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Bowman Diary Page 06

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This is the diary of Major Marvin Bowman as compiled by Paul West.
Jan Riddling, 100th Bomb Group Historian, reformatted this version in July 2003.

The following added by Paul West. March 16, 1944:

Office of the Operations Officer
APO # 634
17 March 1944

Subject: Navigational Narrative, Mission of 16 March 1944.

TO : Commanding Officer, 100th Bombardment Group (H), AAF

1. The 100th Group was briefed to fly lead group of the 13th Combat Wing, which was the third wing in the Third Air Division.

2. Route Flown : Buncher # 11, arriving at 0855 hours, one minute early with the 30th “A” and “B” Groups slightly behind coming in from the north. We flew to Splasher #7 at 0908 hours, two minutes early; Splasher #8 at 0925 hours, three minutes early. At Splasher #7 we sighted a five group wing and fell into position. At Splasher #8 a turn was made to get in Division formation. We departed the English Coast at Folkestone at 0930 hours on time. The French Coast was crossed at 50°05″N & 01°25E, four miles north of the briefed course but on time. We were flying behind and to the left of the lead Wing. Crossing the coast we were at 20,000 feet. At 4854″N & 04°04″E, control point #2, we were slightly north of the course and three minutes late. At control point #3, in the vicinity if Zell, we were five minutes late; a little north of course at 1122 hours. At control point #4, 48°26″N & 09°02″E, we were approximately seven minutes late and six miles north of the briefed course, at 1137 hours. At 1146 hours we turned to the briefed heading, but were forced north of the course by another wing, making us considerably north of out turning point for the I. P. Arriving at 49°03″N & 10°55″E at 1206 hours. six minutes late and eight miles north of the course, at 1213 hours we fired YY flares. We opened bomb bay doors at 48°45″N & 11°20E, nine miles east of course and eight minutes late. The target was bombed at 1223 hours, 12 minutes late. The Rally Point was also reached 12 minutes late. From there to 09°00″E, we were approximately four miles north of course and paralleling the briefed course out. The enemy coast was departed at 1500 hours, three minutes early, at 50°03″N & 01°20″E. The English Coast was crossed at Dungeness at 1520 hours, Base was reached at 1603 hours.

3. Bombing Data : Bomb bay doors were opened and YY flares fired at the I. P. about nine miles east of the briefed I. P at 1213 hours. The bomb run was made on a magnetic heading of 242° at an altitude of 20,000 feet; time 1223 hours. A right turn was made at the Rally Point after bombs away.

4. Navigational instruments functioned well. The Pathfinder equipment was in working condition.

5. The only trouble with the rendezvous was the metro data, which effected all the time. I recommend that the weather ship contact Group Leaders with data concerning changes in metro forecasts.

Leornard P. Bull
Captain, Air Corps,
Lead Navigator

Mar 22, 1944

Berlin – twenty-one (21) aircraft over the target – no loses and excellent bombing results.

Mar 24, 1944

Stand down today and tonight – low clouds and rain.

Mar 25, 1944

No operations account of weather.

Mar 26, 1944

Briefed for a target way the hell into Czechoslovakia, but the weather pulled the plug. Scrubbed.

Mar 27, 1944

The 100th took a crack at the Luftwaffe’s advanced flying school at Bordeaux – Marignac – all planes returned safely. Bombing results good, flak heavy but fighter opposition nil.

Mar 28, 1944

Airfield and hanger area at Chateaudan was today’s target. Group was briefed early – take-off delayed by ground haze and weather in general. After three delays the boys finally got away at 1030 hours – all planes returned safely. Bombing reported good.

Mar 29, 1944

Stand down today – other Divisions apparently working as many formations were over during the morning.

Mar 30, 1944

The 100th got it’s first bombing this morning and no one cares to go through anymore such mornings, although damage was picayune. Just after the briefing for Ludwigshafen had been completed and while crews were proceeding to their planes and intruder aircraft let go some pounders over the runway. A PFF ship was landing and the place was lighted up for that purpose. One bomb struck the edge of the main runway (28/10) and made a hellava crater. There was no little excitement, most of the field’s personnel having been heaved out of bed. Despite injury to the main runway the Group took off on time. The mission was recalled and our pilots had to fly around for a couple of hours to lighten their gas load before attempting to land. Bombs were jettisoned in the Channel and all planes landed safely, even though the runway was extremely narrow at one point.

Mar 31, 1944

Payday and POW war fund day. Third Division is raising money to procure comforts and luxuries for our men in Stalag Luften. Each officer today on being paid donated one pound and change included in his pay envelope. Enlisted personnel gave their change. In the evening the enlisted men ran a smoker benefit in the main hanger, with raffles and other features for raising money. Raffle winners put up their prizes for auction, and silk stockings went for 10 pounds a pair, lipstick for 2 pounds. Money collections can set up all over the post for contributions. Winning barracks on each site promised real eggs for breakfast and ice cream for dinner. Early this morning the 100th, together with a composite group took off and bombed Ludwigshafen – all returned safely with everybody smiling.

Apr 1, 2, 3, 4, 1944

1st, Stood down – Monthly dance at the OC devoted it’s profits to POW relief fund.

2nd, Rained all day – stood down. Totals for POW relief fund 1630 + pounds – whole division quota only 2500 pounds. Winning teams had their egg orgy this evening. The S-2 enlisted personnel won their site. Member in charge of the drive also put them selves down for eggs. Lt. Mackesey and Capt. Bowman helped the boys put away the ice cream.

3rd & 4th, Rain – stood down both days.

Apr 5, 1944

Stand down last night with a practice mission scheduled for the morning was scrubbed at 0745 hours. Extremely low ceiling and heavy rains during the night. Weather is not uncomfortable as the temperature is up considerable.

Apr 6, 1944

No air operations today, but an innovation which was proven extremely popular with the ground echelon was introduced on suggestion of Colonel Bennett. Armament, ordnance men etc. were gathered in main briefing room, informed they were temporarily Combat Crews and that they were now to be briefed on the mission to Regensburg of Feb. 26th. Full procedures were carried out, roll of the real pilots was called. S-2 briefing by Major Shaw; S-3 by Capt. Reeder; Weather by Lt. Frye; Communications by Lt. Innaconne. Photos were then shown detailing the damage caused by that particular raid and then Colonel Bennett, who led the mission, talked to the groundlings, telling them of incidents which occurred. Briefing wound up with plea for security consciousness among the ground crews. Entire proceeding were unusual, the men followed every detail with great attention. First inkling for most as to just what goes on when a mission is in preparation. Incidentally respect for S-2 went up several notches.

Apr 7, 1944

Briefing at 0600 hours for Quackenbruck airfield, just over the Belgian border in Germany. Half hour after briefing the mission was scrubbed account of weather. Practice mission held in the P. M.

Apr 8, 1944

Group bombed Quackenbruck – ideal mission, weather perfect, no fighters, little flak. Only one cloud on this horizon, the 100th did poorly on it’s bombing. Some said the bombardiers were so used to being shot at on the bomb run that they could not concentrate when the conditions were ideal. Groups following did better and the target, a fighter base, was hit hard.

Apr 9, 1944

Briefed at 0430 hours for targets in Poland – one of the longest missions to date. Target was the FW plant near Posen. The mission was recalled over the North Sea – weather at the base had deteriorated to the point most planes were forced to land at other fields. Planes were coming in all day – S-2 personnel had to spent the entire day in the interrogation room.

Apr 10, 1944

Target was an airfield three miles north of Rheims. Take-off at 0700 hours – mission duration of only four hours. For once cloudless day – bombing reported as fairly good. Top Turret Gunner/ Engineer of Lt. Lacey’s crew was killed by enemy action – T/Sgt Chester Carknard was dead on arrival at Thorpe Abbotts.

Apr 11, 1944

Posen, Poland was the target for today but weather forced the bombing of the secondary, Rostock, with good results.

Apr 12, 1944

Thirty-two (32) planes departed for Schkeuditz, suburb of Leipzig, but weather forced a recall – entire mission aborted. This mission, while recalled, seems to have been successful from the bombardier’s point of view. The 100th attacked Lipstadt, while nine of our other planes flying with the 95th bombed the airport at Werl. Both groups reported good bombing results on these targets of opportunity. Capt. Barr, Major Blakely and Capt. Cope left today for thirty day furloughs in the U. S. A. . Flew to London in a 349th plane much to the envy of the entire field. Capt. Reeder becomes CO of the 349th – permanent.

Apr 13, 1944

Colonel Kidd led the entire division to Augsburg – target was the Messerschmitt designing and research plant. No fighter opposition – flak heavy over the target but little encountered on the way in or out. There were many ships damaged at the target by flak, however the damage was below expectations. Bombing was good; 100th “B” placing it’s bombs squarely on the MPI. Colonel Kidd had one engine shot out and the crew feathered the wrong engine – error quickly rectified and they came home with further mishap.

The incredible ship “Hard Luck” was on the mission and now has 5221/2 hours on the original engines with two of the original superchargers still in service. The venerable old girl came home with 25 flak holes in her hide, but nothing vital was hit.

Clipping from hometown papers indicate the story of the 100th’s POW fund got national distribution over both AP and UP wires. Sale of silk stockings for $40 and lipstick for $10 hit editors fancy around the nation.

Apr 14, 15, 1944

Standing down, a welcome break after six straight days of operations. About 0200 hours a Red Alert, with a plane stooping overhead – no attacks. Note for history: A PFF plane was landing at Framlingham the other morning and a JU-88 waited until the landing lights were turned on – shot down the Pathfinder aircraft, dropped fragmentation bombs and strafed the field. Three members of the Pathfinder crew were killed.

On the 15th stood down again last night. Several S-2 officers newly arrive in theater assigned here for training.

Apr 16, 1944

Stand down today; rain, fog, mist, and 11 other weather features that go to make East Anglia the resort center that it is. Forty ATC cadets on base today. Lectures by Lt. Abbey and Colonel Kidd. Some cadets went through the Sub-Depot repair facilities. Dinner at the enlisted mess.

Colonel Bennett was informed today that the Augsburg mission made a total of 100 mission for the 100th. Division had credited us with a couple of mission our operations staff had thought were aborts with no credit. Long story inStars & Stripes – eight or nine photos were dispatched to the paper which either omits it altogether or butcher it beyond recognition, putting the wrong captions on the pictures – there is no middle ground with the S & S.

Apr 17, 1944

Continuation of yesterday’s weather with drop in temperature. New Commanding Officer, Colonel Robert Kelly, expected to arrive today. Colonel Harding has been acting CO of the 13th Combat Wing flew back to the States day before yesterday for leave and hospitalization. He is suffering from jaundice and gall stones. On his way he flew by here and did a masterful job of buzzing headquarters – firing flares – like the boys completing a tour do.

Apr 18, 1944

After several days of stand downs, the Group, with Capt. Reeder leading, took off for Berlin. Return set for 1755 hours. The new Commanding Officer did not show up – seems he is in a hospital somewhere. This fate seems common to Commanding Officers of the 100th. Major Karl (NMI) Standish, first officer ever assigned to the 100th, has been transferred to the 407th – a B-24 outfit. His successor will be Major Utley. Major Standish had been Ground Exec for some months after serving more than a year as Group Adjutant. Group returned from today’s mission one half hour early and with no loses but discouraging bombing reports. Target – Berlin – and industrial plant to the southeast of the city. Weather good all the way to the target area then changed to solid overcast Wing Leader tried to get under it and took the formation over Berlin at 16,500 feet! Flak was intense, but the 100th luckily suffered no loses. After stooping around making 360 degree turn and returning over the fringe of Berlin the Group dropped on the lead outfit over a target later identified as Rathenow. In the middle of the bomb run the lead outfit cut the 100th off with it’s turn forcing the 100th to swing right – most of our bomb were right of the target. Our Bombardiers believe they may have hit a railroad junction. Eight of the 100th planes in composite group with the 95th bombed a small city east of Berlin identified as Wilunach or Kluben. Some bombs were seen to hit in the center of the unidentified town.

Apr 19, 1944

Alerted last night and at 0100 hours a Red Alert heralded the approach of a large formation of German planes – droned overhead for the better part of half an hour. Bombs hear not too far distance and some interested observers reported up to three planes going down in flames in the general direction of Ispwich. The Germans may have been heading for London as the seemed to depart in that direction. About 0400 hours there was another Red Alert as the same formation of German planes headed home. There seemed to be fewer of them on the way out – this may have been wishful thinking. Group took off at 0730 hours for a German airfield at Lipstadt. Group returned at 1800 hours with no loses. Nine ships flew composite with the 96th and bombed the airfield at Werl. Both target plastered. 100th met no fighter opposition and encountered very little flak – weather perfect – everything as it should be. Colonel Robert H. Kelly assumed command of the 100th today. He was a class mate of Colonel Harding at West Point and seem like a genial person. Major Shaw reported assigned to the 13th Combat Wing as A-2. Major Donahue going to the 93rd according to the same report.

Apr 20, 1944

Lts. Bowers and Terry left this morning for London to identify returning evades. That is about the only excuse for getting to London in these degenerate times. Crossbow operation this afternoon with “A” & “B” groups putting up 38 planes – all returned safely. Targets were in the Cherbourg and south of St. Omer areas. Poor bombing results, our bombardiers had trouble picking out the targets from the landscape and our bombs were wide of the target. Lt. George Morgan, lead bombardier, was wounded by flak across the collar bone – luckily not serious. Two other men were scratched on the ankle and one across the outside of the thigh. Groups departed one hour apart and returned the same way, the last group landing at 2100 hours. S-2 was busy with interrogations until 0100 hours – meanwhile another alert came in and the duty officer and briefing personnel had their night’s rest spoiled waiting for the Field Order to come down.

Apr 21, 1944

Today’s mission was finally made official at 0715 hours – target the synthetic oil plant at Leipzig. Briefing scheduled for 1015 hours but moved back to 1100 hours. Only 18 of our planes are scheduled for this mission. RAF planes going over last night – steady stream for over 45 minutes. Red Alert called to due to possible attack by intruders, who recently have been with the returning RAF planes and strafing any lighted areas on the theory that it could be an airfield – usually is. A bomb dropped anywhere in East Anglia has about a 50-50 chance of hitting a airfield. The new base at Eye is almost ready to open and the S-2 Officers have completed their indoctrination.

Apr 22, 1944

Yesterday’s mission was recalled and today the 100th was briefed for Hamm – take off set for 1045 hours. Main group bombed Hamm while the composite attacked Werl. This time the bombing results were excellent. Colonel Kelly flew with the Group for the first time, accompanying Major Elton as an observer. Shortly after interrogation we were alerted again. Lt. Harte’s plane down on the Hamm mission somewhere near the target.

Apr 23, 1944

0400 hours briefing for Leipzig synthetic oil works – mission scrubbed soon after briefing completed.

Apr 24, 1944

At 0830 hours Group took off for Friedrichshafen with Colonel Ollen Turner leading. The 100th led the 13th Combat Wing today. Bombing results were fair to good.

Apr 25, 1944

Colonel Bennett led mission scheduled to attack Thionville, but weather forced the Group to bomb Dihon Airdrome with fairly good results.

Apr 26, 1944

Fallersleben was today’s target but a secondary one was bombed.

Apr 27, 1944

The first double mission today. In the morning one of the No Ball targets was plastered. While the crews were debriefing, Officers were setting up the afternoon attack on Le Culot airfield. Results satisfactory for both targets.

Apr 28, 1944

Colonel Kelly led his first and last mission with the 100th today. Target was Sottevast, one of the No-Ball sites. Colonel Kelly’s plane, carrying Bubbles Payne as navigator, received a direct flak hit and plunged down in flames near the target. (“Bubbles” is Capt. Joseph Payne, one of the 100th’s original Navigators and said by Jim Brown and Harry Crosby, two of the 100th’s best known Navigators, to have been the best. . pw) Most optimistic report was that one chute was seen, most crews thought there was no survivors. Lt. McGuire’s plane also lost to flak at the same time. Colonel Kelly commanded the Group for only eight days; in that time he had won the respect of all concerned. Lt. Colonel Bennett again resumes temporary command.

Apr 29, 1944

The 100th bombed the center of Berlin today almost without incident – no fighter encountered, although the other half of the 4th Combat Wing, in which we were flying lost 20 Forts. There were a total of 65 bombers lost for the mission.

Apr 30, 1944

Stand down today – the 100th has flown 12 missions in 12 days – a record for us.

May 1, 1944

Pre-invasion practice today. Group took off at 0400 hours and assembled in Combat Wing formation – went down and simulated bombing the English coast in line abreast, practically. Then they returned, reassembled at 12,000 feet and carried out a mission against a No Ball site at Wizernes. Heavy overcast prevented bombing and the Group brought their bombs back. (6 1000 lb GP’s) We were ready for them when they got back with another mission; this time the marshaling yards at Saaraguemines. The target was clouded in an a secondary was bombed. No losses although Lt. Horne landed at another base and was given up as lost for a while.

May 2, 3, 1944

2nd, stand down for training – clear and cold. 3rd, still standing down; cold front due a noon – otherwise a cloudless morning. Heavy rain during the night – just in time to aid the grass planting program on the base – most of the sites already prepared with top soil and seeded. This will be the best looking post in the 8th AF, if it isn’t already. Reports that the 3rd Division’s Presidential Citation for the Regensburg (Aug 17, 43) mission has been approved. When the papers come through the 100th personnel can begin wearing the unit decoration.

May 4, 1944

Center of Berlin today’s target. Group got away carrying 12 X 500 lb and 3 X 1000 Gp’s each – really a load. Weather closed in over the channel and the mission had to be recalled. There was no interrogation, since the ruling was that none of the planes were dispatched. Very chilly today, although the sun shone faintly here and there. The 100th’s citation for the first bombing of Berlin bounced at 8th AF. Somebody doesn’t like us there. The 390th and 96th have been cited – God knows why. Both have screwed up enough missions to get plenty of recognition – hardly of this sort however.

May 5, 1944

Flight operations canceled just before the briefing for Berlin last night. Practice mission called instead. A news summary at the Aero Club in the evening.

May 6, 1944

Stand down last night – hard rains. Capt. Bill Rives and Lt. Harry Burkhalter of the London PRO office in to look the place over. In the evening the monthly dance was held at the Officer’s Club.

May 7, 1944

Thirty – six (36) planes dispatched for Berlin – bombed in regular form. Returned at 1345 hours – PFF bombing reported. Van Steenis came home with Becker, the navigator dead and his bombardier wounded. The London PRO boys got a look at war – or at least a second hand look.

May 8, 1944

Thirty-two (32) planes dispatched for Berlin. Ten aborted – bombed PFF with unobserved results. Lt. Riggle and crew failed to return. In the afternoon a NO-Ball target, with briefing set for 1430 hours. Right in the middle of interrogation for the first mission Lt. Colonel Thomas Jeffrey arrived to assume command of the 100th.

May 9, 1944

Airfields at Laon-Couvron d Laon-Anthies the target for today. Main group attacked Convron airfield, composite the other. Strike photos indicate excellent bombing results. Lt. William’s plane was hit in the tail by a bomb dropped from above. Tail gunner was hit and mortally injured by the un-exploded bomb which lodged in the tail compartment. Williams made a feather landing. Capt. Major, ordnance and his First Sgt, finding the gunner still alive, entered the plane and de-fused the bomb. Doc. Kinder was right in the middle, risking his life in an attempt to save the crewman along with several other enlisted men, definitely outside their normal line of duty. Such bombs are normally left for bomb disposal units, but the fact the man was still alive, although unconscious, was the reason these men took such chances to get him out. All were put in for the Soldier’s Medal even the photographer, McAllister. In spite of the gallant efforts of Doc. Kinder and the rest the airman died on the way to the hospital. His injuries were too massive. .

May 10, 1944

Group took off leading the 13th Combat Wing for Fallersleben, but recalled over the channel. Alerted about 2000 hours with Munich mission – scrubbed at 3245 with a standby until 0800 hours.

May 11, 1944

One of those no notice affairs today. Alerted at 1030 hours – briefing at 1230 hours. Marshaling yards at Liege the target. During the day received photographs of raids NO-Ball targets of May 8 & 9 came in and indicated the 100th distinguished itself by hitting the MPI. Gratifying since the Group has been consistently good in everything except bombing, its prime reason for existing. Group returned from Liege at 2000 hours. One plane lost over the target to a direct hit which tore off a wing – two to five chutes reported. Bombs damaged the marshaling yard, but were to the right of the MPI.

May 12, 1944

Group was alerted during interrogation last night. Briefing was at 0500 hours and the group dispatched for Brux, Czechoslovakia. Distances mean nothing to this bunch anymore, and they would not be surprised at being briefed for Ceylon, Tokyo or Celebes any day. Target was the synthetic oil plant, largest in the Reich. The Group returned safely, having hit the MPI dead center. Later General LeMay called Colonel Jeffrey to congratulate the Group. Seems the whole division kicked the hell out of the plant but the 100th was the only one to hit the MPI precisely. 100th’s bomb pattern actually surrounded the MPI, which was the vital gas generating works. One of their oil plants is missing!!

May 13, 1944

Oanabruck as the target today – marshaling yards were hit – the MPI. a locomotive repair shop escaped a direct hit.

May 14, 1944

No mission today, first in some time. So somebody in higher echelons dreamed up a simulated mission of all things to find out, and I quote, whether the S-2 machinery works. We gave them full reports of the simulated bombing of the English town of Watton, reporting three pubs destroyed. Somebody likes to play games.

May 15, 16, 1944

Briefed for Melun, a French airfield on the 15th – scrubbed – practice mission in P. M. !6th – exactly the same as the 15th.

May 17, 1944

At 0315 hours, one of those last minute briefing (during a pouring rain storm) for Emden. Mission scrubbed at taxi time after Ordnance had set a record in “bombing up” the entire Group in less than 2 hours. Personnel somewhat vocal in their remarks concerning the ability of higher headquarters to make up their minds about anything.

May 18, 1944

Yesterday was a day free from care, and at 1500 hours we were released for training – a new equivalent of a stand down. Lt. Bowers was happy to be promoted to Captain, which seems to take care of all the original junior officers in the S-2 section. There were lowering skies and rain in the morning but a practice mission was flown shortly before noon when some clearing developed

May 19, 1944

Briefing early this morning, with Berlin as the target A, Rostock B, and Kiel C. Takeoff delayed by some haze in the early morning – planes got away at 0900 hours. Weather clear and warm here. Colonel Jeffrey leading this mission, his first with the 100th. Target bombed but three (3) planes lost.

May 20, 1944

Mission to Bruxelles M/Y today’s target. Clouds 100 percent – bombs brought back. Bill Jones and Herb Finnegan ofBoston American here – just in time for the 100th’s first smoker with strip tease.

May 21, 22, 23, 1944

Stand down the 21st and 22nd with a mission to Troyles M/Y on the 23rd. No runs, hits, or errors.

May 24, 1944

Berlin – Major Fitzgerald, just appointed CO of the 350th, led this one and failed to return as did eight other planes. Colonel Ollen Turner and Captain Jack Swartout finished their tours. The Group was spit by weather and hit by droves of fighters. Target was bombed with fair results.

May 25, 1944

Buxelles M/Y today’s target. Visual bombing, results fair to good. Colonel Bennett led, made two runs on the target. No fighters and only meager flak. Capt. Rosenthal has been appointed CO of the 350th.

May 26, 1944

Stand down on account of weather – practice mission later in day.

May 27, 1944

Strasbourg – one place the group had not hit previouly. Saarbrucken and Trier B and C targets. Takeoff about 0830 hours, ETR 1330 hours. 100th flew high group with the 13th Combat Wing, the 390th leading. All ships returned safely, claimed primary well-bombed. Fighter escort was particularly fine according to reports – photos show beautiful job on MPI.

May 28, 1944

Eighteen plane group and one squadron for composite group dispatched to Magdeburg (synthetic oil plant). Dessau Junker engine works B and Dunlop tyre plant at Hanau C. Ground fog delayed take-off one hour. Finally took off at 0930 hours. A smoke screen screwed up the bombing – the 100th got about 10 percent in a 1000 foot circle, but the MPI was not hit. Fighters bounced the formation on the bomb run. The 390th lost five planes of the lead squadron on the first pass. Our Lt. Lacy’s plane took a direct hit in the cockpit and was reported going down in flames.

May 29, 1944

Leipzig today with Colonel Kidd leading. The MPI was Junkers main headquarters building. Marvelous weather for three days now, warm and cloudless. Temperature around 90 degrees and the British seem to be burning up. Group returned at 1600 hours. One plane, Lt. William’s, lost to fighters over the target. The tail gunner, Sgt. Lyle Nord, hero of Blakely’s Provisional Group (Bremen Oct. 10th, 1943) who had just resumed operational flying was aboard. Some screens prevented good bombing and most of the strike photos were obscured. Believe the MPI may have been hit by some group as the smoke above it was very heavy.

May 30, 1944

Celebrated Memorial Day by bombing marshaling yards at Troyes. No fighters, hardly any flak (one gun in the target area). Crews claim the target – locomotive shed was squarely hit. All ships returned safely – missed the MPI but the target area was well plastered.

May 31, 1944

Payday – Oanabruck M/Y the target. MPI was locomotive shop. Fear we missed the MPI as lead ship’s bombsight went temperamental. Altitude was 26,000 feet – reports are that some group rang the bell, however.

Jun 1 & 2, 1944

Stand down on the 1st. On the 2nd, first tactical target, north of Boulogne. Our PFF went out and the bombs were brought back. Second mission of the day sent 12 planes to Archeres near Paris – rail junction. Returned at 2215 hours – put 60% in 1000 ft. circle – this junction will not be the same for some time. Alerted at 2000 hours for a tactical target – Pinetree relented and said briefing would be at 1400 hours tomorrow.

Jun 3, 1944

Mission scrubbed. Lt. Cowing going to the 95th on detached service to learn PFF briefing etc. Will return in 90 days as the 100th PFF expert.

Jun 4, 1944

Another attack on coastal points in the Boulogne area. Photos indicate good bombing – pattern dropped squarely on the shoreline.

Jun 5, 1944

Bombed three (3) tactical targets in the Boulogne area on PFF. Colonel Jeffrey, who was leading, was summoned to 3rd Division immediately upon landing – accompanied by Capt. Bowman. At 3rd Division Headquarters the assembled Group CO’s and S-2’s heard General LeMay explain time, details and plan of the invasion, set for 0750 hours June 6th. Returned to base with complicated Field Order – all personnel held on base, all phones disconnected. Lead crews briefed from 1800 to 0000 hours on the 100th’s targets. Briefing 2300 hours for first groups. The 100th flew six groups during the invasion hours – 72 sorties. There were no aborts.

Jun 6, 1944 (D-Day)

The invasion began this morning. Briefing at 2300 hours last night, 1215 hours, and 1415 hours today. Capt. Bowman had first three main briefing, Capt. Mackesey the gunners. Capt. Hutchinson briefed the afternoon mission. No gunners briefing as this has been dropped for tactical missions. Crews moral bounced up 100%. First take off at 0230 hours. First two waves bombed coast using PFF – third wave had Falaise for a target but returned with bombs when no PFF could be found. Last wave of the day left at 1700 hours, returned at 2315 hours. Had a good view of the invasion, the undercast having broken away. Told of hundreds of ships unmolested off the coast, indicating that shore batteries have been silenced. Hundreds of gliders going in; no air opposition at all. German radio is something to hear; are reporting the invasion a complete flop – a few parachutists who were quickly eliminated. Whom do they think they are kidding? Figures indicate that between 0300 and 0800 hours the 8th AF dropped 10,000 tons of bombs – flew 7500 sorties and put 31,000 fliers over targets. Jersey and Guernsey attacked, according to reports. Standing down tonight – we have temporarily ran out of bombs.

Jun 7, 1944

Group took off at 1730 hours for Nantes; rail bridge as the target. Target smacked cold by high and low groups, the lead group putting one 2,000 lb. egg squarely between the rails. Back at 2300 hours with no losses. Shortly after midnight, while the crews were still milling around the interrogation rooms, two enemy intruders, probably ME-410’s strafed the field and really caused excitement. One gunner who had just completed his tour was slightly wounded while standing just outside the door of the interrogation building. Exploding 20mm shell or a ricochet slashed him across the temple. Both planes were heavily fired on. A luckless B-24 without lights, came blundering across the field about 10 minutes later at 500 feet and was so badly shot up by 50 cal. that he had to land at a nearby field. Hope this will teach him a lesson.

Jun 8, 1944

Briefing at 0315 hours for a railroad bridge at Tours. Returned at 1140 hours – first strike photos show target completely missed, but some later photos show that it may have been hit. It now appears the early photographs were from a plane which had tacked on to the 388th and the pilot neglected to mention this little detail to the photo lab. Briefed at 1415 hours for Saumu rail road bridge, this just after preparing a second mission for Tours. It was scrubbed while the planes were on the taxiway awaiting take-off. Weather gave us a stand down tonight.

Jun 9 & 10, 1944

Stand down on the 9th – weather. On the 10th took off at 0415 for Morlaix airdrome – purpose to immobilize the fighter on this fighter base. Weather not as briefed and neither of the 100th’s two groups reached the target, turning back while still over water. New briefing room and interrogation rooms slowly nearing completion.

Jun 11, 1944

Another early morning take-off, this time a coastal target at Brecks-sur-Mer, south of Boulogne. Bombing was PFF and group was short, bombs falling in the water and on the beach. Colonel Bennet led this mission – return at 0814 hours. Sun shone today for first time since the invasion.

Jun 12, 1944

Today was a bad day. Tried for Airdrome at Rosieres-en-Sanerre. 95th leading and took us all over France, that is except for the target. The Groups got separated coming home and flew squarely over Ostend and lost two ships to flak – Lts. Ryan and McGeague. Later two members of McGeague’s crew were picked up by Air Sea Rescue. To make matter worse nobody bombed anything.

Jun 13, 1944

Waited all night for a 0115 hours briefing for Fallersleben. At midnight, Wing notified us that the target would be changed. Finally around 0130 hours they scrubbed – weather presumably. The Jerries must have some kind of arrangement with the devil.

Jun 14, 1944

For the second time in a week the 100th really fouled up. Target was Le Culot. thirty-six (36) planes went over Belgium looking for it – never located it – came home with their bombs. Blamed place mostly on weather with some slight blame on navigators. Group Commander not happy.

Jun 15, 1944

Commanding Officer and Capt. Bowman went to 3rd Air Division Headquarters to hear plans for shuttle mission to Russia. Planes to be there several days, run several missions and return home by way of Italy. Capt. Bowman fortunate enough to get assignment to go along as S-2 Officer. Everything set for briefing around midnight – weather scrubbed it and the Group attacked Wilser & Mulburg instead.

Jun 16 & 17, 1944

Weather caused stand down on the 16th and a mission to Melum was scrubbed on the 17th account of weather.

Jun 18, 1944

Brunsbuttel – Ostermoor bombed successfully.

Jun 19, 1944

Corme – Ecluse the 100th’s target for today. . Good Going!!

Jun 20, 1944

Our old friend Fallersleben, many time briefed, but never hit by the 100th’s was finally bombed. Photos show hits on the MPI.

Jun 21, 1944

Russian shuttle raid got off today. (see also July 5th, 1944) Thirteen (13) additional 100th planes went to Basdorf, near Berlin, as part of a general attack which ran interference for the Russian trip. Bombing was successful and all planes returned safely, but landed at Framlingham, to allow for repairs to the perimeter taxiway, runways, etc. , during absence of the main group. Twenty-eight (28) ships went to Russia. Lt. Colonel Bennett is acting Commanding Officer in the absence of Colonel Jeffrey. Capts. Johnson and Bowers, Lt. Shirley and T/Sgt Brackeen went to Framlingham to handle 100th crews there.

Jun 22, 23, & 24, 1944

On the 22nd the 100th bombed an airfield near Paris – 23rd stand down and the 24th a No-Ball target was briefed, Group could not locate it and bombed a target of opportunity near Rouen, France.

Jun 25, 1944

A super secret (Zebra) mission to the South of France. Successful drop but the 100th lost Lt. Houghton’s crew to flak over the French Coast on the way to the target.

Jun 26 & 27, 1944

Stand down both days

Jun 28, 1944

Group returned to Thorpe Abbotts from Framlingham. A mission was started but scrubbed in the morning.

Jun 29, 30, July 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 1944

29th through 3rd of July stand down – July 4th briefed for Boulogne – scrubbed. 5th July briefed and scrubbed for Boulogne again. This afternoon the main Group returned from the Russian – Italian shuttle raid.

Chronology of the Russian Shuttle Raid

June 21,1944 – The 100th flew lead group in the 13th Combat Wing, with twenty eight (28) planes. Assembled over 10/10 undercast – made wing assembly at 0410 hours. Landfall between Cuxhaven and Bremerhafen, flew straight course toward Berlin – turned south about twenty (20) miles west of the city and bombed the synthetic oil plant at Ruhland with fine results, confirmed by later strike photographs. Continued due east along the 51st parallel until south of Warsaw, then turned southeast toward the Russian front. About this time we were attacked by twelve (12) ME-109’s and one B-17 from another group went down – appeared to be under control. Escorting P-51’s shot down several enemy fighters and we had no more trouble. Cloud deck formed below and began getting higher – Combat Wing milled around for a time, pretty well lost. Finally found the Dnieper river after letting down to 2,000 feet and then locate Kiev. Here four of our planes went down out of gas, Lts. Chadwick, Simmons, Mulius and Williams. All later returned to England via ATC routes, except Williams who rejoined the group at Mirgorod. The 100th, 390th and 95th landed at Mirgorod, while the 4th Combat Wing went to Poltava; their misfortune since the Luftwaffe flew over our field and bombed Poltava and destroyed 50 to 65 B-17’s with the loss of two American lives. Our wing was quartered in a former Russian and German barracks that was maintained by an airborne squadron. “Good Ole Tin Rations,” all these Joes here every see.

June 22, 1944 – To avoid certain bombing by the Luftwaffe, wing ordered to Kharkov late in the evening after the Jerries had taken aerial recon-photos all day. On taxi, Colonel Jeffrey plane put a wheel through a weak spot in the runway, so we watched the other planes depart for Kharkov. Colonel Jeffrey’s, a PFF plane, and two others were left on the field, one the victim of a flat tire and the other needing an engine change. The Jerries change it that night – about 0100 hours from 75 to 100 Ju-88’s plastered the field with everything except the kitchen stove and live fish. Many Russian soldiers were wounded and some were killed. Our damage B-17 was practically destroyed but the two others escaped with only minor damage, probably from falling flak.

June 23, 1944 – Main group remained at Kharkov. This evening our two planes able to fly left Mirgorod and flew to Kirovograd, about 100 miles southwest of Mirgorod. Spent the night at a big Russian training field – was royally entertained by three Russian generals and the whole post for that matter. Big dance given for the Americans along with a concert and all the trimming.

June 24, 1944 – Spent the day here (Kirovograd), inspecting Russian aircraft, Yaks, Stormovicks, Yaks, etc. The generals took us swimming in near by river and it was an interesting occasion. Several more B-17’s arrived today – spent the night in the Russian barracks again.

June 25, 1944 – Returned early to Mirgorod to find rest of wing back from Kharkov. Planes bombed up for a mission that was scrubbed. At 0700 hours entire wing flew to Kirovovgrad and slept on the ground under their planes wings, expecting and attack that did not materialize.

June 26, 1944 – Up at 0300 hours and returned to Mirgorod – bombed up and took off for Italy. Crossed the Russian front at 1315 hours and received a spirited welcome from the German flak. Shortly afterwards we hit our target, synthetic oil works at Drohobyce, Poland and a lovely fire was enjoyed by all. The Wing with the 100th flying low group, took a straight course for Italy across Poland, Hungary, Jugo-slavia to Foggia, Italy. Escorting fighters shot down twelve (12) enemy fighters on the way but we say none. Group was shot at over Jugo-Slavian mountains when the 390th (leading) let down sooner than briefed and dragged the 100th practically through the tree tops of mountains seven or eight thousand feet high. Crossed Adriatic Sea, a welcome sight, and landed at Tortorella, a satellite field for Foggia at 2030 hours. Put up with the “Swoose ” group (It flies), tents, dust and mosquito repellent, the chief feature of the place – not to mention the terrific hear in the daytime and the remarkable cold nights.

June 27, 1944 – Most of the day spent in the sack by all hands.

June 28, 1944 – Same as yesterday – some of the group went to the beach at Manfredonia for a swim. 95th and 390th at fields nearby. Late in the afternoon all S-2’s called into 5th Wing headquarters at Foggia to discuss briefing procedures, etc. Tentative sortie homeward bound scrubbed – much to everyone’s satisfaction since it involved attacking Munich. (184 flak guns around the target)

June 29, 1944 – Colonel Jeffrey, Clarke’s crew and several others were flown to Naples by Colonel Kurze, the Swoose Group Commanding Officer. ( He was the narrator of the ” Queens Die Proudly ” book. Spent the day sightseeing and visited Pompeii and other points, including and Allied Officer’s Club on the mountains overlooking Naples and the bay. Best day of the shuttle raid. At night we were alerted again – for a target worse than Naples according to the 5th. Again we scrubbed – saved by the bell.

June 30, July 1, July 2, 1944 – No activity – weather over Europe blamed.

July 3, 1944 – The 100th journeyed to Rumania with the rest of the 13th Combat Wing to show the 15th AF how things are done in the Big Leagues. Target was a marshaling yard at Arad. No flak, no fighters and no marshaling yard anymore.

July 4, 1944 – Alerted for trip home to Thorpe Abbotts.

July 5, 1944 – Took off at 0810 hours for Thorpe Abbotts, via Beziers, France where a marshaling yard was reduced to ashes on the way. On the way we had a grandstand seat to watch the 15th smashing Toulon – flak there was terrific and one B-24 went down in flames. Several Me-109’s made advances at us over the Mediterranean, but our escorting P-51’s discouraged them permanently. Course home almost a straight line from Beziers to Beachy Head. No flak except at target and no fighters got through our escort – they claimed 10 to 12 enemy fighters destroyed. Picked up near Orleans by P-51’s and P-47’s from home and they were a welcome sight. From there on flew over 10/10 clouds to England and reached the base at 1730 hours. Distance, 7,000 miles, 34 and one half hours flying time not counting the Arad mission. 100th’s score; Four targets destroyed – no losses to the enemy.

(diary resumes)

Jul 6, 7, 8, 9, 1944

6th, No Ball with poor results – 7th, Bohlen/Merseburg – weather bad dropped on Gottingen airdrome – 8th, Glamecy – weather bad, hit two targets of opportunity – 9th, standing down for training.

Jul 10, 1944

Briefed for Mery-sur-Oise, north of Paris – scrubbed – weather

Jul 11, 1944

Briefing at 0415 and 0500 hours for Munich – primary was the BMW plant with the center of the city as the secondary. The secondary was hit by both 100th Groups – PFF bombing with unobserved results. One tail gunner wounded by flak. No fighters.

Jul 12, 1944

Munich again with the targets, same results – no fighters.

Jul 13, 1944

Munich again – this could get monotonous. Today the fighters came up and the 100th had several combat claims. Lts. Harding and Waters, both shot up by flak – thought to have reached Switzerland. Our fighters escorted them to the Swiss border.

Jul 14, 1944

Today being Bastille Day, 8th AF sent out another mystery mission to the South of France – called “Cadillac” this time. Very successful – no losses and the crews enjoyed it.

Jul 15, 1944

Stand down for training, and high time. Three missions in a row to Munich proved very fatiguing to our crews. They feel the 15th could take care of targets right at their front door without the 8th having to fly 1000 miles to hit the same places. May be the penalty for being the Major League Air Force.

Jul 16, 1944

Believe it or not another stand down – two days in a row. Most of the 8th again over Munich. Alerted at night, however.

Jul 17, 1944

Briefing at 0330 for the railroad bridge at Auxerre – Colonel Kidd leading. Mission returned at 1315 hours reporting good results. During their absence nine crews were briefed for an attack on the coastal battery at Gravelines but were recalled after taking off. Alerted again tonight.

Jul 18, 1944

Two groups left early for Kiel and Heimstadt – both bombed PFF with unobserved results. Group released for training in the afternoon.

Jul 19, 1944

Two groups to Schweinfurt. SDF ball bearing plant was A target for the A Group, which were bothered by smoke and probably missed. B Group bombed Duren, the secondary, but missed the MPI. Flak at Schweinfurt was terrific, but no fighters were seen. Three men slightly wounded. Major Sammy Barr, back from thirty days leave on the States, led the B Group. It was Sammy’s first mission in ninety days or more. Today Lt. Colonel Ollen Turner left for home – permanently. He completed his tour sometime ago but has been working on a secret project at Third Division. Major Reeder has completed his tour and Major Sammy Barr succeeded him as 349th Commanding Officer – his old job before he went on leave.

Jul 20, 1944

Two groups to Merseburg – fair to good results.

Jul 21, 1944

Two groups departed for Regensburg. Weather interfered and all bombed by PFF. Ludwigsburg was probably the target – photos very uncertain.

Jul 22, 1944

Stood down last night and today due to rain. Cold cloudy and altogether unpleasant. Semi-monthly tea dance today.

Jul 23, 1944

Early briefing for beach-head attack, bombs to fall just ahead of our troops. Mission took off with Colonel Jeffrey leading, but was recalled account of weather.

Jul 24, 1944

The mission recalled yesterday was flown today. For the most part it was highly successful, but one of the 100th’s groups dropped short. It is possible some of our bombs fell among American Forces. This was the day General McNair was killed by American bombs. Blame was attached, however, to medium bombers, not heavies in later investigations.

Jul 27, 1944

Briefed for Ludwigshafen – scrubbed before take-off.

Jul 28, 1944

Merseburg – two groups bombed with poor results. We lost Capt. Bucky Mason, on his last mission and the PFF plane “Island F for Fox” flown by Lt. Noble.