F/O Samuel Alvine
Navigator F/O Samuel Alvine.
We reached Liege and were just beginning to see it pass under our left wing when I noticed some black objects flying around off to the left. I immediately gave the warning of enemy fighters which I soon recognized as FW190s. What I didn’t realize was that these ships had already made a pass at the Lead squadron and knocked out the lead ship. All of a sudden the tail gunner let out a yell that about 50 to 60 bandits had ganged up in a ‘company front’ and were coming in at us from 6 O’clock level. It was too late, our squadron was picked out. We were to get the full blow of the attack. I tried to fire the cheek guns, but they were frozen. I was scared stiff. They hit our ship hard as we were flying tail end Charlie. The ship was full of holes. There wasn’t a window in the nose. One big piece of plexiglass struck my leg, so I lifted it up to the astrodome to show the pilot, and when I did I saw the windshield was full with holes. Our tail was a mess. I don’t know if I heard it through the interphone, or if he just shouted, but the engineer yelled that number 2 engine was on fire. “She’s burning like hell. Let’s get out. Hit the silk boys.” The whole left wing was ablaze. Any second the ship would blow up. I ripped off my oxygen mask and fought with my flak helmet and flak suit to get them off. I already had my chest pack on. The navigator’s seat was stuck in the catwalk and I don’t even remember how I got it loose, but I guess I tore it out by sheer force. Then I crawled down and pulled the pins on the escape hatch, but still she would not fall out. I rammed it out with my feet. I sat there looking at the ground. I just couldn’t make up my mind whether to jump and get killed or stay with the ship when she blew up. I decided sitting there with my legs dangling out of the hatchway. Then I grabbed the crossbar and hung by. Finally I let go and grabbed the side of the ship, but apparently the slipstream tore me loose. I found myself catapulting through space. First it seemed like I was going like hell, then I gradually slowed up and I felt like a feather. After a while I decided to pull the ripcord and with a terrific jerk I found myself floating down under that beautiful umbrella. My hands began to freeze as I lost my gloves. Then I remembered I left my gun in the ship, so I was without a weapon. I looked around and ships were going down all around, wings and planes all in a ball of fire. There were quite a few chutes and a fighter diving straight for the ground, blowing up on impact. A camouflaged B-17 went spinning down too, it engines screaming. I knew that wasn’t one of our ships as we all had silver jobs. That must have been the B-17 that was giving away our altitude to the jerry ground forces for antiaircraft. Those nazis use quite a few of those captured to get information and give away bomber altitude. All of a sudden I saw a black fighter in the distance coming right toward me. I had no other vision but that of being helplessly strafed. I also thought of that pilot in the South Pacific who had his feet cut off by the Jap’s propeller. I was praying like mad. Suddenly, a silver P-51 with a red checked tail zoomed up from under me and engaged the FW190 in a mad dogfight. They both disappeared in the distance. I guess my prayers were heard by the good lord.
Alvine and the other survivors of the crew landed in friendly territory and were picked up by American ground units. Their B-17 crashed in the community of Trois Tilleuls in Louveigne at 1238
Crew of B-17G / 44-8192
2nd Lt. Lang, Kenneth W. Pilot KIA
2nd Lt. Miller, Howard R. CoPilot KIA
F/O Alvine Jr., Samuel Navigator
2nd Lt. Lang, George F. Bombardier
S/Sgt. Weber, James A. Engineer
Sgt. Huck, Donald R. Radio Operator KIA
Sgt. Yowan, Robert G. Ball turret gunner
S/Sgt. Kausrud, Donald C. Waist gunner. KIA
Sgt. Haskett, Charles W. Tail gunner
“The history of the 487th Bomb Group (H)” by Ivo de Jong.
July 20, 1945 newspaper article send to Ivo de Jong by Charles W. Haskett, February 4, 2003