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28 December 1944 Mission #216 Target: Kaiserslautern

The marshalling yards were scheduled for attack by the Group and 29 aircrews were briefed between 0545 and 0630 hours. At 0900, they commenced launch in clear weather with excellent forecasts for bombing under visual conditions. All bombers went over target releasing (536) 250-pound General Purpose bombs and (52) M17 500-pound aimable incendiary cluster bombs. Results were judged fair with all impacting about 2000 feet south of the aiming point - a GH release having to be made because of the low cloud cover on the bomb run.

One B-24 and aircrew were lost (#623 with 2/Lt Baetz's crew) while 11 other bombers had minor battle damage. On the way home, another ship piloted by Lieutenant Scott of the 577th had to land at the emergency strip of Woodbridge, just northeast of Ipswich. All returning aircrews began recovery at Wendling around 1550 hours.

The 392nd's Photo Interpreter wrote this after-action report: "With the year drawing to a close the 392nd is still attacking railroad marshalling yards close behind the German drive. Today it was Kaiserslautern marshalling yards that got the attention of the Wing. However the weather finally turned sour again and the ground haze was too thick to do visual bombing when the Group actually got to the target. Hence it had to be a Group bombing job off the G.H. lead ship. The three squadrons taking part in today's mission were the 577th leading with a G.H. ship from the 44th Group, the 578th flying high right, and the 576th flying low left spot. Only the 576th had time to use a bit of visual assistance on the bombing and seem to have done a bit the best job. But since it is a Group bombing we give it a percent for the Group as a whole. This doesn't look so good either since the percent was only 37% within 2000 feet of the MPI. This is poor to fair bombing. Most of the bursts occurred in woods 2000 feet to 4000 feet south of the MPI. Some 30 hits are observed on the railroad yards however so the mission was far from being a loss. Actually was not a big success but should deny the use of this yard and railroad lines for a few days at least. As such the mission was worth while. But it was not as good a job of bombing as our visual missions have been lately."



The route map shown at the briefing.
Click on image to enlarge then click again on image to enlarge more.
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MISSING AIR CREW REPORT SECTION

28 DECEMBER 1944
TARGET: KAISERLAUTERN

MISSING AIRCREW REPORT: #11118   AIRCRAFT: #42-50623 "IDIOTS DELIGHT" "N-Bar" 82nd Mission

AIRCREW: BAETZ     *     SQUADRON: 578th

CREW POSITIONS AND STATUS:

P    2/LT  Baetz, Robert E.           KIA
CP   2/LT  Hirshberg, Jack H.         KIA
N    2/LT  Merrill, James R.          KIA 
B    2/LT  Farlow, Leland C.          POW
R/O  SGT   Davenport, Bobby J.        KIA
EnG  SGT   Scudder, Monroe A.         KIA
NG   SGT   Byars, Allen C.            KIA
WG   SGT   Sobota, Roman A.           POW
TG   SGT   Kamenko, Alexander (NMI)   KIA
S27* S/SGT Schaumberg, Gunther (NMI)  KIA
*Voice Interpreter - German airborne radios.

MISSION LOSS CIRCUMSTANCES: 2/Lt Tokarsky, 578th pilot, reported after this mission that Baetz's plane had been hit by flak one or two minutes before bombs away, dropped from the formation with #2 engine on fire and proceeded under control for about two minutes, losing altitude and with fire in the bomb bay. Then #4 engine caught fire, and this plane finally blew up at position 49-25N; 07-55E with six chutes seen (but 2/Lt Scott's crew said they saw only one chute). 1/Lt Enyart's crew reported that this plane went into a series of rolls before exploding while 2/Lt Crowell's crew described the plane as "in spins."

German Report #KU3549 reported this plane's crash location as (800) meters east of Muenchweiler; downed by A-A fire from Kaiserslautern batteries and that the ship had exploded in mid-air with 95% destruction. This account went on to state that six crew members were found dead (four were identified as Baetz, Kamenko, Byars, and Schaumberg but the other two could not be identified). It was indicated that a search was underway for the remaining crewmen.

INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS OF CREWMEN FATES: Lt. Farlow gave a brief account later about the other crew members after his release and return from POW status. His account indicated that their emergency began just after the target; that he felt all other members did bail out of the stricken plane; but that Sgt. Sobota (the other survivor) had been knocked unconscious but came to at about 5,000 feet and the ship’s ensuing explosion had blown him clear. Another short account by Sgt. Sobota on the men who were listed later as casualties indicated that Pilot Baetz had given the "bail out" order, and as far as he believed, all men who were still missing did not have the opportunity to jump before the plane exploded going down. These survivor accounts further indicated this aircrew was on their 5th combat mission. German Report #KU 3549, Hqs Munchweiler - Kaiserlautern of 1400 hours, 28 December, indicated the two POWs, Farlow and Sobota, were being transferred to Dulag-Luft West.

BURIAL RECORDS: The above German Report also noted that the deceased crew members were buried in the community cemetery at Munchweiler on 29 December around 1250 hours. U.S. National Overseas Cemetery records indicate the following deceased members were re-interred, as follows, all in the LORRAINE Plot at St. Avold, France: Merrill (Grave K- 24-29); Davenport (Grave B-30-44); Scudder (Grave B-30-44); and Schaumberg (Grave B-21 -23), who had been awarded the Air Medal. All four members were awarded the Purple Heart. Sgt Kamenko is interred at Long Island National Cemetery, Section H Site 9382. No further information exists in the MACR on the burial dispositions of the other casualties.

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

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CREW LOADING LIST FOR
28 DECEMBER 1944

MISSION #216      Target: Kaiserslautern



28 Dec 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 650

P Beder, J. 2nd Lt.
CP Samsell, J.A. 2nd Lt.
N Matishowski, J. 2nd Lt.
B Murray, J.G. 2nd Lt.
E Morley, J.P. S/Sgt.
R Murgatroyd, R.S. T/Sgt.
RW Carr, R.P. S/Sgt.
LW Roever, C.H. S/Sgt.
BT - -
PN Czyzewicz, C.H. 2nd Lt.
TG Schodrof, R.H. S/Sgt.

28 Dec 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 409

P Raczko, W. 2nd Lt.
CP McGill, C.L. F/O
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.

28 Dec 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 272

P Crowell, R.K. 2nd Lt.
CP Berkley, J.B. 2nd Lt.
N Byrnes, W.B. 2nd Lt.
B - -
E Hough, J.F. M/Sgt.
R Waggener, L.R. Sgt.
RW Tracy, R.D. Sgt.
LW Hamment, R.E. Sgt..
BT - -
TG Moffa, A.J. Sgt.
NG Colquhoun, R.N. Sgt.
RCM Malone, H.Q. Sgt.

28 Dec 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 194

P Sommers, O.L. 1st Lt.
CP Daniel, P.U. 1st Lt.
N Judd, G.G. 2nd Lt.
B Streicher, H.P. Jr. 1st Lt.
E Drummond, W.D. T/Sgt.
R Fender, J.F. T/Sgt.
RW O'Kane, R.P. S/Sgt.
LW McNeill, C.E. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Luciano, S. S/Sgt.

28 Dec 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 916

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. Sgt.
BT - -
TG Schafer, J.G. Sgt.

28 Dec 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 387

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

28 Dec 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 031

P Meehan, J.L. 1st Lt.
CP Carey, H.V. 2nd Lt.
N McAfee, S.P. 2nd Lt.
NT Lynch, R.C. S/Sgt.
E Sevier, R.M. T/Sgt.
R Candido, C.D. T/Sgt.
RW Lange, D.H. S/Sgt.
LW Conner, P.P. S/Sgt.
BT
TG Borraccini, P.J. S/Sgt.

28 Dec 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 299

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 Martin, P.R. Pvt.
BT - -
TG Rubenstein, S.J. S/Sgt.

28 Dec 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 480

P Jones, T.A. 1st Lt.
CP McFarland, J.D. 1st Lt.
N Leonard, A.C. 1st Lt.
NG Malley, J.P. S/Sgt.
E Glover, B.E. T/Sgt.
R Isebrands, T.E. T/Sgt.
RW Daniel, F.E. S/Sgt.
LW Adelson, D. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Woerth, J.B. S/Sgt.

28 Dec 1944 577th Sqdn.
A/C 813

P Nehring, E.H. 1st Lt.
CP Trigilio, G.J. 2nd Lt.
N Farrar, R.B. 2nd Lt.
B Krohn, O.G. S/Sgt.
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.

28 Dec 1944 577th Sqdn.
A/C 989

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 Letourneau, D.R. Sgt.
TG Hendrickson, R.H. Sgt.

28 Dec 1944 577th Sqdn.
A/C 223

P Pope, L.S. 2nd Lt.
CP Snowhill, T.B. 2nd Lt.
N Rodstein, B. 2nd Lt.
B Lane, T.C. S/Sgt.
E Turrisi, J.R. Sgt.
R Reed, D.F. Sgt.
RW Fuller, M.A. Sgt.
LW Dardano, F.A. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Keach, G.T. Sgt.

28 Dec 1944 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. Sgt.
R Gersten, G. Sgt.
RW Arneson, J.A. Sgt.
LW Mohan, V.L. Sgt.
BT - -
TG Barlow, S.N. Sgt.

28 Dec 1944 577th Sqdn.
A/C 079

P Inman, C.E. 1st Lt.
CP Ondrasek, J.G. 2nd Lt.
N Lange, E.A. 2nd Lt.
B Rees, R.R. 2nd Lt.
E Kamholz, E.J. T/Sgt.
R Flake, R.M. Jr. T/Sgt.
RW Finkelstein, B. S/Sgt.
LW Evans, H.D. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Gafin, B. S/Sgt.

28 Dec 1944 577th Sqdn.
A/C 647

P Cohn, A.J. 2nd Lt.
CP Runyon, D.S. 2nd Lt.
N Flugel, R.R. F/O
B - -
E Cross, G.H. S/Sgt.
R Kincaid, M.M. Sgt.
RW Korpi, W.B. Sgt.
LW Nogales, D.E. Jr. Sgt.
BT Norton, W.R. Sgt.
TG Avery, W.R. S/Sgt.

28 Dec 1944 577th Sqdn.
A/C 861

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.

28 Dec 1944 577th Sqdn.
A/C 991

P Scott, D.A. 2nd Lt.
CP Jordan, E.B. 2nd Lt.
N Tucker, R.A. 2nd Lt.
NT Glasscock, J.B. S/Sgt.
E Karas, J. T/Sgt.
R Berger, S. T/Sgt.
RW Hanley, E.H. S/Sgt.
LW Scheide, H.W. S/Sgt.
BT Holder, O.E. S/Sgt.
TG - -

28 Dec 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 186


P Miller, D.E. 1st Lt.
CP Heller, P. 1st Lt.
N Moos, J.C. 2nd Lt.
B Inamorato, J.T. 1st Lt.
E Myers, L.P. T/Sgt.
R Luczak, H.J. T/Sgt.
RW Agoglia, E.J. S/Sgt.
LW Duerr, E.E. S/Sgt.
BT Faulstich, A.F. S/Sgt.
TG Shea, H.A. S/Sgt.

28 Dec 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 337

P Ardinger, J. 2nd Lt.
CP Grandmontagne, E.T. 2nd Lt.
N Wagner, H.W. F/O
B Edwards, R.L. 2nd Lt.
E Wiedekehr, R.W. S/Sgt.
R Huitt, G.E. S/Sgt.
RW Gorback, B.S. Sgt.
LW Jones, J.K. Sgt.
BT - -
TG White, A. Sgt.

28 Dec 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 623

P Baetz, R.E. 2nd Lt.
CP Hirshberg, J.H. 2nd Lt.
N Merrill, J.R. 2nd Lt.
B Farlow, L.C. 2nd Lt.
E Scudder, M.A. Sgt.
R Davenport, B.J. Sgt.
RW Byars, A.C. Sgt.
LW Sobota, R.A. Sgt.
BT - -
TG Kamenko, A. Sgt.
S-27 Schaumberg, G. Sgt.

28 Dec 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 249

P Bilz, J.J. 2nd Lt.
CP Slayter, D.W. 2nd Lt.
N Barnes, J.M. 2nd Lt.
B Overman, D.T. 2nd Lt.
E Grout, A.G. T/Sgt.
R Fahrenbruch, K.G. T/Sgt.
RW Poepping, R.F. S/Sgt.
LW Beals, B.M. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Ludwig, D.J. S/Sgt.

28 Dec 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 495

P Byrne, C.E. 2nd Lt.
CP Schmitt, F.J. 2nd Lt.
N Greene, D.A. 2nd Lt.
B Heilman, R.C. S/Sgt.
 E Bennett, L.F. T/Sgt.
R Trapp, M.W. T/Sgt.
RW Libby, J.E. S/Sgt.
LW Wagner, F.E. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Alper, M.A. S/Sgt.

28 Dec 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 446

P Rose, P.E. 2nd 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.

28 Dec 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 838

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

28 Dec 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 268

P Mayer, E.H. 2nd Lt.
CP Fligge, S.G. 2nd Lt.
N Burros, R.S. 2nd Lt.
B Crosby, P.E. 2nd Lt.
E Fickel, S.A. T/Sgt.
R Hatfield, H.C. T/Sgt.
RW Gibson, C.P. S/Sgt.
LW Robinson, M.M. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Fulton, C.E. S/Sgt.

28 Dec 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 313

P Sturm, W.A. 1st Lt.
CP Jurczyn, B.J. 2nd Lt.
N Rawlings, J.L. 2nd Lt.
B Neetz, R.E. F/O
E LaChance, D.E. T/Sgt.
R Brown, J.C. T/Sgt.
RW Lingle, J.A.H. S/Sgt.
LW McCormick, J.E. S/Sgt.
BT Ivey, E.H. Jr. Jr. S/Sgt.
TG Huff, R.H. S/Sgt.

28 Dec 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 459

P Daley, J.C. 1st Lt.
CP Stebner, O.G. 1st Lt.
N Thomas, C.P. 2nd Lt.
N Barger, G.W. 1st Lt.
B Cunningham, V.J. 2nd Lt.
E Minster, G.E. T/Sgt.
R Firquain, O.S. T/Sgt.
RW Bevill, B.T. S/Sgt.
LW Cole, R.A. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Berry, J.F. S/Sgt.
MV Bailey, D.C. 2nd Lt.

28 Dec 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 899

P Eggleston, J.W. 1st Lt.
CP Peters, M.J. 1st Lt.
N Zamor, R.J. 1st Lt.
B Hickok, H.E.  1st Lt.
E Smith, J.W. T/Sgt.
R Nika, L.E. T/Sgt.
RW Mitchell, R.L. S/Sgt.
LW Murray, J.J. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Mortimer, D.E. Sgt.
NN Wilfahrt, D.W. 2nd Lt.
NV Adelstein, R.L. 2nd Lt.

28 Dec 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 128

P Neundorf, C.A. Capt.
CP Washington, E.K. 1st Lt.
N Abrams, E.J. 1st Lt.
B Pipitone, S.R. 1st Lt.
E Moore, P.L. T/Sgt.
R Toniatti, L.A. T/Sgt.
RW Blalock, E.L. S/Sgt.
LW Sullivan, J.K. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Xander, C.H. S/Sgt.
PN Lipman, B.D. 2nd Lt.
NV Sprowls, R.W. 1st Lt.

Capt. B.W. Hunsaker was CP in the GH ship.




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