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Group History

Bowman Diary Page 03

Bowman Diary - Page 03
 Page 1   Page 2   Page 3   Page 4   Page 5   Page 6  Page  7   Page 8   Page 9   Page 10

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

 Aug 1, 1943

A quiet Sunday, with most of the combat personnel on leave - taken to Norwich and London by truck to avoid further complicating the British rail congestion of the August Bank Holiday. No flying except a couple of slow timers. A wonderful day with a breeze.

Aug 2, 1943

A dozen trucks departed this morning to bring back the Combat Crews, who must be on the base by nightfall. (Whether this presages coming operations or is the result of outraged protests from London and Norwich, we don't know yet. )

This afternoon, Lt. Roane escaped disaster by an eyelash when his left main gear folded near the end of the runway, as he was landing from a practice flight. No one was hurt except the good ship Laden Maiden, which will be in the hospital for some time.

Aug 3, 1943

A quite day - in the afternoon Major Shaw visited Wing to confer with Colonel Norcross about PRO reports.

Aug 4, 1943

Colonel Harding presented Air Medals to 37. The Colonel spoke of the planning of our missions, the object and effect, and gave some interesting observations concerning the probable course of the war in the immediate future. Major Standish read a letter of commendation to the Combat Crews of the 8th AF from Lt. General Jacob J. Denvers, General Ira Baker and Air Marshall Sir Harry Portal.

Aug 5, 6, 7, 1943

Capt. Bowman and Lt. Mackesey on leave. No missions

Aug 8, 1943

Everything still grounded by weather over the continent. Today Major Cleven with a number of men who aspired to be combat crewmen was attacked over the field by half a dozen roaming P-47's. The Major dog fought with them all over the sky - a beautiful piece of flying. Some of his passengers decided to stay on the ground from here out. Real Texas cloudburst tonight.

Aug 9, 1943

Lt. Huber brought over Doris Flesson of the "Womans Home Companion" on a good will jaunt. They stayed for dinner and left praising the 100th's mess as all visitor do. The Group was alerted toward midnight.

Aug 10, 1943

Group took off at 0730 hours on what was to have been the "Big Mission" which was scrubbed for weather about one hour out. Combat Crews were given a special talk by Colonel Harding on their return. His subject: special security procedures regarding this abort, which will be flown when the weather permits. Meanwhile everyone is restricted to the post.

Aug 11, 1943

Presentation of awards - some 70 Air Medals given, four for destruction of enemy aircraft, one to Major John C. Egan for heroism in action, saving the life of Sgt. Shay, who lost his oxygen system, and the remaining 65 for completing five missions. Major Egan received a Oak Leaf Cluster to his medal for completing five missions as well. Combat Crews are starting to look like "Ole Campaigners," many who have Good Conduct, Pearl Harbor and other medals are hard pressed to find space for the additional decorations. The "Paddlefoot Brigade" is stressing the ETO ribbon this season.

Aug 12, 1943

The first mission in some time. Group briefed for Wesseling (Primary) and Bonn. They were forced by weather to take the secondary target (Bonn) and photos indicated considerable damage. Fighter opposition nil and only meager flak. This mission was the 15th straight for Lt. Glen Dye, who holds the Group record - has flown every mission and diversion to date. What a record!!

Aug 13, 1943

Purple Heart awarded to Lt. Robert E. Dibble, bombardier who was wounded over Hannover. Exploding shell drove glass into his face, fortunately his eyes were not injured. Colonel Kesseler presented the award and remarked, "Young man, this is the last one of these I want to give you. " Thanking the Colonel, Lt. Dibble replied, "I sure don't want another one, Colonel. "

Aug 14, 1943

Group ran a beautiful milk run today. Purely a trick mission designed to draw the Luftwaffe up so that our P-47's could attack them. Group flew 20 to 30 miles off Belgian Coast, then returned. No bombs carred, no flak and no fighters, the boys really enjoyed this one - would that all their trips could be so care free.

Aug 15, 1943

A late in the day raid on Merrville and Lille, France. Notable both in the number of B-17s taking part and the fact the 100th suffered its first visible death in action. Today's causality was Lt. Robert E. Dibble (See Aug 13th, 43 entry) of Bangor, Michigan, killed when a piece of flak came the nose of The Poontang of which he was the bombardier. Lt. Cassimatis, Navigator tried to give aid, but was unable to save Dibble's life - he was dead when the ship landed at Thorpe Abbotts. Many of the crews asking about Flak Vests of which they have read - some thought it would have perhaps saved Dibble. He had only two day prior received the Purple Heart - all pleased that he received the decoration before Jerry got him.

Aug 16, 1943

Most of the day filled with alarms and excursions regarding the mission projected for tomorrow - general impression is both Zebra and Sunflower will be attacked tomorrow. Base on full alert, late in the day. Crew warned to prepare canteens, extra rations, arms, shelter halves, iron rations and other ominous articles. Afraid it is real.

Aug 17, 1943 (Regensburg)

Hunch was correct. The Group took off, maximum strength at 0730 hours on the long awaited shuttle trip to North Africa. Twenty-one (21) aircraft took off - Major Kidd leading, Major Egan second in command, Major Cleven and Major Veal led their Squadrons. A good many eggs in one basket. The Bombardier and Navigator had been studying the target for week, but did not know it's name or location until the briefing. Objective was characterized in the annex to the Field Order as "The most important ever bombed anywhere. " Entire station is sweating this one out - Doris Flesson back on the field with Walter Logan of UP to interview the crews when they return - expected in three days.

Aug 18, 1943

No new directly from our Combat Crews. Bomber Command has word from Colonel Curtis LeMay, who led mission, that the target was destroyed - we know that the boys got to the target and LeMay's plane at least reached North Africa. Rumor that about 115 Fortresses were safely on the ground, seven in the Mediterranean Sea and two on Switzerland. Today our seven remaining crews took off to raid Dutch airports. Interrogation was interrupted to show crews photos, just received, of what the boys did at Regensburg - it was blasted to Hell and Gone. ME assembly plant in shambles - about a square mile of ruins. Photos show the Red Cross Hospital on the edge of the target area untouched - testifying to the accuracy of our bombing. The 100th MPI (Mean Point of Impact) obliterated. If our crews return safely it will have been a great mission for us any case will go down as one of the great air exploits of the war.

Aug 20, 1943

Still sweating out our Combat Crews - no hint as to when they will return. Operations hasn't heard a word, although higher headquarters may have. Not a hint as to individual Group losses.

Aug 21, 1943

Terrific rainstorm during the night - a regular Texas dew. Still overcast and raining this morning, so boys will probably won't get home today. Note: Officers mess profited indirectly by this mission. Combat Crew mess was unable to refrigerate their consignment of eggs - lowly Paddlefeet at eggs like gentlemen.

Aug 22, 1943

Today is black, though memorable day for the 100th. Colonel Harding flew to Prestwick, where Major Egan and crew of Scott's and Wolff's planes were flown by ATC from North Africa. The 100th Bomb Group lost nine (9) planes in what may turn out to be the greatest aerial battle of the war. We lost Hollenbeck, Claytor, Hummel, Braley all of the 350th: Van Noy and Shotland of the 349th, Oakes of the 351st and Knox and Biddick of the 418th. Fighting lasted from Antwerp to the target - 2 hours and 10 minutes - with every type of fighter the Jerries could get up. Our two crews, Scott's and Wolff's, were Bomber Commands first contact with the crews on the mission - Wing went nuts over their story. PRO report on the mission, with signed stories, etc, ran to 5 or 6 thousand words in one night. The press included, Gladwyn Hill, Sammy Goldstein, Life and AP photographers plus many others. Crew interrogated for over two hours - incredible stories of the battle to the target and flight over the Alps to Africa. Many of them loaded with souvenirs. Scott's Radio Operator, Norman M. Smith, had leg torn off by 20mm and died in the plane despite the efforts of the crew to save him.

Aug 23, 1943

Major Bill Veal arrived from Africa, flying Scott's ship - heavily damaged and with a mixed crew. All interrogated again by assembled press - signed stories etc. Stars and Stripes even had a correspondent here. Lt. Ben Morgan of Wing sent down to help on PRO. Early morning mission for today scrubbed.

Aug 24, 1943

Seven ships took off for Evreax and Conches, France. Just before they were due to return, the 100th's remaining ships from Africa arrived, having bombed a Bordeaux airfield on the way back from North Africa. They encountered only a few fighters and meager flak. S-2 office were a shambles - Our African crews being interrogated on the mission down and the Bordeaux mission, and before we finished this the days mission to Evreax and Conches returned. Evreax trip was a success as to the bombing. S/Sgt Fulton of Lt. Floyd's crew wounded in the chest by flak - should be OK.

Reports of African crews confirm awful beating 100th took on the Regensburg trip. We were the low and rear Group and took the brunt of the fighters. Correspondents all departed, leaving Lt. Morgan here on detached service. 100th got big play in Stars and Stripes today - two photos included.

Aug 25, 1943

No activity today - most of the Combat Crews on three day passes. God knows they deserve them. Morale among Combat Crews is high despite what they went through on the Regensburg shuttle mission.

Aug 26, 1943

Missions to Gilksenkirchen and Woendstrecht scrubbed at 0520 hours - weather. Photos of Colonel Harding sent to Doris Fresson, Woman's Home Companion writer in London to illustrate the article she doing on our "typical group. " Rainy and cold today - in the afternoon Lt. Huber brought in Capt. Gordon of VIIIth Bomber Command, who is writing a book on the first year of the 8th AF in Europe - will end with the 100th's battle over Europe on 17 Aug 1943.

Aug 27. 1943

Today's Stars and Stripes carried the news that Colonel Neil B. Harding has been awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action leading bombing missions. No decision as when or where the decoration will be awarded - probably at Wing.

Aug 28, 1943

Only news of importance today concerns the second dance at the Officer's Club. Ladies imported from near and far - delegation of nurses from Evac. Hospital #12. A large time and for once it did not rain.

Aug 29, 1943

Promotion of several Lieutenants announced today, among them Lt. Arick's - should console him in the hospital - he fractured or badly sprained an ankle and wrist when the tail board of truck he was riding on gave way. Combat Crews briefed for Merrville - Lille again - took off and were recalled by radio.

(There was a major mission to Paris on 3 Sep 1943 in which the 100th lost four aircraft- sadly it not mentioned herein). . . pw

Sep 5, 1943 (this date should be Sept 6th, 1943). . . . pw

Mission to Stuttgart proved costly. Lt. Woodward believed down in Switzerland; Lt. Vetter's crew did not return - seven or eight chutes seen. Lt. Reeder landed in Southern England with co-pilot Lt. Edeburn dead and terrific story of a return alone under fighter attack. Lt. Hennington's crew, which ditched in the Channel on 3 Sep 1943 was returned to the base.

Sep 7 1943

Early mission to Watten - little flak and no fighters. Bombing poor due to heavy cloud concentrations in the target area.

Sep 8, 1943

Alert last night, but scrubbed - Red Alert also, during the evening. Big news today - Lt. Reeder and Sgt. Pope's epic story of returning from Stuttgart with a dead Co-pilot and wounded Navigator and Bombardier.

Sep 9,1943

Surrender of Italy last night gave us a lift but spoiled play on Reeder story, which Stars and Stripes murdered; headline; Fort Returns with Dead Pilot. Typical. Invasion rumors in the air as the Group gets it's first two mission day. Early morning attack on Beauvails airport successful. No fighters, little flak. In the afternoon Group briefed for an airfield near Arth - Take-off at 1615 hours. Those who went on the A. M. mission, 23rd for Lt. Glen Dye, reported air filled with allied planes - much activity in the Channel. Lt. Dye leading second mission with Colonel Harding as Wing lead.

Sep 10, 1943

Rainy, cloudy - no activity except ground school - little prospect for anything else for a while.

Sep 11, 1943

Ditto - poured all night and has been drizzling all day. Nice coat of mud everywhere, damp and uncomfortable except in immediate vicinity of a stove. This is not San Antonio!!!

Sep 12, 1943

Weather the same. .

Sep 13, 14, & 15, 1943

Capt. Bowman in hospital. 15 Sep 43 mission data as follows:

HEADQUARTERS
ONE HUNDREDTH BOMBARDMENT GROUP (H), AAF
Office of the Operations Officer
Station #139
September 17, 1943

SUBJECT: NAVIGATIONAL Narrative of the Mission of September 15, 1943.

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

1. There was some deliberation as to time of take-off. The lead plane taxied out into position at 1545 and took off at 1559. The group was in position to start climb at 1625.

2. It was observed that the group had difficulty staying in position when the airspeed was at 55 MPH so from that time on the airspeed was held at 150 MPH. It became necessary to cut all corners possible to keep up with the briefed times. The 100th Group passed over the rendezvous point, Splasher Beacon Six three minutes early anticipating a need for the early time. However the other two groups were observed and it is believed that this early time did not cause them any trouble. We did "ess" slightly to give them an opportunity to close up on the lead group.

3. Splasher Beacon Six was passed at 1741. Number Eight was cut short, but we passed in its vicinity at 1800. the formation, now fairly well in place crossed the English Coast at 1805. There were twenty-one ships in the group at this time.

4. The French Coast was crossed at 1826. the formation was about five miles right of the briefed course at this time so a correction was necessary to place the crossing at the briefed point. the high group was quite a bit to the right of the lead group so they were fired upon by flak from Dieppe.

5. The Initial Point was reached at 1846. The lead group passed slightly beyond the I. P. which made the heading to the target seventy-five degrees. This change cleared the formation of the flak burst over the town of Mantes.

6. The target was reached and bombs dropped at 1855. Flak was intense from the I. P. to the target and on to the Rally Point. It was especially bad near the loop of the Seine River just east of St. Germaine. It was much more accurate than usual.

7. The Rally Point was reached at 1902, the French Coast at 1932.

 

ONE HUNDREDTH BOMBARDMENT GROUP (H), AAF
Office of the Operations Officer
Station #139
September 17, 1943

SUBJECT: Bombardier's Narrative of Mission of 15 September 1943, Renault Plant, Paris France. 
TO:Commanding Officer, 100th Bombardment Group (H), AFF.

1. We turned around I. P. at Nantes, France. We went a little South of the I. P. to avoid cloud layers that hung over planned route into target. Visibility was very poor at all times due to haze and twilight conditions. The actual target area identified in time to make a run of approximately 85 seconds. The actual target could not be seen until the formation was about 20 seconds from the target. Flak was quite a deterrent to the bomb run, but the bad visibility was the determining factor in the difficulties of the target.

2. My synchronization at the time of bombs away was good. The bomb results of the 100th Group was all over the target. The first bomb bursts were observed hitting the far side of the target area.

3. The only explanation for failure of our bombs to hit the target, is that the poor visibility conditions made accurate synchronization impossible.

4. After dropping our bombs we turned left to the rally point and continued on our course.

JAMES DOUGLASS
1stLt.Air Corps
Lead Bombardier

Sep 16, 1943

Primary target, Bordeaux, was closed in - La Pallice was bombed instead. Lt. Wolff's ship - The Wolf Pack is missing.

Sep 20, 1943

Mission to Paris recalled after being airborne for half hour - this coming at 1630 hours account of weather. Combat Crews no little disgruntled. Major Clevens remarks something to hear.

Sep 21, 1943

Weather gradually improving, but no alert. Jerry came over during the night - two alerts but no incidents here.

Sep 22, 1943

Group alerted late this evening for mission to Vannes. Kerlin-Bastard secondary, Morlaix L. R. Briefed by Lt. Mackesey at 0230 hours - take-off set for 0520, it will be dark. Major Flesher leading the Group and Wing. Tough targets to locate - two crews issued flak suits - first we have seen.

Sep 23, 1943

Yesterday's mission a great success. Vannes airfield barracks area heavily damaged, second Group bombed field just as German fighters were taking off - many reported crashing and exploding. Good job of locating targets - no causalities in our Group.

Sep 24, 1943

Group briefed early for Stuttgart - mission was scrubbed just prior to take-off at 0800 hours. Red Alert last night as usual - some think Jerry is pissed off at the 100th. Whole Wing was jumped by fighters while on a practice mission over the North Sea. They were practicing a new bombing technique, through clouds. Very few ships even had their guns aboard or full crew components. Our pants were down. Lt. John Gossage, making his first flight in England was shot down in the North Sea. Later rescued but two men are known to have drowned and two are missing.

Sep 25, 1943

Century Bombers paid a call on Vannes-Meucan airfield today - a beautifully camouflaged airfield near St. Nazaire. MPI was barracks area - results excellent. Lots of German familles should be receiving boxes of ashes in few days. No fighters and not flak.

Sep 26, 1943

Late afternoon mission to a Paris assembly plant was spoiled by weather, bombed secondary - Beauvails - Group saw no fighters and flak was light. Flak suits available for all crewmen today.

Sep 27, 1943

Group departed at 0630 hours for Emden. Back at noon - little flak and the fighters were kept off by P-47's. No combat, but on the other hand the bombing was not good, due to overcast. The new Pathfinder technique was employed for the first time. Crews happy about flak suits, which gives them a great sense of security, whatever the practical value may turn out to be.

Sep 28, 1943

S-2 stayed up late waiting for possible RAF visitors as weather closed after their mission departed. No one showed up however. Cold and pouring rain most of the night. Today combines all the worst features of Kearney and Sioux City weather wise. Group spent its time endeavoring unsuccessfully to ignite apparently fireproof coke. Battleship Lutsow's whereabouts not revealed - mission scrubbed. Ceiling here about 750 feet and no clear weather within 200 miles, according to Weather - scrub was probably the smart thing to do.

Oct 2,3, 1943

Lt. Mackesey and Capt. Bowman on leave in Cambridge, absorbing university atmosphere.

Oct 4, 1943

Mission to Hanau wound up all over Germany - Frankfurt was the secondary target. The 100th dropped their bombs "somewhere" and that is all that should be said. On return "Pinky" Helstrom was observed peeling off, presumable near the English Coast. No word of him or crew since. His 23rd or 24th mission - Curtice and Phillippe were aboard. This leave the 350th with only one "Original" crew left - DeMarco.

Oct 5 & 6, 1943

Rain and heavy clouds - alerted the evening of the 6th.

Oct 7, 1943

Heavy rain all night, coupled with Red Alert and bombs falling relativly close. Despite the weather, briefing for Bremen for 0800 hours. Mission scrubbed at 0801 hours - the sun came out. Practice mission set for 1300 hours.

Oct 8, 1943 (Bremen)

Group alerted early evening of the 7th - scrubbed soon afterwards - enemy bombed between Bungay and Nowich around 2200 hours. Lots of Ack Ack visible. There were a dozen or so planes reported shot down in the vicinity of our base, some in flames. Early radio reports stated 175 planes over England during the night.

At 0500 hours the group alerted for Bremen with take-off time set for 1145 hours. Two other big missions on with B-24's also with Bremen as their target. Radio reported that the 100th bombed the primary at 1520 hours. Group returned at 1700 hours - missing seven (7) planes and crews. Major Cleven with DeMarco missing; Nash, Meadow, McDonald, Gormley, Murphy in the famed Piccadily Lily; and Becktoft were also missing. Colonel Kidd and Blakely crashed landed near Norwich after a historic air battle all the way home from Bremen. Two crewmen were severely wounded - they claimed 12 fighters and were allowed nine.

8 OCT 43 BREMEN MISSION CHRONOLOGY

CHRONOLOGIES ARE PLAGUED WITH DISCREPANCIES; THE FOLLOWING ARE TWO OF THE MORE PERPLEXING.

IN ESTABLISHING DEPARTURE AND RETURN TIMES, THE "J" FORM" IS A VALUABLE DOCUMENT. IN GENERAL THE PRACTICE WAS FOR HEAVY BOMBERS, B-17S AND B-24S, TO BE DISPATCHED AT THIRTY SECOND INTERVALS. THE "J FORM" ON 08 OCT 43 FOR THE 100TH BOMBARDMENT GROUP (H) DOES NOT FOLLOW THIS PROCEDURE. AT 1143 HRS TWO B-17S (423233 AND 4230840) ARE LISTED AS DEPARTING. IT WILL BE ASSUMED THAT THE FIRST AIRCRAFT DEPARTED ON THE MINUTE AND THE SUCCEEDING ONE THIRTY SECONDS LATER.

EVEN GREATER DISCREPANCIES, UNDERSTANDABLY, OCCURRED DURING THE COURSE OF THE MISSIONS. LT F. C. PETERSON OF 425864 REPORTED BOMB RELEASE AT 1521 HRS, BUT THE LEAD BOMBARDIER'S LOG INDICATES BOMB RELEASE AT 1525 HRS. WATCHES NOT SYNCHRONIZED, THE STRESS OF COMBAT ARE FACTORS IN THE MISSION DISCREPANCIES.

IN SUMMARY, THE TIMES NOTED BELOW MUST BE CONSIDERED APPROXIMATE. THE ORDER OF EVENTS, THAT IS, THE LOSS OF AIRCRAFT REFERENCE TO MISSION PHASE ARE CORRECT. THERE IS A 100TH STATUS REPORT FOR 7 OCT 43 @ 2000 HRS (THE EVE OF THE 8 OCT 43 BREMEN MISSION) AND AT THE END OF THE CHRONOLOGY THE STATUS REPORT FOR 8 OCT 43 @ 2000 HRS.

OCTOBER 7, 1943 2000 HRS GROUP STATUS REPORT

37 COMBAT CREWS ASSIGNED: 33 AIRCRAFT OPERATIONAL
30 COMBAT CREWS ASSIGNED: 8 AIRCRAFT OPERATIONAL WITHIN 24 HRS
43 AIRCRAFT ASSIGNED: 2 AIRCRAFT OPERATIONAL WITHIN 7

OCTOBER 8, 1943 1130 TAXI TIME OF THE FIRST AIRCRAFT

TAKE OFF TIMES:

1143

23233

LN-R

OUR BABY

MAJ GALE CLEVEN & CAPT. B. A. DeMARCO

1143:30

230840

LN-O

UNNAMED

LT HERBERT G. NASH

1144

23433

LN-W

UNNAMED

LT ROBERT P. KRAMER

1144:30

230818

LN-S

SALVO SAL

LT WILLIAM N. McDONALD

1145

230358

LN-X

PHARTZAC

LT FRANK H. MEADOWS

1145:30

230047

LN-Q

SWEATER GIRL

LT CHARLES D. WALTS

1146

230487

XR-F

TORCHY III

F/O OWEN D. ROANE

1146:30

230154

XR-H

WAR EAGLE

LT ARTHUR H. BECKTOFT

1147

23229

XR-A

PASEDENIA NINA

LT JOHN K. JUSTICE

1147:30

23393

LD-Y

JUST-A-SNAPPIN'

MAJ JOHN B. KIDD & CAPT E. E. BLAKLEY

1148

230758

LD-W

ROSIE'S RIVERTERS

LT ROBERT ROSENTHAL

1148:30

23237

LD- R

STYMIE

LT JOHN F. STEPHENS

1150

230062

LD-O

TERRYTEN

CAPT C. B. CRUIKSHANK

1150:30

230,152

LD-X

MESSIE BESSIE

LT WALTER U. MORENO

1151

230091

LD-S

BLIVIT

LT D. L. MINOR

1151:30

25997

EP-F

HEAVEN CAN WAIT

LT WILLIAM M. BEDDOW

1152

25864

EP-A

PICCADILLY LILY

CAPT THOMAS E. MURPHY

1152:30

230723

EP-D

UNAMED

LT HOWARD E. KEEL

1153

23474

EP-B

QUEEN BEE

LT MAURICE E. BEATTY

1153:30

23386

EP-H

MARIE HELENA

LT RAYMOND J. GORMLEY

1154

230796

EP-K

SUNNY II

LT JOHN T. GRIFFIN

1154:30

25957

XR-D

HORNY

CAPT H. M. HENNINGTON

 
THIS AIRCRAFT PARTICIPATED AS A SCHEDULED SPARE; POSITION IN THE FORMATION IS UNCERTAIN 1155 230170 XR-G HOT SPIT LT EDWARD G. STORK
 
THIS AIRCRAFT PARTICIPATED AS A SCHEDULED SPARE; POSITION IN THE FORMATION IS UNCERTAIN 1156 230088 XR-E SQUAWKIN HAWK LT ROBERT N. LOHOF
 
THIS AIRCRAFT PARTICIPATED AS A SCHEDULED SPARE; POSITION IN THE FORMATION IS UNCERTAIN 1156 23307 EP-N SKIPPER
 
SCHEDULED TO PARTICIPATE; REPLACED BY 230723, EP-D 1156 230830 EP-N UNNAMED
 
SCHEDULED TO PARTICIPATE; REPLACED BY 23237, LD-R 1259 23237 LD-R STYMIE ABORTED; OIL LEAK NO#1 ENGINE
 
100TH LEAVES THE ENGLISH COAST
 

1416 230062 LD-O TERRYNTEN ABORTS; NO#2, 3, AND 4 GENERATORS INOPERATIVE

 

1426 23433 LN-W UNNAMED ABORTS; LOSS OF OXYGEN TO TOP TURRET

 
1453 100TH CROSSED EUROPEAN COAST 10 MILES NNW OF GRONINGEN; AGGRESSIVE FIGHTER ATTACKS BEGIN
 

1508 23386 EP-H MARIE HELENA MID-AIR COLLISION WITH FW-190 OF 2/JG11 THOUGHT TO HAVE BEEN FLOWN BY OBLT. ERICH HONDT. THE CREW (10) KIA

 

1510 230358 LN-X PHARTZAC FOR YET TO BE DETERMINED REASONS, AIRCRAFT EXPLODED, KILLING EIGHT(8) OF THE CREW, WHILE TWO (2) WERE TAKEN PRISONER.

 

1512 230154 XR-H WAR EAGLE WAS SEEN GOING DOWN IN FLAMES, RESULTING IN THE DEATH OF ONE (1) CREW MEMBER, THE OTHER NINE (9) WERE CAPTURED.

 
1515 100TH REACHES THE INITIAL POINT
 

1515 230330 BT-A BLOOD GUTS & RUST II THIS 390TH BOMBARDMENT GROUP B-17 WAS LAST SEEN LEAVING THE FORMATION WITH NO# 2 AND 3 ENGINES ON FIRE. RESULTING IN THE DEATH OF FOUR (4) CREW MEMBERS, WHILE SIX (6) WERE CAPTURED.

 

1516 230318 DI-C DEVIL'S DAUGHTER THIS 390TH BOMBARDMENT GROUP B-17 WAS LAST SEEN DROPPING OUT OF THE FORMATION WITH NO# 2 ENGINE ON FIRE. RESULTING IN THE DEATH OF ONE (1) CREW MEMBER, WHILE THE OTHER NINE. (9) WERE CAPTURED.

 

1521 25864 EP-A PICCADILLY LILY DROPPED BOMBS ON THE TARGET

 
1521GROUP BECOMES DISORGANIZED
 

25864 EP-A PICCADILLY LILY LEFT FORMATION WITH NO# 3 ENGINE ON FIRE AND EXPLODED, RESULTING IN THE DEATH OF SIX (6) OF THE ELEVEN (11) CREW MEMBERS, WHILE THE OTHER FIVE (5) WERE CAPTURED.

 
23393 LD-Y JUST-A-SNAPPIN' DROPPED OUT OF FORMATION.
 
230152 LD-X MESSIE BESSIE DROPPED OUT OF FORMATION.
 
25957 XR-D HORNY DROPPED OUT OF FORMATION.
 

230292 CC-Q UNNAMED THIS 390TH BOMBARDMENT GROUP B-17 WAS LAST SEEN LEAVING FORMATION WITH NO#4 ENGINE ON FIRE AND WAS ENCIRCLED BY ENEMY FIGHTERS, RESULTING IN THE DEATH OF SIX (6) CREW MEMBERS, WHILE FOUR (4) WERE CAPTURED.

 
1525100TH REACHES THE RALLY POINT; FIGHTER ATTACKS DECREASE.
 

1530 230840 LN-O UNNAMED UNCERTAIN AS TO CIRCUMSTANCES REGARDING THIS AIRCRAFT'S LOSS; RESULTED IN THE DEATH OF FIVE (5) CREW MEMBERS, WHILE FIVE (5) WERE CAPTURED.

 

1533 23233 LN-R OUR BABY UNCERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES REGARDING THIS AIRCRAFT'S LOSS, RESULTED IN THE CAPTURE OF ALL CREW MEMBERS.

 

1555 230818 LN-S SALVO SAL UNCERTAIN AS TO CIRCUMSTANCES REGARDING THIS AIRCRAFT'S LOS, EXCEPT THAT IT WAS DAMAGED BY FLAK. IT'S LOSS RESULTED IN THE DEATH OF ONE (1) CREW MEMBER WITH THE OTHER NINE (9) CAPTURED.

 
1628100TH LEFT THE EUROPEAN COAST
 

1700 100TH CROSSED THE ENGLISH CHANNEL

 
RETURN OF THE 100TH AIRCRAFT

1712 23474 EP-B QUEEN BEE RECEIVED "AC" BATTLE DAMAGE FROM FLAK.

1715 23229 XR-A PASEDENA NINA UNDAMAGED

1716 25997 EP-F HEAVEN CAN WAIT BATTLE DAMAGE; FLAK & SMALL CALIBER GUN FIRE

1717 230047 LN-Q SWEATER GIRL UNDAMAGED

1718 230723 EP-D UNNAMED UNDAMAGED

1719 230487 XR-F TORCHY III UNDAMAGED

1721 230152 LD-X MESSIE BESSIE BATTLE DAMAGE FORM FLAK.

1722 230088 XE-E SQUAWKIN HAWK BATTLE DAMAGE; FLAK & SMALL CALIBER GUN FIRE

1723 230758 LD-W ROSIE'S RIVETERS BATTLE DAMAGE FROM FLAK.

1725 230796 EP-K SUNNY II BATTLE DAMAGE FROM FLAK, 20mm CANNON & SMALL CALIBER GUN FIRE.

1733 230091 LD-S BLIVIT BATTLE DAMAGE FROM FLAK.

1745 25957 XR-D HORNY BATTLE DAMAGE FROM FLAK.

1813 230170 XR-G HOT SPIT BATTLE DAMAGE FROM FLAK AND SELF-INFLICTED GUN FIRE.

1845 23963 LD-Y JUST-A-SNAPPIN' CRASH LANDING AT LUDHAM; DECLARED BEYOND REPAIR 10 OCT 43.

2000 HRS GROUP STATUS REPORT

30 COMBAT CREWS ASSIGNED 19 AIRCRAFT OPERATIONAL
20 CMBAT CREWS ASSIGNED 0 AIRCRAFT OPERATIONAL WITHIN 24 HRS
36 AIRCRAFT ASSIGNED 12 AIRCRAFT OPERATIONAL WITHIN 7 DAYS
36 AIRCRFT ON HAND 5 AIRCRAFT OPERATIONA AFTER 7 DAYS

Oct 9, 1943

Alerted early and briefed for Marienburg - took off at 0700 hours with Colonel Harding leading. While our crews were being briefed - 0430 hours, five Halifaxes landed with Canadian crews, back from Hannover. We interrogated them for the RAF - all this made for quite a traffic jam. The Group returned from Marienburg at 2000 hours - no losses - target bombed. This was thought to be the second longest flight - next to Trondheim. Alerted later in the evening for tomorrow.

Oct 10, 1943 (Munster)

Briefed for Munster at 0730 hours. Heavy ground fog that is expected to clear by the 1130 hours take-off time. Group can put up only 15 to 18 ships maximum and we are awaiting replacement aircraft to cover our Bremen losses two days ago. Thirteen aircraft were dispatched to Munster today - one returned. Lt Robert Rosenthal thought to have been on his first mission. (actually it was his 3rd mission. . . pw) This mission practically disposes of the 100th Group in its original form. Major Egan was leading with Cruikshank. Not much is know of what happened - Rosenthal's crew too busy getting home against terrific opposition to do much observing. He came in on two engines, with two men severely wounded. We know that rockets fired by formations of ME-110's and JU-88's accounted for many of our losses.

Oct 11, 1943

Capt. Everett E. Blakely appointed Commanding Officer of the 418th, replacing Major Egan. Capt. Albert (Bucky) Elton appointed Commanding Officer of the 350th, replacing Major Cleven. 8th AF has lost two irreplaceable men in two days - both would have made outstanding Group or Wing Commanders. They were required to make only 10 raids but had completed more - Cleven was on his 20th. He never bothered to call for his DFC awarded for gallantry on the Regensburg mission of August 17, 943 - this was the first DFC awarded a 100th airman. Both had nearly 2000 hours in B-17s - the ordinary pilot in the theater has around 500 hours. They were Randolph Field graduates, two fine, courteous and beloved gentlemen.

Oct 12, 1943

Briefed for Emden - six planes and two spares available. To fly in a composite group with the 390th. A heavy ground fog at briefing that was expected to clear at noon - mission was scrubbed.

Oct 13, 1943

Briefed for Emden again - took off but mission had to be recalled.

Oct 14, 1943

Lt. Roane led eight planes to Schweinfurt in a composite group - all returned. New crews trickling in all day.

Oct 15, 16, 1943

No missions - ground school for new crews keeping S-2 busy.

Oct 17, 1943

Eight planes took off for Duren - recalled after one hour. Lt. Archie Robertson, co-pilot of the Duncan crew returned to the station to lecture crews on how he escaped from Occupied France.

Oct 18, 1943

Group briefed again for Duren - small city near Cologne. It boasts a junction of several rail lines, a marshaling yard and not much else. The mission was scrubbed at the French Coast - weather at Duren, 10/10 cloud cover.

Oct 19, 1943

Night passed with only two Purple Alerts to break the monotony. Rained hard all night, but sun was shining in a desultory way in the morning. Cold and damp.

Oct 20, 21, 1943

Bad weather on the continent - flew a practice mission each day.

Oct 22, 1943

Bad weather still hold forth. Lancaster landed here last night with tanks empty - had to be towed off the runway. Cutting it pretty fine.

Oct 23, 1943

Colonel Harding went to Evac. Hospital #12 today with Purple Hearts for Via, Nord, and Yevich.

Oct 24, 1943

Beautiful weather - no mission scheduled - reports circulating that all Combat Crews have been called back from leave.

Oct 25, 1943

Group now on operational status again. Two practice missions run today. Weather is good, but no alert - not even a Red Alert at night. Perhaps the Jerries aren't mad at us anymore.

Oct 26, 27, 1943

Bad weather both days, fog clearing some in the afternoon - flew a practice mission each day.

Bowman Diary - Page 03