Francis Dolsen was in Montana when he met his crew members. [Annotator’s Note: Another veteran is speaking with the interviewer.] They were lucky on their first mission. Being in the ball turret did not bother him. He had been through many storms in the ball turret. He had confidence in his pilot and navigator. He liked the pilot from the first training mission they flew together. They flew from Montana to Denver [Annotator’s Note: Denver, Colorado]. As they landed, the wheel broke on the runway. The pilot held the plane steady. Dolsen was in the radio room.
Francis Dolsen is listening to another veteran speak. [Annotator’s Note: Another veteran and the interviewer are speaking.]
[Annotator’s Note: Francis Dolsen is listening to another veteran and the interviewer speaking.] The tail gunner spotted the German as he approached. The nose gunner started firing. Dolsen could see and hear the others firing. He knew he had to add to it. He held the trigger down for a while. He was facing the front. The German peeled off to the right. Dolsen had to get his gun around to the wing. [Annotator’s Note: The interviewer mentions the ‘Squawking Hawk’ and bulletproof glass.]
[Annotator’s Note: Francis Dolsen is listening to another veteran and the interviewer speaking. The interviewer mentions the ‘Squawking Hawk’ and bulletproof glass.] The planes were coming from the sides. Dolsen saw four of them. When the first two broke, the second two were right on their tails. They went through a bunch of leads. When the first two peeled off they started streaming. The second two came around the wing. [Annotator’s Note: Another veteran is talking about the wounds they received during the mission.] The pilot told them to come up and help. They did not go down to look at the damage on the plane when they returned. They did not want to go back to it. Another lieutenant, who was a medical major, had come down. He told them the pilot had been hit hard.
Francis Dolsen had to bail out of a plane. [Annotator’s Note: The interviewer is talking about the different pilots and crew members.] During the briefing, they were told their crew was going to be replaced. They were going to meet General Patton’s [Annotator's Note: US Army Lieutenant General George S. Patton, Jr.] invasion in Southern France [Annotator’s Note: the Allied invasion of Southern France, codenamed Operation Dragoon; 15 August to 14 September 1944]. They got hit by the fighters and had to bail out. The Germans picked Dolsen up and he ended up in Stalag 17 [Annotator’s Note: Stalag Luft XVII-B near Krems, Austria]. They came up from the south and went into a German airfield. They got there the same day Patton got there. They could see the gun placement on the other side of the river. It was cold. On the extreme right end, there were other prisoners taking cover from the fire. On the west side of the river, they had set up artillery. Patton had to call off the artillery fire. He told his men to get the prisoners down to a factory under a roof. He wanted them to get out of the weather.
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