The Corgi Crew

And So It Begins

It is Novemember 1, 1942. The 646th Bomber Squadron, “The Corgi Cadre,” has just begun their missions over occupied Europe. The Group will operate over Europe for a minimum of 25 missions, going where dictated by Bomber Command.

Initial Bombers:
Suffragette City (Panzerknacker)
On Rails (Redrick)
Special Delivery (Darius)
Tumbledown (NPC)
Horehound Harrier (NPC)
Josey’s Tailfeathers (NPC)

Flight Log: On Rails: 11-2-1942

It’s a Monday. Worst day of the week. And just the sort of a day to begin the attacks on occupied Europe. The big map had said Meaulte, a place that Capt. Joe Estelle and his crew had never heard of. Briefing said there were factories making Luftwaffe planes there, so it made sense to smash them while they were still parts.

The mission did not begin peacefully. On Rails was in the middle of the squadron, leaving leadership to Horehound Harrier. The Suffragette City was right off the plane’s port wing, serenely untroubled by fighters.
Without the sudden shout of M. Sgt. Harold Hivalle in the top turret, no one would have spotted the 109 in a vertical dive. It slashed down onto the bomber, ignoring the ineffective fire. It slashed rounds through the port wing, shredding the giant wheel of the landing gear. With the shoddy weather back home, it looked like a fun landing.
Over Meaulte proper the Germans were much more aggressive. The first group was chased off by the RAF, much to the relaxation of the crew. The second group, taking advantage of a weakness in the fighter cover, cut in at the On Rails. It roared up from 3 low, into the teeth of the fire from Sgt. Mike Simmons in the ball turret and Sgt. Larry Billings in the waist. Billings’ angle was poor and he only managed to spray rounds near the target. But Sgt. Simmons got a solid track on the fighter and pumped seven rounds into the 109’s canopy. The canopy finally shattered and the whole fighter began to nose down.
One kill for the bomber!
The bomber lined up for the target. The crew watched the flak with apprehension as Lt. Warren pressed his eye to the Norden.
Then three chunks of flak shot through the airplane. One cut through the wing, leaving an oblong lighted hole.
And one punched through the floor, directly below waist gunner Sgt. Kyle Urrens. Urrens, a solid-looking boy from LA with an obsessive need to tuck his pants into his boots, was killed instantly.
The last round shot through the nose, jarring Warren’s hand. He dropped too early, and not a single bomb landed anywhere near the target.
The plane turned around, shielded by the RAF. Only a single fighter got past them, an Me-110 coming in at 9 High. The planes didn’t hit each other, and the 110 abandoned the attack.
Despite the slamming winds and heavy weather, Capt. Estelle managed a soft enough landing that the damaged gear held up. The ground crews quickly braced the plane and readied her for tomorrow’s mission.

Mission Two Briefing
Nov. 3, 1942

It’s only been a day, but we need to keep bombing them while the weather is good.
The target, gentlemen, is Amiens. We’re out to smash the railyard there and prevent the Germans from shipping supplies throughout Europe.
The lead bomber for the 111th is On Rails and the Tail is Josey’s Tailfeathers.
Services for Sgt. Kyle Urrens are postponed.

Flak will be medium
Target weather: Good
English weather: Good

Flight Log: Special Delivery: 11-03-42

Target today was Amiens, at a major railyard and junction just southeast of where we hit yesterday. This section of France is starting to look awfully familiar. If the skuttlebutt from the staff clerk is right, we’ll be flying here for at least another day or two, assuming the weather holds. On the upside, flak will be predictable and air support should be consistent.

Our trip out was smooth, right until the target area. The RAF took most of the heat off (and there was a lot of it, 5! FW190s), but a lucky burst from a diving Focke-Wulf hit our canopy right above the bomb bay. I had Simons check it out while we collectively held our breath, but aside from a few new ventilation holes in the bay doors, we were alright. Flak was heavier around the rest of the formation, but we managed to fly through a clear pocket and drop without issue. By the looks of things, Wolcott made a mess of the yards staging area, but celebrations were short, on account of the reinforcements that showed up.

Air support gets spotty this far out, and we were lucky enough to have what little help we got. More FW190s (You’d never know we destroyed an aircraft factory yesterday by the numbers of enemy aircraft we’ve been seeing). RAF chased off one, but his wingman kept buzzing us. His first run was ineffective, but our top and nose guns either jammed up something bad or Brodsky and Wolcott were asleep at their sights, because we were firing warning shots at best. The 190 came back around off our port cheek. Lt. Coet barely had time to fire off a burst before the 190 sprayed from the nose across the wings. Tony took a 20mm round in the chest and was killed as we left the target area. That same attack run tore up both wings and damaged our landing gear. Damn Kraut thought he could come around for a third pass, but Brodsky got even and shot him out of the sky. A second wave was mostly driven off, and those who stayed on were ineffectual.

We were pestered by a group of ME109s over the channel, but the RAF managed to show up in force and shot down two before they could even form up for an attack. The other fled with 3 angry Tommies on his tail, can’t imagine that went well for him.

Landing was shaky, what with our starboard aileron inop and port gear damaged, but we stuck the landing and it looks like she’ll fly another day.

Suffragette City, November 3rd, 1942

November 3rd, 1942

Suffragette City assumed the middle position again. Aircraft Commander Billings was pretty cheeked after the past two days of interrogation and berating at the hands of the XO of the squadron and his buddies for wrecking the wing and prop when he last landed.
Smooth sailing out of England, no harassment from any Germans until the ship approached the target area. All of a sudden the skies were alight with contrails and smoke from the dueling fighters, and a FW 190 dove straight in on MSGT Flanagan in the top turret. He blazed wildly at the enemy fighter but all his shots went astray. Thankfully the tracers and .50 Caliber slugs scared the Jerry enough for him to miss on the attack run and pass on through the formation.
Three more fighters lined up on the City but the RAF chased them away with ease. Two ME 109’s and one ME 110 were sent packing by the nimble maneuvers of those lads in the Spitfires.
The Nazis still kept at the Suffragette City, with three more FW 190’s bearing down on the crew. A lone Spitfire managed to draw one off with some pretty fancy flying, but there were still two more bearing down from 12:00 and 3:00 high. Bombardier Zimmermann and MSGT Flanagan gritted their teeth, but all their rounds missed their mark. Luck was on the side of the crew, however, as both FW’s missed completely on their runs.
The flak was medium, but thankfully nothing hit the ship as it went through the deadly bursts.
Lt. Zimmermann dropped down into the nose again, got his face into the Norden bombsight and took control of the aircraft. He let loose the payload on target at the Amiens railyard, and guessed his hit percentage at 30.
On the way out a lone ME 110 tried to come at the ship from directly beneath, but the RAF shot the fighter down before Sgt. Boehmer had the chance to line up a good shot.
Capt. Billings put the peanut gallery to rest on his landing, which was called the “best of the day” by the tower crew.
Outside of the botched landing, the Suffragette City seems to have a heaping share of luck. Some of the older crewmembers have started to mutter amongst themselves that it can’t last, while hoping against every superstitious bone in their body that lady luck is on their side for good.

Flight Log: On Rails: 11-4-1942
Mission 3

On Rails
Mission 3

Amiens again. They’d failed last time. Capt. Estelle was clear on that. An outside observer would say that it was either the bombardier’s or German’s fault that the On Rails hadn’t hit a damn thing yet. But Capt. Estelle was trying to instill a sense of unity in the crew. Those that suffer together will learn together, he thinks.
This is the plane’s first time in the lead position. Out here the bombardier and navigator would have a good view of the Germans circling and preparing for an attack. And it was the bottom squadron. The very one that the Luftwaffe loved to crawl all over.
And the Germans greeted the Group as soon as they crossed the French coast. While the Suffragette City suffering from the extreme cold, the On Rails and Special Delivery saw fighters boil towards them. But the RAF was on the ball and chased a total of six Germans of various types away from the On Rails and Special Delivery.
The Germans through another trio of planes towards the On Rails. The British managed to catch the 109 coming straight at the nose and his brother coming in at 1:30 High. One more 109 made a broadside pass at the ship, facing the top turret, waist and ball turret. All five guns thundered at him, but not one passed near him. The pilot opened fire too early and had to dive away from supporting fire from the Horehound Harrier.
The air was smooth and calm. Not a single puff of flak troubled the clear blue sky. Bombardier Warren hunched over his sight, sweat running down his spine. If he screwed this up, Capt. Estelle would eat him alive.
The first road rolled by, then the second. He marked and punched the bomb release. They were perfectly timed and racked along the railyard, overturning a line of cars.
“That’ll go down as a 30 percent,” he said over the intercom.
“Good work, Pete,” the captain said.
“Sir, we’ve got more Germans incoming,” called Flight Engineer Hivalle from the top turret.
“Get back on the gun then Pete, we can’t celebrate too long.”
Only two Germans decided to risk going against the Corgi Crew’s tight formation. The one headed dead one was nearly blindsided by a Spitfire and dived away. The 109 coming in at 130 High flew into a sky filled with lead from the top turret, port cheek and port waist. Not a single man hit, nor did the German. Even Sgt. Manderley in the tail couldn’t land a hit on the tricksy fighter. From his position, Manderley watched the German join up with the other 109 in a spiraling duel with the Spit.
As Navigator Dryden looked carefully for the French coast, the Germans leapt in again. But only two Germans made an attempt to attack. Both met interference from the Luftwaffe and the On Rails headed home.
It wasn’t a perfect landing, but it got all the wheels on the ground in the right order without any damage.
Lt. Warren hurried away from the bomber. He wasn’t sure if he would be able to deal with the praise of finally earning a “good” mark on a run.
Sadly for him, his crew caught him after debriefing and dragged him into town.
The MPs had to show up to bring them all back. There was another mission in the offing.

Mission Three Briefing

Today is the third mission, gentlemen. And, as they say, the third time is the charm. We’re bombing Amiens again and trying to finish off its railyard. Funerals are still delayed.
The Corgi Crew is the low squadron today, with the Suffragette City leading.
Intelligence expects absolutely no flak, so perhaps the On Rails will hit something today.
Weather is good going in and coming back.

Good hunting.

Suffragette City, November 4th, 1942

Suffragette City departed the airfield in good weather in the lead position of the squadron. Things were going swimmingly over England until a wave of cold hit the ship like an iced hammer. Luckily, nothing was jammed and no one lost their fingers or toes because of the extreme temperatures.
Suddenly, the air was alive with German fighters. A group of four fighters swooped in from all directions, a FW 190 from 12 high scoring a hit on starboard waist. A hail of metal shards showered Sgt. Kerrigan at the waist gun but only flesh wounds. The ME 109 at 1:30 level peppered the “City” with hot metal but did no damage of note. Sgt Boehmer in the ball turret spattered the ME 110 in a vertical climb
While the crew was recoiling from the first hits in their operational lives, five ME109’s swarmed the B-17 from the front. Most missed on their attack runs, but the Gerrys at 1:30 high and 12 level scored hits. The bullets pierced the skin and at least one went through Flight Engineer Flanagan’s left leg. The port wing was riddled with bullet holes, but nothing could be checked because a final wave of fighters came down upon the suffering “City”
This time the crew’s English cousins helped out and chased off the three FW-190s assailing the bomber. The ME 109 at 12 high, however, strafed the tail of the ship, blowing off Sgt. Hiram’s left ear.
And as fast as they had come, they were gone. The skies were clear of flak and Lt. Zimmerman put the bombs on target. The crew is started to think that the sun shines, cows moo, and Lt. Zimmerman gets the bombs at least 30% on target.
On the way out, the crew didn’t see nearly as much action as coming in. They were hit by an ME 109 at 12 high to no serious damage and the RAF took care of the rest.
Upon landing the structurally sound but ugly and beat up B-17 performed as well as could be expected with the port wing flap out.
It seems that luck is still with the crew of the Suffragette City. Regardless of the amount of bullets that passed through the thin aluminum tube, no one was seriously injured and the bomber itself took very light damage. Sgt. Boehmer has become more and more fatalistic, saying that the luck is going to run out and they will all be sleeping at the bottom of the channel before long. His friends try and shut him up and keep him out of hearing of the officers when inebriated.

Mission Four Briefing

I know you men think you’ve done a lot. Three missions in three days. Well, today is another run. Back to Meaulte. Maybe if we can bust up a few more of those Germans on the ground we won’t see them on our noses.
The Corgi Crew will be low squadron.
Lead bomber will be the Special Delivery.
Tail bomber will be the On Rails.
Weather is good going both ways.
The Germans should only have light flak prepared for us. We’re not sure where they are moving it, but it isn’t there now and that’s all you should care about.

Mission Five Briefing

Morning, gentlemen.
I hope you enjoyed your week off.
We’re headed to Lille to bomb the industry there.
The Corgi Crew has moved up to the middle squadron. Tumbledown is leading with Special Delivery in the tail position.
Wether is expected to be good on both ends. The germans have no flak in the region, thankfully. RAF has promised good cover all the way there and all the way back.


I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.