“Hit By My Own Blast”
The target of the 353rd Fighter Group on June 6, 1944, was a grouping of German armored trucks and other vehicles, six miles south of Mortain, France. A P-47 Thunderbolt, piloted by Flight Officer Earl W. Green, dove towards the target.
His flight leader, Captain James N. Poindexter (himself shot down and killed over Germany months later, on January 3, 1945) reported that:
…F/O Green released his bombs at too low an altitude for safety. His ship was apparently seriously damaged by the blast…..he was last heard on the radio to say (just before bailing out), “I ran too low. Hit my own blast.” I heard this and then observed him parachute from the smoking plane.”
F/O Green, 23 years old, from Klamath Falls, Oregon, had been in the military just short of four years. He was now alone, in occupied France, miles from the Allied ground forces moving across Normandy. He was badly wounded, with third degree burns on his right leg, right wrist, and around his eyes.
After walking for an hour, he discarded his holster and carried his .45 caliber pistol inside his flight jacket. Soon, he heard shots fired nearby. According to his own testimony, he next “met three enemy soldiers, shot all three by walking up to them first with one hand in the air”.
He was next hidden in a French farm house for almost six weeks and given some rudimentary medical treatment. Then he was moved to the city of Mayenne, where he hid for another three weeks. While there, he witnessed numerous Allied bombing attacks on the area. He also assisted a member of the French resistance in writing up messages to be sent to Allied forces in the area. The messages were attached to homing pigeons and included information on local German radar facilities.
After the city of Mayenne was taken by the Allies, F/O Green was sent to a hospital and then through military channels back to England. After his return, he was interviewed, and asked to provide guidance to any flyers who might themselves attempt to escape and evade in the future.
His commented that “the enemy was always shooting some one for one thing or another. They…were scared of the French. All were dirty and drunk and causing trouble for everyone…”
The final question on the form was: “Do you have any suggestions to make which, from your experience, you feel will help other evaders and escapers?”
Flight Officer Green’s response was, “No. All Germans will fire at plane…with everything they have.”
He was back in England in October of 1944 and he survived the War.