Segment 8

Annotation

Anderson went on a couple of patrols with an experienced pilot in the lead and was then sent out on his own.Pilots know if they were going to fly the next day and could make proper arrangements to not drink that night and gett to bed a little early. In the morning the men were awoken by an orderly. They would sometimes get breakfast and sometimes just have a snack. They would then go to their briefing where they were told about the mission and what the flying conditions would be. After the briefing the flight would discuss what they were going to do.Some of the formations were large and contained 48 fighters.Anderson describes how the groups would take off and rendezvous with the bombers.The bombers would fly in straight lines which helped the fighters with navigation. The fighters would join the bombers and look for the tail markings on them so they could join up with "their" bombers.The fighters would have to fly in zigzag patterns so they could stay with the bombers. Some of the fighters stayed along side of the bombers and some flew out in different directions.The fighters would go out to intercept the German fighters. Sometimes the Germans put up 400 planes to attack the bomber formations.The average time for a mission was about four hours.At the end of the mission the planes would regroup and then return to their base. When they got back they would go to debriefing and discuss what happened. They would then go to the officers club to discuss the mission with the pilots who had just flown it.Sometimes the pilots would fly two missions a day. Anderson would fly whenever he could.He was the first pilot to complete his combat tour. He completed 300 hours between February and July [Annotator's Note: 1944]. It was 70 or 75 missions.In February Anderson got his first kill. He was returning from a mission to Berlin and leading 7 or 8 planes back home. Anderson looked out to see a lone B-17 with it's engines smoking.

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