On the first mission to Bologna, Yossarian gets on the mic and asks whether something is wrong on the plane. This sparks some dismay among the crew, although they soon determine that nothing is wrong, which is no relief, since they must then fly the mission.
Yossarian in effect sabotages his own mission here, because he is worried that his plane will encounter dangerous resistance over Bologna.
Yossarian tears out the intercom and orders Kid Sampon, the pilot of the mission, to turn back, since they cannot hear one another on the plane. They return to base. Yossarian is elated but then disappointed, inexplicably, by his abandonment of the mission. He decides to go for a swim.
Although Yossarian does everything he can to avoid combat, he nevertheless feels, in this case, that he has behaved with some cowardice.
Yossarian swims peacefully and relaxes on the beach, which is deserted—all other men are flying the mission. He hears the squadron returning and assumes there must be terrible losses, but the mission was a “milk run,” an easy mission with no enemy resistance, and all the planes make it back safely.
It seems that the only rule of combat is: expect the unexpected. After weeks of build-up, the Bologna mission turns out to be so easy, there is not even a single plane damaged.