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Ed Wolf Crew Diary

The crew was assembled at Alexandria, Louisiana. Time spent at Alexandria Louisiana was for combat crew training.

Departed Alexandria at night by troop train to Grand Island, Nebraska. Arrived on 2/24/44. Time spent there was for physical exam, re-issue of clothing and equipment check. Assigned a B-17G to ferry across to Scotland.

Departed Grand Island, takeoff at 0500 hours. Landed at Presque Isle, Maine around 1400 hours. Cold. Flew 9 hrs.

Departed Presque Isle and flew to Gander, Newfoundland. Flying time 4:00 hrs. Best barracks so far.

Departed Gander at 0115 hrs, arrived Prestwick, Scotland at 1345 hrs. Greenwich Mean Time. Flew 11:30 hrs. Washed ate, left the same day around 2330 hrs by train to a base three miles from Stone, England. No heat on train. Traveled at night…froze our asses off. Arrived at the base about 10:00, ate, washed up, found our belonging – logged sack time.

Departed Stone, arrived at destination same day. Assigned to the 8th AAF, 3rd Bombardment Division (H), 100th
Bombardment Group (H), 351st Bombardment Squadron (H)

Century Bombers. “Vanishing Americans” – ate and taken to a Nissan hut. Seeing six empty bunks and listening to Helmick’s crew giving us the treatment was tough. On 3/6/44 the 8th AAF bombed Berlin. Twenty B-17s of the 100th had taken off for the mission, four had turned back before or soon after reaching enemy territory, out of the remaining sixteen, eleven were shot down, one was seriously damaged and landed in Sweden. We were the replacement crew for Lt. Bannan’s crew shot down near Hasseluenne.

3/17 – 28/44
Flew four practice hops…During some of the practice missions, Howard tried to fly the plane from the co-pilot seat. All the crew said they would rather take their chances some other way.

Alerted – Mission scrubbed.

Alerted – awakened at 0200 – briefed at 0300, took off – same target as yesterday – air spare again – no openings – salvoed bombs in the North Sea, Group got over enemy territory – saw flak – got credit for mission, but mission was scrubbed. War is hell. Flew 3:50 hours.

Briefed on a rubber works at Ludwigshaven – again weather was bad and (after
encountering heavy clouds over France) the mission was abandoned for the third
day running. Flew 3:30 hours.

0600 crews were briefed (for Quackenbruck airfield just over the Belgian
border). About 30 minutes later the mission was scrubbed on account of bad

Heavy clouds, no flights.

4/6 – 8/44
Pass to London.

Easter Sunday Arose 0300 – briefing at 0430 for target in Poland – one of the longest missions to be undertaken. Target (primary) was Focke Wolf plant near Kreszinke close to Posen. The mission was recalled while over the North Sea and the weather, meanwhile, had closed in to the extent that most of the Groups were forced to make landings at other fields; used G-box to home in on end of runway. Saloved 10-500 lb. bombs in the Channel – planes were coming in all day. Flew 7:00 hours. Really worked for 1st mission.

Mission 1 (Made our first mission) Original crew except (EW); Lt. R. Monrad, Pilot. Arose at 0215 – briefed for airfield in Rheims, France – target closed in. Bombed – a little flak. This mission was a milk run, it sure didn’t prepare us for what was yet to come. Flew 6:45 hours.

Mission 2 Original crew, except (EW); Lt. R. Monrad, Pilot. Arose at 0230 – briefed for Posen, Poland (primary) target closed in, bombed Rostock, Germany instead. On the way over Denmark, our plane was attacked by an ME 410 from the tail – we opened fire ME 410 backed off and fired two rockets at us but missed. Rostock had lots of accurate flak (we were at 21,000 feet) and fighters saw many B-17’s going down in flames – crews bailed out galore 50 German fighter ME 109’s attacked in the Rostock area – Stachel saw 2 Germany fighters collide in mid-air, lining up to attack from the rear. Ours was one of the four ships that had less damage some B-17’s lost engines, left formation and eventually were wiped out by enemy aircraft. We flew in 066 Fools Rush In. Lucuis Lacy’s crew flew our plane, 867 Boeing Belle, and a 20 mm shell came between the pilot and co-pilot and killed the top turret gunner. Planes that were lost were from another group that flew in our formation. Ten enemy fighters claimed. Kennedy said if all the missions are like this one, the war will never end. Rough mission. Flew 11:00 hours. Howard felt if Lt. Monrad hadn’t been the pilot with his 15 missions experience, we wouldn’t have made it. After flying combat with Wolf, he proved to us we would make it.

Mission 3 Original crew. except (EW) Lt. R. Monrad. Pilot. Arose 0230 – briefed for Leipzig, Germany – two-hour delay while route was changed. Finally, thirty-two planes took off. Left the English coast, visibility was very bad. Formations got split up 10 minutes after crossing the enemy coast the mission was recalled. Made a bomb run on Ostend, but could not identify anything positive to drop bombs – little flak close – returned to base – credit for mission. Flew 5:00 hours.

Arose 0300 – briefed for Augsburg, Germany – Messerschmitt design and research plant. We had trouble with #3 engine booster primer aborted. Lt. Wolf, pilot, out of hospital. Flew 2:30 hours.

No alert – goofed off.

No alert – goofed off.

Stand down today – rain, fog, mist and all other features which go to make East Anglia the resort center it is. Colonel Kidd was informed today that the Augsburg mission made a total of 100 for the group. Division has credited the Hundredth with a couple which our own operations had considered abortive.

Continuation of yesterday’s weather – new commanding officer, Colonel Kelly.

Mission 4 — Mission 1 Original 1 crew (EW) Arose at 0430 – briefed – took off at 0930, a very tough one, target Berlin – an industrial plant to the southwest of the city Weather was perfect all the way, but just before reaching environs the Group ran into a solid overcast. Wing leader tried to get below it and took Wing over southwest defenses of Berlin at only 16,500 feet. Flak was intense. The overcast scattered the planes and we ended up leading 18 or 20 planes (some from other groups). Bombs dropped in a string on city of Brandenburg, Germany. Radio was incensed about bombing innocent civilians. Everything went okay our first mission with our Pilot, Lt. Wolf. Me 109’s – FW 190’s heavy flak. Flew 8:45 hours.

Alerted last night and at 0100 red alert heralded the approach of unusually large formation of German planes which dove overhead for the better part of an hour. We all went outside and watched -seeing the searchlights go after the German planes was a good show. Bombs fell somewhere not too far off and some interested observers reported up to three planes going down in flames in the general direction of Ipswich. Planes may have gone to London 0400 another red alert as the same bunch headed home over our territory. Briefed for a milk run to German airdrome at Lippstadt, France. Changed to air spare at the last minute. Returned back toe base. Flew 3:10 hours.

Mission 5 — Mission 2
(EK, HN, PS, AK, GR, WH, EL, RS) (EW) Arose at 0939 – briefed for Marquenville, France – Cherbourg area – thirty-eight planes took off. Flew 5:30 hours.

Today’s mission finally made official about 0715 hours. Arose 0800 – briefed first set for 1015 then dropped back to 1100 – only eighteen planes to go after finally getting away. Bombers recalled due to bad weather. Renamed ship from “Hang the Expense III” to the “Boeing Belle” for better luck. Flew 2:40

Mission 6 — Mission 3 (EK, HN, PS, GR, WH, EL, RS) (EW) Arose late – 8th AAF turned its attention to the marshalling yard in the Ruhr Valley. Although an early start has been scheduled, the mission was delayed due to doubtful weather over Hamm, Germany. Briefed 1215 – in the meantime, the Luftwaffe Controllers, realizing the Second Division would be forced to land in the dark, had put up about fifteen ME 109’s with orders to follow the Liberators back to England. They prepared to land at about 2130, the crews became aware of the danger. Result was total confusion as the aircraft milled around in all directions with the gunners firing at anything that dared approach them, while others remained helpless having already removed their guns. By the time the intruders left, five bases had been bombed or strafed – fourteen B-24’s wrecked by being shot down or crash landings. In all thirty-eight men were killed and over twenty injured. Although our planes were in, we were a little careless with our blackout and at least one German plane saw the lights near Operations Building. He strafed the building as well as part of the field – no one was hurt. While this was all going on, our crew had taken cover in a ditch near our plane site by the woods until we were given an all clear. Flew 6:55 hours.

4/23-25/44 Pass to London

Mission 7– Mission 4 – Mission 6 (EK, HN, PS, GR, WH, EL, RS) (EW) (AK) Arose 0100 – briefed for Brunswick where the Hundredth’s objective was a transport depot at Fallerleben. As the secondary target more attractive, the bombs were released on Brunswick Town instead. Flew 7:50 hours.

No alert. Howard said most likely we went to the plane and washed some clothes in 100-octane gas. (Our uniforms must be dirty by now.)

Mission 8 — Mission 5 — Mission 7 (EK, HN, PS, GR, WH, EL, RS) (EW) (AK) Arose 0300 briefed for Scottevast-Cherbourg, France – V-weapons site. At Thorpe Abbots, the crews could hardly believe their good luck at getting such easy milk run, especially as the group would be over land for a very few minutes. The Briefing Officer also explained only eight of the enemy guns would be able to reach them.

In his turn, Colonel Kelly informed the Pilots that if they ran into flak on the bomb run (not to take evasive action). He explained how it ruined the Bombardier’s aim and he wanted to make the bombing pay. As the group made its run over the target, more ill feelings were directed toward the Colonel when he ordered “Hold your bombs, we’re going around again”. We must have made the longest 360-degree turn in recorded history. Kelly took us far out over the water and it took forever. We came back in on the bomb run at the same speed, same altitude and the same course, flying in rigid formation as Kelly ordered. The Krauts got us good. On the first run, the flak had been fairly light and exploded well below the bombers as they passed overhead. The second run was a different story. The enemy gunners calculated the group’s range and were waiting. Colonel Kelly and his wing ship were shot down and the majority of the bombers were damaged. Howard saw Kelly’s plane get hit and We were looking right at his plane. Colonel Kelly had commanded the group only eight days before he was killed. We should have received credit for 2 missions. Flew 5 hours

Mission 9 – Mission 6 – Mission 8 (EK, HN, PS, GR, WH, EL, RS) (EW) (AK) Mission 5 (DT) Arose 0215 – the Third Division led the heavies to Berlin. The other half of the Fourth Combat Wing on which some of the Hundredth’s planes were flying in, lost twenty Forts – total for the day was sixty-three bombers down. Had ten flak holes in our plane. ME 210’s. Flew 9:00 hours.

A stand down. The Hundredth had flown eleven missions in twelve days. For sometime it had been policy to dispatch several extra aircraft with each group, whose purpose was to fill in if any bomber aborted. If not required, the “spares” would return to their station, generally as or soon after the formation left the English Coast. As of April 30th, the practice was brought to an end. From May 1st, all aircraft taking off would participate in the mission. Promoted to S/Sgt. – Howard, Karnis, Lazarchek and Stachel. Rowe and Sattler to T/Sgt.

Mission 10 – Mission 7 — Mission 9 (EK, HN, PS, GR, WH, EL, RS) (EW) (AK)
Mission 6 (DT) Slept all morning. Alerted for afternoon – bombed Saaregumines, France – marshalling yard as part of the pre-invasion plan. Stachel saw only one burst of flak. He thought this was a milk run. Four ME lO9’s passed through our squadron – we were hit by a steel-tipped armor penetrating shell that ricocheted off propeller and hit the nose section 50 cal machine gun, cracked gun breech and the armor tip fell on the navigator’s (Thompson) table where he was sitting. Second 20 mm shell went through No. 3 engine, third 20 mm shell exploded one foot from Lazarchek and Howard, knocking both on their butts. Put a hole in the left side of the plane and sieved the other. Put a few holes in Howard’s jacket – hit Lazarchek in the leg but drew no blood. Flew 6:45 hours.

The weather was clear but cold and crews were told to stand down for training.

Stand down – cold front due at noon -heavy rain during the night. Report War Department approved the Third Division’s citation for Regensburg (August 17th) mission. When the papers come through, the Hundredth’s personnel can wear unit decoration. Flew practice mission four hours

Center of Berlin today’s target. Group got away – weather closed in – mission was recalled – thirty-one aircraft airborne: none dispatched. Flew 2:25 hours.

Hundredth was scheduled for Berlin – operation canceled just before briefing.

Last evening, a news summary was held at the Aero club and the crews were told to stand down, probably on account of the heavy rains which continued well into the night. Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Jeffrey had been assigned as the new C.0. And within the hour the bets were placed on how long he would stay.

Mission 11- Mission 8 — Mission 10 (EK, HN, PS, GR, WH, EL, RS) (EW) (AK) Mission 7 (DT) Arose 0200 and in a clear sky the group dispatched 36 planes to Berlin. Got a little flak in ship – ran low on oxygen, had to use walk around oxygen tank. Howard brought the oxygen tank to Stachel in the tail. Lost one of the engines, pulled out of formation but kept up with the group. When enemy aircraft was sighted, we pulled close to the group for protection. Using a lot of gasoline with 3 engines, we were concerned about our gasoline supply. Returned to our base downwind, firing red flares for right of way. The other planes were circling for landing, had to circle around again. When we landed, the 2nd engine ran out of gasoline. Colonel Jeffery came to our plane site and asked about the wounded because of firing red flares. We said we were running short of gasoline. He called for a gasoline truck to fill the tanks to check how much gasoline we had left. Twenty-eight gallons and most of it in the tanks to the dead engine. Flew 9:45 hours.

Pass to London – thank God Hundredth sent planes back to Berlin.

Hundredth went on a mission to France – one of the planes was hit by a 100lb. bomb dropped by a plane (in a higher echelon as it took evasive action to avoid flak). Bomb failed to explode, embedded itself nose down in the tail compartment, badly wounding its occupant. Defeating all efforts to dislodge it, the plane returned back to the base. The gunner was still breathing. The bomb was also armed. If the bomb or the Sergeant was moved, there was the possibility of an explosion. The gunner was removed but later died. R.A.F. Disposal Squad removed the nose fuse and the bomb.

Alerted about 2000 on 5/9/44 mission for Munich prepared, but scrubbed at 2345. Slept most of the day.

Mission 12 – Mission 9 — Mission 11 — Mission 8 (EK,HN, PS, (EW)(AK) (DT)
GR, WH, EL, RS) Arose 0730 – alerted at 1030 – briefing at 1230 Liege, Belgium Marshalling
yard. Plane we flew wing on (the left side of our plane) got a direct hit of flak in the wing at number one engine. Part of the wing was blown off and the plane exploded. Stachel saw the plane on fire and in the blink of an eye, it was gone. Flew 6.00 hours.

Mission 13 — Mission 10—Mission 12–Mission 9 (EK, HN, PS, (EW) (AK) (DT)
GR, WH, EL, RS) Arose 0300-briefed at0500 -planes dispatched for Brux, Czechoslovakia. distance means nothing to the Hundredth anymore. Target was synthetic oil plant. Group returned safely and the Hundredth hit the MPI exactly. Door from a plane in front of us flew off and hit our stabilizer – a few flak holes – fighters. Flew 9:25 hours.

Rest day.

Today was a first in many when a mission was not run. Had a simulated practice mission. Received air medal. Flew 4:30 hours.

Alerted at 0100 – briefed for Melun, French airfield. Mission scrubbed account of the weather. Flew practice mission instead. Flew 3:45 hours.

0100 alerted crews briefed for Melun – raid was scrubbed.

0200 alerted crews given last minute briefing during a pouring down rain for Emden. Mission was scrubbed at taxi time

Stand down.

Mission 14 –Mission 11-Mission 13–Mission 10 (EK, HN, PS, (EW) (AK) (DT)GR, WH, EL,RS)
Arose 0430 – briefed for Berlin, finally took off 0900 – Went the long way around, over the North Sea, Denmark, etc. A few flak holes – after leaving the anti-aircraft flak area, Stachel saw several P-38’s high at 7:00 o’clock. As he looked down at 7 – 00 o’clock, he spotted one burst of purple flak. Looking to the rear, he saw a wall of 20 mm explosions and about twenty-five enemy aircraft went flying through our formation. Kennedy called out “Here they come again!” The attack was broken up by a pair of P51’s whose diving into the formation scattered the fighters. In 15 minutes, Germans lost ten FW 190’s. Sattler hit G-Box antenna. Flew 9:45 hours.

Group abandoned mission. WE were not scheduled to fly.

5/21-24/44 Pass to London.

5/22/44 Group stand down.

Group aborted mission – station headquarters issued orders for everyone on the base to carry guns during working hours. Issued a full clip of ammunition.

Group went to Berlin. Bad mission, heavy losses

Mission 15 — Mission 12 — Mission 14 — Mission 11 (EK, HN, PS, (EW) (AK) (DT) GR, WH, EL RS) Arose 0100 – briefed for Brussels, Belgium marshalling yard – made second run on target. Flew 5:45 hours.

Stand down on account of the weather – arose 0100 for practice mission. Orders came from Division that we do one night practice mission in formation. Flew from 0315 to 0415, not in formation

Arose 0230 – take-off 0830 hours. Flew air spare, no openings, returned to base. Flew 4:00 hours. Lt. Carroll Woldt’s ball turret gunner Ed Foulds bailed out over England because of fractured oxygen supply line to ball turret and right waist. The rest of the crew went on the mission

Arose 0430 – briefed for Magdeburg – aborted – engine trouble – oak leaf cluster to air medal.

Mission 16 — Mission 13 — Mission 15 — Mission 12 (EK, HN, PS, (EW) (AK) (DT) GR, WH, EL, RS) Arose 0330 – briefed for Leipzig – Junker plant – attacked by 50/75 ME 109’s – lots of flak – flew 7:45 hours.

Mission 17 — Mission 14 — Mission 16 — Mission 13 (EK, HN, PS, (EW) (AK) (DT)
GR, WH, EL, RS) Arose 0245 – briefed for Troyes in S.E. France, marshalling yard flew 6:40 hours.

Practice mission – Group went to Osnabruck – flew 3:30 hours.

No alert – no mission – goofed off.

Aborted mission to France – flew 3:20 hrs.

Mission scrubbed.

Mission 18 — Mission 15 — Mission 17 — Mission 14 (EK, HN, PS, (EW) (AK) (DT) GR, WH, EL, RS) Arose 0300 – briefed for Boulogne, France – flew 5:00 hours.

Mission 19 — Mission 16 — Mission 18 — Mission 15 (EK, HN, PS, (EW) (AK) (DT) GR, WH, EL, RS) Same as 6/4/44 – flew 5:15 hours.

6/6/44 D-Day
Mission 20/21 — Mission 17/18 — Mission 19/20 — Mission 16/17 (EK, HN, PS, (EW) (AK) (DT) GR, WH, EL RS) After arising at 0300 the day before, we were alerted at 2200 – no sleep – briefing for officers at 2300 – lead crews were briefed from 1800 to 2400 the previous night – No briefing for gunners. First takeoff about 0230 hours – 20th mission to Caen, France flew 6:15 hours – returned to base – had lunch and left at 1700 for mission 21 to Falaise, France – Bridge, Second trip – what a sight of gliders going in. Late arrivals at base in darkness and rain, thank God for the uppers that kept us going- flew 7:00 hours – a total of 13:15 hours today. Howard had a younger brother making the beaches in one of the first waves with the engineers. Kennedy remarked “What a display of ships off the coast of France. He felt that we were really part of something! Impossible to sleep after we got back. Always bragged that the area we bombed
was the best operation Ike had going during the initial period.

Mission 22 — Mission 18 (GR, RS) (DT)
Slept from 0100 ’til 1100 today then Rowe, Thompson and Stachel flew with another crew. Lt. Masol, pilot – took off at 1600 back at 2300 hours. Target Nantes, France – bridge. Waist gunner wanted to fly in tail position, so Stachel flew waist position. On the bomb run, Stachel was to throw out chaff to screw up German anti-aircraft guns (at certain intervals). As the shells were exploding close to the plane, Stachel started to throw the chaff faster. Field was alerted – couldn’t get truck to hardstand. Nazi’s all over the sky. At B-24 base near us, saw four planes go down in flames – didn’t know whose. Two Jerries strafed our field. One gunner wounded. A luckless B-24 without lights came blundering square across our field about 10 minutes later at 500 feet and was so badly shot up by 50 caliber shells that the pilot had to make a forced landing at a near field. Got in the sack at 0145 – 6/8/44 – flew 7:45 hours.

Mission 23 — Mission 22 — Mission 19 — Mission 21 (GR, RS) (EK, HN, PS, (EW, DT) (AK) WH. EL) In the sack 45 minutes – arose 0230 – briefing 0315 – take off time 0510 for Rail Bridge – Tours, France. During these missions it was cloudy every day – we had to sweat out the ascensions to 1000 ft. or more – landings at 2200-2330 were rough – almost dark and ceilings were from 1000 feet on down. Today, bad weather – poor visibility, climb by instruments to 23,000 feet – at 1700 hours today had flown 5 missions in 102 hours with 10 hours sleep and a catnap here and there. We were told that until the invasion got a foothold, we’ll get no passes and will fly anytime – that we will continue our missions over the 30 mark. When things get normal, all who have flown over 30 will go home or move from the base. Also, we’ll start getting concentrated enemy aircraft attacks. Flew 7:00 hours.

Stand down due to mist, continuous rain and a ceiling down to 500 feet – slept from 1700 yesterday to 1000 today – mail held up for the past two weeks.

No alert – Group mission scrubbed – practice mission – Rowe got about 20 minutes stick time – Some of us did not go on this practice mission.

Mission 24 — Mission 23 — Mission 20 –Mission 22 (GR, RS) (EK, HN, PS (EW, DT) (AK) WH, EL) Arose 0130 – took off 0505 for Berk-sur-Mar, France. Flew 3:45 hours – milk run.

0300 Breakfast – briefing 0130 – take off 0500 mission aborted -flew 2:00 hours.

0130 – decided that there would be no mission. Weather to blame Germans began launching hundreds of V-1 rockets toward Britain

Mission 25 — Mission 24 — Mission 21 — Mission 23 (GR, RS) (HN, PS, (EW, DT) (EK, AK) WH, EL) Arose 1230 – mission to Le-Culot, Belgium – airfield thirty-six planes – targets covered by clouds – no bombs dropped – flak – flew 6:00 hours. Third Division held a meeting for a shuttle raid to Russia, where the Group would remain for some days, run several missions and return home by way of Italy. Originally this should have been our last mission.

Briefing around midnight. The weather scrubbed mission. Certain crews on field were restricted, ours being one of them. Tonight we were told to pack clothes for about one week’ wear – we were given flea powder. Arose 2230 for briefing – take off delayed mission scrubbed.

Still waiting for mission. We all presume it’s a shuttle to Russia or Italy.

Mission cancelled indefinitely – restriction lifted – alerted for regular mission – tomorrow – arose 2331

Mission 26 — Mission 25 — Mission 22 — Mission 24 (GR, RS) (HN, PS, WH (EW, DT) (EK, AK) EL) Breakfast 0015 – briefing 0100 – mission delayed half hour – bombed Bruns-Buttelkoop, Germany – no sleep yesterday, finally hit the sack 1400 today – Flak heavy at target – flew 7:20 hours

Alerted last night – mission scrubbed.

Mission 27 — Mission 26 — Mission 23–Mission 23 (GR, RS) (HN, PS, WH (EW, DT) (AK) WH, EL) Alerted 0030 – briefed for JU 88 factory Fallersleben, Germany Flew 7:30 hours – Just found out tonight that the Russian shuttle deal is up for tomorrow – Pass coming up – Maybe next time Rowe writes in his book he will have dined on Vodka and borscht. It was 1830 – for the rest of the evening, the specially selected crews gathered equipment to last a week including extra blankets -bug repellent – field rations – toothbrush – changes of underwear Class A uniforms – money and escape pack.

Mission 28 — Mission 27 — Mission 24 — Mission 26 (GR, RS) (HN, PS, WH) (EW, DT) (AK) Maintenance man flew in place of (EL). Drysdale co-pilot in place of Kennedy. Arose early – briefed 0130 the first of the Hundredth’s twenty-eight planes took off 0410 – assemble over 10/10 under cast Colonel Jeffery leading the Group and Thirteenth Combat Wing – target on initial leg, synthetic oil plant at Ruhland, some 50 miles south of Berlin. At take off time a taxi accident, 2 planes destroyed. Flew Northern route as though to southern Denmark. The rest of AAF bombed Berlin. By Warsaw, Poland, twelve ME 10 ‘s attacked – one B-17 (from another group) was shot down. P-51’s shot down several ME lO9’s. No more trouble. Under cast shut in and began mounting up and Combat Wing mulled about for a time pretty well lost. Finally found Dnieper River after letting down to 2000 feet – then located Kiev. Here 4 planes ran out of gas.

The 100th, 390th and 95th landed at Mirgorod on steel mat runway built by Russian women, while the 45th Combat Wing went to Poltava. Their misfortune since the Luftwaffe that night clean jumped over our field, bombed Poltava
and destroyed fifty-six to sixty-five B-17’s and two Americans killed. Forty-four B-17’s were wrecked or burnt out in the attack. Twenty-six were damaged, a number of ammunition dumps were also hit and 450,000 gallons of fuel ignited.

The trips duration was just about the limit of our fuel duration. Since our maps were unsatisfactory and radio facilities were just as bad, finding our airfield was difficult – flew 11:20 hours.

After landing, a truck with a Russian driver picked us up. As we drove along, suddenly the driver began zigzagging all over the field. Finally, he stopped, got out of the truck and said he saw a rabbit and tried to run it down. We slept on the field in a tent. We were really tired. There, when all the shooting was taking place – firing at German planes. We woke up and being tired, rolled over and went back to sleep. Thompson found a big chunk of flak on top of his bed. Kennedy didn’t go with us – he injured his hand. Drysdale was Co-pilot. Last mission Kennedy flew with us. Assigned as Pilot of another crew at some later date.

Our base at Mirgorod and in anticipation of a visit from the Luftwaffe, who had shot reconnaissance photo’s all day (our wing was ordered to Kharkov). There was little or no anti-aircraft protection for our newly constructed field. A few of our P-39’s with Russians were not sufficient defense. Shortly before dark we took off and flew low enough to escape the German radar screen to airports distant enough to be safe. It was Colonel Wittan and Colonel Jeffery’s brilliant idea that saved us. That night about 0100, the raiders dropped a flare over the deserted field and bombed under the chandelier for an hour and fifty minutes. Anywhere from 75 to 100 JU-88’s appeared and plastered the field with everything. Many Russian soldiers were wounded and some killed. Flew 1:40 hours.

We remained at Kharkov, slept in a big building on the floor in our sleeping bags. To wash up we went outside and a Russian women would use a dipper and give us water to wash ourselves over a large sink. We had to use a large outhouse outside of the building where we stayed. Some of us went out to the airfield instead because we couldn’t stomach the outhouse smell. There were boy soldiers about 12 years old with rifles taller than they were, standing guard on each street corner. We were warned that they would say “stop” once in Russian and then they would shoot. Rowe learned a little Russian from a Russian radio operator – brought back a pamphlet from his barracks – two radio operators trying to communicate through international Morse Code. This town was under German control for 2 1/2 years and the Germans were driven out about 5 months ago. Everyone could speak German – we were told about the high disease rate. Russians had community bath – rest area for Russian soldiers, many of them women. Russian’s sang while marching in formation – excellent – field rations prepared by Russian women – they are big and strong.

Still at Kharkov

Returned early to Mirgorod, flew 1:05 hours. At this base, it was evident what an attack we missed. The runways had been repaired but the field itself was pitted like the side of a colander and all the time we were there, the demolition squads were exploding delayed action and dud bombs. We were loaded with bombs but the mission was scrubbed and we flew back to Kharkov. Slept on the ground under plane. Flew 1:50 hour.

Mission 29 — Mission 28 — Mission 25 — Mission 27 (GR, RS) (HN, PS, WH) (EW, DT) (AK) Drysdale – Co-pilot Up at 0300, returned back to Mirgorod, flew 1:50 hours. The breakfast didn’t agree with us. Stachel threw up waiting for takeoff, others had the runs. We bombed up and took off for Italy. Seventy-two planes bombed the synthetic oil works at Drohobyz, Poland. When we landed at Foggia, Italy at 2030, we were given lemonade and doughnuts and this was a treat after the slop we had in Russia. After interrogation, Stachel went back to our plane to remove and clean up his guns. Upon arriving, Sattler was already at the plane. As Stachel was about to crawl into the tail, Sattler called to him. He started to explain about the inspection required on the plane and this stopped Stachel from entering the tail. As this was going on, a 15 AAF mechanic was checking the solenoids on the ball turret guns – the guns were loaded (before landing we were required to unload all guns). When he pulled the trigger the gun went off to his surprise and the shells bounced off the cement and tore up the bottom of the tail. If Stachel had been in the plane, maybe his legs would have been hit by the 50 cal. shells. Flew 8:05 hours.

6/27 – 7/2/44
At Foggia, the weather was a treat compared to England. It was hot and sunny and a truck would take us to the beach at Manfredona, Adriatic Sea for a swim – even got a suntan – visited town. On the night of the 29th, we were alerted again for a target worse than Munich, according to the Fifth Wing. Again, we were saved by the bell.

Still waiting.

Still waiting. Weather over Europe blamed for inactivity.

Mission 30 — Mission 29 — Mission 26 — Mission 28 (GR, RS) (HN, PS, WH) (EW, DT) (AK) Drysdale – Co-pilot. Flew with Fifteenth Air Force and bombed a marshalling yard at Arad, Romania. flew 7:00 hours

Still waiting.

Mission 31 — Mission 30 — Mission 27 — Mission 29 ! (GR, RS) (HN, PS, WH) (EW, DT) (AK)Drysdale – Co-pilot. Foggia, finally took off on the final leg home. Set out at 0810 for Thorpe Abbots. Bombed Beziers, France marshalling yard. several ME’s made advances at us over the Mediterranean but escorting P-51’s discouraged them permanently. Flew over 10/10 clouds to England, reached base at 1730. Flew 9:40 hours. IN all, we flew 7,000 miles, 34 1/2 hours — this does not include Arad mission. For Rowe and Stachel, it was 31 missions, one more than required. At the debriefing, the men were none too pleased when informed their tours had been raised from thirty to thirty-five missions. Thompson went to hospital with 103 temp.

Back at the base – got clothes cleaned. Ready for pass.

Mission 26 (EK)
Kennedy as co-pilot with another crew. The group set out to a No Ball target site at Fleury – Crepeuil, missed the target. Flew 4:40 hours.

Pass to London.

Mission 32- Mission 31 — Mission 28 — Mission 30 (GR, RS) (HN, PS, WH) (EW, DT) (AK) Mission 27 (EL) Arose at 0030 – briefing 0415 – mission to Munich, Germany – lots of flak – landed, removed and oiled guns – being an older crew a truck was at our plane site. Jumped on the truck and by-passed one plane site and at the next site, waited for another crew to load on the truck to go for debriefing. We heard a machine gun go off. Sattler jumped off the back of the truck and hit the ground. The rest of us hit the bed of the truck, struggling to get on the bottom. What happened…H. Parish, ball turret gunner, did not unload his guns before landing. He disengaged his ball turret to remove his guns and as he lifted the backing plate on the 50 cal machine gun, it started to fire. Instead of grabbing the charging handle, he ran for cover. As the gun kept firing, it began to spin (as each round fired) until it fired over two hundred rounds in all directions. It resulted that H. Parish was killed outright. Three planes were damaged, one of them caught fire. H. Parish joined the group in June. Some shells went through canvas of the truck where we were and some shells went through the tent by our plane. One shell went through the armor by the waist gun position – another shell went through one of our planes engines. It wasn’t even safe on the ground. Flew 9:15 hours.

Mission 33 — Mission 32 –Mission 29 — Mission 31 (GR, RS) (HN, PS, WH) (EW, DT) (AK) Mission 28 (EL) Arose for breakfast at 0515 – briefing 0615 – target Munich. Quote W. Terminello, “Another real long mission. 9:15 hours this time and how tired you can get on oxygen all this time.” Flew 9:15 hours: Lt H. E. Bethea flew as CP and Lt J. A. Bryce flew as Bomb. H. E Bethea was a pilot and flew his first mission as CP with us. Wolf was the type of person that was serious. Anyway, starting the bomb run, Wolf said to Bethea “I will Fly the ship on the bomb run, hook up your chute, which he did, and put your steel helmet on”. There was a silence. Then Bethea said ” Pilot, the helmet comes over my eyes”. Wolf replied “You’ll wish it would come over your ass before we get through this”

Mission 34–Mission 33 –Mission 30– Mission 32-(GR, RS) (HN, PS, WH) (EW, DT) (AK) Mission 29 (EL)Arose 0130 – Munich, Germany – 3rd day in a row. Jet engine plant. Flew 8:20 hours.

Arose 1230 – Eighth Air Force set out on another mystery mission to Southern France. The men were interested but a little nervous about this special type mission of bombing. The low altitude had everyone worried. Didn’t know what the enemy might have in store for us. There’s always an uneasy feeling connected with being a pioneer in employing new tactics. The mission was to drop guns and fighting material to the Free French at 140 indicated air speed at 500 feet. We took-off after a few hundred feet we were in thick clouds and at times, couldn’t see the end of the wings. We climbed in this cloud coverage until about 28,000 feet before we were on top of the soup. All of a sudden, we went into a dive with a runaway engine – crew didn’t know what was happening and we kept calling our pilots – they were too busy trying to get the engine under control. Being we couldn’t get an answer, we were getting ready to disconnect our intercom and bail out. But our Pilot caught us in time and we returned back to our base – we aborted the mission (this could have been our last mission). Flew 3:00 hours

Stand down.

Aborted – flew 2:30 hours.

Mission 27 — Mission 33 — Mission 31 (EK) (AK) (DT)
Kennedy’s first mission as pilot. Assigned to 418 Sqdn. at Thorpe Abbotts. Crews were briefed at 0330 on a railroad bridge at Auxerre and a No-Ball site at Montgourney. Flew 7: 00 hours

Our best mission (flak leave). Most of the crew went to Southport, a resort for airmen. Howard and Stachel got permission to go to Scotland to visit his Aunt who Howard never met. Rowe, Newell and Sattler played golf, horseback riding. Newell’s horse made a sharp turn and he went flying 10 feet. Town has a big amusement park with roller coaster, concession stands, etc. Also, a big outdoor pool, dance promenade, etc. A dance 6 nights a week in town – 3
nights a week at the Red Cross. Howard and Stachel stayed overnight at the Red Cross in London. They had sleeping bunks on the top floor. As they were getting ready to hit the sack and they heard a buzz bomb flying and the engine cut out over the building. They waited for it to glide and explode – when it did, the building shook. Howard said “One more and we will leave.” On July l9th, they took the train to Scotland and met Howard’s aunt, cousins, etc. Then, went to Edinburgh, visited the castle and returned back to the base . . . not sure about date.

Mission 27 (EK) The Hundredth’s two Groups left early for Kiel Docks and Hemmingstadt oil
refinery at Denmark. Flew 6:45 hours. At 2230 a “Flying Bomb” hit near the base.

Mission 28 (EK) Orders came through for an aerial operation against the German lines facing the first army at St. Lo. Led by Colonel Jeffery, the Hundredth dispatched forty-two planes on this mission. Flew 5.15 hours.

Mission 29 (EK) Orders were repeated same as day before and again the crews were briefed on the necessity for pinpoint accuracy and timing at St. Lo. Flew 5:40 hours

Mission 35 — Mission 34 — Mission 31 — Mission 30 (GR, RS) (HN, PS, WH, (EW, EK) (EL) AK) Mission 32 (DT) Dispatched for Leuna oil refinery at Merseburg, Germany. Kennedy remarked this and the following were among the toughest missions. Rowe and Stachel completed last mission. Happy as hell we finished – it started out the requirements were to fly 25 missions – after changing twice, this is the end of our tour. Very heavy flak. Flew 8:40 hours.

Mission 35 — Mission 32 — Mission 31 — Mission 33 (HN, PS, WH, (EW) (EK, EL) (DT) AK) Same target for second day running the B-17’s set out for Leuna Oil Plant at Merseburg. A-Group was led on a faulty course over Leipzig with the 39Oth Group leading, caught by heavy flak and within a few minutes the low Squadron of Hundredth’s lead Group was hit hard, losing 5 of 6 B-17’s. Kennedy flew with his crew. Flew 8:00 hours. This is Howard, Karnes and Sattler’s last mission. Lazarchek has four more. Wolf has 3 more. Newell is finished with 34. Kennedy has 4 more to go and completes his tour August 15, 1944.

7/30/44 – 8/3/44
Laid around waiting for something to happen.

7/31/44 Mission 32 — Mission 34 (EK) (DT) This mission to aero engine plant at Munich led by Colonel Kidd, the Group’s twenty planes bombed by pathfinder with fair to good results. Kennedy flew with his crew. Kennedy got separated from Group, joined another one and flew back to England with twin fifties pointing right at him. Thompson flew with Ricci crew. Flew 9:00 hours.

Mission 35(DT) Briefed for gas and oil dump at Pacy Sur Armacon. Colonel Jeffery led. Group was unable to synchronize on “A” target after two bomb runs, so made for the secondary, the marshalling yards at Troyes. Excellent results. Thompson’s last mission. Flew with Lt. Ricci.

Rowe received orders to report to 482nd Bomb Group, 814 Sqdn (Alconbury). Sattler, Howard, Karnes and Stachel leave for the States. Thompson stays with group as duty officer.

Four of us assigned to Bomber Bridge (Preston) England – waited for transportation to USA – meanwhile, had security shakedown and stayed to

Sattler, Howard and Stachel were cutting the grass with one lawn mower. A Sgt. was looking for Stachel because he was supposed to have his bags on a truck that was waiting to take them to a boat dock. The Sgt. gave him hell because his bags had to be on the truck in 15 minutes. Stachel told the Sgt. he would not be goofing off when he knew he would be going home and it was his fault for not telling Stachel to get his bags packed.

C.Q. told Rowe to find his way to the 482nd — took him four days (without a compass) – as he approached the 814th office the First Sgt. met him at the door and asked if he got lost. He said, “Yes, in London”. This Group trains PF navigators. He was informed that Drysdale would report there and he would be on his crew

Kennedy flew training mission. Flew 5:15 hours.

Mission 33 (EK) Group was assigned a “ground support job” and attacked the roads and railroads at Nantes – Gassicourt, south of Seine with good results. Flew 5:35 hours.

Mission 34 (EK) Mission to oil refinery at Ludwigshafen. Briefing at 0430, take off 0740.
Flew 8:00 hours. Thompson was flown on a DC-3 to a base south of Manchester (Stoke-On-Trent?) for return to the States.

Mission 35 (EK) Venlo, Holland was the Hundredth’s share of an all-out effort on the part of the Eighth Air Force and the R.A.F. to knock out German air depots north of the Loire River and to the North Sea. Eight put up 1200 (?) heavies and 500 mediums and the R.A.F. went over in daylight with 1000 Halifax’s and Lancaster’s. To top off the mission, the Hundredth’s crews on the way home learned of the invasions of southern France via radio compass. The crews were quite happy as they streamed in for interrogation. Kennedy’s final mission could have been a disaster for him. He said a standard milk run until the final approach, almost landed on top of another aircraft after being cleared to land. All of Ed Wolf’s crew, with the help of God looking over us, made it possible to complete our tour safely.

Stachel, Howard and Sattler left by train to Liverpool, England and loaded on the USS West Point.

Sailed at 12:00 noon England time – our ship sailed the ocean alone, zigzagging every so many minutes to avoid submarines. Had many wounded aboard. Stachel took food trays to those who were confined to their beds. Four of us would buy one gallon of ice cream and one gallon of pop every day and sat out on the deck.

Thompson left England by Air Transport Command to Presque Isle, Maine. Refueling stops were made in Iceland and Goose Bay; Labrador.

Stachel, Howard and Sattler arrived at Boston, Mass. at 1900 USA time. Home
at last!