Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

Seventy years ago...

Discussion in 'Air War in the Mediterrean' started by mcoffee, Apr 21, 2014.

  1. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,129
    Likes Received:
    314
    20 April 1944, the old gunner flew his first combat mission to bomb the marshalling yard at Mestre, Italy in support of Operation Strangle.

    The first mission had been a long time coming. He had enlisted in the Army Air Corps directly out of high school in June, 1941. After completing basic, he was assigned to the 6th Reconnaissance Squadron at Davis-Monthan Field, Tucson, AZ. The old gunner was initially assigned as a radio operator on B-18’s. On 8 December, 1941, the 6th Recon was moved to Muroc AAB and immediately began anti-submarine and coastal patrols. In January, the 6th Recon was attached to the 41st Bomb Group at Mather Field. The 6th continued flying ASW patrols from Hammer Field and Moffet Field in the Bay area. Now flying A-29’s (militarized Lockheed Hudson), the old gunner trained as an enlisted bombardier. The squadron was re-designated the 396th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) in April ’42 and gradually transitioned to B-25s.

    In August 1943, as a S/Sgt with an armorer-gunner MOS, he was transferred to the 18th Replacement Wing in Salt Lake City with a recommendation to the Aviation Cadet program for bombardier training for heavy bombers. The AAF had other needs and he was sent to Tucson and assigned to a B-24 replacement crew as armorer-gunner. In March ’44, he and three other members of the replacement crew boarded the USS Gen. W.A. Mann in Norfolk and departed for the war zone. The other 6 members of the crew would ferry an aircraft overseas later. The USS Mann landed at Casablanca and the 4 ‘early birds’ passed through Algiers, Sardinia and Sicily before arriving at San Pancrazio, Italy where they were assigned on TDY to the 514th Squadron, 376th BG.

    The 20 April mission was a relatively easy first mission, moderate flak in the target area and a few fighters were seen, but none attacked the 376th. The 376th had no losses, the 15th AF was spread over multiple targets in Northern Italy and lost 4 heavy bombers. The old gunner flew aboard 41-29308, a B-24H that would crash on 16 June returning from Bratislava, CZ. One mission credit, only 49 more to go.
     
    FalkeEins likes this.
  2. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,129
    Likes Received:
    314
    6th Recon B-18 photo-turned-postcard by the squadron photo section. Mailed from Tucson to his brother and postmarked Dec 5, 1941.
     

    Attached Files:

    TD-Tommy776 likes this.
  3. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,129
    Likes Received:
    314
    The port and harbor facilities at Port San Stefano on the West coast of Italy were the target for April 28th. These facilities were used by German small craft to deliver supplies for the forces opposing the Allied beachhead in the Anzio area. The 15th AF sent 464 aircraft over West Coast port targets including 170 over Port San Stefano.

    The 376th put 37 aircraft over the target. The bombardier and navigator of the lead ship were seriously wounded by flak, but no aircraft were lost by the group. Bombing results were good with the harbor facilities well covered by hits. Five to seven enemy aircraft were seen but no attacks were made on the 376th. P-38s provided escort in the target area.

    Three aircraft from other groups were lost to flak over Port San Stefano, 3 more were lost over nearby Orbetello, and 1 over Piombino to the North.

    Mission credit 1, total 2; a/c 41-29563 CONSTANT MENACE, pilot E.L. Lowry
     
  4. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,129
    Likes Received:
    314
    As Operation STRANGLE continued, the marshalling yard at Alessandria in the western Po Valley was the target for April 30 for the entire 47th Wing. The target was well covered by previous groups, but smoke obscured the target for the 376th so bombs were dropped into the smoke with unobserved results. Scant flak was observed with no losses or damage. No enemy aircraft were seen.

    Mission credit 1, total 3; a/c 42-109844, pilot E.L. Lowry

    15th AF reached a strength of 19 heavy bomb groups on April 30.
     
  5. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,129
    Likes Received:
    314
    Allesandria strike photo from April 30, 1944
     

    Attached Files:

  6. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,129
    Likes Received:
    314
    [SIZE=11pt]Sheet No. 1, War Diary, 514th Bombardment Squadron, San Pancrazio Airdrome.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt]Month of April, 1944, Prepared by 1st. Lt. Leonard J. Madden, 514th Bomb Sq.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]EVENTS [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]1. [/SIZE][SIZE=11pt]The month broke into the year with a beautiful, warm Spring morning. A mission previously scheduled was cancelled and later, when thick clouds and rain entered upon the scene, the reason for the "calling off was obvious. The squadron functioned as usually it does on rainy days and no outstanding events were recorded . [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]2. As described by 1st. Lt. L.H. Gibson, navigator on Lt. Wood's crew, the mission for the day was "plenty hot". As luck would have it, we flew the “Purple Heart Section", "TailEnd Charlie", or whatever other name is given to the last section of the group and didn't lose a ship. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]3. We had a preview of the sun coming up when one of the combat Men's tents lit the early morning sky while burning to the ground. It seems they woke for the early 4:30 A.M. chow and had left their oil burner on. As usual with these tent fires, nothing was saved. A mission went out in the continuation of its accelerated attacks against the Axis strong points, hitting Budapest, the capitol of Hungary. The results of the raid were very good. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]4. After waiting for the fog to clear, the group took off for Bucharest, Roumania. Lt. Madden, assistant S-2 in the squadron and the only man to have gone on the first Ploesti raid without receiving the D.F.C., went on today's mission so that he could “see the country around Ploesti in the Spring." On returning, reports given showed that good bombing was done. We had one mishap on take-off, one of the other squadron's ships "bit the dirt" when its landing gear collapsed. The weather is beautiful. Ground was broken for the new building which is to house S-2, Operations and the Orderly room. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]5. [/SIZE][SIZE=11pt]The gunners were a bit skeptical when they were told that the target for the day was the marshalling yards at Ploesti. Ten ships took off from this squadron and ten came back reporting very good results. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]6. [/SIZE][SIZE=11pt]A rest was given to all of the men who have been flying these tough missions of late, but of course, the ground men were on the job as usual fixing the ships and keeping up with the paper work. The "Mickey" men are coming in and going out every day. They don't seem to know how or where they stand. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]7. Trip to Mestre this morning. The boys always come back and tell how welcome the P-38 escort is on each mission. They did not encounter any enemy fighters today because of the escort. There is a rumor going around that honest- to-goodness Coca-Cola will be served tomorrow evening at the respective clubs. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]8. The mission for the day was called back after encountering very bad weather on the route out. Many remembrances were restored when the boys claimed their bottle of Coca-Cola in the evening. Mission scheduled for the morrow, Easter Sunday, but by the looks of the weather, the writer thinks that it will be cancelled. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]9. Easter Sunday and the mission was cancelled, probably because of bad weather over the target because the local weather was nice. Chicken-ala-king was served at the evening meal. Many of the men attended both the morning and evening church services, other than that, Easter Sunday seemed no different than any other day. Mission again scheduled for tomorrow. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]10. Cloudy weather cancelled the day's mission. The usual routine was carried on in the squadron. The new office building seems to be coming along satisfactorily. It seems by the grapevine, the officer's staged a gala opening of the new club last evening. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]11. [/SIZE][SIZE=11pt]The mission was again cancelled. The day turned out to be a warm, sunny one and the newly built ball diamond was much usage. Teams of the different departments have been organized and a schedule of play has been worked out by [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt]Lt. Gmeiner. A practice mission was flown by three ships from our squadron in the afternoon. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]12. The aircraft factory at Wiener-Neustadt in Austria was hit by this outfit today and returning airman said that the results were fair. All planes from this squadron returned safely. The first games of the new schedule for softball teams was played and although the fellows look pretty rusty there is promise of some very good competition in the near future. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]13. [/SIZE][SIZE=11pt]Another attack on the marshalling yards at Budapest, Hungary. Upon returning, the boys reported a plenty hot day and lots of hits on the briefed target. Pie Ala Mode was served for supper and enjoyed by all.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]14. Bad weather and mission intended for the day was cancelled. Lt. Col Beir returned to the squadron after his short Vacation. It is reported that he brought back a plane full of whiskey, at least a guard was posted on the plane to protect this most valuable of cargoes. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]15. [/SIZE][SIZE=11pt]Another one of the combat men's tents (enlisted men) burned down in the early hours of the morning. The mission today went to Bucharest. The "Mickey" men were put to work on today's exploit and with what they term great success. As a result of the Colonel's thoughtfulness, the clubs in the squadron served whiskey with Coca-Cola as wash this evening. It was Australian whiskey and plenty powerful. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]16. Of the 37 ships to fly on today's mission, 11 were put up by this squadron. There cannot be enough praise for the boys on the line who are keeping these planes in flying condition. They are and have been doing a magnificent job. The boys who went on today's raid on Brasov did a magnificent job too. The mess sergeant, S/Sgt. Dewey Stevenson, gave a farewell dinner for the boys who are going home after having put in from 18 to 22 months over here in the 376th. We hate to see these boys leave but we wish them the best of luck and know they are glad to go back and see all of the folks they left behind. We are all kind of looking forward to the day when we will be able to carry around those orders to go home again. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]17. [/SIZE][SIZE=11pt]Mission took off today for the marshalling yards at Sofia. The mission was termed a success by the returning flyers. No mission is scheduled for the morrow, so it will be early to bed for most of the fellows, the others will probably keep the bartenders busy until the wee hours. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]18. No mission today, so most of the boys spent some time on the ball field. Several league games were played and after the day, it was found that three teams are tied for first place. Mission scheduled for tomorrow so it will be early to bed for everyone. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]19. Scheduled mission was called off because of bad weather. A lot of time was spent on the ball field again and the enlisted men of the squadron beat the officers by the score of 4-0. Another mission is scheduled for tomorrow and everyone is hoping that the weather will be nice. It sounds like they are getting impatient to get going again. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]20. Mission took off for Mestre, Italy this morning. Upon returning, the flyers reported very good coverage of the target. Chocolate ice-cream was served for supper. During the night, the allied forces in the area were put on the alert. It was reported that enemy paratroopers landed in the district. Captain Mullins rounded up the combat men who were not on duty tomorrow, and had them stand guard on the ships and in the squadron area. It was found that it was just a scare. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]21. [/SIZE][SIZE=11pt]The intended raid on enemy territory for today was cancelled after the planes took off, but the ships were aloft for a couple of hours. It was found that they could not penetrate the weather on the way to the target. It has been very cloudy, windy and cold all day and according to reports, the bad weather is to be with us for awhile. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]22. No mission today, the weather is on the cloudy and windy side. The usual squadron duties were carried out throughout the day. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]23. Sunday and a mission to Schwechat Aircraft Factory in Austria. The boys took off early and at two o'clock P.M. a radio message was received telling us that the mission had been a success. Upon arriving at the base and being interrogated, the boys said that Lt. Joe Davis and crew had been seen trailing the formation off the target with one engine feathered and another smoking badly. He was last seen near the Coast of Yugoslavia. An important meeting of the "Yardbird” club was held and it was decided that chit books should be issued to members on each payday and to set up a new system of keeping the books. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]24. [/SIZE][SIZE=11pt]The planes left the field in rather poor flying weather to bomb the marshalling yards at Ploesti, Roumania. The new office building is progressing, but slowly. Captain McClain and his complete crew have finished their tour of combat and are running around the offices of the squadron with clearance sheets. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]25. [/SIZE][SIZE=11pt]A mission was scheduled again today and after coming to within an hour from the target, the formation turned back due to bad weather. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]26. Another mission scheduled and then cancelled due to bad weather. We are having terrific winds which have the audacity of blowing rain, dirt and dust into all corners of this Italian world and the enlisted men of the squadron won their respective ball games are listed at Group Headquarters. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]27. [/SIZE][SIZE=11pt]The same mission was scheduled for this day, but again cancelled due to weather. 1st Lt.B.J. Pravenzano, bombardier on Captain McClain's crew, and Sgts. Infante and West, left for the Zone of the Interior this morning after completing the required number of missions. Sgt. West was especially glad to be going back for he has seen 22 months pass by since he left home. He came overseas as a ground crew member and volunteered for combat duty many months ago, back in Africa. He is one of the veterans of the squadron. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]28. Mission finally took off this morning to a small port above Roma. The target was well hit and much damage done to "Jerry’s” communications. Other than sending out the mission, the day was an uneventful one. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]29. Another mission today. The ships took off early for the submarine pens at Toulon, France. This mission wasn't too successful according to the interrogation reports. Two more of the old timers of the squadron were seen walking into the various offices with clearance papers today. M/Sgts. Luke Britton and John Winecoff have been ordered back to the United States for schooling on very heavy bombers. With the rotation system going into effect and these special orders, it won't be too long and all of the real veterans of the squadron will be gone. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]30. The month was ended with a successful mission to Northern Italy. As usual, the day was pay day for all and the many lines were one time more “sweated out". An extra one was added today however, when many of the men had to get shots for typhus. Most of the night was spent in seeing who was going to send the most money home. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]2. Summary of Bombing Operations for the month of April, 1944: [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]April 2, 1944, Mission #228 – Steyr, Austria, - 10 ships took off and 10 ships got over the target dropping 360 x 100 lb. bombs. Results not observed. 25 to 30 E/A seen. A/A was intense, fairly accurate. 5 ships holed by flak. 10 ships returned to base. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]April 3, 1944, Mission #229 - Budapest, Hungary - 7 planes took off and 7 ships got over the target dropping 70 x 500 lb. bombs. Results of bombing were fair. 12 to 15 E/A seen. Flak was intense and accurate. 5 A/C were holed. 7 ships returned to base. [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt]April 4, 1944, Mission #230 - Budapest, Hungary - 10 planes took off and 10 planes got over the target dropping 105 x 500 lb. bombs. Results of bombing were good. 20 to 25 E/A seen. A/A was light and inaccurate. Three ships holed slight1y. One A/C lost, reason unknown. 9 ships returned to the base. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]Apri1 5, 1944, Mission #231 - Ploesti Marshalling Yards, Roumania - 10 planes took off and one returned to base early because of an ill gunner. 9 ships over the target dropping 348 x 100 lb. bombs. Results of the bombing were good. 20 to 30 [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt]E/A seen and attacks were made from all angles for approximately 35 minutes. Flak was heavy and accurate, 4A/C were holed. 10 ships returned to base. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]April 7, 1944, Mission #232 - Mestre Marshalling Yards, Italy - 8 ships took off and 8 Ships got over the target dropping 79 x 500 lb. bombs. Results of bombing were fair. 5 to 10 E/A seen, but no attacks. Flak was light and inaccurate. No ships were damaged. 8 planes returned to the base. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]April 12, 1944, Mission #233 - Wiener-Neustadt A/C [/SIZE]Fcty., Austria - 10 ships took off and one returned early due to super-charger trouble. 9 ships got over the target dropping 88 x 500 lb. bombs. Results were good. 30 E/A seen, slight attacks made singly and in pairs. No damage. A/A was moderate and accurate. 2 A/C were holed. 10 ships returned to the base.

    [SIZE=11pt]April 13, l944, Mission #234 - Budapest A/D, Hungary - 8 ships took off and 8 were over the target dropping 320 [/SIZE]x 100 lb. bombs. Results of bombing were fair. 5 to 10 E/ A seen. E/ A attacked singly and in pairs with most attacks coming from 5 to 7 o’clock, high and low. Several planes hit slightly by fighters. Flak was heavy and accurate, two A/C holed. 8 ships returned to the base.

    [SIZE=11pt]April 15, 1944, Mission #235 - Bucharest Marshalling Yards, Roumania - 10 ships took off and 10 were over the target dropping 98 x 500 lb. bombs. Results unobserved due to weather. 5 to 10 E/A seen, no attacks made. Flak was heavy and inaccurate. No damage. 10 ships returned to the base. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]April 16, 1944 , Mission #236 [/SIZE]- Brasov Marshalling Yards, Roumania - 10 ships took off and one returned early due to mechanical failure. 9 ships were over the target dropping 90 x 500 lb. bombs. Results of bombing were good. No E/A seen. A/A was light and inaccurate. No damage. 9 ships returned to the base.

    [SIZE=11pt]April 17, 1944, Mission #237 - Sofia ~Marshalling Yards, Bulgaria - 8 ships took off and 8 ships were over the target dropping 320 x 100 lb. bombs. Results of the bombing were unobserved. No E/A seen. A/A.w[/SIZE]as slight and inaccurate. No damage to ships. 8 ships returned to the base.

    [SIZE=11pt]April 20, 1944, Mission #238. - Mestre Marshalling Yards, Italy - 10 ships took off and 10 were over the target dropping 100 x 500 lb. bombs. Results of bombing unobserved due to weather. No enemy aircraft seen. Flak was light and inaccurate. No ships were damaged. 10 ships returned to the base. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]April 23, 1944, Mission #239 - Schwechat A/C Fcty., Austria - 10 ships took off and. one returned early due to mechanical trouble. 9 ships were over the target dropping 78 x 500 lb. bombs. Results of bombing were fair. No E/A seen. Flak was heavy and accurate. One ship was lost and 5 were holed by flak. 9 ships returned to the base. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]April 24, 1944, Mission #240, - Ploesti Marshalling Yards, Roumania - 7 ships took off and one returned early due to a sick gunner. 6 ships were over the target dropping 60 x 500 lb. bombs. Bombing results unobserved. One E/A seen, no attacks. Flak was heavy and intense. 3 ships were holed by flak. 7 ships returned to the base. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]April 25, 1944, Mission #241, - Varese Macchi A/C Fcty.. Italy - 9 ships took off and 9 ships were back at the base after a few hours without having dropped the bombs due to bad weather en route. No fighters or flak seen. All bombs returned to base. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]April 28, 1944, Mission #242, - Porto San. Stefano, Italy - 9 ships took off and 9 were over the target dropping 90 x 500 lb. bombs. Results were good. 5 to 7 E/A seen, no attacks. A/A was[/SIZE] light and inaccurate. No ships damaged. 9 ships returned to the base.

    [SIZE=11pt]April 29, 1944, Mission #243, - Toulon, France - 10 ships took off and 10 stirs were over the target dropping 54 x 1,000 lb. Results of the bombing were fair. No E/A seen. A/A was heavy, accurate and aimed. No ships damaged. 10 ships returned to the base. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]April 30, 1944, Mission #244, - Alessandria, Italy - 9 ships took off and 9 ships were over the target dropping 90 x 500 lb. bombs. Results of the bombing were good. No enemy fighters seen. Flak was light and inaccurate. No ships damaged. 9 ships returned to the base. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]3. Decorations and Awards:[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]Purple Heart[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]Captain Melvin H. McClain[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt]1st. Lt. John C. Ford[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt]2nd. Lt. Gerald Munn [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt]2nd. Lt. Arthur W. Skoyles[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt]1st. Lt. Arthur Moxley [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt]T/Sgt. Karajian, B.M.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt]T/Sgt. Kirkland, T.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt]T/Sgt. Martin, G. [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt]F/O Barber, R.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt]S/Sgt. Shephard,M.A.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt]S/Sgt. Cullen, W.R.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt]S/Sgt. Patterson, G.H.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt]S/Sgt. Adkins, R.T. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]Silver Star[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]Captain Melvin H. McClain[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]Distinguished Flying Cross[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]Captain Melvin H. McClain[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt]Captain Alfred Goldis[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt]1st. Lt. Bernard J. Pravenzano[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt]1st. Lt. Walter P. Boyd[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt]1st. Lt. William F. Palmer[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt]1st. Lt. Arthur H. Moxley[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt]1st. Lt. Lee N. Mulligan[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]4.a.The past month has been one of good flying weather and many missions were sent to attack Germany and her satellites. With the coming of better weather, the missions will undoubtedly be sent more frequently and we all hope that the caliber of the bombing is better than it has been during the month. Opposition has been lighter at the end of the month and all are wondering if the German Airforce is depleted or waiting to go all out on some certain mission. Let us hope that it is the depletion of the Luftwaffe. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]b. Morale has slightly higher during the month, probably because the much talked of Rotation Plan seems to be going into effect. Several men from the squadron, who had been on the "frozen list" for several months, were finally given their orders to return to the Zone of the Interior. The food situation is good, probably a bit better than before due to the fact that the mess sergeant is making it possible that ice-cream is served at least once each week. The fresh butter and meat are still being served too. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]LEONARD J. MADDEN[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt]1st. Lt. Air Corps [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt]Squadron Historian [/SIZE]
     
    TD-Tommy776 likes this.
  7. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,129
    Likes Received:
    314
    The 376th went on a mission to Castel Maggiore M/Y, Italy on May 2, but the old gunner was not assigned to fly.

    On May 5, the 376th stood down while the 15th AF put 557 heavies over Ploesti with 22 losses. Five of those losses were suffered by the 449th BG, also of the 47th Wing (more on the 449th later).

    Marshalling yards on the Budapest-Bucharest line were targeted on May 6, with the 47th wing assigned to attack Brasov, Romania. The Budapest-Bucharest railroad line was a major supply line supporting the German forces opposing the Russian army’s advance into the Balkans.

    The 376th was the lead group of the 47th Wing and put 42 ships over the target. Bombing results were good with the marshalling yard well covered. Slight flak was encountered over Brasov with no losses incurred by the Wing.

    The Fifteenth AF totals were 265 over Brasov with no losses; 135 over Campina with 6 losses.

    Mission credit 2, total 5; a/c 42-78078 GENTLE ANNIE, pilot W.F. Provost.
     
  8. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,129
    Likes Received:
    314
    Brasov strike photo from 6 May 44
     

    Attached Files:

    O.M.A. likes this.
  9. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,129
    Likes Received:
    314
    [SIZE=medium]On May 7 the 15th[/SIZE] AF returned to Romania targeting the marshalling yards at Bucharest. All 5 Wings participated, putting 429 aircraft over the target with 4 aircraft lost.

    [SIZE=medium]The 376th[/SIZE] had 39 ships over the target with good bombing results. Heavy flak was encountered over the target but the 376[SIZE=small]th[/SIZE] suffered no losses. Eight enemy fighters were seen but made no attacks on the 376[SIZE=small]th[/SIZE].

    [SIZE=medium]This marked the 250th[/SIZE] mission for the 376[SIZE=small]th[/SIZE] Bomb Group. 47[SIZE=small]th[/SIZE] Wing commander Col. Rush greeted the crews on their return.

    [SIZE=medium]Mission credit 2, total 7; a/c 42-72874 THE DUCHESS, pilot J.C. Mayer[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=medium](42-72874 was an older B-24D-165-CO)[/SIZE]
     

    Attached Files:

  10. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,129
    Likes Received:
    314
    The Bf-109 factory at Weiner Neustadt, Austria was the target for May 10. Heavy weather approaching the Alps cause the column of groups to become widely separated. The weather over the Alps forced the mission to turn back, but the 376th had penetrated far enough to receive 1 mission credit.

    373 aircraft penetrated the weather and attacked targets around Weiner-Neustadt with 29 losses. It was a 2 credit mission for those who went over the targets.

    Mission credit 1, total 8; a/c 42-72765 SEXY SAL (B-24D), pilot J.B. Hampton
     
  11. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,129
    Likes Received:
    314
    Early on May 12, Allied ground forces launched an assault on the Gustav line with the goal of capturing Cassino. The 15th AF sent out its largest force to date, almost 730 heavy bombers, in a coordinated effort to break the stalemate in Italy by cutting German railroad and small craft supply lines. There were three total losses in the 15th.

    The 376th attacked the port at Piombino Harbor with poor results due to a broken cloud layer over target. Moderate flak was experienced in target vicinity but no losses.

    Mission credit 1, total 9; a/c 42-72765 SEXY SAL, pilot J.B. Hampton
     
  12. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,129
    Likes Received:
    314
    The 15th AF attacked marshalling yards across Northern Italy on May 13 to interdict German supply lines to the front. The 376th was assigned the Fidenza, Italy Marshalling yard. Results were excellent and no flak or fighters were encountered.

    The route was up the West coast of Italy. Again flying in SEXY SAL, the number 4 supercharger failed and the number 2 engine had a bad oil leak. Bombs were jettisoned in Mediterranean between Elba and Capraia, and SEXY SAL turned back over Capraia. The turn back point was far enough across enemy lines that the crew was credited for the sortie.

    Mission credit 1, total 10; a/c 42-72765 SEXY SAL, pilot J.B. Hampton

    [SIZE=medium]Also on this date, 5 members of the Jim Allen crew were assigned to the 449th Bomb Group, 718th Bomb Squadron based at Grottaglie, Italy. They were Jim Allen, Johnson, Havard, John Allen and Mansfield. Those 5 had ferried a replacement B-24 via the Southern route (Caribbean chain to Brazil, across the Atlantic to Dakar). Coffee, Castor, Mullins and Parella are still flying with the 376th/514th .[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=medium]When PFF (Mickey) aircraft first appeared in the 15th AF in April, the 376th was designated as the Pathfinder group and supplied Mickey ships and navigators to the other groups as needed. This lasted for a short while before each group acquired its own Mickey ships and navigators. McEvoy was sent to the 376th to train as a Mickey navigator and never flew with any of the Allen crew in combat[/SIZE]



    [SIZE=medium]Allen Crew photo from training, Tucson, Arizona, early 1944. Standing L-R[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=medium]James G Allen (P) Ayres W Johnson (CP) O M Coffee (LW) Clarence R Castor (RW) James E Havard (F/E)[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=medium]Front: Charles J Mullins (NG) John R Allen (TG) Robert J Mansfield (BG) Donald V McEvoy (N) Nicholas Parella (Bom)[/SIZE]
     

    Attached Files:

  13. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,129
    Likes Received:
    314
    [SIZE=medium]Marshalling yards and airfields in Northern Italy were again the targets on May 14 in support of the ground offensive. The 376th[/SIZE] was assigned the marshalling yard at Vicenza. The group did not drop on the first pass due to cloud cover and made a 360° turn to return to the target. The results of the drop on the second pass were reported as fair. Light flak was encountered over the target area. 12-15 fighters (Bf 109) made aggressive single a/c runs over a 30 minute period. The 376[SIZE=small]th[/SIZE] sustained no losses and claimed one fighter as a “probable”.

    [SIZE=medium]Mission credit 1, total 11; a/c 42-94987 YUM YUM, pilot J.A. Paul[/SIZE]
     
  14. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,129
    Likes Received:
    314
    The 5 crew members that had reported to the 718th on May 13 were given their baptism of fire on the May 17 mission to Orbetello Harbor on the west coast of Italy. Standard practice was to have new pilots and co-pilots fly 3 to 5 missions with veteran crews to gain practical experience before being turned loose on their own. The gunners were usually also dispersed with other crews to get their feet wet in combat. Jim Allen flew as co-pilot with the Clyde Driggers crew in Ship #21; Ayres Johnson flew with Isaacs in Ship #31 with Robert Mansfield in the ball turret; James Havard flew as a waist gunner with the Martin crew in Ship #34; and John Allen flew in the tail of Ship #23 with the Rasbach crew.

    Over the target Ship #33 of the 718th Squadron took a direct flak hit to the #2 engine which was blown off the wing. Lt. Henry Silvers made a controlled exit from the formation before the left wing collapsed from the resulting damage and fire, sending Veni Vidi Vici out of control. Seven members of the crew perished. Four went down with the ship, three bailed out and were killed on the ground by German soldiers while attempting to escape. The remaining three also bailed out and were taken prisoner.

    The group experience intense flak over the target with 13 ships sustaining damage, three crewmen were wounded, none serious, and one aircraft missing (#33 above). Johnson in Ship #31 was flying ‘diamond down’ directly behind and below Ship #33, so his baptism of fire was a bit more graphic than most.
     
  15. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,129
    Likes Received:
    314
    Jim Allen and Ayres Johnson flew as co-pilots again on the 18th to Belgrade, Yugoslavia, while Mansfield and John Allen both flew as well. The primary target was the Unirea Sperantza Refinery at Ploesti, but impassible weather cause the group to turn toward Belgrade as an alternate. The main marshalling yard was attacked by PFF method with unobserved results due to 9/10 cloud cover. The 717th squadron lost Old Ironsides piloted by Henry McInvale. The ship was straggling due to flak damage after leaving the target and the crew bailed out near the Yugoslavia/Romania border. All 9 crew members were able to evade capture with the help of partisans.

    Also on May 18, 2Lt. Parella, S/Sgts Castor and Coffee, and Sgt Mullins were assigned to the 449th BG, 718th BS. The Allen crew was now back together with the exception of Donald McEvoy who would remain with the 376th. Parella and Castor each had 8 mission credits, Mullins 5 and Coffee 11 with the 376th.
     
  16. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,129
    Likes Received:
    314
    [SIZE=medium]On the 19th[/SIZE], the 449[SIZE=small]th[/SIZE] attacked the oil storage and railroad facilities at La Spezia, Italy. Bombing results were fair due to adverse weather in the target area. Moderate flak was experienced over the target, but no enemy fighters were seen. No damage or casualties. Escort was provided by P-38s and P-51s in the target area. Ayres Johnson, Mansfield and Havard each got credit for a mission.
     
  17. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,129
    Likes Received:
    314
    No Fifteenth AF missions due to adverse weather, but since we're through with the 376th BG, here is the May War Diary for the 514th Squadron.


    [SIZE=11pt]514th [/SIZE][SIZE=11pt]Bombardment Squadron (H)[/SIZE]​
    [SIZE=11pt]376th Bombardment Group (H)[/SIZE]​
    [SIZE=11pt]APO 520, U. S. Army[/SIZE]​


    [SIZE=11pt]9 June 1944 [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]SUBJECT: Historical Records [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]TO: Commanding General, Fifteenth Air Force, Attention Historian [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]1. [/SIZE][SIZE=11pt]Unit History of the 514th Bombardment Squadron (H) for the period of 1 May to 31 May 1944. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]a. Facts relating to the origin of the unit [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt](1) The present designation of the unit is 514th Bombardment Squadron (H), 376th Bombardment Group (H), 47th Wing, 15th Air Force, USAAF. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]b. Changes in organization [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt](1) There have been no changes in organization. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]c. Strength, commissioned [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt](1) [/SIZE][SIZE=11pt]Month 0f May 1944 Officers Enlisted Men [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt](a) at beginning 82 341[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt](b net increase 12 38[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt](c net decrease 0 0[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt](d) at end 94 379[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]d. Station: [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt](1) [/SIZE][SIZE=11pt]San Pancrazio Air Base, San Pancrazio, Italy.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]e. Movements: [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt](1) None. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]f. Campaigns: [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt](1) Italian campaign (still in progress) [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]g. Operations [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt](1) The 514th Bombardment Squadron (H) participated in 19 operational missions involving 176 sorties. The highlights of each mission were as follows: [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]Mission #245 - 2/5/44 - Castel Maggiore M/Y, Italy. 9 ships took off and 9 ships got over the target. Bombs were not dropped because of bad visibility. No E/A seen. Light and very accurate flak was encountered. Three ships were holed and S/Sgt. V.M. [/SIZE]Henry was wounded slightly. 9 ships returned to base.

    [SIZE=11pt]Mission #246 - 6/5/44 - Brasov M/Y, Roumania, 10 ships took off and 10 ships got over the target dropping 100 x 500 lb. bombs. Results of the bombing were good. No E/A were seen and the flak encountered was moderate and inaccurate. No ships were holed and no one was injured. 10 ships returned to the base. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]Mission #247 - 7/5/44 - Bucharest M/Y, - 10 ships took off and 10 ships get over the target dropping 98 x 500 lb. bombs on the target. Results were good. 8 E/A were seen but no attacks were made. Flak encountered was moderate and inaccurate. No ships were holed and no one was injured. 10 ships returned to the base. Mission lead by Lt. Co1. Beir. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]Mission #248 - 10/5/44 - Wiener-Neustadt A/C Fcty., Austria, - 10 ships took off and 10 ships turned back because of the weather. 30 bombs were jettisoned and 70 bombs were returned to the base. No flak and no fighters were seen. 10 ships returned to base. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]Misssion -#249 - 12/5/44 - Piombino Harber, Italy, - 11 ships took off and 11 ships got over the target dropping 110 x 500 lb. bombs. Results of bombing were poor. No fighters were encountered and the flak was moderate and inaccurate. No ships were holed and no one was injured. 11 ships returned to base. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]Mission #250 - 13/5/44 - Fidenza M/Y, Italy, - 10 ships took off and 10 ships got over the target dropping 100 x 500 lb. bombs. Results were excellent. No flak and no enemy fighters were encountered. 10 ships returned to base. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]Mission #251 - 14/5/44, - Vicenza M/Y, Italy, - 9 ships took off and 9 ships got over the target dropping 90 x 500 lb. bombs. Results of bombing were fair. No enemy fighters were encountered and the flak was light and inaccurate. 9 ships returned to the base. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]Mission #252 - 17/5/44, - Porto San Stefano, Italy, - 11 ships took off and 11 ships got over the target dropping 110 x 500 lb. bombs. Results of the bombing were very good. No enemy fighters were seen and the flak encountered was moderate and accurate. No ships were holed and no one was injured. 11 ships returned to the base. Mission lead by Lt. Col. Beir. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]Mission # 253 - 18/5/44, - Ploesti Oil Refy., Roumania, - 11 ships took off and 11 ships turned back before reaching the target due to weather conditions. 108 x 500 lb. bombs were returned to the base. No enemy fighters were seen and the flak was light and inaccurate. No ships holed and no one was injured. 11 ships returned to the base. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]Mission #254 - 19/5/441 - La Spezia Harbor, Italy, - 9 ships took off and 9 ships were over the target dropping 90 x 500 bombs with excellent results. No fighters were encountered and the flak was moderate and inaccurate. No ships were holed and there were no injuries. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]Mission #255 - 22/5/44 - Porto Marghera, Italy, - 9 ships took off and 9 ships turned back, due to weather, before reaching the target. No bombs were dropped and 90 x 500 lb. bombs were returned to the base. No flak or enemy fighters were encountered. 9 ships returned to the base. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]Mission #256 - 23/5/44 - Frascati, Italy, - 11 ships took off and 11 ships returned to base with bombs due to weather. 58 x 1,000 lb. bombs were returned to base. No fighters were encountered and the flak was light and accurate. No ships were holed and no one was injured. 11 ships returned to base. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]Mission # 257 - 24/5/44 – Wiener-Neustadt We1lerdorf A/D, Austria,- 10 ships took off and 10 ships were over the target dropping 100 x 500 lb. bombs. Results of the bombing were fair. 20 E/A were seen but no attacks were made on the section. Flak was moderate and accurate. 6 ships were holed. No one was injured. 10 ships returned to the base. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]Mission #258 - 25/5/44, - Malfalcone Ship Yards, Italy, - 8 ships took off and 8 ships got over the target dropping 70 x 500 lb. bombs. 10 x 500 lb. bombs were jettisoned. Results were good. No fighters were seen and the flak was light and inaccurate. No ships were holed and no one was injured. 8 ships returned to the base. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]Mission #259 - 26/5/44, - Nice M/Y, France, - 8 ships took off and 8 ships got ever the target dropping 80 x 500 lb. bombs. Results were good. Two enemy fighters were seen, but no attacks were made. Flak encountered was moderate and accurate. No ships were holed and there was no one injured. 8 ships returned to the base. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]Mission #260 - 27/5/44, - Marseilles M/Y, France, - 10 ships took off and dropped 88 x 500 lb. bombs, not on the briefed target. 100 x 500 1b bombs were jettisoned. Results were good. No fighters seen. Flak encountered was moderate and accurate. Two ships were holed, but there were no injuries. 10 ships returned the base. Mission lead by Lt. Col. Beir. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]Mission #261 - 29/5/44, - Wiener-Neustadt, Austria, - 6 ships took off and 5 ships got over the target dropping 60 x 500 lb bombs. One ship turned back due to a broken pilot's seat. Results of the bombing were good. 15 to 20 E/A seen, but no attacks were made. Flak was heavy and accurate. 4 ships were holed, but there were no injuries to personnel. 6 ships returned to the base. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]Mission #262 - 30/5/44, - Pottendorf A/C Fcty, Austria, - 8 ships took off and 8 ships got over the target dropping 80 x 500 lb bombs. Results of the bombing were good. 10 to 15 enemy fighters were seen, but no attacks were made. Flak encountered was moderate and accurate. Two ships were holed, but there were no crew injuries. 8 ships returned to the base. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]Mission #263 - 31/5/44, - P1oesti Oil Refineries, Roumania, - 7 ships took off and 7 ships got over the target (alternate - Turnul-Sevarin) and the results of bombing were good. 70 x 500 lb. bombs were dropped on target. 20 enemy fighters were seen, but no attacks were made. Flak encountered was intense and accurate. Three ships were holed, but no crew members were injured. 7 ships returned to the base. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]h. Commanding Officers in important operations. [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt](1) See missions #247, 252, 260 and 262. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]i. Losses in action [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt](I) [/SIZE][SIZE=11pt]None [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]Sheet No. 1, War Diary, 514th Bombardment Squadron, San Pancrazio Air Drome[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]Month of May, 1944, Prepared by 1st. Lt. Leonard J. Madden, 514th Bombardment Squadron [/SIZE]


    [SIZE=11pt]1. [/SIZE][SIZE=11pt]Mission cancelled before the planes could take off. Today was, of course, the first of the month and Gas Defense day. Housecleaning week was also proclaimed by Group. There were many "crap" games throughout the squadron during the day and night and it seems that the greater part of the men participate. Mission scheduled for the morrow.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]2. Trip to Northern Italy today, but bad weather was encountered en-route and the bombs were returned to the base. Some of the ships were greeted by numerous bursts of flak while they were on the way and a few returned with a few holes. The weather is still cool with a lusty breeze blowing across this part of Italy. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]3. [/SIZE][SIZE=11pt]No mission scheduled for the day. The weather seems to be warming up a bit which will be a welcome change to all. The enlisted men and officers respective soft ball clubs are doing well, meeting and usually beating all competition. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]4. [/SIZE][SIZE=11pt]No mission today as the squadron prepares for an invasion of an Inspecting General. The clubs are well stocked with gin and rum and these nights, when no mission has to be prepared for the next day, are certainly appreciated. The evening chow, consisted of fresh meat stew, beans, cooked cabbage, bread, butter, jam, doughnuts, sliced pineapple and ice cream and coffee. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]5. [/SIZE][SIZE=11pt]No mission and the usual squadron activities prevailed throughout the day. The Italians have been convinced to accelerate their speed on the new Administration Building. To bed early in preparation for tomorrow's mission. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]6. [/SIZE][SIZE=11pt]Raid on Brazov, Roumania, which from all accounts was successful. We will [/SIZE]know more when the pictures are sent to the squadron from the Group Photo Lab. 12 ships was our offering to the group on this mission which is more credit to the maintenance men.

    [SIZE=11pt]7. [/SIZE][SIZE=11pt]From the early reports on today's mission Bucharest, Roumania, again took a beating;. Awards were given out at Group to members of the squadron who had been granted decorations for meritorious work. An amusing incident happened in the evening when five Italian workers of the squadron walked into the S-2 building without pants, shirts and shoes. It seems that they went into town and the M.P.s had been given orders to strip any Italians when they were seen in G.I. clothes. Arrangements will have to be made with the police for their benefit regarding these matters. Two more combat men finished their quota of 50 missions. Lt. [/SIZE]Colonel Beir brought some of the U.S.O. girls who are showing at the Group Theater, to the "Non-Com's" Club. A treat for the boys.

    [SIZE=11pt]8. [/SIZE][SIZE=11pt]Mission for the day was cancelled early. Preparation was made for an inspection which did not come off. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]9. [/SIZE][SIZE=11pt]The mission was again cancelled. The inspection of the squadron by Wing inspectors took place during the day. By all accounts, the inspection was successful from the squadron’s viewpoint. It was reported today that Lt. Davis and crew, who had gone down in Yugoslavia are all safe and on their way back to the base. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]10. [/SIZE][SIZE=11pt]Today was one of rejoicing although the mission for the day was cancelled. Lt Davis and his complete crew, with the exception of an officer and two enlisted men, who stayed in Yugoslavia with minor injuries, returned to the squadron. At the same time, Lt. Ward and crew returned safely from a six week trip to England. More men have been put on the rotation li[/SIZE]st which is made up each month.

    [SIZE=11pt]11. [/SIZE][SIZE=11pt]The proposed mission was again cancelled. If I may be prophetic, something big is coming off. Good, and I mean good, apple pie was served at dinner today. Now, as I have been prophetic; mind if I become poetic? “The sun has picked this 11th of May, to make, by far, it’s warmest day.”[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]12. After briefing last night, the boys started out early this morning to a port in Northern Italy, Piombino. Some talk about the start of the invasion surrounded the camp, but I believe the main idea of today was to support the ground troops who have begun an advance attack on the Germans in Italian territory. The second mission that was originally planned, did not take off. All members of the squadron contributed greatly to the work of the day and we were prepared for anything that group or wing would ask. Coca Cola was served at the various clubs, part of the weekly ration. Lt. [/SIZE]Madden was reported injured after being jostled around in the back seat of a jeep when it accidentally reared off of the rough Italian roads, yesterday, when he and the C.O. of the squadron were returning from the beach.

    [SIZE=11pt]13. Excellent mission to Fidenza Marshalling Yards in Northern Italy.[/SIZE]


    [SIZE=11pt]14. Raid on the Marshalling Yards at Vicenza, Italy. The weather has taken a decided turn and it is beginning to be very warm. Italy is indeed sunny and it looks like the summer is going to be a warm one from here on out. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]15. [/SIZE][SIZE=11pt]The mission intended for the day was cancelled early last night. The usual squadron duties were transacted during the day. Captain J.E. Hundley, formerly of the 513th Squadron, officially assumed duties as Squadron S-2. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]16. [/SIZE][SIZE=11pt]A beautifully, sunny day, no mission and nothing unusual took place. Lt. Col. Beir indoctrinated two crews in the morning. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]17. [/SIZE][SIZE=11pt]Old man Sol again ruled the heavens for the day as the heavy bombers blasted the harbor installations of Porto San Stefano, Italy. So far, the Officer’s ball team and the E.M.’s team are leading their respective leagues with two wins and no losses. Captain Alfred Goldis, squadron operations officer, completed his fiftieth mission today. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]18. The photographs of yesterday’s mission show magnificent bombing results. Credit must be given to Lt. Paul J. "Junior” Vega, bombigator, who led the boys over the target. More credit to the squadron comes in the line of sports where it has been reported that S/Sgt. M.G. Griffin pitched a no-hit game against the 512th team this afternoon. The Officers have thus far won four games and lost none. The enlisted men have won three and lost one. The mission today went to Ploesti. Capital letters should be given this name as the mere mention of it implies a strike of grandeur and horror. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]19. [/SIZE][SIZE=11pt]LaSpezia Harbor, Italy, took a beating today from our heavy bombers. Captain D.A. Robinson and crew returned from their extended vacation on the Isle of Capri. Both the Officers and Enlisted Men’s ball teams lost their ball games today. There is no mission scheduled for tomorrow. A great improvement in the number of rations found the boys happily receiving seven candy bars and a cigar. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]20. [/SIZE][SIZE=11pt]Heavy clouds enshrouded the field this morning, and resulted in sprinkling rains throughout the day. Only the usual squadron business kept the boys busy. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]21. [/SIZE][SIZE=11pt]Sunday and no mission today. The usual activities went on in the squadron with many of the boys playing little softball to exercise their muscles. [/SIZE]


    [SIZE=11pt]22. The mission took off to Porto Marghera, Italy. The weather was bad so they turned back and brought their bombs with them. A tennis court has been proposed by Corporal Charles Alderson of the Squadron Special Service Department to the Executive Officer, Captain Partch. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]23. Mission to Frascati, Italy, near Rome. Again the weather played a hand and the flights had to turn back. The bombs were returned to the base with the exception of one ship that had trouble with its intervelometer. The officers of the squadron beat the 512th Squadron, 9 to 5. Possibilities of the Squadron tennis court loomed into the near future with the approva1 of Lt. Col. Beir.[/SIZE]


    [SIZE=11pt]24. 4 o'clock heard the drone of the engines of the ships as they warmed up for the early hour take-off. Destination today is Wiener-Neustadt, Austria. The remainder of the day was carried on as usual until 10 o'clock in the evening. At that time, the lights grew weak in spasmodic spells and finally went out. Immediately the air was filled with shouts which drew us outside to see what the trouble was and low and behold, the tent which contained all of the generators except the one for the enlisted men's tents was flaming and smoking, expelling fire to the heights of thirty five or forty feet. There were men around the tent, trying to get the remaining oil and gas cans from the wake of the fire. Some were heroically pulled out. One exploded and later the big generator exploded. After the fire was almost burned out, the fire department arrived. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]25. Successful mission to Monfalcone, Italy. Regular squadron duties occupied the remainder of the day. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]26. Another magnificent job of bombing done by this group. The target today was at Nice, France. The Roch Marshalling Yards received the brunt of the attack. The camp itself is still resting peaceful under the sun although a cool breeze persists in blowing dust through the air all through the day. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]27. [/SIZE][SIZE=11pt]Mission today went to Marseilles, France. Not as successful a mission as the past few have been, but not too bad. Ice cream and pie were again on the evening menu. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]28. No mission was scheduled for today. The evening was spent, by a lot of the boys, in their respective clubs and a little celebrating was done. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]29. [/SIZE][SIZE=11pt]Wiener-Neustadt, Austria, was the calling point again today. At 10:30 the message came through that the mission had been successful. The weather was also good. We sent six ships on the mission, the smallest number in quite some time. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]GENERAL ORDERS, WAR DEPARTMENT,[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt]No. 23 Washington 25, D.C., 24 March 1944[/SIZE]


    [SIZE=11pt]VII--BATTLE HONORS.-- As authorized by Executive Order No. 9396 (sec. I, Bull, 22, WD, 1943) superseding Executive Order No. 9075 (see III, Bull, 11, WD, 1942), citations of the fol1owing units by the Commanding General, Ninth Air Force, in General Orders, No. 39, 25 February 1944, under the provisions of section IV, Circular No. 333, War Department, 1943, in the name of the President of the United States as public evidence of deserved honor and distinction, are confirmed. The citations read as follows, [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]The 376th Bombardment Group (H). For outstanding performance of duty in action against the enemy in strategic support of the allied forces in the Middle East theater from May 1942 to the capitulation of the enemy forces in Tunisia and in Sicily. Arriving in the Middle East as a task force and later operating as a provisional bombardment group before it was organized as the 376th Bombardment Group (H), this organization conducted the first United States air combat operations in defense of the then threatened Suez Canal area in particular, and the Mediterranean Sea in general. Later, in support of the British Eighth Army, and throughout this period, this group made long range attacks on enemy port installations, shipping, airdromes, and other vitally important targets which necessitated long flights over dangerous desert terrain, enemy territory, and the Mediterranean Sea without fighter escort. The eminently successful conduct of these attacks despite intense antiaircraft fire and enemy fighter opposition was directly responsible for the weakening of the enemy in the Middle East by disruption of their lines of supply, airdromes, shipping bases, and other vital installations. Their aircraft crews exhibited the greatest bravery, resourcefulness, stamina, and skill, while the ground personnel performed their duties under difficult desert conditions with such initiative, untiring effort, and devotion to duty as will always be worthy of emulation. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]BY [/SIZE][SIZE=11pt]ORDER OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR: [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]G.C. MARSHALL,[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt]Chief of Staff [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]OFFICIAL: [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt]ROBERT H. DUNFOP, [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt]Brigadier General, [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=11pt]Acting the Adjutant General. [/SIZE]
     
  18. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,129
    Likes Received:
    314
    [SIZE=12pt]The Fifteenth Air Force again turned to the direct support of the Allied ground forces by sending all five heavy bombardment wings against targets in the immediate vicinity of Rome. The 47th Wing was assigned enemy troop concentrations targets at Frascati and Grottaferrara about 10 miles southeast of Rome. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=12pt]The 449th’s target was Grottaferrara. The target area was so thickly covered by clouds that only ten of the 449th ships attempted to bomb the target. Three bombed targets of opportunity and one other jettisoned its bombs. The remaining 22 returned their bombs to base. Some flak was encountered just prior to the target and caused minor damage to 9 ships.[/SIZE] [SIZE=12pt]Jim Allen got his third mission, this time as co-pilot with Al Isaacs. John Allen flew with the McFain crew, James Havard with Driggers, and the old gunner flew his first 449th mission with the Harris crew in The Buzzer. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=12pt]Mission credit 1, total 12; a/c 41-29307 The Buzzer, pilot Richard C. Harris[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=12pt]The Buzzer[/SIZE][SIZE=12pt] would later be lost under tragic circumstances. It was declared war weary late in ’44, stripped of armament and used as a squadron hack. On December 9, it took off bound for Naples carrying a 5 man flight crew, 4 men on pass and 7 men who had completed their combat tours and were being ferried to Naples to catch a boat ride home. The aircraft crashed in bad weather and all 16 aboard were killed.[/SIZE]
     
  19. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,129
    Likes Received:
    314
    Nicholas Parella and Clarence Castor made their first 449th mission with the Duffy Carter crew on May 24 – the only members of the Allen crew to fly this day. The Group went to the heavily defended Weiner-Neustadt, Austria, area to attack the Wollersdorf Airdrome. Twenty to thirty Me-109s were seen in the target area, but only three attacked the 449th formation. One of those was shot down by the 449th gunners. Heavy flak over the target caused the loss of one ship and damaged 20 others. Lt. George Foote and crew of the 716th Squadron were aboard Shamrock which left the formation over the target with the #4 engine burning. The ship was last seen out of control in a near dive. Six of the crew managed to bail out successfully and were taken POW, the other 4 were killed in the crash. The Beale crew in Maw Stricknine suffered serious damage but made it back to the 450th base at Manduria where they crash-landed with no injuries to the crew. Maw Stricknine would return to combat in late July. Cloud cover necessitated bombing by PFF methods with fair results. There were 4 serious casualties aboard the returning ships.
     
  20. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,129
    Likes Received:
    314
    The railroad bridge over the Var River near Nice, France was attacked to interdict supplies routed to the German forces in Italy. The target was well cover with five direct hits on the bridge span, many hits on the approaches and the bridge left out of commission. Moderate to heavy flak was reported over target. High Life with the Warner crew of the 718th took a direct hit in bomb bay just after ‘bombs away’ and broke in two falling in flames. All aboard were KIA. Four 449th aircraft returned with minor flak damage. A belt link from a ship ahead test-firing guns went through the Plexiglas of the nose turret of The Shack but Mullins was not injured.

    The 718th Squadron supplied spare ships and 4 airborne alternates this day. Two moved up to replace early returns and the other two tagged onto the lead box of the B and C sections.

    Mission credit 1, total 14; 42-94977 The Shack
     

    Attached Files:

Share This Page