B-26 Marauder 320th Bomb Group

 

Return to Florence
by Benjamin C. McCartney, 443rd Bomb Squadron

 

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Crack Airmen Chosen to Hit Florence

 

Ultimately it became necessary to attack the railroad installations inside Florence, too. When the hard decision was taken, the best possible weapon to assure the highest degree of precision was chosen, the B-26 Martin Marauders. We were the only bombers ever to be assigned that target.

In the careful hands and final judgment of a few pilots and bombardiers was to be placed one of the greatest responsibilities of the war, a responsibility felt, but not actually shared, by civilized people all over the world. The attacks to be made against the city would save weeks of bombing on the railroad and highway periphery and up and down the valleys leading south to Cassino.

The destruction of the rail facilities of Florence would increase immeasurably the effectiveness of the whole strangulation technique being applied by the Air Force in Italy.

The final pattern of a German defeat in Italy was being stamped out over the broken bridges, the smashed railway yards, and the blasted ports everywhere north of the fighting line. (Continued)


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