At the end of saturday may 27, 1944's morning, as several formations of american bombers B-24 Liberator fly over the village of Courthézon, in the north of Avignon, in direction of their objective, Nimes's train station, a plane had a direct hit by Flak and was literally dislocated by the explosion which followed.
A rain of incandescent wrecks fall on a broad perimeter of Saint-Laurenct district, located in the south-east of Courthézon, the ten young american aviators making his crew didn't survive.
In the six targets (communication complex) of the south France this day, was included Nimes's railway complex.
The 15th USAAF's strategists directed for that one Bomber-Wing entirely made of B-24 Liberator, the 55th BG.
Order of organization by group :
- 460th BG made up of 33 B-24 on the36 envisaged (3 planes had various technical troubles) which attack the extreme west of the station, is the repair shops and the rotunda at the altitude of 22000 feet.
- 465th BG: presenting 29 planes on the of 35 envisaged (6 having had to give up the mission) which will bombard the east of the station, where the railways separate to join Avignon and/or Tarascon, at an altitude varying from 21000 to 21300 feet.
- 464 BG: 28 planes (7 being u turned to the base) will have to destroy the center of sorting at altitudes of 20000 to 21600 feet.
- 485 BG: with 37 planes as envisaged by the flight plan, which will have the responsibility of tackle the east quarter of the station at an altitude of 20000 feet.
For escort, the 55th Wing have at its sides P-38 Lightning and P-51 Mustang from the 306th Fighter Wing having to take place within the formation at sight of the Cape Roux, Estérel's French coasts.
Each planes carries 8 bombs of 500 pounds.
After having crossed the Mediterranean sea, the american planes exceed the French coasts, then penetrate the earths. The overflight of Avignon done, the Ventoux mount is left on starboard while the formation starts a large turn in direction south/west, towards their I.P (initial point).
At this moment the Flak enter in action.
Several four-engined planes of the 460 and 465 BG opening the way were already hit. That wants to say that the german artillerists calculated their aiming very well.
When the 464 BG is close the objective, Flak's shootings are nourished even.
It is a little after 10h15, when B-24 is violently hit under its right wing, between engines 3 and 4. Immediately, the explosion causes to cut the right wing and to make subside the plane on the same side, bringing it to begin in a violent one barrel.
Liberator goes suddenly on the back while diving, whereas enormous flames in appears. A second explosion occurs then literally making burst the cell. Consequently, only from the burning remains and scattered in the sky of Provence will disperse on a perimeter of 2 miles, centered on the Saint Luwrenct district, in Courthézon.