• 1 January 1945
  • Mission #220
  • Target: Engers

On this first day of the New Year, the Eighth Air Force's relentless bombing of heartland Germany continued on pace. The Kronprinz Bridge north of Koblenz across the Rhine was targeted for the Group. General briefings were held between 0500 and 0600 for 29 aircrews. At 0815 hours, 27 bombers began launch but poor weather over the Continent (rain and fog) hampered bombing. The lead squadron bombed the primary by GH methods with unobserved results. The remaining two squadrons did not release due to weather. A total of (86) 1000 and 2000# GPs were released by the first squadron but struck over.

On the return leg, strong winds aloft forced a number of bombers to land at Le Culot in Belgium and at coastal fields in England. Lieutenant Kaiser's crew of the 578th was reported to have bailed out but later it was learned that the crew had crashed their bomber safely on an Allied strip on the Continent.

Among those crews having to land short in Europe due to low fuel were Lieutenant Brandt's in #560, Nehring's in #040, Harcus's in #340 and Lieutenant Myers' in #906. Only about one-half of the crews were able to recover at Wendling from this mission. No fighters were seen but flak was accurate enough to damage 11 B-24s. Those recovering at base landed around 1525 hours.

1/Lt Roger Brandt's crew

Radio operator T/Sgt Louis J. Abraham wrote in his journal, "After being briefed, we took off at 9:30, 4:30 in the states. We were carrying a bomb load of eight one thousand pound bombs-it was maximum load. We assembled at 17,000 ft due to bad weather and then left the English coast for Germany. All the way into the target we had heavy flak and damn accurate too. Our Squadron got lost and it took us 1:25 minutes to find the target. After bombs away we headed for home. By this time my ship was very low on gas and we had to drop out of formation and head for an emergency airfield near Paris. We were still in Germany at the time, alone and unescorted. Our eyes were scanning the skies for enemy fighters. We were at an altitude of 1,000 ft when my pilot took another gas reading. We were on the border of Belgium and France at this time when our four engines began to sputter. My pilot told us over the interphone to prepare for a crash landing and we all acknowledged his request. He spotted a cornfield in Belgium and headed for it. By this time the propellers were just windmilling and [we] knew they would stop in a few seconds. The ground became closer and closer to us, then my pilot spotted these high tension wires directly in front of us. He tried pulling the plane up but there was no power so he took a chance and nosed it down and at the same time leveling it off. We then hit the ground, once, twice and then we stopped. The engineer opened up the top hatch and we all scrambled out shaking like leaves. It was by the grace of God that the nine of us walked away from the plane uninjured. We spent five days in Brussels and finally got transportation back to England."

Engineer T/Sgt John Chelenyak recalls that when the plane ran short of fuel, he transferred all available fuel to keep the two inboard engines running as long as possible. When the third engine stopped, there was only enough fuel to get down to 1,000 feet -- and then that engine died too. 1/Lt Brandt "mushed" the air to try and slow down their descent. According to T/Sgt Chelenyak, it was due to Roger Brandt's "superior flying ability and experience" that "he was able to crash land the plane wheels up all intact without any injuries to his crew. Roger Brandt had asked the crew to bail out if they wanted to -- but after he said he was going to try to take it down, we all agreed to go with him." 1/Lt Brandt made a belly landing in a cornfield near Mons, Belgium. Sgt Harmon kicked out the large side window after they got down and that is how he, S/Sgt Johnson, S/Sgt Richardson, and Sgt Harmon exited the plane. 2/Lt Copple, 1/Lt Boettcher, 2/Lt Fabiani, 1/Lt Brandt, T/Sgt Abraham and T/Sgt Chelenyak got out via the top forward hatch.

On 3 January 1945, the 5th Strategic Air Depot at Merville, France, informed the 392nd via teletype that the Brandt crew was there, awaiting transportation back to England. The crew enjoyed the hospitality of Mons for several days before they were flown back to England.

RAT POISON Spring 45
This photo of #41-29560, nicknamed "Rat Poison".
RAT POISON crash
This photo was probably taken soon after Rat Poison crashed.

MISSING AIR CREW REPORT SECTION

1 January 1945 - TARGET: Engers
MISSING AIRCREW REPORT: #11239 AIRCR4AFT: #42-51268 "PLEASANT SURPRISE" "F-Bar" 49th Mission
AIRCREW: KAISER    *    SQUADRON: 578th
CREW POSITIONS AND STATUS:

P   2/LT  Kaiser, Phillip W.   RTD
CP  2/LT  Casstevens, Ralph C. RTD
N   F/O   Hoffman, William A.  RTD
B   2/LT  Martin, Michael      RTD
R/O S/SGT Brown, Paul E.       RTD
EnG S/SGT Krutys, Eugene V.    RTD
WG  S/SGT Kilroy, Brandon R.   RTD
WG  S/SGT McGregor, Walter B.  RTD
TG  SGT   Wilkerson, Leon D.   RTD

MISSION LOSS CIRCUMSTANCES: Returning aircrew reports indicated that this aircraft and aircrew had been battle damaged by AA fire and abandoned their ship over Belgium. Later confirmation to the Group reported that this plane had made a successful crash landing in Belgium, and all members were safe (except Sgt. Brown, the Radio Operator, whose whereabouts was not known as of 9 January, but later he was returned-to-duty, having been slightly injured as some of the crew had in fact bailed out before the crash landing).

INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS OF CREWMEN FATES: No records available in this MACR.

BURIAL RECORDS: No casualties suffered by the aircrew.

NEXT OF KIN DATA IN WWII: Records not available in this MACR file.

flagline

CREW LOADING LIST - MISSION #220

1 Jan 1945 576th Sqdn.
A/C 659
P Peterson, T.W. 1st Lt.
CP Rohe, J.M. 2nd Lt.
N Damerst, W.A. 2nd Lt.
B Lawson, R.F. 2nd Lt.
E Bruney, G.L. T/Sgt.
R Green, C.M. T/Sgt.
RW Hankins, T.E. S/Sgt.
LW Mitchell, D.F. Sgt.
BT - -
TG Hoffman, G.A. S/Sgt.
PN Sullivan, A.P. 2nd Lt.
1 Jan 1945 576th Sqdn.
A/C 031
P Linzmeier, R.B. 2nd Lt.
CP Fisher, R.M. 2nd Lt.
N Vealey, S.L. F/O
B Schutze, G.C. 2nd Lt.
E Connor, E.J. S/Sgt.
R Hughes, C.B. Sgt.
RW Downing, J.E. Sgt.
LW Specht, C.O. Sgt.
BT - -
TG Watts, F. Sgt.
1 Jan 1945 576th Sqdn.
A/C 387
P Yasi, R.L. 2nd Lt.
CP Blanton, G.L. 2nd Lt.
N Hamilton, P.L. 2nd Lt.
B Johnson, F. 2nd Lt.
E Taylor, B.D. T/Sgt.
R Nalette, T.A. Sgt.
RW Pasco, W.J. Sgt.
LW Hensler, L.P. Sgt.
BT - -
TG Tingle, J.B. Sgt.
1 Jan 1945 576th Sqdn.
A/C 409
P Raczko, W. 2nd Lt.
CP McGill, C.L. 2nd Lt.
N Cline, A.P. F/O
B Feldman, P. 2nd Lt.
E Reynolds, J.R. Sgt.
R VanDeven, J.K. Sgt.
RW Holland, J.R. Sgt.
LW Parker, R.J. Sgt.
BT - -
TG Adkins, J.E. Sgt.
1 Jan 1945 576th Sqdn.
A/C 194
P Bell, J.W. 1st Lt.
CP Guegold, R.L. 2nd Lt.
N Forbes, D.R. 1st Lt.
B Wilson, H.W. 1st Lt.
E Radzikowski, L.S. T/Sgt.
R Cheshire, W.T. T/Sgt.
RW Noltkamper, A.A. T/Sgt.
LW Zwolinski, V.W. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Geron, H.E. S/Sgt.
1 Jan 1945 576th Sqdn.
A/C 480
P Smith, K.A. 1st Lt.
CP Perkins, G.A. 2nd Lt.
N Maceyra, E. 2nd Lt.
NG Dodge, H.F. Sgt.
E Benadum, T.E. T/Sgt.
R Carlstrand, R.E. T/Sgt.
RW Flesey, R.J. S/Sgt.
LW Connor, P.P. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Rubenstein, S.J. S/Sgt.
1 Jan 1945 576th Sqdn.
A/C 340
P Harcus, R.W. 2nd Lt.
CP Thompson, J.R. 2nd Lt.
N Adler, M.N. 2nd Lt.
B - -
E Thomas, E. Sgt.
R Shanley, J.V. Sgt.
RW Wattles, L.O. S/Sgt.
LW Marshall, L.C. Sgt.
BT - -
TG Rosenberg, J.E. Sgt.
NG Brennan, R.W. Sgt.
RCM Cauchon, L.V. S/Sgt.
1 Jan 1945 576th Sqdn.
A/C 650
P Earl, P.R. 2nd Lt.
CP Smiley, W.R. 2nd Lt.
N Perkins, R.W. 2nd Lt.
B Creme, A.R. 2nd Lt.
E Woods, R.E. Sgt.
R Irish, E.W. Sgt.
RW Marchetta, A. Sgt.
LW Keith, D.N. Pvt.
BT - -
TG Schafer, J.G. Sgt.
S-27 Halpern, H.M. Sgt.
1 Jan 1945 576th Sqdn.
A/C 489
P Kilmer, W.A. 1st Lt.
CP McConnell, C.W.W. 1st Lt.
N Isakson, E.J. 1st Lt.
B Sexton, W.C. 1st Lt.
E Cappello, E.J. T/Sgt.
R Chambers, R.L. T/Sgt.
RW Spears, D.D. S/Sgt.
LW Coffman, J.G. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Turner, E.C. S/Sgt.
RCM George, O. T/Sgt.
1 Jan 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 560
P Brandt, R.M. 1st Lt.
CP Fabiani, H.L. 2nd Lt.
N Boettcher, R.E. 1st Lt.
B Copple, R.N. 2nd Lt.
E Chelenyak, J.A. T/Sgt.
R Abraham, L.J. T/Sgt.
RW Richardson, W.C. S/Sgt.
LW Johnson, E.W. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Harmon, G.E. Sgt.
1 Jan 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 040
P Nehring, E.H. 1st Lt.
CP Trigilio, G.J. 2nd Lt.
N Farrar, R.B. 2nd Lt.
B - -
E McJunkin, F.R. T/Sgt.
R Dobson, H.J. T/Sgt.
RW Koegen, F.J. S/Sgt.
LW Harrow, K.J. S/Sgt.
BT Thomas, W.J. S/Sgt.
TG Kent, C.L. S/Sgt.
1 Jan 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 448
P Jordan, T.J. 2nd Lt.
CP Osojnicki, E.S. 2nd Lt.
N Sprosty, A.O. 2nd Lt.
NG Kirol, J. S/Sgt.
E Kinzler, S.J. T/Sgt.
R Brown, L.E. T/Sgt.
RW Davis, T.N. S/Sgt.
LW Meister, R.H. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Kwiatowski, L.P. S/Sgt.
1 Jan 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 906
P Myers, C.E. 2nd Lt.
CP Anderson, K.W. 2nd Lt.
N Warntz, W. F/O
B Zgurich, E.E. 2nd Lt.
E Payton, J.B. Sgt.
R Jaklinski, B. Sgt.
RW Gillette, R.E. Sgt.
LW Thornton, A.H. Sgt.
BT - -
TG Kirk, G.A. Sgt.
1 Jan 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 164
P Enyart, D.W. 1st Lt.
CP Froehlich, S.S. 2nd Lt.
N Mertens, J.A. 2nd Lt.
B Snyderman, J. 2nd Lt.
E Aycock, C.E. T/Sgt.
R Gersten, G. t/Sgt.
RW Mohan, V.L. Sgt.
LW Arneson, J.A. Sgt.
BT Watson, C.B. S/Sgt.
TG Barlow, S.N. Sgt.
1 Jan 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 313
P Clower, W.J. 2nd Lt.
CP Reel, H.D. 2nd Lt.
N Williams, R.B. 2nd Lt.
B - -
E Tomaszewski, E.A. S/Sgt.
R Stroh, J.E. S/Sgt.
RW Galvin, G.M. Sgt.
LW Schumacher, A.H. Sgt.
BT - -
TG Hendrickson, R.H. Sgt.
NG Letourneau, D.R. Sgt.
RCM Lambert, E.C. S/Sgt.
1 Jan 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 151
P Dodson, G.H. 2nd Lt.
CP Jordan, E.B. 2nd Lt.
N Fletcher, W.J. 2nd Lt.
B Hochard, H.H. Cpl.
E Herrera, D.R. Cpl.
R Green, J.M. Cpl.
RW Allendorf, V.G. Cpl.
LW Peterson, F.H. Cpl.
BT - -
TG Jenkins, C.E. Cpl.
1 Jan 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 249 (no mission credit)
P Hoover, J.A. 2nd Lt.
CP Douglass, G.E. 2nd Lt.
N Fetter, G.R. F/O
B - -
E Marlowe, J.D. S/Sgt.
R Affinito, L.J. Sgt.
RW Janak, E.G. Sgt.
LW Gayda, F.M. Sgt.
BT Fitzgerald, T.R. Sgt.
TG Jones, L.A. Sgt.
1 Jan 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 241
P Downs, H.E. 2nd Lt.
CP Bickham, T.E. 2nd Lt.
N McKay, R.P. 2nd Lt.
B - -
E Lim, D.P. Sgt.
R Spicketts, J.G. Sgt.
RW Crane, T.P. Sgt.
LW Cinquina, E.A. Sgt.
BT Weatherman, H.W. Sgt.
TG Szerdi, A.W. Sgt.
1 Jan 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 446
P Rose, P.E. 1st Lt.
CP Pratt, D.M. 2nd Lt.
N Rohde, C.R. 2nd Lt.
B Harnden, R.G. 2nd Lt.
E Scott, W.A. T/Sgt.
R Croy, O.N. T/Sgt.
RW Davidson, S.A. S/Sgt.
LW Manelick, N.L. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Beane, H.E. S/Sgt.
1 Jan 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 268
P Kaiser, P.W. 2nd Lt.
CP Casstevens, R.C. 2nd Lt.
N Hoffman, W.A. F/O
B Martin, M. 2nd Lt.
E Krutys, E.V. S/Sgt.
R Brown, P.E. S/Sgt.
RW McGregor, W.B. S/Sgt.
LW Kilroy, B.R. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Wilkerson, L.D. Sgt.
1 Jan 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 240
P Wood, D.R. 2nd Lt.
CP McCormick, J.J. 2nd Lt.
N Satterthwait, D.R. F/O
B Segraves, W.D. 2nd Lt.
E Morgan, K.W. S/Sgt.
R Fleischmann, R.F. S/Sgt.
RW McCormick, F.L.J. S/Sgt.
LW Stuck, W.F. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Wright, A.P. S/Sgt.
1 Jan 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 186
P Miller, D.E. 1st Lt.
CP Wilson, T. 1st Lt.
N Moos, J.C. 1st Lt.
B Inamorato, J.T. 1st Lt.
E Myers, L.P. T/Sgt.
R Luczak, H.J. T/Sgt.
RW Duerr, E.E. S/Sgt.
LW Agoglia, E.J. S/Sgt.
BT Faulstich, A.F. S/Sgt.
TG Shea, H.A. S/Sgt.
1 Jan 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 121
P Bell, W.M. 1st Lt.
CP Pope, C.H. 1st Lt.
N Cole, R.W. 1st Lt.
NG Bross, J.H. S/Sgt.
E Morse, J.H. T/Sgt.
R Clough, R.W. T/Sgt.
RW Case, R.F. S/Sgt.
LW Onstot, P.O. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Divers, C.B. S/Sgt.
RCM Appel, N.S. S/Sgt.
1 Jan 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 838
P Clarke, J.C. 2nd Lt.
CP Mackey, O. 2nd Lt.
N Eaton, C.B. 2nd Lt.
B Lowe, R.C. 2nd Lt.
E Brunett, E.C. T/Sgt.
R Brown, J.T. T/Sgt.
RW Peer, G.R. S/Sgt.
LW Heckman, J.K. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Killea, K.B. S/Sgt.
RCM Smith, E.L. T/Sgt.
1 Jan 1945 579th Sqdn.
A/C 899
P Sincock, W.R. 1st Lt.
CP Johnston, N.F. 2nd Lt.
N Balides, T. 1st Lt.
B Williams, A.R. 1st Lt.
E Swisher, W.O. T/Sgt.
R Ostrove, H. T/Sgt.
RW Domme, E.J. S/Sgt.
LW Manshack, B.R. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Peth, P.J. S/Sgt.
NV Bader, C.H. 2nd Lt.
PN Levin, W. 1st Lt.
1 Jan 1945 579th Sqdn.
A/C 519
P Miller, W.L. 1st Lt.
CP Cassity, J.J. 1st Lt.
N Mohr, J. 1st Lt.
B Mackelfresh, T.H. 1st Lt.
E Prach, F.T. T/Sgt.
R Hagopian, H.A. T/Sgt.
RW Hedges, N.E. S/Sgt.
LW Moles, W.F. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Walters, L. S/Sgt.
NG Gillett, F.A. 1st Lt.
NV Sprowls, R.W. 1st Lt.
1 Jan 1945 579th Sqdn.
A/C 459
P Porter, H.K. 1st Lt.
CP Bolstridge, C. 1st Lt.
N Behr, A.J. 2nd Lt.
B Fletcher, A.S. 1st Lt.
E DeSario, J.L. T/Sgt.
R Nero, R.A. T/Sgt.
RW Bennett, G.H. S/Sgt.
LW Amato, J.J. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Putnam, N.I. S/Sgt.
PN Cleverdon, R.N. 2nd Lt.
MV Kopecky, R.H. 2nd Lt.
Maj. H. Sather flew with the 44th Bomb Group in the GH aircraft.