COMMENTS & NOTES
LT JAMES B. NOBLE P POW 28 JUL 44 MERSEBURG
LT DALE R. McEWEN CP CPT 7 AUG 44 CLAMECY-JOIGNY
F/O ALEXANDER MARUCHESS NAV RFS 14 JUL 44 O-2045261 RUSSIAN SPEAKER & INTERPRETER FOR MAGEE FULLER ON 1ST RUSSIAN SHUTTLE,
NEVER MADE IT, ACCIDENT ON RUNWAY.
LT DERRY D. IRONS BOM RFS 14 JUL 44 O-757522
T/SGT RUSSELL F. ELLIS ROG POW 28 JUL 44 MERSEBURG
T/SGT FRANK CRUZ TTE POW 28 JUL 44 MERSEBURG
S/SGT CHARLES J. SLAGHT BTG CPT 11 AUG 44 VILLACOUBLAY, AF
S/SGT ARTHUR L. ROBERTS WG KIA 28 JUL 44 MERSEBURG
S/SGT FREDERICK F. SWARTZ WG POW 28 JUL 44 MERSEBURG
S/SGT WILLIAM P. McNALLY TG KIA 28 JUL 44 MERSEBURG
350th Sqdn.. Crew, as above, listed on Combat Crew Roster of 8 May 1944;
DATE: LAST_NAME: FIRST_NAME: RANK: POSITION: TARGET: CREW_NBR: PLANE_NBR:
4/9/1944 NOBLE J.B. LT P KRZESINKI (POSEN) 18 97534
4/10/1944 NOBLE J.B. LT P RHEIMS/ CHAMPAGNE 18 97534
4/11/1944 NOBLE J.B. LT P POSEN / ROSTOCK T.O. 18 31049
4/12/1944 NOBLE J.B. LT P SCHEUDITZ (RECALL) 18 97534
4/13/1944 NOBLE J.B. LT P AUGSBURG 18
5/1/1944 NOBLE J.B. LT P SAARGUEMINES/WIZERNES 18 31049
5/7/1944 NOBLE J.B. LT P BERLIN 18 31049
5/8/1944 NOBLE J.B. LT P BERLIN & LaGLACERIE 18 31049
5/12/1944 NOBLE J.B. LT P BRUX, OIL REFINERY 18 37800
5/13/1944 NOBLE J.B. LT P OSNABRUCK 18 32009
5/19/1944 NOBLE J.B. LT P BERLIN 18 31903
5/20/1944 NOBLE J.B. LT P BRUSSELS 18 31903
5/24/1944 NOBLE J.B. LT P BERLIN 18 31903
5/25/1944 NOBLE J.B. LT P BRUSSELS 18 31903
6/2/1944 NOBLE J.B. LT P BOULOGNE 18 6089
6/6/1944 NOBLE J.B. LT P FALAISE/OUISTREHAM 18 6089
6/6/1944 NOBLE J.B. LT P FALAISE/OUISTREHAM 38 107233
6/12/1944 NOBLE J.B. LT P ROSIERES & DUNKIRK 18 6089
7/6/1944 NOBLE J.B. LT CP FLEURY/CREPEUIL PFF
on the MERSEBURG mission of 28 Jul 44 the crew flew as a pathfinder with the following crew component...
DATE: 28 July 1944 350th Sqdn A/C#42-97555 Pathfinder
MISSION: Merseburg MACR#7880,Micro-fiche#2890
Capt Floyd H.Mason (349th Ops Officer) COM P POW
1st Lt James B.Noble P POW
2nd Lt Robert P.Lipps CP POW
1st Lt Edmund J.Kaufman RAD/NAV POW
1st Lt Robert W.Barry NAV POW (WIA)
2nd Lt Marcus M.Hertz BOM POW
T/Sgt Frank Cruz,Jr. TTE POW
T/Sgt Russell F.Ellis ROG POW
S/Sgt Arthur L.Roberts RWG KIA
S/Sgt William P.McNally TG KIA
S/Sgt Frederick F.Swartz LWG POW
Of the above,Noble, Cruz, Ellis, Roberts, McNally,and Swartz appear to be from the
original Noble crew. Lipps was from the M.C.Rumley crew. Kaufman from the R.A.
Wegrzynek crew.Barry from the H.E.Bethea crew. Mason had joined the 100th with
his own crew on 28/11/43 and may have been on his 2nd tour.
Eyewitness Report: " At 0850 hours near 5043N-0802E,A/C #555 nosed down twice
and the group followed.Then the wheels were lowered and fire was seen in the
radio room. Looked as if it might be a flare fire. The A/C peeled off to the
right.A small explosion was seen in the right wing between #3 engine and the
fuselage. Ono man bailed out before the A/C left the formation. The others
followed. Nine chutes were seen to open and the tenth had not opened when the man
disappoared into the undercast. The fire in the A/C appeared to be out when it
plunged into the undercast flying steadily under AFCE control."
On 4/3/46 Capt.Robert W.Barry gave the following statement:
SUBJECT:Casualty Information of Crew Members.
· . . . .
a. Activities before leaving aircraft: - Captain Mason was the first crew member
to leave the A/C via a front exit.He departed with his harness on, but not
fastened,and his parachute in his left hand,approxlmately 2 1/2 minutes after the
Sgt.Roberts,who was the engineer and top turret gunner and not the right waist
gunner(as shown on questionaire),had not left at time of my departure;however,
according to informatlon as given to me by the bombardier,at a subsequent date,
there was no one left in front end of the ship when he left. It can be therefore
assumed that Sgt.Roberts suceeded in bailing out.
Sgt.McNally,being a waist gunner,would bail out via the rear exits. All communi-
cation with the back of the ship had gone dead at the time of the explosion.I
have no way of stating whether this crew member ever left the ship from personal
knowledge.However,from information received from Capt.E.J.Kaufman,Radar Navigator,
McNally bailed out at about the same time as he did.
LT DALE McEWEN BECAME 1S PILOT OF THIS CREW SOMETIME AFTER THEIR 10TH MISSION.
2ND LT ROBERT A. WEGRZYNEK P RFS ILLNESS
2ND LT CHARLES J. GUTEKUNST CP NOC
2ND LT EDMUND J. KAUFMAN NAV POW 28 JUL 44 MERSEBURG, OIL REFINERY (WITH F.H.MASON CREW)
2ND LT JACK . EPPENDORF BOM KIA 11 SEP 44 RUHLAND, OIL REFINERY
S/SGT GEORGE W. WRIGHT TTE NOC
S/SGT JAY V. EMRICH ROG NOC TAPS: 1988
SGT DALE E. STRAUSBAUGH BTG NOC
SGT ESWIN J. TYRRELL WG NOC
SGT LUTHER A. WISE, JR. WG NOC
SGT RINALDO J. BUSSINO TG CPT 24 JUL 44 ST LO GROUND SUPPORT
350TH SQDN....CREW, AS ABOVE, JOINED THE 100TH ON 09 MAR 1944..
"FLEW FIRST MISSION ON APRIL 11, 1944. AFTER 10 MISSIONS, LT ROBERT WEGRZYNEK WAS GROUNDED BY A SERIOUS ILLNESS THAT REQUIRED A LONG PERIOD OF RECUPERATION IN A STATESIDE MILITARY HOSPITAL. WHILE SERVING IN COMBAT, HIS B-17 CREW WAS UNITED IN THEIR BELIEF THAT BOB WAS AN OUTSTANDING LEADER AND EXCEPTIONAL PILOT".....2ND LT CHARLES GUTEKUNST IN LETTER DATED DEC. 2000 mpf
LT DALE R. McEWEN TOOK OVER THIS CREW AS FIRST PILOT. LT KAUFMAN WAS REPLCED ON THE CREW BY FLIGHT OFFICER ALEXANDER MARUCHESS BOTH MCEWEN AND MARUCHESS WERE FROM LT JAMES NOBLE CREW. PROABLY MOST OF THIS CREW COMPLETED TOURS.
Michael: Dale McEwen and I, both co-Pilots, lost our Pilots about the same time. I was in the 350th Sq.and Dale was in the 418th. They
transferred me to the 418th and as Dale had started his checkout as Pilot. I flew as Co-Pilot for him. He was about 6 missions ahead of me.
Jack Eppendorf our 350th Sq Bombardier and Ed Kauffman our Navigator, both on the original Wegrzynek crew, did not transfer to the 418th with me. Jack flew with another crew and was killed. Ed Kauffman went to 8th AF HQ, became a Radar Navigator. He returned and was shot down with Noble Crew on his first flight as a Mickey Navigator. He was a POW.
Insofar as I recall, Dale and I were a "Put together on the spot" crew. Spare Navigators and Bombardiers, those that were available at the time were assigned to fly with us, Except for Lt Ivons and Lt Maruchess who were originally in the 350th, Lt Ivons was hurt from flack on the mission when Col. Kelly went down (April 28, 1944 to Sottevast). Maruchess was hurt in a B-17 collision and I never saw either one again. I don't recall the names of any otherBombardiers or Navigators. I flew my last 6 missions with various, new crews. I just don't recall Lt. Anderson and I'm positive Bussino, the Tail Gunner who flew all of his 29 missions with me would not recall him. I'm Sorry I can't be more helpful
RINALDO J. BUSSINO 39550304
350TH SQDN.. 100TH BOMBARDMENT GROUP (H)
THORPE ABBOTTS, ENGLAND (STA # 139)
DATE TARGET FLT, TIME
5 APR 1944 LOCAL AREA 2:40
9 APR 1944 AIR SEA RESCUE 4:30
11 APR 1944 POSEN, AC & ROSTOCK, CITY 11:30
12 APR 1944 SCHKEUDITZ, AC FACTORY (RECALL) 3:30
18 APR 1944 GENSHAGEN (BERLIN) AC ENGINES 8:15
19 APR 1944 LIPPSTADT & WERL AF'S 6:45
20 APR 1944 MARQUENVILLE & FLOTTEMANVILLE-HAGUE 5:00
24 APR 1944 FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, AC FACTORY 9:15
28 APR 1944 SOTTEVAST (NOBALL) 5:30
29 APR 1944 BERLIN, CITY 9:30
1 MAY 1944 SAARGUEMINES, MY & WIZERNES (NOBALL 7:15
3 MAY 1944 LOCAL AREA 4:30
4 MAY 1944 ABORT 2:00
7 MAY 1944 LOCAL AREA 1:00
10 MAY 1944 FALLERSLEBEN, MOTOR TRANSP. (RECALL) 3:30
11 MAY 1944 LIEGE, MY 5:00
17 MAY 1944 LOCAL AREA 1:30
19 MAY 1944 BERLIN, CITY (RECALL) 2:10
20 MAY 1944 LOCAL AREA 2:30
22 MAY 1944 LOCAL AREA 3:20
23 MAY 1944 TROYES, AF 8:00
24 MAY 1944 BERLIN, CITY (SPARE; NO HOLES TO FILL) 3:30
28 MAY 1944 LOCAL AREA 2:30
31 MAY 1944 OSNABRUCK, MY 8:30
2 JUN 1944 BOULOGNE & PARIS, RAILWAY JUNCTION 4:10
3 JUN 1944 LOCAL AREA 3:00
5 JUN 1944 ABBEVILLE & BOULOGNE 5:30
6 JUN 1944 OUISTREHAM, TOWN 6:30
6 JUN 1944 FALAISE, TOWN 7:30
7 JUN 1944 NANTES, BRIDGE 7:50
10 JUN 1944 MORLAIX, AF 5:30
15 JUN 1944 LOCAL AREA 1:30
20 JUN 1944 FALLERSLEBEN, MT FACTORY 7:00
7 JUL 1944 MERSEBURG & BOHLEN, OIL REFS 3:20
8 JUL 1944 CLAMECY-JOIGNY, RAILWAY BRIDGE 5:30
10 JUL 1944 LOCAL AREA 5:20
11 JUL 1944 MUNICH, AERO ENGINES 10:20
12 JUL 1944 MUNICH, INDUSTRIAL AREA 9:20
13 JUL 1944 MUNICH, JET ENGINES 8:20
17 JUL 1944 AUXERRE, RAIL BRIDGE 7:45
18 JUL 1944 KIEL, HEMMINGSTADT, OIL (100TH "B") 7:10
19 JUL 1944 SCHWEINFURT & DUREN 7:00
20 JUL 1944 MERSEBURG, OIL REFINERY 8:10
21 JUL 1944 REGENSBURG & LUDWIGSHAFEN 7:30
24 JUL 1944 ST. LO, GROUND SUPPORT 6:15
6 AUG 1944 LOCAL AREA 1:00
6 AUG 1944 LOCAL AREA 1:30
7 AUG 1944 LOCAL AREA 2:00
LT DALE R. McEWEN CREW 5/8/44 (APPEARS TO BE A PICK-UP CREW)
LT DALE R. McEWEN P (FROM LT J.B. NOBLE CREW)
LT CHARLES J. GUTEKUNST CP (FROM LT R.A. WEGRZYNEK CREW)
F/O DAYTON W. CAFFERTY NAV (FROM LT GEORGE P. FORY CREW)
LT OSCAR F. MILLS BOM (FROM LT E. F. NEU CREW)
T/SGT JAY V. EMRICH ROG (FROM LT R. A. WEGRZYNEK CREW)
T/SGT ALEXANDER L. HUBIAK TTE (FROM LT HARRY HEMPY CREW)
S/SGT DALE STRAUSBAUGH BTG (FROM LT R.A. WEGRZYNEK CREW)
S/SGT EDWIN J. TYRRELL WG (FROM LT R.A. WEGRZYNEK CREW)
S/SGT DONALD W. HARRIS TG (FROM LT H.E. BETHEA CREW)
Subj: Re: 42-97555
Date: 12/18/2001 8:20:47 AM Pacific Standard Time
Sent from the Internet (Details)
First thing I could tell you is, that 42-97555 crahsed on the ground, which belongs to the small town of OFFDILLN. This is a small town in the direct vincinity of the city of HAIGER. If you have a map, you should look 45 Miles NORTH of Frankfurt / Main.
If you are interested in a larger topographical map of this area, let me know !!
Two things I could add, without any look into the casefile of 42-97555 :
1.) James B. Noble, was captured near the town of GUNTERSDORF, which is ca. 4 Miles South West of HERBORN and ca. 14 Miles South South West of the crash site.
2.) Marcus M. Hertz was captured near the town of HOLZHAUSEN, which is ca. 8 Miles WEST of the crash site. I believe, that he was at least 1 day "on the run" before he was caught.
3.)1st Lt. Robert W. BARRY did came down by chute directly in the town of WEIDELBACH. He landed on a wooden roof of a small barn in the town. He got injured on his breast and his arms by bailing out. The mass of Germans crowded together and get him from the roof. Some of the Germans were armed and shout to shoot him, but the mass of the people decided to safe his live and to bring him to a hospital. Barry was brought to the house of the major, whos name was Mr. Hof. Here, Reihard BECKER, gave him medical treatment. Thereb were at least 2 young girls in German Red Cross uniforms around him. Later on that day, he was put on a cow-drawn-vehicle and brought to Ewersbach rail road station. From here, he moved by train to Herborn, where he staied in the Miltary Hospital until 17th October 1944.
Again, many, many thanks for the photo and do not wait, if you have any question.
son of S/Sgt McNally
NEW ADDRESS: William P. McNally
485 Saddle River Rd. Unit 11
Saddle Brook, N.J. 07663
TELEPHONE NUMBER: 201-843-0998
Staff/Sgt. Charles J. Slaght BTG on Lt Noble Crew and Tail gunner on Lt Paul Jones Crew
1, April 10, 1944 Reims, France
Light flak 10 or 15 FW-190’s Saw Eiffel tower In Paris
2. April 11, 1944 Rostock, Ger.
Flew North Sea –Denmark
One hell of a battle – Un-counted ME 210’s and FW – 190’s
in and out of targets. Saw so many Forts go down in flames that I never
thought I would see England again. Crew claimed 5 enemy fighters. Plenty
of accurate flak. Ship hit in several places. Navigators face scratched by
piece of flak. God was flying with us. No fighter support Spent 12 hours
in the air and will never forget it.
3. April 12 – 1944. Got into enemy territory and mission was recalled – Got
credit for it. Saw some flak.
4. April 19 – 1944 Lippstadt
Moderate flak., Perfect fighter Support
5. April 20, 1944. Cherbourg, France
No ball target. Very accurate flak –Ship hit in many places. Waist (sic) door
hinges shot completely off.. Found out that no-ball targets aren’t easy either
6. April 24 – 1944. Friedrichshafen
Flack along the way and at target – 10 hour flt. Fair fighter support – Saw
Lake Constance, Swiss Alps. Planned to head for Switzerland if hit too bad.
Some of the boys from other groups did.
7. April 25, 1944 Brunschweig, Germany –
Plenty of accurate flak – Good fighter support
8. May 1, 1944. Sarrequemines. Marshalling yards.
Light flak. M.E. 109’s made a couple of passes, Plenty of dog
Fights and saw a few fighters go down. Blasted hell out of that target.
9. May 7, 1944. Today we hit the big one-Berlin.
I wasn’t too anxious to go there but now that it’s over I’m glad we did. Damned
good fighter support most of the way. Terrific barrage of Flak at target. Lost
two ships. The boys flying next to us got back but had a direct hit on the nose
which blew the Navigator’s head off. The poor guy only had two missions to go.
We hit the target so there’s (sic) probably plenty of dead Germans to make up for
10. May 12, 1944. Brux – Checho –
Another long assed run. Knowing it’s hard for fighter escorts to go in that far I
thought for sure we were going to do lot of fighting in and out of the target.
We were just lucky as the group that went in ahead of us had shit knocked out
of them by fighters . We saw a few pass us but they must have been low on gas and
ammunition as they didn’t dare come within range. We got hit by something new
today. Just outside Frankfurt I saw a terrific explosion off our nose. It was identified
as a belly tank from a fighter exploding but then I saw a number of parachutes from
above but no ships going down. We discovered they were shooting some kind of
rockets up in front of us. When they got so high a parachute burst open with some
kind of a large bomb. They were supposed to drift through our formations and
explode. We lost a couple ships. Those explosions were terrific and I’m glad
they missed us. Visibility at the target was perfect and we really made a mess of
them. It was a gigantic oil plant. I saw columns of smoke come up as high as
10 to 15 thousand feet after we left the target. Twenty more to go. I hope we get a
couple short ones now.
11, May 13, 1944 (Osnabruck) Marshalling yards
Got the target plus damaging steel works bordering the target Medium Flak.
Good fighter support.
12. May 19 – 1944 Berlin
After scrubbing these easy runs to France they finally sent us into the blue
again. Guess where. That’s right, Berlin. Hot target – The flak was more accurate
than it ever was. The first bursts I saw were a few feet from our nose and I wasn’t
the only one who didn’t think we would make it through. This time our route out
was up through Rostock as that was a secondary target if we didn’t hit Berlin. None
of our crew liked that as we never forgot our second mission which was Rostock and
they knocked the shit out of us. We passed over Rostock and headed over the Baltic
Sea and I thought we got through. Then we saw red flak to our left and just as I
Thought it was a signal to the Luftwaffe. We had fighter protection all day until then
And those bastards came in so fast they we(re) half way before anybody called
them. They took our right wing man with them on their first pass and right then I
knew we were going to fight our way out. They took a hell of a lot of B-17s that day
but they made one mistake. After finishing nose attacks they turned right around and
came in on the tail. Making those turns they were duck soup. A pair of them came
past and they made their turn Mac picked one and I picked one. Mac got his. I scored
hits on mine and then he settled on a straggler low on our right. Nobody on that ship
was at their guns as they were getting set to abandon ship. He was my meat and I
gave him everything I had. Parts of his tail blew off, His engine began to smoke.
Then I must have hit the cockpit as there was a big flash there. It must have been an
incendiary. Then he pulled off and went down in a spin smoking. I got a fighter the
first time I went to Rostock and so did Mac but we didn’t get credit for them. If they
don’t give us credit this time I’ll sure raise hell. We paid for that mission but so did
the Luftwaffe. I think they’ll stay away from our tail guns now.
13. May 20, 1944 We weren’t finished until 10:30 last night and they got us up at
two today. We were the only crew to go out of the barracks and we were sweating
12-B today. It was an airfield In France but the clouds were solid and we
couldn’t bomb.Caught moderate flak in and out but no fighters.That was a nice
way to get 12-B. 17 to go (I think the Date is wrong here, should be May 23, 1944
where the group was recalled from Troyes France, target Air Field…..MPF)
14. May 24, 1944. Well it was Berlin again today and what I swear it was worse than
our other Berlins and Rostock together. Bad weather messed up our formation just
as we hit Germany. We saw about 50 fighters flying along side of us so far out they
couldn’t be recognized. After flying there for about 10 minutes all of sudden they
attacked enmass and went right through us. They knocked the shit out of us on that
first pass. Then they turned around and began passing at the tail in threes and fours.
By the time we hit Berlin we were one of three ships in our squadron that reached
the target. The lead ship screwed up and after we got out of the flak at Berlin he
took us right back through it and again the formation was all over the sky. We
were sitting out there all alone trying to catch up to our lead ship but he was too fast
for us. Flak got him. Then we got some more attacks and again we got the shit
knocked out of us again. I don’t know where the hell our escort was. When we got
back we checked up and found we had lost four crews out of our squadron and one
was in our barracks. We missed those guys more than all the rest we lost. They only
had a couple more missions to go. I claimed two today, Mac four, Swartz two. I
hope we get credit for them because we really went through hell today. I never
want to see another mission like that.
15. June 2, 1944 Today we hit Boulogne gun emplacements It was a milk run and
I’m glad of it as it was our first mission as lead and I didn’t want to see things get
screwed up. It was also the first tactical mission in which B-17s hit the invasion
coast. We caught some flak but no fighters. I wish we could get a few more runs
18. June 12, 1944 Today we got #18. The Luftwaffe has brought about 500 single
engine fighters up and are probably going to use them on the beachhead and us. We
were out to get one of the air fields where a lot of these fighters are supposed to be.
We could not bomb as the target was overcast so on the way out we were looking
for targets of opportunity but evidently they didn’t see anything worth bombing. It
looked like we had a milk run as I could see the English coast ahead just beyond
the French coast. I don’t know whether it was the lead navigators fault or not
but he brought us out right over Dunkirk. I looked down and I could see those Flak
guns spitting fire long before we got There so I knew what to expect. Those gunners
were really good and they blasted hell out of us. Two planes went down and
exploded a couple thousand feet below us and another one ditched. I
saw some chutes come out of one ship and then I saw something I
never thought I would see the Jerries do. As soon as those chutes
got low enough to reach with 20 mm’s they shot those guys in their chutes. A
couple chutes caught fire and went down. I know now that the Germans are
getting desperate because of the invasion, and I know what to ex-
pect if I ever go down.
19. July 7, 1944. Today after a nice long rest I got off the ground again. I didn’t
Know who I was flying with until I got to the briefing and found I was flying
With Taggart’s crew (Lt Paul Jones Crew). I might go on as their permanent tail
gunner. We went to Leipzig1080 bombers all went around the same area. It
was my first mission as a tail gunner and I could see all the groups following us
. We were one of the first groups in and as far as I could see there was nothing but
bombers. It sure was a nice sight and I knew Jerry was sure going to catch hell
today. We weren’t bothered much until we started on our home run and then
they really gave us hell with flak. Quite a few were shot out of formation but
they all madeit back. Flak was bursting so close under our belly that we could
hear the explosions. There was a dozen holes all through that tail but none of
them could find Billy. I saw so many different targets being hit in that section of
Germany that I couldn’t count them all. Ours was war oil refineries and we
really hit it.Black smoke came up as high as 15,000 ft. and I could still
see it over an hour after we left the target. That was some sight and I’m only
sorry I didn’t have my camera along. I only saw a couple fighters and some
P51s took care of them.It was an 8 ½ hour run so I’m pretty tired now. I hope
we get a couple short ones now.
20. July 8, 1944. Today weather prevented us going to our target so we hit a target of
opportunity. It was a railroad at Laigle, France.We hit it good and it ended up
a good mission. No flak, no fighters Good deal.
21. July 11, 1944. Primary target was a jet propelled aircraft plant at Munich. Had
to bomb industrial area in center of city by pathfinder. My old crew was in
the pathfinder ship. The flak was terrific and we were hit in a few places. It
was 9½ hours in the air. We had damn good fighter support but we didn’t hit
any fighters. One of the other groups caught them. I’d hate to go there again.
22. July12, 1944.Well today was the same damn target as yesterday (Munich), Again
we had to bomb path finder because of cloud coverage. Today it was pretty bad.
For a while I didn’t think we were going to get back. Before we got to the target
our super chargers went bad and we had to fall out of formation. I was scared
shitless. Instead of getting rid of the bombs we were over the target alone and
we caught all kinds of flak. They shot out No. 4 engine and punctured our
outboard gas tank. We lost a lot of gas before we got it all transferred and
that made our chances for getting back harder. Over V.H.F. I could
hear quite a few other ships taking off for Switzerland and that’s where
I thought we would end up. I could see the Alps and it was really a tempta-
tion. The leader sent some fighters back to protect us and one leader
came up and sat under our right wing and talked to us over V.H.F. for awhile.
That P-51 was really pretty and that boy had18 swastikas on his fuselage. He
couldn’t stay with us long but he said he would be around if we needed him. We
really sweated that one out . We got back on two engines but were back and
that’s what counts
23. July 13, 1944 Munich again.
That did it. I’m getting to know that place as well as London. Again they shot hell
out of us but again we made it back in one piece. That was the closest I ever saw
those rockets come. Some more crews went to Switzerland again. Sometimes I
wish we had have gone yesterday too. Maybe they’ll lay off that place for awhile.
24. July 14, 1944.Today we went on a secret mission way in France. We dropped arms
and ammunition to some fighting French. They had three fires burning in a field
so we could spot them. That was the best one I’ve been on so far. The only time
we were at Altitude was when we were over the coast. then we dropped down to
low altitude all the way over France. I really got a nice view of France from that
tail.At the target we dropped down to 500 ft. and I could see French soldiers and
girls waiving (sic) at us. One girl was throwing her dress up in the air. The chutes
were all colors and they really made a nice sight. Then we passed over the target
again to get a good look at where the chutes hit. They all went right in the field.
Good mission. No flak or fighters. Fighter support getting better every day.
25. July 17th, 1944. Auxerre, France
Today would have been one of my best raids if only I had have had some sleep
before we went. I kept dozing off and I beating my brains out trying to stay awake
as we were right in the heart of German fighter territory. We hit the bridge derrick
and also wiped out the railroad marshalling yards. It was an important target as
three railroads converged there but for some reason they had not moved any flak
guns around the target. We caught very little flak and I only saw one ship get a
direct hit. The Lufftwaffe also must have taken the day off. Today made 25. Now I
have to do ten for Doolittle.
26. July 18th, 1944. Today I flew In place of another sick tail gunner.We hit oil refin-
eries North (sic) of Kiel, Germany.It was a damn nice mission. The target was
completely overcast so to me it was just a long joy ride over the North Sea. We
caught some flak and a couple ships were hit. None went down.No fighters and
our support was fair.
27. July 24, 1944. Target was enemy troops on the front line at St. Lo, France.
We were to open the way for a big infantry drive. The target was overcast so we
couldn’t drop our bombs for fear of hitting our own troops. A B-24
got a direct hit and blew into a thousand pieces off to our right. Anything can
happen even on a milk run.
28. July 25, 1944. Target was troops on the Front line at St. Lo, France.
Today the weather was better and the bombing results were good. I
like to go on those missions. We lost a ship today but I saw the full crew bail
out. This was our first mission with a nine man crew.
29. July 28, 1944.Target was oil refineries at Merseberg, Germany.
The flak was heavy at the target but it would have been a milk run except for
one thing. I saw Jim Noble and the rest of old crew go down in flames. When I got
back Mac was waiting for me and he was crying like a baby. I could hardly hold
the tears back myself. I didn’t even go to interrogation. Mac and I went to the
barrack to talk things over. I only hope they all got out. Today we also lost a
crew with two best men on it. One was Inskeep (BTG from Lt Stansbury Crew) He
graduated with Taggert and I.
30. July 29, 1944 Today we hit the same target as yesterday. Today we really wiped
those refineries out. For over an hour after we left the target I could still see
black smoke from those refineries coming up. Groups that hit the target after us
passed through it at 25,000 ft. We were really lucky to get through that flak as it
was worse than I ever saw before even at Berlin.I had five holes right by my head
--I don’t know how it missed me. This was my D.F.C. mission. We lost six ships
today.They were attacked by jet propelled fighters.
31. July 31, 1944. Munich.
Today we hit the jet propelled aircraft factory The flak was plenty rough
and accurate. We had about a dozen holes and naturally half of them had to be in
the tail section. We were lucky enough to miss fighters as they knocked hell out of
the boys around us. I only hope this luck can holdout a few more missions.
32. August 5, 1944. Magdeburg-Krupp works providing tanks.
We had pretty clear weather so we did a damn good job on that target. I saw at
least half dozen other targets hit in the same area. There were bandits around
us in and out of the target. They got a couple passes in on the boys in
front of us but then our fighters happened thru and there were countless dog-fights
going on all the time and I saw quite a few fighters go down.We lost five ships
ourselves One B-17 blew up right off our tail from a direct hit in the bombay. They
went down in a solid sheet of flames. I saw one chute come out. Lady luck
was flying with us again. Three more to go