C-47 Pilot, 309th Sq, 315th TCG, 9th AF
This time we were going to drop British reinforcement troops at Arnhem. On this mission there wasn't as much flak and the British paratroopers jumped out without problems. We did have a few scary moments when we had dropped the paratroopers. The British don't use a static line going through the center of the aisle of the plane like the Americans, so the shroud lines extended from their seats. When they jumped out, part of these shroud lines got caught in our elevator. This made the control wheel shake terribly, which made the plane hard to control. We thought that we had been hit badly by a shell, before the crew chief ran to the cockpit and told us what had happened. Our crew chief asked if he should try to shoot at the lines to dislodge them, but we said that he could easily hit part of the plane. So we decided that I would hold him by his legs, while Roger was doing what he could to rock the plane back and forth and get the lines swaying back and forth. the crew chief leaned outside the plane, and cut into the lines to release the heaviest part. We accomplished to do so and freed up the elevator.
On Tuesday (the 19th) we were ready to go again and drop the 1st Independent Polish Brigade south of the bridge at Arnhem. However the weather was to bad too take off, so the mission was called off for that day. All the men went back to the camp. The polish were very eager to go and had a very difficult time dealing with the postponing of the mission. We heard that there was one Polish paratrooper that killed himself when he heard that the mission was called of for that day.
On Wednesday it was the same story as the day before. We were once again all set and ready for take off, but the weather remained bad.
Thursday we were finally able to take off. We were supposed to join other planes and fall into the usual formation after take off, but we went into some thick clouds. It was almost like an overcast. Our flight instruments started acting erratically. We were very lucky to get out of the weather without crashing and there was nothing else left to do then find the nearest airbase and land our plane. I later heard that the other planes that had succeeded in delivering their paratroopers had had a hard time. That was the only mission in which guys that I knew were killed.
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