Crew 73 - Assigned 755th Squadron - November 20, 1943
(Photo: Greg Birnie)
|Capt||Royce B Glenn||0406674||Pilot||Aug-44||CT||Awards - OLC to Distinguished Flying Cross|
|1Lt||James D Rigley||0811441||Co-pilot||Aug-44||CT||Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross|
|1Lt||Robert O Nixon||0694694||Navigator||Aug-44||CT||Awards - OLC to Distinguished Flying Cross|
|1Lt||James H Birnie||0752834||Bombardier||Aug-44||CT||Awards - OLC to Distinguished Flying Cross|
|T/Sgt||Lloyd S Habeck||37545033||Radio Operator||Aug-44||CT||Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross|
|T/Sgt||William H Luther||14059821||Flight Engineer||Aug-44||CT||Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross|
|S/Sgt||Thomas Watson||38368877||Armorer-Gunner||Aug-44||CT||Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross|
|S/Sgt||Jess W Sandlin||14163640||Armorer-Gunner||Aug-44||CT||Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross|
|S/Sgt||Francis J Heinecke||15338957||Armorer-Gunner||Aug-44||CT||Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross|
|S/Sgt||Marvin L Hoge||17100263||Armorer-Gunner||Aug-44||CT||Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross|
Crew 73 trained in Tonopah, Nevada during the fall of 1943 with the newly formed 458th Bombardment Group (H). In January 1944 they flew the Southern Ferry Route to the European Theater and Horsham St. Faith in Norfolk where the 458th was stationed.
Captain Royce Glenn and crew were chosen early on to be a lead crew and on their 32 missions between March 3rd and August 6th 1944 they flew twelve squadron leads, seven deputy leads, and led the 458th group six times. The ship they flew the most, B-24J-100-CO 42-100433 J3 B named "BIG DICK'", Hard to hit, had an enviable record. The crew flew ship #433 on 25 of their 32 missions, aborting on only one occasion (see below).
Undoubtedly the crews high point was the April 13, 1944 mission to Lechfeld Airfield where they led the 458th over the target. Group records state:
MISSION 31, SORTIE 21, WAS TO SEE SOME OF THE FINEST PIN-PONT BOMBING DONE BY THE GROUP. OUR TARGET FOR THE DAY WAS LECHFELD A/F, 30 MILES WEST OF MUNICH, GERMANY, WHICH IS A BOMBER SCHOOL, NIGHT FIGHTING SCHOOL AND FACTORIES, INSTRUCTING GERMAN FLYERS FROM OTHER TYPES OF PLANES TO FLYING THE ME 410’S. THE RESULT OF OUR BOMBING IS AS FOLLOWS: OF A TOTAL OF 200 X 500 GP BOMBS DROPPED ON THE TARGET, BURSTS OF 169 BOMBS CAN BE DISTINGUISHED ON STRIKE PHOTOGRAPHS, OF THIS TOTAL, 159 ARE WITHIN A 1,000 FEET RADIUS OF THE MPI, AND 34 BURSTS WITHIN 500 FEET OF THE MPI. OF THE TOTAL BOMB LOAD DROPPED ON THE PRIMARY TARGET, ALL BUT 10 BOMBS FELL WITHIN A 2,000 FEET RADIUS OF THE M.P.I. NUMEROUS DIRECT HITS ARE VISIBLE 0N EACH OF THREE LARGE HANGARS AND A BARRACKS AREA SOUTHWEST OF THESE HANGARS WAS ENVELOPED BY A HEAVY CONCENTRATION OF BOMBS. AN ELONGATED CONCENTRATION FELL ACROSS A RAMP AND REFUELING AREA EAST OF THE THREE HANGARS HIT. IN THIS AREA, AT THE SW CORNER OF THE A/F, 2 HE177’S, 1 JU-52, AND 1 SINGLE ENGINE A/C WERE IN ALL PROBABILITY DESTROYED BY HITS. THE CONTROL TOWER MAY HAVE SUSTAINED BLAST DAMAGE FROM A NEAR-MISS. A TOTAL OF 65 A/C ARE VISIBLE ON THE A/F AT THE TIME OF ATTACK. ONE A/C DROPPED 10 X 550 GP’S ON AN AUTOBAHN AND BUILDINGS AT HEILBRONN, GERMANY. AL IN ALL IT WAS AN EXCELLENT JOB AND ONE TO BE PROUD OF.
Glenn and Lt's Nixon and Birnie were all awarded the Distinguished
Flying Cross for their performance as a lead crew on this mission. Command Pilot, Major Donald Jamison was also awarded the DFC.
Most of the crew flew their last mission in July and they were soon on their way back to the United States (Zone of Interior). Their trusted B-24, ship #433 was not so lucky. On August 6, 1944 this aircraft was lost over Hamburg. Flown on this occasion by the Hancock Crew, the aircraft took a direct hit from flak, the aircraft exploded and only two men, pilot 1Lt Thomas Hancock, and Command Pilot, Captain John Chamberlain survived.
B-24H-10-DT 41-28710 "Squat'N Droppit"
James Rigley, Unknown, Royce Glenn, James Birnie
(Photos: Greg Birnie)
Missions - Capt Royce Glenn Pilot
|Date||Target||458th Msn||Pilot Msn||Cmd Pilot||Ld||Serial||RCL||Sqdn||A/C Msn||A/C Name||Comments|
|24-Feb-44||DUTCH COAST||D1||--||41-29359||--||J3||D1||TAIL WIND||Diversion Mission|
|03-Mar-44||BERLIN||2||1||JAMISON||D1||42-100433||--||J3||1||BIG DICK HARD TO HIT|
|06-Mar-44||BERLIN/GENSHAGEN||4||2||O'NEILL||L2||42-100433||B||J3||2||BIG DICK HARD TO HIT|
|09-Mar-44||BRANDENBURG||6||3||OLLUM||D1||42-100433||B||J3||3||BIG DICK HARD TO HIT|
|22-Mar-44||BERLIN||11||4||JAMISON||L2||42-100433||B||J3||6||BIG DICK HARD TO HIT|
|27-Mar-44||BIARRITZ||15||6||HENSON||L2||42-100433||--||J3||7||BIG DICK HARD TO HIT|
|08-Apr-44||BRUNSWICK/WAGGUM||17||7||42-100433||B||J3||8||BIG DICK HARD TO HIT|
|10-Apr-44||BOURGES A/F||19||8||41-29359||J||J3||11||TAIL WIND|
|12-Apr-44||OSCHERSLEBEN||REC||--||JAMISON||L1||42-100433||B||J3||9||BIG DICK HARD TO HIT||RECALL (NAV NIXON )|
|13-Apr-44||LECHFELD A/F||21||9||JAMISON||L1||42-100433||B||J3||9||BIG DICK HARD TO HIT|
|19-Apr-44||PADERBORN A/F||23||10||LaROCHE||L2||42-100433||B||J3||10||BIG DICK HARD TO HIT|
|24-Apr-44||LEIPHEIM A/F||26||11||OLLUM||D2||42-100433||B||J3||12||BIG DICK HARD TO HIT|
|26-Apr-44||PADERBORN A/F||28||12||OLLUM||D1||42-100433||B||J3||13||BIG DICK HARD TO HIT||NAV KING|
|27-Apr-44||BLAINVILLE-SUR-L'EAU||30||13||42-100433||B||J3||14||BIG DICK HARD TO HIT|
|29-Apr-44||BERLIN||31||14||JAMISON||L2||42-100433||B||J3||15||BIG DICK HARD TO HIT|
|04-May-44||BRUNSWICK/WAGGUM||34||15||OLLUM||D1||42-100433||B||J3||16||BIG DICK HARD TO HIT|
|07-May-44||OSNABRUCK||36||16||42-100433||B||J3||18||BIG DICK HARD TO HIT|
|08-May-44||BRUNSWICK||37||17||41-28697||P||Z5||8||DIXIE BELL II|
|09-May-44||ST. TROND||38||18||42-100433||B||J3||19||BIG DICK HARD TO HIT|
|19-May-44||BRUNSWICK||42||19||OLLUM||L1||42-100433||B||J3||21||BIG DICK HARD TO HIT||NAV - CRAIG|
|24-May-44||VILLEROCHE, near MELUN||46||20||OLLUM||D1||42-100433||B||J3||22||BIG DICK HARD TO HIT||CRAIG (LEAD NAV)|
|25-May-44||MULHOUSE M/Y||47||21||HENSON||L2||42-100433||B||J3||23||BIG DICK HARD TO HIT||NAV - DALY|
|28-May-44||ZEITZ||49||22||LaROCHE||L1||42-100433||B||J3||24||BIG DICK HARD TO HIT||NAV - CRAIG|
|31-May-44||BERTRIX||52||23||42-110059||E||J3||15||UNKNOWN 056||CRAIG (LEAD NAV)|
|06-Jun-44||COASTAL AREAS||56||24||OLLUM||L6||42-100433||B||J3||26||BIG DICK HARD TO HIT||MSN #1|
|10-Jun-44||CHATEAUDUN||61||25||BOOTH||L2||42-100433||B||J3||27||BIG DICK HARD TO HIT|
|14-Jun-44||DOMLEGER||65||26||HENSLER||L1||42-100433||B||J3||28||BIG DICK HARD TO HIT|
|20-Jun-44||OSTERMOOR||73||ABT||OLLUM||L2||42-100433||B||J3||--||BIG DICK HARD TO HIT||MSN #1 OIL LEAK #1 ENG|
|23-Jun-44||3 NO BALLS||76||27||42-110059||E||J3||22||UNKNOWN 056||TGT #7 BLAUGERMONT|
|25-Jun-44||ST. OMER||80||28||OLLUM||L2||42-100433||B||J3||30||BIG DICK HARD TO HIT|
|16-Jul-44||SAARBRUCKEN||91||30||GLENN||L2||44-40126||D||Z5||13||SPITTEN KITTEN/SKY TRAMP||Pilot: LAMERS|
|17-Jul-44||3 NO BALLS||92||31||42-110070||E||Z5||17||ELMER|
|24-Jul-44||ST. LO AREA||97||32||JAMISON||L1||42-100433||B||J3||34||BIG DICK HARD TO HIT|
|02-Aug-44||3 NO BALLS||101||ASSY||JAMISON||41-28697||Z||Z5||A7||SPOTTED APE||ASSEMBLY CREW|
|06-Aug-44||HAMBURG||106||ASSY||JAMISON||41-28697||Z||Z5||A8||SPOTTED APE||ASSEMBLY CREW|
Missions - 1Lt James Rigley 1st Pilot
|Date||Target||458th Msn||Pilot Msn||Serial||RCL||Sqdn||A/C Msn||A/C Name||Comments|
|21-Jun-44||BERLIN||75||1||41-29342||S||J3||25||ROUGH RIDERS||ABORT - SORTIE CREDIT|
|23-Jun-44||3 NO BALLS||76||2||42-95183||U||J3||11||BRINEY MARLIN||TGT # 6 COUBRONNE|
March 22, 1944 - Target: Berlin
(Photos: Greg Birnie & Fred Allison)
April 13, 1944 - Target: Lechfeld Airfield
Wonderful day – Beeze led the group – I was very tired and slept 1 ½ hrs over – studied target rest of way – good thing I did – towering cumulus & thunderheads at wing I.P. – thought bombing would be PFF – no fighters – flying 21,000 instead of 19,000 as briefed and no tables – sweat like a bastard – lead group farted up works at I.P. – remembered Bloody Monday and stayed left of Lech River to target – picked it up 12 mi. away through 6/10 clouds – Mother N. great help – Beeze flew manually like a dream – could not find MPI but hit it squarely – [Gen] Peck says “couldn’t have been better!” Got beautiful pictures – recommended for DFC by Col. Isbell, very happy tonight – Beeze like a kid given a new train for Christmas!! Critique very interesting, flak light but accurate. Slept home, No. 9 over.
1Lt James H. Birnie Crew 73 Bombardier
Courtesy: Greg Birnie
BGen Walter Peck, 96CBW Commanding Officer, presents Major Jamison with the Distinguished Flying Cross. Behind Jamison are Lt Stephen Davidson, Lt Robert Nixon, and Capt Carl Marcussen.
DONALD C. JAMISON, 0-397403, Major Army Air Forces, United States Army.
For extraordinary achievement, while serving as Command Pilot of a B-24 formation on a bombing mission to Germany, 13 April 1944. With less than two minutes of the bomb run remaining, Major Jamison, by his recognition of a ground check point, realized the lead group was off course. Faced with the difficult decision of following the lead group or setting a divergent course based on his own judgment, Major Jamison unhesitatingly altered course and skillfully led his formation to bomb the assigned target with excellent results. The leadership, judgment, and initiative as displayed by Major Jamison was a major factor in the successful completion of this mission. Entered military service from California.
RIGHT: Lt Charles "Red" Stilson (left) and Lt Robert Nixon congratulate each other on their awards
Crew 73 - Summer 1944
(Photo: Greg Birnie)
B-24J-100-CO 42-100433 B J3 "Big Dick, Hard to hit"
755th Squadron records May/June 1944
Following is a copy of the summary of the recommendation for the “Bronze Star” for Technical Sergeant David W. Colwell (above), 39091473.
T/Sgt Colwell has been crew chief of airplane B-24, 42-100433 from 24 February 1944 to 3 July 1944. From the first training mission through 30 consecutive combat missions, Sergeant Colwell’s aircraft has not had to turn back due to an mechanical failure. On the 31st mission, an abortion occurred due to an internal engine failure that resulted in a dangerously low oil pressure for the weight of the bomb load carried.
Sergeant Colwell’s airplane has participated in many deep penetrations of the continent which consist of 5 missions to the Berlin area, 12 missions to central Germany, 1 trip to Biarritz, France, and 5 missions to the coastal area of France.
Sergeant Colwell’s aircraft has had the usual amount of battle damage which necessitated rapid, careful repair work. Many of these repair jobs have been completed in a minimum amount of time with a skeleton crew under very trying climatic conditions. At the time of the abortion of aircraft 433, it had flown 383 combat hours without an engine change which is a direct result of careful maintenance and a thorough knowledge of aircraft engines.
Sergeant Colwell has shown untiring effort, application of technical skill and devotion to duty in keeping the airplane assigned to him in perfect mechanical condition. He has, by his leadership and resourcefulness, inspired his ground crew to the highest degree of efficiency which has greatly influenced the morale of the combat crew flying this aircraft. Sergeant Colwell, for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services as crew chief of a ground crew responsible for the maintenance of a heavy bombardment aircraft, has been a credit to himself and the armed forces of the United States.
(Photo of David Colwell courtesy: Peter Golden)
1Lt James Birnie Diary
I have included links to individuals or crews mentioned in the diary.
No. 1 - Fri Mar. 3 Started for Berlin via Northern route at 22,000 - temp -65° and contrails terrible - awfully tough forming, three wings aborted over North Sea. We were off course and caught heavy, accurate flak at Cuxhaven where Bruno [Major Bruno Fieling, Group Ops Officer] had us do a 180° in the stuff and return. Wasn't a bit scared - just looked like fireworks and instead of dropping eggs, we brought 52-M47A1 bombs back. Beeze [Capt Royce B. Glenn] flew dep. lead to Had [Capt Howard Slaton]. Herzik in "Old Satan" [sic] lost - probably ditched and froze as radio got no call from him and he had no flimsy - seas too high for A-S Rescue.
No. 2 – Mon Mar. 6 – Bloody Monday to Berlin with incendiaries – saw nothing all way to I.P. We were lead group of 8th going in and weather was beautiful – flew lead 2nd box with Maj, O’Neill. Lead Group & Sqdn. Turned off course at I.P. and [O’Neill] made us follow Wing although I knew they were wrong – then they made two 360 degree [turns] over target without hitting target – I held bombs and waited to make another run when I saw McMain[s] knocked down by ME-109 – then took 20 sec. on Potsdam & hit civvies – we lost 5 ships that day, almost all were stragglers. Rough as hell.
No. 3 – Thurs Mar. 9 – target airfield 20 mi. N of Berlin – overcast and bombed town thru 6/10 clouds from lead 2nd section – beautiful hits on town with 500lb. G.P.s. Heavy flak, no fighters, not bad mission.
No. 4 – Sunday Mar. 12 – target Brandenburg, 20 mi. W of Berlin – completely undercast. Flew over Berlin. No check points or PFF. Flew dep. 2nd to Had and salvoed near Magdeburg flak – no fighters, modr flak.
No. 5 – Tues Mar 23 – Led second sec to Biarritz with frags – beautiful trip and visibility – little target flak. Beeze screwed up bomb run but recovered in time to hit field beautifully. No fighters – fine milk run, excellent bombing results.
No. 6 – Sunday Mar. 26 – Target airfield near (5 mi. N) Osnabruck – overcast opened, bombed but missed parked aircraft with frags – flying in hole – pisspoor bombing comparatively but hit field & among buildings. Fighters and heavy flak.
No. 7 – Fri – Mar. 31 – Bourges, France – dep. 2nd Sqdn, flew waist, saw all bombs miss huge MPI but knocked hell out of field itself – tough not to get hangar assembly – no fighters, no flak, good milk run!
No. 7 [sic] – Sat – April 8 – Bourges airfield, France – plane factory – flew lead 2nd element – Nick toggled – bombs missed – sick over it – 6-1000 GP – target opened up miraculously – told everyone we missed and was right – bombed short – little flak – no fighters – good day except for bombing. Awake whole trip – Rig flew co-pilot.
No. 8 – Monday – April 10 – Deputy Lead 2nd section – bombsight out. Mother N. toggled on lead – watched bombs out bomb bays – Waggum airfield – 10-500 G.P. near Oschersleben – flak rough – lost Sievers – Eyer got one, Tommy one and Wyman got two – never want one as rough again – mo pictures, eaten out – bombs poor – up all the way, drunk last night with Nancy – date again tonight – 1hr sleep last night!
No. 9 – Thurs – April 13th – Wonderful day – Beezer led the group – I was very tired and slept 1-1/2 hrs over – studied target rest of way. Good thing I did – towering cumulus & thunderheads at wing I.P. – Thought bombing would be PFF – no fighters – flying 21,000 instead of 19,000 as briefed and no tables – sweat like a bastard – lead group farted up works at I.P. – remembered Bloody Monday and stayed left of Lech River to target – picked it up 12 mi. away through 6/10 clouds – Mother N. great help – Beeze flew manually like a dream – could not find MPI but hit it squarely – Peck says, “couldn’t have been better!” Got beautiful pictures – recommended for DFC by Col. Isbell, very happy tonight – Beeze like a kid given a new train for Xmas!! Critique very interesting, flak light but accurate. Slept home, No. 9 over.
No. 10 – Tues – April 18 – Led second section to Paderborn Airfield where we were to bomb hangars in wooded section – a real precision target! Harland head in ass and screwed off with Col. & Gen. Peck riding along – missed target by ½ mile. I picked up dummy airfield but Beeze pulled Chestnuts out of fire and off we went on C-1. Bubbles left – hit right of MPI with lovely pattern by 1/6 mile. Everyone eating my ass – will not use C-1 for a long time again – takes too much juice. No fighter, light flak on coast only twice- big milk run for Oak Leaf Cluster. Learned a lot today but sure wish we had hit target!
No. 11 – Wed – April 19 – Hamm Marshalling Yards – Experimental mission for the big dogs in London – TO 1645, due back at 2219 – after touring Europe and landing at nite! Rode nose turret with Orson Wells and couldn’t get either gun working till after leaving the target. S potted yards 50 mi. away by 12,000 ft tower of smoke but, naturally, we were to right of course in happy Valley and I saw Spaven & another in 1st section get it. Spaven bailed out 4 men, then recovered formation temporarily, did not stay long and last sighted over France. No. 3 eng. On other ship threw so much grey smoke I could barely see it, but he stayed in there. Heavy flak on bomb run, 1st section failed to drop but Harrington in 2nd hit yards squarely. Saw Ruhr oil targets and smoke screen, flak barrages – Koblenz canal had 120 barges by count and many more upriver, rail yards nicely lit up – Lille airdrome and fuel dump with 11,000 ft. coal black smoke rising. Got left gun firing and crossed Channel in dwindling twilight, Xmas tree lights of small arms fire from coast as we went over, waist and ball replied. Searchlights tried to pick us up – formation lights on and firing colors of period, caught heavy flak and JU-88 made a pass from 5 O’clock after Harris was shot down. Called him off and waited – neither gun fired as he hung in a half roll for 1-2 minutes. Worked on guns and when he made second pass was agina waiting with cold guns – came from 3 this time and down he went. Orson made 6 passes at Rackheath before landing – Jerry had just dropped frags and strafed – Horsham lights out. Met one of Stilson’s gunners who bailed out – bombardier killed by limey flak. Rode home GI truck 3 a.m. and No. 11 over.
Mon – April 24 – Leipheim Airdrome – Carried ten 500# on milk run
20 mi, W. Augsburg. Ollum flew with us
in dep. Lead 2nd section – saw a little flak from flight deck, where
I rode to Group IP and guess I’m getting flak happy, as I sweat it out after
grabbing my flak helmet. No flak, no
fighters over target and Harland & Ross hit it well on top of other groups
bombs. Target very heavily hit, had one
hung bomb, salvoed late into open field.
Harland made captaincy for today, PRU photos show most AF damage I’ve
ever seen, completely leveled. Took
Rigley’s place in nose turret home – fighter cover perfect, good mission, #12.
Wed – April 26 – Paderborn AF – Complete overcast and no PFF, so took flak at Osnabruck and back home, no fighters but too much flak. Brought GP’s back for #13.
Thurs – April 27 – Blainville Marshalling Yards – Afternoon mission just S. of Nancy in France. 466th got lost and Weber took over – we flew in slot and I watched out sqdn drop 3 mi. short of target – Cain messed up on sight. Rabbit barely touched the rail choke point – no fighters, light flak, bent throttles getting home before dark – good milk run and Beeze greased her in for #14.
No. 15 – Sat – April 29 – Berlin – Lead 2nd sqdn with 52 M47AI. Rough weather climbing to 10,000, broke out in lovely day. Dense persistent contrails at 22,000, wing lead hit by 50 bandits ½ hr, before target, lost 6 Libs. PFF out, wished I could make run on town myself as clouds broke and saw target perfectly. Wilhelmstrasse, Olympic Stadium, Tiergarten and big factories – bombed on win and missed whole town! Hit 4 times by 6-12 ME and FW’s painted silver and polo green – more scared than we the way they came through. Grant took Beck to Sweden – our boys claim 15 Jerries – coast looked like Shangrila!
Thurs – May 4 – Waggum AF – Carried 6-1000#, got recall at Ems Dortmund Canal in Germany – no flak or fighters, good escort as we led 8th AF – Beeze dep. Lead of group, bases at 1130, good milk run for #16.
Fri – May 5 – Osnabruck – PFF mission, hit center? of town among a hail of flak and fighters, saw perhaps 4 ships go down. No damage to group, flew wing and made it ok for #17.
No. 18 – Tues – May 9 – Brunswick – Plenty of fighters and flak, dropped PFF on town completely undercast. No damage, Ausman and Kingsley killed in crash 2 mi. from field. Doesn’t leave too many of my old Boise buddies. Dunlevie PW with Schulz, Lennie Blednick and New killed crashing in Ger. Logie and REED going home firsts this week.
Wed – May 17 – St Trond AF – Followed Had and Ross in hole into Belge, saw a damn good job done on field at Champagne just as we passed, also at town & AF after leaving IP. Ross hit hell out of hangars and Hoobler did fair job. Fighters hit just inside coast but left our section alone and made it ok. Saw several of 466th and 467th go down. Good mission with 100# demos for #19.
Fri – May 19 – Brunswick – Beeze led with Ollum, flew wing abreast, saw several go down burning before target – missed Waggum, 4 mi. R of course but saw it catch hell. Clark flew qith us at 23,500 and cold! Flak rel. light, aimed on AF SW town, could not see them hit (4# incendiaries) but Ross swears field covered – pictures clouded. Good mission for #20.
Wed – May 24 – Melun Villaroche AF – Dep. Lead to field near Paris, TO 0510, target 0902, 12-500#, 2300 gals. No flak no fighters, stood out like Biarritz and Lawrence put them on MPI. Nice bombing – Beeze had anoxia on milk run for #21.
No. 22 – Thurs – May 25 – Mulhouse Marshalling Yards – Beeze flew lead 2nd section on the 8 hr. milk run to east France. The MPI was roundhouse – had 10-500# and target was vis. 12 mi. and hazy. 466th cut us out on bomb run and we had to reset C-1, then bombed after two sqdns. had missed. Lawrence hit fuel dump and cars in yards, we got R side of roundhouse. Damn poor pattern – Butler gave Rabbit my bombs and Beeze tore the place apart. No flak or fighters, Pappy Henson flew with us and slept most of way. Long sunovagun but all back for #22.
No. 23 – Sunday – May 28 – Zeitz Oil Refinery – Beeze flew lead to synthetic plant S of Leipzig, carried 40-100#. Maj. Hensler rode along, TO 1030, slept several hrs., arrived target 1450 to follow 3 sqdns. of 466th-467th in. None hit MPI and only one hit target area but we dropped first bomb in smokestack and trained through MPI, leaving it leveled. Isbell ate me out (then apologized) for missing target ½ mi. Vacek lead 2nd, had good pattern on top mine. Numerous tanks hit, also powerhouse and several large buildings, burned 6 days. No close flak and no fighters – good mission & all home for #23.
No. 24 – Tues – May 30 – Bertrix AF – Lead 2nd to Belge, recall ½ hr in enemy territory because of clouds up to 30,000. Slept most of time – pilots had hell assembling & keeping formation, home for dinner and #24. Light flak got us credit for miss.
No. 25 – Tues – June 6 – D-Day to Cherbourg – TO 0230 for invasion coast, supposed to bomb gun emplacements on cliffs beside beach. Had hell ass. Nearly got bumped off several times and saw one ship burning on beach of Wash. Complete undercast and couldn’t find PFF so we led 6-ship and did not drop. Small breaks over Channel, could see warships shell coast. P-poor mission, carried 6-1000# for #25.
Fri – June 9 – Chateaudun AF – Went GH carrying 6-500#. Early TO and return – Beeze led 2nd section and not much trouble til Fr. Undercast to 21,000 and Bruno in lead stayed in them like a rabbit going through tall grass. Luckily he pulled out just before bombs away and we saw flares at 23,000. Mission ok, poor results for #26.
Wed – June 14 – Maison Ponthreu AF – TO 0400 with Beeze leading wing for rocket depot storage 27 mi. inside coast, north of Amiens. Supposed to have 3 sections but Whit aborted and Schulze never found us, so we had only 2, with Brudos leading 2nd. Couldn’t pick up target and airstrip because of clouds and haze until 10 sec. before bomb rel. Hit 6000 yds. left of T on a noball installation. Moose had no sight, counted 3 and salvoed for 2nd section on us, put his bombs directly on top of ours. Moderate flak and Burtis got a 1-1/2 ft. hole in #3. Early return for #27.
No. 28 – Noball – June 23 – Fri
No. 29 – St Omer – June 25 – Sun – electric generator, clouds, bombed dummy AF with accurate from noballs.
No. 30 – Noball – July 17 – Mon
No. 31 – St. Lo – July 24 – Mon – finished tour on milk run.
Cocker Spaniel's at Horsham
Home from England with the two cocker spaniel puppies they brought along are 1st Lt. Bob Nixon, of 423 Layton Street, Mt. Lebanon, and 1st. Lt. Jim Birnie, 245 Lincoln Avenue, Bellevue. The fliers, home on leave, have completed 31 missions over Germany. After the war they plan to raise cocker spaniels.
Courtesy: Greg Birnie