Allen J. Baker|
World War II Diary
For some time I have thought about writing of an experience our W.W.II bomber crew had over the Atlantic Ocean while flying the southern route to Europe in April 1944. As had many others, we were assigned a newly minted B-24 at Topeka, Kansas and traveled in it by the way of West Palm Beach, Florida-Trinadad-Belem-Fort Aleza on to Dakar, Africa.
Our original instructions had us flying to the coast of Africa south of Dakar. We had been directed to turn north to find the airport. Our navigator, the late H. P. (Whitey) Ahlstedt, had repeated trouble with our new radio compass throughout the entire flight, but we made our left turn at the coast, thinking we were on a proper heading for the Dakar landing strip.
After some time of flying north without spotting the landing field, our pilot, Joe Herrmann, asked me, as radio operator, to get a directional. Using the "Q" signals, we had an indication that we should be traveling south instead of north. After two or three additional directionals indicated the same data, the airfield sent search planes out to locate us to lead us to the landing field.
During all this mounting pressure, the pilot had the crew line up at the exits, prepared to bail out as we were becoming increasingly low on fuel. You may understand our relief when a spotter plane found us and headed us toward the proper field! I had been so busy on the radio I was not prepared to jump since my shoes were out of reach of my station.
As the wheels touched the runway, one engine quit. Another engine died before we reached the end of the landing strip and a third one sputtered out before we got to the hardstand to park. Later, we checked the remaining tank and it wet only a quarter of an inch of the measuring stick. Our total time in the air was 14 hours, 25 minutes; probably not a record, but not all that bad for a green crew flying a plan, which had limited of break-in hours before we had started our trip.
In 1987, five of the crew (pilot, navigator, engineer, tail gunner and the radio operator) reassembled at the Eighth Air Force Reunion in Pittsburgh where the EM heard the "Paul Harvey Rest-of-the-story," tale of what had been our real trouble that long ago day on the African coast.
A German submarine located off the coast of Africa and knowing planes were coming from South America -- as we had -- toward a point south of Dakar. The Jerry was misguiding incoming planes with false signals, which led them out over the Sahara Desert to run out of gas. By checking our route with our pilot and navigator, the African field sent out a bomber that was successful in surprising and sinking the sub. When our radio compass proved to be operational, it seems that we had contributed toward the war effort without firing a shot. However, it did take some time for our nerves to settle!
A relative few days later, we flew on to Marrakech and then to Wales where we, regretfully, left our plane in the assembly pool. After the usual ground school courses and similar war zone initiations, we were assigned to the 44th Bombardment Group, 67th Squadron, at Shipdham, England, where we flew our first mission on D-Day and completed 31 raids in 72 days. It does not appear to be a record time, but to us survivors, it seemed like one.
Allen J. Baker Diary
Combat Diary of Crew #2387
6 June 1944 to 15 August 1944
Between January 2, 1942 and December 29, 1943, entered the Army at New Cumberland Barracks near Carlisle, Pa. Basic training at Jefferson Barracks. Radio school at Scott Field, Belleville, Ill. Gunnery School at Harlingen, Texas and promoted to S/Sgt. Squadron moved to Northern Field, Tenn. Advanced Gunnery School at Myrtle Beach, SC. and from here begins my diary of World War II.
29 Dec 1943 -- Assigned to HBC Pool on 10 Jan 1944. Assigned to crew 2387 and was shipped out and F/O Ahlstedt was assigned to our crew.
7 April 1944 -- Left Casper by train and arrived in Topeka, Kansas 9 April 1944. Here we processed and got everything in ship shape. Assigned a new airplane for our trip overseas. The crew had their families there for a visit and gathering at the Jay Hawk Hotel.
22 April 1944 -- Left Topeka in the morning in a thunderstorm and landed at Morrison Field, West Palm Beach, FL. We got lost on our way over Tennessee, and finally got back on course. Stayed there about 1-½ days. Flying time 11:20.
24 April 1944 -- Landed at Waller Field, Trinidad before noon. The weather was hot and there was jungle growth around the island. We had two-story screened-in barracks. 10:45.
25 April 1944 -- Landed at Belem, Brazil in forenoon. Very hot and humid on the Equator and the mouth of the Amazon River. This flight will always be remembered. We flew through a heavy thunderhead and was the roughest ride I ever had with electricity arcing all over the plane, around the props and arcing across to the plane's fuselage. Weird!!!
26 April 1944 -- Landed at Fortaliza, Brazil, which was very nice country. The A5 was not working properly which delayed us a day. Took some nice pictures. 5:00 and 1:30 testing the A5.
28 April 1944 -- Landed at Dakar, Africa after getting lot and flying over the desert awhile. We landed with practically no gas left. Flew the Atlantic at night. The people of Dakar are very tall and blue-black. 15:25.
30 April 1944 -- Landed at Marrakech, Morocco. This is French territory and there was some evidence of fighting. Some of the countryside looked pretty nice. 8:00.
2 May 1944 -- Landed at Valley, Wales. That was the last we saw of that plane. We flew across the Bay of Biscayne to keep out away from possible German fighters along the French Coast. 10:15.
3 May 1944 -- Arrived at Stone and was at Howard Hall. Didn't do much except wait and pull KP and other details.
12 May 1944 - 27 May 1944 -- Black Pool--slept on boards and left for North Ireland. Trip was by boat. Attended school to become familiar with ETO radio procedures. Went to British rest camp where we met the rest of the crew. Sleeping on boards again, chiggers, too.
28 May 1944 -- Arrived at Shipdham early in the morning by train and was taken by truck to our base. We had some schooling here and pulled some guard duty until we started our combat flying.
Mission 1 -- 6 June 1944
6:00 Target-Vire, France 500 GP bombs (4th mission that day).
Before we took off sometime afternoon, we knew it was D-Day and the boys who came back from the earlier missions of the day told us of the great number of ships in the channel. When we crossed over it, it looked like you could step from one to he other all the way across. We also saw a great number of aircraft going and coming. The mission was an easy one. No flak or fighters. We bombed a rail yard with good results. Somewhere along the trip, we got off course and landed at an English base and they gave us the good neighbor treatment and put us up for the night. We returned to the base the next day.
Mission 2 -- 8 June 1944
7:40 Target-Angers, France 500 GP bombs A/C 820 or 031
We bombed a marshalling yard and locomotive works. We encountered our first flak, which was light and inaccurate. Ahlstedt and I had the battle of the bomb bay doors and we never did get them all the way open and then couldn't get them closed. Anyway, we brought our bombs back with us. Our gas supply was getting low so we landed at a B-17 base, took on some gas, and later returned to our home base.
Mission 3 -- 12 June 1944
6:45 Target-Dutrux, France 52-20 lb. clusters of frags.
Our group bombed an airfield and we saw a fair amount of flak. A couple of rockets were fired at us, but they meandered over half of France to get to our altitude but were nowhere close when they went off. We returned with our bombs again. Boy, Hitler would lose money to shoot us down. Wasn't our fault there was a broken linkage in the bomb release. Joe sure made an easy landing with those frags in the bomb bay.
Mission 4 -- 15 June 1944
6:25 Target-Tours, France 100 lb. Dem.
Our target today was a bridge. Results were excellent. We had our first fighter attack today. Dillon-nose turret-got some shots (ME 109) got a possible credit for a probable. We never heard any more whether he got credit for the probable or not. Not likely, or we would have known later. We also saw a couple of rockets and medium flak.
Mission 5 -- 18 June 1944
7:50 Target-Luneburg, Germany A/F 500 GP
This was our first mission over Germany. We had 10/10 cloud cover and as a result, we returned with our bombs. The flak was rather heavy but not really accurate.
Mission 6 -- 20 June 1944
9:00 Target-Politz, Germany 100 Dem.
Our targets for today were oil refineries and they are always rougher than other targets. It was a long mission up over the North Sea, across Denmark a ways, then turned south into Germany. I could see the target through the smoke screen they had going, but the wind kept the smoke scattered. Coming in on the 1P we really caught the flak very heavy and accurate. I was sitting on the flight deck with bomb bay doors open and saw a piece of flak hit the bombs. Another piece knocked out the putt-putt and also a piece hit my foot, but no damage. When bombs away, I couldn't contact the pilot. The electrical system was out and I saw the bomb hung up and one above it dropped on it and bounced to the outside of the bomb bay and hung there with the tail fin wedged in the control cables. I knew something was very wrong because we were going down, so I discarded my flak suit and parachute and went out on the cat walk and tried to lift the bomb out, but couldn't, so I got one foot on the outside of the bomb bay and stood astride of the open bomb bay and lifted it out. It seemed light -- probably because we were going down, making it lighter. I very carefully dropped it out as I didn't know if the little propeller had turned off or not and I didn't want it to hit anything. After getting the bomb bay doors shut, I went to the cockpit and told Joe the bomb was out. He said he knew something was wrong there, but he had plenty to do just to keep the plane flying. Dillon later released the other bomb that didn't release. We had many other holes in our plane and were spraying gas from No. 2 engine. Joe wanted to go to Sweden, but Mac thought we could make it home. We did with little to spare. Joe told us later that the electrical system was out and we went several thousand feet down out of control. He had pressed the bail out button but nothing happened. About then the engines caught again and Joe got the plane under control. Some time, while all this was happening, Lyle was throwing lead at an ME-410 who was attacking us. The group behind us was hit hard (492nd) by fighters. Joe said he was going to put me in for the Silver Star, but we never heard anything from it.
Mission 7 -- 21 June 1944
9:20 Target-Berlin 500 GP
Flak was heavy, but not quite as accurate as the day before. Our fighter escort was good, but other groups got hit. We had several holes with one coming up through the tail section close to Latimer. Our target was a motor works plant.
Mission 8 -- 22 June 1944
6:00 Target-Nucort, France 500 GP
After two long and rough missions, we had an easy one today. Light flak, no fighters, and a short trip.
Mission 9 -- 27 June 1944
6:00 Target-Creil, France 500 GP
This one was to be another milk run, but we got lots of flak and accurate. The nose turret had two hits, breaking the Plexiglas and a couple hits around the cockpit and many more throughout the plane. My job was to go to the lower part of the flight deck and open the bomb bay doors. After the bombs are dropped and checking if all have dropped, I close them and return to my radio seat. On returning, right beside the seat was a large hole through the side of the plane from a flak fragment. That's being at the right place at the right time. We passed over three capitals today. The Hague, Brussels, and Paris.
Mission 10 -- 29 June 1944
8:15 R Target-Magdeburg, Germany 100-lb. Inc.
A deep penetration raid where we bombed an a/c engine factory. Weather was good and we had a lot of flak and fairly accurate. Lt. Gilbert was flying on our left wing in l and had a direct hit in his left wing, breaking the main spar. He made it back, but the wing had a pretty good angle to it. The squadron on our right had a direct hit and exploded Lt. Landhall and pieces of plane fell on another plane, Lt. Wescott, and it went into a flat spin and later blew up. We saw ten chutes and one opened and a piece of burning plane fell on this person's chute and burned his chute up.
Mission 11 -- 4 July 1944
6:00 R Target-Beaumont, France 100 GP
A short mission with no flak or fighters, but saw two rockets in the distance. Our target was an airfield.
Mission 12 -- 6 July 1944
7:00 T Target-Keil, Germany 500 GP's and 500 Inc.
This target, sub pens, put some fear into us before we even started because of some very disastrous raids previously flown. It turned out not quite as rough as expected. They did have 88's-105's and 155's all, and when those 155's went off, they really made a bang. The weather was poor and as a result, the bombing wasn't so good. We had quite a few holes in our plane and carrying incendiaries, I watched very closely for any hits in the bomb bay. If they would have started to smoke or catch fire, the bombardier would have gotten the message to salvo very quickly, whether the bomb bay doors were open or not.
Mission 13 -- 7 July 1944
7:00 N Target-Bernberg, Germany 100 Inc.
We were assigned R, but for some reason we couldn't take it, so we transferred to N -- the Wasp's Nest. I believe in revving up the engines of R, it wouldn't give us full power for takeoff. The mission was a rough one. Our group losing three planes. The flak was moderate, but fairly accurate, but we were attacked by many German fighters -- ME110's, 410's, JU 88's, FW 190's and ME 109's. Dillon, Wheaton and Tray did most of the shooting. I perched myself behind the pilot's seat to watch the action and I saw many planes going down and many chutes. Whitey said he counted 33 bombers going down, and the next day the news gave the 8th Air Forces losses at 33. Our position was the high right squadron and we led the high right element. My personal opinion is the 67th seemed to fly a good, tight formation when the situation called for it and the GF was more reluctant to attack a tight formation. The target was an aircraft factory and bombing results were good. We carried those fearful incendiaries again.
Mission 14 -- 8 July 1944
4:45 R Target-Goes, Holland 1,000 GP
Our planned target was Esterrnay, France, near Paris, but he weather was bad and we went for any target of opportunity. We dropped our bombs on a bridge and did a good job on it. Very light flak and our shortest mission.
Mission 15 -- 11 July 1944
9:00 J Target-Munich, Germany 1,000 Gp
The trip to Munich was a long one, so with my long cord from my radio, I perched myself in my usual spot right behind the pilot. What a sight to remember this day. BBC said 1,100 bombers hit the Munich area and I personally counted over 500 bombers in the semi-circle to our front. The mission was not too bad. The flak was heavy, but really accurate. We were led by PFF and bombed the Rein Airfield. Results -- unknown.
Mission 16 -- 16 July 1944
7:00 R Target-Saarbrucken, Germany 500 GP
We went for an airplane components parts plant, but had 10/10 cloud cover and bombed by PFF. We saw a lot of flak, but the German gunners were tracking chaff instead of our planes. By the time they got back on us, we were out of range. We also saw quite a few rockets.
Mission 17 -- 18 July 1944
5:25 R Target-Caen area 20 lb. Frags
The entire 8th Air Force was sent into the Caen area to bomb the troop concentrations along the British front. We bombed right on target. The flak was medium to light.
Mission 18 -- 20 July 1944
7:25 R Target-Erfort-Nord, Germany 100 Inc.
Our target was an A/C assembly plant, but the opposition was light with some rockets and light flak. We did a good job of bombing. As we were leaving the target area, the smoke was rising to almost 20,000 ft.
Mission 19 -- 21 July 1944
8:00 J Target-Munich, Germany 100 Inc.
This one is the kind of mission that sort of gets to you. Before the target, we climbed to 26,000 to get over the clouds, but couldn't, so we had to go through them. Lyle said one plane caught up to us from behind, and almost collided. I was squeezed in my usual place behind the pilot, and right across in front of us passed a plane going from our left to right just narrowly missing him. Joe pulled back on the controls and our air speed dropped to 100 mph. With a full load, we were dangerously near to stalling out. After we came out of the clouds, there were planes everywhere -- alone-2's and 3's and we couldn't locate our own group, so several just got together and formed some kind of a formation. We bombed an A/C assembly plant and air field, and were hit by heavy flak, and then by fighters FW190's and ME109's. They were pressing their attacks until our P51's came on the scene. I was watching a dog fight to our left and a small group of fighters made a straight through pass at tremendous speed. They were the new jet planes that the Germans were rumored to have. Our group got credit for three destroyed and one probable.
Mission 20 -- 24 July 1944
5:05 K Target-St. Lo 52-100 GP and Dem.
Our assignment for today was to bomb troop concentrations along the American lines, but it was overcast, so we dropped our bombs in the channel on our way back. We saw a few bursts of flak, which gave us credit for an easy mission.
Mission 21 -- 25 July 1944
5:25 K Target-St. Lo Frags
This was a mission in support of the American ground forces. We went in at 13,000 ft. to assure more accuracy, because we were to bomb close to the American line. We led the entire 8th Air Force, and after the bombing, Gen. Patton was off and running for Paris and arrived there a couple of weeks later. We didn't have too much flak, but what we had was accurate.
Mission 22 -- 31 July 1944
7:00 O Target-Ludwigshaven, Germany 12-500 GP
This was a mission to a chemical plant and synthetic rubber works. We bombed by PFF, and the results were reported good. Flak was heavy and one plane was lost, but not from our squadron. A number of chutes were seen. The plane had completely flipped on its back, but somehow the pilot righted the plane to allow the crew to bail out.
Mission 23 -- 1 August 1944
6:00 O Target-Le Havre, France 8-1,000
Cloud cover prevented us from bombing a bridge--our primary target. We found some openings in the clouds, so we bombed a road and railway junction about three pastures from town. No flak or fighters.
Mission 24 -- 3 August 1944
5:05 O Target-Paris area 1,000 GP
The briefing gave indications of heavy flak, but a weather front prevented us from getting to our target. We returned with our bombs. No flak, but a few fighters were seen but no attacks. I don't know which is worse--being under attack or flying through clouds.
Mission 25 -- 4 August 1944
7:30 O Target-Keil, Germany 500 GPs
Keil is always a rough one and this was no exception. They put up heavy flak and one piece hit a bomb. I saw it make the dust fly from it and thank goodness they weren't incendiaries. We had a number of other holes in our plane and one gas tank punctured, returning it to be removed. Ol' Fearless got a day's rest because of it. Our target was sub pens, and we had fair results.
Mission 26 -- 5 August 1944
7:15 I Target-Brunswick 500 Inc. and 100 GP
Brunswick is in the Rohr Valley, and they were all considered a rough place to go, but we had excellent fighter support, but the flak was pretty rough. We led the 14th wing, so the gunners were just warming up. We had no holes in our plane--Fearless was out for repairs from the day before to Keil, so we were in l. We went after an aircraft armament works factory. Mac was sort of nervous--his brother was shot down over Brunswick. We found out later he was a POW.
Mission 27 -- 6 August 1944
7:15 O Target-Hamburg 500 GP
Another rough target for the third day in a row. We were after an oil refinery, and hit it with excellent results. It seems we had an extra long run for the target -- 8 minutes -- the flak kept getting heavier and more accurate. I was watching from my place squeezed in behind the pilot and watched another group ahead of us go in, and they knocked down five bombers from that group. I'm not sure if it was the 492nd or 392nd. Anyway, we were really getting it now. There was gasoline draining into the bomb bay. I opened the doors and soon the bombs were dropped and Latimer called me to come to the waist, and as soon as I could get away, I went back and the gas coming in, I was completely soaked. Tray had a piece of flak through his upper leg. I checked him and there wasn't too much bleeding and his leg didn't appear to be broken. I cleaned it up the best I could, put sulfa powder on it, gave him a shot of morphine, wrapped it, and covered him up to keep him warm. I watched his gun position until we got back out over the North Sea as we were alone and out of formation. We couldn't maintain altitude. We called for fighter escort, and a P51 escorted us until we were almost back to England. We seemed to be in fair shape to make it by then. A couple days later, the crew chief told us we were lucky. All four engines were hit. No. 1 engine had the super charger hit, giving us some power at low altitude. No. 2 had an oil line and cylinder hit, but still gave us partial power. The gas line, which was cut, was from the outboard tank, and sprayed gas from No. 3 engine. Somehow it was coming into the bomb bay and No. 4 engine had the prop governor hit, so the pitch could not be changed for landing. We had Lt. Robb as co-pilot and Shifty flew in place of Wheaten. Shifty filled in for Tray for the rest of our missions. When we came in for a landing, I fired the red red flares for an immediate landing, and it meant a call for an ambulance. The ambulance was at our bard stand by the time our engines were cut. We weren't the only ones -- seven planes fired red red flares today. Fearless was out of commission for awhile again for repairs, and some new gas tanks. We were really flying the last while -- I was down to 142 lb.
Mission 28 -- 7 August 1944
6:00 J Target-Amiens, France 250 GP
We bombed a tank storage area with good results. We had cameras installed in our planes. We had light flak today. We kidded about bombing two trains coming in opposite directions and we hit them just as they met.
Mission 29 -- 12 August 1944
O Target-Juvin Court, France 100 GPs(?)
This was an aborted mission and we got no credit for a mission. After take-off, the air speed indicator did not work and the navigators also weren't working, so we landed again without even making formation.
Mission 30 -- 13 August 1944
4:30 O Target-LeHavre Area 100 GP
We were bombing the German retreat. They sent up heavy, accurate flak. No. 2 engine had an oil line and master cylinder shot out. I looked to our right squadron and saw a plane get hit. He started to trail smoke, and dropped from the formation apparently under control. It was Lt. Milliken of the 506th and nine chutes were seen, so the entire crew must have gotten out. When we got back, our No. 2 engine had sprayed a lot of oil and was pretty well covered with oil. Fearless Foslick was a good old plane, but we have been really giving it pretty rough punishment.
Mission 31 -- 14 August 1944
8:15 O Target-Lyon, France 10 500 GP
This mission will always be remembered as a pleasure trip rather than combat. We encountered very light flak -- no fighter attacks. We crossed over Holland, Belgium, and by Paris to Lake Geneva, Switzerland and was a clear day. We could see the Alps, the Mediterranean Sea, Italy, and I believe we saw Spain. Near the Swiss border, there was a Swiss ME 109 flying to our left, so we wouldn't wander into their territory. We bombed an airfield to help pave the way for our forces to land in southern France the next day. We hit our target on the nose.
Mission 32 -- 15 August 1944
5:30 O Target-Wilhelmshaven, Germany 52 100 Inc.
We bombed an airfield with good results and light, inaccurate flak and no fighters. An order had come through a couple days ago stating the crews were to fly more than 30 missions, so Col. Gibson said 31 was more than 30, so this was the last mission for Joe, Lyle, Eddie, myself, Dillon, and Whitey. When General Johnson saw Whitey was still wearing F/O bars, he had him fly four more and gave him a battle field commission. Shifty had more missions to fly, but I don't know how many.
3 July 1944 Awarded the Air Medal by Col. Gibson
July 13 Crew had a two-day pass and went to London. Lyle and I stayed in a hotel on Piccadilly Square and a buzz bomb hit close by. We went to a full-dress rehearsal play at the Palladium
July 24 1st Oak Leaf Cluster to the Air Medal presented.
July 31 Tray was injured over Hamburg and Bernard Schiffbauer flew the rest of the missions in his place.
August 9,10 Second two-day pass to London.
August 15 Last mission for Joe, Lyle, Eddie, and Baker.
August 15 Promoted to Tech. Sgt.
August 28 Awarded DFC by Gen. Johnson -- a great man.
August 29 Awarded third Oak Leaf Cluster to my Air Medal. Had guard duty until we left the base.
August 31 Baker, Breuing and Latimer were transferred to 12th RCO for return to ZOI where I was assigned as camp disk jockey, getting up early and playing revelley on the loud speaker system. I played music, made announcements, etc. during the day. Somehow, I, along with some other, did not get to come home and were transferred temporarily to an English base.
September 17 Lynham, England, on DS to 302nd transport wing RAF. This was a British base where wounded from the front in Europe were flown back to. WE Americans were given B-24's with all armament taken off of them and a crew of pilot, co-pilot, and 1 EM. We were people who had completed our missions. The bomb bay had a platform built in and we were loaded with gasoline in cans to be flown to the front line fighter bases. Some of these were very treacherous in landing, due to the bomb craters in the runway which were only filled in with ground. Sometimes it was soft, causing the nose wheel to collapse or a wheel hit it and caused you to run off the runway. Some were close enough to the front you could hear the gunfire. My pilot was Lt. George Haag (492nd?). Co-pilot Lt. Robb. I was given the maps and rode the nose to do the navigating, which was sort of dangerous, because we flew at 5,000 ft. and there were pockets along the French Coast still held by the Germans. There was one or two shot down. We flew until Nov. 2. I just loafed around and was sent back to the 12th RCO for processing. I left by boat on December 1 with orders to report to Richmond, VA on January 10, 1945.
January 10, 1945 Just sat around until further orders.
February 1 Laredo, Texas. Went to Instructor's School and washed out (intentionally).
April 25 Williams AFB near Phoenix. Flew as an instructor for new radio operators. One day a number of us needed flying time. We took off, flew west, doubled back to the Col. River, flew over Hoover Dam at about 500', and continued all the way up across the Grand Canyon, flew south over the Petrified Forest, then back to base--a very beautiful flight.
October 10, 1945 Discharged at Indiantown Gap, PA.
ALLEN J. BAKER
World War II
Memories and Biography
(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)
January 8, 1988
It has been very cold here lately, so I thought I'd get time to finally write to you.
I bought one of your 67th Bomb Squadron history books at Dayton. I would like to have your new book covering the groups so I'm sending $26.00 for it. I am also sending my copy of my diary so if any information is useful to you anytime, you may use it.
If you will note we flew 31 missions from June 6 to August 15. I was wondering how close this comes to the record in flying our missions. I really enjoy receiving the 44th logbook and also the 2nd AD quarterly.
I made an effort last spring to locate as many of our crew as I could. Three of us had been in contact and I was successful in finding my pilot and engineer and the five of us got together in Pittsburgh last October at the 8th reunion.
My address is as follows: Allen J. Baker, Box 37, Loysburg, PA 16659
February 5, 1988
I have just received a copy from our tail gunner, Lyle Latimer, who took Joe Herrmann (pilot) his own and my diary and made a composite copy of all three together. It is rather lengthy and if you would be interested in it, I could have it copied and sent to you later. It has our personal feelings as well as other comments. As for the one I sent of my own, you can use any parts of it you want to.
December 31, 1944. City: Niewied. Target: marshaling yard. Plane O. 6 1,000 lb. bombs. (049) 6 ½ h. 2700 gals gas. Flak was light.
January 2, 1945. City: Coblenz. Target: railroad bridge I. 3 2,000 lb. bombs. (193) 6 hours. 2,700 gals gas. Flak was moderate.
January 3, 1945. City: Landau. Target: troop barracks. T. 20 250-lb. GPs. (021). 7 h. 2,700 galls gas. Flak was light
January 7, 1945. City: Landau. Target: railroad. T. 20 250-lb. GPs plus incendiaries. (021). 7 h. 2,700 gas load. Flak was light.
January 13, 1945. City: Kaisers Lautern. Target: marshaling yard. T. 12 500-lb. GPs. (021). 7.5 h. 2,700 gals. Gas. Flak was light.
January 16, 1945. City: Dresden. Target: oil refinery. L. 12 500-lb. GPs. (846). 9.5 h. 2,700 gals. Flak was heavy.
January 29, 1945. City: Munster. Target: marshaling yard (741). P. 6 1,000-lb. bombs. 6 h. 2,700 gals. Gas. Flak was heavy
February 14, 1945. Magdeburg. Target: marshaling yard. (318) J. 6 500-lb. bombs. 6 h. 2,700 gals. gas. Flak was heavy.
February 15, 1945. City: Magdeburg. Target: oil refinery (539). J 6 500-lb. GPs, 6 inc. 7.5 h. 2,700 gallons gas. Flak was heavy.
February 21, 1945. City: Nuremburg. Target: marshaling yard (539) U. 5 500-lb. GPs, 5 inc. 8 h. 2,700 gallons gas. Flak moderate.
February 22, 1945. City: Gottingen. Target: marshaling yard 8,000-ft. (846). L 12 500-lb. GPs. 7 h. 2,700 gallons gas. No flak.
February 25, 1945. City: Aschaffenburg. Target: marshaling yard. (846). L. 5 500-lb. GPs, 5 inc. 8 h. 2,700 gallons gas. No flak.
February 27, 1945. City: Halle. Target: marshaling yard (out of gas and landed in Brussels). X. (503). 10 500-GPs. 7 h. 2,700 gallons gas. Flak moderate.
March 12, 1945. City: Wetzlar. Target: marshaling yard (751). T. 44 100-lb. GPs. 2 M-17. 6.5 h. 2,700 gallons gas. No flak.
March 15, 1945. City: Iossen. Target: general headquarters. (741). P 12 250-GPs. 4 M-17. 6.75 h. 2,700 gallons gas. Light flak.
March 18, 1945. Berlin. Target: V-2 and flak gun factories. (087). K. 52 oil bombs. 7.75 h. 2,700 gallons gas. Heavy flak.
March 19, 1945. City: Neuburg. Target: Jet plane factor and airfield. K. (087). 10 500-lb. GPs. 9.25 h. 2,700 gallons gas. No flak.
March 21, 1945. City: Osnabruck. Target: Airfield. No sheet. K. 240 fragmentation bombs. 5 h. 2,700 gallons gas. Light flak.
March 22, 1945. City: Hall. Target: Jet factory and airfield (087). K. 52 100-lb. GPs. 7.75 h. 2,700 gallons gas. No flak.
March 24, 1945. City: Wesel. Target: Supplied American troops. I. (193*) 5.75 h. 2,700 gallons gas. Heavy flak.
March 25, 1945. City: Hitzacker. Target: Underground oil depot (795). N. 24 250-lb. GPs. 7.25 h. 2,700 gallons gas. Light flak.
March 30, 1945. City: Wilhelmshaven. Target: U-boat pens (690). R. 12 500-lb. GPs. 6 h. 2,700 gallons gas. Moderate flak.
March 31, 1945. City: Brunswick. Target: marshaling yard. (087). K. 12 500-lb. GPs. 6.75 h. 2,700 gallons gas. Moderate flak.
April 4, 1945. City: Hamburg. Target: airfield. K. (?). 34 150-lb. GPs. 6.75 h. 2,700 gallons gas. Heavy flak.
April 5, 1945. City: Plaven. Target: marshaling yard. (?). 34 150-lb. GPs. 9 h. 2,700 gallons gas. No flak.
April 6, 1945. City: Halle. Target: railroad station. (?). K. 16 300-lb. GPs. 8 h. 2,700 gallons gas. Moderate flak.
April 9, 1945. City: Gunsberg. Target: Jet airfield. L(318). J. 18 300-lb. GPs. 9 h. 2,700 gallons gas. No flak.
April 11, 1945. City: Neumarkt. Target: marshaling yard. (318). J. 5 1,000-lb. GPs. 9 h. 2,700 gallons gas. No flak.
April 14, 1945. City: Royan, France. Target: Flak guns and 12,000 troops (578). Q. 4 2,000-lb. GPs. 8.5 h. 2,700 gallons gas. Light flak.
April 18, 1945. City: Passau, Czecho. Target: marshaling yard. (578). Q J. 10 500-lb. GPs. L 8 h. 2,700 gallons gas. No flak.
April 20, 1945. City: Schwandorf. Target: marshaling yard (763). S. 10 500-lb. GPs. 8 h. 2,700 gallons gas. No flak.
April 25, 1945. City: Hallein, Austria. Target: marshaling yard. (318). J 22 250-lb. GPs. 9 h. 2,700 gallons gas. Moderate flak.
* 20 mm. Shell in engine.
World War II
Memories and Biography
21 July 1944
(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)
One of your letters concerning a mission to Munich, Germany. It was our 19th mission on July 21, 1944. On our way we hit a weather front which we climbed to 26,000 feet, but could not get over it. We almost had a collision with a plane from behind and our pilot pulled up and our air speed went down to 100 mph and we almost fell off into a spin. Then, another plane crossed in front of us close enough I could read the numbers on its tail.
Coming out of the clouds, there were planes all over the sky and they started to make some kind of formations. We joined up with four other planes from other groups and had no leader. We saw a smoke bomb to our front, so we headed for it and dropped our bombs. We never knew what we really hit. Maybe this will explain a little as to why you had so little information on this mission.
P.S. I am very glad that your group of people have reactivated the 44th organization. I don't know if I can make it to any of the conventions or not.