The flight to Munich seemed to be especially long, perhaps because we had to make several doglegs to avoid concentrations of flak batteries. We crossed over the center of the Denaric Alps. It was winter, they were white with snow, and under different circumstances, probably beautiful. At 20,000 feet we saw little of the countryside. On some missions there was a cloud deck below us, so we saw nothing. We and the German gunners relied on radar. Actually, Munich was not as far, straight-line, as Regensburg or Augsburg, but it was a mean, unfriendly place.
This time it lived up to its' reputation. We lost several planes from our Group. And there must have been others because there were a lot of parachutes drifting away. The target was the railroad marshalling yard in a small town just outside of Munich. Flak on the bomb run was really vicious, one doesn't forget these things, but all our plane got from it was a bumping around from near misses. We were flying right in the center of the squadron, number 4 position.
Just before "Bombs away", Carl Spiegel, in his top turret, hollered out "look at Max's right wing...". Max was the pilot of the bomber to our left, and there peeking out of the top surface of his wing was the nose cone of an unexploded 88mm shell. Somehow, it had struck the lower surface without detonating, passed between the ribs, missed the fuel tank, and stuck right there.
Max's turret gunner could see it, close up, but couldn't reach it, of course. Max pulled off to the left, out of formation, but where he could rejoin if attacked. Safely away from the rest of us he was trying various maneuvers to dislodge their unwanted cargo. You just can't flap the wings of a B-24, but he did everything else. And it worked. Suddenly, it was the only time any of us actually saw one of the things they had been shooting at us. But, there it was, as it slipped down out of the wing, seemed to hang there for a moment, slowed, turned nose down, drifted away, and we left it behind. We were holding our breath, imagine what the guys in that plane were doing...
Max rejoined the Squadron. I don't remember but I suppose his bombs had dropped when ours did. But, as we passed out of the barrage area our escort reappeared and we went home. Max was the center of attention that night at the Mess. We all managed a special Happy Hour.