392nd Bomb Group

Target: Hannover - 11 September 1944 - Mission #166

An ordnance manufacturing depot was attacked this day with excellent results achieved despite heavy aircraft and crew losses. Enemy fighters and flak would take a high toll. Briefings were given at 0400 and 0500 hours for 24 crews with Lieutenant Lawrence again leading Bombardier of the 576th.

Group aircraft began take-offs at 0730 and just after crossing the Rhine River the first heavy enemy opposition was encountered with 20-30 ME-109s attacking for approximately five minutes. Five ships were forced to abort over target because of fighter-inflicted damage which caused many mechanical difficulties; 3 planes were shot down near Koblenz by the fierce fighter attacks. A total of 90 percent of the (186) 1000# bombs released fell within a 2000 foot radius of the briefed MPI. In all, 4 ships and 3 aircrews were lost this day with many others killed or wounded.

The 392nd's mission teletype reported that "Most of the enemy aircraft were camouflaged with light colored bellies and dark on top. a few were noted to be painted olive drab, and some had black and white stripes on their wings to simulate P-51s. Most of the attacks were from level or below and in general from the tail. enemy aircraft attacked singly or in small groups of 2-4 escheloned up, or queued up in a line. the enemy aircraft sat high above our formation and queued up for about 5 minutes before attacking. Attack occurred at a time when we were temporarily without fighter cover. When called, escort came to our assistance."

The teletype said "Mention should be made of an unknown P-51 pilot who accompanied one of our crippled ships back (a/c 764), but ran out of gas and bailed out somewhere over the continent." [Note: No 392nd plane numbered 764 flew this mission; perhaps the plane was actually #476.]

From the 578th in #358, Lieutenant H. E. Jones' crew was last observed at 1155 hours near Koblenz with a stabilizer and pilots' canopy shot away, peeling off with no chutes seen. In another 578th ship, Lieutenant C. R. Rudd in #466 "Fords Folly" was last seen over Koblenz at 1158, hit by fighters with #3 engine on fire after which the entire bomber was engulfed in flames, spinning in and crashing with no chutes. In aircraft #593 from the 579th, Lieutenant F. W. Haines was also seen at 1155 under attack but no other information was known about the fate of this crew. The last ship lost was that of Flight Officer E. J. White, #615 from the 579th, which was damaged by fighters and forced to ditch on the route home crossing the channel at position 5240N-0200E. Eight crew men were picked up by Air Sea Rescue units and taken to Great Yarmouth, thence, to base. Two men were killed in the ditching having been seen last in the bomber's waist section.

Returning ships of Lieutenants Scharf from the 576th, McClellan of the 578th and Gerow from the 579th came home with wounded and dead. A waist gunner on Lieutenant Meehan's ship bailed out thinking his plane was out of control, but the plane did make it back. The surviving aircraft returned to base around 1415 hours, claiming 11 kills.

According to the 578th Squadron Diary, Sergeant Judson M. Markle, right waist gunner on Lieutenant McClellan's crew, was recommended for a high award for his heroic efforts on this mission when the aircraft was hit by enemy fighters with one man killed and others wounded. Despite damage to the oxygen lines and continuing enemy attacks, he stayed in the waist position, manning both waist machine guns and later administered first aid to the wounded crew members.

See two personal accounts on this mission by CLICKING HERE


MISSING AIRCREW REPORT: #08847 AIRCRAFT: #41-29131 "FLYING PATCH" "K" 87th Mission
P   2/LT  Meehan, John I.       Brought Plane Back
CP  2/LT  Carey, Harry V.       Brought Plane Back
N   F/O   McAfee, Stewart P.    Brought Plane Back
B   2/LT  Herzig, Herbert       Brought Plane Back
R/O T/SGT Candido, Cosemo 0.    Brought Plane Back
EnG S/SGT Benadum, Thomas E.    Brought Plane Back
WG  S/SGT Allred, Edward L.     Brought Plane Back
WG  S/SGT Altschaft, William L. POW
TG  S/SGT Lange, Donald H.      Brought Plane Back

MISSION LOSS CIRCUMSTANCES: This aircrew managed to bring this aircraft home safely to England after being damaged by enemy fighters. The crev interphone was shot out during the time the ship was hit; and it was reported only that the Waist Gunner, Sgt. Altschaft, believed the plane was out of control and he abandoned the plane alone. No other facts of any kind were included in this MACR Later it was known that this gunner had been taken as a POW. There were no German reports on his capture, and no other details on this aircrew regarding individual accounts, or next-of-kin data. The MACR, ostensibly, was filed at the time when the entire crew was listed initially as MIA right after this mission until the aircraft was returned to Wendling later. (Records reflect this aircraft was transferred to the 466th Bomb Group at Attlebridge on 26 November 1944).

INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS OF CREWMEN FATES: There are no accounts in this crew MACR regarding the Waist Gunner who did bail out over Germany. Next-of-Kin information also is not available.

MISSING AIRCREW REPORT: #08849 AIRCRAFT: #42-50358 "PLEASURE BENT" "Q-Bar" 12th Mission
P   2/LT  Jones, Harold E.       KIA
CP  2/LT  Cicora, Anthony F.     KIA
N   2/LT  Oppenheim, Alfred M.   POW
NG  S/SGT Matracia, August A.    KIA
R/O T/SGT Berezovsky, Alex (NMI) KIA
EnG T/SGT Doolittle, David R.    KIA
WG  S/SGT Gustavson, Ralph I.    POW
WG  S/SGT Ralston, Gerald J.     POW
TG  S/SGT Lockhart, Kenneth T.   POW

MISSION LOSS CIRCUMSTANCES: A returning eye-witness (Lt. McClellan, Pilot 578th, flying opposite the Jones’ crew in the same element) reported this aircraft peeling off after an enemy fighter attack with the stabilizer shot up and the pilot’s deck canopy completely shot off, and with comment he thought both pilots were killed then. A German Report #KU 2979, Airbase Hqs A 21/VIl, stated the location of the plane’s crash site as (12) kilometers southeast of Marburg with (5) dead crew members found in the wreckage. The aircraft was 100% destroyed by fire after crashing. The casualties reported were: Jones, Doolittle, Matracia, Cicora, and Berezoysky. Time of crash was noted to be 1200 hours as a result of fighter attacks. A supplementary report to the above stated that (4) other crewmen were taken as prisoners at 1240 hours near the town of Giessen: Oppenheim, Gustavson, Ralston, and Lockhart. All casualties and prisoners were positively identified by the Germans.

INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS OF CREWMEN FATES: Detailed accounts of this crew downing were given later by the survivors. Sgt. Ralston, Waist gunner, rendered this account: "..We were attacked some place between Koblenz and Giessen, Germany. Our ship was hit on the first German fighter attack made. Their first hit was in the bomb bays resulting in a fire, which swept back through the plane and forced my fellow Waist Gunner to bail out. We tried to contact the flight deck several times right after being hit, but the interphone seemed dead". Later after the war on 17 November 1945, Ralston in a typewritten report (letter heading from the Polk County Veterans Information Des Moines, Iowa) added more information about the crew loss "… our tail gunner reported enemy fighters coming in a six o’clock low...and the last contact heard from the pilot over interphone was ‘make sure what those planes are’...The next instant there was an explosion on the Command Deck and in the bomb bays setting the plane on fire. Both myself and fellow Waist Gunner immediately attempted to contact the flight deck with no success. We also tried to talk to each other and found the interphone dead....the Tail Gunner left his turret and came to the waist to bail out after the flames from the bomb bay came sweeping back through the waist filling the ship with smoke. During my fall I was unable to note any further development regarding our ship. I was captured by Germans immediately upon landing. Sergeant Gustavson and myself were picked up in the same vicinity and marched to a German air base at the edge of Giessen. Sergeant Gustavson was placed in a cell by himself, while I was placed in a cell with Sergeant Lockhart who had been injured in his jump. The next morning when we were released from our cells, we saw Lt. Oppenheim and later learned that he also was captured in the vicinity of Giessen. The foregoing are all the actual facts I am able to submit". In another survivor’s statement given later, Lt. Oppenheim added briefly to the above account: … Immediately after the attack, I heard an explosion towards the waist o the ship. I attempted to contact the pilot, but found the interphone dead. However, continued this for a few seconds until dense clouds of smoke reached the nose through the companionway from the bomb bays. At this time I bailed out. I neither saw or spoke to Lt. Jones during or after the attack...as to the ship, I was informed by the 392nd Bomb Group that it had blown up...when my parachute opened, I noticed flaming debris dropping a short distance away. Whether this was my ship, I cannot say. It is my belief that Lt. Jones (and others) were in the ship if and when it blew up". Sgt. Lockhart, Tail Gunner, gave a brief but nearly identical account of the crew’s ordeal. One unsubstantiated bit of information did come out in Sgt. Ralston’s later (typewritten) report concerning a ‘rumor’ passed on to him while in POW Camp Stalag Luft #4:… I met another gunner, Sergeant Dobson, believed also from the 392nd Bomb Group, whose ship was shot down on the same mission (Ed’s note: Lt Rudd’s crew, Sgt. Dobson, Waist Gunner)...this gunner was wounded and placed in the hospital at Giessen. There he learned from the Germans that some American airmen had been killed by enraged German civilians. He also said while he was being brought in he saw the wreckage of approximately four planes".

BURIAL RECORDS: German Report #KU2979 in supplementary updates stated that (3) of the dead crew members found: Jones, Cicora, and Bereznoysky were buried in the village cemetery at Espa, District of Wetzlar at 1200 hours on 12 September While no specific mention was made of the remaining two casualties as to burial location, all (5) dead members were identified at the time by the Germans. U.S National (overseas) Cemetery records reflect that (1) crew man was recovered and re-interred at LORRAINE near St. AvoId, France: Matracia (Grave D- 26-10) with the Purple Heart award and an Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster. T/Sgt Berezovsky is interred in Arlington National Cemetery, Section 34 Site 4294. There are no records concerning re-burials of any others of this crew in the MACR.

NEXT OF KIN DATA IN WWII: Jones (Wife, Helen A., Route #1, Box 714, Rio Lamar, California); Cicora (Father, Viscence, 14 Coburn Street, Brockton, Massachusetts); Oppenheim (Mother, Dons, 620 Standish Avenue, Westfield, New York); Doolittle (Father, Clarence L., 84 Jones Hill Road, Westhaven, Connecticut); Bereznoysky (Father, Nicholas, 2709 Clarendon Road, Brooklyn, New York); Matracia (Mother, Florence, 9 Virginia Avenue, Fort Mitchell, Kentucky); Gustavson (Wife, Agnes K., 2043 White Avenue, Klamath Falls, Oregon); Ralston (Mother, Jammie, 1641 West Seventh, Des Moines, Iowa); Lockhart (Mother, Margaret K., 1120 11th Avenue, E. Duluth, Minnesota).

MISSING AIRCREW REPORT: #08850 AIRCRAFT: #42-7466 "FORD’S FOLLY" "N-Bar" 44th Mission
P   l/LT  Rudd, Charles R.      KIA
CP  2/LT  Benson, Robert J.     KIA
N   2/LT  Dawson, Jennings B.   KIA
B   2/LT  Spencer, William A.   KIA
NG  S/SGT Modlin, Richard E.    KIA
R/O T/SGT Clapp, Roger E. Jr    POW
EnG T/SGT Maynard, Claiborne R. KIA
WG  S/SGT Hoganson, Harvey G.   KIA
WG  S/SGT Dobson, Odell F.      POW
TG  S/SGT Place, Robert K.      KIA

MISSION LOSS CIRCUMSTANCES: Returning crew Pilot, Lt. Martin, 576th, gave this eye-witness account: "A/C hit by enemy A/C after which fire broke out in #3 engine; following which the whole plane burst into flames and peeled over, spun in and crashed; no chutes seen". German Report #KU967-A stated this aircraft had crashed at the village of Allendorf at 1200 hours, 11 September, and identified all of the casualties positively, and also noted the capture of (2) prisoners, Sgt Dobson and Sgt Clapp at the same time. A supplementary report to the above from airbase Giessen noted the transfer of Sgt. Clapp to Dulag Luft interrogation center, but no mention was made of Sgt. Dobson (who had been wounded according to a Sgt Ralston of the Jones’ crew - MACR #8849).

INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS OF CREWMEN FATES: In a memorandum letter, dated 5 April 1946, addressed to Chief, Casualty Branch, Adjutant Generals Office, from a subordinate AGO personnel branch, excerpts of Sgt. Dobson’s report on the loss of his crew and aircraft, as given later after his repatriation, noted the following text: "The following summary of the circumstances surrounding the loss of the aircraft and statements concerning the fate of the subject crew members are quoted from a letter to this office dated 20 August 1945, written by Sergeant Dobson, a liberated prisoner of war: ‘The action took place on 11 September 1944 in the vicinity of Koblenz, Germany and the target to be bombed was Hannover, Germany. Going to the target we were attacked by enemy fighters (Me-109s). Number three (3) engine was hit and set afire; fire broke out in the bomb bay and we lost the formation as a result of these damages. The airplane went into a shallow dive and the crew prepared to bail out. Before this could be accomplished, however, the airplane started to spin and crashed into the earth near the town or village of Bad Homburg, Germany. This town is approximately (30) miles south of the city of Giessen (Note: also, about (8) miles due north of Frankfurt). Eight (8) crew members went down with the airplane:..1St Lt. Rudd, Pilot, was last seen leaving the cockpit with Pilot and standing on the flight deck buckling chute harness and was not wounded; 2nd Lt. Benson, Co-Pilot was last seen leaving cockpit with pilot and standing on flight deck with pilot before airplane went into spin and was not wounded; 2nd Lt. Dawson, Navigator, was in nose of airplane and was not seen or heard from during action; 2nd Lt Spencer, Bombardier, was in nose of ship and was not seen but was heard from only to say, "Lt. Rudd, you’d better salvo the bombs" ; Tech Sergeant Maynard, Engineer, was in upper turret. Early in action (he) was hit in head by exploding 20MM (shells) and was unconscious when plane started to spin. Was last seen laying on flight deck with pilot and co-pilot standing above him; S/Sgt. Hoganson, Ass’t Engineer, was right Waist Gunner and accounted for at least three (3) enemy fighter planes. Two of these Me-I09s were seen to explode and one was seen by myself and T/Sgt. Clapp to dive by the right wing completely enveloped in flames after it was hit by S/Sgt. Hoganson’s machine-gun fire. The third time he was shot and was unable to return (fire). He was last seen by myself laying on the floor bleeding about the face and head. He made the supreme sacrifice willingly and with utter disregard for his own safety; S/Sgt. Modlin, Nose Gunner, was in (the) nose turret and was not heard from during action (and) was not seen. S/Sgt. Place, Tail Gunner,..(his) tail turret motor caught afire (10) minutes before the fighter attack began. He stayed in the useless turret calling out enemy planes in a clear calm voice and tracked the planes manually with his turret - materially aiding other gunners ward off enemy planes. He was last seen laying on the floor bleeding about the head and face..and since he could not stand, he evidently was wounded in the legs also". This concluded the memorandum's account of Sgt. Dobson’s recollection, but it continued with a statement made by the other survivor, Sgt. Clapp, which had been given to that AGO office on 3 August 1945, and quoted: ".. T/Sgt. Maynard had half his head blown away when a shell hit his turret and exploded...(he) died from his wounds before we went into a spin Lt. Rudd then gave the order to bail out, however, no one heard it except Lt. Benson and myself as the interphone had become inoperative...Lt. Rudd and Lt. Benson left the controls immediately after Lt. Rudd spoke and the plane first stood on its end and then fell away into a spin. I could see Lt. Rudd and Lt. Benson on the flight deck...they seemed unable to move (and) sort of rooted to the floor and both were standing...the Germans at Allendorf said no one else got out. After six days at interrogation I was told that no one else got out and that the remains of my crew had been buried...I know Lt Rudd, Lt Benson and T/Sgt. Maynard didn’t get out...I could see all three as I left..(and) what, (Sgt.) Dobson has told me I don’t believe took place (TG) could move, wounded too bad....the rest never got the orders to bail out and the plane was in a spin before they realized what was up". (End of quotes from this AGO memorandum of 5 April 1946).

BURIAL RECORDS: After the war, the US Army Graves Registration Command thoroughly investigated this crash. They learned that 1/Lt Rudd’s burning Liberator, coming from the direction of Giessen, crashed at the edge of the woods 400 meters northwest of the village of Winnen, Germany. It was completely destroyed. The bodies of two crew members were found about 20 meters from the wreckage and an unknown number of remains were found in the wreckage itself. All were buried by a German army team in the cemetery at Winnen. Additionally, one flier bailed out over Allendorf and another in the community of Treis; both were captured by the Gendarmerie and taken to Giessen. 1/Lt Rudd, 2/Lt Benson, and 2/Lt Spencer are interred in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, Section 84 Site 147. S/Sgt Place is now buried in the United States.

NEXT OF KIN DATA IN WWII: Rudd (Mother, Jessie M., 504 South Fifth Street, Fairbury, Illinois); Benson (Mother, Joney K., Box 816, Parkland, Washington); Dawson (Mother, Mary B., Box 378, Jene Lew, West Virginia); Spencer (Wife, 105 North Seventh, Wilmington, North Carolina); Modlin (Mother, Agatha I., 316 101 Drive, Salinas, California); Clapp (Wife, Gladys W., Spruce Creek, Pennsylvania); Maynard (Mother, Wanda I, 140 East Rosemary, Chapel Hill, North Carolina); Hoganson (Mother, Amelia G., 472 Longfellow Avenue, Ellyn, Illinois); Dobson (Sister, Frances M., Charlotte, North Carolina); and Place (Mother, Grace B., Newport, Indiana).

(Note: Due to the last three digits of this aircraft's tail number being the same, this "Ford’s Folly" plane has been confused sometimes with another ship, #42-50466, the latter B24 being one never reportably assigned to the 392nd. However, the MACR does show the latter ship’s number though in a "strike-over" entry?)

MISSING: AIRCREW REPORT: #08851 AIRCRAFT: #42-50593 "LADY DIANA" "Bar-R" 25th Mission
P   2/LT  Haines, Frank W.        POW
CP  2/LT  Porter, Lawrence M.     POW
N   2/LT  Berg, Ben D.            POW
B   2/LT  Jacobson, Coleman (NMI) POW
R/O T/SGT Cozza, Dominick (NMI)   POW
EnG T/SGT Higgs, Otis C.          POW
WG  S/SGT Farris, Alvin J.        POW
TG  S/SGT Liston, Leonard M.      POW
WG  S/SGT Lentz, Bernard J.       POW

MISSION LOSS CIRCUMSTANCES: There was no information from returning aircrews about the loss of this aircraft and crew. German Report #KU953 A, Airbase Hqs, Hannover, listed the taking of all crew members as prisoners at 1245 hours, 11 September, and transferring them on to Dulag-Luft for interrogation. All were positively identified in details by the Germans.

INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS OF CREWMEN FATES: The only brief statement in this MACR file was one made much later by Pilot Haines in late 1945 from Hondo Army Air Field, Texas, his current base after return to the States. This report noted that their aircraft had been severely damaged over the briefed target at Hannover, Germany, by AA fire; that the plane had taken direct hits in the nose section, bomb bay, and tail; and that all crew members did bail out and were taken prisoners, subsequently all being returned to the States. No reference to any members being wounded was made.

BURIAL RECORDS: There were no deceased on this crew’s loss.

NEXT OF KIN DATA IN WWII: No NOK names were given in this MACR, but Home Addresses recorded at the time were as follows: Haines (140 N. Terrace Dr, Wichita, Kansas); Porter (Cummington, Massachusetts); Berg (RFD #3, Noblesville, Indiana); Jacobson (104 Sherman Avenue, New Haven, Connecticut); Cozza (516 Noble Street, Chicago, Illinois); Higgs (275. Zane Highway, Martins Ferry, Ohio); Liston (Star Route, Topanga, California); Lentz (Route #2, Emery, South Dakota); Farris (State Game Farm, El Reno, Oklahoma).

MISSING AIRCREW REPORT: #09811 AIRCRAFT: #42-52615 (NO NICKNAME) "D" 7th Mission
P   F/O   White, Edmund J.       RTD
CP  F/0   Whalen, James M.       RTD
N   2/LT  Long, William S.       RTD
B   2/LT  Alexander, Richard W.  RTD
NG  1/LT  Shelton, Orville W. Jr KIA
R/O T/SGT McAllaster, Robert W.  KIA
EnG T/SGT Hayden, Ralston (NMI)  RTD
WG  S/SGT Sabolish, George (NMI) RTD
WG  S/SGT Egler, Martin G.       RTD
TG  S/SGT Ziehm, Ralph W.        RTD

MISSION LOSS CIRCUMSTANCES: In an article by Myron Keilman in the June 1981 issue of the Second Air Division Association Journal, navigator 2/Lt William S. Long provided these details. "Events: Pre-briefing at 5:00 A.M. - regular briefing at 5:30. Flying ship #615 and leading the 579th high. Shelton flying as Nose Navigator. Took off at 8:35, climbed to assembly and left the English coast at 10:00. We entered the enemy coast (France) at 10:40, flying north of course. A lone P-38 (probably a captured ship radioing our course, etc.) - was sighted in the vicinity of Siegfried line. About five minutes later, ME-109s attacked formation ahead of us. Two ships seen going down in flames (B-24s). One crew bailed out - another wasn't so lucky and the plane spun into the ground. The 109s left us suddenly - we had no fighter cover with us at all - must have been at the interim when the groups were changing.

Flak at the time was intense and quite accurate. No one sustained any injuries at the time, though. All reported o.k.

We finally got on course and hit the target - PFF. Huge volumes of smoke could be seen rising from the town. Smoke rose in pillars up at 15,000 ft. in a short time. All this time our number three and four engines were smoking and streaming gas and oil. We were hit badly. It's hard to determine whether the fighters caused the damage on us or the flak at the Siegfried line.

Over the target the flak was heavy and intense - our ship received many hits - lots in the nose, though no one was injured from the flak. Alex and I huddled together in the nose and prayed. Bombed at 23,000 ft. Such flak. The sky was black with it! Reports later were that the German fighters put up their greatest opposition in a long time to meet us. 47 bombers were lost in all.

Here are our damages up to the target area. #1 turbo regulator shot away. #3 shot out and streaming oil, burning also. Interphone shot out. Bomb sight damaged. After leaving the target we left the formation and feathered #4. #3 couldn't be feathered at the time. Picked up a P-47 escort and made it back to the Zuider Zee ok. Got there at about 14,000 ft. Avoided flak fairly well.

Had a huge hole in left wing. #3 had two cylinders shot out. Damage very complete. We had hopes of making it back to the base.

At Dutch territory between Zuider Zee and the North Sea Whitey called us to bail out, but changed the order. We decided to try to cross the North Sea. Began lightening the ship throwing out all loose equipment. Someone threw out the waist window and it struck on the right horizontal tail plane causing more drag -- Whitey and Jim had trouble controlling the ship and gave orders to clear the nose and prepare for ditching. Such a feeling realizing that we were going to have to land in the Channel - yet all crew members remained calm.

We had a single P-47 escort who arranged with the Air Sea Rescue to meet us. Rescue sent launches out every 15 miles on a heading of 90 degrees from Gt. Yarmouth.

30 miles out from Yarmouth we hit the water - ship almost completely out of control - climbing, descending, banking, etc. Sea calm and sunny - very good conditions. Hit the water at 2:45 P.M. skidding to the right with a terrific crash. Hit at 105 MPH - the bottom half of the plane was ripped off from the bomb bays to the camera hatch. The tail turret and tail was torn completely off. As soon as we hit, the plane evidently nosed down and the rear went up into the air. Everything was very confusing, but most of us managed to get out. McAllaster, the radio operator and Shelton the nose navigator failed to get out ok and went down. Whalen pushed his way out of the nose up thru the canopy. White followed him. The top turret dropped and Hayden escaped through the hole where it was. Eight of us were picked up within 15 minutes. Only three got into the life raft.

Injuries: Pilot, none; Copilot, cut on right ankle; Bombardier, none; Engineer, bruised; Navigator, dislocated left shoulder and broke nose. Nose Navigator, went down; Radio Operator, went down; Tail Gunner, dislocated toe and cut head; Right Waist, cut arm and head; Left Waist, cut neck and mouth. Plane sank in 15 minutes.

Were picked up by Air Sea Rescue launch and taken to Naval Hospital in Gt. Yarmouth. From there to Morley Hall for further treatment. Navigator's shoulder out for 11 hours - most painful.

Plane torn completely up upon hitting the water - White did a perfect job - should get the DFC.

Shelton went down on the 30th mission. Tough luck. Probably got out of the plane but couldn't keep up-as did McAllaster. Rest of the crew alright - but looking forward to a long stay in the hospital.

No more missions for at least 1 month."

Keilman then added, "Within ten days or so, Eddy, copilot Whalen, bombardier Alexander, engineer Hayden and gunners Egler and Sabolish had recuperated, and surprisingly were returned to duty at Wendling."

INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS OF CREWMEN FATES: Lt. Alexander, Bombardier, gave the following written account later to 392nd de-briefers: "The A/C was hit by flak at the target; gas lines were out and the engines damaged. With an escort of (4) P-47s we headed for England but were forced to ditch in the Channel as a result of engine failure. The approximate position of ditching was at 52-40 N; 02-OOE. At the time of ditching, Lt. Shelton and Sgt. McAllister were in the back part of the waist. Pilot, Co-Pilot, and Engineer got in (dinghy) from the left side of plane and (the) other six crew members were in the water. I did not see Lt. Shelton after ditching. I was hanging on to an oxygen bottle and had a hold of McAllister’s Mae West momentarily, but lost him in a swell. Eight surviving members of the crew were then picked up by Air Sea Rescue and taken to Great Yarmouth where a complete report on the ditching was made". A ‘Ditching Report’ from the 392nd, dated 20 September to Hqs 2d Bombardment Division gave this summary’ "8 men saved; 1 man drowned; 1 man killed on impact." This Group report went on stating differences in recommended ditching procedure versus those this aircrew had reported using, ie., regarding the Radio Operator - his actual position was in the forward waist (section) belt, and recommended position was ‘back against co-pilot’s armor plate..where armor plate has been replaced by armored chairs..(then) strapped in his seat, head covered and resting on table’; on the Co-Pilot, he did not ditch using his Sutton (seat) Harness, whereas recommended procedure is ...‘both pilots using Sutton Harness, seats locked forward; on all members,..’ none wore their steel helmets as recommended’; on jettisoning procedures; ‘waist window when jettisoned went through its opening and struck and damaged the horizontal stabilizer’, where recommended procedures is ‘when equipment is jettisoned ensure it does not hit the tail plane or carry away the aerial’. The final comments on this Group report to higher headquarters noted:

"... It should also be noted that both casualties occurred in the forward ditching belt which was unnecessarily over-loaded...and certain 2d BD instructions say that ‘each belt is designed to hold three (3) men..to place more than this against a single belt is to risk its breaking’. (Note: It appears Group was pointing out that only two members had been in this belt and (ostensibly) one had perished there, since the other casualty had drowned outside the ship later). A concluding paragraph of the 392nd’s report stated: "Except for the Radio Operator’s being out of position, the mistakes noted above were not disastrous. The crew members were well trained and performed their assigned duties. The pilot in particular effected a reasonably good landing under adverse conditions. (Ed’s final observation: Under the reported aircraft emergency conditions which this crew was facing, and the prospects of having to ditch a B-24 as an only remaining alternative, this Pilot and Co-Pilot performed an outstanding feat without question and quite obviously). The 2d BD’s report was signed by George L. Paul, Major, Adjutant General, which had quoted the 392nd’s submission verbatim, forwarding it to the four Combat Wings and all 2d Bomb Groups. Though never tied together in any of the above casualty reporting at the time, a 20 November 1944 (4th Endorsement) letter from Hqs, European Theater of Operations, APO 887, to the CG, Army Air Forces, Statistical Control Division, sent up the chain of command later, reported F/O James M. Whalen, the Co-Pilot, as having been a casualty also from this crew ditching on 11 September. He was listed as "LIA" (Lost in Action) at this time; but subsequently, his status was changed to "KIA".

BURIAL RECORDS: Lt. Shelton and Sgt. McAllister are listed on the WALL OF THE MISSING at Madingley, CAMBRIDGE. Lt. Shelton was awarded the DFC, Air Medal with (3) Oak Leaf Clusters, but no record of the Purple Heart; and McAllaster had received the Air Medal with (2) Oak Leaf Clusters and the Purple Heart. No record exists on F/O Whalen.

NEXT OF KIN IN WWII: The only two Home Addresses given for the casualties above were: Shelton (Route #6, Paducah, Kentucky); and MacAllister (West Acton, Massachusetts).



CPL Tollok, Robert C. (TG) 578th KIA

This airman was flying with his assigned crew on this mission to Hannover, Germany, where stiff enemy fighter opposition was experienced over many areas of the route.

Pilot 2/Lt H. Bruce McClellan later wrote, "From radio traffic I know that there are 'bandits' in the area. Twenty to thirty ME-109s are probing the bomber stream for prey. We see nothing. Suddenly the waist and tail turret guns begin firing. The intercom jabbers with fear. Gunners scream directions to one another. Spent cartridges stream out of the other planes in our formation. We are under heavy fire from fighters.

"...The number two engine is hit and falters - - RPM erratic - - oil pressure wobbles. Prescribed procedure when losing an engine, feather it to prevent its acting like a brake, like going down a steep hill in low gear in a car. There, I've feathered it. What next? Jud Markle calls from the waist to say that Bob Tollok has taken a 20mm shell in the rear turret. Wonderful, cheerful, happy Bob Tollok is in deep trouble. We take another hit on the trailing edge of the left wing. The flaps are torn up like a twisted cigarette package about to be discarded. At least the shell misses the wing fuel tanks.

"...Jud reports that John Pearson, his companion at the waist guns, has a bad leg wound. The attack is still on. With a staggering jolt the #1 engine breaks away from the wing. Left with only the two starboard engines at full power there's no way we can keep up with the formation. " At 1156 hours, McClellan headed back to England, alone.

"But what do we do now to limp our way back to England? Don Kingston goes back to the waist to help Jud Markle cope with Bob and John. They pull Bob from his turret, give him morphine, and report that he has suffered a massive abdominal wound and is not likely to live. John's leg wound is serious but not life threatening, and a tourniquet stops the bleeding."

Despite the fact that "two of our three working engines are at take-off settings" the plane barely held altitude at 13,500 feet. Then, Markle shouted that two enemy fighters were diving toward them. The wounded B-24 was able to "evade several passes. Perhaps they were inexperienced pilots or were just tired and on their way back to base without much fuel to fool around with. Jud Markle gets in some bursts from the waist guns, and Elmer Havel sees smoke pouring from one of the FW-190's engine nacelles. The enemy breaks off the engagement, and we get to claim a 'probable'."

McClellan is still worried about how long the engines will function. Over the interphone, he tells the crew to buckle on their chute packs, just in case. "John Pearson, drowsy from morphine and stretched out on his back in the waist, sees Jud reach for his chute and cringes with the thought that we may leave him on board an abandoned plane spinning down to a fiery crash. Sensing his desperation Jud puts his own pack down on the floor of the waist compartment and tells John that we won't leave without him."

Luckily, "The Channel is in sight. And then we spot Manston, an airfield with a jumbo runway perched on the coast of England for just such an emergency as ours. Hardly daring to believe that we're going to make it, we let down with great care. If we undershoot the runway, we won't have the power to pull up. If we overshoot, it will be impossible to go around for another try. Our straight-in final approach will be "final" in two senses. We have been losing altitude foot by foot for the last hour as we have nursed the engines along. I am certain that the plane will be 'Category E,' will never fly again. Flares tell the tower that we have wounded aboard. Because one of our tires is flat, we hobble to a stop."

Ship 42-94764, Bad Penny, touched down at 1416 hours, almost seven hours after take-off. Cpl Tollok died during the trip back to England.



11 Sep 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 131
P Meehan, J.L. 2nd Lt.
CP Carey, H.V. 2nd Lt.
N McAfee, S.P. F/O
B Herzig, H. 2nd Lt.
E Benadum, T.E. S/Sgt.
R Candido, C.D. T/Sgt.
RW Allred, E.L. S/Sgt.
LW Altschaft, W.L. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Lange, D.H. S/Sgt.
11 Sep 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 299
P Martin, R.C. Jr. 1st Lt.
CP Hilbert, H.S. 2nd Lt.
N Freeman, G.L. 2nd Lt.
NG Cannon, M.H. S/Sgt.
E Blees, K.H. T/Sgt.
R Thiel, J.G. T/Sgt.
RW Minton, D.C. S/Sgt.
LW Sherman, I.G. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Roberts, M.E. S/Sgt.
11 Sep 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 476
P Sommers, O.L. 2nd Lt.
CP McLaughry, J.A. III 2nd Lt.
N/B Streicher, H.P. 2nd Lt.
E Drummond, W.D. S/Sgt.
R Fender, J.F. S/Sgt.
RW Borraccini, P.J. Sgt.
LW Simpson, C.S. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Luciano, S. Sgt.
NG O'Kane, R.P. Sgt.
11 Sep 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 050
P Scharf, C.D. 2nd Lt.
CP Call, F.B. 2nd Lt.
N Garland, S.M. 2nd Lt.
B Thomas, J.B. 2nd Lt.
E Michalski, R. T/Sgt.
R Bonanno, J.C. T/Sgt.
RW Rigas, C. S/Sgt.
LW Lienemann, W.C. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Oatman, H.W. S/Sgt.
11 Sep 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 991
P Smith, K.A. 1st Lt.
CP McFarland, J.D. 2nd Lt.
N Levin, W. 1st Lt.
NG Malley, J.P. Cpl.
E Glover, B.E. Sgt.
R Isebrands, T.E. S/Sgt.
RW Woerth, J.B. Sgt.
LW Powell, L.R. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Allen, W.J. S/Sgt.
Radar Smith, E.L. S/Sgt.
11 Sep 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 194
P Hart, W. 2nd Lt.
CP Crawford, D.A. 2nd Lt.
N Berger, G. 2nd Lt.
B Griesbaum, L.A. S/Sgt.
E Shields, V.E. S/Sgt.
R Young, W.S. S/Sgt.
RW Stern, J. S/Sgt.
LW Genna, N.J. Sgt.
BT - -
TG Clemmer, C.J. Sgt.
11 Sep 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 409
P Williams, E.L. 2nd Lt.
CP Jones, T.A. 2nd Lt.
N McFerran, J.B. 2nd Lt.
B Sparks, R.L. 2nd Lt.
E Shaw, G.B. S/Sgt.
R Slechta, M.T. S/Sgt.
RW Huba, J.D. S/Sgt.
LW Wall, D.L. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG King, W.C. S/Sgt.
11 Sep 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 511
CA Pennypacker, J.E. Capt.
P Levell, O.F. Jr. 1st Lt.
CP Caruso, J.A. 1st Lt.
N Scott, K.R. 1st Lt.
B Teague, H.S. 1st Lt.
E Villegas, V.R. T/Sgt.
R Keegan, G.M. T/Sgt.
RW Scott, R.J. S/Sgt.
LW Jackson, H.B. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Trusten, S. S/Sgt.
NG Costa, J.A. 1st Lt.
11 Sep 1944 577th Sqdn.
Did not fly this mission.
11 Sep 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. S/Sgt.
R Brown, J.C. S/Sgt.
RW Lingle, J.A.H. Sgt.
LW McCormick, J.E. Sgt.
BT Ivey, E.H. Jr. S/Sgt.
TG Huff, R.H. S/Sgt.
11 Sep 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 002
P Twining, E.S. 2nd Lt.
CP Duff, A.L. 2nd Lt.
N Bertoli, L.J. 2nd Lt.
B Clark, H.J. 2nd Lt.
E Maguire, F.H. S/Sgt.
R Hinckley, B.J. T/Sgt.
RW Grimm, R.H. S/Sgt.
LW - -
BT - -
TG Largen, J.E. S/Sgt.
TT Hostetter, F.E. T/Sgt.
11 Sep 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 358
P Jones, H.E. 2nd Lt.
CP Cicora, A.F. 2nd Lt.
N Oppenheim, A.M. 2nd Lt.
B - -
E Berezovsky, A. T/Sgt.
R Doolittle, D.R. T/Sgt.
RW Gustavson, R.I. S/Sgt.
LW Ralston, G.J. S/Sgt
BT Matracia, A.A. S/Sgt.
TG Lockhart, K.T. S/Sgt.
11 Sep 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 852
P Tays, R.H. 2nd Lt.
CP Ferguson, T.B. F/O
N Holzinger, J.J. 2nd Lt.
B Sorensen, A.C. 2nd Lt.
E King, C.C. Sgt.
R Berger, J.T. Sgt.
RW Turner, M.E. Sgt.
LW Coury, G.A. Sgt.
BT - -
TG Fetterhoff, E.E. S/Sgt.
11 Sep 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 466
P Rudd, C.R. 1st Lt.
CP Benson, R.J. 2nd Lt.
N Dawson, J.B. 2nd Lt.
B Spencer, W.A. 2nd Lt.
E Maynard, C.R. T/Sgt.
R Clapp, R.E.E. Jr. T/Sgt.
RW Dobson, O.F. S/Sgt.
LW Hoganson, H.G. S/Sgt.
BT Modlin, R.E. S/Sgt.
TG Place, R.K. S/Sgt.
11 Sep 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 966
P Johnson, R.H. 2nd Lt.
CP Cook, J.M. 2nd Lt.
N Waters, J.F. 2nd Lt.
B Weiss, J.E. 2nd Lt.
E Lang, C.F. T/Sgt.
R Lauger, L. S/Sgt.
RW - -
LW Stickley, F.F. Sgt.
BT Castaneda, J.A. Sgt.
TG Van Alstine, N.G. Sgt.
11 Sep 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 764
P McClellan, H.B. 2nd Lt.
CP Carleton, D. 2nd Lt.
N Havel, E.E. 2nd Lt.
B Young, H.M. S/Sgt.
E Berger, R.F. Sgt.
R Kingston, D.B. Sgt.
RW Markle, J.M. Cpl.
LW Pearson, J.W. Cpl.
BT - -
TG Tollok, R.C. Cpl. (KIA)
11 Sep 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 448
P Neundorf, C.A. 1st Lt.
CP Washington, E.K. 2nd Lt.
N Abrams, E.J. 2nd Lt.
B Pipitone, S.R. F/O
E Moore, P.L. T/Sgt.
R Toniatti, L.A. S/Sgt.
RW Blalock, E.L. S/Sgt.
LW Sullivan, J.K. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Xander, C.H. S/Sgt.
PN Wilson, H.W. 2nd Lt.
11 Sep 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 279
P Sewell, W.P. 2nd Lt.
CP Weise, E.H. 2nd Lt.
N Richards, W.J. 2nd Lt.
B Bremer, A.F. 2nd Lt.
E Barnes, G.M. T/Sgt.
R Fulton, L.R. T/Sgt.
RW Coogan, A.J. S/Sgt.
LW Leigh, R.H. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Negri, J.D. S/Sgt.
11 Sep 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 495
P Porter, H.K. 2nd Lt.
CP Bolstridge, C. 2nd Lt.
N Behr, A.J. F/O
B Traina, S. S/Sgt.
E DeSario, J.L. T/Sgt.
R Nero, R.A. T/Sgt.
RW Placht, E.J. S/Sgt.
LW Amato, J.J. S/Sgt.
BT Korn, R.N. T/Sgt.
TG Zollinger, P.D. S/Sgt.
11 Sep 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 272
P Gerow, J.A. 2nd Lt.
CP Vallarelli, F.J. 2nd Lt.
N Grandon, D.P. 2nd Lt.
B Sulkowski, J.T. 2nd Lt.
E Kieras, E.J. S/Sgt.
R Baker, M. T/Sgt.
RW Brink, B.E. S/Sgt.
LW Ely, L.E. S/Sgt.
BT Bartnowski, M.A. S/Sgt.
TG Hebert, N.B. S/Sgt.
11 Sep 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 647
P Koza, F. 2nd Lt.
CP Wilcoxson, R.H. 2nd Lt.
N Stillwagon, V.H. 2nd Lt.
B Solomon, A.A. 2nd Lt.
E Roberts, M.J. T/Sgt.
R Rubin, G. T/Sgt.
RW Purcell, L.J. S/Sgt.
LW Johnson, J.T. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Dunn, T.C. S/Sgt.
11 Sep 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 238
P Tuchel, R.H. 1st Lt.
CP Watkins, H.D. Capt.
N Smith, F.D. 2nd Lt.
B O'Rourke, R.L. S/Sgt.
E Tvergyak, P.A. T/Sgt.
R Johnson, H.K. T/Sgt.
RW Warrick, H.E. S/Sgt.
LW - -
BT Vincent, J.W. S/Sgt.
TG Carter, D.J. S/Sgt.
11 Sep 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 615
P White, E.J. F/O
CP Whalen, J.M. F/O
N Long, W.S. 2nd Lt.
B Alexander, R.W. 2nd Lt.
E Hayden, R. T/Sgt.
R McAllaster, R.W. T/Sgt. (KIA)
RW Egler, M.G. S/Sgt.
LW Sabolish, G. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Ziehm, R.W. Sgt.
PN Shelton, O.W. 1st Lt. (KIA)
11 Sep 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 593
P Haines, F.W. 2nd Lt.
CP Porter, L.M. 2nd Lt.
N Berg, B.D. 2nd Lt.
B Jacobson, C. 2nd Lt.
E Higgs, O.C. S/Sgt.
R Cozza, D. T/Sgt.
RW Lentz, B.J. S/Sgt.
LW Farris, A.J. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Liston, L.M. Sgt.
11 Sep 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 150
CA Barnes, L.J. Capt.
P Abell, G.W. 1st Lt.
CP Eldridge, M.C. 1st Lt.
N Roberts, M.C. 1st Lt.
N Morris, J.E. 1st Lt.
B Lawrence, J.S. 1st Lt.
B Ferry, J.R. 1st Lt.
E Tryboski, L.E. T/Sgt.
R Nemeth, P.J. T/Sgt.
RW Horton, H.E. S/Sgt.
LW Hawes, J.C. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Moore, J.R. S/Sgt.