392nd Bomb Group

Target: Berlin - 29 April 1944 - Mission #76

The Group losses on this raid would be the second heaviest ever encountered in its combat history in terms of men killed and planes lost-next only to those suffered at Friedrichshafen on 18 March 1944. On this mission, (18) aircrews were briefed between 0400-0430 hours with the 577th and Lieutenant Rapenport as Bombardier leading. Crews began take-offs at 0725 on what was to be a mission encounter of grave misfortunes due to heavy enemy fighter opposition and flak. Before the target, an estimated 50 single engine fighters hit the group, consisting of FW-190 and ME-109 aircraft, attacking in double line-abreast and making a level pass through the Group’s formation. Attacks were persistently pressed and friendly fighter support seemed unable to cope with the numbers of enemy aircraft. A total of (136) bombs, consisting of a mixed loading of 100# GP and 100# weapons, were impacted in two target areas. Eight (8) ships were able to drop on the Primary with good results. An additional (3) attacked a Target of Opportunity with results unobserved. The remaining aircraft failed to bomb due to severe enemy reaction. The 576th’s losses were (2) aircraft and crews. In #062, 2nd Lieutenant Ofenstein’s crew was attacked by enemy aircraft at 1102 hours, position 5240N1020E. The ship veered sharply right and collided with aircraft #371, losing its tail assembly as a result, then, going into a steep dive out of control with two chutes being seen. On #371, the other 576th ship with 2nd Lieutenant W. T. Kamenitsa’s crew, part of the left wing was ripped off by the collision. The ship was seen going down under control but no chutes were observed. In the 578th, (2) aircraft were also lost. 2nd Lieutenant G. E. Rogers’s crew in airplane #100 was hit by flak at 1055 hours, position 5245N-1O1OE and was seen swinging left and turned back with no chutes being observed. The 577th and 579th Squadrons each suffered (2) aircrew losses on this raid also. 2nd Lieutenant F. C. Sheres’ crew in ship #759 of the 577th was last seen peeling out of the formation near the target. Nothing else was known as to the fate of this aircrew. Also from the 577th, aircraft #546 with 2nd Lieutenant J. W. Reed’s crew was severely shot up in the first fighter attacks but managed to return back over England. Lieutenant Reed was unable to land his disabled ship and ordered bailout of all his crew. All members parachuted safely, but Lieutenant Reed was killed - believed to have struck the aircraft during egress causing his chute to fail in opening. In aircraft #105 from the 578th, 2nd Lieutenant R. R. Bishop’s crew was last seen after the first fighter attack at 1103, position 5240N-1020E, with the aircraft’s right elevator shot up. No chutes were seen from this ship. In the 579th, 2nd Lieutenant B. Fryman’s ship, #427, returned safely to base and was circling when, for reasons unknown, it exploded, crashed, killing all aboard. In ship #510 of the 579th Squadron, nothing was known further surrounding the loss of 2nd Lieutenant B. W. Wyatt’s crew. This tragic mission was brought to a close when returning survivors began landing around 1600 hours with an additional (6) B-24s battle damaged - primarily due to enemy aircraft attack. As the missions of April were concluded, it was noted that Captain Whittaker, the Group Bombardier, was assigned to the 2nd Bomb Division with Captain Weiland from the 577th Squadron being reassigned in this position. Also, Captain James McFadden was reassigned to the 14th Combat Wing, replaced by Major Martin.

See the comprehensive expanded summary on this mission by researcher Annette Tison by CLICKING HERE

Click Here- Annette Tison shares her in-depth reseach with crew photos of the 29 April 1944 mission to Berlin flown by the 8th Air Force on April 29, 1944, with an emphasis on the role of the 392nd Bomb Group. After several years of research on The Wyatt crew, including her uncle, 2Lt Douglas N. Franke.


MISSING AIRCREW REPORT: #04444 AIRCRAFT: #42-100100 "DOUBLE TROUBLE" "T-Bar" 22nd Mission
P   2/LT Rogers, Gerald E    . KIA
CP  2/LT Weir, Richard A.      POW
N   2/LT Roper, Jack A.        POW
B   2/LT Kane, Fred J.         KIA
R/O T/S  Lawson, Earl J.       POW
EnG T/S  McCalicher, Robert L. POW
BG  S/S  Danford, Robert W.    POW
WG  S/S  Longo, Robert J.      POW
WG  S/S  Andrews, Harold L.    POW
TG  S/S  Gienko, Edward J.     POW

CREW LOSS CIRCUMSTANCES: Eye-witness account by a returning Pilot (Lt. Sabourin) stated that ship was hit by flak just before a fighter attack; that it swung off to the left and started back with no apparent damage and no chutes seen. In German Report, Airbase Headquarters A22/Il at Celle, it was stated that this aircraft had crashed at 1106 hours, (4) kilometers north of Fuhrberg/Hannover. One dead aviator was reported being found in the wreckage who was identified as Lt. Kane, the Bombardier. The Germans identified the plane as belonging to the 578th Squadron, 392nd Group at Wendling Airfield. The whereabouts of the Pilot, Lt. Rogers, was never known.

INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS OF CREWMEN FATES: Lt. Roper, the Navigator, gave a Casualty Report after his repatriation at war’s end about the two missing crewmembers, Lts. Kane and Rogers. On Kane, the Bombardier, the former said the plane had come under attack by enemy fighters and the nose of the aircraft took a direct hit by a 20MM shell which killed the Bombardier because as he (Roper) was attempting to pull the member out of the nose turret, he found Lt. Kane dead after the Pilot had given an abandon ship order. This crewmember’s report went on to state that the Flight Engineer and Radio Operator had told him that the Pilot did bail out of the stricken aircraft but it was their belief that his parachute did not open. German Report #KU1689 referenced the recovery of Lt. Kane’s body, but nothing regarding Lt. Rogers. Another surviving crewmember also rendered a report on Kane and Rogers, essentially the same as the Navigator had given: that Lt. Kane was killed in his position by enemy aircraft shell and that Lt. Rogers had contacted the crew on interphone stating that sixty enemy fighters were coming in a twelve o’clock high and within a matter of seconds their plane was hit and the bail out order given. The general area of capture for those crewmen who bailed out was reported by the Germans as Meitze, north of Hannover, at 1130 hours. The fate of 2/Lt Rogers, the pilot, remained a mystery until 1947, when his remains were found in a forest some distance from the crash site with his parachute still intact.

BURIAL RECORDS: The German Report noted above cited the burial of Lt. Kane took place at the community cemetery of Fuhrberg/Hannover later in the day on 29 April in a north side location, Grave 1. U.S. National overseas Military Cemetery records show Lt. Kane’s re-burial in the ARDENNES, Grave D-24-4. He was awarded the Air Medal and the Purple Heart.

NEXT OF KIN DATA IN WWII: Information given was: Rogers (Wife, Ruby H., Hayward, California); Weir (Aunt, Jane L. Weir, Worcester, Massachusetts); Roper (Mother, Anna Rappaport, New York, New York); Kane (Father, John E., Wichita, Kansas); Lawson (Mother, Pearl M., Hobbs, New Mexico); Danford (Mother, Ruth M., Detroit, Michigan); McCalisher (Wife, Zelda C., South Pottstown, Pennsylvania); Longo (Mother, Frances., Westerly, Rhode Island); Andrews (Mother Grace C., Akron, Colorado); and Gienko (Wife, Florence G., Chicago, Illinois.

MISSING AIRCREW REPORT: #04445 AIRCRAFT: #42-110062 (NO NICKNAME) "A" 4th Mission
P    2/LT  Ofenstein, Leo E.        KIA
CP   2/LT  Wall, John J.            KIA
N    2/LT  Purner, David J.         POW
B    2/LT  Buzzi, Harold G.         KIA
R/O  S/SGT Kennett, Roy L.          POW
EnG  S/SGT Krushas, Vitold R        POW
A/RO SGT   Schmelzle, Oliver G. Jr. KIA
WG   SGT   Hatton, Hyman J.         POW
WG   S/SGT Smith, Arthur M.         POW
TG   SGT   Rowlett, Robert W.       KIA

MISSION LOSS CIRCUMSTANCES: Returning aircrew eye-witness reports stated the formation had come under heavy enemy fighter attack at 1102 hours. The Ofenstein ship was hit heavily on this attack and swerved into another group ship, that of Lt. Kamenitsa in #42-100371. Ofenstein’s B24 then went into a steep dive, and was last seen around 15,000 feet out of control with a portion of the tail assembly missing. Two parachutes were seen at this time. Surviving crew member reports gave some further information on these loss circumstances: a survivor noted later in his Individual Casualty Questionnaire report that the aircraft went into a spin around 10,000 feet with both pilots fighting the controls to regain controlled flight, all to no avail as altitude was being lost rapidly. The Pilot had given an order for all gunners to "clear the turrets" and abandon the plane, however he, the Co-Pilot, and Bombardier were last seen in their crew positions as the ship spun down. Another survivor indicated to another while both were in POW camp at Dulag-Luft interrogation that Sgt. Schmeizle’s chute had blossomed open while latter was in the waist section; and he was attempting to gather the shrouds up to bail out when the others present then in the waist abandoned the plane successfully. Another survivor, Lt. Purner, the Navigator, confirmed in his report that the Pilot, Co-Pilot and Bombardier went down with the ship, undoubtedly unable to leave their positions due to excessive G-forces in the spinning plane. He indicated further that there were no injured members known about at the time of abandoning the aircraft.

INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS OF CREWMEN FATES: S/Sgt. Smith in his individual report given later on 3 August 1945, and reporting specifically on Bombardier Lt Buzzi’s fate as requested by The Adjutant General’s Office noted: (Lt Buzzi) crashed with the ship which was burning and in a tight spin resulting from German fighter firings; and that the Lieutenant and others in the front apparently attempted to bail out, but it was too late before the plan crashed. He noted further that German civilians later related seeing (5) crewmen, all dead, in the crashed aircraft. A German military report in message 9581, Air Service Command Xl, Hamburg, of 30 April at 1720 hours to Dulag Luft Oberursel, stated the crash site of the Ofenstein ship by tail number as (3) kilometers south of Langenhagen, County of Fallingbostel, and identified Lt. Ofenstein’s body in the wreckage by his dog tag serial number (0-804718), along with nine (9) other "unknown" dead. (This report of (9) dead members in the crashed ship in addition to Lt. Ofenstein totaling (10) men strongly suggests that (4) of these deceased crewmen were from another aircrew, as it is known that (5) men of the Ofenstein crew survived). Another German report from the same headquarters, dated 11 May 1944, noted that these (10) men were buried on 29 April in the community cemetery of Marklendorf, on the northern side of this plot in Graves #1 to #10 with Lt Ofenstein’s body in Grave #1.

BURIAL RECORDS: The only German reports on crew member initial burials are those noted above. No clue exists in this MACR as to the identity of the other (4) bodies buried this day along with Lt Ofenstein and the other (4) members of his aircrew: Lt. Buzzi, Lt. Wall, and Sgts. Schmelzle and Rowlett. At the time, the German recovery teams could not identify these latter members due to the fire consummation of their bodies. U.S. National Cemetery records do reflect that Lt. Buzzi, later identified positively, was subsequently interred in the ARDENNES Cemetery, south of Liege, Belgium, Grave # D-1 4-1. He was awarded the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Purple Heart. 2/Lt Ofenstein is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Section 34 Site 2591.

NEXT OF KIN DATA IN WWII: The MACR reflects the following: Ofenstein (Wife, Lucile B., 1814 23rd Street, SE, Apt 41C, Washington D.C.); Wall (Wife, Corinne, 630 Church Street, Bridgeport, Illinois); Purner (Mother, Bessie M. Stemen, # Four, Van Dalia Apartments, Johnson City, Tennessee); Buzzi (Wife, Marie, 277 Harrison Avenue,Garfield, New Jersey); Kennett (Father, Roy E., 3905 Riverside Drive, Dayton, Ohio); Krushas (Father, Peter, 141 Sawtell Avenue, Brockton, Massachusetts); Smith (Wife; Loretta M., 360 Dudley Street, Roxbury, Massachusetts); Schmeizle (Mother; Belle, Ogdensburg, Pennsylvania); Hatton (Brother, Harold, 159-12 South Roads, Jamaica, Long Island, NY) and Rowlett (Grandmother, Lena E., Sikeston, Missouri).

MISSING AIRCREW REPORT: #04446 AIRCRAFT: #42-110105 (NO NICKNAME) "T-Bar" 10th Mission
P    2/LT  Bishop, Robert R.        KIA
CP   2/LT  Luce, Arthur W.          KIA
N    2/LT  Hess, Donald W.          KIA
B    2/LT  Digman, Thomas (NMI) Jr. KIA
R/O  S/SGT Karaso, Joseph J.        KIA
A/RO SGT   Chiodo, Michael A.       KIA
EnG  SGT   Blong, James T.          KIA
WG   SGT   Harringer, John J. Jr.   KIA
WG   SGT   Bonnassiolle, John R     KIA
TG   S/SGT McDonald, Ralph L.       KIA

MISSION LOSS CIRCUMSTANCES: The only returning crew eyewitness report stated briefly that this plane was seen peeling off after the enemy fightter attacks with the right elevator appearing to be badly shot up, and that no chutes were seen. There were no additional reports on the loss of this aircrew and ship in the MACR.

German witnesses remember seeing the dogfight between the fighters and the bombers, and then this B-24 spiraling down toward the horse pasture below. They confirmed that everyone was killed in the crash. About an hour after the impact, a bomb exploded in the wreckage, destroying much of what remained of the plane and sending debris far and wide.

INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS OF CREWMEN FATES: None. All crew men perished in this aircraft loss. No German reports exist on this crew as well.

BURIAL RECORDS: No German reports of crew member recoveries exist in the MACR. One member, Lt. Digman, was ultimately recovered by U.S. teams subsequently and he is interred in the U.S. overseas National Cemetery of ARDENNES in Grave B-34-52 and a Purple Heart citation was awarded. All remaining crew men are recorded on the WALL OF THE MISSING at the MARGRATEN National Cemetery with the exception of Sgt Blong. No record exists as to his remembrances-of-record. All other missing members are recorded as receiving the Air Medal and Purple Heart.

NEXT OF KIN DATA IN WWI II: Bishop (Wife, Maryin, Box 786, El Reno, Oklahoma); Luce (Mother, May M., P0 Box 886, Fort Bragg, California); Hess (Wife, Mrs. Donald W., 1915 Grandview, Sioux City, Iowa); Digman (Wife, Bernice E., 688 Montclair Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania); McDonald (Father, Robie W., 411 Thompson Avenue, East Point, Georgia); Karaso (Mother, Anna. 3264 Miller Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania); Chiodo (Sister, Miss Luce Bhiedo, 1438 East 176 Street, Cleveland, Ohio); Blong (Mother, Josephine, 116 Chestnut Street, Port Washington, Wisconsin); Harringer (Mother, Loretta D., 1714 North Brookfield, South Bend, Indiana); and Bonnassiolle (Mother, Mrs. Marie Kelly, Route #1, Box 12 Colma, California).

MISSING AIRCREW REPORT: #04461 AIRCRAFT: #42-7510 "EL LOBO" "0" 38th Mission
P    2/LT  Wyatt, Bert W.        KIA
CP   2/LT  Tufts, Aubert M.      KIA
N    2/LT  Franke, Douglas N.    KIA
NG   S/SGT Womer, William S.     KIA
R/O  S/SGT Monroe, Robert W.     KIA
A/RO SGT   Sorrells, John F.     KIA
EnG  T/SGT Hassett, Byron E.     KIA
WG   SGT   Thompson, Robert E.   KIA
WG   S/SGT Harbaugh, David E.    KIA
TG   SGT   Archambeau, Alfred P. KIA

MISSION LOSS CIRCUMSTANCES: No report exists in the MACR from in-flight eyewitness accounts on the loss of this aircraft. Other records indicated this aircrew did fly this mission with formations of the 392nd’s sister Group, the 44th, to the Berlin target complex. German eyewitnesses report hearing the sound of gunfire in the clouds and then seeing this B-24 descend through the clouds. Neither right engine was working and thick black smoke was coming from the forward part of the fuselage. The plane impacted in a forest on the outskirts of Dinklage, GGermany.


BURIAL RECORDS: All ten crewmembers were buried in the Forest Cemetery in Vechta, Germany. Overseas U.S. National Cemetery records reveal the following interments concerning certain members of this aircrew: In the ARDENNES Cemetery near Liege, Belgium, are Lt. Wyatt (Grave A-40-7); Lt. Tufts (Grave D-1 1-15); S/Sgt Womer (Grave A-26-20); S/SGT Monroe (Grave C-4-42); and Sgt Sorrells (Grave A-33-45). All five were noted to have awards as recorded: Wyatt, the Air Medal with (2) Oak Leaf Clusters; Monroe and Sorrells, both the Air Medal. All were cited for the Purple Heart as well. On the remaining (5) crew members of this aircrew there is no burial or remembrance recognitions.

NEXT OF KIN DATA IN WWII: MACA information is as follows: Wyatt (kin data unreadable except home-of-record as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for kin person though Wyatt himself, recorded to be from Illinois); Tufts (kin data readable, but Tufts noted to be from West Virginia); Bassett (Father, Allen B., 383 South Giles Street, Chicago, Illinois); Womer (Mother, Delores G. Steiner, Columbus, Ohio and Father, William of Rural Route #3 Indianapolis, Indiana); Monroe (Mother, Hazel M., General Delivery, Jarell, Kansas); Harbaugh (Mother, Elinor, 906 (?) Twenty Third Street, Corpus Christi, Texas); Sorrells (Father, AR #2, Clare, Hartford, Alabama); Thompson (Father, Carl, Route #1, Clare, Iowa); and Archambeau (Mother, Florence B., 72 Inman Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts).

MISSING AIRCREW REPORT: #4462 AIRCRAFT: #41-28759 (NO NICKNAME) "V-PIus" 4th Mission
P    2/LT  Shere, Fred C. Jr. KIA
CP   F/O   Zeman, Milan R.    KIA
N    2/LT  Ryan, Patrick J    POW
NG   SGT   Wilcox, Robert W.  POW
R/O  S/SGT Wilson, Fonzy M.   KIA
A/RO SGT   Maloy, Joe B.      POW
EnG  S/SGT Friesen, Orlando H.POW
WG   SGT   Bennett, Frank A.  POW
WG   SGT   Hampton, Thomas L. POW
TG   SGT   Morris, Marvin 0.  POW

MISSION LOSS CIRCUMSTANCES: Returning aircraft had no eyewitness accounts on the loss of this aircraft. The Group’s Command (lead) Pilot’s report stated this ship went over the target in formation but was lost thereafter. As in the previous aircrew loss accounts for this mission, the Group formation, had come under severe enemy fighter attacks over the Zuider Zee, coast in and nearing the target area until well after bomb drops.

INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS OF CREWMEN FATES: One survivor, the Navigator, Lt. Ryan’s report after POW release indicated their plane had left formation due to battle damage about 45 minutes after target on the return home leg, and the crew had finally abandoned ship about one hour after that time, somewhere near the Holland-German border. He went on to relate that he believed there were still (3) crew members in the ship when it crashed: Lt. Shere, the Pilot; F/O Zeman, Co-Pilot, and S/Sgt. Wilson, Radio Operator. Another survivor in his later report also noted the Pilot and Co-Pilot were having great difficulties in attempting to keep their plane under some control in order for the other crew members to have a chance fcr successful bail out. Lt. Ryan cited both these pilots for their extraordinary heroism and sacrificial human efforts to accomplish this feat. His statement definitely directed deserved praise for Lt. Shere and F/0 Zeman to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for their supreme efforts in these final moments, as he stated: .."for the superhuman controlling .of our ship that had been badly crippled....and because it was a two man job." In another crew member’s brief account, he stated that the bail out bell had been sounded by Lt. Shere, and that the Radio Operator Wilson did follow that signal by shouting..."Fred says to bailout." By accounts, no member on the flight deck had evidenced any injuries up to the moment of the abandon ship order. A third crew survivor, Nose Gunner Wilcox, in his later statement did indicate that the Pilots and Radio Operator did not have a chance to abandon ship. German ground reports recorded the aftercrash details to some extent, and fates of the crew members. Report #KU17O8, 29 April indicated..."at 1400 hours, Nortrupp, District of Bersenbrueck, FQ 64, Liberator, 90% destruction, serial number DH 128659 v (Ed’s note: mistake made in last three digits of reported tail number), (7) men captured, (3) men dead, salvaged by salvage detachment". Another report from Airbase Command Al 9/XI, Airbase Hesepe, to Oberursel near Frankfurt-on-Main (DulagLuft), dated 29 April, reported the recovery and burial of (3) crew member bodies and the capture of (7) others by the Airbase Quakenbruk. Another German report #1705, same date, noted and reported gunshot wound injuries to two of the captured crew men: Sgt Hampton, gunshot wound in the belly, hospitalized on 30 April at Teilles Prison Hospital (Lingen); and Sgt Morris, gunshot wound in the upper right thigh, hospitalization at the same location. No explanation as to how/when these two members received these wounds was included in these reports.

BURIAL RECORDS: German Report from Airbase Command Al9/Xl to higher headquarters indicated the burial information on the (3) crew men found at the plane’s crash location: All (3) were buried in the civilian cemetery at Achmer; Lt Shere in Grave #73; F/O Zeman in #72; and S/Sgt Wilson in Grave #74, all taking place on 30 April. Subsequently, U.S. National Cemetery record reflect that Lt Shere was recovered and re-interred in the National Cemetery at MARGRATEN near Maastricht, Holland, in Grave 1-8-17. It is noted that the Purple Heart was awarded this member, posthumously. No record exists in this MACR reflecting later interments or dispositions of the remains of F/O Zeman or S/Sgt Wilson from their initial burial site at Achmer.

NEXT OF KIN DATA IN WWII: This MACR containing that data is unreadable in some instances, however the following information exists: Lt Shere was originally from Oregon while F/O Zeman came from Pennsylvania. Lt Ryan’s data is not readable in this record. S/Sgt Wilson (Wife, Wilma, 389 W. 57th Street, Los Angeles, California); Sgt Wilcox (Mother, Elia, RR #2, Corning, New York); Sgt Maloy (Mother, Lucretia, 1386 Highland Avenue, Montgomery, Alabama); S/Sgt Friesen (Father, Dietrich, Interlaken Road, Fairmont, Minnesota); Sgt Bennett, (Mother, Matilda, use Number 41, Brownsville, Pennsylvania); Sgt Hampton (Mother, Ella, RFD #1, )Unt Vernon, Ohio); and Sgt Morris (Mother, Mamie, 122 West Louda Street, Fort Worth, Texas.

MISSINIG AIRCREW REPORT: #04476 AIRCRAFT: #41 -100371 (NO NICKNAME) "F" 14th Mission
P   2/LT  Kamenitsa, William T. POW
CP  2/LT  Graham, George E, Jr. POW
N   2/LT  Caulfield, John J.    KIA
B   2/LT  Miller, Gene A.       KIA
EnG S/SGT Heater, Edwin J.      POW
A/E SGT   Young, Archie B.      POW
R/0 S/SGT Trivison, Joseph R.   KIA
WG  SGT   Morgan, Lark C.       POW
WG  SGT   Krejci, Jack J.       POW
TG  SGT   Guillot, Oliver R.    POW

MISSION LOSS CIRCUMSTANCES: Eye-witness accounts state: "...Group was attacked by fighters at 1102; ship #062, upon being hit, swerved into ship #371 and part of (this plane’s) left wing came off and ship went down out of control; no chutes en". The collision of these aircraft occurred during the first wave attacks of enemy fighters as the formation was inbound over the Zuider-Zee, well before the target area. (Note: The fate of #371 was somewhat confused in this eye-witness report as learned later inasmuch as the Pilots did manage to crash land this ship finally in enemy territory, as later crew member accounts relate).

INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS OF CREWMEN FATES: Lt Kamenitsa, the Pilot, in a subsequent report after his POW release stated his crew was on Mission #10 this date and after the fighter attacks (and mid-air collision with ship #062), he was tempting to return to England but was forced to crash land the ship about (23) miles north of Hannover, Germany. He stated further than no member had to bail out this aircraft and all members were aboard at crash landing time, everyone calm, but that the Co-Pilot and Engineer were slightly injured and the rear gunners including all turret gunners were in good condition. (Kamenitsa had rendered this statement much later from his Denton, Texas address, Box 6042). He also stated regarding one of the dead crew men - the Navigator, Lt Caulfield - that they were attempting to make a cloud bank and navigate back towards England, and had directed the Navigator to come up on the flight deck with his maps, also noting that Lt. Caulfield was not injured at this time. He reported further that later, the Germans had found the maps in the wreckage and showed them to the Pilot, but that he (Kamenitsa) had been unconscious for about (30) minutes after the crash landing. The report stated that it was certain that the Navigator had not bailed out prior to the crash. Lt. Caulfield, it was noted, was on his 12th combat mission. The German Report from Airfield Command A23, #KU1716, noted the crash landing site of this plane as (1) kilometer east of Meitze and (23) kilometers north of Hannover; that the ship was 30% damaged; and that (3) dead crew men were found in the wreckage with (7) others being captured on the spot. Lt. Caulfield, Lt. Miller and S/Sgt Trivison were correctly identified and named as the dead members in this report. Another enemy report of 30 April at 1555 hours from the same headquarters stated that (15) other American Air Force crew members had been captured on the day prior,’ these men having bailed out around 1130 hours, 29 April, and captured in the same area as the Kamenitsa crew survivors. (Ed’s note: Presumably some of these airmen were from the same 392nd Group formations lost this day after the initial enemy fighter attacks inbound).

BURIAL RECORDS: The local German Reports, while not precisely indicating such, inferred that the (3) dead crew members of this crew were initially buried in the village cemetery plot near Meitze. U.S. overseas National Cemetery records reflect the following on re-burial of these men, all (3) in the ARDENNES Cemetery near Liege, Belgium: Lt Caulfield in Grave B-i 9-5 and awards of an Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and the Purple Heart; Lt Miller in Grave D-l 6-12 and the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, but no Purple Heart; and S/Sgt Trivison, Grave D-22-1 with those awards and the Purple Heart.

NEXT OF KIN DATA IN WWII: Kamenitsa (Mother, Libby, Youngstown, Ohio); Miller (Wife, Virginia, 2107 N. 18th Street, Omaha, Nebraska); Caulfield (Wife, Joanna, 1257 West 97 Place, Chicago, Illinois); Graham (Mother, Grand Forks, North Dakota); Heater (Father, William, Cauldeber, Pennsylvania); Trivison (Brother, Louis, 14623 St. Clair Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio); Morgan (Wife, Mary M, 245 West 45th Street, Chicago, Illinois); Krejci (Mother, Orpha May, 326 North 34th Street, Council Bluffs, Iowa); Guillot (Mother, Floy 0., RR #1, Brookston, Texas); and Young (Mother, Mary E., Route #1, Flint, Texas).

PRIMARY SOURCE INFORMATION RELATING TO THIS MISSION. The following information was also given in an after-mission narrative in the mission Command Pilot’s Narrative of Captain Robert D. Copp, such reports which routinely were forwarded up the headquarters ‘chain’ to CGs of the 2nd BD and 14th Combat Wing. Captain Copp’s report in highlights stated that: " his 392nd formations were assigned to fly the High Right echelon off the 44th Bomb Group on this particular mission, and joined the 44th shortly after passing Buncher #5 which completed the 14th Combat Wing’s assembly at 16,000 feet outbound. Crossing of the enemy coast was made at 20,000 feet with resulting climb to 24, 000 for the route in. Near Osnabruck and Hannover area, the Wing was hit by approximately (50) enemy fighters - which attacks disrupted the (392nd’s) section to the extent that this section went over the target (at Berlin) with only (4) ships in formation with his lead aircraft (#642). There was much confusion over the target due to several Groups coming in on various headings; and the remaining 392nd ships not in formation at this time had dropped their bombs with the 44th Bomb Group. After target, it was stated that the Wing and Division rally procedures were very poorly accomplished by questionable navigation tactics, but the 392nd did manage to follow the 44th outbound along with some B17 Groups to the enemy coast. The formations were running well behind briefed times at this point and though flak along the route was spotty and inaccurate, another (10-15) enemy fighters did attack in the Zuider-Zee area going after straggler aircraft which were battle-damaged. Only (6) B24s of the 392nd’s original formation were with the leader at English coast-in. Further reported on aircraft situations were: #42100261 aborted early due to a severed oil line from shells of friendly gun test firing of the lead ship; and #42-110062 and #42-100371 encountered a mid-air collision and went down after a fighter attack inbound; ships #42-7495 and #42-7546 did not go over the primary target due to enemy action but bombed targets-of-opportunity instead; and aircraft #42-100100 and #42-110105 also did not bomb the primary but left the formation seemingly under control and were assumed also to have bombed alternate targets. Ships positively known (at this after-mission report time) to have been lost were (6) in number which initiated with the two mid-air collision planes at 1102 hours; the #42-110105 also peeling off after the same fighter attack with the right elevator shot up; #42-100100 being hit by flak just before’ the first fighter attack with this ship swinging off to the left, apparently heading back outbound; and both #42-7510 and #41-28759, which were in formation over the target but were missing later on the outbound route, possibly due to the later fighter attacks".



2/LT Fryman, Bernard (NMI) (P) 579th KIA
2/LT Barber, Kenneth A. (CP) 579th KIA
2/LT Young, Robert L. Jr. (N) 579th KIA
2/LT Christian, Norman R. (B) 579th KIA
S/S Viosca, Randall C. (EnG) 579th KIA
S/S Myers, Joseph W. (R/O) 579th KIA
SGT Chaplinsky, William A. (G) 579th KIA
S/S Reilly, Christopher J. (G) 579th KIA
SGT Childress, William J. (G) 579th KIA
SGT Grossi, Rudolph H. (G) 579th KIA

This aircrew was returning from a mission to Berlin this day. While in a landing pattern circuit over Wendling air base, the plane exploded. This ship had suffered extensive battle damage on this raid. All ten (10) crew members perished in this accident which occurred at 1522 hours. The aircraft was a B24H Model # 41-29427, nicknamed "READY WILLING AND ABLE", Call Letter "U", which was on it’s 13th combat mission this day. Two crewmen are buried in the CAMBRIDGE, England Cemetery: Lt. Robert L. Young, Jr. in Grave F-7-38 and Sgt. Randall C. Viosca in Grave C-5-2. Lt. Young’s home state was Pennsylvania and his awards were an Air Medal and the Purple Heart. Sgt. Viosca’s home state was Louisiana and his citations also were an Air Medal and the Purple Heart.

Reed, John W. IV (P) 577th KIA

Lt. Reed was piloting his assigned crew in B24H Model #42-7546, nicknamed "ALFRED II", Call Letter "Bar-P" on this mission. Due to excessive battle damage, Lt. Reed was forced to direct bail out of his entire crew when they arrived back over England as he was unable to land the plane safely. All members managed to egress safely except Lt. Reed who apparently struck a portion of the plane during bail out and was killed. Some crewmen landed near Beccles, Suffolk, and one at Ingham, Norfolk. The plane crashed and burned at Walcott, Norfolk, at 1329 hours. This aircraft had completed a total of (49) missions including the one this date. 2/Lt Reed was returned to the United States for burial. Sgt Childress is buried in Grafton National Cemetery, Section B Site 1689.



29 Apr 1944 576th Sqdn. A/C 062
P Ofenstein, L.E. 2nd Lt.
CP Wall, J.J. 2nd Lt.
N Purner, D.J. 2nd Lt.
B Buzzi, H.G. 2nd Lt.
E Krushas, V.P. S/Sgt.
R Kennett, R.L. S/Sgt.
G Smith, A.M. S/Sgt.
LW Hatton, H.J. Sgt.
BT Schmelzle, O.G. Sgt.
TG Rowlett, R.W. Sgt.
29 Apr 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 131
P Wittel, E.F. 1st Lt.
CP Marsters, W.R. 2nd Lt.
N Karl, J.F. 2nd Lt.
B Zuk, J.C. 2nd Lt.
E Cannada, V.P. T/Sgt.
R Jeffcoat, C.M. T/Sgt.
G Prost, B.J. Sgt.
G Lewis, E.L. Jr. S/Sgt.
G Lancaster, P.M. S/Sgt.
G Roti, D.A. S/Sgt.
29 Apr 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 371
P Kamenitsa, W.T. 2nd Lt.
CP Graham, G.E. Jr. 2nd Lt.
N Caulfield, J.J. 2nd Lt.
B Miller, G.A. 2nd Lt.
E Heater, E. S/Sgt.
R Trivison, J.R. S/Sgt.
RW Krejci, J.J. Sgt.
LW Guillot, O.R. Sgt.
BT Young, A.B. Sgt.
TG Morgan, L.C. Sgt.
29 Apr 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 097
P Jones, G.E. 1st Lt.
CP Sandoz, R.R. 2nd Lt.
N Morris, J.C. 2nd Lt.
B Thomas, H.E. 2nd Lt.
E Bodoh, A.E. T/Sgt.
R McAdams, R.E. S/Sgt.
G Marvin, H.E. S/Sgt.
G Lane, T. S/Sgt.
G Surber, W.C. S/Sgt.
G Rossi, V.H. S/Sgt.
29 Apr 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 433
P Prell, D.D. 2nd Lt.
CP Weiss, D.B. 2nd Lt.
N Anderson, C.R. 2nd Lt.
B Stetson, H.E. 2nd Lt.
E Backus, D.G. T/Sgt.
R Byler, H.J. T/Sgt.
G Edwards, D.S. S/Sgt.
G Simila, W. S/Sgt.
G Pearson, B.T. S/Sgt.
G Dreher, J.F. S/Sgt.
29 Apr 1944 577th Sqdn.
A/C 495
P Slipp, F.E. 1st Lt.
CP Jensen, A.H. 1st Lt.
N Beatson, R.J. 1st Lt.
B Lawrence, J.S. 2nd Lt.
E McKinley, W.C. T/Sgt.
R Lorenzen, W.H. T/Sgt.
G White, F.A. S/Sgt.
G Kolczynski, W.J. S/Sgt.
G Buzick, J.M. S/Sgt.
G Cordick, D.H. S/Sgt.
29 Apr 1944 577th Sqdn.
A/C 642
P Copp, R.D. Capt.
CP Dorrell, W. 1st Lt.
CP Roberts, M.E. 2nd Lt.
N Gries, R.F. 1st Lt.
B Rapenport, R. 1st Lt.
E Hodge, G.L. T/Sgt.
R Bisnett, B.R. T/Sgt.
G Matthews. A.D. S/Sgt.
G Hohman, H. S/Sgt.
G Nowicki, M.M. S/Sgt.
G Noone, T.E. Jr. S/Sgt.
29 Apr 1944 577th Sqdn.
A/C 546
P Reed, J.W. IV 2nd Lt.
CP Bate, H.C. 2nd Lt.
N Birnbaum, S.I. 2nd Lt.
B Whitt, C.G. S/Sgt.
E Jankowski, S.F. S/Sgt.
R Holling, J.H. S/Sgt.
G McGinley, W.C. Sgt.
G Hultengren, C.W. Sgt.
G Minick, F. Sgt.
G Shaeffer, J.O. Sgt.
29 Apr 1944 577th Sqdn.
A/C 759
P Shere, F.C. Jr. 2nd Lt.
CP Zeman, M.R. F/O
N Ryan, P.J. 2nd Lt.
NG Wilcox, R.W. Sgt.
E Friesen, O.H. S/Sgt.
R Wilson, F.M. Sgt.
RW Hampton, T.L. Sgt.
G Bennett, F.M. Sgt.
BT Maloy, J.B. Sgt.
G Morris, M.O. Sgt.
29 Apr 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 100
P Rogers, G.E. 2nd Lt.
CP Weir, R.A. 2nd Lt.
N Roper, J.A. 2nd Lt.
B Kane, F.J. 2nd Lt.
E McCalicher, R.L. T/Sgt.
R Lawson, E.J. Sgt.
RW Longo, R.J. Sgt.
G Andrews, H.L. Sgt.
BT Danford, R.W. Sgt.
TG Gienko, E.J. S/Sgt.
29 Apr 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 852
P Bridson, G.L. 2nd Lt.
CP Green, J.A. 2nd Lt.
N Quail, J.L. 2nd Lt.
B Willemin, W.W. 2nd Lt.
E Ashcraft, B. S/Sgt.
R Paolucci, U. S/Sgt.
G Stafford, J.A. Sgt.
G Seery, J.B. Sgt.
G Powers, G. Sgt.
G Coleman, E.B. Sgt.
29 Apr 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 028
P Sabourin, R.E. 2nd Lt.
CP Amble, E.F. 2nd Lt.
N Lipschitz, J. F/O
B Singleton, W.T. 2nd Lt.
E Hollien, F.J. S/Sgt.
R Spagnola, J.T. PFC.
G Mateski, W.J. S/Sgt.
G Robbins, K.H. S/Sgt.
G Mahon, E.M. S/Sgt.
G Moran, E.J. S/Sgt.
29 Apr 1944 578h Sqdn.
A/C 105
P Bishop, R.R. 2nd Lt.
CP Luce, A.W. 2nd Lt.
N Hess, D.W. 2nd Lt.
B Digman, T. Jr. 2nd Lt.
E Blong, J.T. Sgt.
R Karaso, J.J. S/Sgt.
RW Harringer, J.J. Jr. Sgt.
LW Chiodo, M.A. Sgt.
BT Bonnassiolle, J.P. Sgt.
TG McDonald, R.L. S/Sgt.
29 Apr 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 472
P Bell, C.L. 2nd Lt.
CP Dorn, W.A. 2nd Lt.
N Orenbach, D. 2nd Lt.
B Bogie, W.W. 2nd Lt.
E Gilmore, E.E. S/Sgt.
R Knight, J.S. S/Sgt.
G Seymour, A.S. S/Sgt.
G Asch, H.W. Sgt.
G Blanco, J.W. Sgt.
G Egan A.J. Sgt.
29 Apr 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 261
P Gann, D.L. 2nd Lt.
CP Dick, W.C. 2nd Lt.
N Spensley, R.E. 2nd Lt.
B Cunniff, V.L. 2nd Lt.
E Shrader, C. S/Sgt.
R Carroll, J.T. S/Sgt.
G Wright, J.K. S/Sgt.
G Puchir, J. Sgt.
G Reynolds, R.L. Sgt.
G Sinclair, R.E. Sgt.
29 Apr 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 427
P Fryman, B. 2nd Lt.
CP Barber, K.A. 2nd Lt.
N Young, R.L. Jr. 2nd lt.
B Christian, N.R. 2nd Lt.
E Viosca, R.C. S/Sgt.
R Myers, J.W. S/Sgt.
G Chaplinsky, W.A. Sgt.
G Reilly, C.J. S/Sgt.
G Childress, W.J. Sgt.
G Grossi, R.H. Sgt.
29 Apr 1944 579th Sqdn
A/C 448
P Brunn, W.S. 2nd Lt.
CP Reinbold, H.L. F/O
N Griffith, R.C. 2nd Lt.
B Coyle, J.D. 2nd Lt.
E Harris, W.T. S/Sgt.
R Adams, R.V. T/Sgt.
RW Smith, D.L. S/Sgt.
G Hassett, T.R. T/Sgt.
G Goric, R.D. S/Sgt.
G Fund, E.J. S/Sgt.
29 Apr 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 510
P Wyatt, B.W. 2nd Lt.
CP Tufts, A.M. 2nd Lt.
N Franke, D.N. 2nd Lt.
NG Hassett, B.E. T/Sgt
E Womer, W.S. Sgt.
R Monroe, R.W. S/Sgt.
G Sorrells, J.F. Sgt.
G Thompson, R.E. Sgt.
G Harbaugh, D.E. S/Sgt.
G Archambeau, A.P. Sgt.