LYNDON CRANE ALLEN - DIARY OF COMBAT TOUR|
WORLD WAR II
18 August 1944 - Mission 1.
Target: Nancy Essy, France, Airfield, Time: 8 h. 20 min. Plane: (616) C, Bomb load: 52-100# Incend., Altitude: 15,000 ft., Escorts: P-38s, Temperature: ?
No flak, no enemy planes. Milk run. Good bombing (on way over we crossed the White Cliffs of Dover. What a feeling - seeing them fade away as we went on to Nancy Essy.)
25 August 1944 - Mission 2.
Target: Schwerin, Germany Airfield, Time: 8 h. 20 min., Plane: Q, Bomb load: 12-500#, Alt. 20,500 ft., Escorts: P47 and P51. Temp. ? Parshall.
Light, inaccurate flak. No holes. Hit target.
10 Sept. 1944 - Mission 3.
Target: Ulm, Germany, Gun Depot, Time: 8 hr. 40 min. Plane W (962?), Bomb Load: 24 260# frag., Alt. 22,600 ft., Escorts: P47 & P51, Temp. -23 degrees C.
Accurate flak. Three holes. First time we really sweated. Hit marshalling yards by P.F.F. Flew over Nanoy again. Parshall
12 September 1944 - Mission 4.
Target: Hanover, Germany - oil distillery. Time: 7 h. 20 min., Plane L, Bomb load: 24 250# G.P., Alt. 23,000 ft., Escorts: P-38, P-47, P-51, Temp. -32 degrees C.
Flak at three different places; at Helgoland, on the coast and over target. No holes. Escort perfect. Missed target. Flew over Brussels. Saw how the Germans have flooded Belgium. As far as I could see, the land was flooded. Bombed Lehrte 5 ½ w/o target. Parshall.
13 September 1944 - Mission 5.
Target: Hall, Germany Airfield. Time: 8 h. 40 min., Plane: O (049), Bomb load: 10 500# G.P., Alt. 25,500 ft. top; 20,000 ft. bomb. Escorts: P-38, P-51. Temp. -23 degrees C at 25,000 feet.
Flak very accurate first time we crossed Rhine. Had it on the way back, but not accurate. Had 53 holes counted, then quit counting. Mac had shoe cut with flak. One piece missed my chute by inches, and my rear by the same distance (Actual count -67).
Came back the same way as yesterday's raid. Bombing was perfect. Completely blanketed the target. Saw Switzerland, Alps, and Lake Constance. Surely looked inviting.
22 September 1944 - Mission 6.
Target: Kassel, Germany - Locomotive works producing 88 mm. Guns., Time: 6 h. 0 min. Plane: P (42-50744), Bomb load: 6 500@ Incend., 6 500# G.P., Alt. 23,500 ft. Escort P-51. Temp. -27 degrees C.
A lot of flak, but none of it got us. That Rhine...got flak both times we crossed it. Barrages over city behind us. Lt. Lloyd is in the hospital so we took Lt. Lavitt as co-pilot, and checked him out. It was his first mission. He'll learn! P was a virgin until we got her. She ain't now!
26 September 1944 - Mission 7.
Target: Hamm, Germany - Marshalling yard. Time: 5 h. 45 min. Plane B (965 - 531?). Bomb load: 6 1000# G.P.. Alt. 23,000 ft. Escorts P-51 Yellow Noses.
Made two bomb runs. Flak barrage over target, but inaccurate. Flew over Holland and Zider Zee. Very good fighter escort.
Everything was Snafu. Missed the target completely. Bombed P.F.F.
27 September 1944 - Mission 8.
Target: Kassel, Germany - Locomotive works producing 88 mm. Guns., Time: 6 h. 45 min. Plane Q (578?), Bomb load: 6 1000# G.P., Alt. 25,500 ft., Escorts P-38, P-47, P-51, Temp. -37 degrees C.
Cloudy all the way. Bombed P.F.F. had flak barrage over target. Fairly accurate but no holes. Burt Savage and Henneberry had their oxygen go out. Quite a time, but nobody hurt. Saw German rockets that looked like shot planes. Group behind us had bandits. Really sweated out the takeoff. Couldn't seem to gain altitude.
30 September 1944 - Mission 9.
Target: Hamm, Germany - marshalling yards. Time: 5 h. 40 min. Plane R (895), Bomb load: 12 500# G.P., Alt. 23,000 ft. Escorts: P-38, P-47, P-51. Temp. ?
Intense and accurate flak over target. Only ten holes but pretty big ones. Escort very good, especially after leaving target. Bombed P.F.F.
3 October 1944 - Mission 10.
Target: Gaugenav, Germany - truck factory. Time: 7 h. 35 min., Plane: S (763). Bomb load: 6 1000# G.P. Alt. 24,000 ft. Escorts: P-38, P.51. Temp. -30 degrees C.
Visual bombing not very good. Moderate flak in and out of target. No holes. Saw artillery on hill in Nancy area. Also crossed Calais area and observed bombed robot sites. The Alps really looked pretty.
14 October 1944 - Mission 11.
Target: Kaiserslaufern, Germany - marshaling yards. Time: 6 h. 30 min. Plane R (895). Bomb load: 12 500# G.P., Alt. 22,000 ft. Escort: P-51. Temp. -30 degrees C.
GH bombing through 10/10's coverage. No flak near us. Milk run. Formed over London.
15 October 1944 - Mission 12.
Target: Cologne, Germany - largest truck factor in Reich. Formerly Fords. Time 6 h. 10 min. Plane J (formerly B). Bomb load: 6 500# G.P., 6 M-17's. Alt. 24,000 ft. Escort: P-51. Temp. -27 degrees C.
Entire 8th A.F. hit Cologne. Town completely covered by dust and smoke. Moderate and accurate flak. No holes. Took familiar route over Belgium out and back.
17 October 1944 - Mission 13.
Target: Cologne, Germany - chemical plant. Time: 7 h. 0 min. Plane: O. Bomb load 6 500# G.P., 6 M-17s. Alt. 22,000 ft. Escorts P-47, P-51. Temp. -35 degrees C.
No. 13 done! Heavy, intense and accurate flak over the target and Rhine. No holes. Struthers saw jet propelled plane. What a landing! No. 3 engine cut out and feathered, then two more cut out. Struthers and Lloyd brought us down fine. Clipped some trees, hit in pasture, then just cleared fence and made a landing. Nose and right wing knocked part of tree stuck in wing.
18 October 1944 - Mission 14.
Target: Cologne, Germany, chemical plant. Time: 7 h. 0 min. Plane U (539). Bomb load 6 500# G.P., 6 M-17s. Alt. 23,000 ft. Escort P-51. Temp. -35 degrees C.
What a rat race. We formed above 20,000 ft. and didn't let down until leaving coast. Planes really strung out to I.P. Don't know what we bombed. Moderate flak at target and over Rhine. No holes. Lloyd's #13 to sweat out. Bakalo's crew went down today. First plane 67th has lost since we came here.
26 October 1944 - Mission 15.
Target: 5 miles north of Essen, Germany. Time: 5 h. 15 min. Plane U. (539). Bomb load: 24 250# G.P., Alt. 24,000 ft., Escort: P-51. Temp. -27 degrees C.
Most flak we've ever seen over target. They threw everything up at us. Bombed G.H. 10/10 coverage. Hennaberry's #13!
30 October 1944 - Mission 16.
Target: Hamburg, Germany - synthetic oil. Time: 6 h. 45 min. Plane O (049). Bomb load 24 250# G.P.s. Alt. 24,000 ft. Escorts: P-51 and P-47. Temp. -36 degrees C.
Cloudy. 10/10's coverage, anyway you looked. Not much flak. Sweated out clouds instead. 2nd Division only one that didn't turn back. 1st, 3rd, and even the R.A.F. turned back. Escort had to, too.
4 November 1944 - Mission 17.
Target: Essen, Germany - oil. Time: 6 h. 0 min. Plane V (309). Bomb load: 24 250# G.P.s. Alt. 24,000 ft. Escorts P-47 and P-51. Temp. ?
Heavy flak over target. Flew over Zider Zee. Lt. Lloyd in hospital again, so had Lt. Paul as copilot. His 34th.
5 November 1944 - Mission 18.
Target: Karlsruhe, Germany. Time: 7 h. 40 min. Plane U (539). Bomb load: 4 2000# G.P., Alt. 23,000 ft. Escort: P-47 and P-51. Temp. -33 degrees C.
Were supposed to hit Metz visually, but it clouded up. So hit secondary by P.F.F. Had very strong headwinds coming back (100 knots). Also bad weather over Channel. Had to land at a Fortress base 20 miles form here. We refilled and came back. What a day!
8 November 1944 - Mission 19.
Target: Rhine, Germany - marshalling yards. Time: 7 h. 0 min. Plane: R (690). Bomb load: 12 500# G.P.s. Alt. 23,000 ft. Escort: P-47, P-51. Temp. ?
Bombed P.F.F. and hit wrong target - a town in Holland. No flak at all. Sweated out weather instead. Formed in clouds and contrails. Really rotten stuff. (Only 2 67th planes).
4 December 1944 - Mission 20.
Target: Bebra, Germany - marshalling yard + 45 min. Time: 7 h. 30 min. Plane: U. Bomb load: 2 M17s, 10 500# G.P.s. Alt. 22,000 ft. Escorts P-38, P-47, P-51.
No flak except in distance. On way back prop governors went out, so we landed at emergency field - Woodbridge. Capt. Benadom came after us and his hydraulics went out on landing. It was nearly midnight before we started home. (We had fish and chips at an English base).
23 December 1944 - Mission 21.
Target: Ahrweiler, Germany - Railway and highway junctions and surroundings. Time: 6 h. 0 min. Plane O. Bomb load: 12 500# G.P., Alt. 21,000 ft. Escort P-51 area support. Temp. -29 degrees C.
In flak for 25 minutes. Very accurate and a lot of it. None at target. Visual over continent. Really beautiful. The ground completely covered with snow. Looked so peaceful - but looks are often deceiving. Perfect bombing. Hope we helped the ground men. They nee it now! Naturally the weather closed in over England. Made it okay. The Shep flew with us again.
24 December 1944 - Mission 22.
Target: Pfalzel, Germany - Road junction, location in doubt, maybe Belgium. Parshall. Time: 6 h. 0 min. Plane 1 (193). Bomb load 24 150# G.P. Alt. 22,000 ft. Escort P-38, P-47, P-51. Temp. ?
Ran out of gas over Belgium and had to land. Landed at Danean, France. No. 2 cut out in turn, #1 and #3 cut out in landing. Stayed a few hours and refueled. Brought another crew back. All-out effort today. Really gave Jerry a good Xmas present. We did beautiful bombing. Moderate flak but no holes, but accurate.
1 January 1945 - Mission 23.
Target: Cologne, Germany. Bridge over Mouzel River (Parshall). Time 7 h. 15 min. Plane 1 (193). Bomb load: 3 2000# G.P. Alt. 22,000 ft. Escorts P-51, P-47 area.
Moderate flak over target. None en route. Really sweated out this one. Hydraulic line in turret broke over Channel and fluid covered entire outside of turret. Couldn't see anything. Had bandits in the area, too. Luckily, I had some extra fluid so filled system up after leaving target area. Beautiful bombing. Visual. Got all three bridges.
3 January 1945 - Mission 24.
Target: Landau, Germany - supply and barracks. Time: 7 h. 30 min. Plane: O. Plane 20 250# G.P.s, 2 M17s. Alt. 21,500 ft. Escort: P-51s, Very good. Temp. -24 degrees C.
Bombed G.H. through 10/10s target 7 miles from front lines. No flak. Very uneventful. Wish all were like this one.
8 January 1945 - Mission 25.
Target: Bury Rueland, Belgium - troop support. Time: 7 h. 0 min. Plane: 1 (193). Bomb load: 12 500# G.P.s. Alt. 23,000 ft. Escort: P-51s Fair. Temp. -50 degrees C - -58 degrees F.
No flak. 10/10s coverage. Bombed G.H. results unknown. Contrails very dense over target.
14 January 1945 - Mission 26.
Target: Hemmingstedt, Germany. South of Heide - oil refinery. Time: 6 h. 15 min. Plane J (Nelson's 318). Bomb load: 12 500# G.P.s. Alt. 21,600 ft. Escort: P-51's good. Temp. -23 degrees C.
Bombing visual and excellent. No flak. Very good view of Helgoland and Danish peninsula. Saw smoke from target 130 miles away. Actually enjoyed this one.
16 January 1945 - Mission 27.
Target: Dresden, Germany - marshalling yard. Time: 8 hrs. 30 min. + 2 h. 45 min. Plane O (049). Bomb load: 12 500 # G.P.s. Alt. 22,500 ft. Escort P-51s very good.
Bombed secondary visual. Poor results. Heavy flak over primary and moderate over lines. Came in over Zider Zee and returned down over Metz. Got a good (very good) view of installations there. Were directed to Orly Airfield, Paris, because U.K. was soaked in. Stayed overnight. Struthers and I stood guard; others went into Paris. Flew over town. Pretty good view. Conroy finished on this one with 36. Rueland was primary. (Parshall)
3 February 1945 - Mission 28.
Target: Magdeburgh, Germany. Time 7 h. 30 min. Plane K. Bomb load 10 500# G.P.s. Alt. 22,000 ft. Escort P-51s. very good. Temp. -37 degrees C.
Bombed last resort. P.F.F. results unknown. 10/10s. Flak heavy and very accurate on route in for 10 or 15 minutes. Tracked perfectly. Flak moderate at target. Mostly 88 mm with red centers. Mostly at 6 o'clock. Weather pretty good. No contrails. Watkins flew nose. Got around five holes.
6 February 1945 - Mission 29.
Target: Magdeburgh, Germany. Time 7 h. 25 min. Plane U (539). Bomb load: 10 500# G.P.s. Alt. 23,000 ft. Escort: P-51. Temp.?
14 February 1945 - Mission 30.
Target: Magdeburgh, Germany. Time 7 h. 30 min. Plane O. Bomb load: 6 500# G.P.s; 6 M17's. Alt. 28,000 ft. Escort: P-51. Temp. ?
15 February 1945 - Mission 31.
Target: Magdeburgh, Germany. Time: 7 h. 5 min. Plane: N (795). Bomb load: 10 500# G.P.s. Alt. 22,500 ft., Escort: P-51. Temp.?
Flak over target moderate and accurate. Really a rat race over target. Our squadron swung right under another squadron's right, over target. Our plane nearly collided with S. We were nearly on our back.
16 February 1945 - Mission 32.
Target Rhine, Germany. Time: 6 h. 30 min + 1 h. 45 min. Plane K (087?). Bomb load: 12 500# G.P.s. Alt. 22,000 ft. Escort: P-51 very poor.
Flak over target moderate and accurate. After bombs away headed over Osnabrock and got lots of flak there. No damage. Were diverted to St. Quinton, France. Stayed there three days.
21 February 1945 - Mission 33.
Target: Nuremberg, Germany - marshalling yards. Time: 8 h. 30 min. Plane O (292.) Bomb load 5 500# G.P.s, 5 M17's. Alt. 23,000 ft. Escort: P-51. Temp. ?
Meager flak over target. Moderate and very accurate over lines going in and moderate at Freiburg coming out. Three holes. Bombed through 10/10's. Result unobserved.
22 February 1945 - Mission 34.
Target: Gottingen, Germany - marshaling yard. Time: 7 h. 0 min. Plane O. (282). Bomb load: 12 500# G.P.s, Alt. 8,000 ft. Escort P-51 perfect. Temp.?
Came over Zider Zee at 10,000 ft., then lowered to 8,000 ft. Perfect bombing. Good view of Germany at this altitude. Very interesting mission. Meager flak from Osnabruk coming out. Burtsavage finished today. Just one more for us!! Thought we had flak under us over target, but it was concussion from exploding bombs.
23 February 1945 - Mission 35.
Target: Weimar, Germany. Time 8 h. O min. Plane J (103 missions) Nelson's plane. Bomb load 10 500# G.P.s. Alt. 18,000 ft. Escort P-51 very good.
Sweated weather most of the way. Pretty thick stuff, especially on the withdrawal! T/S McDonald; T/S Jacob. Completed w/o Griffith, Carpenter and Allen. Parshall.
LYNDON CRANE ALLEN
World War II
Memories and Biography
(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)
28 March 1981
Dear Mr. Lundy:
I read the article by Will Lundy (44th) in the March 1981 issue of the Second Air Force Division Association Journal.
I am reminded of a situation we had while I was attending S.M.U. right after the war. As you probably know, the colleges were practically flooded with G.I. bill students. We had two fellow students who had been in the Air Corps, both had been prisoners of war. One had to bail out, I think, over the North Sea, and was picked up by the Germans. Somehow he got out after spending just one day as a POW (probably it was right at the end of the war). The other, Virga Carneal, had been captured in Germany, had spent over a year as a POW in a Stalag Luft in northern Germany, and was in on that infamous march the POWs had to make from north to south in Germany in the winter of 1944-45 - many barefooted and all in horrible circumstances. The first fellow let everyone know he had been a POW; Virgil never mentioned it and would only talk of it after much prodding. But I have found that to be the situation all through life; those who have the least to say, say the most! (Maybe that's why I write such long letters).
I knew conditions were bad in the early stages of the war, but you brought out just how bad they were. And I admire you so in trying to give credit where credit is due. My tour as a tail gunner was from August, 1944, to February 23, 1945 - right at the end. And, honestly, I have done my best since returning to try to not sound like a bore because I wasn't. I just made as ballast in the tail those 35 times. I have tried to say others were the heroes and they should be given the honors, such as you gave them.
I didn't dream conditions were such as you described. I knew they had been bad but had no idea they were such. Now, those men - every one of them - are the ones who were the real heroes.
My goodness, when we flew we had nice heated suits, good oxygen supplies, the bottles you described. My tail turret had a thick protective Plexiglas shield in front of me. (The models of B-24s that started arriving right after we finished our tour did not have that protective glass - some engineers in San Diego figured it wasn't needed! I was surely glad that I was through with my missions when those planes started arriving!) Just the flak and simply being there were bad enough to cause me to get a medical discharge because of my nerves. I doubt if I'd have made one mission in the early days.
I had a nervous breakdown in 1968 and have not worked since. At first, I was "lower than a snakes belly," but God has been good to me and now I have never enjoyed life, in general, more. I have been 100% disabled since 1969 (70% service connected and 100% unemployable until last year when I was designated as 100% service connected). But I have a good life, living in an efficiency apartment in an apartment complex for retired persons.
I introduced myself; small and smelly, the one who sent the "Relief Tubes" article in (March 1981, p. 9). By the way, I may send in articles periodically, but they will all be in that vein. I'll let those who were really heroes write along those lines, or, as you did - about others who deserved to get recognition they deserved!
Thank you again, Mr. Lundy, for pointing out the world the situation as it was for the crews in the early part of WWII (Archie's Big One).
One more comment and I'll let you get back to your coffee - or what have you. As I stated, the colleges were over-run with G.I.'s after the war. I was taking an English course; of the probable 30 in the class only two or three were not G.I.'s. The teachers assigned us to write a theme on anything we wanted to. Well, naturally, we Army, Air Corps, Sailors, Marines, all wrote about what we knew about - the war. She was deluged with war stories. Several weeks later she gave us a similar assignment and was again swamped with stories of our war experiences. Then several weeks later she again gave us a "theme" assignment, but this time she stated that anyone who wrote about the war automatically would get an "F!" I didn't blame her. In the space of two weeks, she'd received at least 60 different stories about the war!
Again, I hope I've written to the right Will Lundy. The article was magnificent and so deserved. I thank you for it. That's what I enjoy so about being in the 2nd AFD Association - getting to learn of others' experiences, etc.
Hope I'll get to meet you in San Antonio in October. With God's help, I'm going to try to make my first reunion.
Lyndon Crane Allen
(Small and smelly)
LYNDON C. ALLEN
(44th Bomb Group)
World War II
Memories and Biography
The White Cliffs of Dover
None of us made that second mission without preliminarily making that first. But I am sure each of us have particular memories of our first, and that's what this is all about - my specific memories of our first. The White Cliffs of Dover play a significant role in these memories.
My memory fails me as to the preliminaries of this, our, what we thought to be, a "baptism of fire." I am sure we fairly well followed the sequence Louis W. Wust described in the March, 1980, issue of the Journal, page 10. The awakening, usual truck ride or walk to the mess hall, those delicious powdered eggs, the truck ride to the flight line; all done thousands of times by thousands of other Second Air Division members. Of course, to us gunners, the briefing took on a different aspect from that to which it did to pilots and others to whom it was so pertinent. It was more of an occasion of seeing where we were going, what to expect along the way, etc. The obtaining of our flight cloths was very similar to that which Louis described. One thing he left out, though, was that we were always issued some from of nourishment to take along to help sustain us on our waiting to get back to the next meal. For the longer flights, I'm sure all remember those "C" rations we were issued; for the shorter ones we were usually given candy bars. (For us, "Ping Bars" were the predominant type. No one on our crew liked them except me, so I usually made some pretty good trades and really enjoyed more than my share of "Ping Bars." Wish I could have one now - even with my diabetic condition!) But this was to be a rather long one, so I presume we were issued the "C" rations this time.
Our pre-flighting, of course, was different, but once we were in the air I guess we were all pretty much in the same situation. This "Number One" for us was to be the bombing of an airfield near Nancy-Essy, France. Incidentally, this took place on August 18, 1944. After assembling over England somewhere, we headed eat. Our plane was one of the last in the formation and, as I was tail gunner, I had no other planes to see and give me moral support.
Leaving the English coast was the significant aspect, to me, of our first mission. Ever since I had geography back in Elementary School, I have heard of, and have seen pictures of the White Cliffs of Dover and there they were directly below me! How beautiful; how magnificent; just as they had been shown in pictures! At first I completely forgot the apprehension of this being our first mission. But as I watched those white cliffs starting to become smaller and as we continued east they became even smaller, until finally they were gone! That apprehension suddenly came back. What were we getting into? What did we have to expect before us? Would I ever see those beautiful cliffs again? I'm not the only one who ever had that feeling, I know, but with no planes behind me and the cliffs gone, what next!
Well it turned out to be a milk run; and no flak, no "Jerries," no nothing. The bombing was good. Our first mission had accomplished its purpose. It was not the "baptism of fire" we had anticipated; it was just a long eight-hour and 20 minute flight.
Yes, coming back I did get to see those majestic cliffs again. I saw them several times later, by the way, but never with that apprehension that was there on the first mission; the apprehension that was so accentuated by the passing of those White Cliffs of Dover over the horizon as we went east on that first mission.