Plymale Knew more about the B-24 than any other member of the crew - including
the airplane commander. In emergencies, the airplane commander turned to
the engineer. The duties of the flight engineer were to assist the pilot
and copilot in monitoring the performance of the engines and to keep track
of fuel burn. The engineer was also the top turret gunner, a position that
allowed him to monitor the four engines.
Zenas remembers: "We ran into a lot of flak. Sometimes it was so thick you could walk on it. Lintz was the worst. It was very cold and we wore electric suits. They plugged into a 21 volt system.
"Axis Sally always seemed to know where the planes were headed. The local Italians would report to the Nazis. They could tell where the planes were headed by the bombs that were loaded. 100 pound bombs meant we were headed to an oil refinery, 500 pound bombs meant a railway, and 1000 pound bombs meant a bridge.
"When Traetta was made Captain, then we became the lead ship. The lead ship never had to worry about fuel consumption because they just set their controls and flew. The other ships had to constantly make corrections to stay in formation. When the lead ship dropped its bombs, the rest of the formation did likewise. We flew a 'Micky Ship' whenever one was available. The ball turret was replaced by a radar unit. They could locate target even through heavy cloud cover."