Original 100th

On 25 May 1943, Army Air Base Headquarters, Kearney, Nebraska issued Special Order #103 directing movement of the Flight Echelon of the 100th Bombardment Group (H) to Bangor, Maine and thence to England. After seven months of organization, combat training (to use the term somewhat loosely) and some just plain rusting away, we finally were going to war.

Also, but certainly unsuspected by any member of the Group, the 100th was now launched on its flight into history as the "Bloody Hundredth" one of the most famed Air Force units of World War II. The purpose of these few pages is not to expound on the great combat records established by the 100th. That has been adequately accomplished in other places. Rather, our intent is to demonstrate the price, in human terms, of these proud records.

Further, our consideration here is with only those air crew personnel who flew overseas with the Group  the "Original" 100th. In no way do we wish to suggest that somehow the "original" members of the 100th deserve to be set apart from those who followed. These later crews flew to the same targets, faced the same fears, bailed out in the same skies, and died the same deaths. They had the same share of heroes and the same share of goats.

It is known that at least 450 replacement crews served with the 100th during the 22 months of its operational status. But it is beyond the scope of this modest effort to trace the fate of these some fourthousand men.

The movement overseas was made by forty aircraft. Five planes were flown by the Group and Squadron commanders and carried an assortment of maintenance and other ground personnel plus a few unassigned combat crew members. The remaining thirty five planes were manned by their regular crews.

In early June the Group settled into its new home at Thorpe Abbots (Station #139) and on 25 June the 100th flew its first combat mission.. This resulted in the loss of three crews of the 349th squadron. By 14 October, exactly 109 days after this initiation into aerial warfare, 27 of these original 35 crews had been lost. No complete crew of ten finished a tour of twentyfive missions although parts of eight crews did so.

What follows is a brief summary of these crews and their fate. These men were my friends and comrades in arms. I will be forever proud to have known them and to have shared a great experience with them. It is to these men that this small booklet is respectfully dedicated.

Explanatory Notes

KIA Killed in action
KIC Killed in crash (not caused by enemy action).
SWA Severe wound in action (Wound sufficient to cause removal from flying status).
WIA Minor wound in action (Probably many such wounds were incurred but no complete records of such are extant).
IIC Injured in crash
POW Prisoner of War (Usually for the duration of the war although some with severe injuries were returned in exchanges).
EVADEES (EVA) Men who bailed out over enemy territory, or crashed landed, but evaded capture and returned to Allied control. Usually with help of the French undergound.
NTERNEES (INT) Men who crash landed in, or bailed out over, neutral countries usually Switzerland or Sweden.
M.A.C.R. Missing Air Crew Report. Such a report was made for every aircraft and crew missing in action. Copies of these reports are on file in the National Archives, Washington, D.C. These reports with accompanying papers and documents are of utmost value to the researcher or historian.
Crew Positions: It should be understood that considerable swapping of positions occurred among crew members. We have designated positions as they appear in S.O. #103. Thus, we may show someone as a Tailgunner although he may have traded positions with a Waistgunner, etc. during the operational tour.

SCORE CARD FOR THE ORIGINAL AIR ECHELON OF THE 100th:

Killed in action 77
Severely wounded 7
Killed in crash 7
Injured in crash 3
Prisoners of war 148
Internees 17
Evadees 17
Completed Tour 57
Transferred 4
Grounded 3
Appointed Aviation Cadet 2
No Record found 19
Total 361


For those interested in percentages, it may be noted that the first seven of the above categories total 276. Thus, 77% of the original 100th Bomb Group became casualties ofwar. All but a very few of these occurred in less than four months of combat time.

This may be one reason why someone once said, "If the guy tells you he flew with the 100th, be nice to him. He deserves it!"
 

HEADQUARTERS AIRCRAFT

Crew # A1 -- Aircraft #4258544

Col Howard M. Turner Pilot -- -- Transferred to Wing June 1943
1st Lt Roland T. Knight Pilot KIA 15 March 1944 Brunswick
1st Lt Qmar Gonzales Navigator POW 5 November 1943 Gelsenkirchen
1st Lt Harry H. Tomlin Bombardier -- -- --
Capt Robert D. McLain Group S4 -- -- --
M/Sgt John H. Poppe Flight Chief -- -- --
T/Sgt Charles F. Wright Radio -- -- --
S/Sgt Thomas A. Madel Radio -- -- --
2nd Lt Stanley J. Miller Bomb Sight Maint. -- -- --
M/Sgt Edwin S. Seidel Flight Chief -- -- --

Crew # A2 Aircraft #425861"Stud Duck"

Major William W. Veal Pilot -- -- Transferred to Wing Autumn 1943
Capt Albert C. Persons Pilot CPT -- --
M/Sgt Ralph Richards Line Chief -- -- --
M/Sgt Elwood E. Park Flight Chief -- -- --
T/Sgt Que E. Booth Armament -- -- --
T/Sgt Elmer Most Bomb Sight Maint. -- -- --
1st Lt Alfred A. Fahlstedt Bombardier CPT -- --
M/Sgt Marvin Williams Group S3 -- -- --
Cpl John J. Kovacs Radio KIA 6 March 1944 Berlin
-- -- ATC Navigator -- -- --

 Crew # A3 -- Aircraft #4229738

Major Gale W. Cleven Pilot POW  8 October 1943 Bremen
Capt Richard A. Carey Pilot POW  25 July 1943 Warnemunde/Kiel
M/Sgt Louis A. Hays Parachute Rigger -- -- --
M/Sgt Harry H. McMillion Line Chief -- -- --
M/Sgt Albert S. Strain Flight Chief -- -- --
M/Sgt William M. Jackson Radio -- -- --
T/Sgt Lawrence Bowa Bomb Sight Maint. -- -- --
Major Laurence S. Jennings Group Surgeon -- -- --
2nd Lt Robert V. Kaiser CoPilot -- -- --

Crew # A4 -- Aircraft #425865 -- "Jamie"

Major John B. Kidd Pilot -- -- --
Capt Ollen Turner Pilot CPT -- --
1st Lt Robert K. Peel Bombardier POW 15 March 1944 Brunswick
M/Sgt Robert E. Spangler Line Chief -- -- --
M/Sgt Robert A. Boyle Radio -- -- --
M/Sgt Emmet D. Swank Armament -- -- --
Sgt Jack Y. Hamlin S4 Clerk -- -- --
1st Lt Edward B. Cosgriff Statistical Off. -- -- --
M/Sgt Clayton Kirkpatrick Group S2 -- -- --
-- -- ATC Navigator -- -- --

Crew # A5 -- Aircraft #425863" -- Paddlefoot's Proxy"

Major Robert E. Flesher Pilot -- -- --
Capt Albert M. Elton Pilot CPT -- --
T/Sgt Loyd C. Cresap Bomb Sight Maint. -- -- --
M/Sgt Gene A. VanGemert Line Chief -- -- --
M/Sgt William R. Shultz Flight Chief -- -- --
M/Sgt Joseph E. Hafer Radio POW 10 October 1943 Munster
S/Sgt Rex F. Creitz Bomb Sight Maint. -- -- --
W/O Ralph L. DeLong Group S1 -- -- --
2nd Lt Jack C. Boyd COPilot KIA 3 Sept. 1943 Beaumont le Roger AF
-- -- ATC Navigator -- -- --

 

THE 349th SQUADRON
Major William W. Veal, Commander (Retired a Major General 1975)

Crew #1 -- Aircraft #4229986 -- M.A.C.R. #269

Capt Oran E. Petrich P KIA 25-Jun-43 Bremen
2nd Lt Bluford B. Mullins CP KIA 25-Jun-43 Bremen
1st Lt Edward N. Jones N KIA 25-Jun-43 Bremen
1st Lt Louis B. Grate B      
T/Sgt Max P. Brim E KIA 25-Jun-43 Bremen
S/Sgt Joseph D. Bieu WG KIA 25-Jun-43 Bremen
T/Sgt Edward J. Zerblis R KIA 25-Jun-43 Bremen
S/Sgt Henry H. Rutherford BT KIA 25-Jun-43 Bremen
S/Sgt Pete S. Villalobes, Jr. WG KIA 25-Jun-43 Bremen
S/Sgt James M. Strong, Jr. TG KIA 25-Jun-43 Bremen

A complete and exact sequence of events on this mission, the first flown by the 100th, is most difficult to determine. Of the 30 men comprising crews #1, 2 and 3, only five survived the mission and, of these, Nick Demchak is the only one who could be located by this writer.

Demchak and I agree that the 100th on this day never completed a proper assembly. At the time of leaving the English coast, the 349th, flying low squadron, was perhaps a mile to the rear of the lead squadron led by Major Flesher of the 418th. Both the lead and high squadrons seemed scattered all over the sky and a true Group combat formation never existed. The atrocious weather had a part in this situation, but perhaps a larger role was that of the questionable judgment of the Group leader.

 At a point a little north of the East Frisian islands, Crew #1, leading the first element, disappeared into the undercast and was not seen again. No doubt it fell victim to enemy fighters as did crews #2 and 3.

Louie Grate, regular bombardier on this crew, for same reason did not fly this first mission. His place was taken by Lt. Stanley Morrison (KIA) who was the regular bombardier of Crew #29 of the 418th Squadron. No further record of Grate's service with the 100th has been found.

 

Crew #2 -- Aircraft #423260 -- M.A.C.R. #271

1st Lt Alonzo P. Adams III P KIA 25-Jun-43 Bremen
F/O George Z. Krech CP KIA 25-Jun-43 Bremen
2nd Lt Nicholas Demchak N POW 25-Jun-43 Bremen
2nd Lt Jesse D. Gurley B KIA 25-Jun-43 Bremen
T/Sgt John K. Sullivan E KIA 25-Jun-43 Bremen
S/Sgt Edmonde J. Walker WG KIA 25-Jun-43 Bremen
T/Sgt James D. Purcell R KIA 25-Jun-43 Bremen
S/Sgt John G. Kruzich BT KIA 25-Jun-43 Bremen
S/Sgt Norman Asbornsen WG KIA 25-Jun-43 Bremen
S/Sgt Bryant Hutchinson TG KIA 25-Jun-43 Bremen

This aircraft was flying on the wing of Crew #1. According to Nick emchak, sole survivor, they were jumped by fighters about 20 miles north of the Frisian islands. His statement follows: "My mind is a complete blank from the time we got the bailout signal until I regained consciousness on a German boat. Lt. Gurley was in the nose of the ship and not hurt when we received the signal to bail outI was firing my gun and did not hear the signal but Gurley informed me. I believe Adams and Krech were severely wounded or killed by a burst of machine gun fire which came quite close to me and from the angle appeared to enter the cockpit. Directly after that, the bailout signal was given. I believe the plane exploded at that moment and the rest of the crew were killed by the explosion or rendered unconscious and unable to operate chutes. The German boat that picked me up said they did not see anyone else."

 

Crew #3 -- Aircraft #4230038 -- M.A.C.R. #270

1st Lt Paul J. Schmalenbach P KIA 25-Jun-43 Bremen
F/O George W. Cox CP KIA 25-Jun-43 Bremen
1st Lt John F. Brown N POW 25-Jun-43 Bremen
2nd Lt Jack L. Clark B KIA 25-Jun-43 Bremen
T/Sgt Eugene M. Beck E KIA 25-Jun-43 Bremen
Pvt Anthony J. Russon WG KIA 25-Jun-43 Bremen
T/Sgt Frank J. Podbielski R POW 25-Jun-43 Bremen
S/Sgt Norman C. Goodwin BT POW 25-Jun-43 Bremen
S/Sgt William C. Lucas WG POW 25-Jun-43 Bremen
S/Sgt Lewis W. Priegel TG KIA 25-Jun-43 Bremen

According to a German report this plane was shot down "into the sea 20 km North of angerooge"  one of the Frisian Islands  and Norman Goodwin was recovered from the sea, taken to a hospital on the island of Norderney where an "amputation of his left thigh" was performed. Goodwin was subsequently returned to the U.S.

John Brown was also picked up from the sea and sent to a hospital at Sanderbusch. Both Frank Podbielski and William Lucas were "recovered by a Coastguard boat at 1000 hours and transferred to DulagLuft, Oberursel on 26 June 1943."

A statement made by Frank Podbielski in which he described the final minutes of his aircraft says, in part, "After 30 minutes of combat action, the top turret guns were silent. T/Sgt. Beck could have been wounded or killed. Sgt. Goodwin lay wounded on the floor of radio room, Sgt. Russo lay wounded to the right of the ball turret after administering first aid to Goodwin."

 

Crew #4 -- Aircraft #4230035 -- "Torchy"

1st Lt Sam L. Barr P CPT 14-Jan-44 --
F/O Dan Barna CP POW 10-Oct-43 Munster (With Crew #7)
2nd Lt James R. Brown N SWA 15-Sep-43 Paris
2nd Lt Howard J. Kelly B CPT 30-Jan-44 --
T/Sgt Robert E. Cliff E CPT 21-Jan-44 --
S/Sgt William Ohl WG CPT -- --
T/Sgt Michael J. Tanowigch R KIA 6-Mar-44 Berlin
S/Sgt Max Russ BT CPT 21-Jan-44 --
S/Sgt Hobart Spires WG KIA 6-Mar-44 Berlin
S/Sgt James T. Hiten TG CPT 21-Jan-44 --

The composition of this crew, lead crew of the 349th, was to change considerably in the six months following its first mission of 25 June 1943. After a few missions, Joe Kelly had an extended period of illness during which he was replaced by "Big Joe" Armanini from Crew #8. This writer was severely wounded on a milk run to Paris (my life was saved by Anmanini's prompt, effective, but damn clumsy first aid) and that was the last mission I flew. Howard Bassett from Crew #8 replaced me as navigator. Dan Barna went to Crew #7 and was with that crew on the terrible Munster mission.

Mike Tanowigch and Hobart Spires finally made it to Berlin (with other crews) but their luck ran out and they did not make it back.

Everyone knows the story of Sammy Barr, the stocky, lionhearted Mississippian. Utterly fearless and grimly determined, Sam continued to fly combat missions long after he could have stopped. After becoming Squadron commander of the 349th, he continued until he had 50 missions to his credit  second only to Robert Rosenthal's 52.

One of the most loved and respected flyers of the 100th, Sam continued with the Air Force after WW II  saw active service in Korea  and finally retired as a Colonel about ten years ago. Although suffering a partial loss of speech and some paralysis, the aftermath of a severe stroke, Sam continues life with the same imdomitable spirit he shower during his career with Eighth A.F.

The planes flown by this crew: Torchy, Torchy 2nd, and Torchy 3rd, were named after the redheaded wife of this writer whom all the crew had come to know when she stayed briefly at Sioux City, Pierre, South Dakota, and Kearney, Nebraska. Torchy 3rd came to her end in April 1944 when ditched in the English Channel by a crew piloted by James Stout.
 

Crew #5 -- Aircraft #4230002 -- "Damdifino" -- M.A.C.R. #682

1st Lt Glen S. Van Noy P POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
2nd Lt James B. Evans CP POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
1st Lt Kenneth G. Allen NAV POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
2nd Lt William H. Couch BOM POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
T/Sgt William R. Stewart TTE POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
Col William L. Kennedy RWG POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
S/Sgt George P. Gineikis RWG EVA 5-Nov-43 Gelsenkirchen
T/Sgt William W. Crabb LWG POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
S/Sgt James D. Gibson ROG POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
S/Sgt Joe F. Hruskocy BTG POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
S/Sgt Samuel J. Cusmano TG POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg

On the Regensburg mission this crew was leading the second element of the 349th squadron, which, led by Veal and Barr, was the high squadron. Their aircraft this day was #4230042, "Oh Nausea". About an hour before takeoff, a Colonel William L. Kennedy had replaced George Gineikis as a waist gunner. Kennedy was an armorer and gunnery expert who was soon to return to the U.S. and, before his return, wanted to get some firsthand experience as to exactly what problems our gunners were facing in combat. Of Kennedy, Bill Crab was later to say, "He kept squeezing off one round at a time and I remember thinking, 'My God! a short burst is one thing but this is ridiculous."' The Colonel became a POW with the rest of the crew.

Soon after crossing the enemy coast, a fighter pass knocked out one engine and at the target a second engine was lost. Under almost constant attack, Crabb (in the ball turret this day) ran out of ammo before reaching Regensburg although he had started the mission with 1100 rounds for one gun and 900 for the other. Realizing that they probably could not reach Africa, the decision was made to try for Sicily which, according to the morning briefing, was supposed to fall to the Allies that day. It did.

One bomb had hung up over the target and Couch tried to release it over a small airfield near the Brenner pass but it wouldn't go. Later it was released manually over the Mediterranean. Van Noy went down to about 500 feet and the crew began to throw out everything detachable to lighten the ship. Eeven shoes were discarded. Such efforts were of no avail however for a third engine went out about 90 miles north of Sicily and Van Noy and Evans made a perfect landing on the deep blue sea. One crew member was to say, "Van Noy never could land an airplane except when it really counted."

The crew got into the two five man dinghies and a smaller one with "lots of rations, radio, etc." "Oh Nausea" floated about an hour and a half before she finally sank and the crew was picked up by Germans in a flying boat the next morning.

Bill Couch probably had the biggest feet in the Eighth A.F. and one of the Germans, noticing the shoeless Couch, remarked that, "No shoes in Italy will fit that man."

On 28 June 1943, Crew #5 had nearly had it's luck run out when, during the mission to St. Nazaire, one engine was disabled. Van Noy, unable to maintain formation, had gone down to the deck and flew back to England at an average altitude of 50 feet.
 

Crew #6 -- Aircraft #423229

1st Lt Woodrow B. Barnhill P KIC 16-Jul-43 Thorpe Abbotts
2nd Lt Carl F. Hudson CP KIC 16-Jul-43 Thorpe Abbotts
2nd Lt William H. Carr N KIC 16-Jul-43 Thorpe Abbotts
1st Lt Winifred L: Rucker B KIC 16-Jul-43 Thorpe Abbotts
T/Sgt Peter Contos E KIC 16-Jul-43 Thorpe Abbotts
S/Sgt Newton E. Harris, Jr. WG KIC 16-Jul-43 Thorpe Abbotts
T/Sgt Edward D. Johnson R KIC 16-Jul-43 Thorpe Abbotts
Sgt Frank M. Opala BT IIC 16-Jul-43 Thorpe Abbotts
S/Sgt Vincent S. Noel WG IIC 16-Jul-43 Thorpe Abbotts
S/Sgt Peter S. Russell, Jr. TG IIC 16-Jul-43 Thorpe Abbotts

On 16 July 1943, this crew took off on a practice mission but crashed near the rectory at Dickleburgh a moment or two after taking off. The official report of the crash reads as follows:

"On 16 July 1943, B17F, serial number 4230305, took off from Station #139 on a local formation practice mission. Weather was clear and visibility unlimited. Takeoff was at 1006 local time. After takeoff, the aircraft entered a right bank almost immediately. The bank continued, and the aircraft lost altitude until ground impact. Duration of the flight did not exceed 30 seconds. Three crew embers in the rear of the aircraft survived with injuries. The other seven crew members received fatal injuries, and the aircraft was destroyed."

Ken Everett, who has been most active in the efforts to restore the Control Tower at Thorpe Abbotts and who now lives near the tower, was a 12yearold at the time of this crash but remembers it vividly. He says, "I recall the plane passing overhead very low and then hitting trees about 200 yards away. The dead were buried at the U.S. cemetery at Madingly near Cambridge."

In a letter to this writer dated 30 November 1978, Vince Noel stated as follows: "Peter Russell and I did survive the crash and fire but, due to our severe injuries, we were removed from flying status. At my request I was permitted to remain with the 349th until June 1945 and then returned to the U.S." Noel made no mention as to what happened to Frank Opala, the third injured man.

Loss of this crew coupled with the loss of three others  four crews in three weeks  plunged the squadron into bitter gloom.
 

Crew #7 -- Aircraft #42 30042 -- "Oh Nausea" -- M.A.C.R.#1020

1st Lt Magee C. Fuller P POW 20-Jul-44 Merseburg
2nd Lt Winton L. MacCarter CP POW 10-Oct-43 Munster
2nd Lt Harold L. Weachter N POW 10-Oct-43 Munster
2nd Lt George H. Ziegler B POW 10-Oct-43 Munster
T/Sgt Jack C. Rogers E POW 10-Oct-43 Munster
S/Sgt Robert W. Sandy R POW 10-Oct-43 Munster
S/Sgt Alexander F. Sawicki BT POW 10-Oct-43 Munster
S/Sgt Cosimo A. DeMonica WG POW 10-Oct-43 Munster
S/Sgt Raymond J. Manley TG POW 10-Oct-43 Munster
S/Sgt George W. Easterwed WG -- 01-Jul-43 GROUNDED

After a few missions, Magee Fuller was made operations officer of the 349th and was later transferred to the 418th where he became Squadron Commander. Magee appears to be the last of the original air crewmen of the 100th to be lost to enemy action.

When Fuller left the crew, MacCarter became first pilot and Dan Barna roved over from Crew #4 to become copilot. George Easterwed was grounded for some reason soon after the group arrived in England and his place on the crew was filled by S/Sgt. Roy B. Graff, a Minnesota boy from a Provisional Group. Both Barna and Graff became POWs on the Munster mission.

On the terrible Munster mission, Aircraft #4230090, "El P'sstofo", was swarmed by fighters and #1 engine began to burn. The fire quickly spread to the left wing and gas tank. The entire crew bailed out successfully and were immediately taken prisoner. The enlisted men spent the remainder of the war in Stalag 17B, Krems, Austria.

In 1973, one of Ray Manley's sons graduated from the Air Force Academy. Perhaps the Air Force fever continues from generation to generation.

 

Crew #8 -- Aircraft #4230090 -- "El P’sstofo"

1st Lt Victor Reed P -- -- TRANSFERRED FROM 100th GROUP
F/O Charles A. Brooks CP CPT Dec-43 --
2nd Lt Howard D. Bassett N CPT 14-Jan-44 --
2nd Lt Joseph P. Armanini N CPT -- --
T/Sgt Glenn N. Albright E CPT -- --
S/Sgt Richard 0. Detweiler WG CPT -- --
T/Sgt Joseph S. Dougherty R CPT -- --
S/Sgt Richard M. Price BT -- -- --
S/Sgt Thomas D. Baer WG KIA 6-Mar-44 Berlin
S/Sgt Clifford T. Miner TG -- -- --

On the Bonn mission of 12 August 1943, Vic Reed's life was saved by a near "miracle". Just as the ship loosed her cargo of bombs on the target, a burst of flak littered the cockpit with slivers of hot steel. One sizeable fragment penetrated Reed's outer clothing but struck the silver wings he was wearing over his left shirt pocket. The velocity of the shard was so great as to drive the insignia through the skin and cause severe bruising of the chest muscles. Without the wings to deflect it, there was no doubt that the piece of flak would have killed or severely wounded the pilot. This episode so unnerved Reed that he was unable to fly for a time and was eventually transferred from the 100th.

At about this time, "Big Joe" Armanini replaced "Crying Joe" Kelly on Crew #4 and, some weeks later, Howard Bassett was to replace this writer as navigator on Crew #4. Joe Dougherty also moved to Crew #4 about this time to take the place of Mike Tanowigch.

Charles Brooks continued as a copilot and then as a first pilot, a few days before Christmas 1943, he flew his 25th mission as the pilot of "Squawkin Hawk". At the time this is written, no record has been found as to the final status of Richard Price and Cliff Miner but it is assumed that they both completed 25 missions.

Thomas "Teddy" Baer, as a member of the crew of Lt. Albert Amiero, was killed over Berlin on 6 March 1944.

 

Crew #9 -- --Aircraft #4230088 -- "Squawkin Hawk"

1st Lt Summer H. Reeder P CPT -- --
F/O Harry E. Edeburn CP KIA 6-Sep-43 Stuttgart
2nd Lt Russell W. Engel N SWA 6-Sep-43 Stuttgart.
2nd Lt Peter F. Delao B SWA 6-Sep-43 Stuttgart
S/Sgt Harold L. Pope E EVADEE 5-Nov-43 Gelsenkirchen
Pvt Orrin W. Furlong WG -- -- --
T/Sgt Connor D. Brewster R KIA 5-Nov-43 Gelsenkirchen
S/Sgt Francis G. Dolsen BT POW 5-Nov-43 Gelsenkirchen
S/Sgt James Marasco WG POW 5-Nov-43 Gelsenkirchen
S/Sgt Robert M. Lovin TG CPT 29-Jan-44 --

On 6 September 1943, just as "Squawkin Hawk" began her bomb run, four fighters attacked from head on and high. 20mm shells riddled the nose and cockpit. One shell entered Edeburn's chest at the right shoulder, exploded as it exited his back, and pierced a hole in the armor plate of his seat back. Reeder was wounded in the head and body by flying fragments from the same shell and the oxygen system was badly damaged.

Other 20mms entering the nose compartment tore out one eye of Russ Engel and badly wounded Pete Delao in his head and body. The engineer Harold Pope, succeeded in salvoing the bomb load and Reeder dived into a lower formation seeking protection.

Pope and Connor Brewster (who was himself to die two months later) were able to get Edeburn out of his seat and into the hatchway but in a few minutes he was dead. Engel, though bleeding profusely from his empty eye socket, managed to get into the copilot's seat where he rendered what aid he could to Reeder in flying the ship. Brewster administered first aid to both wounded men.

Although still under fighter attack but lacking oxygen, Reeder dove toward the deck and, in a scattered cloud formation, played hare and hounds with the pursuing fighters until, short of gas, they finally left him.

Suffering gravely from their wounds and unsure of the proper heading to fly, they somehow reached the Channel coast and crossed to southern England. There, spotting an RAF fighter base, Reeder put "Squawkin Hawk" down on a grass runway, without benefit of brakes as the hydraulic system had been shot out.

For both Russ Engel and Pete Delao the war was over. After extended hospital stays in England they were returned to the U.S. for further treatment. The Distinguished Service Cross was awarded to both Reeder and Engel and, posthumously, to Harry Edeburn.

Reeder recovered from his wounds and later became C.O. of the 349th Squadron. On 19 March 1945, having returned to the U.S., Summer Reeder lost his life when a C54 on which he was flying as a student pilot crashed into the ocean off the coast of Florida.

On the mission to Gelsenkirchen in November, Connor Brewster, Francis Dolsen, James Marasco and Harold Pope were in the ship piloted by Lts. W. Flesh and J. Gossage. Having sustained such severe battle damage that he believed the plane could not reach England, Flesh gave the bailout order and all the crew but he and Gossage jumped. Recovering some control of the aircraft, the pilot and copilot were able to reach England and set the shattered and burning plane down.

Brewster was apparently killed when his chute failed and Dolsen and Marasco were taken prisoner. Pope was able to avoid capture and, with help of the underground, got back to England.

The badly damaged "Squawking Hawk", strange as it may seem, was repaired and restored to combat status. She became the first B17 of the 100th Group to fly 50 missions. With every square inch of her outer skin covered with names and autographs of men of the 100th, she was flown back to the U.S. to take part in a War Bond tour.

 

THE 350th SQUADRON
Major Gale W. Cleven, C.O., POW 8 October 1943 Bremen

Crew #10 -- Aircraft #4230047 -- "Sweater Girl''

Capt Mark E. Carnell P CPT -- --
2nd Lt Edward K. Moffly CP CPT -- --
1st Lt Anthony C. Gospodar N CPT 11-Dec-43 --
1st Lt James P. Fitten B CPT -- --
T/Sgt Vern M. Best E CPT -- --
S/Sgt William J. Williams WG POW 8-Oct-43 Bremen (with Crew#15)
Sgt Edmund A. Oliver R POW 10-Jul-43 Paris (with Crew#12)
S/Sgt Steve Bosser BT CPT 1944 --
S/Sgt Paul A. Vrabec, Jr. WG CPT 24-Dec-43 --
S/Sgt Floyd P. Bullard TG CPT 24-Dec-43 --

On 10 July 1943, radio operator Ed Oliver flew with Crew #10 which was lost that day and Oliver became a POW. He was soon replaced on the crew by George Rudden from Crew #17 which went down over Kiel on 25 July. On 8 October 1943, William Williams flew with Crew #15 and went down over Bremen.

According to a letter from Vern Best in 1980, Mark Carnell suffered a broken arm in a bicycle accident on the field and was unable to fly for a considerable length of time. He was replaced by Bill Desanders whose crew (#17) had been lost on 25 July. Best also says that Paul Vrabec not only completed 25 missions but volunteered for five additional and finished those.

 Anthony Gospodar is now a practicing attorney in Breckenridge, Minnesota; and Vern Best is living in Glendale, Arizona.

 

Crew #11 -- A/C #425862 -- "Duration Plus Six" -- M.A.C.R. #678

1st Lt Roy F. Claytor P EVA 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
2nd Lt Raymond J. Nutting CP EVA 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
2nd Lt Oscar C. Amison, Jr. N POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
2nd Lt Kenneth R. Lorch B POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
T/Sgt John W. Burgin E EVA 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
S/Sgt Charles K. Bailey WG EVA 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
T/Sgt Steven S. Kopczewski R KIA 25-Jul-43 Keil (with Crew #17)
S/Sgt Robert H. Wussow BT KIA 8-Oct-43 Bremen
S/Sgt Joseph E. Kehoe WG -- -- --
S/Sgt Edward A. Musante TG KIA 17-Aug-43 Regensburg

On the Regensburg mission this crew was the lead crew of the second element of the low squadron. Wingmen were Ronald Braley and Thomas Hummel, both of whom also went down.

At 1020 a swarm of fighters attacked the low squadron over eastern Belgium and so severely damaged the aircraft that Claytor sounded the bailout alarm. Eight of the men aboard got out safely but Musante's chute caught on the horizontal stabilizer and, when the plane exploded in midair, or when it crashed, he was killed. A William M. Hinton, who was flying in place of Robert Wussow, apparently did not bail out he may have stayed too long to assist Musante  and was killed. Both Hinton and Musante were given a military funeral and were buried 20 August 1943 "on the Airdrone St. Trond." Hinton in grave #287 and Musante in grave #268.

Two other replacements flying on the crew that day were, William M. Quinn as radio operator and Clifford R. Starkey as tail gunner. Starkey became a POW but Quinn evaded capture and made it back to England.

Claytor, Nutting, Burgin and Bailey also were successful in evading capture and, after months with the underground, got back to England. Kenny Lorch was finally made a POW after hiding out nearly eight months.

It was the 10th mission for most of the crew but only number two for Hinton.p>When questioned, after the war, as to Musante, Claytor had this to say: "He was a strange boy and was frequently given to air sickness. I think he was actually afraid of the air. However, I mentioned having him removed from the crew several times but he always persuaded me to keep him. He seemed to be brave and courageous except I believe he had an inherent fear of the air. I admired him very much and have never seen him fail in anything but I do believe he was afraid to bail out."

 Charles Bailey's statement as regards Musante was as follows: "Musante was the RWG and I was the LWG. I always took a personal interest in him because I was older then he, and he seemed to depend on me to a great extent. He always had trouble hearing over the intercom and I always made it a point to be sure that he always understood the commands given over the intercom so when the pilot gave the command to bail out I checked with Musante and he started making preparations to bail out. We both went to the escape hatch and I pulled the emergency release, and Musante stepped up to jump, but for somee reason he changed his mind, and motioned for me to jump first. Because two engines were on fire, and the plane seemed to be going down fast, I. couldn't see any reason to waste more time, so I jumped. After my chute opened, I .tried to keep my eye on the plane to see how many chutes opened but all I could ever see was eight chutes.

The underground organization that helped me told me that one of the crew members was killed when the plane went down because his chute hung on the plane and from their description I knew it was Musante."

 

Crew #12 -- Aircraft #4230050 -- "Judy E" -- M.A.C.R, #268

1st Lt Charles L. Duncan P POW 10-Jul-43 Paris Le Bourget AF
2nd Lt Archibald L. Robertson CP EVA 10-Jul-43 Paris Le Bourget AF
1st Lt Oliver M. Chiesl N POW 10-Jul-43 Paris Le Bourget AF
1st Lt William H. Forbes B POW 10-Jul-43 Paris Le Bourget AF
T/Sgt Ernest De Los Santos E POW 10-Jul-43 Paris Le Bourget AF
S/Sgt Bernard I. Hanover WG POW 10-Jul-43 Paris Le Bourget AF
Pvt John K. Beard R CPT 24-Jan-44 --
S/Sgt Gene F. Frank BT POW 10-Jul-43 Paris Le Bourget AF
S/Sgt George R. Appleton WG -- -- --
S/Sgt William D. Whitley TG POW 10-Jul-43 Paris Le Bourget AF

Apparently George Appleton did not fly to England with this crew. The last page of Special Order #103 (which sent the 100th on its way overseas on 25 May 1943) shows one T/Sgt. James C. Brown assigned to Crew #12 apparently to replace George Appleton. Brown was KIA 28 April 1944 in aircraft flown by W. G. Lakin and Colonel Robert Kelly. Soon after arrival in England, it seems that Sgt. Parrish Reynolds joined the crew to replace Brown and Reynolds was flying as a waist gunner on 10 July. He became a POW.

Edmund Oliver from Crew #10 was flying as radio man in place of John Beard and became a POW.

According to Bill Forbes, the "Judy E" (named for Duncan's little daughter) was returning from the target when jumped by FW 190s. This was about at the channel coast near Dieppe and with #1 engine and the wing on fire Duncan gave the bailout order. All got out safely, but Ollie Chiesl was stuck in the nose escape hatch briefly and Forbes had to jump on him with both feet to kick him loose.

Bernard Hanover had been the first man in the 100th Group to be awarded a Purple Heart when he suffered a slight hand wound from flak over St. Nazaire on 28 June 1943. However, the honor of earning the first Purple Heart in the 100th Group has to go to one of the members of the three crews from the 349th Squadron who were lost on 25 June 1943.

 

Crew #13 -- Aircraft #4230068 -- "Phartzac"

1st Lt Norman H. Scott P -- -- --
2nd Lt Kenneth O. Blair CP -- -- --
1st Lt Donald L. Strout N -- -- --
1st Lt Norris G. Norman B -- -- --
T/Sgt James E. Parks E -- -- --
S/Sgt Blazier Paddy WG -- -- --
T/Sgt Norman M. Smith R KIA 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
S/Sgt Lewis D. Miller BT -- -- --
Pvt Britton I. Smith WG -- -- --
CP1 Jerome E. Ferroggiaro TG POW 8-Oct-43 Bremen

No record of the members of this crew, except for Ferroggiaro, following the Regensburg mission have been found. Several 100th Group vets who were on the base at the time, dimly recall that the crew was broken up and that some of the members may have gone to another group.

On the now famous Regensburg shuttle mission, this crew, with Squadron C.O. “Bucky” Cleven, led the low squadron of six aircraft. Only two of the six reached North Africa and "Phartzac", the aircraft flown by this crew, was badly mauled as detailed in the often quoted article, "I Saw Regensburg Destroyed" by Colonel Beirne Lay, Jr. (Saturday Evening Post, November 6, 1943):

"...Now, nearing the target, battle damage was catching up with him (Clever) fast. A 20mm. cannon shell penetrated the right side of his airplane and exploded beneath him, damaging the electrical system and cutting the top turret gunner in the leg. A second 20mm entered the radio compartment, killing the radio operator, who bled to death with his legs severed above the knees. A third 20mm. shell entered the left side of the nose, tearing out a section about two feet square tore away the right-hand-nose-gun installations and injured the bombardier in the head and shoulders. A fourth 20mm shell penetrated the right wing into the fuselage and shattered the hydraulic system, releasing fluid all over the cockpit. A fifth 20mm shell punctured the cabin roof and severed the rudder cables to one side of the rudder. A sixth 20mm shell exploded in the-#3 engine, destroying all controls to the engine. The engine caught fire and lost its power, but eventually the fire went out ...."

Exactly what transpired in the cockpit at this point is probably known only to Bucky Cleven and Norm Scott. Beirne Lay admitted in his article that the situation was such that abandonment of the plane was justified and that Scott and others wanted to bail out. According to Tay however, Cleven "using blunt language" overruled the bailout idea and "the B17 kept on".

This incident has been referred to in many WW II books and articles over the past 40 years and often the details have been warped and twisted. In one rather wellknown case it was inplied that Scott panicked and that Cleven's words to him were, "You sonofabitch, you're going to sit there and fly this airplane."

It does seem to us most unfortunate that somehow Scott and his crew have been painted with a derogatory brush. Testimony from those involved is very badly needed. We wish it were forthcoming.

 

Crew #14 -- A/C #423232 -- "Flak Happy" -- M.A.C.R. #676

1st Lt Ronald W. Hollenbeck P POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
F/O John L. Williams CP POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
2nd Lt Harold L. Weintraub N POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
2nd Lt Zeak M. Buckner, Jr. B POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
T/Sgt Rush S. Mintz E POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
S/Sgt William A. Rouse WG POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
T/Sgt Emile A. Reimherr R POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
S/Sgt John Q. Paciotti BT POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
S/Sgt Glen H. Keirsey WG POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
S/Sgt Thomas E. Flounders TG POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg

On the Regensburg mission, this crew was flying as left wingman to Norm Scott and "Bucky" Cleven who led the low squadron. Bennie Demarco was flying as right wingman and gives this account: "B17 #232 was hit in Bomb Bay and jettisoned its bombs fifteen minutes before the target. The bombs fell in a wooded area. It stayed with formation until we circled at Verona to pick up stragglers where it continued on Route alone. No. 4 engine feathered as aircraft pulled away. It appeared that one of the crew was injured and was being worked on in nose of aircraft. It is thought that this aircraft may have landed in Sardinia."

Glen Keirsey was taken prisoner but eventually escaped and made his way back to England. On 22 June 1944 in a statement to Military Intelligence Service ETO Glen gave the following statement:

"On August 17, 1943, at about 1300 hours near Ghedi, Italy and at approximately 3000 feet I bailed out. The ship had #3 and #4 engines shot out  the former was windmilling. The entire crew bailed out safely and the plane crashed into a mountain. The enlisted men all escaped from Camp 54, but Reimherr, Mintz, Paciotte and Flounders were soon recaptured. Rouse was not recaptured until 27 February 1944."

A 1979 letter from Bill Rouse reads as follows:

"August 17, 1943 (Regensburg), we were low squadron trail group. We made it over target, one engine out, badly shot up. We tried to go on to North Africa. We could not keep up with formation. All alone we tried for Switzerland. We were forced to bail out as we were unable to make Switzerland. We bailed out as soon as we cleared down to 3,500 feet over Milano, Italy. All of the crew were able to get out. We were picked up by German and Italian troops. I ended up in Camp 54 (POW) then escaped. I was picked up six months later and sent to Germany. I finally escaped in April 1945 and went back to England. I stayed in the Air Force for over 30 years and retired at Eglin A.F.B. Florida."

 

Crew #15 -- A/C #423233 -- "Our Baby" -- M.A.C.R. #950

1st Lt Bernard A. DeMarco P POW 8-Oct-43 Bremen
F/O James P. Thayer CP POW 8-Oct-43 Bremen
1st Lt John W. Downs N POW 8-Oct-43 Bremen
2nd Lt Francis C. Harper B POW 8-Oct-43 Bremen
T/Sgt Benjamin J. Barr E POW 8-Oct-43 Bremen
Cpl Leo T. Callahan WG POW 21-Feb-44 Brunswick
Cpl Thornton Stringfellow R POW 8-Oct-43 Bremen
S/Sgt Albert M. Freitas BT POW 28-Apr-44 Sottevast-Noball
S/Sgt Harry C. Calhoun WG POW 8-Oct-43 Bremen
S/Sgt Leon A. Castro TG -- -- Appointed Aviation Cadet

On the Bremen mission Leo Callahan, Albert Freitas and Leon Castro had been replaced by Jerome Ferroggiaro (from Crew #13), William J. Williams (from Crew #10), and William R. Woodbury (a replacement gunner).

The crew, with "Bucky" Cleven, Squadron Commander, aboard, was leading the 350th on the mission and was hit by flak and fighters over the target. All eleven aboard reached the ground safely but three suffered slight injury on landing. Stringfellow's parachute canopy caught in a tree and his body swung into the trunk of the tree causing fracture of several ribs.

Several farmers with pitchforks were soon at the tree and escorted Thornton to a nearby village where the rest of the crew were gathered. The enlisted men spent the balance of the war at Stalag 17B, Krems, Austria where they were later joined by Leo Callahan and Albert Freitas.

Site of the crew's capture was Essen/Assen, Germany, not far from Oldenburg. For most of the crew, it was the 16/18 mission.

Sometime before this final mission, Leon Castro, tail gunner, had been appointed an Aviation Cadet and returned to the U.S.A. for training.

 

 Crew #16 -- A/C #4230070 -- "Tweedle O' Twill" -- M.A.C.R. #679

1st Lt Ronald W. Braley P POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
2nd St Walter Trenchard CP POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
2nd Lt John E. Fawcett N POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
1st Lt Thomas D. Carlton B POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
T/Sgt Joseph E.   POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
S/Sgt Charles C. Grissom WG POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
T/Sgt James R. Bair R KIA 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
S/Sgt Donald G. Ruggles BT POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
S/Sgt Elm E. White WG POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
S/Sgt Phil W. Ong TG POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg

Riddled by 20mm shells and with #1 engine and tail section on fire, the crew, except for Sgt. Bair, bailed out near Tauberbischofsheim (a suburb of Wurzburg) about 125 miles before the target.

The radio operator, James Bair, had been wounded earlier, over Holland when the first wave of fighters struck, but was still firing his guns when struck in the chest by a 20-mm and instantly killed. Following his capture, Sgt. Grissom was taken by the Germans to the wreckage of the aircraft and identified Bair's remains by a belt buckle and a Catholic medal.

Ong was wounded in lower back by flak and Elmo White had a bullet wound through his leg. Trenchard suffered a broken ankle and Sgt. Grissom a fractured vertebrae. All recoverd from their injuries.

This crew, flying as wingman in the second element of the low squadron, was truly "tailend Charlie" on the Regensburg mission and was almost constantly under enemy fighter attack for over an hour before having to abandon the aircraft.
 

Crew #17 -- A/C #425867" -- Alice From Dallas" -- M.A.C.R. #117

1st Lt William D. Desanders P CPT 1944 --
2nd Lt William J. Styles CP POW 25-Jul-43 Warnemunde Keil
2nd Lt Calvin H. Defevre N KIA 25-Jul-43 Warnemunde Keil
2nd Lt William E. Griffith B KIA 25-Jul-43 Warnemunde Keil
T/Sgt Lester I. Berg E KIA 25-Jul-43 Warnemunde Keil
S/Sgt Charles J. Mayville WG KIA 25-Jul-43 Warnemunde Keil
T/Sgt George L. Rudden R CPT -- (With Crew #10)
S/Sgt Norman C. Eddy BT KIA 25-Jul-43 Warnemunde Keil
Pvt Robert D. Lepper WG POW 25-Jul-43 Warnemunde Keil
S/Sgt Maynard T. Parsons TG POW 25-Jul-43 Warnemunde Keil

On July 25, 1943, Bill Desanders was either ill or on leave and Captain Richard Carey, Operations Officer of the 350th, flew in his stead and became a POW. Another replacement on the crew this day was T/Sgt. Steven S. Kopczewski, the regular radio operator on Crew #11. He was killed in action.

Unable to bomb Warnemunde, the primary target, the Group flew to Keil where intense flak was met. Plane was so damaged by flak that Captain Carey decided to ditch in the sea. All crew except for pilot and copilot were in radio room when ship hit the water.

Apparently, Parsons and Lepper, both of whom were wounded, got out of the overhead hatch but the others in the radio noon were trapped and went down with the ship which rapidly sank. A subsequent report by William Styles said that, "Griffith was struggling to get out of hatch as the plane was sinking, that is the last I saw of him."

During a search for survivors, Danish fishermen found the body of Sgt. Kopczewski but, after making certain of death, left it in the water.

Carey, Styles, Lepper and Parsons were picked up by a Danish fishing boat and the latter two were taken to a hospital in Schleswig. It was mission #8 for this crew who were flying in "Duration Plus Six" and not their regular plane, "Alice From Dallas".


 Crew #18 -- A/C #42 5878 -- M.A.C.R. #843

1st Lt Harold B. Helstrom P POW 4-Oct-43 Hanau
F/0 Hubert E. Trent CP EVA 4-Oct-43 Hanau
2nd Lt Harold E. Curtice N POW 4-Oct-43 Hanau
2nd Lt Hilbert W. Phillippe B POW 4-Oct-43 Hanau
T/Sgt Robert C. Giles E EVA 4-Oct-43 Hanau
Pvt Joseph Shandor WG EVA 4-Oct-43 Hanau
T/Sgt Carroll F. Haarup R EVA 4-Oct-43 Hanau
S/Sgt Charles C. Sprague BT CPT 1944 --
S/Sgt Charles E. Crippen WG POW 4-Oct-43 Hanau
S/Sgt Thomas F. Mezynski TG EVA 4-Oct-43 Hanau

On this mission to Hanau, Sgt. Sprague's position was taken by S/Sgt. William D. Edwards who became a POW.

The Missing Air Crew Report does not disclose the reason that this ship left formation. An eyewitness, 2nd Lt. W. G. Lakin, statesin the M.A.C.R. as follows:

"Captain Helstrom's ship was last seen as the Group formation dispersed to go down through the undercast just off the coast of England Southwest of London on the route back. The ship peeled off in a normal manner and seemed under perfect control."

In a phone conversation with the writer in 1980, Joe Shandor related that enemy action had knocked out one engine of their ship and damaged another and that they crash landed near Caen, France.

All ten of the crew got out safely and they burned the aircraft. Joe was hidden by the French undergound until January 1944, and then walked over the Pyrenees into Spain and thence to England.

Giles, Haarup and Mezynski also were successful EVAs. Phillippe was loose in France for a long period of time but was finally captured by the Germans.

Joe Shandor has written a very interesting account of his experiences with the French underground and his eventual return to Thorpe Abbotts. He is a current member of the 100th Bomb Group Association, and anyone interested should contact him.

 

THE 351st SQUADRON
Major John B. Kidd, C.O. (Retired as a Major General)

Crew #19 -- Aircraft #42 30080 -- "High Life"

1st Lt Donald K. Oakes P INT 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
F/O Joseph C. Harper CP INT 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
2nd Lt Hiram E. Harris, Jr. N INT 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
2nd Lt Howard G. Ball B POW 3-Mar-44 Berlin
T/Sgt George W. Elder E INT 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
S/Sgt Nolan D. Stevens WG INT 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
T/Sgt James P. Scott R INT 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
S/Sgt Leslie D. Nadeau BT INT 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
S/Sgt Leonard P. Goyer WG INT 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
Cpl Vincent E. McGrath TG INT 17-Aug-43 Regensburg

On a mission to Le Bourget AF in Paris on 10 July, Hiram Harris and Howard Ball were wounded when the ship was attacked by fighters. Harris' wound did not require hospitalization but Ball was in the hospital for a long period of time, and upon discharge, went to another crew. This crew was lost and Ball became a POW. Ball's place on Crew #19 was taken by 2nd Lt. Lloyd A. Hammarlund who was INT with the others.

This is believed to be the first American bomber to have landed in Switzerland but it was followed by many more before war's end.

Some time before reaching the target, according to a statement made by Oakes, "A 20-mm shell exploded in the number three nacelle, cutting the throttle cable and starting a heavy oil leak. I then feathered the prop. The ball turret gunner then advised me there was a heavy oil leak in the number two engine. The plane could not keep up with the formation and I landed the plane at the nearest field, wheels up, on the belly. We did not have time to burn the plane as it was immediately surrounded by soldiers. Myself and the rest of the crew were INT."

On page 69 of The Mighty Eighth, by Roger A. Freeman, there is a good photo of "High Life" at rest on the Swiss air field. According to Joe Harper, the plane took its name from the very popular beer.

The February, 1983 issue of "Splasher Six" contains a very fine story of this crew's last mission by Jim Scott.
 
Crew #20 -- Aircraft #42 30051
1st Lt Robert C. Pearson P POW 4-Jul-43 La Pallice
2nd Lt Melville G. Boyd, Jr. CP POW 4-Jul-43 La Pallice
1st Lt Bruce T. Rinker N POW 4-Jul-43 La Pallice
2nd Lt John L. Dunbar B EVA 4-Jul-43 La Pallice
T/Sgt Jack M. Goss E POW 4-Jul-43 La Pallice
S/Sgt Lonnie B. Rutledge WG POW 4-Jul-43 La Pallice
T/Sgt Randall G. Villa R POW 4-Jul-43 La Pallice
Sgt Everett J. Moore BT POW 4-Jul-43 La Pallice
S/Sgt John T. Westwood WG POW 4-Jul-43 La Pallice
S/Sgt Albert N. Purcell TG POW 4-Jul-43 La Pallice

On this mission, the fifth flown by the Hundredth, this crew became the fourth loss of the Group.

Lt. Thomas E. Murphy gave the following eyewitness account:

"#1 (Pearson) of 2nd Element approximately three miles from target and slightly behind other formation. The formation turned slightly to left but Pearson turned slightly to the right and down. #2 & 3 A/C of this Element followed, throttled back and over ran Pearson. He motioned for #2 & 3 A/C to go ahead. This left #2 & 3 in rear of formation and these A/C proceeded to catch up. All during this time Pearson had bomb bays open. Pearson descended turning and heading west over water. All engines were turning. No props feathered or engines smoking. He descended very rapidly."

Lt. Victor Fienup, also an eyewitness, stated, "I saw 051 release bombs short of target, do a 180 degree turn and lose altitude. Reason unknown."

In a letter dated 9 February 1980, Albert Purcell sheds greater light on the problems met with over La Pallice:

"...As we started our bomb run, both inboard engines went out at the same time, which accounted for our loss of altitude so fast. Jack Goss (our engineer) told me later that the two engines lost power at the sane time for no apparent reason. We dropped our bombs over the water and, as I understood, we were trying to make it to Spain. At this point ME 109s attacked us from the rear and knocked out another engine  with only one left we were ordered to bail out. We did shoot down two MEs.

After the tail gunner, I was the third or fourth man out. As I floated down, I watched the plane crash and burn on the small island (Ile D' Oleron). Pearson landed in the water, Boyd broke an arm landing, Dunbar was lucky, the French hid him and he escaped capture. I had just enough time to roll up my chute before being picked up. The rest of the crew were picked up along with me. As for the engine failure, Jack Goss gave me details at the time and strongly believed our fuel had been somehow sabotaged."

In The Story of the Century, page 132, Jack M. Goss appears in the list of those killed in action. This is obviously an error. He, with the other enlisted men of the crew, was a kriegie in Stalag 17 B. John Dunbar did get back to England via the Pyrenees and Spain.
 

Crew #21 -- Aircraft #42 30086 -- "Blackjack"
1st Lt Victor E. Fienup P POW 3-Sep-43 Paris Renault plant
2nd Lt Eugene V. Mulholland CP EVA 3-Sep-43 Paris Renault plant
1st Lt Paul Pascal N EVA 3-Sep-43 Paris Renault plant
2nd Lt Blanton G. Barnes B POW 3-Sep-43 Paris Renault plant
T/Sgt Roy A. Evenson E POW 3-Sep-43 Paris Renault plant
Pvt Marvin Miller WG KIA 3-Sep-43 Paris Renault plant
S/Sgt Walter L. Probst R CPT -- --
S/Sgt Norman D. Kreitenstein BT EVA 3-Sep-43 Paris Renault plant
S/Sgt Smith J. Young WG KIA 10-Oct-43 Munster
S/Sgt Charles T. Daniels TG KIA 3-Sep-43 Paris Renault plant

On 3 September 1943, Walter Probst was replaced by T/Sgt Charles F. Wright and Smith Young was replaced by S/Sgt. Robert H. Brown. Both Wright and Brown succeeded in bailing out and became POWs. Walter Probst subsequently completed his tour of 25 missions but Smith J. Young was killed in action on the Munster mission of 10 October 1943.

Young was flying with the crew of Lt. Maurice Beatty and his body was found in the Waal River near Doornenburg, Holland. He was buried at Doornenburg cemetery "community Bemmel" on 13 October in "7th raw, 8th grave."

As the 100th reached Paris, it was found that the primary target, the Renault Works, was obscured. Flak was very heavy and the group lead was knocked out of formation. His place was taken by the deputy leader and the formation proceeded to the secondary target  Beaumont Le Roger AF  about 60 miles west of Paris.

There are conflicting accounts as to exactly what occurred but the consensus seems to be that, while on the bomb run, the plane flown by Lt. Richard King (Crew #26) received a direct flak burst amidships and suddenly moved upward striking the ship of Crew #23 which exploded.

Crew #21 may have been involved in this mid air collision as one of its crew men stated that "the ship on our right wing crashed into our tail surfaces". This may have caused the` death of tail gunner, Marvin Miller. With the plane uncontrollable, Fienup gave the bail out order and all except Miller got out. Daniels was badly wounded prior to jumping and an eyewitness saw one chute from this plane "burst intro flames". Germans also said that "Daniels had come down without a full chute. He was buried in the Souvernix Francais Evreux cemetery Grave 220, Row 7."
 
Crew #22 -- Aircraft #42 5864 -- "Piccadilly Lily"
1st Lt Thomas E. Murphy P KIA 8-Oct-43 Bremen
2nd Lt Marshall F. Lee CP KIA 8-Oct-43 Bremen
2nd Lt Charles C. Sarabun N POW 8-Oct-43 Bremen
2nd Lt Floyd C. Peterson B POW 8-Oct-43 Bremen
T/Sgt John J. Ehlen E POW 8-Oct-43 Bremen
S/Sgt Albert C. Davis WG CPT -- --
Sgt Emmett H. Evans R CPT -- Transferred to Armament July 1943
S/Sgt Cleveland D. Jarvis BT   -- --
S/Sgt Michael Rotz WG POW -- --
S/Sgt Gerald O. Robinson TG POW 8-Oct-43 Bremen

A few days before this October 8th mission, Al Davis and Emmett Evans had finished their tour of 25 missions and were replaced on this mission by Derrell Piel, the radio operator of Crew #26, and Elder Dickerson, the regular waist gunner of Crew #25, both of whom were killed by flak.

For Piel, who had lost his crew on 3 September, this was about the sixteenth mission and for Dickerson, whose crew had finished its 25 missions, it was the 25th.

Cleveland Jarvis had gone AWOL on 15 July and was in the Brig for a time. When released he was transferred to Armament and replaced on the crew by Reed Hufford. Hufford bailed out and was taken prisoner. Michael Rotz had been injured in a truck/jeep accident in June and was hospitalized for a month or so. His place on the crew was taken by S/Sgt. Aaron A. David. There is some confusion as to whether David jumped without a chute or whether he was blown out of the aircraft and his chute failed to open. After release from POW camp, Robinson stated, "I was in a truck in Bremen that night when the Germans picked up quite a few dead Americans. Can't say for sure, but believe Sgt. David was one of them."

This crew led the 100th on the mission and Captain Alvin L. Barker, at that time 351st Squadron Operations Officer, flew in the left hand seat. Marshall Lee flew as the ball turret man to better observe the formation and report to Murphy and Barker. Lee apparently was killed after leaving the ball turret to go to the aid of the pilot and co pilot.

A minute or two after bomb release, the ship was hit by flak which damaged the navigator's compartment and caused fire in #3 engine and failure of oxygen system. "The ship went into a steep dive and exploded   four chutes were seen."

On 15 October at the Post cemetery, Wesermuende, Germany, the remains of Murphy, Barker, Lee, Piel and Dickerson were interred in graves 103 through 10

Crew #23 -- Aircraft #42 30059 -- "Barker's Burdens" -- M.A.C.R. #685

1st Lt Alvin L. Barker P KIA 08-Oct-43 Bremen (With Crew #22)
2nd Lt Charles W. Floyd, Jr. CP KIA 03-Sep-43 Paris
2nd Lt Robert N. Rosenburg N POW 03-Sep-43 Paris
2nd Lt Frank C. Coon B POW 03-Sep-43 Paris
T/Sgt Willis H. Stroud E      
S/Sgt Edwin I. Morgan WG POW    
T/Sgt Theodore W. Price R KIA 03-Sep-43 Paris
S/Sgt Robyn P. Fulton BT POW 06-Mar-43 Berlin (With G. W. Brannan crew)
S/Sgt John K. Williams WG KIA 03-Sep-43 Paris
S/Sgt John M. Neal TG KIA 03-Sep-43 Paris

On 3 September 1943, clouds obscured the primary target, the Renault plant in Paris, so the formation proceeded to its secondary target   the Beaumont le Roger Airdrome. There are conflicting accounts as to exactly what occurred, but the consensus seems to be that, while on the bomb run, the plane flown by Richard King (Crew #26) received a direct flak burst amidships and suddenly moved upwards striking the tail section of the ship flown by Crew #23. King's ship then rapidly lost altitude and the plane carrying Crew #23 exploded in mid air. One or more bombs released by Floyd's plane may have struck King's aircraft.

Of interest in this regard is the following statement given by Robert Rosenburg many months after the event:

"The target, the Renault Works at Paris, was hidden by cloud when our group reached the target area. Flak was relatively heavy and fairly accurate. Our Group commander was knocked out of the formation and during the ensuing period in which the deputy commander moved into the group lead our plane was hit in the number three engine. Through skillful flying, Lts. Floyd and Boyd were able to keep control and maintain our position, No. 3, low squadron, low group. As we proceeded away from the target area to the secondary target at Evreux, German fighters joined the attack. We reached Paris at 0845 but did not leave until almost 0900. The fighters succeeded in sending many bullets through the plane without causing any injury to any crew members or any material damage to the plane.

"At about 0920 I began re loading the nose guns from the ammunition case on which I was sitting while the bombardier kept a sharp lookout. I had finished loading two of the guns when the pilot began to say something over the intercom. Before he could finish speaking, he, the copilot and bombardier apparently saw German fighters re foaming to renew the attack. I began firing the right nose gum at an incoming fighter and while so engaged felt the plane jump violently. Observers whom I met later tell me that a plane salvaged its bombs from the high squadron just before it blew up.. One of the bombs hit our already damaged and feathered #3 engine and caused our plane to maneuver into the plane of the flight leader (This was Lt. V. Fienup--Crew #21), from which plane, already on fire, the crew members were bailing out. Our plane was now out of formation with the left wing tip and right mid-wing section ablaze. The pilot and co-pilot were still fighting and managing to retain a modicum of control. German fighters were closing in on us and everybody was concentrating on returning the fire of these oncoming ships. Word came across the intercom to abandon ship but before I could make a move, the ship seemingly exploded. I recovered consciousness four days later. We were not permitted any freedom while in the hospital at Paris but from what little I could learn, the bombardier, Frank C. Coon, and I were the only survivors. All the while we were imprisoned, we fruitlessly sought to learn of some small word of the fate of the rest of the crew."

Frank Coon was also blown out of the ship but recovered in time to pull the ripcord of his chute.

When Al Barker, regular pilot of this crew, was made Squadron Operations Officer, Charles Floyd moved from the co pilot's seat and Jack Boyd, who had flown overseas with the Group as a spare, became the co pilot. Boyd was KIA.

On 3 Sept. 1943, S/Sgt. Earl Griggs and Sgt. Dale Huffer were flying in place of regular crewmen, Willis Stroud and Robyn Fulton, and both were KIA.

Lt. Peter Theodore, Assistant Station Gunnery Officer and a very early member of the 100th Group, was under no duty or obligation to fly combat missions but he firmly believed that only by knowing at first hand the problems encountered by combat crew gunners could he be of help to them and gain their trust and respect. This was his fourth mission and he had demonstrated great courage and coolness in action. Flying in the position normally manned by Sgt. Edwin I. Morgan, Theodore was KIA.

Crew #24 -- Aircraft #42 30057 -- "Raunchy" -- M.A.C.R. #689

1st Lt Sam R. Turner P INT 6-Sep-43 Switzerland
2nd Lt William R. Freund CP INT 6-Sep-43 Switzerland
2nd It Morris Weinberg N INT 6-Sep-43 Switzerland
2nd Lt Vance R. Boswell B INT 6-Sep-43 Switzerland
T/Sgt Harold W. Smith E INT 6-Sep-43 Switzerland
S/Sgt Carter F. Thornton WG INT 6-Sep-43 Switzerland
T/Sgt Carmine A. Gallo R INT 6-Sep-43 Switzerland
S/Sgt Joseph F. Moloney BT KIA 6-Sep-43 Switzerland
S/Sgt Dewitt J. Weir WG INT 6-Sep-43 Switzerland
S/Sgt Norman F. Brett TG -- -- --

For the mission of 6 Sept 1943, Norman Brett's place was taken by Sgt. James E. Speakman who became an Internee. No further knowledge of Brett has come to light.

Sam Turner made the following statement regarding his crew's last flight:

"I crash landed on Lake Constance on 6/9/43 at 1030 hours approximately 1 1/4 miles from land. The plane remained afloat for about four minutes. The life rafts failed to work properly. The plane was completely demolished. After the plane crashed, I saw the ball turret gunner, who had been killed by a 20-mm shell. He was left in the plane. On 5/10/43 the plane was raised by the Swiss and the ball turret gunner was removed and buried."

Turner was slightly wounded in the chest by a 20-mm fragment. He was returned to the U.S. in March 1944.

Vance Boswell was more severely wounded and lost the use of his left arm and the sight in his left eye. He attempted escape from Switzerland but was captured and imprisoned for six months. A subsequent escape attempt was successful and he reached Thorpe Abbotts in February 1945. The irony was that a few weeks after his second escape, all internees were released and returned to their forces.

Morris Weinberg stated that Moloney was hit by a 20-mm between the shoulder blades sometime before reaching Switzerland. He was buried at Bad Ragaz and later removed to the American cemetery at Munsterlingen.

This was the crew's sixteenth mission.

Crew #25 -- Aircraft #42 30089 -- "Sunny"

1st Lt Glenn W. Dye P CPT 16-Sep-43 --
2nd Lt John H. Luckadoo CP CPT -- --
2nd Lt Timothy J. Cavanaugh N CPT -- --
2nd Lt Francis C. Chaney B CPT -- --
T/Sgt Victor R. Combs E CPT 16-Sep-43 --
S/Sgt Elder D. Dickerson WG KIA 8-Oct-43 Bremen (with Crew #22)
T/Sgt George E. Flanagan R CPT 16-Sep-43 --
S/Sgt Richard B. Cooke BT CPT 16-Sep-43 --
S/Sgt Donald O. Ellis WG CPT -- --
S/Sgt Leroy E. Baker TG CPT -- --

This was the first crew of the 100th Group to finish its tour of 25 sorties and qualify as "Lucky Bastards."

It is understood by this writer that Tim Cavanaugh and Francis Chaney were both killed in the crash of a B 29 not long after their return to the U.S.

Elder Dickerson was apparently a mission or two behind the rest of his crew. As the bitter ironies of war will have it, Elder was killed while on his 25th mission.

Crew #26 -- Aircraft #42 3234 -- "Little Mike" -- M.A.C.R. #684

1st Lt Richard C. King P KIA 3-Sep-43 Paris
F/O George D. Brykalski CP KIA 3-Sep-43 Paris
2nd Lt Ernest Anderson N POW 3-Sep-43 Paris
2nd Lt Edward H. Hovde B POW 3-Sep-43 Paris
T/Sgt Trafford L. Curry E EVA 3-Sep-43 Paris
S/Sgt Rudolph H. Harms BT KIA 3-Sep-43 Paris
T/Sgt Derrell C. Piel R KIA 8-Oct-43 Bremen (With crew #22)
S/Sgt Barney M. Sutton WG -- -- (See Below)
S/Sgt Donald E. Wise TG KIA 3-Sep-43 Paris
S/Sgt Heber Hogge, Jr WG POW 3-Sep-43 Paris

Barney Sutton had flown six or seven missions when he recieved an appointment as an Aviation Cadet and was returned to the U.S. for training. He became a Navigator and returned to the Eighth Air Force for duty with the 398th Bomb Group.

In a letter to this writer in 1979 Sutton had this to say: "The esprit de corp of the 398th was nothing to match that of the 100th. However, at that time the 100th had been shot down twice, and I feel sure the 398th had suffered also."

Sutton was replaced on the crew by Sgt. James M. Sides who became a POW on 3 September 1943. Derrell Piel was on sick leave on 3 September 1943 and his place was taken by T/Sgt. Robert L. McKnight from Crew #27. McKnight was KIA. Heber Hogge is authority for information that Edward Hovde was wounded in the left leg and had it amputated at the hip.

The .following statement was made by Trafford Curry who evaded capture and returned to England in early 1944:

"I was in the top turret at the time we were hit amidships by flak from the Paris area. Our A/C left the formation in a steep dive and when it leveled off several thousand feet below, I came out of my turret to see what was taking place. I quickly observed that the A/C was burning both in the bomb bay and the navigator's compartment. The A/C was very badly damaged and the fires were too far advanced to be extinguished. I put on my chute and when given the bail out order I tried to go out the navigator's hatch, but changed my mind when I saw the fire and smoke in that part of the A/C. I then went to the bomb bay and jumped through the flames that practically covered that area of the A/C.

Just before I jumped, I looked back and saw Lt. King and his copilot . adjusting their chutes. After my chute opened I saw several other chutes come from my A/C, but never knew who they were. The A/C disappeared still in level flight and I learned later that it crashed in a field several miles away, still in level flight but exploded soon after. I was not able to obtain any information about any of my crew members."

See Crew #21 and 23 (M.A.C.R. #685 & 686) for more information on this mission. Apparently there was contact made by three, and possibly four, of the 100th's A/C but the details are lacking.

Crew #27 -- Aircraft #42 30087 -- "Shack Rat"

1st Lt Jack R. Swartout P CPT -- --
F/0 Arch Drummond CP CPT -- --
2nd Lt Leonard P. Bull N CPT -- --
2nd Lt Albert D. Dahlgren B CPT -- --
T/Sgt Dorsett C. Bennett E CPT -- --
S/Sgt Hugh H. Smallwood WG CPT -- --
T/Sgt Robert L. McKnight R KIA 3-Sep-43 Paris (with Crew #26)
S/Sgt Harry A. Bonn BT CPT -- --
S/Sgt Joseph W. Weatherley WG (See Below) -- --
S/Sgt John M. Delaney TG CPT -- --

This was one of a very few crews from the "Original" 100th Group to finish its tour nearly intact.

After a few missions, Joe Weatherly had a recurrence of stomach ulcers and, as a consequence, removed from flying status. McKnight had the misfortune of serving as a substitute on the wrong day.

Arch Drummond eventually flew as pilot of his own crew.

 

THE 418th SQUADRON

Major Robert E. Flesher, Commander

Crew #28 -- Aircraft #42-30064 -- "Wild Cargo"

1st Lt Curtis R. Biddick P KIA 17-Aug-43 Regensburg (With Crew #30)
2nd Lt Hoyt L. Smith CP POW 10-Oct-43 Munster (With Crew #29)
2nd Lt Paul S. Warner N -- -- (See Below)
1st Lt Dan B. McKay B POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg (With Crew #30)
S/Sgt Glover E. Barney E POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg (With Crew #36)
T/Sgt Ross H. Breckeen WG -- -- --
T/Sgt Joseph P. Eigen R POW -- --
S/Sgt Roy L. Schellin BT SWA 10-Jul-43 Paris Le Bourget AF
S/Sgt John O. Stireman WG SWA 10-Jul-43 Paris Le Bourget AF
S/Sgt Alfred J. Vickers TG SWA 10-Jul-43 Paris Le Bourget AF

It appears that for some reason Lt. Paul Warner was grounded at Bangor, Maine and did not fly to England with the 100th.

On 17 August 1943, Bill Flesh, Pilot of Crew #30, was on pass in London so Curtis Biddick flew in his stead. Paul Englert, Bombardier of Crew #30, stayed at home so that Dan McKay could fly with his regular pilot.

Crew #29 -- Aircraft #42 3237 -- "Stymie" -- M.A.C.R. #1030

1st Lt Ernest A. Kiessling P -- -- (See Below)
F/O John F. Stephens CP POW 10-Oct-43 Munster
1st Lt David Solomon N POW 10-Oct-43 Munster (With Crew #32)
2nd Lt Stanley O. Morrison B KIA 25-Jun-43 Bremen (With Crew #1)
T/Sgt John Shay E POW 10-Oct-43 Munster
S/Sgt George F. Knolle WG POW 10-Oct-43 Munster
T/Sgt Max U. Drudge R POW 10-Oct-43 Munster
S/Sgt Frank S. Mazarka BT (See Below)    
S/Sgt Casimir A. Raczynski WG POW 10-Oct-43 Munster
S/Sgt William F. Young TG POW 10-Oct-43 Munster

On the first mission flown by the 100th Group on 25 June 1943, Louis Grate, regular bombardier of Crew #l, 349th Squadron, was replaced by Stanley Morrison. The occasion for this exchange is not apparent but it was unusual as exchange of personnel between squadrons was a rarity. Morrison's spot on his crew was filled by Lt. William J. Moore who became a POW on 10 October 1943.

David Solomon moved to Crew #32 to replace Harry Crosby when Crosby became Group Navigator and Lt. Rudolph Grum replaced Solomon on this crew. Grum became a POW on 10 October 1943.

Max Drudge and Carl E. Battin are authority for the information that Frank Mazarka did not actually fly overseas with the Group but was replaced on the crew by T/Sgt. Carl Battin several days prior to the overseas flight. Evidently S.O. #103 is, in this instance, erroneous. Battin became a POW on 10 October 1943.

In a 1979 letter to this writer, Max Drudge also stated that Ernest Kiessling "was grounded after 3 or 4 missions due to a surgical operation performed in England and John Stephen took over as pilot." It was probably at this time that Lt. Hoyt L. Smith came to the crew as co pilot from, his similar position with Crew #28.

After severe damage by flak and fighters it seems this crew made a belly landing. Max Drudge had been wounded by a 20-mm in his right wrist and hand and Battin had suffered a broken arm but the rest of the crew were unhurt.

Crew #30 Aircraft -- #42 30066 -- "Mug Wump" -- M.A.C.R. #675

1st Lt William R. Flesh P -- -- --
F/O Richard L. Snyder CP KIA 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
2nd Lt John C. Dennis N POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
1st Lt Paul R. Englert B POW 6-Sep-43 Stuttgart (With Crew #33)
T/Sgt Lawrence E. Godbey E KIA 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
S/Sgt Charles F. Vielbig WG -- -- --
T/Sgt Robert R. DeKay R KIA 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
S/Sgt Walter Halunka BT POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
S/Sgt William M. Blank WG POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
S/Sgt Clarence R. Bowlin TG POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg

On 17 August 1943, Bill Flesh was on leave in London and Curtis Biddick, pilot of Crew #28, replaced him. Biddick's regular bombardier, Dan McKay also replaced Paul Englert for this mission. Biddick was KIA and McKay, badly burned, became a POW.

Howard J. Brock, from Crew #35, flew in place of Charles Vielbig and was taken prisoner.

About 40 miles northwest of Regensburg, the A/C was hit in the right front of the nose and fuselage by a 20-mm burst which resulted in an oxygen fire and wounded Godbey in the shoulder and hip. Biddick and Snyder may have been wounded at that time also. The fire in the cockpit was very intense and Snyder was seen to crawl out of his window. He seems to have slipped off the wing and been hit by the horizontal stabilizer and reports as to whether his chute opened or not are conflicting. In his classic story of the Regensburg raid, Beirne Lay mentions this incident though he does not identify Snyder.

Many months later, this statement was given by John Dennis:

"The occupants of the nose, that is, the bombardier and I, were shut off by the oxygen blaze from others of the crew. The interphone was inoperative after the hit. Except for the co pilot we have no actual knowledge of the fate of the deceased members of the crew. All information is offered second hand. We (the bombardier and I) were both afire shortly after the hit making observation of secondary importance. I assume the fire was intense directly to the rear of the pilot and copilot forcing the latter out the. window, and trapping the pilot because of his size. It may be that the pilot was burned in making has way back to bail out. The bombardier and I saw what we believe to have been a foot above us in the hatch but since we were ablaze in making an exit through the fire it was but a fleeting and unreliable observation."

Both Dennis and McKay were badly burned and in hospital in Frankfort for many weeks. Some evidence indicated that Robert DeKay either delayed his jump too long and had been killed when the ship exploded or perhaps his chute did not open.

Crew #31 -- Aircraft #42 30062 -- "Bastard's Bungalow" -- M.A.C.R. #1028

1st Lt Charles B. Cruikshank P POW 10-Oct-43 Munster
2nd Lt Glenn E. Graham CP POW 10-Oct-43 Munster
1st Lt Frank D. Murphy N POW 10-Oct-43 Munster
2nd Lt August H. Gaspar B POW 10-Oct-43 Munster
T/Sgt Leonard R. Weeks E POW 10-Oct-43 Munster
S/Sgt James M. Johnson WG POW 10-Oct-43 Munster
T/Sgt Orlando E. Vincenti R KIA 10-Oct-43 Munster
S/Sgt Robert L. Bixler BT POW 10-Oct-43 Munster
S/Sgt Charles A. Clark WG KIA 10-Oct-43 Munster
S/Sgt Donald B. Garrison TG POW 10-Oct-43 Munster

On this, the 21st mission for the crew, fighter attack, after bombs were away, caused severe fire in area of radio room. Apparently Vincenti was fighting the fire and was badly burned. He may have bailed out with chute aflame. Garrison saw both James Johnson and Robert Bixler wounded and in waist of plane. Ship blew apart throwing Garrison out.

Apparently Clark was having difficulty getting his escape hatch open (he was flying as tail gunner) and was probably killed when plane blew apart.

German records show that Sgt. Charles A. Clark was interred on 11 October 1943 at Lienen Cemetery/Wesph., Northwestern third of cemetery, southern grave.

O. E. Vincenti northern grave " (probably entirely burnt since ID tag was found burnt too)".

Crew #32 -- Aircraft #42 30071 -- "Skipper"

1st Lt John D. Brady P POW 10-Oct-43 Munster
2nd Lt John L. Hoerr CP POW 10-Oct-43 Munster
2nd Lt Harry H. Crosby N CPT -- --
2nd Lt Howard B. Hamilton B POW 10-Oct-43 Munster
Pvt Adolph Blum E POW 10-Oct-43 Munster
S/Sgt Harold E. Clanton WG KIA 10-Oct-43 Munster
S/Sgt Saul Levitt R -- -- Transferred to "Yank" Magazine staff
Pvt Roland D. Gangwer BT POW 10-Oct-43 Munster
S/Sgt James A. McCusker WG POW 10-Oct-43 Munster
S/Sgt George J. Petrohelos TG POW 10-Oct-43 Munster

Early in October this crew, with 18 or 19 missions to its credit, was slated for some well earned and needed R&R. However, the loss of seven crews over Bremen on 8 October, left the group short of combat airmen and orders for Crew 32's rest leave were cancelled.

Some weeks prior to this, Saul Levitt had been injured in a jeep/truck accident on base and upon recovery was transferred to the staff of Yank magazine. Saul later had a brilliant career as a writer. His career was ended by a fatal heart attack in 1977 at age 66. Saul was replaced on the crew by T/Sgt. Joseph E. Hafer who had flown overseas with the 100th as an un assigned crewman.

For some reason Harry Crosby did not fly with the crew on the Munster mission and his place was taken by David Solomon, the regular navigator on Crew #29.

Crew #32 led this 10 October mission and Major John C. Egan, the 418th C.O., flew in the right hand seat.

At about the I.P. the aircraft, "Mlle Zig Zig" (they did not fly "Skipper" this day) was hit by flak which killed Sgt. Clanton and badly wounded Howard Hamilton and Roland Gangwer.

The crew, including John Egan, Sgt. Hafer and Lt. Solomon, succeeded in bailing out and became prisoners. Hamilton and Gangwer spent :many weeks in the hospital.

A post war statement by John Brady reads, "Sgt. Clanton's body was brought into Munster by the Germans two days later. My copilot and I carried his body around for the Germans and the last place I saw him was in a demolished garage where he was to be prepared for burial."

Of the 13 Hundredth Group aircraft to reach the I.P. this day, 12 were lost to enemy action and only one, that flown by Rosie Rosenthal, returned to Thorpe Abbotts.

Crew #33 -- Aircraft #42 5860 -- "Escape Kit" -- M.A.C.R. #688

1st Lt Edgar F. Woodward, Jr. P POW 6-Sep-43 Stuttgart
F/O John H. Thompson CP POW 6-Sep-43 Stuttgart
2nd Lt Emanuel A. Cassimatis N POW 6-Sep-43 Stuttgart
2nd Lt Robert E. Dibble B KIA 15-Aug-43 Merville AF, France
T/Sgt Frank Danella E POW 6-Sep-43 Stuttgart
S/Sgt Donald H. Fletcher WG POW 6-Sep-43 Stuttgart
T/Sgt Melvin E. Gaide R POW 6-Sep-43 Stuttgart
S/Sgt George A. Janos BT POW 6-Sep-43 Stuttgart
S/Sgt Charles J. Griffin WG POW 6-Sep-43 Stuttgart
S/Sgt William D. Brooks TG POW 6-Sep-43 Stuttgart

On 6 September 1943, Lt. Paul L. Englert whose crew (#30) had gone down on the Regensburg mission was flying with this crew as bombardier and is listed as a POW.

Records do not reveal exactly what happened to this crew and their plane but the following eyewitness reports are found in the Missing Aircrew Report:

"Saw Woodward's ship going down at 4830 N 0803 E at 0929. #2 engine was windmilling. Everything else seed to be OK."

Walter U. Moreno, 1st Lt.

"Saw Capt. Woodward's A/C turn out of formation under control and headed for Switzerland. Nothing seemed wrong with A/C."

John D. Brady, 1st Lt.

"A/C #402 at 0930 approximately 2 miles north of Strasbourg salvoed bombs into woods. Headed south and went under cloud deck. All engines turning over. No E/A or AA at this time."

Gale W. Clevin, Maj.

Crew #35 -- Aircraft #42 30061 -- "Just-a- Snappin"

1st Lt Everett E. Blakely P CPT -- --
2nd Lt Charles A. Via, Jr. CP SWA 8-Oct-43 Bremen
1st Lt Joseph H. Payne N KIA 28-Apr-44 Sottevast (Noball)
2nd Lt James R. Douglass B CPT -- --
T/Sgt Howard J. Brock E POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg (With Crew #30)
T/Sgt Monroe B. Thornton WG CPT -- --
T/Sgt Edmund G. Forkner R CPT -- --
S/Sgt John L. Olson BT   -- --
S/Sgt Lyle E. Nord WG KIA 29-May1-944 Leipzig
S/Sgt Lester W. Saunders TG KIA 8-Oct-43 Bremen

A 1981 letter to this writer from Malcolm Maddran (Crew #36) indicated that John L. Olson, after flying a number of missions with this crew, may have been transferred to another Group.

 Crew #36 -- Aircraft #42 30063 -- "Picklepuss" -- M.A.C.R. #677

Capt Robert M. Knox P KIA 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
2nd Lt John 0. Whitaker CP KIA 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
2nd Lt Ernest E. Warsaw N POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
2nd Lt Edwin F. Tobin B POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
T/Sgt Carl T. Simon E POW 16-Sep-43 Bordeaux (With Crew of R.H. Wolff)
S/Sgt Malcolm K. Maddran WG -- -- (See Below)
T/Sgt Walter Paulsen R POW 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
S/Sgt Frank W. Tychewicz BT KIA 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
S/Sgt Joseph F. Laspada WG KIA 17-Aug-43 Regensburg
S/Sgt Henry A. Norton TG KIA 17-Aug-43 Regensburg

While in Puerto Rico during his first hitch in the Air Corps, Malcolm Maddran had contracted amoebic dysentary and this disease continued to plague him while with the 100th. At the time of Regensburg he was in hospital and, after flying to Schweinfurt in October 1943, he was grounded.

On 17 August 1943, Maddran was replaced on the crew by Sgt. Alexander Markowski who was KIA. Carl Simon was replaced by Glover Barney, regular engineer of Crew #28, who became a POW.

Shot down by an enemy fighter, the aircraft crashed at "Herbesthal Lontzen  500 meters W Schmalgraf". The six dead were interred at the Cemetery of Honor, Eupen in Section 16, Graves 218, 219, 220, 221, 222 and 232.

Much has been written about the "Legend" of the 100th Bomb Group being "picked on" or singled out by the Luftwaffe for punishment because a 100th Group B 17 had, during the Regensburg raid, pulled out of formation with battle damage and then lowered its wheels in a supposed token of surrender. Then, when approached by several Luftwaffe fighter aircraft, its gunners were supposed to have opened fire and shot down several of the German planes.

It has been widely reported (even by a crew member) that the aircraft in question was that of Robert Knox.

Most of us who were active with the 100th Group at the time of the Regensburg mission realized the silliness of this fanciful tale and it is finally being exposed as the fairy tale that it is. In his forthcoming book about the Regensburg/Schweinfurt mission, Martin Middlebrook gives the true facts of the situation which may have given rise to the "Legend".

Middlebrook has located and interviewed the B 17 pilot (not from the 100th Group) who was involved in a "wheels down" incident during the mission and, perhaps of greater importance in putting the Legend to rest, he has located and interviewed the German fighter pilot who shot down "Picklepuss", aircraft #42 30063.