|13 February 1945 |
Mission No. 173 finally turned out to be another double header mission, each with a different target. A TWX which was received from the Air Force through channels, however, directed that in the future double header missions should be counted as one mission.
The target of the Red Force was the Central Repair Shops at Vienna, Austria. Major Poole led the formation on this mission. The weather was CAVU in the target area but smoke obscured the target which was completely missed by visual bombing. Under ideal defense conditions the Vienna flak lived up to its vaunted reputation. Fifteen of the seventeen planes over the target were hit, one man was wounded, and one plane was lost. The lost plane was piloted by 2nd Lt. Francis X. Fink. It lost altitude rapidly coming off the target and when last seen was being covered by the P-51 escort.
Captain Veiluva led the Blue Force in attacking the marshalling yard at Maribor, Yugoslavia. Here, too, the weather was CAVU and here, too, the bombing was done visually. The mission was scored at 28.3 percent. Eight of the eighteen planes over the target were hit by flak and two men were wounded.
Upon returning to the base, 2nd Lt. Robert M. Kelliher, 765th Squadron, entered the left hand traffic pattern with his No. 2 engine feathered. While circling the field he lost No. 1 engine and with the left wing down slipped into a crash landing in which his navigator, 2nd Lt. Donald Williams, was fatally injured.