D-Day from the Journal of Sgt. Michael Dobra



D-Day from the Journal of Sgt. Michael Dobra
B26-A Tail Gunner
9th Air Force – 323rd Bomb Group

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June 6 1944
This must be D day. All through the night planes roared overhead. Wave after wave. Got up at 6am and went to chow. It is the most perfect day I have yet seen. Planes of every type and description still flying back and forth.

This has all the makings of a very exciting day. I’m hoping for my 2nd mission and a glimpse of what the invasion looks like.

We were briefed at 1300 hours and took off at 1430 hours in ship #249-J, a B26 Marauder to bomb communications at Le Harve. What a sight, ships, planes, tanks, trains, trucks and landing barges of every kind that man could design for war and destruction are operating at once with guns ammo, flak, and bombs all flashing at once to make the most horrible holocaust of death and destruction I ever want to see.

We dove to 3,000 feet to get under the clouds. Our pilot said we ought to sell tickets to this show. I was thinking “don’t talk too soon, we may have to pay yet.” But was too busy observing to talk.

We went in using evasive action all the way, then I noticed parachutes opening. Our lead ship got hit and I counted five chutes when I heard metal rip and [our] plane flipped on its side. [I] felt something burn my rump and left leg – lost all interest in chutes. We had been hit by flak that cut our hydraulic line and sprayed red fluid all over me. I didn’t dare look to see if it was blood, I stayed glued to my gun, expecting any minute to see the end. It’s the most lonesome and helpless feeling I’ve ever had. Kept watching for fighters that never came, thank the Lord.

After we got over the Chanel I felt it was safe to look around. Lots of holes in the right wing and a big hole in the tail. Flak in my leg and rump.

Our pilot made a great landing despite the broken lines. Feel so sorry for the poor guys that have to stay in that hell and hold the coast. So much suffering and not being able to do anything but sit and take it. I have to admit I was scared. Guess I’m not cut out for this hero stuff.

I hate with all my being the hate that causes men, most of them innocent victims, to have to go into that unspeakable hell. Yes, I got my 2nd mission that I had so eagerly hoped for and I can truthfully say I never care to see it again.

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Grandpa Dobra went on to fly a total of 70 missions over Europe.

In Loving Memory

Michael Dobra
Born: Thursday September 12, 1918
Died: Sunday October 16, 2005