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LT  Howard E. POTTS

MACR: 08821 CR: 08821

Comments1: 11 SEP 44 RUHLAND (ST. PAUL, MINN) EAC




2nd Lt Hugh E.Holladay           P POW/WIA 11/9/44   RUHLAND
2nd Lt Howard E.Potts          CP POW  ll/9/44
1st Lt 'William W.Pinson    NAV CPT  6/2/45                    CHEMNITZ
2nd Lt Joseph E.Michaud  BOM POW/WIA 11/9/44   A/C#42 102695
  Cpl Herlan R.Tarter         ROG KIA  11/9/44   Mac~882l~Microfiche#3238
  Cpl Nick C.Morrale           TTE POW/WIA 11/9/44 
  Cpl Delbert M.Gadberry     BTG KIA   ll/9/44
  Cpl Nick R.DeSanto         WG KIA   ll/9/44
  Cpl Joseph D.DiCosimo    WG NOC  
  Cpl Robert F.Duncan       TG KIA  11/9/44

350th Sqdn. Crew,as above,joined the 100th Group on 4/8/44.

DiCosimo was probably removed from the crew to reduce it to nine men about the time it Joined the Group. On 11/9/44, a 2nd Lt Roy M.Lynch,Jr. was aboard as NAV in place of Pinson and was KIA. This was the first mission for Lynch and the fourth for the rest of the crew

The following report in the MACR is of considerable interest:

"All the information given on these questionnaires is to the best of my knowledge. While I was in the hospital at Hohenstein,Ger., My pilot and engineer were with me, and we had a chance to pool our information to come to the following story on what happened. We were attacked by approximately 60 FW 190s from 6 o'clock high into the sun. Except for the tail gunner calling me on the intercom and telling me about the dog fighting going on behind us, no one knew about the attack until they hit us.

The first attack was made by one fighter on our plane, and he got direct hits in our tail, No.1 engine, batteries, Bomb bays, and probably the radio room. Fire broke out in and around No.1 engine, and in the bomb bays. Our oxygen, radio, inter phone, and electrical system were all shot out on this first attack. The tail gunner was undoubtedly instantly killed when the tail was struck. Our plane started to slowly get out of control and left the formation in a left turn. At this time, several more FWs pounced on us and got many more hits in our plane. One 20mm hit #3 engine just as I was having the navigator pass the emergency oxygen bottles, or as I was trying to let him know that we were out of oxygen. This shell seemed to have blown up in our face, and the whole side of the plane was blown away. Shrapnel struck Lynch in the face and stomach, and myself in the right side between pieces of my flak suit. This was a terrific blow and it knocked us out. I don't know how long I was dazed, but the next thing I remember is that the plane was going down in a spin, about 350 MPH.

The co-pilot, pilot, and engineer bailed out at the time of the second attack, but the co-pilot didn't make it right then because of the great amount of fumes and smoke. No one knows what was going on in the rear of the plane during this time because the bomb-bay was on fire and no one could go through and we didn't know what was going on since the bail-out bell was out of order. The pilot and engineer managed to get out before the plane went into the spin.

Just as I came to, I realized I had to get out, but the centrifugal force was so great that I couldn't move from my position in the nose. I reached over to put on my chute just the same and at this instant the plane blew up. The co-pilot went out through a hole in the side of the ship, and I went out through the wind screen by the force of the explosion.
The plane broke just behind the radio room at the nose in front of the cockpit, at the tail, and both wings were ripped off. It is assumed the tail gunner was killed instantly by a direct hit, and so was the navigator. The waist gunner went down in his section trying to help the ball turret man get out of the turret, and the radio operator went down in his section, either unconscious, or disabled in some way if not dead at the time.

All this action took place at 24,000 feet over an elapsed time of not more than one minute and a half, if not less. This is the nearest we can get to a calculation of what took place. What pertains to the men in the cockpit and nose we know is fact, but what happened to the rear of the bomb bay was beyond our knowledge or control due to the conditions. I'm sure things must have been serious back there since they could see the fire in the engines, the bomb bay, and what happened in our tail. Also, the number of planes that went down around us was sufficient warning to let them know what was happening to us. If there was any possible way they would have gotten out."

Joseph E.Michaud


POW/KIA notes: Crews 4th Mission.  For more information see Holladay Crew page.


TARGET: Ruhland DATE: 1944-09-11  
AIRCRAFT: (42-102695) CAUSE: FW-190 - Explosion  


ID: 4196