Europe Theater of Operations WW2 Military Life Story of Norman Linville|
Tail Gunner in the 8th AF During wwll.1 was born in Bourbon Co. KY half way between Paris and a small village of Ruddles Mill. I grew up around Ruddles Mill, KY.
One day ,n early 1942 I saw 3 AF Aircraft go overhead, I knew then that I wanted to Fly.
I Joined the Army, took basic training in Miami Beach, FL. Then went to gunnery school in Fort Myers, FL From there to Atlantic City, NJ for O.S. Training. Then to Camp Kilmer, near New Brunswick, NJ the P.O.E. for overseas. I met my wife, Lucille Donnelly, there whom I married in Pensacola, FL. November 10,1948.
I left the Port of NYC for England on the Queen Elizabeth. I arrived at an English port, caught a train to Norwich. I was in Norwich a few days before I got a ride on a truck going out to the Base, Shipdam, in Norfolk.
I was assigned to Lt. Gildarts crew as a tail gunner.
My first mission was From N. Africa to Bomb Pisa, Italy Marshling Yards. I remember flying by Sicily, saw a few Italian Fighters, but they stayed out of Range and didn't attack. We were told not to bomb near the Pisa Tower.
We trained quite a bit in England for a low level mission to Ploesti Oil Fields in Rumania. We went to N. Africa for the mission but did not go on it, due to the fact a crew took our A.C. on a mission over Wiener Neu Stat, Germany and got shot down. I guess you might say we got knocked out of going on the Ploesti mission. We had to come back to England by Air transport. I flew 34 combat missions also some diversions. On a mission to bomb the sites that they were sending the Buz Bombs from France we couldn't find the target, kept circling so our fighter escort got low on gas and had to leave. So up came the Lufwaff, they say Goring had Yellow Noses up that day teaching how to shoot down AC,[a yellow nose meant he was an ace, three of them would come in together.
They were coming in about 1 o'clock level, which the engines and wings on our bombers was in the way. I couldn't fire at them from my tail turret anyway but I hit one full in the face when he pulled up from below to get us from the bottom. A photographer took pictures of it going down, I got credit for shooting down one enemy plane. We lost 5 AC from our squadron that day. As one went down every time they came in. Some RAF fighters saved our ass as we had only 2 AC left in our squedron.A rough day for the 68th squadorn.
My roughest mission was when we were on our way back from bombing some place near Berlin. We were descending coming back near the coast when flack really got to getting close. One chunk went thru our AC right behind me cutting my oxygen line and a piece hit my back type parachute. A chunk hit our engineer in the ankle. Boy I never seen flack so close it was bumping our ac all over the sky, knocked our hydraulic system out. We came back over our base, ready to bail out, but our pilot decided not to, we had no flaps or brakes, so he got us all to go back in the tail to drag it after we hit the runway. Why we did this is SAPP, our engineer's foot was so bad he couldn't bail out. We landed, got dragging our tail, down the runway got near the end of the runway, our pilot ground loafed, slid quite aways, a waist gun broke loose just missing my head. I jumped out of the window and a ambulance all most ran over me. Everyone got out ok. I don't think there was no better pilot then Captain Gilpart
I met him after the war at Eglin Field Florida in 1961 he was a major then. He has gone where al1 good pilots go.
When I finished my tour, he buzzed the field for me. I saw the first German jet AC. He was a little out of range. I saw when they dragged a chain thru our formation. I only had a few soft missions. I remember on another mission we were flying just above an overcast when up popped a JU88 and let us have a burst hitting our right rudder but didn't hurt the controls,much I let him have it full in the fece, but one of my guns froze up and I couldn't keep my sight on him. A couple of our fighters chased him back down in the soup.
Another mission an ac was flying aways out of our formation all at once it exploded into only a big puff of black smoke.
On our way back to England from N. Africa by A. T. C. we stopped at Oran Airport. We had to wait until some cargo came from somewhere, about 3 hours. We borrowed a jeep from a Lt. to go to operations. We detoured and drove into town stopped at a little bar and went inside, it was crowded. We walked in and everything got so quite. We were just going to get a beer or something. We turned around and about 3 or 4 guys had blocked the doorway, they were going to rip us off. We pulled out our guns; 45's which was in our shoulder holsters which was under our leather jackets. They moved in a hurry. We stopped over in Marraketch, went into town and had a hell of an experience. A boy took us to a girl house where two women were, we were going to get it again when 2 big guys walked in the door. We had to use our 45's again. It's a good thing we had our guns with us in Africa, or we would be dead.
I flew 34 missions and left for USA in two days. I had two clusters to the air metal coming but I left before receiving them. I tried to get them in the last 30 years but they, in Washington denied them saying there were no records on file. 1 received the DFC on my 20th mission with the air medal with '3 OLC. I flew 14 other missions after that without receiving any more medals. I finished my last mission on 24 July 1944 and the missions was still rough, 50 you didn't fly 14 missions without receiving an award. I got 5 points for shooting down the enemy fighter, that's why I got the DFC for 20 missions. The regular tour then was 25 missions. I got to 24, then they raised them to 30. I got to 29. They raised them to 35. I finally finished at 34. I know I had these 2 olc coming,
My last mission was to St. Low France. My first mission was to Pisa, Italy on Sept 14,1943. When I got to England no one was finishing their tour, they were getting shot down.
Awards and medals
1 DFC 1 AM + 5 OLC Three Presidential citations ETO Ribbon with 6 Battle stars Distinguished unit citations ATO Ribbon Good conduct Victory medal Carbine expert pistol marksman more ribbons
I left for the USA on Queen Mary landed in NYC, went on a 30 delay in route to Miami FL, was there about a month. Then to Kessler Field Miss. Went thru A & E school then stayed as an instructor until discharged. I was really welcomed home by the people of Paris and Ruddles Mill, KY, on my delay in route and discharge. I re-enlisted again in 1949 as staff sergeant, but thats all another story.