Everybody got a map? O.K., here are the target pictures."
He handed out the 10 x 10 target pictures of the marshaling
yards. "And here's another picture that shows the
whole place." He handed out the other pictures.
got a lot of things we can't hit," a bombardier
across from me remarked. He was looking at the white
squares drawn in around buildings and objects that were
not to be hit. "You're not just kidding,"
the group bombardier replied. His name was Bobby Swindler,
and he was as good a bombardier as there was in the
wing. He had been badly shot up once, but he was all
right again. Everyone called him Bobby.
about the weather?" another bombardier, who wore
his parachute harness, asked. "The weather going
to be O.K.?"
We don't have to worry about that."
long a run we going to take? Seems we ought to take
a long run," a bombardier said. He was relatively
new, and I had seen him at briefing only once or twice.
least 60 seconds' run," Bobby told us all. "Coming
in the way you will, you ought to be on course a couple
of minutes, anyway."
about flak? They got any flak?"
flak. At least, as far as we know."
heard that one before, too," a couple of the bombardiers
might get flak after you break. They might try to reach
you from Prato with the guns they've got there. But
it's a long shot, and they can't get you on your bomb
run." He checked with all of us to make sure we
had the maps and the two pictures.
alternate today. O.K., look at the target picture."
all got the picture which showed the marshaling yards
and a part of the city and looked at the target - a
long, narrow band of brown across one part of the picture.
target's the Campo di Marte marshaling yards in Florence.
It's about 400 feet wide and about 2,000 feet long.
Kind of rough having it narrow like that, but I think
we can get it."
went over the target photo and then over the maps. Then
we got the bombing data.
sure you get the altimeter set right with the pilot.
We don't want any screwing up on altitude."
about ground speed?" a bombardier asked.
speed 223. You'll have a little tail wind. Not much."
went on with the briefing and got all the data on the
winds. Then we went back to the target photo.
sure you get your drift killed," Bobby told us.
"Don't drop unless you got your drift absolutely
killed. The yards are too narrow." (Continued)