398th Bomb Group

Remembrance: Silence Too Much For Tail Gunner

Robert Schuh
Tail Gunner, 600th Squadron

I spent a tension-filled day in the tail of our McLaughlin B-17 going to Brux, Czechoslovakia, a very long, long mission on October 7, 1944.

We took off early in the morning and the route took us around Berlin. We soon lost our wingman, Jim Fields, who was hit by fighters and finally crashed into the sea off southern Sweden.

We also took hits and I was unable to reach anyone on the intercom. I thought about bailing out, but then the waist gunner crawled back to the tail to tell me I was not responding to oxygen checks. We were apparently OK. We dropped our bombs on the oil refinery and headed for home.

We finally landed at our base at Nuthampstead, almost out of gas. And then we discovered that flak had severed the intercom lines, explaining why I had become so apprehensive and wondering about my future.

Printed in Flak News Volume 17, Number 3, Page(s) 4, July 2002

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