Thursday, December 13, 2012

Martin B-26 Tail Gunner Saves Flight Crew

He was in battle with a “mystery aircraft”
as told to Nick E.

On a crisp morning in May 1944, tail gunner Bob Ferrara and his crew were flying their Martin B-26 Marauder when they crossed into enemy territory. Off in the distance, he spotted an aircraft approaching fast. Bob could tell it wasn’t an ordinary bomber. The enemy opened fire, the incoming tracers filling the gunner’s window, but none of them hit the B-26 Marauder.
Bob grabbed the handles of his machine gun and retaliated. Through the hail of bullets, he could see there were no propellers on the enemy plane. The mystery aircraft fired again, spraying bullets at Bob and his B-26 bomber.
Bob zeroed in and fired, and finally hit the bandit chasing them. The plane erupted into flames, and plummeted to the ground. Bob and his crew were dazed, and wondered what aircraft could fly at such high speeds without a visible propulsion system, and with that much firepower?
The crew made it back to base for the debriefing and found top brass waiting for them. Bob was reluctant to admit that he had no idea who was chasing them. He was given a book of German planes to look through, and as Bob flipped through the pages, he found a photo of what had been after them.
“This is it,” he said, “this is the plane I shot down.”
It was a German Messerschmitt Me 262, one of the first jet aircraft invented and used in combat.
1943 Enlistment Photo

B-26 Marauder

Bob Ferrara, top row center