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LT  Leonard C. FRUMIN


Lt. Leonard C. Frumin, Navigator, 351st Squadron

Leonard Frumin and Rueben Laskow (Photo courtesy of Joe Urice)


Comments1: BROOKLYN, NY




F/O LEONARD C. FRUMIN           NAV FEH SN# 0-2015306
CPL RUEBEN LASKOW               ROG FEH TAPS: 16 SEP 1979
CPL JOE R. URICE                         TG FEH

351ST SQDN.. CREW, AS ABOVE, JOINED THE 100TH ON 29 DEC 44. See Wofford Crew History by Joe Urice in Airman 2 folder.   Name of A/C was "ONE TIME" Also flew a/c PARD  48849 EP J  on the following missions

I have a bit of information recorded for "Pard" 44-8849. The photo shows five missions flown and I believe these were :
03 Apr 45
05 Apr 45 Led 100"C" formation (P) J Wofford
07 Apr 45 Led 100"D" formation (P) Weiland
08 Apr 45                                (P) Hensley
14 Apr 45 led 100"C" formation  (P) J Wofford
RAY Bowden

Letter from Joe Urice in Dec 1993 places the date this crew joined the 100th as 29 Dec 44 rather than the sometime seen  30 Dec 44, he writes, "In reviewing my diary, the date should be Dec 29, 1944. We flew from Reyjevik, Iceland on Dec 22, 1944 into Valley, Wales. All our cargo and the new B-17G was then transferred from us and we came by train to Diss." Mr Urice further identifies the co-pilot who flew the last half of the Wofford crew's missions as Lt Kenneth R. Pfister, now of 284 Polynesia Court,  Marco Island, Florida 33937…pw (* Check message below from Joe Urice concerning Lt Pfisters involvement with this crew mpf 2001)

see graphic file for Davenport, Bowman, Laskow, Lindstrom, Frumin and Urice…

According to 1st Lt Leonard Frumin, 2nd Lt Alfred V. Paterno (from Lt Hutchinson Crew) was Bombardier ( when they became a Lead Crew)…mpf


F/O      RODMAN B. PORTER           NAV RFS
S/SGT GEORGE D. MAST                WG CPT " " "



MISSIONS OF 1st LT LEONARD C. FRUMIN…comments on missions from Sgt Joe Urice……mpf

1. 13/1/45  MAINZ, Bridge  Heavy Flak, "Hit in the nose and tail"  
2. 14/1/45  DERBEN-Storage Facilities, FW 190's, Moderat Flak, Hit in tail
3. 17/1/45  HAMBURG-Oil Storage-Heavy Flak, 
4. 20/1/45  HEILBRON-Bridge, -75 degrees, oxygen pilot, navigator, engineer froze up, Forced to Land in Belgium. 
The story is that the Pilot, Engineer, and Navigator all experienced anoxia [The latter two while helping the pilot whose oxygen tube froze up tight ]. The CoPilot Carr took charge and dived thru the heavy overcast of the day at 25,000 ft top and finally got under it into the clear about 2000 ft. He landed at the first available fighter strip. {When he tried to turn off the strip, the plane immediately buried up to the hubs in the soft wet soil.}. All recovered at the lower altitude. Wofford was determined to get back to the base and we flew back the next day in another heavily overcast situation---but we got lucky one more time and finally found an opening over Thorpe Abbotts itself and landed. He had tried to come down just earlier while still over open water and Lindstrom hollered at him to pull up quickly as wave water was spraying the nose where he sat.--- Wofford always regarded that Davenport was responsible for saving his life since he spotted Wofford's problem before it was too late. The temperature reported that day at the 27,500 bomb release time was minus 75 degrees.
5. 29/1/45  KASSEL-Tiger Tank Factory-Moderate Flak, bombed visually
6.   3/2/45  BERLIN- Heavy Flak, Lost one Engine to Flak.  
7. 15/2/45  COTTBUS-RR Yards, Moderate flak, rockets, forced to land at figher base in Belgium to repair plane
8. 17/2/45  FRANKFURT-
9.   3/4/45  KIEL, Sub Penns, "moderate flak" H2X bombing
10.   5/4/45  NURNBURG-RR Yards, Extemely Heavy Flak, visual bombing
11.   6/4/45  LEIPZIG-MY, Light Flak, H2X bombing
12. 14/4/45  ROYAN-Gun Inplacements, visual bombing, no flak
13. 16/4/45  ROYAN-BORDEAUX-Gun Inplacements, visual bombing
14. 18/4/45  STRAUBING. MY "Little or no Flak"

Crew did one Chowhound Missions:
3/5/45  PFF  916 R   HARDSTAND 32

22 June,1945  BANJO mission for WOFFORD on "PARD"  44-8849  EP-J



1ST LT JESSE L. WOFFORD                        P FEH
1ST LT LEONARD C. FRUMIN                   NAV FEH SN# 0-2015306
1ST LT ALFRED PATERNO                        BOM FEH 
T/SGT RUEBEN LASKOW                          ROG FEH TAPS: 16 SEP 1979 
SGT JOE R. URICE                                        TG FEH

"Thanks for the response and question. Yes Paterno was assigned to the Wofford crew as Bom. After Wofford's seventh mission when he became a leadpilot. At that time also the mickey operator [Lt Robert M.Wells ] was assigned to the crew. The other reassignments that occurred atthat time were the transferring of WG Norman Bowman and BTG Raymond Uhler[later KIA with the Gwin crew]to spare gunner category and CP Kenneth Carr[later KIA] to spare pilot. Togglier Carl E Lindstrom then became WaistGunner. We made training flights over England for approximately one month before going back on a mission basis. Lindstrom and Paterno are now deceased. Nav. Frumin, TTE Davenport, ROG Laskow, and TG Urice were the other lead crew members. I hope this covers your query. Best regards. JOE URICE

To Michael Faley : Michael, I must have mis-spoken to Paul West in 1993 about Ken Pfister's involvement on Wofford's crew. I don't know when he joined the 100th, but my recollection [thru memory and later communications with him after locating him in Florida] of his involvement with the crew was as co-pilot for Wofford on sorties after VE Day. I agree with you in that I don't think he flew combat missions with Wofford. Pfister related to me that he had been a fighter pilot by training but had been a late transfer into bombers because that was where the need was. There were many such post VE Day flights made for various reasons in which only skelton EM crews participated. For example, only TTE Davenport [and perhaps ROG Laskow] went on most of these. I recall standing in as TTE on one such flight to Munich in this manner. I would imagine these are the type of flights Pfister flew as co-pilot since he related to me one such flight to [Northern ?] Ireland. One further update on Wofford [that is perhaps noteworthy and has never been shown on the 100th site] is that he served briefly as the C.O. of the 418thSqd. At the tag end of the 100th's time in England; however this is not shown in "CONTRAILS" nor can I recall at the moment the source of this information as a "fact". My best regards and hope this covers your question. [joe Urice 2001)  

-----Original Message-----From: Joe Urice []Sent: Friday, August 31, 2001 6:41 PMTo: Charles M ColeSubject: Wofford Crew
Hey aggie, if it's not being too pushy, the next time your group is updating the 100th web, would you enter some additional info on three pictures listed under "people" ?? These were pictures I sent to Paul West eons ago and all that was put on the description was what I had inserted on the back of those particular pixs. [1] p.2--8th picture down of Norman F. Bowman. Could you add " 351st WG on Jess Wofford crew. Nickname "Moanin". Home town Mlps. MN.". [2] p.3--13 pix down of Algie L. Davenport. "351st TTE of Jess Wofford crew. Home town---Rossville, GA.". [3] p.11--7th pix down. "All of 351st Jess Wofford crew . Algie L Davenport--TTE of Rossville, GA. Rueben Laskow--ROG of Middle Village, L.I., N.Y. Joe R. Urice--TG of Taft, TX". If any of this is possible, maybe I could refrain from spreading any more rumors about aggies. Thanks. [joe urice].

Hi Joe: In the event I missed it (but don't think so) in your Urice Wofford crew history….  You have nothing for the mission Jesse Wofford receiving his DFC????....He was awarded the DFC in April,1945 along with Capt Kodas who was also promoted to Capt and Command Pilot and also awarded a DFC in April,1945….(PROBABLY on the same mission as Jesse. They flew several missions together in April,1945 i.e.starting with 3 April,1945 KIEL )…….You MIGHT want to revise your crew history and add  the awarding of the DFC with the particulars of their extraordinary actions/events that WOFFORD and KODAS  did to deserve it… I'm working on something after  hostilities on 100th BG pilots when I came across the item on the DFC awards for April,1945…….Stay COOL!...Later, Jack O'Leary

Berlin mission date ----it was 1945 of course---


   I talked at length with Frumin {NAV] on Weds. {3 Feb} and got him to recall some the details of navigating us back alone from Berlin that day. Somehow we made it thru flak free areas after bomb release which was fortunate since we were below 10,000 ft all the way back from the target. Very interesting comments. He attributed having barely enough fuel to getting back to the base to the Wofford’s order to toss everything loose overboard as soon as we cleared Germany’s coast [flak jackets, armor plating, all guns and ammo other than the tail and upper turret, etc.]. I also wish I would have also had foresight enough to have gotten the TTE’s experience of transferring available fuel around during that period to the various tanks, etc. He [Davenport} was a job-dedicated individual.

   Mike, thanks for the answers on those other crew mission details you sent….[ju].
          Jesse Wofford Crew Mission to Berlin—[Saturday] 3 February 1945.

    We had a 120 volt AC radio that one of the crew had brought over from the States and it was always turned on in our 351st Squadron quarters. On this Friday night it was tuned, as usual, to the American Armed Forces broadcast. This was the night before what was to be our most difficult crew mission. On every late night broadcast, the station disc jockey would play the Les Brown record arrangement of Sentimental Journey with vocalist Doris Day.  At lights out, Algie Davenport {TTE} always took it upon himself to turn the radio off after all were sacked in. He must have been a very patient person since he occupied a top bunk and had to make an extra effort to do that chore. The electrical voltage of the English was different from that supplied in the US so a transformer was necessary to play American manufactured electric products. Later in the year the DJ announced, “Well, I don’t plan to play that record anymore”---and that remark was followed by a sound that seemed to be a breaking crash of a vinyl record. The DJ evidently thought he had been requested to play the song far too many times. But those messages expressed by that song, by Bill Mauldin’s cartoons of Willie and Joe, by the weekly Yank magazine, by “Sad Sack” cartoons and by the news in the Stars and Stripes newspaper all went a long way in expressing the thoughts, needs and emotions of many us in the military in those WW2 days. 

   Our enlisted Wofford crew realized sometime during that Friday night that we were to fly a mission because the small three-light [red, green & yellow] box at the Orderly Room hut was showing green. There were strict black out requirements on the base at night so that box was semi-concealed by being enclosed in the three sided entry way of O.R. hut at about eye ball height. Our barracks was directly across the narrow asphalt roadway from the O.R. so I could always see the box clearly from my lower bunk and it was the first thing I looked at any time I woke during the night so that I might check to see if it had changed during the night. It rarely did, but if it did change, it seemed to always go from red {no mission} to green [meaning the 100th was to fly].  .

   That next morning [Saturday] was cold as it always seemed to be in the winter in Diss [Pop. 6000] and that chill carried over into our half of the twelve enlisted man hut # Six. At night we always left our little Turtle iron stove burning and that helped take the chill off the night. Early that next morning, the CQ orderly room G.I. came in with his flash light and woke us [probably about 3:30 AM]. We quickly crawled out of our zippered sleeping sacks [which were simple closed sacks made from unlined G.I. khaki wool blankets] and which had an opening at one end sufficient for one’s head to protrude. We six E.M. then quickly pulled on our two piece “long handles”, our flying coveralls and shoes for the walking trip to the enlisted chow hall. Of course, the officers had a separate dining room and quarters so we didn’t see them until joining them later at the briefing hut.

   After a good breakfast of coffee, fresh eggs and biscuits smeared with orange marmalade, we went to the Group’s large briefing hall where the mission of the day was to be announced. Following the staged entrance of the C.O. and his briefing staff who proceeded down the center aisle, some brief opening remarks were made by the Group Commander, Colonel Frederick J Sutterlin, [however, some sources say that Colonel Thomas S Jeffery made those remarks that day although he officially was no longer C.O.]. A two piece concealing curtain that divided in the vertical center was pulled back revealing a huge wall map of Europe. We then saw the target route to and the route out of Berlin. The routes were clearly emphasized by a colored, pinned ribbon and as usual the return flight was different with it being slightly to the north of the entry route. 

   [See Tom E Ramsey’s oral report to mpf in 2002 where Ramsey stated the other staff officers were Major Crosby and Major Ventriss]; however, I had no knowledge of whom any of them were since we had no personal contact with any officers other than our own crew officers. The G-2 [and/or Group Navigator??] and weather officer then briefed us on their best information of the moment. They spoke of the number and the known whereabouts of flak guns and alleys and their assessment that we could expect in excess of 1000 AA over the target. In hindsight, possibly AA estimate numbers were on a swag basis due somewhat to the changing flow and conditions of the war and therefore the positions and concentration of cannons were never static. They also gave estimates of the German fighters that we might expect but I don’t recall that announced strength.  The military analysts of the time probably knew much about the Luftwaffe’s now known reduced ability and strength but we who were flying also knew of its past performances and abilities so we were always on continued high alert when in the air. That fighter number was always potentially very high whenever the 8thAF was to go deeply into Germany and it was especially high when going to their capitol city. The German fighter pilots were still very capable of making determined attacks on the Allied bombers---but apparently not on every mission.  Berlin was a target never to be assumed as a milk run and so anxiety was always high when being assigned to going there. 

   Col. Sutterlin had just assumed the C.O. responsibility on the previous day, 2 Feb 1945, and had relieved Col. Jeffery who was C.O. from 7 May 1944 to 1 Feb 1945. I am assuming that was one of the several factors that led to Major Rosenthal being given Division’s permission to lead the Group today.

   After briefing, we then walked to the equipment hut and drew our electric suits, silk gloves, parachutes, harness, yellow mae west vests, escape maps and currency package along with some hard candy for our all day flight. A six by six truck took us to the hardstand [probably #10] where our B-17G of the day would be parked. We never had an A/C specifically assigned to our crew and normally flew a different one each mission. Naturally, therefore, we never got to name or even rename a plane, but we had chosen the name “One Time” should that occasion occur. This day we were in B-17 # 295 B 10 and we were to fly in the second three A/C element of the 13 ship B Squadron. Wofford was assigned to fly on the right wing of his three plane element leader, Powell. Our 351st Sqd had the identification markings of “EP’ on the side and a green wing stripe. Our B Squadron lead plane was the crew of pilots Lester and Williams in 400 W [a PFF]. The C Sqd was led by pilots Wooten and Mafking in A/C #209 A [a PFF] and ”A” also consisted of 13 planes and the lead A Sqd had only 12 for a 38 total plane Group effort [Formation chart courtesy of Jack O’Leary]. 

   By the time we arrived at the pad, the crew chief had the four engines pre-flighted, the ground armorers had the ten 500# bombs loaded in the bomb bay and also had loaded the required number of 50 caliber rounds at each gun position. The number of rounds per gun varied from approximately 400 in the waist to 600 in the Cheyenne tail turret [so named since it had been developed at the AAF at Cheyenne, WY]. Additionally, the fuel truck crew had topped off the plane’s gas tanks with 100 octane gasoline to replenish the fuel used in pre-flight. The very important and necessary supply of pressurized oxygen was also supplied by ground personnel into the A/C’s main air supply tanks and the individual carry bottles. In hindsight, I realize now that I never once checked my individual tank prior to takeoff and I doubt that any others did.

   We gunners picked up our 50 caliber guns from the work bench of the ground crew’s pyramid tent and then installed them in our respective stations. The ball turret gunner {Sgt Raymond Uhler} picked up two, as did S/Sgt Carl Lindstrom in the nose, and I put my two in the tail mounts. Waist gunner Sgt Norman Bowman installed one on each side in the window mounts and S/Sgt Algie Davenport put two more in the top turret. I still don’t know who installed the navigator’s two side nose guns---probably one of the gunners although F.0. Leonard Frumin had previous gunner training. ROG Reuben Laskow no longer had a gun mount in his area’s overhead window since that gun position was removed in 1944 in the B-17s --- in part to eliminate the extra weight of it and its rounds. However, he was expected to man the 2nd gun in the waist if necessary. The navigator {F.O. Frumin} came aboard carrying his maps, necessary flight equipment and charts for keeping accurate records and position during the mission. 2nd Lt Jesse Wofford [pilot] had the formation charts for the day showing call letters and pre-arranged times, points and altitudes for the various points of formation assembly plus the Initial Point and other mission details. Since we were not yet a lead crew, we had no Bombardier, therefore an armorer-gunner [S/Sgt Lindstrom] was in that nose position. Lindstrom was responsible for releasing our A/C’s bombs as soon as he saw that the Bombardier in the lead ship of B squadron had released his. He also had the assignment of taking out the cotter keys and their attached heavy paper tags from the primer propellers on the individual bombs prior to the drop. He normally would be the one called if it became necessary to “kick” out any bomb that might hang up and not drop.

   The takeoff runway was #28 which has an approximate east--west direction. Initial A/C takeoff for the 100th was 7:15 AM. When our plane’s scheduled takeoff time arrived, the two pilots [Wofford & Copilot 2nd Lt Kenneth Carr] moved onto the taxi way and lined up in our assigned takeoff position. The takeoff procedure was one more dangerous activity since all mission planes were heavily loaded and therefore had limited lift.  Additional problems were, after getting airborne, the visibility was normally very limited [by darkness and/or by heavy clouds] and also the presence of planes from all over the eastern part of England were occupying the same air space. Winter time flying always caused far more personal, weather and mechanical difficulties than did warmer weather summer flying. All personnel had their previously issued equipment [parachutes, harness, etc] on board as well as having flak vests and steel helmets close at hand. These flak vests for an individual’s upper body front and back were constructed of small overlaid {lapped] metal squares contained within a cloth material. A quick release draw string was conveniently located at the top. I always also flew with my “lucky” khaki cloth and billed GI cap and with my long wool scarf for neck protection from the bitter wind that always funneled thru the tail section.  I was armed with a loaded 45 caliber pistol in my shoulder holster and my custom made straight blade knife was strapped on my leg. At altitude when the cold became more intense, for hopefully more neck warmth, I would turn on the hand operated signal light that was mounted with a lengthy cord on the bulkhead behind my head. I was never requested to officially use it on any mission. After the first mission, I developed a superstitious habit of being absolutely certain I always had the same personal items [such as the GI cap] with me on each mission. Internal radio discipline within our crew was excellent---little unnecessary “chatter” occurred and frequent position checks were done after getting on oxygen. We had no “gun control” officer as some crews did since we gunners were supposed to have been sufficiently well trained to make good decisions. In hind sight, we were a decentralized unit where the crew members were allowed to make decisions depending on the situation and not wait to be directed. Events often happened too quickly to operate otherwise. Each of us was expected to handle his assignment as needed.  

   After squadron, then group, and then wing assembly at the scheduled 8000 ft altitude, the bomber stream proceeded generally northeastward at 9:20 AM over the North Sea. By 09:55 AM we were at 19,000 ft. While over the North Sea, we gunners were allowed to test fire our weapons with a short burst. Sometime before arriving at the IP point, I always snapped my chest pack parachute on the left side harness hook so it would be easily available if needed. I also made sure my GI high top shoes were within reach. The IP arrival time was scheduled at 11:08 AM and target time at 11:18 AM [Memo: The 8thAF leading 379thBG bomb drop has been reported as having occurred at 11:02 AM which seems rather close timing since the entire 1st Division had to drop before our lead 100th A/C was scheduled to drop over the target].

   It was later reported by some sources that 1033 B-17 bombers were sent that day with Berlin as the target. However, Roger Freeman in his “The Mighty Eighth War Dairy” [p.432] shows that 1003 B-17s from the 1st and 3rd Divisions were “despatched” to Berlin while only 937 were “effective”. The 2nd Division [B-24s] “despatched” 434 B-24s to Magdeburg which is 65 miles SW of Berlin. Obviously several different A/C numbers by different authorities are on record for this day.  2067 tons of bombs were dropped on Berlin according to Freeman. He also notes that 613 P-51s escorted the 1st & 3rd Divisions to Berlin with 333 of that total assigned to the 3rd   Division. I have found no source noting which Fighter Groups these 333 were. The formation chart would appear to indicate that the 13th Wing call was “Moonlight & Roses” and the 3rd Division’s was “Old Crow Whiskey”. The London Daily Express reported that 21 German fighters were shot down during the mission and 17 more were destroyed on the ground. The Star and Stripes reported that 25,000 people were killed on the ground {8thAF NEWS, Sept, 2000 Quarterly—p.40}. One other source said that the German radio reported that 20,000 to 25,000 people were killed.

   On this 3 Feb 1945 mission, the 100th B.G. led the 3rd Air Division. Leading the 100th was Major Robert "Rosie" Rosenthal who was flying his 52nd [and last] mission. This combat flight was our crew’s sixth mission and was # 256 for the 100th Group. Although our Wofford crew had already been to several difficult targets in our earlier five, Berlin was not being taken lightly by anyone. We all knew the potential danger awaiting. The announced specific target was Berlin’s railroad marshalling yards and unknown to me at the time, the German Army’s Sixth Panzer was then passing through Berlin while being transferred from the Western Front to the Eastern Front to face the Russian Army [which was then only 35 miles from Berlin according to CENTURY BOMBERS -- p.181]. Although the very last thing on our minds at the time was a medal, but by flying this sixth mission we would automatically earn an Air Metal---five missions had been the requirement until late 1944 but now that was changed. All metal awarding procedures was unknown to me at that point in time, another change in the mid-1944 was the number of missions required to complete a crew member’s tour which had been increased to 35 from 25 and this was well known by all. Rank advancement also had been controlled in 1944. For example, on our crew alone, the navigator was a Flight Officer, and three gunners were flying as buck sergeants and pilots were not being promoted quickly either.

   The flight over the North Sea and even over Germany to the Initial Point was not noteworthy since no enemy fighters were seen and no flak was fired at us. However, events became more intense starting at the I.P.  The 100th’s lead A/C arrived there at 11:15 AM [Memo: perhaps the 100th was slightly behind its scheduled time]. Noteworthy are the comments of Leroy J Edwards in his Splasher Six article Berlin Raid [Spring, 2009—p.7] who said “that the bomb run was from west to east and as the target was approached the 100th was downwind in the jet stream resulting in a 150 mph tail wind”. In another article The CO  [Lewis E Lyle] of the 379thBG, who evidently led the entire 300 mile long 8th AF bomber stream that day, reported that they were on a 65 degree heading at bombs away at 11:02 AM [8thAF NEWS, May 2000, p.15]. His lead navigator’s log shows there were many areas with 10/10 cloud overcasts in the area but their bomb run was visual.

   That reported jet stream would later become detrimental to us from a fuel standpoint when we would eventually head back to the base and be facing that head wind. 

   After leaving the I.P and approaching the target, flak was all over the sky. Frumin [Nav], looking forward from the nose area, said that he saw an endless stream of bombers plus a black wall of flak. The German AA crews were throwing up heavy, accurate puffs of flak with their 88mm and larger guns and they had our precise altitude calculated as we approached. The Germans had constructed fortress-like "Flak Towers" [with AA gun batteries positioned on each of the four corners] in Berlin and other major cities such as Hamburg, etc. These towers provided protection for their big AA batteries so that continued firing could occur throughout a bomb raid. Robin Neillands in “The Bomber War” -- p.137, said that the Third Reich had constructed 28 of these enormous towers in Ludwigshafen alone. These flak towers served a double purpose as air raid shelters for the civilian population. Starting in 1943 [p.139] many of the German flak cannons were operated [or who served as helpers to the regular soldiers] by the teenage “Hitler Youth” [Flakhelfer] who had been born in 1926/7, which would make them 16 & 17 years old. Germany was to enlist much younger boys and extremely overage men into the regular Wehrmacht as it had lost an extremely high number of military age men by then during the war.

     It has been reported by some that the target area had been thickly overcast during some of the early 1st Division bomber group target runs, but it was approximately 1/10th clear as the 100th hit the IP. That cloud coverage is confirmed also in my written correspondence with Davenport--TTE. As stated earlier, the sky over the target was filled with flak bursts and “Contrails” reported many rockets along with the flak. Our A/C didn't stay aloft over the target long enough for me to confirm that rocket report. Our plane was hit at “bombs away” and it immediately fell, possibly 5000 feet. However Frumin estimated our fall at only 1000 ft and he had a better view of the formation than I did. The sound of the numerous flak fragments that struck us, as has been often previously described, was similar to "rocks hitting a tin roof ". As stated, our fall occurred very quickly and I suddenly could no longer see any other planes. My initial thought was “that the German flak had knocked down all the other planes except us”. That observation was not too intelligent or accurate, but the I00th did lose four A/C in that barrage, all in the lead “A” Squadron. No one in our crew was hit but one motor was knocked out immediately and another was feathered long before we finally reached the German coastline. Our plane was struck by numerous fragments throughout the entire structure and it was reported later that it had over 100 flak penetrations. Shortly after coming away from the target, we were obviously flying under 10,000 ft. as we went off oxygen early and were struggling to maintain altitude. 

    The navigator said he gave Wofford a quick direct heading to get us out of Germany at the closest point and then later another one westward towards England when we reached the coast. However, the heading must have been much better planned than that since he had to chart us between Hamburg and Bremen as well as away from Wilhelmshaven’s flak area. In fact, all I saw during all the flight out of Germany was countryside while at those low altitudes---we didn’t even fly over a hamlet to my knowledge.

   I was pleased and very surprised that I saw no US or German fighters all the way out from the target but Davenport [TTE] told me later that one P-51 flew along above us while we were over German territory. We passed out of Germany just west of Helgoland and I reported to the crew what appeared to be aircraft activity on the ground there but no flak or German fighters ever appeared.

   After clearing Germany, Wofford passed the word to toss all guns and ammunition overboard except for the top turret and tail guns. Flak vests, helmets and internal plane armor were all taken loose and also tossed. Carr [CP] proposed that we fly to Sweden, but Wofford was determined to try for England even though he was flying on only two motors had only limited ability to hold altitude and level flight. Having two motors out on the same side made continuous difficulty for Wofford to hold level flight and he later said he was compelled to use all trim tabs and all his ability to hold the plane level. In addition, there was high concern about having sufficient fuel to reach England. Two B-17s from other groups were reported by Roger Freeman to have diverted to Sweden that day while six others landed in Russian controlled territory [The Mighty Eighth War Diary--p.433].  

   A possible ditching location was plotted by Frumin and as we flew over that point, several [either four or five] Air-Sea Rescue boats were circling below. Finally we arrived, at long last, at our home base [#139] but an hour after the other 100th planes. This mission was officially shown as a 08:30 hour round trip. However, Frumin [Nav] logged our flight time as 09:30 hours as a result of our A/C’s reduced speed while operating with less than full power as well as having a head wind.

   As mentioned earlier, the 100th lost four planes over the target including Major Rosenthal in the lead PFF ship [44-8379]. He was able to parachute out, was picked up by the Russians and later returned to the 100th’s base but with a broken arm. Also lost were A/C # 44-6500 with Orville Cotner [P], A/C # 42-102958 with Richard Beck [P], and A/C #44-6092 with Walter Oldham [P]. [Memo: “Century Bombers” –p.181]. ”CONTRAILS” reports indicated---0---4---36---GOOD [Memo: four A/C and 36 personnel down with good bombing results reported]. The intended targets in Berlin were the rail centers but many later accounts spoke of numerous hits thru the entire center of the city, Contrails also gives a report of this Berlin mission [pp.121-140] and its summary is the following: 

   “this was a 1000 A/C effort by the 8thAF with the 100th sending 38 A/C and it was also leading the Division (with Rosenthal as Command Pilot [Memo--along with his A/C  pilot John Ernst]  by special approval of 3rd Air Division Headquarters/Col. John Bennett. Since it was a Division mission it was customarily led by a group or wing commander -- p.181. The 100th BG was followed by the 95thBG and then the 390thBG in their usual Combat Wing positions of that day. Take off was at 07:30 am. Assembly altitude was 10,000 ft [Memo: the formation chart shows 8,000] at 08:53 AM and the early flight weather over the target was 10/10th overcast. The bombing altitude was 25,000 ft and the weather over the target suddenly cleared as the 100th Group approached. Over the target four B-17s went down quickly and other A/C  were hit”. That hit group included the Wofford plane as was mentioned on p.162.

   Hong Kong Wilson’s [a 100th pilot} comments on the mission were pointed and as follows: “A Toughie-over 9 hours in the air, no flak till target then all hell broke loose-plane on our left had its left wing blown off--Lost Rosie and Marty-blew hell out of the center of Berlin. Lots of holes in ship---plenty lucky”.


Lost 100th A/C: {This following numerical data from historian Freeman]:

MACRs [ 8th Loss Totals]:

Serial                         MACR               Gp                    Sqd                   A/C
 42-100269               12025                                       308                   B-24 
 43-38364                 12031               92                    325                   B-17 
 44-6092                   12044             100                    350                   B-17 
 44-6500                   12045             100                    350                   B-17 
 44-8379                   12046             100                    351                   B-17 
 42-102958               12047             100                    350                    B-17 
 42-102951               12048               95                    334                    B-17 
 42-8593                  12060                                       358                    P-47 
 42-102873               12096              381                   532                     B-17 
 42-97960                12153               384                   547                     B-17 
 44-6592                  12154               384                   547                     B-17 
 44-6170                  12155                96                    337                    B-17 
 43-38899                12156                95                    336                    B-17 
 43-38242                 12157              493                   863                     B-17 
 44-19777                12163                56                     63                     P-47 
 44-15729                12164                78                     83                     P-51 
 44-15746                12165                78                     84                     P-51 
 44-63182                12166                78                     84                     P-51 
 44-63182                 12166               78                                              P-51 
 44-14303                 12169              353                   352                     P-51 
 44-13586                 12171              357                   364                     P-51 
 44-13686                 12173              364                   384                     P-51 
 44-6508                  12213               401                   613                     B-17 
 42-97387                12214              398                   602                      B-17 
43-38697                 12215              398                   603                      B-17 
42-97678                 12217              379                   525                     B-17 
43-38407                 12218              306                   367                     B-17 
42-50628                 12231              93                    328                      B-24 
42-97632                 12232              91                    324                      B-17 
42-32085                 12233              91                    322                      B-17 
43-38150                 12238             490                                               B-17 
42-94936                 12243             446                   707                       B-24 
42-102547               12283             306                    367                       B-17 
43-38898                 12295             381                    534                       B-17 
44-15124                 12323             352                    486                       P-51 
42-50551                 12370             389                    566                       B-24 
42-97658                 12495             306                    367                        B-17 
43-38358                 12496             452                    730                        B-17 
42-5562                  14300              421                                                 P-61 
[As stated above, on this same day the 8th AF also bombed Magdeburg’s synthetic oil plant and its transportation targets with 434 A/C. Approximately 900 fighters were also involved on today’s missions].

    This Berlin mission is very interestingly described in “FLYING FORTS” --pg.433, by Martin Caldin.  “Stars and Stripes” of 5 Feb 45 [Monday] reported that 1000 B-17s bombed Berlin [on Saturday, 3 Feb 45] and 19 bombers and five fighters were missing. “Diary of an Air War” by Zijlrstra [p.396] gives a very insightful comment on the Allied bombing strategy of that time. It says “At a conference in Malta on 30 January, just prior to the Yalta Conference, it had been decided to support the massive Russian advance in the east by the full weight of the Allied heavy bomber fleets.” “This support was to be obtained by bombing transportation centers through which Germans transferred their armies from west to east and thus prevented the Germans from supporting their crumbling eastern front.” “Many German towns in the eastern part of the Reich were already over-crowded by the refugees fleeing in advance of the Russian troops, and it might very well be possible to raise panic and confusion in those cities by heavy bombardment and eventually hamper the movement of reinforcements.” “Second on the priority list [oil was still in first place] came cities like Berlin, Leipzig, Dresden, Cottbus, Chemnitz, and several others.” This comment of possible strategy would indicate that the Allied reluctance to bomb civilian populations had now changed. Zijlstra later says [p.397] that of the 1033 B17s of the 1st and 3rd Divisions, there were “twenty one Fortresses blown from the sky”. He also is one who says that it is believed that at this time the German Sixth Panzer Army was passing through Berlin on its way to the eastern front. This loss of 21 8thAF B-17s is also shown in “Flying Forts” by Martin Caiden -- p.433.  “Flying Forts”  by Caiden also reports this Sixth Panzer movement. This Malta Conference Allied strategy as declared by Zijlstra, if true, would parallel General Sherman’s [of US Civil War era] philosophy of total warfare against an enemy and that war is not only waged just against soldiers but also targets civilians and the economy.

 Upon landing back at the base, I felt a tremendous sense of relief and appreciation of my safety as I stepped out the waist door onto the hard pad at Thorpe Abbotts. Upon landing, I recall no immediate conversations among us. We always considered this flight to Berlin to be our crew’s most stressful combat mission even though we did fail to return with our group on six of our first seven missions. Since Lt Wofford was successful in flying our battered B-17 back to the 100th base, in April, 1945 he was awarded a DFC [Distinguished Flying Cross] for that 3rd February accomplishment. Although we E.M. rarely rehashed the bad moments of missions following their completion, this mission to Berlin left us totally mentally and physically exhausted. As crews will, we sincerely planned to get together on each future February 3rd, but when we got discharged, got married and got reestablished in our new civilian world, those proposed reunions were neglected. So like many similar good intentions of other occasions by many others, that intended reunion never happened----but that Berlin mission will be remembered forever -----[ju].


    OK---when I used "Donald Fagen" instead of "Don Fagen" in the search panel, it did bring up the other two crews' links---plus the air metal lead---
As for the "Pvt" rank shown for him, it might be that he screwed up and got some strips removed---knowing the automatic ranking we went thru back then, it is difficult to imagine he wasn't later flying as "Sgt" at least at some point---even when he came over it should have been more than Pvt.---mine was at Corporal when I came over after going thru gunnery school and then later crew flight trading when at Avon PK, FL.
    I saw my old friend EF "Tim" Hooper's name involved also---after seeing the A/C picture of "Our Gal Sal" in there, I recalled that Tim said he flew most of his missions in that ship {Perhaps also including "Our Gal Sal ll "} in spite of being on several crews---Hooper was a good friend also of M/Sgt Lemmons [Crew Chief} as they lived  post-WW2 in the same town ----they went to Thrope Abbotts a couple of times together--Hooper's leather flight jacket with all its paintings on it was donated to the Oshkosh EEA Museum and last I heard it was under glass in a display case up there---long ago he gave me a picture of that---Tim also gave me a picture of  Lemmons perched up by the wing replacing an engine while in Europe {he said} when they had a forced landing there during a mission.[ju].


Leonard Frumin  
351st Squadron  
February 15, 2017

Lenny was the Navigator for the Jesse Wofford crew which arrived at Thorpe Abbotts on December 29, 1944.  After the 8th mission the crew flew as Lead for the 351st and Lenny became Squadron Navigator.  One memorable mission, to Heilbronn on January 20, 1945, is recalled by Joe Urice, Tail Gunner on the Wofford crew, because Wofford’s oxygen tube froze causing him to pass out due to anoxia.  Both the TT Engineer and Navigator Frumin moved in to assist their Pilot, and both also experienced anoxia.  “The Co-Pilot Kenneth Carr took charge and dived through the heavy overcast of the day at 25,000 ft top nad finally got under it into the clear about 2,000ft.  He landed at the first available fighter strip.  When he tried to turn off the strip, the plane was immediately buried up to its hubs in the soft wet soil.  All crew recovered at lower altitude.”  Lenny is remembered as a “very capable navigator” who flew 14 combat missions and one Chowhound mission before V-E Day.  He finished his military service in Munich until his honorable discharge in 1946.






Leonard C. Frumin (Photo courtesy of Joe Urice)

Stateside photo of the Jesse L. Wofford Crew (left to right)
Kneeling: Kenneth Carr (CP), Jesse Wofford (P), Lenny Frumin (NAV)
Standing: Algie Davenport (TTE), Raymond Uhler (BTG), Reuben Laskow (ROG)
Carl Lindstrom (TOG), Norman Bowman (WG), Joe Urice (TG)
(Photo courtesy of Joe Urice)



Crew 1

Crew 2

ID: 1750