Yank's Liquor Store

by:  RAF_Yank

It was the fall of 1944 and our missions were frequently as "Flying Artillery". We often were sent in support of infantry and armor advances. On this day we took off with a particular mission scheduled. After about 15-20 minutes in the air we were directed to abort the planned mission and hit a particular hillside. The Germans had a Tank Squadron of ours bracketed and were really laying it to them. We were in two flights at total of eight planes. We swooped in behind these guys and just hammered them. We were carrying 2 500-lb. bombs each. When we got done there was very little, if any fire coming from those positions any more.

The Tank Commander leading those guys was very grateful. He found out who we were and offered us a case of Scotch he had gotten somewhere. They were a ways from us so I tried to figure out how to get it. I looked on the map and found an abandoned airfield near where these guys were deployed. My larcenous mind came up with a plan. I got the guy on the radio and said would he mind hiding it near the only structure left standing. I planned on swinging in after a mission, grabbing it up, and no one would be the wiser. He agreed. This may seem like a stupid risk. It was. But in my defense good Scotch Whiskey was like liquid gold, worth a lot in trade or for sale.

A few days later we had a mission that would take us very close to this old airfield. After our run, my wingman and I peeled off to swing into this airfield. He flew cover for me as I lined up. It was dirt but looked in decent shape. As I set down I saw that it was full of potholes and shell craters (no wonder it was abandoned!). I porpoised down the runway, zig zagging all over the place. I pulled up next to the building, leaving the motor running, and ran around the back. Sure enough right where the guy said is the case of scotch. I grab it up and head for my plane.

Suddenly "Blam, blam, blam" dust starts getting kicked up at my feet. This field was supposed to be behind our lines, apparently no one told the guy who was plinking at me! Then "Chink!" A hole appears in the crate of Scotch and it's leaking all over me (the bullet passed though the box, through the bottle through the other side and through my flight jacket!) I dash for the cockpit still holding this stupid leaking crate. Small arms fire is landing all around me and hitting my plane. Suddenly I here synchronized, and unmistakable, 50 cal. machine gun fire. My Wingman had seen my plight and started letting loose into the trees where the sniper fire was coming from. No more enemy fire came after that.

I jumped in and hit the gas with this leaky case of scotch in my lap and headed for home. I landed without incidence until I pulled up to my Crew Chief. My plane was peppered with small arms fire. He looks at me, soaked with Scotch and broken glass. He shakes his head and says, "This one is going to cost you Sir." So some of the case went to my ground crew to keep everyone quiet and a bottle each to the other guys on the mission and an extra to my Wingman for saving my bacon. That left me with one bottle and a bullet hole in my jacket. I almost gave up drinking, almost.

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