By Nathan Asch

Stars and Stripes Unit Correspondent

From the June 12, 1944 Edition of Stars and Stripes

AN EIGHTH AIR FORCE BASE, June 11–The Nazi gun emplacements on the Normandy beaches and the traffic choke points immediately behind the shore were smashed on D-Day by bombs directed by three of the leading Eighth Air Force bombardiers, especially trained for the precisely-ordered maze of the assault on French shores.

“Immediately before the landing and exactly on the target” were their instruction and they were told that the least deviation might cause the explosives to smash down on Allied troops.

The last of the bombs were to be dropped five minutes before the first of the barges were to touch the enemy shore. The coordination proved so exact that in spite of cloud cover–which made it necessary to bomb with instruments–the men landing on the beaches reported seeing the last bombs fall.

The bombardiers were part of a group of picked expert fliers, who had been sent to train for their mission in Italy under Capt. William D. Cargill, of Refugio, Tex. Their names are Capt. Harry W. Meadville, of Lawton, Okla.; 1/Lt. Paul R. Carsten, of Elmore, Ohio, and 1/Lt. Henry Tonelli, of San Francisco, who on D-Day bombed through clouds machine-gun pits on the beach.

The group flew practice missions twice a day to insure success of their mission, which was to “hit in whatever weather exactly the target they wanted to hit.”

B17 flying fortress gun emplacements

B17 Flying Fortresses in formation.

For Further Reading Check Out:

The Mighty Eighth: The Air War in Europe as Told by the Men Who Fought It

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