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Gerald "Gerry" L. Allen
323rd Bomb Group, 453 Bomb Squadron

Gunner Didn't Know He Was Riding Flying Wreak
Slippery Rock Sergeant Learns Truth When Plane Lands After Raid on France

On his first mission over enemy territory, what Sergeant Gerald L. Allen of Slippery Rock didn't know didn't hurt him.

He though he was a "milk run" - until he got a look at the Marauder he was flying after it landed.

An ex-medic turned turret gunner on the B-26 "Goatee Hell", he was too busy watching for enemy planes to notice that his ship had been struck by flak. After the bombs were released, somewhere over Pas de Calias area of Northern France, the right engine of the ship caught a heavy burst of accurate flak. The cylinder barrel, piston and connecting rod blew through the cowling, immediately following the hit.

"I didn't know what was going on," said Sergeant Allen. "It was my first mission, and from where I was stationed on the plane, everything seemed to be all right. About the time we reached the field, I saw that the right engine wasn't working, but that didn't bother me."

The pilot had feathered the dead prop at once and flew the plane back to the field on one engine. It landed safely and for hours afterward, field personnel visited the ship to see the gaping hole in the cowling.

"I didn't want to tell Gerry about the flak burst until it was all over," the pilot explained. "A gunner has enough to worry about as it is."

Sergeant Allen is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Lamont Allen of Slippery Rock.

***

Flier's First Raid Not a 'Milk Run'

Sgt. Gerald L. Allen looked on his first mission over France as a "milk run" until he examined his Marauder plane after it had landed.

A turret gunner on the B-26 "Goatee Hell", he said he was too busy watching for enemy planes to notice that his plane had been struck by flak, and that the pilot flew the plane back to the field on one engine. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Lamont Allen of Slippery Rock.

Group Crew

Three ground crew smoking pipes at the unknown airbase
Three ground crew smoking pipes at the unknown airbase

Three ground crew at the unknown airbase with tents and buildings in background
Three ground crew at the unknown airbase with tents and buildings in background

A smiling soldier walking pasted two ordinary Parisians to use a public toilet. Paris, France
A smiling soldier walking pasted two ordinary Parisians to use a public toilet. Paris, France

American soldier near Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile, Place Charles-de-Gaulle Champs-Élysées, Paris, France
American soldier near Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile, Place Charles-de-Gaulle Champs-Élysées, Paris, France

P.S. Blanks loading and arming bombs in bomb bay of Martin B-26 Marauder
P.S. Blanks loading and arming bombs in bomb bay of Martin B-26 Marauder

P.S. Blanks with carbine rifle dressed in cold weather gear on French airbase
P.S. Blanks with carbine rifle dressed in cold weather gear on French airbase

Nine crew men in England with dog mascot and one man holding a rifle.
Nine crew men in England with dog mascot and one man holding a rifle.

The crew chief with a Martin B-26 Marauder named "Mild and Bitter"
The crew chief with a Martin B-26 Marauder named "Mild and Bitter"

A picture of B-26 Marauder "Mild and Bitter" with signatures and autographs of ground crews and air crews.
A picture of B-26 Marauder "Mild and Bitter" with signatures and autographs of ground crews and air crews.

Martin B-26 Marauder, Tail Number 243285
Martin B-26 Marauder, Tail Number 243285

Martin B-26 Marauder, Tail Number 243285
42-43285 was named “Sit’N’Git”, coded PN-K, 322nd BG / 449th BS. This aircraft survived the war having flown 156 combat missions.

Martin B-26 Marauder, Tail Number C PN 131773, with D-Day stripes.
Martin B-26 Marauder, Tail Number C PN 131773, with D-Day stripes.

Crewman with horse in England or France. Building in background has surname Manns on signage.
Crewman with horse in England or France. Building in background has surname Manns on signage.
Regarding the photo of an airman with a horse. the caption points out a sign in the top left of the
photo inscribed “Manns”. During this period “Manns” was a London based brewery.

Crewman with Martin B-26 "Flak-Bait"
“Flak Bait”, serial 41-31773, coded PN-O, 322nd BG / 449th BS. Completed 202 combat missions and survived the war.

American solider standing in a France airbase.
American solider standing in a France airbase.

American B26 Marauder crewman sitting on 2000 pound bomb.
American B26 Marauder crewman sitting on 2000 pound bomb.

A second American B26 Marauder crewman sitting on 2000 pound bomb.
A second American B26 Marauder crewman sitting on 2000 pound bomb.

Martin B-26 Marauder, Tail number PN Q 467879
44-67879 was named “Lil’ Murf”, coded PN-Q, 322nd BG / 449th BS.

The photo of an airman in Braintree Park. This park is known as “Braintree & Bocking Public Gardens” and is still open today.
The photo of an airman in Braintree Park. This park is known as “Braintree & Bocking Public Gardens” and is still open today.


43-34611, named “Green Ghost”, coded PN-F, 322nd BG / 449th BS. In the background of this photo
can be seen the tail of 41-18272, PN-D, named “Murder Inc”, 322nd BG / 449th BS.

Planes

Martin B-26 Marauder, Tail Number PN A 2107664
42-107664, coded PN-A, named “Je Reviens”, 322nd BG / 449th BS.

Aircraft named “A Broad For Duty” is 42-107557, BN# 32, of the 17th Bomb Group, 37th Bomb Squadron.
Aircraft named “A Broad For Duty” is 42-107557, BN# 32, of the 17th Bomb Group, 37th Bomb Squadron.


The unidentified B-26 with sharks mouth nose art and the image of a girl kneeling on a bomb is a 320th BG / 444th BS aircraft.
44-68095, coded PN-C, 322nd BG / 449th BS.


The photo of 43-34453 with collapsed undercarriage is named “Cherie”, coded DR-S, 22nd BG / 452nd BS. The nose wheel collapsed on landing
at A-61 Beauvais-Tille Airfield, France on 14th Feb 45. The aircraft was flown by Lt. Col. Dewin D Bentley, the group executive officer.


The aircraft in flight over Le Bourget airfield, Paris is 44-68122, named “Johnny’s Jokers”, coded PN-W, 322nd BG / 449th BS.

 

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