimeters cannons, that the Tiger tanks that fired anti-aircraft fire at us. So we got peppered pretty good. Unfortunately, we got hit quite a few times and but never to a place where it would stop the operation of our aircraft and we got out of there. Sometimes we had 23, 24 black holes in the fuselage but never to a place that would put us out of the flying power. So we were very fortunate in that way.

And that was the general operation we were doing out of England. Well then, when the army had captured airdromes in France, we got transferred because we were twin engine bombers, we got transferred to these airdromes that was once a German airdrome in France [in October, 1944] and then we worked out of France, bombing Holland and Belgium and Germany and was only two hour and a half flight to get to these targets where we had to fly all the way over from England to get at them. This was very quick, bang, bang, bang. And we’d do two trips or three trips a day. So this was a big help to the army that we were able to bomb these areas where the German troops were holding up and preparing for attacking the German attack coming down from Germany, they were setting up all kinds of tanks over on the railways, everything, big power. They knew they had to stop us after the D-Day [the Normandy invasion of June 6th, 1944], we got into France, they knew they had to really go.

And one of the big major things that happened, Hitler then decided he was going to go beat the hell out of Russia, so he had to pour quite a few of his troops down there. So he lessened the power that he had to fight against us with. But when they saw he was losing ground, he pulled his big Tiger tanks back in, again, to stop the ground advances that was going on, so we had quite a job running into these French towns, bombing the bridges and railway lines in there to stop them from retreating with their equipment. And that was interesting trips, believe me. And the big Lancasters [the Avro Lancaster, a British heavy bomber] and the forts, they were going in deeper and they were bombing Germany and just ripping the heck out of it.

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