458th Bombardment Group (H)

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

R.A. Brown Crew - Assigned 753rd Squadron - January 23, 1945

Standing: Sabino Alvarado - E, Lawrence Turner - TTG, John Gottschalk - NTG, Dallas Dowhower - RO, Bill Clark - AG, C.R. Fairfield - TG
Kneeling: George Kosier - CP, Robert Brown - P, Don Swenson - N.

(Photo: Bill Clark)

Flying at the End of Hostilities (FEH)

Brown-RAcrew
 Rank  Name  Serial #  Pos Date Status  Comments
1Lt Robert A Brown 0810827 Pilot 17-May-45 FEH Trsf to 755th Sqdn
2Lt George Kosier 0833768 Co-pilot 17-May-45 FEH Trsf to 755th Sqdn
2Lt Donald L Swenson 02071748 Navigator 28-Feb-45 FEH TD to 482BG - H2X Class 
T/Sgt Dallas D Dowhower, Jr  33516015 Radio Operator 17-May-45 FEH Trsf to 755th Sqdn
T/Sgt Sabino M Alvarado 39575953 Flight Engineer 17-May-45 FEH Trsf to 755th Sqdn
S/Sgt John E Gottschalk 36842030 Nose Turret Gunner  17-May-45 FEH Trsf to 755th Sqdn
S/Sgt Lawrence Turner 39417981 Top Turret Gunner 17-May-45 FEH Trsf to 755th Sqdn
S/Sgt William K Clark 11138059 Waist Gunner 17-May-45 FEH Trsf to 755th Sqdn
S/Sgt Creed R Fairfield 16188362 Tail Turret Gunner 17-May-45 FEH Trsf to 755th Sqdn

Robert Brown and crew arrived at the 458th on January 23, 1945.  They flew their first mission not quite a month later on February 19th to the foundry and casting plant at Meschade, Germany.  From then on missions to Bielefeld, Berlin, Magdeburg, and Osnabruck are but a few that the crew participated in during February and March 1945.

On March 14, 1945, while preparing for a mission, Sgt William Clark and two other crew members were readying their plane when a careless gunner on another aircraft accidentally fired rounds into their plane.  An incendiary caught fire and the men were unable to suppress the flames and abandoned the aircraft.  All efforts failed to bring the fire under control and the area was evacuated.  The aircraft exploded, causing damage to nine other aircraft in the vicinity.


The crew flew four missions after this incident to round out March and flew ten missions in April, including an abandoned effort to the airfield at Tirstrop in Denmark.  On April 25, 1945 the 458th flew what would be the last combat mission that the 8th Air Force would fly in Europe.  The Brown crew participated in this mission, their 21st and last.


Missions

Brown-RAmissions
Date  Target 458th Msn Pilot Msn  Serial RCL Sqdn A/C Msn  A/C Name  Comments
09-Feb-45 MAGDEBURG 179 ASSY 41-28697 Z Z5 A56 SPOTTED APE ASSEMBLY CREW
17-Feb-45 ASCHAFFENBURG REC -- 42-50449 W J4 -- HEAVENLY HIDEAWAY RECALL WEATHER
19-Feb-45 MESCHADE 184 1 42-50449 W J4 44 HEAVENLY HIDEAWAY  
20-Feb-45 NUREMBURG REC -- 42-50449 W J4 -- HEAVENLY HIDEAWAY RECALL WEATHER
21-Feb-45 NUREMBERG 185 2 42-50449 W J4 45 HEAVENLY HIDEAWAY  
22-Feb-45 PEINE-HILDESHEIM 186 MSHL -- -- -- --   MARSHALING CHIEF
24-Feb-45 BIELEFELD 188 3 42-50768 Y J4 31 ARISE MY LOVE AND COME WITH ME   
26-Feb-45 BERLIN 190 4 42-50768 Y J4 33 ARISE MY LOVE AND COME WITH ME  
28-Feb-45 BIELEFELD 192 5 44-40287 J J4 43 BACHELOR'S BEDLAM  
02-Mar-45 MAGDEBURG 194 6 42-50504 S J3 24 UNKNOWN 019  
03-Mar-45 NIENBURG 195 ABT 44-10602 E J4 -- TEN GUN DOTTIE #2 ENG FEATHERED
04-Mar-45 STUTTGART 196 7 42-50912 D J4 15 THE TRAVLIN' BAG ABORT - SORTIE CREDIT 
09-Mar-45 OSNABRUCK 200 8 42-110141 U J4 46 BREEZY LADY / MARIE / SUPERMAN  
14-Mar-45 HOLZWICKEDE 203 ACC 44-40118 S J4 -- WE'LL GET BY GROUND EXPLOSION
15-Mar-45 ZOSSEN 204 9 41-29352 K 7V 80 WOLVE'S LAIR  
19-Mar-45 LEIPHEIM 207 10 42-50768 Y J4 39 ARISE MY LOVE AND COME WITH ME  
23-Mar-45 OSNABRUCK 211 11 42-50768 Y J4 42 ARISE MY LOVE AND COME WITH ME  
24-Mar-45 NORDHORN 212 12 42-50912 D J4 28 THE TRAVLIN' BAG  
02-Apr-45 TIRSTROP ABN -- 44-10602 E J4 -- TEN GUN DOTTIE ABANDONED
04-Apr-45 PERLEBERG 217 13 42-110141 U J4 51 BREEZY LADY / MARIE / SUPERMAN  
06-Apr-45 HALLE 219 14 44-10602 E J4 44 TEN GUN DOTTIE  
07-Apr-45 KRUMMEL 220 15 44-40273 T J4 49 HOWLING BANSHEE  
09-Apr-45 LECHFELD 222 16 42-50768 Y J4 50 ARISE MY LOVE AND COME WITH ME  
11-Apr-45 REGENSBURG 224 17 42-50912 D J4 36 THE TRAVLIN' BAG  
14-Apr-45 POINTE DE GRAVE 225 18 42-100408 I J4 54 BEASTFACE  
16-Apr-45 LANDSHUT 227 19 42-100408 I J4 55 BEASTFACE  
19-Apr-45 ZWIESEL SCR -- 44-10602 E J4 -- TEN GUN DOTTIE SCRUBBED
20-Apr-45 ZWIESEL 229 20 41-28980 V J4 39 UNKNOWN 009  
25-Apr-45 BAD REICHENHALL  230 21 42-51514 B 7V 41 BIG CHIEF LIL' BEAVER


Friendly Fire - March 14, 1945

The explosion as seen from across the field


(Photo: Mike Bailey)


William K. Clark relates an incident that happened before one of their missions

The day started quite normally, this Wednesday morning at Horsham St. Faith, March 14, 1945.  We had been awakened early for the mission, had breakfast and attended the briefing.  This was to be our ninth mission and our target was the marshaling yards at Holzwickede, Germany.  Our pilot, Lt. Robert Brown, and the other officers of our crew went to their briefings while the rest of us went to our plane [a B-24J named We'll Get By] to install the guns and to carry out other pre-flight tasks.  Three of us were in the waist section of the plane when, suddenly, the sound of shots rang out.  Because there was a distinctive hissing sound coming from our bomb bay, my immediate thought was that an incendiary bomb has been hit.  We had, as I recall, a 5000lb. bomb load in addition to a full complement of gasoline.

The three of us immediately evacuated the airplane through the floor hatch in the waist.  We started to run, stopping to look backward all the while to see if the plane was on fire.  I remember seeing smoke coming from the plane and a flare, indicating an emergency, being shot off - probably by a member of another crew.  We watched as a fire truck arrived at the scene and the men aboard immediately began spraying our airplane with fire repellant.  We retreated further from the area and then, surprisingly, saw the fire fighting personnel hastily leaving the area.  We then heard a tremendous explosion and knew that the plane had blown up.  We intercepted our officers who were about to leave for the hardstand and notified them it was our plane that exploded.

No personnel sustained injuries, but six planes in the area were severely damaged.  We heard later that a gunner in a nearby airplane had accidentally discharged his gun into our aircraft.

 

Remains of Clark's Liberator We'll Get By


(Photo: Alan Griffith)


753rd Squadron Records

The Report of Aircraft accident (WD, AAF Form No. 14) filed on this accident contains the following summary:
"...a waist gunner of A/C 42-50565 carelessly failed to check closely for ammunition in his gun before pulling the trigger.  Several rounds went off which ricocheted into the bomb bay and left wing tank of a nearby airplane, igniting an incendiary bomb and gas tanks, which set the airplane afire, exploding the bomb load, which completely destroyed the airplane [B24-J-145-CO 44-40118 J4 S We'll Get By] and caused various degrees of damage to nine other aircraft.  When smoke and fire appeared from the airplane, the fire truck proceeded immediately to the scene and attempted to extinguish the fire for about two minutes, whereupon the bomb dispersal officer stated that the time limit had expired and that all personnel should abandon the area because of danger of the bombs exploding."


Ferry Crew - B-24JSH-15-FO 42-51936 J3 I

Back row: Bob Brown, Unknown, Unknown, George Kosier
Middle row: Bill Clark, Dallas Dowhower, Lawrence Turner, Unknown, John Gottschalk
Front row: Sabino Alvarado, Unknown, Dick Fairfield, Unknown

(Photo: FOLD3)