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Group History

Bowman Diary Page 08

Bowman Diary - Page 08
 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.

 Lead Bombardier (Actually the Deputy lead as the Lead was shot down) reports; The Lead ship was hit by flak on the bomb run but continued and dropped his bombs on the primary before aborting at the Rally Point. There were no cloud coverage to the target area and the target was discernible half way down the run. The target itself was covered by a great deal of smoke and haze. Other than the intense accurate flak over the target there was no other enemy activity encountered. Sighting for both course and rate was accomplished by the squadron leader. Bombing was in Group Formation.

The General Narrative reports: # 42-3379, the Lead, was hit by flak, some reports indicate a ground rocket, a few seconds before "Bombs Away. " The aircraft continued on the run and dropped bombs. Fire producing a dense white smoke was seen to break out in the fuselage - bomb bay, and included the cockpit. The bomb bay doors were closed and then reopened. Pilot opened his window and peeled gently off to the right, directing the Deputy Lead to take over the lead, this on VHF. The stricken Lead headed Northeast and flew level for a few minutes while six (6) members of the crew bailed out. Three chutes appeared to have come from the tail or waist while the other three were from the bomb bay. There there was a small explosion in the No# 3 engine nacelle and the aircraft headed down, burning and starting to spin. When last seen, at 15,000 feet, observers feel the entire crew had a good chance to bail out.

A/C # 44-6500 received a direct hit by flak, may have been a ground rocket, on the right wing just as bombs were released. The right wing folded up against the fuselage and the plane flipped over on it's back. The wing tank apparently exploded and the entire A/C was began to burn and exploded. One man, thought to have been the tail gunner, bailed out and his chute opened.

A/C # 42-102958 was hit by flak on the right wing, thought to have been a ground rocket, just after bombs away. Starboard engines began to flame and the aircraft nosed over into a steep dive, apparently in an effort to extinguish the fire. A few seconds later it pulled up in a half roll heading toward the 100th "C" Squadron, then did a split "S" and went down. Only two chutes were seen to come from this aircraft as it fell away in a tight spin. When last seen it was nearly completely engulfed in flames.

A/C # 44-6092 was hit by flak at 1129 hours just before the turn at the Rally Point. As the formation turned left the aircraft continued on course or veered slightly to the right. #3 engine was burning and the aircraft was losing altitude. One chute was seen immediately after the flak hit and all the other followed shortly thereafter. The aircraft continued flying apparently under AFCE, in a ever descending curve until it struck the earth and appeared to explode. Chutes were seen to be drifting toward Berlin.

Feb 4, 1945

Briefed for Munich but mission scrubbed before take-off.

Feb 5, 1945

Stood Down

Feb 6, 1945

Briefed targets: Lutzkendorf, Magdeburg, and Bohlen: Thirty-eight aircraft including three PFF's departed this station at 0700-0730 hours. The 100th flew as the 13th Wing's "C" group which was the last (14th) group in the Division. All but four aircraft attacked the bombed and there were no loses.

The Lead Bombardier: "The primary was completely undercast so we used the Rally Point of the primary as a I. P. for the secondary. Here, however, Mickey could not pick up the secondary target and a run was made on a target of opportunity at Zwichen. The high squadron dropped on the lead squadron since their Mickey was completely out and the undercast was 10/10.

The logs of the PFF operators is as follows:

100th "A"; (Storm Rhode) - Weak returns on the bomb run, fair returns to and from target. Unable to identify last resort target on scope. Picked up target of opportunity (Zwickau) at 25 miles making a bomb run on this.

100th "B": (John Gately) - Bombed on smoke bombs of 100th "A". Returns too weak during entire mission to be used.

100th "C": (J. R. Jenista) - H2X returns poor on route in and out but fair on bomb run. Target identified at 24 miles.

Feb 7, 8, 1945

Stood Down

Feb 9, 1945

Briefed target: Bohlen. . . Thirty-eight aircraft including three PFF departed T. A. at 0820-0847 hours. The 100th flew as the 13th "B" Group which was the 3rd Division's fourth group. All but three aircraft bombed and there were no losses.

Lead Bombardier: "The secondary target was attacked under orders received from the Division Leader. 100th "A" was north of course prior to the IP and had to ease to the right to make the briefed IP good. Even so the IP was overshot by two miles. Cloud cover was 9/10 and an H2X run was used. Bombardier and Mickey worked in close harmony and all checks were made good. At the six mile check the target became visible and the bombardier was able to take over, making the visual corrections before bombs away. Rate was killed through breaks in the clouds and we had 15 seconds to kill the rate and course refining through corrections. No flak or enemy fighters were encountered on the run. Target was bombed in squadron formation with a 30 seconds interval between squadrons. There was no traffic interference at all, sighting was made for both rate and course. Eleven aircraft bombed this target with unobserved results. Altitude was 25,000 feet.

Feb 10, 1945

Briefed for Misburg but mission scrubbed - Base inspection by Wing highly successful - The legendary Capt. H. H. Krinke, the 100th's "Everything Officer," was appointed V. D. Control Officer. The list of his other titles and duties is too long for this document.

Feb 11, 1945

Briefed for the marshaling yards at Hanover - scrubbed again.

Feb 12, 13, 1945

Standing down - explosions reported near the base - no explanation.

Feb 14, 1945

Briefed target: Chemnitz. . . Thirty-eight aircraft including three PFF departed T. A. at 0830-0900 hours. The 100th flew as 13th Wing "B" Group which was the second group in the 3rd Division formation. All but four aircraft attacked and there were no loses. The operational Narrative indicates - CP #1 (Control Point # 1) was made good at 10, 000 feet, one and one half minutes early. Briefed course was flown up CP #3 at which time thick cirrus clouds were encountered and visual contact was lost with the 13th "A". A frozen pitot tube in the 100th "A" leader cause the airspeed indicator to fluctuate. Visual contact with the 13th "A" was regained at 1000 hours and the 100th remained in trail on course. The decision was made for the 100th "B" to assume lead of 13th "B" and that squadron dropped down from 23, 000 feet with the 100th "A" echeloned to their right. The IP was made good and the H2X run was made to the secondary target. On the bomb run, 100th "C" was forced to abandon their run by the 390th "A" and "C" groups and elected to bomb the last resort target, rather than be a lone squadron, a decision was made to join the 13th "A". The target of opportunity was attacked at 50:02 N & 12:20 E and they then joined the 390th "A" & "C" near the Rally Point at 49:55 N & 12:10 E. Poor range made the H2X set unavailable as a navigational aid and as GEE was also out DR was had to be used until a definite pinpoint was found near Wurzburg. A right turn was made and they converged with the briefed route in the Frankfurt - Koblenz flak corridor. 100 "B" took over Division Lead at the briefed RP and 390th "B" formed with them and followed the briefed course back, departing the continental coast at 1611 hours at 5125 N & 0325 E at 8, 000 feet. The English coast was crossed at 1652 hours.

Digest of crew comments: Eliminate traffic control briefing for pilots as it serves not useful purpose. . Missed critique on jet A/C because of a clean-up detail. . Poor VHF discipline. . Waist gunners should have four extra feet of oxygen hose and interphone cord on heated flying suits. . this would facilitate position changes when required.

Feb 15, 1945

Target: Bohlen. Thirty-eight aircraft including three PFF departed T. A. at 0725-0750 hours. The 100th led the 13th Wing which was the fourth wing in the 3rd Division. All aircraft attacked the target and there were no loses.

The Operation Narrative follows:

The briefed course was closely followed across the Channel. The group arrived at control point #2 about one half minute late and slightly north of the briefed departure point on the coast. The route over the continent was essentially as briefed, deviating at times to echelon on the groups ahead. The IP was overshot approximately 16 miles to the east, caused mainly by preceding groups overshooting the IP, thus making it necessary for the 13th "A" to swing a little farther to the east in order to avoid interfering with the squadrons ahead on the bomb run. The Low Squadron did not have good H2X returns so had to fly with the "A" Squadron on the bomb run. The Radar Navigator in the High had picked up Ruhland instead of Cottbus and proceeded to make a run on it. After being notified by the navigator that he was on the wrong target, the Mickey Operator picked up the Secondary and made a run on that after correcting to the right behind the "A" and "C" Squadrons. The 100th was quickly reformed after bombs away and made a right turn in an effort to close up the interval with the proceeding groups.

The Lead Pilot for this mission was the 100th legendary Neal P. Scott, third on the group's list of total missions for a pilot - 42.

The Lead Bombardier reported:

"Primary target was completely overcast so the secondary was attacked. The bomb run was about 50 miles long and strong headwinds were encountered. The run was completely H2X all the way and the Mickey Operator gave the bombardier a check at 11 miles and additional checks every mile until the four mile point was reached. All checks came out good - no traffic interference was encountered on the run. Altitude was 23, 300 feet.

Feb 16, 1945

Stood down

Feb 17, 1944

Target: Frankfurt. Thirty-eight aircraft including three PFF departed T. A. at 0840-0920. The 100th flew as the 13th Wing "C" group which was the ninth group in the 3rd Division forces. All but one PFF aircraft attacked and there were no loses.

The route to the continent was flown essentially as briefed until approximately 6 degrees east, where the flight plan was changed via radio channels from the 3rd Air Division. A triangular course was flown at this time in order to gain sufficient altitude to attack the target at Frankfurt. Kodak (code name for weather service) reported 10/10 cloud cover in the target area and preparations were made to make PFF approaches by squadron. "C" Squadron radar was temporally out, so they followed "A" on the bomb run. The IP was made ten miles to the north due to formation difficulties. On the bomb approach, "A" leader aborted and the formation lost 5,000 feet during the abort maneuver; as result the two squadrons did not release their bombs on the target. Meanwhile. "B" Squadron made an H2X run. "C" Leader then took over the lead of "A" and "B" Squadrons and decided to attack the last resort target at Giessen. The 5,000 feet of altitude was regained prior to the IP at 5040 N & 0913 E. By this time the radar set in "C" was working properly and the bombardier turned the formation sharply to the right and synchronized on what he thought was the last resort target. Actually it was the town of Staufenberg. The route back to the base was uneventful. "B" Squadron joined the Division Column independently and returned uneventfully.

Lead Bombardier, 100th "C"; 40 miles from the enemy lines Plan A was abandoned for Plan B. As flight plan for this plan had not been drawn up, no IP for last resort target, etc, was available. 100th "C" had trouble with Mickey and advised "A" they could not bomb H2X and agreed to bomb with "A". The IP was made good and the 100th "C" swung in with "A" for the run. "A" did not drop and closed their bomb bay doors with "C" doing likewise. At this point "A" Lead aborted and the whole squadron dropped to 17, 000 feet and broke up. The "C" Navigator picked himself up and it was decided to go on to the town of Alsfeld for an IP for Giessen. The Bombardier realized the run would be crosswind but it was necessary to gain altitude and to get the lead which was badly scattered into position behind 100th "C". The 100th "C" made Alsfeld good and turned into the bomb run at 22, 000 feet. The Mickey was giving a faint but fairly accurate return on the scope. The Bombardier picked up the autoban leading to Giessen and it looked as though a good run was possible. High clouds were encountered and it was impossible to see the ground. 100th "C" went on straight Mickey about three miles before we got out of high clouds where the Bombardier saw that the course and drift were not killed. the only course of action was to make a sharp correction to the right to and approximate 270 degree heading, roll out, make one correction and drop the bombs. 100th "A" dropped with "C" in group formation.

Feb 18, 1945

No air operations - Tea Dance at the Officer's Club. .

Feb 19, 1945

Target: Osnabruck. Thirty-eight aircraft including three PFF departed T. A. at 1000 - 1030 hours. The 100th flew as the 13th Wing's "B" Group, which was the third in the Division formation. All aircraft except one (42-32090 returned with engine failure soon after take-off) and there were no loses.

The Group made Control Point #1 on time and course, but trailed Able by a considerable interval. A proper interval between Able and Baker was attained on route to the Channel. Control Point #2 was made good and on time. The route into the IP was flown essentially as briefed. Prior to the IP, "B" and "C" Squadrons reported poor beacon reception, which was unsuitable for bombing. "A" Squadron committed itself to a G/M run. "C" Squadron elected to bomb off "A", and made the bomb approach echeloned in formation to the right of "C". On the G/M run the course beacon faded completely out, causing the Radar Navigator to switch to H2X in time to continue a sighting on the scope return, which he believed to be Osnabruck. The Radar Navigator made corrections to the right. When bombs were away, GEE and Mickey fixes from "B" Squadron the release was on Munster. The H2X equipment in "B" Squadron lead was operative on the bomb run; the position of "B" in relation to "A" made it impossible for "B" to turn toward the correct target After bomb release the formation made sharp right turn followed by a gradual left turn, passing over the flak defenses south of Osnabruck before reaching the long west leg out of th continent. The remainder of the route to the base was uneventful. "B" Squadron made an independent H2X sighting on the Tertiary target and later joined the "A" Group on the return.

The Lead Bombardier "A": The Mickey Operator could not hold the course beacon on cat and mouse bombing. The set finally failed completely, so we elected to make a H2X run on Munster. The Bombardier was clutched in at 11 miles, and was given a check every mile until seven, where the interphone was shot out. Towards the end of the run there as a hole in the clouds showing a build up area. The Bombardier looked to the right into the sight and the rate appeared to be good on this area. Bombs were away at 13:48:30 hours. The weather was 10/10 all the way in with small breaks the last few seconds of the run. Enemy flak was accurate, the target was picked up and bombed by H2X. "B" Squadron dropped on "A". There was no traffic interference on the run. The bombardier thought the bombs hit a built-up area and possible a railroad. The Mickey Operator (Storm Rhode) was wounded, but made the run. He performed his duties after being wounded, and also crawled to the nose and gave a navigational fix, went back and continued to work until the Bombardier discovered he was wounded. (note: Storm Rhode died in August 1994 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery . . . pw)

Feb 20, 1945

Target: Nurnberg. Thirty-eight aircraft including three PFF departed T. A. at 0855-0925 hours. The 100th flew as the 13th Wing's "B" Group, which was the eleventh group in the 3rd Division Line. A/C 42-337521 returned early due to the loss of No #2 engine. A/C 44-48613 returned early due to the loss of No #1 engine. A/C 43-46297 returned early due to losing the formation and PFF aircraft 44-9400 did not attack due to flak hits. There were no losses.

At mid channel the group was in excellent Wing order at the briefed altitude of 7, 000 feet and on course. Here layers of stratus clouds were encountered and a climb was established to get above the weather. The Continental Coast (CP #2) was crossed at 1103 and one half, four and one half minutes early and four miles to the south of briefed course. The Group remained as much as possible in Wing order throughout the climb. The briefed course was paralleled six miles south to CP#3. Here the Group was at 22, 000 feet and at 1231 was 12 minutes early and five miles south of course. On the run to the IP it seemed the Wing Leader was making a run on Ulm, the tertiary target, but he was not and the turn was made to the IP approximately nine miles later. The IP was made good and a H2X run was made on the secondary target in group formation.

Lead Bombardier, "A": The IP was made good just one mile east of the briefed one. Clouds were 10/10 at the target and most of the way along the route. The Mickey Operator took over the ship at the IP and made an H2X run on the secondary target. The MO gave the bombardier checks at 70, 68, 65, 62, 58 and 55 degrees. A small correction was necessary after the first few checks but the remainder came out well. Rate was good - Bombardier gave no visual assistance. Bombs were away at 1314 and one half hours in group formation. Results were not observed - flak was only enemy resistance and not traffic interference was encountered on the run.

Feb 21, 1945

Target: Nurnburg. Thirty-eight aircraft including three PFF departed T. A. at 0710-0740 hours. The 100th flew as the 13th Wing's "A" Group which was the seventh group in the Division Line. All aircraft attacked the target and there were no loses.

The briefed route was followed across the Channel. crossing the Continental Coast at Control Point #2 at 0912 hours, 2 minutes early. CP #3 reached at 1010 hours, five minutes late, at an altitude of 23, 700 feet. At the next turning point the Group overshot two miles to 5022N & 0919E and paralleled the course eight miles to the left until five minutes from the IP. At this point the navigators in the Group noticed proceeding groups in the column were right of course and the decision was made to follow the bomber stream. The IP was overshot two miles and individual H2X runs were made by the squadrons on the secondary target. The Group did not drop to 24,000 feet on the run to stay above the D/P contrails in the target area. All squadrons quickly reassembled in good Group formation at the Rally Point and the decent to 22,000 feet was started.

The Lead Bombardier, 100th "A": 10/10 undercast over the entire target area. Mickey Operator turned on IP and made a H2X run from that point. The secondary target was attacked and Bombardier was clutched in at 11 miles with 6 checks being made in between, all made good. Initial and final checks came out good, while those in the middle (8 and 7 mile) were off at the most - one (1) degree. Bombs were away at 1125 hours concluding a successful run. Results were not observed - flak was moderate but accurate. There were no traffic interference on the run. The Mickey Operator picked up the target 30 miles away and sighted for both range and deflection. Altitude was 24,000 feet.

Feb 22, 1945

Weather improved and heralded the start of the attacks on the German rail and road communications. Optimum bombing altitude was said to have been 10,000 feet. This was the start of "Operation Clarion. "

The General Narrative as follows:

Thirty-eight aircraft including three PFF aircraft departed T. A. at 0721-0730 hours. The 100th flew as the 13th Wing "C" Group.

Control Point #1 was left on time and the briefed route was followed to GP #2. In as much as Baker's interval with Able was poor, the 100th stayed abreast of Baker to the left throughout the run to CP #3. The Group was south of course six to eight miles on this course. At CP #3, the Group crossed the front lines at 21, 500 feet and started a letdown to the bombing altitude of 12,000 feet. At this time Kodak (8th AF Weather Service) reported that both the primary and secondary targets would be completely covered. The Group was separated from the rest of the Wing, which flew on into a cloud bank ahead. A H2X run was started on Heilbronn. "B" Squadron was lost in the clouds at this point. This run was abandoned as the rate checks were not good. An 80 degree turn was made to attack the primary target. The IP was made good and a visual run was started. However, a few miles before bombs away the target was covered and this run was also abandoned. The Rally Point was made good and a run was started on the secondary target. The Bombardier was not able to synchronize properly and this run was also abandoned. The briefed course was followed to 4800N & 0840E. Using this point as an IP, a run was made on Pfohran. The IP was made good and the briefed route was maintained back to the base.

Immediate interpretation of hot print photographs show 100th "A" bombs burst near the small town of Pfohran, two and one half miles east of Donaueschingen. 100th "B" bombed target of opportunity visually but the photographs were cloud obscured. 100th "C" photos show a few bomb bursts on a railroad track one and one half miles west of Wehinger, but the majority are in open fields.

Feb 23, 1945

Thirty-eight aircraft including three PFF aircraft departed T. A. at 0650-0720 hours. The 100th flew as the 13th Wing lead Group. The 13th Wing led the 3rd Air Division. All but one aircraft attacked and there were no losses. The target was Treuchlingen.

The General Narrative is mostly unreadable from the Maxwell AFB Micro-film library. The Lead Bombardier for this mission was Capt. Don Ventriss, who at the time was the Group Bombardier. Ventriss scored direct hits on the MPI, a railroad junction, and received a commendation from Wing Hdqts.

Feb 24, 1945

Thirty-seven aircraft including three PFF aircraft departed T. A. at 0740-0810 hours. The 100th flew as the 13th Wing "B" Group, which was the tenth group in the 3rd Air Division Force. All but two aircraft (43-37994 returned early due to failure of No #4 engine - bombs returned and 42--97071 returning early due to failure of No #2 engine - bombs were returned) and there were no losses.

General Narrative as follows:

The route into the IP was flown as briefed. At the IP, there was no flare fired by Baker Leader. "C" Squadron construed this to mean that the bomb run was to be in Group formation and had difficult time pulling our from under the high on the run into the target. There was also considerable interference by another Squadron on a collision course with "A". After the target, "B" became separated from the Group and eventually joined Able on the route back to base. "A" and "C" came back intact without difficulty.

Lead Bombardier, 100th "A": The primary target at Bremen was attacked, Visibility conditions at target was 4 to 6 tenth cloud cover. Flak was light and inaccurate. The IP was made good and the target was picked up at 8 miles. Briefed MPI was sighted at 6 miles visually. Mickey was used early in the run for deflection but as the run progressed the bombardier could sight the MPI visually. He had about four minutes to synchronize. There was traffic interference on the run. Another squadron was on a collision course with 100th "A" and this caused them to dive slightly and drop their bombs 4 seconds early. Altitude was 25, 500 feet.

Feb 25, 1945

The target was Munich. . Thirty-eight aircraft including three PFF aircraft departed T. A. at 0720-0800 hours. The 100th flew as the 13th Wing "A" Group which was the eighth group in the 3rd Air Division Force. Four aircraft failed to bomb the Primary; A/C #42-97126 returned early due to runaway prop - bombs jettisoned, A/C #42-32090 did not attack due to the bombs being dropped between the IP and before the target - cause unknown, A/C #43-37636 returned early due to #2 engine oil leak - attacked a Target of Opportunity (TO) at Burladingen, A/C #44-46817 returned early due to engine failure, thus losing the formation - attacked TO at Burladingen. There were no losses.

13th "A" reached Control Point #2 at 0920 hours, 6 minutes early, at 6,000 feet. CP #3 was made good at 1040 hours, still 6 minutes early at 20, 500 feet. From CP #3 the Group veered to the right and was twelve miles south of the briefed turning point. The Group returned to the briefed route at 48° 30" N & 09° 25" E and made the track to the IP as briefed. The Squadrons peeled off and passed over the IP in Squadron formation to the Primary Target.

The Lead Bombardier, 100th "A" reports; The visibility at the target was good except in the target area itself, where the MPI was obscured by ground haze and smoke from previous bombs. Flak was moderate an tracking - Bombardier picked up the target area but could not identify the MPI. Because of the know Prisoner of War camp nearby and on course, the Bombardier elected to aim left and hit the eastern section of the marshaling yard. The squadron formation at the time of bombs away was good. There was no traffic interference on the run. Bombardier sighted for both course and rate - Mickey Operator checked rate and came out well. Results not observed and the altitude was 24, 300.

100th "A" Photos show hits 2, 000 yards NNW of the secondary MPI, and aiming point to the left of the primary MPI was selected. Bombing was visual. (The report summary failed to mention the reason the bombs were left of the MPI - Bombardier wished to avoid the nearby POW camp. . . pw)

100th "B" Photos show bombs hit 2500 yard due West of the secondary MPI. Bombing was visual with PFF assist. Radar Navigator set up course at IP on Primary but due to smoke obscuring the target, was forced to select an aiming point to the left of the primary MPI. On the approach the RN (Radar Navigator) made two correction after which the run was conducted by the Bombardier.

Feb 26, 1945

418 B-17's from the 3rd Air Division attacked the Alexanderplatz station in Berlin. More than 1200 tons of bombs were dropped in the attack. The 100th was led by Colonel Harry F. Cruver, flying with the Charles Blanding crew.

LT. COL HARRY F. CRUVER

Com P

SGT PETER GLANZ

ROG

1ST LT CHARLES B. BLANDING

P

SGT ROBIN J. WHYBROW

TTE

2ND LT JOHN A. CLARK

CP

SGT WADE DOARES

BTG

2ND LT DAVID L. BITTMAN

NAV

SGT IRVIN J. DELANEY

WG

2ND LT ALVIN H. BELIMOW

BOM

SGT REX D. THOMAS

TG

The target was Berlin.

General Narrative as follows: Thirty-eight aircraft including three PFF aircraft departed T. A. at 0830-0900 hours. The 100th flew as the 13th Wing "C" Group which was the sixth group in the 3rd Air Division Line. All but two (2) aircraft attacked the target, A/C #43-37815 did not attack due to malfunction of bombing equipment; A/C #44-8613 returned early due to #3 engine failure. There were no losses in the "A", "B", and "C" 100th Groups or the Composite which flew as the high and low flights in the 95th "B" Squadron. one of these aircraft. A/C #44-6608 returned early with a Turbo failure.

The Group trailed considerably behind the 13th Wing "B" on the way in, however at Dummer's Lake the interval was closed up when the Wing Leader turned wide at the turning point at 08° 15" E to allow the groups to catch up. On the leg into the IP, the Group continued to gain on the 13th Wing "B" and at the IP was at a close interval. The turn on the target was made slightly inside of 13 "B". The Group was intact at the Rally Point. High velocity headwinds were encountered north of Berlin. The Group joined the bomber stream, which was extremely compact and began a letdown at 08° E.

The intelligence summary as follows:

Group attacked by Squadrons.

"A" Squadron attacked secondary - H2X - RN (Radar Navigator) believes bombs hit in target area. 
"B" Squadron attacked secondary - H2X - RN believes bombs hit short and to the left of MPI, but well within the city. 
"C" Squadron attacked secondary - H3X - RN believes bombs hit over MPI, but within the city.

Feb 27, 1945

Stood down - no air operations.

Feb 28, 1945

Most of the base personnel receive inoculation and it was a Pay Day, mention is made of the "Infamous Maghotus Still" constructed and operated, some say, by Capt. Scharding and the 100th "Mr. Everything Officer" Lt. Harold Kinke. Tests were made with rather alarming results and it was decided to reduce the strength of the product by 50% before allowing further consumption. Possible the air operations of the day may have been overshadowed by "other high octane" ground operations, never the less the 100th flew to Kassel and the Alivin Mieklejohn crew completed their tour with this mission.

General Narrative:

Thirty-eight aircraft including three PFF aircraft departed T. A. at 1035-100 hours. The 100th flew as the 13th Wing " A" which was the ninth group in the 3rd Air Division column. There were no losses and all but one aircraft attacked the target; A/C #43-7994 returned early due to No #4 engine failure, leaving the formation at 1348 hours. This aircraft attacked a Target of Opportunity at 50° 10" N & 07° 43" E.

Control Point #2 was reached on time, on course at 17,000 feet. The briefed route was closely followed to CP #3. At this point the 13th "A" was on time and course at 20,000 feet. Bombing altitude was reached at 50° 08" N and 07° 43" E and the route to the IP was as briefed. Individual H2X runs were made on the secondary target. The reassembly was quickly accomplished at the Rally Point, and the briefed route was flown to the Continental Coast - crossed at Ostend at 8,000 feet at 1638½ hours.

Lead Bombardier 100th "A": The Mickey Operator made the IP good and brought the Squadron in on course for the bomb tun. After a few corrections for drift, the Bombardier was checked in at 70° and gave 68°, 65°, 62°, 58°, and 53° checks. All checks were good except the 58° which was slightly off course because of propwash. Very little correction was made on this check and bombs were away at 1423 hours through 10/10 undercast. Bombing was done by Squadrons in A-B-C order. Flak was moderate and inaccurate.

Intelligence Narrative: Group attacked by Squadrons. "A" attacked secondary- marshaling yards at Kassel. H2X -- Radar Navigator reports bombs hit a little to right of MPI - near center of city.

"B" Squadron attacked secondary - marshaling yards at Kassel. RN reports bombs should have hit near MPI. with pattern extending east.

"C" Squadron attacked secondary marshaling yards at Kassel by H2X. RN reports bomb should have hit about a 1,000 yards over and 500 yards to the left of the MPI. Black smoke boiling from the target area caused by bomb hits from previous groups. .

Mar 1, 1945

Group received word from higher headquarters that "Rosie" (Major Robert Rosenthal) was safe in Moscow. This information spread like wildfire throughout the station and the Old Man said, "Rosie has flown his last mission, and this time I mean it. " (This refers to the fact Rosie had talked his way out of going home after he crash landed on the Continent earlier. He had flown two tours (52) and started on a third when shot down over Berlin on the 3rd of Feb, 1945. . . pw)

Mar 2, 1954

The target was Ruhland but on twenty-four aircraft bombed the primary with the remainder attacking Dresden.

General Narrative: Thirty-eight aircraft including three PFF aircraft departed T. A. The group made a normal take-off and assembly over Buncher 2E at 8,000 feet. 13th Wing's "B" Group echeloned to the right - were in excellent formation until mid-channel, upon the Navigator;s insistence the Group crossed over and echeloned upwind to the left. Route to CP #3 was 4 - miles south of course and was subject to the flak defenses at Zwolle. Considerable easing was encountered from this point to the IP. This pint was short 3 miles to the northeast and an H2X run in group formation was made on the secondary.

Mar 3, 1945

The 100th's Colonel John Wallace, flying with the Gerald Brown crew, led the 3rd Air Division to Brunswick, Germany. On this mission there were six 100th planes, lead by Lt. Jack Thrasher, assigned to carry chafe in hopes of rendering German radar less effective. A/C #44--8220 flow by Lt. Thrasher was the only aircraft the 100th lost on the mission. They were attacked by a lone ME-262, starting an uncontrollable fire in one wing. The crew was as follows:

44--8220

     
2ND LT JACK W. THRASHER 
(KIA)

P

T/SGT ALBERT L. EGSIEKER
(POW)

ROG

2ND CHARLES S. BAYHA 
(POW)

CP

T/SGT THOMAS C . BROWNING 
(POW)

TTE

2ND LT GERALS A. RIMMEL 
(POW)

NAV

S/SGT ALFRED S. COLLINS 
(NOC)

BTG

2NDLT HARRY F. BOTT 
(POW)

BOM

S/SGT RAY U. MUFFLEY 
(POW)

WG

1ST LT WILLIS R. MC GUIRE 
(KIA)

Radar N

SGT CECIL A. BAKER
(KIA)

TG

EYEWITNESS: "A/C 44-8220 was attacked by one of six jet E/A which made a pass at the formation at 1018 hours over the target just before bombs away. The #1 engine was hit and burst into flames. Bomb bay doors were closed and the aircraft slid away to the left.

The left wing crumpled and the aircraft flipped over on it's back and exploded. The fuselage broke at the waist door and both wings fell away. One chute was seen to leave the aircraft before it exploded. Later four (4) others were counted. Pilot was seen in cockpit 30 seconds prior to the explosion. "

The Tactical Reports reads: The target was Braunsehweig (Brunswick), Germany. (Bussing-Naationale Automobil Geselischaft (N. A,G. )

13th A Group - 100th A, B, & C

Navigation: Three Squadrons made a normal take-off and climb to assembly altitude of 8,000 feet. A B-24 formation caused the 13 A to cut short at Buncher #11. This caused the Group to depart the Buncher approximately 4 minutes early. The Lead Navigator was able to lose time on the Wing assembly route and make CP #1 on time.

The route across the North Sea was essentially as briefed to the Continental Coast, which was crossed at 25, 000 feet. The flak corridor was made good, although it seemed there would be difficulties with the B-24 formation at the same altitude at this point. Because of change in wind direction the Group had drifted south of course approximately ten miles. Using the derived winds the Navigator attempted to correct back to the briefed course but found he was just paralleling. With aid from the Radar Navigator he was able to make good the IP and a derived wind for the bomb run. An interesting phase of this flight was the wind changes, especially the velocities. The winds at the coast were from 350° at 75 knots and increased progressively to 360° at 101 knots along the track to the IP. It is now apparent that the Navigator's use of his latest derived winds would only parallel the course because his correction did not counteract the progressing increase in velocity along the track.

At the IP, interference with the B-24's was experienced and hampered the Squadron peel off, which necessitated the 100th "B" to swing out from the IP and then back on course to the target. In this maneuver the 100th "C" got ahead of "B" and bombed second. Twelve of the 100th aircraft bombed the Primary Target.

Mar 3, 1945

Vernon Sheedy reports: "Red Alert tonight at 0930 hours. First one in a long time. . . Red Alert at 0100 hours - a German plane dropped bombs near Eye and strafed Botesdale. "

Mar 4, 1945

The Tactical Report from the 13th WG Hdqts :

Target was Braumanhein, but weather in the area the attack was made on the railroad marshaling yards north and south of Ulm, Germany. All but one 100th Aircraft attacked the target and there were no losses.

Navigation: The 13 "A" took off and made a single ship penetration of the continent, assembling at 20,000 feet over Buncher Y-21. On the penetration, several B-24's crossed in front of the lead ship and fired several rounds in the vicinity, causing no damage other than alarming the leaders. The assembly went well after a late start.

CP #1 was made good 3 minutes early. At this point visual contact was lost with the Division Leader. Later radio contact was established and 4th "A" (A group of the 4th Combat Wing) was behind 13th "A" at 19,000 feet. 13th "A" climbed to 23, 000 feet and broke out on top. Kodak Red (8th AF weather Service) reported the Primary 10/10 overcast and the decision to attack the Secondary using PFF was made. The Rally Point for the Primary was used as the IP for the Secondary and individual H2X runs were made on the Secondary.

This mission completed the tour of five members of the Donald A. Jones crew; Donald A. Jones, pilot; Grant A. Fuller, co-pilot; Arthur H. Juhlin, navigator; Alfred F. Marcello, engineer; Sam L. Foushee, waist gunner. This crew was a lead crew almost from the start of their combat tour.

Mar 5, 6, 1945

Millard Browning of the 1776 Ordnance Company won a 48 hour pass to Paris, France and the Group stood down both days. . There was a Red Alert on the 6th in the A. M. The Group received a commendation from the Air Inspector on the Station Salvage Dept.

Mar 7, 1945

The assigned target was Dattelin, but weather conditions forced the Group to bomb the Secondary, marshaling yards at Siegen. All but two aircraft attacked, one received sortie credit, and there were no losses.

Tactical Report from HQ 13 CBW
Target: Siegen, Germany -- Secondary
13 Group - 100th A, B, C

Navigation: Since the lead aircraft had faulty H2X equipment, the High Squadron assumed the lead at mid-channel and maintained the lead the remainder of the mission. After CP #2, which was crossed on course, the route was flown approximately as briefed to the IP. Previously a decision had been made to bomb the Secondary because Micro-H reception was very poor. Faulty planning of the route forced 13C to go from the IP over the Primary target and through an extensive flak area in order to reach the proposed IP for the Secondary.

Bombing 100th "A" Squadron: Unable to bomb the Primary because of no beacon reception. Secondary attacked. The maneuver at the IP made by the 100th "B" and "A" in formation. The RN took over and proceeded to set up course. The target was picked up on the Radar scope at 25 miles. The Bombardier was clutched in at 10 miles and all subsequent rate checks of 7, 6, and 5 miles were very good. Bombs were released on a true heading of 100°. C-1 auto-pilot was used on the bomb run. This narrative also applies to the 100th "B".

Mar 8, 1945

Tactical Report from HQ 13 CBW
Target: Langendreer and Giessen, Germany -- Primary Landendreer - Secondary Giessen. Thirty-five plus three PFF aircraft were dispatched and all attacked. There were no losses. 
13 Group - 100th A, B, C Squadrons

Navigation: On the Channel crossing the 13B Group began climbing too early and was compelled to "S" turn slightly in to order not to overrun the 13A Group. At CP #2, reached 2 minutes early, the Groups were had attained the proper interval. 13A vectored to the south, and continued inside of the Pre-IP and IP. The beacon course was intercepted about 15 miles south of the IP. 100 th "A" and "C" had strong beacon reception while "B" had none at all. The low element of the Lead Squadron lagged about 400 yards behind on the bomb run and interfaced with 100th "C". This caused the 100th "C" to pull away from the target and hold it's bombs. They went on to attack Giessen, while "A" and "B" delayed in the Giessen area waiting for "C" to complete the sighting. On the withdrawal the lead was assumed by 100th "B" and after skirting the flak defenses at Weisbaden, the remainder of the route was uneventful.

Mar 9, 1945

Tactical Report from HQ 13 CBW
Target: 100th "A" & "C"; Secondary - Railway marshaling yard west of Frankfurt, Germany
100th "B": Primary - Sheet Rolling Mills, one half mile north of Herrernheim, a Frankfurt suburb. All but one of the 100th's aircraft attacked and there were no losses. 
13 Group - 100th A, B, C Squadrons

Navigation: Three squadrons made a normal take-off and assembled into formation over Buncher 26 at 6,000 feet. 13 "A" made contact with 13 "B" and were in good formation at Felixstone. To avoid interference with 13 "C", the 100th "C" was forced to "S turn" on the Wing assembly line. This cause the 100th "C" to fall behind the 100th's other two squadrons. To enable the 100th "C" to get back in formation the 13th Wing Leader leveled off in mid-channel allowing them to pull back in formation. Continental Coast was crossed 4 miles south of CP #2. 13 "B" was 6 - 8 miles south of course while following the bomber stream to 52° 36" N and 08° 05" E. The flak corridor was made good. Prior to the IP the 13 "B" Leader echeloned to the right in order to enable the Wing Leader to make the turn over the Pre-IP which was overshot by 6 miles. Being echeloned to the right and too close an interval, 13 "B" had to turn short at the IP and remained on the inside of the turn on the bomb run. There was considerable traffic interference between 13 "A" and 13 "B" on the bomb run.

Mar 10, 1945

Tactical Report from HQ 13 CBW
Target: Dortmund, Germany -- Primary . . Thirty-five plus four PFF aircraft were dispatched and all attacked. There were no losses. 
13 Group - 100th A, B, C Squadrons

Navigation: 13 "A" was four miles left of course over the North Sea. CP #2 was crossed at 1148 hours, on course at 24,000 feet. In the Zuider Zee area, the last group of the 45th Wing began to lag behind the Wing Leader and vector to the left of course. At 0730 hours 13 "A" vectored to the right when the group ahead made no attempt to correct into the IP. 13 "A" turned approximately 3 miles northeast of the Pre-Ip and at 3 miles east of the IP the Radar Navigators took over for individual runs.

Mar 11, 1945

The 100th attacked synthetic oil targets in the dock area of Hamburg. Thirty-five 100th aircraft and three PFF were dispatched. All attacked the target and there were no losses.

The group assembled over Buncher 28 at 10,000 feet. The Wing assembly point was made good on time as well as Control Point #1, where proper interval was taken in the Division bomber stream. The enemy coast was crossed at 25,000 feet ten miles north of the briefed point. At the coast the Wing Leader ordered bombing to be in group formation using H2X and that interval was taken. On the bomb run the 13th A (Combat Wing) changed to squadron formation. This resulted in some interference between the 13th B and the low squadron of 13th A. Proper interval was reinstated at the Rally Point and the route home proved uneventful.

Mar 12, 1945

The 100th attacked the port area of Swinemunde, and while the bombing results were not observed, later reports indicated they were good. Thirty-five aircraft and three PFF were dispatched. A/C #841 was forced to return with engine failure (No#2) all others attacked the target and there were no losses.

The group assembled over Buncher 28 at 7,000 feet, encountered difficulties with the 2nd Division forces to the north and the 95th Group to the south. 13th A Leader moved their assembly point farther south upon request by the 13th B Leader. Enroute across the North Sea, 13th B was in very good position and was echelon to the right of 13th A. The I. P. was made 10 miles north of the briefed point. The peel off was initiated and individual H2X runs were made on the secondary target.

Mar 13, 1945

Stood down

Mar 14, 1945

Thirty-five and three PFF aircraft made normal take-off and assembled over Buncher 28 at 6,000 feet. The route across the Channel was as briefed and Control Point #2 was reached one minute early at 15,000 feet. Under orders from the Wing Leader, 13th B leveled off for a considerable length of time enroute to CP #3. Climb was resumed before crossing the front lines and CP #3 was made good one minute early at 20,000 feet. Bombing altitude could not be reached before the IP due to the delay in resuming climb. A turn was made south of the IP and 13B peeled off in individual groups, passing over the IP to the primary target.

One aircraft failed to attack due to bomb rack malfunctions, all others attacked and there were no aircraft losses. S/Sgt Garland S. Miller, the waist gunner of the Edward Aubuchon crew in #43-38852, was killed by flak.

Mar 15, 1945

The 100th attacked the marshaling yards at Oranienburg with the locomotive depots near Wittenburg as the secondary. Thirty-four and 4 PFF aircraft were dispatched. All attacked and there were no losses. Bombing results were reported as poor.

The navigational log states the 13th A of which the 100th was a part off, was four to six miles north of briefed course while crossing the North Sea, but reached Control Point #2 on course and one minute early. The briefed route was closely followed to CP #3, which was reached two minutes early at 19,000 feet. The turning point at the Pre - IP was overshot slightly to the east in order to echelon to the left and pick up a good interval for the visual run on the primary target. The IP was made good and individual visual runs were started on the primary target. 100th A attacked the LRT (last resort target).

The greater part of the 100th planes attacked the marshaling yards at Wittenburg.

This was the last mission for the Sidney Johnson crew:

351st Squadron. 
Crew joined the 100th on 28 Oct, 1944
  T/SGT CHARLES M. BECK, JR. 
(CPT)

ROG

2ND LT SIDNEY C. JOHNSON 
(CPT)

P

T/SGT HARRY E. MENTER 
(CPT)

TTE

2ND LT WILLIARN J. DUGGAN 
(CPT)

CP

S/SGT WILLIAM G. WEEKS 
(CPT)

BTG

1ST LT CHESTER ROMANOWSKI 
(Became a Lead NAV) (CPT)

NAV

S/SGT EDWIM R. HODGSON 
(CPT)

WG

F/O HARRY M. THOMPSON 
(CPT)

BOM

S/SGT FRANCIS W. MANSER 
(CPT)

TG

This crew flew 35 missions. For most of the tour the Navigator was M/Sgt Gordon Sinclair, only a few NCO'S served as Navigators. Gordon Sinclair was removed from Navigator's school one day short of graduation for some unknown infraction, probably the Training Command acted a bit over zealous in view of the need for trained Navigators. The 351st Sqdn. Commander (Harry Cruver, a man known to have had some disagreement with training command personnel during his cadet days) corrected this bit of over zealousness by immediately promoting Sinclair to M/Sgt and making him the Navigator for the Sidney Johnson crew, where he completed a tour. This from Charles M. Beck, of the Sidney Johnson crew. . pw

Mar 16, 1945

The 100th was briefed for the oil refinery at Ruhland only to have the mission scrubbed before take-off. Weather, according to higher headquarters cause the scrub.

Mar 17, 1945

The 100th dispatched 35 and 3 PFF aircraft for the oil refinery at Ruhland but cloud cover forced them to attack a textile, spinning mill, target southwest of Plauen, Germany. All aircraft attacked and there were no losses.

Navigation logs indicate 13th C, of with which the 100th was flying, had to "S" turn slightly over the Channel to gain proper interval behind 13th B. Control Point #2 was crossed on course at 0444 hrs and 6 minutes early at 10,500 feet. 13th C was forced to remain south of course over the Continent in order to remain in the bomber stream. At 06°00"E, where a high cirrus cloud layer was encountered, temporally caused 13th C to lose visual contact with 13th B. Contact was reestablished at 50° 07"N & 07° 00"E where the group broke through the undercast at 23,500 feet. Several course corrections were necessary in order to echelon off 13th B.

The IP was overshot approximately 8 miles of the NE. After turning, the Radar Navigator notified the Air Leader that due to poor ranging the secondary could not be attacked. The Air Leader issued orders to attack the LRT (last resort target) of Plauen. Bombing was from 26,000 feet and the duration of flight was 9 hours.

Stanton Lawrence and most of his crew completed their tour with this mission. Crew as follows:

350th Sqdn. Joined the 100th on 21 Oct 1944. 
S/Sgt Adolph W. Caruso WG XFR TO 15TH A. F.
  T/SGT ROBERT L. WOLF 
(CPT 17 MAR 45)

ROG

2ND LT STANTON T. LAWRENCE, JR 
(CPT 17 MAR 45)

P

T/SGT JOSEPH BODEN
(CPT 17 MAR 45)

TTE

2ND LT JAY L. POWELL 
(CPT 17 MAR 45)

CP

S/SGT RAYMOND L. WILSON
(CPT 17 MAR 45)

BTG

2ND LT ALFRED L. DENKEWALTER 
(CPT 17 MAR 45)

NAV

S/SGT ALEXANDER NAZEMETZ
(CPT 17 MAR 45)

WG

F/O MARVIN BERG 
(Wounded in Action 24 DEC 44)

BOM

T/SGT RICHARD M. KORPALSKI 
(CPT 17 MAR 45)

TG

This also was the first mission for Lt. James Lantz who flew as co-pilot for Captian Thomas Hughes, who had competed a tour but was flying an extra three missions. Lanz was flying at the end of hostilities.

The German Air Force celebrated St. Patrick's Day by dropping a few bombs close to Thorpe Abbotts.

Mar 18, 1945

The 351st's Colonel Harry F. Cruver, recognized as the best flight leader in the Group, led the 100th on it's final attack on Berlin. The Luftwaffe, employing ME-262 jet fighters for the most part, hotly contested this large attack. It was the heaviest assault by the 8th Air Force of the war, 1329 heavy bomber and the 100th lost four planes.

The Intelligence Narrative indicates enemy aircraft attacks were concentrated on the Low Squadron, with one pass being made at the High Squadron.

The Group flew as 13B in the 13th CBW where six to ten ME-262's and possible two ME-410's concentrated their attack.

It was reported by Colonel Cruver that most attacks came from 5 to 7 o'clock low to level, using contrails and cloud banks as cover. The Intelligence narrative adds that the first attack was made by four ME-262's that came from 5 o'clock, slightly low, and out of contrails. Three were echelon right and other was slightly ahead and below this element. The formation was similar that used by P-51's. The lead or low plane came straight in on the #4 of the low element of the Low Squadron and peeled to the left after closing to point blank range. This A/C #521 was damaged by this attack and fell back. The other three enemy fighters appeared to go for the Low Squadron Lead. One broke away to the left when 75 yard back, one of the other broke to the right and the third came into the formation broke toward ten o'clock and down. The lead B-17 and it left wing A/X were both set on fire by this attack. A few minutes later the same type attack was repeated by three ME-262's from 0630 level. On this attack the enemy aircraft were spaced farther apart and all of them broke down and to the left when about 75 yards from the Low Squadron trail elements. The entire tail section appeared to be shot off our A/C #861 after bombs away. Then two enemy jet fighters made a pass at our High Squadron from 6 o'clock level but broke away when fired on about 800 yards out. About the same time two enemy aircraft that some gunner thought were ME-410's attacked our A/C #521. It was about 2000 yards behind and below the formation, the aircraft went down after this attack.

The attacks began at 1106 hours near 52° 39"N & 10° 28'E and continued until 1130 hours over Falkenberg. There were three attacks on the formation and two on stragglers within a period of twenty-five minutes.

The pilots appeared to the crews to be skilled and aggressive.

The 100th claimed 2 shot down, 2 probable, and 2 damaged.

DATE: 18 March 1945
TARGET: Berlin
The four losses are as follows:

43-37521 "Skyways Chariot" 351st Squadron 
MACR#13143, Microfiche#4787
  S/SGT ARCHIE MATHOSIAN
(POW)

ROG

1ST LT ROLLIS C KING 
(POW)

P

S/SGT RAY E. WILDING
(POW)

TTE

F/O JACK S. WILLIAMS 
(POW)

CP

SGT ROBERT G. MITCHELL
(KIA)

BTG

F/O JOHN W. SPENCER 
(POW)

NAV

SGT MEYER GITLIN
(KIA)

WG

S/SGT FRANCIS S. GORDON
(POW)

NG

SGT JAMES M. BAKER
(KIA)

TG

Bowman Diary - Page 08