Jerry Can

Bomb Group 459 saved by the Jerry Can

bomb group 459

On March 1, 1945 Bomb Group 459 bombed Moosbierbaum Austria Refinery and got 135 shrapnel in our B-24; lost our oxygen and most of our fuel; in our briefing we were apprised of Zara Airport in Yugoslaviaon the Adriatic south of Triest and to use the facility if needed. As Aircraft Commander and my crew were endangered without oxygen and not enough to get back to Cerignola Italy base.

First I dropped from 25,000 feet down to 19,000 feet until we could safely clear the Alps and then descend to the Adriatic Sea level; find a comfortable place and remain inactive to conserve oxygen level in our bodies. We proceeded and landed at Zara Airport, a facility taken by the Partisans and British Air Support the day before. We safely landed and parked so as to seal our gasoline cells. Gasoline in five-gallon jerry can containers was flown in for adding enough fuel to get back to our air base. My crew was safe and healthy and got back to our base in Cerignola; two other B-24\’s landed in back of us and had anoxia victim crewmen.

Lloyd Smiley

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