National Geographic : 1943 Jan
The National Geographic Magazine "Mr. Zero Was Swooping in Like This When"-a Flyer Tells His General Brig. Gen. Martin F. Scanlon, second from right, gets a first-hand report from Lieut. R. W . Elliott on what happened to a Jap ship that attacked his Flying Fortress over enemy territory. In other togs the airman might easily pose as the long-armed angler measuring the lost fish. panorama of lofty mountains with deep creased valleys that characterize this part of New Guinea. From that altitude the jagged terrain looked like a model relief map spread on a desk. Despite lagging by the plane on our left because of a faulty engine, formation of the two flights remained tight enough. Captain H. in the lead ship purposely retarded his motors to enable the slower Fortress to stay with us. "A Zero at 5 o'clock!" someone suddenly called over the interplane phone. (The clock-face system is used in aviation to locate objects. Dead ahead is 12 o'clock; dead astern, 6 o'clock. Off to the right, and at right angles to the horizontal axis of the ship is 3 o'clock; etc.) I spotted the Jap pursuit plane almost as soon as I heard it announced. Without real izing what I was doing, I had swung the .50 caliber automatic on my side through the window, and held it on the Zero. The only thing that kept me from pressing the trigger was the risk of sending some bullets into the Fortress off our right. By this time other Jap fighters had joined the combat. Their tracer shots poured past our windows like a horizontal hail of red-hot rivets. Oxygen Vital in High Flying Almost all the guns on the six bombers blazed back in deadly defiance. Twin .50's in the bottom turret of our plane were idle because the oxygen system for that post failed to function properly. The gunner had nearly passed out 30 min utes before reaching the target, and had to come up. White as dough, he panted fran tically into his oxygen mask connected to another tank. Gradually he revived. Five more minutes in that bottom turret, and he would have lost consciousness, if not his life.