My father's picture above shows the operations board for the 489th Bombardment Squadron at Alesani, Corsica.
He describes it this way: "The fellow in the winter flight jacket and mess kit is a
great beginning because it was after supper that everyone would drift over to see the
operations orders and the
flight schedules on the operations bulletin board.
The picture is not sharp but that sure looks like Bill Devine on the left with right foot extended."
It's not that easy to tell but judging from the map in this outdoor mission briefing photo taken by my
father, the target seems to be near Milano, Italy. If that's the case, the photo could have been taken
on October 19, 1944 just before my father's 33rd mission to Magenta, Italy to bomb a railroad bridge.
"The outdoor briefing is being given in the Red Cross donut shed. I never tried taking a picture at an
indoor briefing because briefings were classified 'secret' and the radiomen were the low men on the
totem pole. I don't remember why the radiomen were invited. Maybe part of the briefing was emergency
frequencies or something like that. Again the picture is not clear and I first thought the lecturer was
Capt. Casper but he was squadron intelligence officer and not a flyboy and it looks like he has an A-2
flight jacket on so I don't think it is him. Also there are no circles shown on any flak positions on
the chart. At a regular briefing inside, the map was much larger and showed Italy's full width. The
track to the target would usually weave through the flak circles and usually showed one circle centered
on the target. Each box of six A/C flew at a different altitude. The i.p. (initial point) was shown
with the direction of flight indicated. That is where the bombardier took control of the A/C with the
Norden bombsight. Then you flew straight and level for about two minutes before the bombsight released
the bombs. Only the first and fourth A/C had bombsights but I think each bombardier in the box toggled
off his bombs when they saw the lead A/C bombs dropped. I don't remember if each box used the same i.p.
If they did the flak gunners would know where they were headed and they would have only their difference
in altitude to protect them." I think Captains Haster and Tate Bowden are
standing just to the left of the maps on the left side of the Red Cross hut in my father's picture.
The officer addressing the men at this apparent outdoor briefing is using the bumper of his jeep to support the map for the day's bombing mission.
This map shows the theatre of operations and the general flight patterns for the B-25s from the 310th
Bombardment Group at Ghisonaccia, Corsica from August, 1944 through April, 1945. I suspect it applies equally well to the
other B-25 bombardment groups on Corsica, namely, the 321st at Solenzara and the 340th at Alesani. Most likely the B-26 medium
bombers, the A-20 light bombers and the various fighters and fighter bombers stationed on Corsica followed a similar operations map.
This particular map is from the B-25 exhibit at the Cavanaugh Flight Museum in Addison, TX. It was photographed by Tom Griffith whose great pictures of
"How Boot That", the original
and most well preserved combat veteran B-25 in the world, are on the internet.
"One of my pictures shows a group of men leaving a building and that could be after a more typical indoor
briefing but the bombardiers probably would have parachute harnasses on so I am not sure it is a briefing.
The pilots wore seat packs so they would have no harness. One thing they gave out at briefing was an escape
kit which had to be turned in after the mission at debriefing. I don't think the tail and turret gunners got escape kits."
The building in this picture looks like the same building in the above picture so
it's included here. The three officers are possibly calling roll after the briefing, going over some
details of the mission or possibly settling bets. In other words, I don't know.
This picture taken by my father, shows the flight crews boarding trucks to take them to their
B-25s on the airfield.
"My picture of four men in a truck is not a mission picture. The man with his back to the camera is Fitch and
I might be able to look in the squadron book and name the others. They may have been off for a little R&R (Rest and Relaxation)."
It definitely appears that roll call is being conducted in this photo taken by my father, while the flight crews are assembled in their trucks.
My father probably took this picture from the back of a truck as they headed out to their planes before
taking off on a bombing mission.
After the briefing, the roll call and the truck ride out to the planes, the B-25s which had been armed and tuned-up during the
previous night and warmed-up during the briefing by the ground crews, were boarded and taxied out to the airstrip for take-off.
"The two A/C flying together are taking off because they always landed one at a time."