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Full text of "COMBAT CAMERA MAN"

An American tank destroyer fires at a target in Aachen 

Air view of Aachen after the battle 

940.938 J84c 


Combat cameraman 


940.938 J84c 
Joswick $3.95 
Combat cameraman 



THIS BOOK is in no way an attempt at a defini- 
tive history of World War II, but only the 
account of one man's experiences while mak- 
ing a photographic record of battle in Middle 
Eastern and European skies and on land. 
Events related here are as accurate as mem- 
ory and research permit- So as to avoid pos- 
sible injustice or embarrassment to anyone 
which would be wholly inadvertent a pseu- 
donym has been given to each associate and 
companion who is below the rank of major 
on first mention. 

Jerry J. Joswick 
Lawrence A. Keating 



Jerry ].Joswuk w&Lawrem A. 



Copyright 1961 by Jerry J. Joswick 
and Lawrence A. Keating. First Edi- 
tion. All rights reserved. 

Published in Philadelphia by Chilton 
Company, and simultaneously in To- 
ronto, Canada, by Ambassador Books, 

Library of Congress Catalog Card 
Number 61-8709. 

Designed by William E. Lickfield. 
Manufactured in the United States 
of America by Quinn & Boden Com- 
pany, Inc., Rahway, N. J. 

For John David Joswuk 



Commander of the pth AAF Combat Camera Unit 
Distinguished adventurer, lecturer and author 

I FIRST MET Sergeant Jerry Joswick in Cairo. It was January, 1943, 
and he had just returned from filming one of our first bombing 
raids on Naples the roughest target our B-24*s had struck up to 
that time. Joswick's description of the flak, the crew, and the 
raid convinced me he was dedicated, come what may, to getting 
the best damn films of the air war. 

He was the first man of the newly activated pth Combat Cam- 
era Unit to fly a combat mission, which he made sound like 
an adventure . . . certainly risky but exciting and not without 
humor. This quality of submerging the sweat, the tears and 
the shattering dangers involved and stressing the adventure and 
humor, endeared him to crews and command. His was a morale- 
building personality. 

Joswick's excellent photography contributed greatly to winning 
for our 9th CCU the coveted Presidential Unit Citation. He was 
ready to fly in any kind of aircraft and liked to ride that "Purple 
Heart" location, the high, outside left wing ship from which he 
could best film fighter attacks. He never refused an assignment. 
The fact that Colonel "Killer" Kane, CO. of the famed p8th 
Heavy Bombardment Group, requested Joswick to fly with him 
on that fabulous low-level Ploesti raid attests to the esteem with 
which he was held. All the aerial shots of that historic raid you 
have ever seen were made by Jerry Joswick, the only cameraman 
to survive it. That mission won him the Distinguished Flying 


To me, Joswick was Mr. Happy-Go-Lucky in person. He al- 
ways brought luck to my unit . . . although he must often have 
looked with apprehension on the assignments I threw him. Dur- 
ing those early days in North Africa the High Command were 
trying to prove up strategic bombing, and the p8th and 376th 
Heavy Bombardment Groups were very active. I can recall hours 
of fear, flak and often failure when Joswick and I were trying to 
develop "featurettes" around the Snow White squadron. A lot of 
those B-24*s were shot down before we could complete their his- 
toric film record. On many raids Joswick had to drop his camera 
and take over a wounded gunner's post and before long he had 
several enemy fighter hits to his credit. 

When the pth Air Force moved to England, General Brereton 
had Joswick transferred with it. I became a major and Joswick 
groaned, 'Til bet this means a major assignment." He was right; 
we set out to film the air war during the push on Hitler's West 
Wall. Joswick covered airborne operations . . . glider landings 
and paratroop drops behind enemy lines. Frequendy he had to 
fly in converted fighter planes and at least once, getting back 
only on a wing-and-a-prayer, discovered his ejection seat was 
faulty and he couldn't have bailed out 

War's end found Jerry Joswick the most decorated combat 
cameraman. He returned to Chicago but soon joined me to film 
the atom bomb tests at Bikini. Later we photographed an ex- 
pedition to Baja California where, one day, making underwater 
pictures, he got trapped on the ocean floor. Keeping cool, he got 
out of that trouble too. 

Today as a TV producer and staid family man, I read with 
pleasure Joswick's COMBAT CAMERAMAN. His vivid words 
stir memories of the grim side, the exciting side and the lighter 
side of our World War H experiences. I wouldn't want to go 
through them again but I wouldn't for anything have missed 
meeting Sergeant Jerry Joswick and sharing those experiences. 

Lots of people claim they live. Joswick certainly does with the 
greatest gusto, 

Foreword by Lt-CoL Joha D. Craig vii 

1 Boredom in Cairo i 

2 First Mission 10 

3 Self-Made Photographer 21 

4 Last Plane Over Palermo 30 

5 The Unlucky Days 41 

6 Ears, A Prime Minister, and a Houseboat .... 52 

7 Toughest Man in the 9th 61 

8 P-4o's Piggy-Back 68 

9 The Unsung Carriers 76 

10 Rome, and After 85 

11 Takeoff 95 

12 Ploesri 103 

13 Getting-Off Place 113 

14 That Was Omaha 123 

15 Rich Man at Cherbourg 134 

16 The Great Blunder 143 

17 Camera Plane 151 

18 Court Martial 159 

19 Capture 171 

20 Dogs of War 180 

21 One-Jump Paratrooper 189 

22 Going Home ... 196 


Boredom in Cairo 

WE SAT in Cairo and waited. That was the hard part, not know- 
ing when we would get into action. Nor, for that matter, even 
knowing for certain if. 

Four of us, all cameramen, lived in that swank fourth-floor 
apartment in the newest part of the city. For a month we had 
been expecting assignment, as restless as firemen who know that 
there is a tremendous blaze nearby but are not permitted to help 
fight it 

The time was kte November, 1942, and crisis was in the air. 
The British and their masses of Commonwealth troops in Egypt 
had worked frantically all summer to rebuild the divisions 
smashed last spring by Nazi General Erwin Rommel's battle- 
toughened Afrika Korps. Far to the west, American troops were 
hurrying ashore at Casablanca, Qran and Algiers to reinforce our 
thin line of invaders. Time was precious, for Rommel's armies 
looked ominously like victors in the epic struggle for control of 
all North Africa. 

We sat in Cairo and waited. 

The days dragged past. The weeks. No order came to begin 
the work that our Special Photographic Unit had been trained 
and brought here to do. That was to make the first high-altitude 
motion pictures of the United States Army Air Force in combat. 

The value of such pictures would be threefold: to show pilots 

and crews the results of their bombing, strafing and aerial fight- 
ing so they could increase their effectiveness; for use in the States 
in training new crews; and to show the American people how 
their men were fighting the war in the air. 

Cliff Kies, a six-foot 200-pounder with limp sandy hair that 
refused to stay combed, paced up and down our orientally lux- 
urious living room. "We represent a new idea, and the brass 
think it's a frill. How, they say, can taking movies of actual opera- 
tions help win the war? So they reject us." 

Connie Iverson agreed. "Did anyone shoot movies of the battle 
of Gettysburg? Or of Dewey capturing Manila? If it hasn't been 
done, it can't be any good. That's how the military mind rea- 

"Not every military mind," I said hopefully. "General Arnold 
set up our Unit himself, and he sent a directive that we're to be 
used. So maybe some day we will be." 

"Yes, at least Hap Arnold is for us. But he's in Washington, 
and the local CO. makes the final decisions. He's responsible for 
the lives of his men and millions of dollars worth of planes. It's 
up to him whether we ever get in the wild blue yonder or keep 
fitting here twiddling our thumbs." 

Walter McGarrie, a sleek-haired New Yorker, said with dis- 
gust, "At the base today I overhead a shavetail refer to us as 
'those Hollywood guys.' Bet he thinks we're here to make com- 
edies with people throwing pies at each other." 

None of us smiled. No quip about our inaction held much 
humor any more; everything had been said over and over. Twice 
or three times a day we kicked the subject around as to when 
the brass would put us to use, until all our guesses and hopes 
were worn thin and we continued to wait. 

Cliff Kies looked at me. "Asked the Sphinx lately, Jerry?" 

It was our running ga& now threadbare like the others, that 
tie Sphinx could tell us when we would see action. I walked 

across the living room to a south window and stood gazing out. 
The Egyptian sun was brillian^ and the air so clear that I could 
see, several miles distant, the Great Sphinx of Gizeh. One o the 
wonders of the ancient world, an enormous crouching doglike 
monster with paws thrust out, he guarded the entrance to the 
rich valley of the Nile. One hundred ninety feet long and carved 
from solid rock, he had squatted there more than thirty centuries. 

The face of the Sphinx is badly worn from blowing sand, and 
little of his nose remains, yet he managed a knowing expression. 
Every day I asked him, "When?" and that was the question I 
put to him now. 

I turned back to the men. "He still isn't talking." 

Grumbling, they drifted apart, each to his favorite way of 
Trilling time. 

Attached to pth Army Air Force headquarters its operational 
fields were scattered outside the city we found that our per diem 
maintenance allowance plus noncommissioned officers* pay 
yielded us plush living. This in spite of certain outrageous Cairo 
prices and King Farouk's high tax on American cigarettes 
brought in our own ships to be smoked by our own personnel. 
But local foodstuffs and all services were cheap. 

In charge of our menage was Hussan, a powerful seven footer, 
a Sudanese who appeared early every morning in red fez, freshly 
laundered nightgown and slippers, to stay until we dismissed 
him at night. Hussan took care of everything. He was so de- 
pendable that once when I told him to let no one in our apart- 
ment while we were gone, he resisted even our landlord picked 
up the gentleman and flung him down the stairs. 

We were the envy of every GI who knew our way of life and 
at first could hardly believe our good luck. "Hope this lasts for- 
ever!" we said, and, "You mean to tell me this is war?" But after 
a few weeks of sampling Cairo's best offerings, viewing its sights 
over and over and romancing with such of its belles as we could 

manage to meet, all of it history, night clubs, belles and smells 
had palled. Now we were thoroughly bored. And beginning to 
feel frustrated. 

Captain Royal Mattison, leader of our Special Unit, had quar- 
ters in Shepheard's Hotel* In civilian life he had been a crack 
cameraman for Pathe newsreel. Every day when we visited head- 
quarters we asked Mattison, "Any development?" He, in turn, 
kept asking Captain Hank Carbart, aide to General Andrews 
who was commanding general of the pth. The answer, if ever 
we got one, must come from General Andrews. Meanwhile, he 
was harassed with the million details of building up American 
bombing strength in this Middle East theater to counter the 
tidal wave of Nazi conquest. 

So we waited. 

We invented pastime chores, such as making footage at the 
nearest air fields, to be shown Stateside to encourage Air Force 
enEstments, As a Christmas remembrance to the folks back home 
we filmed half a dozen newly arrived Red Cross girls and a 
dozen GT& riding camels and in jeeps to visit the imperturbable 
Sphinx. We busied ourselves setting up a laboratory at Cairo 
headquarters to develop and splice our film. Need a zinc tank 
24 by 30 inches? Captain Carbart, a scrounger from 'way back, 
produced it as easily as a magician finds a cigar in your ear. 
Meanwhile, we knew Hank Carbart was at work on our prob- 
lem, slipping a reminder to the General whenever he got a 
chance. But of course everything in the Army is hurry-up-and- 

The shooting war was close. Your atlas map of North Africa 
shows Egypt's second city, Alexandria, not far from Cairo. Sev- 
enty mifcs west o Alexandria is El Alamein on the Mediter- 
ranean, which Rommel, the Desert Fox, had captured for the 
second time five months before. He had also taken Tobruk and 
25,000 Firgfeh prisoners. 

Lately, after a feverish buildup of divisions and replacing of 

materiel, Lieutenant General Bernard Montgomery and his 
British 8th Army had begun to roll to try to win back some o 
that coast. A month ago, far to the west, Americans had landed. 
Their nearest outpost was all the way across Egypt, Libya, Tuni- 
sia and half of Algeria. So long as the Germans, with Italian 
help, held all strategic points in that long stretch separating the 
Allies, they had a good chance of driving us out of North Africa. 
I don't know about the Libyans and others, but many Egyptians 
hoped this would happen. If it did, the backbone of Allied re- 
sistance would be broken. 

We of the Special Photographic Unit waited to be used. Bore- 
dom and being 19 years old made some crazy things happen, and 
I'm not proud that I caused one of the zaniest. 

One afternoon I lounged on our balcony watching the colorful 
scene in the square below. Peddlers moved about hawking ciga- 
rettes, oranges and toys. Men and women stood gossiping or 
shuffled along on errands. Children played in the sun. Across 
the square from me a white-helmeted policeman directed horse- 
and camel-drawn vehicle traffic, and an occasional double-jointed 
trolley car banged past. 

Feeling pressure in my trousers pocket, I worked out my fat 
roll of paper money and began idly to count it. A one-piastre 
note slipped from my fingers and between bars of the iron rail- 
ing and floated toward the street. 

The bit of paper in mid-air caught an orange-peddler's eye. As 
currents wafted it this way and that, curious, he followed it 
until he could grab it. When he realized that it was money he 
let out a yell, glanced up, spotted me on the fourth floor balcony 
as the undoubted source and gestured for me to toss down some 

Why not? I reflected. To me a piastre was only a nickel, but 
to an Arab it might be a half-day's income. So I dropped an- 
other note. Half a dozen hands grabbed for it, and there was a 
brief tussle. This attracted more people. Word passed and still 

others came running. Now a small forest of hands beckoned: 
drop morel 

Chuckling, I did. Watchers vanished from windows in nearby 
flats. They rushed out their doorways and ran to share the pen- 
nies from heaven. Passers-by on the street noticed the crowd 
and went to join it. Hearing the noise, Cliff Kies came out on 
the balcony. 

"What's up, Jerry?" 

I showed him by dropping another piastre. He laughed and 
went indoors for a fistful of money. As we took turns dropping 
notes, the swelling crowd pushed and battled to seize them. The 
traffic cop left his post to investigate and, passing too close to an 
ill-tempered camel, received a kick that sent him sprawling. 

Now two or three hundred people down there were clamoring 
for money, and we felt obligated to drop it. Suddenly over on 
the street two trucks roared up and halted. Police carrying riot 
guns jumped out Deploying into line, they rushed the yelling, 
milling mob. But their efforts to stop the disturbance only partly 
succeeded because several of the cops decided to abandon duty 
and try for some of that cash. 

Cliff and I were convulsed. We hardly had strength to toss 
more piastres, and still more, off the balcony. Until Hussan burst 
out the door, his face gray. "Masters! Secret Police, masters. They 

Three tough plain-clothes men brushed past him. One, in 
crude English, demanded to know what we thought we were 
doing? He snapped that we were under arrest. 

Cliff Kies and I exchanged looks. Slowly we stuffed what 
mooey remained back in our pockets. "Maybe," Cliff said, "this 
isn't so funny as we thought." 

I nodded, feeling a sudden rush of guilt. I explained to the 
Secret Police how the riot had started and said I was sorry. They 
glared at us, hate plain in their faces. They jabbered together, 
then two stayed to guard us while the third hurried out of the 

apartment. He came back presently with a couple of burly Mili- 
tary Police, who took us over from the grim-faced Egyptians. 

At M.P. headquarters they gave us a rough time. Some of the 
questions like "You guys trying to disgrace the uniform?" 
were not easy to answer. At last, after a sharp lecture about mend- 
ing our ways, they turned us loose. 

Another incident happened one evening when, hurrying to 
keep a dinner date, I climbed into a gerry and told the whiskered 
driver, "Metropole Hotel." A gerry is a four-wheeled carriage. 
Whiskers touched his long whip to his starved-lookhig nag, 
and we jogged on our way. 

After two or three miles I wondered if he had misunderstood 
where I wanted to go, for we were entering an old part of 
Cairo. Buildings looked cracked and neglected, many of them 
empty. There were more beggars per block, and all the shops 
were poor. It was just dark, and few street lamps seemed to 

I leaned forward. "Jehu, it is the wrong direction. Turn around, 
please. Take me back." 

He pretended not to hear. I said it louder. When he ignored 
that, I grabbed his shoulder and made very clear what I wanted 
He gave me a black look and wrenching loose, stood up and 
larruped his old nag to a gallop. 

"Take me back!" But he only urged his horse faster. 

It was plain that he hoped to reach some objective before I 
should force him to turn around. And we must have reached it^ 
some store or perhaps a certain corner, because things began to 

Three of the most evil-looking characters in Cairo charged 
out from between buildings. The way my driver hauled back 
on his reins told me they were confederates. One grabbed the 
horse's bridle. As the nag stopped, the others, one on each side 
of the horse, came toward me. 

My driver reached under his grimy robe as he turned His knife 


flashed dully in the half-light of some nearby lamp, and my heart 
seemed to drop to my belt. What was this, robbery? In a flash 
I knew it was worse. "Wogs!" I exclaimed. 

Some of our men called all Egyptians wogs, but, correctly used, 
the word meant members of a violent political group who plotted 
and, no doubt, prayed for the Nazis to win Egypt. They believed 
Adolf Hitler's promises of a glorious Third Reich that would rule 
the world for the next thousand years. Because I wore Uncle 
Sam's uniform, I was their enemy and alone. It seemed a nice 
opportunity to carve one hated Ami into hamburger. 

I feinted my left at the driver and made a grab with my right. 
I was lucky and snatched away his long whip. I poked it in his 
face. As instinctively he lurched back, I jumped out of the gerry. 

I jumped as far as possible from the wog rushing along that 
side. Back-pedaling, I got the whip in front of me and let him 
have k across his cheek. Crowding him then, I knew that to sur- 
vive I'd have to keep the offensive. When the driver jumped 
down I took time from my new friend to give him a hard cut 
across the neck. The chap holding the horse let go and came to 
help his pals, and I managed to give him a touch for remem- 

Yelping, snarling, they tried to get at me under the lashing 
whip. But it was a long whip and well-made, and I let them 
have it again and again. Heads poked out of upstairs windows 
and picked their teeth as idly they watched us. From somewhere 
in the dark came running steps, maybe reinforcements for my 

Putting all my strength into a last couple of slashes, I ran 
around the carriage, jumped aboard and whipped the horse. He 
bolted. Fumbling for the reins, I fought off two of the wogs 
trying to join me. We went careening down the street, rounded 
a corner on two wheels, then for luck turned again at the next 


Sometime later I pulled up in front of the Metropole Hotel. 

Two MJVs stood with the doorman, and I called them over. 
This time they were on my side. One demanded, "Hey, buddy, 
where's your forty-five?" 

"Don't you know," the other added, "it's an order to wear 
your gat loaded on the street at night? In case you meet some 
o these wogs? They're killers!" 

Killers, the man said. 

From childhood I have marveled when a spoken phrase seemed 
to lead with unerring significance into some incident that you 
would expect to be wholly unrelated. Over the years I had 
noticed several instances of this, and here was the latest. 
"They're killers," that M.P. told me, and it seemed to set up a 
liaison in some kinetic way with my appearance before Major 
John A. Kane, renowned in the pth Air Force as "Killer." 

Why I was chosen rather than one of the others of our Spe- 
cial Photographic Unit, I don't know. Anyway, word came that 
same night from Captain Carbart via Captain Mattison to present 
myself at a satellite air field tomorrow morning at nine. 

"A lot is going to depend on how you impress Killer Kane,** 
Mattison warned on the telephone. "Remember, Jerry, you could 
win us our big break." 

I could almost smell in the air that an important mission 
was being laid on. All night I kept planning what I would 
say and how I would act when I met Major Kane. The Unit's 
hopes rode on me. Somehow I had to get aboard an aircraft to 
watch proceedings through the finder of a thirty-five millimeter 

Then I could begin to call myself a combat cameraman. 

2 * First Mission 

THE DESERT night chill lingered in the warming sun next morn- 
ing as Captain Mattison and I prowled a field forty miles from 
Cairo in search of Major Kane, C.O, of the pSth Heavy Bom- 
bardment Group. He was somewhere around aircraft mainte- 
nance, an aide had thought. Mattison, an older, self-possessed 
man, strode along with a serious air while I tried to control that 
on-the-brink expectancy fluttering in my stomach. As we rounded 
a corner of a quonset hut the way Mattison slowed warned me 
that we had found our man. 

He sat on sandbags piled against the quonset, talking to two 
junior officers. Ignoring us, he alternately pulled on a stubby 
black pipe and spoke in staccato bursts. 

Everything about Killer Kane hinted the bulldog. His build, 
like his leathery face, was heavy and square. His open shirt col- 
lar showed a neck so thick that later the ribbon of his Medal of 
Honor needed extra yardage before he could slip it on, Truculent 
in manner, tough in speech, he was an Army career type of 
whom I had learned to be wary. 

At last his glance admitted our existence. Captain Mattison 
stepped forward. "Good morning, Major. This is Sergeant Jos- 

Kane showed no surprise. 

"Heflo, Major," I said. "Glad to meet you." 

He spurted pipe smoke. "I heard about you. And your outfit. 
What do you want?" 

"I'm here to fly with you, sir." I would have said more but 
Mattison pulled out some papers and took up, 

"Here are his credentials, Major. I talked to you on the phone 
about this. Joswick is one of our top cameramen, and we would 
like your permission for him, to fly with you. Can we discuss it?" 

Kane glowered. "We're a fighting outfit. You know as well as 
I do we've no room for inexperienced people!" 

Mattison did not contest this. He waited. After a moment 
Kane snapped at me. "Can you use a machine gun?" 

Machine gun? No. At least I never had. But I realized instantly 
that a wrong answer would blast our hopes, and only a right 
answer might leave us a chance. 

"Yes, sir," I said. 

"Fifty caliber?" 

"I've used them often." I stood there trying to convince myself 
that this was true. Actually, I couldn't recall ever touching a 
gun except the few times at home when I hunted rabbits with 
my brother's .22 rifle. And we'd never had a hassenpfcffer din- 
ner. Oh, well, I argued, I've seen plenty of air gunners use 
.50*8 in training. What can be hard about it? 

Killer Kane was weighing me. "This is no kid game." Spurt 
of smoke. "It's big league. We damned well play for keeps." 

I did not argue. 

"Sure you can handle it, Sergeant?" 

"I'll do my best, Major." 

Silence. As if to rid himself of an annoyance, "We take off at 
0200. Check with Operations what ship you'll ride." Kane added 
with measured grimness, "And God help you when that crew 
finds out you're going along." 

Saluting, Mattison and I departed. Out of Kane's sight we 
looked hard at each other. My grin must have been watery for 
I was feeling responsibility like a sack of coal on my shoulders. 


By my behavior on this mission I could set back for more weeks 
and months the hopes of our Photographic Unit or push open 
those invisible doors of resistance and win co-operation in doing 
our job. 

Mattison too seemed rocked by Kane's sudden permission. His 
look said he was uneasy. "You're only a kid," I could read in his 
eyes. "And I can't go along to look out for you." 

On impulse he put his arm around me. "Better report to Op- 
erations right away, Jerry. Later you can put in some extra sack 
time and check your camera." He dropped his arm. "You're 
ready, I think. Anyway, this is it." 

Operations assigned me to Witch of the 34$rd squadron, one 
of the six in Killer Kane's command. Known as the Snow White 
Squadron, each of its huge 6-24'$ was named for a character 
Sleepy, Bashful, Dopey and so on in the fairy story. 

When I reported to Major Blyer, pilot of Witch, his seven-man 
crew gathered to watch and listen. Blyer had been notified that 
I would ride with Kim and, plainly, he lacked enthusiasm. 

A lean, hawk-eyed Midwesterner, he looked me up and down. 
A muscle quirked in his cheek. "Taking you along means bump- 
ing a buddy of ours. You know that?" 

I admitted knowing it. The man I replaced, he went on, was 
his left-waist gunner. Could I handle a .50? I gave the same an- 
swer I had given Major Kane. Sarcastically, he inquired what 
pictures I expected to get, some thrill shots for Hollywood? 

I waited until the crew's snickers subsided. "I've never seen 
Hollywood," I $||d. "This is my first mission so I don't know 
how ray footage will turn out I hope it will show where our 
staff is hitting,, extent of damage be of tactical help. Anyway it 
will be the best I can do.'* 

He turned away as if to wipe me from his mind. I stood there 
a moment, friendless. These bomber jockeys did not want me 
around, in fact were: openly hostile, I walked away and hunkered 
on my heefe, waiting. 

I understood how they felt, having watched their kind of 
training on half a dozen southern air fields in the States. For 
months nine men drill together in an aircraft to become as 
smooth-running a team as first-place National Leaguers on Labor 
Day. Every man's life hangs on every other mart's behavior. 
Obviously, to find a replacement linV in their tediously forged 
chain just when they were taking off on a dangerous mission 
aroused uneasiness and resentment. 

When at last they climbed aboard Witch, so did I. Each man 
took his station; I went to the left-waist. We took off on the 
first leg to a field called Berka 2 outside Bengasi. From here 
the mission would officially start early the next morning. 

Our target was Naples, well down toward the end of the 
Italian boot and some three and a half hours' flying time over 
the Mediterranean. Naples harbor was crowded with tankers 
and cargo vessels loaded with supplies for General RommeL 
There would be fierce resistance. Some hundred bombers were 
on the job. 

"We're going in by daylight," the briefing officer emphasized 
a dig at British night flights of Wimpies and Wellingtons. Be- 
sides being less hazardous, night-bombing was considered by our 
brass inaccurate to the point of futility. He growled, "If we fail, 
our guys up the coast are in for a lot of punishment." 

Again as the crew of Witch climbed aboard I did too and took 
my left-waist position. No one had yet spoken to me. At last, in 
preflight check, Major Blyer called each station and had to in- 
clude mine. 

"Ready, sir." Wondering how ready I was, I zipped up my 
leather flying suit and, with mittens under one arm and camera 
under the other, adjusted my belt. 

With her extra load of gasoline plus three 2000-pound bombs, 
Witch waddled heavily to the starting line. At the signal we 
rushed, groaning and straining, down the dusty runway. When 
it began to fall away I found that I could breathe easier. 


The afternoon's frying-pan heat grew less as we circled for 
altitude, then fell into formation. Major Kane was our mission 
leader in Dopey. Climbing again, we headed north-northeast 
over the blue Mediterranean. 

A 6-24 bomb bay was almost in dead center of its fuselage, 
entered by a small door forward and another door aft. Auxiliary 
fuel tanks occupied about a quarter of our bay. I sat on the floor, 
already growing cold, my back against the hull. Feeling things 
move behind me, I twisted and saw that I had been pressing 
control cables against the hull. Hastily, praying the pilot would 
not connect Joswick with sluggishness in the aircraft's responses, 
I found another position. 

There was occasional intercom chat among my companions. 
"No spaghetti on those tables in Naples tonight!" 

"I bought a round-trip ticket. Always do." 

"Say, Jack, where'd you say you put those sandwiches?" 

"Wake me up, guys, in time for the floor show." 

None of the talk included me. What do I care? I strove to con- 
vince myself. But for the first time it came home to me what 
psychologists mean when they say every human being craves 
recognition. He yearns to be needed. I hungered for it, any 
morsel like, "How you doin', Sarge?" Loneliness Bad attacked 
me a few times before in my life but it had never been this crush- 
ing, frightened loneliness I knew now. 

Why can't they admit I'm alive? I thought. 

Then: what am I doing here, miles in the air, on my way to 
kill Italians? Italians are people like Joe Fianculo back home. 
Me kill Joe Fianculo, the guy I used to catch for when we 
played baseball? 

If I must fly hundreds of miles to kill people I don't hate, 
couldn't my own kind be decent to me? We wear the same uni- 
form. We're on the same team, aren't we? 

Impulse came to tour Witch to peer into each man's face to 
try to learn what he was thinking about, deep inside. Here we 
are, I thought, strangers drawn together from Oregon, Carolina, 

Iowa, Alabama, Ohio. We never would have met only for this 
airplane and this errand to go to Naples to drop bombs. 

There must be some meaning to it alL 

I wondered i each man's stomach felt as mine did, the way a 
batch of my mother's grape juice looked when it refused to jelL 
I wondered if, behind their occasional light talk, the others were 
afraid. Would they give anything, anything at all, to be back 
home washing the car or after the movies walking along Main 
Street holding hands with a girl? 

I felt a pariah. And scared. Alternately I perspired and had 

Suppose, I kept worrying, at the crucial moment I do some- 
thing stupid? Or funk out? Or, after all our waiting, fail to 
get pictures. It will damn every man in our Unit, every camera- 
man yet to be sent to the Middle East theater. 

No, no, all those things were unthinkable. Yet I kept thinking 
them, over and over, for three miserable hours. 

Suddenly shots made me jump. Scrambling to my gun aperture 
to peer out, upward and down, I saw nothing. Came another 
snarling burst. Glancing around, I found the right waist-gunner 
at his .50 and realized he had been testing. Oh! A few minutes 
ago I'd heard him ask the pilot's permission. At the time the 
words had seemed meaningless. 

If that's a good idea for him, I decided, it should be a good 
idea for me too. I asked permission to test and got it. On a shelf 
to my right were oblong ammunition boxes and I saw that the 
other gunner had led the tongue of an ammo belt from the box 
into the side of his weapon. Experimentally, I poked an ammo 
belt tongue into my .50. I tried a burst, with prompt response. 
I tried another. 

This is simple, I decided. What was Killer Kane worried 
about? You simply lead your ammo belt into the gun, aim and 
pull the trigger. Your tracer bullets show how you are doing. Is 
this all there is to handling a .50? 

The pilot announced, "Crew check," and as he called us, sta- 


tion by station we responded. The navigator followed him to 
say we were at 10,000 feet. "Masks on, everybody." 

Awkwardly, I struggled into my oxygen mask, feeling smoth- 
ered for a moment, then freed as sweet, clean air came into my 
lungs. We were lifting higher, the entire flight of us strung over 
several miles of emotionless blue sky. The gale through my gun 
opening grew steadily colder. For the hundredth time I scru- 
tinized my Eyemo, rechecked its load of film, then clasped it 
under one arm to keep it as warm as possible. 

We were nearing 25,000 feet. "That land ahead?" someone 

"Should be, Art. Mussolini, better crawl under your bed." 
The engines droned on and on, and the minutes. Waiting was 
dull. Lulled to a euphoric state, I roused out of it when some- 
one called, 'Tighter plane at three o'clock. See him, Art?" 
*Aad two more behind him, hanging back for now." 
"Pilot to tail-gunner. Watch it. These babies like to swoop 
out of where we've just been." 

The talk back and forth whipped my circulation faster. 
Taudy, I watched out of my gun aperture. Spying two specks 
that rapidly enlarged I sang out, "Two fighters at ten o'clock!" 
"Pilot to crew. Remember, these ME-iop's are the fastest things 
going. Don't waste ammo. But when you get them in range, 
let 'em have it, but good." He added, "Seven minutes from tar- 

The Messerschmitts kept worrying our entire pack of bombers, 
trying to edge in, to isolate two or three for the kill. Our turret 
gunner let go a burst. Another .50 chattered. Tense in the cut- 
ting zero gale, I watched for those two 109'$. They hadn't been 
at ten o'clock, I decided, but more nearly at eight. 

Dizriilg the lull I clutched the camera in my cumbersome 
mittens and shot my first battle footage. The icy wind was like 
pebbles spraying my face. Of sudden someone yelled, "Fighter 
at ten. Left waist-gunner, fasti Ten o'clock!" 

It took an instant for me to realize that he meant me. As I 
dropped the camera a spray of bullets gored into our hull. My 
gknce showed a fighter plane swiftly enlarging to the size of 
a barn door. He came straight at me, personally. I could see what 
he was wearing, even make out his features. I didn't like that 
fellow's face, and, grabbing the .50, I squirted it at him. 

Exultation made me want to yell. My tracers were floating 
straight at the fighter's nosel Then mystified, I saw how they 
slanted away . . . and the Nazi was gone. Had I got him? 

No-o. Maybe there was a little more to this kind of shooting 
than I had thought. 

Another 109 thudded his bullets at us. As the machine gun 
throbbed in my fists like a pneumatic hammer, the thought came 
to me about our auxiliary gasoline tanks. Say! Awestruck, I 
must have opened my mouth, for immediately my oxygen sup- 
ply became fouled. I wrestled to clear it; tried to hit another 
109 winging past; groped for my camera to record some of these 
wonderful scenes; grabbed the .50 again to discover the need 
to tongue in another belt of ammunition. 

As if they suddenly had lost interest in us, the icxj's fell away. 
It was dusk now, and outside I noticed floating black puffballs 
and wondered what they might be. First would come splashes 
of red, blue and green like Fourth of July rockets, then black 
puffs. The whole sky was dotted with those lovely red, blue, 
green bouquets that faded into smoke. 

I caught the attention of my opposite number as I slipped off 
my mask to knock ice particles from its intake. "Hey, that's 
pretty," I said, gesturing. 

His eyes bulged. He jerked out his mouthpiece. "Antiaircraft!" 
Even after he reinserted his mouthpiece I knew from his dis- 
gusted stare that he went on making belittling comments on my 
intelligence and character. 

Humbled, I returned to my own affairs, No longer admiring 
those pretty colors, I could hear the ack-ack fragments they 

hurtled out, spattering us again and again. If only a few of those 
bits of flying iron should drill through our hide into some vul- 
nerable spot, say our pilot's cockpit. . . . 

I was wringing wet under my flying suit. Emotionally keyed 
high now, taut as a violin E string. And afraid to the corners of 
my being, yet at the same time fiercely angry at those confounded 
fighter-plane pilots and antiaircraft gunners. What were they try- 
ing to do, kill people? 

The answer hit me like a roof falling in. That's exactly the 

Ardently, I wished myself back in Chicago. Oh, to be taking 
pictures again of giggling brides and self-conscious grooms. Of 
mothers as they cuddled crying babies. What was I doing here? 

We were circling now, preparatory to going into our bombing 

I seized the Eyemo, aimed it at Naples harbor far below, 
strewn with vessels. Some of them gave off smoke puffs and 
dozens more rose from gun installations ashore. I aimed at planes 
near us until the camera stopped. Its oil had congealed. I tucked it 
inside my flying suit. 

Mittens were too cumbersome for this business. When the 
camera would operate again I took them off and shot more 
footage. When my hands turned to wood from the cold, I stuffed 
the camera away and worked the mittens back on. Pulled them 
off, drew out the camera. Just when I was catching pictures I 
wanted, the film gave out. 

With stiff hands, but trembling with eagerness, I somehow in- 
serted a new film and got it threaded. My right arm was not 
working properly. And my fingers would not close. Compelled 
again to warm hands and camera, I jumped up and down, try- 
ing to hurry the process, meanwhile praying that our bombing 
run might be delayed another 30 seconds. 

It wasn't. At a certain moment of flight the aircraft commences 
a run over its target which, regardless of what happens, must not 

deviate. When that run begins, command shifts to the bom- 
bardier. "Switch over!" I heard, and knew it meant we were 
committed. It also meant that antiaircraft computers far below 
were swiftly positioning us and shell fuses were being set to our 
height to knock us off as if we were ducks in steady flight* And 
that the next 60 to 100 seconds would decide whether all of us 
aboard Witch had a future. 

But I was far too busy to weigh or worry. Eye to camera, hands 
almost without sensation, oxygen mask half-clogged with con- 
densed breath leakage, I strove to record the harbor scene. Bomb- 
ers ahead of us roused great splashes of smoke and debris down 
there with their mighty rzooo-pounders. A large ship broke in 
two, the halves pushing apart* Another vessel absurdly dug its 
nose under water. A third all but capsized at a near-miss. I forgot 
those deadly floral bouquets of ack-ack around us, my numb 
hands, my hard-caught breath. Man, these were pictures. 

Witch suddenly lifted. "Bombs away!" 

I kept shooting as we went now into violent evasive gyrations. 
Major Blyer, at the controls again, twisted us sideways, dived, 
stood us on a wingtip, climbed. The ship was a platform that 
alternately dropped, tilted and lifted under me. As we peeled 
away, changing altitude and twisting to elude antiaircraft, we 
provided the waiting ME-iop's a new chance for prey, and they 
snatched it. 

How much I used the camera and how much the machine 
gun is not a thing to be sure about afterward. I know that in 
the next 40 minutes or so the gun grew hot. Empty ammo belts 
littered the floor. My right arm was difficult to bend at the 
elbow and I had the passing thought, did it get knocked off? 
The camera froze and fell silent. My hands were stumps to be 
used, but not felt. 

Still those fighter planes came lunging at us. As we raced sea- 
ward, they followed. As we climbed, they climbed faster. We 
dove and they swooped at our tail. Abruptly a few hundred yards 

away I saw a 8-24 in one fiery flash wiped from the sky. Smoke 
boiled from another's port engine, and it dipped out of sight. A 
third seemed strangely to limp and winged slower and fell be- 
hind. Stragglers had to be abandoned for the safety of the ma- 
jority. We kept on, holding some kind of formation with others 
in our vicinity for the same reason the pioneers in our frontier 
West used to crouch in a circle to fight off Indians. 

Gradually, the deadly show thinned away. Huddling with a 
dozen other B-24's, we were reaching the limits of fighter plane 
range. I became aware again, as I grew calmer, of talk back and 
forth on Witch. I puzzled about my right arm; it would not 
bend, though slowly, I could lift it. Of course. It was frostbitten, 
like my hands. 

"Pilot to left-waist. Pilot to left-waist. Speak up, man." 

Oh, he meant me. 'Yes, Major?" 

"You didn't get hit?" 

"No, sir. I'm okay.'* 

There was a pause. "What about pictures, Jos wick?" 

The thought flashed into my mind, that he could have said 
"pretty pictures." He could have used some sarcastic tone or 
words, or given me a nickname like "Hollywood." But he hadn't, 
and for the first time had said my name. He had even sounded a 
little friendly. 

I said carefully, "I may have got a few pretty good shots." 

Major Blyer said, "Good for you." 

That was all. It was all, but as I settled myself on the floor, 
my back against the hull where I would not touch the control 
cables, hands stuffed inside my flying suit, I thought his "good" 
expressed more than the word usually does. As a matter of fact, 
it had seemed to imply acceptance of our Special Photographic 


3 ' Self-Made Pfcotograpfcer 

AN OCCASIONAL lucky person, the old saying goes, is born with 
a silver spoon in his mouth. There never was danger of such a 
thing happening to me so far as I know, but perhaps I was 
born with a camera in my hand. Certainly from as early an age 
as a youngster can understand what a camera is, I wanted to 
own one. When I was eight this longing one day smothered all 
will to resist I smuggled my piggy bank out of the house, placed 
it on the cement sidewalk and vigorously applied a hammer. 

The tediously saved-up pennies and nickels that rolled out 
made a grand total, I knew before counting, of exactly one dot 
lar. Hurrying to the corner drugstore, I invested 98 cents in my 
first box camera. 

Our lean and tired-looking druggist could recognize a photo- 
graphic bug when he saw one. He watched me glowing with 
pride as I examined my treasure^ turning it this way and that, 
squinting into the frosted finder. "Son," he reminded, "that 
thing has to have film in it, you know, to make pictures. How 
about a roll?" 

Film? I had forgotten about film and a roll cost 25 cents. As 
I stared big-eyed from my magic box to the kindly druggist's 
face, the lights of my roseate world switched off one by one. My 
cash position now was only two cents. 

"Well, you've run a few errands for me," Mr. Curtis decided. 


"So I guess" He reached to the shelf and handed me a yellow 
oblong package. "Go in the shade somewhere and put that in 
the camera. Follow the directions." He smiled. "Hope you have 
fun. Jerry." 

I did have fun with that little black box, the first of several 
dozen cameras I've owned. I found in it fascination and chal- 
lenge. In the way a bibliophile loves the feel of some treasured 
book, the click of a shutter sparks my interest. I know now that 
my p8-cent Brownie headed me straight for the Army Air Force 
as a combat cameraman. 

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was the place of my birth, third in 
line of four boys and one girl, but the first environment I remem- 
ber was our farm outside the town of Wisconsin Rapids. The 
farm was a healthy, interesting place to grow and discover how 
some things work in this world until the death of my father. 
That was a severe blow, though just how crucial to us financially 
I was too young to understand. 

Matters became difficult for Mother with so many to provide 
for and all of us too young to work the farm. We sold it and 
moved to Lyons, Illinois, a dozen miles southwest of Chicago. 
Lyons then was more a country town than a suburb. In "dry" 
suburbia it was "wet," with numerous taverns and a few road- 
houses, but if these caused any cracks in Lyons respectability I 
didn't notice them. It was a fairly low-priced community, and 
there was work to be had nearby. Mother found some and so 
did my oldest brother Frank, who now played almost a father's 

The rest o us worked too as we became old enough. To hold 
my first job, I had to learn how to fight. Brother Don and I 
developed the busiest newsstand in town, valuable enough so 
that a couple of other boys wanted it. These fellows had a start- 
ling number of friends eager to help them get it, and although 
we called them "toughs," I suppose they were only more ag- 
gressive and numerous than we, 


I remember so vividly that newspaper stand on the corner 
where the fire station was. Don and I had such need of our 
little business that when the enemy crossed the street toward us, 
faces stony, fists clenched, in spite of the fear ballooning inside 
us we stood our ground. The firemen, relaxing in captains* 
chairs on the firehouse driveway, enjoyed the daily fights and 
cheered and jeered and offered advice. But if Don and I were 
being licked, they trotted to our rescue^ and the enemy had to 
take to their heels. Those evenings, jingling our profits in our 
pockets, we forgot discolored eyes and skinned knuckles and 
whistled as we sauntered home to dinner. 

The Joswicks moved to the west side of Chicago, where I 
entered Carter Harrison High. Again I sold newspapers, de- 
livered handbills, tossed patent medicine samples on porches, 
did anything that would produce money. With schoolwork, duties 
at home and two or three simultaneous part-time jobs, there were 
few surplus hours to divide among photography, baseball, swim- 
ming and girls. 

By the time I was graduated from Harrison I owned the 
newspaper photographer's favorite camera, a Speed Graphic, and 
knew how to use any other I might be able to borrow. Of course, 
I did my own developing, printing and enlarging. I began to 
sell shots to a trade magazine for real-estate dealers and occa- 
sionally was sent by its editor to photograph some house, flat or 
piece of commercial property. As I discovered other trade publica- 
tions, I began to make additional sales. A real-estate assignment 
often gave me material that also interested some magazine in the 
field of the firm being photographed, so I took extra shots and 
sold exclusive views to both. 

As this office-in-my-hat business grew, with the confidence of 
18 and almost no capital I opened a commercial photographic 
"studio." I rented the cheapest West Side store space I could 
find, complete with broken windows and ankle-deep trash. Clean- 
ing up the place, I bought some tenth-hand furniture, painted 

what I meant to be a sylvan scene for use as a backdrop and 
with homemade light reflectors but with good cameras, I began 

Time and again some miracle jerked me back from the brink 
of bankruptcy. Anyway, I was still making pictures of brides, 
babies and factories when, December 7, 1941, Japan struck at 
Pearl Harbor. We were at war. I closed my studio, threw away 
all the junk, sold my cameras and enlisted in the United States 
Army Air Force. 

In every form they had me fill out and in every interview I 
made it clear that I was master of all phases of photography. 
Not that I expected this to bring any result, but you never knew. 
After five weeks of basic training at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, 
I wa$,sent to Boiling Field outside Washington, D.C., and found 
myseJFia a pool of 40 photographers none of whom had cam- 

We 40 represented newsreel, Hollywood, magazine, medical, 
postcard, bride the entire field of photography. But we were 
given nothing to do. One day a second lieutenant read out five 
names and announced, "You men are the Special Photographic 

Interesting. Did it mean we were going overseas? 

We couldn't, yet, for lack of equipment. Several times Captain 
Royal Mattison took me with him to New York where, in camera 
shops and department stores, he signed right and left Uncle Sam's 
promise to pay for movie and still cameras and cases of film. 
It was the only way to get equipped fast. Back at Boiling, Mat- 
tison dealt out the cameras, and we began to make pictures of 
Air Force activities for home folks' consumption and to encour- 
age enlistments. 

Every day brought a new rumor, but at last one had a bell-like 
ring to it. It said any minute our five-man Special Unit would 
start overseas. That day I was taken to the hospital with a strep- 

tococcus throat Just my luck! I was sicker with disgust than with 
germs as I pictured the Unit leaving me behind, 

I used honeyed words and admiring phrases on the nurses and 
at every chance protested that I felt just fine. It helped when I 
could slip the thermometer out of my mouth unnoticed before it 
registered too high. 

In a couple of days the hospital discharged me. I was still run- 
ning a temperature, so the moment I got hold of a pass I headed 
downtown to inquire at Medical Association headquarters who 
was Washington's leading throat specialist They told me, and 
I begged him, "Doc, can you fix me up quick? My outfit's due 
to be shipped, and I'm not going to miss a war because of a 
few bacilli." 

His treatment was so effective that my throat cleared up in 
24 hours. In 26 hours our orders came through, and we five shut- 
ter-snappers were on our way. 

We paused at a field outside Tampa, Florida, then at Miami 
boarded a Pan American flying boat The route was via British 
Guiana, Natal in Brazil, Ascension Island where bored garrison 
GFs were frantically offering ten dollars for a pack of cards, 
to the Gold Coast of Africa. Here Pan Am's line ended. For three 
weeks we were forgotten in a tent colony of hundreds of stranded 
men. At last we managed to hitch rides on crowded military 
planes across a thousand miles of yawning Sahara and reported 
to 9th AAF headquarters in Cairo. 

"Cameramen?" they said blankly. "We're not expecting any 
cameramen. What outfit did you say?" 

They made it dear the AAF had no need of Hollywood frills. 
We should please go away and not interfere with winning the 

After our mission to Naples, while Witch roared south over 
the Mediterranean, I mentally reviewed each sequence I had 


caught on film. With experience you can recall every scene, as 
a baseball team manager details plays made a month ago. With 
a scratch-pad on my knee, I worked out a caption for each shot, 
meanwhile worrying whether the brass would consider my 300 
feet of practical use. If they did not, our Special Unit would 
be hard put to win another trial. 

Already I saw ways to do better next mission. First, I knew 
now what to expect in the sequence of fighter plane attacks and 
ack-ack. Next, I hoped never again to experience such awful buck 
fever. "You blamed fool," I'd kept telling myself, "why are you 
five miles in the air where everybody's trying to kill everybody?" 
Too, cameras must somehow be kept warm, or we must find oil 
that will not congeal. While the Eyemo thawed inside my flying 
suit, wonderful shots were missed, so perhaps a man should work 
with two cameras. And lastly, next time I would bring a hand 

Because fuel was running low, Killer Kane led the Snow 
White Squadron back to Berka 2 field instead of to our more 
distant home base. This was a disappointment. It meant de- 
lay in screening my pictures. Soon there were more immediate 
things to grouse about as, swamped by visiting bomber crews, 
Berka's supply system all but collapsed. 

What about supper? A warm place to sleep? While the pilots 
went in search of them the crews waited. The men were silent, 
each emotionally aboil and trying to calm down. Eventually, we 
lined up for a rubbery meat sandwich apiece and a cup of watery 

There was not enough warm indoor space for more than half 
of the crews, and Witch had not been an early arrival. Cold and 
disgusted, we trudged wearily half a mile through the frosty 
nigjit to the hardstand area, climbed aboard Witch and settled 
down with inadequate covering to sleep. I got very little, both- 
ered by my frostbitten arm which kept making a nuisance of 
itself for weeks. 

Next morning we made the short flight back to Lydda. As 
eager about the pictures as I was, Royal Mattison and Hank 
Carbart were waiting when Witch rolled to a stop. As I climbed 
down Mattison grabbed my elbow. 

"Hi, Jerry. How did it go?" 

What could I tell him? "It sure isn't like making portraits of 
brides in Chicago." 

"Here, let me take your film/* Carbart said. "We'll run it 
through the tank while you get fed, then put in some sack time. 
When you're ready we'll see what you've got." 

Hours later, still anxious what the verdict would be, I reported 
to the lab. "Well, Hank, what do you think?" 

"Pick up that portable screen, will you?" He pointed. "In ten 
minutes we're staging our world premier. Command perform- 
ance." Carbart took the cans of film and with a GI carrying the 
projector, we headed for a nearby quonset hut in which camp 
stools had been arranged in rows. 

The twenty or so field grade officers dribbling into the hut 
wore bored expressions that said they did not expect much. Killer 
Kane's look said this had better be good, and Major Blyer o 
Witch gave me a doubting glance. 

Our chief judges were General Andrews and the newly ar- 
rived Lieutenant General Lewis H. Brereton. Brereton, by the 
way, soon took over as C.G. of the pth, and I filmed General 
Andrews* departure for the States for reassignment. His plane 
was lost over Iceland. 

The lights went off, and the show began. My stomach tickled 
as I watched the first colorful shots of Snow White Squadron 
winging over Sicily. Now we were approaching Naples, with 
glimpses of the harbor and shore installations. Suddenly, as that 
first ME-IO9 came straight at me, spitting tracer bullets, the audi- 
ence gave a faint stir of interest. Watching intently, I began to 
sweat out the mission all over again. 

There were quick, sharp views of 109*5 slashing at our forma- 

tion, trying to pry away 6-24'$ for the kill. Of a sudden the wing 
of the next bomber became a fountain of bullet-cut splinters. A 
Nazi in his cockpit loomed up so clearly that I would have recog- 
nized him on the street. His plane seemed to swallow our tracers; 
then the scene wiped out because I had switched in haste from 
camera to machine gun. 

Several 6-24'$ away, smoke poured from an outboard engine. 
Another bomber seemed to fall, get hold of itself and keep on 
with a wingtip drooping like a dog's ear. Everywhere tracers 
crisscrossed. Fighter planes raced in and out of view. 

Snow White Squadron lumbered on to keep our date. 

Now the fighters were gone. Flak came pufxballing up around 
us. You could almost hear the scrap iron raining on Witch's skin. 
Our audience knew and could imagine that kind of music and 
sat hushed. When the camera ceased jiggling, everyone realized 
that Witch had started her bombing run. Flak floated like 
tinted popcorn around us; then the camera's jump reported 
bombs away. 

As Witch went into evasive action we caught odd-angled 
glimpses of other bombers dropping their 20oo-pound eggs. The 
camera stared down at Naples harbor where water spouted high 
in the air. An anchored freighter broke in two. Ashore, debris 
mushroomed, and fires licked skyward. A few more shots of 
vessels hit or straddled by geysers of water, of shore fires and of 
fighter planes swooping at us, and the film came to an end. 

Lights switched on. The hush held as everyone awaited the 
verdict of Generals Andrews and Brereton. Word was passed 
back to the projector, "Run 'em through again." 

Afterward Hank Carbart led me to stand within call of the 
two generals in case they had questions. I noticed Major Blyer 
looking thoughtful and Killer Kane as if he wanted to wring 
some convenient neck, though he was not eyeing me. Other offi- 
cers exchanged low comments. 

Carbart and I hovered there, wondering whether to thrust 

out our chests or sneak from the room. When Andrews and 
Brereton rose to leave^ all I could catch of their talk was "rub 
their noses in it." 

Whose noses? The Special Photographic Unit's? 

Captain Carbart, still as baffled as I was, trailed after them. 
Royal Mattison and Cliff Kies, who had come in, and I compared 
notes. "Your pictures are swell," Mattison declared. "You must 
have caught things they never noticed before." 

"A lot of pilots and bombardiers are going to have to do some 
subtracting," Kies thought. "Those water spouts were pretty, 
but they didn't sink Rommers supplies." 

Minutes dragged past as we waited for the official word. After 
three-quarters of an hour Hank Carbart came trotting back. He 
was grinning. "We're in!" 

We all talked at once; then we stopped talking. "Hank, what 
did they say?" 

'Toothing printable, believe me. They're on the warpath about 
wild bombing. Letting go in a side-slip. Dropping stuff much 
too soon." Carbart jerked his head toward headquarters. "The 
air's blue over there. Next few days you're going to see a lot of 
smug guys get their pants singed off!" 

"You mean they consider the pictures useful?" 

"Useful? General Andrews wants two cameramen assigned 
to every raid. He's ordered repeat showings of your pictures to 
all flight crews. 'They've been groping in die dark in broad 
daylight. Rub their noses in that!' he snapped at me." 

I sat down on a box. We looked at each other. 

Cliff Kies pushed back that lock of hair from his forehead. 
"It certainly sounds as if Jerry put us across." 

"If he hadn't," Hank Carbart drawled, "do you think General 
Andrews would have given me a cigar?" 

4 ' Last Plane Over Palermo 

THE GERMANS were ready for us that day we struck at Palermo. 

Allied heavy bombing in our theater was aimed at preventing 
as much as possible the flow of troops and supplies to Axis forces 
in North Africa. The fewer sinews Rommel received, the better 
the chances for General Eisenhower on his west flank and Gen- 
eral Montgomery on his east to crush him. As a limited number 
of troops and only lightweight supplies could be ferried by air, 
the great bulk of everything needed must be brought by ship 
from ports served by Italian railroads. 

When you pictured the scope of the Axis supply line you had 
to feel grudging admiration. Material produced in Italy faced a 
comparatively short, if dangerous, haul to Rommel. But it was 
Germany's great strength that kept the Axis in the war. Her 
vast production had to feed, equip and maintain armies on the 
wide Russian front, on the Italo-African front, in occupation of 
half a dozen countries from Poland to Greece, and air 'and ground 
forces kept alert to throw back any Allied invasion of Western 

All supplies for North Africa came from Germany by train 
over the long haul southward through Austria's half-mile wide 
Brenner Pass into Italy. The Pass, unfortunately, was outside 
our bombing range. Down the Italian peninsula the supplies 
were brought, to be transshipped aboard vessels at such ports as 
Salerno, Palermo, Reggio and Naples. 

The Axis clearly understood our bombing plan, to try to 
sink those dozens of heavily loaded cargo ships in their harbors 
before they could cross the Mediterranean. They had to get them 
through. They kept strengthening their fighter plane protection 
of every port and doubling their antiaircraft. But however strong 
their defense, we must keep going over to try to destroy fresh 
troops and supplies. 

I was aboard Vulgar Virgin that day. We were to be the last 
of 60 heavy bombers to go in over the target. Among the first 
would be Gr&mpy of Snow White with Cliff Kies aboard. Kies 
and I had worked it out that with two cameramen covering the 
mission, one should ride a lead plane to make pictures looking 
back at the entire flight at their bombing while the other caught 
the action looking ahead. 

As Virgin skimmed northward at 4000 feet above the sea, the 
left-waist gunner dropped on the floor beside me. "Say, Joswick, 
why'd you want to ride the Purple Heart?" 

"The what?" 

"Purple Heart. That's us. The last plane in, see, always gets 
the worst pasting. Them 109*$ keep trying to knock off just one 
more. By the time we get there, those AA guys will know to the 
inch how to dump their scrap iron in our back pocket." 

He shrugged. "Uncle Sam doles out ten to one Purple Hearts 
to crews on last planes. If they can still wear 'em." 

I stared at him, feeling a clammy hand move up my back. 
What he said was obvious though it had not occurred to me. 
Again, for the hundredth rim** I had the swift thought, Why am 
I here? And wondered what a Purple Heart, if I must have one^ 
was going to cost. How bad a wound? Where? 

It was unsettling to dwell on and the gunner must have 
realized it for we went on to something else. After a while I 
left the waist and went forward to visit with the pilot, then 
made my way along the catwalk between the huge yellow 2000- 
pound bombs to visit the tail gunner. Hermie, the men called 

him. We talked about his family's farm in Iowa while, Fm sure, 
we both wondered what we might be racing toward at 275 miles 
an hour. 

Crews on missions did not pretend that they felt no anxiety. 
Anxiety? It was fear. Where risks are great only fools are not 
afraid. But the men rarely mentioned apprehension; in fact, did 
everything they could to ignore it. Discussion of that subject 
could pump up emotion to the point of panic. If one crewman 
lost his self-control, it would almost surely be contagious. Then 
the chance for every man aboard to get back to base would be 

We interested ourselves in each other's home towns, girl 
friends, hobbies. There was always baseball to talk about, food 
you longed for, letters from home and minor items about your 
job. Hermie, after a time, noticed the gray oxygen bottle I 
held cradled in one arm and, leaning forward to tap it, asked, 
"Say, how long'll that thing be good for?" 
I didn't know, and wondered. Thirty minutes? An hour? 
Whatever the time, would it be as much as I needed at high 

To get aboard Vulgar Virgin I hadn't bumped a crew member 
and taken over his machine gun and oxygen outlet, nor had 
Cliff Kies aboard Grumpy. Equipped with portable flasks, this 
time we could roam our bombers from cockpit to tail. 

"We're climbing," Hermie noted. "Better see if that baby bottle 
is gonna hitch up okay." 

Last week when our first pictures won approval of pth Air 
Force brass, we of the Special Photographic Unit had thought 
that our troubles were over as concerned getting cameramen 
aboard bombers. We discovered different. We still must have 
permission from individual pilots to ride their ships, and almost 
to a man they considered photographers bad luck 

After Naples, Kies, Walter McGarrie and I had gone on three- 
day passes to Alexandria, where we kept busy relaxing in most 

of the ways possible. Back in Cairo, we learned from Hank Car- 
bait about the scheduled mission, which proved to be to Palermo. 
Working out our plan for covering it, Kies and I jeeped out to 
Lydda, now the semipermanent base of the pSth Bombardment 
Group consisting of six squadrons of 25 bombers each. 

Because Snow White Squadron was to lead, Kies tackled the 
pilot of Sleepy. "All right if I ride with you tomorrow?" 

"Afraid not. I don't want to break up a smooth-running team.** 

He asked another pilot. "Just got two new men, Mac. I can't 
take a chance on bumping anybody. 5 * 

After twice more receiving similar answers, Kies recalled 
a friendship struck up in a Cairo bar with Lieutenant Edwards, 
pilot of Grumpy. Edwards, however, and his bombardier had 
been chewed out by Killer Kane for letting go their eggs short 
of the Naples target, and his friendliness had cooled. 

"No dice,*' he said shortly. "I need my gunners.** 

"Suppose I go extra?'* Kies persisted. "That way I won't inter- 
fere with your crew, just handle my camera.** 

"We've got eight men and eight oxygen outlets. How you 
going to breathe at 25,000 feet?** 

Kies and I exchanged looks. "I see what you mean," Kies ad- 
mitted, and we walked away to put our minds to the problem. 

Plainly, cameramen were not popular, first because many of the 
fliers considered us ill omens, and second because some of them 
smarted from having their bombing errors recorded on film. 
Maybe the two were connected: we were bad luck because our 
footage pinpointed their mistakes. 

Kies pounded his fist on his knee, "There's some way we can 
get to make that ride without whining to the brass, of course. 
They all claim they don't want a crewman bumped, and there 
aren*t enough outlets" 

"Cliff," I suggested, "what about portable oxygen? You know, 
in those metal botdes. Then we wouldn't be tied to an outlet. 
In fact, they ought to work for us a lot better." 


We went back and cornered Edwards. "What would you say, 
Lieutenant, if I bring along my own oxygen?" Kies asked him. 

Studying his manicure, Edwards could find no new reason to 
refuse. "Okay, if you're crazy enough to chance it." 

We hailed a passing jeep and rode across the field to Mainte- 
nance. Yes, they had portable oxygen bottles. These were often 
in demand for passengers being ferried into or out of the theater. 
Sure, we could have a couple. As I walked over to examine a 
rack of them I heard the fellow tell Kies, "Don't forget to keep 
track how much you use. One of these holds " 

As someone spoke to me, I missed the rest of it. Twice after- 
ward when I was about to ask Kies, things interrupted and I 
never did get the answer. 

Now, on Vulgar Virgin, connecting my bottle and mask, I 
found that it worked as well for me as the ship's oxygen system. 
We were at 17,000 feet and still lifting. Below was the western 
tip of Sicily, and I knew we would come in on target from the 
northwest. It occurred to me that this flight plan might mean 
we stayed at high altitude longer than on the Naples mission. 
Suppose my supply ran out. . . . 

Quit worrying, I told myself sternly. I clasped the bottle harder 
against my ribs. Chances are, I thought, you'll have oxygen to 
take home. Anyway, get your mind off the subject. Shoot some 

Working my way back to the waist, I stood at the left gunner's 
window and sighted my camera at Bird Dog, the nearest 6-24, 
perhaps 80 yards away and somewhat ahead. 

For today's job I had carefully wiped oil from every part of my 
Eyemo. Bone-dry, I hoped that with nothing to freeze there 
would be no time wasted in thawing, and that friction would 
not be enough to stop the machinery. Conditions were right now 
at 22^000 for a test. I centered Bird'Dog'w the finder and pressed 
the button. 


The camera purred smoothly. It was a long, leisurely shot. 
Abruptly Bird Dog vanished. 

Puzzled, I took the camera from my eye and looked it over. 
The gunner gave me a hard nudge with his elbow. Wearing a 
thunderstruck look, he raised one shaking hand to point. 

Bird Dog was gone. Only a faint haze of sliverlike fragments 
in the sky hinted that she had ever existed. Yet there was no 
antiaircraft fire, no German fighter plane in sight. We had heard 
no explosion above the roar of our engines, seen no burst of 
smoke or flame. 

I had got a perfect shot of a 6-24 riding serenely along to sud- 
den disintegration with the loss of all aboard. 

You wondered about such a thing. 

You pictured eight babies of twenty years ago in eight modest 
homes in eight small towns scattered across America. Saw them 
eight years old, learning to roller skate and later, bright-eyed kids, 
riding their bicycles on after-school paper routes. You pictured 
them pimply and girl-curious in high school, and later, receiving 
on the same day the message that begins, "Greetings." Leaving 
their homes, and during weeks of hard military drill, growing 
straighter, healthier, confident. Then being sent for special train- 
ing: this man to become a pilot, that man to be a gunner, the next 
to learn celestial navigation. 

They still have never heard each other's names. 

Somewhere on a brown Texas plain they meet one day, to be 
counted off into a group almost as neighbor boys choose up 
sides for a back-lot ball game. They take to the air in a flying 
fort, each working into his job, each learning to trust himself 
to the others. Having become a team, they fly 3000 miles to that 
part of the world where civilization began. There, at a certain 
moment in history, five miles above the earth, eight men reach 
the end at which they were aimed from the beginning. 

You thought about that. Trying to understand it. 


Soon the ME-iop's swarmed out to meet us, and there was no 
more time to pity those poor devils in Bird Dog, nor to be anx- 
ious about oxygen, nor whether my camera would clog. I caught 
a straight-on glimpse of a Nazi pilot on collision course and took 
his picture while our tracer bullets and his almost struck in 

Beside me Bill's machine gun stopped chattering. I heard his 
muffled grunt and found him slumped back. Recovering, he 
jumped again to his weapon, but that 109 was gone, though 
others were coming. A bullet-cut groove showed raw leather 
across one side of his helmet. 

Later the right-waist gunner, seeing I was not plugged into 
intercom, grabbed my arm and pointed out his window. I saw 
flames amid thick black smoke pouring from our Number Three 
engine. While I filmed it, I noted the long hesitations between 
my pounding heartbeats. We were in trouble and not yet close 
to target. 

Forget it. The pilot knows how to deal with an engine afire. 
Catch some footage of those massed bombers ahead riding in 
and out of wispy clouds. 

I did, my oil-less camera working better than on my first com- 
bat ride, though I could feel its gears grind. Fighter planes 
snarled around us, twice as many as over Naples, and I couldn't 
ignore the constant jar of slugs boring into Vulgar Virgin's sides. 

Hoping for word about Number Three engine, I plugged into 

Tighter at five o'clock. See him, Hermie?" 

"instruments are dead. You know, they're all hitched to 
Number Three. What the hell, we'll get along without 'em." 

** another pass, left-waist. Take this guy!'* 

Three German fighters concentrated on us because we were 
lagging from the squadron and we were crippled. Lieutenant 
Kidder side-slipped now and then to get visibility through the 

pouring oily smoke. Doggedly, we kept shooting our way toward 
the target. 

No Purple Hearts yet. 

I made pictures out the right-waist window, then the left-waist. 
Going forward, I made more over the two pilots' shoulders as 
Palermo Bay, sprinkled with 30 or 40 cargo vessels, swam nearer. 
Wonderful pictures. I was uneasy, though, about the way we 
were getting shot up. 

As we neared target I hurried back to the waist and heard, 
"Tail gunner, check in. Hermie?" 

"Two o'clock, Ben. Watch Kim." 

"I see the guy. Come and get it, Fritz!'* 

"Tail gunner, check in. Tail gunner?" 

Splinters from a ship ahead flew past. I caught a shot o a 
Nazi that would have terrified his girl back in Bavaria. His cock- 
pit aflame, he tried to ram us. Missed! A moment later he 
dangled under an open parachute. 

Vulgar Virgin steadied. It gave you the feel of stopping half- 
way across a tightrope. Our engine still poured smoke, but we 
were committed to our bombing run. 

Ack-ack had us bracketed. Metal fragments showered our sides. 
A small piece of metal tore through and struck my foot. No 
damage. Out the window I framed the 6-24 ahead in my finder 
as, her cockpit roof flapping open, she dropped lower and be- 
hind us. Her bombs pelted out of her belly. Of a sudden her 
near wing crumpled and she went into a mad corkscrew dive. 

"Bombs away!'* 

Eight thousand pounds lighter, Vulgar Virgin lifted in new 
hope. In a sky filled with the deadly popcorn of ack-ack we swam 
out of the target area toward patiently patrolling 109*3. When 
Lieutenant Kidder switched off Number Three engine, the 
flames died and the smoke grew less. Out the window I kept 
grinding footage of cargo vessels far below, unhurt, afire or 


listing, and shore installations that erupted as if trying to reach 
up to touch us. 

With the mass of our bombers far ahead, pulling away in the 
distance, Kidder huddled as best he could near four other crip- 
ples. The plexiglass nose of one was curiously dented. The left 
wing of another was being wind-peeled like an orange. Then 
our Number One engine caught fire. 

Kidder dared not switch it off because Three was off and 
lessened speed would make us a target not to be missed. How 
long would One operate before it melted? 

Aboard Vulgar Virgin we avoided looking at each other. Vir- 
gin was losing the contest. 

For the first time I felt the war deep in my guts. 

Better keep making pictures. 

I became aware that those calls to Hermie back in the tail were 
bringing no answer. The co-pilot asked me to investigate. Clutch- 
ing oxygen bottle and camera, I swayed back along the catwalk. 
Do I imagine it? I wondered. Or is this bottle pulling harder? 

Hermie lay on his chest, his cheek on the cold, ammunition- 
littered floor. I dropped on my knees and pulling him over on 
his back, saw that he was breathing regularly into his mask. 
There was a six-inch tear in his flying suit high on his left 
chest about at the collar bone. 

My thinking was sluggish. With great effort I worked out one, 
two, three what I had better do. Following it, I opened a first-aid 
kit and noted the items I would need. Hermie moaned faintly, 
but I was sure that he was not conscious. First, give him mor- 
phine. Next, try to stop his bleeding. Then try to revive him. 

But wait, I thought. His flying suit is electrically heated. If I 
push the morphine needle through it, suppose I touch a wire 
and electrocute him? Or is that possible? 

I knelt there, foggily thinking my way around the problem. 
Of course: zip open his suit, then give him the injection. Apply 
the bandage. Zip his suit closed. 


The morphine needle proved to be as easy to use as, back 
Stateside, they had showed us it was. While I worked I worried 
about that enlarging splotch o dark red blood that purled 
silently, steadily from some point high in his chest. 

Hermie roused as if from deep sleep. He blinked at me to say 
that his wound pained, and please do something about it. I got 
the bandage material ready, then decided to make it double- 
thickness. Got adhesive tape ready. Peeled back Hermie's suit and 
ripped his shirt open down to the waist. The sight nauseated me, 
but as gently as I could I touched the bandage to what seemed 
to be the source of bleeding. Hermie touched me with his hand, 
wanting his glove off. I took it off and he used the hand to 
relocate the bandage. I secured it with adhesive, closed his shirt, 
zipped up his flying suit, tugged his glove back on. Checked 
his oxygen intake. His intercom plug had been pulled. I 
plugged it in. 

There came the most spine-jangling sound a man can hear: 
the bail-out bell. 

In tone it was like one of those hand bells a teacher tnighf use 
on a school playground to announce recess is over. Here, miles 
in the air, it sounded like the doorbell to doom. 

Lieutenant Kidder came on. 

"The engineer says Number One is gonna melt. Number 
Three might cut in again. Prob'ly not. Let's take a qukk vote. 
Bail out? Or ride her down? Turret gunner?" 

Hesitation. "S-stay with her, Lieutenant.** 


"Ride her down. There's always a chance.** 

"Right-waist?" The same reply. 

"Tail gunner- Can you hear me, Hermie?** 

"Joswick here," I said. "Hermie got hit. He's fairly comfortable 
now. He says ride her down. So do I." 

There was a pause. "Okay, men, stay where you are. We got 
to keep her trimmed. Losing altitude ought to shake off these 


fighters. You better pray that when we switch in Number Three 
... she goes." 

My parachute, I remembered, was forward in the waist. It 
would have to stay there now. Hermie, I saw, was falling asleep 
from the morphine. Kneeling there beside him, I felt terribly 

With no thought of what I was doing I took spent film out 
of my camera. Threaded in a fresh roll. Might as well make a 
few pictures. 

We were pushing laboriously out over the Mediterranean. A 
last fighter plane came swooping at our tail and I dropped the 
camera to work Hermie's machine gun at him. A spray of his 
bullets neatly sliced off more than half of our stabilizer. It's 
not easy to curse an enemy through an oxygen mask, but I 
managed. Until I noticed it was becoming difficult to breathe. 

In a cold sweat I lifted the mask and tasted air. Its flavor was 
delicious. Then it occurred to me that we had steadily lost 
altitude in fact, now were down to perhaps 7000 feet. My port- 
able bottle had lasted just long enough. 

Vulgar Virgin) alone over the endless sea, took on a new 
troubled throbbing. Number Three engine must have survived 
after all. Of a sudden there was a jerk, the scream of metal and 
the ship all but stood on her tail. Both our pilots fought the 
plane's bucking. At last they settled her again to fairly smooth 
flight. Number One engine had melted its supports and dropped 
into the sea. 

When at last we neared the African coast a third engine was 
beginning to falter. We had only another quarter-hour of fuel. 
One engine gone, another smoking, a 12-inch hole in our star- 
board wing, bullet-drilled from nose to tail, half a stabilizer shot 
away, two crewmen due for Purple Hearts, on a bleak emergency 
field Vulgar Virgin belly-landed with a mighty crash. 

We'd made it. 

Cliff Kies and I had marvelous pictures of Palermo. 

5 * The Unlucky Days 

FROM THE BEGINNING in North Africa it had been a push-pull 
kind of war. The British held Libya but lost it and western 
Egypt to German-Italian assault When enemy supply lines be- 
came too extended and London could send a fraction of the 
reinforcements and material asked, the British threw back the 
Germans. They retook Bengasi, retook Tobruk. Their own 
supply lines stretching thin, it became the Axis* turn, and their 
Spring 1942 offensive pushed the British all the way east to 
Alexandria, their position desperate. 

Last October the rebuilt 8th Army had launched a new drive 
at El Alamein with the mightiest barrage ever known. Rom- 
mel's tough desert rats were compelled to fall back. Ever since, 
across Egypt and pushing again into Libya, the British strove 
to keep the Afrika Korps off balance. 

Over west, in French North Africa, some 150,000 Americans 
plus British and Canadians under Eisenhower were moving 
east. The Americans encountered fierce resistance and such 
blood christenings as Kasserine Pass. The British had to retake 
yawning stretches of desert that they had won and lost twice 

Our first air support of the British 8th Army was the Army 
Air Force in the Middle East, commanded by Lieutenant Gen- 
eral Frank M. Andrews. This became the 9th, which was ex- 

panded rapidly and in early '43 mounted hundreds of fighter- 
plane, medium-bomber and heavy-bomber missions. Because 
much of my time was spent with B-24's I saw how the crews 
rarely got enough rest. Two, sometimes even three, missions 
a week kept the men feeling played out. The mental strain was 
the worst, but the intense cold of high altitudes was as tiring as 
hard labor. Too, the problem of aircraft maintenance was not 
always solved. Too few facilities and repair crews, and every 
plane that could fly was utilized. It all added to the men's 

There was then no rotation of crews, no passes to rest camps, 
no rest camps, no awards of the Air MedaL Squadron com- 
manders* hair grayed over their men's needs, but with the war 
at our throats the planes had to be kept flying, sometimes with 
less than full crews. 

Say you were a bombardier on a 8*24 called Hillbilly. Word 
comes that in twelve hours you'll be oft on another mission, 
though you still have inner tremors from the last. Besides check- 
ing your equipment, you try to get yourself mentally ready. 
But you can't help counting your missions again and wondering, 
How long will I get away with it? 

You think about your folks. Your girl. Your plans when the 
war interrupted. Little things that now are so precious: taking 
the morning sun on the back steps at home; Mom's caramel 
cake; after the early movie taking your girl for a slow drive along 
the river. 

You think about these things if you are human . . . and you 
are^ only too human. Fifteen hours from now maybe you are 
going to get it. Your ship. Your whole crew. The way you've 
seen it happen to others. 

Report sick? You can't bring yourself to desert men who de- 
pend on you. You couldn't stand the look in their eyes. Besides, 
you'd have to go next time. 

Comes the long haul over the Mediterranean, its very monot- 


ony building up pressure. You pray that you won't do something 
awfully wrong, or fail to act in a crisis. Who knows how you'll 
be? You don't. It isn't a matter how many missions you've had. 

Then the hot half-hour. At least being shot at and fighting 
back leaves no time for thinking. While those months of train- 
ing make you go through the motions, you seem to be standing 
two yards away, watching yourself. What you see is unbelievable. 

Somehow the hot half-hour crawls past. You've got away, your 
plane riddled, maybe a buddy erased from the roster. Tension 
and that accursed cold have you too exhausted to relax. Under 
your flying suit you are soaking wet, and you feel no shame if 
downright terror made you add to that dampness. 

Back at the base, the can of beer someone hands you helps 
a little. But there's still the singing along your nerves. Hot food 
helps. In the sack at last you can't sleep, or you sleep without 
rest. It takes all the next day, and the next, very gradually to 
feel yourself mm ing down to walk the earth again. 

"Hey, Johnnie," your pilot says, "briefing tonight. Seven. Take- 
off at dawn." And the whole thing starts over. 

Sometimes crews flew three days in succession. One flight 
might be to Italy, another in response to an 8th Army appeal for 
bombing support, the third to drop your stuff on the spots 
marked on this map: ammunition dumps. All exhausting. 

Desert life deepened the tedium. Days were blazing hot, nights 
cold. Always there was the wind that drilled fine sand and red 
dust into your food, into your water. Men kept hawking with 
dry throats. There was sand in your socks, sand in your collar. 
Watches stopped running. No matter how securely I wrapped 
my camera, it had to be taken apart and every piece wiped before 
the next use. So mtist every machine gun. Aircraft engines 
needed constant tearing-down, five times oftener than they got it. 

When a sandstorm came up, it halted the whole war. For two 
days, sometimes three, while the wind hammered at your tent 
you could only huddle steaming under your blanket and wait. 


Water became scarce. At Berka 2 during a sandstorm we had 
one canteen a day per man to cover all needs. 

The British knew desert living better than we did, and their 
tents were superior. Instead of heavy canvas, they used several 
thin folds, making their tents better ventilated, yet more secure. 
By trading and scrounging, our men rapidly began to live British. 
We learned to dig trenches two feet deep, as they did, in which 
to pitch our tents. It prevented sand from blowing in around 
the bottom. 

To do our job we cameramen needed to stay several nights 
each week at various satellite bases, but on off-Jays we could 
come and go much as we liked. An assignment ended, I would 
fly into Cairo, deliver my film to Royal Mattison at the labora- 
tory, then head for our apartment where good old Hussan waited 
with an ear-to-ear grin and a long cold drink. While I lolled in 
a hot tub he stood waiting with towels. While I enjoyed an- 
other cold drink, he assembled a meal. 

All this was permitted by regulations I suspect because regu- 
lations didn't know about it. 

Sometimes Hussan served me dinner alone, and at other times 
one or two of my roommates appeared. Rarely were all four of us 
together because of our many assignments around the Cairo area. 

Now that our Unit covered all missions, odd quirks of per- 
sonality began coming to light. Any notion certain men had 
had of glamor in combat photography had worn through. They 
were developing fondness for making footage of practice flying 
or ground exercises. 

I noticed Connie Iverson undergoing a change. Formerly, he 
had been almost bloodthirsty. Eager to make pictures of fighter 
planes being shot down, of ack-ack floating a yard from his 
elbow. But after one mission over Reggio, Connie became 

"We're laying on a raid tomorrow," Hank Carbart told several 

of us in his office. "Iverson, I have you down, and Kies. All 

"Hank, I guess things got fouled up," Iverson said a little too 
quickly. "That fighter squadron C.O. promised to give me some 
footage today. Can you put me on another time?" 

Carbart readily found a substitute. The next time Iverson was 
scheduled he had another prior date. The third time it was 
dysentery. As we left Carbart's office Walter McGarrie asked 

"What do you think? No more combat work for Connie?" 

"I guess he'd rather make footage of practice bombings." 

"Who wouldn't?" McGarrie said fervently. 

"We took this on," Kies reminded. "Doesn't seem to me we 
have much choice." 

In old Cairo one day I bought a parrot from a street vendor. 
Hussan looked after him in the apartment, and Kies, McGarrie 
and I taught him a few phrases. "Show your orders!" Nicky 
cried when anyone entered. "Hurry up and wait, hurry up and 
wait." Connie Iverson disliked the parrot, and, sensing it, Nicky 
disliked him. Iverson took to poking fingers at Nicky, doing 
anything to annoy and stir him up to a rage. 

"Stupid dodo," Iverson growled. "Lef s get rid of that thing." 
Or, "One of these days I'll eat that goofy bird for breakfast." 

About three o'clock one morning I awakened to whirring 
wings close to my face. Someone jumped over me. I sat up and 
in pale moonlight made out Iverson. "What's up, Connie?" 

"Found that bird sitting on my bed. Damned if he didn't at- 
tack me!" He lunged at Nicky, who fluttered out of reach, then, 
to my astonishment, launched himself at Iverson's face. 

"See that? He's trying for my eyes. I'll kill him!" 

I got up. "Get out of the room, Connie, and I'll quiet him." 

"No." He made a grab. 'You stay out of this." He grabbed 
again and caught Nicky's foot. But he let go with a yell as 


Nicky bit his hand. The parrot fluttered to perch on my shoulder 
but, as Iverson came for him, hopped to the floor. They began 
to chase around the room. 

"Let him be, Connie. Ill quiet him and put him in his cage." 

Between shoving chairs aside, jumping over my bed and growl- 
ing threats, Iverson made it plain that this duel was for keeps. 
There was a strange ring in his voice. It suggested there was more 
to this than mere dislike of a parrot. 

Twice Iverson pulled out a couple of feathers without manag- 
ing to hold Nicky. Cornering him, he tried to bag him with a 
pillowslip, but failed. Next time Nicky fluttered close I caught 
him by the legs and up-ended him the way you carry a chicken. 
In the next room I stuffed him in his cage. 

Turning, I found Iverson panting at my elbow. "You look beat, 
Connie,' 5 I said. "How about hitting the sack?" 

He hesitated. Evidently deciding that I would not let him at 
Nicky, he turned away and dropped on his bed. I heard him 
tossing for a long time. 

Something deep and worrying had boiled over in Iverson, no 
doubt aided by imbibing before he came home. Nicky was 
merely the first available target for his resentment. 

As if he had reached a decision, Iverson set about making 
himself useful at headquarters. He yessed the right people and 
became an eager favor-doer. Somehow he acquired a desk and 
gradually took over from Hank Carbart the scheduling of others 
to cover up-coming raids. 

Connie Iverson never flew combat again. 

The weeks wore on. Supporting the 8th Army, we dropped 
250-pound fragmentation bombs on Sousse in Tunisia while our 
fighters kept the ME-iop's and the Italian Macchis off our necks. 
Over Reggio I stood in the cockpit doorway filming our pilots 
at work when a heavy stick about a yard long stabbed through 
the roof. One of a package dropped by a 8-24 above us, it landed 
a few inches from our two pilots. 


"Incendiary!" the bombardier yelled. 

Incendiary sticks were made to burst into tremendously hot 
fire on contact. The engineer grabbed and flung it out a window. 

Using portable flasks for our oxygen had proved to be a nui- 
sance and a worry. It was Walter McGarrie, our slight-built, 
nervy New Yorker who did something about it. McGarrie talked 
Maintenance into installing a couple more oxygen outlets in 
each of several bombers. Their willingness to accommodate us 
showed that we were becoming accepted. Pilots and crews bad 
forgotten that we were jinxes; many of them now had the idea 
that we carried horseshoes in our pockets. The more we lived 
with the men and flew with them the more we came to be con- 
sidered members of the club. 

Our problem of cameras freezing also got solved. To use no 
lubricant meant that the shutter would grind slower at high alti- 
tudes. Graphite powder sifted into the mechanism provided 
lubrication, yet would not freeze. 

From headquarters, too, our Unit was receiving full cooper- 
ation. General Brereton was picture-minded. He wanted com- 
bat film for tactical study and improvement. He also wanted 
the Air Force heavily publicized Stateside. At Hank Carbart's 
suggestion he gave us an operating budget. Carbart had the 
General's ear, having served with him as a sergeant in the 
Philippines where Carbart won a field commission. Of course, 
we did not overlook photographing all the General's comings 
and goings, which made him favor us the more. 

Brereton, by the way, was a devotee of personal comfort. He 
was renowned as the general trailed wherever he went in the 
field by an orderly carrying a collapsible toilet seat. 

By trial and error we of the Special Unit learned that certain 
types of shots always made striking sequences. Among them: 
looking out bomb-bay doors at the heavy ones falling; bombs 
dropping simultaneously from several planes; pictures of a ship 
in distress; and shots over the pilot's shoulder during combat. 


Filming 2000-pounders as they left the bomb bay stood my 
hair up so straight that it would not lie down for several days. 
Aboard Runt on our way to intercept a German-Italian convoy, 
the idea of such a shot struck me as novel. I went forward and 
asked the pilot how high he would go in over the cargo ships. 

"About six thousand," he said. 

"Any objection if I stand on the catwalk for a sequence of the 
bombs going down?" 

The co-pilot screwed around in his seat. "Are you crazy?" 

"You have to be, to go into a fight with a camera," the pilot 
told him. He looked up at me. "Try it if you must, but for 
God's sake be careful." 

I told the bombardier my plan. "Listen, Joswick, don't do it," 
he begged. "With those doors open the slipstream at two hun- 
dred seventy-five per will suck you right out. And you can't 
wear your parachute because of all those braces running every 

I suggested we take a look, and we worked our way back to 
the catwalk. Twelve inches wide, it seemed ample for me to 
stand on. As the bombardier said, though, the steel girders that 
gave the ship strength to carry 8000 pounds of bombs left no 
space large enough for me to stand wearing the bulky parachute. 

I studied the problem. "Well, there's plenty around here I 
can hang on to." 

As we neared the convoy I wedged myself, camera in hand, 
between braces. With a grind of motors the bomb-bay doors 
began slowly to open. They rolled up on either side of me and 
there, far below, lay the wind-brushed Mediterranean. 

The gale roaring in sucked my breath away. It flattened me 
against the braces and at the same time pulled with powerful 
unseen hands. Every change of posture had to be calculated, then 
performed with great care. I felt Runt grip herself and knew we 
were commencing our run over the target. 

With one arm around a brace and that hand at the camera 
4 S 

button, I found it impossible to aim straight downward. I let 
go the brace and balancing, got the shot. An air pocket dropped 
Runt 15 yards. Wildly, I grabbed a stanchion, all but losing the 

As we leveled out I cautiously balanced again. Suddenly the 
great bombs fell away. Runt lifted several feet. As we raced along, 
momentum carried the falling bombs in our direction and I 
caught them in the finder, the edges of the open bay showing 
and far below smoke-belching merchant ships zig-zagging at top 
speed. I had to stop, feeling myself being sucked down. Steadying^ 
I aimed the camera again in time to catch somebody's bomb dis- 
appear down a smokestack. A shipload of ammunition lifted 
out of the water at us in one fiery explosion. 

At last the bomb-bay doors ground shut. My knees like water, 
I climbed shakily out of the tunnel. The bombardier's face was 
the color of old paper. 'Tfou damned fool, how was it?" 

"Next time I'd better be roped to those braces.** And next time 
I was, for some of the best shots I ever made. 

Often Cliff Kies and I would fly a mission, or Walter Mc- 
Garrie and Kies, or McGarrie and L McGarrie struck me as a 
good enough buddy but no man to cross, a big city tough guy. 
Lately, he seemed to be less aggressive and often fell into long 
silences. I gave it little thought until Kies came into the apart- 
ment one morning, his eyes sunken with fatigue from a hard 
flight the day before. 

"Walter missed out yesterday/* he remarked. 

"Missed out? He went to Lydda a day ahead. How could 
he miss?" 

"It was a big one, you know. Said he jeeped all over the field 
but couldn't find his plane." 

That had an odd sound. Of course, it could happen. As Hus- 
san brought Kies a second breakfast he mused, "Remember a 
week ago when Walter mislaid his telescopic lens? By the time 
he found it he*d missed takeoff on Danny Bay!' 


I watched Kies sip his coffee. "What are you getting at?" 

He took his time about answering. "Remember last time we 
were in Alexandria, we went to that fortuneteller? She saw 
great things ahead for you and me. But she told Walter to be- 
ware on odd-numbered days." 

"You mean he took that seriously?" I could hardly believe it 
of a sophisticate like Walter McGarrie. 

Kies nodded. "He was on Dry Bones two weeks ago when she 
caught fire. That was an odd-numbered day. Yesterday was an- 
other, the eleventh. I tfiinlc it's building up in Walter." 

We decided we would try to stiffen McGarrie's morale with-i 
out, of course, mention of the fortuneteller. We would be opti- 
mistic about everything: poopooh black cats and walking under 
ladders. Emphasize how many B-24*s brought their crews back 

In a way it did seem that hard luck dogged McGarrie. When 
he was not notified in time to go on a certain raid, the plane he 
would have ridden was lost with all aboard. Again on an odd- 
numbered day, with McGarrie and me working the same mis- 
sion, a sandstorm was raging when we got back and we had 
to fly two more hours to find a place to come down. 

I was in Carbart's office one afternoon when Kies telephoned 
that he was down with flu and could not fly next day. I was al- 
ready booked. Carbart said, "Walter, can you take Cliff's place?" 

He glanced at the calendar. It read "17." I could see him 
double-checking: tomorrow would be an even-numbered day. 

"Sure," Walter agreed. 

After he left the office a captain from downstairs came in. 
About to leave he said, "Don't you fellows keep track of time?" 
He tore the top leaf off the calendar, explaining that it was yes- 

I wondered if I ought to tell Walter McGarrie that he would be 
flying, not on an even-numbered day as he believed, but on an 
odd-numbered one. But I had no faith in such superstitions. 

When McGarrie came back perhaps I'd remark offhand that it 
had been the nineteenth. 

Next night McGarrie did not come back. His plane was un- 
reported. I paced the floor o our apartment trying to believe that 
it was not my fault that he might be dead. I wished mightily 
that I had warned him what the correct date would be. 

Next day, still no word. And the next The fourth day we 
learned by radio that a destroyer had picked up McGarrie and 
five of his bomber crew from a rubber life raft. The six had 
floated around the Mediterranean without food and with very 
little water since their bomber ditched. The co-pilot had been 
killed, and a gunner had drowned. 

After that Walter McGarrie flew combat only over land on 
even-numbered days. 

6 * Ears, A Prime Minister, 
and a Houseboat 

"OuR GHURKAS steal up on the sentries at night, you see. They're 
armed only with knives. We pay them for each pair of ears they 
bring back," explained the British intelligence officer Royal 
Mattison had brought to our apartment to dinner. 

"Don't you chaps think," he added, buttering a roll, "such 
commando sorties would make fascinatin' pictures? I can ar- 
range for one of you to be taken along. Naturally, there may be 
a spot of danger. Still, it's an experience, what?" 

A week later, loaded with bedroll, cameras and film, I found 
myself jolting in a troop carrier somewhere west of El Alamein 
to join a Highland Grenadier regiment. Greeted cordially by their 
brass, I was passed on to Leftenant Mixton, a stocky, leather- 
faced Aussi leader of a small commando unit. 

"We'll get off at dawn," he told me. "Of course, we cannot 
just drive straight to where we're going, like you would in the 
States. It may take us a few days of dodging about sand dunes 
and lying doggo. In the end you're likely to see a bit of a go." 

While the British 8th Army pressed forward and Rommel's 
Afrika Korps slowly pulled back, both sides kept up vigorous 
commando strikes at each other's many small forward air fields. 
With the ebb and flow of battle these might be organized fields 

suddenly exposed, or mere strips of desert marked off for tempo- 
rary fighter plane use. Often meager ground troop protection 
left them vulnerable to raids, and often they changed ownership 
several times. 

Next morning we were eight men in two jeeps, each jeep 
mounting a 50-caliber machine gun. There were three dark- 
skinned, muscular Ghurkas from the Himalayas of TnjJ3 3 wear- 
ing turbans and British battle dress. A Grenadier sergeant, two 
privates, Leftenant Mixton and I made up the roster. We were 
armed with tommyguns, knives and grenades and heavily 
loaded with food, water and fuel. 

For three hours we threaded our way among General Mont- 
gomery's advance tank and infantry units and past an occasional 
busy air field. A German reconnaissance plane hung high in the 
sky until chased away by fighters. A covey of Wellington bomb- 
ers throbbed above us, heading west. Later we passed bumed- 
out ranks and abandoned air fields cluttered with wrecked planes. 
By noon we were alone in the desert with the fed of being 
sandwiched between sky and heat-quivering sand. 

Calling a halt, Mixton consulted his compass and map. "Yon- 
der was a fighter strip four days ago. 91 He pointed to a split-open 
Swastika-marked fuselage, a wing and a series of bomb craters, 
"Bloody useless now, what? Let's get on with it." 

He drove our lead jeep with one of the privates beside him to 
man the machine gun. I jolted in the back seat with a silent 
Ghurka concentratedly honing his knife on the sole of his boot, 
then testing its bkde with his thumb. Several times, feeling his 
glance my way, instinctively I pressed my tin hat lower. Behind 
us the sergeant drove the second jeep carrying the other private 
and the remaining two Ghurkas. 

In early afternoon, thoroughly dehydrated, we reached an 
oasis and lounged in its welcome shade. Its well had been poi- 
soned, but at tea-time the British always have tea and we had 
it on schedule. Even during combat the British rarely missed tea. 


I have seen hand-to-hand fighting in progress 70 yards from the 
preparations and heard a bloke busy dodging "sticker" thrusts 
and jabbing with his own bayonet shout, "Save me my bloomin* 
tea! w 

At nightfall we went on, roving up and down endless seas of 
crunching sand until midnight. After a rest and a meal of 
C-rations we pressed on until, in the first streaks of dawn, we 
halted in a pocket between dunes. The spot seemed to be well 
hidden, but "settling in" we waited until Mixton crawled to the 
brink of a dune and verified our position. 

I crawled after trim and through glasses easily recognized in 
the clear air the outlines of enemy fighter planes lined up on a 
field some two miles away. "That's what we're after," Mixton 
said. "And later, another field southwest, and perhaps a third. 
For today, we'll hole up." 

Returning, he placed each jeep so its machine gun commanded 
one of the two approaches. Sand-colored tarpaulins were spread 
over them to prevent our being observed from the air. After 
another C-ration meal I crawled under a jeep and went to sleep. 

The evening chill made me pull on my bush jacket, but the 
three Ghurkas calmly stripped to loin cloths, not even keeping 
on their boots. Each wore a loose wire around his neck and 
carried a knife and two or three grenades. Each murmured 
what seemed to be prayers; then they melted into the darkness. 

Mixton and a private, carrying tommyguns, set out in their 
wake and I followed. Half a mile from the field we nested 
ourselves in the sand, the idea being to cover, if need be, the 
Ghurkas* retreat. An hour passed. Suddenly there was an ex- 
plosion, then four or five more. Fires started among the parked 

My companions stood up. "Now, old boy, perhaps you can get 
a few pictures," Mixton said. 

As abruptly as they had vanished the Ghurkas appeared be- 
fore us. Next moment our jeeps came purring briskly over a 

dune. As we all piled in, leaning close, I counted the ears on the 
wires around the Ghurkas' necks two pair, one pair, two pair, 
and again with a shiver I pressed down my tin hat. 

Both jeeps roared full speed at the field. First we machine- 
gunned the Jerries tumbling from their tents to try to save 
their rows of fighter planes. Then we toured the strip, shooting 
and lobbing grenades at men and aircraft and raced away into 
the desert. 

Surprise was the key to success. Resistance had been con- 
fused and so ineffectual that our only cost was one of the 
privates creased across the shoulder by a bullet. However, the 
burning German tents and planes gave only poor light for my 
pictures. From miles away Mixton made a brief coded radio 
report and later told me, 'That field will jolly well get a strafing 
at dawn to force its complete abandonment.** 

Two nights later at another small field the ear collecting was 
interrupted by dogs. Our Ghurkas came running hard, pursued 
by two troop carriers of Nazis. Darkness helped us get away 
with a good many bullet holes in our equipment but none in 
us. One of the Ghurkas later showed a dog's ear, which Mixtoo 
said had no cash value. 

After attacking a third air field with fair successsix ears ai*d 
at least five planes wrecked lack of fuel and water forced us to 
head back to our base. 

I made a few trips with larger commando units, once watching 
them win back an important air field lost only two hours before. 
When the action ceased as dawn was breaking^ I happened to 
see a medic jump off a truck and drop on his knees beside a 
wounded mam Someone shouted warning. Unaware that it was 
for him, the medic lifted the wounded man's arm. A grenade 
blew both to bits. 

The husky Scots sergeant near me swore fervendy. "The bloody 
Bodies place a grenade with the pin pulled, under a man, or 
between his legs or in his armpit. Move him, and you're Woody 


well dead." Half an hour later I saw the grim method of re- 
prisal. The same sergeant and his squad bayonet-prodded cap- 
tured Nazis into a slit trench. The sergeant tossed a grenade 
in after them and walked away. 

It was savage warfare, hard on one's stomach to witness. Of 
pity there was none, only the sudden stab in the dark, the half- 
strangled cry, the blast of grenades, crackling flames devouring 
aircraft, the booby-trapped wounded helpless to save themselves 
or rescuers, the lost look in the eyes of captured men. 

Because the short, fierce periods of action invariably took place 
in darkness, they offered only piecemeal and not fully satisfac- 
tory pictures. Though deeply respectful of the Highland Grena- 
diers and their ear-collecting Ghurkas, I was not sorry to be 
ordered back to AAF headquarters when word came that Prime 
Minister Winston Churchill was expected in Cairo. 

He spent the few days of his visit at the villa of Richard Casey, 
British Minister Resident in the Middle East. Called Beit el 
Azrak, or Elite House, it was a large blue-and-white tiled build- 
ing covered with lovely bougainvillaea, its white pillared portico 
overlooking a perfectly barbered lawn to the glinting Nile. 
Here on a Sunday morning I joined the group of press men 
kept small for security reasons. There were only two correspond- 
ents, one British and the other American, and two Army Pic- 
torial Service men and myself. 

While we waited I showed the others the small plaster plaque 
of Mr. Churchill a street vendor had sold me. Thousands of 
tbese had been distributed over the city, bought by Egyptians 
wore pro-Allies to show those who favored the Axis. The 
done plaque emphasized Churchill's pudginess and his 
e cigar, though instead of the familiar fresh panatella, 
tbe artist had permitted hin\ only a stub. 

Qa die pillared porch double doors swung open. The Prime 
*fiiW$* ae*ged and trowed briskly down the steps, followed 
6 < >,; 

by secretaries and bodyguards. Raising my Speed Graphic, I 
snapped his picture. 

"Stop that!" he barked, his voice high-pitched. "Don't you 
shoot until I'm ready." 

He strode out in the sunlight and for several minutes readily 
smiled, waved and posed for clicking cameras and answered a 
few questions for the correspondents. When a secretary whis- 
pered some reminder the Prime Minister announced, "That's alL 
No more pictures." He turned and started for the porch steps. 

His cigar, I noticed, was a stub now like the one in the street 
vendor's plaque. I followed him, adjusting my flash equipment 
because of shade from the house. Only a few feet behind I called, 
"Mr. Churchill?" 

He turned. I snapped his inquiring look, cigar stub and all 

His pink, round face dyed red. Saying nothing^ he made one 
angry gesture; and before I could dodge, three of his followers 
closed in on me, one on either side, one behind. Hugging my 
camera because I thought they meant to seize it, I felt myself 
lifted and carried. Twenty feet away, one-two-threeheave. Jos- 
wick landed on the lawn. Hard. 

Anyway, my view of a surprised Prime Minister, holding the 
kind of bleak cigar stub a hobo might have, appeared on news- 
paper front pages all over the world. 

In my teens I had been fascinated by many a picture in Na- 
tional Geographic Magazine of wealthy Egyptians lolling on the 
afterdeck of a houseboat while servants cooled them with long- 
handled fans. "A luxurious home on the Nile," die caption read, 
and I added it to the list of things I intended to have some day* 

But on the river bank in Cairo as I watched the rich at ease 
on their houseboats my problem was: how could I support such 
a fancy menage on a buck sergeant's pay? Shrugging off an old 
daydream, I went home to dinner. 


In our Camera Unit, maybe in part because of the nature of 
our work, officers and noncoms very often passed off-duty hours 
together. One place Mattison, Iverson and I liked to visit of an 
evening was the famous Shepheard's Hotel. However, the al- 
ways starchily class-conscious British made it very dear that they 
considered Shepheard's bar exclusively an officers' club. To this 
we would not agree, and a dozen times Iverson and I had run 
the gauntlet of icy English stares. Feeling more than usually 
resentful one night, we whooped things up with some other 
Americans with extra vigor. 

Someone introduced me to the tenor with whom I had just 
finished a duet, an American named Kirk, a crisp, interesting 
civilian in his fifties. Later I was assured that Mr. Kirk was 
United States minister to Egypt, but I don't recall verifying this. 
Anyway as we sat talking, houseboats were mentioned, and he 

"I'm much too busy to use mine. Matter of fact, I'd be glad 
to get it off my hands." 

Td like to oblige you," I told him. "It's been one of my am- 
bitions to have a houseboat on the Nile. Of course, I can't swing 
it on my pay/* 

Mr. Kirk looked me over. "What would you say if I offered 
to sublet mine for say, ten pounds a month?" 

Ten pounds Egyptian translated to about thirty-five dollars. 
I stared at him. 'You're joking." 

"Not at all" He pushed back his chair. "If you're really inter- 
ested, let's take a look at my boat." 

Two happy jeeploads of us went to see it and after a ten-min- 
u& tour, feelmg a Utde daz^ 

m*L The houseboat had six rooms opulently furnished in North 
African motif, all Oriental carpets, satin divans and enormous 
pink, yeQow and green silk cushions. The craft could sleep five, 
its rooms in the middle, with open deck at bow and stern.Awog 

(Egyptian) servant was included in the deal, and quickly we 
set him to preparing refreshments for a houseboat-wanning. 

"By the way, try to keep your guests from falling in the Nile/* 
Mr. Kirk cautioned before he departed. 'It's full of sewage and 
dead animals. I'm told a Westerner migfct catch that repulsive 
liver disease that so many of the natives have." 

As our celebration went into high gear, sure enough, there 
was a splash off the stern. Someone shouted, "Man overboard!** 

He was a young British leftenant we knew only as Charlie. 
When I reached the scene Charlie was splashing about, urging, 
"C'mon in, chaps. 'S warm." We fished him out, and as he 
stood slimy and dripping Royal Mattison reminded in a low 

"Remember what Kirk said about the natives* liver disease? 
We'd better give Charlie a good scrubbing." 

I called the wog and ordered a hot bath prepared. Despite 
Charlie's protests that all he needed was to wash his face we 
peeled him to the buff and made him soap and rinse himself 
three times. To make sure of inner cleanliness we handed hm> 
three Army all-purpose pills and a half-tumbler of whisky. 

Charlie eyed the pills with disfavor, so I explained the risk of 
liver disease contagion. He downed the pills and up-ended the 
tumbler. Soon Charlie was snoring. All he caught was a repri- 
mand for not reporting for duty until three o'clock next after- 

I brought Hussan to manage the houseboat in addition to our 
apartment, and as Walter McGarrie said, the faithful seven-foot 
Hussan guarded both like two watchdogs. 

Relaxing on H. B. JoswicJ^, we felt a thousand miles from any 
war. Food, service and accommodations were the finest money 
could buy at a very favorable rate of exchange. To sit on deck 
with the wog waving one of those Egyptian broom-fans made 
you feel as important as Pharaoh. Often we had better enter- 


tainment and prettier dancing girls than any Cairo night club, 
though now and then when our parties grew a little noisy we 
were visited by MJVs. 

"All right, we'll quiet down/' I assured the pair who dropped 
in one night. 

The taller M J?. demanded, "Look, Mac, how does a noncom 
rate a layout like you got here?" 

"Yeah, this kind o livin's for generals," his partner agreed. 
"What's your racket?" 

"No racket. I rent this houseboat from United States Ambassa- 
dor Kirk." I hoped that was my Mr. Kirk, and if it was I was 
gladly promoting him from minister. 


"Kirk. You've heard of him? You see, men, we're Air Force 
cameramen attached to headquarters. We don't live on base. 
There's no regulation that says we can't have a houseboat." 

The tall MJP* strove to think of one. "Let's see your papers." 

Our photographers* credentials were enough to convince al- 
most anyone of anything. My USAAF pass, printed in English, 
French and Egyptian, requested the assistance of all unit com- 
manders and stated, "The bearer of this card will not be inter- 
fered with in the performance of his duty by the Military Police 
or any other military organization." 

"Geez." The MP. handed it back. "Say, will you try to hold 
down the noise? You know how it is, Sarge." 

We held down the noise, and the MJP.'s remained tolerant. 
Our occasional one or two day escapes aboard the Jostvic}^ from 
what Connie Iverson called "FJF." frightened photography 
made the Arabian Nights seem to come true all over again. 


7 ' Toughest Man in tk 

BY LISTENING to the talk of ground crews you learned which 
pilots the men considered outstanding. Everyone, of course, knew 
about Lieutenant Mike Kincaid who, in a burst of Texas 
whoopee, had buzzed a Bedouin camp and blown down all their 
tents. Those tough nomads penetrated to headquarters with their 
complaint, and Kincaid had had a hot moment on the carpet 
Anyway, because the ground crews agreed he was "one hell of 
a flier," I scraped acquaintance with him and suggested that I 
cover the next mission aboard his 6-24, Shanghai L> 

Kincaid was a wild little plainsman with only half a head of 
hair and a Panhandle drawl "Shuah, man, come along." 

That morning Shanghai Ltt was an early bird off the field. 
Below as we gained altitude some thirty more B-24's, engines 
ticking over, awaited their turns to take off. 

'Tlight gear retracted," we heard on the intercom. "Left gear 
does not retract." 

Shanghai Lil circled while our engineer worked on it. Number 
Four engine fell to sputtering, and quickly he changed his fuel 
mixture. She began to sing, then choked and died The engineer 
kept trying to make her catch but got only coughs. Back in the 
waist the two gunners and I avoided each others' eyes, each 
silently willing that engine to start As it stayed obstinately silent 
I felt uneasiness settle over me like a damp cloak. 


The mission today was to break up enemy troop formations 
near Sfax, Tunisia. We carried 250-pound fragmentation bombs 
to use on personnel and bundles of incendiary sticks to make bon- 
fires of their equipment. Incendiaries were designed to burst into 
several hundred degree fire at any hard blow for example, I 
reflected, a crash landing. Our fuel tanks were full, and fire 
could set off our bombs even though they were not yet fused, 
a chore the bombardier performed on the way to the target area. 
Going forward, I took a turn at the hand crank, but the left 
landing wheel stayed jammed. Pilot Mike Kincaid discussed mat- 
ters with the field. It was decided that with one engine dead and 
another beginning to falter, we lacked time to fly to sea to dump 
our load. We continued circling while our perspiring engineer 
worked to bring Number Four back to life. 

It became urgent to get down. Kincaid decided if we could not 
raise the left gear, we would lower the right one and go in. But 
now the right gear refused to lower. 

We strained and grunted, trying to hand-crank that wheel into 
position. Meanwhile our wing tanks were streaming fuel into the 
wind. When they were emptied Kincaid drawled, 

"Well gamble a belly landin' rather'n go skatin' in on one 
wheel. How about tryin' once moah to raise up that left gear?" 
It would not retract. Trying the right wheel a last time, we 
discovered that something fouled now had come clear. She 
readily cranked into landing position. That gave us one wheel 
down, the other cocked three-quarters down. 

Airfield control had halted the takeoff of bombers and sent 
those that remained waddling toward hardstand areas to leave 
us the widest possible clearance. Kincaid's Texas tones came over 
die intercom* 

"All you men sit on the floah. Use your parachutes for paddin 1 
against the bulkhead. You better be ready to scramble out o* this 
crate real fast when we stop." 

He paused "Heah we go." 

Propped against the outer wall, I gripped my camera and a 
stanchion and prayed that those incendiary sticks were not going 
to be touchy* As we dipped toward the ground I heard the sirens 
of meat wagons racing pessimistically to strategic posts. 

My heart felt sagging below my belt. Kincaid, I thought, you've 
got to take Lil in steady on three engines and set her down GIL 
one landing wheel you're not sure of. All with nine men aboard, 
plus high explosive and fire-makers as sensitive as a cat's whiskers. 
Prove you are the hell of a flier those ground crewmen daim! 

Half-rising to peer out, I saw how he aimed us along the edge 
of the tarmac because the sand beside it would be softer in case 
of a smash. Kincaid's first ground contact was a feather-light 
touch. Gingerly, he again tested our cocked wheel It held, so he 
put her down. 

I felt a hot wash of relief. We were racing along at two miks 
a minute, lopsided but safe . . . until our left wheel stumbfed 
into a slit trench. 

Violently, Shanghai Lil slewed around. Her left wing bashed 
down and crumpled. Two howling engines tore loose. Her nose 
dove into the sand, and her tail came up. There was a grinding^ 
tearing of metal. 

My head and shoulders were exposed to daylight, but my feet 
were trapped. Voices called, and I yelled, "Here!" I hugged my 
camera while rescue men chopped my feet free, then dragged 
me out away from the ship. In the crumpled wing fire tongued 
up. Dropping me, the men rushed back to get the others. 

Shakily I got up and sighted the camera. Through its finder 
while I caught some great footage I counted four, seven men 
clear. Yes, two more were over there. Then UZ exploded* 

I was knocked flat. Jumping up, fighting for breath, I ran, 
scooping up the Eyemo thirty feet away. When I looked back 
there was no Shanghai Lil, only a great leaping bonfire. 

Lieutenant Kincaid had a few face and hands scratches from 
shattered plexiglass; the rest of us had only minor bruises. Even 
my camera was undamaged. 

At the dispensary for checkups, a while later through its door- 
way we watched tie last of our bomber flight winging toward 
Sfax. Mike Kincaid drawled, "We got the day off. Anybody 
for poker?" 

Now called the First Combat Camera Unit, we always had a 
waiting list of assignments, some in the air, many on the ground. 
Occasional requests for special footage came from the Training 
Command in the States. One or another Unit man always trailed 
General Brereton and any visiting brass. Badly understaffed, we 
could cover only a third of the picture potential. One day I 
asked pippin Hank Carbart, 

"How about the Pentagon shipping out some more picture- 
snappers? 5 * 

He nodded. <c You and Kies are my only combat men now. 
McGarrie won't take any but ground jobs. I've been hoping a 
new bunch would get here. They're being trained at Hal Roach 
studios, called the First Motion Picture Unit." 

"Hoflywooders? A lot of glamor boys," I snorted, forgetting 
we had been sneered at in the same terms. "They aren't going to 
like brushing ack-ack off their chins." 

'Their leader," Carbart went on, "is some fellow who's been 
a professional adventurer, name of Scott. He wrote a book about 
his thrills and gives talks about 'em." He grinned. "Maybe he'll 
tel us about dining with a Zulu chief and exciting stuff like that." 
. I wondered about Mister Scott. Later Cliff Kies said, "Probably 
cue of those afternoon thrill peddlers to bored housewives in 
Gravel Switch, Iowa. Put him on a Naples raid and how'll he 

McGarrie tkmght hard* "Seems to me I heard this Scott talk 
somewhere back home. Sure, a great platform personality." Mac 

swore. "Why can't they ship us a few of the kind of guys we 

The Hollywood cameramen continued not to arrive and in 
the daily grind we forgot them. 

Every bomber you rode on a mission got more or less shot 
up, but if she brought you back you called that mission routine. 
Actually, not one lacked moments when you oozed perspiration 
in high altitude ten below zero while the thought nagged at you, 
Is my number up? 

In Big Boy as we began our target run over Reggio, the propel- 
ler of Number Two engine flew off. Hurtling back, it was for a 
split-second a grotesque can opener, cutting a twelve-foot gash 
in our roof. Icy gale poured in. At once the ship handled slug- 
gishly. Seconds were minutes as we let go our bombs, then hud- 
dled, freezing, while ack-ack exploded around us. Wobbling, 
tipping, Big Boy took a mauling from the ME-ioo/s until, hours 
later, it seemed, we were at last dose again to the warm earth* 

Over Gabes, Tunisia, I was making pictures across the tail gun- 
ner's shoulder when a hard blow knocked me to the floor. There 
was a warm cutting sensation inside my right thigh. Zipping 
open my flying suit, I found that I was bleeding near the crofcch, 
As I blotted at the slow-purling mess my heart hammered. The 
thought played like a neon sign, Will this prevent me from walk- 

At the feel of something hot in my trouser leg I located a small, 
ragged piece of sted. Staring at the ack-ack fragment, I could 
picture the mountain in Germany from which this ore had been 
dug. See it smelted, fashioned into a shell, shipped through Italy, 
transshipped to Africa. Dealt out to a particular antiaircraft bat- 
tery and at the precise instant in time, flung into the sky at a 
man from Chicago. 

Like film through a projector, those pictures ran through my 

I managed to stanch the bleeding, and when the tail gunner's 


business slacked off, he gave me a shot of morphine. Back at 
base, the medics kept me in hospital overnight, and for ten 
days I walked stiffly. But my spirits were high. I've had mine, 
I kept thinking. It wasn't much! Compared with what many 
men got, I felt I did not merit a Purple Heart. 

Those persistent Nazi fighter pilots over Italy invented a new 
technique for welcoming us. Each ME-iop carried a couple of 
25<>pound bombs. It would hover until B-24*s emerged from their 
bombing runs. Then choosing a 24 and climbing a thousand 
feet above it, the Nazi dropped a bomb with fuse set for the 
correct altitude. 

Our only defense coming from target was to change altitude, 
fast. But the trick cost us many fine crews and aircraft. 

Major John A. "Killer" Kane, often a mission leader, seemed 
to go unscathed because of sheer audacity and skill. Most pilots 
swore that you could not dive a 6-24; it was too cumbersome^ 
they said, and slow-responding. Yet, faced with German fighter 
planes beyond the ack-ack field, Kane would aim Dopey's nose 
at the ground. Riding with him, in 30 screaming seconds you 
raced through hell . . . but you got back to base. 

Rough in his manner, Kane was not a person to warm to. But 
he was highly respected as a tremendous fighting man. Of course, 
he was aware that I had lied at our first meeting when I claimed 
to know how to use a 50-caliber machine gun, and at our every 
encounter those fall and winter months I expected some sarcastic 
reminder, but none ever came. When I asked permission to ride 
a mission in Dopey he gave it^ and several times he asked to 
have my pictures screened for his pilots to study. 

Usually unshaven, he went about in torn, dirty fatigues. When 
JOB made some request, Kane's expression was like a bulldog's 
about to sink his teeth in your leg. One day, needing certain 
fbcfcage^ I asked him to appear in it. 

"What da you want?" 

"I want you, personally, Major. Footage to work in with shots 
of the squadron." 

"You expect me to get all prettied up?" disgusted. "Salad on 
and everything?" 

"As you choose, Major. These pictures will probably appear in 
movie houses Stateside." 

He seemed to measure me. "They will, eh? Give me fifteen 
minutes." He stalked off. 

Kane reappeared in exactly fifteen minutes dean-shaven and 
wearing a fresh uniform that bore all his ribbons. Probably it was 
the first time he had dressed up since the arrival of General 
Brereton. Without a single growl he posed emerging from his 
office, at the controls of Do fey and beside it^ conf erring with his 
crew chief. He showed no impatience while I changed film nor 
when I asked him to go through certain o the sequences again. 
He waved away everyone who came seeking his attention. 

Finished, I said, "Many thanks, Major.** 

Kane's sudden smile carried charm I had not supposed the 
man owned. "Any time^ Jerry. You're doing a great job." 

That, from a fighting perfectionist like Killer Kane, was like 
being admitted to membership in an exclusive dub. 

8 ' P-40's Piggy-Back 

BACKDROP for the portrait was the heat-shimmering desert In the 
foreground the naked man sitting in the bathtub happily soaped 
himself while I recorded the scene for history. 

Where the 343rd Squadron of the pSth Bombardment Group 
had "liberated** milady's white porcelain bathtub with its lionV 
paw feet^ no one would say, but wherever the 343rd went the 
tub always went too. When I happened to be in the area some- 
one was sure to call 

"Hey, Pictures. Take a shot of me in the tub?" 

A runner came up with a TWX message for me from Captain 
Hank Carbart in Cairo. It said our Hollywood reinforcements 
had just flown in; that Captain Scott had asked about me espe- 
cially; and if I could, to be at headquarters next morning to meet 
the new men. 

I shrugged, not expecting much. Nor did Kies, Iverson and 
McGarrie when, on the houseboat that evening, we discussed 
what the Hollywood people might contribute to our work. We 
had come to think of ourselves as case-hardened pioneers of high- 
le?d combat photography and felt skeptical about these come- 

Kfcs was especially skeptical. "Be around when they get back 
from their first mission,** he said. "Then youll be able to tell 
tie men from the boys." 

Ninth Air Force headquarters were in a modern downtown 
building where our Unit had offices on the third floor. In an 
anteroom Hank Carbart introduced us to the nine men of the 
incoming group. Nudging me, Iverson indicated their handsome 
tailor-made uniforms, then our open-throat, short-sleeved shirts 
and faded khaki pants cut off above the knee. Sometimes we 
wore the British bush blouse from which later some tailor drew 
inspiration for the famed Eisenhower jacket. We shunned decora- 
tions and at times even left off insignia of rank, but the new 
men glittered with every piece of jewelry they were entitled to 

Hollywood, I thought. Still, I did notice in introductions that 
this cameraman had been eight years with M.G.M. and that one 
had covered Central America for a newsreel. Possibly a few of 
these fellows knew something. Most, though, looked unripe. 

"How is living on the desert?" inquired a bald-headed little 
director of bedroom comedies. 

"Rough," Kies told him. '"When you wake up in the morning, 
before you move a muscle, call your buddy. Have him brush off 
the scorpions." 

"Scorpions? You mean right on the cot with you?" 

"Up to a dozen or so. They snuggle under your chin. Crawl 
under your blanket. See, desert nights are cold, and they're trying 
to find warmth. Whatever you do," Kies warned, "don't get 
stung. The Air Force won't say how many guys die from scor- 
pion bites. And I understand another thirty per cent go Section 
Eight." He gave a mining tap of his temple. 

Then becoming cheery, Kies clapped his victim's shoulder. 
"Well, if you're going to get it, you'll get it. Isn't that right?" 

Hank Carbart beckoned me to his office and I thought, Here's 
where I meet Mister Adventure. Let's hope he doesn't keep say- 
ing, "The way we do this in Hollywood " 

"Captain Scott," Carbart said, "here's the man you asked 
about, Sergeant Joswick." 


We shook hands. Carbart chatted with us a moment, then 
withdrew. Scott motioned me to a chair, swung a thigh over the 
corner of Carbart's desk and began to talk. He was more than 
six feet, strongly built, nearing forty and balding. His eyes were 
blue with a far-horizon look. His manner was confident. 

"I wanted to hitch a ride out to the base yesterday, hoping to 
make a flight with you," Scott began. "I thought what I learned, 
I could bring back to the rest of the men here, and bring you 
back too to talk to them. Scare us all a little." He smiled. 

"Too bad it didn't work out," I said politely. 

"Look, Joswick. I've been following your work. I've seen film 
from all war theaters and I can spot your touch every time. It's 
gutsy, but it has a sort of wild beauty. I hope you'll teach me a 
few of your tricks." 

The butter-you-up approach, I thought. "Thanks, Captain. I 
understand youVe had a lot of great experiences, some pretty 
hair-raising. Didn't you write a book about them? It must take 
nerve, for instance, to prowl through a wrecked Spanish galleon 
forty fathoms down. And to set a depth record for diving." 

"I only made the pictures. Now about " 

"And it must take almost as much nerve to face audiences, tell- 
ing about it, as to kill lions," I said. "Anyway, Captain, all those 
adventures you've had all over the world, plus your Hollywood 
experience, certainly give you the background this outfit needs. 
The good old professional touch. Though you might find things 
here duller than you expect. We cameramen only ride along. 
The air crews do the fighting and dying." 

Scott slid off the desk. "Is there some place we can get a cup 
of coffee?" 

"Coffee? In the cafeteria." 

He started for the door. "You can go on giving me both bar- 
ids there as well as here." 

We sat in the cafeteria two hours, but I did not continue my 
ribbing, I liked the way Jimmy Scott had stood it and I was 
fast coming to like him. Liked his questions about our film proc- 

cssing setup, how receptive to our work were the brass, what 
reactions came from the Pentagon. The man had a thousand 

At noon I left for a ground assignment, but next morning at 
headquarters we met again. I began to see that this fellow was 
a showman. He had both instinct and practical knowledge of 
what captured viewer interest, and how to make the pictures 
that would. There was an awful lot I could learn from him; in 
fact, we could learn from each other. Scott made me feel that 
better things were about to happen in Middle East combat 

"I've got a houseboat on the river," I said before leaving, 
"Care to risk poduck at dinner?" 

On the afterdeck that evening when he praised some of my 
work I interrupted, "Look, Jimmy, you can't possibly know my 
stuff as well as all that." 

"No?" He went to find his briefcase and pulled out a sheaf 
of onionskin sheets, "Here are a hundred or more of your 
captions. I know every shot they represent. Remember the 
bombers over Vesuvius? * Winging over historic Mt. Vesuvius, 
US AAF bombers carry full loads of high explosive to be dropped 
on enemy installations somewhere in Italy.* 

"Remember that cargo ship breaking in two? Tinpoint 
USAAF bombing of an Italian harbor prevents thousands of 
tons of materiel from reaching Nazi General Rommel's forces 
in North Africa.* Then that sequence of the ripped-open roof of 
the bomber" 

He reeled off half a dozen more captions and described the 
shots they accompanied, I broke in, "What's this all about, 
Jimmy? What's on your mind?" 

He slid forward in his chair. "Do you feel you fellows are 
covering this theater adequately?" 

"With our handful? WeVe only touched thirty per cent of 
the story that's crying to go on film." 

"Lack of facilities, lack of personnel, right? But we're getting 


those now. So first, I want to learn the techniques you've learned 
the hard way, that fit this kind of work." 

"And after that?" 

<r We'U do bigger things, much bigger. You and I will think 
out what and how. Meanwhile, I have to learn this trade. Where 
do you suggest I start?" 

He started two days later with 8-25*5. Carrying fragmentation 
bombs, they worked over the Afrika Korps in support of Mont- 
gomery. This kind of job kept your hair on end because 25*5 
dived almost like fighters. The troops threw up clouds of scrap 
iron, and if they failed to knock you out of the sky, Nazi fighters 
were waiting. When next I saw Scott he looked older. 

"How was it, Jimmy?" 

He stood silent a moment. "How can we let people Stateside 
know how it feels? These fly-boys are their sons, brothers, husr 
bands. But newsreels are all glamor and over too fast. They 
don't carry the jeel!* 

"I know. I've been wanting to do a complete story, say of an 
aerial gunner. How he lives: the desert, lack of water, sand in 
everything, even his food. Blazing heat. Boredom. The precious 
tie with home that mail call means to a man. Then the alert for 
a mission. Briefing. At dawn, jeeping out to the ship. Takeoff, 
heavily loaded. The long flight over water with nothing to do 
but think. The approach, over the target, getting away." 

Scott broke in, "A man or two hurt. An engine conked out. 
Can they make it back? They do, just. Later, the men trying 
to unwind. Interrogation. Our gunner goes back to his tent. 
Restless. He re-reads his girl's last letter, wonders what she's 

We looked at each other. "That's it, Jimmy. Kind of a feature." 
say. Jerry, that's the kind of thing we've got to 

keep the idea to ourselves for the present. We 
wbuld work out a detailed plan amounting' to a little story and, 
when tiie mosoent came, ask permission to make it. The time 

was not ripe, what with new men to break in and our entire 
Unit to be reorganized for a broader effort. 

Also, lines o authority were not clear. Mattison and Carbart, 
both captains, had shared our direction, then recently Mattison 
had received his majority. Scott, a captain, had been told in the 
States he would be in charge of cameramen but on arrival found 
himself outranked. Who-did-what would have to be settled by 
General Arnold when he came for his long-expected visit. 

I covered Arnold's arrival at Heliopolis, the huge British air 
field outside Cairo. In my finder as he climbed down from his 
plane I saw our welcoming brass surge forward and block my 
vision. "General, I can't see you," I called over their heads. As 
he spotted me, I waved to our C.O. and his staff to fall back. 
"Would you please get in the plane, General, and come out 
again so I can catch you alone?" 

The locals hurled black looks at me but reluctantly moved 
back. Hap Arnold turned and climbed aboard the ship. While 
he re-emerged down the ladder and walked toward me I kept 
the Eyemo running. 

When I lowered it he said, "Sergeant, haven't I seen you be- 

"Yes, sir. You picked me for the Special Photographic Unit 
at Boiling. Joswick, sir." 

The up-curving mouth that had earned Arnold's nickname 
became accentuated as he glanced toward his group of official 
greeters. "I made a damned good choice." He walked over to 
the waiting brass. 

A few days kter Royal Mattison got a chance to discuss our 
Unit's problems with the General. They were intimates, their 
friendship born years ago when Arnold had been a fledgling at 
Kelly Field, Texas, and Mattison just as much a fledgling as a 
newsreel man. Over the years while Arnold rose in rank, Mat- 
tison became known as the best newsreel man in the country. Of 
their dozens of meetings, this was merely the latest. 

The result was that Mattison was placed in charge of our Unit. 


Carbart was to run processing and supplies, and Scott the plan- 
ning and assignments. This gave us the better organization we 
had needed. Meanwhile, I was off doing my stint with the 

When I'd mentioned my plan to Carbart he looked at me in 
amazement. "A -40 is strictly a one-man ship. Even if you 
could squeeze aboard, there wouldn't be space for your para- 

"That's all right. This pilot I have lined up says we can both 
ride on his." 

General Eisenhower's North Africa army hundreds of miles 
to the west was using the P-39, a new and hot aircraft, but we 
still had the antiquated P-40. Well-built, it lacked the speed and 
the maneuverability of the Messerschmitt fighters it had to go 
against. The difference had to be offset by pilot ability. Be- 
cause we were making a good score in spite of using obsolescent 
equipment, I believed that our fliers' work ought to be known 
in the States. 

Lieutenant Jimmy Oppenheimer was with the 65th Squadron, 
57th Pursuit Group. The outfit was called the Fighting Cocks, 
with each plane bearing a rooster's head painted on it. Their 
officers' club tent -held the 65th's proudest possession, a bar made 
of bullet-riddled pieces of German planes they had shot down. 

We walked out to Oppie's ship, one of fifty on the flight line 
ready for immediate takeoff. He showed me the three machine 
guns in each wing and where fragmentation bombs could be 
slung underneath. Fuel tanks were inside the wings along with 
belts of ammunition. 

*Tf that ammo gets hit, won't the tanks blow up?" 

He shrugged. "I've had an oxygen cut-in made, Jerry, in case 
you want to go for a ride. Let's try you for size in the cockpit." 

The pilot's seat filled the area except for an eight-inch space 
behind it "Think you can crowd in there and take pictures over 
my shoulder?" 


Over six feet and weighing 170, I found it a shoehorn fit be- 
tween the back of his seat and the wall. The discomfort was 
awful. Testing this position and that, I decided my plan was not 
practical. Obviously, no one could bear to crouch in such a 
cramped position for the duration of a flight. 

"No, Oppie, afraid it won't work. There isn't enough^-** 

Every siren on the field came screamingly alive to drown my 
words. When hastily I began to crawl out, Oppie gestured me 
back. He waved to his crew racing out to show that he was al- 
ready at the aircraft. Climbing aboard, he began to pull on his 

"Here's your mask and there's the plug-in. Wedge yourself 
tight because we do lots of go-arounds. Ready?" 

Ready? I was ready to climb out. But the plexiglass canopy 
slid closed over us. The engine burst into a roar. From P-4o's 
ahead of us rose a fog of blowing sand. Dimly I made out a 
ground crewman riding our wingtip to hold the plane down, 
another perched on the opposite wing. Oppie trundled her for- 
ward for our turn at takeoff. Choking with sand, the wingtip 
men kept anxious watch on the plexiglass. 

Oppie waved. They jumped off and ran. He gave his engine 
the gun and as he raised his flaps we leaped forward like a robin 
off a roof. Whipped down the tarmac and followed the other 
ships lifting into the sky. 

"Bombers sighted, with fighter escort. Get your mask ready. 
How you doing, Jerry?" 

I was making footage over his shoulder as the airborne 40'$ 
fell into formation. My right foot was going to sleep. The other 
leg pained in its twisted position. Before I pulled on the mask 
I yelled in Oppie's ear, 

"Don't forget, we're both riding your parachute!" 

His look said if we should have need of that tandem arrange- 
ment ... he hoped it would work. 


9 ' The Unsung Carriers 

GLIMBING, we raced westward. Trying to vary my half-crouch, 
I found it impossible either to sit or to stand. There was no 
other position, nothing to be done about numbness slowly surg- 
ing over my ankles. The best thing seemed to be to keep my 
thoughts on making pictures. 

Oppie pointed ahead, but I could see no oncoming planes. 
He was in radio discussion with his flight leader. We leveled 
ofi with suddenness that jammed me tighter behind his seat. 
The squadron was breaking into small groups with Oppie leader 
of a five-plane V, 

Now I could see specks glinting like mica in the sun. They 
enlarged to enemy aircraft, some twenty bombers and, flitting 
about their perimeter and above and below, a couple of dozen 
fighters* The set plan in defense of their attack was for part of 
OIF force to go after the fighters while another part concentrated 
oa the bombers. Evidently, our job was not against the bombers, 
for Oppie veered toward those M&iog's on the seaward flank 

We were climbing again. Despite brilliant sunshine it seemed 
chiHy in the dosed cockpit, or was that cold perspiration? My 
caiuer* pprring over Oppie's shoulder, I felt my stomach turn 
watery as, level with eight Nazi fighters, our five 40'$ roared at 
them on collision course. 

At the last instant Oppie swung away. My camera banged his 
helmet. Our wingmen followed us without loss of a yard. 
Amazed, I saw that we and the Nazis now were joining in a 
sort of flying square do-si-do. No shot was fired. If they changed 
altitude, we did. As the two groups sparred like prizefighters 
I caught dear glimpses of intent German faces. 

One Nazi pilot must have spied an advantage. He spun his 
ship on a dime and with guns blazing came at our left wing- 
man. Instantly all respect on both sides vanished Planes were 
everywhere, killer charging at killer. 

Our wingman went spinning down toward the serene Mediter- 
ranean. A 109 loomed hugely in front of us, its guns spitting 
ours spitting back. His shadow made me duck as he flashed 
overhead. Next instant my lungs lifted, my head tried to get 
down to where my feet were and I caught a nauseating mixup 
of sea and sky. 

Shaken by what pilots called the G's when momentum hurls 
too much blood to the brain or too much away from it, I realized 
we had come out of a loop. That 109 was below us, with an- 
other. Qppie dived, giving them our full fire power. They sepa- 
rated but we chased one and you could see pencil splinters flying 
off his tail. He made away from there fast. His course erratic, 
he fled toward Tunisia. 

Oppie was jockeying with another of the master race. They 
staged a brief go-around until a third enemy tried to slice be- 
tween and destroy us. Oppie got his head banged again with my 
camera as he stood us on a wingtip. He flattened and drove 
slanting at an exposed 109 belly. Our P-40 shivered under full 
throttle and all chattering machine guns. We could not miss . . . 
but the 109 pulled away. 

Not believing that he still could fly, I kept searching for Him in 
the sky. White streaks crossed our wrap-around plexiglass, and 
Oppie and I were splashed with fragments from the row of 
black dials in front of him. I felt frosty air across my neck and a 


glance back showed a ruler-straight row of holes in our canopy 
above me. 

Oppie? I grabbed his shoulder. He nodded. Bkck smoke be- 
gan to trickle up through our floorboards. Oppie swung us away 
from the snarling pack and gingerly tested his controls. The 
smoke died away. Perhaps an oil line had caught fire from a 
tracer but it seemed to have gone out. 

As we turned back to business my look overside was in time 
to see an airplane flatly smacking the blue sea. It rebounded, then 
exploded in one puff of black smoke. That ME-iop we had hit. 

What happened from then on in our part of the sky seemed 
to be sheer confusion. Nausea rose and fell in my throat from our 
constant pinwheeling, diving, climbing. Automatically, I kept my 
camera purring over Lieutenant Oppenheimer's right shoulder. 
At feel of its increased vibration I slipped off my gloyes and 
threaded a new spool of film. More footage of blank sky, more 
109*5 with guns blazing, more Swastikas streaking past. 

Of a sudden, puzzlingly, the Nazis withdrew. Was the dog- 
fight over? We coasted down several thousand feet and began 
to make sedately for home. Oppie explained by signs that the 
bombers had been turned back. When we got to 8000 feet he 
pulled off his mask. 

"We nailed one, Jerry! Did you get a picture of it?" 

Going in to land, we discovered it was our braking system that 
had briefly been afire. Our Fighting Cock rolled unchecked all 
the way to the south limit of the field and at last mired in soft 
sand. Oppie pushed back the canopy and climbed out. I tried to 
Mow but could not move. There was only a frozen feeling 
from my thighs down. My ribs and shoulders ached from being 
hammered back and forth between seat and cockpit wall. 

Three crewmen and Oppie managed to lift me out, stiff as a 
cadaror, and ease me to the ground. Stretched there, I wanted 
to ydl as the prick of a million hot needles reported circulation 

beginning to seep back to knees, legs and feet. Teeth clenched, I 
could only beat my fists on the ground while the men massaged 
my legs and sensation slowly returned. 

"Hey, look!" someone cried. 

Eight German fighter planes came roaring in from the sea. 
The only two P-40*s still in the air abandoned landing plans to 
climb and challenge them. On the ground other 40*$ hastily 
revved up their engines and took off. 

The one-sided battle was brief and merciless. One P-4<> dived 
smoking beyond a dune. The other caught fire. But he must have 
struck a vital blow, because a Nazi plane went into a mad spin. 

A parachute puffed open and we saw the enemy pilot dangling. 
Over several minutes we watched the breeze carry him toward a 
far edge of our airfield. 

A jeep loaded with GFs raced out to meet Him. His altitude 
had not been great and he struck earth 400 yards from us. The 
parachute dragged him, then collapsed. He lay stilt Men from 
the jeep were running to help him. 

"Watch it!** growled a crewman beside me. 

The Nazi wavered to his feet. He drew a pistoL The lead GI, 
perhaps ten yards from the pilot, spun around and went down. 
The German took careful aim and the second man pitched full 
length. The tardy sound of shots reached us. 

The third man had hurled himself flat. Raising his head with 
caution, he began to use his 45. A second jeepload roared up. 
Two of the men jumped off and took careful aim with M-i 
carbines. The Nazi sank to the ground. 

The men near me stomped about, cursing. "Why \rouldn*t 
he stick his hands up? n 

"They fMnlc we torture prisoners, so they might as well go 
down fighting. The fools!" 

Propped on my knees, I kept thinking, what a picture . . . but 
I missed it. 


Our P-40 film was a sensation. Screened for the Fighting 
Cocks, word of it spread to other squadrons and requests came 
for more of the same to be used Stateside for instruction. Off 
and on for several weeks I rode with fighters and always after- 
ward suffered the painful cost in returning circulation. Cliff Kies 
and I got on film almost every aerial tactical situation and kter 
put together the story of the American fighter plane pilot in the 
Middle East. 

Working with one squadron, then another, I came to know 
how ground crews died a thousand deaths sweating out their 
pilots' return. With the German fliers adept and their planes 
superior, no pilo^ I'm certain, expected to reach middle age. 
If a familiar face was missing when you visited an airfield it was 
the worst possible blunder to ask, "Where is So-and-so?" Some- 
one would hurriedly introduce another topic. 

The men grew to know me by my camera. "Say, Pictures, 
will you give this ten bucks to Joe Lahey? Tell him it's from 
Bhiedom of the 57th. He'll know." 

"Joe Lahey? Where will I see him?" 

"He's a navigator out at Lydda. We had a bet and he won. 
You don't needa know him Joe knows you. When he asks 
about the 57th, you'll remember." 

Everything about making fighter plane pictures held fascina- 
tion except the cameraman's cramped position. Even a small man 
could neither sit nor stand but had to maintain a half-croucl^ 
meanwhile being shaken like a pea in a thimble until the flight 
ended. The remedy was to have cameras fastened under the 
wings and on kter models some were. 

Our expanded Camera Unit was producing more and better 
footage because of efficient planning, assigning and processing. 
More imagination was used, a great deal of it supplied by Jimmy 
Scott. He flew as many missions as anyone and never asked a 
maa to take a risk he was unwilling to take himself. 

Of the Hollywood group most soon won the oldtimers' respect, 
but we were not sorry when a few wangled transfers to more 
peaceful sectors. A man we shall call Hanson, son of a high- 
ranking officer, had had much to say about his eagerness to fly 
combat but on his first 8-25 ride suffered a change of heart. 

"I'm through. No more of that!" he hold Connie Iverson. 

Scott gave him a fatherly talk* It ended in hot words, then an 
order. Wearing a sour look, Hanson departed on a mission over 
Naples. Returning crews reported his 6-24 last seen afire and 
going down. All aboard were presumed lost. 

Feeling responsible for Hanson's death, Scott shut himself 
in his office for half a day. Emerging he vowed, "I'll never again 
order a man to fly combat. I'll ask, but I won't order." 

A week later he flew a mission over Reggio, in the Italian boot. 
His bomber was shot up approaching the target and beyond k 
suffered two men wounded and severe damage from an altitude 
bomb. Only by a miracle of aerodynamics and flying skill was 
Thunder Bird at last belly-landed on Malta. 

An hour later as the pilot and Scott were going up a flight 
of stairs to their quarters, they met Hanson coming down. 
Through some communications error his bomber's safe arrival 
had not been reported. 

Back in Cairo when Hanson's next turn came to fly he flatly 
refused. "Go ahead, rip off my wings," he defied. "Court martial 
me. Fm just not going to fly!* 5 Scott gave Him assignments on the 

Probably Jimmy Scott sensed from the first, as I had, that we 
were going to become fast friends. We had every interest in 
common and no man made a stauncher friend. Both of us were 
eager to try out our film fcaturette idea, and perhaps the first 
one we so carefully put together was our best, the story of Snow 
White Squadron aground and aloft. It opened in Texas the day 
ihe crews were formed, showed their weeks of training until 


they gradually became teams, then were sent to the Middle 
East. Here we showed desert maintenance and how fliers and 
ground crews lived, worked and fought and had precious little 
time or opportunity to play. 

At one point we needed footage of a 6-24 in evasive action 
against fighter planes, ending in a full-power dive. Al Redford, 
one of Killer Kane's pilots, obligingly took Scott and me in an 
empty bomber to 24,000 feet. His evasion tricks ended, he aimed 
her nose down for a stomach-churning charge at the earth. It 
made a great picture. 

Next, wanting to give fresh treatment to a bomber landing, 
Scott decided we needed a close view of the wheels touching, 
then the ground racing past. We persuaded the crew to unhinge 
the bomb bay doors so he could lie on his stomach and grind 
away with his camera only a few feet from the earth. 

I sat astride Scott's legs to prevent him from spilling out head- 
first. Our pilot made an easy landing but at once it became 
evident that the runway was full of holes and bumps. When we 
stopped, Scott was gray-faced and hemorrhaging at the mouth. 
The pilot called an ambulance, and we rushed him to the hospital. 
Waiting for word from the doctor, I paced the floor. What a fool 
thing for us to do! 

However, he got over it. "Remember my telling you," Scott 
said, "that some adventures are the result of faulty planning? 
You saw the truth of it that time." 

One day, wandering in a jeep far out on the desert, we dis- 
covered a huge ammunition dump abandoned by the retreating 
Germans. It was unguarded and apparently forgotten. Scott and 
I poked around, wondering what might be useful for picture- 
taking among great piles of artillery and mortar shells, land and 
antipersonnel mines, small arms ammunition and hand grenades. 
When we found box after box of cordite I got an idea. 

TLefs How up a dune. We'll need a big shower of sand for 

a cut-in shot sooner or later. Call it mines blowing up, or what 
happens when an artillery shell hits/' 

We blew up a small dune. It made such a graceful shower of 
sand that we blew up a larger one for the pleasure o watching. 
Soon, happy as kids on an old-fashioned Fourth of July, we got 
out shovels to bury pockets of cordite around the base of tie 
highest dune in the area. The explosion felt like an earthquake. 
Sand was still beautifully raining over a 5oo-foot circle when a 
British captain in a desert buggy came racing out of nowhere. 

"I say, Yanks," he called, alighting, "would you mind leaving 
off the detonations for a bit? We're working staff problems over 
the next rise. The noise is deuced distractinV 

Glancing around he added, "May I awsk what's your pur- 

Scott explained, "We're just taking a few pictures/* 

He studied us. "Really? Pictures?*' Frowning, he got back in 
his buggy. "By jove!" he marveled while his driver got under 

Next we made a complete story of the Troop Carrier Com- 
mand. The men in this branch were almost unheard of back 
home because there was little glamor in hauling lumber or air- 
craft parts. Yet the great C-47*s often made it possible, by rushing 
in crucially needed materiel, for our fighters and bombers to 
keep flying. And their personnel had no lack of anxiety because, 
with the planes unarmed, their sole defense was the pilots' skill 
at evasion. 

In making this picture I rode one day in a 47 so loaded with 
drums of urgently needed aviation gasoline that the pilot and I 
had to crawl on our bellies over the top of the load to reach the 
cockpit. "She handles like a spavined horse," he commented in 
the air. 

Matters went all right until we approached our delivery point, 


a fighter group base. We found it under attack by enemy me- 
dium bombers well guarded by fighters. 

"We ought to get the hell away from here," Lieutenant 
O'Meara muttered. "But except in those drums, we haven't 
fuel enough." 

"They've seen us. They'll come after and nail us, won't they?" 

"If they're smart they will." He held radio conference with the 
pilots of two similarly loaded C-47's trailing us. A decision was 
made to go in for a landing at 300 feet, under the bombers. "This 
has to be quick," O'Meara warned. "Pull your belt tighter and 

The big ship bounced heavily, settled and raced full power 
for the farthest corner of the field where there were no other 
aircraft to attract the Nazis* interest. We stopped, shut off the 
engines and jumping off, ran to slit trenches. The other 47'$ 
rolled to a halt an eighth of a mile away, and their crews followed 
our example. 

Behind us the fighter base was still taking a pasting. Here and 
there portions of the runway spouted up or a truck or a mainte- 
nance quonset hut or groups of tents. Our few P-4o's in the air 
were scrappy hut were held off by the 109*5. After what seemed 
an hour in which we expected every moment to have a direct 
attack, the Nazis, perhaps running low on fuel or ammunition, 
decided to go home. 

From that Troop Carrier Command picture we hoped people 
Stateside gained some appreciation of the kind of men we had 
flying aerial boxcars. 

The first 6-24 Heavy Bomber base at Bengazi, Libya, North Africa, 
1941, (Courtesy, Capt. John D. Craig.) 

Capt. John D. Craig aiming his Eyemo camera from a 6-24 Liberator. 
The camera mount was his own design and there is an "ami-freeze" 
cover on the camera. 

Flak damage to returned 6-24'$ in North Africa. 

B-24 on fire over Southern Italy; German fighter at upper right. 

Precision bombing of German aerodrome on the island of Crete. 
(Official USAF photo.) 

B-24 cracbp on return to North African base, (Courtesy, Capt. 

B-25 Mitchell medium bombers blast German gun sites on the 
Volturno line, north of Naples. (Official USAF photo.) 


A 8-24 wheds through the hell of the Ploesti refineries in Rumania. 

Fires rage during the Plocsti raid. Joswick was the only surviving 

B-26 Marauders precision-blast the Presistina RR yards of Rome, 
IQ44. (Official USAF photo.) 

C-4/s tow gliders to France on D-Day, over the invasion flotilla. 
(Official USAF photo.) 

C-47's release gliders full of troops to land at their objective near 
Cherbourg on D-Day. (Official USAF photo.) 

Men and vehicles storm ashore June 6, 1944, to land in the Normandy 
invasion, (Official USAF photo.) 

The 8th Air Force plasters the Brest peninsula shortly after D-Day, 
pounding German gun positions. (Official USAF photo.) 

A B-24 crashes after bombing Germany, riddled by Axis fighters. 
The crew survived. (Official USAF photo.) 

Destruction of Aachen, Germany, by the gth Air Force and artillery, 
1945. (Official USAF photo.) 

Pilots and crews utilize their treasured bathtub in North Africa. Tub 
carried about by 98th Bombardment group. (Official USAF photo.) 

Joswick (on left) and fellow cameramen Beerman, Lopatin, 
Buscaino, (?), and Mask, taken in France in 1944. 

1 ' Rome, and Ajter 

THOUGHT of going on a month's leave grew more alluring as I 
pondered it, for of late suspicion had grown in me that I was 
tired, mentally and physically. Since leaving the States I had 
had only an occasional weekend pass, and the continual tensions 
had been fraying, whether in high altitudes, dodging among 
sand dunes with commandos or riding figjbter planes piggyback. 
Hardest on one's morale was the steady loss of friends made and 
tested under stressthis man in a takeoff accident, that one 
claimed by ack-ack, a third last seen riding his fighter plane 
into the sea. 

All these were cumulatively wearing. They were beginning 
to rob my sleep of complete rest and my waking hours of calm. 
I knew that I had had almost enough for a whik of desert living 
and fighting. 

The idea of my leave originated with Jimmy Scott Sitting 
with his feet on his desk he said, "You've piled up more combat 
hours than anyone else. Fm going to get you f ticket home if 
you'll do just two more missions.'* 

"Why two? Something special about tixan, Jimmy?" 

"That's what I'm given to understand. Well find out as they 
come along." He held up two fingers. This many, then you 
head home. Is it a deal?" 


Only two more missions had an easy sound. "Sold," I agreed, 
and the first came along within a few days. 

It was June, 1943. Since Lieutenant General Montgomery had 
started his great push the previous October at El Alamein, the 
entire Middle East war picture had changed. We of the gth 
AAF had come in to support Monty, together with shiploads 
of American-made tanks, trucks, artillery and ammunition. To 
the west, at Oran, Algiers and Casablanca, 300,000 Americans 
and British under Lieutenant General Eisenhower had landed 
in November. Over the winter and spring months the Mont- 
gomery-Eisenhower armies relentlessly squeezed General Erwin 
Rommel until, in May, leaving the remnants of his once-dreaded 
Afrika Korps to their fate, the Desert Fox had flown back to 

North Africa was wrested from Axis control. On June n the 
Allies seized Italy's island of Pantelleria. Probably Sicily would 
see our next landing, and after that must follow an assault on 
the mainland. 

Italy's ports had been subjected to persistent bombing by the 
British air arm and our pth, but her greatest freight distribu- 
tion point for war materiel up and down the peninsula had never 
known the shadow of a 6-24. This was the vast railroad mar- 
shalling yard at Rome. The Allies had refrained from bombing 
Rome lest world-wide repercussions result if, accidentally, dam- 
age was done to neutral Vatican City, seat of the Roman Catholic 
Church, and to the Eternal City's priceless treasures of architec- 
ture and art. 

Aware o Allied reluctance to risk the accusation, "Bar- 
bariaas!" and feeling safer because of it, the Axis was using 
the Rome yards to their fullest capacity. In tun^ this brought the 
issoe pressing for solution. The AAF believed that in view of our 
grearfy iBQprovi bombing accuracy the risk of damage to the 
wroog installations was small, and at last permission for the raid 
came from oar Supreme Command. 

A condition General Eisenhower laid down was that anyone 
who, for religious reasons, preferred not to fly this mission would 
be excused. It illustrates the men's confidence in their bombing 
technique that not one person begged off. 

I was to fly with Lieutenant Colonel Blyer, pile* of Witch. 
Blyer was in command of the mission. The thought kept re- 
peating, How can I get something special in the way of pictures? 

What about that big Bell and Howefl camera we used for 
studio work? It weighed 70 pounds but it had a three-lens turret 
and a 4OO-foot film magazine. Meant for tripod use, of course; 
but let's see, a 8-24 had a trap door a quarter of the distance 
back from its waist. I rushed out to a jeep and hurried to get the 
camera at our Cairo laboratory. Over the next 24 hours the 
ground crewmen helped me mount the B and H looking down, 
with a switch to start it shooting. This would allow die camera- 
man to tend a waist gun and also use his hand-camera for extra 

We were proud when we got the Bell and Howefl ready. Then 
Witch was scratched from the mission for some mechanical 
trouble. Blyer, his crew and I moved to another aircraft. There 
wasn't time to build another setup for the big camera, so I 
went to work on the straps of my bedroll to make a harness that 
fit over my shoulders and back to hold the camera against my 

"What's that rig all about?** Blyer asked when I showed up to 
board the bomber. I explained and he said, "You mean you 
plan to open the trap and lie down over it and shoot pictures? 
You cant wear a parachute while you do that,** 

U I won't need a parachute, Jim, for a few minutes." 

"Those few minutes are when you need it most.** He weighed 
tifae matter. "You picture guys!** He waved me up the ladder. 
"Maybe you're j0t crazy enough to get away with it.** 

Climbing aboard, Blyer called Corporal Henderson, his left- 
waist gunner. "Hendy, will you try to keep an eye on this 

fellow? I want to enjoy a few more evenings on his houseboat." 

Leading the flight of 80 heavy bombers, halfway across the 
Mediterranean we encountered engine trouble* Number Four 
stuttered and died. Our engineer got it started but again it 
stopped. Again he managed to start it. Now Blyer faced a 
difficult decision. 

Should be continue? Or relinquish his command and turn 
back? If we kept on and that engine failed at a critical moment, 
and stayed dead, loss of the leader could jeopardize the success 
of the entire mission. 

Blyer conferred with his co-pilot and engineer. "We'll go 
through with it," he decided when Number Four started up 

When the first German fighters came lunging at us I opened 
the trap door. My intention was at first to kneel beside it, but 
&e immediate fierce suction from our prop wash pulled me flat. 
Carefully I got the camera adjusted so that, propped on knees and 
elbows, I could see through the finder and work its shutter. 

The two waist gunners nearby were burning up 50-caliber 
ammunition at attacking Macchis, Fiats and ME-iop's. With 
muscles straining in this uncomfortable position, I made a suc- 
cession of wonderful scenes. Now the marshalling yards were 
starting, a vast spider web of storage and switch tracks. Four 
miles east of Vatican City, they were the San Lorenzo yards 
through which all rail freight southbound through Rome had to 

At "Bombs away!** I felt the aircraft lift, and through the 
yfer followed our thousand-pound eggs earthward. Engrossed, 
I was only vaguely aware of fogginess gathering in my brain. 
Narcosis, the medks call it. Strangely, though I was looking 
down oa Rome, I was seeing in my mind the peaceful lawns 
and shade trees of Garfidd Park, Chicago. Seeing myself playing 
OB its sunny courts. After the game, resting and watch- 

ing other players, then a cool drink and banter with my friends 
as we wandered home to a pleasant dinner and an idle summer 
evening. . . . 

Henderson felt a tug on his earphone cable. He glanced 
around from his machine gun to find me bending almost like a 
chicken wishbone into the trap door opening. Any instant my 
back would snap. Then I would plunge out after the tugging 
Bell & HowelL 

Rushing over, Henderson grabbed my ankles. He was slightly 
built and needed help, but the right-waist gunner was too fran- 
tically trying to keep Nazis from murdering us to run over to 
aid him. With one foot propped against a steel support, Hendy 
exerted almost superhuman strength. Inch by inch he somehow 
hauled me back aboard. He slammed the trap closed, then dis- 
covered I had gone unconscious because my knee on the tube 
had cut off my oxygen supply. Making certain that it now worked 
freely, Henderson, all but exhausted, reeled back to his battle 

In two or three minutes I felt normal. Our bomber was well 
beyond the target area but still having setup's with figjhter planes. 
Cautiously, I reopened the trap door. Henderson shook his head 
violently. But, careful to keep my oxygen tube and earphone 
cable clear, I settled myself more securely over the opening and 
with one hand worked the camera. Anxiously, Henderson kept 
darting back and forth between his station and me, checking on 
how matters progressed in both places. 

That Rome raid brought no complaint of damage to peace- 
ful institutions* The yn^rgKalling yards were of little use to the 
Axis for a couple of weeks, and as soon as tfaey were restored 
the Allies mauled them again. 

The big Bell and Howdl gave us many finr, sharply etched 
pictures, but rny back pained for two weeks, and somehow I lost 
interest in further studio camera work outdoors. At least I was 


one mission nearer to getting that ticket Stateside. And Corporal 
Henderson was the honored guest at the most gala evening we 
ever had aboard HJB. JoswicJ^ on the Nile. 

Stories appeared from time to time in Stars and Strifes, the 
Army newspaper, noticing our work. One of the first accounts 
used a headline which was typical of the paper's approach in 
many follow-ups about our Unit: "Camera Man Drops Camera 
To Man Gun." These stories helped us to win acceptance and, 
of course, added to our sense of doing a useful work. 

In the early months very few decorations were handed out, 
but later, when there were some to be awarded, General Brereton 
liked to put on quite a show. He would assemble his aides and 
their staffs on what served as a parade ground and often have 
any outside troops available standing at attention. At these 
affairs we picture-snappers had our own taken by headquarters 
sdit-cameramcn. While Brereton pinned on a decoration he 
liked to growl, <r Now you fellows know what I have to go 
through when you take my picture," but everyone knew he 
enjoyed the ceremony. The only person who didn't seemed to 
be our "slop artist" darkroom man. He kept threatening that 
next time he found a shot in his tank of one of us being decorated, 
he would wash it out. I think, he really did long to ruin those 
pictures, through some odd jealousy or resentment; but Kies, 
Scott and I threatened to break his neck, so the prints he tossed 
at us always were perfect. 

Again Jimmy Scott and I sat in our third floor downtown 
office, the door dosed. This was hush-hush. 

'Three 133. bomber groups have flown dowa from England/* 
he told me, "With what we have, the total is two to three 
hundred heavies. They've taken over two fields, Bengasi and 
Booina, aud they're practicing low-level bombing.** 

"Any idea of the target?** 

TMboc. Nor takeoff date. But Fd like you to handle our 

coverage for this whole mission. Decide which men you want 
and collect equipment for an indefinite period. I'll get a truck 
for you somehow." Scott added, "Jerry, this looks like the biggest 
thing yet." 

For my assistants I named Andy Panacek, Tom Torrington, 
Ernie Evans and Sam Papaglou. Torrington?" Scott ques- 
tioned. "Seems to me you two generate a lot o friction. Of course, 
he wants your job, but there can only be one tech sergeant. And 
you know how Papaglou is, likely to brood about his family 
while he soaks up bottles of that sickening wog zibib. Also, Pap 
was a studio grip, not a cameraman.** 

Til get along with Torrington," I promised. Tour o us can 
handle cameras, and Papaglou can drive the truck and look after 
our equipment. 5 * 

Scott undertook to notify the men while I began to list the 
supplies we would need for a possible several weeks* stay. Three 
days later with our five personnel aboard a six-wheeler crammed 
with equipment, we started the 700 mile trek into Libya, 

The roads, we found, had been so thoroughly chewed up by 
the armies that time and again we got stuck. The days were so 
baking hot that we could push on only at nigjit. On the fifth 
morning we rolled into Bonina, second of the airfields where 
Operation Soapsuds was being rehearsed. 

Killer Kane, now a colonel and still head of the p&h Bombard- 
ment Group, knew of our coming. "Make yourselves at home,** 
he said with a wave of his hand. We joined a chow line and later 
set up our tents a&d got settled. 

Out in the desert the engineers had arranged a row of white- 
washed fuel drums to outline several square miks that repre- 
sented the unnamed target area. Each night Arabs sneaked up 
and stole some of the drums and each dawn the engineers re- 
placed them. By seven-thirty every morning our bombers were 
hard at their practicing. 

Their training had drilled into pilots never to fly at less than 

a couple of hundred feet. Now they were told to hold only 
30 feet altitude. "Must be we're going in under the radar," they 

It was difficult and dangerous to hold a 8-24 so low. She was a 
lumbering aircraft, slow to respond. This was not crucial to flight 
at high altitudes but at 30 feet a sudden down-draft could bash 
a ship into the ground. An up-draft could throw it into a stall, 
or against another aircraft. 

Wandering about, camera in hand, I heard the pilots com- 
plain. "Listen, Colonel, you just can't keep a 24 that lowl" 

"Every rime you guys came back from a mission you buzzed 
the field," Kane growled. "I ought to have court martialed every 
damned one of you for it. Now I'm giving you permission to 
buzz." He stalked away. 

Occasionally, a bomber inadvertently belly-landed and went 
skidding along in ballooning dust and sand. Now and then a 
dipped wing touched and brought the ship slewing around to 
a kthal crash. Or a bomber's nose ripped up, and pilot and co- 
pilot perspiringly fought their controls. 

"We can't fly these at thirty feet," they protested. 

"You damned well are going to learn to!" 

Practice went on day after day and no one knew how long 
it would continue. "Until you learn to fly," Kane repeated, and 
no doubt other Group commanders told their men the same. 

Evenings in lamplighted tents there was endless speculation 
as to our target. "Some big dam in Northern Italy," many 

"Turin, if you ask me. That's the biggest Eyerie munitions and 
aircraft town." 

*1 figure we must be going to Albania." 

A faairsb kugh. "What's worth blowing tip in Albania?" 

I s iavigat3ors got out their dividers and maps and drew arcs 
rq>resenting a 8-24*5 maYimnm range from Libya, then studied 
each Biflopeaa name for a dbe, and speculation continued. 

As to pictures, each squadron had a photographer, I knew, 
though most of these men took only stills. Besides, how many 
would fly the mission? I decided to plan the job my own way 
and, touring both air fields as the five Groups worked out, 
pondered the best means to get coverage in low-level flight. 

I had assigned each of my cameramen to a Group, taking the 
p8th myself. Q course, it was uncertain whether four of us would 
actually go on the mission for already Andy Panacek was vacil- 

"Look at it this way," he argued. "Why's everything so 
blamed mysterious? Because the brass know we're gonna be 
caught like rats in a trap, that's why. 9 * 

Recognizing the symptoms, I made no comment but drew an 
imaginary line through Panacek's name. 

Traveling up to 300 miles an hour and 30 feet off the ground 
pictures taken at right angles from a bomber's waist would be 
one great blur. Only acute photo angles were acceptable, plus 
straight-ahead or straight-tack shots. How, I wondered, can I 
make low-level flying work to my advantage? 

I tackled Captain Cal Stone, engineering officer of the gSdb. 
"Brackets to hold cameras outside the ships? Sure, I can make 
'em. But how will you control those cameras? And what wffi 
prop-blasted dust and sand do to your lenses?" 

I explained that we would mount the still cameras on Ac 
underside of several 24% pointed down at a 45 angle, aimed 
at mirrors. The mirrors would give the view rearward aad also 
serve as windscreens. Control would be by intervekmeters in 
the cockpits, set to work shutters every five seconds oocc started 
on nearing the target. Stooe and I sketched out a camera bracket 
and another for the mirror and he wrote down the "order" for 
his men to fabricate. 

As to movies, I thought, what better spot for the cameraman 
than in a belly turret? However, our MkkBe East bombers had 
long ago had their turrets taken off because too often they 


bashed into uneven desert runways and breaking loose, snapped 
off tail assemblies. But the 6-24*5 brought from England had 
belly turrets and had been using cement runways. I sought out 
Colonel Edward Tirnberlake. 

"We're taking those turrets off, Sergeant. They've given us 
too much grief." 

Nothing for it, then, but to take movies as usual, over the 
shoulders of pilots, from the bomber's tail and at acute angles 
from waist apertures. 

Several times when high officers flew in, the word went around 
that takeoff was near; but each time the brass conferred, then 
flew away. Until, late in July, two moves struck us as significant. 
Guards were doubled around both fields and redoubled around 
the planners* isolated tent colony; and Brigadier Uzal Ent, a one- 
time clergyman, flew in and stayed. That might mean Ent was 
to lead the mission. 

Speculation went into high gear. "It's a suicide job. Else why 
risk 24*8 so low to drop such big eggs?" was the guess many of 
us found most disturbing. The conviction spread that ours was 
indeed deliberately planned as a one-way mission. 

The men fell moodily silent. Some went off alone. Others 
devoted all extra time to writing letters. Curious whether the 
sick call list would mount, I checked it daily but could notice 
no sudden rush of illnesses, which signified that however grim 
the job, most men stood ready to do it. 

A new group of generals arrived and for two days watched 
full-scale dry runs. Each wave of 24'$ in V-f ormation roared dose 
along the ground, released blank incendiaries and 250- to 1000- 
pound bombs and raced down the white fuel drum corridor and 
away from the target, wherever it was meant to be. 

The men agreed, "Now we're gonna go.** 

1 1 < Takeoff 

THAT NIGHT bets were placed as high as five to one that this was 
not to be a round trip. Most men quietly accepted that dark 
prospect "I guess if we don't pull something terrific," they said, 
shrugging, "the damned war's liable to go on forever." 

Andy Panacek was nervous as he followed me into my tent 
Looking everywhere except at my face he burst out, "I got a 
family to tTiinlr o And this suicide ride Well, listen, Fm just 
not going." 

"It can't be a suicide ride, Andy. How could we afford to 
throw away a couple of hundred big bombers and crews?" 

"It's one-way," he insisted. "Everybody knows that 111 do 
any job in reason, but not this. Count me out" 

That evening all ground crews of the <j8th were assemfakd 
some distance from camp. I joined them, noting how the area 
was roped off and patrolled, and the careful checking to make 
sure that no member of an air crew was present Colonel Kane 
talked to the men, emphasizing the importance of getting every 
plane in their charge in first-rate mechanical condition. 

"If you guys t-hmlr anything of your friends," he summed up, 
*you know what to do." 

Captain Stone, following, announced that tomorrow extra 
fuel tanks would be installed in bomb bays. A buzz of comment 
ran over the crowd because this indicated the mission was to be 


even longer range than expected. Watching the men's faces in 
the twilight, I saw them go even more sober as Stone, his manner 
suddenly tough, called on crew chiefs to stand up, then spoke 
to one after another. 

"Watkins, what's the condition of Sixty-one?" 

"Well, Captain, she needs a new supercharger. And there are 
a couple of minor things ought to be fixed like " 

"Murray, what's the condition of Eighteen?" 

"Sir, we've got fuel pump trouble. And the pilot claims the 
altimeter is no good between a thousand and six thousand. 

"Jenkins, what's the condition of Thirty-four?" 

So it went. Most of the aircraft, of course, were in operating 
condition, although as with any complicated mechanism there 
were always parts which required adjusting or replacement. 
With a doughy sensation in my stomach I wondered, What is 
Staoe leading up to? 

At last it came. "Now you crew chiefs, and all you other men, 
listen dosely." There was complete silence. "Watkins, I say to 
you Sixty-one is in perfect condition. You'd know, wouldn't 
you? She has to be." 

His tmculence as much as his words brought gasps like 
rustling leaves over the group of a hundred or more men. 
Watkins frowned. "Yes, sir." 

"Murray, if anyone asks, Eighteen is ready to fly." 

"But, sir, that altimeter" 

"Eighteen is ready to fly. You're the chief. Don't you keep her 
ia perfect condition?" 

Silence. "I understand, sir." 
. "Jenkins, Thirty-four is ready. Am I right?" 

Low-voiced: "Yes, Captain." 

To chief after chief he insisted that his aircraft was in top 
Grasping that he was reminding them of their full, 

inescapable responsibility, demanding perfect operational condi- 
tion as never before^ the audience sat hushed. Facial expressions 
showed shock and incredulity. Fists were clenched, lips tightly 
pressed. When Stone finished the men shook themselves like 
sleepers making the first tentative moves to come awake. 

"All right, we understand each other. Maybe you've got an- 
other day, maybe two days. Use them." Stone leaned "And get 
this: what we've said here tonight goes no farther. God help the 
man who drops one word.** 

On the day following I drifted to where the crew of Witch 
were swarming over her. I called to the chief. "Lars, how does 
she look?" 

He climbed down the ladder from Number Two engine and 
walked over. "You plan on riding this bus, Pictures?" 


"Well, she's okay." He added meaningly, "She's really okay." 

I had arranged to ride Witch because of my respect fox Lieu- 
tenant Colonel Blyer^s flying skiH 3 unsurpassed by any pilot I 
knew. Too, the crew said of his conscientious engineer, "Art 
sleeps with them engines." So highly was Art respected that if 
he asked a ground crewman to change the oil in an engine there 
was no argument that it had been new yesterday; that oil got 

The afternoon of July 31 pilots and navigators assembled for 
their briefing. They sat on plank benches with a view into a 
three-walled tent with its small stage and large map of North 
Africa, the Mediterranean and Southern Europe. 

General Brereton spoke. "What you men are going to ac- 
complish will smash in one blow what it would take two land 
armies up to two years to do. Frankly, destroying this target 
would be worth the loss of every aircraft and crew." 

The men stiffened. He raised his pointer. "Here is where 
we're going: Pfoesti, Rumania. It's thirteen hundred and fifty 


miles. Ploesri has the biggest group of oil refineries in Europe. 
If we knock it out, the Axis will lose sixty per cent of their 
fuel production." 

Ploesti! Twenty-seven hundred miles round trip. Over an 
ocean, mountains, plains. Across Albania, Yugoslavia, the north- 
western tip of Bulgaria and deep into Rumania to within a 
hundred miles of Bucharest, the capital. 

Generals Williams, Timberlake and Ent gave short talks. The 
top navigation officer from Cairo traced our route, naming identi- 
fication points, or IJD.'s, and explained that we would operate 
in Groups: the 376th, 93rd, p8th, 44th and sSpth. Each would 
comprise 30 to 36 bombers except Kane's gSth, which would 
have 46. 

"Men, you've mastered low-level flying. We'll go in under their 
radar and won't be expected. Each Group will have its own 
targets one or two refineries. Remember, always hold your 
exact altitude. Always keep wing to wing. If a ship falls out, 
close the gap. 

"If yon don't get back." Pause. "This thing has to be done, 

He went on, "Each of you will have a survival kit. You'll also 
have three hundred dollars in local money, in case you need to 
bribe someone to help you get out of the country, maybe to get 
a boat to Turkey. Every man will wear all new clothing, even 
shoes," Dryly, "It could be a hell of a long walk." 

The men sat silent. They heard the weather expert predict 
good weather all the way except for possible local storms in the 
mountains. Intelligence then took up the briefing with informa- 
tkwi drawn from Allied agents in Rumania, captured documents 
and some movie and still pictures. 

defenses are weak. Most pilots are Rumanians bored 
war. Anti-aircraft is estimated at only 80 heavy and 160 
gm&. Many of these are disposed for mght attack along 
tfee railroad; they shouldn't bother you. The heavy ack-ack 

won't be able to train on your low altitude. There are barrage 
balloons, but just plow through their cables. Your wing spars 
are plenty strong enough. Generally, resistance should be much 
lighter than on most raids. Radio silence absolutely all the way, 
because this party is going to be a surprise.** 

A table-size replica of the Ploesti oil fields was uncovered, 
and the men crowded around it. They studied the hills, the toy 
refineries, the oil storage areas, the wheat-field approaches and 
the curving Danube river they would see tomorrow. 

As he left the briefing each man was given his survival kit 
containing Oration, chocolate and a large area silk map 20 by 20 
inches. It could be rolled very small between the hands and eaten 
if necessary. He also received gold sovereigns and paper money, 
then was told to go at once for a complete new uniform and a 
fish-scale flak vest if he wanted one. 

That night our leading bootlegger, the master sergeant ia 
charge of crew chiefs, sold his entire stock of Egyptian wia& I 
sat with Colonel Blyer and a couple of others, sharing a botrib 
or two and talking. When we broke up I noted tent lamps stffl 
alight that told of men writing to wives and sweethearts back 

Writing to Mother, I tried to explain why I intended to go on 
this mission. Only 20, I was unmarried and had no 3111% sup- 
port obligations. It seemed to me my duty to report to the Amer- 
ican people on film, as best I could, the men's sacrifice and 

Several days ago Tom Torrington had been bitten by a 
scorpion and t-Kts morning had announced that as his finger 
still pained, he would not fly the mission, I ssaA nothing. Ernie 
Evans* argument was, "Whj sboukl I get killed?** With Paaacek 
already withdrawn I, as the ooly other cameraman from our 
Unit, felt increased dbligation though the conviction gnawed 
that maybe this mission was one too many. 

Evans came into my tent and tried again to talk me out of 


going. "Tomorrow this time, who will complain because you 
aren't dead like all those others are going to be?" 

I waited until he ran down. "The crews have no choice. I 
haven't either." 

He stared at the floor. "Okay. Then what can I do for you? 
Let's put your stuff in the truck and right after breakfast we'll 
run you out to Witch's hardstand." 

I slept a little, helped by the wine. Before dawn the field came 
alive. Men busded about, almost cheerful because the long strain 
of waiting was ended. Sam Papaglou, reeking of the sweet 
Egyptian zibib, drove our truck as we dropped off Panacek, then 
Torrington, then Evans at strategic points to photograph the 
178 bombers due to take off. 

The fields shook with the thunder of engines run at full 
throttle, then given extra slow-time. There was inspection for 
new uniform, survival kit, money, parachute, Mae West, small 
arms, tin helmet and flak suit. I did not wear a flak suit which, 
though good protection for a gunner who would not move about 
much, was inconvenient for me. 

Let's see, I had fixed twelve still cameras on brackets on the 
fuselage of six bombers. To Jim O'Brien, pilot of Sleepy, I had 
handed a 16 millimeter movie camera with shutter speed and 
aperture sealed. "When you get a chance, Jim, pick it up, look 
through the finder and shoot," I requested. I had two Eyemos 
with me, a change-bag and plenty of film. 

"Morning, Pictures. Going somewhere?" greeted Witch's bom- 

"I like rides. Make this one real long, will you?" , 

A crowd erf two to three thousand watched ofwatifoas ground 
o*ws, office help, cooks and generals. As each crew climbed 
aboard their ship the audience applauded and called good wishes. 
Ready, Witch rolled into line for takeoff. Every 30 seconds a gun 
fired, a B-of rolled heavily down the runway and another wad- 
<flcd into position to await its signal. We could see planes 

from Bengasi field circling, waiting to rendezvous, as well as 
ships from our own field waiting to form into V-waves. 

One 24, rushing down the runway, failed to lift and raced to 
the end, where it crashed. The seething fireball meant n* men 
had perished. 

When our turn came, Witch made a normal takeoff. She lifted 
to 2000 feet and circled there, waiting for the remainder of our 
group. Meanwhile, we had station-check, the pilot to each crew 
member, each man reporting his weapons and station in order, 
his Mae West and parachute ready. Mae Wests were worn be- 
cause our route was over water half the way. Parachutes, of 
course, would be useless during low-level flight. 

At 7:40 all five Groups were airborne and forming up. With 
one aircraft scratched and one already cradled, 176 remained. 
Leading was the 37&h Group, after which came the 93rd, the 
98th, the 44th and the 389^1, the first group low over the sea, die 
next higher and so on, like stairs, until the last faeH at 4000 feet. 
As we straightened out I noticed KicT^opoo of tte lead Gioup 
turning aside: she was on fire. She streaked past us back to the 
field which still was a swirling fog of propwasfaed red dust. 
Kicfopoo landed, bounced 20 feet in the air, skidded into a 
concrete telephone pole and exploded. 

Hundreds of men aloft watching the accident wanted to know 
about survivors, but our radio silence remained unbroken. The 
ship behind moved into Kicfypoo's slot. 

The armada flew in flat Vs, wingtips 25 feet apart. Now and 
then a Liberator somewhere feathered a prop, wheeled out erf 
formation and tunaed back, trying to make it to land. Seven 
aborted in all. Seven were in Killer Kane's Group because, we 
believed, Kane had brought pressure on every pilot to fly if his 
ship was flyable and had even delayed some men's Stateside leave 
until after this mission. 

Ibe flight would consume eight hours each way. It was peace- 
fid over the sea that summer day and pleasant not to have to 


wear an oxygen mask. Alternately I dozed, munched a sand- 
wich, moved about the ship. A few words with the lonely tail 
gunner, then I went forward to visit with Colonel Blyer, the 
co-pilot, and with the engineer, the radioman, the bombardier 
and the nose gunner. 

Somehow today, baseball standings Stateside seemed unimpor- 
tant. To talk about home could be upsetting. It was even more 
so to speculate about what lay ahead. No one cared to talk. 

Flying over the coast of the island of Corfu, we watched a 
plane from the leading 37&h*s front wave abruptly veer away 
and plunge into the sea. Reading its number our co-pilot ex- 

"Hey! Isn't that the ship with Captain Anderson, the lead 

Foreboding made us exchange looks. Until the last IJD. point 
when each Group swung toward its individual targets, the entire 
flight were as sheep following Anderson. Now the confusion we 
could see up front verified our co-pilot's guess. The plane which 
we knew carried General Ent and the 376th Group's C.O., Colo- 
nel Compton, moved from its wave up to lead position* This 
meant that on their navigator, an inexperienced young second 
lieutenant, was suddenly thrust the responsibility of leading us 
all to Ploesti. 

Every man had the same unspoken thought: Let's hope that 
second louie knows his business! 


12 'PJoesti 

BY THE TIME we reached the Greek Albanian border the five 
Groups had become widely spaced. Here the flight swung aortfa- 
east Cumulus clouds formed low. Approaching Yugoslavia, we 
climbed to clear the nearing North Albanian Alps. Four Groups 
went to 15,000 f eet^ well above the clouds, bit Killer Kane held 
our pSth to 12,000, which took us knifing through gusty ram 
squalls. Favorable winds gave the higher groups increased ground 
speed, but the storm reduced ours and, unknowing, the <)8tk 
fell behind 

When the faster groups crossed the Danube at Lorn into 
Rumania they were in need of complete re-forming. Radio could 
have pulled us all together quickly but radio could not be used. 
The four Groups waited, circling at 2500 feet In plain view of 
die ground, they risked die dement o surprise which had been 
die reason to decide on a Iow4evd attack. 

At two-twenty in the afternoon the 98th crossed the Danube 
and joined the rest We all surged on, dropping to 50 feet and 
watching the wild excitement of peasants at sight of this great 
fleet of aircraft Wearing their Sunday best, young folk halted 
their dances on the green to wave. Elders stood in village streets, 
gaping. Some people were going toward churches, some coming 
from them. One woman on a country lane fong her apron over 
her head in terror. 


Over the fields of Rumania our gunners gave their weapons 
final testing bursts. So far, no sign of resistance. 

One plane flew so low over a field that it had to pull up sharply 
to miss a horse-drawn hayrick. The horse ran away. At a creek 
a girl bathing nude hurriedly dunked herself as we roared over 
at 30 feet. We reached Pitesti, IJD. point, and swept on for 
Floresti from which the final turn to our target area would be 

A railroad ran from Floresti to Ploesti. Another line ran from 
Turgoviste, not far away, to Bucharest. In our leading wave that 
inexperienced shavetail navigator had correctly identified Turgo- 
viste. Deceived by the railroad, General Ent and Colonel Comp- 
ton declared it was Floresti. Overruling the shavetail, they un- 
wittingly headed for Bucharest less than a hundred miles away. 
Hie 93rd was flying so close that it was compelled to turn 
with the 376th, but one of its pilots broke radio silence to pro- 
test. Too lace: the tall white buildings of the Rumanian capital 
akeady were visible and the two groups were passing over its 

Meanwhile we of the cjSth, coming along minutes later, made 
our turn correctly at Floresti, as did the other two Groups. 

At Bucharest, German and Rumanian general staffs were aboil. 
They had corroboration of the first alert received 30 minutes 
earlier of a fleet of invaders. Air raid sirens yowled. Flak batteries 
were fully manned. Radio and telephone brought alive every 
fighter fidd in the Balkans a full 20 minutes sooner than our 
planners had anticipated. Four hundred fighter planes made 
ready to take off, piloted mostly by Germans with some Italians 
aad few if any of those Rumanians "bored with tibe war." 

Eot and Oompton, now realizing their mistake, set about cor- 
recting it. Fly back, find Floresti, and start over? Too late for 
that Hie target assignment of the 376th was a single refinery, 
Romana Asaericana, seized when the war broke out from Stand- 

ard Oil of New Jersey. Each other Group had two refinery tar- 
gets but to prove impartiality our planners had determined to 
wreck Romana because it was American-owned. 

Compton's decision now was to fly northeast for PloestL This 
turned out to be a run through the area's heaviest concentration 
of anti-aircraft in futile search for Romana, which all day did 
not receive a hit. 

General Ent on interplane radio ordered, "Attack targets of 
opportunity." In other words, for the 376th and 93rd this mis- 
sion now was catch-as-catch-can. 

Leaning out the right-waist window of Witch, I saw ahead 
the cracking towers and tall smokestacks of refineries. By inter- 
velometer I set my wing-mounted still-cameras going and began 
to use my Eyemo. 

Incredibly, a haystack opened in the field below. Four spitting 
machine giras> were revealed. Another haystack, several more in 
successive fields, and several peasants' cottages threw back their 
lids and became nests that flew out tracer bullets. At our altitude 
accuracy was easy, and Witch trembled under thudding lead. 
Exclamations on the intercom reported three of the lowest dials 
on the pilots' instrument panel had suddenly become roond 
holes, but evidently no one was hit. 

From our tail on the intercom, "Hey, Boss, when can I shoot?" 

"Shoot any damned time you want to!" Blyer yelled. 

Our nose pulled up so sharply that I crashed to the floor. Get- 
ting up quickly, in disbelief I saw 6-24*5 flashing imdcr us. They 
were heading southwest. They were pink: that meant the 3j6tfa. 
Could it be that Compfcoa's Group had already beea into and 
out of their target pass? 

Impossible. They must be searching for their target. 

Foreboding started in me. Something had gone desperately 

Still a few miles short o our first target, we TOered slightly 


to pass above two long trains of tank cars. Our nose gunner 
worked them over, then our left-waist, then our tail gunner. He 
reported, "It's a hell of a fire!" 

The second bomber to our left dipped a wing. It touched 
ground. The aircraft struck, went into a quarter-mile long slide 
that ended in a tremendous explosion. The other ships of the 
wave dosed the gap. 

It came to me over the hum of my camera that we were taking 
a pasting from those dozens of machine guns in the myriad 
nests only 30 feet below. As I leaned out the aperture to get the 
scene, like someone watching street action from a second story 
porch, our Number One engine faltered. My heart stopped. But 
she picked up. 

None of us had needed a map since the Danube. We kept see- 
ing in our minds that Ploesti table model back at Bonina. A big 
river with two bridges . . . fields . . , twin hills . . . more flat 
fields, so cm. They were all where they should be, unreeling like 
a ribbon. And so far, no flak. 

Three Groups now flew abreast. The 389^ pulled away toward 
their target. The pSth and 44th went on, 70 planes in one ground- 
crawling cluster. Nearing the great field of refineries stretching 
some miles ahead, I saw two dozen barrage balloons floating 
lazily among them. A few fires had started and black oily smoke 
was forming a shroud. Then I could identify our first target by 
smokestack silhouettes. We were to hit the Phoenix Orion com- 
plex and just beyond it, Astra Romana. 

.My film gave out. Using daylight load, I quickly threaded 
another. The order came, "Incendiaries!" These were for the 
dozens of huge oil storage tanks and small out-buildings which 
almost scraped our belly as we let go the fire-sticks. 

Far to the left I saw a bomber fly into the long cables that held 
two balloons captive. The first cable snapped as if cut by a scis- 
sots. The second struck their outboard engine. Instantly the 24 

whipped around. It circled the cable, going down it as if down 
a corkscrew. A puffball o fire and smoke. The bomber was 

There was ack-ack now, those familiar puffs in the air that 
flashed out colors. A jar told me Witch had been hit, but I could 
not guess where. We roared into our run. 

The machine gun at my elbow chattered as if with ague while 
I got a balcony view through my finder. B-24*s were approaching 
their targets; some were over them; through dense smoke some 
were vaguely seen beyond. One, caught in an up-draft of a burn- 
ing oil storage tank, threw its nose upward and vanished in 
spattering bits. Two were down over there in a field. A crew- 
man standing beside one waved his cap, cheering us on. 

Ahead, a 24 had a wing tank afire but she stayed on her target 
run* I saw her eggs dropping, delayed-action fused. The pilot 
turned aside, plainly seeking somewhere to crash-land. He chose 
a creek bed with only a trickle of water showing. Didn't he sec 
that bridge? He tried to pull up and over . . . faitod 

Witch now flew through a dozen fires set by our own people 
in an earlier wave. Hadn't anyone foreseen how this would be 
at thirty feet? Supposedly dekyedraction bombs seemed to go off 
on contact. We were in our bombing run but blast tossed us the 
way a breeze wafts a sheet of paper. I envisioned both our pilots 
with all their strength hanging onto the controls. 

Storage tanlc fires grew higher and hotter. We were beading 
straight at a 6o-f oot curtain of flame. I touched my goggles to 
make sure they were on, damped the camera between my knees, 
clasped both hands under armpits and put my bead down. 

Hie cabin became an oven. The radioman yclkd, *Tbcn we 
were through and out, relieved of 200 of beat but with all 
exposed hair gone and skin scorched 

"Bombs away!" 

The first dose went down. Witch rushed on toward the 


Romana complex. Meanwhile, it was plain our whole five-Group 
raid organization had fallen apart. Bombers actually crisscrossed 
each other. It was a melee. Here, there, yonder a 8-24 was burn- 
ing or crashing or being swallowed by curling billows of black 
oily smoke. 

I found Leissring, the right-waist, shakily trying to thread a 
new ammo belt into his gray-hot weapon. The aircraft's side was 
holed like the cap of a salt shaker. Leissring's pantleg lopped 
open above the knee, and he seemed to be unaware of the bright, 
moist blood. Behind us, Klein was banging away and yelling 

It was only seconds before we plunged into slow-billowing 
smoke around Astra Romana. We could see nothing. We three 
in the waist began to cough, but we kept shooting, two with 
guns, one with a camera. 

u Bossf Chimneys!** Leissring screeched into his intercom. 

Blyer must have seen those tall brick chimneys looming dead 
ahead at the same instant. Witch stood on her tail. Up ... up she 
climbed with engines straining. Bracing myself to keep my feet, 
I marveled Bow we seemed to be crawling up that on-coming 
red brick steeple. 

Witch flattened out. "Bombs away!'* Just as our second dose 
went something exploded below, an entire refinery powerhouse. 
It splashed up at us in one, two, three blasts. Our delayed-action 
bombs going oflF two days later must have pulverized whatever 
was left. 

As we flew on, the roof of the Ploesti railroad station, crammed 
with machine guns, gave us a hard time. Beyond that were the 
hovering fighter planes: at first look the sky seemed to be 
crowded with them. The ME-io9's were out, HE-ni*s and the 
fast Italian-built Macchis. For the next endless three hours they 
sias&cd and lunged at us. For three long hours our machine guns 
scarcely ceased their chattering except for insertion of fresh 


Klein gave a screech. "It's a damned biplane! Honest. Look, 
look! It's a biplane!" 

The enemy were flying everything flyable, for it actually was a 
fragile old-fashioned army biplane. We riddled it and it slowly 
sank lower, lower, burst afire and was gone. That scene on film 
would surely look spliced in from an old-time movie. 

Getting away from Ploesti sorely tried Witch and all o us 
aboard, but it was far easier than for several dozen other 6-24'$. 
Fighters were everywhere. From one group of six bombers they 
shot down four. 

Partly, this was because some of our pilots instinctively sought 
altitude. They were safer at low-leveL A few of the fighters above 
peeled off and dived at low-flying 24*5, found they could not pull 
out in time, and crashed. Their buddies watching above grasped 
the idea that diving was not a good tactic today. So if a bomber 
kept hugging the ground, it had to accept ground fire, even some 
down-trained ack-ack, but those were more welcome *k?*r 109*$. 

Some bombers, of course, could not fly too low because they 
were in trouble a wing tattered, an engine, even two engines 
dead. These strove to gain altitude for space to maneuver. Witch, 
with one engine silent and speed reduced, huddled with five 
or six others. Today we were all hurt, all stragglers. We flew at a 
tipsy angle. Somehow we flew. 

The day was ending. The way home was via Berkovitza, 
Corfu, Tocra to Bengasi. Aircraft in greater distress limped for 
Allied fields in Cyprus, Sicily, Malta. In the end, B-2/f's were 
scattered all over Southern Europe and into Turkey. 

About the time the last fighters fell away and we could breathe 
again, Colonel Blyer ordered, "Lighten ship. Everything goes. 
And use your screw-drivers!** 

The machine guns went, dry extra fuel tanks, oxygen, bottles, 
radio equipment, ammunition. With a second engine laboring 
we skimmed the dark sea tense hour after hour. It was nine in 
the evening. We lumbered slowly along. It was midnight. At 


ten minutes to one we began to circle, dropping a flare to signify 
that we had wounded. 

Gently, Blyer put her down on Bonina airstrip. Crowds of 
men were on the field, waiting, as if they had not moved since 
our departure seventeen and a half hours before. As the weary 
engines swallowed almost our last cupful of fuel those men 
surged toward us. "It's Witch! She's made it!" Nine of us aboard 
had made it. Two had wounds from which they recovered* 
Witch was sadly torn and riddled, but she had made it. 

Up-reaching hands helped us down from Witch. Yelling and 
cheering, our ground crew and countless others hoisted us on 
their shoulders. It was a paradenot a gay one, but heartfelt, 
with cheers because there were no words. Deeply, deeply thank- 
ful, all of us. 

Stiff drinks, then hot food helped to soothe the quivering 
inside us. Though not a crew member, because I had been an 
observer I went along to interrogation. The story we had was 
not pretty. With ears always cocked toward the airstrip in the 
hope of hearing incoming engines and there were few we an- 
swered questions. At inquiries for this bomber, that one, we 
could only shake our heads. 

"Bkw apart over the target.** 

"Crashed after she hit a balloon cable.** 


Afterward I went with Blyer to his tent. We sat there, smok- 
ing. After a long silence words came back, though not many. 

"Only three of Snow White here.** 


From time to time someone brought word of a new arrivaL 
There were few, and after a while no more. So many had not 
come back that we could not comprehend. We could not believe 
those men would never again sit rhaitjng at mess, never again 
wave from a pilot's seat, 

All of them, gone. 

The waiting crowd huddled, chilled, on the field until dawn. 
I saw them at dawn as, drugged with exhaustion, I stumbled to 
my tent praying for quick, dreamless sleep to shut out the whofc 
awful picture. 

Fifteen squadron photographers did not return from the Pioesti 
mission. All the still pictures that resulted were from fc>!f a 
dozen of my cameras mounted outside bombers that did get 
back. I had 520 feet of motion pictures, all that today comprises 
the official Defense Department film on the Pioesti mission. 

Was the raid a success? 

It was the greatest catastrophe in the history of the Army Air 
Force. I believe, as do many others, that we lost a hundred 
bombers and a thousand men. Official figures say less. 

They say 450 men were killed or missing. Fifty-four were 
wounded. Seventy-nine were interned in Turkey. About 200 
were taken prisoners of war. 

Of the 178 bombers scheduled, one had been scratched. Three 
crashed on takeoff or shortly after. Eleven aborted. A hundred 
and sixty-three got to Pioesti, of which 54 were lost. 

The results to the refineries were officially stated to be "satis- 
factory." Of course, that American-owned refinery and one or 
two more suffered no damage. Others were severely damaged. 
Production of oil was estimated cut by 30 per cent. In two months 
this had been restored. Pioesti suffered other raids but kept pro- 
ducing for the Axis war machine until captured late in Ac war 
by the Russians. 

Five Congressional Medals erf Honor were given out for the 
Pioesti mission, one of them to Colonel Kane. That shavetail 
navigator of tbe 376th who knew Tuigovistc when he saw it, 
got nothing, but Distinguished Service Crosses were awarded 
to General Eat and Colonel Compton, among others. 

After giving the matter some thought, I obtained permission, 


through channels, to send this TWX to General Hap Arnold in 
the Pentagon: 

One of the greatest raids in history of war. 
TLvery inch of film should be shown public. 

I received a prompt reply from Arnold that it would be done. 
But it wasn't. 

After 32 missions I had had enough of war for a while. I col- 
lected the promised leave and headed Stateside. 

13 < Gettwig-Of Place 

THREE DAYS spent in the labyrinth of the Pentagon began my 
three months* stay in the States. For an audience of Air Force 
officers I narrated while the films of Ploesti were screened o 
which certain shots have never been shown publicly. There fol- 
lowed several interrogations and discussion of how Ac First 
Combat Camera Unit could be helped to greater efficiency. 

My orders provided a 30-day en route feave^ which I passed 
with my family in Chicago. Mother was well and vastly relieved 
to see her second son safely returned home. My older bro&er, 
Frank, was away in service, but my sister Marion, brother Dan, 
Aunt Martha and small nephew Billy made up our always con- 
genial and satisfying family circle. 

"Tell us about it," they said. "For example, just w&at did 
those commandos do?" 

I avoided giving details which would only leave Mother the 
more anxious when I had to go again. She was proud of the 
few medals I had collected and from them, I think, divined there 
was much it was as well art to hear. I assured iber the medals 
merely recognized my having been a good boy^-Ae Distin- 
guished Flying Cross with oak leaf duster, the Air Medal with 
seven dusters, a Unit citation with four clusters, die Bronze Star 
and the British African Star. 

Those half-idle days at home passed swiftly. I was able to 


stay on a little longer by appearing in defense bond drives, mak- 
ing radio appearances and speaking to defense plant workers 
about the great value of their efforts to their husbands and 
brothers overseas. Striving to remember high school speech 
instruction, at first I must have made poor listening, but you 
learn by doing. Sometimes you blunder too. In Cicero, Illinois, 
I assured a crowd of Western Electric workers that often I had 
read with gratitude the label on a bomber's intercom apparatus, 
"Made by General Electric"! 

Hollywood was my next stop, where Royal Mattison and I 
were instructors in something called the First Motion Picture 
Unit. Classes were held in the Hal Roach studios, in Culver City, 
and in the 6-17 at our disposal for practice in high altitude pho- 

Most of our men, in effect, had only changed payrolls and 
switched from civilian garb while they went on working in the 
same studio or another in the next block, making propaganda 
films. Some had quieted their draft boards by joining this cur- 
rent glamor-train and found the uniform improved their social 
allure. Commissions had been dealt out liberally, and captains, 
majors and lieutenant colonels lent a pleasant martial air to any 
hostess's dinner table. 

My impression that few of these gentlemen wanted to hear 
guns go off had a strange effect on my eyesight. Six inches away 
I could not identify rank in a Hollywood and Vine major. This 
made the shoulder jewelry boys smolder. They wondered how 
you go about squashing a nervy sergeant, but none pushed the 
issue to find out. I made it plain that I'd be a fast man to salute 
anyone back from hell in the South Pacific, but at the Brown 
Deiby or Mike Romanoff's I couldn't tell an oak leaf colonel 
from a doorman. 

As a new boy in town, fresh from the shooting that had been 
making headlines and wearing some chest ornaments, I had no 
time to find lie dull. Chumming with public officials and mati- 

nee idols at banquets and defense bond drives was everyday. 
Social invitations swamped me. I dined beside the swimming 
pools of most glamor queens in movietown and one or two 
offered to house me in guest bungalows, but I thought my hotel 
slit trench looked safer. Several offered automobiles. "Could you 
use my MG for a few weeks? Just keep it. I'll phone if I need 
it," I could use an MG for getting to bond rallies and all manner 
of club and radio speaking dates and, now and then if I tried 
hard, socially. 

Two months of furious living it up, with not too much time 
taken up instructing movie people how to take pictures, left me 
as worn out as the day after Ploesti. The arrival o new orders 
was like a tonic; now I could go back to shutter-snapping for 
a rest. The orders directed me to take a photo crew to England, 
23 personnel including cameramen, directors, two writers, film 
cutters and a couple of studio grips. 

One day I had our graduates line up on the studio lot. I was 
to choose someone to be in charge of supplies. Mattison wiiis- 
pered the name of a big virile-looking chap aad when I agreed 
he announced, 

"Lieutenant Benton, you're going overseas." 

Benton's jaw dropped. He turned a grayish hue and fainted. 

On our way east we paused at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, 
from where I did more radio shows, defense bond woffc and 
Air Force publicity. Flying on to New York, we boarded a 
vessel so decrepit that we renamed it S.S. Bucket of Beits. 

At Ascot, outside London, we found tke gth Air Force in its 
new headquarters. Much, butnotaltoftheoldgttliad been 
flown and shipped in, its Middle East job completed. Everywhere 
were signs o build-op for what we knew would be the biggest 
show of the war, die Invasion of Hitler's Fortress Europe. 

The Holiywooders noticed at once how unnoticed they were 
in this new setting. Rank might be awesome beside a swimming 
pod, but here it had to be earned as wdl as worn. They resented 


the case with which Scott, Carbart, Kies and I and other veterans 
could walk in to talk to any general, get any operations officer's 
ready co-operation. They couldn't, and they felt it unjust. Too, 
they showed preference for promotional assignments over the 
sweaty ones. They loved to stand atop sound trucks, grinding 
their cameras at visiting brass, while we oldsters were off filming 
practice landings from assault barges. The brass were old-shoe 
with us, but fumed about getting into parade ground rig for 
pretty silhouettes against the English twilight. 

We drifted into factions in what now was called, for conven- 
ience, the 9th Combat Camera Unit. Mostly, we got along but 
sometimes we dashed. Like the day Captain O'Hare of Holly- 
wood asked me to make up certain prints for him, then in the 
photo lab accused me of making them for my own use. 

"You're stealing Government property. I'm going to see that 
you're court-martialed!" he exclaimed -happily. 

You shouldn't strike an officer and somehow I managed not 
to. I soonded off about it to the first person I met, Captain 
Stevie Schultz, a no-holds-barred former Chicago newspaper pho- 
tographer. Schultz had no love for our matinee cameramen and 
rose to a boil faster than I had. When he finished swearing he 

"Don't talk to anyone about this, Jerry. Leave it to me." 

What he said to OTIare, I don't know. Maybe he explained 
the difference between movie and war theaters. At eleven that 
night Schultz shook me awake. "Thought you'd like to know 
that so-and-so isn't going to have you court-martialed or any 
other damned thing!" 

"He isn't? Thanks a lot, Stevie." I went back to sleep. 

Brigadier General Paul Williams of Troop Transport paved 
the way for me to spend a week with his glider units. I mack 
footage that we could add to later if the gliders 
used in combat. C-^'s pulled the huge gliders holding 

men, or t$m ar three jeeps, into the air at the end of y&ioat 

nylon ropes. Released approaching their target area, the gliders 
would coast in for landing. For takeoff to make the return trip, 
two poles were set up with the tow-rope dangling on a crossbar. 
Coming in low, a 47 hooked the rope and pulled the glider back 
to its home field, sometimes even pulling two gliders in tandem. 

**Will it work like this under combat conditions?** I asked the 
major commanding the squadron. 

He grinned. "I'll let you know some time we get a call. Come 
along, you'll see.'* Much later he did, and I did. 

On an assignment to Plymouth I located my brother Frank. In 
civil life he had been a salesman of canned goods, whkh 
prompted the Army to make him a cook. I took a few pictures 
to please his commanding officer, then Frank requested leave, 
got it, and we were off for a few days in London. Five years 
older, Frank thought we ought to be in the same outfit so he 
could "take care" of me, and I promised to try to wangle him 
a transfer to the Air Force. 

As spring came on, still-cameraman Meyer Jandegian and I 
toured England and Scotland, making pictures of the great get- 
ready. Sometimes acres of tanks and landing craft we put on 
film were only make-believe for German reconnaissance to see, 
and Jandegian and I were fooled as much as the enemy. 

Jimmy Scott planned our coverage of The Day, whenever it 
should come. *Td like you to go ashore fairly early, Jerry, to 
make the record of fighter plane and bomber support.'* 

*Tfou mean go in with the assault txoops?** 

He nodded. "Better start figuring how to keep your equip- 
ment dry.'* 

So for a week I photographed the experiments in water- 
proofing tanks and vehicles. Motor pool mediaaks tried molding 
various puttylike compounds over the vital parts of a jeep engine 
until they found one that would not kak. They attached a 
flexible hose to the exhaust. The test jeep was driven into the 
ocean until only the tip of the exhaust and the men's heads 


showed; then it chugged out on the beach running as briskly 
as ever. 

Preparing my own equipment, I used the putty compound and 
tape to waterproof a camera case 30 by 24 by 9 inches. Slung over 
my shoulder, this would hold my second movie camera and a 
good supply of filnrK Over my other shoulder would be slung 
a waterproofed musette bag containing a still camera. 

Jack Laska and I went to Plymouth and boarded a Liberty 
ship, one of several dozen anchored above the town. Besides 
its crew and several Navy gunners, it held some 500 specialists 
of the 29th division. They included communications men, demo- 
lition experts, engineers and doctors and medical corpsmen and 
their supplies. 

"You know when we go in?" was everyone's question. From 
Lieutenant Colonel Dan Walsh of Kansas, an intelligence officer, 
I got the word that our IXDay turn would come at zero plus 
five. But when was D-Day? We lay at anchor for a week and 
no one came out to us, and only Walsh could go ashore. Con- 
versation limped. Card games broke up in arguments. Hours 

One afternoon we sailed. Anticipation shot up like the red in 
a thermometer. It settled back over the next 30 hours while we 
cruised to nowhere. Troubled, we knew that in a stormy sea 
like this, landing anywhere was going to be unhealthy from the 
threat of drowning alone. 

Laska and I had received no briefing, except that we were to 
try to film air support during the invasion. Not even our skipper 
knew yet which day was to be D-Day, and when word of that 
came by radio code they would open sealed orders as to where 
on the coast of France he was to take us. The communications 
men had been told that they would be put on a beach backed by 
a 50-foot bluff; that our shelling would have knocked out Ger- 
man pillboxes on the bluff and the first assault waves would 
have mopped up machine-gun nests. Their job was to climb a 

cleft in the bluff and half a mile inland, at a windmill on a 
set up a communications center. 

The demolition experts were to blow wider the safe lanes 
through barbed wire and across the antipersonnel mined beach. 
The engineers were to build a temporary air strip for the earliest 
possible use. 

Jack Laska had never experienced combat. However, he haoVt 
a worry. "The thing is, Jerry," he explained, "all you need to do 
is get your attitude set. Then you're ready. Whatever happens 
won't bother you." Moving about the Liberty with springy sfccp 
and a cheery word for all, Laska looked the readiest of anyone 

Toward midnight of June fifth the Liberty ship hove to. 
"We're about five miles off Normandy," the skipper told me. 
Fleets of B-24's and 8-25'$ and British heavies roared overhead 
and soon from the Continent came the crump-crump of their 
500- and looo-pound bombs. Deep-voiced big guns began their 
thunder from Allied warships standing farther out to sea. Bat- 
teries ashore began to reply. 

D-Day had begun. 

The night hours dragged past with the din slowly increasing. 
An occasional German sheE probing for something to hit made 
sea water leap in a high column. A vessel half a mile from us 
caught fire. Its red glow over the water showed dozens of ships 
hove to around and in front of us. 

In the first light of June sixth those dozens of vessels proved 
to be hundreds. They were large and small, spaced apart as ar 
as the eye could reach. Actually, there were more than 4000. 
For the first time the vastness of the invasion attempt drove 
home to me. The shelling heightened. More fleets of bombers 
passed over. Hundreds of American fighter planes raced like 
showering arrows toward France. The distant firing and bomb- 
ing took a new, heavier tone, and in the pink dawn we knew 
GFs were beginning to wade in at Omaha Beach. 


New shore batteries came alive. From the Liberty we could 
see a low wall of flashing fire. Ship's officers near me on the 
bridge watching through binoculars reported landing craft dis- 
gorging soldiers into the surf and lines of amphibious tanks 
swimming for the beach. 

"Some look like they're turnin' over. A couple got hit. Pow, 
on the nose! Now there's more LCFs streakin' close. They've 
grounded. Guys pourin' off 'em, wadin' for the beach. Man, 
that's a jungle of tank traps and barbed wire. Behind, the hill's 
burnin* with machine guns. Those poor devil foot-sloggers ain't 
got a chance!" 

The skipper spoke briefly and the binocular play-by-play re- 
port ended. It would not strengthen anyone's morale to know 
the grisly details. 

Orations were passed around for breakfast. Men tried to be 
interested in eating, but the crashing far-away show riveted all 
attention. We knew that wave after wave of soldiers, guns held 
high, were wading ashore and LCT's were dropping off tanks. 
In dull daylight now we could see fighter planes in the distance 
working over Nazi defenses. 

Cocked for action, we found the waiting hard. It kept pulling 
tighter the knot in my stomach. At last about nine o'clock, assault 
barges came purring alongside our Liberty ship. As they did, 
a shell exploded near our stern, blowing off part of it. That cost 
four casualties. It proved the last straw for Jack Laska, turning 
to jelly the correct attitude that was to have been his armor. 

He grabbed my arm. "Jerry, I'm not going in there." His voice 
was high, his face twitching. "You think I want to get killed? 
Pot a few lousy pictures? I'm not goingl" 

Orders were barked. Pack-laden men fell into lines. Several, 
I saw, converged on Laska and with faces hard jostled him into 
their line. In silence man after man climbed over the ship's side 
and down the cargo nets to the tossing assault craft. When all 
1 20 

were loaded the big Liberty slid slowly away toward England. 
Every man of us would have traded an arm to be on her. 

Overhead, fleets of fighter and bombing planes kept passing. 
Shells whizzed past. The din increased. The gray smoke haze on 
shore grew denser. On our motor-driven barge men became vio- 
lently seasick. It was the emotional strain more than the bouacing 
of the waves. 

There was no talk. We were too crowded to move about and 
sat leaning against the assault barge sides or crouched beside our 
jeeps. As we circled slowly, we passed a cargo vessel listing and 
with crackling flames leaping 40 feet from her deck. Another ship 
was hit and sett-Ting., with men jumping off into the sea. Small 
craft darted about on rescue work. Destroyers steamed grimly 
past us to make runs alongside the beach with all their guns 

A shell landed close, and our barge careened. As she fell slap- 
ping back, equipment, jeeps and cursing men began slowly to 
untangle. More cruising in a circle, waiting. Of a sudden I heard 
our motors beat louder. With a determined air our blunt bow 
swung around and we surged toward the low, thin beach backed 
by a grayish wall of bluff. 

We were going in. 

The barge picked her way among sunken and listing vessels, 
only one of the dozens of assault craft that sped along like water 
bugs. Geysers leaped between us. On shore, slowly enlarging, 
was the several-mile-long tangle of tanl? obstacles, barbed wire 
and flashing machine gun and shell fire. 

First off our barge would be three jeeps. They would carry 
thirteen of us. We clambered on them, got ourselves settled. The 
man beside the driver held the snorkel, ready to lift it and his 
carbine above water. While our barge moved inshore with motors 
roaring I made a last inventory. 

Movie camera slung by a cord around my wrist. Films 


wrapped in small oilcloth bundles tied to my shoulder straps. 
Musette bag slung around my neck holding the Speed Graphic 
and the film. Camera case slung around my neck, with the 
extra movie camera and my main film supply. My pack of per- 
sonal needs also slung around my neck. 

The barge nudged bottom and slid to a stop. The beach still 
looked a long city block distant. Our young Navy lieutenant 
skipper shouted, 

"Here's where you guys get off. Good luck!" 

The maw dropped open. Jeep motors revved up. All three 
lunged down the ramp . . . into twenty feet of water. 

Pulled down by all my equipment, I went to the bottom. 


14'Tkt Was Owak 

COUGHING on sea water, I lay on the beach with wavelets push- 
ing, tugging me back, pushing me forward again. How I got 
there still loaded with equipment whether I swam or was res- 
cued by someone now gone I have never known. 

In both directions the wide beach was a junk yard of imbedded 
sted rail tank obstacles and great concertina rolls of barbed wire 
through which, here and there^ demolition men in early landings 
had blown avenues. Disabled tanks, half-tracks, guns, jeqps and 
wrecked assault barges littered the shallow water. A great patch 
of sand in front of me was dyed red, and bodies were strewn 

Managing a look around, I saw two destroyers, wick apart, 
firing their five-inch guns as rapidly as rifles. The nearest blasted 
at concrete defenses atop the bluff before me. The other, in the 
distance^ was covering hundreds of soldiers who held their rifles 
overhead as they waded ashore. 

In my sector the imnwfate menace was pillboxes and marhirtft 
gun nests in the bluff. A ragged line of GFs clawing their way 
up the slope toward those nests were dropping like rain. Small 
groups collected under the brow, then dashed for a small deft^ 
but machine gun cross fire felled them alL 

I lay still, trying to pull my wits together. Of my jeep party I 
saw no one. In a 50-yard stretch of beach I was alone. Discover- 


ing that I still had the Eyemo because of its cord around my 
wrist, I found it dripping sea water. I began to crawl inland* 
Machine gun bullets spurted sand, and I rolled against two 
bodies. The nearest nudged me at the impact of slugs. 

An upside-down tin hat lay nearby. I reached for it and put it 
on. Inching from the lee of one body to the protection of the next, 
I made slow progress. Tedious minutes later I neared the bluff 
and once under its brow could view most of Omaha Beach. Dead 
men in hundreds strewed it as far as I could see. Bitter fighting 
continued before those hill pillboxes, and I decided to work to 
a position from which I could make pictures if I still had a 
camera that would operate. 

A wide shell crater looked inviting. At its edge I stared at a 
hatless, middle-aged artillery corporal intently loading, then 
firing what looked like a 20-millimeter piece. Swearing loudly, 
he fired several times at the bluff before he noticed me. Then 
he nodded as if we were commuters on a railroad station plat- 
form and went on with his work. 

Settled in the crater, I broke open my camera case. Everything 
in it was dry. Shivering in the cool air, I began to make pictures 
over the crater's rim. The corporal watched me, puzzled. He 
fired his cannon, for which he had a pile of ammunition, then 
crawled over. 

*Xad, what in the world are you doing?" 

"I'm a cameraman." 

"Are?" He weighed that. "Anyway you look mighty cold and 

"I sure am. Do you need some help with your gun?" 

"Guess not." He was peeling off his shirt. "Here. Put this on*" 

"No, no, keep it," I urged. 'You're fighting a war, pal. Keep 

Our talk had an unnatural ring, yet we both were deeply 
earnest. Insisting that I take his shirt, he waited until I peeled 
my fatigues and got my own off and began to don it; then he 

ing that I still had the Eyemo because of its cord around my 
wrist, I found it dripping sea water. I began to crawl inland. 
Machine gun bullets spurted sand, and I rolled against two 
bodies. The nearest nudged me at the impact of slugs. 

An upside-down tin hat lay nearby. I reached for it and put it 
on. Inching from the lee of one body to the protection of the next, 
I made slow progress. Tedious minutes later I neared the bluff 
and once under its brow could view most of Omaha Beach. Dead 
men in hundreds strewed it as far as I could see. Bitter fighting 
continued before those hill pillboxes, and I decided to work to 
a position from which I could make pictures if I still had a 
camera that would operate. 

A wide shell crater looked inviting. At its edge I stared at a 
hatless, middle-aged artillery corporal intently loading, then 
firing what looked like a 20-millimeter piece. Swearing loudly, 
he fired several times at the bluff before he noticed me. Then 
he nodded as if we were commuters on a railroad station plat- 
form and went on with his work. 

Settled in the crater, I broke open my camera case. Everything 
in it was dry. Shivering in the cool air, I began to make pictures 
over the crater's rim. The corporal watched me, puzzled. He 
fired his cannon, for which he had a pile of ammunition, then 
crawled over. 

"Lad, what in the world are you doing?" 

"I*m a cameraman.** 

"Are?" He weighed that. "Anyway you look mighty cold and 

"I sure am. Do you need some help with your gun?" 

"Guess not." He was peeling off his shirt. "Here. Put this on." 

"No, no, keep it," I urged. "You're fighting a war, pal. Keep 

Our talk had an unnatural ring, yet we both were deeply 
earnest. Insisting that I take his shirt, he waited until I peeled 
my fatigues and got my own off and began to don it; then he 

moved at a crouch to one of the several dead men in the crater 
and working gently, removed his shirt. 

"He don't need it/' he said apologetically and put it on and 
buttoned it. "Now we're okay, eh?" The strange littk mm went 
back to firing his piece. 

The noise of exploding shells from seaward, and 50*8, 75*$ and 
88's from inland, plus small arms fire, was deafening. The pic- 
tures I snapped were made more from habit than selection. Grad- 
ually, the enemy lost machine gun nests in the contested bluff as 
wire-nerved GI's managed to crawl near enough to lob grenades. 
More soldiers of the 29th converged on this sector and in threes 
and fours vanished up that draw to farm land above. 

When the corporal noticed me ready to kave he called, *Tm 
stayinV He pointed to his dead buddies, "Promised 111 see this 
thing through." Nodding, I ran at a crouch toward a group of 
infantrymen. They watched, puzzled as to what I was carrying. 

"Geez! He's got a cameral" 

I followed them up the cleft to the top, where they fanned out. 
An area as large as several city Mocks had been partially secured. 
Great squatting concrete defenses, some with walk 20 feet thick, 
had been blasted by destroyer shells but brought to final silence 
with grenades tossed into gun ports. In pillboxes among woods 
off to the right Germans were still resisting. Our men began to 
stalk them, steadily working closer until they could use grenades, 
then follow with spraying tommyguns. 

Stuffing away the Eyemo, I took my still camera from the 
musette bag and found it dry. As I trailed the fighting men I 
caught breath-stopping pictures. Now we were crossing fields, 
each neatly bordered, as fields were all over Normandy, by dense 
hedges six to twenty feet high. Even though paratroopers and in- 
fantry had passed this way earlier, pockets o resistance still made 
movement dangerous. An occasional body lay in the fields and 
several dozen dead cattle, torn and ugly. 

At last I spied the farmhouse and the windmill beyond it that 


I was looking for. At the windmill, four communications men 
from my LCA straightened from their work with coils of wire 
and headsets. "Hey, look who's here." 

"Ataboy, Pictures. Thought you got drowned." 

I looked around meaningly. "Any others?" 

They shook their heads. 

"We didn't get much of our stuff through," one man apolo- 
gized, **but we're tryin' to rig up something so you can phone 
your girl." 

Presently two bedraggled privates joined us. They made seven 
who had survived of the thirteen men in three jeeps aboard the 
barge. I took off my boots and fatigues and laid them on the 
grass to dry, though this left me shivering again. It was a gray 
day with the sun breaking through only occasionally. One of 
the men had water, and we built a small fire at which I tried 
to warm myself. 

I had instant coffee in my pack, and the new men had 
C*ations. The hot drink tasted delicious. As I pulled on my 
still-damp batde fatigues a rifle cracked somewhere nearby. One 
of our men went down. It cracked again, and a second man 
pitched headlong. 

The rest of us ran for cover. Mine was the stump of a shell- 
blasted tree. Waiting, we strove to locate that sniper. Two 
Rangers with tommyguns came along, and we beckoned them to 
shelter. The sniper fired again and a third in our group died. 

This time we traced the shot to a spot under a ten-foot high 
hedgerow 50 yards from our still-smoking fire. With great cau- 
tion we all scattered, then closed in. A burst of a tommygun 
riddled the lone German in his deep foxhole covered with grass 
in the shadow of a hedgerow. Evidently, he had been there all 
day, for we found empty cans and ration boxes. Collecting his 
remaining food, we examined it curiously. One man said, "Say, 
I'm still hungry.* 9 

"Me too. Let's try out the Heirde menu." 

As we did, one of the Rangers invited, "Say, Mac, you want 
pictures, you oughta follow us." 

My assignment was to photograph air support, but despite air- 
craft almost constantly flying overhead ^Eour-fifths of them 
Allied I saw none to make. On the ground endless fascinating 
views were to be had, so I went with the Rangers to find their 
squad. They were slowly mopping up snipers who had lain un- 
detected for hours among the hedgerows. One German ky in- 
side a hedge and was difficult to see. Another I spotted through 
my camera finder when something moved. At my signal a 
Ranger came to look over my shoulder until he found the sniper. 
Careful stalking, a quick burst of his tommygun, and we moved 

The tiny village of Vierville had been taken two hours before, 
but snipers were still a plague, picking off soldiers from store en- 
tries and second-floor windows. They had to be dealt with one by 
one. Some of the snipers were French. 

Cautiously rounding a comer, I found soldiers holding two 
women at bay. One was a girl of fourteen from whom a Mauser 
rifle had just been taken. The other, about thirty, held a blanketed 
baby. They stood pale and silent while a Ranger cursed and 
stanched blood running down his arm. 

"Naw, not the kid,** he snapped. "It was that one." He jerked 
his head at the woman. 

While a tommygun muzzle pressed the back of her neck, an- 
other Ranger, watching the woman closely, gingerly laid open 
the baby's blanket. He took the Luger pistol from her hand con- 
cealed there. 

The men eyed each other. "Can you believe a woman'd pull a 
thing like that?" 

"What are we gonna do to her?" 

"We can't knock her off. Look at tie baby." 

"It ain't his fault. Stuff *em both in a cellar, and let's go." 

Omaha Beach had been the most bitterly contested of the 


Allies' D-Day landings and by mid-afternoon, after 2000 casual- 
ties, the Americans were only a few city blocks inland. The 
crash of battle sounded somewhere ahead. Wandering about, the 
Rangers continued to mop up, dirty and dangerous work. But 
fresh battalions kept trudging from the beach, routed where the 
Rangers knew they would not be ambushed. I felt that now we 
were not likely to be thrown back into the sea. 

Tagging along behind the Rangers, suddenly toward dusk I 
could go no further. My legs threatened to cave in. I felt the 
complete let-down of exhaustion. My clothes were still clammy, 
and I was cold, perhaps as much from emotional drain as from 
the weather. Tottering to a hedgerow, I sank down there. The 
Rangers did not look back and in a moment were gone. 

A sense of being unwanted came over me. In this foreign land 
I knew no one. No one cared. I had no place to go. 

Shivering, I rummaged in my pack and found a small can of 
cheese, half a chocolate bar, two biscuits. As darkness fell, auto- 
matically I ate them, wondering, What shall I do? 

My mind would not weigh and decide. I felt a wave of deep 
tndaocholy. Gradually, weariness rubbed away all attempts to 
think, and I curled animal-like under a hedge, unable to care 
what happened to me, I ky listening to the still-pounding heavy 
guns, the crash of bombs exploding in the distance. An occa- 
sional 88 shell whistled its warning before it sped past, and small 
arms rattled a quarter-mile away. Sleepless, miserable, chilled, 
I waited for the long night hours to pass. 

Perhaps I slept fitfully. Lying in the morning sun, I wondered 
if the heavy shooting had kept up all night or had just resumed. 
Cramped and achy, I climbed to my feet, pulled on camera 
case, musette bag, pack, and stumbled beach-ward to find that 
farmhouse. If it was a command post now, there should be chow. 

Allotted a cupful of water at the farmhouse well, I brushed 
my teeth and splashed the rest over my face. The precious towel 
I had carried hundreds of miles in my pack was damp, yet its 

use was luxurious. For breakfast there was coffee and Oration. 
The food and the companionship of humans buoyed me up, and 
I decided to have a look at the beach. 

Cleared areas along it were alive with activity. Piks of food 
and ammunition boxes grew steadily higher. From landing craft 
processions of tanks, trucks, ambulances, troop carriers, jeeps came 
splashing up on the sand. At several points long fines of troops 
waded in, the whok governed now by a beachmaster and MJVs 
directing traffic. 

Much of the beach was still strewn with bodies. Corpsroen 
were carrying anyone still alive to their field hospital. Some 
graves registration men were jotting down dog-tag numbers; 
others methodically stacked bodies for removal. For an hour I 
made somber pictures of the aftermath of the sacrifices of brave 

On the blurt again, I met some of the engineers I had known 
on the Liberty ship. They had marked out ttyir temporary air- 
strip and were impatient to get their heavy equipment ashore. 
Continuing up the road, I fell in with more Rangers. The group 
of them looked too young to shave, but they were hard and 
alert and bristling with arms. 

They stared at me curiously. "You mean," one said, "all you 
do is go around shootin* -pictures?" 

"He's with the Air Force. They're doin* a swell job for us, AL 
Let's take him along." 

So I followed in their slow, grim man-hunt. A hidden marhir^ 
gun nest with a crew who must have lain silent all yesterday sud- 
denly came to life. They cut down two Rangers who unwittingly 
had almost walked into them in a copse of trees. It took 30 min- 
utes to get close enough to toss a grenade among tbem. When 
the smoke cleared, two wore dead, and two wounded Germans 
stumbled out with hands raised. 

"Aw, what are we gonna do with 'em?" the sergeant com- 


"Let's give 'em a little first aid, then send 'em back to the CP. 
Prob'ly they got others there." 

The Rangers moved on, always widely spaced. The man ten 
paces ahead might reel and go down as a shot sounded. Halting, 
the rest tried to determine its source. Scattering, then, they 
stealthily closed in as a drawstring closes a bag. They developed 
a sixth sense for danger. Tough, deliberate, fearless, they always 
got their man. Sometimes it was at heartbreaking cost. 

One crossroads had been made Death Corner by a concealed 
88, the most vicious gun of the war. The intersection was strewn 
with dead, some of them possibly victims of snipers hidden in 
the high hedgerows but most killed by that 88. Both roads were 
urgently needed by advancing troops, but every 20 seconds a 
whistling announced another shell. It always exploded directly 
over Death Corner. 

Two hours and several casualties later the gun was located 
tfaree-quarters of a mile away among trees and inside walls of 
camouflaged canvas. The assault was brief, deadly. Four prisoners 
were taken. An infantryman from a passing squad ran over. 
"Hey, you want a magnesium grenade?" 

"Sure. Got one? Stick it in." 

Dropped into the muzzle of the 88, the grenade's fierce heat 
made the cannon useless. 

Almost every day I returned to the beach, still only a few 
miles from the front line, and I was at the airstrip when the 
first C-47 flew in. While it awaited its load I made pictures look- 
ing out its nose and tail at engineers finishing the strip and at 
jeeps driving up with wounded men to be air-lifted out of Nor- 

I was tired of having to walk everywhere. Spurred by an idea, 
I went along the beach hunting for some vehicle that could be 
salvaged. Wading in to examine a water-logged and bloody jeep, 
I found its engine still apparently sealed with compound. A 
friendly truck driver passed me a cable^ then hauled my draining 

beauty up on the sand. After borrowing some tools from a 
mechanics* pool I started to work. 

A tall man with furrowed cheeks came along, on his sleeve 
a blue correspondent's band. "If I help,** he said, smiling, u wifl 
you be grateful enough to give me a ride? These feet are getting 
pretty sore." 

"It's a deal," I told him. "Let's jack her up higher." He was 
Billy March of Renter's. By the end of the day we had the jeep 
going and all of the next week toured and worked together. 

Inland one day I met an Air Force captain I knew, stationed 
at a communications center. His task was to receive word from 
troops held up somewhere ahead by 88*s or a heavy concentration 
of machine guns or by a concrete strong point. By radio Cap- 
tain Starts would call fighter planes to knock out the pocket of 
resistance. If it was within reach, Stans showed me the exact 
spot on his sector map. 

"Go this way. Stop about here. That should give you a dear 
view. Twenty minutes enough time?** 

I hurried to my position and got ready to make telephone 
movies. Soon two Mustangs would come swooping out of the 
blue in power dives, all guns blazing as they strafed the battery 
or machine gun nest. When the pilots learned that on these 
errands they were being photographed, they added loops, wing- 
overs and tight turns, "hamming it up," as Captain Sans sakL 
They made great pictures. 

For two weeks I slept on the ground in any reasonably quiet 
spot. No hot food was to be had except coflEee. We had a Oration, 
then a K-ration diet but you became so ravenous that the same 
old lunch meat and concentrated chocolate tasted as good as Beef 
Stroganoff. Drinking water was scarce, and no one shaved or 

The Rangers I had come to know were pulled back and others 
sent in. The Americans now owned this part of Normandy. We 
were beginning to pick up momentum against the enemy. I had 


made some air support pictures but many more of excellent battle 
action. I was tired. But what decided me to go back to England 
was that I was so odorous I could no longer put up with myself. 
I dreamed of tub baths and hot-towel shaves. And I was begin- 
ning to have lice. 

A B-I7 landed one morning on the bluff airstrip. Automatically 
training my Eyemo as its door opened, I caught my breath at 
sight of the high brass climbing out. Generals Marshall, Eisen- 
hower, Bradley, Vandenburg, Spatz, Tedder, several more Eng- 
lishmen I could not name and General Hap Arnold! 

Walking up to him, I saluted. "Sergeant Joswick, General. 
I've had two weeks here and I'd like to get back to England to 
re-equip. Would it be possible to ride back with you?" 

Grinning, he looked me over. "So it's you again? Well, Ser- 
geant, we may be here all day. If you're around before takeoff, 
you could put your request to General Eisenhower." He asked 
me several questions, then was called away on the tour of our 
positions for which the planeload had come. 

I wandered about to pass the hours. At the farmhouse for noon 
chow, I visited with the communications men and took a hand 
at gin rummy with several who were off duty. About four o'clock 
a shell hitting a rickety house in a field a quarter-mile or more 
to our left aroused interest. With four communications men, I 
walked over to see the damage. The house had not been de- 
stroyed, and wondering why a vagrant shell should drop here, 
now, we went up to its door for a look. 

I opened the door. Astonished, I found myself face to face 
with five heavily armed German soldiers. Three of them fired. 
But I had hit the floor in time. Jerking out my pistol, I shot two 
o them. The communications man behind me, luckily carrying 
a tommygun, killed the other three. We searched the house but 
found nothing and could only decide the men had penetrated our 
lines on some mission. 

At seven o'dock, back on the airstrip, the generals were ready 

to fly to England, so I approached General Eisenhower and asked 
if there was room for me. 

"Oh yes, General Arnold mentioned you. I'm sure there is. 
Climb aboard," he invited. 

When I did so the pilot asked if I would serve as left-waist 
gunner during the flight. I agreed and, storing my camera case, 
musette bag and pack, settled myself at the gun. From the rear 
the man who came to take over the right-waist gun had a famil- 
iar look and when he turned I found it was General Eisenhower 

During the short, uneventful flight he plied me with questions 
as to what I had seen the last two weeks, what pictures I had 
made and how the pth Combat Camera Unit worked out its 
coverage of AAF activities. When we got out of the plane at 
London, he said with the warm Eisenhower smile, 

"Mind a suggestion, Sergeant? Before you lose all your friends, 
get a bath.** 


1 5 * Rich Man at Cherbourg 

1 ALMOST lost the first friend I met there at the airport, Colonel 
Hank Carbart "You okay. Jerry?" He threw both arms around 
m^ then hastily backed away. "Whew, you're ripe! We got the 
pictures you sent by Laska, and they're sensational. These some 
more?" He slung my camera case over his shoulder. "Come on, 
I've got a can" 

On the way to our headquarters I remarked that I longed for 
two things, a slug of whisky and the most luxurious bath in 
England Carbart laughed. The first was easy, he said, and we 
would see what could be done about the second. 

At Ascot he drove to the American Red Cross hut where 
Hdene Hunter, a "rec" worker we both knew, gave me a wel- 
come home buss. cc Now he wants the most gala bath in England," 
Carbart told her. "Any ideas?" 

She cocked her head. "Why, yes," and reached for her tele- 
phone. *Jen7, w she instructed as she waited for her number, "get 
yourself fresh clothes and be back here in fifteen minutes." 

Hdene was waiting for me in a Red Cross car. As we drove 
away she explained, "Some wonderful English people near here 
said if I came across someone deserving, to bring him. This, 
Jerry, may be an experience to tell your grandchildren." 

We drove into a large private estate and up a tree-lined road 
to an imposing Tudor country house. As Hekne stopped the car 

an aged butler tottered out the front door. I got out and at sight 
of my unkempt appearance he cringed. Nose higher by two 
inches, reluctantly he took my bag. "This way, sir." 

"I'm not coming," Helene called. "Have fun." She drove away. 

The butler showed me through a handsome foyer to a large, 
high ceilinged drawing room hung with portraits and with suits 
of armor propped up in its corners. "Sergeant Joswkk of Ac 
Ameddican army," he announced. 

A gentleman of perhaps 80 came unsteadily forward and 
shook hands. His white-haired wife knitting a sweater near tall 
muUioned windows gave a motherly smile and also offered her 

"You are very welcome, Sergeant. William, I am sure he could 
do with a drink." 

We can call them Sir William and Lady Tinsley. Ignoring my 
two weeks' beard, lack of haircut, torn and fihhy battle fatigues, 
rough boots and even my smell, they made me at home. They 
asked where I was from, about farming in Illinois, whether 
Lake Michigan was "quite, quite large" as they had heard and 
what I had seen of interest in England. Sir William attended to 
renewing my drink, and they could not have been more gracious, 
but my eyes grew heavy and I had to fight back the yawns. 

Noticing, my hostess said, "Poor Sergeant Joswkk is utterly 
fatigued. I'm sure, William, he wishes to retire." 

Sir William rang for the butler. That worthy, his nose high, 
conducted me to a manservant in the foyer who, like everyone 
in the house, was at least 75. He led me up the grand staircase to 
a bedroom where, rather obviously, he threw two windows wide, 
then took a stance to windward of me. 

"Shall I draw your bawth, sir?" He did so while I undressed. 
Returning, he eyed my clothes on the floor as he might a coiled 
snake. Using thumb and forefinger to pick up the fatigues he 

"You wish these aw^-artides laundered, sir?" 


"No, I think you'd better burn them." 

"Delighted, sir." Starting out, he paused. "Might I awsk, sir, 
are we doing well on the Continent?" 

"Pretty well. We're there to stay, I'm sure." 

"Thank you, sir. I've been rawther concerned for my grand- 
son. So are Sir William and my lady about their two. I you 
wish anything, only ring. Good night, sir." 

I dozed in a tubful of soapsuds and later in the big canopied 
bed slept twelve hours. My entire stay was like a polite British 
motion picture, even to a kipper for breakfast, having Lady 
Tinsley show me her herb garden and being taken by Sir William 
to see his stables, now empty. Gentle and gracious, they helped 
me to forget the war for twenty-four hours. Then it was neces- 
sary that I report at Ascot to re-equip and be off on my next 

In Normandy again I worked several days at the front, then 
pulled back. One day with some airborne infantry, I went into 
Carentan at the junction of the Douve river and a canal. About 
to cross the bridge at the edge of town, we found it under hot 
fire of 88*s* Two men of an engineer battalion had just been 
killed, with others wounded. I found a sheltered spot near the 
bridge and was making pictures when three more engineers tried 
to cross and were hit. My jeep was the only transport near, so 
with the men loaded on it and in great pain, I drove to a first 
aid station. 

As I was leaving, eight more airborne infantrymen came 
swinging along the street. They told me they had volunteered 
to cross the bridge and capture whoever was signaling to the 
German heavy guns. 

I asked, "Any objection to my going along?" 

"Come on, if you want to," they said. 

I left my jeep at the bridge approach. One man started across 
and 30 feet behind him, another. I made pictures until it was 
my turn. Shell fragments rained around us. It took all my will 

power not to panic, but running would have been no safer. We all 
got across unhurt, and on the far bank the men surrounded a 
house, threw grenades through shattered windows, then rushed 
its doorway. But the gun spotter was gone. 

The shelling increased. Back across the bridge, a long line o 
infantry collected, and some tanks were waiting to cross. Going 
on, we traced the spotter to a low church. Orders to "Come out! w 
got no answer. A big corporal paced up and down. 

"I'm goin* up in that steeple and get him," he decided. "Three 
of you guys can cover me." 

I waited outside, camera ready. We heard muffled pistol shots. 
There was a long pause. Eighty-eight shells now were splashing 
in the river 200 yards downstream. At last out of the church came 
a trembling Frenchman, hands high, followed fay stony-faced 

Putting my camera down I asked, "What took so long after 
the shots?" 

The big corporal pulled on his cigarette. **We made the Frog 
signal a change of target. By the time those gunners find oat 
nobody's in the river to hit^ our fighter planes'!! smash *em. w 

Carentan was the beginning of the push by General Omar 
Bradley's ist Army to seize the Cherbourg peninsula. This was 
necessary to make certain that our beachhead was secure and to 
win space for expansion and maneuver. Once the peninsula 
was ours, we could turn toward the Siegfried Line without fear 
of an enemy stronghold at our backs. 

Meanwhile over east, the British and the Canadians mdfer 
General Montgomery were campaigning ID take Caco. It was 
fiercely defended under General Rommel, the Desert Fox who 
had faced Montgomery two years before in the Middle East. 
Rommel used his greatest strength to hold Caen because he 
knew that once the Cherbourg peninsula was ours, the Americans 
would wheel around and strike eastward. Losing Caen, the Ger- 

man front would be split and have to face several armies, which 
is what happened weeks later. 

From the start of the Cherbourg campaign the towns we 
fought for, captured, mopped up and left secure form a montage 
I may not remember in correct sequence. There were Crocque- 
ville, Montebourge^ Isigny, St. Mere Eglise, Valognes, and many 
more. Cities, towns, villages, some easily taken, most paid for 
with blood and guts and steel. 

For a change from photographing air support while we 
crawled up the peninsula, I moved in with the ygth Division 
artillery spotters. They used Cub planes, L-5*s, not speedy but 
extremely maneuverable. 

Lieutenant Ghormely flew us so low over the Germans in 
their concrete-lined trenches that we drew rifle fire. Ignoring it, 
Ghormely searched the ground for a worthwhile target. When we 
found a heavily camouflaged battery of 75*5 he radioed its posi- 
tion to our command post. Flying a safe distance away, we 
waited. Within minutes our big guns blew the battery to bits. 

Spotting from the Cub was almost entertaining, if you could 
forget that men were dying down there. Antiaircraft seldom 
bothered us. The gunners knew if they tried to knock us down 
we would fly out of their range, radio back and have them wiped 
out. Safer to hold their fire. 

Some events made such impact that I remember where and 
when and the hour and even the kind of day it was. Like that 
warm late June afternoon when Arthur Abel, correspondent for 
a picture magazine, rode with me in the jeep. We were heading 
for Valognes. 

A durable companion* Abel stayed unruffled when our jeep 
bogged down in mud, when a wounded man needed help or 
we came under fire. At three that afternoon we were plodding 
in a mile-long line of lumbering trucks when the Germans 
brought them under 88 shelling. 

Ahead, three trucks splashed skyward at a direct hit. Others 
went plunging out of control. The long line ground to a stop. 
Abel commented, "It's getting hot here, Jerry. Could we make it 
across that field?" 

As I turned the jeep, Abel suddenly slumped forward. I pulfcd 
up so short that the jeep behind crashed into us. Before we could 
help him he was dead, cut almost in two by a flying fragment 
of shell. Inches away, I was unhurt-. 

Combat cameramen suffered the highest percentage of casual- 
ties of any service in World War It, and correspondents were 
not far down the list. Acting as on-the-spot eyes and ears for 
200 million people in England and America, they dared any- 
thing to get their stories. Arthur Abel, like so many others;, paid 
the high price of serving his profession. 

Cherbourg peninsula was miles-wide lovely countryside that 
ended in a great dominating hill. The town snuggled at its 
feet beside the sea. The peninsula was dotted with enemy em- 
placements, but town by town, trench by trench, General Omar 
Bradley's ist Army crowded the master race back. 

The lower slopes of the great hill were creased with conoTete- 
lined trenches, many connected by galleries. These could be 
taken only by blood-and-guts assault. Then the enemy's four- 
story heavily gunned fort commanding the area for miles stopped 
the ist Army in their tracks. 

For three days, our heavy bombers dropped block-busters. 
They seemed to have no effect; the Germans kept on blasting 
with 50*5, 75*5 and 88's. Our medium bombers dived at their gun 
ports, letting fly incendiaries and finally, napalm. Most splashed 
futilely against the outer walls. Next, tanks farmed in a long 
line and stood blasting away, but when die smoke cleared, the 
enemy were still behind their cement and steel, pouring down a 
deadly fire. 

Meanwhile, by an end run the town had been penetrated, and 
street fighting raged. At our forward-most point I stood in the 


rain making panoramic pictures of town and hillslopes. Plodding 
up the path came a file of engineers carrying coils of rope and 
small bundles. 

"What's the plan?" I asked the stubby lieutenant as they 
stopped to rest. 

"Dynamite. We're going to get above that bunker." Looking 
sure that I wouldn't come he added, "Ought to make some 
pretty pictures, Mac." So I joined them. 

Single-file* we climbed the height, picking our way from one 
protected position to the next, past wrecked pillboxes and skirting 
attacks still under way against others. Our lieutenant was nervy 
and knowing. We lost only one man on the long climb, every 
step of it under fire. 

At last on the brow of the Cherbourg hill we were above two 
enemy heavy gun positions. They were deeply imbedded in 
rock and concrete and firing at the backs of GFs below them, 
taking smaller emplacements. 

The lieutenant tied his rope around a rock. "Try this for size, 
Andy." He passed the coil to a soldier, who let it down over the 

"Looks about fifty-five feet, Lieutenant." 

"Hear that, men? Fifty-five feet'll make it." 

They tied dynamite sticks in bundles to their ropes. Spacing 
themselves along the brow of the hill, they lighted fuses, then 
paid out their ropes. They could swing their dynamite bundles 
like pendulums. Each man strove to swing his into a gun port 

There was an explosion. "Watch it, Finnegan! You blew up 
my line." 

They worked with the absorption of fishermen searching for 
bass in a lake. A muffled roar and trembling underfoot reported 
the first success. The engineers cheered. They became even more 
intent on their lines, like fishermen spurred on by someone's 

It took two hours and a good deal of dynamite. But it was the 
engineers who blasted out those last two heavy gun emplace- 
ments before Cherbourg. 

I trailed the first mop-up team in to the four-story fortress. We 
took a few dazed and trembling prisoners, then I wandered about 
using flash bulbs to make still-pictures. The walls in some places 
were sixteen feet thick, and most of our damage had been done 
at thinner end walls or at gun ports. Dead men lay everywhere. 
Ventilation was bad, and the stench of burned cordite and 
rotting flesh was almost unbearable. 

Ammunition rooms still held large stocks of shells, with carts 
to trundle them to the big guns. The lower floor was used for 
stores, kitchens, a messhall and dormitories with bunk-lined walk 
Eor common soldiers. On the second floor were better furnished 
Dfficers' quarters and map rooms. Forcing a locked door, three 
of. us found the room stocked with champagnes and wines, 

"Boys, 55 the corporal gloated, "we're liberatin* every botde!** 

Prowling the second floor, I discovered the paymaster's office. 
Hiat gentleman lay acros his bunk, dead several days;, apparently 
by his own Luger. In a corner stood a huge black iron safe. As 
[ tried its combination a GI leaned over my shoulder. 

"Sarge, you want to bet there ain't any money in this box?** 

"I'll bet. A case of champagne.** 

"You're on." He took a grenade from his belt. "Let's get oat 
n the hall. This baby'U go big in here.** 

We crouched in the corridor, hands pressed over our ears. He 
:ossed the grenade in. When the dust and fumes had cleared 
we went back. The floor was almost ankle-deep in coins and 
>aper currency. 

"Wow! There must be a million bucks!** 

Actually, I think there may have been $150^000 worth of Ger- 
nan and French money. The corporal stared open-mouthed. In 
lis eyes, and probably in mine too an idea gfowed like a candle in 
i window. He said sofdy, 


"Hey, Sarge. How about you and me just sort of " 

"What's all this?" A major, lieutenant and three privates 
walked in. 

They stared at the fortune lying scattered at our feet. "Burn- 
side and Sdunitt^ find me a couple of sacks somewhere,* 5 the 
major ordered. "We'll stuff this money in and I'll seal 'em.'* 

The corporal sighed. He followed me into the corridor. Pick- 
ing up his half-consumed bottle of wine, he took a long pull. 

"Know something Sarge? For a couple of minutes there, we 
were rich." 

My souvenirs of Cherbourg were several German lenses, also 
two pistols which I traded to farmers for chickens. And Jazzbo, 
the kitten I found wet and crying in the kitchen. Using a chefs 
apron I dried him as best I could, then tucked him inside my 
bush jacket. He rode the jeep with me back to camp, where 
every man wanted to play with him. 

During his hectic stay with the enemy Jazzbo had become 
temporarily deaf. Over the next couple of weeks a little of his 
hearing came back. So did his self-confidence, and one morning 
he wasn't curled up on my blanket. Apparently, he had quit 
the army and gone back to civilian life. 

1 6 i The Great 

WITH THE FALL of Cherbourg on June 27, scores o enemy officers 
tried to escape in small boats to islands ofishore. Over the shoul- 
der of a P-6i-bomber fighter plane pilot I took pictures while he 
discouraged the fleeing master race with .^jo-caliber bullets. Some 
ignored his warning to turn back. They drowned. Others waved 
white articles of clothing and obeyed, and a few got away. Mean- 
while, the garrison surrendered by thousands. Columns of woe- 
begone prisoners were marched into huge barbed wire cages set 
up in fields. 

Townsfolk were wild with joy at their liberation. Every Ameri- 
can was regarded as a chrome-plated hero. Food, wiae, kisses 
showered on him. Women vied to do his laundry or dean his 
boots, and some of the younger ones fredy oSered their affection. 

For most citizens more than four years of hate toward aeigb- 
bors who collaborated with the Germans now demanded re- 
venge. Men kiiown to be guilty were lined up in the main square 
and shot As you walked die streets you saw women o)fiabo9rator$ 
held screaming and kicking while their hair was shaved off. 
Afterward they tried to hide their loss with scarves, but soon a 
scarf was as much the mark of a collaborator as a shaven head. 

In front of the city hall a woman ran up aad duidbed my sleeve. 
Pointing to my holstered .45 and with a rapid flow of French, she 


begged me to shoot another woman nearby. When I walked away 
she ran to try to persuade another soldier to do it. 

The Cherbourg story ended. I flew to England for a few days 
of rest. Camera Unit headquarters had grown into a sizeable 
operation with more than 50 workers, ranging from writers and 
directors to laboratory men, studio grips and office help. All Air 
Force film from the European theater was developed, cut and 
captioned here, and all assignments planned. 

Discussing our work with my old buddies Mattison, Carbart, 
Scott, Iverson and Kies, I made a suggestion that had taken root 
in my mind. 

"Isn't it time we had a fighter plane of our own? With the 
big push on in France, distances will get greater. There'll be more 
to photograph and we'd be able to get around faster," 

"You mean," Carbart asked, "refit a fighter as a camera plane?" 

"We ought to have it," Kies urged. "We could land anywhere 
there's a strip. Jump quicker from one assignment to the next. 
Make pictures we aren't able to now." 

"A plane wouldn't be easy to get," Mattison mused. "It isn't 
as if they're swamped with 'em." 

"But General Brereton usually backs us for anything reason- 
able," Jimmy Scott reminded. "How about asking for a fighter 
and see what happens?" 

Mattisoi^ our C.O., promised to start the request through 
channels. Scott and I went over to his office and consulting maps 
of Normandy, planned my next two or three assignments. "For 
a week or two, better take it easy," he suggested. "How about 
working with the Bombing Evaluation Committee?" 

"Never heard of it, Jimmy." 

'It's a group of experts who'll examine damage in captured 
areas. They'll decide if the right explosives were used or what 
would have been more effective. What they find out should help 
future operations. The brass are divided whether it's a silly idea," 
Scott explained. "Let's give them the facts on film." 

Two days later I was in Normandy with an Air Force major, 
a captain of artillery, an American civilian explosives expert and 
a French interpreter. The Bombing Evaluation Committee trav- 
eled in jeeps from one wrecked village or series of pillboxes to 
the next, questioning the locals through our interpreter, studying 
the damage and deciding what fuses, shells or bombs would 
have wrecked things more efficiently. 

We were nomads, sleeping under any roof we could find or 
under no root In some villages the mayor, impressed with our 
importance, saw to it that we were wined and diaed In others 
where food was scarce, we shared our rations. My jeep was my 
home. For a darkroom I used my changing-bag. 

The work was easy, if rather routine. I liked the friendly vil- 
lage folk and the men I worked with except Henri, the inter- 
preter. Our catch-as-catch-can way of living threw our ft*am much 
together and at close quarters Henri was too evasive, too nosey, 
and after a bout of sipping absinthe, which can contribute tt> 
softening of the brain, too much given to pawing me. 

Fuddled on absinthe one night in a village estamioet, Henri 
disgusted me and I left. We had holed up across the street in a 
bombed-out building that was only walls and ceilings. Choosing 
one of the least debris-strewn front rooms on the second floor, 
I settled myself and fell asleep. 

Later someone said in wheedling tones, "Jerrie, buddy. Arc 
you awake?" 

Henri stood beside me, his fingertips touching my check, 

My reaction was violent. Jumping up, I spun him around and 
grabbed hm by the collar and seat of the pants. One hard swing 
and I flung him out what had been a window. 

Shocked awake now, it came back to me that we were on the 
second floor. I could picture Henri lying bleeding on that craggy 
cobblestone street. Perhaps his neck was broken. Probably he was 
dead. . . . 

Nerving myself to peer out, I found it too dark to see anything. 


I was shakily lighting a cigarette when slow steps sounded on 
the staircase. In the glow of my flashlight on the doorway ap- 
peared a scratched, dirt-smudged Henri. Coldly he drew him- 
self to his full five feet five. 

"Sergeant, is it not that we are allies? I had only wished to 
present to you a very ancient bottle of brandy. Now it has broke 
itself in the street." He turned on his heel. 

Next day Henri kept his distance and we got along better. 

After two weeks I left the Committee but later on worked with 
them twice for short periods. Meanwhile, our Camera Unit had 
moved to the Continent and settled in a tent colony in a field near 
Grandcamp. Camp life did not suit some of our West Coast 
writers, cutters and lab men. They missed Ascot's comforts and 
London's amusements. 

"Why do you fellows need us here?" they grumbled. "These 
facilities make our work damned inconvenient." Several began 
to try to work angles for transfer. 

Jimmy Scott had been ordered to Washington where, promoted 
to major, he had been given charge of all Air Force photography. 
It was a world-wide responsibility that we knew Scott would 
handle well. From then we saw much less of him, although he 
would drop out of the skies when least expected. On these hur- 
ried visits he and I usually found time to plan up-coming assign- 

The battle had started for St. Lo. 

Scott and I had begun a color story of P-47 fighter planes, 
known as Thunderbolts, and now was a good time to get more 
footage. Moving to a 47 temporary field, I set up housekeeping 
in a broken-down German army truck 50 yards from the takeoff 
mat and day after day rode Thunderbolts, diving and strafing the 
enemy and dropping fragmentation bombs. 

Heavy rains delayed my picture-taking but did not fully halt 
fighter operations. One wet morning after chow I jeeped out to 

my truck to spend a couple o hours overhauling my cameras, 
I had just pulled alongside when out of low clouds a 47 came 
in to land. Going too fast when he hit the rain-slippery mat, he 
started to ground-loop. Somehow the pilot pulled her out. . . 
Next instant the 47 came careening off the runway toward me. 

I had my Eyemo running. Of a sudden I noticed that Thunder- 
bolt completely filling my finder. Looking up, I found him 
aimed at me from 40 yards away, coming at i5o-miles an hour. 

I got out of that jeep in a hurry. My thought was to dive 
under it, but that 47 brushing along the grass had me trapped. 
At the last instant the pilot gunned his engines. The ship lifted 
her nose. I hit the ground and there was a ripping of metal as 
his undercarriage knocked over the seats of my jeep. A hundred 
yards away she bashed into two oak trees and crumpled into 
a heap of junk. 

I ran over to try to help the pilot Luckily, there was no fire. 
He was sitting in the ruins wearing white-faced astonishment 
that he still lived First I took his picture, then helped him climh 
out. His legs rubbery, we made it to my truck where I kfe him on 
the grass in the rain while I went to my pack for a bottk o 

He downed a slug. c< Make me a copy of those pictures? For 
the rest of my life every rime things look dark 111 look at *em 
and feel the luckiest guy in the world!** 

Needing ground views to complete the Thunderbok story, 
I went up to General Hodges* 4th Armored division heaclquarters. 
He sent me to a command post from where Sergeant Ten Eyck 
took me on to the forward-most spearhead. Here I got esodlcnt 
shots of P-47*s working over enemy ground troops. But whatever 
a cameraman's position, he wants one a little better. Tea Eyck 
and I moved cautiously forward through a small patch o woods. 

We reached a shell-marked church in a dearing. Everything 
seemed to be peaceful. From its belfry we looked down on Ger- 

man trenches in fronts on our left and on our right. "Hurry it," 
Ten Eyck urged, "or they'll be watching your confounded 
movies in Berlin." 

"Won't take long," I promised. "As soon as those Thunder- 
bolts come back I'll make a little more, then we'll move." 

We waited, but the Thunderbolts did not come back. The 
Germans spotted us, and what came were 5O-millimeter shells. 
From the trenches in front, machine guns opened up and shingles 
went flying off our belfry. 

We got down from there fast. On the first floor we huddled 
in showering plaster, then rushed out the little church's front 
door. Ten Eyck yelled and dug for his 45. From our left a dozen 
Germans were coming on the run. Perhaps a hundred yards 
away the leaders stopped and sighted their rifles. Without cover 
and with too far to run, we were practically dead men until 
that snarl of machine guns from the spearhead we had left. It 
was followed by charging GI's, The Germans fell back, and Ten 
Eyck and I legged it to the spearhead. 

Up front another time, I watched our inf antry overrunning 
enemy slit trenches, with free use of grenades and bayonets. 
There was a lull. I joined a group of battle-hardened Nebraska 
farm boys in one of the captured trenches. 

"Hey, look!" One of the men pointed to a German soldier 
calmly walking straight toward us. Stooping, he picked up items 
of equipment which, evidently, he had dropped in retreat. Un- 
doubtedly, he believed this area deserted. 

We stood up, and a private fired a shot over his head. 
Astounded, the German stared, then turned and ran. Another 
shot dropped him. 

He was wounded in the buttock and bleeding severely. We 
carried him back to the command post, where he lay on his stom- 
ach, big-eyed and quivering while he was given first aid His 
pay-book showed that he was nineteen and had been in the 

superman army two and a half years. Before that, he said, he 
had been a blacksmith's apprentice in Munich. 

"Shoot me! Get it over with!" he burst out to the interrogating 

"Shoot you? What makes you think we'll do that?** 

"You do not keep wounded enemies. I know. Please finish 
me now!" 

We assured him we would take care of him, but when the 
medic prepared to inject morphine to ease his pain, his trembling 
increased. "I don't want to be poisoned," he cried. "Shoot me, 
.shoot me!" 

Again we patiently explained, but only after two or three 
minutes when he noticed the injection was not killing him did 
he begin to believe. He had been told over and over during his 
training that the Americans shot or poisoned all prisoners. 

Because of some camera trouble, I pulled back from the front 
and made a quick trip to our Unit at Graadcamp. Returning, I 
paused for noon chow with my P-47 friends. That day 3000 of 
our bombers rumbled overhead to make a full-scale obliteration 
attempt before St. Lo. 

Miles back from the target, I felt the ground shake at their 
tremendous blasting. When it ended and the squadrons of 6-24*$ 
and 6-25'$ came winging back, I got in my jeep and hurried 
forward to make pictures from pth division-held territory of 
their results. Still short of the front line, the ghastly sights sick- 
ened me. Men I encountered were swearing and openly weeping 
in futile rage. 

"They bombed our own guys! They wouldn't stop!" 

Next day another heavy bomber concentration was planned 
but hard rains forced postponement. The only topic of conver- 
sation was the Air Force miscalculation that had cost a whole 
battalion of the pth and several million dollars worth of equip- 


"Sure, it can happen. But that kind of blunder better not hap- 
pen again!" everyone growled. 

The following day I moved up front and positioned myself 
for pictures in a field spearhead of the 30th division. We watched 
the 3000 bombers come riding again out of the west, clouds of 
them. When, for the second time, 250- and 500-pound bombs came 
spilling out of our own planes on our own troops, men could not 
believe what their eyes reported. 

They yelled up at the aircraft, as if imagining they could be 
heard. They shook their fists, as if their puny gestures could be 
read thousands of feet above. They fired their rifles in fear and 
rage. The great fleet of bombing planes, one of the largest of the 
war, relentlessly rained death on their own forces. 

Like a gruesome film run again through a projector, it was 
a re-play of the disaster two days ago. But the cost this time was 
higher. Of 450 men in the small area where I crouched, 150 
were killed, and 200 were wounded. About the same ratio held 
for all other combat teams up and down our forward positions. 

After renewed hard fighting St. Lo fell some days later, and 
thousands of the enemy were taken prisoner and hundreds of 
heavy guns and tanks and mountains of materiel were captured. 
Like the other strategic points of Hitler's Fortress Europe, the 
seizure was crucial. But the victory ought not to have cost us so 


1 7 ' Camera Plane 

To CAPTURE a general is considered more of a trick than to cap- 
ture a private, but I could have nabbed my Nazi high brass with 
one hand tied behind me. And he brought his horse. 

After St. Lo* jeeping through the back-of-lines confusion of a 
great army, I found a country lane that paralleled the main roads 
choked by trucks of the famous Red Ball express. Red Ball was 
the amazing supply service organized soon after D-Day and 
steadily extended from the coast until it was feeing, fueling and 
supplying Allied armies all over Northern France and into 
Germany. Every truck was kept operating 20 hours a day and 
no transport organization in history has been Red Ball's equal 
Nor did its thousands of drivers so much as need road maps to 
get where they were going. Some gsenius had thought of strewing 
signs along the highways bearing only a bright red-painted faafl. 

On that country lane I was headed for Grandcamp to turn in 
my filtn 3 write captions and re-equip. I had just let off two walk- 
ing wounded at a field hospital and was hoping there would 
be mail waiting for me at Grandcamp when I noticed a horse- 
man come out of some nearby woods. 

He waved and I slowied. He put his white horse t a trot 
across a field toward me. When I saw his uniform was green- 
gray, I braked and pulled out my .45. Making signs that he was 

not resisting, he walked his horse nearer. Not only one of Rider's 
supermen, I thought, but he's even a super-superman. What's 
this fellow's game? 

"I am Reichsgeneral Werner Wolfgang von Mackledorf," he 
stated in good English. Slowly, so I would not shoot, he drew 
his sword. "I offer this." 

His uniform was dusty, with a sleeve ripped and a pocket torn. 
A trim-built man of 50, he was unshaven, his eyes sunken with 
fatigue. His horse stretched to position as if in a show ring. 
The lack of a saddle hinted that horse and rider had left some- 
where in a hurry. 

A general! My astonishment must have showed, for he gave 
a regretful shrug. "It is hopeless. I am now here too deep for 
getting through the lines." He kept holding out his sword. 

Getting out of the jeep, I accepted it. "Dismount, General." 
I took his Luger. Then I put his sword on the floor of the jeep 
and looking him over thought, Let's see, what's the next step 
when you capture a general? 

Turn him over to MJP.'s, I guess. I gazed around but in Nor- 
mandy, as at home, there never was a cop near when you wanted 
one. He spoke up. "May I hope, Sergeant, there will be good 
care for my horse?" 

"I kind of think I'll be looking after him myself." I added, 
"Stand there, please." I reached for my Graphic and took his 
picture. "Now go around the jeep, get in the front seat and hold 
your horse's reins. We'll have to find you uh, some kind of 
reception committee." 

He obeyed and getting behind the wheel, I drove slowly so the 
horse could keep up. I was undecided whether to act polite or 
tough, whether to talk or keep silent. If I talked, what to say to 
this kind of guest? 

"You are a photographer," he commented. "At home photog- 
raphy is my hobby. I have won a few modest prizes." 

I said that was interesting. As we rode on it occurred to me, 
"General, are you hungry? 9 * 

"I have been two days and nights, with only a little water." 

Steering with one hand, I reached to my pack behind his seat 
and wormed out a C-ration and gave it to him. He slung the 
reins over his arm and opened it He was wolfing down the 
food when we reached a crossroads where an MR directed traf- 
fic while two more rested in a ditch beside a motorcycle and side- 
car. I gave them the horn. As I stopped the pair came over, and 
at recognition of my companion's rank their eyes widened. 

"Hey, where the heck'd you get this?" 

"Had to knock out his whole army corps," I explained. "How's 
to trade him for a couple of chocolate bars?" 

The tall one frowned. "We got POW cages, Sarge, but we 
ain't runnin' a horse boarding house." 

The other said, "Besides, we don't pky polo." 

'Well, I do, now," I said. "I'm taking the horse along." I 
gestured to my seat-mate. "Out here, General." 

Still eating, he climbed down from the jeep and ignored the 
MJP. frisking him. "Sergeant, if you can, a little oats for Erna. 
She has had none for many weeks." He clkked his heels and 

He was an enemy, but I had to admire his self-possession. Be- 
tween M JP.'s he walked over to their motorcycle. Guiding Eraa 
by her reins, I worked her around to the left side o die jeep, 
"Erna," I told her, slipping into gear, "your new name is Marion 
after my sister. Let's make it Marion the Second." 

I kept Marion the Second several weeks, stabling her with a 
farmer near our Combat Camera Unit. On sfaort errands I often 
rode Marion and on off days jumped her ofcr low fences and 
cantered around the countryside. She was perfectly behaved and 
had rocking-chair gaits. Later, when our Unit made its big move 
to Chantilly, 30 miks outside Paris, I was away on an assignment 

and somehow Marion was not taken along. I don't know what 
became of the general, either. 

Word came from England that we had been granted a camera 
plane, and Colonel Royal Matdson called Connie Iverson and me 
back there to work out how it should be altered for our purpose. 
Mattison had asked for a P-38, and General Brereton gave us 
the newest, hottest version of this successful two-engine fighter. 
Ours had a sharp plexiglass nose, called a "droop snoot," where 
the navigator-bombardier sat in front of the pilot and a little 
lower; and Iverson and I knew in one look that this was going 
to be ideal for picture-taking. 

Not only was our Unit given the aircraft but also Lieutenant 
Bert Macomb and two mechanics. They didn't like their assign- 
ment. It hurt their professional pride, and Macomb didn't care 
who knew it. Fly photographers around? A boondoggle if he'd 
ever heard of one. In a hot ship like this he could be earning 
more swastikas painted on the side. Humiliating., that's what it 

To the horror of Macomb and his mechanics, we ordered the 
38*$ nose cannon and all her machine guns taken off. In the 
plexiglass bubble we fixed a low tripod, called a "high hat," to 
mount a movie camera. Now anything the droop snoot camera- 
man could see, he could get on film. And the greatest gain would 
be in picture steadiness. No more jiggling at the throb of ma- 
chine guns. 

Obtaining two auxiliary wing-tanks, we cut out their ends. 
In the forward end of each we fitted optical glass after a two- 
day search of London to find some. We bracketed a movie cam- 
era inside each tank, looking out the glass, and hung the tanks 
under the wings. They were controlled by the man in the droop 

Testing over the English Channel one morning, I asked 
Macomb, "If one engine conks out are we dead ducks?" 

He switched off his port engine. We tipped crazily but he got 

her back in level flight. Next, he went into a shallow dive, then 
did a tight turn. But he had to fight his controls, I noticed, and 
feeling things crawl up my back I yelled, 

"Okay! I believe you!" 

Ignoring me, he flew back to our field and, still on only one 
engine, made a perfect landing. 

A slightly built Ohio Irishman with wirelike red hair that 
never needed combing, Macomb was too warm a person to stay 
glum very long. Too, when he saw some of our combat film 
screened, he began to think there might be a littk sense to our 
work. Not that he admitted his change of mind, but he let us 
know it in little ways. Flying, he paid more attention to our re- 
quests to get into this position or that. He even made a sugges- 
tion or two as we kept readjusting camera mounts and controls 
to obtain the best results. 

Borrowing a Contax, Macomb bought his own film and made 
a few pictures to send home. "Say, Yd like to keep this box," he 
told me. "You lose one now and then, don't you? Or maybe it 
gets smashed by a bullet and isn't worth bringing back.** 

I took the Contax from his hand. "Bert, you know about being 
responsible for Government property. Sure, we iose a camera 
now and then. I have to swear in writing it happened in liae 
of duty. Nothing doing," I told him. 

He persisted; he badly wanted a Contax. I persisted that the 
answer was No. That morning when we climbed aboard the 
plane to test a new wing camera, I noticed that my seat belt 
buckle was broken. "Want to stop and get it fixed? 3 * Macomb 
asked innocently. 

"Well be up only a few minutes. Let *er go, Bert." 

At eight thousand feet he suddenly went into a power dive. 
And he kept not pulling out of it as England rusfeed up at me, 
perched out front in that droop snoot. At die last instant Macomb 
did bring up her nose. Climbing in a corkscrew, he did flipovers, 
loops, stalls. No matter how I braced myself he shook me loose. 

I kept banging around in that plexiglass, collecting bruises and 
yelling at him to level out. 

He did. "How about that Contax?" 

"The devil with you. Get back to the field!" 

Bert Macomb, I learned, had only toyed with me up to now. 
He repeated his tricks and added new ones. Flew without one 
engine. Flew without two, still looping and wing-ending. I kept 
banging my head, shoulders, hipf, bouncing around like a pea 
in a policeman's whistle, collecting six feet of black-and-blue. And 
getting sick from my stomach trying to trade places with my 

"Bert!" I yelled. "I'm ordering you back to the field!" 

"Sergeant, I outrank you." He grinned. 

Presently Macomb added, "What do you think now about that 
camera you'd probably have lost anyway?" 

I stood the punishment until I was too bruised and shaken to 
stand more. "Maybe I'll leave the damned thing on my bunk 
when I go to chow. But I'm not promising!" 

A day or two later I reported the Contax missing and never 
did hear that it turned up. 

When we flew the camera plane to France and joined 
Macomb's fighter squadron, he squirmed under the ribbing of 
his buddies. 

"Fellows, meet Bert Macomb. He flies a hot shot Kodak." 

"What kind of pictures do you take, Bert? Dirty ones?" 

"Bert's practicing, so after the war he can set up a studio and 
take baby pictures." 

Major Krakow, commander of the squadron, was reluctant to 
have us fly combat with him. I suggested where the camera plane 
could fit into formation, showing him on a blackboard what we 
had worked out at Ascot. He couldn't refuse us, not after re- 
ceiving that order from Major General Quesada, boss of Tactical 
Air Command, but he didn't like it, growling, 

"It's suicide to go dogfighting 109'$ with you guys only carry- 
ing cameras and pistols!** 

The main business of his P-38 squadron was strafing troops 
and convoys. Major Krakow briefed his pilots about us and dia- 
grammed how we were to be protected as much as possible. 
And it worked out. On strafing missions the camera plane kept 
above and a little back of the others. From the droop snoot I 
made wonderful pictures as below me one 38 went into a strafing 
dive, then the next peeled off. We caught the whole operation 
on film. 

To shoot up long convoys, we flew Indian file, so low above the 
trucks that if you knew the drivers you could have recognized 
their upturned faces before they dived into ditches. What pic- 
tures! And steady as in a studio. Not a jiggle. 

Of course, flying the 38 was not all like picking daisies on a 
hillside. Especially the day we tangkd with the first Nazi jet 
fighter planes we had seen. One of their pilots guessed we were 
somehow specialprobably thought our droop snoot carried high 
brass. He kept probing to cut us apart from the flight Maybe 
he told a friend, because another jet began to give us all his 

The P-38's did their valiant best to protect us, but those jets 
could fly circles around them. One of our ships went down on 
fire. We took a 20-millimeter cannon shot through our right 
wing. The hole was tearing larger in the 35O-mik-an-hour wind, 
and Macomb switched off that engine, afraid its vibration would 
pull the wing off. 

"Ready to go home, Jerry?" 

"And fast!" 

Bullets at right-angle scooped three ooe-iacfa grooves across the 
plexiglass ten inches from my face. Macomb cheered me up 
with, "The port engine's on fire.** 

It was. He used the automatic extinguisher aod helped matfcers 

by cutting out the engine. Meanwhile we were leaving the dog- 
fight. The two 109*5 trying to finish us were in a tangle with 
P-38's doing what Major Krakow ordered, protecting us. 

The fire in the engine died. After a moment the engine came 
to life. Macomb said calmly, "If our wing stays on, we'll make 

He became proud of flying the camera plane. "Just remember,, 
you common people, to keep out of my way," he told his fellow 
pilots. "I'm a photographer now. Can you guys say that?*' 

He was a hot-shot flier, able to do anything with a plane and 
prouder of the pictures we brought back than we cameramen 
who took them. Of course, another reason Bert Macomb liked 
working with the gtti Combat Camera Unit was the living ac- 
commodations he enjoyed. 

"Talk about luxury," he bragged to his friends. "Why, next 
week, I hear, we're even getting room service!" 


1 8 * Court Martial 

AFTER the Cherbourg campaign the American 3rd Army became 
operational under Lieutenant General George Patton. It divided 
into three spears, one going south to Fougeres before turning 
east, the second continuing south to Rennes, and the third strik- 
ing at St Malo on the coast, which fell August 14. 

Meantime, the ist Army pounded at Mortain. There was stiff 
opposition and a heavy counterattack that stalled the ist for a 
while. But Patton's lower spearheads made progress; the ist 
Army took Mortain and swept on; and the British 2nd and 
Canadian ist Armies drove south. The Canadians captured 
Falaise as Patton drove north to Argentan. Except for an escape 
corridor between those cities, a large German force was pocketed 
Although many units got away, ten enemy divisions were cap- 

Once started, Patton's other southern spearhead made a dash 
that sealed off Paris from hope of reinforcement Qa August 25 
I rode a tank into a Paris hysterical with joy at liberation from 
the hated Boche. Like every GI, I was kissed, hugged, decked 
with flowers and handed bodies of wine. Liberation was unfor- 
gettable, but I stayed only over night. A hundred cameramen 
were covering the celebration, and except for its planes stunting 
overhead, the Air Force had no great part in die happy madness. 

Learning of a beautiful chateau 30 miles away at Chantilly, 


where the pth AAF headquarters were being moved, Colonel 
Royal Mattison wangled it for the Camera Unit. From this base 
Cliff Kies and I went on a stint with P-6i fighter-bomber planes 
and ten days later were jeeping tiredly back. The 61 footage was 
to be used in a full-length motion picture to which we gave the 
working title, Project 186. Jimmy Scott had got the idea for it 
after seeing the Navy film, "Fighting Lady," concerning an air- 
craft carrier in the Pacific. 

"Can we let those Navy guys get ahead of us? You bet not," 
Scott declared. "We'll make a better picture than theirs, much 
better, It will be the complete story of the Air Force." In several 
conferences we worked out tentative continuity, and each camera- 
man was assigned to collect footage for supermovie Project 186. 

Kies and I returned to Chandlly that day about noon to find 
the town gala with flags. It seemed that the Maquis, French un- 
derground fighters, were staging a picnic at the racetrack to honor 
Americans for their help in freeing Paris from Hitler's super- 

"It's starring about now. You'd better get out there." Tony 
Segrist, our company clerk, pulled open a drawer of his desk. 
"Oh, Sergeant Kies, this message came for you through the Red 

Kies's hands shook as he opened it. He let out a yell. "A boy! 
I'm a father! Ruth had a swell eight pound boy!" 

Still in our battle dress, and with Kies wearing over his a 
short black leather jacket, we hurried out to the picnic. The 
food was excellent, and the entertainment good. The Maquis 
kept offering toasts to America, the GI's toasted la belle France 
and everyone who heard Kies's news toasted the beaming father. 
By late afternoon when we left we may have been slightly aglow, 
Kies more than I, though I'm sure he still could have read an 
oculist's chart. 

It seemed a long way to our chateau so we stopped to rest in a 
village bistro. Kies threw open his short black jacket and hummed 

happily as we took a table and began to work on a bottle of wine. 
A major, a captain and a lieutenant walked in and lined up at 
the little zinc bar. Headquarters paper-pushers, I reflected, and 
paid no attention to them. 

Presently the captain came over to us. "Men, the major sug- 
gests that you leave." 

We stared at him. "My compliments to the major," Cliff Kies 
said, "but please explain that we aren't quite ready to leave.** 

The captain reported this. The three at the bar finished their 
brandies, ordered another round and kept glancing at us. ITie 
major, a dapper little mustached Napoleon, spoke to the captain, 
who again came to our table, 

"Men, the major says you've had enough to drink. He also feels 
that your unsoldieriy appearance, uh, makes it uh, advisable that 
you return to quarters at once." 

Kies refilled my glass and his own. "Tell him that if he'd been 
where we have, he'd have got dirty too. And not with ink. But 
of course " He gave his choir boy smile "tbe major would 
never go to the places we go, would he?" 

I said, "What do you think, Cliff, shall we be on our way?** 

He looked at me. "You want to?** 


"Neither do I." He waved the captain away and we sipped 
our wine. 

We were behaving ourselves, and I felt that we had earned a 
bit of leisure more than these headquarters paper-pusfaers, There 
was always friction between soldiers who dodged bullets and 
staff men whose only risk was getting fingers caught in type- 
writers, and tins little busybody of a major looked to be one of 
those rank-happy chair-warmers. 

Again the captain came to us. Before he could speak Kies said 
shortly, "We aren't doing anything out of line. We're bothering 
nobody. We aren't going to leave." 

The French proprietor looked apprehensive as he served Ac 


three officers another round. You could tell the major's blood 
pressure was rising, the way his button eyes grew shinier as he 
kept shooting looks at us. Having started this, he felt he must 
nish it. He rapped out something to the captain, but the captain, 
tired of playing errand boy, rapped back. The major flushed. 
Drawing himself up to his full bantam height, he stalked over 
to us. 

"You men are wearing sidearms. That's against regulations in 
a headquarters area. Hand them over." 

"Do what?" I exclaimed. "We're not at headquarters. And this 
is a war theater*" 

The major wasn't sure of himself. Kies snapped, "We're wear- 
ing gats because we're just back from combat." He looked the 
little guy up and down. "Are you?" 

His. flush deepened. "Major," I soothed, "we're behaving all 
right. We'll be going soon to get ourselves policed up, so why 
don't we leave the whole thing at that?" 

No, he would not be placated. "Captain Berg," he snapped, 
"place these men under arrest!" 

The captain looked disgustedly at the lieutenant, who made it 
plain that he wanted no part in this. As the captain moved 
toward us, Kies and I rose from our chairs. We both were over 
six feet. With our growth of beard, our sidearms and in our 
battle fatigues, we looked big and we looked tough. After one 
glance the captain lost interest in arresting anybody and paused, 

"Reinke," the major cried to the lieutenant, "go call the MJVs. 
On the double. Find them!" 

Shrugging, Reinke went out the door. The rest of us stood 
glaring. Kies drawled, "I prefer to keep my sidearms, Major. 
And my buddy has a fancy plastic handle on his gun, with his 
sister's picture under it. He doesn't care to part with that picture, 
do you, Jerry?" 

*Tm keeping it." Sony for the proprietor who watched all 

this without understanding it, I tried again to win peace, "Gentle- 
men, we're all on the same side after all. What do you say we 
have a drink together?" 

The major looked as if he might stamp his foot. "You men 
hand over your weapons at once. That's an order!" 

It was best not to disobey a direct order. Ignoring it, Kies 
and I sat down and tipped the bottle of wine to freshen our 
glasses. Beside himself with frustration, the major stalked purple- 
faced back to the bar. The proprietor's wife stuck her head 
through curtains to a back room and called her husband to 
dinner. With a look of relief, he went. 

There was silence. 

Deciding to have another try at peacemaking, I strolled to the 
bar and explained who we were and how it happened that we 
did not look more presentable, I said my buddy felt the need of 
a little celebration because of the news that his wife ia New York 
had borne a son. But as I went on with my butcering-up, I saw 
by the major's out-thrust jaw that I was malHng BO headway. 

Kies sauntered over and went behind the bar. Smiling, be set 
out four small glasses. "While you gentlemen wait for reinforce- 
ments, won't you join me in a toast to my dear wife and son?" 

I almost laughed aloud. The pair traded uncomfortable looks, 
unwilling to accept Kies's treat; yet not liking to be nasty about: 
a matter of sentiment. Lifting my glass I said, "To Mrs, Kks 
and Junior, long life and prosperity!" With reluctance the others 
were raising their glasses when the major got an idea and dapped 
his on the bar. 

"Sergeant, I charge you with stealing this poor man's liquor!" 

Kies's jaw dropped. Here was a twist that nonplussed me too. 
Then I dug money out of my pocket and skppcd it on the bar. 
"Stealing it, hell. I'm buying." 

The major's face was a study. Kies and I grinned. Picking up 
the money Kies said, "1*11 take it to the little guy to make it 
legal." I followed him into the rear room where the Frenchman 

and his wife tried to pretend they weren't frightened. They ac- 
cepted the money and pulling up chairs, urged us to share their 

We sat down, laughing as we pictured the major's face in the 
next room. Suddenly we heard him shout, "Surround the place. 
Those men are armed!" 

Through the curtain from the barroom and in tie back door 
burst M.P.'s with carbines raised. Our hosts were terrified, but 
Kies and I went on eating. As if for the first time noticing the 
man behind the carbine a foot from his face, Kies picked up the 
platter. "Care for a chicken leg, Mac?" 

The major howled, "Disarm them, I say! Shackle them both!' r 

"Come, come," I soothed the M.P. nearest me, whom I seemed 
to remember from somewhere, "there's no need to play cops 
and robbers. Take our guns. Who's resisting? Can't you fellows, 
see we're in the middle of dinner?" 

Fairly hopping up and down, the major demanded that we 
be shackled, but after huddling, the MJP.'s, four in all, pretended! 
not to hear him and merely ushered us to the barroom. "We 
gotta take you in, Sarge," my acquaintance told me. "Let's keep 
it relaxed, what do you say?" 

I was beginning to realize that this little fracas had got out 
of control. Cliff Kies and I decidedly were under arrest. But as 
I could not see that we had done anything seriously wrong, I 
hoped if we went quietly, the matter would somehow blow over. 

It might still have blown over if that cocky little major hadn't 
had another brainstorm. As Kies passed him, he picked up his 
glassful of brandy and cocked back his arm. Turning on him, 
Kies poked his face close. *T)on't you throw that at me, you paper 
clip general, if you want to live!" 

The major trembled with rage. But he put down his glass. 

Kies, grunting his contempt, moved between MJP.'s for the 
door. The instant his back was turned the captain lunged after, 
grabbed his short jacket at the shoulders and peeled it back 

and down so as to pin both Kies's arms. Then our Napoleon, 
stepping after, swung viciously at the side of Kies's jaw. 

Maybe his blow would not have hurt much. The treachery of 
their attack touched me off, and I didn't wait to find out. I hit 
the major the hardest I have ever hit anyone. If my fist had aot 
first grazed his shoulder, it would surely have broken his jaw. 
As it was, he was lifted off the floor, staggered two steps and 
pitched into the little bistro's curved front window. 

There was a tinkle of raining glass as the major went through 
it. His torso out of sight on the narrow sidewalk, he kft his feet 
on the glass-scalloped window frame. No one needed to lock 
to know that he was out. 

Spinning around, I faced the captain and the lieutenant, but 
they showed no interest in backing up their major. I pulled my- 
self together and told the MJ?. at my elbow, "Let's go." 

Twenty minutes later I was in my quarters, Kies ia his, each 
of us guarded by an MJP. outside the door. Lighting a cigarette, 
I sat down to think matters over. 

This was serious. 

In the first place, we had, of course, looked unsoldkrfy for a 
headquarters area, and no doubt should have taken time to dean 
up before going to the Maquis* picnic. The reason we hadn't, 
eagerness to celebrate Kies's news, had a weak ring to it now. 
Next place, even if the major's order to leave the bistro was aot 
justified, we should have kit. And, OG demand, we ought to have 
surrendered our -45'$, You might say we resisted arrest there 
before the MJVs arrived. And bad as all that was, I had made 
things worse by slugging an officer. 

Theyll throw the book at ns, I thought. Especially me. IH be 
in Leavenworth at hard labor die rest ot iny fife. 

Sure, that swivel-dbair major will see that I get the works. 
Hell think up some mart charges, like bong drunk, though 
we were not drunk. We were in a glow from wine, which was 
all we had all afternoon up to that braady toast to Kies's wife 


and child. Let's see, I tossed mine off but Cliff put his glass down 
to take the money to the proprietor. 

Leavenworth at hard labor? I thought. You won't be that 
lucky. An icy lance shot up my back. We're in a war theater. 
Here, for insubordination, resisting arrest and striking an officer 
you get. . . . 

Stood up against a wall and shot. 

Worried, I paced up and down. Trying to be sorry I had hit 
the major. I couldn't feel sorry, but I saw that it had been a 
mistake. The lousy little rank-puller. Probably jealous of Camera 
Unit men, believing the gags about what a soft life we had. Like 
riding that droop snoot plane 30 feet above trenches with rows 
of machine guns squirting at you. Working Omaha Beach and 
where was our fancy pants major then? That little mustached 
Napoleon ought to throw away his pencil and try our job for 
a few days. 

Just the same, he was a major. I was a sergeant. I had knocked 
him out. 

Pacing up and down, I worried the hours away. Somebody 
brought a tray of food, and, ravenous, I munched it while I 
walked. Snapped my fingers at a thought. What about tomor- 
row? Our truck was packed with photo equipment for Kies, 
Sandy Sanderson and me to take off to cover the campaign to 
capture Brest. Contacts had been made for us with a fighter 
plane base, a medium bomber base and a t-anlr division. 

Sanderson will have to get a couple other cameramen to help 
him, I thought. Kies and I are going to be busy getting court- 
martialed, then shot. 

I started to write a last letter home but tore it up. There would 
be time later. Maybe something, some wrinkle to our advantage, 
would turn up. I certainly had no idea what it might be. 

Next morning, feeling gloomier but somewhat rested, I cleaned 
myself up. Wonder who they'll assign to defend us? First thing 
we need is a heart-to-heart talk with Royal Mattison and Hank 
Carbart. They'll know what we should do and how to do it. 

Hungry, I looked at my watch, then went to the door to ask my 
guard about breakfast. There was no lock and, opening it, I 
looked out. No guard. Maybe he too had been forgotten and had 
gone on a search for chow. I hesitated, thinking fast, then stepped 
out and cautiously approached Kies's quarters. No guard there 

I opened the doon "Cliff ?" 

He stared. "What are you doing here? Where's the MJP.?" 

"I don't know. Chow, maybe. Cliff, let's get ourselves a talk 
with Mattison. We aren't escaping; well be within a hundred 

We hurried to Segrist, our company clerk. "Tony, get hold 
of the colonel and tell him to come here, will you? Quick.** 

He shook his head. "Mattison's in Paris." 

"Well, Carbart, then." 

"Won't be back till Friday." 

Captain Kim Schultz, Captain Worrel, Major Lomax oot 
one of our intimate friends was around. Kies and I looked at 
each other. 

Segrist went over and bolted the door. "Fellows* if I were yaa, 
I'd clear out. Sanderson told me yesterday your truck's loaded, 
except for food. Why not take off on that Brest assignment?" 

"Yeah, but Tony" 

"I'll report that you went. Who's going to follow into battk 
to arrest you? When it's over, come back you aren't fook 
enough to go over the hill. Maybe carrying out your duties 
will you know help. And giving yourselves up afterward. 
Sometimes it helps a mixup like this to let things cool oE a 

"You guys stay, and what'H happen?" he argued. "In a war 
zone they don't fool around, Youll be shot. Fm tdling you, your 
best chance is to dear the hell out of here, fast!" 

Kies grabbed my arm. ** Jerry, he's absolutely right." 

I thought hard. Could we get worse off by leaving, then coming 
back, than we were now? "Okay. Find Sanderson for us, Tony. 


Tell him to bring the truck around, quick, and don't stop for 
food. When he comes, CM, we'll crawl under the tarp." 

With Sanderson driving we took off for the Brest campaign. 
Our kck of food worried Sandy: where were we going to find 
any? At ten o'clock we passed a supply depot, turned around, 
went back. I introduced myself to the captain in charge and 
showed my identification. 

"We left in a hurry this morning, Captain. As you know the 
c^paign's already started. We haven't a bite to eat. Can'you 

"Hm, guess you can sign a receipt like anybody else." Calling a 
corpora^ he ordered, "Let this man have whatever he needs 
We re short of fresh meat," he apologized, "but we've got plenty 
of frozen hamburger." Besides canned and packaged foods, we 
took a block of frozen hamburger two feet long and ten inches 
square and chiseled it off, chunk by chunk, over the next several 

Bresti for us, was a i 7 -day job. As usual the Germans were 
heavily fortified behind concrete and heavily gunned. After the 
town fell I rode a tank into the big submarine yards still reeking 
of explosive and strewn with dead members of the master race 
The sub pens, bombed again and again by our heavies, showed 
little damage to walls 15 feet thick. But in open yards and 
anchorages eleven U-ioats had been blasted to junk as they lay 
under construction or repair. Hitler's great Atlantic sub base no 
longer was a menace to Allied shipping. 

Sanderson was staying on a few days. Kies and I took the 
truck and started for Chantffly. But we decided to go by way of 
Pans and spend a couple of days thinking matters over 

"If we're lucky," I said, "we might run into Mattison or Carbart 
or someone. We're going to need help. And we can find out 
now the land lies." 

Kies shrugged. 'ThisTl be our last free time and I say let's 

vitASH- * ** J 

collect it 

We parked the truck in a motor pool, got a ticket for it and 
took a room in a small side-street hoteL For f our days we alter- 
nately thought hard about our predicament, searched the cafes 
for influential friends but found none^ and tried to forget die 
whole thing with Paris amusements. The fourth evening in our 
room I said, 

"CM, I've about had it. Let's face the musk." 

"I've been thinking the same thing. Brest is over, so theyH 
call us fugitives any minute. We'll go tomorrow morning. 9 * 

There was no great furor when we drove into Cfaantilly. No 
one arrested us as we reported to Colonel Matrison who, of 
course, knew about our trouble. He took us in his office and 
listened to our side in detail When we finished he said, 

<c You two are really in the soup. Major Gentry's out to sec you 
both shot drew up seven charges against you. However, things 
may have calmed down some, and your covering Brest, tiken 
mm ing straight back would seem in your favor. The court 
martial J s set up and waiting. Now I'll raff your counsel, Major 
Riley Torgeson and Captain Ike Griffith, both good cenL w 

They heard our detailed story and told us frankly, T&Q dac 
States in peacetime, this would be bad but not too bad. Happen- 
ing in a combat zone well, you've read the Articles of War so 
you know what the penalty could be. Well do the best "we can.** 

For four days we waited and worried, held under deteatioe 
but given the run of the chateau. The night before die court- 
martial was to be held, Major Torgeson and Captain Griffith 
came to see us. 

"Now, men, here's how it's going to be. Kies, youU be tfaere, a 
prisoner. Joswick, you won't even be in tbe courtroom." 

Phew! Relief washed over me. Then new worry came. *Bot 
Major, theyTI railroad Cliff. If I doo't testify how dbat sqnirt 
of a major jumped him from behind * 

"Look at it this way," Torgeson said. "Major Gentry and that 
captain don't look good for doing what they did. Their counsel 


knows that. You don't look good for hitting Gentry. The first 
thing when court convenes, we and Gentry's counsel will ask 
to have some of the charges stricken for lack of sufficient evi- 
dence. And I don't want you even in sight, because this thing is 

I was permitted next morning, in custody of an MJP., to wait 
across the street from the school building where the court- 
martial was held. Was I deserting Kies ? That was what gnawed 
at me. Hadn't I ought to be there beside him to tell my story 
in case he needed me? But he had insisted we do exactly as our 
counsel recommended. 

"It can't be any worse their way, Jerry, and maybe it's gonna 
be better. If the roof does fall in, you can do your stuff for me on 
appeal to Eisenhower." 

It seemed half a day, but it was only 50 minutes. Captain 
Griffith came out of the school building, spied me and held 
up two fingers in a V as he hurried across the street. 

"It went pretty well, Jerry. There was wrangling, but the 
court finally dropped some of the charges when Gentry's counsel 
said they lacked evidence to convict. So they tried Kies on being 
drunk, refusing to obey an order to leave the bistro and making 
an unsoldierly appearance." He added, "His record helped Htm 
a lot." 

"What'd they give him?" I begged. 

"Only fined him a month and a half's pay." 

I gasped. "Is that all?" 

Griffith mopped his forehead. "Yes and if you ask me, it's a 


1 9 * Capture 

Two INCIDENTS come swiftly to mind when I think about the 
battle for Aachen in October. One is meeting that sdf-stykd 
"specialist," a boyish-looking Midwesterner with a shy grin and 
cold steel courage. The other is being taken prisoner. 

As did other cameramen, I worked the batde with General 
Courtney Hodges' ist Army from late September when k got 
under way. Every type of photography was involved, riding in 
the droop snoot of our P^S, going over in light bombers, Bitting 
above enemy trenches in Cub planes and woiking with the 
Black Widow fighters. 

We rounded out a film story on Black Widows, wiikh irae 
P-6i night fighters. Painted black, they were difficult for Ae 
enemy to see and could go in hedge-hopping at great speed to tut 
concentrations of supplies and mow down personnel They were 
manned by a pilot, a gunner and an engineer. Delivering fierce 
fire-power, they had a 20-millimeter cannon and two jy>-caS3bcr 
machine guns in the nose where die gunner rode, phis three 50*$ 
in each wing. 

Since they did not go about their work imrii dusk, ! oouki 
make pictures only in the little twilight that remained or with 
the help of parachute flares and the explosions we caused. Ooc 
night, skimming over enemy territory, our flares showed rough 
ground which, at the same time, had a strangely level fooL 


Crouched in the plexiglass nose with the gunner, only 6b feet 
off the ground, I said, "That didn't look real. It was flat and yet 

"I thought so too,*' he agreed. "Let's ask Skip for another 

Skip Engle flew us back and we dropped more flares. Below 
us was a huge ammunition dump camouflaged with several 
hundred feet of tarpaulins painted like hill tops. Pulling away, 
we had brisk radio discussion with the three Black Widows in 
our flight; then each plane made a pass at the dump, a minute or 
two apart so blast had dispersed before the next one roared over. 

The Black Widows strafed trains, knocking out locomotives 
of freights and with tracer bullets starting fires in tank cars. 
Truck convoys were for us too. Lieutenant Engle liked to lead 
his flight along a convoy, making every Reichswehr hero leg it 
for the fields, then 20 minutes later bring us back just as the end- 
less line of trucks was getting reorganized. 

The Germans found those low-level Black Widow attacks a 
scourge. Their antiaircraft could not be trained low enough 
to bear. Machine gun fire knocked over an occasional 61, but 
down-drafts and smashing into tall obstacles caused most of our 

When we wanted pictures of air support, we got the best re- 
sults on the ground working with tanks. With battle-toughened 
infantry spread out beside and behind them, the awkward look- 
ing tanks were always grinding ahead where the hottest action 
took place. 

The day we penetrated the eastern edge of Aachen I dodged 
from doorway to doorway to avoid sniper fire until I got to an 
office building half a block long and three stories high. From its 
roof I could make excellent shots of fighter planes strafing the 
rest of the city and of GI's mopping up streets below me. Presently 
I noticed two tanks attacking the railroad station less than a 

block away. One got itself stuck in a heavy stone archway. With 
a tremendous heave to break free, the rank brought down the 
whole station. German snipers popped out of hiding and ran 
in all directions like rats from a burning warehouse. 

The enemy's last stand was made in a fortresslike building in 
the center of the city. Our side massed a dozen 155-millimeter 
Long Tom rifles within 200 yards and began methodically to 
blow the building to pieces. I could watch both the firing aad 
the results. Aachen fell October 21 when the trapped garrison 
surrendered and their commander said ruefully, "When the 
Americans use hundred fifty-fives like snipers* rifles, it's time to 
give up." 

There was a pause the last days of October and the first two 
weeks of November to get ready for the big push against the 
inner Siegfried Line. I joined the 2nd Armored division, report- 
ing to General White. He passed me to a captain who turned me 
over to a lieutenant in his unit, who suggested that: I ride into 
the coming batde on a half-track. 

By the i6th we were ready, our line of armor stretching a foil 
mile along the bleak and muddy No Man's Land. Before dawn 
and zero hour I wandered about, talking with tank crews, and 
coming back to the half-track began to chat with a teenage- 
looking soldier who sat in it chewing tobacco. 

He offered me some but I explained that I did not cbcw. 
"What's your job?" I inquired. 

He patted the ,3o-caliber machine gun beside him. "Kind of a 
specialist, you might say.** 

"But that's not a hand gun. How do yon plan to use it? w 

"From a tank turret for a while, then IH take k off for what 
I have to do.** As I kept questioning he explained, "Well, there's 
an old barn we know of. It's a command post for a coupk of 
miles of trenches. My tank will blow the door off, and after that 
I come." 

"You mean to do your specialty?" 

He nodded. "I go up to that door and give a big burst to knock 
off anybody still alive in there." 

I asked if I might trail behind him while he did his specialty, 
and plainly he welcomed the thought of companionship. "Should 
I follow dose behind, or stay back on your left or right? I mean,* 
I said, "what can I expect?" 

He tipped his tin hat and scratched high on his forehead. Look- 
ing me in the eye he said, "Buddy, I just don't know. I've never 
done it." 

I stared at the specialist. "Buddy," I said, "I think I will try a 
chew of your tobacco." 

At the break of dawn the mile-long row of engines were started, 
and the great fleet of tanks, half-tracks, artillery pieces and jeeps 
began to roll forward. It was a lowering gray day. The ground 
was soft from rains and early snow that had melted, and in 
places the mud was six inches deep as we swarmed over low 
hills with occasional patches of trees. 

The enemy blasted at us fiercely with 88*s placed among higher 
hills several miles ahead and they had us well spotted. Their 
75*s opened up. We were under heavy, constant fire, with such 
din that you had to shout to the man seated next to you. For 
the first time I saw German rockets in salvos of five streaking 

There came a terrific bump as a shell smashed our left-hand 
track. Our vehicle went up on one side and turned over. Six 
of us went flying through the air and into the mud. I picked my- 
self up, made sure my camera was undamaged and, wanting 
cover, ran to the nearest tank and climbed aboard. A quarter- 
mile farther a hit knocked off one of its tracks. Again I was in 
the mud, counting my arms and legs, when two officers and a 
driver came along in a jeep. I climbed in with them. Far to left 
and right our long line of armor kept grinding grimly onward. 

A shell struck the left front of our jeep. The next I knew, I 
was again picking myself up out of the mud, as were the two 
officers. Our driver was dead. By now I was so shaken t-Kat I 
imagined I could feel the fillings in my teeth rattle* And after 
three hits to vehicles in which I was riding in less than 30 minmra, 
I was deep-down afraid to go on. 

But there was no other way to go. I ran to anodier tan^ yelling 
to be taken aboard. My machine gunner specialist poked his head 
out, then reached a hand to help me climb on. 

Over two series of trenches we careened and banged ami^ tiiat 
din of shelling, and up a long, slow dope. Ahead in a sparse 
copse of trees stood a low gray barn. Our t-anlr slowed and die 
commander turned. 

"Okay, Dick. That's it." 

Dick climbed out, and though, now I certainly had no heart 
to go along for his specialty, I climbed out after Him and dropped 
to the ground. 

Our tank waddled on 20 yards. Its gun swung to careful aim, 
blasted, and the door of that barn-command post splashed into 
the air. Dick looked at me, swallowing hanL He looked back at 
the barn. Drew himself to his full height. With his machine goa 
held at ready, he stalked forward. 

Following ten yards in his wake, I expected any instant to see 
htm riddled. Straight up to that ragged barn opening Dick went, 
pumped a long burst inside from his machine gun, then jumped 
for the cover of one walL 

Nothing happened. When cautiously we looked inside, none 
of the three officers and three German pmatses at their command 
post were moving. 

Dick's blue eyes met mine^ and I must have showed the same 
vast relief he did. Admiration made me dap him OQ Ac arm, 
but when I tried to speak I swallowed my chew of tobacco. 

We were under very heavy shelling. Earth spouted around 

us and pieces of scrap iron sprayed everywhere. Dick ran one 
way and I another to the nearest oncoming tank where I banged 
on its hatch. "Hey, let me in!" 

The hatch opened and a head stuck out. The fellow was ac- 
tually laughing! "Sure you got the pictures, Mac ? Okay, climb in." 

We roared on, soon falling into a group with three other tanks 
in a spearhead trying to get to those big guns up in the hills. A 
look back showed our long line of armor, now uneven, but still 
coming on; but in the poor visibility from smoke and clouds of 
flying mud, I saw that we four were on our own. We ground 
ahead, firing at any worthwhile target, constantly searching 
for those 88's that still kept their shells whistling around us. 
Then, just as we worked to a position from which we could try 
a few shots at the nearest of those guns, it was dusk. In the 
rapidly worsening light, conditions were too poor to warrant our 
going farther. 

The lieutenant who was our leader ordered the four tanks 
parked next to a small clump of fir trees on a hill-slope, forming 
a diamond. After studying his sector map, he radioed his com- 
mand post miles behind. Their answer was to order us back to 
our lines. But almost at once they added that we wouldn't be 
able to get there. 

"The Heinies have got in behind. You guys are cut off." 

The lieutenant told us, "We're to stay put. They'll send out 
some tanks to cut through to us." 

Anxious, we waited, peering back the way we had come. Sure 
enough, the enemy had moved in with machine and antitank 
guns. And when a distant group of our big ones did start grind- 
ing toward us, enemy gunfire doubled. The Boche was not going 
to permit any rescue, and now and then lobbed an 88 shell close 
to us for a reminder always careful not to overshoot and hit 
their own men. 

We were there to stay, at least for the night. The firing con- 
tinued, holding off any hope of our rescue. Enemy infantry crept 


closer to keep us under continual rifle and ma^Kim> gun fire. 
The smack of bullets on our tanV sides made our crowded life 
within so noisy that talk was impossible. As the hours wore on, 
it grew cold. We lighted our Sterno stove to make coffee, but 
fumes forced us to open the tank hatch, whkh only let in more 
cold. We had to abandon thought of warmth or coffee and settk 
down in our iron room to a long, miserable night, keeping 
vigilant so no German managed to creep close enough to throw 
a grenade in our gun port. 

All night voices called, "KameradcnP demanding our sur- 
render. All night an occasional 88 shell rarp<* whistling close by. 
Toward morning we heard distant clank-clanking of enemy 
tanks. With our own artillery shelling a large open area on our 
left, the noise and the anxiety were almost unbearable. 

In the first reddish streaks of dawn we peered out of our prison, 
looked at each other, then looked away without speaking. Two 
huge Tigers had their guns trained on us from 200 yards. As 
light improved the 88's stepped up their whistling fury, and die 
tank forming the bottom of our diamond, with a tremendous 
crash, took a direct hit. Soon the one at the left comer was hk. 
It burst into a fury of flames. Not a man managed to get out. 

That decided us. We flung open our hafrh and osae by one, 
pelted out. So did the men of our other remaining rank. Wriggkd 
out, jumped down and went flat on the ground to avoid being 
picked off by riflemen. In my hurry to get down there on the 
ground I somehow tangled my feet in the b a $dh opening a*H 
badly pulled muscles in both legs. At the moment I didn't notice 
because of an obsession to stay alive. 

Hitler's supermen advanced on all sides, their rifles ready* I 
tossed my movie camera under our tank, keeping the Cootax. 
Nothing to do but stand there reaching both hands at the sky. 

These enemy soldiers were older than we had met before, 
looking as if they might be home guards and in fact, looking 
as if they hadn't much desire to fight. They fined us up and dis- 

us and pieces of scrap iron sprayed everywhere. Dick ran one 
way and I another to the nearest oncoming tank where I banged 
on its hatch. "Hey, let me in!" 

The hatch opened and a head stuck out. The fellow was ac- 
tually laughing! "Sure you got the pictures, Mac ? Okay, climb in." 

We roared on, soon falling into a group with three other tanks 
in a spearhead trying to get to those big guns up in the hills. A 
look back showed our long line of armor, now uneven, but still 
coming on; but in the poor visibility from smoke and clouds of 
flying mud, I saw that we four were on our own. We ground 
ahead, firing at any worthwhile target, constantly searching 
for those 88's that still kept their shells whistling around us. 
Then, just as we worked to a position from which we could try 
a few shots at the nearest of those guns, it was dusk. In the 
rapidly worsening light, conditions were too poor to warrant our 
going farther. 

The lieutenant who was our leader ordered the four tanks 
parked next to a small clump of fir trees on a hill-slope, forming 
a diamond. After studying his sector map, he radioed his com- 
mand post miles behind. Their answer was to order us back to 
our lines. But almost at once they added that we wouldn't be 
able to get there. 

"The Heinies have got in behind. You guys are cut off." 

The lieutenant told us, "We're to stay put. They'll send out 
some tanks to cut through to us." 

Anxious, we waited, peering back the way we had come. Sure 
enough, the enemy had moved in with machine and antitank 
guns. And when a distant group of our big ones did start grind- 
ing toward us, enemy gunfire doubled. The Boche was not going 
to permit any rescue, and now and then lobbed an 88 shell close 
to us for a reminder always careful not to overshoot and hit 
their own men. 

We were there to stay, at least for the night. The firing con- 
tinued, holding off any hope of our rescue. Enemy infantry crept 

closer to keep us tinder continual rifle and machine gun fire. 
The smack of bullets on our rank ^d^ made our crowded life 
within so noisy that talk was impossible. As the hours wore on, 
it grew cold. We lighted our Sterno stove to make coffee, but 
fumes forced us to open the tank hatch, which only let in more 
cold. We had to abandon thought of warmth or coffee and settle 
down in our iron room to a lon& miserable night, keeping 
vigilant so no German managed to creep dose enough to throw 
a grenade in our gun port. 

All night voices called, "Kameraden!" demanding our sur- 
render. All night an occasional 88 shell came whistling close by. 
Toward morning we heard distant clank-clanking of enemy 
tanks. With our own artillery shelling a large open area on our 
left, the noise and the anxiety were almost unbearable. 

In the first reddish streaks of dawn we peered out of our prison, 
looked at each other, then looked away without speaking. Two 
huge Tigers had their guns trained on us from 200 yards. As 
light improved the 88*s stepped up their whistling fury, and the 
tank forming the bottom of our diamond, with a tremendous 
crash, took a direct hit. Soon the one at the left corner was hit. 
It burst into a fury of flames. Not a man managed to get o&E. 

That decided us. We flung open our hatch and one by one, 
pelted out. So did the men of our other remaining tank. Wriggled 
out, jumped down and went flat on the ground to avoid being 
picked off by riflemen. In my hurry to get down there oa die 
ground I somehow tangled my feet in the hafcch opening and 
badly pulled muscles in both legs. At the moment I dkfo't notice 
because of an obsession to stay alive. 

Hitler's supermen advanced on all sides, tbeir rifles ready. I 
tossed my movie camera under our tank, keeping die Oontax. 
Nothing to do but stand there reaching both hands at the sky. 

These enemy soldiers were older than we had met before, 
looking as if they might be home guards and in feet, looking 
as i they hadn't much desire to fight. They fined us op and 

armed us, one of them taking my Contax. Then marched us 
off to our right. At once pains stabbed up my legs, so excruciat- 
ing that, groaning, I pitched forward on the ground. 

A bayonet prodded me and an order came in German. I 
wavered to my feet, but only managed to stumble a yard or 
two, then fall again. Again the impatient nudge of the bayonet. 
Now I couldn't get to my feet. I stopped trying and crawled. 
But crawling is slower than walking, and time after time I jumped 
at the prick of the bayonet at my buttocks or hips. I strove to 
crawl fester in that cold mud. My hands sank to my wrists. It 
was hard to lift knee after sticking knee. But with merciless 
bayonet encouragement, somehow I kept going. 

Another order halted us. While the Germans conferred, we 
made out that they wanted to get rid of us. Actually, their forces 
were being hammered back by our renewed armored assault and 
these men feared being cut off as we had been. One of our 
corporals knew enough German to understand their decision. 
He called shakily, 

"They're gonna push us out in that flat land ahead and let our 
own guys kill us." 

Shells were spouting dirt constantly all over that mile or more 
of open land. The Germans arranged themselves behind us and 
gave an order. Without knowing their language I knew that in 
effect it was, "Scram!" A few bayonet thrusts and the ten or 
eleven of us plunged out into that flat sea of dead grass and mud. 

My comrades ran a few steps, then dropped flat until a brief 
lull in the shelling, when again they ran forward. My legs raw 
with pain, I had to crawl. The Germans watched until we had 
gone 50 yards, then turned and disappeared. His cheek in the 
mud, our lieutenant shouted first to one side^ then the other. 

"Keep together, men. Better to go for their damned trenches 
than have our heads blown off here. Turn to the left about thirty 

Each man hunted about for some kind of weapon. I fisted 

a rock. Several produced trench knives they had hidden inside 
boots or belts. In a ragged, scattered group we crawled on toward 
the low line of concrete-lined trenches where, here and there, 
showed the top o an enemy bucket-helmet 

Panting, paining, mud-smeared from face to toes, under thun- 
derous blasting from our own artillery, thene were moments 
when I prayed to be hit by one of those shells. Our plight was 
desperate. Mine, lagging behind, looked hopeless. I understood 
there was nothing my buddies could do for me if they waited, 
that they were not forgetting me. For now it had to be every 
man for himself. 

It kept flashing through my mind like an often-seen picture 
that I'd had a long, long war. Each time before that I had got 
in a tight situation in a crippled and felling bomber over Italy, 
under heavy shelling in France something had turned up to get 
me out of it. But this trouble was different. Nobody could help. 
We couldn't help ourselves. We could only crawl through that 
mud, hugging it when a shell hit and shook the ground before 
it showered flying steel *hen crawl on some more. 

20 < Dogs of War 

PERHAPS I failed to keep to my true course, or maybe the others 
changed theirs. You couldn't do much looking around while you 
crawled like an inchworm through that flat open field, and I had 
lost track of my buddies. I had no weapon except the rock, and 
with sudden impatience I threw it away. With legs shooting 
sharp pains I kept wriggling on. 

Gradually, still unhit by any shell fragment, I grew calm 
enough for my thoughts to shuffle through a series of possible 
plans. I knew where the trenches lay, and even an enemy trench 
seemed more inviting than this open field under shellfire. So I 
went crawling that way. Crawled ten feet, rested to get back my 
breath. Crawled another ten feet. 

I was nearing the trench. No helmets showed as I lay still, 
watching its black line a few yards ahead. Cautiously I inched 
closer. At its brink I listened, and hearing nothing, propped my- 
self up by my hands for a look in. Two yards on my left a lone 
German wearing earphones and absorbed in his work, sat at a 
field communications control panel. 

Resentment fired up in my chest. That Boche was in iny way. 
Why hadn't I kept my rock? There was none lying near me, yet 
by some means or other I'd have to get rid of that soldier. I 
waited, thinking out my plan in precise detail. Then I inched 

to my left until I was sure the spot where he sat was directly 
ahead of me over the brink of the trench. 

I stood up. Forgetting leg pains, I made a feet-first jump down 
on him. He was smaller, and I had the help of surprise. My heavy 
boots landing on his shoulder blades bashed Kim face-down 
to the watery bottom of the trench. In one motion I had his 
knife . . . and then he had had it. 

I stood trembling and breathing hard. I couldn't look at him. 
I wrecked his control panel, jerking out wires and hanTing die 
panel a yard along the trench. Then I got his Luger, and afraid 
someone would come, began to crawl in an inch o water up the 
trench. But in sudden dismay I realized, You're heading back 
toward our tanks! 

I stopped, listening and weighing what I might do. Our shelling 
of the field continued in its ragged, pounding way. I resumed 
crawling along the trench, meeting no one. Now and then I 
paused to wipe the front of my battle dress free of lumps of 
gummy mud so as to make crawling easier. The trench wound 
within 20 yards of our four tanks, two smashed to burned-over 
junk there beside the fir trees. A sudden idea possessed me . . . 

Don't be a fool! I argued. Yet somehow I felt that I must at 
least try it. Painfully climbing out of the trench, I crawled orar 
to the tanks. Trying not to look at the gruesome remains of my 
comrades, I got my movie camera from, under our tank and 
crawled back. 

I decided to keep going in the same direction. StiD meeting no 
one, I came at last to the end of the trench. When I peered out, 
I saw a shell-chopped country road nearby. I remembered our 
tanks crossing it was that yesterday or a year ago? and that 
on one side had been a fairly deep ditch. Carefully keeping watch 
around, I climbed out of the trench, crawfcd across die road and 
tumbled into ankle-deep water at the bottom of Ac difcch. The 
water was icy. I started painfully splashing through ft. 


In a pause I heard German voices. Then there were more of 
them, and I caught the aroma of coffee. It was ersatz coffee, per- 
haps mostly acorns, but its smell was almost overpowering. 
Going on, I heard more talk, whiffed more coffee. Germans 
were on both sides of the road cooking their breakfast. 

Discovering the Eyemo in my hand, I studied it for some 
seconds. Why not? Cautiously straightening, I sighted the finder 
over the edge of the ditch and took a ten seconds' shot of eight 
or nine German soldiers grouped around a small fire. As I 
ducked down, I heard questions. Someone had noticed the whir 
of the camera's motor. 

They stomped around, looking for the source of the sound. 
I lay flat, my cheek in ice-water and mud in the bottom of the 
ditch, holding up the camera and Luger pistol. No one found 
me, and after awhile I crawled on my way. 

It came back to me now that this road ran east and west. 
Quickly I verified that by the sun, and my spirits rose. I was 
ravenous, having had nothing but one C-ration in 30 or more 
hours, but to know I was headed the right direction was all the 
nourishment I needed. 

Germans still were on either side of me. A dead German in 
the ditch had to be crawled over and later on, two dead Amer- 
icans. I kept crawling along except when impulse made me risk 
detection while I made some quick footage. Each time the 
camera's whir caused discussion and search, but because Ger- 
mans were on both sides of the road no one thought to look in 
the ditch. 

It must have been eleven o'clock when the last guttural talk 
was left behind. I felt easier, except that my legs were bothering 
me much more. I kept to the ditch awhile longer, then decided 
to climb out of it because no one was in sight. I was bellying 
over the brink of the road when someone called, "Jerryl Is that 

Shocked, I raised the Luger. Then I found a man with a .45- 
caliber machine gun getting to his feet 15 yards away. "Meyer 
Jandegianl" I ejaculated. "What the devil are you doing here?" 

"Heard the radio report this morning that you guys were going 
to leave your tanks. I thought if you got away, I ynigfo- happen 
to meet you." Grinning, he came over and helped me to staad 

Jandegian, a crack still-cameraman in our outfit with whom I 
had worked many an assignment, actually had believed there 
was some tenuous hope that he might rescue me. Obtaining that 
machine gun, he had set out alone to scout the vicinity of our 
stalled tanks. It was a foolhardy risk he took, but it was oae 
that made me forever gratefuL 

Good old Meyer Jandegian helped me to hobble on a half-mile 
to another country lane. While we rested an ambulance came 
along. As the medic and the driver lifted me onto a stretcher I 
remembered. "Janny, have the nearest CP. get word to stop 
shelling that field. Some of our men might still be out there/* 

The other patients in the ambulance were two shell-shocked 
GFs. Their raving, in spite of all the medic could do to soothe 
them, made it a ghastly hour's ride to an evacuation hospital 
back of the lines. When at last we got there the care I was given 
could not have been bettered in New York. There was no scrims 
injury to my legs and while I hobbled around the following week 
I made 300 feet of film of the work of some of the unsung heroes 
of the war. I filmed our brain surgeon, Dr. Carrigan, performing 
a delicate night-long brain operation on a young captain mho had 
been shot in the head. It was successful 

As ambulances lined up outside to be m*!****^ of new casual- 
ties, no man or woman on that staff gave any thought to his own 
food or comfort. Eighteen hours was an avenge work-day. I saw 
one doctor fade 30 pounds and others fall asleep while they TOM 
scrubbing for the next round of surgery. Even while our tests 


were being strafed by German fighter planes the work went on 
without pause. 
I hope those people got decorated. They deserved to. 

About this time word came along the grapevine that I was to be 
recommended for a commission. Of course, there still was a lot 
of war to be fought, but with the Russians hammering on Ger- 
many's eastern border and the Allies advancing on the west, 
it was probably a matter of months now as against years awhile 
back. It seemed late for me to begin another role. I had come up 
from private to technical sergeant, of which there was only one 
to an outfit, and my rank had never seemed to make difficulties 
when I needed to deal with high officers. I decided that I liked 
life this way, and let that be known. 

Heavy snows in late November stalled Allies and enemy alike 
but gave rise to one of the novelties of the war. Word reached 
me from Troop Carrier Command of something unusual being 
laid on and by hitching rides I got far back of the lines to some 
crossroads village, the name of which Fve forgotten. The morn- 
ing I reported, two dog teams complete with sleds and handlers 
flew in from Newfoundland. I got the experience of shouting, 
"Mush!*' during a half-day's rehearsal as the drivers made sure 
that their teams were fit after the long and confining flight over 
the Atlantic. 

The plan was to try to bring out wounded from a pocket of 
GFs trapped several miles inside enemy lines. The wounded 
would be placed on the sleds, then the attempt made to escape 
at night back to our lines. Briefing officers showed us on the map 
where this small detachment was trapped and said a C-47, with 
its comparatively slow landing speed, "might" be able to get in. 
It went without saying that the 47 might be shot down, also 
that the dog teams and men might not get safely back. 

Next morning huskies, handlers, sleds and I were packed 
aboard the 047. The handlers settled themselves forward. The 

dogs were chained in pairs along the main cargo space, and with 
some notion of making pictures o them during the flight, I 
camped in the tail. 

A snowstorm was building up, and the air was turbulent. 
Newfoundland dogs dislike rough air over Western Germany. 
These had a decided smell, which grew richer as several of them 
became airsick. Chains or not, fighting broke out. I shrank back 
as far as I could, but the nearest huskies didn't like me any better 
than each other and wet fangs kept slashing a foot from my 
face. Desperately, I longed for the handlers to come back and 
rescue me, but they were too interested in the scenery. All I could 
do was shrink back a little more, because running the gantlet 
of 30 half-wolves promised sure death. 

The uproar and the smell grew worse. It rose evea another 
notch when our 0-47 began losing altitude and floundered in 
sudden drafts. I escaped being chewed like blubber only because 
those chains held. When we hit ground, bounced and hit again, 
the dog riot doubled When we smashed head-first into trees, 
only both my hands gripping a stanchion saved me from sliding 
into those two rows of jaws. 

Our co-pilot was hurt in the crash, though not seriously. I 
stayed where I was until the last dog was unloaded. For three 
days we waited with the trapped detachment for tbe snowstorm 
to blow itself out; then before we could try mushing wooacied 
at night through enemy-held ground, the temperature rose to 
38 degrees, and thaw ruined the whole plan. 

Rescue came a few days later with, a tank faieakliinx^h- Most 
of the wounded survived. From the picture standpoint, the affak 
gave me little to show and never again wouM I play ffigl* n*we 
to Newfoundland huskies. 

In spite of the constant moving around my wo*k called for, 
not once during my younger brother Don's term of service <fid 
I manage to catch up with him. He was witb die I2tn Am**ed 


division, and it seemed that the few times I managed to reach 
the place he was posted, Don was away on some duty or his 
division had just pulled out. 

Months ago I had lost contact with my older brother Frank, 
but our efficient company clerk, Tony Segrist, at last located him 
for me in the ^6yd Replacement company at Compiegne. Early 
in December some Camera Unit work took me, with a car and 
a driver, to the area, and after a long search in a snowstorm we 
found the depot. It was just after nightfall when we stopped 
in front of headquarters and I climbed out, intending to ask per- 
mission to visit Frank. 

A door opened, as if the first lieutenant outlined there had 
seen us drive up. I wore a thigh-length green storm coat with 
its fur-lined parka over my head, a new and much-wanted gar- 
ment that not many officers had managed to obtain and fewer 
enlisted men. That coat, plus my having a driver, got me headed 
for prison. 

"I'm looking for the commanding officer," I told the lieutenant 
"Joswick, of the pth Combat Camera Unit." 

"Come right in, Captain. I'm C.O. here, name of Helstrom. 
Certainly a foul night, isn't it, sir?" 

Captain? As we shook hands my look around showed no one 
else, so he must mean me. While Helstrom "sirred" and "cap- 
tained" and led me to his office, I decided not to bother cor- 
recting him because I would be here only a minute. "Lieutenant, 
my brother is serving with you, Corporal Frank Joswick. I think 
he's an assistant cook. We haven't seen each other since last May 
and I wondered " 

"Like to see him? Certainly, Captain. Take this chair, sir." He 
told his clerk, "Have Joswick sent from the kitchen on the double. 
While you wait, Captain, better open your coat." He offered a 
box. "Care for a cigar?" 

I left my coat buttoned, parka still up, but accepted the cigar. 
"Lieutenant, I suppose it's about mealtime. My brother must be 

on duty and I don't want to interrupt. Is it all right if I find my 
way to the kitchen and arrange to have a chat with Him when 
he's free?" 

Helstrom held a match to my cigar. "No, no, Captain, weH 
do better for you than that. Ill take you there myself. Have Cor- 
poral Joswick relieved," he instructed his clerk. "Youll want to 
have dinner with him, sir. Sure you won't take off that coat? 
It's warm here." 

This "captain" business was making me uneasy. It was ooiy 
a few weeks since my court-martial worries, and I couldn't ex- 
pect to be lucky twice running. Helstrom seemed to mistake me 
for someone important anyway to him and already it was late 
to make clear my real rank. His pleasantness would sour, and 
the consequences 

I didn't like to think about the consequences for impersonating 
an officer. My best hope was to get away from this fellow, fast. 
But he was a sticker. How to shake him? 

Just as we started out of his office tor the mess hafl he was 
called to the telephone. I waited and at the first lull in die talk 
said, "Thanks for your courtesy, Lieutenant. I can find by brother, 
I'm sure." 

"Hold it," he told the telephone. "Barnes, show Captain Jos- 
wick the way. See that he and his brother get my table, and take 
care of his driver. Anything else I can do for you, sir?** 

The man certainly was bucking hard for something. I decided 
on a gamble. "Matter of fact, Helstrom, Fd hoped my brotber 
might be due for a few days* leave. Of course, I doa\ want to ask 
anything out of line ** 

"Not in the least, sir. Barnes, make outoh, a fear-day pass. 
That enough, Captain? You're welcome. Stop and see us agaia. 
Yes?" he said into the telephone. 

Keeping bundled up far self-preservation, in a few mtnnf*g I 
found Frank overseeing the dishing out of potatoes tso a fi^ of 
hungry GFs. He didn't know me. Leaning OTCT the table I said 


in a low tone, "Don't talk. Hurry and pack your stuff. You're 
getting a four-day pass. Let's get out of here." 

He looked blank an instant before he recognized me. Just then 
Barnes came along and handed Frank the signed pass. "Any- 
thing more we can do for you, Captain? Lieutenant Helstrom 
would like to have you and your brother dine at his " 

<e No, thanks. I'm much obliged, but I have a job to do to- 
night so I can't stay. Frank, would you mind hurrying?" 

"Yes sir, Captain." He grinned. He disappeared and came 
back to find me nervously puffing the cigar, sipping coffee at 
Helstrom's table and making small-talk with Barnes standing 
beside me. So as not to start suspicion I had put down the parka 
but still had my coat on in that overheated mess hall, and I kept 
praying Lieutenant Helstrom was still busy on the telephone. 

We got out of there before one of the Joswick boys could be 
arrested. We reached Paris that night, where I let my driver go, 
and Frank and I found a hotel. I remember that he had a pair 
of new shoes in his bag, sent by his wife. As such articles were 
scarce in Paris after the German occupation, we sold them for 
some huge sum in francs that helped us toward high living for 
four days. Later on I was able to engineer Frank's transfer to 
the Air Force where, as a clerk. Corporal Joswick found a pleasant 
change from searching out lumps in mashed potatoes. 


21 < One-Jump Paratrooper 

THAT MEMORABLE December 16 1 happened to be in the Ardennes 
when Hitler made his desperate gamble with 15 divisions under 
Von Rundstedt to knife through Allied armies toward the coast 
At first believed to be a raid, the hundreds of enemy tanks soon 
proved that this was a power drive. Over night from what had 
seemed to be a situation under control, the ist Army's pBght 
became critical. Most of it was trapped at Bastogne and me 
with it With every clerk, cook and orderly, I dropped my every- 
day tools to grab a rifle. 

The Germans went crushing northwest more than 50 miks. 
Their purpose was to reach Liege, surround it and continue to 
get on the main line of communications of all Allied forces, tfaea 
to envelop our northern wing of several American divisions and 
the British and the Canadian armies. 

The spearheading 5th Panzer Army had bypassed oar facts 
at Bastogne but left other units to keep it under pressure, try^ 
to widen their break-through corridor. Bad weather hdped them 
by grounding our air power. At last on December 23 Ac sides 
cleared temporarily, and at once our ground-air tactical team 
began to function with a vengeance. Prisoners we took cursed 
the Luftwafle for Ming to protect them, and shuddered at Ac 
working-over they had received from our planes. 

When at last Patton's yd Army broke through to besieged 

Bastogne the enemy changed his plans and concentrated all his 
power to try to take it. He had to. The German corridor was 
slowly being squeezed to a neck between Bastogne and Stavelot, 
containing only one good east-west road. Now came the hardest 
fighting. The Luftwaffe reappeared in the skies in their strongest 
showing in months and managed to destroy many of our planes 
on the ground. Air Force reaction was swift and fierce in good 
flying weather. By the time German power melted away in 
January the enemy had lost half his entire attacking force, and 
the Battle of the Bulge was nearing its end. 

Christmas Day at Malmedy, north of Bastogne, I made my 
most gruesome pictures to date. In their surprise stab the Nazis 
had taken hundreds of Americans prisoner. Rather than be 
burdened with their care, the Boche assembled them in a huge 
field and cold-bloodedly machine-gunned them to death. Frozen 
and covered with snow except where the wind had bared a head 
or arm, the corpses in standing, lying or kneeling positions made 
a macabre lump pattern in that white field of murder. 

After the Bulge my picture-taking resumed much as it had 
been before, always absorbing and always different. Our camera 
plane with Bert Macomb as pilot was in constant use by me or 
someone else in our Unit and came to be known to almost every 
fighter outfit along the front. We worked with bombers, with 
Cub spotters, on the ground with infantry and armor, and with 
paratroops, always keeping in the back of our minds the needs 
of our future motion-picture Project 186. 

Twice I had been on assignments with paratroops. At Not- 
tingham, England, I had been admitted to a stockade where 
paratroopers already had been kept waiting a month for their 
alert. Once you entered that area, you could not get out because 
of the risk of betraying security. Bored from being penned up so 
long, and having been trained to every roughness, the men were 
almost like wild creatures* 

With me was frail, boyish Jeff Holsworth, a good cameraman 
who had not yet been in combat. To be among those organized 
killers one needed a good deal of experience with fighting men, 
or else nerves like hawsers, and Holsworth, plucky as he was, 
did not have either. 

Those hard-case troopers sensed this instantly. Although many 
were easy on him, others went out of their way to pester my 
"baby brother." They tried to lure him into their games, all of 
them rough. One consisted of two men lashing at each other's 
faces with belts that had steel buckles at thek ends. Blood was 
drawn and seemed to heighten the game's fascination. Try as 
he might, Holsworth could not stand living amid such brutality, 
and I worried that he was beginning to crack. The day hysteria 
seized fri I went quickly through channels and called for a re- 
placement. But though removed now from actual living with die 
troopers, Holsworth still had to stay penned up to keep security. 
I know that while he waited for release at our takeoff he died a 
thousand deaths. 

Somehow I managed to get along with that cageful o human 
Hons. For diversion as days dragged past I got permission to re- 
move the astradome from a 6-47 and build a metal windslikid 
to protect me from the slipstream. When our alert came and our 
C-47 approached the jump area, I stood on a ration box t m& 
the windshield, which looked more or kss like a garbage cm 
top. The suction of the open astradome made my hair stand op 
like wires. The watching rows of troopers thought fright caused 
this, and in their sympathy became excited. Qoly Arir toi^ 
sergeant forced than to keep their places aad not rusk to my 


k -* w - Wi ^ , 

"Let the guy blow out if he wants," the sa^eanl: jdkd abore 

the roar of engines. 

When the jump was made, I got spectacular pictures looking 
back at parachutes blowing open in the sky, until the hundreds 
of men looked to be as many blossoms in a blue garden. 


Bastogne the enemy changed his plans and concentrated all his 
power to try to take it. He had to. The German corridor was 
slowly being squeezed to a neck between Bastogne and Stavelot, 
containing only one good east-west road. Now came the hardest 
fighting. The Luftwaffe reappeared in the skies in their strongest 
showing in months and managed to destroy many of our planes 
on the ground. Air Force reaction was swift and fierce in good 
flying weather. By the rime German power melted away in 
January the enemy had lost half his entire attacking force, and 
the Battle of the Bulge was nearing its end. 

Christmas Day at Malmedy, north of Bastogne, I made my 
most gruesome pictures to date. In their surprise stab the Nazis 
had taken hundreds of Americans prisoner. Rather than be 
burdened with their care, the Boche assembled them in a huge 
field and cold-bloodedly machine-gunned them to death. Frozen 
and covered with snow except where the wind had bared a head 
or arm, the corpses in standing, lying or kneeling positions made 
a macabre lump pattern in that white field of murder. 

After the Bulge my picture-taking resumed much as it had 
been before, always absorbing and always different. Our camera 
plane with Bert Macomb as pilot was in constant use by me or 
someone else in our Unit and came to be known to almost every 
fighter outfit along the front. We worked with bombers, with 
Cub spotters, on the ground with infantry and armor, and with 
paratroops, always keeping in the back of our minds the needs 
of our future motion-picture Project 186. 

Twice I had been on assignments with paratroops. At Not- 
tingham, England, I had been admitted to a stockade where 
paratroopers already had been kept waiting a month for their 
alert Once you entered that area, you could not get out because 
of the risk of betraying security. Bored from being penned up so 
long, and having been trained to every roughness, the men were 
almost like wild creatures. 

With me was frail, boyish Jeff Holsworth, a good cameraman 
who had not yet been in combat. To be among those organized 
killers one needed a good deal o experience with fighting men, 
or else nerves like hawsers, and Holsworth, plucky as he was, 
did not have either. 

Those hard-case troopers sensed this instantly. Although many 
were easy on him, others went out of their way to pester my 
"baby brother/' They tried to lure him into their games, all of 
them rough. One consisted of two men lashing at each other's 
faces with belts that had steel buckles at their ends. Blood was 
drawn and seemed to heighten the game's fascination. Try as 
he might, Holsworth could not stand living amid such brutalky, 
and I worried that he was beginning to crack. The day hysteria 
seized him I went quickly through channels and calkd for a re- 
placement. But though removed now from actual living with tbe 
troopers, Holsworth still had to stay penned up to keep security. 
I know that while he waited for release at our takeoff he dkd a 
thousand deaths. 

Somehow I managed to get along with that cagcful of human 
lions. For diversion as days dragged past I got permission to re- 
move the astradome from a 6-47 and build a metal windshield 
to protect me from the slipstream. When our alert came and cwr 
C-47 approached the jump area, I stood on a ratios box to era* 
the windshield, which looked more or less like a garbage can 
top. The suction of the open astradome made my hair stand up 
like wires. The watching rows of troopers thought frighfc caused 
this, and in their sympathy became excited. Only tfaeir ttx^* 
sergeant forced them to keep their places aad not rash fc> Bif 

"Let the guy blow out if he wants," die sergeant yeBed abc*e 

the roar of engines. 

When the jump was made, I got spectacular pictures looking 
back at parachutes blowing open in die sky, until the hundreds 
of men looked to be as many blossoms in a blue garden- 


I had never made a jump myself, and it seemed to me I could 
get yet more novel pictures if I did so. Some time back I had 
gone to General Paul Williams of Troop Carrier Command 
and asked to be notified when a considerable drop was planned. 

When the word came in March I reported to the i3th Airborne 
and was handed on to Major Jim Rota. "You want to make pic- 
tures of the operation? Have you ever jumped?" 

"No." I told him of my two rides with the men who did jump. 

"Then you know how we work. Better figure out how you'll 
carry your camera equipment and manage the parachute too. 
We take off before dawn." 

The only equipment I needed was extra film and some C-ra- 
tions. These I put in my musette bag which, like my movie 
camera, would be slung around my neck. After evening chow I 
found Rota and asked, 

"Any objection, Major, to letting me be the first man to jump ?" 

"The first?" he exclaimed. "We mean this to be a sneak opera- 
tion, but suppose there's a welcoming committee? The first men 
dropping run the greatest risk. Have you thought of that?" 

"I'd like to show the paratroopers coming down. It ought to 
make a great scene." 

He studied me. "All right, if that's the way you want it." He 
gave me a sidelong glance. "Maybe it would be a good idea now, 
Sergeant, to get in as much sack time as you can." 

He was thinking that I might find it hard to get to sleep, 
and he was right. For the hundredth time since my first bombing 
mission with Killer Kane's squadron back in the Middle East the 
question kept flashing through my mind in neon lights, Joswick, 
what the devil are you doing here? 

Parachute jump? I asked myself, startled. Riding with para- 
troops is one thing, but youVe never jumped and that's quite 
another. There must be more to know than just to walk out the 
side of an aircraft. What about knowing how to land so you don't 

break your legs? Suppose you're shot at from the ground while 
you're up there, swaying helpless like a pendulum? 

At the three o'clock call next morning my stomach was chum- 
ing so that breakfast had no appeal After all, I kept thinking^ 
do I really need pictures made while I float down on an umbreUa? 
Maybe if I explain that my camera has developed some malfunc- 
tion. . . 

"Come along, Sergeant,' 1 Major Rota said, and suddenly k was 
too late for excuses. 

The air field was a large one, and the Major told me that 
paratroopers were also being loaded aboard C-47's & a second 
field. There would be 3000 men making the jump. In the first 
streaks of wintry dawn we jeeped out to a 47 whose engines were 
being given slow-time. Troop carriers speeded here and there, 
carrying squads of men to plane after plane. Each man woce a 
helmet, a chin guard, a parachute and carried a tammygim, a 
carbine or a machine gun half as well as sidearms and ammuni- 

I was supposed to know all the operating details but wanted 
to verify them once more. "By the way, Major, just how does this, 
uh, business work?" 

"Well, you've flown a lot, so you know about handling a para- 
chute. Here, your chute will be hooked on that overhead trolley 
in the plane. The jump-master opens the door, sees that you're 
hooked up right and tells you when to go. Ooce jaa step oat," 
he added dryly, "you can do what you like." 

"That trolley business always pulls die chufce open, A?" 

"Practically always. If it doesn't, jerk this." He toadied Ac 
dangling yellow knob at my left chest. "Don't cooot to ten or 
anything-that's only book-talk. Say Oh my God* and pdL 
When you get near the ground, work your shroud fines to 
spffl wind, then unhook and get with other men.* He gestural 
"Nothing to it. Now let's get aboard" 

Crammed with grim-faced paratroopers, each with chute and 
tommygun on his knees, our 0-47 took off. "Did I say where 
we're going?" Rota asked. "Near Wesel, in Germany. You know, 
Simpson's army is on the Rhine west bank, trying to bull their 
way across. We're going to win him a nice beachhead." 

I had not given much thought to our destination but of course 
had known it would be behind German lines. That was the 
whole idea of parachuting troops, to establish a deep spearhead. 

It took a while after our takeoff to assemble the whole fleet 
of C-47's. The flight was less than 30 minutes to the Rhine river 
and the sleepy town of Wesel on its bank. It was breaking full 
daylight as our aircraft went into a turn. Major Rota pointed 
down to broad fields surrounded by patches of forest. But the 
fields were strangely clouded with gossamer mist streaked with 
colors, and as our plane went lower, Rota shot me a sober look. 
That was smoke over our landing area smoke generated by the 
enemy, and growing denser every minute. 

Did it mean our drop was anticipated? Just possibly that smoke 
screen was for some other purpose. Whether it was or wasn't did 
not bear thinking about, the way my heartbeat stopped, then 
stumbled on raggedly and the way my throat went painfully dry. 
I strove to begin thinking about the pictures I wanted to make. 

The jump-master, a tough regular army sergeant, pulled my 
arm. Automatically I stood up. While he made a quick check of 
my chute line hooked on the overhead trolley, my stomach felt 
crammed with wriggling springs. Maybe I showed the jitters; I 
made no effort to hide how I felt. The sergeant slid open the 
wide door. Icy morning gale poured in. 

"Don't fight it," he yelled close to my ear. "Just fall. When she 
jerks, everything's okay. Use your lines to steer. All set?" 

I couldn't nod or shake my head. Inside me everything had 

"You're off." He gave me a push. I pitched forward ... in- 
stinctively tried to save myself but could not. The shadow of the 

aircraft's tail passed overhead. I was falling. There came a bone- 
jarring jerk as my chute opened. Five hundred feet above smoke- 
screened enemy country I hung in the sky. 

Breath that had been sucked out of my mouth and lungs some- 
how came back into them. As you sink into a featherbed, I sank 
into soft, billowing air currents. Trees and fields moved vaguely 
under that pattern of varicolored drifts of smoke. No falling sensa- 
tion now. Only floating. 

Say, this isn't bad, I thought. Kind of interesting. 

But what about that smoke? What about the enemy? Strain- 
ittg? I peered down but saw no sign of them. I hoped matters 
would stay that way. My dangling Eyemo slamming against my 
chest reminded me, and I tried to raise the camera to eye4evd m 
take a few feet of film. But the ground was coming up ast aiad 
I let go the camera to work my shroud lines. 

I slammed down through the sawdust-smelling smoke, dragged 
30 feet, rolled over and pulled as hard as I could at part of Ac 
shroud lines. The chute dragged me another 20 feet across bard, 
bumpy field before the wind spilled out and the big nylon um- 
brella fluttered down. Quickly I unbuckled my harness and, 
kneeling, began to catch through tears in the veil-like smoke 
3000 fighting men looking like multicolored popcorn kcraeb 
adrift in the blank sky. 

That was my first jump with paratroops. And my !a&, bat I 
did get spectacular pictures. 

22 Going Home 

THAT SMOKE SCREEN over our jump area evidently had been 
spread in the general expectation of a parachute drop; but 
whether it would come here or at any of several other open areas 
in the vicinity of Wesel, the Germans had not known. Nor were 
they fully organized to repel a drop here, for they allowed us a 
half-hour before they opened their counterattack. 

Eighty-eights began to shell us. Tanks and infantry began to 
stalk us through the woods. We were strong enough for the 
time being but not strong enough to capture the Wesel bridge 
over the Rhine, and we had landed a mile and a half from it 

That first hard day of fighting our tough paratroopers clipped 
the distance in half. We could see the bridge, but the enemy 
brought its approaches under a deadly fire that stopped us. We 
needed concentrated strafing by fighter planes to knock out those 
heavy guns. We got the strafing that afternoon, but next morn- 
ing, 24 hours after we landed, the Nazis blew up the bridge. 

We were stranded. 

The fighting pounded on day after day. Now we had light 
artillery that had been dropped and we had precious air support 
to keep the enemy from annihilating us and I was getting 
plenty of pictures. But we were contained, unable to move. Grad- 
ually, our perimeter was squeezed in by fierce tank assaults, now 

at this point, now at that. And our aircraft had to figbt German 
Heinkels before they could drop us supplies. With more and 
more wounded to care for, plus day-and-night shelling and tank 
attacks, 3000 of us did not seem to have much future. 

But General Simpson's pth Army, crowding at one of die 
widest stretches of the Rhine, at last were able to keep their 
engineers covered with a curtain of fire while they buik a bridge. 
Just as March was ending, that brought about our rescue. 

I left the area, supposing I had seen the last of it. Flew to head- 
quarters at Chantilly, and after a short rest came back to tfae 
front. During the first three weeks of April die Allies had taken 
more than a million German prisoners. But tfae enemy still 
fought desperately to protect his homeland, and in tfae chaos of 
army group movements a detachment of our infantry was cut 
off several miles northwest of WeseL 

Months ago in England I had photographed practice ia C^7 
towed gliders, planning to use the footage for cat-in shots when 
we might get around to giving gliders the full treatment. "Some 
time we get a call,"* Major Bill Glen had promised me, *Tfl let 
you know." Now he did. The operation promised enough interest 
so that Colonel Hank Carbart allotted five cameramen ior aB-oot 
coverage, and we assembled at a glider concentration back near 
Liege, Belgium. 

"YouVe heard about that pocket above Wesel?" Major Gfcfl 
asked. "They're swamped with casualties because the gotog^s 
been rough. They can't give the men the attention they need. Hie 
whole situation is touchy, so we're going in for those womdai* 

He added, "Morning chow at three-thirty." 
Cliff Kies would work in dbe droop snoot df <w camera pbae. 
We placed two photographers in C-47*s and faad sea* ear fifB* 
man to get pictures from the west bank of tfae Rhiac. I isde Ac 
glider pulled off the ground by tfae lead C-sf7- 

Besides a jeep, our glider carried strtsdaers, blankets and hatf 
a dozen medics and their equipment. Otfaers faad similar loads. 

It was still dark when the flare pistol signaled the start o our 
first unarmed, unguarded by fighter planes glider invasion of 

The "give" of the long nylon tow rope left us only a minor 
jerk. We brushed along the ground a few yards and were float- 
ing, the only noise coming from the engines of the 47 ahead. I 
made pictures of the long train of air boxcars behind us as we 
headed eastward. 

Like the paratroop drop, this had to be a surprise operation. 
We crossed the Rhine in the first streaks of dawn. Flight time 
was short, and soon I recognized landmarks, then the village of 
Wesel. After we circled the field where a makeshift runway was 
marked out, the lieutenant piloting my glider cast off and in an 
easy corkscrew put us down to slide through the grass to a 

Efficient organization prevented wasting a minute. Our doors 
were flung open and our jeep and supplies quickly unloaded. I 
was busy making pictures of this, and of other gliders coming in, 
then of 26 wounded men carried aboard our craft. Medication in 
progress, such as giving blood plasma, was not interrupted as 
corpsmen held the containers while they walked beside their pa- 
tients. Once aboard, stretchers were secured to prevent shifting 
during flight. 

Goal posts were set up in the field, a rope between them. On 
this rope dangled our sky-hook, and in her first pass our 0-47 
caught it. There was a mild jerk; our great hospital glider 
skimmed ahead; the ground fell away. The instant each remain- 
ing glider's doors closed, a 47 swooped down for the pick-up. 

Hardly an hour later we were back at Wesel for a second load 
this time, because of broad daylight and because our mission 
was known to the enemy, guarded by fighter planes. They went 
after Heinkels and Focke-Wulfs like terriers after cats. Without 
a single casualty the magnificent operation ended in early after- 
noon at Liege where it began. 

We had 100 still pictures and 600 feet of movies for our big 
Air Force feature picture, Project 186. 

That was my last assignment on the Continent. Word reached 
me from Jimmy Scott in the Pentagon to meet him in London. 
I was there when he arrived on one of his lightning visits, and 
while we sat in a pub Scott explained, 

"The big show. Jerry, is coming toward the csad. The other 
cameramen can handle things across the channel from now <ML 
I'd like you to start assembling and cutting those thousands of 
feet of film for Project 186." 

I grinned. "Sounds good. Live in a clean room for a change, 
wearing fresh-laundered clothes." I blew a kiss. That's for me, 
Jimmy. Where?" 

"At Baling. That's sort of the British movie headquarters, you 
know, and I've made arrangements with the J. Arthur Rank 
organization to lend us the use of whatever facilities we aeed. 
Lai's run out there now and look things over. As soon as yeu'ze 
squared around, you can get started." 

It was pleasant working at Baling, interesting to review tfaoo- 
sands of feet of film I had taken and many more thousands takes 
by others of our pth Combat Camera Unit. At first it seemed like 
a Chinese puzzle how to organize our work and where to be- 
gin, but with capable assistants, one of them my brother Frank, 
and the best of equipment, we got our huge cutting project coder 

London then was a chy of war-worn nerves, and tfae frequent 
explosions of the deadly German buzz-bombs did norfaing to 
soothe them. Nevertheless, I found life there saoe comfortable 
i-K^n working at the front, and each day we made progress 
toward Jimmy Scott's dream of a superfilm that wodd show all 
phases of Army Air Force wartime activities. 

Then suddenly overrun Germany collapsed. The war ia Europe 
was over. 


One afternoon a runner penetrated to the laboratory where 
Frank and I were running film through a viewer. He handed 
me an official envelope and glancing around said, "Think you're 
gonna be here long, Sarge?" 

Demobilization had begun and I had rolled up 205 points, far 
more than the minimum required for early separation. However, 
I knew Colonel Royal Mattison and Jimmy Scott had been pull- 
ing wires to have me deferred. Like everyone else, I was inter- 
ested in going back to the States and civilian life, but after so 
long an investment of time and effort in making my part of the 
camera record of the war, I was more interested in staying on to 
finish our Project 186. But these papers stated that the Queen 
Mary was sailing from Southampton at two o'clock tomorrow 
afternoon and I was to be aboard her. 

I stared at the order for a long minute. The entire war rolled 
through my mind like film through that viewer at my elbow. 
Cairo . . . our apartment, Hussan, my houseboat on the Nile 
. . . Killer Kane . . . bombing missions . . . the desert com- 
mandos . . . riding P-40*s piggy-back . . . the Rome raid and 
kter terrible, unforgettable Ploesti. Ta the States, then to Eng- 
land. Ascot . . . D-Day and after . . . Cherbourg, Paris, Brest, 
Aachen . . . 

All all of it was ended. 

I looked at Frank, standing there watching my face. Handed 
him my orders to read. Dug into my trousers pocket and pulled 
out the key to the jeep I had been using around London. Tossed 
Frank the key and said, 

"How about you taking over? I'm going home."