There’s a reason for the puzzled expression exhibited by Major Loren W. Herway, Indianola, Iowa, shown examining the damage inflicted on his 9th Air Force P-47 Thunderbolt by a direct hit from 88 mm. flak.
He’s still wondering how the P-47, with supercharger, hydraulic system and rudder controls battered, held together to permit a belly landing.
Major Herway managed the crippled plane back to his base, circled the field for fifteen minutes while ambulances, crash trucks, and firemen assembled, then made a belly landing, skidding 500 yards.
As service men were towing the plane away, the entire tail assembly fell away.
It was the 124th combat mission for the 23 year old squadron commander of the 362nd fighter group.
That’s the oldest 23 year old I’ve ever seen that wasn’t a drug addict or victim of childhood sexual abuse.