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15 June 1944 Mission #110 Target: La Frilliere

This target near Tours was a bridge across the Loire River. Between 0030-0200, 24 crews were briefed with the 576th and 579th Squadrons having lead tasks. At 0430 hours all ships began take-off. A total of 23 aircraft bombed the target with excellent results, releasing (184) 1000# GE bombs. For the first time in a number of missions, enemy fighter reaction was encountered. At 0701 hours, approximately 20 ME-109 and FW-190 aircraft hit the Group near 4820N-0030E, making three attacks on the nose and tail. While no ships were lost during this engagement, B-24 #41-95025 from the 579th, piloted by 1/Lt Harry A. White, was heavily damaged when it was attacked by three FW-190s. Tail gunner S/Sgt John W. Wehunt was killed instantly when the tail turret was destroyed by a 20mm shell; both waist gunners bailed out over France. Engineer T/Sgt Glenn M. Barnes was injured when a 20mm shell exploded on the flight deck. Despite these severe problems, Lieutenant White continued on to bomb the target. He nursed the crippled plane back to England and crash-landed at Eye, the 490th Bomb Group's base. All other aircraft returned safely with Group gunners claiming two fighter kills. Recovery was made around 1030 hours.

42-95025 crash 15Jun44
This photo of #41-95025, taken after it crash-landed at Eye, shows why the waist gunners bailed out.
For more information, see MACR #5900 below.

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MISSING AIR CREW REPORT SECTION

15 JUNE 1944
TARGET: LA FRILLIERE, FRANCE

MISSING AIRCREW REPORT #05900  AIRCRAFT: #42-95025 (NO NICKNAME) "Bar-P" 7th Mission

AIRCREW: WHITE     *     SQUADRON: 579th

CREW POSITIONS AND STATUS:

P   l/LT  White, Harry A., Jr    Returned to Duty
CP 2/LT Martin, John W. Returned to Duty
N 2/LT Forde, William J. Returned to Duty
B 2/LT Green, Harry J. Returned to Duty
R/O S/SGT Reynolds, James J. Returned to Duty
EnG T/SGT Barnes, Glenn M. Returned to Duty
WG S/SGT Braccioforte, John F. POW
WG S/SGT Weitkemper, Richard C. POW
TG S/SGT Wehunt, John W. KIA

MISSION LOSS CIRCUMSTANCES: A returning crewmember eyewitness reported seeing the two waist gunners from the White plane bail out during the enemy fighter attacks at 0658 hours, position 47-49N; 01-19E. That was the extent of the airborne sightings given. A German Report from an Air Headquarters at Chartres, #KU904-A reported the two men who bailed out as being taken prisoner near St. Augie, France.

On 20 June 1944, 2/Lt John D. OíNeill (Asst. S-2) wrote this memo to the 392ndís Assistant Adjutant:

1. The following detailed account of the circumstances surrounding the MIA status of S/Sgts John F. Braccioforte, Jr and Richard C. Weitkemper is submitted for your consideration.

2. On the mission of 15 June 1944 to a bridge at La Frilliere, near Tours, A/C #025, piloted by 1st Lt Harry A White, Jr, was attacked by E/A. The exact time and place of the attack could not be ascertained from Lt Whiteís crew, who had their hands full dealing with battle damage and flying the plane home. From interrogation of the crew in the hospital the next day and from crew reports of A/C nearby in the formation, the attack is estimated to have begun at about 0658 hours in the vicinity of (4749N-0119E). Five or six FW-190s, from a group of 20 or more, attacked our formation. Three of these attacked Lt Whiteís planeóone from either side and behind, one from the rear and below. The plane was badly hit by 20-mm shells and machine gun fire. The tail gunner, S/Sgt J Wehunt, was killed, and the waist gunners, S/Sgts Braccioforte and Weitkemper, bailed out. The tail structure and turret were ruined. Shells and bullets entered the fuselage near the waist windows on both sides. Oxygen bottles exploded, and a 20-mm shell burst on the flight deck, wounding the engineer, T/Sgt Glenn M Barnes, in the face and neck. Smoke filled the plane. The hydraulic system was shot out, rendering the bomb-bay doors inoperative, and escaping fluid poured through the plane, freezing to the floor and sides. Bombs were salvoed through the bomb-bay doors. No. 3 engine ran away. Rudders and trim tabs were out, and the plane was flown home (with the 93rd Bomb Group) by main force and the skill of the remaining crew. The intercom was out.

3. S/Sgts Braccioforte and Weitkemper, at the waist guns, presumably bailed out when fire from attacking planes came into their positions. It should be emphasized that in the confusion of the attack their own crew did not see them leave the plane. In fact, when the plane was again brought under control the open bomb-bay and the frozen hydraulic fluid made it impossible for the rest of the crew to investigate conditions in the rear of the plane. They did not know that the waist gunners had bailed out nor that the tail gunner was dead until they crash-landed in England [at Eye, home of the 490th Bomb Group]. Neighboring A/C reported seeing the two chutes of S/Sgts Braccioforte and Weitkemper at the time of the attack. Witnesses were the crews of A/C #343 (1st Lt C L Bell, pilot) and A/C #544 (2nd Lt H W Prouse, pilot).

INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS OF CREWMEN FATES: Sgt. Reynolds gave a later report on the three crewmen casualties, and one other memberís status who had returned to duty after this mission: that Sgt. Braccioforte and Sgt. Weitkemper (a substitute gunner this day), both had bailed out of the waist position when their respective oxygen systems had blown up after the fighter attack and the tail turret was on fire and badly damaged also; and that the Tail Gunner, S/Sgt. Wehunt had been killed instantly. Another surviving crew memberís report stated that the death of Sgt. Wehunt, the Tail Gunner, was instantaneous in his turret position by an exploding 20mm cannon shell from an attacking Me-109 fighter. This Sgt., as reported, was on his 18th mission. These were the extent of the individual statements filed in this MACR.

BURIAL RECORDS: S/Sgt Wehunt is interred in Marietta National Cemetery, Section K Site 4020-A.

 NEXT OF KIN DATA IN WWII: That pertaining to the crew members suffering casualty was: Wehunt (Mother, Laura, 536 McArthur Drive., Marietta, Georgia); Braccioforte (Father, John C., Box 163 Prospect Street, Plantsville, Connecticut); Weitkemper (Mother, Mary M., 2748 Saratoga Street, Omaha, Nebraska). (Note: N-0-K data was also included in the MACR referring to T/Sgt. Barnes, probably due to the War Departmentís later inquiry as to his after war status (Wife, Mrs., 921 North Ault Street, Moberly, Missouri).


42-95025 damage 15 Jun 44
This battle damage was caused by a 20mm shell from an FW-190. Tail gunner S/Sgt John W. Wehunt was killed instantly.
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CREW LOADING LIST FOR
15 JUNE 1944

MISSION #110      Target: La Frilliere



15 Jun 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 916

CA Lowell, C.L. Capt.
P Mathias, W.E. 1st Lt.
CP Jones, L.C. 1st Lt.
N Mateyka, M.R. 1st Lt.
N McShane, W.F. 1st Lt.
B Amoss, R.T. Capt.
E Chambless, S.L. T/Sgt.
R Slyhoff, K.G. T/Sgt.
RW Blackwell, R.B. S/Sgt.
LW Burke, W.N. S/Sgt.
BT Smock, J.M. S/Sgt.
TG Weverka, J.E. S/Sgt.

15 Jun 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 560 (no mission credit)

P Peifer, K.W. 2nd Lt.
CP Nielsen, P.H. 2nd Lt.
N Coe, J.D. 2nd Lt.
B Ott, C.A. 2nd Lt.
E Thornborrow, R.R. S/Sgt.
R Fitzmorris, T.L. S/Sgt.
RW Nichols, L.E. Sgt.
LW Parrish, J.I. Sgt.
BT - -
TG Calvitt, J.L. Sgt.

15 Jun 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 409

P Reese, R.L. 2nd Lt.
CP Iannotta, J.S. 2nd Lt.
N Minzenberg, W.O. 2nd Lt.
B Walters, J.E. 2nd Lt.
E Thornton, M. S/Sgt.
R Butzmann, R.O.E. S/Sgt.
RW Blackham, W.R. Sgt.
LW DeKeyser, H.A. Sgt.
BT - -
TG - -


15 Jun 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 106

P Evans, A.W. 2nd Lt.
CP Fenton, J.S. 2nd Lt.
N Shoenberger, R.W. 2nd Lt.
B Conner, J.K. 2nd Lt.
E Patterson, R.C. S/Sgt.
R Glowienke, G.A. S/Sgt.
RW Naber, H.W. Sgt.
LW Buonocore, F.L. Sgt.
BT - -
TG - -

15 Jun 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 731

P Paroly, B. 2nd Lt.
CP McDonald, W.L. 2nd Lt.
N Tooman, H.K. 2nd Lt.
B Supp, J.W. 2nd Lt.
E Standley, G.A. S/Sgt.
R Conley, J.M. S/Sgt.
RW Prost, B.J. S/Sgt.
LW Tart, E.E. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Clarke, A.B. Sgt.

15 Jun 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 027

P Jones, G.E. 1st Lt.
CP Faas, J.E. 2nd Lt.
N Morris, J.C. 1st Lt.
NG Marvin, H.E. S/Sgt.
E Bodoh, A.E. T/Sgt.
R McAdams, R.E. T/Sgt.
RW Jean, R.P. T/Sgt.
LW Lane, T. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Rossi, V.H. S/Sgt.

15 Jun 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 194

P Richeson, W.H. 1st Lt.
CP Wiley, D.A. 2nd Lt.
N Frey, J.J. 2nd Lt.
B Claytor, D.D. 2nd Lt.
E Urban, J.J. S/Sgt.
R Danner, E.W. S/Sgt.
RW Montgomery, H. Sgt.
LW Dosier, C.A. Sgt.
BT - -
TG Albert, W.W. Sgt.

15 Jun 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 907

P Levell, O.F. Jr. 2nd Lt.
CP Caruso, J.A. 2nd Lt.
N Scott, K.R. 2nd Lt.
B Teague, H.S. 2nd Lt.
E Villegas, V.R. S/Sgt.
R Keegan, G.M. S/Sgt.
RW Mackie, R.A. Pvt.
LW Jackson, H.B. Sgt.
BT - -
TG Trusten, S. Sgt.

15 Jun 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 097

P Johnston, H.F. 1st Lt.
CP Merriam, H. 2nd Lt.
N Berman, M. 2nd Lt.
B Moos, A.J. 2nd Lt.
E Zonza, F.S. S/Sgt.
R Thompson, T.E. S/Sgt.
RW Mackin, L.B. S/Sgt.
LW Ferry, C.W. S/Sgt.
BT Planakis, B.J. S/Sgt.
TG Porter, J.M. S/Sgt.

15 Jun 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 617

P Holliday, B.L. 2nd Lt.
CP Jewett, G.A. 1st Lt.
N McCutcheon, J. 2nd Lt.
B Serna, M.M. 2nd Lt.
E Sevier, R.M. S/Sgt.
R Rambo, K.B. S/Sgt.
RW Johnson, L.A. Sgt.
LW Wattles, L.O. Sgt.
BT - -
TG Negus, J.V. Sgt.

15 Jun 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 222

P Robertson, S.J. 1st Lt.
CP Willis, V.C. 2nd Lt.
N Gates, J.S. 2nd Lt.
B Drake, C.W. 2nd Lt.
E Landry, G.E. S/Sgt.
R Michel, G.W. S/Sgt.
RW Burdette, J.L. Sgt.
LW Kintana, F.T. Jr. Sgt.
BT - -
TG Borraccini, P.J. Sgt.

15 Jun 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 511

P Filkel, O.H. 1st Lt.
CP Hurd, J.S. 1st Lt.
N Tyson, E.E. 2nd Lt.
B Tudor, J.R. 1st Lt.
E Jarrett, C.W. S/Sgt.
R Smith, R.C. T/Sgt.
RW Farmwalt, W.H. Sgt.
LW Kirkpatrick, H.K. S/Sgt.
BT Asselyn, E.H. Sgt.
TG Hoover, A.L. S/Sgt.
OBS Koch, C.H. Capt.

15 Jun 1944 577th Sqdn.
Did not fly this mission.
15 Jun 1944 578th Sqdn.
Did not fly this mission.
15 Jun 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 092

P Hunt, N.J. 2nd Lt.
CP Roetzel, P.B. 2nd Lt.
N Shelton, O.W. 2nd Lt.
B Sullivan, F.J. 2nd Lt.
E McKinzie, W.L. T/Sgt.
R Wilkinson, H.C. T/Sgt.
RW Osment, M. S/Sgt.
LW Bennett, G.H. S/Sgt.
BT McEwan, D.L. S/Sgt.
TG Jackson, L.A. S/Sgt.

15 Jun 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 448

P Niederriter, R.A. 2nd Lt.
CP Spencer, F.R. 2nd Lt.
N Richert, G.W. F/O
B Correnty, R.D. 2nd  Lt.
E Maertens, H.J. S/Sgt.
R Underwood, J.W. S/Sgt.
RW Greenwood, I.G. Sgt.
NG Flowers, W.C. Sgt.
BT - -
TG Spurgeon, E.F. Sgt.

15 Jun 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 037

P Miller, R.L. 1st Lt.
CP Connor, J.A. Jr. 2nd Lt.
N Hession, W.J. 2nd Lt.
B Baker, R.W. 2nd Lt.
E Freeman, C.W. S/Sgt.
R Carlstrand, R.E. S/Sgt.
RW Fritz, G.G. Sgt.
LW Cubakovic, J.G. Sgt.
BT - -
TG Wolfe, P.J. Cpl.

15 Jun 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 308

P Menard, J.F. 2nd Lt.
CP Holmes, J.G. 2nd Lt.
N Krause, T.J. 2nd Lt.
B Hartwick, E.J. 2nd Lt.
E Walsh, D.A. S/Sgt.
R Blackford, L.N. S/Sgt.
RW Redman, G.A. Sgt.
LW Holton, Q.F. Sgt.
BT - -
TG Tubbs, H.L. Sgt.

15 Jun 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 343

P Bell, C.L. 1st Lt.
CP Dorn, W.A. 2nd Lt.
N Orenbach, D. 2nd Lt.
B Bogie, W.W. 2nd Lt.
E Blanco, J.W. S/Sgt.
R Knight, J.S. T/Sgt.
RW Asch, H.W. S/Sgt.
LW Quick, L.I. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Egan, A.J. Sgt.

15 Jun 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 686

P Schafer, W.A. 2nd Lt.
CP Winans, G.L. 2nd Lt.
N Martin, A.V. F/O
B Jaffe, A.J. 2nd Lt.
E Reid, H.R. S/Sgt.
R Ward, R.A. S/Sgt.
RW Razo, E.G. Sgt.
LW Miller, S. Sgt.
BT - -
TG Pitts, J.B. Sgt.

15 Jun 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 135

P Forsythe, W.M. 2nd Lt.
CP Olive, W.E. 2nd Lt.
N Bean, N.M. 2nd Lt.
B Cechowski, C.C. 2nd Lt.
E Plank, G.R. Sgt.
R Weber, R.C. S/Sgt.
RW Young, F.E. S/Sgt.
LW Carrington, W.E. Sgt.
BT - -
TG Brockway, G.S. Sgt.

15 Jun 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 544

P Prouse, H.W. 2nd Lt.
CP Fitzgerald, M.E. 2nd Lt.
N Niman, H. 2nd Lt.
B Gichan, W.W. 2nd Lt.
E Hixon, R.D. S/Sgt.
R Sullivan, W. T/Sgt.
RW Dinsmore, W.F. S/Sgt.
LW Chojecki, J.M. T/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Whitlock, G.E. Sgt.

15 Jun 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 615

P Brunn, W.S. 1st Lt.
CP Reinbold, H.L. F/O
N Griffith, R.C. 1st Lt.
B Coyle, J.D. 1st Lt.
B Rodriguez, J.B. 1st Lt.
E Harris, W.T. S/Sgt.
R Adams, R.V. T/Sgt.
RW Hassett, T.R. T/Sgt.
LW Hair, J.H. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Fund, E.J. S/Sgt.

15 Jun 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 897

P Leser, H.J. 1st Lt.
CP Smoley, E.J. 2nd Lt.
N Sellers, F.R. 2nd Lt.
B Fleck, E.R. 2nd Lt.
E Rodgers, B.A. S/Sgt.
R Licht, J. S/Sgt.
RW Weckel, W.R. Sgt.
LW Fowler, D.E. Sgt.
BT - -
TG Damiano, A. Sgt.

15 Jun 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 229

P Ruvolis, L. 2nd Lt.
CP Wunderlin, C.F. 2nd Lt.
N Mayer, R.S. F/O
B Young, E. 2nd Lt.
E Cowley, J.C. S/Sgt.
R Garvey, J.A. S/Sgt.
RW Beltz, G.E. Sgt.
LW Schenkenberger, J. Sgt.
BT - -
TG Sheridan, T.V. Sgt.

15 Jun 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 025

P White, H.A. 1st Lt.
CP Martin, J.W. 2nd Lt.
N Forde, W.I. 2nd Lt.
B Green, H.J. 2nd Lt.
E Barnes, G.M. T/Sgt.
R Reynolds, J.J. T/Sgt.
RW Braccioforte, J.F. S/Sgt.
LW Weitkemper, R.C. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Wehunt, J.W. Sgt.




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