"That's me with my P-47 #65."
"#65 flight line - 65th FS flight line at Grosetto, Italy 1944 - 45."
Pre-mission with two 500-pounders.
Left photo: "#65 run up." Right photo: "I took this hit from a 40mm round over
the Genoa docks and harbor. The face looking through the hole is our First Sgt. "Doc" Savage
(everyone knows the First Sgt. really runs the Squadron) - I checked Jim Long's book and he
states that this mission was flown on April 11, 1945 - To recap: this was a 12 ship formation
of three 4-ship flights - We were headed to Genoa, Italy to attack the harbor and docks area
there - I was leading the last flight of four - This is not a good position to be in because
the preceding 2 Flights have stirred things up and the German flak has zeroed in on our altitude
- I had placed my flight in loose string formation and as I rolled over to start down in my bomb
run I felt the round strike my aircraft and heard the explosion - I dropped my bombs and strafed
anything I could see as I continued across the docks and down the shoreline towards Grosetto at
a low altitude - My wingman came up along side of me to admire the hole from both sides - I
could look back and see the ragged aluminum edges protruding - Since we could not tell the real
extent of damage and since the controls were still functional I elected to call the Tower (call
sign "Outboard") advised them of my situation and made a long flat approach to the runway with
minimum use of controls - landing was uneventful and I taxiied in to parking."
The left photo shows where the 40mm flak round entered the aircraft and the right photo shows the exit hole.
"Note soot from explosion - also interested spectators looking through from the other side."
"My crew chief Sgt. Art Kirby beginning repairs, me and "Willy" Lyke 65th pilot looking on.
We recovered bits of the round in the bottom of the fuselage."(right photo)
More 65th Fighter Squadron aircraft courtesy of Dwight Orman.
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