458th Bombardment Group (H)

  Honoring those who served with the 458th BG during World War II

Crew 1 - Assigned 752nd Squadron - October 5, 1943

Back Row: Norman Lakey - CP, John McNaney - B, Odis Taylor - P, William Raupp - N
Middle Row: Ervin Busby - TG, Charles Graham - TTG, Glenn Carlson - RO, Edwin Wilds - BTG
Front Row: Carl Larson - NTG, Russell Kuhnau - E

(Photo: Sandy Jefferson)

Completed Tour

TaylorCrew01
 Rank  Name  Serial #  Pos Date Status  Comments
1Lt Odis F Taylor 0681483 Pilot Jun-44 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross
F/O Norman L Lakey T61282 Co-pilot Sep-44 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross
1Lt William H Raupp 0810912 Navigator 30-May-44 CT First combat crewman to complete 30 missions 
1Lt John A McNaney 0688376 Bombardier Jun-44 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross
T/Sgt Glenn D Carlson 14142593 Radio Operator Jul-44 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross
T/Sgt Russell C Kuhnau 37317579 Flight Engineer Jun-44 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross
S/Sgt Carl G Larson 36419320 Nose Turret Gunner  Jul-44 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross
S/Sgt Charles R Graham  39036518 Top Turret Gunner Jun-44 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross
T/Sgt Edwin L Wilds 15074927 Ball Turret Gunner Jun-44 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross
S/Sgt Ervin H Busby 38319119 Tail Turret Gunner Jul-44 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross

Lt Odis Taylor’s crew was the first crew assigned to the 752nd Squadron in October 1943.  They took their combat crew training with the group at Tonopah, and flew over to England via the Southern Ferry Route in January 1944.

Their aircraft, a B-24H that was named Bo in honor of the pilot’s little brother, carried them through more than half of their missions before bring lost on April 29, 1944 with Lt Dale Morris and crew.  A new B-24H soon arrived and was christened Bo II.  The crew flew this aircraft on several missions before it was transferred to the 492BG.

F/O Norman Lakey may have been reassigned to another crew or crews.  After flying with Taylor on March 2nd and 5th, he is shown flying with the crew of Lt Walter Mangerich as early as the March 8th mission to Berlin.  On this same mission and several subsequent missions where load lists are available, 1Lt George L. Gouderault is shown as co-pilot on Taylor’s crew.  Gouderault was the co-pilot on Crew 12, pilot Lt Beverly Beckley, before that crew was disbanded during training and their members distributed throughout the squadron. 

F/O Lakey was the co-pilot for Lt Kenneth Gorrell on the June 29, 1944 mission to Aschersleben when their aircraft sustained damage and two crew members bailed out over Germany.  The aircraft made a safe return to Horsham.

Most of the crew finished up their 30 missions in June 1944.  Navigator 1Lt William Raupp is credited as the first man in the 458th to finish his required number of missions on May 30, 1944.  All of the men were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and sent back to the States for reassignment, with the possible exception of Lt John McNaney who was sent on Temporary Duty to RAF Kirkham, Lancashire in June.

Lt Odis Taylor returned to the 458th in April 1945 with a new crew, the only pilot in the group to have the distinction of leading two crews on two separate tours of duty.  Assigned on April 5, 1945, the crew was assigned to fly their first mission on April 19th, but it was scrubbed.  Their first and only mission was flown on April 20th to hit a railroad bridge near Zwiesel, Germany.  The group flew only one more combat mission on April 25, 1945, but Taylor did not participate.

Members of this crew are shown in front of the B-24J Cookie/Open Post prior to returning that aircraft to the U.S. in June 1945.  The air crew members have been identified by Taylor’s second bombardier, Lt Harold Diegel.  It does not appear that Odis Taylor is pictured with this group, but there is an unidentified officer standing second from left.  It is not known if this man was assigned to pilot the aircraft and personnel back to the States or if Taylor was just not present for the photo.


Missions - 1944

TaylorMissions1stTour
Date  Target 458th Msn Pilot Msn  Serial RCL Sqdn A/C Msn  A/C Name  Comments
24-Feb-44 DUTCH COAST D1 -- 41-28718 -- 7V D1 BO Diversion Mission
25-Feb-44 DUTCH COAST D2 -- 41-28718 -- 7V D2 BO Diversion Mission
02-Mar-44 FRANKFURT 1 1 41-28718 M 7V 1 BO
05-Mar-44 BORDEAUX/MERIGNAC 3 2 41-28718 M 7V 3 BO  
08-Mar-44 BERLIN/ERKNER 5 3 41-28718 M 7V 5 BO  
15-Mar-44 BRUNSWICK 7 4 41-28718 M 7V 7 BO  
21-Mar-44 WATTEN, near ST. OMER 10 5 41-28718 M 7V 9 BO  
22-Mar-44 BERLIN 11 6 41-28718 M 7V 10 BO  
23-Mar-44 OSNABRUCK 12 7 41-28718 M 7V 11 BO  
26-Mar-44 BONNIERES 14 8 41-28718 M 7V 13 BO  
27-Mar-44 BIARRITZ 15 9 41-28718   7V 14 BO  
09-Apr-44 TUTOW A/F 18 10 41-28718 M 7V 16 BO  
10-Apr-44 BOURGES A/F 19 11 41-28718 M 7V 17 BO  
11-Apr-44 OSCHERSLEBEN 20 12 41-28718 M 7V 18 BO  
12-Apr-44 OSCHERSLEBEN REC -- 41-28718 M 7V -- BO RECALL
18-Apr-44 BRANDENBURG 22 13 41-28718 M 7V 19 BO  
19-Apr-44 PADERBORN A/F 23 14 41-28718 M 7V 20 BO  
22-Apr-44 HAMM M/Y 25 15 41-28718 M 7V 21 BO  
24-Apr-44 LEIPHEIM A/F 26 16 41-28718 M 7V 22 BO  
25-Apr-44 MANNHEIM A/F 27 17 41-28718 M 7V 23 BO  
27-Apr-44 BONNIERES 29 18 41-28718 M 7V 26 BO  
01-May-44 MARQUISE/MIMOYECQUES  32 19 42-100311 A 7V 18 YOKUM BOY  
04-May-44 BRUNSWICK/WAGGUM 34 20 42-95050 J 7V 1 GAS HOUSE MOUSE TAKE OFF LAST NOTED 
05-May-44 SOTTEVAST 35 21 42-95050 J 7V 2 GAS HOUSE MOUSE   
07-May-44 OSNABRUCK 36 22 42-95177 M 7V 1 BO II INFO FROM OPS REC'S
08-May-44 BRUNSWICK 37 23 42-95177 S 7V 2 BO II  
09-May-44 ST. TROND 38 24 42-95177 S 7V 3 BO II  
10-May-44 DIEPHOLZ REC -- 42-95177 S 7V -- BO II RECALL BEFORE EC
19-May-44 BRUNSWICK 42 25 42-95177 S 7V 6 BO II  
20-May-44 RHEIMS A/D 43 26 42-100365 B 7V 25 WOLFGANG  
21-May-44 SIRACOURT 44 27 42-95177 S 7V 8 BO II  
23-May-44 BOURGES 45 28 41-29303 H Z5 27 LIBERTY LIB  
24-May-44 VILLEROCHE 46 29 42-95179 X 7V 1 HERE I GO AGAIN  
29-May-44 TUTOW A/F 50 30 42-95179 X 7V 4 HERE I GO AGAIN  
30-May-44 ZWISCHENAHN A/F 51 31 42-95179 X 7V 5 HERE I GO AGAIN  
31-May-44 BERTRIX 52 32 42-95179 X 7V 6 HERE I GO AGAIN  
02-Jun-44 STELLA/PLAGE 53 33 42-95179 X 7V 7 HERE I GO AGAIN  
11-Jul-44 MUNICH 88 ASSY -- -- -- -- NO A/C LISTED ASSEMBLY CREW


S/Sgt Ervin H. Busby

Ervin Busby, (standing, back row center, with cap), and a group of enlisted men.  Possibly taken Stateside during training.


If you can identify any of the other in the picture, please contact me.

(Photo: Ervin Busby)

B-24H-10 DT 41-28718  7V M Bo

Early March 1944, with Taylor at the controls...
 
Summer 1944, interned in Sweden (far right)

(Photos: Odis Taylor & Rob Martyr)

B-24H-25 FO 42-95177  7V S  Bo II

Taylor and crew as photographed by Glenn Carlson (who was flying with another crew), on a flight somewhere over Germany. 

Bo II was transferred to the 492BG at North Pickenham in late May 1944, and was lost on July 7, 1944 near Bernberg, Germany due to fighter attacks.


(Photo: Sandy Jefferson)


1Lt John A. McNaney - Bombardier

March 2, 1944 – Frankfurt

Today our target was Germany!  We bombed the air piston works at Frankfurt. At take-off Crew 15 [Gorrell] crashed.  As we followed in take-off we came near doing the same, due to ice in our ailerons.  I was pretty scared for I was already shaken by the crack up.  The rest of the mission went very well except that over France three of our superchargers went out.  We almost had to turn back.  Another drawback was that one of my nose guns jammed and I could not find the defect.  Our formation flying was very good.  As this was the group’s first mission all of us took a great deal of pride in being in on it and setting the pace. 

We dropped 52 – 70lb incendiaries M47A2.  Total 3,640lbs.


March 5, 1944 – Bordeaux

Our mission today was supposed to take us to an airdrome east of Bordeaux in Southern France.  We were to drop 12 – 500lb M43 G.P. [General Purpose] Bombs on the hangers of this field.  Due to bad navigation, we missed the field and instead, most of us dropped our load on another airfield near Cognac.  I did not drop my bombs as our position was too far to the left of the target to do any good.  Bombs cannot be dropped on anything but airdromes and specific targets in France for the French people are our allies.  Rather than try to land with such a heavy bomb load I salvoed my bombs over the English Channel.  The total time in the air today was eight and one half hours.  We met little fighter opposition and my crew saw no fighters at all.  Our ship, “Bo”, was hit in three places by flak near Cognac.  One piece of flak hit our propeller of No. 2 engine taking out quite a piece.  This did not damage its working qualities though.  We got credit for the mission which is our second.

March 8, 1944 – Erkner

Today we flew deep into the very heart of Germany to bomb the V.K.F. Ball Bearing Plant at Erkner in the suburbs of Berlin.  We hit the target with incendiaries and G.P. bombs and left it in ruins.  I saw demolition bombs exploding in the target area like rain on a pavement.  I also observed a terrific explosion that threw flame, in a gigantic mass, up to 700 feet, I should say.  Forts and Libs did the jobs.  Over Berlin’s center I could discern Forts at about 30,000 feet dropping a huge load on what I presumed to be Friedrichstrasse Station in the heart of Berlin.  Friendly fighters, both American and RAF, covered us like a blanket as they gave the greatest fighter support that was ever given to any bombing division.  P-47’s, 38’s and 51’s were the boys who did the job.  Very few enemy fighters got through to our formations.  Flak was not too bad.  I dropped 16 – 100lb G.P. bombs and 36 – 70lb incendiaries – total 3,920lbs.  Altitude was 26,000 feet.  Total dropped in Reich 7,500lbs.  Fighter cover, in all, numbered 1,000 ships.


March 15, 1944 – Brunswick

Today we aborted a mission for the first time.  We took off this morning on our first fairly short mission to Brunswick, Germany.  As we got up to 10,000 feet and in formation, we lost our number one engine.  All the oil drained from her in a few seconds and we could not feather the prop.  Immediately we headed back to Horsham St. Faith losing altitude all the time.  I helped the armorers put the safety pins back in the bombs, by this time we were down quite low.  Taylor made two passes at the field but could not see it for the haze was too thick.  I was in the waist when Larson, the nose gunner came up and said, “Taylor wants you to salvo the bombs!”  Like a flash I tore through the bomb bay and up into the nose, making the best time I’d ever made in going through that ship.  On my way up I told the gunner to open the bomb bays.  I took a quick look at the panel and the red lights told me the doors were open, then I looked out the nose and [saw] we were over a plowed field and another field was just ahead of us.  I grabbed the salvo lever and pushed it full forward, all the bombs went out.  At 500 feet there is so little trail that I knew they would land in the plowed field, they did.  These bombs exploded but the safety pins prevented the others form going off.  I turned and beat it back to the waist and on the third pass at the field old “Ote” made it.  We would have run off the end of the runway had the bombs been in the ship.  52 incendiaries, 12 demos.  (These bombs, all dropped on England, make up what I refer to as “My Iron Cross mission!”)


March 21, 1944 – St. Omer (Watten)

We flew to France again today on our first short mission since we began.  Our target was a rocket gun emplacement and adjacent buildings.  The location was east of St. Omer and we carried 4 – 2000lb bombs, the largest I have ever dropped.  They were M-34 G.P.’s.  The mission was short and uneventful.  We hit the target.  No fighters, little flak.  I had a bomb that did not release and I had to release it manually over the Channel.  Alt: 22,000 feet. Bombs dropped:

7,560 lbs Total in Germany

6,000 lbs Total in France

13,560 lbs Total dropped on Enemy territory

 

6,000 lbs Total in France

2,000 lbs Total in Channel

8,000 lbs Overall Total

 

March 22, 1944 – Berlin

No milk run today!  We paid another visit to Berlin.  It was a long darn mission, our target was the Friedrichstrasse Station in the heart of Berlin.  We hit the target.  Our bomb load was 10 – 500lb G.P. Demos.  The navigator and pilots saw a 24 go into a spin and a 17 break up in mid air.  The fighter cover we had was wonderful.  No fighters got to us.  Over Berlin the flak was thick enough to walk on.  None of it hit our ship, thank God.  This was our Air Medal mission and we will now receive the Air Medal.

 

5,000 lbs dropped on Berlin

7,560 lbs

12,560 lbs dropped on Reich

6,000 lbs Total in France

18,560 lbs on enemy so far

 

March 23, 1944 – Osnabruck

Today we accomplished our 6th mission on a raid to an airfield near Osnabruck, Germany.  We ran into heavy flak over the target.  Our fighter cover was excellent.  No fighters came up to get us.  Dropped 52 – 70lb M47 incendiaries, making a total of 3,640 lbs.  We hit the target.  Hetzler and his crew went down after leaving the target, they were all close friends of mine and Taylor’s and our crew.

 

3,640 lbs on airfield

12,560

16,200 lbs on Germany

6,000 lbs on France

22,200 lbs on enemy so far


March 26, 1944 – Bonnieres

An airfield NW of Albert was our target but the lead navigator got lost.  We had our bomb bays open, though, supposedly making a run on the target.  Before our bomb bays were opened we were hit by flak in the nose and also underneath the bomb bays.  A piece pierced one of the bomb bay doors, went into the bomb bay and severed a hydraulic line.  When the doors were opened the wind blew the hydraulic fluid escaping into a smoke like spray.  Willie asked if there was a fire in our bomb bay, scaring everyone.  I told him, for he was near the salvo lever, to salvo the bombs so we could close the bomb bay doors.  500 lb G.P. bombs went into a French field, hurting no one, I’m sure.  We found what the trouble was after.  No one else dropped any bombs for they couldn’t find the target.  In an emergency like ours, it was best to get the bombs out of there quick as things happen fast in the air. 

 

11,000 – 5,000 on France & 6,000 more

16,200 – dropped on Reich

27,200 – total

 

March 27, 1944 – Biarritz

On another raid into France we went farther than any other previous mission.  We hit an airfield near Biarritz, and I mean we hit it!  We could see Spain and the Pyrenees Mts. To our right as we came in on the target.  There was meager flak and no air opposition.  We had good fighter cover.  Our route to the target was across Eastern France over the Bay of Biscay and into Southern France.  We went back the same way.  Navigation was very good and so was the bombing.  We did not drop our bombs for we had a rack malfunction.  This was our eighth mission.  We have gone on five raids in one week.

 

April 8, 1944 – Brunswick/Waggum (Holy Saturday)

After an eleven day bad weather interlude, we took off again, target: Germany.  Our target, to be specific, was an airfield north of Brunswick.  I was not flying in “Bo” as Willie, Kuhnau, and I flew with Lt. Jack Martin’s Crew 3 in their ship, “Plutocrat”.  After being hit by heavy flak near Osnabruck, all the power to our engine went out.  We dropped a thousand feet out of formation and the pilot cried out for the bombs to be salvoed.  At first the bomb bays wouldn’t open, but when they did Willie grabbed the salvo lever and salvoed the bombs.  Firing flares for fighter support, we turned and headed back for home.  We were 75 miles within the coast.  The power returned and we headed for home, watching all the while for enemy fighters.  At last fighters came and with relief and much pleasure we saw they were our own P-47s; we couldn’t have beheld a more welcome sight.  At this point the tail gunner said he saw our bombs hit an airfield.  The radio man also stated that the bombs hit there.  So, purely by accident, our fragmentation bombs hit the primary target of Diepholtz amidst many parked planes!  We managed to get home O.K., thank God.

 

4,800 more on Reich

 

April 9, 1944 – Tutow A/F EASTER

On a long raid almost to East Prussia we hit the A/C Factory and Field at Tutow, Germany and we flew over Denmark.  After we left Denmark, Focke Wulf 190s and Messerschmitt 109s attacked our formation.  I got three bursts at one as three F.W. 190s went by.  They knocked one of Mangerich’s engines out, he left the formation and eight 190s hopped on him.  We hope he managed to get away.  Our section’s bombs hit the target good.  The section behind us dropped short of the target.  I stuck my head out the waist window and could see the bombs hit good.  We made it home without much trouble, but it was a long haul.  We carried six 1000 lb G.P.s they hit the target, I know.

 

16,200

17,200

27,000 lbs on Germany

 

  6,000

  4,800

10,800

27,200

38,000 lbs – total on enemy

  

April 11, 1944 – Oschersleben

We went to Oschersleben, near Brunswick, Germany and dropped bombs on an A/C factory there.  Our bombs demolished a lot of their buildings and left some standing.  We may have to go there again.  Fighters hit the group behind us.  I saw our own fighters go after German fighters trying to make a sneak attack on our formation.  They knocked him down in short order.  One Liberator ahead of us was hit by flak, which was damn accurate, and I saw three chutes go by of men who’d jumped from her.  She was going down under control, and it is presumed that they all got out.  We didn’t have such a hard time getting home.  We had good fighter support and (for once) avoided the flak areas.  This was my eleventh mission.  We carried 6 – 1000lb G.P. bombs.  This makes a total of 33,000lbs dropped on France which equals 44,000lbs in all or 22 tons.

 

April 18, 1944 – Brandenburg

We were briefed to hit an A/C factory at Brandenburg with Berlin’s Freidrichstrasse Station as our secondary target.  Everything went smooth until just about bombs away.  Then we hit a dense cloud that went up to 25,000 feet.  Everyone was lucky that ships didn’t collide for there were airplanes everywhere.  It was scary for a few minutes.  We dropped our bombs on a marshalling yard in a railroad center5 of a small town on the way back.  The bombs hit dead center.  They were 40 – 100lb G.P.s making a total of 37,000lbs I’ve dropped on Germany plus 11,000 on France – 48,000lbs.  The clouds formed a good defense for they broke up our bomber formations and on the route back there were many fires left by the ships dropping bombs.  This was my twelfth raid.

 

April 22, 1944 – Hamm

In trying an experiment of some sort we lost a good many ships.  Today we took off late in the afternoon to hit the marshalling yards a t Hamm, Germany.  When we got there the target had already been hit pretty hard and we couldn’t see the yards through the smoke.  Over that area we got very accurate flak (this is part of the Ruhr Valley).  Our ship had flak holes in her when we got on the ground.  We dropped our bombs on the marshalling yard of Koblenz, Germany.  They all hit good.  Returning to England we came in after dark.  The Germans knew enough to send bomber-fighters in behind us and JU88s shot hell out of our formation.  British anti-aircraft batteries also accounted for more than a few of our bombers.  We had to land amidst an air raid, we were low on gas, and on the ground I could see 24’s (2) burning, having been shot down either by the Germans or the damn British, [copy of diary cut off here].

 

April 24, 1944 – Leipheim

In a long haul into Germany we hit on an airfield rather near to Grunsburg.  We hit it good too.  The target was really plastered.  We met with meager flak and no fighters, thank God.  We were carrying 10 – 500lb G.P.s.  This totals 47,000 on Germany plus 11,000 on France equaling a total of 58,000lbs on the enemy.  This was my fourteenth raid.


April 25, 1944 – Mannheim

Another long one today.  We should have hit Mannheim’s marshalling yards but dense under cast prevented this.  Flak was accurate and in France we were hit by fighters; they knocked down our deputy lead ship [Lt. Combs Crew].  Our own fighters went after these (ME-109’s) and knocked them down.  Because of the need of lightening our ship to help cope with a 100 mph headwind, we dropped our bombs through the clouds on occupied France (in open country we hope).  Our bomb load was 40 – 100lb G.P.s and 12 – 100lb incendiaries.  Our total on France now is 16,200lbs, plus 47,000lbs on Germany which equals 63,200lbs on enemy so far.

 

April 27, 1944 – Blainville/Bonnieres

At last we got a short mission.  We hit the rocket installation on the coast of France.  The gun was stationed near Bonnieres.  We hit the target well.  The load was 12 – 500lb G.P.s which totals 22,000 on France plus 47,000lbs on Germany equals 69,200lb total on enemy so far – almost 35 tons!  This was my 16th mission.

 

May 1, 1944 – Marquise/Mimoyecques Liege

Today we hit Calais!  We had an easy mission to the coast of France.  We had a rack malfunction and couldn’t drop the bombs on target.  I went and release the last (rather, rear) bombs manually over the Channel to better balance the plane.  Our own ship “Bo” has been missing for a few days since another crew flew it.  Ed Grant was command pilot.  She was last seen with a feathered engine dropping behind the formation.

 

May 4, 1944 – Brunswick/Waggum

We started for Brunswick today but didn’t reach the target for we were recalled because of weather.  I’m sure we will get credit for this mission as we were inside of Germany before recall.  We brought our bombs back.  Ed Grant and the crew flying our ship “Bo” are all in Sweden.  “Bo’ must have got them there O.K.  What a ship!

 

May 5, 1944 – Sottevast

Today we hit the rocket coast of France.  We ran into very accurate flak chiefly because the lead ship made a 2nd run on the target.  We dropped 8 – 1000lb G.P.s making a total of 30,200lbs on France plus 47,000lbs on Germany equals 77,200lbs on enemy.


May 7, 1944 – Osnabruck

Today four crews from this group, including us, were briefed to fly with another crew and bomb an airfield near Munster, Germany.  There was a complete under cast so we hit Osnabruck instead.  We dropped 12 – 500lb G.P.s which total 53,000lbs on Reich plus 30,200lbs total on France which gives a grand total of 83,200lbs on enemy so far.

 

May 8, 1944 – Brunswick

This was not a milk run!  We hit the city of Brunswick and [the] Luftwaffe hit us.  Enemy planes hit us east of Brunswick.  I saw about 40 hit a 17 group; they knocked down one 17 that I saw.  I also saw what I think was a 24 explode and go down in one short sheet of flame.  A 24 in front of us went down and many other others were damaged.  No one got out of the 17 that I could see.  We bombed through the clouds but hit the target.  We carried 12 – 500lb G.P.s so we’ve now dropped 59,000lbs on Germany plus 30,200lbs on France equals 89,200lbs total.

 

May 9, 1944 – St. Trond

Out again, this time to Belgium.  We hit an airfield near St. Trond.  The group behind us was jumped by Jerry on returning near the coast.  One 24 was seen to go down.  We carried 40 – 100lb G.P.s which makes 4,000 on Belgium, plus 59,000 on Germany and 30,200lbs on France equals 93,200 so far on enemy.

 

May 19, 1944 – Brunswick

Today we went to Brunswick Germany.  We hit the town with 10 – 500lb M17 incendiaries.  Before we got to the town about 200 to 300 fighters hit our formation.  Our group went unscathed, but other groups were hit.  One of our bombardiers saw 8 Libs going down at one time.  He also claims to have seen at least 20 – 24’s go down.  This has proven once again that the papers have been wrong.  The Luftwaffe isn’t beaten yet.  We left Brunswick a blazing inferno.  This makes 64,000lbs on the Reich, 30,200 on France, 4,000 on Belgium.  Total 98,200lbs.

 

May 20, 1944 – Siracourt

Today we hit Calais.  We dropped 7 – 1000lb G.P.s on a German rocket emplacement.  This totals 37,200 on France,  4,000 on Belgium, 64,000 on Germany equals 105,200lbs total on enemy.

 

May 21, 1944 – Bourges

Bourges, France received a visit from us today.  We hit another airfield there.  Our second section did not do too well.  We dropped 24 – 250lb G.P.s M-57.  This is 6,000lbs more on France, 43,200 on France total, plus 4,000 on Belgium total, and 64,000 on Reich equals 111,200lbs total on enemy.

 

May 24, 1944 – Villaroche

France again had priority on our list, this time Paris.  We hit an airfield south of Paris.  I saw the large marshalling yards that the RAF hit 2 weeks ago.  Boy, they sure plastered those rails!  We dropped 52 – M47 incendiaries weighing 70lbs.  3,640lbs.

 

46,840 lbs France

64,000 lbs Germany

  4,000 lbs Belgium

114,840 lbs total

 

May 29, 1944 – Tutow A/F

Today we re-did the Easter Sunday raid and once more we went to Tutow, Germany, close to the old East Russia line.  We hit the target darned well.  This time we saw much flak but none burst close to our formations.  Our fighter cover was fair.  We expected to get hit by enemy fighters as we did get hit by them there before.  As it was, the fighters hit other groups ahead of us.  We carried 10 – 500lb G.P.s.  Total on Germany 69,000lbs, total on Belgium 4,000, total on France 46,840, total on enemy 119,840.

 

May 30, 1944 – Zwischenahn

Once more into Germany we hit a seaplane and A/C base at Zwischenahn.  I was deputy lead and we hit the target with the real pin point precision that every bombardier dreams of.  The Colonel, the general staff, everyone was darned pleased (except the Jerries).  We carried 12 – 500lb G.P.s which makes 75,000lbs on Germany, 46,840 on France and 4,000lbs on Belgium.  The total equals 125,840lbs total.


May 31, 1944 – Bertrix  FINISHED MY 30 MISSIONS

Our target was supposed to be a round house near Bertrix, Belgium.  We succeeded only in penetrating the coast a few miles for high clouds went up well over 22,000 feet.  We were recalled but I got credit for the mission, we all did.  Flak over Dunkirk.

 

14 MISSIONS IN MAY

125,840 on enemy – about 63 tons.

 

June 4, 1944

ROME CAPTURED BY ALLIES

 

June 6, 1944

INVASION OF FRANCE BY ALLIES

Our group had first planes over the coast on day of invasion.


Distinguished Flying Cross

Odis Taylor proudly displays his medals Stateside, before being assigned back to the 458th for a second tour.

(Photo: Sandy Jefferson)

2nd Crew, 1945 - Flying at the End of Hostilities

TaylorCrew1945
 Rank  Name  Serial #  Pos Date Status  Comments
1Lt Odis F Taylor 0681483 Pilot 05-Apr-45 FEH Assigned for 2nd Tour 
2Lt Gerald Heller 0718333 Co-pilot 05-Apr-45 FEH Assigned
2Lt James Parnham 0529507 Navigator 05-Apr-45 FEH Assigned
2Lt Harold E Diegel 092678? Bombardier 05-Apr-45 FEH Assigned
Cpl Edward J Merkwan 19168136 Radio Operator 17-Apr-45 FEH Promoted to Sgt
Cpl Calvin E Nicholas 33831801 Flight Engineer 17-Apr-45 FEH Promoted to Sgt
Cpl Kenneth G Gardner 39563782 Aerial Gunner 17-Apr-45 FEH Promoted to Sgt
Cpl Marvin R Harmon, Jr  37685382 Aerial Gunner 17-Apr-45 FEH Promoted to Sgt
Cpl William B Hetrick 35531848 Armorer-Gunner  17-Apr-45 FEH Promoted to Sgt
Cpl Allen L Langley 37733025 Aerial Gunner 17-Apr-45 FEH Promoted to Sgt


Missions - 1945

TaylorMissions1945
Date  Target 458th Msn Pilot Msn  Serial RCL Sqdn A/C Msn  A/C Name  Comments
19-Apr-45 ZWIESEL SCR -- 42-50502 E 7V -- LARRUPIN' LINDA  SCRUBBED
20-Apr-45 ZWIESEL  229 34 42-50502 E 7V 69 LARRUPIN' LINDA PILOT ON 2ND TOUR 


June 1945 - Ferry Crew

Standing: James Parham - N, Jerry Heller - CP, Unknown Officer, Harold Diegel - B
Kneeling, Middle: Seven men, unidentified; Far Right: Franklin Barry
Sitting, front: Unk, Unk, William Hetrick - G, Marvin Harmon - G, Allen Langley - G, Unk, Kenneth Gardner - G, Raymond Souza