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Moses Joseph Gatewood, Jr. AKA. "MoJo"
Aircraft commander of the "Holy Moses"

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I was flying a B-26 median bomber in the number four position behind Captain Swartzrock at 10,000 feet on 24 June 1944, about 1900 hours. The target was a rail bridge at Maisons Lafitte which is on the west suburbs of Paris. For the last ten minutes, heavy flak had been intense and accurate as the crew has reported numerous holes appearing in the fuselage and wings. Finally starting on the bomb run, the ship was hit by a close burst which knocked out most of the plexiglass nose and all of the co-pilot's windshield. No injuries were sustained by the bombardier, but the co-pilot was cut and bleeding from numerous plexiglass wounds about the face and arms. The plane still functioned properly and was held in formation on the bomb run and bombs were dropped on the target. Suddenly, while turning off the bomb run, the ship received a hit which threw it out of formation and out of control as elevator rudder, and aileron cables were cut. I attempted to regain control as we dived almost vertically towards tho ground, but all controls were completely useless--even the trim tabs refused to take effect. At this point, I rang the alarm bell and over interphone gave the bail-out order, but no one was able to leave due to forces on bodies and escape hatch.

Still vainly playing with the elevator trim tab, I was rewarded by a slow reaction then a violent pull out at 3000 feet which shot us back up to 4000 ft. almost stall out. The crew were still in the plane and the engines were running so we turned for the beachhead 180 miles away through flak that became heavier and more accurate since control of the plane was vary sluggish using trim tabs only. Friendly lightning escort was notified of our position and dilemma as two Me109s were seen low to our left by the tail gunner, who, had been wounded painfully in the shoulder and jaw. About this time, two or three minutes after recovery from the 6000 feet uncontrolled dive, we skidded into predicted flak in front of us which knocked out the right engine, some of the instrument panel, and badly ruptured the right wing gasoline tanks. The engine would not feather and we began to lose altitude.

Again we could not turn quickly enough with trim tabs and flak bounced us around. This time cutting internal gas lines and probably hydraulic lines because smoke, gas, and oil fumes filled the ship. I think this burst also nipped a large hunk of flesh from the radio operator's thigh because he had been in the top turret reporting visible outside damage to the ship when he suddenly announced he was hit hard in the legs somewhere. (This picture was gained in July 1945 when all of my crew returned home from PT Camps).

At this stage of the game, I could get no sense from the remaining instruments on the instrument panel and I could not maintain altitude an flying speed, so I gave orders to prepare for immediate bail-out. I gave this order at 2500 feet when the plane wan stalling, shuddering, streaming gas from the wing tanks, and was losing altitude at the rate of 800 feet per minute. The three crew members in the rear checked by interphone on leaving. Then the bombardier and co-pilot pounded through my head that the bomb bay
door would not open as they were shot up. The co-pilot and I worked on lowering the nose wheel which was stuck until the bombardier forced it down by jumping on it. They left immediately and I followed - noticing the altimeter


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