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22 February 1945 Mission #241 Target: Northeim

One of the most novel missions ever flown by the 392nd was executed on this day. The assigned target was the marshalling yards at Nordhausen - the strike to be made at a briefed altitude of 6000 feet. Briefings for (31) crews were conducted at 0515 and 0630 with all starting launch at 0915 hours. The mission was flown in at medium cruise altitude with let-down made to below 10,000 feet after crossing in behind enemy lines. Short of the very low level supply drop missions flown, this raid gave participating aircrews a very unique, picturesque view of the Third Reich’s Germany - one which could not be enjoyed fully because of the heavy flak concentrations at times and other low flying B-24 formations crossing their track. Due to poor visual sighting conditions on the primary because of smoke and haze, the Group elected to make a run on the rail yard facilities at Northeim. Two of the squadrons hit the yards with poor results. The third squadron, the 578th, was cut out on the bomb run by another Group crossing their track which forced the lead to change targets at the last minute to a large industrial plant located (6) miles northwest of the town. The decision proved to be a sound one as the squadron struck the factory with excellent hits on the aiming point. Flak at the target was meager and inaccurate but heavy elsewhere. One B-24 and crew were lost on this mission. In the 578th, ship #241 Jolly Duck with Lieutenant J. R. Walker’s crew was last seen at 1454 hours outbound with #3 engine feathered. The crew was heard to report that they were low on fuel and were going along the Dutch coast in an effort to reach Belgium or France. Later, 2nd Air Division Headquarters reported getting an S-O-S from some unidentified ship but no further word was heard from this ship and crew. The Group released (340) 500 pounders on the target areas during this mission with returning crews landing back at Wendling around 1615 hours.

On the way back from Northeim, 1st Lt J.R. Walker was informed that they did not have enough fuel to get back to England.  He therefore made a controlled crash-landing near Zoeterwoude, a small village in the western part of The Netherlands.   Walker ordered the crew to split up so as to avoid capture.  Unfortunately, S/Sgt Shea, Cpl Nagle, Cpl Hicks, and S/Sgt Lingle headed in what proved to be the wrong direction and were captured almost immediately.  The other five evaded with the help of the Dutch underground.  S/Sgt McCormick was brought to the hiding place of a local resistance group and for the next nine weeks, he participated with them in their work against the Germans.  On April 29, 1945, their hiding place was suddenly surrounded by German soldiers and in the ensuing firefight, S/Sgt McCormick was killed.  He thus became the last airman of the 392nd Bomb Group to be killed in a direct confrontation with the enemy.  On that same day, ironically, Shea, Nagle, Hicks, and Lingle were freed from POW camp.  Click here for "The John McCormick Story".

As pointed out in "THE LIBERATORS FROM WENDLING", this mission to Northeim was one of the most uniquely different ones flown in combat up to this time -principally because of the much lower bombing altitudes to be flown, as well as the type of target selections. The after-mission documentation written by the Headquarters, 392nd Bomb Group, highlighted some very interesting observations about the manner in which this day’s operations was executed, or ‘lessons learned’ more properly noted. The text of this 392nd summary is quoted verbatim:

"A new type of attack was pressed against the German communication system on the 22nd of February. This attack was to be carried out at low level between six and ten thousand feet in an effort to obtain the greatest amount of accuracy by doing visual bombing. The Second Air Division went out and did the job called for - the 392nd did not play their part!!!

The 491st Group was leading the Wing and due to faulty navigation never attacked their primary target. As a consequence it caused our Group to miss all the briefed targets and resort to a target of opportunity. The target chosen was a marshalling yard at Northeim. Because of an extremely short run and the aircraft being in a climb the lead bombardier, Captain W.F. CETIN did not hit the target.

The low squadron followed the lead into the target (due to improper uncovery) and it is that, because one man in that squadron toggled his bombs accidentally at the time the lead squadron dropped, the whole squadron dropped on him accidentally. 1st Lt. J.C. MURRAY, leading the squadron, was able to make a short run and the pictures show his bombs bursting on the right side of the yards. However, no damage was done because the remainder of the formation had dropped prematurely.

The high squadron came in last and because the low squadron was out of position, they could not drop for fear of dropping on the low. Since the other two squadrons had dropped and were heading home, the high squadron had to pick a target of opportunity close at hand. 1 St. Lt. T.H. MACKELFRESH bombed an unidentified factory near by and did a very good job on it. It was a last resort target, however, and not as vital as communications are.

Considering the mission as a whole it is a splendid example of gross personnel error, not on the part of one man but of many.

Let’s profit by mistakes and don’t do it again!!!."

(Editor’s comment: The above 392nd critique summary about this mission is not signed, other than being titled merely, "Mission of 22 February 1945").

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MISSING AIR CREW REPORT SECTION

22 FEBRUARY 1945
TARGET: NORTHEIM

MISSING AIRCREW REPORT: #12658   AIRCRAFT: #42-95241 "JOLLY DUCK" "G-Bar" 37th Mission

AIRCREW: WALKER     *     SQUADRON: 578th

CREW POSITIONS AND STATUS:

P   1/LT  Walker, Joseph R.    EVD
CP  2/LT  Casstevens, Ralph C. EVD
B-N l/LT  Donohue, John J.     EVD
NG  S/SGT Shea, Harold A.      POW
R/O SGT   Nagle, Francis J.    POW
EnG S/SGT Hicks, Allan W.      POW
WG  S/SGT McCormick, John E.   EVD-KIA
WG  S/SGT Lingle, John A.H.    POW
TG  S/SGT Duerr, Elmer E.      EVD

MISSION LOSS CIRCUMSTANCES: Lt. Downs, Pilot 578th, gave this brief account after this mission: "(Pilot) reported over VHF that he was low on gas and had #3 feathered; time 1454 hours, 20,000 feet. Said he would try to make Belgium. Later the 2nd Air Division reported they (Hqs) had received an S.O.S. from this plane". German Report #KU3721, Hqs Soesterberg, reported the crash landing site of this aircraft as being (4) kilometers south of the village of Lieden, Holland, (near the North Sea coastline) with the plane 70% damaged. Crash time was 1518 hours. Supplementary German reports to this one noted additionally that (9) of the crew members had been accounted for with (4) taken prisoner almost immediately, and the remaining (5) were still at large by evading capture. The names of the evading crewmen had been obtained from the prisoners according to these reports. (Later it would be confirmed that one of the evading members, Sgt. McCormick, had been killed by enemy forces on 29 April 1945 while attempting to aid an underground partisan).

INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS OF CREWMEN FATES: Lt. Walker, the Pilot, later after returning from Evadee status, gave a brief account of what did happen to him and his crew during and after their crash landing. He indicated their plane left the Group formation over the Zuider Zee in Holland and "because of light arms fire (subsequently experienced) from the ground, no one bailed out and we rode her down". He noted the plane had landed about (12) miles north of Voorbury, Holland and every crew member was in his correct position at the time of the crash landing. He indicated that he knew but little about most of his crewmen as "not many of the boys I had were from crews that I knew" (Casstevens, the Co-Pilot, it is noted was also on the Lt. Kaiser crew that had the airborne emergency and abandoned /crash landed a ship on the 1 January 1945 mission to Engers). Lt. Walker in continuing his report stated that perhaps some of his crew men had sustained some minor injuries during the crash episode, but none serious as far as he knew. He noted that he, his Co-Pilot Casstevens, Bombardier- Navigator Lt. Donohue, Waist Gunner McCormick and Tail Gunner Duerr were able to escape capture and succeeded in getting picked up in the Dutch underground network and evade. He knew (ostensibly through his partisan contacts) that the other members had been taken prisoner shortly after their crash landing. He also noted as well that, Sgt. McCormick, later, and just a few days before V-E Day, on 29 April had been killed by the Germans while attempting to help a Dutch woman resist arrest. Much later, a letter dated 3 March 1946 and written by Sgt. McCormick’s Father to Hqs Army Air Forces, Washington D.C. related the following: "I herewith enclose the enclosed for me pertaining to First Lieut. John J. Donohue, 0-769106, Bombard. Nav, which apparently was sent to me by mistake and could not be intended for my late boy - S/Sgt. John E. McCormick, 3056668-who was killed in action in Holland on the 29th day of April 1945. He was reported as missing since Feb. 22nd. That was the date on which his plane was brought down in Holland due to low fuel, Lt. Donahue was one of the other members of the crew. According to Mr. A. Van Der Poel, Le Ylingerhorstlaan, 13 Wassenmaar near The Hague, Holland, my boy was the first to jump out of the (crashed) plane, and who stated that he disappeared suddenly and hid in a hay barn for (4) days. He did not want to give himself up. I am enclosing a letter Mr. A. Van Der Poel sent to the War Department, Washington, D.C., and it was sent to me together with an illustration (diagram) of where the plane came down. He saw it coming down and went over to see them. I am enclosing that illustration together with a clipping about my boy’s heroic action. I Remain Sir, Very Sincerely Yours, (signed) John McCormick, 746 Madison Avenue, Scranton 10, PA." Click here for "The John McCormick Story".

BURIAL RECORDS: S/Sgt McCormick is buried in the courtyard of the Dutch Reformed Church in Zoetermeer, The Netherlands, next to Dutch resistance fighters Jacob van Rij (who was killed in the same firefight) and Cornelis van Eerden and Jan Hoorn (both killed on May 4, 1945).  The four men share a headstone with a Dutch epitaph that means "Faithful to their Fatherland."  

NEXT OF KIN DATA IN WWII: No record available in this crew MACR.


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CREW LOADING LIST FOR
22 FEBRUARY 1945

MISSION #241      Target: Northeim (Low Altitude)



22 Feb 1945 576th Sqdn.
A/C 340

P Steck, R.O. 2nd Lt.
CP Quinn, E.J. 2nd Lt.
N Jost, E.G. 1st 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. Sgt.
TG Peters, R.P. Sgt.
PN Johnson, F. 2nd Lt..
RCM Hairston, R.T. S/Sgt.

22 Feb 1945 576th Sqdn.
A/C 357

P Ross, J.E. 1st Lt.
CP Crane, F.D. 2nd Lt.
N Richner, G.C. F/O
B Hester, T.G. S/Sgt.
R Agnew, T.G. T/Sgt.
E Albright, H.B. T/Sgt.
RW Blackburn, W.F. S/Sgt.
LW Brooks, V.B. S/Sgt.
TG Arnold, E.R. S/Sgt.
RCM Appel, N.S. S/Sgt.

22 Feb 1945 576th Sqdn.
A/C 299

P Kelly, J.B. 2nd Lt.
CP Vaughan, D. F/O
N Coleman, A.D. 2nd Lt.
B D'Ambrosio, M.J. Cpl.
R McElroy, V.E. Cpl.
E Yost, D.A. Cpl.
RW Zielke, W.P. Cpl.
LW Poremba, S.J. Cpl.
TG Reardon, D.J. Cpl.

22 Feb 1945 576th Sqdn.
A/C 302

P Smith, K.A. 1st Lt.
CP Perkins, G.A. 2nd Lt.
N Vealey, S.L. F/O
B Dodge, H.F. S/Sgt.
R Carlstrand, R.E. T/Sgt.
E Glover, B.E. T/Sgt.
RW Flesey, R.J. S/Sgt.
LW Hamment, R.E. S/Sgt.
TG Rubenstein, S.J. S/Sgt.

22 Feb 1945 576th Sqdn.
A/C 511

P Proctor, H.E. 2nd Lt.
CP Russell, C.E. 2nd Lt.
N Plagenhoef, S.C. 2nd Lt.
B Wade, T.E. Sgt.
R Kerfoot, D.A. Sgt.
E Lewis, A.J. Sgt.
RW Gill, J.B. Sgt.
LW Kouzes, G. Sgt.
TG Dippel, W.L. Sgt.

22 Feb 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.
R VanDeven, J.K. S/Sgt.
E Reynolds, J.R. S/Sgt.
RW Parker, R.J. S/Sgt.
LW Holland, J.R. S/Sgt.
TG Adkins, J.E. S/Sgt.

22 Feb 1945 576th Sqdn.
A/C 436

P Smith, W.E. 2nd Lt.
CP Malmborg, F.L. 2nd Lt.
N Purvis, C.G. 2nd Lt.
B Linderman, W.T. Sgt.
R Kroll, M.E. Sgt.
E Lyon, H.H. Sgt.
RW Devish, M.G. Sgt.
LW Werner, W.T. Sgt.
TG Farley, R.L. Sgt.

22 Feb 1945 576th Sqdn.
A/C 709

P Yasi, R.L. 2nd Lt.
CP Blanton, G.L. 2nd Lt.
N Hamilton, P.L. 2nd Lt.
B Cheshire, W.T. T/Sgt.
R Nalette, T.A. S/Sgt.
E Taylor, B.D. T/Sgt.
RW Hensler, L.P. S/Sgt.
LW Pasco, W.J. S/Sgt.
TG Tingle, J.B. S/Sgt.

22 Feb 1945 576th Sqdn.
A/C 476

P DePalma, F.T. 1st Lt.
CP Austin, G.E. 2nd Lt.
N Oppenheim, R. F/O
B Margarones, J.J. 2nd Lt.
R Corbosiero, J.L. S/Sgt.
E Betterini, A. S/Sgt.
RW Bryan, C.F. S/Sgt.
LW Mowery, H.J. S/Sgt.
TG Ferdinando, A.P. S/Sgt.

22 Feb 1945 576th Sqdn.
A/C 916

P Blakeley, W.G. 2nd Lt.
CP Schoelerman, H.A. 2nd Lt.
N Walker, C.S. 2nd Lt.
B Anastos, G. Sgt.
R Spades, R.J. Sgt.
E Amodeo, F.A. Sgt.
RW Talley, E.R. Sgt.
LW Borraccini, P.J. Sgt.
TG Law J.L. Sgt.

22 Feb 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 875

P Dodson, G.H. 2nd Lt.
CP LeFevre, L.P. 2nd Lt.
N Fletcher, W.J. 2nd Lt.
B Hochard, H.H. Sgt.
R Green, J.M. S/Sgt.
E Herrera, D.R. S/Sgt.
RW Allendorf, V.G. Sgt.
LW Peterson, F.H. Sgt.
TG Jenkins, C.E. Sgt.

22 Feb 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 792 (no mission credit)

P Myers, C.E. 2nd Lt.
CP Anderson, K.W. 2nd Lt.
N Warntz, W. F/O
B Zgurich, E.E. 2nd Lt.
R Jaklinski, B. S/Sgt.
E Payton, J.B. S/Sgt.
RW Thornton, A.H. S/Sgt.
LW Gillette, R.E. Sgt.
TG Kirk, G.A. S/Sgt.

22 Feb 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 238

P Weed, O.F. 2nd Lt.
CP Healy, B.P. 2nd Lt.
N Trask, W.V. 2nd Lt.
B Washabau, C.B. 2nd Lt.
R Yoak, E.B. Sgt.
E Gorman, E.J. Sgt.
RW Erfurth, R.L. Sgt.
LW Laird, J.L. Sgt.
TG Kolodziejski, J.J. Sgt.

22 Feb 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 507

P Gates, H.W. 2nd Lt.
CP Day, J.G. 2nd Lt.
N Siwy, W.J. 2nd Lt.
B Harrison, W.F. Cpl.
R Frigo, H.M. Cpl.
E Baker, R.E. Cpl.
RW Talcott, W.J. Cpl.
LW Lamkin, R.B. Cpl.
TG Ryan, W.M. Cpl.

22 Feb 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 901

P Stoddard, K.L. 2nd Lt.
CP Wilson, J.A. 2nd Lt.
N Koke, D.H. 2nd Lt.
B Ringness, J.R. Sgt.
R Logue, R.V. Sgt.
E O'Hara, R.F. Sgt.
RW Hoffman, R.A. Sgt.
LW Hores, G.P. Sgt.
TG Szews, S.M. Sgt.
RCM Harvie, W.M. Sgt.

22 Feb 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 040

P Cohn, A.J. 2nd Lt.
CP Runyon, D.S. 2nd Lt.
N Cottone, P.P. 2nd Lt.
B Norton, W.R. S/Sgt.
R Kincaid, M.M. S/Sgt.
E Cross, G.H. T/Sgt.
RW Korpi, W.B. S/Sgt.
LW Nogales, D.E. Jr. S/Sgt.
TG Avery, W.R. S/Sgt.
RCM Lambert, E.C. S/Sgt.

22 Feb 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 906

P Harding, W.A. 1st Lt.
CP Morrow, E.T. 2nd Lt.
N Parrish, J.D. 2nd Lt.
B Fisher, J.G. Sgt.
R Dollar, W.H. Sgt.
E Butler, C.E. Sgt.
RW Silliman, E. Sgt.
LW Smith, R.L. Jr. Sgt.
TG Neumann, H.J. Sgt.

22 Feb 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 118

P Jordan, E.B. 2nd Lt.
CP Garrett, A.W. 2nd Lt.
N Mercer, E.A. 2nd Lt.
B Lehr, E.L. Sgt.
R Leahy, W.E. Sgt.
E Thompson, R.H. T/Sgt.
RW Cobb, C.E. Sgt.
LW Girulat, R.M. Sgt.
TG Larmee, W.H. Sgt.

22 Feb 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 249

P Adsit, B.D. 2nd Lt.
CP Weber, M. F/O
N Wedgeworth, Q.R. 2nd Lt.
B Timmons, K.L. S/Sgt.
R Close, H.R. S/Sgt.
E McDonald, R.C. S/Sgt.
RW Ritty, P.M. S/Sgt.
LW Anderson, W.G. S/Sgt.
TG Taylor, H.T. S/Sgt.

22 Feb 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 495

P Vickers, R.E. 2nd Lt.
CP Schwarzer, D.E. 2nd Lt.
N Roberts, K.E. 2nd Lt.
B Henthorn, W.N. Sgt.
R Costanzo, N.T. S/Sgt.
E Krutys, E.V. S/Sgt.
RW Damuth, T.A. Sgt.
LW Nock, W.H.E. Jr. Sgt.
TG Leinweber, R.L. Sgt.

22 Feb 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 241 (see note below)

P Walker, J.R. 1st Lt.
CP Casstevens, R.C. 2nd Lt.
N Donohue, J.J. 1st Lt.
B Shea, H.A. S/Sgt.
R Nagle, F.J. Cpl.
E Hicks, A.W. Cpl.
RW Lingle, J.A.H. S/Sgt.
LW McCormick, J.E. S/Sgt.
TG Duerr, E.E. S/Sgt.

22 Feb 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 250

P Ansbro, M.J. 2nd Lt.
CP Wernsman, J.B. 2nd Lt.
N Lindahl, E.A. 2nd Lt.
B Christman, H.E. F/O
R O'Brien, B.M. Sgt.
E Brierley, A.R. Sgt.
RW O'Farrell, R.H. Sgt.
LW Nichols, P.F. Sgt.
TG McLaughlin, M.M. Sgt.

22 Feb 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 804

P Downs, H.E. 2nd Lt.
CP Bickham, T.E. 2nd Lt.
N McKay, R.P. 1st Lt.
B Oakes, H.W. 2nd Lt.
R Spicketts, J.G. S/Sgt.
E Lim, D.P. S/Sgt.
RW Crane, T.P. S/Sgt.
LW Cinquina, E.A. S/Sgt.
TG Weatherman, H.W. S/Sgt.
RCM Williams, C.G. S/Sgt.
Hess, J.M. Sgt.

22 Feb 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 240

P Bilz, J.J. 1st Lt.
CP Slayter, D.W. 1st Lt.
N Barnes, J.M. 1st Lt.
B Overman, D.T. 1st Lt.
R Fahrenbruch, K.G. T/Sgt.
E Grout, A.G. T/Sgt.
RW Poepping, R.F. S/Sgt.
LW Beals, B.M. S/Sgt.
TG Ludwig, D.J. S/Sgt.
NN Hartman, H.R. 1st Lt.

22 Feb 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 446

P Rose, P.E. 1st Lt.
CP Pratt, D.M. 1st Lt.
N Rohde, C.R. 1st Lt.
B Harnden, R.G. 1st Lt.
R Croy, O.N. T/Sgt.
E Scott, W.A. T/Sgt.
RW Davidson, S.A. S/Sgt.
LW Manelick, N.L. S/Sgt.
TG Beane, H.E. S/Sgt.
S-27 Krohn, O.G. T/Sgt.

22 Feb 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 477

P Ebersole, H.R. 2nd Lt.
CP Culp, A.B. 2nd Lt.
N Sauter, J.C. 2nd Lt.
B Greene, H.B. Sgt.
R Chew, W.B. S/Sgt.
E Gabris, J.M. S/Sgt.
RW McDonald, C.L. Sgt.
LW Flint, D.W. Sgt.
TG Lynch, H.F. Sgt.

22 Feb 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 636

P Tokarsky, A. 2nd Lt.
CP Moore, M.R. F/O
N King, F.S. F/O
B Ross, W.  S/Sgt.
R Vivero, D.L. S/Sgt.
E Dowling, R.L. S/Sgt.
RW Ridge, B.E. S/Sgt.
LW Granzow, L.J. S/Sgt.
TG Weissbeck, E.A. S/Sgt.

22 Feb 1945 579th Sqdn.
A/C 128

CA Sather, H. Maj.
P Caldwell, R.R. Capt.
CP Connor, J.A. Jr. 1st Lt.
N Thornburgh, J.W. 1st Lt.
B Cetin, W.F. Capt.
R Westerfield, M.M. T/Sgt.
E Munden, F.R. T/Sgt.
RW Maher, T.O. S/Sgt.
LW Conn, J.G. S/Sgt.
TG Bennett, D.F. Pvt.
PN Walters, J.E. 1st Lt.
NV Edmundson, R.H. 1st Lt.

22 Feb 1945 579th Sqdn.
A/C 899

CA Brandt, R.M. Capt.
P McClellan, H.B. Capt.
CP Carleton, D. 1st Lt.
N Havel, E.E. 1st Lt.
B Snoden, C.A. 1st Lt.
R Kingston, D.B. T/Sgt.
E Berger, R.F. T/Sgt.
RW Markle, J.M. S/Sgt.
LW McGinnis, M.C. S/Sgt.
TG Chatterton, G.A. S/Sgt.
NV Fowler, R.T. 1st Lt.
NG Lipman, B.D. 1st Lt.

22 Feb 1945 579th Sqdn.
A/C 385

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.
PN Shumaker, M.C. 2nd Lt.
NV McDevitt, J.P. 2nd Lt.

22 Feb 1945 579th Sqdn.
A/C 308

P Miller, W.L. Capt.
CP Cassity, J.J. 1st Lt.
N Mohr, J. 1st Lt.
B Mackelfresh, T.H. 1st Lt.
R Hagopian, H.A. T/Sgt.
E Prach, F.T. T/Sgt.
RW Hedges, N.E. S/Sgt.
LW Moles, W.F. S/Sgt.
TG Walters, L. S/Sgt.
PN Gillett, F.A. 1st Lt.
NV Sprowls, R.W. 1st Lt.




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