You could write a book! Well, of course this could be said about every major event of the war. On this site, I'm covering what I know about Ang and Betty Adams during the days of the invasion of southern France. I'll supplement with quotes from the 57th Bomb Wing website in the group and squadron diaries of the 340th BG and Ang's 486th BS.
Betty's schedule was the same as usual usual -- writing letters, going to movies, working. We have one letter from Ang on the 18th.
Tuesday, August 15. To Mass this AM. Not as warm as yesterday. Mr. L in nearly all day. Mom and I home alone. K to San Diego. Wrote letters.
Form 5. C-15, Combat flight as navigator, B25-J, 4:00h
[Crew sheet is under Official Documents tab.]
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #26]
Avignon R.R. Bridge.
1 ship lost (3)
1 - north end hit. 2 - center.
Heavy, intense & acc. Red flak.
Six ships holed. 1 lost.
1st Hoscharr, J.P
T/S AD Alldredge
Cpl C.T. Henry
From the 340th Bomb Group diary:
"Besides the all-consuming landing operations which our air efforts supported, the day was also unique for these reasons: today the Group completed its 500th combat mission and today also marked 18 months of overseas duty for the Group. The Group also set a new high for itself sending up a total 1132 planes on 11 separate missions. The first ship took off at 0517 succeeded by 71 others. All these planes returned safely. At 1520 hrs sixty more planes took off with the Dreaded Avignon Bridge as target. The three bridges designated as targets were well hit but a price was paid. Three of the participating ships did not return and several of those returning were badly shot up....."
From the 486th Bomb Squadron diary:
"The Group sent 72 ships into the air and over the S France coast by 0730 this morning. Very few boxes dropped their bombs because of the damned weather which blanketed the coast. This was very disappointing, however, because little or no flak was observed; everyone returned safely and grateful for that at least. In the afternoon bridges at Avignon were selected as targets. This indicated the B-25s could be taken off ground support work and put back on semi strategic work. A French Major General and his aide-de-camp accompanied the invasion during the afternoon after being initiated about the Group by Col. Chapman. The mission was rough – three ships did not return and most were holed. Two went down over the target and one over the sea. Our ship, piloted by Lt. Hoschar was struck in the right wing flew apart and set the ship into a flat spin. No one was seen chuting out but chutes may have been overlooked because of the excited state of the crews due to the intense, and accurate flak. Some are inclined to believe several men may have gotten out safely and the writer is one who believes. On the return trip, pilots J.D. Smith and Morrison spotted a 488th ship going down and when the crew landed in the water they each dropped spare dingies and radioed fixes for air-sea rescue. The squadron was not happy and groups of men could be seen about the area in discussion, quiet and soberly talking about the mission. The Sqdn's turn for stand-down will serve tomorrow and so to help
forget about the mission."
August 16. Loafed nearly all day. Warm, but not too bad. Kay in San Diego still. Mr. S for dinner. To movies alone. Bed 12:00.
August 17. Worked in AM but just loafed in afternoon. Kay back from San Diego. Wrote letters all evening. To bed about 11:00.
August 18. Have begun taking my lunch - see if I can save money. Shopped and bought Ang some things. Mr. S for dinner and for ride. Late.
[Letter, small notepad paper. Postmark 8-18-44.]
Well, I said I wouldn't be able to write for a day or two—and I was right except for the reason. Shortly after I wrote you—the colonel called a meeting. "IT" happens tomorrow, he says. “IT” was the invasion of southern France. We had rumors and rumors about it—and quite a few bets and pools were made on the date. Of course most of the rumors were wrong—and nobody guessed the date—especially the Germans.
Boy, I guess the landing ships caught them with their pants down.
Honey, I have never seen a sight like the invasion in my life. The sea was filled with ships and the sky was filled with planes--and the Germans were sure catching hell. Boy oh Boy! Won't I have something to tell my grandchildren?
Anyway as you can guess the colonels little speech stopped my celebration party cold. His little pep talk was a corker. “Get in there and fight, men! I know you’ll do your best—crash that line—etc.” I’m just kidding—he really was very serious about it.
Have you gotten used to calling yourself Mrs 1st yet! Its no longer a novelty with me—but I still feel good about it.
Please forgive the short letter this time—I’ve got to hit my sack—I’m dead tired.
I love you honey—Love Ang.
If you would like to read more about the 340th Bomb Group's role in the Invasion, this link will take you to a page with more information and mission reports.
Joni Adams Sesma, daughter of Angelo and Elizabeth Adams. Ang served on Corsica with the 57th Bomb Wing, 340th Bomb Group, 486th Bomb Squadron. April 1944-April 1945.