Search This Site

This site uses two separate and distinctly different search engines.

The site search at the top of each main page searches articles, photos, videos, crew information pages, etc. The site search does not search the database. Use the site search to find general information that is not included in the database.

The database search in the database section of the website searches only database records. This database search engine uses powerful filters that allow you to narrow your search to a specific person, airplane, mission, crew, MACR, casualty report, etc. Use the database search to find specific and detailed records.

Social Links

Facebook

YouTube

 

Group History

Bowman Diary Page 05

Bowman Diary - Page 05
 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.

 FLAK

POINT OF LANDFALL ON ROUTE IN IS BELIEVED TO BE FREE OF HEAVY GUNS, HOWEVER THE ONLY DEFINITE INFORMATION ON THIS PART OF THE COAST IS THE HEAVILY DEFENDED AREA TO THE SOUTH OF POINT OF LANDFALL. THIS DEFENDED AREA HAS 16 TO 20 HEAVY GUNS AND IS COLORED IN SOLID RED ON THE 1:500,000 MERCATOR FLAK MAPS. POSITION OF PRIMARY TARGET ON 1:500,000 MERCATOR FLAK MAPS IS INCORRECT. THERE IS NO AVAILABLE INFORMATION ON THE DEFENSES ON THE PRIMARY TARGET BUT GROUND SOURCES INDICATE LITTLE OR NO HEAVY FLAK.

IF THE SECONDARY TARGET IS TO BE BOMBED LARGE CITY TO THE SOUTHWEST SHOULD BE AVOIDED AS IT IS DEFENDED BY HEAVY GUNS.

FIGHTER STRENGTH:

THE MAXIMUM NUMBER OF FIGHTERS THAT PROBABLY COULD BE ENCOUNTERED IS 35 SINGLE ENGINE FIGHTERS.

ANNEX NO #1 TO 3RD B. D. FIELD ORDER NO #99

TIME SCHEDULE:
SPLASHER BO 4 (12,00FEET)ZERO HOUR MINUS 209 MINS
5816'N & 0624'EZERO HOUR MINUS 51 MINS
5943'N & 0801'EZERO HOUR MINUS 9 MINS
TARGET ZERO HOUR
5948'N & 0832EZERO HOUR PLUS 4 MINS
5816'N & 0624'EZERO HOUR PLUS 44 MINS
SPLASHER NO 4ZERO HOUR PLUS 160 MINS

BASES.

TIMES ARE BASED ON 2OO FEET PER MINUTE CLIMB FORM SPLASHER NO 4 ON ROUTE OUT TO 15,000 FEET AND 15,000 FEET CRUISING ALTITUDE OVER NORTH SEA.

AT NORWEGIAN COAST-IN; A DESCENT WAS FIGURED AS 200 FEET PER MINUTE 160 I. A. S. TO 12,000 FEET. 
AT 5948'N & 0852'E A CLIMB AT 200 FEET PER MINUTE TO 15,000 FEET WAS FIGURED.

FROM TAS 162246A
TO THE INFO OF COMBOMWIG THIRTEEN
CONFIDENTIAL 100THBG N-315-D ATTN: S - 2. 
NARRATIVE TELETYPE --RJUKAN, 16 NOVEMBER 1943

S - 1
THE ONLY FIGHTER OPPOSITION REPORTED WAS FROM TWO ME 109S ENCOUNTERED ON THE WAY OUT T 5820'N & 0610'E. ONE E/A GRAY COLOR MADE A PASS ABOUT 300 YARDS WITHOUT FIRING. THE OTHER PASSED ACROSS THE TAIL OR REPORTING A/C AT SIX O'CLOCK AT 600 YARDS.

S - 2
APPROACHING THE COAST AT 5823'N & 0603'E WHAT APPEARED TO BE 20MM AUTOMATIC TRACER FIRE CAME FROM ONE OF THREE SHIPS A FEW MILES OFF THE COAST, HEADING SE FOR THE MOUTH OF THE FJORD. AT THAT POINT MUZZLE FLASHES; BUT NO BURSTS WERE SEEN. MEAGER AND INACCURATE FLAK WAS ENCOUNTERED AT THE NORWEGIAN COAST INBOUND TO THE TARGET AND WAS THOUGHT TO COME FROM HELLVIG AND HEIGRESTAD OR FROM EGERSUND AND WAS TRAILING TO THE REAR OF THE FORMATION AT 12,000 FEET.

FLAK WITH SOME TRACERS SEEN AS THEY WERE LEAVING THE TARGET. THIS FIRE IS BELIEVED TO HAVE COME FROM 20MM OR 37MM GUNS; THREE FIRING FROM THE PIPE SIDE IF THE WATERFALL AND ONE EACH END OF THE TARGET BUILDING.

S - 3 
NUMBER OF AIRCRAFT MISSING.

OTHER A/C------ONE B-17 FROM THE GROUP AHEAD OBSERVED WITH NO #4 ENGINE AND RIGHT WING AFIRE AT 1057 HOURS AT 5812'N & 0626'E. A/C LEFT FORMATION AND DIVE TO SURFACE, LEVELING OFF JUST ABOVE SURFACE OF WATER, SKIMMING ALONG UNTIL IT CRASHED INTO THE SEA AND EXPLODED. NINE CHUTES WERE SEEN TO COME OUT DURING THE DESCENT AND ANOTHER IS THOUGHT TO HAVE COME OUT JUST BEFORE HITTING THE WATER, SMALL BOATS SEEN PUTTING OUT FROM SHORE. ONE B-17 OBSERVED AT 1415 HOURS BST 5400'N & 0230'E AT 6,000 FEET ON HEADING OF 210 DEGREES LOSING ALTITUDE FAST AND APPEARED TO BE IN DISTRESS; CHUTES SEE.

S - 4
NONE

S - 5
NOT AVAILABLE

S - 6
THREE LARGE AND TWO SMALL MERCHANT SHIPS WERE OBSERVED AT 1058 HOURS SW OF EIGEROEN HEADED SE, APPARENTLY TO ENTER THE FJORD NORTH OF STAPNES.

A PLANE FLYING VERY LOW OVER THE TARGET, WAS THOUGHT TO BE LAYING SMOKE SCREEN THAT APPEARED TO BE GRAY AND PINKISH VAPOR TRAIL, SMOKE POTS WERE OBSERVED NE OF THE TARGET BUT THE WIND WAS TOO STRONG AND THE SMOKE SCREENS WERE INEFFECTIVE. ONE BALLOON WAS OBSERVED IN THE VICINITY OF BORTGREND, NORWAY. THREE PLANTS, SIMILAR TO THE TARGET, WERE OBSERVED FURTHER UP THE GORGE. ON MAS LAKE AT 5948'N & 0819'E A LARGE DAM AND SEVEN BARRAGE BALLOONS WERE OBSERVED.

S - 7
FROM FIVE TO TEN DIRECT HITS REPORTED SEEN ON MAIN BUILDING, EXPLOSIONS WHICH ROCKED BOMBING A/C. OTHER HITS REPORTED ON NORTH AND 40 DEGREES WEST OF MAIN BUILDING, AND ON PIPES LEADING TO MAIN BUILDING, AND ON PIPES LEADING TO MAIN BUILDING.

S - 8
GUNNER WANT TRACERS BACK. CREW DESIRE THE DEVELOPMENT FO WINDOW DEFROSTERS. CREW REPORTS INJUDICIOUS USE OF VHF REVEALING THEIR POSITION, ALTITUDE, TIME ETC.

S --9A
(1) TAKE OFF 0625--0645 HOURS. landed 1475--1548 HOURS.

(2) COURSE FOLLOWED; LOUTH TO LANDFALL (10 TO 20 MILES) NORTH OF BRIEFED COURSE AT 58 23'N & 0603'E TO I. P TO PRIMARY TARGET AND BRIEFED COURSE OUT TO ENGLISH COAST.

(3) GROUP WAS HIGH WING FORMATION BUT BOMBED FIRST. THE OTHER GROUPS IN THE WING MADE A SECOND BOMB RUN ON THE TARGET. COMBAT WING WAS THIRD IN DIVISION FORMATION.

(4) HEADING ON BOMB RUN WAWS 80 DEGREES MAGNETIC. OUR HIGH SQUADRON MADE INDIVIDUAL RUN ON PRIMARY TARGET IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE REMAINDER OF THE GROUP BECAUSE OF CROWDING. THREE OF OUR AIRCRAFT FLEW WITH THE 94TH G ROUP. four B-17S JOINED OUR GROUP PRIOR TO OR AT SPLASHER FIVE. THESE INCLUDED TWO A/C WITH SYMBOL C, ONE WITH SYMBOL A AND ONE WITH SYMBOL B. THEY WERE WITH OUR GROUP ON THE ENTIRE MISSION. ONE B-24 WITH THE SYMBOL C, JOINED OUT GROUP AT 1111 HOURS AND ANOTHER WITH SYMBOL D JOINED AT 1113 HOURS. THE B-24S MADE THE REMAINDER OF THE MISSION WITH OUR GROUP. ONE OF THEM WAS SEEN TO DROP AT LEAST ONE BOMB ON THE PRIMARY TARGET.

S - 9B
(1)  21 A/C DISPATCHED
A. A/C NO 106
S - 9B(1) 21 A/C DISPATCHED
A. A/C NO 106
S - 9B(1) 21 A/C DISPATCHED
A. A/C NO 1062 FAILED TO BOMB BECAUSE BOMBARDIER GOT SICK. A/C TURNED BACK AT 0853 HOURS FROM 54 10'N & 0027'W. RETURNED BOMBS TO BASE
B. 20 S/C BOMBED RJUKAN TARGET AREA.

Nov 17, 1943

Capt. Lawrence of 3rd Bomb Division historian, here to work out routine for group historical officer. Lt. Rosenfeld and Lt. Walton called in and will assist in making up reports for October. One officer, probably Lt. Walton, will be assigned to this duty on a full time basic. Post preparing for visit from General Eaker.

Nov 18, 1943

The 100th turned out in Class A's today only to learn General Eaker's visit had been canceled due to bad weather - rain, squalls and sunshine all at the same time.

Nov 19, 1943

Mission to Gelsenkirchen - PFF bombing with poor results. All planes returned.

Nov 20, 1943

Sgts Clarence Tomb and Robert Sturart of the 349th, both members of the Laden Maiden crew finished their 25 missions and ready to depart the post, their war over. Cowboy Roane, their pilot, who came to the 100th in the States as a co-pilot has one more to go.

Nov 21, 22, 1943

No missions planned - cold and foggy.

Nov 23, 1943

Crew briefed early for Division's first mission to Berlin. Mission scrubbed before dawn. No explanation given. Colonel Harding recalled the crews to the briefing room at 0745 hours and spoke to them of security violations. Ground personnel reported as knowing target identity of target before mission was scrubbed. All ground and combat personnel restricted to post until further notice.

Nov 24, 1943

Sunshine for a change - no mission. Lt. Colonel Flesher gone to London for interview with the Royal Family as the representative of the 100th.

Nov 25, 1943

The 100th's second Thanksgiving of the war. A perspective mission was scrubbed and a holiday spirit was rampant. Large turkey dinner set for noon. Margaret Avery of Detroit, a war correspondent, due in from London. Amateur show in Aero Club, by and for all enlisted personnel.

Nov 26, 1943

Group took off at 0800 for Paris with a composite delegation bound for Bremen. Paris delegation returned at 1230 hours short one plane, the Ford crew was shot down over the target. Lt. Owen D. "Cowboy" Roane completed his operational tour, coming home with a large shell hole in the left wing and other damage. He ran off the perimeter while taxing after the loss of all hydraulic fluid. Composite group in at 1400 hours with no casualties. Bombed Bremen through clouds, one plane forced to turn back from the target but bombed suburbs.

Later in the evening Pilots "Big Frank " Valesh and "Pinky" Flak, taking off with two Red Cross girls as passengers, left the runway, crossed length of the field, hitting trees and a barn before crashing and burning. No one was hurt - the plane was never fully airborne but was totally destroyed.

Nov 27, 1943

Rain and overcast prevented operations. Temperature at 00 C. Cold.

Nov 28, 1943

Still raining but warmer - no activity - 16 new crews arrived and are being given indoctrination lectures.

Nov 29, 1943

Group briefed for Bremen, took off at 1000 hours. Weather good here but overcast at the target and PFF used for bombing. Lt. Schmucker, of the Roane crew completed his tour. Lt. Frank Lauro returned with Radio Operator in bad shape from frostbite and a great operational story. Radio Operator, T/Sgt Nelson King suffered severe frostbite of his hands when he went to the aid of crew member stricken by anoxia. He may loss his hands.

Nov 30, 1943

Take-off at 0800 hours for the Ruhr - Solingen, near Bonn. Weather extremely bad - groups mixed up badly. Ten Aborts before noon. Eleven of out planes got over the target and bombed with PFF - results believed to be good. Ball Turret Gunner of the S/Sgt Turcotte, of the Putnam crew severely wounded by flak fragment through chest - given plasma on plane before moved to hospital. Major Bennett, Group lead, lost all four engines over Holland. One was restarted a 4000 feet, just before the bail out order was to be given and the others at a lower altitude after which the first one quit again. They managed to come home on the deck,

Dec 1, 1943

One year ago today the Group was leaving Wendover, Utah - look at us now!! Everyone was greatly cheered by news from Odessa, Texas, that Major Cleven is safe in a POW camp. Also Ferrogiarro, who gave his name as Beard to avoid being shot for his commendable part in the Spanish Civil War. All now sweating out Major Egan, who went down two days after them at Munster.

Dec 2, 1943

No operations today although weather good here. 24 new crews arrived today, from Kearney of all places. Even England looks good to them after that place. They make 40 new crews in three days - in addition to the regulars. The base is bursting at the seams. Stand by until midnight order received.

Dec 3, 4, 1943

Nothing developed of the standby order on the 3rd or the 4th.

Dec 5, 1943

Mission to Bordeaux. Target completely obscured by overcast. No flak or fighters.

Dec 6, 7, 1943

Heavy fog, day and night - no operations either day.

Dec 8, 1943

Quartermaster stores set up housekeeping on the Post - nothing to fit anybody. Weather still closed in - ceiling around 50 feet. Red Cross show tonight at the theater and the Officers Club afterwards. Standby until midnight again.

Dec 9, 1943

Weather the same - bad- seems to have settled in for the winter. The 40 new crews who joined the Group last week are busy with ground school and so are the S-2 instructors. Officers of the S-2 section are preparing to move from their tin hut to new quarters in the WAAF site. Strangely enough, there is a tub (hot water) and a can on the premises. It can't be true!

Dec 10, 1943

Fog and rain - no alert last night and none in the prospect.

Dec 11, 1943

Thirty-five planes set out to attack Kiel. Thirty-four returned safely - Haddox and crew went down over the target. The 100th's bombing believed to have been far from perfect, but all dropped somewhere within the city limits.

Dec 12, 1943

Emden today. Group is getting a tour of northwest Germany. It was a PFF mission and no trouble was experienced. Press is reporting heavy damage.

Dec 13, 14, 1943

Group briefed for Berlin on the 13th, ten minutes later called back and briefed for Bremen - then mission scrubbed - crew a bit puzzled. There were no operations on the 14th.

Dec 15, 1943

The Bremen tour again. Regular and composite groups flew - very few fighters but heavy flak that was ineffective as far as the 100th was concerned. Few ships hit, no one hurt.

Dec 16, 17, 18, 19, 1943

Weather bad - only operation on the 16th was Sgt Burns for sinus. !7th some clearing; no operations either 17, 18, or 19th on which we had heavy rains all night. Callases only activity.

Dec 20, 1943

Red Alert today - first in several weeks. Dawn broke clear and Group departed at 0830 hours for Bremen. Returned 1500 hours - two aborts - no injuries.

Dec 21, 1943

Weather very bad!!

Dec 22, 1943

Munster raided today. Coupill and crew missing, apparently in the North Sea. Bombed through 10/10 overcast - believed successful. Only one abort - composite group also flew.

Dec 23, 1943

No mission but big preparations.

Dec 24, 1943

Group bombed "Rocket Sites" in Pas de Calais area. Some 2000 planes over various targets. All ours returned safely. The 100th target pretty well hit. Pilots saw two or three MPI's hit squarely, and the 350th scored a smack on it, photos showed.

Dec 25, 1943

Christmas !! No mission - big dinner at 1600 hours. Christmas dinner over the Tannoy, also at dinner by the 100th male chorus. In the evening the same bunch went to Horam and sang for the 95th. Weather mild - no snow but foggy.

Dec 26, 1943

Entire field somewhat subdued in wake of Christmas - many hangovers being nursed. Very heavy ground fog.

Dec 27, 1943

Boxing Day in England. Wet, cold, gloomy and foggy. No mission today. Three planes piled up on the short runway - nobody hurt but three ships washed out.

Dec 28, 1943

No Operations flights today.

Dec 29, 1943

It's spreading!, Capt. Jack Swartout of all people, piled up on the runway while checking out new pilots. No one hurt, nose and propellers ruined. We are cracking them up faster than we can get them in.

Dec 30, 1943

Ludwigshafen; twenty one planes over the target. PFF bombing with good results. Two crew, Smith and Lenyin lost. Radtke landed with co-pilot's head blown off, a lad named Digby. Valesh crashed landed near Harleston and Brannon crashed landed not far away - one man wounded severely and two with minor wounds.

Dec 31, 1943

Precision bombing of Paris - no casualties. Moreno and entire crew of Messie Bessie finished, also Fitton, Hennington, Vrabec and Bullard. Good bombing according to strike photos.

Jan 1, 1944

Cloudy, rainy and cold. Alerted for Brunswick in the afternoon - stood down at 2300 hours much to everyone's delight.

Jan 2, 1944

Clear and some warmer, almost hope some of the mud would dry up - if this weather kept up for a week or so - it won't.

Jan 3, 4, 1943

Lt. Colonel Dugan relieved on the 3rd as Ground Executive Officer and replaced by Major Standish. On the 4th Capt. Varian made Group Adjutant - other changes rumored.

Jan 5, 1944

Group toured Rhur Valley - target overcast- Armanini got a look at the Bauer and Schuarte Plant at Nuess and obliterated same. No loses.

Jan 6, 7, 8, 9, 10th, 1944

No missions flown, Brunswick scrubbed on the 8th, No Ball scrubbed on the 9th and finally some sunshine on the 10th.

Jan 11, 1944

Took off for Brunswick - recalled by radio and ordered to bomb target of opportunity - Oanabruck with good results - no opposition for our division. First and Second Divisions ran into the whole damn Luftwaffe and lost 59 Fortresses and B-25's. They got three plane factories, however and claimed 152 enemy aircraft shot down.

Jan 12, 1944

Rainy and unpleasant. No Ball alert for afternoon - stood down soon after alert. Barely got target maps out and Navigators pre-briefed before scrubb order came.

Jan 13, 1944

Cloudless day - Crossbow 34 target selected on short notice. Briefing at 1115 hours with take-off scheduled for 1330 hours. 21 aircraft dispatched - Lt. Forsythe blew a tire on take off but managed to clear the runway. Many B-24's maneuvered over out field for an hour trying to get in formation. The 100th made two circles and picked up everybody and went away. Some difference in tactics - the 24's chased each other around and around a circle, getting no where. The 100th B-17's cut across the circle, assembled quickly and left for the target. Bombing results good and no losses. Group alerted in the late evening for Halberstadt - scrubbed due to heavy fog

Jan 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 ,20th, 1944

Dense fog curtailing operations - briefed on both the 19th and 20th for Crossbow targets and was scrubbed both days.

Jan 21, 1944

Briefed for Crossbow mission on short notice. Forty-two ships took off, a real air armada from the 100th now. Forty-one returned and Lt. Janssen landed at Detling with a wounded Ball Turret Gunner. Lt. Gossage's Navigator wounded in the leg by flak. Hiten and Russ completed their tours. Bombing was reported fairly successful - some hits. Two Red Alerts tonight - one at 0530 hours.

Jan 22, 23, 1944

No soap on post - weather terrible and no activity either day.

Jan 24, 1944

Mission to Frankfurt was recalled over France. Group ran into heavy flak on the way back to the French Coast. Lt. Valesh (Big Frank) got a direct hit in the tail and S/Sgt Urich, the Tail Gunner, was blown out of the aircraft, which almost lost it's entire tail. Valesh and Booth managed to crash land at West Church and no one else was injured. This was Valesh's third crash landing with a battle damaged Fortress.

On take-off this morning Lt. Drummond's plane crashed on take-off trying to avoid a collision with wandering B-24. Lt. Maurice Zetlan of Salem, Mass and formerly with the Valesh crew was killed. Not the best of days for the 100th.

Jan 25, 26, 27, 1944

Weather - a mission to Frankfurt on the 26 scrubbed - no other alerts.

Jan 28, 1944

Stand down today - some rain but fairly clear. General Curtis LeMay, Division Commander, expected - entire post scrubbing floors and preparing for his inspection.

Jan 29, 1944

Took off at 0700 for Frankfurt. Lt. Mark's plane crashed on takeoff, cause undetermined, probably stalled in the dark. The co-pilot, Lundholm and T/Sgt Anderson came out alive - other seven airmen killed instantly. All the dispatched ships returned safely from Frankfurt - bombed through overcast - results not observed, but bombs were dropped on the center of the flak area. Red Alert right at the time our planes were landing - caused some excitement. The E/A, if any did not appear below the 800 foot ceiling. Possible some one forgot to turn on IFF.

Jan 30, 1944

A 0800 hours take-off for Brunswick - PFF bombing with no battle damage or casualties. Capt. Joe Kelly and Sgt. Raff completed tours. Lt. James R. Stout had to feather a engine on take-off and when preparing to land found the landing gear would not deploy. Circled field until 1430 hours to consume fuel - jettisoned bombs and the ball turret in the English Channel and crash landed at Honington. There were no injuries.

Feb 1, 2, 3, 1944

Scrubbed Frankfurt on the first - no alerts for 2nd or 3rd.

Feb 4, 1944

PFF mission to Frankfurt. Lost three (3) planes; Lts. Green, Brown and McPhee. Bombing results undetermined at this time.

Feb 5, 1944

Mission to Romilly-sur- Seine - results good - no losses.

Feb 6, 1944

Mission to Conches, Eveau and others - Armanini, lead Bombardier, obtained excellent results.

Feb 7, 8, 1944

No missions either day; many B-24's up both days - apparently making low altitude sweeps.

Feb 9, 1944

Major Bennett led the 100th - target Halberstadt - recalled at 0830 hours. Major Bennett promoted to Lt. Colonel on orders received last night.

Feb 10, 1944

Early take-off for Brunswick. Weather bad and a number of planes landed at other bases during the morning. Fourteen crossed the Channel and proceeded to the target. Two planes missing - Lts. Croft and Scoggins - five others landed at other bases - rest returned in midst of a driving snow squall and had to use runway 35 for landing. Overcast at target reported as 8/10th - PFF bombing - no results as yet. Many enemy fighters - the 100th was relatively unscathed except for the loss of Croft and Scoggins.

Feb 11, 12, 1944

Standing down. All types of weather ranging from cloudless skies, snow, sleet, heavy rain and even some small cyclones in the area. No air activity. Today's press is referring to the 10 Feb 44 Brunswick mission as the "Fort's Greatest Airbattle" - reporting 27 Allied and 84 Nazi aircraft shot down. Nothing on Croft and Scoggins - assumed down in sea or enemy territory - last seen near the target. We are very worried.

Alerted during the evening of the 12th but scrubbed during the night.

Feb 13, 1944

Stand down in the A. M. No air activity last night, expected a Red Alert, but it did not materialize. Heard bombs falling in distance - not close. At 1100 hours a surprise briefing for a Crossbow target (Sottevast). Capts. Luckadoo, the 351st Operations Officer, DeSanders, Lt. Moffley, Sgt Detweiler among others completed their tours. All aircraft returned safely at 1600 hours - bombing results - excellent.

Addendum: John H. Luckadoo was the Operations Officer for the both the 351st and later the 350th. Luckadoo and DeSanders resided in Dallas, Texas after the war and were close friends until DeSander's death. . (pw)

Feb 14, 1944

No Ball mission scrubbed just before briefing - about 0430 hours, unfortunately the crews had already been awakened. Strike photos of yesterday's (Feb 13th) mission confirm the excellent results reported by Capt. Luckadoo. The 96th lost three planes today over a target the 100th had found undefended some time back.

Feb 15, 16, 1944

Stand down on the 15th. On the 16th Tom Henry of the Washington Star, was here for stories for hometown papers. No air activity - Major Shaw on pass.

Feb 17, 18 1944

Alerted on the 17th for a No Ball - scrubbed before briefing. Cold, rainy with low visibility. On the 18th the weather was the same but three (3) new crews arrived bringing us up to strength again.

Feb 19, 1944

Twenty-one (21) planes took off at 0730 hours for Posen, Poland. (FW factory damn near to Russia) One of the longest missions and with no fighter escort - much of the flight over water. Major Ollen Turner led - bombed via PFF near Stettin. Returned at 1700 hours. Lt. Smith down in Sweden, believed to have had wounded aboard - Lt. Harris missing as well.

(No entry for Feb 20, 1944)

Feb 21, 1944

0915 take-off for Brunswick - weather on assembly terrible, 100th tacked on to another Combat Wing and bombed a target of opportunity.

Feb 22, 23, 24, 1944

Schweinfurt scrubbed on the 22nd and 23rd. On the 24th tried again for Posen - heavy cloud cover - bombed Rostock by PFF with good results.

Feb 25, 1944

Regensburg (unhappy memories) Take-off at 0815 hours, Colonel Bennet leading. Entire 3rd Division hit the target one hour after it was plastered by the 14th AF from Italy. Lt. McClain missing, thought to have been shot down by flak over Abbeville on the return. Lt. Gossage crash landed at Horham and Lt. Stout ditched on the way home and the crew was picked up.

Feb 26th, 1944

Briefed Friedrichshafen - scrubbed.

Feb 27, 1944

No air activity. 8th AF announced today that more bombs were dropped on the enemy last week than in the first year of the Airwar over Europe.

Feb 28, 1944

Briefed for No Ball on short notice. Take-off at 1300 hours. All returned safely but there was some battle damage. (Flak) - targets obscured. The 350th made five runs over the target but the weather did not allow for a drop - Bombs brought home for the first time in a long time. Lt. Stout's crew back on the base with a good story of their rescue - Bombardier had some ribs broken on landing - no other injuries. We are greatly relieved.

Addendum by pw: The original William G. Lakin crew, with the exception of Keith A. Sprague who had been the original co-pilot before taking over the crew after Lakin became a Lead Pilot, finished their tour with this mission. Sprague had finished on Feb 25, 44 with the Regensburg mission. He had flown one mission with the Van Steenis crew and thus was one mission ahead of the crew.

Feb 29, 1944

Take-off at 0730 hours for Brunswick. Group returned at 1330 hours - no losses - Lt. Flack landed with two engines out - flak. Bombing by PFF - cloud cover 10/10th. Saw no enemy fighters but friendly planes thick as bees.

Mar 1, 2, 1944

No Ball scrubbed on the 1st - Chartres, nice results considering the bad visibility. Special warning to avoid the Cathedral and Capt. Dahlgren, the Group Bombardier, did his usual good job.

Mar 3, 1944

Group took off for Berlin - ran into weather over France and returned. Gossage landed in Sweden - Vollmer and Lohof missing.

(The diary somehow is one day off on some of the Berlin missions: The correct sequence should be:

a. Mar 3, Division Leader ordered a return at the Schleswig - Holstein coast and it is believed planes flown by Lt. Vollmer and Lt. Lohof collided and debris so damage Lt. Gossage's plane that he was forced to make a emergency landing in what he thought was Sweden.

b. Mar 4, instead of the stand down listed in the diary the 100th, led by Capt. Magee Fuller, flying with Lt. Herb Devore took off for Berlin. Increasing clouds forced the Commander of the First Division to cancel the mission. The Third Division, already well on it way to the target, was also recalled - part of the 13th Combat Wing failed to hear the recall and continued and bombed the target. The part that continued was two squadrons from the 95th and 13 planes from the 100th, mostly from the 350th (9).

c. Mar 5th the 100th was again briefed for Berlin but the mission was scrubbed.

d. Mar 6, The 100th dispatched 36 planes led by Major Bucky Elton flying with the superb lead crew of Herb Devore's, with one of the 100th's best Navigators, Burton Joseph as lead navigator. The 100th was to loose 15 aircraft, most of then on the huge airbattle over Haseluenne at almost exactly noon on the 6th of March 1944. Mission reports follow; ---------------------------------RG 18; National Archives

HEADQUARTERS
ONE HUNDREDTH BOMBARDMENT GROUP (H)
Office of the Operations Officer
APO # 634
7 March 1944

SUBJECT: Report of the Operations Officer, Mission of March 6, 1944
TO : Commanding Officer, 100th Bomb Group (H), AAF

100th "A" Group

1. General Narrative: The 100th "A" Group formation took off from this base at 0745 - 0826 hours. The formation consisted of 15 aircraft which assembled in good formation by 0835 hour over the base. The 100th "A" Group led the 13th "B" Combat Wing; the 100th "B" filled in the low position, being supplemented by aircraft of the 95th Group. There were no group in the high position. 15 aircraft of this Group formation were dispatched.

The English Coast was crossed at 1016 hours at Aldeburgh, 3 miles north of the briefed course. the formation was good; it continued good throughout the mission. The enemy coast was recrossed on the return trip at 16,000 feet, 1510 hours at 52°40"N and 04°50"E. The English Coast was recrossed at 1537 hours at Great Yarmouth. The lead ship landed at this base at 1602 hours.

The Primary target was not located; bombs were away at 1323 hours on a target of opportunity - factory district near Berlin.

2. Aircraft Not Attacking : 15 aircraft departed this base in formation as shown on attached formation diagram marked "100th "A" Group - After Assembly. " 15 aircraft were dispatched. Aircraft #42-37807 turned back from the I. P. at 1205 hours, returning to the base at 1526 hours. Aircraft #42-32009 turned back from 52°38"N & 08°04"E at 1200 hours, altitude 21,000 feet, landing at this base at 1403 hours.

Four aircraft, namely: #42-39872, 42-31731, 42-38197 and 42-30799 are missing in action. No particulars of their fate are known at this time.

11 aircraft of this formation, including the aircraft returning early, returned to the this base.

100th "B" Group

1. General Narrative : The 100th "B" Group formation, consisting of 20 aircraft departed this base at 0757 hours. A good assembly was made by 0833 hours over the base. The 100th "B" Group assumed the low group position, supplemented by six aircraft of the 95th Group. The 100th "A" led the 13th Combat Wing; no group in the high position. The Wing assembled at Splasher #7 at 0956 hours. We were about eight minutes behind the rest of the Division at all times; herein mentioned. We crossed the English Coast at 1019 hours; the enemy coast at 1107 hours, altitude 20,000 feet. The climb to bombing altitude had commenced immediately after leaving the English Coast. After crossing the enemy coast we had 17 aircraft in our group. Flak commenced immediately after crossing the enemy coast, moderate to heavy. Enemy fighter attacks began at 1200 hours at 52°36"N & 07°46"E. Heavy attacks were made by ME 109 and FW 190 type aircraft - 75 to 100 enemy fighters were seen; 40 to 50 made attacks on our group. They came in head-on with apparent disregard for their safety. The lead aircraft of our formation had it's controls shot away. (Jack Swartout, the Command Pilot, flying with Frank Lauro in #231306 were involved in a mid-air collision with a FW 190 and barely managed to return to Thorpe Abbotts in the Nelson King. . pw) The vertical stabilizer was ripped off by a mid-air collision with an enemy fighter. The lead aircraft returned with the 390th Group after jettisoning it's bombs at 1210 hours at approximately 52°40"N & 08°10"E. (Germany)

After 1200 hours the group was under heavy fighter attack by large numbers of Me-109's and Fw-190's. The Group was broken up, most of the high squadron was shot down and the lead ship was knocked out of formation.

Fighter support was good for a time after leaving the enemy coast on the way in; it was poor thereafter. However, from the target back to the coast it was very good.

Over Berlin, showers of red balls were seen from flak bursts. Red flak smoke was also seen - apparently a signal for enemy fighters.

The decent was begun at 1300 hours. The enemy coast was recrossed at 1512 hours at 52°37"N & 04°37"E. The English Coast was recrossed at 1540 hours; base was reached by 1632 hours.

2. Aircraft Not Attacking : 20 Aircraft departed this base in formation as shown on the formation charts marked "100th "B" After Assembly. " 17 aircraft were dispatched and 16 attacked the target.

Aircraft#42-32018 turned back at 1032 hours from 14,88 feet - 52°04"N & 02°28"E, landing at 1117 hours. Aircraft #42-31895 turned back at 1132 hours after being dispatched, from 23,000 feet, 52°28"N & 06°19"E, landing at 1231 hours. #42-38175 turned back at 0924 hours from 9,000 feet, 51°57N & 00°42"E, landing at 1050 hours. #42-6087 turned back at 0910 hours from 9,000 feet over Splasher #6, landing at 1116 hours.

Eleven aircraft, namely: #42-38011, 42-31735, 42-38044, 42-30170, 42-38059, 42-31800, 42-97482, 42-97491, 42-31051 and 42-39994 are missing in action. Nothing further is known about their fate as of this time. 8 aircraft returned to this base, including the aircraft that returned early. This does not include #42-31306 (Swartout and Lauro) which landed at Honington with major battle damage.

John B. Kidd
Lt. Col. , Air Corps,
Operations Officer.

The following crews were lost on the 6 Mar 44 Berlin Mission

#42-38059

   

Crashed near Ququenbruck

   

CAPTDAVID L. MINER

P

KIA

SGT ALBERT ZIKORUS

TTE

POW

LT GEORGE KINSELLA

CP

KIA

SGT VARDEN I. BULTER

BTG

POW

LT EARL L. RICHARDSON

NAV

POW

SGT SAM PRY

RWG

POW

LT GEORGE R. JONES

BOM

KIA

SGT LEONARD D. MALCUIT

LWG

POW

SGT WILLIAM C. LIBBERT

ROG

POW

SGT JUNE E. ROBERSON

TG

POW

#42-30278

         

2nd LT ZEB KENDALL

P

KIA

S/SGTMELVIN A. HICKMAN

TTE

KIA

2nd LT EDWIN J. LOUGHRAN

CP

KIA

SGT REGINALDO AGUILA

BTG

KIA

2nd LT WILLIAM R. THORPE

NAV

KIA

SGT MATTHEW C. AVEN

RWG

KIA

2nd LT CLIFFORD L. GOWEN

BOM

KIA

SGT RAYMOND L. BRIDGE

LWG

KIA

S/SGTLEMAN E. TUTOR

ROG

KIA

SGT VICTON STOFFREGEN

TG

KIA

The loss of this aircraft has never been determined, there is speculation that the bombs exploded causing the total destruction of the aircraft and killing her entire crew. Such cases, fortunately, were extremely rare.

#42-31800

         

Lt SHERWIN L. BARTON

P

POW

S/Sgt HARVEY A. MOORE

TTE

POW

Lt GEORGE W. DAVIDSON

CP

POW

Pvt ROBERT J. TAYLOR

BTG

POW

Lt JOHN L. BURTCN

NAV

POW

Sgt FRANK J. FOLDY

RWG

POW

Lt BERNARD J. SMOLENS

BOM

POW

Sgt PAUL H. MORRIS

LWG

POW

S/Sgt JACK M. ROBINS

ROG

POW

Sgt JAMES W. POWELL

TG

POW

#42-97491

   

*see note below

   

LT DEAN M. RATKE

P

POW

T/SGT V. D. PINNER

TTE

POW

LT GORDON E. DEVAULT

CP

POW

S/SGT J. G. KRUSIENSKI

BTG

KIA

LT R. M. REILLY

NAV

POW

S/SGT R. L. KERWIN

RWG

POW

LT W. B. ARNETTI

BOM

POW

S/SGT C. F. ALLEN

LWG

POW

T/SGT R. RAY

ROG

POW

S/SGT T. E. MANGUM

TG

POW

* Dean M. Ratke crew : Reports on the indicate the Ball Turret gunner, S/Sgt Joseph Krusienski was killed by a fighter attack which badly damage the ball turret; despite heroic efforts of his crew he could not be removed from the damaged turret. #42-97491, presumably with S/Sgt Krusienski still aboard, is thought to have crashed in the vicinity of Twistrigen, Germany.

#42-97482

         

LT WILLIAM A. TERRY

P

KIA

T/SGT J. P. AITKEN

TTE

POW

LT W. L. PETERSON

CP

KIA

S/SGT J. A. BAIN

BTG

POW

LT R. P. SCHREMSER

NAV

POW

S/SGT J. R. HORN

RWG

KIA

LT R. G. COTTER

BOM

KIA

S/SGT C. C. ANTHONY

LWG

KIA

T/SGT R. P. HOWELL

ROG

KIA

S/SGT C. D. HAMPTON

TG

KIA

e. Mar 7, The 100th mercifully stood down due to weather.

f. Mar 8, The 100th, led by Lt. Colonel John Bennett again went to Berlin, this time they could put up only 15 planes and in spite of the previous loses there were no abortions from the 100th, a fact said to have moved Colonel Bennett close to tears. The Group returned with the loss of only one plane, that flown by Lt. Norman Chapman. (The entire crew bailed out safely and all became POWs. Bombing results were good. . (Subparagraphs a, b, c, d, e, & f - added by Paul West; July 1994)

Mar 9, 1944 (Diary resumes)

Berlin again - only nine planes out this time and no losses. Results only fair. Thirteen new crews arrived today.

Mar 10, 1944

Critique at Framlingham. According to experts the 100th did well in the Berlin raid. Distinguished itself, in fact.

Mar 11, 12, 1944

No operations on the 11th but newcasts resumed after an interruption of several weeks. The 12th, Sunday - rain, fog, some warmer - no flight operations.

Mar 13, 1944

Briefed for No-Ball - scrubbed. Generals Carl Spaatz, Glen Doolittle, LeMay and Kissener visited the post. The occasion being to the presentation of The DFC to Capt. Summer Reeder and other decorations to seven other officers. After the presentations the Generals "held forth" at the Officer's Club, answering any and all questions. They proved to be "Good Joes" in every aspect. The evening was extremely interesting and revelatory.

Mar 14, 1944

No operations today. First Division went to the "Rocket Coast. " Intense activity last night, with enemy aircraft playing around the field for 30 minutes or more. One reported shot down near Horham - Ispwich and Norwich appeared to getting it.

Mar 15, 1944

Mission to Brunswick completed, but with the loss of the fine lead crew of Capt. Devore. Included Capt. Peel, Lt. Tashijan, Lt. Barton Joseph, lead navigator on the missions to Berlin earlier in the month, and others. Reports indicate they went down over the target from a direct flak hit.

Mar 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, & 21, 1944

Capt. Bowman makes no entries for these dates.

Bowman Diary - Page 05