B-17
THUNDERBIRD
David K.S. Chang
Mission Notes
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MISSION #2: (Moncur Journal)
Date: December 24, 1943
Target: Vacqueriette, France
We were called to a surprise briefing at 3:00 pm. The target was the V-2 Rocket Launching sites near the French coast. Intelligence knew the existance of these new weapons and feared Hitler might launch an attack. The launching sites resembled ski slopes. Our instructions were, "If you don't see the target, don't go around and make a second attempt. There's no room for you."

MISSION #3 (Moncur Journal)
Date: December 31, 1943
Target: German Ship, Gironde Bay, France
Our target was a Blockade Runner carrying crude rubber. Our instructions were that absolutely no bombs were to be released over France if the targets were obscured . As it turned out, the target was obscured by clouds and we brought our bombs back home.

MISSION #9 (Moncur Journal)
Date: February 3, 1944
Target: Wilhelmshaven
On this trip we had a near collision as we were returning from the mission. Suddenly, a B-17 zoomed from below and appeared before us. Lt. Moncur's skill and quick reaction saved us from a tragic collision. He throttled back on all engines, just before contact with the tail of the errant B-17. The Thunderbird stalled and dropped and banked to the left. I watched as the Thunderbird inched slowly, ever so slowly, towards the tail of that B-17 until she stalled. Lt. Moncur chose not to stay with the group and we flew home alone. That night in the Quonset hut, I told Lt. Moncur that I left my position and darted to the rear to bail out. But, I returned to my position and sweated it out. I remembered that we were over the North Sea and there was no chance of survival even if we were able to bail out.

MISSION #18 (Moncur Journal)
Date: March 6, 1944
Target: BERLIN
The primary target was the ball-bearing works 30 miles east of Berlin. The target was obscured by clouds so we bombed our secondary target, the rail center in Berlin. Because of the distance and bomb load, our flight altitude was 20,000 feet, rather than the usual 25,000 feet or higher. The flak was very heavy and accurate. Only Ruhr Valley had more intense flak.

MISSION #27 (Moncur Journal)
Date: April 9, 1944
Target: Marienburg, East Prussia
On this mission we dropped leaflets instead of bombs. At the briefing for this mission, the Intelligence Officer pulled me aside and showed me a copy of the leaflets. The message, directed at the German population, was "WHERE IS YOUR LUFTWAFFE?" He gave me a stern warning not to remove any of the leaflets for souvenirs. [Note: One did end up as a souvenir for Lt. Moncur.]