Heroes: the Army Air Corps
"...I arrived at the 305th base the day of the Schweinfert Raid 1943. The group sent out 18 planes and got back 3. I suspected I had made a bad move. 30 missions later I returned home, wiser..."
- Branch of Service: Army Air Corps
- Unit: 305th Bomb Group, 364th Bomb Sqn. [Heavy]
- Dates: 1942 - 1945
- Location: European Theater
- Rank: 1st Lt., Pilot
- Birth Year: 1921
- Entered Service: Royal Oak, MI
Raid on Saarbrucken, Germany, May 11, 1944
305th Bomb Group Sqdns. 364th, 365th, 366th Bomb Squadron
Group lead 1st. Wing. I lead low Squadron 364th.
Breakfast = 4:00 A.M. Briefing 5:00 AM
Take Off 6:00 AM Fighter escort picked up at coast. Saw very little EA action enroot to target. No flak. Flak at target moderate not very accurate. Altitude about 23000 ft. weather clear, haze over target.
Bombardier screwed up on first run and leader decided to make second run at same heading, same altitude, Bad news. Now flak was moderate but very accurate, all planes took hits on run to target. Leader took direct hit at bombs away.
He blew up and took plane next to him with him. We lost three planes on that raid. We took a hit at bombs away also. We lost number four engine and suffered a severed gas line between two main tanks. The fuel was running down the wing into the ball turret. We had to get the ball gunner out and start transferring fuel. We were losing a lot of fuel and had a long ways to go home. The waist gunner advised me the other gunner had been hit and he was attending to him. We were now alone and low on fuel so we started to throw over board all excess equipment including guns and ammo. We had to lose as much weight as possible. When we got to the English Channel we had to make a decision whether we felt we could make it across the channel or not. The engineer said he believed we were OK and I agreed with him so we started across the channel. We made it OK and now had to find a place to land. I knew we did not have enough fuel to make it back to our base so we looked for any strip we could see. We started our approach and shot off red flares to let the tower know we had wounded on board. On the final approach we started to lose another engine but that didn't matter much because we were in a glide to landing anyhow. Our gunner was not wounded too seriously and was sent home soon after. We hitched a ride back to our base and got another plane assigned to us.
I finished my tour the day after "D" day and went home in Sept.
----- Burton Miner
B-17G with markings of the 305th Bomb Group
From: The Mighty Eight by Roger A. Freeman
Interested in some background information?
Check out the related links below...
8th Air Force, 305th Bomb Group
305th Bomb Group: Organizational List
Wrong Place - Wrong Time (2nd Schweinfurt Raid, Oct 14, 1943)
305th Bombardment Group
Honoring the Memory of the 305th BG
8th Air Force Historical Society
The Air Force in WWII
Numberous Images of B-17's (German web site)
USAF Aircraft Serial Number Search
USAF Aircraft Serial Number Search Help
World War II Causality Search
The materials depicted on this page were reprinted with kind permission of Mr. Burton Miner.
We, at the World War II Stories - In Their Own Words web site wish to offer to Mr. Burton Miner our most profound THANK YOU for sharing his memories of his experiences -- during World War II. We will always be grateful for Mr. Miner's contributions to the war effort and to the countless other men and women who put forth their "finest hour".
Original story transcribed from e-mail notations received beginning 16 September 2004.
Story added to website ------
September 5, 2002.
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