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Samuel M. Findley (Tex)
Engineer/Tail Gunner
323rd BG, 453rd BS


BUZZ BOMBS

One afternoon the air raid sirens at the base went off. We heard a funny noise and up in the air what looked to be a small airplane with some sort of engine but without a propeller flew over fairly low. The noise it made was similar to the sound made by the gasoline engine powered Maytag washing machines used by folks that didn’t have electricity in rural U.S. They came over quite frequently after that. We learned they were flying bombs and London was their target and that they were coming from ski-type launching ramps in German-occupied France. So now we knew the identity of those so called Noball targets that we had been bombing. Officially these were V1 Flying Bombs, but were referred to as buzz bombs. They were one of Hitler’s, so called "secret weapons. The Nazis had constructed 96 launching sites in France, all aimed at London. Although we were able to locate and destroy all but 14 of the sites the Germans launched over 8000 of the buzz bombs from these over England with over 2000 of these striking London. Civilian casualties ran into the thousands. If a person was below ground he was relatively safe, but when the buzz bomb exploded it created a terrific blast. Flying glass caused many of the casualties. When the bombs began to come into London I ceased my visits there.

A MEETING WITH THE BRASS

On June 13th our crew was directed to put on Class "A" uniforms and report to the Group Operations Briefing Room at once. Several other crews reported there also. No one had any idea why we were ordered there. We did note that all of us there had previously been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and that we were all crews with the highest number of missions. We thought, perhaps, we were there for a photo session.

The Provost Marshall called us to attention and in strode Generals George C. Marshall, "Hap" Arnold, and Samuel Anderson. They looked at photos showing the results of our bombings and made various inquiries regarding our operations. Finally Gen. Arnold asked if anyone had any questions. An officer stood up and said "Sir, what is the possibility of a mission tour for Marauder combat crews?" They wanted to know how many missions we had accrued. I believe Generals Arnold and Marshall were surprised to learn that every crewman in that room had more than 50 missions and that some of us had more than 70. Our Wing Commander, General Sam Anderson had been making every possible effort in our behalf for a tour to General Brereton who was Commander of the Ninth Air Force, but Brereton would do nothing. I never knew a combat crewman who had any regard or the least bit of admiration for Brereton. General Marshall commented that Infantrymen had no duty tour and General Arnold said "This is a man’s war and men have to fight it." Nothing else was said. After hearing this I felt as if I were doomed and my probability of surviving the war was slight.

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