B-26 Marauder 320th Bomb Group


 Crippled Plane Limps in at 170
by Kenneth G. Ross, 442nd Bomb Squadron


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Lieut. Ross Brings Disabled Plane to Port


Crew Shoot Down Attacking Enemy Fighter on Flight
Base from Pantelleria


     Lieut. Kenneth G. Ross, who stunted an army plane over Huntington for the thrill it would give his mother, Mrs. Ray R. Ross, 1006 North LaFontaine street, and got caught and grounded by his commanding officer who was in Huntington at the time of the stunts, is the central figure in a story still more thrilling story out of North Africa.
    Lieut. Ross piloted a Martin Marauder bomber (B-26), said to be the “hottest”  the army has in the way or
such planes, 60 miles on one motor while members of his crew shot down one Messerschmitt-109, landed it without even the use of the wing flaps and soon will he ready to return to action in the plane, according to a United Press dispatch from the allied headquarters in North Africa.

Damaged Over Island

     Apparently the incident happened before the fall of Pantelleria as the Martin Marauder was damaged over that Island which is 60 miles off Cape Bon.
    Sergeant James R. Williams, the tail gunner said two Messerschmitts tried to get the bomber and ‘I got in three good bursts and I think I hit the pilot because he headed straight down.”
     Sergeant John K. Moberly, Frederick, Md., hit the other Messerschmitt.
    Sergeant Edward L. Baker, Murphysboro, Ill., is another member of the crew.
    Ross was a partner with Dean Wakefield, manager of the Hosdreg, Inc., airport, in the ownership of a plane in pre-war days here. He learned to fly from the city under the instruction of a pilot named McIntyre.

Headed for Air Corps

     When war was declared Ross headed for the air corps, enlisting December 15, 1941.  His ability as a pilot soon was recognized and some time later he became a cadet and received a commission. It was while he was at Baer Field, Fort Wayne, that he flew one of the army planes to this city to give his mother a thrill. His commander wad visiting in the city and when Ross got back to Baer Field he was in trouble at once for the stunts. Apparently, however, it did not keep him on the ground long and some months ago he went overseas.
    Wakefield, who bought Ross’s share or the local plane when the young man went into the army, was enthusiastic Thursday when  he earned of the lieutenant’s feat.
    “He’s some flier.” Wakefield declared, “or he wouldn’t be piloting one of the B-26s.  They’re about lie hottest thing the army has in he way or bombers.”



 Chicago Tribune
18 June 1943


Everything Is Haywire on Plane but Guns.


[Chicago Tribune Press Service]

     ALLIED HDQ. IN NORTH AFRICA, June I7. - One engine was out of action, a wing tip was shot up, the air speed indicator was not operating and Messerschmitts were attacking, but with all these difficulties a Marauder bomber returned safely from a recent sortie over Pantelleria, and its gunners even brought down one enemy plane.
    The pilot, Lt. Kenneth C. Ross of Huntington, Ind., and his crew recounted their adventures today. They were over the island when one engine failed and the bomber dropped out of formation. Two Messerschmitts scented the prey and swooped in, streaming bullets into he engine and wing tip.

Knock Enemy Into Water.

     Ross disregarded the target and changed his course to catch up with the formation. Escorting Warhawks knocked one enemy plane into the water. The bombardier and navigator, Staff Sergt. Edward I. Baker of Murphysboro. Ill., closed the bomb bay doors, but later reopened them and dropped his load into the sea.
     “I got three good bursts at another Messerschmitt,” said sergt. James R. Williams, 1103 North Milwaukee street, Milwaukee, Wis., the tail gunner. “I saw tracers go into him. I think I hit the pilot because he headed right down.”
    Staff Sergt. John Moberley, of Frederick, Md., the turret gunner, also got a shot at this Messerschmitt and shares credit for its destruction with Williams.

Flaps Won’t Open, Either.

     Covered by Warhawks, Ross brought his Marauder back to a fighter field along the coast of the Cape Bon peninsula. His flaps would not open completely and he had to make a landing at an unusually high speed, 170 miles an hour.
    The Northwest African air force’s operations were limited to routine patrols yesterday. Heavy and medium bombers were grounded because of bad weather.
    Among victories over enemy planes for which they had not been given credit previously were those of Sergeants Joe Michalek, of South Lyon, Mich.; Loy G. Myers, of Hume, 0., and William N. Donaldson, of Columbus, 0.



18 June 1943


Day's Toll Of Aircraft Upped To 11
Ailing U.S. Raiders In Running Fight With Axis Planes


   ALLIED FORCE HEADQUARTERS, June 17 -  Unfavorable weather yesterday restricted the Northwest African Air Force to routine patrolling. Heavy and medium bombers were grounded.
    However, five more planes can be added to the 11 Axis craft shot down in raids over
Sicily on Tuesday, the Allied Force communiqué revealed. These victories had not previously been reported.
    To fill in the quiet day there was the story of a Martin Marauder bomber which fell out of recent Pantelleria - bound formation because of motor trouble, was jumped by two German fighters shot down one of them and then returned 60 miles to a base on one motor, safely making a “hot” landing.
    Let Lt. Kenneth G. Ross, of
Huntington, Ind., the pilot of the unlucky B-26, tell his own story: “Just as we opened our bomb bay doors on the bomb run I had trouble with the right engine and it started smoking. I put on the rich fuel mixture and put the blower on full power but the engine kept falling off and we were dropping behind the formation.
“About then at least two Me-109’s hit us. I looked out my window and saw a big bullet hole in the cowling above my left engine. Tracers were flying by the cockpit. Right then I forgot about the target ad cut across our course to catch up with the formation.
    “The oil pressure I the shot-up engine started fluctuating and then dropped like a shot. I feathered the propeller immediately. Fortunately the other engine picked up.”
    Meanwhile, the bombardier-navigator, S-Sgt. Edward L Baker, of
Murphysboro, Ill., had closed the bomb bay doors. He was the first man to sight the enemy fighters. “We were so far behind that I couldn’t even see the target. A little later, when we were over the water, the co-pilot gave me the order to salvo the bombs.”
The tail gunner, Sgt. James R. Williams of Milwaukee, Wis., took over the story: “I saw those old black crosses as plain as day,” he said. “That’s the one I shot at. I got in three good bursts and saw the tracers go into him. I think I hit the pilot because he headed right down. I was too busy with another baby to keep my eyes on him all the time. . . .” S-Sgt. John K. Moberley, of Frederick, Md., the turret gunner, also got a crack at the Messerschmitt. Moberley said his shot failed to strike home.
After its encounter the crippled Marauder received a protecting cover for elements of its formation and from P-40’s. The problem now was to get back to the African coast on the one remaining lung and it was coughing. The B-26 lost altitude all the way, but Lt. Ross managed to keep it at 2,500 feet along the coast of Cape Bon until he sighted a fighter field.
“I had to make a hot landing” the pilot said. “My air speed indictor, which is essential in landing a B-26, wen out when the wing tip was shot up. When I tried to put the flaps down, I could get them only a quarter open.
    With no way to cut the speed the ship touched ground at 170 miles an hour. “These ships have a high landing speed, but hell, I was going too fast! Regardless, it was a nice landing. There’s nothing wrong with my ship that a new engine and a little sheet metal work won’t fix up,” chuckled Lt. Ross.



 Chicago Sun
18 June 1943


Crippled Bomber Downs Nazi Plane, Escapes to Safety
     United Nations Headquarters North Africa, June 17. – (UP) – A Martin Marauder bomber that flew 60 miles to safety on engine and shot down at least one Axis Messerschmitt-l09 en route soon will be ready for action again, Lt. Kenneth G.
    Ross, the pilot reported today. Ross of Huntington, Ind., made a forced landing. He couldn’t even use the wing Flaps.
     The plane was damaged over Pantelleria. Sgt. James R. Williams of Milwaukee, the tail gunner, said two Messerschmitts tried to get the bomber and “I got in three good bursts and I think hit the Pilot because he headed straight down.” Sgt. John K. Moberley of Frederick, Md., the turret gunner, hit another one. Sgt. Edward L. Baker of Murphysboro, Ill., also is a member of the crew.





















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