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Group History

Bowman Diary Page 09

Bowman Diary - Page 09
 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.

 EYEWITNESS: "A/C 43-37521 was attacked by an ME 262 at 1109 hours,5240N, 1200E and the left stabilizer broke off. A/C was last seen going down into contrails under control with E/A making another attack. "

On 19 Sept. 1945 in Los Angeles, CA. , Rollie King gave the following statement:

"I was the pilot of a B-17 type aircraft in which S/Sgt Robert G. Mitchell was ball-turret gunner, and that on 17 March 1945 we proceeded on a regularly assigned bombardment mission over Berlin.

That on said date,S/Sgt Mitchell was acting as ball turret gunner. After bombs away on the target, we received numerous fighter passes. The first fighter pass knocked out our vertical stabilizer and the tail turret, killing the tail Gunner. On the next fighter pass we received a great deal of damage to the plane and practically all of the controls were knocked out.

I called back and had the radio operator check the crew members, however I did not receive a reply as to their condition. On the third fighter pass we received a burst near the front which knocked out all of our controls and put the plane into a violent spin. I ascertained that I was going to be unable to get the plane out of the said spin due to the lack of control and I told everybody to bail out.

S/Sgt Gitlin, he waist gunner, checked the ball turret gunner and he had previously checked in the tail for the tail gunner. I saw Sgt. Gitlin going out by himself and inasmuch as S/Sgt Robert G. Mitchell was a very close friend of his, I do not believe he would have bailed out if he could have in any way helped Sgt Mitchell.

I have never seen Sgt. Gitlin since that time, nor have I heard what happened to him,and I do not know whether or not his chute opened when he bailed out.

I have never heard regarding S/Sgt Mitchell,and I do not know whether or not his chute opened, or whether he bailed out, prior to Sgt Gitlin. As soon as I bailed out the ship exploded. "

Rollie C. King
1st Lt. , Air Corps

Compare above with the following statement made by F/O John W. Spencer at his home in Elizabethtown, KY on 3/11/45:

". . . . Am writing in response to a letter received by me today considering S/Sgt Robert G. Mitchell. The last time I actually saw Sgt. Mitchell was on the ground before take-off 18 Mar. 1945 but he was on the mission. Everything went well until just after we had turned on the I. P. a couple of minutes after we turned we were hit by an ME 262 that got practically all of the left horizon- stabilizer. A second attack was fought off half way down bomb run with no damage done.

Since being hit we were gradually trailing the formation more and more so by the time we were over the target area the rest of the formation was approximately one-half mile away. We salvoed our bombs over the "built up" area at 1125 and at approximately 15 to 30 seconds later there was a terrific burst that seemed to come from the rear of the plane. From where I was in the nose I could see smoke boiling up from under the pilot's seat.

The conditions of the plane then was that the controls had been shot out, as had the Interphone system, & the right wing was on fire. Up until we received this last attack everyone in the ship reported they were all right. As soon as we were hit -since there was no communication - I looked thru the astro-dome into the cockpit & my first pilot nodded for me to bail out. So then I handed my toggalier his chute & then put on my own but still wasn't sure to bail out so looked thru the astro-dome again & seen both pilot & co-pilot preparing to abandon ship. Then looking at the right wing which was burning pretty badly decided it was time to leave. So I bailed out, floated to the ground and was picked up immediately.

The rest of my information was received from talking to the fellow crew members when I ran into them two or three days later. I found out that ourtail gunner, James D. Baker, was hit badly on the last attack - or may even have been killed & never left the ship. Later on his unopened, bloody, chute was shown to the enlisted men of the crew & they recognized the number on it to be his.

As to Mitchell, his fate is not known. The crew member who was to assist him out of the ball turret - in case of emergency -is also missing -waist gunner Meyer Gitlin. Altho the waist gunner is known to have bailed out, he was not seen since. The radio operator, Archie M athosian,says that Gitlin bailed out ahead of him through a hole in the fuselage made by cannon shell from the jet. From that time to my knowledge he has never been seen or heard from.

It is my suspicion that,if his chute did open he may have been killed by the Germans for he was a Jew,had it on his dog tags, and didn't seem to care who knew it. That may or may not have happened. Nonetheless that was the last seen of him. If he were alive today he could probably tell what happened to Mitchell.

According to my talks with the crew no one knows what condition the ball turret was when the last man abandoned ship. The only other man in the rear of the ship was the radio operator and since he says he does not know I know of no way of finding out.

Spencer ends his letter with a list on names of crew and their addresses.

Crew Members of B-17 "Heavenly Days"
351st Sqdn. 100th Bomb Group

43 38861 351st Squadron. 
Crew joined 100th on 5 Oct 44.
  SGT WILLIAM C. DANIELSON, JR. 
(KIA 18 MAR 45)

ROG

2ND LT EDWARD P. GWIN 
(KIA 18 MAR 45)

P

SGT HERBERT HAMANN
(POW 18 MAR 45)

TTE

2ND LT DONALD H. REICHEL 
(POW 18 MAR 45)

CP

SGT Earl S. HAMILTON
(grounded at some point)

BTG

2ND LT ROBERT B. LANDINO 
(POW 18 MAR 45)

NAV

SGT NORMAN D. HEILBUTH
(POW 18 MAR 45)

WG

2ND LT STEWART P. LAIDLAW

BOM

SGT CHARLES T. MAEDEL 
(NOC)

WG

    SGT JOSEPH M. GRIEGO
(POW 18 MAR 45)

TG

Letter from Joe Griego in 1983 states that Lt. Laidlaw was made Group Bombardier after about 10 missions with crew. "On 18/3/45 Sgt Raymond Y. Uhler and Sgt John W. Disher were flying in place of Hamilton & Maedel and both were KIA. Sgt. David Ackerman was aboard as NG and became a POW. R. K. Uhler was from the crew of J. L. Wofford. John Disher was from the crew of H. S. Bucklew. S/Sgt N. D. Heilburth was aboard as a waist gunner and became a POW. "

MACR #13144 A//C#43 38861 was attacked by an ME 262 at 1114 hours, 5247;N & 1145E.

Our A/C had two engines on fire and dived away from the formation. . A/C then nosed up with tail falling off and fell down spinning. One chute was seen. "

Joe Griego was in the severed section of the tail and had a difficult time getting out so that he could open his chute.

See S. O. C. p. 86/87 &103/105

The following are excerpts from statements of Lt. Robert B. Landino taken from MACR No# 13144

As to Lt. Gwin, ". . . from enlisted men who were working near where we were shot down; they claim one man bailed out below the clouds, then they heard shooting, his chute collapsed and he fell to the ground presumably dead. "

As to Sgt Disher, " . . . S/Sgt Heilbuth saw him just before he bailed out. He was crawling out of the radio room with blood all over himself, but he (Heilbuth) did not have time to help him as the aircraft was below the clouds which were not more than 500 feet, so he had to jump. Disher probably never got to the door to jump as the plane must have hit only a few seconds later. "

As to Sgt. Uhler, ". . . I believe he was trapped in the ball turret by enemy shell fire. His body was seen on the ground along side of the plane. "

As to T/Sgt Danielson, ". . . He must have been killed by the fire from the two ME - 262s that shot us down. They sprayed the back part of our plane as it was shot in half just in front of the tail wheel. "

44-8717 418th Squadron. 
Crew joined the 100th on 24 Dec 44
  T/SGT ROBERT A. HAUSAM 
(POW 18 MAR 45)

ROG

CAPT ROGER L. SWAIN
(POW 18 MAR 45)

Com P

T/SGTMORRIS O. KOLLING
(KIA 18 MAR 45)

TTE

1ST LT PAUL E. DE WEERDT
(POW 18 MAR 45)

P

S/SGT NORBERT J. DOUGHERT 
(REPLACED BY RADAR NAV)

BTG

F/O JAMES M. CARDEN
(POW 18 MAR 45)

NAV

S/SGT PETE J. FISCHER
(POW 18 MAR 45)

WG

2ND LT BERNARD F. KOZIK
(POW 18 MAR 45)

BOM

2ND LT BILL E. THOMPSON (CP)
(POW 18 MAR 45)

TG

F/O SUMMER H. WOODROW
(POW 18 MAR 45)

Radar N

   

On the 18 Mar 44 (Berlin) mission Capt Roger L. Swain was flying as Command Pilot and became a POW. F/O Summer H. Woodrow, a Radar Navigator, flew instead of Norbert Dougherty and became a POW. Bill E. Thompson, the regular CP flew in the TG position for this mission. See Thompson Memo for a description of the attack, his bail out and POW experiences. . . . . pw

(BILL THOMPSON BELIEVES MORRIS KOLLING WOULD NOT LEAVE THE AIRCRAFT AND PAUL DeWEERDT WOULD NOT BAIL OUT WITH KOLLING STILL ABOARD AND ONLY SURVIVED BECAUSE HE WAS BLOWN CLEAR OF THE AIRCRAFT WHEN IT EXPLODED SEVERAL MINUTES AFTER THE BAIL OUT ORDER WAS ISSUED. )

According to statements in the MACR, T/Sgt Morris O. Kolling had flown a tour in the CBI (China - Burma - India) theater and had a total of forty (40) to fifty (50) missions. After Capt. Swain bailed out, Kolling took over his seat - DeWeerdt thought Kolling to be in dazed condition and would not bail out. Aircraft was probably hit again and went into a spin and DeWeerdt got out some way. (May have been blown out in an explosion) DeWeerdt was later shown Kolling's wallet by the Germans and told that a body was found in the co-pilot's seat.

44-6295 351st Squadron. 
Crew joined the 100th on 21 Jan 45
  SGT JOHN T. PALMER ROG

LT MERRILL E. JENSEN

P

SGT THOMAS L. GALLAGHER

TTE

F/O CHARLES L. KEMP

CP

SGT HOWARD B. HODGES

BTG

F/O RICHARD R. SCROXTON

NAV

SGT ANTHONY G. SCHEMBRI

WG

SGT CHARLES P. FRIEL

NG

SGT MELVIN J. MADSEN

TG

This crew flying its 14th mission, took off for Berlin 18 Mar 1945. In a letter of Nov. 1983 Richard Scroxton relates what occurred:

"We were in the #3 position slightly behind and below the element lead. As we neared our target of Berlin, he sky was clear but we were leaving heavy contrails. There had been no warning of bandits when our tail gunner opened fire. Four M~ 262s came in hidden by the contrails and hit four of us. I had one quick glance of ours just off our left wing tip which was then five feet too short. Our element lead was also hit and turned directly into us we turned in formation and he slipped below us.

This change in position was not noted by the person who wrote the report as it applied to the other plane. (He is here referring to a report of an eyewitness who had said that Scroxton's a/c had the entire left wing afire and that two men Were seen to jump from the ship. jb) No one bailed out of our plane partly because several chutes were destroyed. In addition to the wingtip damage, 4 engine prop was hit resulting in very severe vibrations. These and other hits on #2 and #3 made it clear that we were no longer a part of the formation. I gave the pilot a heading of due East we crossed the Oder river front line at 9,000 ft down from 33,000. At 2,000 ft. we were able to maintain altitude and picked an open field

We did take one very close flak burst that ripped up the chutes near the front escape hatch. We landed near a town in Poland called Kostian. We thought that our troubles were over when we landed gave away all our provisions even those in the raft. We spent that day and next with Russians then they put us on our own. We traveled by horse cart, railroad flat car, etc. until we got to Lodz. There we met a crew with a C47 who had flown in to evacuate an injured airman it turned out to be Capt. Ernst of the 100th. (Ernst had flown as pilot of a mission on 3/2/45 Robt. Rosenthal Command pilot and suffered a wound which caused amputation of his leg. jb)

We flew with him to Poltava. Melvin Madsen had left us in Poland due to sickness but he got back to the States before we got back to England. As we got off the plane in Poltava, I saw a classmate from Navigation school who had arrived the day before and left the next day. We expected to do the same but the Russians had other ideas. We were not allowed to leave or write for four weeks. We left Poltava on April 23 in a B 17 with another crew. We landed in Bari, Italy dropping off the other crew then flew to Caserta and stayed two days then flew back to England landing at Thorpe Abbotts on 25 April 1945. "

Mar 19, 1945

Tactical Report from the 13th Combat Wing reports that the primary target was Lutzendorf but weather conditions forced the formation to attack the Carl Ziess Optical works at Jena, Germany. The 100th dispatched 34 aircraft plus 4 PFF and all but one attacked. One aircraft was forced to return early with total oxygen system failure. There were no losses on the mission, but the 100th received the bitter news that Major Summer Reeder was lost on a C-54 training flight in Florida. Reeder was original 100th and had completed his tour before the advent of effective fighter escort. The popular and highly respected Reeder won the DSC on the September 6, 1943 Stuttgart mission when he had brought the crew home with the Harry Edeburn, the co-pilot dead, and himself wounded. Summer Reeder's loss was a grievous one for the 1900th. Navigation reports the route flown to be essentially as briefed to control Point #1. Enroute to the Pre-IP, 13A was 6 - 7 miles right of course while in the bomber stream. A course correction was made and the Pre-IP was made good. Bombing altitude (25,500 feet) was reached 10 minutes prior to the IP. The IP was made good by 13A and B. 13 A peeled off for individual H2X runs. Bombing results were considered disappointing.

Weather: A low stratocumulus layer prevailed over the base area and enroute to the Continental assembly area. In the assembly area patchy middle clouds were encountered at 12,000 feet, but cause no difficulty with the assembly. The IP was visual but there were contrails and cirrus clouds to 25,000 feet on the bomb run and to the Rally Point.

Mar 20, 1945 No air activity - stood down

Mar 21, 1945

Tactical Report from the 13th Combat Wing reports that the 13A group made up of the 100th A, B, & C took-off for Ruhland, led by Colonel D. L. "Handlebar Hank" Lyster. Weather forced Lyster to divert and attack the secondary, the machine shops one and on-half miles southwest of Plauen, Germany. The Lead Bombardier had some problems with the Norton sight, never-the-less he hit the tank factory and machine works dead on. All but three aircraft attacked the target and there was one aircraft lost to ME-262 jet fighters. A/C #44-8613 was destroyed by the jet fighters on the bomb run. The crew was as follows:

44-8613 350th Squadron 
Crew joined the 100th on 4 Feb 45.
 

Crew was on their 14th or 15th mission. MACR #13572, Microfiche #4952

 
2ND LT BERNARD L. PAINTER 
(POW 21 Mar 45)

P

SGT ARTHUR B. MAC NEIL
(KIA 21 Mar 45)

ROG

2ND LT CHARLES W. HIGGINBOTHAM 
(KIA 21 Mar 45)

CP

S/SGTVIRGIL S. DOWNING, JR. 
(KIA 21 Mar 45)

TTE

F/O DANIEL MARTIN
(KIA 21 Mar 45)

NAV

SGT WALLACE R. MATZDORF
(KIA 21 Mar 45)

BTG

S/SGTHERBERT SINGER
(KIA 21 Mar 45)

TOG

SGT EMIL E. HAVELKA
(KIA 21 Mar 45)

WG

    SGT DONALD A. BECKER
(KIA 21 Mar 45)

TG

EYEWITNESS: "100TH "A" was attacked by five (5) ME 262's at 0940 hours at 51°33"N & 13°41"E. Aircraft 44-8613 which was straggling with another aircraft two (2) miles behind the formation was observed to be hit in the left wing. It exploded and went down in tight spin. Three (3) chutes were seen, two of which reported to be on fire. "

The following letter was written by Bernard Painter and appears in the MACR file.

Subject: WHEREABOUTS OF CREW MEMBERSJune 23, 1945
TO: Major Wm. D. Sanders

SIR: In answer to you request for information concerning the whereabouts of the missing airmen I will give you what details I have.

We were scheduled to bomb Ruhland, Germany on March 21, 1945. Fifteen (15) minutes before the target we lost N0#1 engine due to a mechanical failure (Supercharger). We were forced to leave the formation and to salvo our bombs. We accomplished this and were rejoining the formation when attacked by several ME 262 Jet Fighter planes. Although our gunners were firing at them constantly, they were able to shoot out #2 engine and set it on fire, foul the controls rendering them useless and scored several hits in the nose section, setting it on fire.

I immediately gave the order to abandon ship and went below to aid the men in the nose, but was unable to accomplish this because of the fire and was forced to bail out at approximately 18,000 feet. I opened my chute immediately in an effort to drift toward the Russian lines. I counted five (5) chutes below me and I can presume they were crew members from the rear of the ship who jumped when we were at 22,500 and made a delayed jump.

I have had no contact with the crew since that time. I have written all of the next of kin and given them what I could of the above details. I will also try to call on many of them personally. I would appreciate any information you receive concerning the missing men forwarded to me and I will do likewise with any received through other airmen. "

Bernard Painter
1st Lt AR 0-926819
Box 327 Carlinsville, IL.

The navigation section of the report indicates the briefed route was closely followed to the IP for the primary target. At this point a southerly heading was taken, skirting the Chemitz flak concentration, to the IP for the secondary. The bombing altitude was not made good because of cirrus clouds at 24,000 feet. 13A bombed in group formation due to the presence of fighters in the area.

The weather in the secondary target area was 8 to 9/10 cirrus at 24,000 feet. The target was clear with a downward visibility of 15 - 20 miles.

Bombing: The primary was not attacked due to the undercast. After making an IP at 50°30"N & 13°18"E, the bombardier took over. Six minutes from the BRL (bomb release line) the bombardier identified the assigned AP and proceeded to synchronize. Immediately after synchronization began, the formation encountered prop wash and the bombardier experienced a tumbled gyro, this occurred again and during the little time left the bombardier resynchronized using a caged gyro. At bombs away synchronization was excellent and bubbles level. Because of the presence of enemy fighters bombing was in Group formation at 21,000 feet. Bombing results were excellent, the target being hit squarely by the 100th. They were declared EXCELLENT

Mar 22, 1945

The 100th took-off at 0830 hours for the airfield at Alhorn and dropped their bombs at 1130 hours from an altitude of 18,000 feet. All but one aircraft attacked the target, bombing results were excellent, and there were no losses.

The 13th Combat Wing Tactical Report relays that 35 aircraft plus 3 PFF were dispatched.

Navigation: The route was flown essentially as briefed to the Pre-IP. At this point 13B and 13C were to the right of course in order to obtain the proper interval and approach to the IP. Bombing altitude was reached 45 minutes prior to the IP. The IP was made good and individual visual runs were made on the primary target.

Weather: Enroute a haze layer prevailed with the tops at 10,000 and nil to 3/10 cirrus clouds above 25,000 feet. The target area was clear with visibility 15 to 20 miles in haze.

Bombing: After the maneuver at the IP, which was made good, the bombardier took over and proceeded to kill course, using the extended vision. 17 miles from the BRL the bombardier identified the MPI and made a well synchronized run of 4 to 5 minutes. When the bombs were released on a true heading of 300°, synchronization was good and the bubbles were level. C-1 Auto-Pilot was used on the bomb run. The photo reports indicated the bombing of the 100th was declared GOOD.

Mar 23, 1945

The 100th, led by Colonel Fred Sutterlin, the Group Commander attacked Unna with good results. The two Lead Navigators Carl Roesel and Robert Kirby obtained solid hits on the marshaling yards with 100th A & C, while the 100th A, with Tony Shiurba the lead navigator attacked the last resort target at Marburg. This was due to the extensive smoke at the primary from the Groups A & C squadron's bombs. Of the 34 plus 4 PFF aircraft dispatched all attacked and one #43-37812 was lost. This A/C was hit by flak and collided with a aircraft (#42-97812) flown by the Laurance Lazzari crew, crinkling eight feet of his wing. At the time of the collision the Lazzari plane was being flown by the co-pilot, Guiher (Gene) Greenwood, who made a recovery and was escorted back to Thorpe Abbotts by a flight of P-51's. Upon arriving at Thorpe Abbotts the operations people were fearful the wing would collapse on landing thus blocking the active runway. In view of this the crew was advised by the tower to use one of the secondary runways. Interesting in the fog of war is the fact that as they were on approach they were cut out by a B-25 with an engine on fire. Lazzari and Greenwood were able to abort their approach and watched as the Mitchell crashed short of the runway but did not explode or burn. The pilots, having enough of the emergency by now elected to land on the long runway and did so safely.

(The fact these two aircraft had the same last three tail numbers has confused historians for the last half century. . pw)

43-37812 351st Squadron 
Crew joined the 100th on 9 Jan 45
  SGT HOWARD R. TUDOR 
(KIA 23 Mar 45)

ROG

2NDLT ALFONSO C. GUARDINO 
(KIA 23 Mar 45)

P

SGT HUGH H. PENNOCK
(KIA 23 Mar 45)

TTE

2ND LT WILLIAM E. DAVIS 
(KIA 23 Mar 45)

CP

SGT ALOIS CHUDY 
(KIA 23 Mar 45)

BTG

2ND LT LEO TOMASO 
(KIA 23 Mar 45)

NAV

SGT LEON K. WILLIAMS
(KIA 23 Mar 45)

WG

SGT EDWARD W. KEEFREY, JR. 
(KIA 23 Mar 45)

TOG

SGT OBIE SMITHART 
(KIA 23 Mar 45)

TG

EYEWITNESS: "A/C #812 thought to have been hit by flak at 1428 hours 5034N 0745E. The right wing crumpled and A/C went into a spin then leveled off for a moment then went into another spin. A/C exploded on impact. No fire or smoke seen. No chutes seen. "

Guardino, Davis, Keefrey, Tudor and Chudy buried at Jefferson Barracks, Mo. Probably this is a "common" grave. Smithhart buried in CA; Pennock buried in Minn. ; Williams buried Pa.

MACR#l3604 Microfiche #4973

The 13th CBW Tactical Report 
The 13A group was made up of the 100th's A, B, C, & D Squadrons. 
Target: Primary - Unna, Germany.

Navigation: Bombing altitude was reached 40 minutes prior to the IP. At the Pre-IP, proper interval was taken, and the peel off was made at the IP for individual runs on the primary target. Since 100th D had not released it's bombs they made a run on the 3rd priority target.

Weather was CAVU (clear and visibility unlimited) in the target area.

Bombing: After the maneuver at the IP, the bombardier took over and proceeded to set up course. The attack was made on a true heading of 311°. The bombardier picked up the target area at 8 miles and identified the assigned MPI (mean point of impact) one and one half miles from the BRL (bomb release line). A normal sighting operation was completed and bombs were released from 23,100 feet.

FI Report: The bombs from 100th A fell 500 to 1500 feet beyond the MPI. A heavy concentration of bombs fell on the marshaling yards, however, and all of the tracks were undoubtedly cut in several places. About 25 goods wagons were smothered with bombs, and all of them should be considered damaged or destroyed. Percent of the bombs within 1000 & 2000 feet of the MPI were 45% and 95%. Bombing results were declared very good.

100th B bombs fell 1000 to 2000 feet left of the assigned MPI in fields, scattered residences, and a highway. Percent of bombs within 1000 & 2000 feet of assigned MPI were 10% and 34%. Bombing results were declared nil.

100th C bombs fell across the marshaling yards several hundred feet left (west) of the assigned MPI. The heavy concentration cut all of the tracks. Damage was inflicted on two small buildings inside the yard as well. Bursts were visible in the smoke of 100th A's bombs and it should be assumed additional damage was inflicted on the western portion of the yard. Percentage of bombs within one and two thousand feet of the assigned MPI were 90% and 97%. Bombing results were declared excellent.

100th D bombs fell on the northwest portion of the marshaling yards. Two explosions occurred from direct hits on a goods wagon and building. About fifteen of the visible bombs hit in the yards, probably damaging at least 4 tracks in several places and approximately 12 - 15 goods wagons. From 5 - 6 bombs hit in a residential area adjacent to the tracks. The pattern of the bombs from only one aircraft are visible due to smoke, the bombing results are thought to have been GOOD or better.

Mar 24, 1945

This was one of the few two missions days for the 100th. It was also the day Allied forces crossed the Rhine river. On the 0600 hours mission Major John Gibbons, who had came to the Group around ten mouths earlier as a 2nd Lt. , led 34 100th planes and 4 PFF aircraft in attacks on the airfield at Havelte in the Neatherlands. All of the aircraft attacked and there were no losses. The returned at 1030 hours.

Shortly after noon Colonel Jack Wallace, destined to become the Group Commander two and half months later, led the A, B, C, & D Squadrons of the 100th as well as the 13th Combat Wing in an attack on the airfield at Ziegenhain, Germany. All 34 of the 100th aircraft and 4 PFF ones attacked the target and there were no losses although most of the crews were exhausted.

Tactical Report from 13th CBW
13A Group = 100th A, B, C & D
Target: Airdrome at Zeigenhain, Germany, Primary
Aircraft Airborne: 34 and 4 PFF

Navigation: The route was flown essentially as briefed to the IP. The Wing peeled off in squadrons on individual runs to the first priority target.

Weather: CAVU conditions were prevalent throughout the mission. .

PFF Narrative: PFF equipment inoperative on 100th A and there was no beacon received on 100th D.

Bombing: After the maneuver at the IP, which was made good, the bombardier proceeded to set up course by pin-point pilotage. Ten miles from the BRL the bombardier picked up the target area. With two minutes for visual synchronization, the bombardier completed a normal sighing operation. There was some difficulty identifying the assigned MPI. The actual approach he used was slightly to the left of the assigned MPI. C-1 Auto-Pilot was used on the bomb run at an altitude of 25,000 feet.

FI Report: The bombs from 100th A fell around the selected approach which was approximately 1000 feet left of the assigned MPI. 3/4 of the bombs dropped fell on the L/F. Percentage of bombs within 1000 and 2000 feet of the assigned MPI; 79% and 100%. Bombing results were declared very good

100th B bombs fell 300 feet to the right of the MPI, all of them fell on the L/F. The bombing results were declared as very good.

100th C bombs fell on and over the selected MPI, which was approximately one half mile west of the assigned MPI. Practically all of the bombs fell left or over the L/F. Percent of bombs within 1000 and 2000 feet of the AP: 70 % and 100%. Bombing results in relation to damage inflicted on the target were declared as FAIR.

100th D bombs fell around the selected AP, which was approximately one half mile west of the assigned MPI. Practically all of the bombs fell on the L/F in the southwest corner. Percentage of bombs within 1000 and 2000 feet of the AP: 87% and 100%. Bombing results in relation to damage inflicted on the target were declared as VERY GOOD.

Mar 25, 26, 27, 1945

There was no air operations, the Group stood down to rest and recuperate from the heavy March mission schedule.

Mar 28, 1945

The 100th attacked the marshaling yard, this was the secondary target the primary being a tank factory, at Hanover, Germany. There were no looses and only one aircraft failed to attack the target, A/C # 817 was forced to return after the loss of No #3 engine.

Tactical Report from 13th CBW
13A Group = 100th A, B, C & D
Target: Secondary, Marshaling Yard at Hanover, Germany
Aircraft Airborne: 34 and 4 PFF

Navigation: The route flown was essentially as briefed to the Pre-IP. At this point 13A and 13C echelons to the left in order to obtain the proper interval for the bomb run. The peel off was made at the IP and individual H2X runs were started on the secondary target. Bombing altitude was reached at Control Point # 1, 54 minutes prior to the IP.

Weather: In the target area there were 7/10 strato-cumulus in large solid patches below 10,000. There were also traces of medium clouds below 20,000 and some scattered cirrus above 20,000. Weather conditions at the base on return necessitated an instrument approach by all the planes. This added considerable time to the mission as holding was required.

Bombing: After the IP, the Radar Navigator took over and proceeded to set up course picking up the target at 36 miles. The bombardier was able to give assistance for course as breaks through clouds made pin-point pilotage possible. . . . rate checks beyond the 3rd check were not given by the Radar Navigator. The bombardier determined rate to be good enough for release. Altitude was 25,000 feet.

Mar 29, 1945

Century Bombers, by Richard Le Strange (assisted by Jim Brown) denotes that on the 29th the "Still Maghotus" ran dry and the owners (Capt. Scharding & Lt. Krinke) decided to let it stay dry. . . . . . There were no air operations.

Mar 30, 1945

Captain John H. Williams led the 100th and the 13th Combat Wing to Hamburg, Germany to attack the Voss and Bloss Works.

349th Squadron 
Crew joined the 100th on 23 Aug 44
 

SGT STEPHEN J. MAJCHRZAK

ROG

LT JOHN H. WILLIAMS

P

SGT DON O. R. SELLWOOD

TTE

LT ARTHUR G. LARSON, JR. 
(KIA 31 Mar 45 Zeitz)

CP

SGT WILLARD P. BOSTROM 
(KIA 31 Mar 45 Zeitz)

BTG

LT JACK E. WILD

NAV

SGT AUGUST J. KOCIOLEK

WG

LT JOSEPH J. ORENDORF

BOM

SGT JOHN J. OBUCHOWSKI

WG

    SGT GEORGE E. SLAWIK

TG

Flew nine missions a "regular" crew and 20 missions as a Pathfinder Crew. When named a PFF crew (4 Dec 44), Art Larsen & Will Bostrom were removed form the crew, Larsen to take over his own crew and since the BTG was not carried on the PFF aircraft Bostrom went with Larsen. Both were KIA the last day of March 1945 at Zeitz.

Crew left the U. S. from Camp Kilmer, N. J. aboard the S. S. Brazil & ten days later docked in Liverpool, Eng. Returning to states, left South Hampton, Eng on V. E. Day, aboard the USS Kingfisher bound for Boston.

There were no losses and all aircraft attacked.

Tactical Report from 13th CBW
13A Group = 100th A, B, C & D

Target: Secondary, Marshaling Yard at Hanover, Germany
Aircraft Airborne: 34 and 4 PFF
Target: Primary - Engine Erecting Shop of the Vohn and Bloss Works, 5 miles SW of the center of Hamburg, Germany.

Navigation: The route was flown essentially as briefed to the IP. Bombing altitude was reached 15 minutes prior to the IP. 13A was forced to overshoot the IP by four miles because of interference from the 487th Group. Individual H2X runs were started on the primary target.

Weather: Enroute to the target there were 2-3/10 cumulus increasing to 5-7/10 below 8,000, and nil-2/10 cirrus from 20 to 25,000 increasing to 57/10 in the target area.

Bombing: 100th "A" - After the turn a the IP, the Radar Navigator picked up the target and proceeded set the course. The Bombardier was clutched in at 11 miles and subsequent checks of 10, 9, 8, and 7 miles were completed. After the seven mile check the formation broke out of the weather. and the bombardier was able to pick out the target which was considerably off to the right of course. The bombardier altered course to the right 30° and positioned the cross hairs on the smoke and haze that covered the MPI, by using check points out side the target. Only a few seconds were allowed for synchronization before the BRI (Bomb Release Line). H2X operated successfully the entire route.

PI Report 100 "A" - No bursts of any bombs dropped by the 100th "A" were visible. According to computations based on the bomb trajectory charts and the location of the smoke bombs in the last picture of the camera sorties, the bombs probably fell in th water and fields one and one half SW (short) of the primary target.

PI Report 100 "B" - The only set of pictures taken by 100 "B" show 10/10 undercast. Photographs taken by 100 "C" show as squadron's pattern, which in all probability is that of 100 "B", in the water and on the Oil Refinery of Europaische Teaklager Transport, A. G. , which is two and three quarter miles W (left) of the primary. No fires were started but the main concentration of bombs fell on portions of the oil installation. Smoke prevented any detailed interpretation of the bomb pattern.

PI Report 100 "C" - The bombs of 100 "C" fell in a concentrated industrial area four and three quarters miles WNW (left) of the primary target.

PI Report 100 "D" - No bursts of any bombs dropped by the 100th "C" were visible. According to computations based on the bomb trajectory charts and the location of the smoke bombs in the last picture of the camera sorties, the bombs probably fell about 3/4 mile S (right) of the MPI in the water and on a dock area.

Mar 31, 1945

The 100th took off in four groups for the synthetic oil plants at Zeitz as the primary and Bad Berken as the secondary. The Group lost one plane piloted by Lt. Arthur G. Larsen, there was one survivor, the Tail Gunner S/Sgt John E. Kiaser.

44-6470 349th Squadron 
MACR#13714, Microfiche#5010
  T/SGT JOSEPH M. POPSON
(KIA 21 Mar 45)

ROG

1ST LT ARTHUR G. LARSEN 
(KIA 21 Mar 45)

P

T/SGT RAYMOND R. BAZATA
(KIA 21 Mar 45)

TTE

1ST LT THOMAS E. O'NEIL 
(KIA 21 Mar 45)

CP

S/SGT WILLARD P. BOSTROM
(KIA 21 Mar 45)

BTG

2ND LT DALE F. WATERSON
(KIA 21 Mar 45)

NAV

S/SGT MARVIN F. BARNER 
(KIA 21 Mar 45)

WG

T/SGT CHARLES M. DINEEN 
(KIA 21 Mar 45)

TOG

S/SGT JOHN E. KAISER 
(POW 21 Mar 45)

TG

EYEWITNESS: " A/C 44-6470 was hit by flak immediately after bombs away. #3 engine was knocked loose and dropped off the wing. The A/C nosed up hen leveled off and started for the undercast in a steep glide.

At the Rally point pilot made a 180 degree turn and headed back toward Russia. He was heard over VHF saying that #4 prop was running away and that he would attempt to reach the Russian lines. The A/C was under control and there was no fire. One chute was seen to leave the A/C. Allied fighters were escorting A/C. "

STATEMENT OF S/SGT. JOHN E. KAISER. JR. 18243028

The following information was received by Captain Charles W. Terry, Station 139 Prisoner of War Officer on interrogation of S/Sgt. Kaiser 24 April 1945. S/Sgt Kaiser, since this date has returned to the Zone of Interior.

"On 31 March 1945,A/C 44-6470 was hit by flak while over the target at Zeitz, Germany and its #3 engine was knocked out of its mount. It nosed up out of the formation, leveled off, then started down in a steep glide. Just before reaching the undercast, the pilot was heard to say he would try to reach the Russian lines and the A/C went into the undercast on an easterly heading. "

S/Sgt Kaiser was flying as tail gunner and states that his A/C was hit twice. After the first hit it remained in level flight and the engineer called on inter-phone to ask if he was all right. There were noises from the front that sounded like pieces of the plane were ripping away. When it was hit again a few seconds later, the A/C started down in a steep glide. He fastened on his chute and called over in interphone but no one answered. He looked back into the waist but could see nothing because of smoke. The A/C was vibrating badly so he decided to get out. His clothing hung on the handle of the escape hatch and he was trapped there for about 30 seconds. He tried to climb back into the A/C but was weak from lack of oxygen and could not, so he pulled his-self up as far as possible and let go. This freed him from the plane so he opened his chute and looked down. He floated across the German Air Field located at 5059 N 1231 E. As he floated over the woods just east of this A/F,he noticed that there were hundreds of E/A dispersed there. He landed in an open field just east of the woods and was momentarily unconscious. When he came to, he saw several soldiers (Luftwaffe) approaching, so he stood up with his hands over his head.

After being captured and brought to a Prisoner of War Camp at Weimer he was interrogated by a German Officer. The interrogator asked him the names of the members of his crew. He gave him their last names end was told that his crew had crashed a few miles away and all had been killed. As proof he produced a basket containing the dog tags, bill folds, watches, and other personal property of the men. Sgt. Kaiser was allowed to look through this equipment and when he found the wedd-ing ring of his Pilot, 1st Lt Arthur G. Larson, Jr. he asked the Interrogator if he would not allow him to take it to Lt. Larsen's wife. He replied ''sure" and gave it to him.

Tactical Report from 13CBW. 
100th Group - 100A, B, C, and D Squadrons. 
Target: Zietz and Bad Berka (Erfurt), Germany - Primary and Secondary. 
Aircraft Airborne: 34 plus 4 PFF. All aircraft attacked and there were no losses.

Navigation: Enroute to Control Point #3, 13A was forced to parallel course 8-10 miles to the south because and unidentified group was echelon to the left. The route from Control Point #3 was closely followed until shortly before the IP. At this point the Wing fanned out and peeled off on individual runs on the primary target. 100A did not release it's bombs on the primary and attacked the secondary.

Weather: 8 to 10/10 undercast in the target area.

Bombing: 100B- The Radar Navigator assisted in setting up course at the beginning of the run. The 1st priority target was attacked by the method of Grid Bombing because very extensive smoke screens covered the target area. Three miles from the RL (Release Line), however, the target outline could be seen, but the M. P. I could not be identified. H2X equipment operated satisfactorily. PI reports no bomb bursts visible, but according to computations based upon the bomb trajectory chart, the bombs probably fell in fields 7500' east (right) of the assigned MPI.

The 418th Squadron Diary of March 31 indicates eight 418th aircraft flew in the "C" Squadron to attack Zeitz. Results were poor for the synthetic oil target and apparently the crews were not satisfied with the mission.

April 1, 1945

Vernon Sheedy notes that they day is Easter Sunday and many of the 100th personnel went to church. There were no air operations and he notes that is was also April Fool's Day.

April 2, 1945

The base personnel were restricted from in country travel between March 29 and April 4th due to British holidays. This was to make more public transportation available to British Nationals. It is also noted that the clocks were moved forward one hour -- beginning of British Double Summer Time. Lt. Krinke (Harold Krinke), the 100th's man of many talents, was appointed Advisement Officer.

April 3, 1945

The 100th took off at 1345 hours British Double Summer Time with the sub yards at Kiel as the target. Bombing was at 1744 hours - most of the aircraft carried six 1000 pound bombs which were dropped through the undercast by H2X. Results were said to have not been good.

As the formation approached 54°05'N & 06°20'E, the B-17G (43-38992), flown by William Baldwin, flying in place of the regular first pilot, Robert Fletcher (wounded on the March 18th Berlin mission) left the formation and attempted to return alone. This after Baldwin reported on VHF that he was low on fuel. The aircraft was never heard from again and of the ten men aboard all but two perished.

43-38992 351st Squadron Crew joined the 100th on 4 Mar 45 (**see note below)

MACR

#13717

SGT KERMIT E. JONES 
(POW 3 Apr 45)

ROG

2ND LT WILLIAN E. BALDWIN, JR. 
(KIA 3 Apr 45)

P

SGT KENNETH E. WRIGHT 
(KIA 3 Apr 45)

TTE

2ND LT FRANCIS G. BEEDLE 
(KIA 3 Apr 45)

CP

SGT RANDOLPH A. GOODWIN 
(KIA 3 Apr 45)

BTG

F/O JOHN H. BUCKLEY 
(KIA 3 Apr 45)

NAV

SGT ALFRED MANTOPOLI 
(KIA 3 Apr 45)

WG

SGT LESLIE O. DAVIS 
(KIA 3 Apr 45)

TOG

SGT OGDEN W. BARRON 
(KIA 3 Apr 45)

TG

    S/SGT HOWARD O. WEBER 
(POW 3 Apr 45)
RAD/
CON

**This crew, with Robert C. Fletcher as pilot, joined the 100th GP on 4/3/45. Apparently Baldwin took over as P. Francis Beedle had been the CP on the crew of R. C. Ellis. Howard Weber was not a member of the original crew.

Eyewitness report had following to say: "A/C #992 was unable to release bombs over target and retained them until formation reached 5417-0600E on return route. Bombs were then released. The A/C appeared to be undamaged and continued on with the formation to 5405-0620E at 1850 hours when wheels were lowered and pilot called over VHF saying he was low on gas and would try to get back alone. The A/C peeled off and down toward the undercast. When the formation reached 5250-0300E at 1952 hours, a VHF message from A/C 992 was received saying that 80 gallons of gas per engine was left and the A/C was an estimated 15 minutes from land. Nothing further was heard. Other pilots suggest that cloud conditions were favorable for icing and that A/C may have been lost due to ice picked up in passing through clouds. "

 

Letter from Kermit E. Jones 17/6/82.

Actually, icing was not the problem as Kermit Jones explains. "We were returning from Kiel when it was discovered we were running out of gas so we headed for Belgium. While enroute, and over the first Frisian Island off the Peninsula of Holland, at an altitude of 5000 feet, we were hit by flak which destroyed two engines and set the ship on fire. "

According to Jones, he, Goodwin and Wright bailed out but the others did not and the A/C exploded upon hitting the ground. Jones adds that, "Sgt. Goodwin landed on the island (Texel) and shed his chute and flying boots. These were later shown to us by the Germans with a comment that Sgt. Goodwin was dead. The Germans at the same time showed us the seven pairs of twisted and burned dog tags of remaining members of the crew with a statement that they were all dead. "

Of considerable interest in connection with the loss of this crew is a letter from "The Mayor of Texel" dated 11 Feb. 1946 and apparently directed to someone who had inquired about the burial of Sgt Barron.

"In answer to your letter of 5 February, we can assure you that the grave of Sgt. Ogden N. Barron indeed is known.

The plane was shot down on April 3. 1945 at 20 hours (8 p. m. ) and fell near Horntge in the southern part of Textel Island. The plane had possibly a crew of seven men. Two persons, their names not known, (they were Jones & Weber) were taken prisoner by the Germans. The bodies of two persons, namely, Sgt Ogden W. Barron number 420C0553 and Sgt. Randolph Goodwin, number 39855835 were identified. These two people died instantly when the plane struck the ground. Also, two others occupants who tried to leave the plane by parachute were killed instantly on account of the Plane being too close to the ground. Their names are not known. The possibly seventh occupant has never been found, either he fell into the sea or was obliterated under the plane when it fell down.

The bodies of the four crew members were buried on April 10/1945 in the Allied cemetery of the town Den Burg at Textel Island. The funeral services were somewhat delayed on account of a general uprising amongst the people with many things abnormal for a few days. The graves were marked with a wooden cross. On Dec. 7,1945 the American Graves Registration Command recovered the bodies of the American boys and reburied them in the American cemetery "Margraten" in the province of Limburg. "

In two quite touching letters written by one A. van Dienst, an official of Den Burg, to the mother of John Buckley 30/5/46 and 25/11/46) he attempts to solace Mrs. Buckley and, at the same time, explain the difficulties met with in identifying the airmen who perished in the crash.

"Parts of different bodies were found, namely two bodies and four pair of hands, partly burnt, found in or near the plane. These were buried in one coffin at 10 April in the war cemetery of Den Burg about 20 meters from my house. "

van Dienst then proposes the possibility that some human remains, if not consumed by fire, might still be in "parts of the plane that are pushed deep into the ground". He further promises to attempt to interest the American Graves Registration in digging up the buried aircraft to search for any remains.

In the letter of 25/11/46, van Dienst writes Mrs. Buckley that Graves Registration had further examined the wreckage and had been able to identify remains of William E. Baldwin, Francis G. Beedle, Sgt Alfred Mantopoli and Kenneth Wright.

Thus we know that F/O John Buckley and Sgt Leslie O,Davis were the two unidentified crewmen "buried in one coffin" on 10 April 1945. van Dienst concludes his letter to Mrs. Buckley by saying that the cross marking this grave reads "Unknown American Flyers" but the rear side of the cross now says, "Probably, F/O John H. Buckley and Sgt Leslie O. Davis".

----------------------------------------Paul West-------------------------------------

Bowman Diary - Page 09