Segment 3

Annotation

Armanini went to gunnery school while still stateside. He describes the bombardier's responsibilities while aboard the aircraft. [Annotator's note: the bombardier was responsible for all ammunition aboard the aircraft] He also describes that aerial gunnery is the most difficult thing in the world. He describes how badly the aerial victories were exaggerated by the Army Air Force after bombing raids. Joe tells an interesting story of how he shot down one enemy aircraft, a Focke Wulf 190 about to ram their B-17 [AnnotatorÂ’s Note: American B-17 Flying Fortress bomber] on the Regensburg raid [Annotator's note: August 17, 1943] Joe describes the first mission for the 100th Bomb Group in which they lost three planes out of his squadron while he was at gunnery school.Armanini's 5th mission was to Bonn, Germany. On this mission his pilot was hit in the chest by flak and his aircraft lost an engine. The pilot was hit in the chest but it didn't wound him. His chest was badly bruised and apparently the pilot suffered from PTSD [Annotator's note: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder] and didn't want to fly as a B-17 combat pilot any longer. Joe was assigned to Sam Barr's plane where he soon became the lead bombardier for the squadron. As lead bombardier he would lead all aircraft in his squadron on a mission, the other aircraft in the squadron would bomb on Armanini's command. He tells about the Regensburg mission. His aircraft lost an engine and had 200 bullet holes, yet no one was wounded in his crew. His aircraft flew across the Alps and landed in Bizerte, North Africa. His crew couldn't fly his aircraft back to England because of the battle damage. They flew from Bizerte in another aircraft to another base in Africa and then to Marrakesh [AnnotatorÂ’s Note: Morocco]. Armanini describes his trip to the Medina in great detail with his crew. He describes buying souvenirs, seeing lepers, and seeing the sheik's quarters and harem.

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