Post by Allen Peterson on Aug 10, 2010 0:24:56 GMT -5
Operation Halyard, from the book "The forgotton 500" by Gregory A. Freeman Sixty-six years ago an amazing series of flights started that in the next five months would rescue downed American airman from a remote region of Yugoslavia (now Serbia). Airman who had to bail out of their damaged bombers returning from raids on the Ploesti oil fields were guided by OSS agents (who had parachuted into Yugoslavia) to a remote mountainous area near the small village of Panjani (N44* 00.74', E 20* 12.25' acording to Google), 50 some miles south of Belgrade. The first flight of 4 C-47s landed on an improvised landing strip (read cow pasture) at 20:00 hours on the night of August 9, 1944 and flew out the first 56 airman. The next morning several flights of C-47s landed to pick up 216 more airmen while their fighter escorts beat up the German installations in the area. Through December a total of 511 airmen were rescued with no loss of life. My flight left Brindisi, Italy (LIBR) at 17:00 hours with pilot, co-pilot, navigator and plane captain, and a "half load of fuel", as suggested. I flew on a heading for Belgrade, and when I got close I flew east to the longitude position then turned south to try to find meadow suitable for landing near the latitude position. Not as easy as it sounds, I had to abort my first two attempts because the meadows were too short.
Since fuel was an issue I landed at the first big meadow that I found.
I wasn't quite at the correct position but miraculously the 15 airman assigned to my plane found me and climbed aboard. We're out of here.
Goin' home to LIBR...
through cloud canyons
to a tricky landing on 32 with a 10 knot crosswind from230 degrees.