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535th Bomb Squadron War Diary

1943: Precombat, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec
1944: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec
1945: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr

 

Precombat

 

535th Squadron535th Bomb Sq.
381st Bomb Group (H)
WAR DIARY
Submitted by Cpl Ray Ingham,
 Cpt. Joseph M. Marray S-2

Transcribed from microfilm by Dave Osborne

JANUARY 1943

THE 535th Bomb Squadron was one of four similar units which, with a headquarters administrative staff, comprised the 381st Bomb Group (Heavy), and was activated 3 January 1943, at Blythe AAF, Ca., with captain William W. Ingenhutt as squadron commander, the cadre was composed of nine officers and 57 enlisted men (EM), all drawn from the personnel of the 381st Bomb Group.

The officers' cadre, commanded by Capt Ingenhutt, was: 1st Lt Arthur C. Briggs, Operations; 1st Lt Clayton R. Greenwood, Engineering; 2nd Lt Richard L. Tansey, Adjutant; 2nd Lt Melvin Feigel, Pilot; 2nd Lt George B. McIntosh, Co-pilot; 2nd Lt Leonard L. Spivey, Navigator; 2nd Lt John M. Stratcotenko, Bombardier and 2nd Lt Walter L. Richey, Communications Officer.

With M/Sgt Andrew J. Banas, Line chief, as ranking NCO, the EM included three T/Sgts, five S/Sgts, 13 Sgts, 13 Cpls, 13 Pfcs and nine Pvts.

The model crew consisted of Capt Ingenhutt, P; Lts McIntosh, CP; Spivey, N; Stracotenko, B; S/Sgts Leo I. Perkins, ETTG, Thomas R. Moore, RO; Sgts Charles G. Dodge, BTG, Robert L. Colborn, Arthur L. Everett, WGs and Russell A. Huebner, TG.

5. The squadron arrived at its first training station, Pyote, Texas, and got its first two Fortresses: 42-5479 and 42-3019, later transferred out at Pueblo, Col.

15. The first promotions raised Pvts John W. Dawson, Charles I. Forbes, Marion S. Kweitniewski and Julius Kanovitz to Pfcs.

16. 2nd Lts James B. Linskey, Armaments Officer and Orlando H. Koenig, Pilot, were assigned to the squadron. S/Sgt Phillip C. Kocher transferred to Orlando, Fla., as the squadron's only successful OCS candidate.

17. 2nd Lt William Dendy, material liaison, was attached to Group HQ for special duty.

24. 2nd Lt Minick was assigned as Asst Eng Officer, along with 106 new men, the new squadron had added four officers and 195 EM attached by the end of the month. Several administrative flights and general organizations, along with the performance of "usual garrison duties", made up the month's air and ground activities.

27. Cpl Joseph J. Gentile was granted the squadron's first emergency furlough.

FEBRUARY 1943

Three full crews, well out of Phase I in their training, joined the squadron on February 2, their arrival opening the way to a full month's program of second phase training. The new combat men, totalled 31, or 12 officers and 19 EM.

The officers were: 2nd Lts William A. Bechter, N; Harold M. Becker, B; Thomas G. Burgett, B; William F. Cormany, CP; Charles W. Dowell, P; Edwin D. Frost, Jr, N; Melvin B. Hecker, P; Robert J. Holdom, P; John J. Pence, CP; James A. Phillips, B; Arthur W. Ricks, N; F/O Fred G. Evans, P.

Among the enlisted men, ten Cpls were promoted to Sgt; 12 Pfcs to Cpl; and 27 Pvts to Pfcs.
Squadron strength at the close of the month had reached 28 officers and 263 EM assigned, with the addition of 16 officers and 58 EM over the 28 days.

Captain Joseph M. Murray, S-2 Officer arrived Feb 6; 1st Lt Milton H. Bland, Medical Officer, Feb 8; 2nd Lt Charles A. Specian, Orderly Officer, Feb 12; 1st Lt Tipton, Asst Engineering Officer, Feb 20 (replacing Lt Minick, transferred to the 534th); 2nd Lt Hubert J. Grimshaw, navigator, Feb 23; Lt Ricks was granted his request for transfer to the 96th BG, Feb 25.

Six Fortresses were added this month, bring the total planes to eight.

MARCH 1943

Fifty officers and 303 EM, or a total addition over February's figure of 22 and 40 in the respective divisions, comprised the squadron strength at this month's end. Five full combat crews accounted for nearly half of the increase. The following 20 combat officers were included in the new crews:

1st Lt Osce V. Jones, P; 2nd Lts Seth A. Armstead,CP; D. R. Jones, N; Lester W. Schneider, B; Frank G. Chapman, P; Richard D. Robinson, CP; Theodore Katz, N; Wilson W. Cupp, B; Harry M. Smith, P; Samuel J. Hawkins, CP; John P. Noonan, N; Lloyd W. Gwinn, B; Frederick T. Sumner, P; Omen V. Jones, CP; Paul H. McDonnell, N; Adrian F. Fredericks, B; Loren C. Disbrow, P; Donald E. Rogers, CP; Arthur L. Guertin, N; George Gaydos, B.

The squadron now has eight combat crews who continued second phase training missions in eight Forts, although routine maintenance work usually left one or two planes grounded most of the time.

Six day furloughs, the "last chance" before overseas shipments, were granted to officers and EM in groups not exceeding 15% of the squadron strength. No travel time was allowable, due to a rigid training schedule.

Promotions were highlighted by the elevation of Capt Ingenhutt to Major, as of the 23rd. Other promotions included 1st Lts Briggs and Bland to captain; 2nd Lts Tansey, Hecker, Holdom, Ritchey and Disbrow to 1st Lts, while 59 EM also received promotions.

Assigned during the latter half of the month were: 2nd Lts Saul B. Schwartz, S-2 Officer; Charles L. Guimento, Supply Officer; George H. Kessel, Mess Officer; Jack B. Painter, P; Everett F. Malone, CP; Theodure Jikutz, N; William A. Hodge, N and Clarence A. Watkins, Jr, B.

In this period five officers were transferred out: 1st Lts Dendy and Tipton; 2nd Lts Omen V. Jones, McConnell and Katz.

Seven EM over the 38 age limit were granted honorable discharges, four on the 17th and three on the 25th.

APRIL 1943

The squadron left Pyote, with little, if any, reluctance, for the third phase of training at Pueblo, Colo, on April 4. Combat crews flew the outfit's eight Forts, the ground crew echelon making the 760 mile station change by train. The latter personnel took up usual garrison duties at Pueblo on the 6th.

At this station training emphasis was placed upon formation and cross-country flying. Personnel changes by the month's end left the squadron with 17 new officers and 33 EM. The strength was 69 officers and 336 EM.

The new officers were: 2nd Lt Edwin R. Manchester, P; F/O Allen J. Chapin, P; 2nd Lts Marvin L. Smith, N;Robert L. Weniger, P; Robert Black, B; Charles W. Nevius, B; George R. DeSantis, Asst Ops O; Eli Zinn, Asst Eng O; Joseph D. Keating, Supply Officer.

2nd Lts Chapman and Spivey were raised for 1st Lts; promotions too, came to 69 EM.

A month's intensive third phase training was terminated with the departure on April 30 of all combat crews for six day leaves and furloughs.

MAY 1943

On the 10th ground and air echelons left Pueblo for their respective destinations, Camp Kilmer, N.J., and Salina, Kan., where they were due to undergo processing in preparation for overseas duty.

Ground forces reached Kilmer on May 12, after a 736 mile train trip. Clothing and equipment checks, physical examinations, lectures, drill, and plenty of time spent in nearby New York City and Philadelphia were the order of the day until the outfit's sudden shipment on the 26th to the docks at Brooklyn, New York, and quarters aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth. The liner left New York harbor next day and members of the squadron aboard her passed from May into June in mid-Atlantic.

The air echelon's high speed means of transport got them into the ETO, at Prestwick, Scotland, day after the Elizabeth sailed. Their stops were at Dow Field, Me., and Gander Lake, Newfoundland. All planes joined forces at Bovingdon, Herts., England on May 29. In preparation for the transfer to Station #167, Ridgewell, Essex Co., their combat operations base, about eight miles from Halstead, the nearest town.
Both sea and air crossings were made easily without unusual incident.

Three officers were assigned this month: 2nd Lts Robert H. Gravelyn, CP; John F. Lander, N; and William J. Rogan, Bombsight Maint. Officer.

Eight officers were transferred out: 2nd Lts Walters, Birchett, Fredericks, Grimshaw, Rogers, Pence, Jikutz and Zinn.

Promotions saw 2nd Lts McIntosh, Linskey and Kornemann up to 1st Lts. In addition 167 EM received new strips in all six grades.

Squadron strength at end of the month was 65 officers and 325 EM.


 

June 1943

 

535th Bomb Sq.
381st Bomb Group (H)
WAR DIARY
Submitted by Cpl. Ray Ingham

 

JUNE 1943

2. The Queen Elizabeth drops anchor off Gourock, in the Firth of Clyde, Scotland.

3. Ground echelon came ashore by lighter, onto the waiting troop train and headed south at 19.30 hrs.

4. Ground echelon arrives Great Yeldham, Essex, a couple of miles from base, proceeded to Station #167, Ridgewell, by truck.

5. F/O Allen J. Chapin promoted to 2nd Lt.

7. Eight of the squadron's ten Fortresses arrived today from Bovingdon, where the remaining two are temporarily delayed for maintenance check-up.

21. Combat crews this morning were briefed for what was to have been their first mission, but it was scrubbed.

22. Three of the crews were briefed for the group's first mission, a diversionary effort against the General Motors factory, Antwerp, Belgium, a successful raid. The pilots were: 1st Lts Osce V. Jones and harry M. Smith, but Lt Manchester's ship did not take off because of malfunction in oil coolers.

T/Sgt Tony S. Sylvester officially credited with one enemy aircraft damaged; S/Sgt Julia D. Sosby permanently grounded following mission. Both men were on Lt Smith's crew. There were no casualties.

23. The second mission, planned against HQ buildings on the airfield at St Martin- Bernay, France. 10/10th cloud prevented the group dropping bombs, and no enemy action was encountered. Mission counted, as over enemy territory.

Led by the commanding officer, Major Ingenhutt, seven ships made the raid, the other pilots being: Lts Manchester, Koenig, Cormany, Holdom, Dowell, Smith, but Chapman aborted.

25. With Lt Col Joseph J. Nazzaro, station commander, at the spearhead, eight of the squadron's ships took off as the lead element of the group's formation of 24 ships against the Floomer Aero Works, Hamburg. Their third mission was rated as a main effort. It was termed a success and there were no casualties. Lt Holdom aborted with engine trouble.
The other pilots were: Lts Cormany, Smith, Koenig, Dowell, Manchester and Chapman (flying a 534th ship).

26. Six squadron planes were part of the formation, the group's fourth mission, against an aircraft assembly plant at Villacoublay, France. Two ships aborted, while those that flew were piloted by: Lts Holdom, Koenig, Jones, Smith, Manchester and Chapman.

The squadron sent four EM with a station attachment to an anti-aircraft machine-gun school.

28. Five Fortresses of this squadron took part in the group's fifth mission against the docks at St Nazaire, France. 1st Lt Koenig aborted.

2nd Lt Nevius, bombardier, and S/Sgt Kelleher, tail gunner, aboard "Georgia Rebel" flown by Lt Jones, each got credit for one enemy aircraft destroyed, which, with five mission behind them, made them eligible for the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Clusters.

Participating were: Lts Jones, Smith, Holdom, Disbrow and Manchester.

29. On its sixth mission, to the airfield at Tricqueville, France, the squadron sent three Fortresses. None aborted. Heavy cloud coverage of the target prevented the ships from dropping their bombs, and although enemy aircraft were encountered there were no casualties.

Taking part were: Lts Chapman, Disbrow and Koenig.

Squadron strength: 51 officers and 329 enlisted men.


 

July 1943

 

535th Bomb Sq.
381st Bomb Group (H)
WAR DIARY
Submitted by Cpl. Ray Ingham

 

JULY 1943

1. Ninety-three EM were promoted today in all grades; four T/Sgts made M/Sgts; seven S/Sgts made T/Sgts; 11 Sgts made S/Sgts; 23 Cpls made Sgts; 39 Pfcs made Cpls and seven Pvts made Pfcs.

2. The mission was scrubbed today; planned as a main effort against Le Mans, France.

4. Eight squadron ships took off on the group's seventh mission, an Indepence Day shellacking of the Gnome-Rhone engine factory at Le Mans. Bombing results proving excellent. Lt Manchester was forced to abort with oil cooler failure while Lt Holdom took off in the spare ship and returned as per schedule.

Today's pilots were: Lts Dowell, Koenig, Chapman, Cormany, Disbrow and Jones.

6. 2nd Lt Vernon W. Nicholson, bombardier, assigned today.

7. 2nd Lt John Stracotenko, bombardier, transferred to 534th.

10. Seven squadron ships took the group lead, with our commander, Major Ingenhutt, as formation leader on the eighth mission, a major effort against the airbase at Villacoublay, France. There was 10/10th cloud, no bombing, moderate enemy aircraft opposition, but no casualties.

Major Ingenhutt, Lts Manchester and Smith all aborted, the four others credited with a mission were: Lts Disbrow, Koenig, Holdom and Dowell.

S/Sgt Walters, aboard Disbrow's ship on his seventh mission, got official credit for destroying his first e/a.

11. Lt Johnson was assigned from the 533rd as of the 9th. Three replacement gunners also joined the squadron: Sgts John J. Conery, Richard W. Smith and Leon L. Robbins.

13. Mission scrubbed, intended for Poix airfield, France.

14. Ninth mission, against the airfield at Amiens-Glisy, six of the squadron's ships taking part, however "Widget", 42-30011, flown by Lt Holdom in missing in action, the first squadron loss of the war.

On this mission, Lt Manchester and crew experienced a miraculous escape from death when a `dead' FW190 plowed into the right wing of their Fort "TS", between #3 engine and the fuselage. Pieces of the FW were found later jammed into the empty bomb bays. The Nazi fighter continued on over the wing, doubled up the right waist gun and slightly damaged the right horizontal stabilizer. Not a member of the crew was injured. Lt Manchester brought the crippled "TS" into an unusually smooth belly landing at an English fighter base near the south coast, but at least two e/a did not make it back, thanks to Manchester's gunners.

The pilots taking part were: Lts Manchester, Smith, Disbrow, Cormany and Jones.

MIA crew: 1st Lt Robert J. Holdom, 2nd Lts Robert Gravelyn, William A. Bechter, James A. Phillips; S/Sgts William R. Coleman, William L. Graver, Raymond J. Pulliner, Morris E. Pryor, Kenneth L. Fossan and James B. Scollon.

15. S/Sgts Myers, O'Donnell and Roeder promoted to T/Sgts and Sgts Gugenheim, Pope and Wardell to S/Sgts.

16. An intended mission to Vitry-en-Artois airfield, near Merville, France was scrubbed.

19. Engine trouble forced six out of seven Forts to abort the group's tenth mission planned against Hamburg, but turned by poor visibility over the continent into a successful search for a target of opportunity, Geringhausen.

1st Lt Manchester was the only pilot to complete the mission; those aborting were Major Ingenhutt, Lts Smith, Chapman, Dowell, Disbrow and Cormany.

21. Base Public Relations Officer, 2nd Lt Saul B. Schwartz, took the crew of "TS", pilot Lt Manchester, to London for a broadcast account of their mid-air incident of July 14, the program to be re-broadcast in the U.S. on August 8.

A new crew was assigned today: F/O Joseph K. Robbins, F/O Donald E. Noxon, 1st Lt Sidney Novell, 2nd Lt Walter H. Utley; T/Sgt Peter K. Ludwigson, T/Sgt Sam Zletin, S/Sgts Ward R. Bathrick, Toby B. Phillips, Paul T. Mogush and Sgt John S. Channell. The latter transferred to the USAAF from the Royal Canadian Air Force last June.

24. Today the squadron lost its second crew, on the group's raid against the chemical works at Heroya, Norway.As a result of damages sustained from unusually heavy flak, Lt Osce V. Jones, with 1st Lt George B. McIntosh, squadron operations officer as co-pilot was forced to turn "Georgia Rebel" back to Sweden, where it crash-landed at Vannacka, all the crew being interned.

The five other Forts taking part were flown by: Lts Manchester, Dowell, Koenig, Chapman and Smith.

MIA crew:1st Lt Jones, 1st Lt McIntosh, 2nd Lt Arthur L. Guertin, 2nd Lt Charles W. Nevius; S/Sgt James E. Haynie, Joseph Nicatra, Charles Newcomb, Alfred E. Haugen, Shannon B. Early and Maurice M. Kelleher.

25. Four squadron Forts participated in the group's 12th mission, against Hamburg. This raid followed that by the RAF the previous night, when nearly 800 British bombers plastered the city. Our Forts simply dropped theirs into the dense smoke still pouring off the target area, six to eight hours after the RAF assault.

There were no casualties, but Lts Chapman and Cormany aborted. Taking part were: Lts Manchester, Disbrow, Dowell and Koenig. Lt Smith, Manchester's navigator, was officially credited with the destruction on an enemy aircraft.

26. The squadron sent five Forts over the target today on the group's 13th mission, an attack on the dock front at Hamburg. Flak was heavy and accurate on the return trip.

On his first mission, Lt Sidney Novell was killed by flak over the target, the squadron's first casualty of this kind. Novell was navigator on Chapman's crew.

Pilots today were: Lts Disbrow, Manchester, Chapman, Koenig and Smith. Lt Cormany aborted.

During this mission, S/Sgt Wardell, ball turret gunner with Lt Chapman, was credited with the destruction on an e/a, an ME109 which he shot down at just over 1,000 yards.

27. Following three consecutive days of gruelling missions, the crews were given a breather today.

28. The group accomplished its 14th mission today, against Altenbuna, Germany. Major Ingenhutt led his squadron's four participating Forts, the other three flown by Lts Chapman, Dowell and Smith. Abortions ruled out Manchester and Cormany.

29. Today was "Clay Pigeon" day for the squadron's gunners over Kiel, the group's 15th mission, officially credited with four e/a destroyed and five probables. Five Forts went over the target, Lts Chapman and Cormany aborted, the latter now three in a row. Taking part were: Lts Manchester, Disbrow, Smith, Dowell and Koenig.

30. The squadron completed its second period of three consecutive days of bombing by sending six Forts with the group formation on its 16th mission, an aircraft factory at Kassel, Germany, which was plastered. There were no casualties, and no abortions.

Taking part were: Lts Manchester, Disbrow, Smith, Chapman, Cormany and Dowell.
2nd Lt Hodge was promoted 1st Lt.

31. Squadron strength was 47 officers and 327 EM.


 

August 1943

 

535th Bomb Sq.
381st Bomb Group (H)
WAR DIARY
Submitted by Cpl Ray Ingham

 

AUGUST 1943

1. 1st Lt Eldon D. Jukes was assigned as squadron operations officer, taking over the duties of Lt McIntosh, interned in Sweden. Captain Arthur Briggs was transferred to the 532nd as its commanding officer as on July 30.

2. 1st Lt Clayton Greenwood promoted Captain as of July 24. Promotions for EM were: five T/Sgts to M/Sgts; eight S/Sgts made T/Sgts (including gunners, Darrington, Crowley and E. Miller); seven Sgts made S/Stgs (including gunners Conery, Jones, Robbins and R.W. Smith); nine Cpls made Sgts; 29 Pfcs made Cpl and seven Pvts made Pfcs.

3. Although interned in Sweden with his crew, 1st Lt Osce V. Jones, was promoted Captain. A mission to Villacoublay, France, was scrubbed.

4. Pfc H. M. Thompson, utility gunner, was assigned.

5. Pfc Thompson promoted to Sgt.

6. Cpl James J. Dwyer, utility gunner, was assigned.

7. Cpl Dwyer promoted to Sgt.

9. A mission against Schweinfurt, Germany, was scrubbed.

12. Major Ingenhutt led the group on its 17th mission, following a 12-day suspension of combat operations. Targets were industrial installations in the Ruhr, called by combat crewmen "Happy Valley", in the ironical reference of flak units there, but today determined enemy fighter opposition outweighed the AA guns for opposition. Half a dozen men in the group were hospitalized for frostbite after flying several hours at a temperature of -40 degrees. Among them from this squadron were Sgts Crowley and Conery.

Lt Cupp was wounded slightly in the right shoulder when a piece of instrument table slammed into him following the destruction of the table by an indoor bursting 20mm shell. His heavy clothing probably saved him from a more serious wound.

The five ships that took part were piloted by: Lts King (534th as lead with Major Ingenhutt), Chapman, Smith, Disbrow and Manchester, while F/O Evans is missing in action.

MIA crew: F/O Fred G. Evans, F/O Joseph K. Robbins, 2nd Lt John F. Lander, 2nd Lt Clarence Watkins; T/Sgt Charles G. Dodge, S/Sgts Herbert R. Kern, Walter V. Messler, Charles C. Miller, Stuart A. Doll and Kenneth L. Hackett.

13. A mission against Schweinfurt was scrubbed for the second time.

15. On the group's 19th mission today, against Brussels, the squadron sent six Forts. There were no casualties and no aborts. The pilots were: Lts Smith, Koenig, Cormany, Disbrow, Chapman and Dowell.

16. Two 535th Forts took part in a mission to attack Le Bourget airfield, France, the pilots being Lts Chapman and Cormany, for whom his bombardier, Lt Becker was confirmed to have shot down an e/a.

17. Target for today was the ball-bearing factory at Schweinfurt, Germany, 70 miles east of Frankfurt, a mission briefed and scrubbed twice recently.

Flak was light but the group met its heaviest fighter opposition to date. An estimated 300 FW190's and ME109's carried out continuous and persistent attacks against the group from the Belgian coast to the target and much of the way out again. Two of the squadron ships are missing in action.

Of the 25 381st ships over the target, ten are listed as missing in action for the entire group. Total group claims allowed by Wing HQ 21 e/a destroyed and 14 probable, bringing it up to date as 65-8-50. Five enlisted gunners were credited with one each: Sgts Bang, Bathrick, Frost, Jones and Rumberger.

Sgt Bathrick heroically stuck to his guns after a 20mm shell exploded outside his ball turret, wounding him seriously. He refused to come up into the waist for treatment and eventually shot down the German fighter whose shell had wounded him. He remained in his turret until "Tinker Toy", his Fort, was out of fighter danger, even though his ammunition had been exhausted long before that time. Until he was sure all danger to the ship and crew was past, Sgt Bathrick continued to swing his empty guns at attacking e/a, thus disguising the fact that the weapons were actually "dead". He was hospitalized at the 121st General Hospital, Braintree, Essex, today.

Today's pilots were: Lts Chapman, Cormany, Dowell, while Manchester aborted. Missing are Lts Smith and Disbrow.
MIA crews: 1st Lt Harry M. Smith, 2nd Lts Samuel J. Hawkins, John P. Noonan, Lloyd W. Gwinn; S/Sgt Judd Lischke, T/Sgt Tony A. Sylvester, S/Sgts John Jupin, Harold L. Blake, John V. Elsberry and Robert L. Colborn.

MIA: 1st Lt Loren C. Disbrow, 2nd Lts Allen J. Chapin, David R. Jones, George Gaydos; T/Sgts Otto F. Bruzeski, Thomas R. Moore, S/Sgts Joseph J. Walters, John H. Moulton, Ernest C. King and William P. Kiniklis.

19. The group's next mission was against a Nazi airfield at Gilze-Rijen, Holland, the squadron losing one ship "Man o' War", Lt Koenig, pilot, one of the squadron's original "model crew". Also aboard were two original gunners, T/Sgt Leo I. Perkins and S/Sgt Arthur L. Everett, among a mixed crew.

Only two ships took part, flown by Lts Koenig and Cormany.

MIA crew: 1st Lt Orlando H. Koenig, 2nd Lt Joseph L. Margapan*, 1st Lt Leonard L. Spivey, 2nd Lt Edward O'Loughlin*; T/Sgt Leo I. Perkins, S/Sgt Arthur L. Everett, S/Sgt Walter J. Buran*, T/Sgt Russell Chester*, S/Sgts Wilbert G. Jones and S/Sgt Eugene A. Sabourin.*

533rd BS members = *.

Returning crewmen said Koenig was lost after the group had made its second run on the target, the first being unsuccessful and no bombs were dropped.

20. A mission planned for Villacoublay, France, was scrubbed.

21. Two new combat crews were assigned today: 2nd Lts Benjamin J. Zum, Charles H. Hoover, John M. Willis, Luther J. Clark; Sgts Robert Italiano, Floyd H. Terry, Frank Crocittio, Melvin F. Wilson, Ferdinand Christofero and Matthew Berk.
2nd Lts Donald K. Hopp, Walter C. Carr, Marshall E. Tyler, William J. Johnson; Sgts Alexander Girvan, Julius F. Greer, Roy W. East, Armond P. Richard, Robert G. True and Richard E. Woodyatt.

The squadron also received another Fortress 42-5747, from 305th BG.

23. Sgt Bathrick today received the Purple Heart award for the wounds he sustained in action on the Schweinfurt raid on the 17th. The award was made in hospital.

Pvts Stuart S. Hanson and Joseph C. Long, utility gunners, were assigned to the squadron today.

24. Two squadron Forts joined the group's formation of seven for the mission today, which took off at 14.30 hrs for the target of Villacoublay airfield, France. Lt Cormany aborted and only Lt Dowell completed the mission.

25. A mission planned against an airfield near Brussels was scrubbed today.

26. Lt Saul B. Schwartz, Station PRO, took Lts Dowell and Uttley, Sgts Ludwigsen, Mogush, Thompson and Phillips to London today for a broadcast account of the story of Sgt Bathrick's heroism.

S/Sgt Thomas A. Childress, waist gunner, was transferred from the 533rd.

27. For the second time this month, Major Ingenhutt led the group, this time on its 23rd mission, against German installations in central France. Bombing results were only fair but there were no casualties.

The squadron provided four ships for today's raid flown by: Lts Manchester, Dowell, Cormany and Hopp. 2nd Lt Wilson W. Cupp promoted 1st St as of the 19th.

29. New assignments were: Sgts Albert W. Atz, George C. Barth, Paul F. Brooks and Virgil G. Buchanan; Pvt R. F. Smith, all utility gunners.

2nd Lts Frost and Cormany promoted to 1st Lt as of the 20th.

30. The mission against Cambrai, France, was scrubbed today.

31. Nineteen group Forts went over Romilly-sur-Seine today, and finding the airfield cloud covered, proceeded to the airfield at Amiens-Glisy, which they shellacked. There were no claims and no casualties.

Five ships from this squadron were flown by: Lts Manchester, Dowell, Cormany, Hopp and Zum.


 

September 1943

 

535th Bomb Sq.
381st Bomb Group (H)
WAR DIARY
Submitted by Cpl. Ray Ingham

SEPTEMBER 1943

1. Public Relations Officer 2nd Lt Saul B. Schwartz was promoted to 1st Lt.

2. Five squadron Forts took off at 16.30 hrs as part of the group's 21 ships, but the mission was recalled.

3. The next mission was against Rimilly airfield in France, when 22 Forts took off, 19 going over the target, five from the 535th, Lt Cormany aborted and Lt Zum and crew are missing in action. Lt Dowell reported Zum's ship heavily shot up by enemy fighters after sliding out of formation. Ten chutes reported; this occurred on the return trip, well inside France.
Taking part were: Lts Dowell, Hopp and Manchester, whose ship, nick-named "TS Too", was re-named "Tarfu", which it carried when assigned to the squadron.

MIA crew: 2nd Lts Benjamin J. Zum, Charles H. Hoover, John W. Willis, Luther C. Clark; T/Sgts Robert W. Italiano, Edwin B. Myers, S/Sgts Floyd H. Terry, Frank J. Crocittio, Charles F. Bang and Ferdinand Christofero.

Sgt John Thompson on Dowell's ship credited with one e/a damaged. T/Sgt Myers and S/Sgt Bang were members of Lt Chapman's veteran crew. Myers especially was considered one of the best combat men in the squadron, a sound radio man and an able gunner. S/Sgt Bang originally came overseas with a broken leg in a cast, getting around the doctors who wanted to keep him in the States, and making the crossing by boat with the ground echelon, in order to be able to re-join his crew in combat.

Today's bombing was successful. In the face of heavy calibre flak the bombardiers plastered hangars on the south side of the field.

4. A mission intended for Romilly-sur-Seine was scrubbed.

5. 1st Lt Hecker was transferred to the 532nd; 2nd Lt Black promoted 1st Lt.

6. The group sent 21 Forts against a spark plug factory at Stuttgart, a run of more than 1,250 miles. Incendiary bombs were carried. A complete overcast at the briefed target forced the group to look for another target, and the bombs were finally dropped on the marshalling yards at Offenburg, Germany.
No enemy aircraft were encountered, no claims and no casualties. Lt
Cormany again aborted, the three ships were flown by: Lts Manchester, Hopp and Dowell.

7. The group sent 15 Forts over the target, an airfield at Brussels-Evers. The ships left the field at 06.30hrs and returned about 10.00 hrs. A perfect mission, 500-pounders roaring down on hangars and runways. There was an excellent Thunderbolt escort, no enemy fighters bothered the formation and flak was meagre. No casualties, no claims.

The 535th sent three ships, flown by: Lts Manchester, Dowell and Hopp.

8. S/Sgt Merrill A. Tolbert, gunner, was assigned from the 7th Station Comp. Sq.

9. Eighteen Forts took off at 05.45 hrs, loaded with 60-pound anti-personnel bombs, the target being the airfield at Lille-Nord, France. Strike photos gave only a small idea of bombing effectiveness, but crewmen generally felt it was "good."
Lt Col Dunlop, deputy group commander, led the group with Lt Chapma as his pilot; the others being: Lts Dowell, Manchester and Hopp.

An afternoon mission against the S.A. Andre Citroen Engine Works, near Paris was scrubbed.

10. A mission to Bergen, Norway, was scrubbed.

11. Sgts J. Thompson, H. Thompson and Richard, gunners, promoted to S/Sgts today.

14. Lt Becker, bombardier, transferred to the 534th; in exchange for 2nd Lt Keith D. Moore.

A new combat crew was assigned today: 2nd Lts Waldo B. Crosson, Gayle Messenger, Edward J. Burke, John J. Curran; Sgts John L. Allen, Robert T. MacFarlane, Steve F. Bulsock, Norman J. Klima, S/Sgt Jesse J. Glawson and Sgt Robert N. Eloe.

15. A few hours after 17 Forts of this group passed over the German air base and repair depot at Romilly-sur-Seine, strike photos showed what happens when more that 62 tons of 500 and 1000 pound bombs are dropped dead on an objective. Views showed that hangars, workshops and runways were smothered by hits.

The Forts carried external bomb racks for the first time. Those ships which carried the half-ton bombs took one under each wing in the racks.

Col Nazzaro, group commander, with Col William M. Gross, 101st Combat Wing Commander, led a full Air Division. No claims, no casualties.

Four squadron ships took part: Lts Manchester, Chapman, Noxon and Hopp.

Another combat crew joined the squadron: 2nd Lts Carl O. Baer, Robert C. Remple, Edison Eichhorn, Thomas B. Nelson; S/Sgts Robert H. Vogelbaugh, John F. Moore, John T. Tully, James Rigat, Phillip Phillipuk and Edward J. Myers.

16. The group's 30th mission today, was the habor installations at Nantes, France, where our bombs dropped on an airbase SSE of the town. Clouds obscured the primary target. Two squadron Forts took off, but Lt Ridley aborted, Lt Minerich completing the mission.

2nd Lt Moore and S/Sgt Phillips flew in 534th ships.

17. A mission scheduled for Frankfurt was scrubbed. Today the squadron received a B-17G Fortress, in which the modifications is the addition of a "chin turret" for the bombardier. The ship is numbered 42-3540.

18. A mission to Nantes, France, was scrubbed.

19. Two promotions were announced today, 2nd Lts Specian (ordnance officer) and Smith (bombardier) to 1st Lt. Another B-17F was received, 42-30864.

20. Yet again a mission to Nantes was scrubbed, but this time the formation had already taken off and were recalled. 1st Lts Cormany and Manchester promoted captain.

21. A fourth mission in a row was scrubbed, today planned for Rheims. 1st Lt Eldon Jukes promoted captain and another ship assigned, B-17F 42-30765.

23. The squadron sent five ships with the group's formation, with an 04.45 hrs take off to hit shipping and docks at Nantes, the primary being absolutely plastered. Strike photos show nearby railway yards were also hit. The entire bombing was highly successful.

Today's pilots were: Capt Cormany, Lts Kemp, Hopp, Ridley and Dowell.

S/Sgt Girvan, Sgts Channell and Gugenheim each destroyed an e/a.

24. A mission planned for Frankfurt, Germany, was scrubbed. Another ship was assigned, 42-30852, nick-named "Chugalug Lulu II".

26. After meeting flak over Dieppe, 18 group Forts returned still carrying their bombs, the target. Muelan airfield, being completely overcast.

Five ships from this squadron were sent, group commander Col Nazzaro flew with Capt Cormany leading the First Bomb Division, other pilots being: Lts Ridley, Kemp, Dowell and Minerich.

27. Today the group attacked Emden, Germany, including four 535th ships. Despite 8/10th cloud cover, bombs were dropped on the primary target area, but results not yet defined.

Moderate flak over the target and later over the Frisian Islands coming back, and there was spirited enemy fighter opposition over Emden. No casualties.

Today's pilots: Capt Chapman, Lts Minerich, Kemp and Ridley.

Promotions: S/Sgt Phillips to T/Sgt; Sgt Gugenheim to S/Sgt; Pvt James E. Stewart to Sgt.

28. Another mission was scrubbed today.

29. This month the squadron flew nine missions, one more than last month; Two new combat crews were added; total claims being 3-0-1.


 

October 1943

 

535th Bomb Sq.
381st Bomb Group (H)
WAR DIARY
Submitted by Cpl. Ray Ingham

OCTOBER 1943

1. 1st Lt Dowell promoted captain; 2nd Lts Weniger, Minerich, Kemp, Hopp and Ridley-all pilots; and Moore - bombardier, all to 1st Lts; 24 EM were promoted: three T/Sgts to M/Sgts; one S/Sgt to T/Sgt; six Sgts to S/Sgts; five Pfcs to Cpl; three Pvts to Pfcs.

2. A solid overcast at Emden today did not prevent the group's 18 Forts, two from this squadron, from dropping their bombs in area fashion. Heavy demolitions carried on external bomb racks, plus bays full of incendiaries comprised the bomb load. The bombing results were unobservable.

Our pilots were Lts Hopp and Kemp, while Lts Manchester and Ridley took off on an air-sea rescue mission, which was finally recalled.

3. Today's mission was scrubbed. One item of interest, Fortress 42-3540 Lucifer Jr, was re-named Bacta-th'-Sac.

4. Nine of the 21 Forts that took off for the group aborted. Four of them came from this squadron, leaving only Lt Ridley on "Tinker Toy" credited with a mission.

Our group led the 1st Combat Wing to attack marshalling yards in central Frankfurt. The bomb load was six 500 pounders per Fort; altitude 25,000 ft on bomb run, the outside temperature being -30 degrees.

The bombsight in the lead ship froze up and was useless over the target, bombs hit near the yard but not on the MPI. There were no casualties and the ships returned safely, with S/Sgt Scheik credited with one e/a damaged.

8. Thirteen officers, including the squadron commander, Major Ingenhutt, Capt Jukes, squadron operations officer and 11 EM of this squadron are missing in action after the group's 36th mission, an attack on Bremen.

This is the heaviest loss to the squadron since the Schweinfurt raid in August, and probably more serious in that the squadron loss contained a high percentage of veterans. The group as a whole lost seven ships, and crews of the 18 that went over the target. Of these the squadron lost three, the pilots being Cormany, Kemp and Manchester.

Bombing results were poor for the entire 1st Combat Bomb Wing. Participating crews called it tougher than the Schweinfurt mission, under continuous attack from all types of enemy aircraft, including Dornier bombers, for nearly 2 1/2 hours.

Major Ingenhutt led the group. Many of the crewmen feel that it was his heroism and self sacrifice that brought the outfit through. Although his #2 engine was burning and he might have ordered his crew to abandon ship, Major Ingenhutt continued to lead and hold formation coming off the bomb run. Not until the greater part of the fighter danger had passed did he leave the formation. He has been recommended for the Silver Star.

Lt Tom Sellers, co-pilot to Lt Minerich, has been recommended for the Distinguished Service Cross for his courage and skill over the target. Lt Minerich was killed instantly when a 20mm shell exploded in his face. A second shell wounded Sellers in his left arm. His navigator and bombardier were both wounded. His engineer was unable to stand on his turret platform because of the slick layer of blood covering it. Sellers flew the ship home alone, holding perfect formation and successfully performing evasive action.

Sgt Miller, the engineer, handled the throttles at the landing. Sellers' DSC recommendation is accompanied by one for the DFC for Sgt Miller.

This incidentally offers a striking example of the devastation explosive power of a German 20mm shell, as well as the unpredictability of their effects. Lt Minerich's head was literally blown to bits, torn completely from the neck. Yet Sellers was wounded only moderately in the arm by a similar shell which exploded near his left arm. Men who have had the experience testify in all cases to the terrific concussion produced by such a relatively small shell.

Squadron gunnery claims dominated the 27-1-5 group total. We were credited with 13-0-3. Of this total, Lt Dowell's crew claimed 10 destroyed, Sgt John Thompson credited with four of these, possibly a Divisional gunnery record for one mission. Sgt John Channell stood second with three.

Pilots completing the mission were: Capt Dowell, Lts Hopp and Minerich (KIA).

MIA crews: 1st Lt William Cormany, Major William W. Ingenhutt, 1st Edwin D. Frost, 1st Lt Robert C. Black; T/Sgt Earl F. Miller, T/Sgt Robert R. Roeder, S/Sgts James J. O'Hara, Richard W. Smith, James J. Dwyer and 1st Lt Robert L. Weniger.

Capts Edwin Manchester, Eldon D. Jukes, 1st Lts Marvin L. Smith, Keith D. Moore; T/Sgts James J. O'Donnell, Lorenzo Darrington, S/Sgts Arthur L. Tucker, Anthony L. Budzic, Matthew Berk and Wade McCook.

1st Lts Leslie A. Kemp, 2nd Lts William C.Heim, Frank E. Tomlin, Thomas B. Nelson; T/Sgt Arthur F. Jennette, S/Sgts Walter L. Richards, Gilles E. Gentry, Raymond V. Duffy, James Stinsman and Edward F. Osborn.

9. This group's Forts went 1,500 miles round trip to plaster aircraft factories at Anklam, Germany today. A mixed bomb load, explosives and incendiaries with some use of external bomb racks. All Forts carried bomb bay fuel tanks.

2nd Lt Johnston and Sgt Albert Atz were our only crewmen in action today, flying with another squadron.

Major George G. Shackley, former assistant station operations officer, was assigned squadron commander, replacing Major Ingenhutt, lost on yesterday's raid. Lt T. Paxton Sherwood was appointed as squadron operations officer, replacing Capt Jukes lost on the same mission.

A new crew was assigned today: Lts Roy Meyers, Thomas L. Honahan, James T. Shore, Eugene Arning; S/Sgt Charles R. Meyers, Sgt Joseph D. Ford Jr, S/Sgt James R. Stewart, Max E. Miller, Thomas E. Wilkie and Sgt Clifford Alley.
Other combat crew officers: Lts Warren C. Hess, James R. Opitz, David Randle, Robert F. Wernersbach.

10. Excellent bombing results today when the group attack the central-city installations at Munster. Flak was meagre, enemy opposition light, the latter probably due to the superior Thunderbolt and Spitfire escort. CAVU.
Seven group Forts took off, but two aborted. We contributed to the Composite group, but only Lt Ridley completed the mission.

S/Sgt Joseph Walters, ball turret gunner listed as MIA on the August 17 mission to Schweinfurt, reported safe in Allied hands.

13. Captain Frank G. Chapman, veteran squadron first pilot, today was appointed acting squadron CO, replacing Major George G. Shackley, transferred to the 533rd as their CO.

14. Schweinfurt again, but the group was more fortunate today than last August, losing only one aircraft, this squadron none. However, the day's loss was 60 Forts, for the Eighth Air Force, as against 30 last time.

Capt Chapman and Major Shackley led the 1st Bomb Wing. Bombing results were good, while the formation met 250 enemy fighter aircraft of all types; heavy use of rockets, particularly by ME110's . The 305th BG behind us, were hard hit.

Reports say 50% of the ball bearing and roller bearing plants at Schweinfurt were utterly destroyed this time. This means 25% of Germany's total bearing production. The squadron again had a high (4-0-2) percentage of the group's claims of 11-0-7. There were no casualties.

Taking part were: Capt Chapman, Lts Baer, Hopp, Crosson and Ridley.

16. 1st Lt Frank J. Shimek was assigned today, and appointed squadron navigator.

17. The mission for today was scrubbed.

18. T/Sgt Charles D. Butts, acting squadron first Sgt since his corporalcy in Pyote last March, was promoted to the grade of 1st Sgt today.

Lt Baer and crew were part of the group's contribution of seven Forts to a composite group, briefed at another station for a mission against Duren today, but the formation was recalled just short of the Channel.

19. Three more B-17Gs were assigned to the squadron today.

20. 2nd Lt Seth Armstead was appointed squadron operations officer, replacing Lt Paxton Sherwood.

On the same composite group plan as for the 18th, the formation today reached Cambrai, France, before being recalled because of adverse weather conditions both over the target, Duren marshalling yards, and at the Forts' stations. It was counted as a mission, although no bombs were dropped and flak encountered over enemy territory. Lt Baer was again the only pilot participating from this squadron.

Another new ship assigned today.

21. Pvt Clarence T. Williams, new utility gunner, promoted to Sgt.

22. Six new enlisted gunners were assigned today, T/Sgts Albert J. Gardella, John F. Regan, S/Sgts Allan G. Ludwig, Phillip F. Burke, William A. Macklin and Edgar G. Delp; all assigned to Lt Hess's crew.

24. Another new crew was assigned to the squadron today: 2nd Lts Harold F. Henslin, William F. Pietarski, Charles L. Smith, Allen Bergreen; S/Sgts Jo R. Karr, George B. McLaughlin, Sgts Charles H. Berry, William B. Blackmon, Edward H. Sell and Cpl Claudio S. Carano, who was soon promoted to Sgt.

30. T/Sgt Edwin R. Myers, MIA on the Romilly mission last month, today was the group's first escapee to return to the station, and among the first to be brought back safely to England via the French Underground.

He is in good health and was well treated in France. He spent about a month, most of it in Paris, living with various French families, before the Underground began moving him out. His lecture to combat crewmen here today was well received.

Bombardier, 2nd Lt Alfred E. Hocking, was transferred to the 482nd BG at Alconbury. A mission was recalled today.

31. The squadron ends the month with 53 officers and 371 enlisted men. Typical of this bad weather period, has been the Morning Report entry, "Usual Station Duties". Combat crews are edgy as a result of their long lay-off.


 

November 1943

 

535th Bomb Sq.
381st Bomb Group (H)
WAR DIARY
Submitted by Cpl. Ray Ingham

NOVEMBER 1943

1. The following 2nd Lts are promoted to 1st Lts, effective today: Armstead, Baer, Crosson, Johnston, Keating, Kessel and Malone.

3. Twenty seven group Forts took off at 09.20 hrs today in an Eighth Air Force maximum effort against the docks at Wilhelmshaven.

1st Lt James H. Alexander, of the 533rd, led five of this squadron's ships as the low squadron. In additions Lt Crosson and F/O Noxon flew in the group's "tail-end" composite squadron, making a total of seven 535th ships on the mission. Every ship unloaded 10 500 pound demolition and 14 incendiary bombs over the target area, which lay under a 10/10th cloud cover. No bombing results were observed.

The fighter escort, P-47's and P-38's, was perfect all the way. Flak was of heavy calibre, but meagre and inaccurate. About 25 enemy fighters were seen. Our main group was no bothered by them, although the composite group in which we had ships, caught several passes. Unanimous praise from the combat men for the P-38's, the first time this group has had such a numerically heavy Lightning support. The men were sold on the long-range, aggressive protection. However the Thunderbolt is still their first love and favorite , despite it's limited range.

Participating were: Lts Crosson, Ridley, Hess, Hopp, Baer, Meyers and F/O Noxon.

T/Sgt Edwin R. Meyers, escapee from occupied France, re-assigned to this squadron, from Eight Air Force HQ.

4. A mission was scrubbed today.

5. Col Joseph J. Nazzaro, group commander, flew as 1st Bomb Division air commander today, heading the Eighth AF's raid on industrial Gelsenkirchen, in the Ruhr. A 750 mile round trip.

The squadron's 1st Lt Frank Shimek, rode with Col Nazzaro as co-navigator in "The Spirit of Franklin County, Mo.," a bond-bought Fort operating as a "pathfinder" with another group.

Today's mission was the second in a row in which maximum efforts have been carried out under cloudy weather conditions. The new and secret "pathfinder" technique is making it possible to engage in area bombing when weather conditions was precision bombing impossible.

Incendiary and 500 pounder demolition bombs from more than 400 Forts rained down through the solid undercast on Gelsenkirchen. Bombardiers believe results were "good". Fighter escort was with us all the way and enemy fighters offered only the most meagre opposition. Flak was as thick and of heavy calibre as ever over "Happy Valley" today, and five men, including S/Sgt Clifford Alley of this squadron, returned to base wounded, while one of our ships is missing.
Participating were: Lts Meyers, Baer, Hess, F/O Noxon and Lt Hopp (missing in action), five chutes reported as seen.

MIA crew: 1st Lt Donald K. Hopp, 2nd Lts Walter C. Carr, Marshall E. Tyler, 1st Lt William J. Johnston; T/Sgts Alexander M. Girvan, Roy W. East, S/Sgts Armand R. Richard, Julius F. Greer, Robert G. True and Richard Woodyatt.

6. 1st Lt Inman G. Jobe transferred to this squadron from the 533rd, while new men assigned are: 2nd Lt O.D. Tully; Sgts Doyle C. McCutcheon, Carlton A. Josephson, John F. Healy and Charles J. Culver.

7. The group drew a milk run for its 43rd mission today, 21 Forts took off at 07.30 hrs, returned at 13.00 hrs after dropping their 500-pounders through a 10/10th undercast onto Wesel, Germany. The specific target was the marshalling yards, but cloud cover prevent any observation.

This squadron set four ships as a contribution to the spare element. The P-47 escort was perfect as usual, flak was meagre over the target and non-existent elsewhere, and the Forts truly owned the sky for the day.

The hardest aspect of the entire mission was the extreme cold, 42 degrees below zero, and some of the boys came home with minor cases of frostbite.

Taking part today were: Lts Baer, Hess, Meyers and Ridley.

8. A mission was scrubbed today. New combat men assigned were: F/O Harland V. Sunde, 2nd Lts George D. Giovannini, Roger G. Christiansen. S/Sgts William P. England and J. W. Pagett.

10. A mission was scrubbed today. T/Sgt Edwin R. Myers, escapee, transferred to 533rd. He was the original radio operator on Capt Chapman's present flag ship "Chap's Flying Circus", bailed out over France, when the Fort in which he was flying as a spare gunner was crippled by two Nazi fighters. Myers was a veteran flying with a green crew, whose pilot, Lt Zum, seemed unable to hold formation, according to Myers.

Myers bailed out on 3 Sept, and was back in England late last month, after a little less than two months in friendly Underground hands on the continent. He spent much of that time in Paris, saw few Germans in the provincials sections of France, and was generally well treated by the peasantry as well as the members of the Underground with whom he came in contact.

He watched the bombing of a German factory in Paris from the apartment house in which he was living at the time. He was smuggled out of France by fishing boat, part of a large party of American and English fliers. Probably he will be promoted to M/Sgt and shipped back to the States for interrogation and assignment as in instructor.

Myers was flying his 12th mission the day he bailed out and was officially credited with shooting down the first of the three enemy fighters that jumped his ship that day. He is the group's first escapee.

11. The group put up 23 ships today as part of an entire Air Division which was recalled over Holland. The target was Wesel again, and crews were grumbling on their return of being recalled when only 20 minutes from the bomb run. Clouds formed a 10/10th overcast up to approximately 28,000 ft.

No mission was credited. Plenty of oxygen fatigue and disappointment among the crewmen.

12. M/Sgt Edwin Myers was promoted in the 533rd and re-assigned to the 535th.

13. The entire Eighth Air Force bombed Bremen today, but our group did not participate. It was recalled along with the entire Wing, after the wing leader aborted and undercast obstructed a successful re-formation of the Forts. These recalls are harder on the crewmen than a stiff mission. Officers and men alike are never more bitter than after flying several hours at altitude and sub-zero temperatures, for nothing, as they feel.

15. F/O Noxon was promoted to 2nd Lt today.

16. We flew a long one today, all the way to a few miles inland on the southern tip of Norway, to bomb the German's only molybdenum mine, near Knaben. It was an uneventful trip, but a long and cold one.

Twenty-three Forts took off, one aborted. Each carried six or 12 550-pound demolition bombs, depending upon whether or no they used a bomb bay fuel tank for the long haul. They went without escort, met only the most meagre flak over the target area, and came home without either claims or casualties.

Because of the heavy and fresh falls of snow, and because of the position of the target, mine housings etc., set deep in a narrow, mountain-rimmed valley, doubt exists as to the exact success of the bombing. It is unlikely the primary target was hit, although enough damage from rock and snow slides may have been caused, even though the installations themselves were not hit by bombs. General estimates of the bombing results - fair.

The five squadron pilots detailed to this mission were: Lts Ridley, Jobe, Baer, Noxon and Meyers.

Eight full combat crews were assigned today, but for are here only temporarily for indoctrination and training, then will be transferred to other groups soon. Those permanently assigned to the 535th are: 2nd Lts Dorman F. Lane, John B. Johnston, Everett S. Anderson, Richard W. Mitchell; S/Sgts John Peanoske, Alphonse A. Melchiorre, Sgts Henry Cramer Jr., William W. Hrapsky, Joseph Fecko and Frank H. McDaniel.

2nd Lts William H. Bartlett, Robert J. Fowler, Nicholas R. Rabay, Robert E. Hughes; S/Sgt Harry F. Dever, Russell M. Rose, Leverett L. Bennett, Sgts Clyde V. Craig, Garland C. Carson and Johnny F. Mills.

2nd Lts Emil L. Urban, George D. Hooker, Francis B. Broderick, Clifford E. Hermann; S/Sgt John Harriton, Sgts Stephen M. Gasper, John E. Moerlins, Thomas G. Lawrence, Harold D. Bankston and Charles D. Middleton.

2nd Lts Lee W. Smith, James W. Sweeney, Harold W. Kaufman, Leonard P. Meier; S/Sgts Harold C. Kemper, John W. Zappala, Sgts Reginald C. Solway, Andrew F. Manning, Lester P. Larson and Lawrence V. Eden.

17. The following promotions were announced: to T/Sgts Allen, Atz, McFarlane, Meyers and Stewart; to S/Sgt Ford, H. Miller and Williams.

18. A B-17F, with more than 100 hours on it, crew chief M/Sgt George W. Their.

22. 2nd Lt Eugene Adkins, gunnery officer, transferred in from the 533rd.

23. A mission was scrubbed today; 1st Lt Hodge was transferred out to Detachment of Patients, 2nd General Hospital; A "chin-turret" B-17G, 42-31097, assigned to this squadron today, crew chief M/Sgt Van S. Morrison.

25. A mission scrubbed today; a B-17E tow target Fort, "Tug Pappy", was transferred in for a training period of approximately 90 days, crew chief, M/Sgt Thomas R. Guinan.

26. Capt Chapman led the group to Bremen today. With a perfect Thunderbolt escort all the way, hundreds and hundreds of Forts and Liberators passed over the be-clouded and smoke-screened city. Crewmen here said they had never seen so many heavy bombers together on one mission. Many of them estimated the number well over eight hundred.

Our Forts took off at 08.25 hrs, the 535th leading a formation of 30 from this base. Temperatures stood at 50 below, and a few cases of frostbite were reported when the ships returned.

Over the target gunners saw about 50 enemy fighters but these went for the Liberators and ignored the Forts altogether. Flak was very light and inaccurate and crewmen seemed to think Bremen was taken by surprise. Bombardiers felt that, because of the tremendous number of bombers up, and covering such a great area, bombing results must have been good. Clouds and smoke, however, were too thick to permit crewmen to see where the bombs fell, or with what effect.
We sent eight ships, flown by: Capt Chapman, Lts Henslin, Hess, Baer, Jobe, Malone, Crosson and Ridley.

Four of our crewmen flew with other squadrons: 2nd Lt Arning - 532; T/Sgt Holmes - 534; S/Sgt M. Miller - 533; S/Sgt Wilkie - 534.

27. Another new crew was assigned today: 2nd Lts Henry Putek, Harvey L. Christensen, Alfred T. Coffman, Conrad E. Blaylock; S/Sgts James W. Bomar, Lifford E. French, Sgts Herbert J. Burgasser, Vincent R. Shortell, Wallace D. Heckman and George Vinovich.

29. Five of our Forts joined the group formation set to attack installation in the Ruhr Valley, but they were recalled just short of the English coast because of unsuitable weather conditions over the continent.

"The Deacon" is back. He is S/Sgt Joseph J. Walters, ball turret gunner on Lt Disbrow's crew, all of who bailed out coming back from the first Schweinfurt mission August 17. The crew came down in Belgium after their ship had its last engine pass out having made most of the trip on two.

Walters fell into friendly Underground hands early, was passed down the continent via bicycle, foot, train and any other convenient mode of transportation, and finally ended up walking over the Pyrenees to neutral territory. He reports all of the crew either POW's or in friendly hands.

According to his reports on "man pools" in Paris and other centers, half the 381st group must be living in occupied Europe or awaiting shipment to England or neutral countries. Many of the officers and men he talks about were considered Killed In Action.

30. S/Sgt Conery, grounded some time ago with frostbitten fingers, today was transferred to HQ and HQ Squadron, 1st CCRC, Bovingdon.


 

December 1943

 

535th Bomb Sq.
381st Bomb Group (H)
WAR DIARY
Submitted by Cpl. Ray Ingham

DECEMBER 1943

1. Flying high spot in the group's formation, this squadron's loss of three Forts did not prove for most crewmen to be a "milk-run" to Leverkusen, for it was all the harder. Listed as missing are Lts Noxon, Hess and F/O Sunde.

Our squadron took the heaviest beating today, losing three of the four group ships down, out of the 26 going over the target. Flak was moderate and a perfect Thunderbolt escort kept the majority of the 70 defending Nazi fighters away from the bombers. No one seems to know when, where or know how our three Forts went down, and all the members of our four returning crews wonder how it could have occurred at all under the circumstances.

Lt Noxon and his crew were just back from a rest-home, with the exception of the co-pilot and navigator, who were not regular members of the crew, were veterans of at least 16 missions. Loss of men like those reminds us of Lt Manchester and his crew on "TS Too" last October.

Solid undercast prevented any clear observation of bombing results, but bombardiers said the pattern was good at "bombs away" and a wide area was well covered with incendiaries and 500-pounders.

The four successful participants were; Lts Jobe, Ridley, Meyers and Crosson.

MIA crews were: 2nd Lts Donald E. Noxon, George Giovannini, Edison Eichhorn, Walter A. Utley; T/Sgt Peter K. Ludwigsen, Toby B. Phillips Jr, S/Sgts John E. Thompson, Harry M. Thompson, Paul T. Mogush and John S. Channell.
2nd Lts Warren C. Hess, Charles L. Smith, David Randle, Robert Wernersbach; T/Sgts Albert J. Gardella, John F. Regan, S/Sgts William M. Macklin, Philip F. Burke, Allen G. Ludwig and Edgar G. Delp.

F/O Harland V. Sunde, 2nd Lts James W. Sweeney, Roger Christiansen, O. D. Tully; S/Sgt William P. England, Sgts Claudio S. Carano, Charles J. Culver, Doyle McCutcheon, Carlton Josephson and John F. Healey.

A total of 27 officers and 42 EM of the 535th took part in the mission; eight men of the ground echelon left on furlough today.

2. Four more EM were granted furloughs today.

3. S/Sgt Joseph J. Walters, MIA on the first Schweinfurt raid, assigned from HQ, Eighth Air Force as of 27th of last month. Sgt Walters walked through France and over the Pyrenees, through Spain, to get to England. His closest escape from capture came during a train ride when two German officers entered his compartment asking for identity cards. A fellow evader, a Canadian, reached inside his coat, and produced, instead of a document, an automatic pistol. He and Sgt Walters threw the Nazis' bodies out of the speeding train.

Sgt Walters is in good health, received good treatment on the continent and actually put on weight during his journey with the Underground. He made the last leg of his trip via a British transport plane, bringing with him a variety of souvenirs including a fez and a bunch of bananas.

Four Pvts were promoted Pfcs today, and one Pfc demoted to Pvt.

4. M/Sgt Edwin R. Myers, first evader from this squadron to return to base, was transferred today to HQ Mitchell Field, N.Y.

5. A factory, in the Paris area was the group's target today. In accord with the current AAF policy on operating over occupied friendly nations, no bombs were dropped when the formation found a 10/10th undercast obscuring their target. No enemy aircraft were encountered, but the Forts met light flak and were officially credited with completion of a mission.

Today the group had its first P-51 Mustangs, along with the old dependable Thunderbolts, for escort. Gunners claim the new, souped-up Mustang is at first difficult to distinguish from the ME109.

Our nine pilots for today were: Lts Crosson, Lane, Urban, Bartlett, Meyers, Smith, Jobe, Ridley and Melomo.

6. One enlisted man left for furlough today; these are eight-day furloughs, with a day of grace added. Many men are taking theirs in Scotland, Bournemouth and Torquay are also considered likely places, but London probably got the heaviest business from this entire base. Only 50-odd miles distant, it offers most in liquor, women, shows and diversions generally. 1st Lt Saul B. Schwartz, PRO, left for DS in London today.

Four more new crews were assigned today: 2nd Lts Rowland H. Evans, (but no C-P), Marion E. Harkness, Irving Kraut; Sgts Melvin Samuels, Delbert D. Rasey, John R. Sasson, Julius E. Rivera, Cpl Hoyt C. Burkhalter and Pvt Julius E. Vargo.
2nd Lts Charles A. Enos, John H. Hallecy, Stanley Holowinski, John M. Deasey; Sgts Buren H. Cook, Kermit P. Sessons, Bud R. Church, Ernest C. Thompson, Robert H. Smith and Cpl Carroll L. Fischel.

2nd Lts Earl B. Duarte, Glen A. McCabe, Cornelius A. Heintz Jr., Russell N. Jevons; Sgts James E. Martin, Howard B. Norris, Cpl Powell H. McDaniel, Pvts Joseph J. Balesh and Albert H. Smith.

2nd Lts James R. Liddle, Gordon D. Baker, Theodore Homdrom, Patrick D. O'Phelan; S/Sgt Robert S. Matcham, Sgts Paul R. Vanderzee, John J. Burke, Kenneth W. Schmitt, Emery Y. Naha and Cpl Clinton S. Word, Jr.

7. 2nd Lt Warren C. Hess, MIA Dec 1, promoted 1st Lt, as of Nov 29.

8. 2nd Lt Patrick D. O'Phelan and S/Sgt John L. Allen to hospital today.

9. 1st Lt Richard L. Tansey, squadron adjutant, promoted captain; other promotions: 2nd Lts William J. Rogan, bombsight maintenance officer and Walter A. Utley, bombardier, to 1st Lts.

10. 1st Lt Saul B. Schwartz returned from DS in London; promotions included: S/Sgt Jo R. Karr to T/Sgt; Sgts Charles H. Berry Jr., Edward H. Sell, William B. Blackmon to S/Sgts; Cpls Joseph J. Balesh, Julius B. Vargo, Clinton S. Ward Jr., Albert H. Smith and Carroll L. Fischel to Sgt; among the ground echelon one Pfc raised to Cpl; four EN returned from and 17 left on furloughs today.

11. For the first time, our ships, 30 groups Forts in all - took off in a snow storm. This was an early morning fall of light, wet flakes that lay in thin patterns until a mid-day sun turned all to slush. Ground crews and combat alike worked to sweep the heavy accumulations of frost from the Forts before the bombers got away.

The target was Emden, Germany. Two ships aborted, Lt Lane from this squadron, leaving 28 to go over the target.
Capt Chapman, with most of his "A" team in "Chap's Flying Circus", led the squadron and what was to have been a composite group. Since the 351st BG was taken out of the 101st Combat Wing this is a composite group, composed of contributions from us and the 91st BG, has resulted in formation complications.

Today was no exception. The 91st's ships failed to rendezvous with ours and consequently this squadron's Forts, plus a few 91st stragglers, went over the target as a small but compact "formation" of 12 bombers. Lt Harold Henslin and crew flew in the spare element of the main group formation.

Flak was heavy at the 535th's altitude but the ships flew through it to drop their incendiaries and 500-pounders across Emden from the middle to the northeast edge, according to returning crewmen's observations. The considered the bombing good. Although the daily papers have been claiming that the Forts, Libs and their perfect Thunderbolt escort destroyed 130 enemy aircraft in all of today's operations, neither of our group formation saw more than a few fighters. This was a particular break for our squadron, in the light of its numerical strength.

As one officer put it, this mission was a "weatherman's success". The only opening in the heavy cloud was exactly over Enden. Our ships flew all the way to the target above a 10/10th undercast, only to find visibility perfect over Emden. After dropping their bombs and observing many explosions and fires, they had the advantage of a cloud cover for the return trip.

Pilots taking part were: Capt Chapman, Lts Smith, Baer, Henslin, Jobe and Bartlett.

13. Today was a PFF workout to Bremen., when 30 Forts took off at 08.30 hrs, and returned 13.50 hrs, without meeting any fighters and encountering only moderate flak at an altitude well below theirs. There was no claims and casualties. One Fort abort, cloud cover was 10/10th and no bombing results observed.
This squadron sent six Forts, the pilots being: Lts Bartlett, Smith, Meyers, Crosson, Henslin and Jobe.

14. 1st Lt Frank Shimek, squadron navigator was promoted to captain, on his return from leave with Capt Dowell. Sgt William H. Bassett, medical department, was transferred to Group HQ; one EM left on furlough and another was transferred out.

A new Fortress, a B-17G with a chin turret, was assigned today, serial 42-31537.

Missions to Bremen and Berlin were scrubbed this morning, The boys are really sweating out the "Big City". They seem to think that, with Gen. Doolittle in command now, a daylight mission to Berlin will come soon. The oldtimers expect, when this happens, something like our "first Schweinfurt", last August.

15. Two EM returned from furlough today.

16. Capt Shimek became the squadron's first combat crewman to finish his tour of duty with today's mission to Bremen, the group's 50th. He completed his tour consecutively, without a single abort. He came to this squadron from the 532nd, as lead navigator, when he had put in more that 20 missions. 1st Lt Stickel will serve as squadron navigator in his place.
Moderate and inaccurate flak welcomed the group on this PFF-led mission, bombing being accomplished through a solid undercast and the Forts returned without casualties and without seeing an enemy fighter. This has certainly been no month for gunnery claims, but an easy one for the gunners. Reminds one of the situation in B-26 Marauders, where a gunner many finish a tour of duty without ever getting a shot at enemy fighters.

Our eight pilots were: Capt Chapman (as deputy group commander), Lts Jobe, Urban, Smith, Henslin, Meyers, Lane and Crosson.

17. 1st Lt Thomas D. Sellers, of Norfolk, Va., co-pilot of "Tinkertoy" on her bloody mission to Bremen in October, today received his Distinguished Service Cross for his heroism in bringing back the shattered Fortress after her pilot, Lt Minerich, had been decapitated and Lt Sellers wounded by an exploding 20mm shell from attacking Nazi fighters.
Lt Sellers received his award, the second highest U.S. military decoration, at the same ceremony at Wide Wing HQ at which 2nd Lt "Red" Morgan received his Medal of Honor.

18. Ten EM returned from furloughs today, and two left the base to begin their's; S/Sgt Henry A. Saveard and Sgt Kenneth D. Shaw, carried as AWOL from furloughs; Sgt Ernest D. Thompson reduced to Pvt as of 16 Dec.

2nd Lts Carl W. Dittus and George A. Hoffman left for the officers' rest home at Semley, Dorset; to the rest home at Southport went: T/Sgts Thomas B. Pitts, and Kenneth D. Lester; S/Sgts Joseph O. Long. Clifford Alley, Eugene R. Eckert, Harold H. Reynolds and Theodore Rij, Jr.

19. S/Sgt Saveard and Sgt Shaw from AWOL to duty today.

20. "Tinkertoy", possibly the best-known Fortress on the field, and widely publicized at home, was one of two squadron ships missing in action today, on a mission to Bremen. Lts Crosson and Lane, and their crews are down on the group's toughest mission in many weeks, the heaviest loss since Dec 1. Reports say "Tinkertoy" was rammed from behind by a German fighter, but no report on "The Rebel" flown by Lt Crosson.

Strike photos show excellent bombing results for this group. Flak was the 105mm stuff, accurate and in large doses in the target area. The Nazi fighters shown no reluctance to come on in through it to get to the Forts. Some 40 or 50 checkered FW190's, flown by pilots our men described as "plenty hot", offered stiff opposition. Also in the fight were MW109 and ME110 rocket throwers.

S/Sgts Phillipuk and Ford are each credited with one e/a destroyed. Sgt Charles D. Middleton was severely frostbitten and hospitalized, the Purple Heart is now being awarded for such cases. None of the gunners think too highly of the idea.

Weather today was VACU, and bombing results probably more than offset total losses. Our four other pilots were: Lts Malone, Meyers, Smith and Urban.

MIA crews: 2nd Lts Dorman F. Lane, John B. Johnston, Everett S. Anderson, Richard Mitchell; S/Sgts John Peanoske, Alphonse Melchiorre, Sgt Henry Cramer Jr., S/Sgt Joseph Fecko, Sgts Willam W. Hrapsky and Frank H. McDonald.
1st Lt Waldo B. Crosson, 2nd Lts James R. Opitz, Edward J. Burke, John J. Curran; T/Sgts John L. Allen, Robert McFarlane, S/Sgts Steve F. Bulsok, Jesse J. Glawson, Norman J. Klima and Robert N. Eloe.

Three new B-17Gs were assigned to the squadron today: 42-39906, -9990 and -3980; "Chap's Flying Circus" is now the sole remaining original Fortress in the squadron, a B-17F.

21. Pvt Wriston A. Thompson confined to the guardhouse; one enlisted man returned from furlough and seven began their furlough.

22. PFF bombing through another 10/10th undercast was the order of things today as the group completed a mission against Osnabruck, Germany. Capt Chapman led a composite group. Perfect P-47 and P-38 escort was provided all the way. Flak was meagre and inaccurate, but about 100 e/a were seen all day, but there were no direct attacks on our squadron, and very few at the group as a whole.

Sgt Wardell completed his DFC mission (20 missions plus one e/a destroyed); Lt Meier was WIA; Sgt Albert Atz flew with a 534th crew.

The 535th sent five pilots: Capt Chapman, Lts Malone, Jobe, Bartlett and Smith, latter in ships from another squadron.

23. Two more new Forts were assigned, 42-37933 and 42-39985, the latter "Bermondsey Battler", in honor of the London suburb, who purchased this a several other Forts with War Bonds. A complete combat record, for publicity purposes, will be kept on the "Battler."

24. Today's mission was talked up as the "Rocket-Gun Coast" effort. Our special target was near Cocove, France. The English papers were full of talk about German rocket guns emplaced along the French coast near Calais.

Capt Dowell completed his tour on "Chap's Flying Circus", the squadron led by Major Charles L. Halsey, new squadron commander, who succeeds Capt Chapman, acting commander and now nearing completion of his duty tour. Major Halsey has nearly two years with the Ant-Submarine Command, in Liberators, to his credit.

Returning crewmen described our bombing as poor. Flak was heavy but there were no casualties, while not one enemy fighter was sighted. The weather was beautiful and the crews came home chuckling over the unusual 45 minutes over France.

Our pilots were: Major Halsey, Lts Malone, Duarte, Urban, Meyers, Enos and Bartlett (in another squadron ship).
The following new crews was assigned today: 2nd Lts William A. Pluemer, Julius K. Schnapp, Edwin K. Stanton, Donald R. Traeger; Sgt Valentine L. DiNicola, S/Sgt Vincent L. DeLucca, Pvt Deverett D. Bickston, Sgts Israel A. Salazar and Wayne B. Pegg.

Pvt Wriston A. Thompson released from arrest and confinement in guardhouse today.

26. Capt Charles W. Dowell transferred to Casual Pool, 12th RCD, Station #591, Chorley, Lancs. 1st Lts Jobe, Stickel, Palas and Sellers left for the officers rest home at Stanbridge Earls; T/Sgts Miller and Tutini, S/Sgts Metzner, Harrington, Treichler and Wood went to the rest home at Bournemouth.

Two new crews assigned were: 2nd Lts James L. Tyson, William J. Doherty, John W. Howland, Frank T. Palenik; S/Sgt Richard C. Jenson, Henry N. White, Sgts Edgar M. Berg, Charles Churchill Jr., Arnold C. Farmer and Robert H. Miller.
2nd Lts Henry J. Hustedt, Keith S. Mauzey, Oral H. Hert, Stanley B. Inglis; S/Sgt Arthur R. Tell, Sgts Leslie J. Hanna, Vito R. Kuracina, Robert C. Pingel, Abelardo L. Rodriguez and Rocco F. Russo.

27. One enlisted man returned from furlough today.

28. A mission to St Jean D'Angely airfield, France, was scrubbed this morning.

Another new crew assigned were: 2nd Lts Charles H. Downey, Donald E. Herdlicka, John D. Hicks, James C. Evans; Sgt Miller P. Chauvin, Pfc Earl E. Matheson, Sgts Adolph V. Carini, Norman E. Phillips, Sammie G. Bird and Pvt Joseph G. Sorbino.

29. Five EM returned from furlough, and eight, including 1st Sgt Charlie Butts, left on theirs.

30. Our group was lucky against Ludwigshaven today, meeting little enemy opposition, while the formation behind us were heavily attacked by German fighters. Excellent P-38 and P-47 escort cover was afforded our bombers on the trip to the target and Spitfires brought them home. We met meagre flak, which increased to intensity and effectiveness as succeeding groups followed us over the target.

The bombing was good. A few German fighters were encountered about 45 minutes from the French coast on the way home. No claims or casualties. Major Halsey flew with a 534th crew.

Participating for the 535th were: Lts Enos, Meyers, Duarte and Smith.

31. The group's ships landed at a variety of bases from the mission against Bordeaux, but Capt Chapman and other squadron pilots landed here at Ridgewell, the former bringing home Sgt Gugenheim, who finished his tour of duty today. He is the first of the squadron's original enlisted combat men to complete 25 missions.

The squadron ended the month with its sixth crew loss, with Lt Duarte and crew listed as MIA, after being seen to turn back for Spain near that border. His Fort was badly shot up in the nose compartment, but all engines were pulling as he turned away. He was attacked twice by FW190's part of a pack of "hot" pilots who hit the Fortress formation near the target area.

Our bombing was reported as fair. Flak was inconsequential and there were no claims or casualties.
Participating today were: Capt Chapman, Lts Smith, Enos and Ridley.

MIA crew: 2nd Lts Earl B. Duarte, Glen A. McCabe, Cornelius A. Heintz, Harry M. Grimball; Sgts Joseph J. Balesh, Jevons, Howard B. Norris, Albert H. Smith, James E. Martin and Powell H. McDaniel.

Sgt Charles H. Berry Jr., gunner, transferred to the 298th General Hospital. 1st Lt Schwartz off to London again on DS.


 

January 1944

 

535th Bomb Sq.
381st Bomb Group (H)
WAR DIARY
Submitted by Cpl. Ray Ingham

JANUARY 1944

1. Nine EM left on furlough today.

2. The following combat men were promoted to T/Sgt; Harry F. Dever, Harold C. Kemper, Russell M. Rose and John W. Zappala.

These 18 men to S/Sgt: Joseph J. Balesh, Garland C. Carson, Buren C. Cook, Clyde V. Craig, Lawrence V. Eden, Carroll L. Fischel, Stephen M. Gasper, Russell H. Jevons, Lester P. Larson, Thomas G. Lawrence, Andrew F. Manning, Johnny T. Mills, John E. Moerlins, Melvin Samuels, John H. Sasson, Reginald C. Solway, Paul R. Vanderzee, and Clinton S. Word, Jr.

Also 12 men, including gunner Deverett D. Bickston, were promoted to Sgt, and three Pfcs were raised to Cpl. Three EM left on furlough.

3. A mission against the chemical warfare plant of I.G. Farbenindustrie at Leverkusen was scrubbed today.
Lt Jobe and crew left for rest home today and six more EM left on furloughs.

4. Installations at Kiel were the squadron's target, accomplished in the face of moderate flak and light enemy aircraft opposition. Excellent P-38 escort was afforded over the target and fires were observed in the city after the bombing.
Capt Chapman, former squadron CO and S/Sgt Harrison, the last of Lt Manchester's "TS" crew, completed their tours of duty on this one.

Lt Evans was forced to crash-land his ship near Thetford, Norfolk, on the return trip; Lt Kraut, his bombardier and Sgt Rivera, ball turret, were killed in the landing. Sgts Burkhalter and Rasey were seriously injured.

These six squadron pilots participated: Capt Chapman, Lts Meyers, Urban, Enos, Liddle and Evans.

Major Halsey was sick, and entered hospital today; Lt Ridley returned from the rest home.

Two more new aircraft were assigned: 42-31533 and 42-40017.

5. Visual bombing again was accomplished in the mission against a German airfield at Tours, France. Good hits were made on hangars and workshops and crews reported they saw heavy smoke pouring from the target as the formation turned for home.

There was neither enemy aircraft or flak on the bombing run, P-47s covered the Forts over the target and British Spits picked them up on the homeward journey. Weather was ideal and strike photos show at least half the target area was covered by bombs from the group's aircraft.

S/Sgt Metzner, Lt Jobe's tail gunner, shot down an e/a going in.

Pilots for today were: Lts Jobe, Ridley, Meyers, Smith, Urban and Enos.

6. A mission to "Rocket-gun Coast" , our target of Cocove, France was scrubbed.
It was later reported that Sgts Sasson and Vargo were injured in Lt Evans' crash-landing on the 4th, and are hospitalized at Norwich, Norfolk. 2nd Lt Gayle Messenger was transferred out of the squadron yesterday, to the 32nd General Hospital.

Both officers and enlisted men continued, almost daily, to leave for and return from furloughs, including 1st Sgt Charlie Butts coming back to duty.

Another new B-17G arrived, 42-40025.

7. Today the squadron put up six Forts for the mission against Ludwigshafen. They bombed over a 10/10th undercast and no results were observed. Allied fighter cover -P-47's, P-38's and Spitfires - was perfect all the way, the fighters covering in relays, and enemy fighter attacks on our formation were very light.

T/Sgt Kemper, Lt Smith's engineer, was credited with damaging one e/a and with the group operating as two units, flak reports varied from light to heavy in and over the target area.

Participating were: Lts Ridley (with Capt Lord), Putek, Smith, Jobe, Bartlett and Henslin.

Capt Chapman and S/Sgt Harriman, tours completed, left for the casual pool at Liverpool. S/Sgt Thomas White transferred to the 459th Sub-Depot at Station #130, Glatton, as of 4 Jan.

8. A mission to Brunswick was scrubbed today. Capt Shimek and S/Sgt Rumberger, two more veterans with completed tours, left for Liverpool as the casual pool.

9. Major Halsey left hospital and returned to duty today; two 2nd Lt pilots, Lee W. Smith and Emil L. Urban, were promoted 1st Lt today.

10. Capt Osce V. Jones and 1st Lt George B. McIntosh today were re-assigned to the squadron. They were pilot and co-pilot respectively of the Fort "Georgia Rebel" which was forced to turn back and land in Sweden returning from a mission to Heroya, Norway, last July. The rest of the crew are still interned in Sweden, and living well. The two officers will return to combat duty.

11. This squadron came off fortunately in what was for the group as a whole its roughest mission in many weeks today, the target being an assembly plant just outside Oschersleben, and although our group's bombing was excellent, the best in the Division, it cost seven Forts and crews. The 535th lost none.

Flak was moderate over the target, but fighters were thick there and some came straight through the Fort formations again and again. The group destroyed 28, of which this squadron was credited with four.

Coming off the target the leading 91st BG took the formation over heavy flak installations in the lower Ruhr, in some of the worst off-course flying displayed by a group notorious, here at least, for their leanings in that direction. It was the flak that accounted for many of this group's losses, including such veterans as S/Sgt Robert Osborne and S/Sgt John Crawbuck, of other squadrons, both Silver Star holders.

Our aircraft, finding our field was closed in by heavy cloud upon their return, landed at an assortment of bases throughout south-eastern England.

The eight pilots of this squadron were: Lts Meyers, Pluemer, Putek, Henslin, Urban, Bartlett, Enos and Ridley.

12. The following personnel were assigned: 2nd Lts Henry D. Steele, Robert F. Anderson, Dacil G. Ripperton; S/Sgt Perry E. Beach, Sgt Paul O. Welch and Pvt Wilbert E. Eason. S/Sgt Gugenheim, tour of duty complete, left on furlough today, the first combat man to do so.

13. With the exception of Lt Ripperton, all the men assigned yesterday, were today, transferred to the 533rd; 2nd Lt Remple, and the EM of Lt Baer's crew, left for rest homes.

15. A mission to Gotha, Germany, was scrubbed today. Capt Richard Tansey entered hospital and Pvt Kenneth E. Johnson was assigned.

17. Capt Tansey returned to duty.

18. A mission to Frankfurt was scrubbed this morning.

19. Mission, with bombings planned on a by-squadron basis, to Belleville-en-Caux and St Adrien, on the so called "Rocket-gun Coast" was scrubbed today.

T/Sgt Joseph J. Walters, of Pittsburg, formerly MIA on the first Schweinfurt mission, and a recent returnee was officially transferred to the HQ of the First Air Force, at Mitchell Field, N.Y.

20. Missions to the targets briefed yesterday, were again scrubbed this morning. Sgt Lee W. Dudgeon, aerial engineer-gunner, assigned today.

21. This squadron joined the group today to specifically attack military installations on the French coast near St Adrien. A 10/10th cloud cover blanketed the target and no bombs were dropped, although the other three squadrons were able to accomplish visual bombing.

Nine 535th ships took part, the pilots being: Lts Malone (with Major Halsey), Ridley, Enos, Liddle, Downey, Pluemer, Bartlett, Smith and Putek.

Lt Remple and Lt Baer's gunners returned from rest homes, as Lt Meyers and his crew left for Stanbridge Earls and Bournemouth; Capt Murray, squadron S-2 Officer, left on 8-day furlough.

22. Two more B-17G's were assigned today, 42-39797 and 42-39798.

23. Lt Wilson Cupp and T/Sgt Frost, who completed their tour of duty a few days ago, left for Liverpool, and the big trip back to the States today. They are the bombardier and engineer, respectively, of the last original crew, Captain Chapman's in "Chap's Flying Circus". Only T/Sgt Crowley and S/Sgt Wardell have not finished their tour, when they do so, "Chap's Flying Circus" will have only her crew chief, M/Sgt John Shanahan, and men under him, to keep her flying here.

Pvt Henry T. Jozwiak transferred in from the 533rd.

24. A mission to Frankfurt was scrubbed today. T/Sgt Otto F. Bruzewski, MIA on first Schweinfurt raid, an evader from the continent, was re-assigned to the squadron today.

Lt Carl W. Dittus, bombardier, was placed under arrest and confined to quarters after a brush in the Consolidated Mess Hall last night with Lt Joseph D. Keating, mess hall officer and squadron adjutant, and an M.P. This is the second scrape of this kind for Lt Dittus, who some weeks ago was cleared of charges made against him by an M.P. in London. Lt Dittus has been wounded in action and holds the Purple Heart. No decoration for this combat, however!

25. T/Sgt Crowley, "Chap's Flying Circus's" radio operator for many of her missions, today was discharged and sworn into the AAF as a 2nd Lt. Lt Crowley thus became the squadron's first enlisted man to achieve this distinction. He will soon be transferred to another base as a gunnery officer. S/Sgts Wardell and Gugenheim are awaiting action on similar commissions.

2nd Lt Marion E. Harkness was transferred to the 30th General Hospital today, while six Pvts were promoted Pfc.

26. Another mission to Frankfurt was scrubbed today.

28. A mission intended for Belleville-en-Caux, France, was scrubbed today.

29. Over a solid cloud undercast, the squadron bombed Frankfurt on PFF. Vast numbers of P-47's and P-38's covered the operation, and although some 125 German fighters were up to defend Frankfurt, our group as a whole met very little fighter opposition. Flak was rough, and many ships returned to base battle-damaged, but there were no casualties or claims.

Participating were: Lts Ridley, Putek, Downey, Smith, Pluemer, Bartlett, Tyson and Henslin.

Six EM were transferred to the 7th Station Complement Sq today.

30. In the face of meagre flak, but heavily attacked by about 100 German fighters, the squadron accomplished another PFF bombing over undercast, smashing at Brunswick, only 100 miles west of Berlin.

Lt Baer and crew failed to return. They were aboard the squadron's original B-17F model, "Chap's Flying Circus", from which Lt Baer reported ditching in the upper English Channel. Six Forts here were ready to take off for a search mission when Air-Sea Rescue notified to tower that help was on the way to our crew. No further word at this writing.

Many crewmen feel that a search by our planes, which were ready, might well have saved these men, either from drowning or from being picked up by the Germans.

Participating pilots today were: Lts Henslin, Ridley, Jobe and Baer.

MIA crew: 1st Lt Carl O. Baer, 2nd Lt Robert C. Remple, 1st Lts Malcolm Van Hise, Henry G. Palas; T/Sgts Robert Vogelbaugh, John F. Moore, S/Sgts Philip Phillipuk, John T. Tully, James Rigat and Edward J. Meyers.

Lt Jobe finished up on this mission, while Lt Ridley's engineer, T/Sgt Woodrow Pitts is credited with destroying an e/a; 2nd Lt Crowley transferred to the 457th BG, Station #130 at Glatton, Northants.

31. Another mission was scrubbed today; Lt Meyers and crew returned from rest homes and Capt Murray from leave.


 

February 1944

 

535th Bomb Sq.
381st Bomb Group (H)
WAR DIARY
Submitted by Cpl. Ray Ingham

FEBRUARY 1944

1. A mission to Frankfurt was scrubbed, Field Order #120.

2. T/Sgt Thomas R. Moore, listed MIA on the first Schweinfurt raid, was re-assigned to this squadron today, having escaped from France via the Underground channels.

2nd Lts Malcom Van Hise, navigator, MIA; William H. Bartlett, Jr., Charles A. Enos and Harold F. Henslin, pilots, and Eugene Arning, bombardier, all promoted to 1st Lts.

3. Covered by a perfect canopy of Thunderbolts, Lightnings and Mustangs, encountering no enemy fighters and only the most meagre flak, this squadron's forts formed part of a stream of heavy bombers 10 miles long which pounded Wilhelmshafen with hundreds of tons of explosives through a 10/10th undercast today. There were no claims or casualties.

Our pilots today were: Lts Putek, Urban, Liddle, Meyers, Smith, Pluemer, Downey, Henslin and Tyson.

4. For the second consecutive day the squadron participated in PFF bombing through 10/10th undercast, this time hitting Frankfurt. No enemy fighters were encountered, and flak over the target was light. However, the 91st BG, leading the Wing, led the formation over Hannover and some of the heaviest flak met by the men in many missions, on the return trip. This was strict an off course SNAFU.

Participating pilots today were: Lts Henslin, Putek, Urban, Hustedt, Enos, Ridley and Tyson.

5. The squadron returned to visual bombing today and bombardiers were given an opportunity to see their target for a change, and did a thorough job on workshops and hangars on the German airfield at St Avord, France.
Highlight of the bombing for most of the gunners, free, in the almost complete absence of enemy fighters, to watch the bombing results, was the German ground crews' attempts to disperse planed parked on the perimeter and runways of the blasted field. They watched blast from hangar hitting 500-pounders destroy or badly damage several such planes. There was no flak fired at our formation nor did any of the Forts undergo fighter attack, thus there were no claims or casualties.

Taking part were: Capt Jones (with Lt Col Hall), Lts Hustedt, Downey, Henslin, Ridley, Enos and Putek.

Sgt Emery Y. Naha flew with the 534th.

6. The squadron got credit for a sortie to an airfield near Nancy, France, although 10/10th undercast prevented bombing. No enemy fighters appeared but the Fort met with intermittent flak over the continent. The feature story of this mission was told by the crew of "Touch-the-Button Nell" when they landed a US Navy B-24 patrol base in southwest England, Dunkeswell.

With 1st Lt Hank Putek at the controls, "Nell" was eastbound with the formation when a blast over the fuel transfer pump completely shattered to top turret, broke or cracked all cockpit windows and started a fire under the top turret platform. Lt Putek's chute was destroyed by the flames.

While top turret gunner S/Sgt Lifford E. French fought the flames, Putek gave the order to bail out, and the ship's three officers, Lts Coffman, Blalock and Christensen, beside himself did so, while the gunners lined up at the waist door preparing to hit the silk.

However French brought the fire under control and signalled the others to return to their posts. Putek, determined to bring "Nell" home, at 4,000 ft altitude, her flares destroyed, oxygen system shot out and bomb bay doors open after the bomb lead salvo. Almost immediately the crippled Fort was hit from the rear by the ME109's. Sgt George Vinovich, tail gunner, probably destroyed the first. The second sent four 20mm's smashing into Sgt Herbert J. Burgasser's ball turret, wounding him so severely about the face that he may lose his left eye. Radioman S/Sgt James Bomar destroyed the third Jerry.

During this time, "Nell" had no gun that would bear from 9 to 3 o'oclock. Coming over a city, believed to be Paris, most of the Fort's instruments were left useless by the still unexplained blast, heavy flak batteries opened up on her, blew off the plexi-glass nose, jammed the bomb bay doors open for all time, and filled the big bomber with holes from stem to stern.

French rode as co-pilot, and both he and Putek were forced to protect themselves from the terrible blast rippling through the virtually open compartment by breathing through their oxygen mask. When land was sighted, "Nell" slid in low, bomb bay doors open, no radio or flares available, to be met by fire from a British AA battery when she failed to respond to the latter's challenge. After a full circle sweep, Putek finally brought her in at the Navy field, near where French, severely burned, and Burgasser were hospitalized.

Pictures show the Fortress to be damaged beyond repair, the most battled-scarred ship in the squadron's history since "Tinkertoy" took her unmerciful pounding last October over Bremen.

Pilots on the mission were: Lts Hustedt, Meyers, Enos, Henslin, Smith, Bartlett, Liddle and Putek.

8. The following promotions were announced today: to 1st Lts, George A. Hoffman, Thomas L. Honahan, William P. Piekarski, Henry Putek, Nicholas Faby and James T. Shore.

To T/Sgt: James W. Bomar, Buren G. Cook, Carroll L. Fischel, Stephen M. Gasper, John Hariton, J.W. Padgett and Melvin Samuels.

To S/Sgt: Harold D. Bankston, Deverett D. Bickston, Samuel G. Bird, Hoyt C. Burkhalter, John J. Burke, Adolph V. Carini, Miller P. Chauvin, Bud R. Church, Valentine DiNicola, Lee W. Dudgeon, Wallace B. Heckman, Earl E. Matheson, Charles D. Middleton, Emery Y. Naha, Wayne B. Pegg, Norman E. Phillips, Abelardo L. Rodriguez, Israel A. Salazar, Kenneth W. Schmitt, Kermit F. Sessons, Vincent D. Shortell, Joseph G. Sorbino, Robert J. Smith and George Vinovich.

Major Halsey went to 1st Bomb Division on DS today. M/Sgt Charles P. Stern, recently transferred in, was assigned to this squadron. He trained for more that a year in RAF Beauforts, in the first enlisted navigator in this group. Eventually he expects to be promoted to F/O or 2nd Lt.

8. A mission to Leipzig was scrubbed today.

11. Briefed for a target in Frankfurst, our Forts followed a PFF ship to what later proved to be Ludwigshafen, where a fair bombing was accomplished through broken clouds. Both flak and fighters were heavy for other groups, but this squadron, like the group as a whole, caught very little enemy opposition of any kind, and there were no losses.
Pilots taking part were: Capt Jones, Lts Liddle, McIntosh, Meyers, Enos and Pluemer, while Bartlett aborted.

Major Halsey returned from DS at 1st Bomb Division.

12. S/Sgt Floyd N. Terry, escapee, re-assigned to the squadron today and promoted T/Sgt. He followed T/Sgt Myers out of France via Underground channels.

14. A mission to the French rocket coast was scrubbed.

Sgt Herbert J. Burgasser, wounded on the Nancy mission, promoted S/Sgt; Earl B. Schiek, formerly in Ridley's crew, has re-volunteered for combat operations, after asking to be grounded some moths ago. He has been accepted, re-placed on flying status and promoted to Sgt.

17. Another attempt to hit the French rocket coast was again called off.

18. Seth A. Armstead, squadron operations officer, promoted to captain; Major Halsey left for the rest home.

19. W/O Albert G. Mosher, Jr., joined the squadron today, assigned from the 533rd. He will be assistant engineering officer to Capt Clayton R. Greenwood.

20. Forty-three group Fortresses took off this morning, flying as two group formations, with aircraft plants at Leipzig and Aschersleben as their targets. Two ships aborted.

This marks the outfit's greatest effort, and was part of an all out Eighth Air Force attempt to smash German aircraft production beyond hope of repair.

The Leipzig group, under command of Lt Bill Ridley, accomplished an excellent bombing under clear weather conditions. Only about a dozen enemy aircraft came up to meet the Forts, and such opposition was well taken care of by superior P-47 and P-51 fighter escort. Flak was meagre during the bomb run, and Jerry succeeded in getting up a full barrage only after our Forts had come off the run. There were no claims or casualties in this squadron.

The group headed for Aschersleben, encountered extremely unfavourable cloud conditions throughout the entire course of the mission, ended up at Oschersleben and accomplished a poor bombing. They met no enemy air opposition.
Our squadron pilots were: Lts Ridley, Enos, Pluemer, Evans, McIntosh, Downey and Hustedt.

21. The airfield at Achmer, Germany, became a target of opportunity when this group's Forts found the briefed target, at Gutersloh, hidden under a solid cloud overcast.

Gen. William M. Gross, 1st Combat Wing Commander, led the 381st's 38 Forts over the target for a good bombing of hangars, runways, workshops and dispersal areas. Out of the weak fighter opposition in the target area, this squadron's gunners ran up 1-1-1. Intermittent flak caused the bombers no trouble.

Participating: Capt Jones (with Gen Gross), Lts Bartlett, McIntosh, Downey Smith, Hustedt, Tyson and Urban.

22. Today the group learned what the true meaning of tight formation, large numbers of bombers and a full fighter escort.

Thirty one Forts took off this morning but some of the filthiest weather conditions over not a high altitude prevented the majority of them from bombing. Nineteen of them aborted, three of them out of the six sent by this squadron.
Twelve, including Lts Smith, Hustedt and Downey followed Major John Fitzgerald of the 532nd, to a rendezvous with 15 Forts from the 91st BG. These 27 ships, late for their escort, proceeded over the German coast alone, headed for Oschersleben.

About an hour inside Germany they were hit by more than 200 German fighters of high calibre. Major Fitzgerald had two sets of wingmen shot down. The group lost six, three from the 535th . The target bombed was Bunde, after more that 40 minutes of constant attack from enemy fighters, mostly FW190's.

MIA crews: 1st Lt Lee W. Smith, 2nd Lts Rowland H. Evans, Leonard P. Meier, Harold Kaufman; T/Sgts Harold C. Kemper, John C. Zappala, S/Sgt Lester P. Larson, Sgt Reginald C. Solway, S/Sgts Andrew F. Manning and Lawrence V. Eden.

2nd Lts Henry Hustedt, Keith S. Mauzey, Oral H. Hert, Stanley B. Inglis; Sgt Arthur R. Tell, S/Sgt Abelardo Rodruiguez, Sgts Rocco F. Russo, Vito R. Kuracina, Leslie J. Hanna and Robert C. Pingel.

2nd Lts Charles H. Downey, Donald Herdlicka, John D. Hicks, James C. Evans; S/Sgts Miller P. Chauvin, Earl E. Matheson, Earl B. Scheik, Sgt Norman E. Phillips, S/sgts Adolph V. Carini and Joseph G. Sorbino.

Sgts R. W. Smith and R. J. Powell, flying with other squadrons were each credited with an e/a damaged.

24. The squadron made its third trip to Schweinfurt today, but the city didn't seem the same to the veterans on August 17 and October 14 raids. In the face of almost no flak and the most meagre fighter opposition, the same old ball-bearing plant was smothered in a tight pattern.

This looked like the knockout blow to Major Shackley, 533rd CO, who has led all three of the group's Schweinfurt runs, and who is of the opinion that the factories must have been knocked out this time. Strike photos show, however, that although the bombing of the main plant was very good, vital portions still remain untouched. Although other groups in the mission underwent light fighter attacks, our group met nothing at all.

Participating pilots were: Pluemer, Liddle, Tyson, Bartlett, Urban, Enos and Meyers.

T/Sgts Otto F. Bruzewski and Thomas R. Moore, evaders, today were transferred to HQ, 1st Air Force, Mitchell Field, NY.

25. Today's mission to Augsburg, saw only one German fighter, and that was shot down by 2nd Lt Michael Buschbaum, of Lt Sellers' crew, as it attacked the Forts returning from a perfect bombing of the Messerschmitt assembly plant in this city close to the Swiss Alps. Flak was fairly heavy over the target, while visibility was a bombardier's dream.
Today's mission pilots: Lts Urban, Pluemer, Enos and Tyson; Liddle and McIntosh aborted.

26. T/Sgt Kenneth D. Lester, radio operator, who recently completed his tour, was transferred to the 12th RCD Casual Pool, Chorley, near Liverpool;T/Sgt Floyd H. Terry, evader, has been ordered on DS at the Eighth Air Force Intelligence Office, London.

Three new crews assigned today were: 1st Lt Ralph E. Freese, 2nd Lts Roy H. Pendergist, Edward Molenda, (no bomb'r); Sgts Samuel C. Periman, S/Sgt Hugh F. Riesdorph, Sgts Andrew J. Williamson, Ernest L. Waldow and Pvt Tyke K. Kaupppila.

2nd Lts Harlan D. Soeder, Phillip E. Mulhall, F/O Jerome D. Becker, 2nd Lt George C. Crote; Sgts Harry C. Sedoryk, Robert L. McGee, John J. Boland, Allen D. Hawkinson, Frank J. Marushack and Milton G. Bailes.

2nd Lts George W. Wilson, John O. English, Roy J. Fayard, Boyd K, Hamilton; Sgts Lewis J. McGuire, Robert D. Helmer, S/Sgt Arthur P. Andrzejewski, Sgt Ralph E. Price, Lennace J. Boudreaux and David G. Gildin.

27. Two new crews were assigned, the first to 1st Lt Thomas D. Sellers (a pilot with several mission with 534th): 2nd Lts James F. Mullane, Michael Buschbaum, William F. Hotaling; S/Sgts Edward A. Stahlke, Thaddeus J. Tarczynski, Lewis F. Sparrow, Robert E. Kettlety, Walter E. McFadden and Frank G. Troxler.

F/O Robert A. Haring (CP), 2nd Lt Joseph R. Scott, F/O Robert G. Hecker; S/Sgt Bertram D. Williams, Joseph A. Bearer, Sgts Ralph C. West, Bruce M. Tabor, William D. Ingram and Julius M. Micek.

Lt Sellers was never formally transferred to the 535th, but only an actual transfer of paper work was lacking, thus he is now back with a full crew.

Major Halsey returned from the rest home.

28. A mission to Jever airfield, Germany, was scrubbed today. 1st Lt Ridley and S/Sgt Reynolds, tours complete, left for the 12th RCD casual pool, Chorley, Lancs.


 

March 1944

 

535th Bomb Sq.
381st Bomb Group (H)
WAR DIARY
Submitted by Cpl. Ray Ingham

MARCH 1944

1. S/Sgt Joseph O. Long transferred to 12th RCD, casual pool, Chorley, Lancs.

The combat officers and men, who moved from the communal combat Site #6 of Feb 21 and 22, seem to be getting used to the idea of living under the shade of the orderly room again.

2. Mission today was to Frankfurt, when the group met no enemy air opposition although there was meagre flak. Six of our ships took part and nipped over the target for a quick bombing and away, in company with the group formation. The fighter escort was excellent.

The following pilots and their crews made the mission: Lts Henslin, Meyers, McIntosh, Urban, Pluemer and Honahan. Lt Enos aborted.

3. The target for today was Oldenburg, where bombing was accomplished through a 10/10th undercast in the face of no enemy opposition. Major Halsey, with Lt Sal Melomo (completing his 25th) led the mission; S/Sgt Eckert also finished up.

In addition to the leader, the other pilots were: Lts McIntosh, Pluemer, Meyers, Putek, Enos and Honahan. Lt Urban aborted.

4. The group was briefed for the Eighth Air Force's first blow at Berlin. Foul weather forced our group to seek a target of opportunity (believed to be Dusseldorf), which was bombed through a complete cloud undercast.
With Lt Col Hall, group deputy commander, Lt Henslin led squadron and group, along with Lts Honahan, Enos, McIntosh and Pluemer, while Lt Urban again aborted.

S/Sgt Eugene F. Copp was assigned from First Bomb Division. He is required to make three combat missions in which enemy aircraft are encountered, after which he will be returned to the States as a gunnery instructor.
Lt Melomo finished up today, with official credit for 26 missions.

Promoted to 1st Lts are: James R. Riddle, William A. Pluemer and James L. Tyson.

5. S/Sgt Russell N. Jevons, list MIA Dec 31 on the Bordeaux mission, was re-assigned from USTAAF. 1st Lt Herbert Lazar was assigned from HQ, 1st BD.

6. Today's mission was to Big-B, Berlin, our first blow at the Reich's capital city, which was heavily opposed by nearly 150 enemy fighters, costing the group three Fortresses, none from this squadron. However M/Sgt Stormer was slightly wounded in the right eye by metal chips kicked up by a piece of flak.

Bombing results were believed to have been good, but all crewmen were so busy at their guns or other duties when the fighters hit our formation that non-one had spare time for sight-seeing. S/Sgt John J. Wardell, Jr., last of the squadron's original combat enlisted men, finished his tour with this one.

Our eight pilots for today were: Lts McIntosh, Sellers, Meyers, Tyson, Enos, Putek, Pluemer and Honahan.
Returning from the rest homes were: Lts Bartlett, Fowler, rabay and Hughes; Sgts Dever, Rose, Carson, Craig and Bennett. Leaving for rest homes were: Lts Urban, Herman, Hooker and Broderick; T/Sgts Gasper, Hariton, S/Sgts Bankston, Lawrence, Moerlins and Middleton.

7. Two separate Field Orders were received, one for a mission to Berlin, the other for one to Gutersloh, but both were scrubbed.

Promoted to T/Sgts: Valentino L. DiNicola, Leo W. Dudgeon, Richard C. Jensen, Russell N. Jevons, Robert E. Kettlety, Edward A. Stahlke and Henry N. White.

8. Today's target was Erkner, a ball-bearing plant on the outskirts of Berlin. The entire group accomplished perfect bombing. Escort was perfect and the bombers met no opposition either from flak or fighters. Lt Bartlett aborted.
S/Sgt Kettlety, radio operator on "Our Desire", found an incendiary bomb jammed by one fin on the bomb bay catwalk, tossed it out by hand over Berlin. Lt Putek's "Touch The Button Nell II", during part of the return trip home, "escorted" a P-38 fighter which was limping along with one engine dead.

Among those finishing up were Capt Melvin R. Hecker, one of the squadron's original pilots, who was transferred to the 532nd months ago. He came into the outfit at Pyote, as a 2nd Lt, in February 1943. Also finishing up today was S/Sgt Rij.

These pilots made the trip: Lts Putek, Tyson, Hoffman and Sellers.

Promoted to S/Sgt are: Edgar M. Berg, William D. Ingram, Julius M. Micek, Robert H. Miller, Bruce M. Tabor, Paul R. Vanderzee and Ralph C. West.

9. It was Berlin again today, and another one which the Luftwaffe failed to show. Flak was moderate over the city, and bombing accomplished through a 10/10th undercast, which covered all of Germany today.

On the return trip the leading 91st BG took the formation over Hanover-Brunswick area, where all met more flak than they'd seen for a long time. S/Sgt Ingram, with Lt Hoffman's crew, was slightly wounded. This is his second bit of bad luck, having opened his combat tour with a crash landing on the east coast last month. He was hospitalized at 121st Hospital, Braintree.

Lt Hoffman finished up today, and in addition to him, these pilots took part: Lts Tyson, Enos, Sellers, Meyers, Honahan and Wilson. Lt Bartlett aborted.

Tour complete, Lt Everett Malone, was sent to 12th RCD, Station #591, Chorley.

9?. S/Sgt Eugene R. Eckert was transferred to Chorley today, tour over. Although the present tendency is to keep enlisted men in England to serve as instructors for at least three months after completing a combat tour, there is still a good chance those finishing in this period will be sent home.

A growing number of them do not want to go home, basing their decisions upon stories we hear from newly arrived crews and such men as S/Sgt Copp that gunnery schools at home are run by ground officers unacquainted with combat conditions over here, and more interested in misguided War Department directives than in the contributions experience gun crews have to offer the training system.

12. The squadron held its second big party, its first overseas. This brawl was pitched in the "auditorium" of the station theater, and attracted, in addition to nearly everyone in the outfit, a heavy percentage of visitors, guests, gate-crashers and interested by-standers from other organizations on the base and from nearby communities.

The station band played - The Ridgewell Rockettes. The beer - 14 barrels of the stuff - lasted from 20.00 to 22.00 hrs. There was coke and there were sandwiches. And there were women too, WAAF, Land Army, a representation from the ranks of the local lovelies and, lo and behold, four honest-to-God WACS from Colchester, one of them not bad a-tall, a-tall.

With the exception of one visiting Lt, no one got too drunk. The visitor is to be court martialled for his losing battle with the demon rum. Reports have it that, among other things, he was slightly careless as to whose tulips he watered!
Lt Keating did a masterful last-minute round-up job on the women detail, after being notified at 15.00 hrs, that three truckloads previously contracted for would be unable to make it. Capt Tansey handled general arrangements, S/Sgt Farlois did a swell job with the foodstuffs available, and the ranks of the volunteer bartenders swelled as the English excuse for beer rapidly, very rapidly, evaporated through the taps. It was a good party.

Robert C. Adams was made doubly joyful today with the notification of his promotion to S/Sgt.

13. Mission to Wizernes, France, was scrubbed. Charles Churchill and Arnold C. Farmer promoted S/Sgt.

14. The mission to Wizernes was again scrubbed. M/Sgts Thomas R. Guinan and Van S. Morrison, crew chiefs, transferred out to HQ, USTAAF; T/Sgt Floyd H. Terry transferred to 1st Air Force, Mitchell Field, NY; 1st Lt George A. Hoffman and S/Sgt Theodore Rij, Jr., transferred to 12th RCD, Chorley.
2nd Lt Glen A. McCabe, MIA on Bordeaux mission Dec 31, re-assigned, while back from the rests homes were: Lts Urban, Herman, Hooker and Broderick; Sgts Gasper, Hariton, Bankston, Lawrence, Moerlins and Middleton.

14?. No change.

16. Today's target was Augsburg, which was bombed through a complete cloud cover. A few enemy fighters were seen in the distance, but the P-47 escort kept them there and the squadron caught no attacks. Flak was moderate, but increasing in density, during the bomb run. There were no claims or casualties for our outfit.

These pilots made the mission: Lts Enos (with Major Halsey), Soeder, Sellers, Pluemer, McIntosh, Honahan, Meyers and Wilson.

1st Lt Sellers, DSC, Purple Heart, and S/Sgt Ford, both finished up today.

2nd Lt Glen A. McCabe, ordered to the Intelligence Office, London, for an unspecified period of detached service.

To rest homes today: Lt Harold F. Henslin, F/O Everett L, Scarborough; T/Sgts J. W. Padgett, Albert W. Atz, Jo R. Karr; S/Sgts Edward H. Sell, George D. McLaughlin, Jr., and Clarence T. Williams.

17. Two separate sets of field orders indicated missions to Augsburg and Frankfurt, but they were both scrubbed.
S/Sgt Herbert J. Burgasser, "Touch The Button Nell's" ball turret gunner on the Nancy-Essey mission last month, severely wounded including the loss of one eye, re-assigned from hospital to squadron via 12th RCD casual pool, Chorley.

Today brought the first indication that Spring may arrive on time in a week or so. Very warm, sunny, the air full of softness, larks and baseballs. It can't last.

18. The target today was Oberpfaffenhofen. This mission followed the scrubbed mission for Frankfurt, and was the group's second consecutive mission without an abort.

Bombing was accomplished in VACU weather conditions, and was described as very good. The target was an aircraft factory and adjoining airfield on the edge of town. No enemy aircraft were encountered, and Thunderbolt, Lightning and Mustang escorts were perfect all the way, keeping at a distance the few Jerries which happened to show themselves near the target. Flak was meagre and encountered in the target area only. There were no claims or casualties.

The following pilots completed the mission: Lts Putek, McIntosh, Pluemer, Mullane, Honahan, Urban, Wilson and Soeder.

Major Osce V. Jones, operations officer,, was sent on DS to London to identify two officers and six EM of the crew which he landed and was interned in Sweden, following the attack on Heroya, last July.

19. M/Sgts R.L. Helmert, John C. Raimo; S/Sgt Henry Savard, Sgts Eugene H. Morrison, Robert C. Vaughan, and Cpl William M. Lee, transferred to HQ Sqd, Det "5", ASC, Station #594, Jefferson Hall, Staffordshire. S/Sgt Ingram, wounded recently, returned to duty today from Braintree hospital.

20. The German city of Mannheim was the target for today. Bombing through undercast was again a necessity. Added to the undercast was some of the filthiest altitude "soup" encountered in the combat history of the squadron. Planes came home singly, flying for hours without seeing a thing, to land at fields all over England.

One of our ships are missing in action, Lt McIntosh and crew. It is thought they landed either inside the French coast or ditched in the Channel near France. The other pilots who returned safely were: Lts Urban, Wilson, Putek, Honahan, Pluemer, Mullane and Soeder. T/Sgt Thomas B. Pitts finished up today.

MIA crew: 1st Lt George McIntosh, 2nd Lt Rowland J. Fowler, 1st Lt Nicholas R. Rabey, 2nd Lt Carl W. Dittus; T/Sgts Russell M. Rose, Harry F. Dever, S/Sgts Garland C. Carson, Eugene E. Copp, Robert S. Matcham and Clyde V. Craig.
1st Lt James L. Tyson and crew were assigned to the 305th BG, Station #105, Chelveston, for training and service as a PFF crew.

2nd Lt Gayle Messenger assigned from 12th RCD, after an ear operation. A former combat man, he will be assigned to new duties as a squadron supply officer.

21. No change.

22. The capital city of Berlin was again the target, with once more no enemy aircraft were encountered, as the Forts bombed Berlin through a 10/10th undercast. If this condition continues to prevail combat men will begin believing newspaper stories to the effect that the Luftwaffe has been destroyed.

Major Jones and Lt Enos led 29 group Forts to the target. Six major flak fields were encountered on the way in, and flak was moderate to intense over the city itself. The escort was perfect: P-47's going in, P-51's over the target and P-38's waiting to take the bombers home.

Apart from Lt Enos, these others flew the mission: Lts Wilson, Urban, Hallecy, Soeder, Pluemer, Honahan and Mullane.
1st Lt Shore finished up today; 1st Lt Sellers transferred to 12th RCD, Chorley. T/Sgt Jevons assigned to Intelligence Office, London.

23. A 10/10th undercast welcomed the group, covering what was believed to the Ahlen, near Munster. The Forts met only meagre flak over the southern tip of "Happy Valley" on the way in only, and the Luftwaffe make a token appearance in the form of about a dozen Jerries attacking a group a good distance from ours. Fighter escort was described as "excellent", as usual.

Again Major Halsey led the formation, with Lt Pluemer as his pilot; the others being: Lts Soeder, Hallecy, Urban, Wilson, Meyers, Honahan, Enos and Mullane.

Finishing up today were: Lt Honahan, T/Sgt Myers and S/Sgt Wood, with S/Sgt Ford heading for the 12th RCD at Chorley.

Back from rest homes came: Lt Henslin, F/O Scarborough; Sgts Atz, Padgett, Karr, Sell, McLaughlin, Williams and Blackmon.

24. Bombing through an exceptionally dense undercast, the Forts hit Frankfurt. They met heavy, tracking flak in the target area, but their escort was good and no enemy aircraft seen.

Participating were: Lts Putek, Soeder, Urban, Meyers, Hallecy, Pluemer and Mullane.

Promoted to 1st Lts are: Robert J. Fowler, John M. Deasy, John H. Hallecy, Clifford E. Herman, Stanley Holewinski, Theodore Homdrom, George D. Hooker, Jr., Robert E. Hughes and Edwin K. Stanton.

Heading for the 12th RCD casual pool, is T/Sgt Thomas B. Pitts.

25. Everett L. Scarborough was discharged from AUS as a flight officer and sworn into AUS as a 2nd Lt.

26. A mission to Bohlen, Germany was scrubbed early on, instead the group headed for the "Rocket-Gun Coast", to hit military installations at Mimoyecques, near Calais. Bombing results looked good, but the size and indefinite nature of the target made accurate observations difficult. Some ground-to-air rockets were used by the enemy without any damage to out group. Flak was meagre to moderate and caused us no trouble, being only 20 minutes over enemy territory.

Today's pilots were: Lts Hallecy, Wilson, Putek, Meyers, Pluemer and Mullane. Lt Meyers and T/Sgt Stewart finished up.

Three new crews were assigned today: 2nd Lts Edwin Riggenberg, Bob B. Bobroff, F/O Victor A. Mersinger, 2nd Lt Abraham A. Levine; S/Sgts Henry Baker, Glenn A. Hofert, Sgts Kenneth F. Hitchcock, Thomas W. O'Brien, Arthur T. O'Malley and Thomas E. Snyder.

2nd Lts Philip W. Gnatzig, Joseph W. Becker, Ralph G. Gillham, John C. Bohan; S/Sgts Floyd C. Hanson, J. W. Swafford, Sgts Willard F. Seaman, Edwin F. Nichols, Francis Lobasso and George W. Dell, Jr.

2nd Lts Lyles B. Nelson, Joseph C. Hainzer, William W. Harris, Emory H. Baird; Pvt Howard D. Prowse, Sgts Robert J. Orr, Walter C. Prettyman, S/Sgt Rexford W. Hintz, Sgt Josiah D. Hank III and Cpl Ernest F. Waggy.

27. Today the squadron participated in a wipe-out bombing of hangars and ships at the German airfield at St Jean D'Angely, France. Airfields seem to be our speciality when in comes to "pickle-barrel" bombing demonstrations, and this job was in the class with Le Bourget and all the others.

Building wreckage was left burning fiercely. Weather VACU, no flak, no enemy aircraft and our escort all over the place, at a loss for occupation. It was a dream job, in the opinion of every man who participated.

These pilots went in: Lts Wilson, Pluemer, Mullane, Putek, Hallecy, Putek and Urban. S/Sgt Harrington finished up today.

28. Another airfield job today, and another good bombing, this time against the Champagne field, near Rheims. Direct hits were seen on both hangars and on planes parked near them. Flak was meagre to intense, the first Forts getting in before the batteries really opened up, the bombers at the rear of the formation catching a heavier dose. No air opposition and a perfect fighter escort.

Two outstanding incidents of the mission were the explosion of a heavy calibre AA shell in "Whodat?", a 534th ship, killing both waist gunners and the tail gunner, as well as wounding the radio operator, and the fire in the #3 engine of Lt Liddle's ship, "Superstituous Aloysius" as she came over the English coast on the return trip.

Lt Liddle turned his bomber back towards the North Sea and all ten crew bailed out safely. The Fort finally crashed into a cottage after changing course and heading south, the result, probably, of the loss of power on the right wing.
Lt Henry, 534th, flew his ship all the way back to the base, a tremendous hole in each side of the fuselage, in the rear section of the waist. The tail assembly was held to the main airframe only by the three main fore-and-aft braces, two above and one below. Five of his men bailed out over the field, landing safely. Peters and his co-pilot hit the silk over near Ipswich, a few minutes before "Whodat?" plunged into the sea, only a few hundred yards off shore.
Seventeen Caterpillar Club candidates from this group all in one day, including this squadron's: Lts Liddle, Bartlett and Scott; Sgts Hanson, Word, Burke, Ingram, Holmes, Schmitt and Naha.

Today was Ingram's first mission since his discharge from Braintree hospital. In the course of four misions he has crash landed, a brush with flak and now this. Another eventful combat string to date is held by Sgt Naha, a Tewa Indian, "Beaver" in his short combat life, has had a crash landing, has been knocked out by a 20mm shell whose explosion made him a window wider that his head behind his tail gun position, and now the bail out.

Other pilots who took part in today's raid: Lts Liddle, Urban, Mullane, Wilson, Putek, Hallecy and Pluemer.
M/Sgt Stormer left the station hospital today, but will not be assigned to combat duties again, until his right eyeball, scratched, has completely healed.

The following crewmen recently assigned were transferred to the 532nd: S/Sgts Hofert, Swafford and Hintz; Sgts Hitchcock, O'Brien, O'Malley, Snyder, Nichols, Lobasso, Dell, Orr, Prettyman, Hank and Cpl Waggy. S/Sgt Harrington who recently finished up with this squadron, was also transferred to the 532nd.

29. The Forts today headed for Brunswick, instead of for the primary target, factories at nearby Waggum. Brunswick itself was the target on which they unloaded their bombs.

The Luftwaffe appeared for the first time in almost a month, crewmen reporting about 150 German fighters, which, however, attacked other groups much more heavily than ours. The Jerries outnumbered our P-47's and P-51's but the former engaged them vigorously throughout. The major dogfight of the day lasted about five minutes and occurred just after our group's "bombs away".

Major Halsey flew as deputy group leader with a 533rd crew, our pilots being: Lts Soeder, Wilson, Putek, Urban, Hallecy and Mullane.

1st Lt Holewinski finished up with this one; 1st Sgt Charles D. Butts, sick, transferred to 121st Station Hospital, Braintree, today.

30. Two successive field orders came through, for missions against Ludwigshafen and Oberpfaffenhofen, but both were scrubbed.

Promoted today to Sgt were: James V. Carpenter, William C. Cramer, James Chontos, Jr., Carroll Dunham, Paul R. Gaskill, Warren B. Harden and Rollo W. Kaiser; to Cpl: Paul F. Brooks, Charles L. Haverly and Robert S. Scullion.

The station ground officers' basketball team downed the 535th EM's quintet, 37-33, in a hard-played game at the hangar gym in Great Yeldham tonight. Victory brings the officers the station championship and a loving cup for their club. Our team: Gross (capt), Conduit, Faulkner, Farris and Burckhalter (who postponed leaving for the rest home with his crew in order to play in this game).

31. Half in inch of snow fell, in a steady storm, until about 11.00 hrs today. Spring evidently can wait, along with Heaven and our return home.

To rest home (Burckhalter late): Lts Charles Enos, John Hallecy, Stanley Holewinski, John Deasy; Sgts Buren Cook, Carrol Fischel, Kermit Sessons, R. R. Smith, Bud Church and Delbert Rasey.

Major Jones' old crewmen today were re-assigned to the squadron from USSTAF HQ in London. They are T/Sgt Joseph Nicatra, S/Sgts Shannon B. Early, James E. Haynie, Alfred I. Haugen, Maurice M. Kelleher, Charles E. Newcomb and 2nd Lts Arthur L. Guertin and Charles W. Nevius. Also returning is S/Sgt William P. Kiniklis, MIA in first Schweinfurt mission, re-assigned from USSTAF today.

2nd Lt Frank T. Palenik, bombardier of Lt Tyson's crew which was assigned for PFF training, re-assigned to the squadron.

The squadron now has 15 bombers including the two latest assignments:

42-32102 "Julie Linda"

42-107018, "Los Angeles City Limits"

Others:

 

42-31357 "Our Desire"

42-40017 "Me and My Gal"

42-39906 "Squat 'n Droppit"

42-31067 "Phyllis"

42-38051 "Georgia Rebel II"

42-39890 "Return Ticket"

42-37733 "Patches and Prayers"

42-31878 "Spam Can"

42-97511 "Egg Haid"

42-38117 "Touch The Button Nell II"

42-39798 "Bucket o' Bolts"

plus two yet un-named.

 


 

April 1944

 

535th Bomb Sq.
381st Bomb Group (H)
WAR DIARY
Submitted by Cpl. Ray Ingham

APRIL 1944

1. 2nd Lt Alfred Coffman, Jr., MIA on Nancy mission, re-assigned from USSTAF; 2nd Lt Glen A. McCabe and T/Sgt Russell H. Jevons, MIA on Bordeaux mission, left for HQ, 1st Air Force, Mitchell Field, NY.

Tours complete, the following were transferred to the 12th RCD, casual pool, Chorley, Lancs.: 1st Lts Thomas L. Honahan, Roy Meyers Jr., James T. Shore; T/Sgts Charlie R. Myers, James R. Stewart and S/Sgt John E. Wood.

2-4. No change.

5. The following promotions were announced today; To T/Sgt: Arthur P. Andrzejewski, Joseph A. Bearer, William P. Kiniklis, Paul R. Vanderzee, Bertram M. Williams and Clinton S. Word. To S/Sgt: Milton G. Bailes, John J. Boland, Lennace J. Boudreaux, Dean L. Carrier, John W. Dawson, David G. Gildin, Alan D. Hawkinson, Robert D. Helmer, Frank J. Marushack, Robert L. Megee, Ralph E. Price and Harry G. Sedoryk.

6. A mission to Oberpfaffenhofen was scrubbed. 2nd Lt Alfred T. Coffman, transferred to HQ, 1st Air Force, Mitchell Field, NY.

7. A mission to Oldenburg was scrubbed. T/Sgt William P. Kiniklis, evader, left today the 1st Air Force, Mitchell Field, NY.

8. Scheduled for an 09.00 hrs take off, planes were held on the ground by fog for about an hour, when late morning sun dispelled the mists and permitted the beginning of take-off to hit the airfield at Oldenburg, near Bremen.

Led by Lt Pluemer, seven Forts of this squadron were part of the 29 strong group formation. Visibility: faint haze on target but crewmen saw ground and smoke after bombing. Results were generally good; the 91st BG had covered the MPI with smoke of their hits, and our bombardiers let go into it. There was flak in the target area but only moderate, but accurate and about 15 minutes duration. Our escort was very good all the way and no enemy aircraft were seen.

Along with Lt Pluemer, our pilots were: Lts Wilson, Mullane, Putek, Soeder, Bartlett and Urban. Back from the rest home came Lt Enos and crew.

9. The group got a credit for the mission to Gnydia, Poland today, because a crew from another squadron, lost, followed a group to bomb the mentioned target.

However 29 of our ships took off for this same target, but received and complied with a weather recall, the conditions so bad at altitude that proper assembly of formation was practically impossible in an attempt to attack Koch Kannonenberg air armament depot.

Lt Soeder piled up his ship at the end of the runway after three unsuccessful attempts to lift her for take off. He was travelling at 160 mph and drawing 39" of mercury, and still the ship would not lift. There was major damage to ship in nose compartment, but crewmen, who had assembled for the crash in the radio room, were uninjured.

S/Sgt John J. Wardell today was discharged from the AUS and sworn in as 2nd Lt.

10. Thirty-two Forts took off at 06.15 hrs for a four-and-three-quarters hour trip, led by the 534th, to hit a factory at Brussels, for our main target, and the airfield at Woensdrecht, for the composite, in which the 535th flew carrying M-47s.
Lt Putek led our seven ships, the others being: Lts Hallecy, Mullane, Urban, Ringgenberger, Liddle and Bartlett.

Visibility was clear for us and we hit the primary well. Our ships met moderate flak in the target area only, met no fighters while our escort operated well.

To rest homes today: 1st Lt William A. Pluemer, Edwin K. Stanton, 2nd Lts Julius K. Schnapp, Donald M. Traeger; T/Sgts Leo W. Dudgeon, Valentino DiNicola, S/Sgts Deverett D. Bickston, Israel A. Salazar, Vincent L. DeLucca and Wayne B. Pegg.

11. Today's target for the main group, was an aircraft component plant at Cottbus, while the composite went for a similar target at Sorau. The 535th led the 1st Combat Wing to Cottbuss, with Major Jones up front, the pilots being: Lt Enos (with Major Jones), Mullane, Urban, Liddle, Bartlett, Hallecy and Ringgenberg.

Visibility was clear except for some broken clouds, bombing was very good right on the MPI. Flak was meagre on the way in but none in the target area. Enemy aircraft were seen at a distance, but there were no direct attacks, as in the case of the composite group, as fighter escort was good all the way. This was a near-ten hour mission.

12. The group received a stand down order last night, we and the 91st BG did an unusually good job on yesterday's operation. HQ rumour says today's lay-off is a bouquet for our Combat Wing only.

At 08.00 hrs the station is fog bound. Even the pigeons are walking, ground visibility limited to less than 200 yards.
T/Sgt French, who left for London yesterday., is today due to participate in Old Gold Cigarette Hour broadcast, tomorrow goes to Wide Wing to receive his Distinguished Service Cross for the "Touch-The-Button-Nell" episode. Lt Saul B. Schwartz, PRO, will meet him at Wide Wing to cover. Lt Putek, pilot of "Nell", will receive the Silver Star, the squadron's first, for the part he played.

Since Monday, two days ago, S/Sgt Fred Miller, boss operations NCO, has been breaking in to replace 1st Sgt Charlie Butts, transferred out sick.

2nd Lt Conrad M. Blalock, formerly MIA, today was re-assigned from HQ, USSTAF; Reduced to Pvt: S/Sgt William B. Blackmon, Jr., air gunner; promoted to T/Sgts: James E. Haynie; to Sgt: Ernest F. Waggy, Howard D. Browse and William B. Blackmon, Jr.

13. Major Halsey and Lt Enos led the 1st Combat wing to Schweinfurt, to bomb the same old ball-bearing plant. Other pilots were: Lts Hallecy, Putek, Bartlett, Liddle, Ringgenberg and Mullane (missing in action). Lt Urban aborted with one wing tank leaking gas heavily.

Flak was moderate in the target area, and the ships reported being heavily hit. Bombing was believed to be good, with visibility VACU in the target area. About 60-100 enemy aircraft were seen attacking other Fort formations in the target area, but our group met only two quick passes from strays.

MIA crew: 2nd Lt James F. Mullane, 1st Lt T. Paxton Sherwood, 2nd Lts Patrick D. O'Phelan, John J. Kirby; T/Sgt Edward A. Stahlke, Robert E. Kettlety, S/Sgts Thaddeus Tarczynski, Lewis F. Sparrow and Frank G. Troxler.

Lt Stickel, squadron navigator, finished up today.

14. Another stand down order came last night. Today is warm, sky filled with broken, heavy clouds through which the sun breaks through occasionally.

T/Sgt French and Lt Schwartz returned from Wide Wing; M/Sgt Harold L. Davis, one of our oldest crew chiefs, was hospitalized today after a serious bicycle accident last night.

Three new crews were assigned today: 2nd Lts Andrew G. Claytor, Robert H. Chisholm, Roy J. Rice Jr., Chester E. Hudson; S/Sgts Walter R. Williams, Nicholas A. Sango, Grover E. Padgett, Kenneth Starks and Robert C. Huttlinger.
2nd Lts Richard L. Snyder, Forrest L. Campbell, Walter L. Tyson, Marcus W. Todd; S/Sgts Johnnie L Daniel, Raymond D. Vitkus, David W. Souder, Donald H. Thomas and Joseph M. Connable.

2nd Lts James C. Parkman, Lester A. Gillette, Richard E. Shaw, James H. Long; S/Sgts Henry W. Harris, Harry I. Shenkel, Edward G. Graybill, Donald C. Davis, Chester W. Jech, Stacey Culberson and Yonan D. Yonan.

Also assigned: Pvt John M. Howry.

15. "Squat 'n Droppit" 42-39906, was burned beyond hope of salvage this morning after landing from a practice mission. We saw something like this at Pyote, Texas, when one of the 19th BG's Forst caught fire during re-fuelling and burned flat to the ground.

16. Promoted to 1st Lts were: William M. Hotaling, Harlan D. Soeder and George D. Wilson.

17. The weather today was overcast, chilly with dampness everywhere, as usual, thus mission was scrubbed, to Ison/Couvron, France.

Promoted to 1st Lt today were: Gordon D. Baker, Michael W. Buschbaum, Roy J. Fayard,, Frank T. Palenik, Dacil G. Ripperton, Julius K. Schnapp and Donald M. Traeger.

18. Today the weather was clear at 07.45 hrs, then clouded up about 08.00, but lifted again in time for 29Forts, led by the 532nd, to take off at 09.45 hrs, as scheduled, to bomb the tank assembly plant at Oranienburg, north of Berlin.

Haze prevailed in the target area, but bombardiers could see their objective are results are believed to be good. No enemy aircraft were encountered and flak was meagre everywhere.

Participating were: Lts Hallecy (who finished up), Putek, Urban, Riggenberg, Liddle, Gnatzig and Soeder (missing in action).

The latter was riding on No. 3 position, lead element of our high squadron, ordinarily one of the most secure spots in any formation. No one has a report as to what has happened to them.

MIA crew: 1st Lt Harlan D. Soeder, 2nd Lt Philip E. Mulhall, F/O Jerome D. Becker, 2nd Lt George C. Grote; S/Sgts Harry C. Sedoryk, John J. Boland, Frank J. Marushack, Alan Hawkinson and Milton G. Bailes.

19. PFF's led 30 group aircraft from an 06.15 hrs take-off to bomb the Henscel aircraft works and airfield at Eschwege, SSE of Kassel. All of our ships, except Lt Nelson flew in the "A" contingent, which led the 1st Combat Wing.

Both "A" and "B" groups bombed the same target with good results, but "B" made a complete 360 degree turn after the bomb run and tangled with 50 of about 200 enemy aircraft, which hit the 534th especially hard. They lost two ships, had three return bearing a total of one dead and five wounded.

Our squadron had neither casualties or claims. No flak encountered, but some, very meagre, seen at a great distance in the target area. Lt Herman finished up today.

Participating were: Lts Putek, Riddle, Urban, Gnatzig, Nelson and F/O Haring.

20. Our Forts, including 10 from this squadron, took off at 16.00 hrs for a short run to bomb military installations near Croisette, France. They found solid undercast at the target and did not bomb. Five of our ships were heavily shot up by flak, which was moderate but accurate in the target area, but no enemy fighters were seen.

Completing their tours today, were: T/Sgt Fischel, S/Sgts Cook, Hanson and R.R. Smith.

These pilots made the run: Lts Putek, Wilson, Riggenberg, Liddle, Urban, Pluemer, Bartlett, Gnatzig, Nelson and F/O Haring.

1st Lt Stanley Holewinski, bombardier, who finished up recently, today was transferred to the 6th CCRC, Station #376, Watton, Norfolk, for future combat duty in Mosquitos, many of which are now flown by USAAF.

21. A mission to Merseburg was scrubbed today.

S/Sgt Robert J. Gugenheim, last of the original crew of "Chap's Flying Circus", today was discharged from AUS, and sworn in as a 2nd Lt. This is the third member of Major (then Capt) Chapman's old crew to be commissioned. Lts Crowley and Wardell are already assigned as gunnery officers; Lt Gugenheim will soon be.

Two new crews assigned: 2nd Lts Ray H. Flint, Frederick R. Jarvill, Lorance E. Hamilton, Woodrow W. Lyles; S/Sgts William A. Garrick, Sgts Willard E. Bessey, James L. Judd, Delton W. Carpenter, David Jensen and Robert Q. Pope.

2nd Lt Howard R. Yates, Robert J. Klutho, Earl L. Reno, F/O Joseph F. Grace; S/Sgts Ronald A. Founds, James E. Dixon, Sgts Chester M. Erringer, Morton L. Ex, Robert L. Kantor and Paul C. Smith.

22. Six of our crews participated with the group in what looked like a very good bombing of the marshalling yards at hamm. No flak, no fighters, good escort, bombs went into the smoke of the previous group's work. The entire yard set-up was covered in smoke.

Feature angle of this one was the late returned, briefed for 22.00 hrs. They made it on time, the first landings coming at dusk, the last in darkness, with the great white landing lights glaring onto the runways. A Liberator crew came down here after having been warned away from landing at its own base, near Bungay, Norfolk.

Intruder enemy fighters were reported in that vicinity. Later reports show several Libs were shot down by the Germans as they came in for landings at their own base. Jerry used an old British stunt, taking advantage of dusk and early dark on an otherwise perfect night for combat.

Pilots and crews taking part were: Lts Wilson, Ringgenberg, Bartlett, Urban, Liddle, Pluemer and F/O Haring.

23. A mission to Merseburg was scrubbed today.

T/Sgt Carroll L. Fischel, radio operator who recently finished his tour, was transferred to the 532nd, for duty as ROG on one of our "Relay" ships, which act a flying radio stations for the relaying of messages from operational formations in Germany and eastern Europe.

Lt James Tyson and crew, now flying PFF from Alconbury, have been re-assigned to this squadron, but will continue to operate from the PFF base, on detached service. Eventually they'll move back here.

Two new crews assigned today were: 1st Lt Thomas Barnicle, 2nd Lts Joseph A. Albers, Corbin J. Robertson, Elvin E. Andrews; S/Sgt Hugo E. Pancheri, John D. Janssen, Sgts Nicholas M. Rotz, Merrill W. Meyer, William F. Gaddy and David Caldwell.

2nd Lts Wayne A. Schobert, Eugene J. Roberts, Holly W. Boots, Bernard Goodman; Sgts Ralph D. Bowers, Thomas G. Bowser, Burtner L. Seibert, S/Sgt Russell H. Adams, James W. Thompson and Sgt Samuel T. White Jr.

24. Capt Armstead and Lt Henslin led the "B" group in the 381st's attack onn the aircraft storage depot at Erding, near Munich today. Visibility was good and so was the bombing.

Crews reported at least eight other similar target in the Munich area were well hit and smoking as they pulled off their particular bomb run. Flak was moderate to heavy in the target area, but there were no enemy fighters.
In addition to Armstead and Henslin, these pilots took part: Lts Gnatzig, Riggenberg, Claytor, Putek, Nelson, Bartlett and F/O Haring.

S/Sgt Hanson was transferred to the 12th RCD casual pool, tour complete; to rest homes went: Lts Liddle, Baker, Hotaling and Buschbaum; with T/Sgt Word, S/Sgts Burke, McFadden, Naha and Schmitt.

25. Lt Claytor and crew, including veteran Charlie Middleton, are missing in action from today's attack on the airfield at Metz, France. They flew with another squadron.

Visibility and bombing were good, crewmen even able to see parked aircraft on the ground destroyeed by hits and blast. There were no enemy fighter attacks and only a dozen or so Jerries seen in the distance all day. Flak was moderate but accurate in the target area.

Some of the combat men are wondering why Middleton, with more than twenty missions, was sent with a green crew.
MIA crew: 2nd Lts Andrew G. Claytor, Robert H. Chisholm, Roy J. Rice Jr., Charles D. Middleton; S/Sgt Nicholas A. Sango, Walter R. William, Sgts Joseph M. Connable, David W. Souder and Raymond D. Vitkus.

26. For the third mission in as many days, the group attacked Brunswick, led by Col Leber, group CO. The target was bombed through a 10/10th undercast. Flak was moderate, enemy fighters non-existent and there was a perfect escort.
Completing their tours today were: Lt Hooker, S/Sgts Moerlins and Lawrence.

Today's pilots were: Lts Snyder, Pluemer, Wilson, Hooker, Putek, Gnatzig and F/O Haring. The latter's navigator, Lt Scott, was slightly wounded in the back by a flak fragment.

27. This was the group's 100th mission, their fourth in as many days, military installations near La Glacerie, France bing the target, but a complete cloud cover prevented bombing.

Major Jones and Lt Putek led the group, our other pilots being: Capt Armstead, Lts Bartlett, Wilson and Gnatzig.
Flak was moderate at the coast but very accurate, these Jerry gunners are the "post-graduates" in their line. They seemed to get plenty of unopposed practice. Battle damage to Forts were severe in many cases, but there were no casualties.

Finishing up today were: Lts Putek, Bartlett and Deasey; S/Sgts Burckhalter and Vinovich.

28. "There are no milk-runs". Old timers among the combat men know that, and the newer ones learned it today in the loss of Major Jones and Lt Henslin and crew in "Georgia Rebel II", just after a very good "bombs away" at the St Avord airfield, France.

An explosion - either a direct flak hit or due to malfunction -in #2 engine sent the ship out of the lead position and down, apparently under rather good control. The engine twisted, caught fire and fell out of the nacelle.

The ship pulled up and careened off to the left and went down through the low squadron and was seen to break up. Unfortunately the tail gunner, S/Sgt Sell's chute fouled on the tail and he was carried down with the ship. Lt Pluemer took over the lead.

MIA crew: 1st Lt Harold F. Henslin, Major Osce V. Jones, 2nd Lt Arthur L. Guertin, 1st Lt Eugene Arning; T/Sgt John R. Karr, J. V. Padgett, S/Sgts George B. McLaughlin, Clarence Williams, Sgt William B. Blackmon and S/Sgt Edward H. Sell.

29. For the sixth mission in six days, Lt Enos flew as pilot for deputy leader Major Halsey for the trip to Berlin. Formations found 8/10th undercast over the city and met rough flak, but bombed and observed fires after explosives hit.
The escort was good, no enemy fighters seen and there were no claims or casualties. Lt Snyder aborted, while also making the run were: Lts Ringgenberg, Nelson and Gnatzig, who landed away from base with an engine out, a second virtually dead, and with less than 25 gallons in each of his wing tanks.

Since the 25th Lts Hallecy and Herman have been transferred to the 12th RCD, casual pool at Chorley, along with Sgts Hansen, Cook, R.R. Smith and Burgasser.

M/Sgt Harold David, suffering from a fractured skull incurred in a recent bicycle accident, was transferred to the 65th General Hospital. 2nd Lt Earl B. Duarte, pilot of the crew lost on the Bordeaux mission on December 31, was re-assigned.
T/Sgt Lester H. Hall, message centre chief, is on his way home on orders for assignment as chief of a new base's message centre somewhere in the States.

Sgt Nassam Abraham and Pvt Frank Hernandez went to Cambridge to enter the Division boxing matches. Nassam won by a KO but Hernandez lost by same.

30. It is now seven on the trot, a mission when only 12 group Forts participated in today's mission to the Bron airdrome, near Lyons. No crewmen from this squadron flew.

Lts Bartlett and Urban; Sgts Gasper, Holmes, Lorence and Moelins, all of whom finished up recently were transferred to the 12th RCD casual pool, Chorley, while 2nd Lts Blalock and Duarte were transferred to HQ 1st Air Force, Mitchell Field, NY.; Lt Scott returned to duty from hospital today.


 

May 1944

 

535th Bomb Sq.
381st Bomb Group (H)
WAR DIARY
Submitted by Cpl. Ray Ingham

MAY 1944

1. Six squadron Forts participated today in the group's eighth consecutive operation in eight days, striking at marshalling yards at Troyes, France, without loss or casualties. Escort was "super excellent" and bombers met no enemy fighters and only moderate flak at the French coast on the return trip. Good bombing visually, was reported through 5/10th clouds.

The pilots were: Lts Parkman, Snyder, Ringgenberg, Nelson, Wilson and F/O Haring.

2nd Lt Robert J. Gugenheim was transferred to the 305th BG, at Chelveston, as gunnery officer; Lt Liddle and crew returned from rest home.

2. 2nd Lt Francis B. Broderick, today left for duty with the 91st BG at Bassingbourn; while 1st Lt John M. Deasy, S/Sgt George Vinovich and Hoyt C. Burckhalter, tours complete, prepared to leave for 12th RCD casual pool, Chorley.

3. Deasy, Vinovich and Burckhalter left today, ready for the big ride home.

4. A mission to Berlin was recalled after the ships had taken off.

A new crew, with an average among its men of more than 12 combat missions from the 15th Air Force B-17 groups in North Africa and Italy, was assigned today: 2nd Lts Walter K. Higgins, Orlan D. Carmichael, Herbert W. Burns, James A. Beck; T/sgts John S. Baird, Eddie Delgado, S/Sgts Franklin R. Collister, Robert R. Blair, Sgts Robert H. Thomson and Joyce N. Worley.

The orderly room bulletin board carried a long list of EM's promotions today. To T/Sgt: Henry Baker, Floyd C. Hanson, Rexford W. Hintz and Glen A. Hofert. To S/Sgt: Charles W. Bertwell, Paul A, Burks, Byron A. Carter, George W. Dell Jr., Josiah D. Hank III, Kenneth F. Hitchcock, Francis Lobasso, Lewis J. McGuire, Edwin F. Nichols, Thomas W. O'Brien Jr., Arthur T. O'Malley, Oliver G. Ott, Walter C. Prettyman, Howard D. Prowse, Willard F. Seaman, Thomas E. Snyder and Ernest F. Waggy.

5. Usual garrison duties.

6. Our bombers went after long-range heavy guns near La Glacerie, France, this morning. Flak was moderate and accurate, and F/O Grace, Lt Yates' bombardier, was wounded in the leg. However a 10/10th undercast prevented our bombing. P-47's provided area escort, but no enemy fighters were encountered.

The group operated in two separate contingents, "A" and "B", the latter led by Capt Armsted, with Lt Wilson as his pilot. Lts Stanton and Scarborough aborted, first time for the former and Lt Pluemer's old crew. Others making the run were: Lts Ringgenberg, Flint, Yates, Gnatzig, Barnicle and Snyder.

1st Lt James A. Tyson and his PFF crew, on DS to 305th BG at Alconbury, have been transferred to DS with the 91st BG at Bassingbourn.

7. After a mission to Oldenburg was scrubbed, our Forts this morning took off for Berlin, with the targets in the industrial suburbs. To the combat men Big B is just another city now, but once they sweated over the very prospect of going there.

Today they dropped through solid undercast, good patterns from tight formations. There was a perfect escort and a complete absence of the Luftwaffe. Flak was moderate to intense in the target area, but inaccurate, also intermittent across Europe going in, light and sporadic on the way out.

Our participating pilots were: Lts Wilson, Scarborough, Stanton and Yates. M/Sgt Stormer, navigator, made the run to the city over which he was wounded, wearing his new GI glasses, which he admits look and feel like hell, but which keep him flying.

Promotions today: Vernon W. Nicholson to captain, Charles W. nevius to 1st Lt and gunner Pvt Robert F. Smith to corporal.

8. Another early scrub job, this time was a mission to Luxembourg, then back to Berlin again for all the group but the 535th, which grumbled over assignment to an Air-Sea Rescue patrol for the morning.

Capt Stickel, former squadron navigator, returned from DS at Station #131, Nuthampstead, to find himself and 1st Lt George D. Hooker transferred to the 532nd.

9. Almost a complete crew finished up with today's run to St Dizier, for a good bombing of the airfield there. There were no enemy aircraft sighted nor did the eney use flak in the target area. Only ground-to-air hardware was near the coast, and this was described as meagre and inaccurate. Fighter escort was very full, as usual.

Participating today were: Lts Pluemer, Flint, Scarborough, Nelson, Snyder, Schobert and Yates, while Parkman had the spare, but no mission.

Lt Pluemer and most (all but Lt Traeger and Sgt Dudgeon) of his crew finished up doday: Lts Schnapps and Stanton, T/Sgt DiNicola, S/Sgts DeLucca, Salazar, Pegg and Bickston; also S/Sgt Tolbert, with Lt Yates's crew. In all, 15 officers and EM throughout the group, completed their tours.

10. The group were credited with a sortie to Rotenburg airfield, Germany, today.

11. They started off today by scrubbing a mission to Munich , then followed up with a 30-ship effort to targets at Bettembourg, Luxembourg and Thionville, France. These targets were picked, with undetermined bombing results, after cloud conditions forced relinquishment of target in Germany. Bombers met some enemy aircraft but our squadron made no claims.

For the 535th these pilots participated: Lts Gnatzig, Barnicle, Schobert, Scarborough, Snyder, Flint, Wilson and Parkman.
Another new crew joined today: 2nd Lts Carl H. Dasso, William L. Watson, Phillip J. Barkett, Norman B. Ison; S/Sgts Anthony P. Madero, Oscar Wright, Sgts Marshall E. Rose, Chester E. Herron, Cpls Paul M. Williams and Leland L. Yelvington.

12. Major Halsey, with a PFF crew led the combat wing to a through-the-clouds bombing of installations at Lutzkendorf today. The target is near Halle, only 14 miles from Munich. Our specific target was a synthetic oil plant and bomb bays were filled with loads of 38 100-pound incendiaries. Bombing believed good in the face of no opposition.

Participating: Capt Armstead with F/O Haring, and Lts Snyder, Schobert, Barnicle, Parkman and Ringgenberg.
F/O Haring's crew left for the rest home today. Promoted were: Charles A. Enos to captain; Edwin Ringgenberg and Joseph R. Scott to 1st Lt.

The squadron softball team beat a visiting outfit 6-1, in a "Salute The Soldier Week" game off base.

13. Some of our ships went to Stettin, and some the Stralsund today in another one of those operations gummed up more or less by the weather. Hazy, broken clouds made bombing results observations in definite, a fact that bothered S/Sgt Shortell, of Lt Putek's old crew, not at all in the face of his finishing up on this one.

No one saw any Jerry fighters over Stralsund, but at Stettin about 50 made passes at the groups below ours. Escort of P-51's was generally red-hot. These pilots took part: Lts Schobert, Snyder, Parkman, Gnatzig, Ringgenberg, Scarborough, Nelson and Haring.

After nearly a year at this base the defense fever is on, and the squadron has assigned seven more men to DS with the 1142nd MP Co. here as part of an expanding station defense unit. All this is a permanent deal, the men living in Site #6 with the MP's and drawing rations through that outfit. This does not have anything to do with the regular mobile defense and unit defense set-ups. Our seven men: Pfc's William E. Dangle, John N. Maglaras, Richard P. Kaczorowski, Mitchell T. Petrovich, George L. Webb, Pvt's Henry T. Jozwiak and Robert Mauzy.

14. To Southport rest homes today: 1st Lts Fayard, Ripperton and Wilson; 2nd Lts English and Hamilton; T/Sgt Andrzejewski, S/Sgts Bird, Boudreaux, Gildin, Helmer, McGee, McGuire, Price and Cpl R.F. Smith.

15. Another mission, to Orly airfield, was scrubbed again this morning. 1st Sgt Charlie Butts, out of hospital after a long illness, today returned to duty from 12th RCD, Chorley.

Two more new crews were assigned: 2nd Lts Robert G. Beackley, John B. Dann, Donald K. Stewart, Russell B. Roderick; Sgt Louis Levy, S/Sgts Franklin M. Glover, Sgts Edward F. LePage, Joseph L. Lattimore, Joseph C. Ryback and Colin F. Scott.

2nd Lts Wayne E. Hermann, Prince A. Rollins, Harold W. Walkup, James E. Madeu; S/Sgts John P. Ensminger, Robert H. Vandermolen, Sgts Arthur H. Caudill, Edmund W. Orzel, Albert J. Jacob and Virgil A. Walker.

Outgoing tour-of-duty men included: 1st Lts William A. Pluemer and Edwin K. Stanton transferred to 27th Air Transport Group; 1st Lts Julius K. Schnapp and Donald M. Traeger, S/Sgts Wayne B. Pegg, Devertt D. Bickston, Israel A. Salazar, all heading for 12th RCD, Chorley, and probable shipment back home.

16. The Orly airdrome run was again scrubbed this morning. Five mechanics have been re-classified as crew chiefs: Sgts Clarence B. Bankston, John M. Dirrane, Fred J. Ford, Bruce J. Seed and Robert W. Vaughan.

17. A mission to Rotenburg, Germany was scrubbed. More tour-of-duty men left this morning; 1st Lt Gordon D. Baker and S/Sgt John J. Burke have completed their service here and are hoping for the States, via the usual stop-over at 12th RCD, Chorley.

S/Sgt Walter E. McFadden, with his DFC at 25 missions, definitely will get home - for a 30-day furlough - then re-assignment to combat duties, probably with this squadron. Also finishing up and heading for Chorley: T/Sgts James W. Bomar and Lifford E. French (the latter this squadron's second DSC winner) and S/Sgt Vincent R. Shortell.
T/Sgt Valentino L. DiNicola, of Pluemer's old crew, has left for the 36th BS of the 801st BG, Alconbury, for duty as a radio instructor.

18. Usual garrison duties.

19. Back to Berlin again today, where our Forts found flak accurate, though meagre. T/Sgt Floyd C. Hanson and Sgt Nicholas M. Rotz were wounded by shrapnel. The target was the railroad yards and industrial suburbs, which were hit through 4/10th cloud cover. Enemy fighters showed up but were engaged in dogfights, far behind our formations, by the excellent P-38 and P-51 escort. None of the Luftwaffe attacked our ships.

Our pilots made the run: F/O Haring, Lts Barnicle, Yates, Snyder, Ringgenberg, Flint, Scarborough, Higgins, Nelson and Gnatzig, the latter returning to find himself a 1st Lt.

20. S/Sgt Bud R. Church finished up on today's good job on the airdrome at Villacoublay. Although a slight haze covered the ground, bombardiers were able to see their objectives and reports say good hits were scored on buildings, hangars and runways. The field had been hit just before our group arrived by the formation ahead. Flak was meagre, there were no enemy aircraft and out P-47 and P-51 escort were described as perfect.

Today's pilots were: Lts Scarborough, Nelson, Barnicle, Parkman, Yates and F/O Haring. T/Sgt Leo W. Dudgeon, left for the 12th RCD, Chorley.

21. The following 2nd Lts were promoted to 1st Lts: John W. Howland and Lyles B. Nelson. 1st Lt Henry Putek left for 12th RCD, Chorley.

22. Our Forts went after a factory at Kiel today, bombing through a partially obscuring cloud cover in the face of moderate and accurate flak. About 20 enemy aircraft were intercepted by our escort at a great distance from the bombers in the target area.

Bombing effectiveness was not determined by participating crews because of the clouds. The pilots: Lts Higgins, Nelson, Flint, Schobert, Barnicle and Haring.

T/Sgt Hanson and Sgt Rotz returned from hospitalization at Braintree today. Nelson Vredenburg was promoted to S/Sgt; me (Ray Ingham) to Sgt; Lorenz D. Ginger and John R. Rolfe to Cpl.

23. The boys thought they'd hit Saarbrucken, but S-2 says it was Homburg today. At any rate, it was a secondary target, but when the briefed objective, an aircraft components plant in eastern France, was found, 10/10th cloud obscured it.
Capt Armstead, as deputy leader in a PFF ship, followed our group commander Col Leber. Bombing was called good on the city proper, flak was meagre at the target, about 15 enemy aircraft were seen at a distance but did not attack and our escort was perfect again.

Participating were, in addition to Capt Armstead: Lts Yates, Schobert, Flint and Higgins.

24. Today's PFF bombing of Berlin brought up the Luftwaffe, and a so-so operation cost this squadron two ships, flown by Lts Dasso and Higgins, plus their crews. Our squadron had 12 crews in the air, while flak was only seen, not felt, and was meagre at that, but enemy fighters, estimated at 150 hit our formation just off the bomb run and accounted for five groups Forts in all.

In addition to Higgins and Dasso (both missing in action), the following were: Lts Flint, Nelson, Yates, Schobert, Snyder, Liddle, Ringgenberg and Wilson.

MIA crews: 2nd Lts Carl H. Dasso, William Watson, Phillip J. Barkett, Norman B. Isom; Cpl Paul M. Williams, S/Sgts Oscar Wright, Anthony Madero, Sgts Chester E. Herron and Marshall E. Rose.

2nd Lts Walter K. Higgins, Herbert W. Burns, James A. Beck, 1st Lt Robert E. Hughes; T/Sgts Edward Delgado, John S. Baird, Robert H. Thomson, Franklin R. Collister, Donald H. Thomas and Cpl Robert F. Smith.

Gunnery claims were the highest for group and squadron for months. Of the total of 5-2-4, our outfit claimed 1-1-3, making a group total so far 217-30-130.

25. Yesterday, in a "Salute The Soldier Week" softball exhibition game at Haverhill, we beat the 1775th Ordnance Supply Co. by 5-3. Cpl Hugh Bracken, 533rd, explained the game, blow-by-blow, to a crowd of more that 300 paying an interested spectators, who watched the game played on their lawn-smooth cricket field. Or team: Gross, Boguskey, Condit, Wolfe, Banas, Keating, Gray, Bezdecki, Gerberding and Tansey, with Kwietniewski in reserve.

Our Forts did a good job today on the Essey airfield at Nancy, France. Col Leber led in a pre-rest home workout. Flak was meagre, bombing and visibility good, no enemy aircraft and escort excellent.

Pilots were: Capt Armstead, Lts Flint, Schobert, Parkman, Snyder and Haring. After this morning's mission a second, to Munich, was scrubbed.

Sgt Robert Q. Pope, was wounded on the line this morning by a .50 cal slug from an accidentally discharged ball turret gun, and he was taken to the 121st General Hospital at Braintree.

Lt Ringgenberg and crew left for the rest home at Southport; while 2nd Lt Robert G. Hecker sent on DS to 91st BG at Bassingbourn.

26. One year ago today, the squadron boarded HMS Queen Elizabeth at New York

M/Sgt Harold L. Davis, crew chief injured in a bicycle accident some time ago, has been assigned from 12th RCD. He and the following crew chiefs have won Bronze Stars (silver bracelets from the group for their crews) for outstanding maintenance in crewing Fortresses through 30 or more missions without an abort. They are M/Sgts Shanahan, Fitzgerald, Gerberding, Helmert( transferred out), and Edward davis. This decoration is the newest, authorized by President Roosevelt. None of the boys have their actual medals yet, but orders have been received.

27. The 535th missed this one today, against marshalling yards at Ludwigshafen, where flak knocked down a 532nd ship. Bombing reported as good.

28. A few days ago, on the 23rd, Lt Bailey, 532nd, in "Stage Door Canteen" got attention for his use of parachutes to slow down his brakeless ship on landing, but today Lt Beackley, on his second mission, with a crew on their first, went to the limit when he came all the way home from Leipzig on two engines, literally on the deck, so close his equipment jettisoning crewmen could see Germans shooting or scurrying, French children waving at them.

Beackley later said every gun on their line of flight must have opened up on them, but they changed course frequently in deception, made it safely home - without the ball turret. The boys gave a lot of credit to escorting P-38's, which stayed with the Fort as long as possible, attracting flak in addition to their regular job of covering the cripple.

Major Halsey, in a PFF, led the group's "A" contingent to Leipzig after Dessau was found cloud covered. His ships found no flak nore e/a, and escort was good. The "B" contingent his Frankfurt, accomplishing excellent bombing on the marshalling yards (verified by crewmen in Halsey's outfit), but running into heavy flak which killed one, and wounded five in the group.

Participating pilots were: Capt Armsted (with Major Halsey), Lts Parkman, Beackley, Nelson, Becker, Flint and Scarborough (with whom S/Sgt Heckman, last of Lt Putek's crew, finished up),

The squadron got another new crew today: 2nd Lts Oscar E. Myerscough, James P. Chisholm, Robert O. Long, John W. Carson; S/Sgt Anthony B. Tabor, Clarence N. Rolla, Sgts Michael J. Cooney, Robert J. McFarland, Lucio Maddalena and Harlie H. Moore, Jr.

29. Our bombers were under very light fighter attack and flak was meagre over Posen, Poland, today as bombs went down on the marshalling yards there. Lt Nelson and crew (with T/Sgt Albert Atz, finisher-upper) came home all alone, across Berlin to the Baltic, then westward after an engine failed. He jettisoned his bombs in the Zuider Zee and made it on in well, for which Atz will vouch any time.

Other pilots were: Parkman, Becker, Haring, Yates, Liddle and Schobert.

2nd Lt Everett L. Scarborough Jr., promoted 1st Lt as of May 21.

30. Lt Yates in "Me and My Gal", which came home burned out in the nose compartment and cockpit after undergoing fighter attack with its same crew recently, maneouvered his ship nearly 20 minutes today so successfully that an out-piloted pack of ME109's failed in their attempt to knock down a sure thing.

The group's target was Dessau, where 50 fighters hit the bombers just after the bomb run. After bombs smashed down on the tank engine plant objective gunners were hard pressed by the first wave of enemy fighters, which ultimately got three of our ships. Yates was knocked out of position when fighters killed one of his engines in the first attack. He stayed out nearly half an hour, diving, zooming, twisting and rolling his ship to eveade attackers and set up his gunners for shots, while the latter did the sort of firing that led themto claime three (evaluated: Vanderzee, one destroyed, Reno, one probable). Escort picked them up in the nick of time, for a second engine went out near the end of the running fight. "Me and My Gal" came home all alone, far behind the formation, on only two, with her crew singing Lt Yates' praise.
Yates and S/Sgt Vanderzee, toggler today, who rode co-pilot after Lt Klutho, with S/Sgt Dixon, top turret, bailed out in the heat of the first fighter attack, have been recommended for the Silver Star. Part of Vanderzee's citation will refer to his actions on a recent mission, when he saved the navigator's life indirectly, and indirectly was largely responsible for the safe return of "Me and My Gal" after 20mm shells from attacking Nazi fighters started a heavy fire in the ship's nose compartment.

T/Sgt Albert Atz is transferred to the 532nd to fly on a relay ship crew; 2nd Lt William J. Doherty promoted to 1st Lt; 2nd Lt Robert F. Wernersbach, formerly MIA, has been re-assigned to the squadron.

31. The group wound up its 20th mission of the month - the highest monthly total so far - with an attack on the airfield at Florrennes, Belgium. The objective was one of last resort, the primary being cloud covered. Bombing results are undetermined. Flak was meagre, there were no enemy aircraft and escort was top class again.

Making the run were: Lts Wilson, Beackley, Parkman, Schobert, Snyder and Nelson.


 

June 1944

 

535th Bomb Sq.
381st Bomb Group (H)
WAR DIARY
Submitted by Cpl. Ray Ingham

JUNE 1944

1. A mision to Hamburg was scrubbed.

M/Sgt Dutton, crew chief, has returned from more than a month's service in Italy and North Africa, where he served as head of a maintenance crew servicing 15th Air Force training Fortresses.

2. Today we flew our first "double-header" in nearly a year's combat operations. Mission No 1 was against tactical objectives near Boulogne, and six of our Forts took part: Lts Flint, Snyder, Parkman, Becker, Schobert and Haring.
Mission No 2 saw Major Halsey leading the combat wing in an attack on the Palaiseau/Massy marshalling yards near Villacoublay, south of Paris. Capt Enos led with Major Halsey, with Lts Liddle and Beackley.

Both missions were generally uneventful, with bad weather in the form of broken clouds an undercast preventing bombing result observations.

3. No operations today for the squadron. Only the 534th flew combat, against No-ball targets.

4. Six squadron Forts, flown by: Lts Scarborough, Becker, Snyder, Nelson, Flint and Ringgenberg, participated in the group's attack against No-ball targets in the Boulogne area. No appreciable opposition was encountered.

5. Back to the tactical targets in the Pas de calais area again today, with only flak to mark the mission. Objectives were near Thailleville, with Lt Wilson and Lt barnicle leading the group, with: Lts Snyder, Beackley, Becker, Liddle, Parkman, Ringgenberg, Schobert and Haring.

6. D-DAY. This is what we came over for last June; this is what every heavy bomber group in the ETO has been paving the way for.

Some, of necessity, knew as early as 22.00 hrs last night that the invasion of Europe was scheduled for early this morning. But even those who didn't know for certain were tense. Guards were doubled all over the line and through the living sites. Combat crews were issued with .45 automatic pistols against the possibility of theur having to bail out over what was to be their first battlefield. The whole thing went quietly, though the early morning hours were shaken with the roar of hundreds of glider-towing transports booming eastward over our heads.

Weather continued miserable, thickening gradually so that on both of today's accomplished missions crewmen saw virtually nothing of the tremendous cross-Channel operations in full progress beneath them. Only through occasional breaks in the clouds did they glimpse the great stream of craft of all sizes and types boiling in towards the Normandy shore.

The first mission for the squadron was led by Capt Enos, with Lt Yates as his pilot, at the head of a nine-ship formation striking at Ver-Sur-Mer and Courselles-Sur-Mer. The other eight pilots were: Lts Scarborough, Snyder, Flint, Beackley, Schobert, Parkman, Liddle and Becker.

While the first mission was in progress, a smaller formation took off to bomb enemy installations near Caen. Only three ships, led by Capt Armstead and Lt Wilson, along with Lts Nelson and Ringgenberg participated.

Except for moderate to meagre flak the enemy offered no opposition to our support of the Normandy coast landing operation.

7. The Kerlin/Bastard airfield in France came in for a pounding today, with nine Forts and their crews from this outfit taking part, and followed the scrubbing of a third intended effort.

Pilots with leader Capt Armstead were: Lts Flint, Parkman, Nelson, Becker (in a 533rd ship), Liddle, Snyder, Beackley and Yates, while we loaned "In Like Errol" to the 532nd for Lt Martin.

8. Today's target was to hit the "Rocket-gun Coast" installations near La Frilliere, where the group bombed by squadrons. Capt Armstead led ours with Lt Flint, the others being: Lts Beackley, Becker, Scarborough, Liddle, Parkman, Snyder and Ringgenberg.

A new crews was assigned today: 2nd Lts John Tuz, Nelson C. Hatherley, Warren M. Miller, Edwin T. Beran; S/Sgts Joseph F. Stobaugh, Richard H. Miner, Sgts Gerald M. Hickman, John B. Payne, Henry Meier and George E. Robben Jr.

9. No operations today.

T/Sgt John Hariton and S/Sgt Harold D. Bankston, who have finished their tours, have been transferred to the 532nd to fly relay ship duty. The 532nd has all these ships, which are no more than flying radio stations used to relay messages to England from bombers operating in Central Europe.

10. The mission today took six squadron Forts for the group to attack military installations near Hardelot, in the Pas de Calais area, those being: Lts Haring, Yates, Schobert, Nelson, Ringgenberg and English.

11. It was back to the Pas de Calais area again. Soon we'll be able to make no more sarcastic remarks about what the B-24 crews do for a living. With the exception of flak, these missions are running quite uneventfully. Today's target, an airfield a Beaumont Le Roger, was attacked by: Capt Armstead with Lts Becker, Snyder, Flint, Parkman, Beackley and Liddle.

12. The Lille/Nord airfield was our target today, nine squadron Forts participating within the group, which pounded its objective. Enemy opposition amounted to no more than moderate by fairly accurate flak.

Taking part were: Lts Parkman, Wilson, Schobert, Nelson, Ringgenberg, Beackley, Becker, Snyder and Myerscough.
Another new crew joined us today: 2nd Lts James R. Lang, Clarence E. Johnson, Paul E. Fanaberia, John E. Johns; S/Sgts Meyer W. Johnson, Donald L. Coultrip, Sgts Carl A. Juda, Edward B. Brostek, Cpl Vere D. Clair and Pvt Elmer E. Lewis.

A second operation, planned against Juivry, France, was scrubbed.

13. A mission intended against Emmerich, Germany was scrubbed.

14. Today brought an attack on the Velun/Villaroche airfield, France, which was successfully hit. Our squadron put up ten Forts and crews as wing leaders, with Major Halsey and Capt Enos heading the formation. Bad weather, some rough flak in the target area and a long haul were the story of the trip. The enemy offered no fighter opposition and our escort was excellent.

Other pilots were: Lts Becker, Parkman, Nelson, Flint, Beackley, Ringgenberg, Myerscough, Hermann and Wilson.

15. The group went a long way down to Bordeaux to strike at the Merignac airfield. Our squadron put up 11 ships and, in addition, furnished the wing leader, Lt Col Kunkel, with his ship for the day "Queenie". There was flak, but no enemy aircraft sighted while we had no losses.

Our participants: Lts Nelson, Parkman, Flint, Wilson, Liddle, Myerscough, Ringgenberg, Schobert, Snyder, Hermann and Beackley.

16. A mission to Brux, Czechoslovakia, was scrubbed.

17. Another mission was scrubbed, this time to France. The weather is increasingly poor these days, chilly, grey overcast and drizzly, just when we need good weather. The boys in Normandy are doing well, but air support would mean so much to them at this crucial, initial stage of the fighting.

18. Today's mission was a maximum effort, against Hamburg. The job was done by PFF and Hamburg itself was the target. There was some flak, but that was all. We bombed through the clouds.
Our 14-strong squadron was led by Capt Armstead, with Lts Nelson, Snyder, Hermann, Beackley, Yates, Haring, Flint, Liddle, Becker, Schobert, Parkman, Ringgenberg and Myerscough.

19. A mission to Homburg (not Hamburg) was scrubbed today.

More new combat men have joined the squadron; we've got them living in tents, finishing their combat training with the group, crowding in as though the aerial war were only beginning instead of well past its climax - so far as innovations and technique are concerned.

They are: 2nd Lts Crawford T. Marbury, Irving W. Bant, Charles D. Cole, James A. Walmesley; S/Sgts Myron E. Gates, Herman V. Weiss, Sgts Dana V. Clark Jr., Robert J. Trausch, Lee F. Lynch and Alfred E. Miller.

2nd Lts Max R. Miller, Harry W. Moulton, William F. Letson, Roger D. Welk; Sgts Mike M. Navarro, Dwight Y. Upton, Charles E. Johnson, Robert R. Torbet, Cpls Harold W. Hofer and Paul E. Miller.

20. Navigator 2nd Lt James P. Chisholm Jr., was wounded by flak over the target today, at Hamburg. Flak was the roughest part of the deal, for our Forts met no fighters and were cloud-covered for most of the trip. Hamburg seems to be getting a return dose of what flattened so much of it last fall. However this year the effort is entirely daylight, whereas the RAF last year contributed the major tonnage.

The following nine pilots flew today: Lts Yates, Haring, Liddle, Beackley, Tuz, Schobert, Flint, Ringgenberg and Myerscough. In addition the squadron furnished the other three squadrons with four ships, bringing our own total to 13 ships participating.

21. The greater number of our gunners today met enemy fighters for the first time, when a pack of the latter rose to defend Berlin, under attack by the Eighth AF in what was for this group Mission #142. Evidence how green said gunners are,how inexperienced in judging their shots and evaluating their own claims, lies in the 39 claims for destroyed submitted by this group. The radio this evening says 8th AF is preliminarily claiming only 20-odd destroyed.

Actual claims awarded the group by Division HQ: three destroyed, eight probables and 30 damaged. Of this our squadron got none destroyed, one probable destroyed by ball turret Harlie H. Moore, with Lt Myerscough, and five damaged, (respectively by, Pvt Elmer L. Lewis, tail; S/Sgt David R. Jenson, ball turret; S/Sgt Delton W. carpenter, weaist; T/Sgt James E. haynie, top turret; and Sgt Lucio Maddalena, waist).

Major Halsey led, and Capt Armsted flew as deputy leader in a PFF Fort, the other pilots being: Lts Schobert, Nelson, Flint, Parkman, Myerscough, Tuz, Hermann, English and Lang.

22. No-ball targets in the Tingry and Abbeville districts came under attack today, taking eight of our Forts. Flak again stood as the only enemy opposition, and this was meagre.

Participating were: Lts Yates, Nelson, Snyder, English, Hermann, Tuz, Parkman and Lang (using a 532nd ship) while we loaned the 532nd our "Egg Haid".

Yet another new crew joined this squadron: 2nd Lts Floyd H. Metts, James F. Grey, Kenneth O. Lingenfelter, Melvin R. McIntyre; S/Sgts Claude A. Curtis, William W. McLaren, Sgts Feliz Wojcik, Leon S. Bucy, Omer L. Godfrey and Pvt Edwin J. Bond.

23. No mission for the squadron today. The group went back to the Pas de Calais, attacking targets at Bachimont.

24. We led the group to Tours today, striking at the La Riche airfield without appreciable enemy opposition.

Participating pilots were: Lts Snyder, Tuz, Hermann, Nelson, Beackley, Ringgenberger, Schobert, English and Hainzer.
Capt James L. Tyson and his PFF crew, longtime DS men at the 91st BG, Bassingbourn, are due to return to the States for 30 days' leave and rest.

Line Chief M/Sgt Andrew J. Banas has been transferred to the 86th Service Group, at Fresno, Cal., USA.

25. The Toulouse/Francazal airfield was attacked by the group today, with the following nine pilots taking part: Lts Schobert, Flint, Hainzer, Bobrof, Gillette, Campbell, Lang, Tuz and Hermann. Flak was moderate and no enemy fighters were encountered.

S/Sgt Merrill A. Tolbert, tour of duty complete, has been transferred to the AAF gunnery school at Fort Meyers, Fla., USA, where he will be an instructor.

26. Another miserable day. They scrubbed an intended mission to Berlin.

27. No mission again today, but two new crews have joined the outfit. 2nd Lts Gene J. Demagalski, Irving P. Newsome, Howard M. Carter, Jack A. Keating; S/Sgts Thomas R. Ackerson, William A. Karcher, Jr., Ralph M. Kiker, Sgts Paul F. Cesare, Frank T. Maslanka and Edward F. Polski.

2nd Lts George J. DeVono, Robert W. Osborne, Frank L. Thornton, Edwin W. O'Neill; S/Sgts Eldon E. Sauman, Marvin W. Ford, Sgts Harold G. Witmer, Robert B. Weatherman, William G. Ezard and Edwin L. McCorgary.

28. Our Forts attacked Fismes, France, today, our nine pilots being: Lts Schobert, English, Hainzer, Beackley, Flint, Bobrof, Lang, Campbell and Myerscough. No enemy aircraft were encountered and flak was inconsequential.
The following officers, all tour of duty men, left for the States today: Capt Seth A. Armstead Jr., 1st Lts Joseph R. Becker Jr., Michael W. Buschbaum, Roy J. Fayard, James R. Liddle, Joseph R. Scott, George W. Wilson and Robert E. Haring.

29. The mission which took off this morning for Leipzig was recalled because of the continues filthy weather, worst, they say, in more than ten summers. M/Sgt Malcolm N. Lemire has been assigned line chief, succeeding M/Sgt Andrew J. Banas.

30. A mission to Allach, near Munich was scrubbed this morning. 2nd Lt James Chisholm, recently wounded, has been transferred out of the squadron.

This month 35 mission were alerted in 30 days; 24 were accomplished, ten scrubbed and one recalled.


 

July 1944

 

535th Bomb Sq.
381st Bomb Group (H)
WAR DIARY
Submitted by Cpl. Ray Ingham

JULY 1944

1 - 2. No missions. Usual garrison duties.

3. The pigeons are walking today. Weather was grey and humid at 08.00 hrs, tried to break up about 09.00, finally relapsed into solid overcast followed by rain. No operations alerted.

We heard our second Pilotless-plane about 10.00hrs. The Tannoy broadcast a red alert and at HQ we were able to detect a distant explosion, but no sound of the engine nor its cutting out.

Capt Milton F. Bland today left for the States, granted a transfer and leave to visit his wife critically ill. He has been with us since late January 1943, at Pyote, Texas, and has achieved the position not only of capable doctor but a good friend to every officer and man in the squadron.

His keen medical eye and profound grasp of human knowledge has restored confidence and balance to many a combat man and his sense of humor and ease of manner with all ranks have kept us going through the rough and browned-off stretches. He leaves with the best wishes of all off us. No fortune nor future assignment will be too good for him.

4. We lost Lt Bobrof, a veteran, and his crew today on the mission to La Riche airfield, near Tours. There was neither flak nor enemy fighters, bombing was good and Lt Bobrof was last seen in formation under control with all four engines cooking well. No one can imagine what happened to him.

Six squadron forts and seven crews participated: Lts Metts, Schobert, Beackley, Lang, Hermann, Myerscough and Bobrof.

MIA crew: 2nd Lts Bob R. Bobrof, George J. Devono, Charles D. Cole, Bernard Goodman; T/Sgts George W. Dell, Clinton S. Word, Sgt Edward F. Polski, S/Sgts Kenneth F. Hitchcock and Thomas E. Snyder. (For full story about this crew see a French publication: Epopee D'Aviateurs Americans Dans Le Sud-Vienne Ete 1944 - "Les Oefs Frais" by Christian Richard. ISBN 2-909165-39-6. [DRO]).

5. Another sloppy day so far as operational possibilities were concerned. The overcast broke through the afternoon into a fairly acceptable evening.

6. Major Halsey, with Lt Yates as his pilot, plus eight others from this outfit, led the group, in combat wing strength, to a bombing of robot plane installations at Rely, France, this morning. There was no enemy opposition and the mission was generally treated as routine and uneventful by returning crewmen. Bombing was either dead on or a very near miss. Grid pick-ups like today's job make results difficult to ascertain except from a close study of strike photos or of reconaisance pictures taken later on.

Other pilots were: Lts Gnatzig, Flint, Campbell, Beackley, Tuz, Myerscough, Metts and Hermann.

Another new crew was assigned today: 2nd Lts Fred Davison, Ralph W. Spatz, LeRoy Drummond, Henry S. Tabor; S/Sgts Calistro P. Munoz, Warren R. Wanner, Sgts Thomas R. Jordan Jr., James P. Fitzgerald, W. B. Spurling and Cpl Earl H. Pittman.

7. The squadron contributed ten ships to the group's combat wing strength of 43 bombers which took off this morning headed by Col Leber, Group Commander, for an attack on the Eral Machinewerk, Leipzig.

Visibility was good and a PA1 bombing of the assigned assembly shop target was recorded. Crewmen watched 20 enemy fighters commence a pass in the target area, but got set for nothing when the Jerries changed their minds and peeled off in the opposite direction. The ships took off in the rain and returned to a beautiful sunny day.

Navigator 1st Lt Francis B. Broderick flew with Col Leber in the lead PFF ship; in addition these pilots took part: Lts Schobert, Nelson, Hainzer, Campbell, Beackley, Gillette, Myerscough, Tuz, Lang and Marbury.

We learned today that MIA pilot Bob B. Bobrof has been promoted to 1st Lt, while other promotions were: Theodore Homdrom, squadron navigator to captain, and pilots Forrest L. Campbell, John O. English and Joseph C. Hainzer to 1st Lts.

8. Two separate formations went out this morning, briefed to bomb P-Plane sites near Coubronne-Rely. This squadron furnished the low group, 12 ships led by Lt Gnatzig, assistant operations officer. With the primary completely overcast, the boys picked a main road junction for their attack. The other formation returned to base without dropping their bombs.

Contrails were heavy, adding to the hazards and difficulties both of formation flying and observation of bombing results. There was meagre flak over the French coast, but no enemy aircraft.

Behind Lt Gnatzig were: Lts Nelson, Metts, Hermann, Hatherley and Gillette, and their crews.

9. The group was ordered to bomb St Omer airfield today, but this squadron did not participate in the operation. A 12-ship effort took off through thick undercast, returned to land in pouring rain.

2nd Lt Joseph A. Albers, promoted to 1st Lt.

10. A missions to Etaples, France, was scrubbed today due to the weather. This morning offered continued cloudiness with alternate sunshine, break-throughs, and rain squalls. By mid-afternoon the sky was almost entirely cleared off.

11. Switching from Pas de Calais areas to a blow at Das Reich itself, the group today pulled a PFF attack on Munich, hometown of the Hitler mob. Only 18 ships flew and this squadron contributed seven of those, including the PFF leader, loaned to the pacing squadron. Pilots for today were: Lts Nelson, Beackley, Hermann, Gillette, Hatherly and Demagalski.
Bombing was accomplished through a solid 10/10th undercast in the face of heavy flak throughout the target area.

There were no casualties, our P-47, P-38 and P-51 escort, was thick and expert and the Luftwaffe stayed at home so far as we were concerned.

The boys came home saying there were more Forts over Munich today that they'd ever seen striking a single target before. Every imaginable size and type of bomb, they said was being dropped.

Squadron commander, Major Charles L. Halsey is promoted to Lt Col, as for 7 July. Others who move up from 2nd to 1st Lt are: Elvin F. Anderson, Donald K. Stewart, Lester A. Gillette, William W. Harris, Wayne E. Hermann, Chester E. Hudson, James H. Long, Woodrow W. Lyles, Oscar E. Myerscough, James E. Nadeau, Russell B. Rodrick, Marcus W. Todd, Jr., and Harold W. Walkup.

12. At 09.00 hrs today 36 group Forts, including nine from this squadron, took off in grey, heavily overcast weather. There are a large number of people in Munich who, sometime early this afternoon, probably will not be recognizable to their friends.

Yesterday we participated in the large scale PFF bombing of Munich proper. Today we go back. If the cloudy weather persists it will be some sime before an assessment of bombing damage can be made. However until such time, we shall go on, whenever necessary, with this indiscriminent type of bombing originally practiced and taught so well by the Germans.

Final mission story: cloud cover all the way in and out, so bombing by PFF technique. Our escort was adequate and no enemy aircraft showed up. Flak was moderate and fairly accurate, but there were no casualties.

Pilots for today were: Lts Schobert, English, Myerscough, Demagalski, Hatherley, and Hermann. 1st Lt Broderick "mickey" navigator, flew in the lead PFF ship. A second mission, planned to Fresnoy, France, was scrubbed.

13. A Fort from the 534th, returning early from this morning's mission, lost two engines in addition to the one original faulty power plant and fell on to the LNER railroad tracks about half a mile south of Gate #2, a few minutes before 07.00 hrs.

Three 500 pound bombs went off killing all but the pilot Lt John Houston and the co-pilot, Lt William Scruggs, tearing up a few feet of track and demolishing the ship. The two officers managed to crawl away from the burning ship, which lay at the bottom of a 15 ft cut through a hill, before it exploded. They will recover.

Today's mission, to Munich again, was much like to two previous efforts. Clouds were solid under the bumbers all the way over but broke to approximately 9/10th in the target area. The lead bombardier picked out a large warehouse somewhere in the north end of Munich and used it as his MPI. This was not the briefed visual target, however. Flak was heavy, but there were no casualties and no enemy aircraft opposed the operation.

The following ten pilots participated: Lts Hainzer, English, Flint, Hatherley, Gillette, Lang, Metts, Miller, Hermann and Demagalski.

Pfc Alfred G. (Red) Hersey, Jr., long time squadron ordnance man, left for aerial gunnery training at The Wash, Station #172, Snettisham, Norfolk, this morning. He volunteered.

14. A mission to Merseburg, was scrubbed today. Weather was clear and fair at dawn, but greyed over gradually from about 10.00 hrs and held solid throughout the rest of the day.

The following officers, combat tours complete, left for home: Capt Charles A. Enos, 1st Lts Edwin Ringgenberg, Abraham A. Levine, Richard L. Snyder, Ralph G. Gillham and John C. Bohan.

Three new crews were assigned today: 2nd Lts Edwin L. Stuart, Norman M. Jones, Harry E. Richards, Burton N. Newell, Jr.; S/Sgts Thomas H. Sprung, Peter A. Haramzian, Sgts Alvis D. Kindall, Roy E. Long, Millard C. Neely and Louis A. Perrilloux.

2nd Lts John J. O'Connor, Arthur E. Rehm, James Scott, Stanley A. Milewski; S/Sgts Arthur J. DiMartile, John E. Riley, Sgts Frank W. Brown, Marion O. Heilman, James C. Smith and Ralph T. Stout.

2nd Lt Austin W. Simmons, F/O Arthuth E. Muth, Jr., 2nd Lts John J. Motto, George F. Keller; S/Sgts Charles T. Myers, Robert W. Gray, Sgt Victor H. Groll, S/Sgt Angus N. Johnson, Sgts Richard E. Monohan and Michael A. Sewell.

15. No mission today. T/Sgt Paul R. Vanderzee, top turret gunner and toggeleer, left today for 30 days' rest and recuperation at home and eventually return for a second combat tour.

16. Back to Munich again today, and the same story of heavy weather and hot flak. Oxygen is wearing the combat men down faster than the enemy opposition these days. Heavy contrails plus undercast made formation flying particularly difficult on this one and bombardiers let their stuff go off the PFF leader.

M/Sgt Charles P. Stormer, navigator assigned from the RCAF last December, today was discharged and sworn in as a 2nd Lt. This is none too soon.

17. Three gunners, all of whom have completed their tours, have been attached to the 1142nd MP Co's alert detachment, with which they'll do station night guard duty full time until they can be shipped home, This is a common way of handling the problem of large numbers of finished-up enlisted crewmen who crowd the living sites now. Most of them have been removed to Site #6.

Those involved in this move: T/Sgts Glen A. Hofert, Joseph A. Bearer; S/Sgts Samuel G. Bird, Julius M. Micek, Ralph E. Price, Kermit P. Sessons, Emery H. Naha, Earl G.Metzner, Kenneth W. Schmitt and Bruce M. Tabor.

Lts Ernest L. Campbell, Lyles Nelson, Marcus W. Todd, left today for the 12th RCD casual pool and eventually home.

18. Peenemunde, the German Air Force's rocket and buzz-bomb experimental station on the Baltic Sea, came under attack from this group today, when 38 Forts pouring their stuff into thick, heavy, black smoke of fires started by a wing bombing ahead of us. They're calling the results PA1.

There were no enemy fighters and flak was moderate and inaccurate in the target area. Europe was completely cloud-covered over our inward route, with the targets at Peenemunde showing through the only holes sighted during the whole trip. One crew from the 533rd landed in Sweden.

Participating for this squadron were: Lts English, Beackley, Albers, Demagalski, Gillette, Marbury, Metts, Miller and Rollins. Lt Broderick flew in the PFF lead ship.

S/Sgt Thomas G. Lawrence, finished up, left for home today.

19. Group Forts attacked the German depot-training base at Lechfeld today in the face of negligible enemy opposition. Bombing was good in clear weather; there were no enemy fighters and flak was met in the target area only, where only ships in the rear of the formation caught a few holes.

Today's pilots were: Lts Schobert (in lead) with Barnicle, English, Albers, Hermann, Gillette, Rollins, Marbury, Miller and Metts.

20. In perfect weather but rocked by intense and accurate flak, ten 535th pilots and crews ticipated in the group's attack on an aircraft engine facory at Dessau. Bombing results looked like PA1. Our fighter escort was perfect and no enemy aircraft showed up. No claims, no casualties.

Pilots for today were: Lts Beackley, Myerscough, Tuz, Demagalski, Rollins, Dann, Marbury, Miller, Metts and Davison.
Capt Saul B. Schwartz, squadron S-2 and Group and Station Public Relations Officer and Historian, today received the Bronze Star medal, most recently authorized military decoration, for a year's "meritorious achievement" as a PRO. So for 15 years' newspaper experience - it tends to make good public relations men.

21. Col Leber led the mission to Schweinfurt today, the group's fifth trip to what was once the toughest target in Europe. Weather was good and it looks as though they got their target at last - the small workshop, tucked down between larger factory buildings, where are made the precision instruments without which ball-bearings cannot be manufactured. We had no losses. Heavy flak was directly mainly at other wings; there were no enemy aircraft and our escort was with us all the way.

The squadron sent ten pilots: Lts Yates (with Col Leber), English, Myerscough, Demagalski, Dann, Parkman, Lang, Marbury, Davison and Miller.

A stand down has been ordered for tomorrow. This day has been chilly, the sky filled with thick, rolling, grey clouds, pouring in continuously from the north west.

22. No combat operations for today. The weather holds grey and chilly with intermittent spits of rain.

Capt Theodore Homdrom and 1st Lt Victor Mersinger have left for home, and 1st Lt Joseph D. Keating, Asst. Exec. Officer has been promoted to captain, while 2nd Lt Gayle Messenger, Sq Supply Officer, goes up to 1st Lt.

A new crew arrived today: 2nd Lts Charles O. Todd, Jr., Kenneth McGriffin, Milton A. Hoffman, John E. Wertin; Cpl Kenneth H. Boura, S/Sgt John E. Lowder, Cpls Milton E. LaBarr, Joseph F. Krolocki, Willard G. Marshall and Robert O. Carney.

F/O Joseph D. Grace, wounded and transferred out some time ago has been re-assigned from 12th RCD, Chorley.

23. The stand is down again and the weather holds the same. The following gunners have been transferred to another bomb group: S/Sgt Delbert D. Rasey, Sgts William G. Ezard, Charles E. Johnson, Carl A. Juda, John B. Payne and Leland L. Yelvington. All are spares.

24. Today's mission, in support of American ground action south of St Lo, France, brought forth what should be called a maximum effort even in these days of growing bomb groups. We put 54 ships up from the group, with the 535th providing 13 of them.

Lts Schobert and Gnatzig led one group to a tactical target lightly defended by flak. Bombing results - with the job done on a grid plan - remain in doubt. This is fairly new stuff for us.

A year ago we had perhaps 30 ships flyable, or less if losses over nearly two months' operations are considered. Now we put up, without straining too much, the equivalent of the old combat wing. Three battle groups fly from our group almost every mission now. Participating today, in addition to the leaders were: Lts Beackley, Tuz, Myerscough, Rollins, Herman, Dann, Miller, Metts, Demagalski, Davison, Marbury and Lang.

The latest promotions include: to T/Sgts, former S/Sgts Clarence B. Bankston, Donald L. Coultrip, Meyer W. Johnston, Charles W. Bertwell, Alfred I. Hausen and Richard H. Meier. To S/Sgts, former Sgts Dann V. Clark, Jr., Gerald M. Hickman, Charles W. Newcomb, Robert R. Torbet, Edward H. Brostek, Marvin W. Ford, Henry Meier, Felix Wojcik and George H. Robben. To Sgts, former Cpls Vere D. Clair Jr., Paul E. Miller; and Pvts Edward Bond, Elmer J. Lewis.

25. Today's mission was to St Lo again, and was similar to yesterday's. Again it looked as though American artillery support of our attack had come off as briefed against enemy flak installations. This time 52 group Forts, with 13 of ours, made the run. Bombing was time to occur only minutes before the opening of an American push to break out of the St Lo salient.

Leading one group were Lts Schobert and Barnicle, along with: Lts Beackley, Dann, Demagalski, Tuz, Marbury, Myerscough, Lang, Rollins, Hermann, Miller, Davison and Metts.

M/Sgt Malcolm N. (Moe) Lemire, new line chief, now plays regular sax with the station dance band, "The Rockets". Nice little outfit. Moe is as able with the clarinet as with the saxophone.

26. A mission to Berlin was scrubbed. Two new crews were assigned: 2nd Lts McLendon M. Stallings, Joe B. Grobe, Charles R. Cutter III, Robert H. Cotton; Sgts Erwin O. Glaser, Frank D. Hermance, Orley N. Meritt, George W. Olliges, Cpls William D. Sederwall and Jack E. Booth.

2nd Lts David Sweetland, William G. Haines, Robert M. Francis, F/O Leland H. Doda; S/Sgt Thomas R. Ressler, Sgt James R. Hamilton, Cpls Martin M. Hogan, Charles E. Lynn, Earl E. Amell and Read Shoemaker.

1st Lt Joseph C. Hainzer has left for the States and Pfc Alfred G. Hersey, Jr., sporting brand-new gunner's wings, is back after successfully completing a training course at The Wash, Snettisham, Norfolk. He's checked out as a ball turret gunner, but will fly any gun in order to get in missions.

27. A mission to Munich was scrubbed. No other occurrences.

28. Col Halsey with Lt Yates and eight squadron pilots led the group to Merseburg today, to bomb a synthetic oil plant by PFF with undetermined results. Flak was moderate, there were no enemy fighters and weather, staring with a solid undercast, was what the GI calls "pisspoor"!

Today's other participants were: Lts English, Flint, Rollins, Demagalski, Parkman, Miller, Dann and Lang.

Promoted from 2nd to 1st Lts were: Eugene J. Roberts and Prince A. Rollins. There's a big rash of re-classifications evident in the morning report today, with a total of 28 EM, including 1st Sgt Charlie Butts (from 585 to 502), affected.

29. Back to the same target, at Merseburg, over the same route today. The weather was worse, if possible, than yesterday, but breaking clear over the target. However, Jerry had the big, thick smoke pots out all over the place, so the boys bombed PFF anyway. We experienced little trouble, although flak was heavy to our left. A wing ahead was jumped by 40-50 enemy fighters.

Participating squadron pilots were: Lts Schobert and Barnicle; Tuz, Marbury, English, Hermann, Lang, Simmons, Davison and Stuart, with Lt Broderick flying in the lead PFF ship again.

The squadron came through a successful stand-by barracks and personnel inspection conducted by Col Halsey, 1st Sgt Butts and a small group of officers.

With other groups in the First Division, we have received a presidential citation for our part in the January 11 raid on Oschersleben. We may now - gravel scratchers as well as combat men - wear the blue, laurel-bordered citation emblem, which only about half the ETO seems to be sporting these days. However, Oschersleben was rough, but solid, and we may wear our blue with some pride.

30. The group got a stand down for today. Two promotions sees 2nd Lts John B. Dann and James R. Lang move up to 1st Lts. Both are pilots.

31. The ships began taking off at 08.30 hrs this morning to attack the BMW Aero Motor Works at Allach, seven miles NW of Munich. They went all the way just skimming anvil-topped cumulus clouds at 27,000 ft. The undercast held solid all the way to Allach, where the lead bombardier found what he called the only hole of the day.

Successfully negotiating a quck switch from PFF to visual bombing procedure, he paced the wing to a good job. No opposition from enemy fighters, but flak was moderate.

Leading today were Lts Parkman with Gnatzig; and Tuz, Flint, Miller, Dann, Rollins, Hatherley, O'Connor and Metts. Lt Angevine flew on our PFF ship, #42-97625, "Sunkist Special", flown by Capt Sandman, 533rd CO, who led the wing.


 

August 1944

 

535th Bomb Sq.
381st Bomb Group (H)
WAR DIARY
Submitted by Cpl. Ray Ingham

AUGUST 1944

1. The squadron put up 10 crews and nine Forts for today's double-target mission to Meulan/Villa and Etampes/Mondesare, airfields, in France. Three hit Etampes and seven went with the Meulan contingent. Flak caused little trouble and there were no enemy fighters encountered or seen. Bombing results were undetermined.
Participating pilots were: Lts Beackley, Lang, Hermann, Albers, Stuart, Demagalski, Simmons, Todd, Miller and Hatherley.

Personnel notes include the transfers to 12th RCD, Chorley, of combat officers: 1st Lts William F. Hotaling, Lester A. Gillette and Richard E. Shaw; and the promotion of John W. Carson from 2nd to 1st Lt. east coast last night. None of the rest of the crew is as yet reported.

This morning 36 of our Forts took off for Germany carrying delayed action bombs for an attack on the experimental station at Peenemunde on the Baltic coast. This place is a centre for robot bomb production and testing and may house installations concerned with the new, mammoth V-2 rocket projectile with which the Germans are now threatening England.

Group commander Col Leber led the contingent, which in turn paced the air division, flying in the squadron's PFF ship, "Sunkist Special", with a 532nd crew on board. Col Leber reported the weather was good for bombing and lead bombardier Major Fullick is confident he PA1'd his target.

Through the entire course of the 90-second bomb run the 40-odd flak guns below rocked our ships with unusually accurate tracking fire. There were no casualties but plenty of the boys returned home with hardware souvenirs. The only sign of the Luftwaffe was five planes which Col Leber reported seeing at a great distance from his formation after the bomb run. Escort was OK, although the boys saw very little of it.

Shortly after take-off the deputy leader, a PFF with 532nd crew and carrying station photographic officer, Capt Francis Hawkins as passenger, caught fire and crash-landed near Wethersfield, a few miles from the base, where most of its bomb load exploded. The only casualty was tail gunner Norris, whose body was found in part of the wreckage. All other parachuted safely.

Our pilots today were: Lts Todd, Miller, Rojohn, Levitoff, Myerscough, Clark, Jarvill, Bowser and Lingenfelter. (However the crew loading file indicates the pilots were: Todd, Miller, Marbury, Lang, Hermann, Davison, Roberts, Hatherley, Rollins and Metts, for whom Lingenfelter is given as co-pilot. - DRO)

These combat officers have been promoted: Thomas E. Barnicle, from 1st Lt to captain; 2nd Lts Fred R. Jarvill, Floyd H. Metts and Warren M. Miller to 1st Lt. Meantime 1st Lt Walter L. Tyson, Jr., is off to 12th RCD, Chorley, and home.

5. Captain Sandman, 533rd commander, led 35 of 36 Forts to Nienburg, some 25 miles NW of Hannover, for what seems to have been a good job on underground oil stores. Cpl Nat Aines, bombardiers' clerk at group, says men in the rear of the formation reported seeing plenty of thick, black smoke, although no such observations were turned in by men up front.

Flak was the story. Weather was good all the way in and the bombing was done visually. No enemy fighters were seen. The flak picked the ships up going in over the north German coast, accounting for one ship and crew, (Lt Palmer, 533rd, and deputy PFF) and wounding a navigator. Palmer dropped out of formation before the bomb run, remains unreported.

Lt Flint finished up on this one. His combat record includes 31 consecutive non-abortive missions, without even the loss of one engine through the tour.

Col Leber told the CBW after his flash rereport that we could use a stand down any time they cared to arrange it. Said we needed time of to catch up on maintenance work; he was tired of flying his wagons on three engines. Flak damage has been small in surface appearance lately, actually serious in result and extensive in the last three days.

Participating today were: Lts Beackley, Demagalski, Flint, Roberts, Miller, Stuart, Davison, Todd and Metts.
Combat promotions and assignments constitute the main squadron news notes for today. To T/Sgts were: Robert C. Adams, Thomas R. Ackerson, Eldon E. Bauman, Lennace J. Boudreaux, Dana V. Clark Jr., Claude A. Curtis Jr., Marvin W. Ford, William A. Garrick, Myron E. Gates, Ralph M. Kiker, Joe F. Stobaugh, Robert R. Torbet, Herman V. Weise and Felix Wojcik. To S/Sgts: Edwin J. Bond, Leon S. Bucy, Vere D. Clair Jr., Paul F. DeCesare, Omer L. Godfrey, Leo F. Lynch, Edwin L. McGorgary, William W. McLaren, Frank T. Maslanka, Alfred E. Miller Jr., Paul E. Miller, Mike M. Navarro, Dwight Y. Upton, Robert B. Weatherman and Harold G. Witzer; To Sgts: Harold W. Hofer and Earl H. Pittman Jr.

A new crew was assigned today: 2nd Lt Richard A. Mitchell, F/O Ray Boone, 2nd Lts James F. Arnold, Fred H. Avery; Sgts William J. Trainor, Leo J. Duggan, Clarence A. Sapienza, Howard A. Hermel, Harold B. Macklin and Col Glenn W. Hall.

6. The group lost a Fort from one of the other squadrons today as our ships attacked an aircraft plant at Brandenburg, 25 miles SE of Berlin. Major Briggs, 534th, led the formation which circled Berlin to line up for an excellent visual run on the target in perfect weather for good results.

No enemy aircraft attacked our ships, although some of the men reported seeing dogfights between Jerry and escorting fighters at a great distance as this group came off the bomb run. Today was the outfit's 166th accomplished mission out of 276 alerted or briefed.

Nine squadron crews and 11 Forts participated. Major Briggs used "Sunkist Special", Johnny Dirrane's PFF leader for the fourth trip in as many days. The 533rd borrowed another. Our pilots were: Lts Beackley, Lang, Miller, Rollins, Hatherley, Roberts, Jarvill, Simmons and Stuart.

7. The group put up 51 Forts, the top mark to date, for a two-target attack near Paris. Lt Gnatzig led the squadron with the formation that attacked St Florentine, south east of the city. The second contingent struck at Bourron-Malott, due south. In both cases the target was oil storage tanks.

There was light flak, which caused neither group any trouble, going in and bombing results are believed to have been good in both cases. No flak at all in the target areas and no fighter opposition.
Squadron pilots were: Lts Beackley (with Gnatzig), Marbury, Demagalski, Metts, Simmons, O'Connor, Todd, Hatherley and Jarvill.

Crew chiefs M/Sgts George W. Their and Edgar B. Dutton, with radio operator T/Sgt Joseph Nicatra, left today for temporary duty with the 15th Air Force in Italy. This is the second trip for Dutton.

2nd Lt James P. Chisholm, recently wounded and transferred out, has been re-assigned to the squadron, as S/Sgt Robert C. Farlois, mess sergeant, leaves for assignment to the European Civil Affairs Division.
Combat officers, 1st Lts Holly W. Boots, James C. Parkman and John O. English left for 12th RCD Chorley, and home, today.

8. The group went in for infantry support today, with Col Halsey leading a combat wing to bomb German lines near Caen. This is a direct tie-up effort with the British-Canadian offensive in the Caen sector. Germans have been trying for two days to cut out a wedge between the British and Canadian units and ours in the Avranches sector, but have been held so far. The Allies are tying up a great amount of German armor here while Gen. Patton runs the right end, threatening to encircle the German Seventh Army where it fights.

Our planes bombed from under 14,000 ft today and flak was rugged. Capt Barnicle, flying deputy to Major Halsey, is down somewhere behind Allied lines but as yet not definitely reported. The boys saw gun flashes, convoys and vehicles on the ground near where they bombed. However tracking flak, which holed most of the ships but caused no casualties, kept them ducking in the target area, which was designated simply by co-ordinates.

Certainly we could use a stand down, for maintenance purposes. The ships are flying flak patches. Today's is the sixth consecutive mission, most of them rough for flak.

Pilots today were: Lts Yates (with Halsey), Beackley (with Barnicle), Demagalski, Dann, Simmons, Stallings, Roberts, Miller and Sweetland.

Sgt Stanley M. Dorfman, sick, has been transferred out, along with 1st Lt Joseph M. Albers, Jr., combat officer, transferred to the 482nd BG, at Alconbury.

These officers are promoted from 2nd to 1st Lts: Edwin E. Beran, Gene J. Demagalski, Paul E. Fanaberia, John E. Johns, William F. Letson, Crawford T. Marbury and Max R. Miller.

9. For the first time in nine missions we failed to put up combat wing strength today, as 27 Forts, led by Lt Col David Kunkel, Ops Of., bombed Saarbrucken, a target of opportunity bombed by PFF after foul weather prevented an attack on the primary.

Today's is the seventh mission in as many days, and with flak tough again we're feeling the strain of hard and steady maintenance repairs. Flak damage today was the worst in 12 days and both hangars and the line are swamped with major and minor repairs. Yesterday 24 ships came home with major battle damage and ten of those were made operational for today's mission.

Squadron pilots today were: Lts Marbury, Lang, Miller, Davison, O'Connor and Hatherley. The latter flew a 532nd ship. Lt Angevine flew with Capt Winters in a 532nd lead ship. He is being recommended for the DFC for his fine navigation performance under adverse weather conditions and over and unbriefed course.

Ground man Sgt Wall Brooks, was assigned from Group HQ.

10. Stand down today, at last, but it's a break for the combat men only. All 448th Sub Depot personnel are restricted until flak-damaged planes are flyable again.

Capt Barnicle and all but two of his crew returned from France today. He's not available for interview yet, but details should be available later today or tomorrow.

11. This morning was clear and warm, with an absolutely cloudless sky. Planes did not take off until 14.30 hrs, however, scheduled for a 17.00 hrs ETA. The target was harbor installations and fortifications across from Brest. The mission was ideal, with neither flak nor fighters to oppose our bombing.

The primary objective was the fortification from which beseiged Germans have been lobbing shells over Brest on top of American troops trying to take the city. Bombing was good and the men returned satisfied they had done a good support job.

Capt Gnatzig led one contingent. Other squadron pilots were: Lts Demagalski, Stallings, Simmons, Davison, Hermann, Metts, Stuart and Sweetland.
S/Sgt David G. Gildin, Wilson's old tail gun
ner, has been transferred to Eighth Composite Command HQ. They're the "paper route" boys. Gildin has completed a tour here.

12. No mission again today although the weather is excellent.

The following promotions have been announced: to T/Sgts, David Caldwell, Peter Haramzian, Angus N. Johnson, Robert L. McGee, Calistro P. Munoz, Charles T. Myers, Thomas H. Sprung and J. W. Swafford. To S/Sgts, James P. Fitzgerald, Victor E. Groll, Jr., Harold W. Hofer, Thomas R. Jordan Jr., Alvin D. Kindall, Roy E. Long, Millard C. Neely, Louis A. perriloux, Earls H. Pittman Jr., Michael A. Sewell, W.B. Spurling Jr., and Robert J. Trausch. To Sgts, Earl E. Amell, Jack E. Booth, Kenneth H. Boura, Robert O. Carney, Glenn W. hall, Alfred G. Hersey Jr., Joseph F. Krolicki, Milton E. LaBarr, Charles E. Lynn, Willard G. Marshall, Johnny T. Mills, William H. Sederwall and Read Shoemaker.

These combat men, who have finished their tours, today left for the 12th RCD, Chorley: 1st Lts John H. Dann, Ray H. Flint, Woodrow W. Lyles and Prince A. Rollins; T/Sgts Arthur P. Andrzejewski, Joseph A. Bearer, and Bertram D. Williams; S/Sgts Bud R. Church, Julius M. Micek, Ralph E. Price, Bruce M. Tabor and Ralph C. West.

S/Sgt Vincent L. DeLucca, armorer-gunner, who has finished his tour, has been transferred to the 532nd. He'll be a gunnery instructor.

13. The squadron suffered its first casualties - one killed, one wounded - in many weeks today when ten crews participated in the group's bombing of a major road junction, near Rouen, France.

Flak was unusually heavy again and Lt William G. Haines, Jr., Lt Sweetland's navigator, died through loss of blood after a piece of shrapnel severed one leg, almost took off the second. Wounded at the same time was S/Sgt Thomas R. Ressler, engineer.

These were our pilots: Lts Marbury, Lang, Metts, Jarvill, Roberts, O'Connor, Davison, Stalling, Todd and Sweetland.

There were no enemy aircraft encountered today and weather was perfect. The pressure on the Germans is stepping up as they try to pull their Seventh Army out of the harrowing Falaise Gap. Everything the British and Americans cans put in the air - lights, mediums, heavies, fighter-bombers, rocket-throwers - is pounding away at the routed enemy troops.

14. Col Halsey, who led a combat wing today, called the operation the "perfect mission", as our group hit the Metz/Frescaty airfield in clear weather unopposed. Neither enemy fighters or flak stood in the way, and Col Halsey emphasised the fact to his bombardiers were able to pick up their targets more than 20 miles away. Everyone made the distance without incident, escorted fully all the way.

This has been a hot, gorgeous day throughout, just the sort of weather we've needed from D-Day on. The sky is filled with the thunder of planes - Havoc, Forts, Marauders, Libs, by day, and the RAF by night. Everything's thundering eastward.

Pilots who participated were: Lts Yates (with Halsey), Myerscough (with Gnatzig), Miller, Hatherley, Long, Todd, Simmons, Stuart and Davison.

Capt Joseph M. Murray, long-time squadron S-2, has been assigned to Group HQ as overall S-2, replacing Major Lynn S. Kidd, transferred back to the States. Replacing Capt Murray is Capt Edward W. Stone, who joined the squadron this date.

Sgt Harold O. Olsen, ground man, was assigned from a replacement depot, and the following two new crews (both without navigator & bombardier): 2nd Lts Howard D. Bowser, Roy H. Kephart; S/Sgt John H. Nassar, Sgts Alfred Parkin, Allen L. Summer, Cpls Francis D. Crosson and Robert J. Garrou. (plus another?)
2nd Lts Lloyd A. Smith, Raymond A. Beine; S/Sgt Robert H. Mumper, Raymond Myers, Sgts Gaylord M. Crane, Dale E. Hemenway, Cpls John Geradi and Robert E. Fowler Jr.

15. Tying in with a tremendous British-American air assault on German airfields from the Low Countries through France and into Das Reich itself, the group today sent 37 Forts to bomb the Ostheim field, just south of Cologne, in the Ruhr Valley.

Flak was not too bad for our high-flying squadron, but the lead element caught a full four minutes of accurate, tracking bursts before, during and after the bomb run. No enemy fighters and a good bombing, Lt Col Hall, who led the group, reporting PA1 results on the objective, which had been hit by two wings before ours got there.
Returning crewmen reported seeing Lancasters out by day, doing a good close job on airdromes in Holland and Belgium. Radio this morning reports Allied landings in southern France by paratroops and craft-borne soldiers. No details as to numbers, progress or specific invasion points.

Taking part today were: Lts Tuz (with Barnicle), Lang, Roberts, Jarvill, O'Connor, Demagalski, Stalling Long and Hatherley. 1st Lt Broderick, mickey-navigator, flew with Lt Col Hall in the 532nd's lead PFF bomber.
The story on Barnicle is short but of some interest. Flak hit his ship, "Button Nose" hard on the way to the bomb run, started a fire in the bomb bay after doors were open and tore an extinguisher out of T/Sgts Glover's hand as the engineer went out to fight the blaze. Barnicle pulled out of the formation and headed back. When fire in the bomb bay and right wing got out of control he ordered the boys to bail out, leaving last himself.

The plane crashed into a schoolhouse near the Canadian side of the line close to Caen. Exploding bombs fortunately caused no casualties. Barnicle and his crew came down rather widely separated, a few hung up in trees, but none was more shaken up or bruised a bit.

The officers and men were gathered up by the British - a private climbed the tree in which Lt Long was hanging, helped extricate hime from his harness, and spent the nigh at a C-47 base, where Barnicle won several hundred francs in a crap game. All but two were flown back in a transport the next day. The latter are in Allied hands and will be home soon.

These tour of combat finishers left for 12th RCD, Chorley today: 1st Lts Robert G. Beackley, James H. Long, Donald K. Stewart; S/Sgts Samuel G. Bird, Earl G. Metzner, Emery H. Naha, Kermit P. Sessons, Kenneth W. Schmitt and T/Sgt Henry L. Miller.

16. In CAVU weather and meeting only moderate, but accurate flak, the 532nd led 36 group Forts to a PA1 bombing of an aircraft assembly plant on the north edge of Halle, Germany today. Fighters hit the wing behind ours, downing five before the area escort got back there. This was in the target area, but we were not attacked all day.

The boys figure it was quite a day for everyone. Men report seeing eight or more targets down the west side of Leipzig hit hard and smoking or burning heavily. One officer reported noticing what at first looked like a flak battery firing at our formation, suddenly he realised he was flying directly over a newly-hit ammunition dump, still burning and exploding, throwing off heavy smoke.

This squadron sent nine crews and ten Forts, with Lt Angevine, mickey-navigator, flying in the deputy lead ship with the 532nd. Our pilots were: Lts Myerscough (with Gnatzig), Davison, Simmons, Hatherly, Stallings, Marbury, Stuart, Todd and Long.

1st Lts Wayne E. Hermann and Harold W. Walkup, pilot and navigator, left for 12th RCD, Chorley, and 21-30 days' rest and recuperation in the States. They'll be back for a second tour.

17. Today is a stand down. Formerly MIA, two evaders returned today: T/Sgt Clinton F. Word and S/Sgt Kenneth F. Hitchcock.

18. Another stand down today. These combat promotions have been announced: To T/Sgts: Arthur J. DeMartile, James P. Fitzgerald, John E. Lowder, Thomas R. Ressler, John E. Riley and Harold I. Shenkel.
To S/Sgts: Earl E. Amell, Jack E. Booth, Kenneth H. boura, Frank W. Brown, Robert O. Carney, Erwin C. Glaser, James R. Hamilton, Marion O. Heilman, Frank D. Hermance, Alfred G. Hersey Jr., Martin H. Hogan Jr., Joseph F. Krolicki, Milton E. LeBarr, Charles E. Lynn, Willard G. Marshall, Orley N. Merritt Jr., and Johnny T. Mills.

19. Yet another stand down. Gunner-radio operator George W. Olliges promoted from Sgt to S/Sgt.

20. Foul weather again today means another stand down. It was grey, overcast, drizzly, windy and chilly. Other gunners were promoted to S/Sgts: Richard A. Monahan, William H. Sederwall, Read Shoemaker, James C. Smith, Ralph Stout and ground man Wall Brooks.

21. Fifth stand down in as many days. Weather is the same.

S/Sgt George W. Olliges, left today, transferred to the 36th BS, with the 482nd BG, Alconbury. Evaders S/Sgt Charles D. Middleton and Sgt David W. Souder were re-assigned to the squadron today. Both were formerly MIA, Middleton on his last mission when he went down.

22. No mission was called today. 1st Lt Gayle Messenger, former co-pilot grounded for medical reasons and serving for a long time as squadron supply officer, has been transferred out sick.

Bombardier 1st Lt Elvin E. Andrews left for 12th RCD Chorley; 2nd Lt Roy J. Rice, co-pilot and formerly MIA, has been re-assigned.

23. A mission called for Russelheim, Germany, was scrubbed. This makes the seventh consecutive non-operational day for the group this month.

Sgts Joseph M. Connable and Roy D. Vitkus, formerly MIA and successful evaders, re-joined the squadron today.

24. The war's on again for the 381st!

Major Sandman, 533rd CO, led the group combat wing strength to a PA1 bombing of the land armaments plant at Weimer, south east of Leipzig. Weather was foul over England but clear most of the way in over the Continent. Then it thickened up to heavy cumulus clouds near the target, then opened just at the right time. Flak was moderate, but wounded toggleer S/Sgt David Caldwell in the right arm. He stock to his post through a goods bombs-away. Will be recommended for an Oak Leaf Cluster to his Air Medal.

No flak over the target itself and no fighters encountered. Our escort was unusually heavy, and the briefed course took the boys on a "Cook's Tour" of Germany in a deliberate but vain attempt to suck up some enemy fighters.

Lt Tuz, flying a squadron leader, aborted; the other pilots were: Lts Miller, Roberts, Jarvill, Mitchell, Metts, Sweetland, Stallings, Hatherly and Todd.

Lt Francis Broderick flew in the lead ship with another squadron. Sgt John Dirrane's PFF, "Sunkist Special" flew with the 533rd as wing leader.

1st Lt William W. Harris, navigator, left for the 12th RDC, Chorley today; S/Sgt Robert R. Blair, engineer and top turret, promoted to T/Sgt. He was recently re-classified as a toggeleer. Also promoted to Sgts were: Francis D. Crosson, Robert J. Garrou, Robert E. Fowler and John Geradi.

25. Our Forts took off at 08.30 hrs today for an attack on the Focke-Wulf assembly plant located on the edge of a wood on the north of the airfield at Neubrandenburg, near the western Baltic Sea. Flak was moderate to meagre going in and none of it was aimed at our formation. Weather was fair but there were some clouds and haze.

The escort was perfect and the bombing believed to be PA2, with some patterns a bit of centre, but the location of the target, with the camouflaging effect of the woods, made accurate observation of results difficult.
These nine pilots participated: Lts Demagalski, Stallings, Stuart, Long, Tuz, Jarvill, Davison, Todd and Simmons.

26. Lt Col Halsey this morning led an 09.00 hrs take-off on a mission to Gelsenkirchen, in the Ruhr Valley; our first trip to the "Happy Valley" in some time. Flak was heavy but our ships weathered it well. Lt Nevius bombed visually through broken clouds, into the smoke of a previous attack, No fighter opposition but we had a mammoth escort.

Taking part were: Lts Yates (with Col Halsey), Marbury, Roberts, Mitchell, Todd, Stallings, Hatherley, Davison and Simmons.

27. The 532nd led today's mission, briefed for Berlin, but bad weather over the Continent imposed the necessity for choosing a target of opportunity, Emden, which was bombed by PFF. Flak was bad, with enemy gunners working by radar. Many ships returned with battle damage, one, in another squadron, with one dead and four wounded aboard. This squadron had no casualties. There were no enemy fighters and bombing results undetermined.

Participating were: Lts Stallings (with Gnatzig as squadron lead), Metts Stuart, Davison, Simmons, Myerscough, Long, Jarvill and Mitchell. We borrowed four ships from other squadrons.

A new crew arrived recently and assigned today: 2nd Lts Jack R. Thornton, Ralph E. Quatrine, George A. Peterson, James R. Farley; Sgt John H. Sheffield, Cpls Stanley Borden, Clarence C. Cochrane, Abraham I. Cohen, Merlin L, Klein and Murray Mishalow.

Combat officers recently promoted were 2nd Lts: Howard M. Carter, Fred Davison, James F. Grey, Jack A. Keating, Robert O. Long, Edwin W. O'Neill, Austin W. Simmons, Charles P. Stormer and Edwin L. Stuart, all to 1st Lts.

28. A stand down. A grey morning with rain beginning at 08.30 hrs.

29. They played Taps over the tannoy last night and today we had another stand down. 2nd Lt Nelson Hatherely was promoted 1st Lt.

These combat men, tours completed, left for 12th RCD, Chorley today: 1st Lt Wayne A. Schobert, T/Sgts Louis levy, james W. Thompson and Russell H. Adams; S/Sgts Harold I. Shenkel, Francis Lobasso, Samuel T. White Jr., Arthur T. O'Malley and Willard F. Seaman.

Crew chiefs Their and Dutton, rog Nicatra, returned today from a month's service with the 15th Air Force in Italy; 1st Lt Eugene Adkins, gunnery officer, has left for training at the Army's flexible gunnery school at Laredo, Texas.

Major Isaac N. Taylor, pilot and former training squadron commander in the States with nearly 3,000 flying hours to his credit in less than four years' Army service, was assigned to the squadron today. Looks like a new CO is on the way; that's the current feeling in the face of us getting an officer of such high rank at a time like this.

30. They played Taps again last night, and everyone figured a stand down for today. This morning it was drizzling intermittently but about 09.30 hrs S-2 got a stand-by and by noon the planes were taking off. Our armorers, ordnance men and refueling operators were pushed to load nine aircraft with ten 500-pound incendiaries and 2,700 gallons of gas apiece.

Targets were docks, warehouses and submarine works at Kiel, which were bombed by PFF, Lt Col Hall leading. Bombs away from a good formation in the face of moderate but accurate flak and no fighters.
This squadron put up 11 ships and nine pilots: Lts Demagalski (with Capt Barnicle), Miller, Stuart, Long, Mitchell, Tuz, Marbury, Hatherley and O'Connor.

Lt Broderick, Sgts Glover and Howry finished up, while evaders Word and Hitchcock left for Mitchell Field, New York.

31. Another stand down today. S/Sgt Donald C. davis, ball turret, who finished his tour recently and has been serving as spotlight trainer instructor, left for Fort Myers, Fla., gunnery school today, where he'll be schooled for a post as gunnery instructor in the States. S/Sgt Wall Brooks, groundman, was also transferred to the Zone of the Interior.


 

September 1944

 

535th Bomb Sq.
381st Bomb Group (H)
WAR DIARY
Submitted by Cpl. Ray Ingham

SEPTEMBER 1944

1. Squadron Forts took off with the group formation for Ludwigshafen this morning but the efforts was recalled while planes were over France. Weather was the cause.

Furloughs, recently re-authorized, began for 38 EM today. S/Sgt Charles D. Middleton, tail gunner and evader, left for Mitchell Field, New York; 1st Lt Emory H. Baird, bombardier, tour completed, left for 12th RCD, Chorley; 2nd Lt Andrew G. Claytor, pilot and formerly MIA, now an evader, has been temporarily re-assigned to the squadron.

A new crew has been assigned: 2nd Lts William H. Clark, John H. Murphy, John C. Simpson Jr., Joseph M. Byrnes; Sgt Albert L. Fischer, Harold E. Hallstrom, Carl R. Cates, Robert P. Foster Jr, Irving L. Dunham and Salvatore J. Francese.

2. The group was non-operational today.

The following promotions were announced: from S/Sgt to T/Sgt: Paul A. Burke, Nelson Vredenbaugh, Jack R. Booth, James R. Hamilton, Kenneth H. Boura, Erwin C. Glaser and Martin H. Hogan Jr. Cpls to Sgts: Stanley Borden, Abraham I. Cohen, Murray Mishalow, Clarence C. Cochrane and Merlin K. Klein.

Pilots Philip W. Gnatzig and Howard R. Yates promoted from 1st Lt to captain along with Corbin J. Roberson; bombardier Melvin R. McIntyre from 2nd Lt to 1st Lt.

Evaders S/Sgts David W. Souder and Roy D. Vitkus, one time MIA, have been transferred to 1st Air Force HQ, Mitchell Field, New York.

3. The group attacked synthetic oil refineries at Ludwigshafen today through a 10/10th undercast, bombing by PFF. Flak was moderate and accurate at the target but no enemy aircraft were encountered.

Participating pilots were: Lts Stallings (with Capt Barnicle), Myerscough, Jarvill, O'Connor, Todd, Stuart, Roberts, Simmons and Max Miller. "Mickey" operators 1st Lts Broderick and Angevine flew in 534th lead ships.

4. The group was non-operational today. 1st Lt Gordon D. Baker, pilot, left for recuperation leave in the Zone of the Interior today.

As part of the new program to reduce squadron combat strength to about 22 crews and hold at that level, the following officer and 64 EM, the squadron's largest shipment and consisting of men of all degrees of tour-duty fulfillment, left for 12th RCD, Chorley, today: 1st Lt Russell R. Rodrick; T/Sgts Lennace J. Boudreaux, John F. Ensminger, William A. Garrick, Franklin M. Glover, Floyd C. Hanson, James R. Haynie, Rexford W. Hintz, Glenn A. Hofert, John D. Jansson, James L. Judd, Lewis J. McGuire, Grover E. Padgett, Hugo E. Pancheri, Kenneth Starks, Ralph Tutini and Robert H. Vandermolen.

S/Sgts: Levett L. Bennett, Ralph D. Bowers, Thomas G. Bowser Jr., Frank W. Brown, Stacy Culberson, Shannon B. Early, Morton L. Ex, Victor H. Groll Jr., Josiah D. Hank III, Robert B. Helmer, John N. Howry, Albert J. Jacob, David Jensen, Robert Kantor, Joseph P. Krolicki, Joe L. Lattimore, Edward P. LePage, Robert J. McFarland, Walter E. McFadden Jr., Merrill M. Meyer, Robert H. Miller, Johnny T. Mills, Raymond Myers, Charles T. Newcomb, Edwin F. Nichols, Robert J. Orr, Edmund W. Orzel, Earl H. Pittman Jr., Walter C. Prettyman, Colin F. Scott, Burtner E. Seibert, Robert J. Trausch, Ernest F. Waggy and Virgil A. Walker.
Sgts: Gaylord M. Crane, Francis D. Corsson, Leo J. Duggan, Robert J. Garrou, Robert E. Fowler, John Gerardi, Glenn M. Hall, Dale E. Hemenway, Howard A. Hermel, Harold P. Macklin, Alfred Parkin, Howard G. Prowse, Clarence G. Sapienza and Allen G. Summers.

These men left at noon today by truck for Gt Yeldham railroad station.

5. Non-operational again today.

6. Two missions were scrubbed today, one calling for an attack on a target at Genshaggen, near Berlin the other against Bremen's dockyards.

7. Again the group is non-operational. Evader 2nd Lt Harvey L. Christensen, bombardier, was then re-assigned to ETO Headquarters.

Two new crews joined the squadron: 2nd Lt Julius Levitoff, John Champion, Sgt Anthony Skrinski Jr., 2nd Lt Joseph G. Ward; Cpls Bruce M. Hilliard, Alfred J. Krautz, Gil Menendez and John J. Sladek. All but Levitoff, Champion and Menendez and on DS. Also this is the first crew assigned to the squadron without a bombardier; we're flying many EM as "toggleers" these days, but apparently they're not training GI's to fly the push-button back in the States yet. That should be showing up soon, in the new crews we get.

2nd Lts Leonard E. Rojohn, Donovan L. Chamberlin, S/Sgt William E. Abbott (waist gunner who did a tour with the 533rd, and left for the States last March, then volunteered for this tour from gunery instructorship), Cpls Oscar K. Brantley, Morris L. Heatherington, John F. Macknyk, James E. Williams and Charles Yevtich. All but Rojohn, Chamberlin and Heatherington are on DS.

8. Seven squadron Forts and nine crews participated in today's PFF attack on Ludwigshafen. Bombing was accomplished through solid undercast, with no enemy aircraft to oppose the job, flak moderate to intense in the target area and our escort numerous, but occupied, if at all, only with stragglers.

Our pilots were: Capt Yates (with Col Halsey as combat winger leader), Lts Stallings (with Capt Gnatzig), Myerscough, Lang, Hatherley, Todd, Smith, Bowser and Simmons. We flew two 532nd ships and the 533rd borrowed one of ours.

9. Today's PFF missions took the crews to Mannheim, where, unopposed by enemy aircraft, and in the face of moderate flak, bombardiers worked through solid undercast.

Participating were: Lts Stallings (with Major Taylor as observer), Metts, Davison, Jarvill, Hatherley, Mitchell, Marbury, Smith, Bowser, Todd, Lang and Thornton. We furnished 11 of the 12 ships our pilots flew.

10. Evader pilot Andrew P. Claytor has been promoted from 2nd Lt to 1st Lt; other promotions: S/Sgt Willard G. Bessey to T/Sgt; Cpls Carl Gates, Irving L. Dunham, Robert F. Foster, Salvatore J. Francese and Harold L. Hallstrom to Sgts.

Through meagre but accurate flak, six of our ships bombed with the group today in a visual job on targets at Gaggenau, Germany. Bombing was good and no enemy aircraft encountered.

Our pilots were: Lts Metts, O'Connor, Marbury, Davison, Long and Bowser.

11. Major Taylor led the squadron today as the group struck an oil storage depot at Merseburg. Bombs were seen in the target area, flak was moderate and fairly accurate, but the Luftwaffe failed to show.

Today's pilots were: Lts Demagalski (with Taylor), Myerscough, Smith, Lang and Long.

12. The group's first target in Czechoslovakia today took nine crews to a PFF bombing, of unbroken cloud, of targets at Brux. Flak was moderate, and tracking at the target and there were no enemy aircraft sighted.

Our squadron led the first combat wing, with Lt Col Hall, group air exec., flying with Capt Gnatzig; others participating were: Lts Stallings (with Major Taylor), Metts, Davison, Marbury, Stuart, Long, O'Connor and Smith.

Evader 2nd Lt Harvey L. Christensen has been transferred to 1st Air Force, Mitchell Field, New York.

13. Today the group was non-operational. 1st Lt Hatherley, tour completed, is transferred to 12th RCD, Chorley and 1st Lt Claytor is off to Mitchell Field, N.Y.

Promotions announced, from 2nd Lt to 1st Lt: Irving M. Bant, LeRoy Drummond, Clarence E. Johnson, Kenneth O. Lingenfelter, Harry W. Moulton, Irving P. Newsome, John J. O'Connor, Ralph W. Spatz, McLendon M. Stallings, Henry S. Tabor and Charles O. Todd, Jr.

14. A mission planned for Genshagen, Germany, was scrubbed.

Transferred to 12th RCD, Chorley today were: T/Sgt J. W. Swafford and 2nd Lt James P. Chisholm. Evader Roy J. Rice, Jr., was transferred to Mitchell Field, N.Y.

15. Again the group was non-operational. Two more men transferred to 12th RCD, Chorley, who were S/Sgts William F. Gaddy and Edward G. Graybill.

16. A mission to Eindhoven, Holland, was scrubbed today.

17. In support of the 1st Airborne Division's invasion of Holland in the Eindhoven-Arnhem area, the squadron sent 11 crews with the group's formation which bombed enemy tanks and gun emplacements with good results. There were neither flak nor enemy fighters to stop our bombardiers. The operation was carried out by individual squadrons, each hitting an assigned area.

Leading the squadron was Major Taylor, flying with 1st Lt Simmons; other pilots being: Lts Myerscough, Tuz, Long, O'Connor, Stuart, Lingenfelter, Bowser, Thornton, Clark and Marbury.

S/Sgt David Caldwell, engineer and toggeleer, who recently won the Purple Heart, and a fourth Oak Leaf Cluster, left for 12th RCD, Chorley, today.

18. The group was non-operational once more. Another large contingent of EM took off on furlough today.

19. Nine squadron crews participated in the group's PFF bombing of the marshalling yards at Hamm. Results went unobserved. There were no enemy aircraft up but, flak, although moderate, was tracking and very accurate in the target area.

Pilots for today were: Lts Demalgalski (with Major Taylor), Tuz, Davison, O'Connor, Stuart, Mitchell, Clark, Bowser and Max Miller.

Col Halsey moved in to his new quarters (built by the EM) today.

20. A mission to Kassel was scrubbed. Capt James Tyson and 1st Lt William Doherty have returned from the rest leave in the States. The former will be the squadron operations officer.

Promotions include: S/Sgt Willard C. Neely to T/Sgt; Sgts Clarence C. Cochrane, Albert L. Fischer and Abraham I. Cohen to S/Sgts; Cpls Morris L. Heatherington, Gil J. Menendez, James E. Williams, Bruce M. Hillard, Oscar K. Brantley, John Macknyk, John J. Sladek, Charles Yevtich and Alfred J. Krautz to Sgts. They are all gunners.

21. The industrial centre of Mainz came in for its share of Eighth Air Force heavy bombardment today, with nine of this squadron's crews participating. Bombing was by PFF and results were unobserved. Flak was from meagre to moderate in the target area and no enemy fighters appeared.

Taking part were: Lts Todd (with Major Taylor), Myerscough, Jarvill, Long, Lingenfelter, Thornton, Mitchell, Bowser and Max Miller.

Twenty-nine more men left on their furloughs today.

22. Another PFF, unobserved bombing was the story of today's mission to Kassel. Flak was meagre and inaccurate and again no Luftwaffe.

Pilots for today were: Capt Yates (with Col Leber leading the Air Division), Lts Stallings (with Major Taylor), Tuz, Lang, Smith, Stuart, O'Connor, Lingenfelter and Thornton.

23. The group was non-operational today. To the 12th RCD, Chorley, today went: 1st Lt Warren M. Miller, navigator and T/Sgt Richard H. Minor, engineer and top turret gunner.

24. Non-operation again.

25. Another PFF mission, today being to Frankfurt, with nine crews taking part in unobserved bombing of the marshalling yards in the city. No enemy aircraft opposed the opposition and flak was meagre.

Participating were: Lts Tuz, Levitoff, Clark, Marbury, Mitchell, Smith, Thorton, Bowser and Rojohn. Lt Jarvill aborted.

26. Excellent patterns were observed on targets at Osnabruck today as the squadron contributed nine crews to the group's operation. A visual job, the first in several days and the second this month. No Luftwaffe again and flak was meagre to moderate.

Taking part were: Lts Todd, Davison, Marbury, Lingenfelter, Levitoff, O'Connor, Clark, Smith and Rojohn.
1st Lt James P. Linskey, armament officer promoted to captain; Leland H. Doad and Arthur E. Muth, Jr., were discharged as a F/Os and appointed 2nd Lts; 1st Lt Robert O. Long, pilot, tour complete, has been transferred to 1st Strategic Air Depot.

27. Back to PFF and no observations today, with nine of our crews bombing Cologne, hoping for the marshalling yards. Flak was meagre to moderate, while there were no enemy fighters.

Today's pilots were: Lts Simmons (with Major Taylor), Myerscough, Lingenfelter, Max Miller, Thornton, Bowser, Rojohn, Levitoff and Clark.

A new crew was assigned today: 1st Lt Thomas S. Garrett (graduated from West Point '43), 2nd Lts William E. Stevens, Frank J. Kappler, F/O Arthur J. Sakas; Cpls Laurence S. Abbott, John Belogenis, Jack E. Littell, David M. Marmolejo, Leonard P. Parkand and Charles R. VanBuskirk.

28. The boys hit Magdeburg today, bombing their targets by PFF through undercast. Meagre but very accurate flak was met at the target but the Luftwaffe has apparently resigned en masse.

Participating were: Capt Yates (with Capt Tyson), Lts Demagalski (with Major Taylor), Tuz, Mitchell, Smith, O'Connor, Thornton, Rojohn and Levitoff.

29. Non-operational again today. Two EM, Sgt George M. Hench and Cpl Jeronimo A. Casaz, medics, have been transferred to the station's newly organised 242nd Medical Dispens. Avn.

30. Non-operational again. To the 12th RCD, Chorley, the following tour completed personnel: Capts Thomas E. Barnicle, Corbin J. Roberston and Philip W. Gnatzig; 1st Lts Chester E. Hudson, Edwin F. Beran, James E. Madeau, Charles W. Nevius and Earl M. Ramos; T/Sgts Joseph Nicatra, Ronald F. Founds, Robert C. Huttlinger, Alfred I. Haugen, Melvin Samuels and Sgt Yonan D. Yonan.

Nicatra and Haugen are the last of the "originals". As internees following a crash landing following a mission to Heroya in the Fall of 1943, they spent most of the 1943-44 winter in Sweden.


 

October 1944

 

535th Bomb Sq.
381st Bomb Group (H)
WAR DIARY
Submitted by Cpl. Ray Ingham

OCTOBER 1944

1. One of our fighters shot down a buzz-bomb west of the base last night and a few minutes later a second pilotless-plane crashed, the latter near Birdbrook, a couple of miles from the base. All this action took place about 20.00 hrs, an hour ahead of the time Jerry's robot offerings have been crossing the field lately.

1st Lt William J. Rogan, bombsight officer, has been transferred to the 91st BG, Station #121, Bassingbourn, and three EM assigned to group. They are: T/5 Ranzy D. Pierce, Pfs Maynard O. Payne and Charles J. Timonere. From group this squadron received Pfc William E. Berrells.

2. The squadron sent ten Forts with the group formation which was to attack an ordnance plant north of Kassel, but struck instead at the centre of the city when the "Mickey" operators found their primary targets completely covered by cloud. Flak was meagre but fairly accurate around Kassel, but no enemy fighters were encountered.
Operationally speaking the day started and ended with SNAFUS, although neither of them involved this squadron. Lts Schein and Bigham, 533rd, piled their bombers into each other at taxi-time this morning, one's props chewing the other's tail. Then coming home from the bombing , the lead "Mickey" navigator pulled the real boner by bringing the formation home 50 minutes early, but right across the Ruhr Valley, which, the boys rediscoveered, still has flak gunnery. Both return course and ensuing profanity were unbriefed.

Participating pilots were: Lts Lang, Stuart, Mitchell, Jarvill, Bowser, Levitoff, Clark, Rojohn, Thornton and Osborne.

Around the orderly room: 2nd Lt John J. Lorenz was assigned and 37 enlisted men left on furloughs today.

3. The group was non-operational today, although there were some heavies overhead this morning. Last night was rich and clear, with a full, gold moon rising about 20.00 hrs.

The squadron has a beer party scheduled for next Friday night, Oct 6, in the station theatre. And around the 22nd, they say there'll be a station-wide brawl in celebrating the completion of the 200th mission, which should be pulled some time around that date.

4. A mission to Cologne was scrubbed this morning after crews were up.

Capt Howard R. Yates and S/Sgt Delton W. Carpenter, who have finished their tours, have been transferred to the 70th Replacement Depot.

Another new crew has joined us: 2nd Lts Melvin F. Springmeyer, Donald E. Schlosser, F/O Damile T. Bozeman, 2nd Lt William F. Donahue; Cpls Sam O. Buckley Jr, Lowell R. Keeler, Nick F. Patriaca, Leon A. DeLisle, Leroy B. Lyons and Robert B. Stillwell.

5. The group attack Cologne without loss today, but bombing results were unobserved. Radio says all the heavies saw were two Jerry fighters, shot down one of them, but it was not this group that saw them.
Squadron pilots participating: Lts Todd, Myerscough, Miller, Jarvill, Lingenfelter, Clark, Rojohn, Bowser and Levitoff. Lt Angevine and T/Sgt Ackerson flew with the 533rd.

6. Col Leber, flying in the squadron's PFF, "Sunkist Special", led the air division to Stralsund today, with an 08.00 hrs take off in cool, clear weather. The group his Stralsund because fighter weather scouts put the nix on attacking Stettin, the primary. Our bombs hit a bridge near a power station on the river at Stralsund, a last resort targat. There were no enemy fighters and flak worth mentioning.

Flying for the squadron were: Lts Stuart, Marbury, Lingenfelter, Lang, Clark, Metts, Bowser, Jarvill and Simmons, who flew a 534th ship.

Engineer S/Sgt Henry W. Harris left for the 70th RCD, and 2nd Lt Robert A. Bennett, pilot, joined the outfit today.

7. Our Forts attacked Zwickau today without incident, Lt Col Kunkel, Group Operations Officer, leading the combat wing with the squadron's Lt Demagalski, Lts Gray and Palenik, in the 532nd's PFF 44-8010, "Whirlaway".

Other pilots were: Lts Levitoff, Myerscough, Rojohn, Tuz, Stuart, O'Connor, Lingenfelter and Thorton.
It was quite a brawl the squadron pitched in the station theatre last night, but a good, noisy funfest and nothing more. Principally there were: beer, food, women and music. The latter two ran out about 23.00 hrs, but the spigots streamed liquid gold and the "old guard" of true hollow legs used the surplus beer to wash down lobster salad and turkey sandwiches, spiced meat and corned beef sandwiches, ice cream and cake until well after midnight.

The Department of Daffiness was handled by Sgts Bill Hutton and Joe Porter, who somewhere along in the course of the shenannigans went looking for Lt John Tuz, who had previously tied Porter's cravat into several extra-regulation knots. Then the pair found Tuz they repaid him quickly and in novel fashion by chopping off his necktie close to the collar with a sharp pocket knife. That started it up to but not quite including guest Col Leber, who finally declined the newborn society as a "member first-class". Col Leber was at one time very strongly urged by Sutton.

However, Col halsey was aparty and was one of the committee which pinned 1st Sgt Charlie Butts up against the wall and short-cravated him. The party was partly in honour of Col Halsey, who leaves the squadron as soon as orders come through. Major Taylor will assume command.

Plaudits, incidentally, to pilots Tuz and Thornton, who somehow managed to crawl from the party sack to the cockpit, flew steady wingmen to group leader Col Kunkel on today's mission.

8. A mission to Brux, Czechoslovakia, was scrubbed. Last night a buzz-bomb crashed 100 yards from the church in Little yeldham, breaking glass (including stained-glass windows in the church) through the village and leaving one woman suffering from shock, but causing no other casualties.

Tommy Trinder, the popular English radio comedian came out this afternoon for a two hour show in hangar No. 2 (near control tower). I (Ray Ingham) missed both performances, but they say the bomb outdid Trinder. You've got to develop a taste for English music-hall humor, I guess !

9. A milk-run to Schweinfurt today, according to reports from all who participated. Bombing was by PFF through solid undercast, flak was seen in the target area, but was meagre and directed at formations other than ours, our bombers had a whopping big escort of P-47's and P-51's, and the Luftwaffe failed to show. This sort of thing is becoming typical. The weather is our toughest obstacle these days.

Flying for the squadron today were: Lts Lang, Rojohn, Stuart, Smith, Jarvill, Clark, Bowser, Thornton, Levitoff and Garrett. Our ship "The Alamo" was flown by the 398th BG from Nuthampsted, while we borrowed three from the 534th and one from the 532nd.

There is to be no 200-mission party, only dances, at the Yeldham hangar for the GI's and at the Officers' Club for the gentlemen ! General Williams said nix after a couple of other bases went overboard with their celebrations which included, according to reports, one suicide and a murder. Tch. Tch.

We put in our 200th today, more quickly than we thought the weather would permit. And base-wide hog-hassles seldom do an outfit any good, especially when the places closes down for a couple of days and them as can't hold it have access to such, too much.

10. A mission to Bremen was scrubbed, although today the weather is at its best, really indian summer stuff as we know it in the fall back home.

On the 13th (Friday, at that) Lt Davison and his crew, S/Sgt Bankston and his ground crew, go to London as guests-for-the-evening at Stage Door Canteen, for which their bomber was named in a christening ceremony here last April. Mary Churchill must have brough the bomber luck with the Coke she smashed on the nose, for the plane has more than 70 consecutive non-abortive missions to its credit. Davison and his crew are the most recent to fly it.

They and 37 EM came back from rest homes and furloughs yesterday.

11. Non-operational again today after last night's stand down. It's a bit overcast this morning but quite warm. Everyone's saying the Luftwaffe must also have had a stand down last night. There were no alerts, no buzz-bombs.

On Monday night, the 9th, however (as I forgot to mention yesterday) one whipped over Site 4 at about 1,500 ft, going like the wind and glowing like a coal out of hell. It passed over and we heard no explosion. That was around 8 o'clock, then, about five yesterday morning one flying at an altitude reported as less than 1,000 ft dusted us again.

Some 41 EM left on furlough on Col Halsey started on his way home, thus Major Taylor is our new commander. Meantime Lt Osborne's crew took off for the rest home and four officers began their leaves.

12. A mission to Cologne was scrubbed.. There were a couple of buzz-bombs over us last night. It rained most of today but that did not stop Maury Maverick, the famous, of Texas, from christening John Shanahan's new Fort "The Alamo". Maverick toured the base and spoke this evening to officers and men at the Aeroclub.
Pfc Pat Lani burned himself badly about the legs and lower body this morning while working with gasoline at the motor pool. He's at Braintree military hospital where, although his condition is more painful than really serious, it looks as though they'll be keeping him in for some time.

13. The weather is our most formidable opponent. Following a clear, starlit night, fog moved in this morning causing postponment and finally scrubbing an intended mission to Cologne.

The "Stage Door Canteen" crews go to London this afternoon for an evening at the London service entertainment centre.

14. Hundreds of Flying Fortresses, some of the biggest formations ever reported over a single enemy target, today attacked the marshalling yards at Cologne, bombing PFF through 9/10th cloud. The group, headed by the 533rd, led a five-group task force. Flak was moderate to heavy and fairly accurate in the target area and bombing observations went unobserved. Good escort and no enemy planes.

Pilots flying with their crews today were: Lts Todd, Garrett, Jarvill, Myerscough, Lingenfelter, Metts, Osborne, Thornton and Bowser. Lt Angevine flew with Lt Col Shackley in the task force lead ship.

S/Sgt Arthur H. Caudill left for 70th Replacement Depot and 1st Lt John W. Howland, T/Sgt Henry N. White, of Capt Tyson's old crew, have been transferred out of the squadron and will not return from their 30 days' detached service (rest and recuperation) in the States.

The orderly room is compiling list of eligibles for the revived rotation plan under which releasable men who meet certain service and dependency qualifications, my be transferred out to the Zone of Interior.

15. Back to the marshalling yards at Cologne today, with the Eighth Air Force heavies in greater strength than the Force attacking the same target yesterday. Same sory -PFF bombing; results unobserved, flak moderate and fairly accurate and no enemy aircraft to contest the operation.

Flying for the squadron were: Lts Simmons, Davison, Miller, Springmeyer, O'Connor, Levitoff, Osborne, Sweetland and Lingenfelter. We lent the 532nd a ship and they returned the compliment.

16. Stand down last night, with a heavy fog this morning which left soggy condensation on every exposed surface. At about 09.39 hrs it began to rain, slackening off about an hour later.

17. Cologne again, Major Taylor leading. A routine job, the pilots being: Lts Demagalski (with Taylor), Tuz, Marbury, Springmeyer, Levitoff, Sweetland, Rojohn, Thorton and Clark. Again we did a swap with the 532nd.
Capt Edward W. Stone, squadron intelligence officer, has been transferred to the 534th and the following three officers promoted from 2nd to 1st Lts: Milton A. Hoffman, George E. Keller and Richard A. Mitchell.

18. Bad weather, with heavy rain again last night and a heavy overcast this morning, forced the scrubbing of a mission intended for Kassel.

Lt O'Connor's crew off to rest homes and 40 EM returned from furloughs.

19. Our planes attacked Mannheim today, a PFF job without incident. The pilots were: Lts Lang, Garrett, Osborne, Rojohn, Clark, Metts, Thornton, Levitoff and Miller, the latter aborting in a 534th ship.

20. Non-operational again.

21. A repeat non-operational day. 1st Lt William J. Doherty, Tyson's former navigator, has been transferred to the 364th Fighter Group, 8th AF at Honington.

The enlisted men held a big dance at the Yeldham hangar this evening. There was the usual crush. It was offered in lieu of the 200th mission base party, which was cancelled by order of General Williams.

22. Again it was non-operational. Weather these days seems to rain at night, an overcast morning, beautiful afternoon and evening. S/Sgt Robert Q. Pope, finished his duty tour, and transferred to the 70th Replacement Depot.

23. Same old non-operational story. 1st Lt Myerscough left for 70th Replacement Depot, along with Sgt Oscar P. Hill, the latter under the rotation plan for men with dependents.

24. A mission to Ludwigshafen was scrubbed.

25. It was back to action when Hamburg was attacked PFF by our Forts today, with heavy flak ringing the formation at bombs away, but doing little if any damage. The was no aerial opposition.

Our pilots were: Lts Simmons, Smith, Marbury, Miller, Jarvill, Stuart, Bowser, Lingenfelter and Osborne.
Six gunners were promoted from Sgt to S/Sgt and Lt Todd's crew left for rest homes.

1st Lt Eugene Adkins, gunnery officer, was relieved of duty and transferred to the AAF Central Gunnery School, at Laredo, Tex., where he has been stationed on DS for some time. Capt Vernon W. Nicholson, former squadrom bombardier, has been transferred out of the squadron. He's home for rest and recuperation but is to be medically discharged from the Army sometime this month.

26. Our bombers hit Bielefeld in an uneventful mission today. Those pilots who went were: Lts Davison, Metts, Levitoff, Springmeyer, Thornton, Tuz, Land, Rojohn and Clark.

T/Sgts Clarence B. Bankston, Dean L. Carrier and Byron A. Carter, crew chiefs, promoted to M/Sgts. Other promotions saw six line Sgts step up to S/Sgts. S/Sgt Paul C. Smith, tour finished, left for the 70th Replacement Depot.

27. Crews were briefed for a mission to Mannheim this morning but bad weather, wrapped mainly around a fine drizzle, forced a scrub. Twenty EM returned from furlough.

28. Major Taylor led the group to Munster today for a visual but not too satisfactory bombing angainst the marshalling yards there. Flak knocked out Lt Palenik's "mickey" equipment on the bomb run and he was forced to use visual technique through fairly, heavy, broken clouds. Sgt Sladek, Levitoff's ball gunner, was slightly wounded by flak, which was moderate but accurate in the target area. A big escort of Mustangs had little to do as the Luftwaffe lay doggo for another day.

29. Non-operational again today. 2nd Lts Howard D. Bowser and Harry L. Richards are promoted to 1st Lts.

30. Marshalling yards at Hamm, selected after bad weather prevented bombing of primary targets at Gelsenkirchen, were attacked PFF today. On the return trip Lt Clark, who had turned back in "Stage Door Canteen" after one engine went out over Germany, nursed his ship home with a windmilling #1, which spun off as the ship touched the runway, slicing a blade off #2 and crashed into the hatch of the radio room, where all of the crew, except pilot and co-pilot had gathered for safety. None were injured, but M/Sgt Bankston is charged with a mechanical abort.

Participating were: Lts O'Connor, Marbury, Thornton, Osborne, Mitchell, Lingenfelter, Garrett, Bowser and Stuart. Capt Cronin of the 534th flew in our PFF ship "The Alamo".

31. Stand down last night, weather cold and grey today.S/Sgt Harold W. Hofer finished up yesterday and is the first man in the group to do so without receiving the old automatic DFC for tour of duty, under ruling which recently demanded combat men have 20 missions by 17 Sept 1944 to qualify for the automatic decoration. Missions, it's apparently figured, are getting easier. Jerry still has flak, but higher HQ seldom sees it.


 

November 1944

 

535th Bomb Sq.
381st Bomb Group (H)
WAR DIARY
Submitted by Cpl. Ray Ingham

NOVEMBER 1944

1. The group received an operational stand down order to start the month.

Twenty three EM left for furloughs. In addition, personnel changes included notification that the following tour-of-duty gunners, listed to return for a second tour after rest an recuperation leaves in the States, have been transferred to the Atlantic City redistribution centre and will not return to the squadron. T/Sgts Paul R. Vanderzee and Richard C. Jenson and S/Sgts William L. Treichler, Max Miller and Charles Churchill, Jr.

2. While the Eighth AF heavies today set a record for enemy aircraft destroyed in the air (first report says 208) in attacks on oil refineries near Merseburg and Leipzig, but we had a stand down. The day was clear, with weather improving through a warm sunny afternoon to a clear night.

Personnel notes: Lt Todd's crew returned from rest homes and Lt Simmons' crew made the reverse trip; Sgt Kenneth D. Shaw was promoted S/Sgt and Cpls Louis E. Turner and Robert J. Harris to Sgt. Capt Richard Tansey returned from a 7-day leave.

3. A mission to Hamburg was scrubbed today, which began with a chill drizzle and ended with a beautiful, clear, moonlit evening.

Burns which Pfc Patrick J. Lani sustained while working with gasoline at the motor pool have been ruled sustained not in the line of duty. 2nd Lt Jack R. Thornton promoted to 1st Lt.

4. From an 08.16 hrs take off in clear, cold invigorating weather, eight of nine squadron Forts participated with the group, which led the Air Division in a PFF bombing over Hamburg. Flak was heavy but not too accurate, with bombs away through a complete 10/10th cloud cover. No enemy aircraft were seen while we had a good escort.

Lt Sweetland aborted with engine trouble in "Tomahawk Warrior". Those pilots who participated were: Lts Todd (with Stallings), Tuz, Miller, Lang, Beine, Bowser, Stuart and Mitchell. Lt Angevine "mickey" operator flew with Col Leber in the lead bomber.

1st Lts Wayne E. Hermann and Harold W. Walkup, combat officers, have returned from rest and recuperation leaves in the States. 1st Lt Fred R. Jarvill, tour of duty pilot, has left for the States and 2nd Lt Sulo H. Korpi, has been assigned from the 482nd BG at Alconbury.

Pvt John H. Mitchell has been confined to the guardhouse.

A new crew was assigned today: 2nd Lts Arthur Greenspan, John D. Pedric, F/O Edward R. Clarkin, Jr. (no bombardier); Cpls Julius J. Grossman, Warren J. Keenan, R.B. Coker, James W. Ingalls and Sylvester P. Kleiber.

5. The 534th led the group to Frankfurt today bombing marshalling yards there in the face of moderate to heavy fairly accurate flak, which wounded a 532nd crewman. Nine of our squadron crews took part and ten ships.
Crews were set for a PFF job, but only the lead elements bombed that way. High and low squadrons took partial advantage of a large hole which appeared over the marshalling yard target and got credit for a visual assist performance. Red flashes and plenty of smoke, with combat wings coming in behind us to pour their bombs into the holocaust, were reported.

There were no enemy aircraft around. Our planes returned at 14.00 hrs, landing into a strong cross wind which blew in a heavy downpour about 15.00. The Red Cross Clubmobile was on had with hot coffee, do'nuts, candy and cigarettes for the returning airmen, but the briefing block kiwis managed to get their full share.
Our pilots were: Lts Davison, Smith, Marbury, Metts, Levitoff, Biene, Sweetland, Springmeyer and Thornton. The 532nd flew our "Me and My Gal".

S/Sgt Harold W. Hofer has left for home. He is the squadron's first combat man to finish a tour of duty without receiving an automatic DFC. He has, however, been specially recommended for the decoration.

6. The squadron suffered its first total crew loss in 65 consecutive missions today when a direct flak hit burst in #3 engine over opil refinery targets at Harburg, knocked out Lt Levitoff, in M/Sgt Ed "Mouse" Davis's "Chug-a-Lug IV", out of formation. He was last seen going down under control, but there has been no further or more definite report.

Capt Tyson, squadron operations officer, led the group as a combat wing today, and nine of our crews, ten aircraft, contributed to the lead squadron. Flying weather was excellent up to the target, where a 6/10th cumulus cloud cover made bombing observations impossible. No enemy aircraft were encountered today and the escort was "sufficient".

It is thought results were not good and that bombs fell two minutes short of their objectives because of accidental release. Lt Levitoff's bombardier salvoed his load when the flak hit them, and rearward elements apparently mistakenly bombed off him instead of the PFF, to which he was flying wingman. Only the PFF leader bombed as briefed.

Pilots for today were: Lts O'Connor, Miller, Rojohn, Garrett, Springmeyer, Thornton, Bowser and Levitoff.
MIA crew: 2nd Lts Julius Levitoff, John F. Champion Jr, Joseph M. Byrnes; S/Sgts Joseph C. Ward, Alfred J. Dreutz, Gil Y. Menendez, Carl E. Gates, Anthony Skrinski and Bruce M. Hillard.

With the exception of Lt Yates' engineer and navigator, who bailed out under fighter attack near Dessau last August, the squadron has had 64 no-loss missions since 4 July when Lt Bobrof failed to return.

On the ground 1st Lt Kenneth O. Lingenfelter, tour completed, left for home via the 70th Replacement Depot.

7. Non-operational today. PRO Capt Schwartz left on 7-day leave.

8. No combat again today, but Division held a big practice flight which browned off everyone who had to fly it for this squadron.

Ground news shows 23 men returned from furloughs while Capt Julius L. Moreau, former adjutant to Brig Gen Gross at 1st Combat Wing HQ, was assigned to the squadron today. Promotions: T/sgt Charles W. Bertwell to M/Sgt; Sgts Andrew S. Duffy, LeRoy W. Roberts to S/Sgt; Cpls Robert L. Green, Ronald B. Youngquist to Sgt.

9. Eight squadron planes, ten crews, were in the group's milk-run trip to Ouvres-Chesny/Nord, for a tactical bombing in support of patton's Third Army. Bombs were released by PFF with a visual assist through an 8/10th undercast, and were directed against enemy heavy gun enplacements and fortifications. A maximum effort.
Flak meant about 16 bursts from one round, these breaking low and apparently not directed at our formations. Hundreds of Mustangs and Thunderbolts played at will through and around our bomber elements with nothiong to occupy them, since the Luftwaffe did not show again.

Participating were: Lts Metts, Marbury, Lang, Garrett, Clark, Osborne, Stuart, Thornton, Rojohn and Springmeyer. The 534th lent us two ships, we lent them one and the 533rd.

Ground notes: A professional London cast offered us two performances of "Blythe Sprit" here today. Weather was cold and windy, but with enough sun through a broken overcast to brighten things periodically.

Promoted from 2nd to 1st Lts: William H. Clark Jr., Robert M. Cotton, Leland H. Doda, Kenneth McGriffin, Robert W. Osborne, Floyd A. Smith, David Sweetland, John E. Wertin Jr., and Charles R. Cutter III.
Pfc Kenneth J. Nagel was assigned and S/Sgt George H. Robben Jr., tours completed, left for 70th Replacement Depot and home.

10. Lt Floyd Metts and his crew are in the hospital tonight after undergoing a nerve-racking and tragic ordeal which involved the accidental death of their bombardier and long-time crewmate, 1st Lt Leroy Drummond.
Just off the bomb-run, a PFF operation against Cologne, three 110-pound bombs which had jammed in a Fort flying above Metts' "Hell's Angels", fell clear and struck the latter bomber. Two tore off the plexi-glass nose and fell clear, but the third, entering the nose compartment between the astrodome and the windshield, hit Lt Drummond on the head, killing him instantly. This bomb remained jammed in the floor of the nose compartment for about 45 minutes before it could be dislodged and dropped out the forward escape hatch.

The rest of the crew, uninjured were hospitalized overnight for rest. Top turret man Sgt Albert Atz, was not aware of Drummond's death until they landed, although he knew the ship had been hit.

The mission itself encountered moderate flak, no enemy aircraft and a solid cloud undercast at the target. Lt Springmeyer aborted in the 534th ship "Colonel Bub", which developed engine trouble shortly after take-off. Other pilots were: Lts Todd, Smith, Clark, Miller, Beine, O'Connor, Osborne and Metts
Departing today were 13 EM on furloughs.

11. We were non-operational on this Armistice Day. A weather front began moving in about 07.00 hrs following a frosty, clear night.

Recent promotions include: S/Sgts Morris L. Heatherington and William J. Trainor to T/Sgt; Sgts Harold Hallstrom, Jack E. Littel, David M. Marmalejo, LeRoy S. Lyons, Nick F. Patriaco, William W. Robey, and Charles Yevtich to S/Sgts; Cpls Ronald L. Cleck, R. B. Coker, Julius J. Grossman, James W. Ingalls, Warren J. Keenan and Sylvester P. Kleiber.

S/Sgt John J. Burke wil not return from Zone of Interior for a second tour, he has been transferred to the Atlantic City Redistribution Center. Lt Simmons and crew have returned from rest homes and Lt Metts and crew left hospital, where they rested last night.

12. Non-operational. Pvt Irving L. Dunham promoted to Cpl.

13. Non-operational. 1st Lt John Tuz, pilot, left for 70th Replacement Depot and home after completing his tour of duty. Lt Thornton and crew left for rest home.

14. Non-operational. Capt Moreau, recently assigned from CBW HQ, had returned there on DS. M/Sgt Edgar B. Dutton left for Bovingdon today on the first leg of his return to Italy for detached service with the 15th Air Force. His third such trip.

Incidentally this is no labor of love for Sgt Dutton (known about the squadron as Stud, Stallion or Bobcat) whose service this time were specifically requested by First Division, on the basis of his past experience and excellent work with mechanic crews servicing special training units.

14. Non-operation again today.

15. Another tactical operation today, this time in support of Gen Simpson's Ninth Army, and Gen Lodge's First Army, attempting a breakthrough in the Duren-Eschweiler area, near Aachen. Bombing was PFF with briefed release arranged to send explosives down seven to 20 miles ahead of our lines. The run met some flak but ships returned without mentional battle damage, coming in at 14.15 hrs to a "feeler" landing in bad haze.

The squadron sent nine crews flown by Lts: Simmons, Mitchell, Lang, Sweetland, Springmeyer, Bowser, Beine, Rojohn and Stuart.

17. Stand down last night, with rain setting in about midnight and holding through 09.00 hrs today. A nasty, hard wind drove every drop right through you about 07.00 hrs, but this subsided and a plain old-fashioned chill drizzle took over from there. Early this afternoon, after a late morning let up, the rain resumed. The 13 EM returned from their furloughs today.

18. Non-operational. More morning rain, with an afternoon let up, then evening resumption. Pfc Frank Hernandez left on furlough.

19. Non-operational. At 06.30 hrs the sky was clear, with my favourite constellation, Orion, glowing like a drunk. But by 07.00 another cloud front had taken over and light rain fell.

Roy Boone has been discharged as F/O and commissioned a 2nd Lt.

20. Fair weather today, but still non-operational. (By fair is meant less pisspoor that yesterday, which is saying very little indeed !)

2nd Lt John J. Lorenz, special navigator, has been transferred to the 532nd; keeping an eye on the impedimentia went as a happy detail to Cpls Nicholas A. Fina and Guy Stubblefield, who turned up today.

Two new crews were assigned: 2nd Lts Valentino J. Malleus, Jeremiah F. O'Neill, F/O Gordon R. Lyons; Cpls Carl R. Hall, Vincent A. Lauter, Charles L. Majors, Clovis E. McCoy and Jay D. Smith.

2nd Lts Mead K. Robuck, J. W. Scarsdale, Raymond J. O'Brien; Cpls James C. Adkins, Joseph Dicero, Richard L. Shott, Robert P. Lavalle and Pfc Fred Leiner.

21. Major Taylor led the group to Merseburg for an instrument bombing against synthetic oil plants there. Lt Osborne aborted in M/Sgt Carrier's "In Like Errol".

The major reported weather good up to about 75 miles from the target, where the formation ran into thin but troublesome clouds at their altitude. This made both flying and bombing difficult and the CO believes the latter probably is unsatifactory. It was a straight "mickey" deal which calls for the best of formations, which we definitely did not have.

Flak was moderate but very accurate. Luck was against Metts' crew again. Their bomber caught several unusually close bursts and S/Sgt Omer Godfrey, tail gunner, was hit in the left arm near the elbow by a piece of shrapnel that came through a heavy flak patch, the flooring behind him and all his clothing to get him. It only reddened, did not break the skin, but he reported his arm numb for several minutes afterwards.
Our group saw no enemy fighters, had a perfect escort of their own and slipped over some stray flak at the Zuider Zee, going in, before catching the biggest work-over at the target.

Participating were: Lts Demagalski, O'Connor, Lang, Metts, Sweetland, Greenspan, Stuart, Springmeyer and Osborne, who aborted.

Lt Witt, Division PRO, says today's story should go the 8th AF's fighters. Early reports from two groups of the little friends left a total of 30 enemy aircraft destroyed in the air. Where were they ? We're still in the luck.
T/Sgt Robert Blair and S/Sgt Joseph Rybak finished their tours flaying with Major Taylor today. Blair is going home, but Rybak will stay on as an instructor.

Notes from the Kiwi Den: three EM left on furloughs; T/Sgt Ralph M. Kiker is off to 70th Replacement Depot and home after a tour with the squadron and Lt Thornton and crew have returned from rest homes.

22. Today was non-operational. I offered to swap pint for pint, bourbon for blood, at the station hospital today, but all I got was a double for a little under a pint of my Type O corpuscles. This is the third and last day for the mobile medical unit seekihng this type of blood, which goes to our wounded on the Continent. When I went through the middle of the morning our squadron had the best of the donors. Later reports showed we and the 533rd had 100% attendance among the Type O's. Airmen were not allowed to donate, although many in the squadron attempted.

Two EM took off on furloughs and 1st Lt Charles P. Stormer, navigator, who joined us last winter as a M/Sgt, left for home, having completed a duty tour. To rest homes went 1st Lts Howard D. Bowser, and Robert Cotton; 2nd Lts Roy H. Kephart and James R. Farley, T/Sgt Martin M. Hogan, Jr, S/Sgt William H. Sederwall, John H. Sheffield, Lucio Maddalena and Alfred G. Hersey, Jr.

23. Again we were non-operational.

24. A heavy drizzle this morning meant another non-operational day.

The station's armament and ordnance officers tossed a three-dimensional whang-dang for all their enlisted men at the station theatre this evening. The brass took care of every chore. GI's ate it, drank it and othewise handled it as they preferred and all quarters reported success.

Pfc Frank Hernandez returned from his furlough today.

25. The I. G. Farbenindustrie synthetic oil plant at Merseburg was attacked by our bombers today. The job was full PFF, and the target was a secondary. Flak was heavy but not too accurate, but the 533rd had one crew land in friendly territory on the continent, with battle damage. Our fighter escort was good and seen chasing a couple of ME109's at a great distance from the target area.

One-man mission goes on the books for Lt Bill Clark, who turned back early in a malfunctioning bomber, grabbed another and set off to catch the formation. He couldn't, so, through flak and skirted by three non-attacking jet-propelled enemy fighters, bombed riverside target at Coblenz, returned safely and alone through undercast, and an hour ahead of the formation.

These were our pilots: Lts Marbury, Metts, Rojohn, Thornton, Garrett, Miller, Sweetland, Clark, Osborne and Greenspan. The 532nd and 534th loaned us a ship.

Sgt Patrick A. O'Sullivan, armorer, has left for two weeks at a special RAF school outside Blackpool; S/Sgt Alfred G. Hersey, Jr., has been hospitalized from the rest home at Station #562, Spetchley Park, Worcester; he's at the 55th General Hospital.

Promotions announced are: 1st Lts Gene J. Demagalski, James F. Grey and Everett L. Scarborough to captain; 2nd Lts Stanley Milewski, Leonard E. Rojohn, James Scott, Joe H. Grobe and Burton J. Newell, Jr, to 1st Lts.

26. This morning was sunny and really beautiful as our bombers took off about 08.30 hrs, with Group Commander Leber leading an operation against the railroad junction near Altenbeken, northeast of Paderborn on the eastern border of the Ruhr Valley.

According to Col Leber the only cloud in Germany hovered directly over our target. Said Group Bombardier Fullick of the PFF bombing he was forced to resort to: "I think we hit a field."

Flak was meagre just before the bomb run but virtually non-existant over the target. Weather was excellent all the way in until the formation was ten minutes from the target, when the clouds got in the way. Fighters attacked other groups bombing in the general vicinity today, but none troubled us.

Pilots participating were: Lts Davison, Smith, Thornton, Moulton, Rojohn, Clark, Springmeyer, Greenspan and Mitchell. Col Leber flew on "The Alamo", with Capt Ewing Watson, 533rd as pilot).

F/O Edward R. Clarkin, Jr., newly assigned navigator, has been sent to Alconbury, 482nd PFF group, for training.

27. A stand down was announced last night, and we had rain this morning.

Lt Riza's crew, 533rd, are reported in London and will be on the station today, thus clears the loss of the 25th, at Merseburg. 1st Lts James R. Lang and Clarence E. Johnson have left for the States, tours completed.
Pvt Ansley E. Horrel, public relations clerk, has been assigned from the 7th Station Complement Sq, as of the 21st.

28. Yet again the group is non-operational.

T/Sgt Blair, who completed his tour on the 21st, flying with Major Taylor over Merseburg, left for home today; Three EM, Condit, Purchase and Wilber, returned from their furloughs.

29. The group led the Air Division to Misburg, to accomplish a 10/10th PFF bombing against oil refineries there. Some meagre flak was encountered before the I.P. but there was none on the bomb run or at bombs away. It seems our group managed to slip in between two big flak barrages, with a group behind us catching some of the second offering fairly heavily. No enemy aircraft showed up and our vast escort had another free ride of it.
The target attacked was briefed as secondary, with the primary at Dollbeggen, a tiny village 22 miles east of Hannover, and home of an oil storage depot. Dollbeggen could be attacked visually only. Last resort would have been the city of Osnabruck.

We furnished nine crews and 11 ships, the pilots being: Capt Scarborough, Lts O'Connor, Springmeyer, Stuart, Beine, Osborne, Rojohn, Clark and Thornton. The 532nd used "Sunkist Special" and 533rd "Me and My Gal."
Two EM, Bernson and Quagliarello, returned from furlough; combat personnel leaving on furloughs were: 1st Lts Richard A. Mitchell and Jack R. Keating; T/Sgts Thomas R. Ackerson, William J. Trainor; S/Sgts William A. Karcher, Paul F. DeCesare, Salvatore J. Francese. Returning from furloughs were: 1st Lts Bowser and Cotton; 2nd Lts Kephart and Farley; T/Sgt Hogan, S/Sgts Sederwall, Sheffield and Maddalena.

30. Major Taylor, in a 09.00 hrs take off, led the group all the way to a point 15 minutes before the I.P. where his bomber's #1 engine blew the manifold head, forced him to relinquish the lead and turn back. The 533rd took over the lead for a PFF attack on oil stores east of Zeitz, a small town near merseburg. Flak was heavy but not accurate and there we no enemy aircraft.

(Late radio reports says 56 American heavies were lost to flak on today's operation. The old 381st luck again.)
Luckiest of all today, though, was a Lt Geise, of the 533rd, who returned early with one engine out, dropping his fully loaded bomber on the the runway hard. The right wheel strut of the landing gear collapsed and several tons of gasoline, bombs and plane skidded halfway down the runway, dragging the right wing. The runway lost a couple of button lights and the 448th hangar boys got themselves a wreck to patch up, but there were no casualties.

Other pilots for today were: Lts Smith, Bowser, Stuart, Garrett, Greenspan, Springmeyer, Osborne and Sweetland.

Notes from the Site: T/Sgts Eldon E. Bauman, Marvin W. Forst, S/Sgt Harold C. Witmer, tour completed, left for home; off on leave went combat men: 1st Lts Stanley A. Milewski, Leonard E. Rojohn, 2nd Lts Donovan L. Chamberlin, T/Sgt Morris L. Heatherington, S/Sgts Robert W. Gray, William E. Abbott, Oscar K. Brantley, John F. Macknyk and James E. Williams.


 

December 1944

 

535th Bomb Sq.
381st Bomb Group (H)
WAR DIARY
Submitted by Cpl. Ray Ingham

DECEMBER 1944

1. The new month started quietly with no action. There is a mountainous heap of broken-down packing cases outside the supply tent at the upper end of the site, but not even these can start a moving rumour.

1st Lt Carson, bombardier, left for 70th Replacement Depot, having completed his tour; four EM left on furlough: Sgt Fitzpatrick, Cpls Gupton, Jacobs and Pfc Sullwold.

1st Lt John J. O'Connor late last month received the DFC for his job against the jet-propelled fighters, coming home on two engines. Meanwhile the automatic DFC for a tour of duty is out. Recipients will get the award on the basis of special recommendation from the group committee.

2. A stand down announced last night meant non-operational again today.

Promoted from 2nd to 1st Lts are: Raymond R. Beine and Norman M. Jones; S/Sgt Julius M. Cates, tech supply, has been transferred to the 7th Station Complement Sq on the base.

The following 15 EM left on furlough: T/Sgt Cannon; S/Sgts Duffy, Ford and LeFors; Sgts Martin and Pittenger; Cpls Brown, Finkel, Ginger, Haverley and Kitson; Pfcs Buchanan, Greene and Sosby and Pvt Altimus.

3. A mission to Bebra, Germany, Field Order #345, was scrubbed this morning. The sky has been overcast and the strong wind blowing, all day.

Tours completed gunners: S/Sgts Clair and McGorgary left for the 70th Replacement Depot while Capts Demagalski and Grey are off on 7-day leaves.

4. By all round agreement, this was a milk run, with ten of the squadron crews participating in the group's PBO on 10/10th covered railway storage sidings at Soest, Germany, when neither flak nor fighters opposed our effort.

Our pilots were: Lts Marby, Metts, Garrett, Max Miller, Sweetland, Stuart, Malleus, Beine, Osborne and Greenspan.

5. Although this morning is beautifully clear, with a high, bright moon lighting the sky at 07.00 hrs, the group is not flying. Red-red assembly flares indicates some outfits in the Division are going over.

But for our boys they have cooked up a long gunnery mission, browning off all who have to fly the five or six hours over the North Sea, whanging away at a slow-moving sleeve target, if the target ship keeps the date ! Otherwise if past experience is any indication, they'll just fly formation, up and down, until they have put in their time.

Two more new crews have been assigned: 2nd Lts Vincent J. Peters, Alexander D. Nelson, Hugh D. Robinson, George C. Kelley; Cpls Chris Gianocopulos, Edward R. Stoeckler, Henry A. Bogarty, Chester M. Slomczenski and Robert B. Bolin.

2nd Lts Elmer B. Wulf, Harlan F. Kriete, Roy E. Cook, Raymond D. Dahlgren; Cpls Edward Turner, Calvin J. Hockley, Charles F. Knaus, Gordon J. Kubiak and Virgil E. Miller.

6. The group pulled a pre-dawn practice mission today, but no combat op.

7. A mission planned for Munster was scrubbed. Tours completed, T/Sgt Henry Meier and S/Sgt Robert B. Weatherman left for the 70th Replacement Depot.

Eighteen combat officers, including Major Taylor, have been re-classified from obsolete or non-applicable categories to 1091, pilot. Six ground officers have also been re-classified. Leaving for rest homes are 1st Lt Smith, 2nd Lt Rehm, as have five EM.

The following promotions have been announced: S/Sgts Salvatore J. Francese, LeRoy S. Lyons, David M. Marmolejo, Jack A. Littell, Lucio Maddalena and Nick F. Patriarca to T/Sgt; Sgts John Belogenis, Leonard F. Park, Charles R. VanBuskirk, Julius J. Grossman, Lowell W. Keeler, Robert E. Stillwall, Lawrence S. Abbott, Leonard DeLisle and Warren J. Keenan to S/Sgts; Cpls Henry A. Bogatay, Chris Gianopoulus, Charles F. Knaus, Virgil E. Miller, Edward Stoeckler, Robert B. Bolin, Calvin J. Hockley, Gordon J. Kubiak, Chester M. Slomczenski and Edward Turner.

8. Another stand down last night. This morning frost covers the ground and clouds are at about 5/10th.
Former combat officer, and lately squadron supply head, 2nd Lt Orlan D. Carmichael, has been transferred to First Air Division HQ. Cpl Jacobs returned from furlough.

9. Col Leber led our group of 37 Fortresses to a PBO bombing of the Unterturkheim railway marshalling yards at Stuttgart today. The formation met moderate but accurate flak which wounded six men, one known to be seriously, but none in our squadron.

Weather began fouling at the German border and continued increasingly bad until in the target area. It was uncertain until the very last minutes whether instruments or visual technique would be used at bombs away. Only a few men cared to make any comment on bombing results, generally obscured by broken overcast. However, S/Sgt James C. Smith, ball turret on Lt O'Connor's "Pair of Queens", reported seeing tight patterns bursting red, sending up thick smoke from the yards.

No enemy aircraft were encountered and our escort was there all the way, but a late report has Lt Clark and crew on "Boulder Buf", down near Melun, with five wounded aboard. No details yet.

Participating today were: Todd (with Stallings), Beine, O'Connor, Springmeyer, Thornton, Malleus, Clark, Robuck and McGriffin.

T/Sgt Joseph R. Gray, gunnery instructor, has left for assignment to the AAF's Central Gunnery Scholl, at Laredo, Texas. A former engineer and a top turret gunner wounded in May 1943, hospitalized until August of that year and assigned to this squadron that month, Gray will get leave before reporting to Laredo.

From rest homes come 1st Lts Milewski and Rojohn, 2nd Lt Chamberlin, T/Sgt Heatherington, S/Sgts Gray, Abbott, Brantley, Macnyk and Williams. Returning from furloughs are: T/Sgt Cannon, S/Sgts Duffy, Ford, Lefors; Sgts Fitzpatrick, Martin, Pittenger; Cpls Brown, Finkel, Ginger, Haverly, Kitson and Gupton; Pfcs Sullwold, Buchanan, Greene and Sosby; Pvt Altimus.

10. At 06.30 hrs the sky was clear, temperature low, but at 07.00 red-red flares from the control tower indicated a mission to Mainz was scrubbed.

Back from rest homes are: 1st Lts Mitchell and Keating; T/Sgts Ackerson, Trainor and Francese; S/Sgts Karcher and DeCesare. 2nd Lt Frank J. Kappler returned from DS with the 384th BG at Grafton Underwood; tour of duty pilots 1st Lts Marbury and Miller left for 70th Replacment Depot; 1st Sgt Charlie Butts left on 7-day furlough.

11. Fortresses took off at 06.30 hrs, in clear, cold, damp weather, for an attack on the Ludwigshafen-Mannheim railroad bridge. The target was attacked by GH through 10/10th undercast. Weather was fair up to half an hour before the target when clouds and haze forced the group to sacrifice altitude for the bombing.
Flak was meagre but accurate and cost the 532nd a crew and ship, which exploded under a direct hit in the target area.

The squadron had no aborts in this largest daylight mission (1,600 US heavies over the Reich). Our pilots were: Lts Simmons (with Capt Scarborough), Mitchell, Rojohn, O'Connor, McGriffin, Springmeyer, Greenspan, Robuck and Malleus.

1st Lt Robert Osborne, pilot, tour completed, is headed for the 70th Replacement Depot; Capts Demagalski and Gray returned from leave; promotions from 2nd to 1st Lts announced for: George A. Peterson and Ralph E. Quatrine.

Lt Clark and crew have been reported definitely down near Melun, France, on mission of Dec 9, casualties are reported but no details available. With Lt Clark were 2nd Lts Murphy and Simpson; T/Sgt Fischer; S/Sgts Robey, Wallstrom, Sladek, Foster and Sgt Irving Dunham.

12. Captain Tyson, squadron operations officer, took off in the lead of 37 ships this morning to a 10/10th job on Merseburg. Moderate and inaccurate flak bursts both above and below the formations on the bomb run, and Capt Tyson is of the opinion chaff and other were working well. No enemy fighters were encountered and the escort was excellent.

Taking part were: Lts Garrett (with Tyson), Mitchell, Bowser, Stuart, Metts, McGriffin, Greenspan, Malleus and Robuck. One abort was recorded in another squadron, while we put up eight ships, with one on loan from the 534th.

Nineteen EM left on furloughs: M/Sgts Allen and Davis; T/Sgt Faulconer; S/Sgts Dodd, Surgens; Sgts Barrett, Ingham, Kleinmeier, Martinsen, Minnemeyer; Cpls Doyle, Hobson, Ruhl; Cpls Alley, Baxter, DiDiego, Estes, Keenan and LaFlamme.

Driver Pfc Sammie H. Davison has been transferred out to the 70th Replacement Depot, on emergency transfer to the States. One of his parents is seriously ill.

Sgt R. J. Harris left for DS with the 311th Signal Gp (Av), at Station #103, Brampton Grange, Huntingdon, 1st Bomb Wing HQ; S/Sgts Bond and Hermance left for rest home, 1st Lt Kessel off on 7-day leave and tour-of-duty pilot, 1st Lt Bant left for 70th Replacement Depot.

Lt Clark, with T/Sgt Fischer, S/Sgt Foster, Sgt Dunham returned to base today; 2nd Lt Simpson, seriously wounded, as were S/Sgts Robey and Hallstrom are hospitalized in France; 2nd Lt Murphy and Sgt Sladek, the latter already decorated with the Purple Heart for wounds received earlier, are temporarily hospitalized with slight wounds, at the 40th Field Hospital, France.

13. Non-operational today as a stand down was ordered last night. Weather is misty, damp, chilly with poor ground visibility. Then the heaviest fog of the season rolled over the base shortly before noon, which caused the cancellation of the liberty runs.

1st Lt Robert H. Angevine, mickey navigator is promoted to captain.

14. Another stand down was ordered last night, with a leaden sky, intermittent rain, following today.

15. Thirty seven group Forts took off to bomb marshalling yards at Kassel this morning. One (not 535th) aborted. Flak was meagre and inaccurate, our formation met no enemy planes, and bombing was handled PFF through 10/10th cover. The same old story. Wether continues to offer the most opposition.
Pilots for today were: Lts Metts (with Muth), McGriffin, Thornton, Robuck, Bowser, Greenspan, Rojohn, Stuart, Springmeyer and Beine.
Back from rest homes came: 1st Lts Sweetland, Smith, Doda and Carter; 2nd Lts Rehm, Francis and F/O Grace; T/Sgts Neeley, Sewell and Hamilton; S/Sgts Yevtich and Sgts Buckley.

16. Non-operational again today.

By order of Col Leber, it has been announced that time interval between furloughs has been increased from three to six months. How our best-laid plans to take it where it hurts!

17. Heavy overcast prevailed today and there was no operation.

M/Sgt Edgar Dutton returned from DS with the 15th Air Force in Italy; 1st Sgt Charlie Butts returned from furlough.

S/Sgt O'Sullivan has completed a special course at the RAF station at Kirkham, near Blackpool. With his return to base Pfc James lane leaves for DS at Station #158, Uttoxeter, Staffs.

18. Despite five aborts, two from this squadron (McGriffin in 538-E and Greenspan in 018-U), the 1st Combat Wing today was the only outfit to bomb its assigned target, marshalling yards at Cologne. Mechanical failures caused the abortives, weather was pooir, undercast solid all the way anjd again bombs went down by instrument calculations. Only one flak burst was reported, no Luftwaffe,, no losses, no casualties.

Squadron pilots were: Lts Todd (with Capt Stallings), O'Connor, Rojohn, Stuart, Beine, Peters and Wulf.
To the 70th Replacement Depot, tour complete went: 1st Lt Moulton, T/Sgts Dana V. Clark, Jr., Paul E. Miller, Mike M. Navarro, and Dwight Y. Upton; S/Sgt Michael Cooney (the latter taking with him an ancient, fringe-visored mechanic's cap which has, here and in the South Pacific, completed 99 combat missions. Cooney meant Sgt Godfrey, Metts' tail gunner, to put the bonnet through its 100th, but at the last minute couldn't overcome sentimental attachment, lugged it home as bait which perhaps will some day shut up a pack of inquisitive grandchildren.

T/Sgt Fischer, S/Sgts Amell, Foster and Sgt Dunham took off today for a session at a rest home.

19. A mission intended for Schwerte, Germany was scrubbed. There was plenty of fog, with 25-yard ground visibility today.

S/Sgts Lewis and Brostek left for rest homes, Pfc Patrick J. Lani, driver now in hospital, has been transferred out of the group; T/Sgt Lionel J. Pilon, boss ordnance man, is on DS at Station #520, Melton Mowbray, Leics.
Three new crews have joined the squadron; 2nd Lts Curtis D. Kuhns, James D. Larson, Richard O. Waltz, F/O Paul T. Cawley; Cpls Gaylord R. Allen, Jr., Richard E. Cox, David G. Kehr, Frank D. LaBellarte and Fred L. Menotti.

2nd Lts Leo B. Nugent, Russell C. Mosley, Douglas A. Bridges, F/O Clifford F. Decker; Cpls Bill R. Buttry, John A. Cuestra, Edward J. Franklin, Leslie A. Rose and Walter A. Stevenson.

2nd Lts John A. Williamson, Arden D. Callender, James F. Garvey, William A. Durston; Cpls David W. Cree, Robert H. Lay, Robert M. Kershaw, Edward J. McDonald and Jeremiah W. Sullivan.

Back from furloughs are: M/Sgts Allen and Davis; T/Sgt Faulconer; S/Sgts Dodd, Surgens; Sgts Barrett, Ingham, Kleinmeyer, Martinsen and Minnemeyer; Cpls Doyl, Robson, Ruhl, and Pfcs Alley, Baxter, DiDiego, Estes Keenan and LaFlamme.

20. Another mission was scrubbed today, this one plane for targets in Cologne. As yesterday, crews were awakened, fed, briefed before the show was finally called off. More fog today anyway.

1st Lt Mac Stallings returned from rest home and tour completed, S/Sgt William H. Sedewall left for home via the 70th replacement Depot.

21. Non-operational again today. The fog has lightended to heavy mist, with chill drizzle starting at 07.00 hrs and lasting nearly an hour.

The annual Children's Chistmas party is slated for a run through at the Aeroclub tomorrow.

Promotions include: Sgt Gurton R. Whittingham (Arky to you, goat fancier and squadron boss cook) to S/Sgt; 21 gunners promoted five to T/Sgt and 16 to S/Sgt.

1st Lt O'Neill, bombardier, finished his tour and left for the 70th Replacement Depot; Cpls Burgoyne, Bray, and Pfc Bollong left on furloughs.

22. Non-operational again today, with the fog in tight this morning, lifting somewhat, but persisting this afternoon.

The kids' Christmas Party at the Aeroclub included movies, ice crean cines, candy, oranges and gifts from two Santas, Cpl Tommy Terreri took over from the original redcoat after the former burned out under a fast 90 minutes of meeting and greeting most of the 350 energetic kids who showed up. Terreri was assisted in the gift-giving by some of the 50-odd officers and GIs who showed up to lend a hand, partake a little of the only genuine Chrstmas cheer we're likely to see around this bog.

A great many bad guessers figured we'd be long since out of welcome of Christmas 1944. So it goes. Instead of grovelling for terms, any terms, Jerry's jamming a corridor through the Ardennes into Belgium, heading for the Meuse. Wonder how the Christmas 1945 party will stack up against today's.

Sgt R. J. Harris has been transferred from 8th Air Force Service Command to DS, Continent with the 401st Signal Company, still on DS; 1st Lt Floyd Metts, pilot, left for home today, via 70th Replacement Depot, tour completed.

2nd Lt Murphy and S/Sgt Sladek have returned from brief hospitalization in France, after being slightly wounded in action over Stuttgart on the 9th.

23. Stand down last night. Weather cool, damp and partially overcast this morning.

Distant, but building-shaking explosions at 07.05 and 07.10 hrs were followed about 08.00 by the appearance of a low flying buzz-bomb, cutting across the south side off the base, a fighter hot after it. Both disappeared behind low horizon cloudbank after the fighter let a couple of short machine gun bursts without any luck.

Today the group slow-times 12 ships, three from out squadron, all engine burn-outs from the heavy overboost run of the 18th. The job was done in the two clear hours afforded us around noon, the first break in the weather since the planes returned from Cologne on the 18th.

John W. Dawson and George E. Smith promoted from Pvt to Pfc; Sgts Bond and Hermance returned from the rest home.

24. The squadron flew in "A" Combat Wing, which led the entire First Division (Col Leber with the 534th in front), in the Eighth Air Force's biggest job to date. More than 2,000 heavies, 900 fighters, exclusive of the RAF's great effort, bombed communications and airfield targets behind the German lines in the area between the American First and Third Armies.

Our specific target was was an airfield and temporary installations but no runways at Ettinghausen. Other squadrons in the group hit similar targets at Kirch Gons.

The weather was absolutely VACU and strike photos show we bongoed on the field, only one bomb falling outside the tight but big chrysanthemum pattern on the button. Flak was moderate half an hour before the target, but then there was none. There were no Luftwaffe around.

Our 12 participants all on squadron ships were: Lts Davison, Smith, Thornton, Sweetland, McGriffin, Greenspan, Robuck, Wulf, Peters, Rojohn, Springmeyer and Malleus.

The group put up a total of 51 ships, Lt Davison led this squadron, in addition to the ships used by our outfit we loaned out to other squadrons.

Weather was poor, many areas socked down tight, in Western England this evening, and 75 planes from other groups landed here. Our mechanics, refueling men, armament and ordnance workers took care of the lot.

25. We got our White Christmas and Jerry got a break today. The heaviest frost in more than 50 years covered everything with snow-like thickness and the pure brilliance of numberless crystals, heaped up into stalactites and trees and shrubs as well whitening the grass. And they called a scrub this morning on an intended operation agaist Schwerte, Germany.

Excepting skeleton staffs and men from the motor pool needed to chauffeur the visiting combat crewmen around. Offices are taking it easy today. Activities include free beer for GI's at Theater, PX and RAF site (paid for out of the Officers Club Fund); reception for two graders at the Officers Club, with lethal rum punch included in the do. Much fraternity and informality was reported out of this affair.

The Aeroclub offered coffee, refreshment and music, following a sing and Major Wilcox's reading for Dicken's Christmas Carol there last night. Fog held us tight all day.

The Consolidated Mess's turkey feed was the biggest yet, including plenty of turkey, plus two green vegetables, potatoes, cranberries, bread and butter, coffee, chocolate pudding in open-face pie form, marble cake, oranges, apples and hard candy. The whole job was well handled and the cooks got plenty of credit on the spot. Most of us just waddled away to a comfortable corner where we could digest the works slowly !

26. Non-operational today, although the weather is gorgeous, cold and clear with the frost still clinging thickly everywhere. Some of the "visitors" planes got away today.

T/Sgt R.C. Adams left for the rest home.

27. No-operational again today. T/Sgt Donald L. Coultrip, tour completed, was off home via the 70th Replacement Depot; 1st Lt Clark returned from rest home and T/Sgt Pilon from DS.

Promotions from 2nd to 1st Lt included: Robert M. Francis, Roy H. Kephart, James F. Arnold and John J. Motto.

28. Major Briggs, Group Operations, with Capt Demagalski up front, this squadron led the "B" group of the Combat Wing to a PBO bombing, through 10/10th clouds, against the Ludendorf bridge, at Remagen.

There was no flak, no enemy fighters, big escort, perfect weather at altitude and all clouds well below the formations. Crewmen described it as their easiest mission. As well as Capt Demagalski, our other pilots were: Lts Mitchell, Rojohn, Biene, Springmeyer, Robock, Grobe and Malleus.

Major Benjamin P. Vickery Jr., a former training unit operations head in the States, has been assigned as a combat officer; also assigned in is Pvt Ernest J. Daneri, from the 7th Station Complement Sq.

T/Sgt Fischer, S/Sgts Amell, Foster, Dunham, Brostek and Lewis returned from rest home; while Cpls Bray and Burgoyne, and Pfc Bollong returned from furlough.

1st Lt Stuart, pilot, has finished his tour and headed for the 70th Replacement Depot; Pfc Clranence R. Greene, old-timer about the site, has been transferred out, having been absent sick for some time.

29. A mission to Ruhland today was scrubbed, although some divisional groups are flying for other targets. 1st Lts Ralph W. Spatz, Melvin R. McIntyre and Henry S. Tabor left for 7-days leave.

30. Col Shackley, 533rd, described this one as another milk-run, as our Forts hit Mainz, Germany, through 10/10th clouds, unopposed. Our planes returned at 16.00 hrs. We lent the 533rd a ship.

Participating pilots were: Lts Rojohn, Bowser, Thornton, Sweetland, Greenspan, Grobe, McGriffin, Wulf, Robuck and Springmeyer.

Another new crew was assigned today: 2nd Lts Wilbur J. Hawley, Charles A. Wesel, F/Os Joseph A. George, Lawrence E. Boomershine; Cpls Thomas F. Butler, James E. Elliott, Sylvester J. Kaster, Thomas N. Laffin Jr., and Frederick D. Loose.

31. This marked the third floater in a row for us. Although the radio tonight says the Luftwaffe attacked some American heavies today, our group made it to Prum and back for a 10/10th operation there, hampered by neither enemy fighters nor flak. Flying weather was good at their altitude. Lt Bowser aborted with engine trouble on "Queenie".

Pilots who completed the run were: Todd (with Stallings), O'Connor, Sweetland, Grobe, Greenspan, Biene, Robuck and Wulf.

S/Sgt Hersey returned to duty from hospital and former Pvts Altimus, Bentley, Bluitt and Worley promoted PFC; tours completed, T/Sgts Weise, Torbet, Tabor, Gates, Rolla, and S/Sgts A. E. Miller, Gray, Lynch and Erringer left for home today; S/Sgts Brantley and Abbott were re-classified to 748.

The old year went out with a GI dance at the station theatre, an officers' dance at their club, the PX grog shop open till midnight and a light snow about 19.00 hrs. There were only a couple of unimportant fights in the beer parlor, probably because everyone's worn out by what has been the longest single fight on record: the Allies against the weather man, who has consistently given the Jerry every break.
1945 couldn't be worse from that standpoint.

SO MUCH FOR 1944.


 

January 1945

 

535th Bomb Sq.
381st Bomb Group (H)
WAR DIARY
Submitted by Cpl. Ray Ingham

JANUARY 1945

1. This day dawned cold and clear, and remained so throughout, a promising beginning for the New Year. Cooks matched the meteorologists' auspicious start with a fat round of turkey per man in the mess hall.
The combat side of the ledger started off with a day of activity, also. Major Taylor took off at the head of 37 Forts for an attack on Kassal. However bad weather and failure of the lead ship's PFF forced him to relinquish the lead. While the rest of the group bomb on instruments at the primary, Major Taylor with Lt Palenik at the 'sight, headed for Coblenz, where they did a visual job.

Flak was meagre but accurate, and additional flak on the way in put a large hole in Major Taylor's plane, "The Alamo".

Technically, the primary target was to have been Magdeburg, where an aircraft plant was to have been attacked, but only if a visual run could be made. Major Taylor reportred that although flying weather was OK, cloud undercast made it tough on bombardiers all along the line.

There were no enemy fighters and our P-51 escort was excellent. The following nine squadron pilots participated: Lts Garrett (with Taylor), L. A. Smith, Rojohn, Springmeyer, Biene, Wulf, Peters and Clark.
First reports says Smith, on "Crack-a-Dawn" and Clark, on "Tomahawk Warrior", have landed safely in France, but Peters, on "Feather Merchant II" is safe, no further details. Apparently when Major Taylor said flak was accurate, he meant "accurate".

Fifteen combat gunners were promoted from Cpl to Sgt today: G. R. Allen Jr., B. R. Buttry, R.E. Cox, D.W. Cree, J. A. Cuesta, E. J. Franklin, D. G. Kehr, R. M. Kershaw, F.D. Labellarte, R. H. Lay, E. J. McDonald Jr., F. L. Menotti, L. A. Rose, W. A. Stevenson and J. W. Sullivan.

T/Sgt Joe F. Stobaugh and S/Sgt Edwin J. Bond, gunners, both reported sick and entered hospital today.
It is cold and wet this evening. Apparently other First Division stations (all of which lay west and north of us) are under a moving-in weather front, for it was first expected that the 398th BG, Nuthampstead, would be landing here off their mission. Liberty runs were cancelled at 15.00 hrs, the re-instated at 16.45, so apparently the bombers made it home. No more of that Christmas Eve stuff for us!

2. Today's mission to Geroldstein took nine of our ships and crews for a VACU attack on the railway junction there. Flak was meagre but accurate and the Luftwaffe were away hiding again. One of the two abortives today was Lt McGriffin on "Mizpah". He and most of his enlisted men would have finished up on this one.
Completing the operation were: Lts Bowser, O'Connor, Rojohn, Springmeyer, Greenspan, Biene, Wulf, Sweetland and Malleus.

An interesting item from this job: Col Fitzgerald, group leader, said heavy snow cover over Germany made Gerolstein hard to locate until a GH ship from another group slipped into the lead, pointed the way to the target, gave our lead bombardier, Major Bill Fullick, plenty of time to line himself up, then slid out of the way without a hitch. Total time on this one was about 6 1/2 hrs.

Mechanic Cpl Charles L. Haverly has returned to duty from a long stretch in the hospital, but will not work on the line for some time. He joins Cpl Maxey as a barber in the squadron shop.

Cpls Fennin, Simm and Pfs Robbins left on furloughs today; Pfc Kenneth J. Nagle has been sent to the 121st General Hospital at Braintree for observation.

3. With today's primary target (listed by co-ordinates only) covered by cloud, the squadron participated in a mission which carried on to the secondary and much jucier plum, Cologne. The attack was made by PFF, through 10/10th cloud cover, with flak only moderate and inaccurate and none of Hermann's boys around to gum things up. We had area escort ( according to the briefing) but no one reported seeing any Little Friends today.

As our bombers returned at 13.00 after an 07.30 take off, the weather was closing in solid overhead and light rain was falling.

Taking part were: Lts Todd (with Capt Scarborough), O'Connor, Mitchell, McGriffin, Thornton, Malleus, Sweetland, Biene and Williamson.

Ground notes: S/Sgt J. C. Smith is ill in hospital here; 2nd Lt Roy J. Alley, has been assigned from the 7th Station Complement Sq, as of Dec 31.

4. We had a stand down last night, but today is clear and cold.

Bob Berryman, of the OWI, arrived on base with Capt Saul Schwartz, PRO, yesterday. His sound recording crew is due tomorrow, to cut recordings for short-wave propaganda broadcasts to the occupied continent (Also designed for any Germans who might speak English and tuned in when the time comes). Berryman is scouting for script possibilities, and has Lt O'Connor in mind for a boil-down of the story of "Los Angels City Limits" encounter with the jet-propelled Jerry fighters several weeks ago.

5. Today's mission illustrates that remark about the Weather man being on Adolph's side: nine of our crews took off with the group, 534th leading, but Lt Nugent was forced to abort in "Los Angeles City Limits". The rest went on in VACU heaven, heading for the railhead at Heimbach, Germany. They could see everything above and below to a point about four miles from the target. There they found a nice fat cloud cover over Heimbach, which isn't very big anyway.

So they attacked via GH (radio beams), sending in a PBO strike message. Those clouds offered every bit of opposition there was, for nary a Jerry showed up in a flying machine and if there's a flak gun at Heimbach, it's crew was out for a short one when our planes came over.

All the way over and back for the squadron were: Simmons (leader), O'Connor (section lead), Bowser (flight lead), Sweetland, Greenspan, Robuck, Williamson and Grobe.

Lt peters and all of his bail-out crew but Sgt Chris Gianopulous, radionman, returned to the base via C-47 at 19.15 hrs. There bomber was hit by flak over Koblenz, on Jan 1, but they got her over near Metz before Peters ordered them to bail out. All landed safely but the radio operator, who broke a leg. The rest came down near an American airstrip near Metz. Sgt Knaus, tail gunner, was popped at by a business-meaning truck load of engineers, whose backyard had been strafed by Jerry only a few hours earlier. They took him for a German paratrooper (so they said) and were shooting first, asking afterward. Fortunately for Knaus their truck was moving and their aim was not the best. The crew was flown home by a B-24 and the Dakota.

Further reports say all of Smith's crew is OK and on the way home, but that S/Sgt Hallstrom and Lt Simpson, of Clark's crew, are seriously wounded and hospitalized in France. Hallstrom has had a leg amputated, and will be shipped home as soon as possible. Simpson will be hospitaized some time. None of this is official. Reports from the continent through channels (It has to be suspected that the English Channel is one of them!) take some time.

F/O E. R. Clarkin Jr., has returned from special training at Alconbury; S/Sgt Edwin J. Bond and Sgt Shelby Patton are back on duty from hospitalization.

Sgt Dave S. Martin, crew chief, promoted to S/Sgt; Capt Wistar L. Graham Jr., squadron flight surgeon, is off on 7-day leave.

6. This morning broke very cold but clear and group commander Col Leber, with 1st Lt Garret in "The Alamo" led the 37-ship strong outfit (there were no abortives, not with the boss in the saddle !) to a PBO attack through solid clouds on the city of Cologne. Wingman to Col Leber in #155 (a PFF-GH spare) was Lt Bowser, with Lt O'Connor as section lead, and Springmeyer, Thornton, Grobe, Wulf, Malleus and Nugent completing the squadron formation.

Following today's mission, Col Leber has one to do.

Flak, which was only moderate at the target and encountered nowhere else, co-operatively burst on either side of our formations. Search as they might, scanning the skies until their eyes burned, not one officer or man could even see a mirage substitute for the Luftwaffe.

We had a serving of appropriately-timed symbolism as 22.00 hrs, when the playing of Taps over the Tannoy followed by no more than a few seconds the heavy, muffled jarring of an explosion, reported to be a V-2, from the Halstead direction. ("It was indeed a V-2, the crater, about 200 yards away, can still be seen through my window by simply raising my eyes from the keyboard. Certainly most of this house and others nearby would have been removed had they stood in those days" - recalls Dave Osborne, 2002). What the bugle notes meant for the unlucky ones in the explosion area is anyone's guess, but for the group it means stand down tomorrow. First time in months we've heard the call so used.

Yesterday, in the 448th's crackerbox this correspondent drove something like 18,000 miles round the base, chauffeuring subjects to Bob Berryman and his sound technicians, the latter having been pulled on the station about 15.30 hrs, only three hours late. Among those who cut recordings for OWI propaganda broadcasts were 1st Lts O'Connor and peterson, who told all about the jet-propelled fighter attack they and their crew weathered on "Los Angeles City Limits" several weeks ago.

Berryman left well satisfied with his results, thanks mainly to the efforts of Capt Schwartz, who arranged many of the interviews from the Public Relations story files.

1st Lt Harold W. Walkup has been appointed squadron navigator in place of Capt Lauren Grey, who left for home recently, tour of duty completed; 1st Lts Ralph W. Spatz, Melvin R. McIntyre and Henry S. Tabor have returned from leave.

7. Non-operational today, although assembly flares high in the sky about 08.00 hrs make it look as though some outfits are going out. The morning is cold and the waning moon is bright, but there's a streaky overcast lying off to the east.

The clouds moved in about noon, broke early in the afternoon then tightened down and developed a snowfall, following a thaw, about 17.00. At 18.45 it was clear again and temperature was dropping. Thus goes what they pawn off for weather in England.

2nd Lt Robert A. Bennett and S/Sgt James C. Smith have been released from hospital here.

8. Ten squadron crews with nine ships (we borrowed a 533rd for Lt Bowser) and took off at 07.00 hrs to attack Alzey, Germany, via GH. Strike message was PBO, against an overhead bridge target. No flak, no enemy aircraft.
Flying for the squadron were: Lts Bowser, Thornton, Grobe, all as flight leaders, Nugent, Robuck, Kuhns, Malleus, Williamson, Sweetland and Springmeyer.

Lt Williamson's return was out of line with the general uneventfulness of the mission. He landed "Pair of Queens" (from his fourth mission) at the RAF field at Earls Colne, close to Halstead, with his #1 out before he reached the drome amd #2 conking out just before he sat her in. Runway was short and, although he made a fine landing, his bomber rolled off the end of the strip and into deep mud. He and the boys came home the 10 miles by truck. The plane will be along soon as they grunt her out of the gumbo.

Back from furloughs are T/Sgts Fitzgerald and Munoz, S/Sgts Jordan, Spurling and Wanner.

9. Ice on the roads this cold morning was covered by about an inch of snow, which fell intermittently last night.
2nd Lt Sulo H. Korpi is in the hospital but T/Sgt Joe F. Stobaugh came out today; Cpl Fannin returned from furlough.

10. Nine of our crews took off in a snowstorm this morning to participate in the group's contingent for a GH-visual assist attack on the Ostheim airfield near Cologne. Flak was moderate and accurate and encountered only at the target. No enemy aircraft were seen and little escort was reported. Bombing does not seem to have been too good.

Group leader Lt Col Shackley, 533rd, landed on the continent; our pilots being: Lts Mitchell (section lead), Davison (section lead), Grobe, Smith, Wulf, Springmeyer, Rojohn, Nugent and Sweetland. We used seven of our ships and the 533rd and 534th loaned us one each.

And all in a day this happened to Dean L. Carrier, former crew chief, who's been sweating it out for months: having passed his Six-Four physical exam, he was re-classified to aerial engineer-gunner (748), busted to private, hoisted to T/Sgt (highest rank he can hold as a combat man) and whipped into the combat end of the site among them as flies 'em. He his the second squadron kiwi to turn gunner; 'Red' Hersey, one-time ordnance man, did it several months ago, is now a S/Sgt.

11. Non-operational on this clear, crisp cold morning. More than an inch of snow fell last night and old Ridgewell Airdrome looks amost habitable under its clean, white mantle. A lovely natural deception; camouflage at its best.

S/Sgt John J. Sladek (Purple Heart with Cluster) and Sgt Douglas S. Turner went to hospital today, the latter being transferred to the 121st General Hospital at Braintree, while 2nd Lt Sulo H. Korpi is out of hospital and back on duty here.

The Squadron has been notified that Sgt Chris Gianacopulos, who broke a leg in a bail-out near Metz on January 1st, is now at the 34th Evacuation Hospital. I wonder where that might be ?

2nd Lt F. J. Kappler has returned from DS with the 384th BG at Grafton Underwood; as Capt Graham returned from leave, on the reverse trip went 1st Lt Biene, 2nd Lt Bennett, T/Sgt Glaser and S/Sgts Kerns, Belogenis and Lynn.

These gunners have been transferred in from the 532nd: Sgts Jay C. Galvin, Charles R. Garis, Howard L. Hagemann, Elbert H. Holt, Charles G. Marshall and Homer L. Williams.

12. Rain early this morning transferred our nice 1 1/2 inches od snow into shoe-rotting slush, although just enough ice clings to the road to make it treacherous underfoot. Let's hope the Free French Army is enjoying our galoshes. This we are non-operational today.

Off to the rest homes today went: 2nd Lts Melvin F. Springmeyer, Donald E. Schlosser, F/O Daniel T. Bozeman, T/Sgts Leroy E. Lyons, Dick F. Patriarca, Robert H. Mumper, S/Sgt Lowell R. Keeler, Leon A. DeLisle and Robert E. Stillwell.

Cpl Charles T. Murray, who reported ill, was sent to Braintree Hospital.

13. Despite the day being cold, damp and heavily overcast, our bombers took off at 09.30 hrs to attack a bridge at Germersheim, nine from our squadron. Weather was excellent all the way in but - it's beginning to look like fate or some damn thing ! - one solid cloud patch covered the target, necessitating a GH bombing with unobserved results from up front.

However, rear element gunners, including some of ours, said they saw bomb bursts bracketing one end of the bridge. This structure crosses the Rhine, was one of several under attack by Eighth Air Force heavies. Flak was meagre and accurate over the target, and there were no enemy aircraft about.

Participating were: Lts Simmons (with Capt Scarborough - section lead), O'Connor (section lead), Greenspan (flight lead), Robuck, Nugent, Malleus, Clark, Williamson and Kuhns.

The planes landed in heavy blowing mists which made the job a difficult one. Everyone came in safely, though, and our first were dropping in about 15.30 hrs.

About 15.30 yesterday a heavy explosion was felt here; another this morning at 07.15. We're still lucky, but the papers are full of deliberately underplayed stories on the toll V-2's are taking.

S/Sgt John M. Dirrane and his PFF bomber "Sunkist Special" are at Bassingbourn for a possible 30-day stay while technicians there modify the plane for GH equipment. Dirrane's is one of the most-flown instrument-bombing ships on the field. Col Leber invariably uses it for his leads.

Off for seven days of heaven on furloughs are: Pfc Beyer, Cpl Sup, Sgt McNamee, S/Sgts DeCesare and Ware; 2nd Lt Donahoe left for the rest home; but 1st Lt Richey, communications officers, entered hospital here.
Promotions: S/Sgts William E. Abbott (second tour man, formerly with the 533rd last summer), Oscar K. Brantley and Edwin J. Bond to T/Sgts; Cpls Thomas F. Butler, Sylvester Caster, Frederick D. Loose, James E. Elliott and Thomas N. Laffin Jr., to Sgt.

14. Today's mission, led by Major Taylor was a PA1 job on the autobahn bridge at Colne, but 2nd Lt Robuck and crew are reported missing.

Flak was moderate and accurate over the target and probably account for Robuck and crew. Our airmen saw the bomb strike slap right into the middle of the bridge. Lt Palenik was at the 'sight. The bomb run was long, but that gave flak gunners some eight minutes in which to bracket our bombers, but there was no Luftwaffe around.

Participating on the missions were: Lts Garrett (with Maj Taylor), Smith (section lead), Thorton (flight lead), Bowser, Stevens, Williamson, Peters Hawley and Robuck (see 18th).

This was a good job for Major Taylor and Lt Palenik, who have had considerably more than their share of tough luck with faulty navigational and bombing equipment in the past few leads.

S/Sgt Sladek left hospital today to return to duty and Pfc John W. Fulton went in.

15. The only mission today was screen star Mary Brian's. She toddled out to christen the 533rd Fortress "Fort Lansing Emancipator", the even being guest-of-honored by Lansing, Mich., men from this and other bases in First, Second and Third Division; almost enough to comprise a full bomber crew. Covering was Jack park, for WJIM, Lansing; with a BBC sound technician he cut a recording. F/O Boomershine, Lansing bombardier, was in on the show. All arranged by Capt Schwartz.

All's well, although quite a number of the laddies had to rack the old noggin to place Miss Brian, now touring the E.T.O. with Jack haley's USO Camp Show. Although well-preserved as to complexion, and standing on a good pair of pins that give the best a good run for the o-day, Miss B in undoubtedly of the Richard Arlen, Richard Dix era - long, long ago. But the boys liked here, she was wearing a skirt !

By-the-by: they scrubbed a mission for Regensburg today.

T/Sgt Edwin J. Bond is back in hospital again. He has been suffering from pleurisy for several weeks, swears when he finishes this tour, (he has a couple to go) he'll try for medium or light bombardment, stay out of the high altitude racket entirely. The oxygen, moisture and rarified air in generally gets almost everyone trouble with sinus or upper respiratory disorders.

Cpls Simm and Maciejewski, have been sent ill, to Braintree hospital.

16. A mission, calling for Plan "A" against Lutzkendorf, or plan "B", against Berlin, was scrubbed this morning. An all-day fog blanketed the base and liberty runs were cancelled.

T/Sgt Bond is on his way to Braintree hospital; T/Sgt Hallstrom, Lt Clark's radio-man, WIA Jan 1, has been transferred out, seriously wounded and will be sent home. He is reported to have had a leg amputated at the 203rd General Hospital, Paris.

17. Thirty-seven groups ships, ten from this squadron, took of at 09.00 hrs after an hour's light rain earlier, on a mission to Paderborn, led by Lt Col Hall, group Air Exec., on a PBO PFF attack on the marshalling yards, not far from Kassel.

There were no aborts, no losses, no flak, no fighters. Weather was bad most of the way, with plenty of high clouds and only a few breaks in the undercast going in. Nothing of importance can be said about this one.
Flying for the squadron were: Rohjohn, Greenspan and Clark (all as flight leaders), Wulf, Peters, Nugent, Malleus, Hawley, Williamson and Spatz.

Sgt Albert D. Albrizzio has been assigned to Bassingbourn (91st BG) for 30 days DS; on 7-day leaves went: Capt Joseph D. Keating and James B. Linskey, while Pfc Kenneth J. Nagel has been transferred to HQ.
Promotions to Captain: squadron bombardier Frank T. Palenik (second tour) and pilot McClendon M. Stallings; to 1st Lt: 2nd Lts John H. Murphy, James R. Farley bombardiers; Melvin C. Springmeyer, pilot and John C. Simpson.

18. A mission intended against Mannheim today was scrubbed. Sky is cloudy, wind strong and warm this morning.

Word on Robuck's crew, listed MIA on 14th; all are safe except S/Sgts Richard L. Shott, ball turret; Robert A. P. Lavalle, waist gunner; Sgt Fred Leiner, tail gunner. On their way home are: Lts Robuck, James W. Scarsdale, co-pilot; Raymond J. O'Brien, navigator; S/Sgt James C. Adkins, toggler; T/Sgt Michael A. Sewell, engineer/top turret; S/Sgt Joseph Dicero, radio-operator. These men landed in a battle area where actual fighting was going on. Several (among them Lt Scarsdale) were shot at by German troops as they floated to earth.

1st Lt Ritchie released from station hospital; T/Sgt Julius J. Grossman, ETTG, has returned from hospitalization at 121st GH, Braintree; Sgt Albrizzio returned from Bassingbourn.

19. The group received a stand down order last night. It is bitter cold this morning, with a gale, of 50 mph in velocity, cutting the place in two. Sky in completely overcast. A Tannoy announcement explains lights-out of a few minutes ago, says the wind has wrecked high-tension lines off base and all electricity will most likely be off all morning.

Lt Robuck and S/Sgt Dicero returned to base today. The rest of the crew are on their way, but still no word on Shott, Lavalle or Leiner.

2nd Lt Frank J. Kappler returned from a GH bombardier training course at Bassingbourn (91BG), and S/Sgt Dirrane returns with his ship from the same base, where it was modified in a remarkably short time.

S/Sgt Nassam Abraham and Cpl Anthony J. Mazzarine have been reduced to the rank of Pvt, with Abraham re-promoted to Sgt.

Another new crew has been assigned arriving last night: 2nd Lts Albert J. Cotea, Stanley J. Gajdik, Joseph A. Hummel, Irving G. Dreishpoon; Cpls Raymond B. Holstein, Roland C. Kinzer, Alfred W. Mata, Joseph Nagy and Pvt William J. Martsrell.

20. Nobody saw the ground who flew today's mission, a 37-bomber PFF plus GH attack on Ludwigshafen. There was no enemy opposition for our group, although some flak was seen in the target area.

Our pilots were: Lts Todd (lead with Capt Stallings), Greenspan (section lead), Bowser (flight lead), Wulf, Malleus, Clark, Peters, Hawley, Kuhns and Beine. There were no abortives.

At taxi-time, as his plane was approaching the runway for take-off, Sgt Homer L. Williams, waist gunner, newly transferred from the 532nd, bolted from Lt Malleus' aircraft via the waist door. He was hurriedly replaced for the mission by T/Sgt William E. Abbott, later showed up at the operations office, was checked through the hospital and then confined to the guard-house.This is the first case of its kind in the squadron history. Only one other case of refusal to fly a combat mission as ordered is recorded in the entire group. This would have been Sgt Williams' second mission.

Back from assorted DS are: 1st Lts Springmeyer, Beine, 2nd Lts Bennett, Schlosser, F/O Daniel T. Bozeman, T/Sgts Glaser, Lyons, Patriarca, Mumper, S/Sgts Belogenis, Lynn, Keeler, DeLisle and Stillwell.

Pfcs George C. Barth and Leroy L. Lollo have been transferred out, to HQ, Air Bair Depot Area; Sgt Thomas R. Terreri, ordnance man, has been hospitalized here.

21. Col Leber, group commander, finished up on this one and was awarded the Silver Star on the spot at interrogation by Brig Gen William Gross, 1st Combat Bomb Wing commander. The target was Aschaffenberg, which was attacked on instruments in the face of moderate flak. One crew in the group is missing.
Squadron pilots participating were: Lts Simmons (lead, with Col Leber on Sunkist Special), Mitchell (section lead), Rojohn (flight lead), Stevens, Malleus, Peters, Wulf, Kuhns and Williamson.

In a peel off accident in the traffic pattern just before landing, two ships collided, "Egg Haid" and "Schnozzle", the separate wrecks landing about a mile, in each case, behind Tilbury Fox pub, east of the base. No one survived on either crew.

Back from furloughs are S/Sgts DeCesare and Ware, Sgt McNamee, Cpl Sup and Pfc Beyer; AFCE specialist Sgt Louis J. Hoffman has been sent on DS for special training; 1st Lts Walter L. Richey, squadron communications officer, promoted to captain.

Hospitalized are: 1st Lt John G. Murphy, S/Sgt Sam O. Buckley, Sgt William E. Fitzpatrick, on the station and S/Sgt Clifford A. Porter at Braintree.

22. A stand down was ordered last night. Cpl W. F. Gardoski today left with Sgt Homer L. Williams, escorting the gunner to the 302nd Medical Dispensary, Station #101, High Wycombe, 8th Air Force HQ, for a psychiatric check-up.

1st Lt Murphy and Cpl Doyle are out of hospital, but Capt James L. Tyson, squadron operations, is in; 1st Lts Milton A. Hoffman and Charles O. Todd, Jr., left on 7-day leaves.

23. Following a stand down last night, light snow fell at about 07.00 hrs today.

The squadron is notified that S/Sgt Robert A. P. Lavalle, previously listed MIA on 14 Jan, is now reported absent sick at the 130th General Hospital, no location given. Case diagnosed as "general exposure."

Sgt Fitzpatrick has been discharged from station hospital; 2nd Lt Frank Kelly is on DS and Bassingbourn for special training; on 7-days leaves went: T/Sgts Boura and Lowder, S/Sgts Marshall, Labarr and Carney.

24. Third stand down in a tow today. Bad weather has forced cancellation of liberty runs tonight.

These gunners have been re-classified from career gunners to engineers: S/Sgts Ronald L. Cleek, Earl E. Amell, and James E. Williams; from career gunners to armorer gunners: Sgts Gordon J. Kubiak and Charles F. Knaus.
Promotions: S/Sgts Carl R. Hall and Clovis E. McComy to T/Sgt; Sgts Robert B. Bolin, Bill A. Buttry, Henry A. Bogatay, David W. Cree, John A. Cuesta, Nicholas A. Fina, Robert M. Kershaw, Chester M. Slomszenski, Walter A. Stevenson, Edward D. Stoeckler, Edward Turner and Edward J. McDonald Jr.

Capts Keating and Linskey returned from leaves; S/Sgt Joseph H. Kearney, squadron supply sgt, has been hospitalized at Braintree; Cpl Sworin has been transferred to 9th Air Force HQ.

25. Fourth stand down in as many days. There's a heavy frost, like that we had at Christmas, over everything; add to that a thick fog and you understand while several Kimbolton crews, which landed here on the 22nd, are still around. Needless to say, liberty runs are cancelled.

S/Sgt Merritt is back from furlough, while T/Sgt Sewell and S/Sgt Dicero have left on same; 1st Lt Richards is in the base hospital; Cpl Gardoski, escort for Sgt Homer Williams, has returned.

Promotions have been announced for gunners: S/Sgts Raymond B. Holstein, Roland C. Kinzer, Alfred M. Mata and Joseph Nagy to T/Sgt; Pvt William J. Martsrell to Cpl.

26. Another stand down for today, making it five in a row. The heavy fog persists and a light snow fell early this morning and it is very cold.

Lt Donahoe has returned from rest home.

27. They tried for one this morning, but finally scrubbed a mission intended for Bremen.

Gunners S/Sgt Earl W/ Orndorff, engineer, and Sgt Meredith L. New, career, gunner, have been assigned from the 534th; Sgt Chris Gianacopulus is on his way home, having been transferred out to the 4102nd US Army Hospital Plant, France; T/Sgt William J. Robey, enigineer and battle casualty, has been transferred out.

28. The group, thanks to a long string of stand downs and yesterday's scrub, was almost as new to combat this morning as was T/Sgt Dean L. Carrier, former mechanic and crew chief, who today flew his first mission as engineer, with Major Taylor, who led the group with Lt Garrett as his pilot, attacked Gutersloh, a last resort target.

Again the major's PFF and GH and all radio equipment went out and he was forced to relinquish the lead to the 533rd, which picked the target. Flak was moderate and accurate as our formation passed over Cologne, but there was none at Gutersloh, and the German Air Force stood down for the occasion.

The squadron had two abortives out of ten who took off. They were Lt Springmeyer on "Pair of Queens" and Lt Kuhns on "Hells Angels"; the others being: Lts Thornton, Smith, Malleus, Spatz, Peters, Williamson and Nugent.
In response to an ETO demand for infantry volunteers (an effort to replace heavier than expected losses on the Eastern front) these seven squadron men have been accepted as part of the contingent of 42 which will go (a much larger number volunteered but 42 is the station quota): Sgt Harold C. Olsen, Cpl Victor G. way, Pfc Michael T. Petrovich, Pvts Edward Gonynor, Teddy Paszek, John D. Osborne and John H. Mitchell.
Sgt Schertz has returned from furlough; Lt Richard, T/Sgt Fischer and Pfc Baxter have been admitted to hospital, while Pfc Frank Hernandez comes out.

29. The 14th combat mission of this month and the New Year took the group to Niederlahnstein, just south of Coblenz, for a GH attack through solid undercast against a marshalling yard. This was the easy kind, there being only meagre and inaccurate flak at the target, none elswhere, no enemy aircraft and a large, close and gratifying fighter escort of our own.

Eleven crews and 12 bombers of this squadron took part: Lts Greenspan (section lead), Rojohn (flight lead), Spatz, Malleus, Springmeyer, Peters, Williamson, Nugent, Kuhns, Clark and Wulf. Lt Ralph Gaw, 534th, flew our PFF ship, serial #44-8402-N.

S/Sgt R. A. Lavalle has returned to the squadron from hospital. He landed behind enemy lines on the 14th, made his way through and returned safely, suffering only mild exposure. He will be interrogated in London, stands a good chance of being transferred to the States as an invader.

For negligence in failing to secure the ball turret properly during the return from Mannheim mission, Jan 20, (turret was damaged in landing), T/Sgt Millard C. Neeley, engineer, and ball turret gunner S/Sgt Charles E. Lynn have been reduced to the rank of Pvt, re-promoted to the rank of Sgt.

30. Non-operational today. Yesterday it snowed, then froze, last night we had the heaviest snowfall todate, something like four inches covering everything. A Tannoy announcement forbade the use of bicycles on base today because of the slippery condition of the roads.

S/Sgt Lavalle has been ordered to US Special Reception Centre, London, for interrogation. He left today, as did the squadron's seven infantry volunteers.

31. A mission was scrubbed today. It called for a Plan "A" attack on Berlin, or as an alternative, Plan "B" against Misburg. A thaw has set in, with plenty of slush.

Back from furloughs and leaves come 1st Lts Hoffman and Todd, T/Sgts Burns and Lowder, S/Sgts Marshall, Labarr and Carney.

M/Sgt Connell, line inspector, left today for two days in London, to make a hometown broadcast to Hollywood, Cal. T/Sgt Julius J. Grossman earlier this month went in for two days' work on OWI foreign language (German) script for short-wave transmission to Germany. He was born in Vienna and left six years ago.

Capt Joe Keating has been changed from adjutant to mess officer. He's mess officer for the Airmen's Mess; F/O Clark is now rated as a GH bombardier; Cpt Schwartz changed from 9309 to 5401 specification number. He's the group public relations officer; Lt Alley and Sgt Ingham have been appointed squadron VD Officer and assistant, respectively, in preparation for intended new program of informal education.

The following officers and EM, tours of duty completed, have left the squadron for Zone of Interior this month: Capts Gene J. Demagalski, James F. Grey, McLendon M. Stallings; 1st Lts Charles Cutter III, Stanley A. Milewski, Robert M. Cotton, Norman M. Jones, Jack A. Keating, Kenneth McGriffin, Irving P. Newsom, Howard M. Carter, David Sweetland, Joe B. Grobe, John B. O'Connor; 2nd Lt Arthur E. Muth Jr.; T/Sgts Peter Karamzian, Thomas W. Sprung, William W. McLaren, Claude A. Curtis Jr., Felix Wojcik, Jack E. Booth; S/Sgts Elmer E. Lewis, Frank T. Maslanka, Alvis D. Kindell, Louis A. Perilloux, Leon S. Bucy, Omer L. Godfrey, Frank D. Hermance and Ralph T. Stout.


 

February 1945

 

535th Bomb Sq.
381st Bomb Group (H)
WAR DIARY
Submitted by Cpl. Ray Ingham

FEBRUARY 1945

1. Eight squadron ships and crews participated into today's 10/10th could job against marshalling yards at Mannheim. The group led the entire Eighth Air Force.

Clouds were high and the weather was bad all the way. Flak at the target was light and accurate, although we suffered no casualties. No enemy aircraft were encountered.

Participating pilots were: Capt Davison (lead), Lts Mitchell, Thornton, Chamberlin, Springmeyer, Clark, Williamson and Stevens.

Lt John Kuhns, in a/c 42-32102 "Male Call" of the 535th was forced to abort with engine trouble, jettisoned his bombs in the Channel and returned to the base with three engines out, landing downwind. His plane crashed into and completely wrecked a 533rd crew chief's hut on the line. No one was injured. Pilot and crew are in the hospital for observation tonight.

Today has been clear, with very moderate winds. 'Stragglers' get their gas masks checked at the chamber near the motor pool and physical examinations for prospective infantry replacements were cancelled for today, but resume tomorrow.

1st Lt Harry E. Richards, T/Sgt Albert L. Fischer and Pfc Lee D. Hatton were released from hospital.

2. The sky was overcast this morning and at 07.00 hrs a mission was scrubbed. Plans "A" and "B" called for attacks on Berlin or Dresden, respectively.

Lt Kuhns and crew were released from hospital this morning. 1st Lt Harry E. Richards, navigator, has left for home, tour of duty completed.

The following gunners' promotions have been announced: S/Sgts Earl E. Amell, Joseph Dicero, Ronald L. Cleck, and James E. Williams to T/Sgts; Sgts Gaylord R. Allen Jr., Charles F. Knaus, Richard E. Cox and Gordon J. Kubiak to S/Sgt.

3. Today's effort against Berlin, a city jammed to overflowing with refugees from the Russian Front area, was the biggest ever carried out in daylight by Eighth Air Force heavies. It cost this group two of the 37 participating 37 ships, but none from this squadron.

Planes took off at 07.00 hrs and were back at 15.00. Berlin was wide open and bombs went down on railroad stations and administration targets just east of the Tiergarten. All returning crewmen said that section of town was a shambles.

Flying weather was good and flak for us, over the Tempelhof district in which our objectives were located, was moderate but extremely accurate. Ours was the 12th group to attack this target area, but we neither saw nor heard of enemy fighters. Escort was excellent to and from.

The squadron sent ten planes and crews: Lts Greenspan, Bowser, Thornton, Chamberlin, Stevens, Wulf, Springmeyer, Nugent, Cotea, Williamson and Peters.

Tour completed, S/Sgt Read Shoemaker, waist gunner, has left for home; Sgt Adrian O. Johnson, AFCE man, is off on DS to Station #582, Warton, Lancs., and Pfc Mario DiDiego has left for special Schooling at RAF Kirkham, near Blackpool.

The base hospital is beating the Daily Bulletin in an attempt to round up all empty medicine bottles, whatever size or shape. Seems the shortage is acute throughout the UK.

4. Because of adverse weather, which turned rainy and cold shortly after the return of our bombers yesterday, a stand down was ordered at 23.00 hrs last night. Today there are low hanging clouds and a high, chilly wind.

5. Heavy rain about 03.00 hrs today was followed by an overcast sky later and a mission scheduled to Munich was scrubbed.

T/Sgt James P. Hamilton, tour-of-duty radio operator, has left for home; Pfc Ernest M. Rivero has been assigned to the squadron.

Ground safety is the big deal on base these days, will all organizations having a safety officer and NCO. Ours are Capt Greenwood and M/Sgt "Stud" Dutton, of engineering. Promotion is underway, with much more space devoted in the Daily Bulletin, for a suitable safety slogan. After that it will be an attempt to achieve 100 consecutive accident-free days.

6. The group was briefed to hit Lutzkendorf visually, but could not because of 10/10th weather over the continent, so chose Ohrdruf instead, for an instrument offensive. Results were unobserved. The target was one of opportunity, is considered nothing more that a wide spot in a second-rate road and here the feeling generally is the less said about this operation the better for all concerned. This squadron, fortunately, did not lead.
Participating were: Capt Davison woth Lts Malleus, Greenspan, Springmeyer, Rojohn, Clark, Robuck, Chamberlin and Cotea.

1st Lts Ralph W. Spatz, pilot, and Leland H. Doda, bombardier, have left for home, tours completed.
Three new crews have been assigned to the squadron: 2nd Lts Richard W, Bowler, Raymond D. Jeffrey, Jacob Steinart, F/O Paul Maznek; Cpls Raphael A. Dobesh, Thomas Hogan, Theodore R. Johnson, William P. Lambert and Howard E. Mosley.

2nd Lts Turner G. Brashear, Robert P. Horn, Charles T. Layton, Charles E. Greenlee; Cpls Henry L. Durham, James Edwards, Joe D. Newell Jr., Joseph R. Norcom and John W. Prillaman.

2nd Lts William G. Bush, Arthur Knapp, Arthur F. Vandrick, F/O Jerome O. Krivanek; Cpls James J. Arieste, Milford W. Sanderson, Edward P. Scott, William J. Szemplenski and Gerrit B. VanOmmen.

Major Vickery has been transferred to the 532nd, and into this squadron as its new operations officer, comes Major Joseph Krieger Jr., from the 533rd; Pfc Neiss, refueling operator, has been transferred to the 533rd; Pfc Nick Nardo to HQ and in from the 533rd on transfer has come Cpl Albert S. Enger.

Lt Col Conway S. Hall, original with the group and its air executive since activation, has assumed command as of this date, replacing Col Harry P. Leber, Jr.

7. A mission intended against Osterfeld, Germany, was recalled today. T/Sgts Arthur J. DiMartile, radio operator, and John E. Riley, engineer, have left for home, tours completed.

Pilots Austin W. Simmons and Charles O. Todd Jr., have been promoted from 1st Lt to captain.

8. Bad weather today forced a scrub for intended mission against Wesel. On their way home today with tours completed, are: 1st Lts George A. Peterson, Jack R. Thornton and Ralph E. Quatrine, along with T/Sgt Joe F. Stobaugh.

9. A main road viaduct at Arnsberg was the target for today, but a complete cloud coverage necessitated and instrument attack and results were unobserved. There were neither flak nor enemy fighters at the target, but some very meagre flak was seen near the coast line on the way back to base.

Nine squadron crews and 12 ships flew today: Capt Todd and 1st Lts Mitchell, Bowser, Biene, Robuck, Malleus, Peters, Cotea and Williamson. The 533rd used our: Los Angeles City Limits, Me and My Gal, and Phyllis.

10. A mission intended for Kassel was scrubbed.

11. Munster was to have been today's target, but again the mission was scrubbed.

The new NCO Club, for top three graders, opened with a dance at its new quarters, in the old QM building next to the combat mess, this evening. Lt Cols Hall and Reed and squadron commanders were guests.

Two more new crews arrived: 2nd Lts Lawrence A. Smith, Paul O. Stratton, Clifford B. Winslette, Gordon C. Stickles; Cpls Robert J. McCluskey, Jack Goldstein, Harry D. Sibila, Nelson J. Campagnano and Troy D. Swope.

2nd Lt John W. Perry Jr., John W. Dunaway, Eugene R. Ilten, F/O William F. Holstein Jr.; Cpls Joseph B. Beiarsto, Robert E. Nordrum, Roger G. Wogaman, Clarence A. Henway and Thomas F. Fahey.

12. No mission again today. The morning brought a chill drizzle, but sky cleared throughout to noontime to a warm and bright afternoon.

Booster shot time is with us again. The squadron looks forward to next Thursday, 15 February, for its crop of sore arms …. one tetanus and one typhoid promised. The wise men will take them both in the same arm, thus leaving a side to sleep on.

Promotions include: 2nd Lts Arthur Greenspan and William E. Stevens, to 1st Lt; S/Sgts Henry A. Bogatay, Willard G. Marshall, John F. Macknyk, Edward D. Stoeckler to T/Sgt; Sgts Thomas F. Butler, Frederick D. Leese and Thomas N. Laffin to S/Sgt; Cpl William J. Martsrell to Sgt; Pfcs Alfred R. Greco and John N. Maglaras to Cpl; Pvts Ernest J. Denari and Ainsley E. Horrell to Pfc.

13. Another scrub today. Plan "A" called for an attack on Kassel and Plan "B" for one on Dresden. Red-red flares from the control tower just before 07.00 hrs announced the call off. Crews were at their planes.
Very heavy explosions, possibly those of V-2s, were heard and felt, as through from a considerable distance, last night and this morning.

On their way home are tours-of-duty airmen: Capt Fred Davison, 1st Lts Melvin R. McIntyre, Henry S. Tabor and Sgt Willard C. Neely.

In their first game in the Base Championship Baseball Tournament at Yeldham hangar last night, the 535th downed the HQ quintet, 38-19. Tonight the boys take on 534th Ordnance in the second round. Our team will be the Static Chasers, not the bomb aggregate, which has beaten the former team.

14. So far as the men who fly 'em and those who officially dope 'em are concerned, today was one of these days that run into the kind of nights that take the weight off. Things were in a tight spin hereabouts until past midnight, but everything came out beautifully, if not exactly as briefed, including the discovery of an honest man … Diogenes note: It all began with briefed plans including "A" against Kassel if visual, or "B" against Dresden if the clouds were there.

They briefed at 04.30 hrs and took of at 08.30 with Capt Jim Tyson leading thegroup, behind Lt Col Ensign of the 91st BG, spearheading the combat wing. Clouds were filthy from the beginning, and it soon became evident that Dresden was the job. But in the course of the flight out, Ensign went off course to avoid clouds at altitude, ran into Munster, where the flak gunners did their best, adding to the difficulties of our formation flying in soup and contrails, then headed back north to get on course again.

That was then that Capt Tyson "got lost". He knew the attack on Dresden was to be a big do with bombing runs closely timed and orders flatly forbidding any interruptions of the bomber stream. The combat wing as Ensign had it was not only off course but far behind the schedule. What the 91st did only their reports will tell, but Tyson, with Capt Frank Palenik as his bombardier, went looking for a target of opportunity. There were 37 group bombers in his formation, nine from this squadron.

Quite by accident … and this he admitted later … Palenik picked up a juicy looking industrial area northwest of Brux, Czechoslovakia, free from cloud cover, lined up with plenty of time and let go. The low squadron with 12 planes, failed to recognize the bomb run, and latter popped off a last resort attack near the big Skoda works at Pilsen, Czechoslovakia.

But Palenik and 24 other aircraft (lead and high squadrons) absolutely clobbered their target, whiched turned out to be an A-Plus Priority synthetic oil fractionizing plant at Brux. This the USAAF and RAF have been trying to KO for months. We hit it dead centre, with tons of 500-pound incendiary clusters and the super potent 500-pound RDX demos.

All Palenik knew at the time was the forest of chimneys below him meant a big industrial set-up. Back at base afterwards Col Hall and the rest were in a dither. Main worry was that we'd gone too far east and might have dropped into the Russian-held territory near Chemnitz. Everyone from Col Hall through the clerks in S-2 and the bombardiers' office at HQ pored over strike photos and target maps. When Palenik went to bed he still wasn't sure. But later Division confirmed the kill at Brux and a so-so job at Pilsen, so our nose is not only clean but glowing handsomely.

The operation cost us T/Sgt Nassar, lead radio operator, slightly wounded over Munster, and Lt Wulf and crew down to an emergency landing on the continent, with Wulf reported wounded and his crew not yet officially accounted for.

On returning 18 of the group's ships landed at other bases in England and across the Channel, all low on gas. Lt Biene crash landed near Alconbury with landing gear trouble. All OK. Lt Greenspan stopped on the continent for gas, has now returned. Lt Rojohn and crew are OK on the continent, report maintenace need for their "Crack-a-Dawn". Tentatively Lt Robinson, co-pilot, Sgts Ingalls, toggeler and Bogarty, engineer, are reported safe from Lt Wulf's crew.

Supposedly MIA are Lt Dahlgren, navigator; S/Sgt Stoeckler, radio; S/Sgt Majors, spot-jammer; S/Sgt Wanner, ball turret; S/Sgt Turner, waist; and S/Sgt Kubiak, tail gunner.

Other pilots were: Lts Smith (with Tyson), Clark, Malleus, Chamberlin and Robuck.

T/Sgt Martin M. Hogan, radio operator with tour completed has left for home. The 534th Ordnance team beat our Static Chasers 51-37; Sgt Abraham was our top scorer with 14 points.

15. Weather was good for flying but undercast solid for bombing. Non-persistant contrails caused some troubles, there was no flak at the target and the Luftwaffe again failed to show.

Two of our aircraft bombed targets of opportunity. They were piloted by Lts Robuck and Nugent, who bombed the Ems-Weser Kanal, and Lingen, respectively. Othe squadron pilots were: Lts Mitchell, Bowser, Clark, Springmeyer, Murphy and Malleus.

The new station theatre, back in the building where movies were first shown here, opended tonight with a showing of "Lifeboat". The place is strictly swell now, with regular theatre seats (salvaged from a blitzed theatre, purchased, transported and installed by Special Service); a rheostat dimout for house lights and two 75 mm projectors, which obviate any stopping for film changes. Shows are continuous, no signs plaster the walls and the mangement mean business there. There's a Reserved section for officers and enlisted men with guests.

16. Flak was fairly intense for our 250th mission, to Langendreer today as nine squadron ships participated with the group in bombing an oil plant and fuel dump there. Contrails were bad going over and targets were covered with haze, but bombardiers got away good hits on the dump and refinery, although many bombs were badly scattered. Also hit (unbriefed) was the marshalling yard at Langendreer. Other targets were slightly north of the town.

No Luftwaffe appeared again to trouble our pilots who were: Lts Simmons, Mitchell, Malleus, Clarke, Beine, Stevens, Springmeyer, Nugent and Schlosser. The 532nd had two men wounded.

Latest report on Lt Wulf and crew clears up an erroneous wire from Division , which said most were MIA. It is now known Lt Wulf and S/Sgt Kubiak (tail) are hospitalized on the continent, but the rest are no their way back to base.

17. Bad weather today forced a recall of a mission headed for either Bohlen (Plan "A") or Mannheim (Plan "B"). The morning is damp, misty and chilly.

The 535th team beat the Officers Club at basketball last night 32-29 at the Yeldham hangar. Condit was top scorer for us again with ten points.

18. Non-operational again today. We heard the first larks today, although it is misty, Spring could be a-coming!
S/Sgt Sam O. Buckley, gunner, has been reduced to the grade of private for disobedience of orders. 2nd Lt Joseph F. Grace, bombardier, promoted to 1st.

The 535th team won the station basketball championship at Yeldham hangar last night, beating 534th Ordnance 41-39. A good clean, fast, hard-fought game where top scorer for the squadron was Larson with 13 points.

19. Thirty seven group aircraft, 11 of them the 535th, two loaned to 533rd and 534th, today attacked the Hoesch-Benzin synthetic oil plant at Dortmund, in the Ruhr Valley, through 10/10th cloud with unobserved results. Flak was meagre and inaccurate over the target, moderate and inaccurate over the bomb line coming home. No casualties, no Luftwaffe.

Flying for the squadron were: Todd, Bowser, Malleus, Clark, Stevens, Schlosser, Springmeyer, Robuck and O'Neil.

1st Lts James Scott and Donovan L. Chamberlin, tours completed, have left for the 70th Replacement Depot and home.

20. The group, with nine of our crews participating, attacked the railroad station at Nurnberg today, bombing through 10/10th clouds, again with unobserved results, in the face of moderate and inaccurate flak. No enemy fighters showed up, our escort was good and all returned safely.

Strictly speaking only eight of uor ships bombed Nurnberg, one dropped on Staden, Germany. This was Lt Stevens, in "Pair of Queens", who lost two engines, dropped out of formation, bombed and returned early. He and his crew got credit for a mission. The others were: Capt Simmons (with Major Krieger), Lts Peters, Bowser, Nugent, Clark, Cotea, Hawley and O'Neil.

Promotions included: S/Sgts Bill R. Buttry, David W. Cree, John A. Cuesta, Nicholas Fina, Robert M. Kershaw and John Sheffield to T/Sgts; Sgts Raymond B. Holstein, David G. Kerr and Joseph Nagy to Sgts.

To Sgts: James J. Ariosto, Joseph N. Beairste, Clarence A. Benway, Nelson J. Campagnano, Raphael A. Doresh, Harry L. Durham, James Edwards, Thomas F. Fahey, Jack Goldstein, Thomas Hogan, Theodore R. Johnson, William P. Lambert, Robert J. McCluskey, Howard E. Mosley Jr., Joe D. Newell Jr., Joseph R. Norcom, Robert E. Nordrum, Milford W. Sanderson, Edward P. Scott, Harry D. Sibila, Troy D. Swope, William J. Szemplenski, Gerrtit B. VanOmmen, Roger G. Wogaman and John W. Prillaman.

21. Back to Nurnberg again today, with Major Ike Taylor and Lt Larry Smith leading the group. Two targets, for either visual or intrument bombing were briefed, and we hit the secondary, the marshalling yards (primary being yesterday's railroad station) with unobserved results. Technique was by PFF. Flak was meagre and inaccurate, there were no enemy aircraft. Mustang support was good and the mission was generally uneventful.
Squadron's other pilots were: Lts Stevens, Mitchell, Cotea, Clark, Peters, Springmeyer, Hawley and Nugent.
Captain Jules B. Moreau, squadron adjutant on DS at First CBW, has been promoted to Major, which is what he was transferred to us for. He's still, as far as we know, Gen Gross's aide or adjutant at CBW.

S/Sgt Joseph C. Rybak and Sgt Charles E. Lynn, tours completed, have left the squadron for home; 2nd Lt Roy L. Alley, chemical warfare officer recently transferred in, promoted to 1st Lt.

22. We led the group again today, with Capt Tyson and Lt Smith in front slot. Bombing, against an auto or freight overpass at Kobbelitz, was carried out from 12,000 ft, unusually low.

The primary was the marshalling yards at Gardelegen, but this was missed when our group was diverted from course because of traffic pattern interference of another group. We and the low squadron attacked the overpass at Kobbelitz, while the high squadron missing the initial bomb run, went on to drop against a similar objective at Klotze.

Bombing results were from fair to good in both targets of opportunity. Weather was good, gighters were seen ahead of us during the bomb runs, but none attacked. Escort was good; our boys saw what they think were two Mustangs shot down in dogfights ahead of our outfit.

Flying for the squadron were: Lts Beine, Springmeyer, Hawley, O'Neil, Murphy, Bowler, Brashear and Williamson. The 534th borrowed our "Stage Door Canteen" and "Wild Bill" for this operation.

Garrison caps, officer-style headgear worn by EM over here since we arrived, but generally banned at home, are no longer authorized and penalty will be imposed upon anyone caught wearing one. Most were picked up in a recent inspection, to be held for the holder until we move ……. ?

1st Lt Leonard E. Rojohn, tour of duty pilot, has left for home; S/Sgt Gordon J. Kubiak, Wulf's tail gunner, previously listed MIA over Brux, on Feb 14, is with the 47th Evacuation Hospital on the continent.

23. Today's assigned target for visual bombing was the marshalling yards at Hof, Germany, This was completely cloud covered, however, and the group sought targets of opportunity. Ten crews of this squadron bombed with the 25 ships which hit the Meiningen marshalling yards with good results. Twelve other bombers attacked a fork in the railroad at Adelsberg, with only fair results after failing to recognize the lead's bomb run. There was no flak at the target, no enemy aircraft, good Mustang escort, as we bombed from 13,000 ft, again very low.

Particiapting pilots were: Lts Bowler, Clark, Malleus, Hawley, Peters, O'Neil, Brashear, Bush, Williamson and Murphy. The latter two landed at other bases, are OK, and will be in soon.

The squadron sent six of the station's 44 EM who left today for infantry training. The second lot of replacements, these are no volunteers, were medically examined and passed at the station hospital: Sgt Howard D. Collins, Pfc Theodore J. Nero, Pvt Jesse F. Garcia, Cpl Junius V. Vickers, Pfc Herbert A. Sullwood and Pfc Raymond L. Estes.

24. Nine squadron Forts took part in the group's uneventful PFF attack against Hamburg. 10/10th cloud covered the city, where flak was meagre and inaccurate, no enemy aircraft and the escort was very good. What is known as "A piece of cake."

Cpl Jerome F. Barrett is assigned to the squadron.

25. The group attacked the marshalling yards at Munich today, visually, in the face of moderate and accurate flak with very good results. No enemy aircraft, good escort. Jerry's attempt to smokescreen the yards backfired on him when the wind shifted blowing smoke away from instead of over the yards. Bombardiers were able to pick out the objective miles away, very satisfying experience for a change.

Participating were: Capt Simmons (with Major Kreiger), Lts Mitchell, Robuck, Stevens, Hawley, Murphy, Peters, Bowler and Schlosser. The latter landed in Belgium, no report yet, but probably OK.

It is interesting to note that the wrong-way smokescreen interfered with German AA batteries, so that flak did not come up until after the group had bombed.

Re-classified from career gunners to armorer gunners are Sgts Elbert H. Holt, Calvin J. Hockley, Edward J. Franklin, Roland C. Kinzer and Alfred M. Mata.

Sgt Homer L. Williams, who refused to fly a mission last month, bolting from the plane just before take-off time, has been reduced in rank to Pvt.

M/Sgt Clarence B. Bankston's "Stage Door Canteen", which Mary Churchill christened last Spring, had a 105-mission 'birthday party' today, with Anna Neagle, Jean Kent and Phyllis Calvert, London stage and screen stars, cutting cake and serving coffee. The cake had almost a candle for each mission (actually they managed to dig up 99 little white ones, which isn't bad), and the Kemsley papers, always interested in Anglo-American relations, sent a photographer from The Sketch. USSTAF sent Sgt Joe Pazen, and both he and the civilian caught a swell shot of Bankston, holding the big cake, mugging for a monster mouthful of the piece Miss Neagle was holding out to him on a knife. We should see this in torrow's papers.

26. Through solid undercast and unbothered by meagre and inaccurate flak, the group, including nine squadron crews, bombed Berlin again today. The Luftwaffe was at home, apparently, and veterans like the 534th's Major Doug Winter, who led, called it a milk run, the easiest trip they had ever had anywhere.

Apparently the new 'spot-jammer' technique against enemy AA radar unit frequencies is working beautifully. Any operator with his equipment can jam three radar frequencies at one time, and bomber passing over a target in great streams always have enough spot ships around to keep the enemy well bottled on the ground. Of course some flak gets through … but whoever heard of Berlin being called "a milk run !"

Participating were: Todd, Biene, Peters, Hawley, malleus, Murphy, Brashear, Bowler and Perry, who is reported landing on the continent but OK.

Finished up and leaving for home today are: 1st Lts Howard D. Bowser, James R. Farley, George E. Keller, Roy H. Kephart and Burton M. Newell and also S/Sgt Robert A. Lavalle, evader.

27. The day was beautiful and summerish here, with warm breezes and plenty of sun. The group attacked marshalling yards at Leipzig PFF between two heavy flak barrages. Results were unobserved and flak was only meagre for our group, which slipped in between the two rough hand-outs. Enemy aircraft were conspicuous by their complete absence and the escort was good. There were no casualties.

Flying for the squadron were: Lts Mitchell, Beine, Malleus, Stevens, Robuck, Nugent, Brashear, Bowler and Murphy.

The following promotions were announced: Gaylord R. Allen Jr., Chester M. Slomczemski, Richard E. Cox to T/Sgt; James E. Elliott, Sylvester J. Kaster, William J. Marstrell, Charles R. Garis and Charles E. Marshall to S/Sgt.

Pfc Elmer A. Kuitunen has been assigned to the squadron from the 359th Fighter Group, based at East Wretham, Norfolk.

English universities like Cambridge and Oxford continue to offer short non-credit courses to officers and men on furlough. If no advantage is taken from such a set up it is ordinarily because seven-day time is hard to match up with the set-date courses.

28. They broke our string today with a stand down after nine consecutive missions in as many days. That leaves the score for the month at no enemy encountered in 16 operations accomplished out of 24 alerted. Six missions were scrubbed and two recalled.

S/Sgt Joseph Nagy, Hungarian speaker, has left for two days in London, where he will make an OWI short-wave propaganda broadcast.

Tours done, the following gunners have left: T/Sgts Calistro P. Munoz, John H. Sheffield, Michael A. Sewell; S/Sgts Robert F. Fester Jr., James P. Fitzgerald.

Major Joseph M. Murray, former squadron S-2, and new Group S-2, has been re-assigned to us. Rumor has it that he will soon be going home; Cpl Robert E. Sim has been transferred to the 359th FG at Leiston, Suffolk.
Two new crews have been assigned: 2nd Lts Charles F. Wright, John R. Seabold, F/O Howard B. McKeen; Sgt Joseph J. Kisha, Cpls John D. Chaney, Leonard H. Davis Jr., Thomas A. Harbert, William R. Peeseel Jr. and Wilbert C. Westfall.

2nd Lts Herbert H. McLaughlin, William E. Weigel, F/O Ervin C. Armstrong; Cpls Donald E. Brown, Carl C. Holland, Eugene R. Karpowicz, Mervil E. Peterson, Teddy V. Parmo and Sylvester C. Wojciechowski.


 

March 1945

 

535th Bomb Sq.
381st Bomb Group (H)
WAR DIARY
Submitted by Cpl. Ray Ingham

MARCH 1945

1. Nine of this squadron's aircraft and crews participated in a 'mickey' and visual assist attack on the marshalling yards at Stuttgart. The formation flew over a clear spot after bombs away and some crewmen reported seeing our bombs bursting in the target area although most believed the pattern was somewhat off the MPI.
There was no flak at the target and only a meagre and inaccurate amount concentrated over the lines going in. No Luftwaffe appeared and our P-51 escort was good all the way in.

Flying for the squadron were: Lts Greenspan (with Major Krieger), Robuck, Nugent, Stevens, Bush, Williamson, Springmeyer, Murphy and Schlosser. Five gunners finished up today.

T/Sgts Abraham I. Cohen and Charles Yevtich have left for 70th Replacement Depot, tours completed.

Pfc Fred C. Altimus is in the guardhouse, apprehended last month for attempting to walk out of the Consolidated mess with a loin of pork. He previously served one year of a five-year sentence for felony, and he now faces the prospect of finishing off the suspended sentence for this second offence.

2. Capt Jim Tyson with 1st Lt Richard A. Mitchell as his pilot, led 38 aircraft to a PFF attack through 10/10th clouds against marshalling yards at Chemnitz. The entire mission was operationally uneventful, there being no flak or enemy fighter opposition.

Other pilots were: Lts Robuck, Malleus, O'Neil, Hawley, Bowler, Bush, Schlosser and Williamson. Capt Robert H. Angevine, special purpose navigator, finished his tour in the lead aircraft today.

Humorous bright spot of the day was M/Sgt Harry J. Gerberding's planes trip to Cologne with the RAF. It took off as a spare, 533rd crew aboard, couldn't catch the formation, so teamed up with a flight of Lancasters to bomb the marshalling yards at Cologne. The aircraft had a bombsight, in addition to its serial number 44-6883, it now bears the name "RAFAAF".

3. Non-operational again today, which is clear, cold and windy. They managed, however, to run off the customary … M/F… before the mission.

These combat mens' tours finished left for home: T/Sgt James E. Williams, Irwin Glaser, John M. Maknyk. Promotions have been announced: Cpls William P. Atkinson, Paul A. Ruhl, Harry Ring….………, William T. S.ladek, to Sgt; Pfcs James Lang (?), Thomas C. Webb and Robert Mauzey to Cpl.

4. Major Ike Taylor, squadron CO, led a 37 bomber formation through other bombers' contrails and over a solid 10/10th cloud cover to a GH attack on a tank factory south east of Ulm. There were no enemy fighters reported and no flak throughout the course of the mission.

Pilots for today were: Lts Mitchell (with Krieger), Robuck, Nugent, Stevens, Schlosser, Murphy, Perry, Hawley and Springmeyer, who finished-up.

Early this morning enemy aircraft straffed a Second Division Fortress base near Sudbury (486thBG), eight miles away. And enemy aircraft were reported over the London area. At 20.05 hrs another red-alert was sounded at base and heavy explosions were heard in the distance. All Clear came at 21.00 hrs.

Two new crews were assigned today: 2nd Lts Charles B. Williams, Walter I. Tamlin, F/O Conrad L. Cook; S/Sgts Ellis T. Johnston, John M. Davis, Cpls Raymond R. Geib, Billy Johnson, Wayne M. Stockstill and Samuel T. Winkler.

2nd Lts Russell T. Rippe, Raymond H. Parker, F/O Joe T. Hart; S/Sgt Charles W. Gillespie, Cpls Carl O. Baker, Clayton H. Cress, Robert W. Ingalls, Edward C. Klump and Virgil G. Lambson.

Also assigned is former infantryman, Pfc Frank H. Melton, truck driver on limited assignment. He is the second LA man with us now, the other being Pfc Frank Hooks, medic, who joined last month.
Pfc John W. Rulton, ill, has been transferred out of the squadron.

5. Ten of our crews, seven of our ships, went to a PFF attack against Chemnitz, secondary target, when the primary, at Ruhland, was found cloud covered. Bombing results were unobserved, there were no enemy aircraft and although there was no flak at the target, the group ran into a heavy barrage near Brux, Czechoslovakia.
Lt Larry Smith and crew landed away from base, on the continent, but is reported OK and coming in. Other pilots were: Lts Nugent, O'Neil, Peters, Schlosser, Cotea, Williamson, Hawley, Perry and Stevens.

1st Lt John C. Simpson Jr., bombardier and battle casualty last month, has been transferred out of the squadron, to 4109th US Army Hospital, on the continent.

6. Non-operational again today, following a stand down order last night.

These tour finished combat men left for home: Capt Austin W. Simmons, S/Sgt Charles R. VanBuskirk, James C. Smith, Merlin K. Klein and Alfred G. Medsey (?).

S/Sgt Leonard F. Park has been re-classified to aerial engineer from career gunner; F/O Arthur J. Sakas has been commissioned 2nd Lt.

7. Another stand down today. This morning was cloudy with low ceiling.

These promotions have been announced, all Cpl gunners to Sgt: Donald E. Brown, John D. Chaney, Leonard H. Davis, Thomas S. Harbert, Carl C. Holland Jr., Eugene R. Karpowicz, Mervil E. Peterson, William R. Poeessel Jr., Teddy V. Premo, Wilbert C. Westfall and Sylvester C. Wojciechowski; Pvts Sam O. Buckley Jr. and Robert H. Lay to Cpl; Pvts Carroll C. Dunham and James V. Carpenter to Pfc.

Two tour of duty crewmen have left: 1st Lt John J. Motte, bombardier to a desk job at US Strategic Bombing Survey, London; S/Sgt Murray Mishalow, a tail gunner, heading for home.

Cpls Earl F. Zewe and Morris Fragin, radar men just over from the States, have joined the squadron.

8. Ten squadron crews and planes, plus 2nd Lt Kappler, special navigator, with the 534th , participated with today's mission against synthetic oil installations at Huls, Germany. Bad weather hampered the bombers all the way over and the bombing was accomplished through a 10/10th undercast with unobserved results. Flak was meagre and inaccurate at the target and no enemy aircraft were encountered.

Flying for the squadron were: Lts Nugent, O'Neil, Brashear, Bowler, Cotea, Hawley, Bush, Smith, Williamson and Stevens, who finished up, along with three others.

9. Capt Scarborough, with Lt Beine as his pilot, led the squadron's nine crews in today's bombing of marshalling yards at Kassel. Flak was meagre and inaccurate at the target, and there were no enemy aircraft seen or reported and bombing was believed to be good.

Our squadron pilots were: Lts Bowler, Nugent, Cotea, O'Neil, Brashear, Williamson, Perry and Hawley.
T/Sgt John Dirrane, crew chief of our PFF ship, "Sunkist Special", who crash landed recently, has been assigned to the squadron's newest bomber, 44-8330, which will be "South Boston Shillelagh".

Tours done, the following men left for home: T/Sgts Charles T. Myers, Stanley Borden, Angus N. Johnson, Clarence C. Cochrane and S/Sgt W. B. Spurling Jr.

1st Lt William E. Kornemann, one of our S-2 officers, and with the squadron two years, has been transferred to the 532nd as that outfit's Intelligence Officer. S/Sgt C. A. Porter, has been transferred out, sick, to 4207th US Army Hospital.

10. Nine squadron crews took part in today's GH bombing of railroad installations at Sinsen, Germany, where results were unobserved. Clouds were 10/10th at the target.

Our pilots were: Lts Greenspan, Robuck, Brashear, Williamson, Cotea, Wulf, Bush, Bowler and Perry.

11. Flak was intense for everybody except the 381st in the Bremen area, as the group included nine squadron Forts, commanded by Major Krieger, attacked marshalling yards, the secondary target via GH.

Cloud cover was solid 10/10th all the way and bombing results were unobserved. The flak which Jerry barraged the Forts with over the target seemed directed at everyone but us. No Luftwaffe turned up.

Pilots for the squadron were: Lts Beine (with Major Krieger), Robuck, O'Neil, Bowler, Perry, Cotea, Bush, Hawley and Wright.

12. Capt Tyson with Lt Greenspan led an uneventful mission to the marshalling yards at Dillenburg, where bombing was bu GH through 10/10th overcast which prevailed throughout the day. There were no flak or fighters.

The trip was of more importance to Lt Schlosser and S/Sgt Sladek, who completed their tours, other pilots being: Lts Robuck, Brashear, Bush, Perry, Smith Hawley and McLaughlin.

13. The group received a stand down last night. Today began with a light frost, cleared completely throughout the morning and developed into one of the more agreeably warm and summerish days we have ever had.
With tour completed T/Sgt Willard G. Marshall left for home; Sgt Edward Bochantin, former combat artilleryman, and Sgt John Balley have been assigned.

Sgt Bochantin will be squadron carpenter replacing Cpl Victor way, who volunteered to join the infantry weeks ago, while St Balley will drive a refueling truck on the line.

A new PFF aircraft, 44-6975 was assigned, which became "Our Bridget".

14. The group hit the single-track railroad at Vlotho with what looked like good results for the Lead squadron, but poor for the Low and High. The specific target was an overpass bridge, which the Lead covered with its pattern.

Lt Peters aborted in "Stage Door Canteen" with #4 engine oil line malfunction. Flak was meagre and inaccurate, there was no Luftwaffe around to bother us, our Mustang escort was called "Very good" all the way.

Completing the mission were: Lts Brashear, Bowler, Nugent, McLaughlin, Perry, Wright, Bush, Smith, Cotea and Williamson.

Major Joseph L. Murray, original squadron S-2, recently working group head in that department, has been transferred to duty in the States, left Ridgewell today; tour of duty navigator, F/O Daniel T. Bozeman, left for home today; S/Sgt Martin T. Miller, aircraft mechanic, has been assigned.

15. Flak at Oranienberg was moderate but extremely accurate today, as the group with nine of this squadron's crews attacked the rail junction visually with what are believed to have been good results. Other squadrons were hard hit by the flak, but this one came through well.

Ground haze and the smoke of previous bombing, the group was Divisional "Tail-end Charlie", prevented accurate observation of bombing results. There were no enemy aicraft, flying weather was good.

Pilots for this mission were: Lts Beine (with 1st Lt Greenspan), Robuck, Nugent, McLaughlin, Hawley, Malleus, Cotea, Williamson and Perry. T/Sgts Francese and Patriarca finished up on this one.

"Stage Door Canteen", M/Sgt Clarence B. Bankston, crew chief, is now top plane in the group with 116 missions, and two aborts.

16. A mission intended for Bohlen, Germany, was scrubbed this morning.

2nd Lts William F. Donahue and Sula H. Korpi, bombardiers, have been promoted to 1st Lt; T/Sgts Jack E. Littell and Robert L. Megee, have been transferred to the 482nd BG, Alconbury.

17. In weather worse than briefed, hampered by high clouds and recurrent thick contrails, nine bombers of this squadron, plus four fill-ins, bombed a synthetic oil plant at Bohlen, by PFF as briefed. Meanwhile Lead and High squadrons attacked an instrument plant at Jena, after Lead's special equipment failed on the Bohlen run.

Capt Scarborough led this squadron, with Lt Biene as his pilot. Flak was moderate and inaccurate over the lines going in and in the target area. The Luftwaffe did not show. Our Mustang escort was excellent again.

Battle casualty S/Sgt Gordon J. Kubiak, has been transferred out of the squadron, to the 4194th US Army Hospital.

These promotions have been announced: S/Sgts Thomas F. Butler, Raymond B. Holstein, Frederick B. Loose and Joseph Nagy to T/Sgts; Sgts James J. Ariosto, Joseph N. Beafristo, Nelson G. Campagnano, Raphael A. Dobesh, Harry L. Durham, James Edwards, Thomas F. Fahey, Edward J. Franklin, Jack Goldstein, Calvin J. Hockley, Elbert H. Holt, Theodore R. Johnson, Roland C. Kinzer, Alfred M. Mata, Robert J. McCluskey, Howard E. Mosely Jr., Joseph R. Norcom, Robert E. Nordrum, Edward P. Scott, William J. Szemplenski to S/Sgt; Cpls Carl G. Baker, Clayton H. Cross, Raymond R. Geib, Robert W. Ingalls, Billy Johnson, Edward G. Klumpp, Virgil C. Lambson, Wayne V. Stockstill and Samuel T. Winkler.

18. Major Joseph Krieger Jr., squadron operations officer, with 1st Lt Mitchell as his pilot, led the group to Berlin today, for an attack on the Schlosshaus railroad station through 4/10th overcast. Results were undetermined.

Flying weather was good until the formation got to within 50 miles of Berlin, when the overcast began to build up. Flak at the target varied from moderate to intense, fore-to-aft through the group and everyone all agreed it was accurate. Three bombers sustained major battle damage, 17 minor damage, throughout the group. Enemy aircraft were reported in the area, but none were seen, while our Mustang escort was good.

This was the last mission for Lt Mitchell, lead pilot, as for three others in the squadron. Other participating pilots were: Lts Nugent, Malleus, Hawley, Brashear, Wright, Smith, Robinson and Bush.

T/Sgt Edward A. Scott, ground radio operator, and Pfc Orval R. Black, cook, have been assigned to the squadron; Scott is just over from the States, but Black has been overseas nearly two years, was formerly asigned to a figher squadron. He is married to an English girl who now lives near the base.

1st Lt William R. Gilvary, intelligence officer, has been assigned from the 533rd, replacing Lt Kornemann, recently transferred.

19. Planes took off this warmish, windy grey morning for an attack on Plauen. This was made PFF through solid cloud cover, with this group leading the entire Eighth Air Force.

Had weather been clear, our assignment would have been the destruction of flak batteries defending Plauen. These put up only meagre flak at the formation behind ours. Some flak was also met crossing the lines on the way in but this was too, meagre and inaccurate. Neither losses or battle damage was sustained.

Our pilots were: Lts Greenspan, Nugent, Malleus, Perry, Bowler, Bush, Wright, McLaughlin and Smith.

Having made his majority under the squadron table of organization, Jules L. Moreau has been relieved of his assignment as squadron adjutant and re-assigned to First Bomber Wing, from which we got him, on paper, for purposes of promotion.

20. A stand down for today was announced.

2nd Lt Joseph K. Waddell, twin-engined pilot classified as a radar-observer, and F/O William J. Quinlan, same classification, have been assigned to this squadron.

Tours completed, the following combat men left for home: 1st Lt William E. Stevens, T/Sgt Thomas H. Ressler, Thomas R. Ackerson, S/Sgts David M. Marmalejo, Leonard P. Park, William A. Karcher Jr., 2nd Lt Donald D. Schlosser.

1st Lt Herbert Lazar, squadron radar officer, promoted to capt.

21. The group attacked the Saltzbergen airfield today, ten squadron Forts participating. Strike photos show hits on the aiming points with excellent concentration of bombs. The hit was visual, weather good, flak meagre and not fired at us until after bombs away, no enemy aircraft showed up and our escort was excellent.

Flying for the squadron were: Lts Bush, McLaughlin, Hawley, Wright, Malleus, Robinson, Robuck, Smith, Perry and Brashear.

Pvt Fred C. Altimus, tried by general court martial here and found guilty on several charges of felony, has been sentenced to serve out the four years of a previous suspended sentence. He also gets a dishonourable discharge.

22. The group attacked military installations at Feldhausen in the Ruhr today, shifting from GH to visual technique for an excellent bombing, despite ground haze and smoke from previous hits. Flak was moderate but accurate and cost us the group leader, a 533rd ship and crew. There were no enemy aircraft and escort was again excellent.

With this mission the group has rounded out 29,000 tons of bombs dropped on enemy targets.
Lt Garrett led the squadron with Lt Biene as his pilot, the others being: Lts Brashear, Malleus, Nugent, Cotea, Robinson, Williams, Scarsdale and Bennett.

23. Again Lt Garrett led the squadron, as we contributed nine ships and crews to the group's 37-ship formation against the marshalling yards at Coesfeld. Without any enemy opposition of any kind and aided by perfect weather and visibility, the bombardiers clobbered the target.

Crews reported two twin-engined enemy aircraft far below them in the target area, but reported also no trouble of any kind. Maybe Jerry is detailing his own on-the-spot bomb damage observers. Our pilots were: Lts Greenspan (with Garrett), McLaughlin, O'Neil, Wright, Nugent, Smith, Scarsdale, Bennet and Robinson.
Five new ground-man have been assigned from the States: S/Sgt Clyde L. Jones, admin. clerk; Cpl Magno Capuaro (?) sheet-metal repairman; Pfc Orman P. Lively, refueling unit operator; Pvt Carl E. Pinson, ground radar operator; Pfc Vernon C. Nichols, motor pool mechanic.

24. They're calling this "Little D-Day" in the papers. More than 1,300 gliders towed by Dakotas and Stirlings, sailed down into the area around Rees and Wesel, Germany, today. We saw gliders roaring over our Site from 06.00 hrs, a roaring steady stream of them.

In indirect support of this action, the group ran two missions, the first taking off at 06.15 and returned at 12.10; the second leaving at 14.15, returning at 17.30 hrs. The 535th led both efforts and contributed nine crews for the first, and three to the second mission.

Capt Jim Tyson, with Lt Biene as his pilot led the group to a perfect weather, excellent-bombing attack on the landing ground near Furstenau, dropping a total of 38 100-pound bombs in a tight pattern.

S/Sgt Robert B. Bolin, of Holcomb, Mo., waist gunner with Lt Bennett, on "Tinkertoy Two", was killed by a burst of the meagre, but very accurate flak which tracked our bombers over the target. Another squadron lost a crew. 2nd Lt Greenlee, with Lt Brashear in "RAFAAF" (M/Sgt Harry Gerberding - crew chief), was slightly wounded in the forehead by a piece of flak, but got his bombs away on time. His ship stopped some flak, to silence #4 engine and #3 too, but Brashear brought her home on two after the #3 propeller twisted off minutes after bombs away.

The squadron's second two-engine ship was piloted by Lt Hawley, on "Buckeye", M/Sgt's Gross's ship which lost both right wing power plants in the ?? made it all the way home on the two left engines.
The group put up 12 ships for the second mission with Major Taylor (and pilot Lt Larry Smith) leading the formation, with him flew Lts McLaughlin and Bowler on "Los Angeles City Limits" and #43-38998 (no name), repectively. Capt Palenick, lead bombardier, co ?? a ground haze which nevertheless did not prevent him lining up and giving an A-1 job on the main cross runway of the landing ground at Twente. He ?? praised the special GH bomber which pointed him to the target, got out of the way nicely while he took over for the bomb run.

There was no enemy opposition to this effort. Our Mustang escort was seen, covering the area in general.
Pilots who flew behind Major Taylor (with Lt Smith) this morning were: Lts Williamson, Cotea, Nugent, Scarsdale, Bennett and Williams. Lt Kelley, special navigator flew with the 534th.

25. Planes took off about 06.00 hrs this morning on a mission to Zeitz, but were recalled just after the formation reached around 14,000 ft, returning about 07.00.

26. Our aircraft, ten squadron crews, were in on a mixed-up deal today involving "cumulo-bango" conditions over Zeitz, a shot-out bombsight and some three-sixtying over various spots of Germany. Weather was filthy with clouds and haze be-souring flying and visibilty, all the way in and out.

A cloudbank completely covered the synthetic oil plant at Zeitz which was to have been our primary target, and this plus a heavy flak barrage, gave rise to one crewman's describing conditions as "Cumulo-bango".

The Low squadron dropped here, missed the objective, while the Lead and High went on to Plauen, after the lead lost its bombsight to flak while circling Zeitz. High took over the lead and they dropped on a spinning mill at Plauen, with fair results. There was no flak at Plauen, no enemy aircraft anywhere, escort hot.

Three crews landed in France, three in England, either out out of base or with battle damage, or both. Lt Hawley brought M/Sgt Joe Gentile's #8693 (no name) into a crash landing in France; the plane burnt out completely but there were no casualties. Lt Williams landed in 534th ship at Detling, UK, with all OK; Lt Wright brought S/Sgt Fred L. Ford's old timer "Phyllis" to a landing in France where the plane is being held for two engines changes, other repairs, while pilot and crew returned with Lt Cotea, who landed at the same field for gas.

Pvt Homer L. Williams has been trasferred to the 1142nd Military Police Co., on base; the following promotions have been announced: Sgts Virgil E. Miller, Leonard R. Davis Jr., Carl C. Holland Jr., Mervil T. Peterson, Sylvester C. Wojceichowski, Howard L. Hagemann, Joseph J. Kisha, Meredith L. New and Wilbert C. Westfall to S/Sgt; Cpl Robert H. Lay to Sgt.

Tours completed: 1st Lt Richard A. Mitchell, James F. Arnold, Fred H. Avery, pilot, navigator and bombardier, respectively, left for home today.

Sgt William E. Fitzpatrick, ordnance man, and Cpl Vincent R. Bertosci, of squadron communications, have been accepted for training as infantry officers after passing all exams and sent to Division. They left for training near Paris today.

27. This overcast, drizzly morning, a mission to Fulda, Germany was scrubbed. A new aircraft was assigned, 44-8826, to M/Sgt Ed 'Mouse' Davis.

28. Ten squadron crews and planes participated in the group's 10/10th, non-observed, attack via PFF on Berlin today. Flak was meagre and inaccurate over the city, there were no enemy aircraft seen or reported and our escort was excellent as usual. There were no incidents.

Flying for the squadron were: Lts Brashear, O'Neil Wulf, Robuck, Nugent, Robinson, Bush, McLaughlin, Rippe and Bowler.

Major Ike Taylor has been relieved of command of this squadron and assigned to Group HQ as assistant operations. Succeeding him is Capt Bill Cronin attached for command, a second-tour pilot, former 534th veteran and Group Operations before being assigned to us. Major Joseph Krieger has been assigned to the 532nd as squadron commander.

29. The group had a stand down today, so of course flew practice. Pilot 2nd Lt Mead K. Robuck is promoted 1st Lt; Cpl Raymond T. Faulkner has been transferred to Group HQ.

30. The squadron lost Lt Robert A. Bennett and crew to heavy flak on the bomb run of a 6/10th covered Bremen today. He was last seen lagging after bombs-away, with two engines out, and there was no report by midnight. It was bennett's crew who lost Sgt Bolin on the 24th. The ship was "In Like Errol", #42-102590, crew chief was S/Sgt Dave S. Martin.

MIA with Bennett were: 2nd Lt Alexander D. Nelson Jr., F/O Paul D. Cawley, S/Sgt Elbert J. Holt, T/Sgt Robert H. Mumper, S/Sgt Charlie J. Majors (spot jammer), T/Sgt Chester M. Slomczenski, S/Sgt Calvin J. Hockley, Sgt Guy Stubblefield, and S/Sgt Charles J. Knaus.

The formation approached the target down a cloud free "alley", had perfect visibility for the bomb run and did an excellent job, with tight patterns on the Deschimag submarine and shipbuilding yards. There were no enemy aircraft attacking our formation but the boys reported an ME 262, twin-jet fighter, destroyed by Mustangs after attacking a straggler in a group behind ours.

Lt Joe D. Newell, Lt Brashear's ball turret gunner, suffered a slight leg wound from flak over the target. He was not hospitalized and is on status for tomorrow.

Participating were: Capt Scarborough (with Lt Wulf, Lts McLaughlin, Robuck, Scarsdale, Cotea, Wright and Rippe. 1st Lt Wayne E. Hermann promoted captain.

31. Marshalling yards at Halle were attacked via H2X through 10/10th undercast today. Weather was good for flying, but clouds covered the ground all the way in and out. Flak was meagre and inaccurate at the target and no enemy aircraft encountered.

Taking part were: Capt Hermann (with Lt Wulf), Lts Bush, Bowler, Smith, Scarsdale, Wright, Robinson, Rippe and Nugent.

M/Sgt Joseph G. Gentile, crew chief and Legion of Merit holder, and Sgt Albert Albrizzio, mechanic, were married this month, bringing to seven the total of original outfit men who have taken English brides since coming to Ridgewell. Others are 1st Sgt Charlie Butts, Lt Kessel, Cpl Wilbur, Pfc Brooks and Sgt Schutz.


 

April 1945

 

535th Bomb Sq.
381st Bomb Group (H)
WAR DIARY
Submitted by Cpl. Ray Ingham

APRIL 1945

1. Easter Sunday broke windy, with a heavy overcast and intermittent rain persisting throughout the morning.
The group was non-operational after a stand down was announced the night before.

1st Lt William F. Donahue, bombardier, left for London on 2-day orders, to make a hometown broadcast to Seattle. Pfc Blair W. Hooks, medic and limited duty man was assigned.

2. Planes took off early today for a mission against a target in Denmark, but bad weather forced a recall after they were well on their way towards Scandinavia, and they returned to base about 19.10 hrs, only 70 minutes ahead of their briefed return time. No credit for this mision.

Various promotions have been announced: S/Sgts James J. Ariosto, John N. Davis, Harry L. Durham, Theodore R. Johnson, William J. Szemplenski, James Edwards, Robert E. Dobesh, Thomas F. Fahey and Robert E. Nordrum to T/Sgts; Sgts Robert W. Ingalls, Jeremiah H. Sullivan and Robert H. Lay to S/Sgts; Cpl Sam O. Buckley Jr. to Sgt.

These tour of duty officers and EM left today; 1st Lts Richard A. Mitchell, James F. Arnold, Fred Avery; 2nd Lt Donald E. Schlosser; T/Sgts Salvatore J. Francese, Thomas R. Ackerson.

Seventy-two hours having elapsed, 2nd Lt Robert A. Bennett and crew, are officially list MIA, as of March 30.

3. Two missions were scrubbed today. First called for an attack on Kaltenkirchen, Germany, and the second on Beldering, Denmark.

Cpl Ernest C. Owen and Pvt J. W. Pigram (?), enlisted men, have been assigned from group HQ.

4. Nine squadron crews participated today in the group's attack on a landing strip at Hoya, Germany. Bombardiers attacked visuallythrough 10/10th clouds, dropping 150-pound GPs with very good results. Flak was meagre but accurate, tracking our bombers just after bomb run. There were no squadron casualties.
Pilots who took part were: Lts Greenspan (with Lt Garrett as lead), Brashear, McLaughlin, Bowler, Robuck, Robinson, Scarsdale, Smith and Nugent.

Capt Graham, squadron surgeon, left for the rest home at Ebrington Manor, Gloucs., Station #498, today.
Three new crews were assigned: F/Os Norolf Lamvik, Joseph J. Yaun, Lloyd H. Reel; Sgts Fen Deskins, John M. Knowles, Doyle F. Snead, Cpls William B. Hicks, Roy S. Johnston and David B. Marshall.

F/Os Harvey H. Hearn, John G. Standridge, Frank P. Iodice; Sgts Thomas W. Greaves, Russell F. Ketsenburg, Archie B. Whatley, Cpls Donald Y. Baxter, Alfred R. Ellis and Joseph J. Gigliotti.

2nd Lts Darrell M. Blizzard, Angelo M. Rusconi Jr., George P. Hubach; Sgts Albert L. Amshel, Roy W. Brown, George A. LaCourse, Cpls Andrew J. Fakas, Paul L Hunter and Charles E. Newhouse.

5. Capt Scarborough, our squadron leader today, took over as group leader when Major Bordner's (534th) H2S equipment failed on the way in to the target, an ordnance depot at Grafenwohr.

Neither flak nor enemy aircraft defended the objective, which caught 5,500 pounds of 1,000-pound and 500-pound bombs from each of the 37 bombers which roared over the town. Bombing results were not observed, the attack being made through 8/10th undercast. There were no casualties. (No pilots given).

6. Non-operational today. A new S-2 officer, 1st Lt William R. Gilvary is back from DS at Station #524, a Southport rest home yesterday, when 21 EM left on furloughs.

7. New squadron commander Capt Cronin led the group today, with this outfit putting up nine of the total of 37 aircraft which attacked the jet-plane base at Kohlenbissen, with good results for this squadron, not so good for the High and Low units.

This was the first time Capt Cronin has flown combat without his old 534th crew, with which he completed 47 missions, today being his 48th, (18 on his second tour). Squadron bombardier, Capt Palenik, managed to identify the airfield despite the broken clouds and heavy ground haze obscuring it. Bandits were reported in the entire Hamburg area but no enemy fighters were seen by any of our crews. Report has it only two flak runs fired at our formation during the entire trip.

Today's pilots were: Capt Cronin (with Lt Smith), Lts Brashear, Hawley, Williamson, O'Neil, Robinson, Williams, Bowler and Robuck, the latter finishing up today, along with his engineer, T/Sgt Cleek.

Pvt Dale A. Hawkins, former 448th Sub-Depot man, has been transferred to this squadron as an armorer.
S/Sgt Dave S. Martin has returned from the Information & Educational School at Widewing, where his in-the-high-90s score went down as highest ever attained by students there. This school, incidentally, prepares teachers for the developing I & E program at all ETO bases. Program is now in Phase I (preparation; setting up curricula, conducting surveys of study wants among Gis, etc); and will swing into Phase II (group study classes, with instructors, books, and regular class hours) after VE-Day. Meanwhile many men continue to pursue self-teaching and correspondence courses for high school and college credit, through the Armed Forces Institute, Madison, Wis., and London England.

8. This squadron led the group again today, with Major Joe Krieger, former squadron operations officer, now acting CO of the 532nd, at the spearhead, his pilot being 1st Lt Ray Biene. Strike photos show we missed the objective, marshalling yards at Stendahl, which were attacked through 8/10th clouds visually, with opposition from meagre but accurate flak which cost the 534th a bomber and crew.

As was the case yesterday, flying weather was good to and from the target, but the Stendahl area was covered. Tracking flak bracketed aircraft for 90 seconds.

Others flying for the squadron today were: Bush, Hawley, Williamson, Bowler, Nugent, Wright, Smith and Rippe.

Blair C. Hooks, medic, has been reduced from Pfc to Pvt.

9. This mission was perfect and the squadron had ten crews in it. Flying weathger all the way over, plus conditions over the airfield target of Oberpfaffenhofen, bombardiers slammed the the base's east-west runway, fully justifying lead's '1-1' strike message.

Flak from Munich was meagre and very inaccurate for our group. There were no enemy aircraft. Crews unanimously agreed the Oberpfaffenhofen airfield is out of action for keeps.

Squadron pilots were: McLaughlin, O'Neil, Bowler, Williamson, Wright, Smith, Rippe, Nugent, Williams and Robinson.

This mission almost did not get off. Planes did not take off until just after noon, although briefing was held at 06.00 hrs. Fog blanketed the field in a tight grip all morning, but it's contrast to the miserable chill damp with which the day began, the sky brightened and the thermometer showed a good high reading all through the afternoon.

The station held its first basketball practice on the diamond, across from our Site, tonight. Candidates for the team include our men: Gilvary, Condit, Wolfe, Keating and Begdzecki.

Another new crew joined us today: 2nd Lts Harold L. Hickson, Kenneth Bowden, F/O Theodore I. Cohen, 2nd Lt Robert K. Williams; Cpls Carl W. Blue, Harry D. Colebank, Kenneth J. Dixon, Robert E. Nelson and John W. Quilhaugh.

S/Sgt Gordon J. Kubiak, former battle casualty, has been re-assigned to the squadron from the 70th Replacement Depot.

10. At last the Luftwaffe, although only a token show for this group, which sustained no attack. With flying weather and air-ground visibility superior 35 group aircraft, including 10 of ours, attacked an ordnance depot at Oranieburg with excellent results. There was no flak.

In the Berlin area our crews saw between 30-40 ME109s and FW190s, six or eight ME262 jet-propelled aircraft. However the Jerry pilots were both outclassed and outnumbered by our Mustang escort, which engaged enemy aircraft in dogfights a great distance from our bombers, constantly turned off, harried and pursued any which tried to attack our formation.

Although crewmen reported seeing one or two struggling Forts under attack (none from our group) , they said the closest to an actual attack came in the form of one 'Jettie' which whipped through the group from rear to front, without firing, during the bomb run.

Lead squadron had just turned off from bombs away, Low was turning, when the jet, an ME262, made his dash. He was too fast both for our gunners, some of whom took ineffectual pot-shots at him, and for the Mustangs chasing him. The latter were simply left in his smoke, hanging in mid-air compared to the grease-streaked act he put on.

Squadron pilots were: Lts Hawley, McLaughlin, Bowler, Robinson, Smith, Perry, Williams, Rippe, Wright and Williamson.

11. This was a good mission, with bad weather over France clearing to perfect visibility over Germany. Our target, an oil storage depot at Freiham, seven miles SW of Munich, was clearly visible and had been heavily hit by groups ahead. We put our bombs in the smoke of their strikes.

Flak at the target was meagre to moderate, but accurate. Other squadrons sustained casualties and some major battle damage. Our Mustang escort was perfect all the way in and the Luftwaffe, which round-up reports day took a terrible beating yesterday, did not show today.

On the way home, over Ludwigshafen, two of our aircraft collided. Capt Garrett, as leader, flying his last mission, on aircraft #44-8826 (No name) had its left wing tip ripped up, the aileron pulled nearly off and several square feet of metal crushed.

But the miraculous happened to Lt Brashear, pilot of "RAFAAF", which lost its right horizontal stabilizer, sheared completely away in the collision. He and co-pilot Lt Horn, pulled the ship out of a flat spin that cost them 5,000 ft of altitude, plastered the entire crew against the ceiling until the pilot managed to pry himself loose and get to the control column.

Garrett and crew thought Brashear and his gang were down and out, when they saw them plunge out of formation. But both aircraft made it home to base, Brashear and Horn by holding the control columns forward until engineer T/Sgt James Edwards could chop a hole in the instrument panel, lash the post in place so that the controls would hold and fight off the ship's tendency to nose up and stall out. Edwards fitted a makeshift turnbuckle into the wire binding, allowing pilot and co-pilot to exercise limited control in low ascents and descents.

Garrett and Greenspan brought their bomber back without mishap, after being rocked on the right wing in the accident. When Brashear got over the base, though, he had to remove the controlling wire and brace his knees against the column to hold the nose down for the landing. He actually accomplished, under full speed to keep her lebel, one of the best landings ever seen here. Landing gear and tail wheel touched down just once, and there wasn't so much as a bounce as "RAFAAF" tore down the runway.

M/Sgt Harry Gerberding, crew chief, sent his wreck over to the hangar afterward, where they began cleaning off the aluminium fringe that marked all that was left of the stabilizer, preparatory to fitting a new one. In addition to the two pilots mentioned, others on the mission were: Lts Robinson, Perry, Smith, Williams, Hawley, Rippe and Wright.

T/Sgt Edwin J. Bond, tour completed left for home; Cpl Albert Bernson is out of the hospital and back to duty, with a transfer from the orderly room to operations; Sgt James T. Shedoan has jaundice, is currently bedded down at Braintree, the 121st General Hospital.

The promotions have been announced, all from Cpl to Sgt: Donald Y. Baxter, Andrew J. Fakas, Dale A. Hawkins, Paul L. Hunter, David B. Marshall, Alfred R. Ellis, Joseph J. Gigliotti, William B. Ricks, Roy S. Johnston and Charles E. Newhouse. All are gunners.

Also promoted: Richard E. Barron, from T/6 to Cpl. He's former infantryman, assigned to us on limited service status, now working as trunks switchboard operator.

12. A mission intended against a target at Beyreuth, Germany, was scrubbed today. Twenty-two EM returned from furlough as 13 took off on same.

13. Group leader called today's the perfect mission, in which we made a visual attack on the marshalling yards at Neumunster with clobber results.Flak burst behind our group and there were no enemy aircraft on hand. Bombardiers had plenty of time and VACU conditions, made the most of both, unloading twelve 500-pound demos apiece from 20,000ft.

Capt Garrett led the squadron with Lt Wulf as his pilot, the others being: Lts Brashear, McLaughlin, Williamson, Wright, Smith, Williams, Perry and Cotea.

Midnight news today announced the sudden death yesterday of President Roosevelt, resting at Warm Springs, Ga. Cause was cerebral hemmorhage; Harry S. Truman has been sworn into office.

In observance of a period of mourning for the late President, station colors will stand at half-mast for 30 days; all social functions and festivities on base are suspended through 19 April.

West Pointer Thomas S. Garrett, pilot, is promoted the captain and former 2nd Lts Valentino J. Malleus, Raymond J. O'Brien, Leo B. Nugent and J. W. Scarsdale to 1st Lts.

The following tour of duty men left for home: 2nd Lt Arthur E. Rehm, T/Sgt Meyer W. Johnson, S/Sgts Milton E. LeBar, Lawrence S. Abbott and Irving L. Dunham.

Third contingent of volunteers for the infantry are: Sgt Douglas S. Turner, Pfcs James Dorofee, George L. Tebb, Archie Hill, Kenneth Willey; Cpl Harry A. Paris; all left today.

14. The group received a stand down order last night. Capt Cronin has been fully assigned as squadrom commander, after joining the outfit in acting CO's capacity.

T/Sgt Nick A. Patriaca, tour completed, left for home, while T/Sgt Clovis E. McCoy will ship as soon as his decorations catch up with him here.

15. With American and Russian armies only 100 miles apart in the Dresden area and British and American troops in northern Germany, cutting across country towards Berlin almost without opposition, London daily are carrying wide-open "Any minute now" headlines. Everyone feels the end of organized German resistant is imminent.

Eighth Air Force today repeated yesterday's attack on the Bordeaux area (we did not participate), central stronghold of one of the German pockets of resistance on the French coast.

This group, leading First Combat Wing, sent 37 aircraft to a visual attack, in perfect weather, entire unopposed, against gun-emplacements defending Bordeaux, at Soulac-sur-Mer. All outfits accomplished perfect 'pickle-barrel' jobs, coming home with some of the most effective, graphic strike photos in our combat history.
The operations was carried out just ahead of a bombardment of this area by units of the French fleet, laying offshore. There big guns opened up as our polances turned off the bomb run. The squadron sent nine crews, each bomber carried two 2,000-pound and two 1,000-pound bombs, which raised a terrific smoke.

Our pilots were: Lts Biene (with Capt Scarborough), Bush, Hawley, Cotea, Bowler, Rippe, Scarsdale, Malleus and Williams.

At the control tower at 16.30 hrs today, several hundred officers and men of the station gathered for a brief memorial service for the late President.

Bomb-sight maintainance specialist, Cpl Stephen Fejnor (?), has been assigned on limited service.

Capt Cronin is at Braintree hospital for a minor operation on nose cartilage, which has been giving him some trouble under the oxygen mask in combat.

16. Capt Tyson, with Lt Biene as his pilot, led the group, including nine of our ships, to an attack on a railroad bridge at Regensburg, but the bomb pattern fell short. Flak was ahead of us, there were no enemy aircraft encountered and we had solid all-the-way Mustang escort.

As well as Biene, our other pilots were: Lts Brashear, McLaughlin, Bowler, Robinson, Rippe, Wright, Cotea and Williams.

On the return trip one bomber from another squadron landed for an engine change at Mannheim, Germany. Its getting to be quite a war!

Under a new adminstrative set-up we now have the 432nd Air Service Group activated on the base. It is a consolidation of all squadron service units except the 18th Weather Squadron detachment and the 881st Chemical Co. Detachment "A". The Units now are: 432nd HQ and Base Service Sq.; 858th Air Engineering Sq.; 682nd Air Material Sq.

None of this effects the basic operation of the base, but means moving for many men, much paperwork and new jobs for such officers as Lt Col Reed, former group Ground Exec., who now takes command of the service group, and corresponding move-ups in the Bomb Group HQ set-up.

2nd Lt Frank J. Kappler, navigator, has been promoted to 1st Lt, at last. Now he can take the oak leaf clusters off that trick-set of gold bars. In fact, he can take off those gold bars. As he frequently has done!

17. The group led the Eighth Air Force today, with a visual attack on railroad engine sheds on the lower end of Dresden marshalling yards. Nine squadron crews took part, piloted by Lt Greenspan (with leader Capt Scarborough), Lts Brashear, Bowler, Williamson, Robinson, Wright, Perry, Cotea and Rippe.

Bombing results were called poor, for the second day in a row. The pattern again fell short of the objective. Flak was meagre, tracking stuff, which caught only the High squadron, which suffered slight damage, but no casualties. Bandits were reported in the area, actually attacked the 91st and 398th BGs behind us. Our luck held again. Clouds over Germany made difficult going for pilots, but afforded nice cover for enemy fighters. Each of our bombardiers unloaded twelve 500-pounders from 21,000 ft.

T/Sgt Clovis E. McCoy, radio-operator, tour done, left for home today.

18. The group got itself a stand down today, so of course flew practice. Weather is perfect, summer style.
More men left for the infantry today, this time selected: Sgt Thoams R. Tererri, Cpls Arnold T. Noredby, Pfcs Zollie L. Moore, George S. Clarke and William E. Dangle Jr.

19. This was one of those things best forgotten, if you're interested in painting the squadron's escutcheon in bright colors. Not exactly the 535th's fault, but we dropped our bombs on marshalling yards at Elsterwerda, as assigned, with unobserved results, although the group leader did not.

The story was that, although weather was better than briefed and clouds only 2/10th over the target, a strong cross wind caused drift greater than the maximum X 30 degrees correctable by bombsight. So Lead did not drop on the primary. After Low and High (including us) had let their bombs go, they stood off waiting for the lead to find a target. The latter finally did so, the railroad junction at Falkenberg, with excellent results although it was a fourth choice objective.

Flak was only observed, not felt, being meagre and bursting far below us at Elsterwerda. No enemy aircraft were seen. Flying for the squadron were: Major Taylor; Lts McLaughlin, Bush, Williamson, Robinson, Cotea, Smith, Rippe, Perry and Garvey. GH Navigators, Kelley and Boomershine flew with the 533rd and 534th, respectively.

Tours completed the following left for home today: 1st Lt Mead K. Robuck; T/Sgts Donald L. Cleek, S/Sgts John Belogenis and Harlie J. Moore, Jr.; promotions include: 1st Lt Lloyd A. Smith to captain; 2nd Lts Wilbur J. Hawley and John A. Williamson to 1st Lt; Cpls Carl W. Blue, Kenneth J. Dixon, John J. Quilhaugh, Harry J. Coleband and Roger E. Nelson to Sgt; twelve EM have returned from furloughs.

20. As a result of yesterday's fiasco, every 'wheel' on the base, excepting only Lt Col George Shackley and Capt Bill Cronin, were ordered on today's mission by order of Lt Col Hall, who led the group himself.

The boys produced. Engine shops and the railroad junction in general at Brandenburg were bombed visually with good results. Flak was meagre but accurate. There were no enemy aircraft and no casualties.

Major Krieger, who is assigned to the 532nd but still feels more on home around our end of the field, led the squadron, with Lt Biene as his pilot. Others were: Capt Scarborough (with Lt Hermann as toggler), Capts Garrett and Smith, Lts Brashear, Williamson, Bowler, Cotea, McLaughlin and Bush.

Capt Palenik flew as lead bombardier for the squadron. Probably one could say, totalling up for the group as a whole, that there were more tracks over the target than in it today. Capt Cronin would have gone, but he had just got out of the hospital.

Fourteen EM took off on furlough today.

21. Our nine plane formation led the group today, with Lt Col Shackley spearheading the do with Lt Biene as his pilot. Along with them were: Lts Brashear, Robinson, Hawley, Williams, Smith, Perry, Blizzard and F/O Hearn.
The target was the marshalling yards at Munich, which were attacked PFF through solid 10/10th cloud without observation of any sort of opposition - an uneventful trip.

Tours completed T/Sgts William J. Trainor and LeRoy E. Lyons left for home; Recovered from his jaundice bout, Sgt James T. Shadoan is back to duty from Braintree hospital.

22. The slowest day of the month. Brightened by Alred Lunt and Hoan Fontaine with their good performance of "Live in Idleness", from London.

A plan to have the squadron forming and marching from the playing field to the line in the morning to have pictures taken in groups of 20, is chopped.

23. Another stand down today. Germany into pockets which are growing smaller by the hour. How long ?

FLASH REPORT. Operations has been notified that a 534th Fortress, taking the first contingent of men by air to Belfast, Ireland, for furloughs, this morning crashed on the Isle of Man, with entire personnel complement killed.

If this is so, the squadron have lost three of its oldest , in point of service and a 20-mission gunner. We had S/Sgt Alfred M. Mata, Sgt Jose M. Martinez Cpl Herbert G. Gupton Jr., and Pfc Angelo Quagliarello among the 31 officers and men on that plane.

S/Sgt Randolph A. Dodd, electrical specialist, has been transferred to the 857th Bomb Squadron as a member of a mobile mechanical training outfit.

24. Yesterday's accident has been verified and doctors, dentists and orderlies are on the Isle of Man to identify and bring back bodies; 31 officers and men were killed when the plane hit the 1,800 ft peak called North Barrule. The cause of the accident is not known.

The pilot was Capt Ackerman, a second-tour man and one of the group's best, who had with him a veteran skeleton crew, all second-tour personnel of the 534th squadron.

It is impossible to realise that the men have gone. Max Martinez has been with us since activation two and a half years ago. He was our payroll clerk, is married and the father of two small children, one of whom he has never seen.

'Chollie' Quagliarello, parachute rigger and unit equipment man, also leaves a wife and infant daughter. Gupton was one of our veteran ordnance men, and Mata had completed more than two-thirds of his duty tour.

T/Sgts Carl R. Hall, Joseph Dicero, S/Sgts Lowell R. Keeler and John J. Sladek are on their way home, tours completed, and left today.

25. Only two of our 37 aircraft bombed today, as the rest brought their bombs home from a 'cumulo-bango' trip to Pilsen, where they sought an industrial objective.

Weather was terrible and flak in the Pilsen area heavy and accurate, although this group came through well. Bombing was not carried through, except unauthorizedly by two ships of another squadron, because of Czechoslovakia's status as an occupied country.

Flying for the squadron were: Capt Garrett (with Lt Wulf), Lts Bush, Smith, Williams, Garvey, Rippe and Larson.

26. Non-operational with a stand down announced last night.

M/Sgt Joe Gentile's 97-mission bomber "Tomahawk Warrior" which survived a crash-landing on the Continent some time ago, later returned to the squadron after extensive repairs, was blown to bits by her own bomb load on the perimeter track today.

With Lt Cotea and crew aboard, she came in from a practice mission about 13.30 hrs, ablaze on the right wing. Cotea taxied her off the runway and onto the perimeter where the crew abandoned her. She carried 20 250-pound bombs, which had been loaded in order for a possible combat mission today.

The plane burned for about 15 minutes before the entire bomb load went up, tearing the plane to shreds and and blasting a hole, 40 ft x 20 ft and 18" deep in the perimeter track. There were no casualties. Station utility men, beginning at 17.00 hrs had the hole completely patched by 21.00 tonight.

American and Russian troops are reported to have linked up at Torgau, a German town on the Elbe River, yesterday.

27. Stand down again announced last night. Intermittant rain today.

Promoted from 2nd Lt to 1st Lt, Albert J. Cotea, pilot; 2nd Lt Marshall F. Meier, mickey navigator, assigned today from the 70th Replacement Depot; James R. English, communications man, reduced from Sgt to Pvt.
On their way home tours complete, are: 2nd Lt Joseph F. Grace, T/Sgt John E. Lowder; 15 men returned from furloughs.

28. Stand down again last night.

Capt Clayton R. Greenwood, squadron engineering officer from the beginning, has been transferred to Group HQ to assume duties as group engineering officer. He replaces Major Edgar Kurner, ill, and relieved of assignment.

Cpl Wesley Scheliske and Pfc Leon L. Robbins, armorers, have been transferred out of the group.

29. Stand down again. Is it all over ? Europe at this points seems to be strictly short of targets for us.
Pvt Carl E. Pinson, medic, was transferred out of the group for reasons of health.

30. Simply nothing doing aloft or on ground, and so ends a 15-mission month.

Its official on the American-Russian link up at Torgau. They were troops of Gen Hodges' First U.S. Army and Gen Koniev's First Ukrainian Armies.

Certainly it can't be far from the end now.