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Raising Havoc

Raising Havoc in the Ardennes


It is January 23rd, 1945, and it's cold. The German advance in the Ardennes is nearly over, but the Panzer Army is desperately throwing more troops into the breach who try to keep their momentum going in The Battle of the Bulge.


Tasked with preventing German reinforcements from reaching the battle front, the Ninth Air Force including A-20 Havocs of the 410th Bomb Group launched a series of low-level attacks on enemy ground forces as they wound their way through the Ardennes. Flying conditions were not easy, cloud bases were low, and snow was in the air.


Locating an enemy convoy in open space, the Havoc pilots make a swift attack diving from 8000 feet (2,400m), catching the German force by surprise: Hurtling down the line of vehicles at 320mph (515kph) they release their parafrag bombs from 300 feet (90m) then, dropping just above the roofs of the army trucks continue down the column blasting everything in sight with their forward-firing .50mm calibre machine guns. In the space of a few minutes the attack is completed and the convoy decimated.


With amuntion expended and fuel running low the A-20 Havocs climb out of the zone and head for base in France. they return through a blizzard, but all aircraft make it safely home - the lead aircraft, on landing, counting over 100 holes of various sizes. For their part in leading the successful attack the Lead Pilot Russell Fellers and Bombardier/Navigator Gordon G. Jones received the Silver Star.


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