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31 December 1944 Mission #219 Target: Euskirchen

This mission on New Year's Eve was scheduled against the railroad lines and bridge in Euskirchen. The 392nd's briefer told assembled aircrews "Transportation and supply points, marshalling yards and bridges will be hit again today until they are positively knocked out. We are out to disrupt supply lines to the present offensive; indications are that Germans face conditions our Air Force achieved just before and after D-Day in France. Prisoners of War indicate they took 5 days getting from the west side of the Rhine to the front, movement accomplished on bicycles." Destroying the rail lines meant that the "enemy will fail in present offensive and lines of both advance and retreat will be of no value to enemy."

Between 0445 and 0600 hours, 29 crews were given general briefings with all commencing take-off at 0800 hours. Intermittent snow and rain showers persisted in the base area during take-offs and form up. The mission went well until the IP was reached. At this point, the leading GH ship of the 44th Bomb Group did not turn to the briefed bomb run heading but continued on course.

The Deputy Lead crew advised the leading ship of this error and shortly thereafter, formation lead was turned over to the Deputy. By this time, the Groups following had proceeded well down the briefed axis of attack leaving the 392nd fairly well alone. The Deputy Lead then made a 360 turn to strike Koblenz with the lead squadron. In the meantime, the low squadron was suddenly hit by 12-15 enemy fighters which made two firing passes as the squadron made a bomb run on a Target of Opportunity near Ludwigshafen. Group gunners had one enemy fighter claim in this short engagement.

As a result of all this last-minute activity, the 392nd's Telephone Report explained, "The 3 Sqdns of this group did not bomb any actual target. A GH ship from 44 Gp was leading this group. This Group found itself alone not near the target, without fighter support, so the bombs were salvoed to lighten the ships at 5021-0706E and the group headed home. Fighters attacked the low sqdn at this time." In total, (322) 500-pound General Purpose bombs were jettisoned.

Two members on 2/Lt Alex E. Majesky's crew of the 577th were wounded during the fighter attacks. The bomber crash-landed in Belgium at field A-80 near Brussels with this damage: #1, 3, and 2 engines out; #4 turbo shot; right aileron shot out; hydraulic system out; both rudders needed to be replaced; all props have holes except #1; the tail turret was out; the top turret dome out; holes along the waist-in windows, etc. In short, the plane was in "generally beat-up condition" per the crew's Interrogation Form.

Right waist gunner Sgt Richard Esenwein recalled, "We were trying to bomb a bridge but we got hit by fighters-six ME-109 German fighters. They shot out three of our engines. As this happened, I was in the bomb bay trying to drop the bombs. They didn't want to fall from the bombardier position so I had to use a screwdriver to get them loose.

"The fighters hit us while I was there. I was standing on a metal track, six inches wide, with the bomb bay doors open and only the sky and earth below. It was just like the Fourth of July with the cannon shells going off."

"When I got back in the waist of the plane, I found that Sgt Seymour Adelman, the other waist gunner, had been wounded [by 20mm shell fragments in his right leg] and that Sgt Joseph F. Martin Jr., the tail gunner, had glass in his eyes [because his turret had been hit by a 20mm shell]. I told him to keep moving his guns so the Germans would know we were still alive. I called the radio operator, Sgt Melvin A. Ivey, to bring back morphine. He was to keep it warm and from freezing. I put it in Adelman's leg and the morphine went crunch-it was frozen. Then I put a bandage on his leg."

"We were very lucky. We landed just after that on an old fighter runway near Reims, France. It turned out to be the 101st Parachute reserve base. There was a field hospital there. I took Adelman and Sgt Francis M. "Pat" Patton, our engineer, took Joe."

"Pat and I were both asked if we wanted a Purple Heart for our scratches, and we both said no. I knew Dad would get a notice of it at the newspaper before I could write a letter explaining it. We didn't know it was worth five points toward discharge." "We stayed with the 101st paratroopers that night. We saw our plane the next day. In the seven feet between my waist position and the tail were 126 holes."

The Majesky crew spent the night at field A-80. Then, a C-53 took the crew to Redding, England (Station 467, home of the 434th Troop Carrier Group), where Adelman was left at the 98th General Hospital. They were returned to Wendling in a C-47. They brought back the plane's Carpet Transmitter and the Gee Box.

Friendly fighter support was rated good except at the enemy aircraft encounter. However, 12 of the returning bombers received some battle damage on this raid, including #528 that had to be salvaged. Aircrews recovered at Wendling about 1500 hours.

B-24 #44-10528, flown by 576th Sqdn pilot 2/Lt Willis G. Blakeley, crash-landed near Beetley, Norfolk, England. Radio operator Sgt Richard Spades later recalled, "We were attacked by enemy fighter planes. We had lost fuel but made it back to Wendling. In our landing approach a smaller plane cut in front of us and to avert collision, Blakeley nosed upward and re-circled the field. We didn't make it as all engines failed. We were headed nose first into the ground when the plane with Blakeley's help righted itself as we hit the ground. We all walked away without sustaining major injuries."


Luckily, no one was badly injured when 576th Sqdn pilot 2/Lt W.G. Blakeley crash-landed.

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CREW LOADING LIST FOR
31 DECEMBER 1944

MISSION #219      Target: Euskirchen



31 Dec 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 031

P Meehan, J.L. 1st Lt.
CP Carey, H.V. 1st Lt.
N McAfee, S.P. 2nd Lt.
NG Lynch, R.C. S/Sgt.
E Cohen, H.J. 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.

31 Dec 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 340

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

31 Dec 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 194

P Johnson, R.D. 1st Lt.
CP Ellis, J.F. 1st Lt.
N Hildebrand, L.C. 2nd Lt.
B Mountain, J.G. 2nd Lt.
E Stolins, E.A. S/Sgt.
R Holmes, E.L. S/Sgt.
RW Daniels, J. S/Sgt.
LW Gordon, G.P. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Cochran, G.D. S/Sgt.

31 Dec 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 528 (crash-landed at
Swanton Morley)

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

31 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 - -
TG Schodrof, R.H. S/Sgt.
PN Czyzewicz, C.H. 2nd Lt.
S-27 Bernhards, H.F. Sgt.

31 Dec 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 357

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 Hamment, R.E. Sgt.
LW Tracy, R.D. Sgt.
BT Colquhoun, R.N. Sgt.
TG Moffa, A.J. Sgt.

31 Dec 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 272

P Novik, A.J. 1st Lt.
CP Graves, J.H. 2nd Lt.
N Fife, R.M. 2nd Lt.
NG Glass, R.D. S/Sgt.
E DiMarco, F.J. S/Sgt.
R Hildebrand, R.O. S/Sgt.
RW Graves, R.H. S/Sgt.
LW Merchant, W.D. S/Sgt.
BT Williams, W.D. S/Sgt.
TG Buckley, C.A. S/Sgt.

31 Dec 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 409

P Wolak, S. 2nd Lt.
CP Willett, C.E. 2nd Lt.
N Longenecker, J.R. 2nd Lt.
B Kutner, J.M. 2nd Lt.
E Bobish, A. S/Sgt.
R Murphy, R.C. Sgt.
RW Czop, J.A. Sgt.
LW Ruigh, R.E. Sgt.
BT - -
TG Schick, F.W. Sgt.

31 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.

31 Dec 1944 577th Sqdn.
A/C 164

P Decker, J.C. 2nd Lt.
CP Biakis, M.J. 2nd Lt.
N Johnson, R.G. 2nd Lt.
B - -
E Demery, R.F. Sgt.
R Hadley, M.W. Sgt.
RW Kobil, G.F. Sgt.
LW Towns, W.L. Sgt.
BT Belanger, R.E. Sgt.
TG Jarvis, M.A. Sgt.
RCM Malone, H.Q. Sgt.

31 Dec 1944 577th Sqdn.
A/C 249

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

31 Dec 1944 577th Sqdn.
A/C 838

P Grabarkiewicz, L. F/O
CP Phillips, C.E. 2nd Lt.
N Hickson, D. Jr. 2nd Lt.
B - -
E Duggan, J.J. S/Sgt.
R Quagliano, F.A. S/Sgt.
RW Cooper, J.T. Pvt.
LW Baker, E.R. Sgt.
BT Axvig, W.E. Sgt.
TG Moskowicz, S. Sgt.

31 Dec 1944 577th Sqdn.
A/C 906 (crash-landed in
Belgium)

P Majesky, A.E. 2nd Lt.
CP Wanner, G.L. 2nd Lt.
N Vought, E.I. F/O
B Zuckert, J.S. 2nd Lt.
E Patton, F.M. Sgt.
R Ivey, M.A. Sgt.
RW Esenwein, E.R. Sgt.
LW Adelman, S. Sgt.
BT - -
TG Martin, J.F. Sgt.

31 Dec 1944 577th Sqdn.
A/C 511

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.

31 Dec 1944 577th Sqdn.
A/C 636

P Koza, F. 1st Lt.
CP Wilcoxson, R.H. 1st Lt.
N Stillwagon, V.H. 1st Lt.
B Solomon, A.A. 1st Lt.
E Roberts, M.J. T/Sgt.
R Rubin, G. T/Sgt.
RW Johnson, J.T. S/Sgt.
LW Purcell, L.J. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Dunn, T.C. S/Sgt.
PN Mintz, H.B. 2nd Lt.

31 Dec 1944 577th Sqdn.
A/C 480

P Jackson, C.J. 1st Lt.
CP Parrish, C.E. 2nd Lt.
N Pillsbury, A.A. 2nd Lt.
NG Wolfe, P.G. Sgt.
E Jenkins, J.H. S/Sgt.
R Paren, J.H. S/Sgt.
RW Korb, L.J. Sgt.
LW Sterns, V.C. Sgt.
BT - -
TG Roe, W.L. Sgt.

31 Dec 1944 577th Sqdn.
A/C 118

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.

31 Dec 1944 577th Sqdn.
A/C 813

P Teipel, H.N. 2nd Lt.
CP Karas, M. 2nd Lt.
N Polansky, M.L. 2nd Lt.
B Flory, D.L. 2nd Lt.
E Rabine, V.A. T/Sgt.
R Goodson, E. S/Sgt.
RW Hodoian, J.C. S/Sgt.
LW Conrad, D.E. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG McConnell, H.M. S/Sgt.
NG Moss, J.R. 2nd Lt.

31 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.

31 Dec 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 241

P Walker, J.R. 1st Lt.
CP Ellis, A. 2nd Lt.
N Donohue, J.J. 1st Lt.
NG Pataki, S.M. S/Sgt.
E Thomas, C.B. T/Sgt.
R Jewell, R.B. T/Sgt.
RW Faucette, E.W. S/Sgt.
LW Collins, S.J. Sgt.
BT - -
TG Borchers, E.J. S/Sgt.

31 Dec 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 786

CA Allen, C.W. Capt.
P Grettum, R.B. Capt.
CP Bate, H.C. 2nd Lt.
N Bauer, H.H. 2nd Lt.
B Connery, M.J. 1st Lt.
E Padden, T.F. T/Sgt.
R West, G.E. T/Sgt.
RW Long, J.F. S/Sgt.
LW Putnam, N.I. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Housteau, J.M. S/Sgt.
PN Waldo, L.C. 1st Lt.
NV Conrad, J.B. 1st Lt.

31 Dec 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 446

P Fox, J.E. 2nd Lt.
CP Sampley, T.A. 2nd Lt.
N Johnson, M.S. 2nd Lt.
B Robinson, D.T. 2nd Lt.
E Smith, B.F. T/Sgt.
R Tameling, H. T/Sgt.
RW Seever, B.H. S/Sgt.
LW Bunting, J. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Davis, C.L. S/Sgt.
RCM Allen, P. Sgt.

31 Dec 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 772

P Cerrato, V.H. 2nd Lt.
CP Addison, A.E. 2nd Lt.
N Marcelli, A.F. 2nd Lt.
B Ramos, R.W. Jr. F/O
E Lee, R.M. S/Sgt.
R Ewell, A.J. S/Sgt.
RW Burrell, M.L. S/Sgt.
LW Lamson, P.M. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Warwick, F.W. S/Sgt.

31 Dec 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 235

P Case, W.D. 2nd Lt.
CP Griffin, R.E. 2nd Lt.
N Gullick, C.H. 2nd Lt.
B - -
E Kidd, J.L. Sgt.
R Black, C.B. Sgt.
RW Chanson, M.C. Sgt.
LW Johnson, R.L. Sgt.
BT McCoy, F.W. Sgt.
TG Lutes, M.A. Sgt.

31 Dec 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 121

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

31 Dec 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 186

P Joyce, J.F. F/O
CP Bowman, J.A. 2nd Lt.
N McQuade, R.N. 2nd Lt.
B - -
E Albino, A. T/Sgt.
R Brown, J.F. T/Sgt.
RW Gorham, R.L. S/Sgt.
LW Kurkomelis, G.C. S/Sgt.
BT Andrews, Q.Q. S/Sgt.
TG Richter, R.H. S/Sgt.

31 Dec 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 313

P Garcia, A.R. 2nd Lt.
CP Pollack, M. 2nd Lt.
N - -
B Oakes, H.W. 2nd Lt.
E Landes, I.B. S/Sgt.
R Nelson, D.A. T/Sgt.
RW Pennington, M.E. S/Sgt.
LW Merda, A.J. Sgt.
BT Westlund, J.K. Sgt.
TG Rauscher, J.G. Sgt.
RCM Morriset, H.J. S/Sgt.

31 Dec 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 899

P McClellan, H.B. 1st Lt.
CP Carleton, D. 1st Lt.
N Havel, E.E. 2nd Lt.
B Snoden, C.A. 1st Lt.
E Berger, R.F. T/Sgt.
R Kingston, D.B. S/Sgt.
RW Markle, J.M. S/Sgt.
LW - -
BT - -
TG Manville, F.E. S/Sgt.
NG Lipman, B.D. 2nd Lt.
NV Fowler, R.T. 2nd Lt.
-- Sutphin, R.C. T/Sgt.

31 Dec 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 145

P Benson, A.L. 1st Lt.
CP Singer, S. 2nd Lt.
N Reichl, J.G. 1st Lt.
B Morton, E.R. 1st Lt.
E Henning, W.C. T/Sgt.
R Wickens, R.S. T/Sgt.
RW Hackney, S.H. S/Sgt.
LW Bowen, W.H. S/Sgt.
BT Kopecky, R.H. 2nd Lt.
TG Chatterton, G.A. S/Sgt.
PN Guhin, M.E. 1st Lt.




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