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On Batterman Crew





2nd Lt Paul B. Batterman                  P   FEH   (CP on Capt. Hutchinson Lead Crew) 
F/0 Raymond Stiller                        CP   FEH
2nd Lt Norman "The Kid" Graham   NAV  FEH   (NAV on Capt Hutchinson Lead Crew) SEE BELOW
2nd Lt Arthur R. Zemske               BOM  CPT  6 APR 45 LEIPZIG (BOM on Capt. Hutchinson Lead Crew) 
Cpl Thomas H. Fagan                    ROG  FEH  (ROG on Capt. Hutchinson Lead Crew) SEE BELOW
Cpl Robert B. May                         TTE  FEH   (went to Lt Garrison Crew in April 45) SEE BELOW
Cpl Reid G. Jensen                       RWG  FEH
Cpl Leon E. Hebert,Jr.                  LWG  FEH   (moved to BTG, OLC for Air Medal for EAC destroyed)
Cpl Elmer F .Hooper                      TG   FEH   Flew 29 Missions (went to Lt Garrison Crew in March 45) SEE BELOW
Cpl Robert C. Mackey                   BTG   NOC  

351st Sqdn. Crew,as above,joined 100th Group on 5/10/44.
No memory of Robert.Mackey after reaching England. He probably was removed to reduce crew to nine men. 

From a letter from Norm Graham, Navigator on the P.B. Batterman Crew, dated 24/3/83 we learn: 
"Lt Batterman broke his arm riding a bicycle after joining the 100th on 5/10/44 and Jim Knowles was assigned as pilot of the Batterman crew.  Zemske & Graham then placed on the crew of Dave Hutchinson. Later, Batterman joined the Hutchinson crew as CP and Tom Fagan as ROG. Finished tour.  Ray Stiller, Bob May, Reid Jensen, Leon Hebert and Elmer Hooper stayed with Knowles crew.”

James W.Knowles was the original CP on crew of Jack L.Gay. Lt Knowles first mission with the Batterman crew was 26 Nov 44 to Hamm.   Lt. Knowles was replaced as first pilot on the Batterman crew by Lt Stevenson (see Sgt Hooper diary) starting on 20 Jan 45.  1st Lt Daniel Shaffer 0-765734 was the Navigator.  Lt Stevenson completed his missions on 9 Feb 45, mission to Weimar. After this point S/Sgt Hooper and T/Sgt May go to spare gunners pool.  Hopper flies missions with Lt Garrison and Knowles in Feb/Mar 45 before being assigned to Garrison’s Crew permanently on 28/3/45 mission to Hanover.  T/Sgt May is assigned to the Garrison Crew after April 8, 1945. S/Sgt Hooper would finish with Lt Garrison's Crew.   

After the 31 Dec 44 mission to Hamburg, Lt Batterman and Sgt Fagan go to Lt Hutchinson's Lead Crew to replace the Co-pilot and ROG who were KIA and SWA respectively.   Lt Batterman would fly as Formation Officer/Tail Gunner on the Hutchinson Crew. Lt Batterman flew as a fill in Co-Pilot with Lt Rosenbaum/Lt Kodas Crew on 17 Jan 45 Hamburg mission. Batterman also flew some missions as co-pilot on Lt Streich Crew…(from Leon Schwartz-Streich Crew)   

Lt Graham joins Lt Hutchinson Lead Crew as Navigator after Dec 12, 1944 Mission to Darmstadt and Lt Zemske joins Hutchinson Crew in Late Feb 45 when Lt Paterno joins Jesse Wofford’s Lead Crew. 

We have only two records of Lt Knowles flying as 1st pilot after Dec 31, 1944, one on March 17, 1945 to Plauen flying  42-31530 “QUITTIN' TIME” and another the following day March 18, 1945 flying  44-8503      "BABY BUNTY" LN-A, an a/c from the 350th BS to Berlin. According to S/Sgt Hooper diary, 3-17-45, Plauen, Ger . Knowles was pilot, Lt Brown, a new pilot, flew as co-pilot. Lt. Linn – Bombardier – Levine was waist gunner, Hooper as TG.  My best guess for this big lapse of time for Knowles not flying a mission after Dec 31, 1944 is that he may have gone to 351st Sqdn operations…mpf 2006)

Lt Knowles as 1st Pilot with Lt Batterman Crew.  (Knowles first mission with this crew was Nov 26, 1944)

2nd Lt James W. Knowles      P
F/0 Raymond Stiller               CP  
2nd Lt Norman Graham         NAV 
2nd Lt Arthur R.Zemeke       BOM 
   Cpl Thomas H.Fagan          ROG 
   Cpl Robert B.May               TTE  
   Cpl Reid G.Jensen             WG  
   Cpl Leon E.Hebert,Jr         BTG  
   Cpl Elmer F.Hooper            TG

Missions of Lt James W. Knowles/Lt Stevenson with Lt Batterman Crew
DATE:       TARGET                        A/C #, CODE, NAME              PILOT/NAV.

26/11/44     HAMM                                                                  Pilot-Lt Knowles
02/12/44     KOBLENZ                   42-31708  EP-R SKIPPER II      Pilot-Lt Knowles
05/12/44     BERLIN                     42-31708   EP-R SKIPPER II      Pilot-Lt Knowles
30/12/44     KASSEL                     42-31767  EP-G OUR GAL SAL  Pilot-Lt Knowles
31/12/44     HAMBURG                 42-31530  EP-X QUITTIN' TIME Pilot- Lt Knowles 
20/01/44     HEILBRONN                44-8632   EP-H                      Pilot-Lt Stevenson/ Nav- Lt Daniel Shaffer 0-765734
28/01/45      DUISBURG                 44-8632   EP-H                      Pilot-Lt Stevenson/ Nav-Lt Daniel Shaffer 0-765734
29/01/45     KASSEL                      44-8632   EP-H                      Pilot-Lt Stevenson/ Nav- Lt Daniel Shaffer 0-765734
06/02/45     CHEMNITZ/ZWICKAU    44-8632  EP-H                      Pilot-Lt Stevenson/ Nav-Lt Daniel Shaffer 0-765734
09/02/45     WEIMAR**                  44-8632  EP-H                      Pilot-Lt Stevenson/ Nav-Lt Daniel Shaffer 0-765734
17/03/45      PLAUEN                   42-31530 EP-X QUITTIN' TIME  Pilot-Lt Knowles/Nav-Lt Daniel Shaffer
18/03/45     BERLIN                        44-8503  LN-A BABY BUNTY,  Pilot-Lt Knowles/Nav-Lt Daniel Shaffer

**“According to S/Sgt Hooper Diary, Lt Stevenson and S/Sgt Ralph F. McBath,  from Lt Charles crew,   completed their tours.  S/Sgt Miller flew his 16th mission”

                    CREW FOR 17 MAR 45 
2nd Lt James W. Knowles        P    (from crew of Lt Jack Gay)
2nd Lt Bill Brown                    CP   (pilot of own crew, combat orientation mission)
Lt Daniel Shaffer                  NAV
Lt Everett E. Linn                BOM  (On original crew of Lt Hedin, completes tour on this mission)
T/Sgt Robert B .May            TTE   (Original Batterman Crew)
S/Sgt Levine                       WG
      ?                                BTG
      ?                                ROG
S/Sgt Elmer E.Hooper           TG   (Original Batterman Crew)

F/O Raymond Stiller Flew as Co-Pilot on all the above missions.  After 9 Feb 45 mission, Stiller goes into the spare co-pilots pool.  
Missions F/O Stiller flew with Other Crews:

Lt Rosenbaum/Lt Kodas Crew:
13/1/45 MAINZ Rhine River Bridge Co-Pilot- F/O Raymond Stiller
14/1/45 DERBEN Oil Storage         Co-Pilot-F/O Raymond Stiller

Lt Sherrard Crew: (F/O Stiller may have filled in on 3 missions with this crew)
7/03/45 SIEGEN MY, Lt Stiller was my CP as Lt Cully still sick (8hrs)
8/03/45 GIESSEN MY, Poor Lead, Lt Cully still out sick (7:45hrs) Lt Stiller possible CP on this mission?



2ND LT DAVID E. HUTCHINSON            P FEH   TAPS: 1975
F/O      RODMAN B. PORTER             NAV RFS




LEAD CREW (mpf 2006)

2ND LT PAUL B. BATTERMAN             CP FEH   
SGT THOMAS H. FAGAN                  ROG FEH


DATE           TARGET                       A/C #          A/C NAME                           POSITION                    COM P/COM N/ 

05/12/44      BERLIN                         42-31530    EP-X QUITTIN TIME
12/12/44      DARMSTADT                 43-38610    EP-T PFF (RADAR EQUIPPED)
25/12/44      KAISERLAUTERN           43-38610     EP-T PFF (RADAR EQUIPPED)
30/12/44      KASSEL                        43-38610    EP-T PFF (RADAR EQUIPPED)
31/12/44     HAMBURG                      43-38610    EP-T PFF (RADAR EQUIPPED)
10/01/45     COLOGNE
02/03/45     RUHLAND/DRESDEN         44-8776     LN-U PFF                              C-SQDN LEAD,              STIVERS, HUTCHINSON 
10/03/45     DORTMUND                    44-8183     LD-Q PFF                     A-SQDN  LEAD FLGT,SHIP # 2  HUTCHINSON
19/03/45     JENA                             44-8209     EP-A THE BRASS HAT    PFF    C-SQDN LEAD,              ROBBS, HUTCHINSON  
21/03/45     RUHLAND                       44-8209     EP-A THE BRASS HAT    PFF
04/04/45     KIEL                              44-8705     EP-Z  PFF                             C-SQDN LEAD       
06/04/45     LEIPZIG                         44-8209     EP-A THE BRASS HAT    PFF
07/04/45     BUCHEN                         44-8794     LD-B  PFF                             A-SQDN LEAD,             GIBBONS, CROTTY, HUTCHINSON 
10/04/45     BURG-BEI-MAGDEBURG     44-8790     LD-V PFF                              A-SQDN GROUP LEAD,  CRUVER,  CROTTY
11/04/45    LANDSHUT                      44-8705     EP-Z PFF                               B-SQDN LEAD,             ROBINSON, HUTCHINSON

3  MAY,1945    BERGEN/HILVERSUM    44-8183      LD-Q PFF                             B-SQDN LEAD ,             ROBINSON, HUTCHINSON      
6  MAY,1945    BERGEN/HILVERSUM    44-8183      LD-Q PFF                             B-SQDN LEAD,              HUTCHINSON



1st Lt Jerome S. Garrison          P FEH
F/O Warren A. Storz               CP FEH
2nd Lt Francis J. Dolan          NAV RFS   After 6 Missions, Replaced by Lt Wallace Polansky
2nd Lt George N. Yee          BOM FEH
S/Sgt Harold F. Costaldo        TTE CPT  8 APR 45 EGER, MY (CZECH),  replaced by T/Sgt Robert May
Cpl Steve J/ Kowalski            ROG FEH
Cpl William H. Andrews          BTG FEH
S/Sgt George F. Miller            WG FEH   sn# 3386826
Cpl Robert J. Mackeigan          TG RFS   After 2 Missions Replaced by S/Sgt. Elmer Hooper

351st  Sqdn.. Crew, as above, joined the 100th on 21 Jan 1945
After six missions, Lt Wallace Polansky from Lt Robert Ellis Crew replaced Lt Dolan. After 2 missions, S/Sgt Elmer Hooper from Lt Batterman/Lt Knowles Crew replaced Cpl Mackeigan.  S/Sgt Costaldo was replaced by T/Sgt Robert May from Lt Batterman/Lt Knowles Crew. Crew flew SKIPPER II 42-31708 EP-R.  On March 28, 1945 this crew flew SKIPPER II on its 100th MISSION to Hanover.


1.     06/02/45   BOHLEN                         ( flown with another crew OR different pilot ) 
        19/02/45   MUNSTER                                                                 44-8632 EP-H  (FIRST MISSION FOR GARRISON CREW)          
2.     21/02/45   NURNBURG                                            SKIPPER II   42-31708  EP-R 
3.     22/02/45   DONAUESCHINGEN                                 SKIPPER II   42-31708  EP-R 
4.     23/02/45   TREUCHTLINGEN                                   SKIPPER II   42-31708  EP-R         
5.     26/02/45   BERLIN                                                 SKIPPER II   42-31708  EP-R 
6.     28/02/45   KASSEL                                                SKIPPER II   42-31708  EP-R 
7.     02/03/45   RUHLAND & DRESDEN                            SKIPPER II    42-31708  EP-R  C-SQDN,HIGH FLGT,SHIP # 3
8.     04/03/45   ULM                                                      SKIPPER II   42-31708  EP-R 
9.     10/03/45   DORTMUND                                           SKIPPER II   42-31708  EP-R  B-SQDN,HIGH FLGT LEAD
10.   12/03/45   SWEINEMUNDE                                      SKIPPER II   42-31708  EP-R  C-SQDN,HIGH FLGT LEAD
11.   17/03/45   PLAUEN                                                                   43-38963  EP-E
12.   22/03/45   ALHORN                                                 SKIPPER II   42-31708  EP-R 
13.   24/03/45   STEENWIJK                                            SKIPPER II   42-31708  EP-R  B-SQDN,SHIP #2
15.   28/03/45   HANOVER (100th Mission for SKIPPER II)    SKIPPER II   42-31708  EP-R  C-SQDN, ELEMENT 2, SHIP # 2
16.   30/03/45   HAMBURG                                              SKIPPER II   42-31708  EP-R 
17.   31/03/45   ZEITZ                                                                     43-38975  LN-Z  B-SQDN,ELEMENT 2, SHIP # 3
18.   04/04/45   KIEL                                                      SKIPPER II   42-31708  EP-R  C-SQDN, ELEMENT 2, SHIP # 2
19.   05/04/45   NURNBURG                                             SKIPPER II   42-31708  EP-R 
20.   07/04/45   BUCHEN                                                 SKIPPER II   42-31708  EP-R  A-SQDN,ELEMENT 2 LEAD
21.   08/04/45   EGER                                                     SKIPPER II   42-31708  EP-R  C-SQDN,ELEMENT 1, SHIP # 3
22.   09/04/45   MUNICH                                         "QUITTIN' TIME"  42-31530  EP-X   D-SQDN,ELEMENT 2 LEAD
23.   10/04/45   BURG-bei-MAGDEBURG                      "QUITTIN' TIME" 42-31530  EP-X   B-SQDN, ELEMENT 2 LEAD
24.   11/04/45   LANDSHUT                                             SKIPPER II   42-31708  EP-R , A-SQDN, ELEMENT 2 LEAD


19 MAY,1945     HORSCHING,  44-8917  EP-K, HARDSTAND # 3, B-SQDN, ELEMENT 1, SHIP # 3         

                           Elmer F. Hooper in the E.T.O.
                             Hometown news releases

                       S/Sgt Elmer F. Hooper Wins Air Medal

S/Sgt Elmer F. (Tim) Hooper, son of Mr. & Mrs. E. F. Hooper of 422 Sunset Street, has been awarded the Air Medal, it was learned here this week.

The Cherokean is a tail gunner on a B-17 serving with the Eighth Air Force and based “Somewhere in England”. He has been overseas since the first part of September (1944).

S/Sgt Hooper graduated from Wilson High School in 1943 and worked during the summer and early fall as a lineman for the Illinois Central Railroad. He enlisted in the service the latter part of November 1942 and completed his gunnery training in Kingman, Arizona.

He was sent to Lincoln, Nebraska where he was assigned to a bomber crew, and then received combat training at Rapid City, S.D., before going returning to Lincoln for overseas orders.

Fights off Nazi Sky Attack

S/Sgt Elmer F. Hooper helped to repel one of the most frenzied attacks ever staged by the Luftwaffe against American Bombers, according to a dispatch from an Eighth Air Force bomber station in England. The 20 year old former lineman at Chicago, IL now a tail-gunner on the Flying Fortress “Skipper” fired until his last cartridge was gone at Messerschmitts, Focke Wulfs, and even jet propelled planes during the course of a mission over synthetic oil plants at Hamburg, Germany.

“We flew the tightest formation I ever saw, “ said S/Sgt Hooper, the son of Mr. And Mrs. E.F. Hooper of Cherokee, Iowa,“But the Jerries kept coming in, in groups of four or five making about ten passes against our formations. We gunners in the tail positions got it worst, because they kept coming in behind us. We met them with a hail of fire. The fight lasted more than thirty minutes, and several Forts went down, but we got plenty of Jerries too.”

Recently the winner of the Air Medal, S/Sgt Hoopers flies with the 100th Bombardment Group, Third Division, Eighth Air Force. He entered the Air Corps in February 1943.”

                   The Army Career of E. F. Hooper 
                     Serial # 16185969 in the E.T.O.

Stations (Domestic)

Fresno, California
Tempe, Arizona
Santa Anna, California
Tulare, California
Denver, Colorado
Kingman, Arizona
Lincoln, Nebraska
Rapid City, South Dakota
Lincoln, Nebraska
Grenier, New Hampshire

Stations (Overseas)

Vally, Wales, United Kingdom
Stone, England
Diss, England (Thorpe Abbotts)

Paul B. Batterman Pilot
Raymond Stiller    Co-Pilot
Norman Graham   Navigator
Arthur R. Zemske  Bombardier
Robert B. May       Engineer (TTE)
Thomas H. Fagan Radio Operator
Robert C. Mackey Ball Turret Gunner
Leon E. Hebert      L. Waist Gunner
Ried G. Jensen      R. Waist Gunner
Elmer F. Hooper    Tail Gunner


Lt James W. Knowles Pilot
Leon Hebert Ball Turret

Corporal May 8, 1944
Sgt. Nov 1, 1944
S/Sgt Feb 1, 1945

Elmer F. Hooper’s Mission Log;

Mission # 1 Merseburg 30-10-44
Bomb Load - 20/ 250#
Time: 5:30
Target today was synthetic oil plant at Merseburg, Germany - was first time I saw own plane making contrails. Flak Suit heavy and fighter escort loomed good. Recalled so not bombs dropped, no flak nor fighters was encountered. Pilot was Lt. Kodas, out pilot grounded because of a bike accident.

Mission # 2, 11-2-44, Merseburg, Ger
Bomb Load - 20/ 250 #
Time - 8:30
Today we did it, target was synethic oil plant - saw first flak today and was I scared. Encountered no fighters but were reported in the area. Saw three bombers go down in flames. Flak suit good but too small to hide behind and I wanted to be small. Fighter escort or P-51’s and P-38’s. Picked up 34 flak holes with two in the tail, Pilot Kodas, Batterman acting Co-Pilot.

Mission # 3, 11-9-44, Saarburg, Ger (SAARBRUCKEN)
Bomb Load - 6/1000#
Time - 7:40
Target today was the marshaling yards to help in the battle for Metz. Flak light and no fighters encountered, no escort, ground covered with snow around target. Passed over Pas de Calis - area covered with bomb craters. Saw White Cliffs of Dover. Snow and rain made landing difficult. Flew mission with Lt. Charles. At 20,000 feet - 40° below.

(Accompanying news story)

Heavies Help Advance
5 Divisions in Line: Go for Metz
Moving up in the wake of on of the strongest blows against enemy positions in the path of ground forces. Lt. General George S. Patton’s Third Army continued yesterday to make progress in the new offensive on the Metz-Nancy front, throwing forces across the Moselle River north of Metz and pouring reinforcements across the Seille to the south.

With a cloud of 1,300 Forts bombing targets in the Metz area, the doughboys brought their two-day total of places captured to 16, including Cheminot, only ten miles below the German Metz bastion.

Mission # 4, 11-26-44 Hamm, Ger.
Bomb Load: 6/1000#
Time: 6:10
Target today was the marshaling yards. Flak was light and fairly accurate - no enemy fighters encountered. Had a photographer on board, should have some nice photographs of target. Was a bit scared and said a silent prayer. First mission with Lt. Knowles for new pilot. 26,000 feet and 45° below.

(Accompanying News Release)

Luftwaffe up, 8th Fighters KO 110 More
For the second time in six days the Luftwaffe, yesterday, took to the sky in force and according to preliminary reports Eighth Air Force fighter pilots recorded another banner day by shooting down at least 110 of the enemy fighters. Another 12 Nazi craft were shot down by the heavies’ gunners. The pursuits destroyed another seven enemy planes on the ground in a strafing attack.

Last Thursday Eighth Fighters shot down 73 enemy aircraft. The record bag of 134 Nazi craft was established Nov 2nd. In two large scale operations over the weekend more than 2,100 heavies of the 8th hammered oil and rail objectives in the Reich. Saturday’s assault on the synthetic oil plants at Leuna and Lutzkendorf, near Merseburg, and rail yards at Bingen, a communications center west of Mainz, was carried out by more than 1,000 Forts and Libs, shepherded by over 1,000 Mustangs, Thunderbolts and Lightning of both the 8th and 9th Air Forces. There was no enemy fighter opposition. 8th losses in Saturday’s operation were 12 bombers and five fighters. Yesterday’s US losses were 37 heavies and 12

Mission # 5, 11-29-44, Hamm, Ger.
Bomb Load: 10/500# & 4 incendiaries
Time: 6:20
Target today was marshalling yards. Flak was light, no bandits encountered. Wasn’t so scared today. 24,000 feet & 32° below.

(Accompanying News Release)
1,000 Heavies Bomb Oil, Rails; Luftwaffe Refuses Challenge
The Luftwaffe refused the challenge yesterday when more than 1,000 Fortresses and Liberators of the 8th Air Force escorted by over 1,000 Mustangs, thunderbolts and Lightnings of both the 8th and 9th Air Forces bombed the oil refinery at Misburg, rail targets at Hamm and other targets in Northwestern Germany. Four bombers and no fighters were lost. This was the 8th’s tenth attack on the large refinery at Misburg, near Hanover, over which area Germany fighters were encountered in force Sunday, when fighter pilots shot down 114 enemy craft and the heavy gunners bagged 16 more. Some of the pursuits carried out strafing attacks and reported shooing up 11 locomotives, 28 rail cars and six barges.
Bombing was done in adverse weather.

Mission # 6, 12-2-44, Koblenz, Ger.
Bomb Load: 12/500#
Time: 7:00 hours
Target today was marshaling yards, but mission was recalled because of weather. Second element lead group of 8th Air Force - no flak or fighters encountered. 27,000 feet & 32° below.

Mission # 7, 12-5-44, Berlin, Ger.
Bomb Load: 22/250#
Time: 7:30
Target today was tank factory. Saw a mid-air collision of two P-51’s - flak was light, sent up red flak to call in fighters. After bombs away bandits were in the area, but the escort intercepted The most dog-fights on my tail, saw one shot down -but which? Wasn’t too scared but expected the worst. 22,000 feet & 47° below.

(Accompanying News Release)
8th Air Force fighters pilots slugged it out with the Luftwaffe in the skies over Berlin, yesterday and shot down more than 80 enemy fighters. More than 800 Mustangs and Thunderbolts covered more than 550 Fortresses and Liberators of the 8th in attacks on industrial targets in the Berlin area and railway yards at Munster. Berlin was last attacked by 8th heavies on October 6th. The capital was once the most heavily defended area in the Reich.

Mission # 8, 12-12-44, Darmstadt, Ger.
Bomb Load 10/500# & 2 Incd.

Target for today was marshaling yards. Lost two engines at the I.P., landed in Belgium, spent two days and nights in a tent. By truck into France, spent a day and night there. Was set for crash landing, but Norm found a landing strip, was dam worried for a while. Left Skipper II in Belgium. Saw wrecked Jerry tanks, trucks and other equipment along the roads. Took pictures of interesting sights.

(Accompanying New Releases)
1,250 U.S. Heavies Hit Reich Again
Following up the previous day’s terrific assault on rail objectives in the Reich, more than 2,000 U.S. heavy bombers and fighters for the second straight day hammered rail objectives in the Frankfurt area Tuesday, as well as the Leuna synthetic oil plant near Merseburg. Meantime, it was disclosed that all of the synthetic oil plants in the Ruhr now had been knocked out of production by Allied bombing. Upward of 1,250 Fortresses and Liberators covered by approximately 900 Mustangs, Thunderbolts and Lightning of both the 8th and 9th Air Forces, were dispatched Tuesday, 8th heavies pounded rail yards at Hanau and Darmstadt visually, while rail facilities at Aschaffenburg were bombed through clouds and visually.

Mission # 9, 12-24-44, Biblis, Ger.
Bomb Load:34/100# GP
Time: 8:45

(Accompanying News Release)
Record Bomb Blow - 8th AF’s Yule Gift to Nazis. Over 2,00 Heavies - Biggest Single Mission - Unload on Christmas Eve.  While the weather closed in again yesterday to curtail air activity against enemy the 8th Air Force was still counting up the results of it’s Christmas present to the Nazi, delivered Sunday by more than 2,000 heavy bombers and 900 fighters, the largest force of heavies ever flown on a single mission. Sunday’s big air attack was part of a weekend pattern, which continued yesterday, designed to pound the hell out of all communication lines supplying and reinforcing the German Armies in their current offensive. It was in direct support of the US First Army forces which have been rolled back unto Belgium by the weight of the German drive.  Taking advantage of clear weather, the Dec. 24th mission started for Germany in the morning and the first bombers were entering Germany as the tail of the tremendous column was leaving England.

Mission # 10, 12-30-44, Kassel, Ger.
Bomb Load:12/500# GP
Target for today was the marshaling yards. Flak was moderate and inaccurate. Bandits in 20-mile area but saw none. New Navigator on ship. 26,000 feet & 46° below.  

Mission # 11, 12-31-44, Hamburg, Ger.
Bomb Load:20/250# GP
Target today was an oil plant. Today was a big show. Target was visual and flak was heavy and accurate. After leaving target hit by 30 to 40 fighters, mostly FW-190’s, was dam scared but did my job. Claim one FW, picked up a few holes, ship was “Quittin Time”. Lost 12 ships today and some buddies. 26,000 feet and 46° below. Our group got 23 of 26 enemy aircraft. Our crew got one destroyed and four one half damaged.

(Accompanying News Release)
1,300 Heavies Out in Year’s Final Blow
In their final blow of 1944 - the ninth in as many days - the 8th Air Force yesterday dispatched more than 1,100 heavy bombers, escorted by 700 fighters to smash at a variety of strategic and tactical targets in Germany, including six rail bridges over the Rhine and Moselle in Coblenz area. Other targets were oil refineries, rail yards, airfields and communications as well as U-boat pens. Yesterday was the second straight day in which the 8th sent out more than 1,100 Fortresses and Liberators. The day’s large scale operation saw the heavies covered by over 650 Mustangs and Thunderbolts, strike at German communications lines behind the battle-front for the eighth consecutive day. In the first enemy fighter opposition encountered by the 8th in four days at least 52 German planes were shot down by 8th AF

Bombers Bag 28

The bombers-gunners claimed shooting down and additional 26 enemy fighters. The 8th lost 35 bombers and ten fighters, but some of the pursuits were believed to have landed in friendly territory, while Saturday’s losses were eight heavies and three fighters. Targets for the heavies yesterday were oil refineries at Hamburg, Harburg and Misburg (near Hanover), the first strategic objectives hit in the nine-day period;  U-Boat pens at Hamburg; Harburg and Misburg (near Hanover), the first strategic objective hit in the nine day period; Me-262 jet aircraft factories at Wenzendorf, just south of Hamburg; two small rail yards in the southwest Ruhr; six rail bridges over the Rhine, Moselle and other rivers opposite the battle area in the Coblenz area, and four detraining points and communications centers handling traffic or German Forces.

Mission # 13, 1-20-45, Heilbronn, Ger.
Bomb Load:6/1000# GP
Time: 7:00
Target for today was a marshaling yard. Saw no flak over target, but had one hole in bombay? Cold today - 26,000 feet & 51° below and came back to England at 2,700 feet. Pilot was Lt. Stephenson. (Lt Stevenson and Nav is 1st Lt Daniel Shaffer 0-765734…mpf)

Mission #14, 1-28-45, Duisburg, Ger.
Bomb Load:6/1000 GP
Time: 5:50
Target today was a bridge at Duisburg. Bombed visually and hit the wrong bridge. Flew ship with spot jammer. Flak was moderate, wasn’t hit. 26,000 feet & 47° bike. Broke off in three ship elements after bombs away to evade flak. Field was closed in with snow storm so we had to circle around sweating out landing. I was in the tail - boy what a cloud of snow.

(Accompanying News Release)
8th Attacks Nazi Oil, Rails on Birthday

The 8th Air Force, which set up it’s first headquarters in a Savannah, Georgia National Guard Armory with 74 officers, 81 Enlisted men and no planes, marked the third anniversary of it’s activation yesterday by dispatching over 1,250 planes and 10,000 airmen to lash at oil plants, rail roads and bridges in the Reich.

The raid ended a four-day lull in operations and coming two years and day after the fist US bombing attack made on Germany, completed the first 1,000 bomber attack since Jan. 10th. The 1,000 Fortresses and Liberators covered by 250 Mustangs, still had to battle severe weather conditions that were mild, however, compared with those that enforced the four days of inactivity.

Liberators of the 2nd Air Division struck at the roots of the German synthetic oil industry when, through opening in the clouds, they plastered the plants at Kaiserstuhl and Gnedsenau which produce coke, from which benzol stems. The Germans are reported to have been mixing benzol with gasoline to stretch their dwindling fuel supplies, which according to Lt. Gen. Carl Spaatz, USSTAF Commander, are smaller than at any other time in the war.

Railway targets hit were Gremberg yards, four miles southeast of Cologne, the Hohenbudberg railway bridge over the Rhine at Duisberg, and the Rheinhausen railway bridge over the Rhine at Duisburg. The broad Hohenzollern road and rail bridge at Cologne, hit by 8th bombers on Jan. 14, was attacked again yesterday.

It was a double shellacking for the Gremberg yards. The RAF also ended a lull in operations yesterday by sending a strong force of Lancaster’s screened by Mustangs and Spitfires, to hit the yards serving Cologne and the Western Front.

Mission #15, 1-29-45, Kassel, Ger.
Bomb Load:12/500# Incd.
Time: 6:30
Target for today was rail yards and depot. Flak light and was inaccurate - no bandits. Bombs Away at 1152 hours at 25,000 feet, 47° below., Flew lead low element “C” Group, pilot was Steve.

(Accompanying News Release)
Nazi Tank Plant, Railroads Blasted By 1,150 Heavies
Renewed activities of the 8th Air Force grew in intensity yesterday as more than 1,850 planes - 1,150 of them heavy bombers – knifed at railroads and a tank factory in the Reich. Six marshaling yards in West Germany and the Herchel and Sohn works, former locomotive and truck factory east of Cologne now turning out Tiger and Panther tanks, felt the weight of the 8th bombs.

Biggest target of the day was the marshaling yard at Hamm where it is usual for 10,000 railroad cars to be handled daily along the 30 miles of tracks. Rail lines serving the Ruhr at Kassel, where the Herschel and Sohn works are located, and at Coblenz and Munster, in northwest Germany.

There was light fighter opposition near Bremen with the 55th Mustang Group coming out of it with four kills on Me-109’s. Other groups in the escorting force of 700 Mustangs and Thunderbolts swooped low to shoot up rail yards, airfields and road conveys.

The RAF continued it’s renewed offensive yesterday, too, as strong force of Lancaster’s covered by Mustangs of the RAF Fighter Command, blasted the marshaling yards at Krefeld, just south of Duisburg.

Berlin, where evacuation of certain government offices is underway because of the Russian advances, according to reports from neutral countries, had further worries Sunday night when RAF planes hit the German capital in three waves spaced a half hour apart.

Mission #16, 2-6-45, Zwickau, Ger.
Bomb Load:10/500#
Two plans for today, “A” target was in Leipzig area, “B” target was Berlin. Was I scared when they drew the curtain –nervous twitch. Due to weather we hit a target of opportunity. Hit a little flak at the Dutch Coast – not bad. No flak over target. After target flak walked up and hit tail – did it dive for cover. Head Winds of 130 MPH. Thought we’d never get out of Germany. Bombs away 26,000 feet and 38° below. Flew ever Brussels low, good time seeing Belgium from the air.

(Accompanying News Release)
1,300 heavies Strike German Industry, Rails.
Heavy bombers of the 8th Air Force slashed at Germany yesterday for the first time since Saturday’s record blow on Berlin as over 1,300 Fortresses and Liberators, defended by some 830 Mustangs and Thunderbolts attacked industrial targets in the center of the Reich, mainly in the Magdeburg, Leipzig and Chemnitz areas. Two Mustang fighter groups, the 4th and 55th peeled off in sectors near Leipzig and Frankfurt-on-Main to shoot up rail targets and airfields. Between them they got 29 locomotives, 37 freight cars and three planes. Pilots of the 55th riddled a Nazi troop train sending frantic Jerries streaming out of windows and doors and left the locomotive and cars smoking. The 4th blew up an ammunition train, pouncing on it with a hail of bullets that set off a total of 14 box cars filled with explosives.

The RAF, too, was busy during Monday night and yesterday morning with Squadrons of speedy Mosquitoes stinging Berlin and rail communications in northwest Germany. Wellington’s of Coastal Command ranged over the Dutch Coast in bad weather to slam U-boat pens along the coast.

Meanwhile reports filtered in from neutral capitals, according to Reuters, picturing Berlin fires still burning after Saturday’s great raid, with time bombs still exploding and rescue squads wearing gas masks due to the thick smoke. Many of the bombs cascaded into the center of the city, smashing water mains, making firemen helpless against flames.

Mission #17, 2-9-45, Weimar, GER.
Bomb Load:10-500
Today we were headed for synthetic oil plant at Bolin and a rough time. Bombed secondary target which was a machinery factory. A few puffs of flak after we left the target, but was behind us. Jet jobs were flying in and out of the formation, though I didn’t see them. Was Lt. Stevenson’s last mission, also S/Sgt McBath. S/Sgt Miller flew his 16th mission with us. Jensen’s heated suit burned out, he tried to fly the ball but wasn’t successful. 25,000 feet and 42° below.

(Accompanying News Release)
Non-Stop Air Attack Open Way for Drive Into Northern Reich
While a fleet of 1,300 escorted 8th Air Force bomber struck at strategic targets feeding German armies in the West and the RAF continued it’s tactical support of ground armies – the Canadian 1st and the US 1st and 3rd – penetrated deeper into Siegfried line positions. As the heavies smashed at oil plants and marshaling yards against scattered Luftwaffe opposition, 850 protecting fighters destroyed 71 Nazi craft in the air, including five jet propelled, and 43 on the ground, and strafed enemy airfields and communications…

Enemy fighter opposition was the heaviest encountered by the 8th in some time. Jets attacked the bombers for the first time. The shield of US fighters shot down 23 planes, including five jets and destroyed 43 on the ground. The bombers hit a synthetic oil plant at Lutzkendord south of Halle an armament and motor transport plant t Weimar, near Leipzig marshaling yards.

Mission # 18, 2-19-45, Osnabruck, Ger.
Bomb Load:12/500#
Target today was marshaling yards. No bandits and flak was light. Bombed PFF at 24,000 feet and 35° below. Flew with Lt.Garrison, his second mission, Miller flew as Waist Gunner.

(Accompanying News Release)
1,100 Heavies Hit Nazi Rails
More than 1,100 8th heavies resumed the air offensive against Nazi communications and industrial targets yesterday after a day of inactivity, hammering objectives at Osnabruck, Rhiene and Seiger and pounding areas in the Ruhr. The Libs and Forts were escorted by 500 Mustangs and Thunderbolts which dived low to strafe communication lines. One group of fighters accounted for nine trucks and five railway cars, while another destroyed 148 locomotives and 363 rail cars in the he Hanover area. The Krauts also took it from the British and US bombers based in Italy. Lancaster’s of the RAF Bomber Command escorted by Mustangs, yesterday afternoon attacked the important communication center of Wesel in support of Canadian 1st Army’s offensive.

Mission 19 3-17-45, Plauen, Ger
Bomb Load 12/500# GP
Target today was a textile plant making parts for tanks – was bound for Ruhland but weather stopped us. Flak light, none over target – saw barrage balloons in harbor near Antwerp. Knowles was pilot. Brown, a new pilot, flew as co-pilot. Lt. Linn – Bombardier – Levine was waist gunner. 28,000 feet & 34° below.

Mission # 20, 3-28-45, Hanover, Ger.
Bomb Load:8/500# M17’s
Target today was a marshaling yards. We took off in the rain, weather bad all day. Flak was supposed to be heavy but was very light. Flew with Garrison’s crew, I’m assigned to it now. Today we flew in Skipper II, first time since I went down in it. It was mission 100 on the ship. Formed over France today. Airfields over there have really been bombed. Yep, is was scared again – but who isn’t?

(Accompanying News Release)
900 Heavies Hit Berlin, Hanover Plants
The 8th Air Force aimed twin blows yesterday at Germany’s inner circle of war industry and what may be it’s last remaining industrial trump card when over 400 Fortresses bombed war plants in suburban Berlin and more than 500 ranged over Hanover to hit factories and railroad marshaling yards. Significantly, ack ack gunners in Berlin and Hanover yesterday threw up a stiff unbrella of flak, indicating that the Nazis, in expectation of savage attacks yet to come, may not yet have stripped their vital industries in central Germany.

Some fliers over Berlin, where tanks, armored vehicles and weapons factories were attacked, reported particularly heavy barrages of ack ack fire besides thick clouds, which made bombing by instrument necessary in most cases. Clouds also covered Hanover, where the targets included plants making half-tracks and other armored vehicles. Some 350 Mustangs shielded the bombers yesterday, but ran into no enemy fighters, a further gauge of the effectiveness of the 8th and 15th Air Force’s recent saturation assault on German airfields and plane factories. Attacks on oil objectives were carried on
yesterday by medium bombers of the 9th Air Force, which flew deep into the Reich to strike oil stores southeast of Paderborn and east of Wuzsburg. Fighter-bomber pilots reported a general eastward movement of German transports.

Mission # 21, 3-30-45, Hamburg, Ger
Bomb Load:6/1000# NAVY
Hit oil again today. Third time there and all most last. Flak in horizontal stabilizer through tail, four big holes. One piece set off ammo in box. The closest I come to being hit yet and I did think I was. Flak was ample and accurate. Fighters and jets were up but escort took care of them. Came close to ditching, gas trouble. Bombs away 1333 hours at 24,000 feet & 32 ° below. Heated suit shot our – 280 flak guns at target.

Mission # 22, 3-31-45, Zeitz, Ger.
Bomb Load:24/250# GP
Struck at Jerries oil again, an oil refinery. Target in Leipzig area. Drew flak from Merseburg. Flak was ample and accurate, was a bit more scared. Those guys were post-graduate. Picked up a few holes in the tail, nothing bad. Bombed visual from 24,000 feet & 37° below. Up at one in the morning to go on this tour of the Reich. Was tight when I went to bed and still so when I got up and I was sick during the mission – wow. Flew ship 975 of 349th Sqdn.

(Accompanying News Release)
March Record Month for 8th
Heavy bombers of the 8th were idle yesterday after rounding out their greatest month of the war on Saturday, when more than 1,300 Fortresses and Liberators protected by 850 fighters attacked the rail, industrial and oil targets in Germany.

Mission # 23, 4/3/45, Kiel, Ger.
Bomb Load:12/500# GP-RDX
The sub pens got a pasting today. Also after shipping, went in and out North Sea route. Quite a mix up, we got to the I.P. bombed PFF from 23,000 feet, bombs away at 1043 hours. Flak was ample but not too accurate. Visual it would be rough. Up at 0230 hours this morning. Mission ‘103’ on the Skipper today. There were 120 guns around the target, temperature was 40° below. No bandits reported. Took off at 0705 and landed at 1405 hours.

Mission #24, 4-5-45, Nurnberg, Ger.
Bomb Load:6/1000#
Out to help Patton today. Bombed the marshaling yards visually from 24,70 feet. Bombs away at 1138 hours. Flak was ample but not accurate, 150 guns at the target. We formed over France at 21,000 feet, clouds up to 26,000. Weather bad coming back. Ran into flak coming over coast. Did some strafing from 600 feet - more fun. Flew low over Germany west of the Rhine. Country and towns shelled flat. Temperature was 37° below, windows frosted a lot.

Mission #25, 4-7-45, Buchen, Ger.
Bomb Load:6/1000# RDX
Attacked oil storage from 15,000 feet. Was PFF with visual corrections. Attacked at 1300 by ME-109’s, lasted about 28 minutes. One ME-109 ramed into the wing of a 17 in “C” Squadron. Fort went down in flames. Another fighter rammed the tail of a 17, broke off horizontal stabilizer plus bad damage to the vertical fin. Ship came back OK. Took off at 0900 hours and landed at 1700 hours. Bombs away at 1327 hours. Flak light and accurate. Temperature was 25° below. Shot down six aircraft, was 106th mission on Skipper II.

Mission #26, 4-8-45, Eger Czechoslovakia
Bomb Load:10/500-2-M17 INCD.
Bombed marshaling yards visual from 15,500 feet & Temperature 20° below. Bandits and jets reported in the area. Escorts drove them off. Flak free target for a change. Gilbert’s crew finished today. Bombs away at 1234 hours. Engineer of crew finished his second tour – was 107th mission on Skipper II.

Mission #27, 4-9-45, Munich, Ger.
Bomb Load:4/100 NVY 4- M17
Bombed airfield visual from 23,400 feet and really plastered it. Saw two ships that were sunk off the Dutch Coast. Passed by Regensburg. Saw Alps, were really beautiful. Flak was light and inaccurate much to my surprise. Fighter escort was wonderful, no bandits reported. Took off at 1140 and landed at 2040 hours. Bombs away at 1658 hours. Mission was delayed three times a half hour each, fog was the cause of it. Flew ship #530, “Quittin Time”.

Mission #28, 4-10-45, Berg, Ger.
Bomb Load:6/500# 4 M17 INCD.
Bombed airfield today from 20,000 feet, was visual. At I.P. about 15 jet jobs hit us from 6 o’clock low. Out left wing man had dropped back due to a feathered engine. The jets shot him down. Left wing on fire when he went down. Saw a lot of gliders today on the fields of Holland. Took off this morning at 1045 and arrived back at 1820 houts. Feeling tired I wrote a short V-Mail home, first in six days. Too tired to write. We feathered No #2 engine after bombs away - no flak so briefed but Flak was Heavy..

Mission #29, 4-11-45, Landshut, Ger.
Bomb Load:8/500# 4 - M17 INCD
Bombed small arms factory visually from 18,000 feet. Temperature was 15° below. Led the 13th Combat Wing over the target. Was 100th Bomb Group’s 300th mission and an easy one. Encountered no flak or fighters. Was early a the fighter Rally Point and didn’t pick them up until on the way out. Took off at 0830 this morning and landed at 1345 hours. Flew Skipper II, it’s 108th mission. This was my last combat mission.. 

Mission #30, 5-3-45, Hilversum, Holland
Dropped food to the Dutch today from low altitude. Flew over German occupied territory at 400 feet to do it. Many people waving. Expressed their thanks by by “Thank You” signs ont he ground. Saw a dummy tank and guns but no Jerries. Flew Skipper II, crew chief Ken Lemmons went along. No mission credit. 

Mission #31, 5-6-45, Alkmaar, Holland
Time: 2:50
Another Chow Hound mission. Went over as single ships and dropped on white crosses in a field. Dropped a sock full of things just for the hell of it. Were flags on every house because the Jerries surrendered. All were happy and waving for joy. Last time up in the E.T.O.


Hi Mr. Faley,
My name is Melissa Morowski and my Grandfather, Leon E. Hebert flew in a B-17 and was a Ball Turret Gunner. I have always been interested in this time of my Grandpa's life; I can't hear enough of his WWII stories! A few weeks ago, an actual B-17 came to a small airfield a short distance from his home. He and I drove over to see the plane and it was an AMAZING experience. I climbed all through the plane ( He stayed on the ground and just giggled at my ooo's and ahh's from inside. I can only imagine how cold it was in those planes when they were in the air flying over Europe...especially in the Ball Turret!) To say the least, visiting the plane was like coming home to my Grandpa... and the memories came flooding black. He had a small audience of people interested in the plane and the missions he went on. It was amazing... I am so proud that he is my Grandpa.

The small glimpse I have gotten of my Grandpa's life during WWII is very precious to me not only because I enjoy spending the time with my hero-Grandpa but also because he enjoys talking about it so much! I have been trying to write down all his tales to keep of record of them for my own children someday. I have been researching him and his plane (I think it was the Skipper, maybe the Skipper 2- that is what he said anyway) but it's very confusing and hard to find specifics on the web. I would love to give him some information or show him some pictures...he would LOVE it. Do you have any advice on how to go about this? I would really appreciate any help you could send my way!

Thank you so much for your time and for working so hard gathering information about this! 
~ Melissa

Hi Mike! 
I just got back from visiting my Grandpa, Leon Hebert. He filled me in on some details from the Hamburg Mission and the Battle of the Bulge incident... I'd like to share them with you.
I asked him about Hamburg first. To be honest with you, he was reluctant to give me a ton of detail about it. He said that they were trying to destroy submarines that were in a harbor there. They dropped a lot of bombs on the target but the submarines were in concrete "stalls" that protected them somewhat. In order to really do damage, they had to fly lower and I infer that a lot of planes were shot down because of that...there was a lot of flaK (i don't know if I am spelling that right, sorry). He said that the best defense that they had against flaK, other then trying to fly around it, was this stuff that they dropped out of the plane that looked like tinsel (CHAFF). The FlaK thing would hit the tinsel and explode early. They had to fly so low that it didn't work very well this time. Grandpa said that it was a long day and while it was going on, it seemed like they weren't having much affect on the target. The city of Hamburg, however, was very damaged. He said that they dropped something on it that "melted everything." I want to say it was mercury but I am not sure. Grandpa siad it was nasty stuff.

The last flight of the Skipper II happened during the Battle of the Bulge. Right after Christmas, December 1944, they were on a mission and flaK damaged one of their engines over Dormstadt, Germany (again... not sure of the spelling). Knowles was the pilot. The damaged engine had to be cut off and  they knew they had to land. They were headed for Sweden or Switzerland because they were not going to make it all the way back. One by one, more engines died until they only had one left. (He talked about how the pilot had to feather the propellers- turn them on their sides so that the wind would glide over them and wouldn't make the plane shake). They kept getting lower and lower... too low to bail out although, they tried. Luckily, it was an overcast day so they were somewhat protected. They got over Belgium. The allies had JUST taken over a German fighter base called, Frauline and they had a temporary runway made out of metal strips. It was for P-51 planes ( but was even short for those planes) making it really short for the B-17 but they had no choice. The last engine was going fast. They barely landed the plane but no one was hurt and they were on friendly ground. Grandpa called it a "forced landing."

 I asked him how long he had to stay in Belgium at this base and what it was like. He said the thing that he remembers the most was how glad he was to have his boots. I guess they were supposed to tie the boots to their parachutes. Obviously, they wore flight gear on the plane but they needed to have boots in case they have to bail out. Grandpa said, most of the guys on the crew did not have their boots and it was terribly cold. Grandpa has his so he was a little more comfortable then others... thank goodness! Eventually, a C-47 (like a DC3) came and got them all and transported them back to England. He said that he never say the Skipper II again and is not sure they ever got it out of there. It was repairable but they couldn't fix it where they were.
I hope this helps! He loves talking about it... even got out a map of Europe and showed me where he flew. Pretty incredible! Please let me know if you have any more questions! 







Leon Hebert with Skipper II

Leon Hebert, BTG on Lt Batterman Crew

Receipt for buying bicycle from JG Brennan

Western Union to Folks about being released from Hospital.

Leon Hebert's Graduation Class from Gunnery School.  He is 1st person on Left in Front

Gunners Poem in Leon Hebert's Scrpbook




Crew 1

Crew 2

ID: 2256