• 25 April 1945
  • Mission #285
  • Target: Hallein, Austria

Though not realized or known by the aircrews participating throughout the Bomber Command, this mission would go down in the history annals of World War II as the last mission in combat to be flown by the mighty Eighth Air Force’s bomber units. Four days prior, the 392nd had put a force of (30) bombers up for a strike against the rail facilities near Salzburg, Austria only to have the mission recalled after 7 1/2 hours of flight when violent weather broke the Group formations up near Schweinfurt. Some individual crews did receive mission credit but the Group, as a unit, was unable to bomb any target with the majority of crews jettisoning their weapons in the eastern Atlantic jettison area. Subsequent missions were called but later cancelled before briefings because of heavy frontal activity over selected target areas. The stage was thus set for the final raid of the air war.

On the 25th, the 392nd was committed for (28) crew sorties which were briefed at 0330 hours. At 0550, the lead bomber began take off roll. The target area assigned to the Eighth’s bomber units was Hitler’s Redoubt in the Obersalzburg Mountain retreat near Berchtesgaden. The 392nd’s target was the marshalling yards at Hallein, a city approximately (10) kilometers northeast of the Redoubt and just south of Salzburg on the main transportation routes. No enemy resistance was encountered on the route in and weather over the target area was perfectly clear. As the 392nd left the IP, some of the heaviest AA fire ever seen was thrown up by enemy defenses. Smoke clouds from the flak were so dense that at times bombers in formation were completely engulfed as they flew through the barrage, temporarily being lost from sight. It was later confirmed that the AA last-ditch defenses around this area consisting of heavy railroad car artillery weapons and approximating 105 and 155MM caliber guns, had been rolled in to protect one of the last vestiges of Germany’s resistance. On the bomb run, the Group released a total of (444)250# GPs and 500# incendiaries in the railroad yards - two squadrons achieving excellent results. One squadron dropped wide of the aiming point but the total effort resulted in (52) percent of all weapons impacting within 2000 feet of the MPI. While (10) Liberators of the Group picked up considerable flak battle damage, all but (1) managed to return to Wending safely, landing around 1420 hours. Fortunately, the one ship which did not return landed safely at B-53 on the Continent. After a harrowing experience, Lieutenant Linzmeier brought his crippled bomber #519 to a safe recovery after having the flight controls shot up badly. All of his crew were safe with no injuries. As the returning crews completed their mission de-briefings on what was to be the finale of their role in this war, the one man who was mostly singularly responsible for it all would take his own life five days later, almost to the hour, at 3:30 PM in an underground bunker near the Brandenburg Gate at heavily besieged Berlin. The end was at hand.

In an article in the August 1995 issue of the 392nd News, Keith Roberts describes the mission as flown by the crew of #493, "Dugan" from the 578th Squadron:

"The CQ, Sgt. Carey, got Dugan's crew out of the sack at 2:30 AM for a 3:30 AM pre-dawn briefing. It was dark. We breakfasted, briefed, trucked out to Dugan, and were ready for the 5:50 AM take-off of the lead ship. Dugan took off at 6:00 AM, formed up, and at 7:09 1/2 AM overflew the Wash two miles east of King's Lynn. We left the English coast at Cromer at 7:26 AM at 8,400 feet altitude and air temperature of two degrees below zero.

"Headed east at 8:17 AM, Dugan's crew crossed the coast of Holland at Westkapelle, 8,400 feet altitude, ground speed 175 knots. The day was beautiful, blue sky with a few puffy clouds, a navigator's delight because every ground feature was visible. We climbed and at 9:01 AM passed over Liege, Belgium, at 12,000 feet and nine degrees below zero.

"The Rhine River, and Mannheim, passed under our wings at 9:48 1/2 AM, the air temperature was thirty below at 22,000 feet, and, in the open waist, the gunners feel it. At 10:35 AM, we cross the Danube River at 22,400 feet and confirm that the Danube is not blue, but brown; ground speed is now 212 knots. Nine minutes later we pass the Isar River and turn south toward the target at a ground speed of 243 knots.

"At 11:05 AM, it's BOMBS AWAY at the Hallein railroad yard at the foot of the Austrian Alps, a very few miles from Hitler's last redoubt at Berchtesgaden. The Alps were snow-covered and magnificent, until our view was spoiled by some of the most accurate flak we had ever seen exploding right in the middle of our formation. Dugan flew through a black cloud of flak. Linzmeier, the Group lead, was hit and slid out; Beder, our squadron lead, left later because of flak damage. Moving in from the deputy lead spot, Dugan's crew led the 578th Squadron home.

"Dugan heads home, course 319 degrees. At 11:32 AM, we crossed the Isar River, gazing at Munich just ten miles away, now at 20,000 feet and warming up at twenty-six below, ground speed at 216 knots. Eleven minutes later the Danube is under us at Ingoldstadt.

"Down we go, until at 12:27 1/2 PM we cross the Rhine, at 8,200 feet, warmer still at only four below zero, and in twenty more minutes we are over the Moselle River and can see the vineyards. At 1:34 PM, Dugan flies right over Antwerp, Belgium, at 7,200 feet, a glorious view, and we leave the coast of Holland just north of Veere at 1:47 1/2 PM, moving at 195 knots ground speed, flattened out for Wendling.

"The English Channel is lovely and we make landfall five miles north of Great Yarmouth at 2:23 PM, admiring the green British countryside at 2,200 feet. At 2:35 PM we are over Station 118, Wendling, and drop the wheels on the runway at 2:40 PM. Dugan's crew has completed a 1,433 mile, eight-hour and forty minute tour of England, Holland, Belgium, France, Germany, and Austria, with a few heart-stopping minutes of intense, accurate enemy flak.

"Flak was indeed accurate. Ten 392nd Liberators suffered flak damage, Dugan was sprinkled with holes. Linzmeier landed at B53 in Belgium and Beder made it back to Wendling. The target was blown up. No one on Dugan's crew was hurt.

"This mission, April 25, 1945, was the last mission of Dugan's crew, the last mission of the 392nd Bomb Group, and the last mission that the mighty Eighth Air Force flew in World War II."

CREW LOADING LIST - MISSION #285

25 Apr 1945 576th Sqdn.
A/C 916
P Gill, R.A. 2nd Lt.
CP Manning, D.S. 2nd Lt.
N Holbert, A.S. 2nd Lt.
B Patterson, J.N. Sgt.
R Tejcka, D.N. Sgt.
E Ray, J.J. Sgt.
RW Watral, W.T. Sgt.
LW Sininger, J.P. Sgt.
TG Ehrlich, L.D. Sgt.
25 Apr 1945 576th Sqdn.
A/C 647
P Smith, W.E. 2nd Lt.
CP Malmborg, F.L. 2nd Lt.
N Purvis, C.G. 2nd Lt.
B Linderman, W.T. S/Sgt.
R Kroll, M.E. T/Sgt.
E Lyon, H.H. T/Sgt.
RW Devish, M.G. S/Sgt.
LW Werner, W.T. S/Sgt.
TG Farley, R.L. Sgt.
25 Apr 1945 576th Sqdn.
A/C 571
P Crowell, R.K. 1st Lt.
CP Berkley, J.B. 1st Lt.
N Oppenheim, R. 2nd Lt.
B Colquhoun, R.N. S/Sgt.
R Waggener, L.R. T/Sgt.
E Hough, J.F. M/Sgt.
RW Anastos, G. S/Sgt.
LW Tracy, R.D. S/Sgt.
TG Moffa, A.J. S/Sgt.
25 Apr 1945 576th Sqdn.
A/C 409
P Proctor, H.E. 2nd Lt.
CP Russell, C.E. 2nd Lt.
N Plagenhoef, S.C. 2nd Lt.
B Wade, T.E. S/Sgt.
R Keegan, G.M. T/Sgt.
E Seyfried, W.J. S/Sgt.
RW Kouzes, G. S/Sgt.
LW McAtee, J.R. S/Sgt.
TG Dippel, W.L. S/Sgt.
25 Apr 1945 576th Sqdn.
A/C 299 (no mission credit)
P Hummel, J.R. 2nd Lt.
CP Reynolds, J.E. 2nd Lt.
N Chadwick, R.H. 2nd Lt.
B Morse, E.H. S/Sgt.
R Young, G.A. Pvt.
E Finney, H.H. S/Sgt.
RW Williams, R.F. Sgt.
LW Keagle, P.E. Pfc.
TG Morriset, H.J. T/Sgt.
25 Apr 1945 576th Sqdn.
A/C 589
P Harcus, R.W. 1st Lt.
CP Thompson, J.R. 1st Lt.
N Adler, M.N. 1st Lt.
B Brennan, R.W. S/Sgt.
R Shanley, J.V. T/Sgt.
E Thomas, E. T/Sgt.
RW Woerth, J.B. S/Sgt.
LW Marshall, L.C. S/Sgt.
TG Rosenberg, J.E. S/Sgt.
S-27 Decker, A.B. Sgt.
25 Apr 1945 576th Sqdn.
A/C 357
P Wolak, S. 1st Lt.
CP Willett, C.E. 2nd Lt.
N Longenecker, J.R. 2nd Lt.
B Kutner, J.M. 2nd Lt.
R Murphy, R.C. T/Sgt.
E Bobish, A. T/Sgt.
RW Ruigh, R.E. S/Sgt.
LW Czop, J.A. S/Sgt.
TG Schick, F.W. S/Sgt.
RCM Lambert, E.C. S/Sgt.
25 Apr 1945 576th Sqdn.
A/C 527
P Sincock, W.R. 1st Lt.
CP Perkins, G.A. 1st Lt.
N Balides, T. 1st Lt.
B Williams, A.R. 1st Lt.
R Ostrove, H. T/Sgt.
E Swisher, W.O. T/Sgt.
RW Domme, E.J. S/Sgt.
LW Manshack, B.R. S/Sgt.
TG Peth, P.J. S/Sgt.
PN Duffy, F.J 1st Lt.
25 Apr 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 522
P Clower, W.J. 1st Lt.
CP Reel, H.D. 1st Lt.
N Williams, R.B. 1st Lt.
B Faust, L.E. 1st Lt.
R Stroh, J.E. T/Sgt.
E Tomaszewski, E.A. T/Sgt.
RW Schumacher, A.H. S/Sgt.
LW Letourneau, D.R. S/Sgt.
TG Hendrickson, R.H. S/Sgt.
NN Eldridge, H.N. Capt.
25 Apr 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 151
P Jackson, C.J. 1st Lt.
CP Parrish, C.E. 1st Lt.
N Pillsbury, A.A. 2nd Lt.
B Wolfe, P.G. S/Sgt.
R Paren, J.H. T/Sgt.
E Jenkins, J.H. S/Sgt.
RW Korb, L.J. S/Sgt.
LW Webb, J.H. S/Sgt.
TG Roe, W.L. S/Sgt.
PN Ashen, G.T. 2nd Lt.
25 Apr 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 118 (B+)
P Inman, C.E. 1st Lt.
CP Ondrasek, J.G. 2nd Lt.
N Lange, E.A. 2nd Lt.
B Rees, R.R. 2nd Lt.
R Flake, R.M. Jr. T/Sgt.
E Kamholz, E.J. T/Sgt.
RW Finkelstein, B. S/Sgt.
LW Evans, H.D. S/Sgt.
TG Gafin, B. S/Sgt.
25 Apr 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 507
P Rigney, J.A. 2nd Lt.
CP Hazlett, R.C. F/O
N Clark, T.R. 2nd Lt.
B Zombrofsky, I. 2nd Lt.
R Bergeron, A.J. Sgt.
E Bachar, A.H. Sgt.
RW Smith, T.H. Sgt.
LW Cooney, C.A. Sgt.
TG Rowland, L.W. Sgt.
25 Apr 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 118
P Grabarkiewicz, L. 2nd Lt.
CP Phillips, C.E. 1st Lt.
N Tucker, R.A. 1st Lt.
B Axvig, W.E. S/Sgt.
R Quagliano, F.A. T/Sgt.
E Duggan, J.J. T/Sgt.
RW Elston, R.C. S/Sgt.
LW Moskowicz, S. S/Sgt.
TG McKee, S.P. S/Sgt.
S-27 hamilton, J.R. Sgt.
25 Apr 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 901
P Eyles, E.E. 2nd Lt.
CP Foley, R.T. F/O
N Greenblatt, M.L. 2nd Lt.
B Stutzman, R.J. Sgt.
R Barrett, W.R. S/Sgt.
E Mattera, A.P. S/Sgt.
RW Shrum, T.H. S/Sgt.
LW Carpenger, B.E. S/Sgt.
TG Wengress, C.P. S/Sgt.
RCM Hightower, W.H. T/Sgt.
25 Apr 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 697
P Gates, H.W. 2nd Lt.
CP Day, J.G. 2nd Lt.
N Siwy, W.J. 2nd Lt.
B Harrison, W.F. Sgt.
R Frigo, H.M. S/Sgt.
E Baker, R.E. S/Sgt.
RW Talcott, W.J. Sgt.
LW Lamkin, R.B. Sgt.
TG Ryan, W.M. Sgt.
25 Apr 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 040
P McKellar, C.C. 2nd Lt.
CP Owen, J.L. 2nd Lt.
N James, H.P. 2nd Lt.
B Yeary, B.J. Sgt.
R Davey, J.F. Sgt.
E Cole, E.W. S/Sgt.
RW Higbee, W.J. Sgt.
LW Hodge, T.H. Sgt.
TG Holler, J.G. Sgt.
RCM LaBastille, F.W. S/Sgt.
25 Apr 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 250
P Sisson, T.M. 2nd Lt.
CP Cranson, W.N. 2nd Lt.
N Greening, D.J. 2nd Lt.
B White, E.D. S/Sgt.
R Strausbaugh, R.L. S/Sgt.
E Robinson, J.C. S/Sgt.
RW Jones, M.R. S/Sgt.
LW VanAmburg, C.C. S/Sgt.
TG Kruse, E.K. S/Sgt.
25 Apr 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 240
P Snyder, J.W. 2nd Lt.
CP Heiser, R.F. 2nd Lt.
N Rockett, R.W. 2nd Lt.
B Robertson, L.R. F/O
R Edgington, T.J. Sgt.
E Ruh, H.J. Sgt.
RW Fletcher, W.J. Sgt.
LW Olson, D.W. Sgt.
TG Robinson, R.M. Sgt.
25 Apr 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 542
P Henning, J.C. 2nd Lt.
CP Moser, F.E. 2nd Lt.
N Humiston, M.R. 2nd Lt.
B Regan, J.H. S/Sgt.
R Wilkins, R.A. S/Sgt.
E Regester, R.B. S/Sgt.
RW Harrod, C. Jr. S/Sgt.
LW Stockard, J.C. S/Sgt.
TG Davis, G.L. S/Sgt.
25 Apr 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 205
P Ardinger, J. 1st Lt.
CP Grandmontagne, E.T. 2nd Lt.
N Wagner, H.W. 1st Lt.
B Ramos, R.W. 1st Lt.
R Huitt, G.E. T/Sgt.
E Wiedekehr, R.W. T/Sgt.
RW Jones, J.K. S/Sgt.
LW Gorback, B.S. S/Sgt.
TG White, A. S/Sgt.
S-27 Scheessele, P.B. S/Sgt.
25 Apr 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 249
P Hinshaw, C.F. 2nd Lt.
CP Brown, T.E. 2nd Lt.
N Flint, D.W. S/Sgt.
B Siebert, J.F. Sgt.
R Masnovi, R. Sgt.
E Quintenz, L.J. Sgt.
RW Flewelling, C.E. Sgt.
LW Levy, P.S. Sgt.
TG Murphy, J.G. Sgt.
25 Apr 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 495
P Garcia, A.R. 1st Lt.
CP Pollack, M. 2nd Lt.
N Hoffman, W.A. F/O
B Westlund, J.K. S/Sgt.
R Nelson, D.A. T/Sgt.
E Landes, I.B. T/Sgt.
RW Pennington, M.E. S/Sgt.
LW Merda, A.J. S/Sgt.
TG Rauscher, J.G. S/Sgt.
25 Apr 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 313
P Olsen, H.D. 2nd Lt.
CP Muldoon, J.D. F/O
N Papa, R.J. F/O
B LaRock, J.S. S/Sgt.
R Reidy, H.S. S/Sgt.
E Sacher, P. S/Sgt.
RW Reynolds, R.R. Sgt.
LW Manley, F.H. Sgt.
TG Carroll, E.P. S/Sgt.
RCM Towns, W.L. Sgt.
25 Apr 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 493
P Vickers, R.E. 1st Lt.
CP Schwarzer, D.E. 1st Lt.
N Roberts, K.E. 1st Lt.
B Henthorn, W.N. S/Sgt.
R Costanzo, N.T. S/Sgt.
E Krutys, E.V. T/Sgt.
RW Nock, W.H.E. Jr. T/Sgt.
LW Damuth, T.A. S/Sgt.
TG Leinweber, R.L. S/Sgt.
RCM Harvie, W.M. T/Sgt.
25 Apr 1945 579th Sqdn.
A/C 577
P Steck, R.O. 2nd Lt.
CP Quinn, E.J. 2nd Lt.
N Jost, E.G. 2nd Lt.
B Gross, E.B. 2nd Lt.
R Parker, R.M. S/Sgt.
E Lewis, M.M. S/Sgt.
RW Thompson, W.J. Sgt.
LW Jacobson, C.R. S/Sgt.
TG Peters, R.P. Sgt.
PN Johnson, F. 2nd Lt.
NV Milrod, M. 2nd Lt.
Rotzien, J.R. Sgt.
25 Apr 1945 579th Sqdn.
A/C 670
P Stoddard, K.L. 1st Lt.
CP Wilson, J.A. 2nd Lt.
N Koke, D.H. 2nd Lt.
B Santoro, M.P. 2nd Lt.
R Logue, R.V. S/Sgt.
E O'Hara, R.F. T/Sgt.
RW Ringness, J.R. S/Sgt.
LW Hores, G.P. S/Sgt.
TG Szews, S.M. S/Sgt.
NN Zuckert, J.S. 2nd Lt.
NV Bailey, D.C. 1st Lt.
25 Apr 1945 579th Sqdn.
A/C 684
CA Hunsaker, B.W. Capt.
P Beder, J. 1st Lt.
CP Samsell, J.A. 1st Lt.
N Matishowski, J. 1st Lt.
B Murray, J.G. 1st Lt.
R Murgatroyd, R.S. T/Sgt.
E Morley, J.P. T/Sgt.
RW Carr, R.P. S/Sgt.
LW Roever, C.H. S/Sgt.
TG Schodrof, R.H. S/Sgt.
NV Barry, W.T. 1st Lt.
PN Shumaker, M.C. 1st Lt.
25 Apr 1945 579th Sqdn.
A/C 519
P Linzmeier, R.B. 1st Lt.
CP Fisher, R.M. 2nd Lt.
N Scott, K.R. Capt.
B Schutze, G.C. 2nd Lt.
R Hughes, C.B. T/Sgt.
E Connor, E.J. T/Sgt.
RW Downing, J.E. S/Sgt.
LW Specht, C.O. Sgt.
TG Watts, F. S/Sgt.
PN Creme, A.R. 1st Lt.
MV Sprowls, R.W. 1st Lt.
Koebel, I.A. Sgt.