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Group History

Bowman Diary Page 10

Bowman Diary - Page 10
 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.

 April 4, 1945

The 100th returned to Kiel with the primary the sub-pens some half mile southwest of the mouth of the Kiel Canal. Bombing was restricted to visual as there were some Red Cross barges with supplies for Allied POWs in Holland using the canal April 3rd. The secondary was the submarine buildings across the river, and was approved for H2X drops. The secondary was finally bombed around 1041 hours through solid undercast with results reported as poor. There was heavy flak in the target area, the effect of which was somewhat moderated by the use of chaff and 'spot jammers'. There were no 100th aircraft lost.

April 4, 1945

Vernon Sheedy notes: "Three-day passes effective today."

April 5, 1945

The 100th's target was Nurnburg.

From Century Bombers, Jim Lanz recalls the mission:

"We were after rail targets in the center of the city. , Weather was our main difficulty. There was a ceiling of 300 feet and about 500 yards visibility on take-off. We were told the ceiling was only 10,000 feet high and we were to assemble over France. However, after take-off we didn't reach the top of the overcast until we were deep in France and at 25,000 feet. Our airspeed kept dropping off on the way up and clear ice gathered on our wings.

The assembly was a rare thing too. We were in the low squadron and the lead ship kept us in the clouds. Flying in the clouds and propwash was no fun. We finally got together though and were on our way. We reached the target and started on the bomb run. It was fourteen minutes long and seemed like an hour. The flak was intense and they were tracking us. The little black puffs were blossoming at our altitude just off our left wing and I thought the next burst would have us for sure. It didn't, though and we made a sharp right turn off the target.

We thought we'd seen the worst of it and had already considered this a rough mission but we didn't know what was in store for us. The leaders saw some breaks in the cloud layer and started letting down between them. Finally we were between two cloud layers about 1,000 feet apart and ran into a blank wall. The squadron above us started breaking up and B-17's were going every which way. I expected one to come diving down into the middle of us at any minute. Out squadron stuck together some way. All we could see was the faint outline of a wing beside us and we stuck on that. Our squadron leader did what I thought was a smart thing when he turned 30° to the right and flew for five minutes and then returned to course. In this way we got out of the way of some of those squadrons that were breaking up. We continued our let down to 300 feet before breaking into rain. But at least we could see the ground now. We flew over Holland and Belgium and thought, except for the battle across the North Sea, that we has seen the worst of it. . However just as we were crossing the coastline at an altitude of 500 feet we were fired upon by flak and 20mm cannon. I thought we had it for sure. Our plane had it's tail lifted up by flak and just as it's nose started down another burst caught it and pushed it back up. I told the boys to start strafing the shore with our 50's and you could see the tracers making their path towards the shore. They were still tracking us but didn't score any hits. A little later Ray Blohm was coming back over the same spot. They shot his ship all up and tore a tire to shreds but he brought it back okay. We finally got back ourselves and I could have kissed that good old Mother Earth. Johnnie (Greenlee) did most of the flying coming back. . . "

Due to the weather Lt. Griswold Smith was forced to land at Merville, France, which is just across the Belgian border. Here they received fuel (600 gallons) and returned safely to Thorpe Abbotts.

The 100th lost one aircraft; B-17G 43-37636, flown by the Robert Estes crew. All nine men aboard perished, the aircraft has never been located and apparently crashed into the North Sea. They had been at Thorpe Abbotts only ten days and likely this was their first mission. The body of the Navigator, Lt. Dale Giebelhaus, was washed ashore at some later date.

April 6, 1945

The 100th's target was Leipzig, a rail center. It was reported by Jim Lantz to have been a pathfinder attack. The results are not reported. Weather at Thorpe Abbotts made landing difficult but there were no damage to 100th aircraft from landing accidents. During the day, however a B-24 of the 445th crashed while attempting to land at Thorpe Abbotts. The B-24 crashed east of the base near the village of Thorpe Abbotts.

April 7, 1945

The target was Buchen and the mission was led by Major John Gibbons flying with the Capt. David Hutchinson crew. Lt. Griswold Smith recalls: "Our target was an underground oil storage depot on a canal near Hamburg. The ground fog was very bad and you couldn't see twenty yards and since the target has such a low priority, they were thinking if calling it off. First came a thirty minute delay, then a four hour delay. We lay around in the crew chief's tent hoping and praying that the mission wouldn't be scrubbed as it was supposed to be a milk run with no flak.

Well it wasn't scrubbed and we took off four hours late. We were flying number two in the third element of the High Squadron.

We had barely gotten into enemy territory when they called "Bandits in the area" over the VHF. . . Then I heard the Groups in front of us calling for P-51's as they were being hit by Me-109's. Earl Baugh (Tail Gunner) was the first of the crew to see an enemy fighter. He reported them attacking and shooting down a straggler.

The first pass was made from seven o'clock low - up through "C " Squadron and on to us. Baugh and Anthony Russo (Ball Turret Gunner) were the first in the squadron to open fire. This Me-109 put a couple of slugs into us - one went through the nose and almost got Wilk (Paul Wilkerson, the Bombardier and Turnip (Wilson Turnipseed) the Navigator. The ship went past us and turned back down on us -- Wilk and Stanley Szalwinski (the Engineer) were pouring 50's into him from their two turrets and John O'Leary got in a few from the waist. I think he was diving directly for us, but he came just in front and knocked the left horizontal stabilizer off the ship in front of us. That Me-109 diving into the formation spurting flames all over presented such a vivid picture I'll never forget it. When he hit the ship in front of us, his wing (the Me-109) flew off and went over my wing and knocked one of the horizontal stabilizers off the ship behind us in the 'diamond' (Lt. Joe King). Both ships managed to make it back to England and both pilots were awarded the D. F. C. for bringing them back. . .

Another Me-109 came in from five o'clock high. Everyone said he was coming directly at us, but our gunners put out so much lead that he diverted and crashed into the ship in our position in the Lead Squadron just below and in front of us. We saw both ships explode.

The reason we got so many attacks directed at us was because we were the top ship and the corner ship in the Group and therefore, around us was the least possible concentration of friendly fire. The enemy fighters stayed with us for about an hour.

We were flying at 15,000 feet as no flak was expected; however, there was plenty at the target. I never thought I would be glad to see flak, but I was that day because it meant the fighters wouldn't come in. We started out with ten ships in our Squadron and on bombs away, there were six.

We were sure glad to get back home. There was plenty of close support by the P-51's all the way back across the North Sea -- I guess they finally found us. And to think -- I met plenty of boys in London who completed an entire tour without seeing a single enemy fighter.

Lt. Howard went down on this mission. A FW-190 got him on one pass, a diving fly through attack. His navigator, Douglas Jones had gone to Navigation School with Turnip. The three of us had gone to Norwich the night before on pass. I understand he was taken prisoner and was released after VE-Day -- the civilians who captured him had knocked his front teeth out. "

349th Squadron
Crew joined the 100th on 30 Dec 44
  SGT MICHAEL MATY
(KIA 7 APR 45 Buchen)
ROG
2ND LT WILLIAM E. HOWARD
(POW 7 APR 45 Buchen)
P SGT EDWARD E. HALL
(POW 7 APR 45 Buchen)
TTE
2ND LT GENARO DELGADO
(POW 7 APR 45 Buchen)
CP SGT EDWARD T. TRUITT
(NOC)
BTG
2ND LT DOUGLAS R. JONES
(POW 7 APR 45 Buchen)
NAV SGT RUSSELL E. BOLDING
(POW 7 APR 45 Buchen)
WG
SGT SAMUEL C. LUNSFORD, JR.
(POW 7 APR 45 Buchen)
TOG SGT GEORGE F. THOMAS
(KIA 7 APR 45 Buchen)
TG

On the 7 Apr 45 Buchen mission, S/Sgt Louis A. Lehrmann from the C. R. Sanford crew flew in place of Edward Truitt and was KIA.

EYEWITNESS: "A/C -# was attacked by an ME 109. The #3 engine caught fire and the pilot peeled out of formation to the left and feathered #3 engine. The fire appeared to go out in the engine but the wheel well was blazing. The bombs were salvoed, the aircraft completed a 180 degree turn and headed back alone. It was last seen diving into a cloud bank. There were 40 to 50 enemy fighters in the area. "

For most of the crew it was the 21st to 24 th missions, many of the surviving crewmembers feel Michael Maty, Louis A. Lehrmann and George F. Thomas were murdered by German civilians when they landed.

The aircraft that exploded as a result of the collision was 42-97071, flown by Lt Arthur Calder. There were no survivors.

42-97071 418th Squadron
Crew joined the 100th on 24 Dec 44
  On their first mission they were forced to bail out over Belgium (10 Jan/ 45)
(MACR #13718, Microfiche #5011)
 
2ND LT ARTHUR R. CALDER
(KIA 7 APR 45 Buchan (MID-AIR/ FW 190)
P SGT JOEPH C. HALLER
(KIA 7 APR 45 Buchan (MID-AIR/ FW 190)
ROG
2ND LT KENNETH R CARR
(KIA 7 APR 45 Buchan (MID-AIR/ FW 190)
CP SGT LEONARD PEIPRAS
(KIA 7 APR 45 Buchan (MID-AIR/ FW 190)
TTE
F/O WILLIAM J. BURBACH
(KIA 7 APR 45 Buchan (MID-AIR/ FW 190)
NAV SGT CARL J. DONNELL
(KIA 7 APR 45 Buchan (MID-AIR/ FW 190)
BTG
F/O VICTOR HOFFMAN
(KIA 7 APR 45 Buchan (MID-AIR/ FW 190)
BOM SGT BWAYNE E. CARY
(KIA 7 APR 45 Buchan (MID-AIR/ FW 190)
WG
    SGT LEON E. BRIGGS
(KIA 7 APR 45 Buchan (MID-AIR/ FW 190)
TG

On 7 Apr 45 Kenneth R. Carr (KIA) from the crew of J. L. Wofford was flying as CP. Leonard Piepgras was flying as TTE in place of Pitarra and was KIA. Sgt Dwayne E. Cary was aboard in the place of J. J. Whipple and was KIA.

The dead are buried in the Ardennes American Cemetery in Belgium with the exception of Hoffman, buried in a private cemetery in New York and Piepgras is buried in a private cemetery in Minnesota.

EYEWITNESS: (On 7 April 1945) " ME - 109 attacked aircraft #071 from six o'clock high and shot the left wing completely away from the fuselage. The ME - 109 collided with the severed wing and both the wing and enemy fighter exploded. The remainder of #071 spun down flaming to explode either just before impact or immediately there after. Approximately seven (7) chutes - all white- were counted in the area. (The reference to the color white denotes USAAF airmen, the German chutes were a dirty brown color. . pw) It was not possible to positively determine the seven (7) chutes came from aircraft # 42-97071. "

THIS CREW HAS ALWAYS BEEN ASSUMED TO HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN A MID-AIR WITH A FW - 190. THIS MAY NOT HAVE BEEN THE CASE. . . pw

The remainder of the Group landed at 1615 hours British Double Summer Time only to find the Lt. Arthur Leader's BTG, S/Sgt Loon Barnes dead, a dismal ending for a dismal mission. Although the bombing results were only fair the 100th destroyed at least eight enemy fighters.

Two heavily damaged ships that made it back were "Gold Brick, 42-37972 with the loss of the right horizontal stabilizer and 43-38514 which lost most of it's vertical stabilizer and rudder.

April 8, 1945

The Group took off at 0700 hours for the marshaling yards at Eger, Czechoslovakia. The planes dropped ten five hundred pound bombs each. No enemy fighters or flak encountered and there were no losses. In the evening a dance was enjoyed by all at the NCO club.

April 9, 1945

The target was the Munich/ Reim airfield just east of the city of Munich, Germany. There were some enemy jet fighters present but they were kept away from the formation by escorting P-51's. The debriefing make no mention of flak and there were no losses.

April 10, 1945

The 100th attacked the Luftwaffe jet fighter base at Burg-Bei-Magdeburg. The target was reached at 1415 hours and was attacked by at least seven Me-262's.

In Century Bombers Lt. Griswold Smith reports:

"The jets made several passes at us from six 0'clock low. I distinctly remember two ships going down in flames. I believe a couple of others were crippled and knocked out of formation; one or two aborted earlier -- anyway there were damned few left when we went over the target. Lieutenant Reeve's who was on his first mission was flying in my squadron in front of me and a little higher; he burst into flames and had a wing ripped off on one of the first jet passes. They put a few holes in us but no one was hurt. "

43-38840 349th Squadron
Crew joined the 100th on 30 Mar 45.
  SGT ALBERT D. CRABBS, JR.
(KIA 10 Apr 45 Burg-bei Magdeburg)
ROG
2ND LT DELBERT D. Reeve
(KIA 10Apr 45 Burg-bei Magdeburg)
P SGT ROBERT E. TRUEBLOOD
(KIA 10 Apr 45 Burg-bei Magdeburg)
TTE
F/O HAZEN F. WILLET
(KIA 10 Apr 45 Burg-bei Magdeburg)
CP SGT HERMAN WILLIAMS
(KIA 10 Apr 45 Burg-bei Magdeburg)
BTG
F/O STEVE S. POULOS
(KIA 10 Apr 45 Burg-bei Magdeburg)
NAV SGT ARTHUR F. EHRLER, JR.
(KIA 10 Apr 45 Burg-bei Magdeburg)
WG
F/O GEORGE E. WOODHAM
(KIA 10Apr 45 Burg-bei Magdeburg)
BOM SGT WESLEY A. WOODS
(KIA 10 Apr 45 Burg-bei Magdeburg)
TG

THIS IS ONE OF, IF NOT THE LAST, 100TH CREW LOST. . pw

EYEWITNESS: "A/C 43-38840 was attacked by 2 ME 262' and received hits in the tail and #2 engine. Dense smoke came from the #2 engine and then it made a vertical slow roll on its right wing and burst into flame. It still seemed under control when 2 chutes were observed. Later it was believed to have hit the ground and exploded in a very large flame. "

The following statement was given by F/O George E. Woodham who returned to this station (#139) on 15 April 1945. :

"I was the third man to bail out of the A/C;the co-pilot and navigator ahead of me. The plane was in a dive when I bailed out, and soon after my chute opened I hit the ground. I saw no chutes at all when I was in the air, and saw none of the other members of my crew after hitting the ground. The plane crashed and exploded close to where I landed. "

On 24 Sept. 1945 at San Antonio, Texas (Personnel Center), F/O Woodham gave a similar picture of events.

"The B-17 of which he was bombardier was attacked by jet fighters at 20. 000 feet and sustained a number of hits. He states that intelligence later reported two directs hits in the tail turret. F/O 'Woodham believes that there were a number of other hits but has no idea as to how many. He states that the interphone was out and that he saw the navigator bail out first, then the co-pilot bailed out and then F/O Woodham bailed out. He believes that there were only three chutes in the air. He landed about 75 yards from where the plane had crashed and exploded and states further that there were two explosions. After landing, F/O Woodham ran to some woods nearby where he watched the plane burn at a distance of about 200 yards. "

It is the opinion of F/O Woodham that no member of the crew could have survived if he had not parachuted out of the stricken plane. He has written to the families of all the members of the crew giving as much information as he had.

Some few minutes prior to the loss of Lt. Reeve's ship the B-17, 43-38963, flown by Lt. Lawrence Bazin was forced to leave the formation and was immediately attacked by enemy jet fighters and crashed soon afterward in the target area.

Following is the crew component for the 10 Apr 1945 mission to Magdeburg.

2ND LT LAWRENCE L. BAZIN
(KIA 10 Apr 45 Burg-bei Magdeburg)
P SGT GLENN D. ABRAHAM, JR. (POW 10 Apr 45 Burg-bei Magdeburg) ROG
2ND LT JAMES R. DOTSON
(KIA 10 Apr 45 Burg-bei Magdeburg)
CP S/SGT ROENS W. SHEARWOOD
(KIA 10 Apr 45 Burg-bei Magdeburg)
TTE
2ND LT JOHN D. GROSS
(KIA 10 Apr 45 Burg-bei Magdeburg)
NAV SGT RICHARD E. SMITH
(EVD 10 Apr 45 Burg-bei Magdeburg)
BTG
T/SGT ARTHUR T. FLOWERS
(KIA 10 Apr 45 Burg-bei Magdeburg)
NG/

TOG

SGT RICHARD D. LONG
(POW 10 Apr 45 Burg-bei Magdeburg)
WG
S/SGT ROBERT B. PATTERSON
(POW 10 Apr 45 Burg-bei Magdeburg)
Radar/
Con.
SGT PAUL H. DECKER
(KIA 10 Apr 45 Burg-bei Magdeburg)
TG

These are thought to have been the last 100th airmen killed in combat with the Luftwaffe in WWII. . pw

On 10/4/45, Lt. John D. Gross from the crew of J. J. Dodrill was the NAV in place of Kenneth Peiffer. James R. Dotson, pilot of his own crew, was flying as CP in place of Charles Dixon. Also aboard were T/Sgt Arthur T. Flowers as NG (Tog) in place of Harry Chase, and S/Sgt Robert B. Patterson as Radar Con.

EYEWITNESS: (MACR # 14170 " A/C 963 was forced to peel out of the formation with #2 engine feathered. Then it tried to climb back when ME 262's began pressing attack. The A/C was hit in the right wing and a large piece flew off. Then#3 & #4 engines burst into flames and it peeled off low to the right. As it went down flames were larger and it was believed to hit the ground with a terrific explosion.

No chutes were seen.

Statement by Shearwood: "The plane was breaking up when I got out and I was of the opinion that no other crew member parachuted. I saw no other chutes. When I hit the ground, I did not see any of the crew. "

From 22/3/45 to 6/4/45 Daniel Shaffer flew as navigator on this crew.

The group was to have one more of their airplanes salvaged as a result of battle damage on this mission. B-17G #43-37811 was forced to make a belly landing at Westleton on the return. While the plane suffered major damage none of the crew were seriously injured.

43-37811 349th Squadron
Crew joined the 100th on 27 Dec 44
  SGT OMER C. DUKE ROG
2ND LT LYMAN C. FILLINGAME P SGT PHILIP A. SOTO TTE
2ND LT DONALD HALVERSON CP SGT CHARLES H. RANDALL BTG
2ND LT WALTER L. LEWIS NAV SGT PAUL HRENKO WG
2ND LT WILLIAM COOK BOM SGT CHARLES L. GAMBLE, JR. TG

Lt William Cook does not appear on the orders sending this crew to the 100th, but a letter from L. C. Fillingame (1982) to James R. Brown (100th Senior Historian) lists Cook as being on the crew. Crew flew first mission on 28 Jan 1945 and their thirtieth mission on 18 Apr 1945. . . . paul west

April 11, 1945

On the 11th, the Hundredth, led by Colonel Sutterlin, took off for Landshut, where at 12. 59 and from 17,700 feet, twenty-eight B-17's released 75 tons of bombs with 'excellent results' on an ordnance depot and small arms factory.

Billy Bittle writes: 'Landshut—north east of Munich. Visual all the way. Target was creamed, and this was the Hundredth Bomb Group's 300th Mission. No flak. . . Saw front lines at 0930 East and artillery fire. Bandits reported, but none attacked us. We led the Third Division and all the targets of the day were in the area. Flying time: 8 hours, 45 minutes. '

A number of the Group's planes, went on to attack the 'marshaling yards at Ingolstadt. '

Vernon Sheedy notes: 'Rumors of a new Service Group going into effect soon. '

The American Ninth Army "had reached the Elbe River south west of Berlin, and were expected to cross within twenty-four hours. "

April 12, 1945

The following morning, the crews were briefed on Neuburg, but '"he outing was scrubbed. "

April 13, 1945

Vernon Sheedy writes on the 13th, a Friday: "We received word that President Roosevelt had died. Quite a shock for all the soldiers. Meeting of the Enlisted Men's Council regarding the 300 Mission Party. William Henes has the Meritorious Unit Service Plaque just about completed. "

On the news of the President's death, "'the Post flag was dropped to half staff. ' In the evening, the men 'observed a five minute period of silence in his memory. . . "

April 14, 1945

On the 14th, the three Divisions were assigned the German ground defenses on the French coast. The raid was the first for bombardier Allen Glaskin, who flew in 'Ship 649' with George Sharpe, co-pilot John Sanders and navigator John Scott. Lieutenant Glaskin writes: "The mission was a direct request from the ground troops to knock out the naval guns guarding the estuary entrance to Bordeaux at Royan. . . Hit target at 1043 (by squadron bombing) from 20,000 feet on a heading of 340°. Beautiful visual day. No flak. No fighters. "

James Lantz adds: "We were quite surprised when our target was disclosed to us today. It was three gun emplacements in Southern France. . Eleven hundred bombs hit the emplacement and really creamed it. . . Coming over the French coast we could see the results of D Day and the terrific bombings and shelling the enemy took. There were thousands of shell holes and Me 109's and Ju 88's were blasted all over in one place. "

David Wood, co-pilot Tony Pecyk and their crew, had "now completed their tour of thirty-five missions, intact and with no injuries. "

Lieutenant Wood notes: "On one occasion, after being hit by flak over Berlin, the ball turret gunner Frank Volk, bravely and voluntarily remained in the ball to determine the location of the damage and the amount of fuel being lost. After a tense half hour the leaking stopped and we returned safely to Thorpe Abbotts. "

Vernon Sheedy writes: "Three Hundred Mission Week called off because of President Roosevelt's death. To be scheduled later. "

April 15, 1945

The following morning, the Hundredth took off at 05. 35 and returned to Royan, the French having requested the Eighth "to knock out the fortifications and barracks area on the north east side. "

At the briefing, the bombardiers were informed, "that the planes had been loaded with six 650 pound new type incendiaries, which were to be released from 15,000 feet. "

They were also instructed: "Under no condition salvo the load. . . No bombs were to be brought back. . . "

James Lantz explains: "Again we went to Royan, where we dropped in conjunction with the French ground forces who were going to try and take the place. On the way down we passed over Paris and the Eiffel Tower. After Bombs Away we could see the French artillery open up on the ground below us. The way back brought us over Rheims and we saw the famous cathedral. "

Tonight, Bazin's engineer (Roens Shearwood) came back. He bailed out of the ship through a hole made by a 20 mm. He landed in Germany and hid and ran for two nights until he ran into our advancing tanks. The Jerries shot at him on his way down and he saw several other bodies of Allied airmen who had been riddled by the Germans.

Allen Glaskin writes: "Bombs away at 1044 on a visual target. No flak. No fighters. Rode home with three engines. . . Arrived at Base 1345. . . "

After these lovely "milk runs" the C. O. decided we needed a little diversion from our "nerve wracking" work. And so—our first two day pass in the ETO. Naturally, a good time was had by all in merry old England.

Billy Bittle adds: "Bombed some targets with new type incendiary, which was jellied gasoline put into fighter auxiliary (paper) gas tanks. . . They leaked and scared everyone. Was experimental mission. Flying time: 8 hours, 10 minutes. " The results ranged from 'very good to poor, depending on the squadron.

During the evening, a Memorial Service was held in Brockdish church, in honor of the late President. 'In the meantime, the Post flag continued to fly at half staff and would remain so for thirty days.

The great shock of the day, came when it was officially announced that the 1141st Quartermaster Company had been disbanded.

Vernon Sheedy writes: "This was a sad day for all of us because we would like to have finished our time with the 1141st—so be it I guess. A trip to Paris coming up next Tuesday, but only Bomb Squadron personnel can go—no support units will be included. "

April 16, 1945

On the 16th and for the third day running, the Group set out for Royan and missed.

Vernon Sheedy notes: "Personnel from the 1141st Quartermaster Company transferred to the Headquarters Squadron, 412th Air Service Group. . . "

During the evening, General Doolittle was informed by General Spaatz, '"hat they should consider the strategic air war as closed. " From now on, all targets would be purely tactical.

April 17, 1945

The following morning, the Hundredth was assigned the marshaling yards at Aussig, where the rail junction and station 'was hit with good to excellent results. '

James Lantz recalls: "Took off at ten a. m. and formed at 3000 feet over Buncher 28. We bombed from 20,000 feet in heavy clouds. Just before the Initial Point we ran into some flak from Brux and one of our fighter escorts, from the 357th, received a direct hit and blew up with a burst of orange flame. The boys saw another P-51 and a B-17 go down. Because of the heavy mist we made three runs on the target. . . "

Vernon Sheedy writes: "Two explosions this morning—B-24's. Three explosions this afternoon—shook the buildings. . . 662nd Air Material Squadron activated; Captain Scharding assumed Command today. "

April 18, 1945

On the 18th, the Hundredth set out for the marshaling yards at Tabor, but went on to attack the secondary target, the marshaling yards at Straubing, with good to excellent results.

During the day, B-17 42-32090, known as the 'Silver Dollar, ' was damaged in a taxing accident. It was soon rebuilt and stripped of all armament, was then used as a hack ship by Colonel Jeffrey.

Vernon Sheedy notes: "'Moving into Huts and changing around in Site number 6. Had to move into a new Orderly Room . "

April 19, 1945

There was no air operations -- General Spaatz messaged all commands that the Strategic Air War was over effective 16 April 1945. Around midnight a large explosion was heard and thought to have been a V-2. One of the 100th planes was declared salvaged - #44-6817.

April 20, 1945

On the 20th, the Hundredth, led by Major J. Stivers and Carl Hellerich, took off at 06. 00 and headed for Oranienburg, where at 10. 15 and from 22,500 feet, twenty-nine of its planes released ten 500 pound bombs on the marshaling yards with good results.

Billy Bittle notes: "Bombed suburb of Berlin, just north of the center. (Oranienburg). Visual target. Flak (155 mm) was to left. Last mission to get sortie credit for. Flying time: 7 hours, 45 minutes. "

Robert Wilkes, co-pilot George Baugher and their crew, had now completed their tour with thirty-three missions and were allowed to fly back to the USA. On their first raid, they ran out of gas and landed at a fighter base at Etain, where they spent six days, to return on January llth.

Jim Brown adds: "Two men remained in England; waist gunner Bernard Adams, who had been wounded in action, but who later finished a tour and an enlisted man, who had received more than he had planned on from a London lass and who was hospitalized for a time. "

April 21, 1945

The target was an airport east of Munich -- secondary target was a marshaling yard in the city itself. With each plane loaded with twenty-two 250 pound bombs, the mission was unexpectedly scrubbed just before take off.

April 22, 1945

There were no air operations. Vernon Sheedy writes on the 22nd: "Today starts the 300th Mission Week celebration. . . Captain Scharding to Paris, France today at 2. 30 from Honington. The 'Red Army was battling inside Berlin. "

April 23, 1945

The crews were briefed on a railway intersection at Buchen. As on the 21st, the mission was scrubbed. Then the truth suddenly dawned—there was no place to go. For the men of the Hundredth, the bombing was over. Several hours later, a convoy wound its way into Thorpe Abbotts, and the trucks were unloaded in the ordnance area. The load consisted of strange, cylindrically-shaped metal containers. In a few brief courses, the armorers and ordnance men were taught how to load the containers into the bomb bays.

April 24, 1945

The crews then flew a number of test flights over the Field, releasing their loads over the runways from a very low altitude.

Vernon Sheedy notes: "Mysterious hole in the Field across from Site Number 6. No one seems to know what it is. . . Probably caused by an explosion. "

During the evening, a big party was held at the Big Top Club.

April 25, 1945

On the 25th, the containers 'were loaded with food and supplies. At the same time, the men were officially informed: The civilian population of Occupied Holland, particularly in the cities, is suffering from lack of food as a result of their isolation and occupation by enemy troops, and deaths are occurring at the rate of several thousand per day. In order to alleviate famine conditions, this Air Force and the R. A. F. have been ordered to drop food supplies in the vicinity of the larger cities West and Southwest of the Zuider Zee. A truce with the German forces occupying this portion of Holland is being made in order that our Air Force may fly unmolested at required low altitudes through defended areas.

All crews will be cautioned against committing a hostile act of any kind while over Holland. Second runs are not authorized if aircraft are being fired upon from the ground. All aircraft are cautioned to stay south of a line running east and west from the Den Helder. The truce does not extend north of this line.

Allen Gaskin recalls: "We were to drop food and supplies to the Dutch directly southeast of Amsterdam. . . Mission scrubbed. Jerry refused to sign the flak truce. RAF and the rest of the Eighth going to bomb Hitler's hideout at Berchtesgaden. "

April 26, 27, 1945

No air operations.

April 28, 1945

The crews were alerted for a Chowhound drop, but the mission was scrubbed. The rest of the day, continued as it began, with lots of snow.

The Stars and Stripes reported: "Peace rumors sweep the world as Himmler surrender offer disclosed. Mussolini 'was executed."

April 29, 1945

Vernon Sheedy notes on the 29th: "Captain Scharding from Paris to duty. Cold all day, wind blowing. Rumors flying around here fast and thick—going home, etc. "

April 30, 1945

No air operations – "Pay Day. . . Last one with the 1141st Quartermaster Company involved. Lots of snow this morning—approximately two inches. The English do not seem to like us to have so much snow in April. " adds Veron Sheedy.

May 1, 1945

After bad weather had grounded the ships three times, the Hundredth set out for Walkenburg, where bombardiers Alfred Paterno, Arthur Zemske and Herman Calvert, dropped the parachute containers on the large white crosses which were used to mark the target' and where thirty-seven of the Group's forty planes dispatched, released 71. 7 tons of supplies.

Luckily the Nazis did not interfere. It seemed that General Eisenhower's message, sent to the German commander notifying him that any interference with the dropping operations would result in the guilty parties being treated as violators of the rules of warfare, had taken effect.

Billy Bittle recalls: "Hague (Holland)—Dropped food on airfield at 400 feet. Truce with Germans, so we weren't fired on. Had specific corridor and altitude to fly. Saw lots of Germans in the squares. Dutch people on rooftops were waving American and Dutch flags. People were running onto the airfield while the planes were dropping cases of "C" Rations. Don't know how many committed suicide. "

In all, 392 B-17's released 776 tons of supplies over four objectives. As the missions were not considered combat sorties, a number of ground personnel also went along, to help push out the sacks and boxes. During the day, it was announced that Hitler was dead. The 'Red Flag flew over Berlin's Reichstag.

May 2, 1945

The following morning, forty of the Group's planes were dispatched to Schiphol, where thirty-nine released 76. 7 tons of supplies.

Billy Bittle writes: "I vividly remember this drop, as we were literally skimming the terrain, and pulling up to miss buildings and smokestacks. I'm sure there were many broken window panes that day from the continued prop changes to maintain airspeed. . . We also had the first fresh fruit we'd seen in months—oranges. Thinking about the Dutch people and their austerity diets, I filled my flight jacket with oranges and dropped them over Amsterdam to the people waving flags. I always regretted not having a camera on that trip, because we could clearly see the faces, waves and happiness of the people. We could also see the German troops standing in formation in the streets. We were flying single file, and the drop zone was an open field outside Amsterdam. The area was lined with people who began running onto the field after the first plane dropped its cargo. "

The Germans in Italy had surrendered.

May 3, 1945

Twenty of the Group's planes made their way to Bergen and released 37. 7 tons of supplies. A further twenty-one dropped 'the same amount on Hilversum.

Allen Gaskin flew with the latter and notes: "Same restrictions applied, with nothing to go after 1155. Salvo load—British supplies in reinforced burlap sacks from 400 feet. Take off 0930. Estimated Time of Return 1248. No opposition expected. . . Forty enemy planes in area protecting shipping so take guns. Soup's on at 1130. Great sight to see people jumping for joy upon seeing us so low. "

The British had captured Hamburg. . . Prague was declared an open city.

May 4, 1945

The scheduled mission was scrubbed due to the miserable weather and 10/10 clouds. The ceiling was zero over the Channel and parts of Holland. During the evening, it was announced that Field Marshall Montgomery had, or was going to accept the German surrender at Luneburg.

May 5, 1945

Twenty-one of the Group's planes released 37. 7 tons of supplies over Bergen airfield. Twenty more made their way to Hilversum, where sixteen dropped 30 tons—four dropped 7. 4 tons on Baarn.

Allen Glaskin writes: "Each ship departed over Southwold at thirty second intervals and flew singly to target area. "

Germans surrendered today in Holland—and everywhere we flew over, we saw Dutch flags, on every farm, house and field. Never saw such deliriously happy people. We buzzed a few towns (at around 150 feet) and people waved and jumped for joy all over the place. Rotterdam is really a mess. Hope Berlin looks twice as bad (probably does). ' A little later, Queen Wilhelmina addressed the Dutch people.

May 6, 1945

Eighteen of the Group's planes released 33. 9 tons of supplies over Bergen. Nineteen were dispatched to Hilversum, where they dropped 32. 1 tons.

May 7, 1945

Thirty-eight planes released 66. 8 tons over Schiphol.

Allen Glaskin notes: "Once again single ships all the way in and back again. British supplies dropped at Schiphol Airport just south of Amsterdam. Altitude 300 feet. Take off 1130. Initial Point 1430 (Ijmuiden).

Target 1437. Home 1600. "

On his return, Lieutenant Glaskin added: "Something big up as they collected our pistols and ammunition upon landing. . . Just heard (nine p. m. ) that V-E day (Victory in Europe) is to be announced tomorrow at three p. m. "

Vernon Sheedy writes: "Peace rumors all day. Base Headquarters put out a Restriction for all at noon today. No one can leave the Base unless authorized by the C. O. "

May 8, 1945 VE-Day

Billy Bittle explains: "We picked up thirty French who had been in a German Prisoner of War Camp. It was a pitiful sight to see how tattered and emaciated they were. Our crew consisted of pilot, co-pilot, navigator, flight engineer and radio operator, and we all gave them what gum, candy, etc. , we had. All the ex-POW's had to be deloused. Lots of German aircraft

on field, but we didn't dare remove any souvenirs because the Germans had booby trapped them before retreating. Delivered POW's to Chartres (south west of Paris). "

James Lantz writes: "Got off at 4. 30 a. m. and flew at 1,000 feet over France, Germany and Czechoslovakia. . . Along the way we could see the remains of quite a few B-17's that had been shot down. The German airfield where we landed was quite good with smooth runways and huge hangars. (Joseph) Drottar in landing, just before us, had collapsed a landing gear so we had to go around a couple of times. We parked the ship and got out and there were thirty French POW's waiting for us. . . On the way back we flew over Paris and let them get a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. We landed at Chartres, where they were hurried out into the waiting trucks. "

Lieutenant Drottar's aircraft, "The Latest Rumor" (42-97126), was soon pulled clear of the runway by attaching it to a tank, leaving her only fit for salvage. In its time at Thorpe Abbotts, the engineers had replaced fifteen engines .

May 9, 1945

The following morning, the men were "Restricted from traveling on trains, except for a twenty mile limit. "

This officially ended the 100th's Combat Tour in the European Theater of Operations in World War II. There remained a few months of moving the remaining aircraft either to the Zone of Interior or assigning them to other units in theater and of course the rotating back to the Unites States of it's personnel. (Paul West)

This version of 
THE BOWMAN DIARY
has been reformatted 
by Jan Riddling, 100th Bomb Group Historian 
July 27, 2003

Bowman Diary - Page 10