BURTON A. MEGLITSCH|
Memories and Biography
World War II
(Taken from a letter sent to Will Lundy dated 2/27/95)
First, please note the current address. Reference your letter of the 21st of February. I was very surprised and pleased to receive your query. A bolt out of the blue. Yes, I can answer your questions.
I and my crew were a 491st lead crew, and as such were always assigned the latest and best-equipped aircraft for lead missions. When new equipment was provided, such as G.H. or improved types of radar arrived, there wasn't always trained maintenance people or special maintenance equipment immediately available at all stations. In this case, I don't recall whether it was G.H. or a new version of specialized radar. In any case, we didn't have the initial maintenance capability in the 491st at North Pickingham, so we were T.D.Y.D. over to Shipdham and the 14th WG. HQ and 44th B.G.
We were briefed at the 44th. Our Gp. Command pilot of the day was briefed with the 491st at North Pickingham, then came zapping over to Shipdham in a staff car with, I believe, a motorcycle and red lights and sirens and jumped on board with us at the hard stand. They usually just about made it before our taxi time. We would take off and proceed to the 491st forming area and replace the forming A/C lead to the unit to and from the target. Upon return, we would pull up off final approach of the formation, landing at N. Pick, slide over to keep our propwash off final, and do a legal buzz job at ground level and throw a salute to the Gp. Staff up on the control tower. Then we would return to Shipdham Intelligence Interrogation and wait for the next mission.
And now, as to crew personnel. Like every other bomber crew, we went over a ten-man crew; four officers and six airmen. After we made lead crew, two airmen were replaced with two more officers. Lt. Paul Fine was assigned as pilotage navigator and his position was in the nose turret. Lt. Joe Pica was assigned as "Micky" or radar navigator. Lt. Perelli-Minetti was my chief navigator and handled Loran and Gee-H. They took out the belly turret and I lost my upper turret gunner when he was injured on a parachute jump before I made a crash landing. He also had a wound in the leg. Perelli, my navigator, was hit in the head on the same mission and my first bombardier was KIA. I don't know where they reassigned Fine and Pica from when I got them. I also can't remember just how long we were at Shipdham, but we were there the night the 44th had an impromptu party when they thought the Gp. C.O. - Col. Shaverly, was shot down.
We did finish our tour and the war at N. Pick. I might mention that a very good friend of mine, Conrad Menzel, was a member of the 44th. Connie finished his tour in your Gp. Ops.
Hope this helps. Yours truly, Burt Meglitsch
P.S. After reviewing your letter, my letter, the enclosed DS assignment orders, and the interrogation report, we were assigned DS (TDY status) in December 1944; flew a mission out of Shipdham in March, 1945. I Know we flew some missions out of N. Pick in April and also some post combat "trolly" missions (low-level missions carrying support personnel form bomber and fighter units - so with some additional partial information from many of my missions various briefing documents, I believe we may have flown in the neighborhood of 13 missions from Shipdham.
BURTON ALFRED MEGLITSCH
World War II
Memories and Biography
(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)
3601 E. 11th St. No. 9
Vancouver, WA 98661
Many thanks for your letter of the 8th, March. It's amazing how information and data from the past pops up out of nowhere. I was, and still am a little hazy about many of the details of those days. Every new bit of information helps clarify the picture. I had guessed from what data I had that we flew about ten or 12 missions from Shipdham wasn't too far off. By the way, on March 21st, we did fly two missions, Achmer and Essen airfields. I not only remembered flying two the same day but have a copy of my squadrons record of my missions, copy enclosed.
I also have some of my mission briefing documents from that day plus the next day's Stars and Stripes item on the day's bombing efforts - a flak chart and route weather forecast for the Achmer mission, and a route WX forecast for the afternoon Essen mission. Although labeled "Essen" the p.m. mission was actually on the "Mulheim" Airfield, located between Duisburg and Essen. That day, the 8th Air Force and the 15th Air Force concentrated on crippling the German Air Force with over 2,000 planes attacking.
Reference the bombing and navigation equipment - I'm a little hazy there, but I remember that we didn't have our own aircraft as the lead crews were always assigned the most recent models with the newest and most advanced equipment. I believe I had the Loran equipment out of chronological order in my last letter. (I think Loran developed after the war - still used today. Improved version of "GEE" (200 mile range) - Loran - Long Range). We had "Gee" navigational equipment first, based on transmissions from three different ground stations, a triangular time difference concept - only had about a 200-mile range. A modification called "Gee-H" or "G-H" only had a range of 20 miles but was extremely accurate. "GEE" was used for navigation, "G-H" was used for actual bomb drop under instrument conditions.
On the radar equipment, I'm also hazy on the nomenclature, but I do remember the basic radar called "Micky." I think it was the H2X (AN/APS15) and the later model with the miniature wing-like antenna, but don'' recall the name. The Micky "Eagle" was used both for navigational check-point reference and for a relatively crude reference for bomb release. The "winged" version had a shorter range and more narrow reference trackwise and gave an enlarged view of a smaller area and was much better for bomb release. (I think we used the "wing" on several missions - not sure though).
There were correlated reference "scales" on the bomb sight, the "Micky" and in reference to the "G-H" sets. Both the "G-H" navigator and the "Micky" operator would call out verbally "Hack" check points from their equipment to the bombardier who would adjust his sight accordingly. There were times wen we would go visual with the ground at the last few seconds before released and the bombardiers cross-hairs were perfect or near perfect requiring only a minute adjustment. As I recall, my crew had a very good C.E. (circular error).
I would certainly appreciate copies of any other documents you have that reference my crew, our missions, or aircraft Ids. My congratulations to you. You're apparently a very efficient Historical Officer. I envy your patience.
No. Date Target
1 10 Aug 44 Clamecy/Colanges, Germany
2 11 Aug 44 Saarbrucken, Germany
3 14 Aug 44 Lyon/Bron Airfield, France
4 18 Aug 44 Nancy/Essey A/F, France
5 25 Aug 44 Schwerin Airfield, Germany
6 11 Sep 44 Hannover, Germany
7 18 Sep 44 Ground Support, Holland
8 22 Sep 44 Kassel, Germany
9 14 Oct 44 Cologne, Germany
10 25 Oct 44 Neumunster, Germany
11 16 Nov 44 Eschweiler, Germany
12 21 Nov 44 Harburg, Germany
13 6 Dec 44 Bielefeld, Germany
14 28 Jan 45 Dortmund, Germany
15 29 Feb 45 Siegen, Germany
16 25 Feb 45 Aschaffenburg, Germany
17 28 Feb 45 Siegen, Germany
18 4 Mar 45 Tufflingen, Germany
19 7 Mar 45 Bielefeld, Germany
20 8 Mar 45 Betzdorf, Germany
21 10 Mar 45 Bielefeld, Germany
22 12 Mar 45 Wetslav, Germany
23 14 Mar 45 Gufersloh, Germany
24 17 Mar 45 Munsgter, Germany
25 21 Mar 45 Achmer, Germany
26 21 Mar 45 Essen Germany
27 10 Apr 45 Parchin, Germany
28 18 Apr 45 Passau, Czech.
29 25 Apr 45 Reichenhall, Germany
*Missions 13-21: These are apparently the missions we flew when detached from our home squadron. Note the 8th of March, Betzdorf and 10th March Bielefeld.