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LT  Robert H. WOLFF

UNIT: 418th BOMB Sqdn POSITION: P

 Robert H. Wolff Robert Wolff crew information (100th Photo Archives) 

Painting of Lt Robert Wolff for "Gathering of Eagles" 

SERIAL #: O-735483 STATUS: POW
MACR: 00647 CR: 00647

Comments1: 16 SEP 43 LA PALLICE (EAC)

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW

2ND LT ROBERT H. WOLFF               P  POW 16 SEP 43  BORDEAUX/MERIGNAC & La PALLICE
2ND LT CHARLES H. STUART           CP POW 16 SEP 43  BORDEAUX/MERIGNAC & La PALLICE
2ND LT LAWRENCE K. MCDONELL  NAV POW 16 SEP 43  BORDEAUX/MERIGNAC & La PALLICE  TAPS: 1986
2ND LT FREDRIC G. WHITE          BOM POW 16 SEP 43  BORDEAUX/MERIGNAC & La PALLICE
T/SGT IRA F. BARDMAN              ROG POW 16 SEP 43  BORDEAUX/MERIGNAC & La PALLICE
T/SGT CARL T. SIMON                TTE POW 16 SEP 43  BORDEAUX/MERIGNAC & La PALLICE (FROM LT ROBERT KNOX CREW)
S/SGT  JAMES D. BRADY             TTE INT. FLEW MOST MISSIONS WITH LT WOLFF CREW (INTERNED WITH LT BARRICK CREW MAR 6, 1944)
S/SGT WILLIAM J. CASEBOLT      BTG POW 16 SEP 43  BORDEAUX/MERIGNAC & La PALLICE
S/SGT WILLIS F. BROWN             WG POW 16 SEP 43  BORDEAUX/MERIGNAC & La PALLICE  TAPS: 1997 
S/SGT ARTHUR H. EGGLESTON     WG POW 16 SEP 43  BORDEAUX/MERIGNAC & La PALLICE
S/SGT ALFRED M. CLARK               TG POW 16 SEP 43  BORDEAUX/MERIGNAC & La PALLICE TAPS: 1981

418TH SQDN.. THIS CREW JOINED THE 100TH IN JULY 1943.    

Mission List for Robert Wolff & Crew from Form 5

July  27, 1943 Orientation,                                   5hrs 15 min
July  28, 1943 OSCHERSLEBEN, AC FACTORY          5hrs 35 minutes  believe Lt Robert Wolff was CoPilot on Capt Knox (mpf) 
Aug 14, 1943 DIVERSION MISSION                        6hrs
Aug 15, 1945 MERVILLE, AF & LILLE AC FACTORY   5hrs            flew 230061 WOLFF PACK
Aug 17, 1943 REGENSBURG (DOUBLE STIKE)        10hrs 10min,  flew 230061 WOLFF PACK  Left plane in Africa and returned to England by Air Transport Command ATC in a Gernerals Plane.
Aug 31, 1943 MEULAN LES MERUEAUX, AC REPAIR  5hrs 35 mins
Sept 3, 1943 PARIS,BEAUMONT le ROGER, AF (S.T.)                 flew 230064 WILD CARGO
Sept 15, 1943 PARIS, AC FACTORY (RENAULT)                        flew 230064 WILD CARGO
Sept 16, 1943 BORDEAUX/MERIGNAC & La PALLICE (ST)           flew 230064 WILD CARGO 


Thanks, Mike.  The only things I don't agree with is: 1) my form 5 shows July 27 as COMBAT,  5:15 hr. would be a long orientation flight, and is about the average length of a combat mission (?).   On the other hand, why would I take my crew on a mission and then the next day ride as CP on another mission. (?)  I  can't figure this one out.     2) Sept. 15 we returned from leave in London. Someone else flew our plane on the 15th as it was full of holes and we were late in taking off on the 16th because the repairs were not completed when the group took off.   Do you have a form 5 that shows otherwise? 

Summing the whole thing up, it's possible that bookkeeping mistakes were made and heaven knows my memory ain't what it used to be.  My log book didn't come home with my things, I'm told those were burned along with anything that might be seen by unfriendly eyes.  So without the book.......... Hey, maybe someone kept it and it will show up on e bay!!!  Anyway, I know I had 7 missions as my POW book, written in '43 and'44, says so.  Anyway, you do a helluva job and I thank you very much.

Bob Wolff 2011

Eyewitness: Capt. Thomas Murphy"One B-17…#3 position, second element. Low squadron (#064) feathered #3 engine before Bordeaux. Under control. Two fighters on tail. Headed NW."Lt. William McDonald"Left fromation (#064) headed for low cloud. Two E/A on tail. Tail Gunner shot one down and the other broke off attack."
(Aircraft was #42-30064 named "Wild Cargo" and was flown overseas  by  Curtis Biddick…pw)

S/Sgt James D. Brady was original TTE on Lt Robert Wolff Crew. He did not fly the 16/9/43 mission due to a bout of Pneumonia. His place on the crew was taken by T/Sgt Carl T. Simon from Lt Robert Knox Crew. S/Sgt Brady was flying as a Toggolier with the Crew of Lt Sam Barrick on March 6, 1944 (Berlin), when their severly damaged aircraft crashed in Sweden and the crew was interned.

 "The following members of my crew are not listed in Taps
James D Brady, 1994: 
Willis F. Brown,1997 
Alfred M. Clark, 1981. 
Jim Brady was our TTG, but was not on our last mission due to a bout with Pneumonia. He flew again, but went down on a Berlin mission on Sam Barrick's crew as a TOG.  We joined the 100th in July '43. One more - The spelling of Browny's name is WILLIS. 
OK, enuf is enough! Sorry to bend your ear, thanks for everything". 
Bob Wolff  (2001)

Chronicle added to file of Lt. Robert Wolff of the 418th in October, 1994….pw



Dear Paul:

It was a pleasure to meet and talk with you at the reunion and it was nice being there and seeing some old friends.

The painting turned out to be pretty darn good and I thank you for your part in the project. Barbara and I enjoyed seeing the Airshow and Odessa. We look forward to seeing all of you next year.

As far as my 'war story' for your records, last year I completed a short autobiography, sort of a family tradition. Part of the history includes my war years, so I am enclosing a copy of that portion which I hope will be OK. Any questions, please call.

Again, thank you and we will see you next year.

Sincerely .

Robert H. Wolff 


As follows:

The war that we were expecting to engulf the U.S. came in an unexpected way, Pearl Harbor. All of us age 18 and over had signed up for the draft, but as time went on I did not want to be drafted, so in March of 1942 I enlisted as Private in the Army Air Corps (my draft notice arrived a few week later). The following paragraphs go into more detail than most of this story, but perhaps it will be of some interest………

I was called to active duty in April and sent as an Aviation Cadet to the Santa Ana Training Center. After six weeks of marching. KP (kitchen police) and other Army indoctrination, I was sent to Thunderbird Field at Glendale, Arizona, near Phoenix (temperature about 110 degrees in June and July), to learn how to fly and aircraft, learn some navigation, weather and the other requirements of an Air Corps pilot. By the way it was the Army Air Corps in those days, it became the U.S. Air Force in 1947. At Thunderbird, which was a very deluxe primary flying school, we flew the Stearman PT-17, a fabric covered biplane. It was, and still is, a simple and reliable aircraft, many are still flying. It was a real thrill learning to fly, it was something I had always wanted to do.

Just because we were learning to fly, did not mean we did not march, we did. We also had ground school for more courses on weather, navigation, physical education, etc., etc. Any infraction (foulups), and we 'walked the ramp' to think about what we had done. The 'walk' consisted of one to five times around the perimeter of the field, with a seat chute on. The chute, as you walked, hit you on the back of the thighs with each step, few of us fouled up more than once.

I ground looped a plane once (dragged a wingtip), shortly after I had soloed, but because there were gusty winds (and after a flight review), I was allowed to go on. It was a tense time, as washed out flying cadets went to bombardier or navigator school, or became buck privates. I still recall the number of that plane - 44.

Two months later, I was stationed at Minter Field near Bakersfield, not as deluxe as Thunderbird, more like a regular Army base, but the food was excellent. I was learning to fly the Vultee BT-13, a low wing all-metal aircraft (we called the ("Vultee Vibrator", and it sure did). The plane had flaps, a variable pitch propeller and other 'modern' improvements to aircraft. It went faster and had more of a 'big' plane feel. We learned more aerobatics, began formation flying and night flying. One night our instructor took another cadet and I on a low level formation flight over the city of Bakersfield. There was a lot static about that flight, but I don't believe they every found out who did it - 'till now. We still marched, had KP and other Army routines, including cleaning the latrines. That's how I spent my 21st birthday. I was able to get leave almost every weekend and by car, bus or commercial plane got to L.A. to see Barbara.

Leaving Bakersfield, I was sent to Roswell, New Mexico for advanced training in a twin engine Cessna AT-17, called the Bobcat, a wood frame, fabric covered aircraft. It was a good plane, but one day two of us were flying and discovered that the cap had come off one of the wing tanks and gas was flowing out. We alerted the tower to land and  - the wheels would not come down! As I was co-pilot that day, it was my job to crank the wheels down. During the cranking process, we 'buzzed' the tower a few times so they could be sure the wheels were in the proper position (that was fun). We also did a lot of night flying here, and one night, while flying over El Paso, we were fired on by anti-aircraft guns, fortunately, they missed.

We still went through the usual Army routines, though, we learned a lot that helped us the future flying. After the training, and when we graduated, I was appointed a Second Lieutenant and an ' Officer and a Gentleman' on January 4, 1943. Mom was there to pin on my wings, taking time off from the Red Cross, Dad was on active duty with the Navy, a Lt. Commander, and could not be there.

Some of the graduates went to twin-engine bombers, most of us were sent to four engine training bases, I was sent to Gowen Air Base at Boise, Idaho for training in a B-17. In those days it was one of the biggest aircraft flying and it seemed huge. It was cold there in the winter and I leaned to intensely dislike long underwear, even if it did keep me warm.

After training with a crew as co-pilot on a B-17 for two months, I was assigned my own crew and we trained for two more months, navigation, formation flying, flying blind (hood in the cockpit) and more. We then went to Casper, Wyoming for more advanced training. Long distance navigation, high altitude formation flying, low level gunnery practice were just some of the routines. One thing, we didn't have any KP. In a few weeks, we were ready to go overseas and were given leave.

A few words about our crew. Our co-pilot was Charles Sturart, about my age and from Louisiana, later would be in the glass and paint business. Larry McDonnel, navigator, was from Seattle and was an engineer, but after the war became an attorney. He passed on in 1986. Fredric "Buzz" White was out bombardier, he had been in law enforcement and stayed in the service after the war. Ira Bardman, a Pennsylvanian was out radioman. Willis Brown, assistant engineer and gunner also stayed in the service and retired, now he makes wooden toys. William "Casey" Casebolt, was out ball turret gunner and is living in Ohio. Alfred Clark and A.H. Eggleston, gunner and assistant radio, are the only two of our crew that have not surfaced, but they may show up, one of these days. Last but not least, was our engineer and top turret gunner, James D. Brady. Jim was oldest on our crew, about 33 at the time and 6 to 12 years older than the rest of us. He had to argue and fight the U.S. Army to be accepted as an aircrewman, but he was equipped for that kind of thing, he had been in the complaint department at Macy's in New York before the war. After the war he was ship's steward on a cruise ship, met a German girl in Hamburg, married her and they now live in New York. More about Jim, later on.

At home, Mom and Dad had moved to Palos Verdes, and Dad was now a Commander in the Navy Supply Corp. I didn't spent much time in P.V., most of it was in Los Angeles with Barbara. I asked Barbara to marry me, she accepted and I was approved by her Mother and Dad. At that point I did not need  an aircraft to fly. We planned to marry after the war.

With my leave over, I was sent to Kearney, Nebraska for final training, long distance flights to Mississippi (three of us flew at an altitude of fifty feet over the entire state, though it was NOT on the approved list of exercises) and a more normal flight to Florida, little did I know how handy that low level flying experience would be.

After this final training, we were then given a B-17 to fly overseas. It was brand new and flew like a dream, we loaded the bomb bay with all out gear and headed for Bangor, Maine. After refueling, we left for Newfoundland and out destination was Glasgow, Scotland. A most interesting night flight, the green of Ireland was a welcome sight the next morning. We had to leave the plane in Scotland and were sent by train to Thorpe Abbotts in Norfolk, England and the 100th Bomb Group, 418th Squadron. More training and my first combat mission.

This mission was as co-pilot, with another crew, to see what combat was like and get some experience. I believe the target was the north German coast.  There was, within me, a lot of tension, but the mission didn't seem too bad, a little flak, a couple of fighter attacks, no one hurt, no damage, so what's the big deal about combat? Boy was I naïve.

With that 'experience' behind me, which was NOT typical, I took my own crew on seven more missions over France, Holland, Germany and Italy. I'll eliminate most of the details of what happens on a mission, there has been a lot of movies and TV that shows what it was like. Sufficient to say that the enemy aircraft is shooting real bullets and the flak has real danger, so that damage, injury and death does occur, it's not all glamour or glory. I've seen planes explode, burn and be torn apart, and all of them had young healthy, living, breathing men in them. When I hear politicians and other 'know nothing' talk about going to war to 'help others' and 'save the world', it makes me sick!

The two greatest dangers we faced, were fighters and flak. The fighters we could see and the crew could fire back at them, the flak was something else, you couldn't see it coming and all of a sudden, it was there. When the shells exploded, they looked like a head with two arms and two legs. We called them the "Little Men."  If the flak gunner could get a shells to explode at the right altitude and miss by only a hundred feet or so, tremendous damage was done. Once, flying out of France, with a hundred mile headwind, our ground speed was only 55 miles an hour. We were great targets. I happened to glance down and saw four tiny flashes on the ground. I knew that four shells were on the way up and as we were at 20,000 feet, I glanced at the clock and marked off twenty seconds. Sure enough, four shells exploded abut 300 feet off our left wing. We lost a landing light and received a few holes. We were very lucky during our combat tour, no injuries.

On one trip, August 17, 1943, our destination was North Africa, a ten hour, fourteen hundred mile trip. After bombing an aircraft factory in Regensburg, Germany, we were to go on to Africa, land and refuel, and then we were to bomb a location in France on the return trip to England a  couple of days later.

We were the final group in a tack force of seven groups, our altitude was 17,000 feet. We were supposed to have fighter escort, but for some reason they never showed. Enemy fighter appeared almost at once when we reached the French Coast, about an hour later, we took what appeared to be a 20 millimeter shell in the leading edge of the vertical stabilizer. The rudder was vibrating so badly that it was difficult to keep my feet on the rudder pedals. Shortly after that, something, flak or machine gun fire, hit the latch on the port life raft door and out came the raft. It hit the horizontal stabilizer and  started into a dive. We were able to pull out and regain formation.

Fighter and flak attacks continued until we were about five minutes from the target, and when they quit, it was so  quiet…… The target, an aircraft plant, was successfully plastered and our group, following the other groups, made a right turn and headed for the Alps. Because so many of the planes were shot up, the formation leader, Col. (later he was a 4 star General) Curtis LeMay circled the formation over Lake Como in Switzerland, to let the stragglers catch up. Once more together, only diminished in numbers, our group had lost half of the original 21 planes, we headed for Africa. As we flew over the Alps, Italy and Sicily, things were relatively calm. Except for the vibration in the tail, it could have been another training mission.

Over the Mediterranean, the red lights began to blink on our fuel gauges. The extra drag caused by the tail damage was using too much of our fuel. Our plane was so badly damaged we could not make the designated field and we had to land at an emergency field at a place called Bone, on the North African coast in Tunisia. The field was made of metal mats laid on the desert sand, and as we made out approach, the tower advised that another plane had cracked up on landing and to 'please go around'. With the damage to our tail, the plane would not respond, so with all the fuel lights blinking, we landed anyway and avoided the damaged aircraft. We taxied off to one side and the engines stopped. I don't remember kissing the ground, but they tell me my face was sure dirty.

We spent the night under the plane's wings and were taken by transport to Marrekesch in Algeria the next day. We bought souvenirs, had ice cream and saw the sights. A few days later we took a military transport back to England. That was our third mission, we had four more, some good, some not so good, no serious damage or injuries, thank God.

On one mission, our fifth, a few days after my 22nd birthday, we were to bomb a target in France. I saw the Eiffel Tower, it looked so tiny from our altitude and with the wispy clouds, it all looked so peaceful - just before a plane blew up in front of us. We had to fly through the smoke and debris, looking back we could only see a large pear-shaped dark cloud.

After our seventh mission, we had leave in London, which was a welcome respite. We could see a show, enjoy some of the sights and in spite of the scenes of war damage in the city, we had a good time. Buzz White, our bombardier, told a funny story of his time in London. While walking through the blackout of Piccadilly Circus, he was accosted by a 'lady of the evening' who offered him her services for two pounds. Her hand was on his chest and she felt his wings. "Oh, an airman, that'll be FIVE pounds." No comment as to whether he took her up on it. On returning to base, we found we were assigned to fly the next day.

Our plane had been flown by another crew the day before and they brought it back with quite a few holes in it. Repairs were being made all night, but were not complete by takeoff time, so we were two hours late in taking off. It was no big problem as we were 'tail end Charlie', last and lowest plane in the formation, so it was easy to fit into the group when we finally caught up to them. It was the most dangerous spot in the formation and was our eighth mission. On our way to the target, which was in Southern France, the group flew very low to avoid German radar which covered most of England. At one time, over Wales, I believe, we were so low we had to go around a hill with a tall antennae on it.

As we approached our target, near La Rochelle, we turned inland at about 17,000 feet to find the target was obscured by clouds. As the group turned to the secondary target, we were attacked by fighters and flak. Our plane lost the number three engine and after getting it feathered we started to catch up to the group with three engines. At that point the number two engine got it and, as we found out later, we acquired a large hole in the tail.

With only two engines in operation, we could not maintain formation and were falling behind, so we dove toward the ground to get away from fighters and flak. However six German ME-109 fighters came after us, we got two, I saw one go down, smoking, behind some trees and, flying at a altitude of about 50 to 100 feet, we dodged a bridge and a church steeple, the town was Rochefort, I think, then we were over the eater and fighters had left.

Three miles out to sea, I heard a 'pop' and then a 'pop', 'pop' and the right outboard engine had blown three cylinder heads and caught fire. Pushing it too hard, I guess. We had no choice but to land in the water. It was a good landing, the water was smooth and we all got out and into the dinghies. The plane floated less than ten minutes, but we had a good chance to see the hole in the tail (which I hadn't felt when it happened), it then dove to the bottom. A French fishing boat picked us up in a short time, but a German patrol boat was right behind them, with a machine gun trained on us. The fishing boat was directed to a  dock on a small island not too far away where we were surrounded by the Germans. We were now  Prisoners of War. The date was September 16, 1943.

The German military, at that time, did not mistreat their prisoners, but we were not treated as heroes either. Our first night was in an old stone castle on the island, near La Rochelle, not too pleasant. We were in individual cells. About four by eight feet, a stone self with straw for a bed, a pit at one end for 'relief' and a covered hole in the heavy wood door through which we received food, a gruel with black bread. Someday I would like to go back and see the place again, as so much had happened and so fast, it's hard to recall everything.

The next day we were sent to a German airfield, which was also a hospital school. We had flown over it the day before while they were at dinner. Later they told us they dove under the tables to avoid possible bombs (we had dumped our bombs in an empty field on the way down). They told us we were losing the war and that Germany would triumph. The news they heard was what their leaders wanted them to hear.

The next two days, we were on a bus and a train to Frankfurt, Germany, for interrogation. We saw the Eiffel Tower again and many soldiers. In other circumstances, it might been a Warner Bros. movie. We also saw some of the 'Hitler Youth', brain washed boys of 12 to 16 who were arrogant little twerps. If Germany had not been defeated, they would have been a terrible scourge.

We were searched, but not very well. I had, in the toe of a sock, smuggled a map of Europe which was later used in our POW camp. The questioning, in Frankfurt, was not too bad, but they had fairly good information on our Army records (lots of spies and sympathizers in the USA, I guess), where we lived, where we trained. One thing they were not up date on, was my rank. I had made 1st Lt. a few days before, they had me down in their records as a 2nd Lt. The interrogator congratulated me. They wanted to know our target (we hadn't bombed it because of overcast) and other classified information. They got no information, and were so frustrated that one of our crew was placed in the 'cooler', sort of a prison cell, a couple of days. One German officer had been educated in the U.S. and told me he would be gong back to San Francisco after they won the war (Hah !).

A short note here, Jim Brady, our engineer, had a bout with pneumonia just before this flight and was not with us. His place was taken by Carl Simon, a good replacement, on this mission.

A few days lster the 4 officers of our crew left Frankfurt, by way of a boxcar, for Stalag Luft III, near Sagen in eastern Germany, in what is now Poland, we arrived Oct. 1st. The 6 enlisted men of the crew were sent to another camp, we did not see them again until long after the war.

Stalag Luft III was one of many camps for downed flyers, this one held about 10,000 men, Americans and British, in several compounds, that is, fenced and guarded areas. We were in the center compound, mostly Americans. Food and clothing were in short supply, but we were able to write one letter a week and receive mail and parcels. That is if the trains could get through after the bombs that were regularly dropped on most of the rail lines in Germany. Word reached home on October 16th (1943) that we were prisoners, a fact that brought much joy to Mom, Dad and Barbara, as all they had received was a 'missing in action' t telegram. I still have it. My first letter a arrived several weeks later and from then on, letters and parcels arrived more or less regularly, again, depending on how the German rail situation was.

Leadership of the prisoners within the camp compound, were the senior officers present, Col. Delmar Spivey was in charge of our compound, a pretty good leader. There was one U.S. Navy officer and several flyers from Australia, Britain, Canada and New  Zealand, but most in our compound were from the U.S. Other compounds were mostly Brits.

Life in our Kriegsgefangenenlager (literally "War Prisoners Camp') centered around food, its collection and distribution, preparation and consuming. Not because we were gourmets or expert chefs, but because it was quite limited and we did as much as we could to stretch it and divide it equally. We DID become pretty good cooks! WE made pans and dishes out of powered milk cans and even made some wine out of raisins. 

The prisoners were generally divided into groups of eight, called 'combines'. This made it easier to prepare food and there were 20 to 30 'combines' in each barracks. We got a dishpan full of cooked barley each morning, a loaf of gray bread (made from wood shavings, you could see them), a sort of blood sausage, some margarine and , rarely, meat of some kind. Each man got one Red Cross parcel once a week when the trains ran, sometimes it was every two weeks. These parcels had goodies such as coffee or tea, powdered milk, Spam and other delicious items, including a chocolate bar. This last item was GI bar of hard semi-sweet chocolate and was primary medium of exchange for cigarettes, clothing and anything that could be traded.

We had books, some musical instruments, gardens, a large exercise yard and other amenities. We had showers once a week, toilets were the 'outhouse' type (ten holers, I recall). The Red Cross, YMCA and other international agencies supplied as much as the Germans would allow (again, depending on train availability).

It was not a life of ease and fun, we were counted two or more times a day. The guards, we called them 'Goons', inside the camp would search our personal items while we were assembled outside in the cold. They rarely took anything unless it could be used for escape. If a guard came through the barracks on a causal inspection, someone near the door would shout 'Goon-up' or 'Tally-Ho' to alert us. Some guards were strict and would not talk with us, some would, and there was one who had lost an eye while fighting on the Russian front. We called him 'Popeye', which he liked after hearing that was the name of a famous strong man in the U.S. He was a nice guy, for a guard.

We were sometimes hungry and most of all there was the uncertainty of the future - tomorrow, next week or next year, what would happen? There was a high, double barbed wire fence around the compound with a guard tower at each corner, machine guns at hand. One step into the 'no mans land' between the wire and guardrail at the edge of the walking area, and the guns would speak. Escape was something most of us thought of, but the Germans were very alert to that possibility. However, there were several attempts to escape, mostly tunnels, most failed, but there were some individuals who made it in other ways. There were a couple of movies, "Stalag 17" and the "The Great Escape", that gave a realistic view of war prisoners life in Germany. In prison camp we heard many stories of how some of the some of the men got shot down, too many to discuss here, except for one………..

I received a letter from home with a picture of Jim Brady in a civilian suit, and no explanation. After the way, we found out that Jim had recovered from pneumonia and a few weeks later had been assigned to another crew. This crew was shot down in 1944, but the plane managed to crash land in Sweden. That's were the picture was taken. The crew was interned and it appears Jim had the run of the country, met the Royal Family, saw the sights and met a girl. It wasn't until many years after the war that he knew of his son. He and the lady were unable to make contact after the war, she had passed on and eventually the son, as a married adult, with children, made contact. Jim is quite a guy.

In camp, we did have something that the Germans knew about, but could not find. It was a radio with which we could listen to the BBC and get the latest news of the war. At various times, we would post guards and someone would read us the latest of what was happening on the outside. We knew of bombing raids and other military action that the Germans said were not significant or claimed that never happened and we knew of D-Day and other important events. Where the radio came from or was kept, we were never told, the fewer that knew the better. We would get copies of German newspapers, once in a while, and those were translated by those among us what could read the language. There were obvious differences between our radio and their newspaper reports.

There's a book that the YMCA gave us (it was all blank pages), that has some drawing and notes I made that may be of interest of our life in camp. There is a copy of a German newspaper, a notice about not attempting to escape, letters and pictures. Mom and Dad had kept a scrapbook of their view of my wartime experiences that may have details I've left out. There are also quite a few books that I have gathered over the years since, that tell more of this war from different viewpoints, some of them are much more detailed than the above.

We stayed in that camp until January 28, 1945, when the approaching Russians, forced the Germans to move us, as we were the 'bargaining chips' that the Germans hoped would ease their terms of surrender. By this time they knew they would not win the war. Actually no one wins a war, we all lose.

We were marched through the snow for almost eight days. One night we were in church, then a barn, another night in brick factory where we appreciated the warmth. One night we were in some kind of barracks and a number of us became ill, we were moved out early the next morning and did not have to clean it up. Going through some small towns, the people were mostly silent as we walked by, dew were hostile, I guess they saw the writing on the wall.

The end of the march was in rail yard at Spremberg, then by train (about 40 men to a boxcar) to a  camp, Stalag VIIA (the 'Snake Pit'), in Moosburg, about 30 miles northeast of Munich. We were crowded into an old barrack and a tent and deloused. Life was a little tougher, but we knew the end of the war was near.

On April 29, 1945, the 3rd Army set us free, a tank knocked down the gate. The U.S. Army took us to Igolstadt nearby. We were flown to La Harve on May 9th, the day of the German's surrender, had a chance to clean up, get debriefed and get acquainted with the free world. A few days later, we were placed on a ship for New York by way of the Caribbean.

Processing by the Army took a few days at Camp Yaphank and while there I got a message from Archie and Barbara Mayo who were in New York. We had dinner at the Copacabana, one of the fanciest nightclubs in the city. What a contrast to the last twenty months.

After we were cleared to go home, we left on a passenger train for the West Coast (no boxcar this time). The train wound it's way West, dropping off at various stations, former POWs, many of whom I haven't seen since. You know, it's sort of funny, you spend days, weeks, months and years with  someone in life and death situations, the way is over and you go back to where you came from. Names and faces sort of disappear in time, but I can still see, and hear a lot of them, some from training, the air battles, the POW camps and mostly, the people - the British, the aircrews, the Germans. Some were good, some were so-so, some not so good. All in all, looking back fifty years, it was an interesting adventure, and marked a major change in my life and the way I looked at it.

Anyway, back to the train winding it's way West. At one stop in St; Louis, some U.S.O. girls were passing out candy bars to all of us and I got a Snicker Bar. I had never really enjoyed them before, but this was wonderful. I still think they are great. The train could not go fast enough for us and took 6 days to get to our destination of Camp Beale in California, near Marysville.
******************************************************************************************************************



Ira F. Bardman left us on Feb.18, 2009, he was 87. Ira was my radio/gunner and a fine one at that. If something didn't work right he fixed it and it stayed fixed. He was a good man and liked by our crew. After the war, he became a meat cutter and later a house painter. He enjoyed his hobbies of bowling and model trains. He will be missed by his wife Betty and children and grand children.
 
Bob Wolff


ROBERT WOLFF-PILOT WOLFF PACK 418TH  " My experience was pretty close to yours (BOB SHOENS). My Dad and brother were in the Navy and they understood the military service part, but combat at altitude was not their experience and it was difficult to convey the scope of emotions that swept over an aircrew. The flying part was wonderful with blue skies, clouds , the earth below, the fantastic view, the feeling of flight. Then, of course, the enemy fighters, the flak, the fear, the responsibility, the arrival at the target, or the disappointment of an overcast target, the relief of dropping of the bombs, the anxious concern of the flight home and the landing are things that are hard to put into words that others will understand fully. My experience was not as long as yours, but the intensity was there. We participated in an airwar that (hopefully) will never be repeated".

MEMO 2:

10 Questions for Bob Wolff
Matt Mabe, 100th Bomb Group Foundation, Historical Team
 
During the fall of 2019, I had the privilege of talking with Bob Wolff, who as many already know, served as a pilot in the 418th Squadron. Of note, Wolff and his crew flew the August 17, 1943 mission to Regensburg, which is so vividly detailed in Harry Crosby’s book A Wing and A Prayer. The Wolff crew was shot down on September 16, 1943, during the mission to La Rochelle, France, and after making a water landing, the crew members were subsequently captured by the Germans. Bob was kind enough to answer several questions for me, which are detailed below, and additional information about his service can also be found on his profile page on the 100th Bomb Group Foundation’s website.
 
1. When did you first develop an interest in aviation? The first time I was up in an airplane was when I was 10 years old. The ground below seemed to be going by fairly slow, which I thought was very interesting and we were traveling at around 100 miles per hour. The pilot explained how we were covering so much ground. As a kid I also built model airplanes, and became very interested in aviation. By the time I was around 10-15 years old I always wanted to fly.
 
2. By 1943, you were in your early 20s and you were serving as the leader of a crew, with an incredible weight on your shoulders. How did you view yourself as a leader?  At 21 years and 4 months, I was learning to fly B-17s.  My leadership experience was as a Patrol Leader in the Boy Scouts, period!  As a crew, we were all newly minted fliers and the enlisted crew members respected the new shiny gold bars of the officers who were still new at their positions.  Any problems that came up (very few) were settled with a few words and we worked as a team pretty well. As the pilot and ‘Aircraft Commander’, the last order the crew obeyed very promptly was - ‘we’re going to ditch, get in the radio room’.  They did, and the rest is history.
 
3. How did you deal with the fear and stress of combat? Maybe it was because I was young and was able to deal with it better, but I pressed ahead. However, the worst thing to see was another plane on fire. That is a picture that remains in my head even today. Regensburg – Oh my God; we grew up in a hurry during that time. The two greatest dangers we faced, were fighters and flak. The fighters we could see and the crew could fire back at them, the flak was something else, you couldn't see it coming and all of a sudden, it was there. Sure enough, four shells exploded about 300 feet off our left wing. We lost a landing light and received a few holes. We were very lucky during our combat tour; with no injuries.
 
4. During the mission to Regensburg, you were practically flying on gas fumes over the Mediterranean while en route to North Africa; what was going through you head as the gas light was blinking? First off, while over Germany we had been hit by a 20mm shell in the leading edge of the vertical stabilizer, and the rudder was vibrating so badly that it was difficult to keep my feet on the rudder pedals. Shortly after that, flak or machine gun fire, hit the latch on the port life raft door and out came the raft. It hit the horizontal stabilizer and started into a dive. We were able to pull up and regain our position in the formation. My fuel was extremely low, but at that point I couldn’t turn back, so there was no other option. At that moment, I decided we were going to take it as far as we could. I eventually spotted the airfield off in the distance; right in beyond the shore. That’s where we’re going to land. We landed at an emergency field at a place called Bone, on the coast of Tunisia, with no fuel to spare. We avoided a damaged aircraft that was on the runway, and as we taxied off to one side, our engines stopped. We slept under the wings that night, and eventually went on from there to Marrakesh, as there were no repair facilities at that location.
 
5. You were held by the Germans as a POW for nearly 18 months, how to did you pass the time in captivity? Looking back, I can say it was definitely not an enjoyable experience. At Stalag Luft III, we talked with each other about every topic you can think of: school, where we were from, etc. I read a lot of books, and even tried to learn a few German words. We would shoot the breeze and talk about escape plans, but we never went anywhere with those plans. Also, we were given a pamphlet that said “Escape from prison is not a sport, don’t escape.” We had some get-togethers, and there was a young men’s Shriners, and other religious groups. We all got along well. I was given a book with blank pages, and I used it to make some sketches of life in the camp and also of our B-17. I was never put in the cooler during my time as a POW, but this did happen to one of the guys in my barracks who was “mouthing off” at one of the guards.
 
We were housed in the center compound, which was comprised mostly of Americans. Food and clothing were in short supply, but we were able to write one letter a week and receive mail and parcels. We made pans and dishes out of powdered milk cans, and some of us actually became pretty good cooks. Once in a while we would get some seeds, and I’d plant them outside the barracks in a garden. We grew some vegetables, which we later cooked. One day I was cutting up a loaf of bread that was given to us by the Germans and found that about two inches at the bottom of the loaf was sawdust, so it was all mixed together. We knew we would get out, but just didn’t know when. We had a radio that we kept hidden from the Germans, and we could listen to the BBC and get the latest news of the war. I did learn about the D-Day landings from the radio and it improved our morale.
 
6. After being moved from Stalag Luft III in late-January 1945, you and your fellow POWs were forced to march in the snow for more than a week; how did you persevere through this? We survived, and we really had no choice. I had the same shoes on throughout and didn’t get new ones for two years while a POW. We were half starving and had little clothes. The guards stayed with us and we had to keep moving. Given our circumstance, there was no point in trying to escape. Prior to leaving Stalag Luft III, I packed the belongings I had at the camp into a pair of extra pants, and used it as a nap sack. On one night during the march we were in church, on the next night a barn, and we slept another night in brick factory, which was still warm when we arrived. The march concluded in a rail yard at Spremberg, and we were loaded into boxcars and traveled by train to another camp, Stalag VIIA, known as the “Snake Pit”, located just outside of Moosburg, Germany.
 

7. What do you remember about the day you were liberated? We were liberated by the 3rd Army on April 29, 1945, and I can vividly remember the events that occurred in the camp that day. I distinctly recall a truck and a tank coming through the camp gate. Everyone climbed on the tank and cheered – we were filled with jubilation.
 

8. How did you spend your first days post-liberation? In early May, we were flown to Le Havre, France, and the French were cheering and waving as we arrived. We were a very scruffy bunch of individuals, and I didn’t feel like a hero. It was our first chance to clean up and be debriefed. It was here that I got my first hot meal, and I was happy to finally have a “full belly”. I eventually got a new uniform in Le Havre, and before that I had been wearing a part of German military pants that I found in a warehouse. I stayed in Le Havre for 6-8 days before boarding a troop ship bound for the U.S.
 
9. When were you fist able to reunite with your family? Upon my return back stateside, I saw my brother in New York, and then took a passenger train from New York City to California. The train could not go fast enough for us and took six days to get to our destination of Camp Beale near Marysville, California. My family knew of my pending arrival, and my mom and dad met me at the Station. My father served in the Navy during the war as a Lt. Commander, and my mom had worked with the local Red Cross. I saw Barbara, then my fiancée, in the middle of June 1945, which was a fantastic feeling. The first thing she talked to me about was planning our wedding, to which I said “Good.” After returning to California, everything felt sort of strange at first. In any case, I was so pleased to be back home and reunited with Barbara.
 

10. How often do you think back on the events of 1943-1945?  It seems like a vague dream now, but it still comes back to you. I have the occasional dream about the missions or my time as a POW. About a week ago, I had a dream about the Regensburg mission and felt the tail of the plane being hit, and that woke me up. It was a long time before I discussed with people what I had been through during the war. Thought I don’t think about it every day, it never leaves you, even if you tuck it away.
 

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: Bordeaux DATE: 1943-09-16  
AIRCRAFT: "Wild Cargo" (42-30064) CAUSE: EAC  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: ROW:  
GRAVE: CEMETERY:  

PHOTOS:

Robert H. Wolff Crew (left to right)
Back Row: Ira Bardman, Alfred Clark, William 'Casey' Casebolt, James Brady
Arthur 'Eagle' Eggleston, Willis 'Browny' Brown
Front Row: Charles 'Stu' Stuart, Fredric 'Buzz' White, (He is aiming at the enemy)
Bob Wolff, Lawrence 'Mac' McDonell
This picture shows the original Bob Wolff crew, formed at Gowen Field in Boise, Idaho in early 1943
The photo was taken after Regensburg for publicity purposes

 The Bob Wolff crew during stateside training. Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

 "WOLFF PACK" after it landed in Africa on the Regensburg mission 17 Aug 1943. It's crew, Robert Wolff. Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

Robert H. Wolff Crew (left to right)
Back Row: Ira Bardman, Alfred Clark, William 'Casey' Casebolt, James Brady
Arthur 'Eagle' Eggleston, Willis 'Browny' Brown
Front Row: Charles 'Stu' Stuart, Fredric 'Buzz' White, (He is aiming at the enemy)
Bob Wolff, Lawrence 'Mac' McDonell
This picture shows the original Bob Wolff crew, formed at Gowen Field in Boise, Idaho in early 1943
The photo was taken after Regensburg for publicity purposes

 Lead Squdron, August 17, 1943 Regensburg mission. Photo taken from Cowboy Owen Roane's aircrafts waist gun postion. Lead plane is Just-a-Snappin with Lt Ev Blakely and Maj. Jack Kidd, plane with damaged tail is Wolf Pack flown by Lt Robert Wolff, Farthest away is Lt John Brady in Stymie and the lowest aircrat is Lt Charles "Crankshaft" Cruikshank with Maj John Egan in Mugwump. 

Lt Robert Wolff Stateside (courtesy of Karl Treanor Collection)

2nd Lt Robert Wolff after receiving Wings

Robert and Barbara Wolff after Bobs return from Europe. 

Birthday Present to Bob Wolff from Family

Newspaper clipping of Robert Wolff POW experience

The Gathering of Eagles Foundation is a private, non-profit organization that supports the ACSC Gathering of Eagles program by organizing and funding GOE research, planning, promotion, activities and events. The GOE Foundation primarily funds GOE Week activities, such as Eagle guest travel and social events, through promotional activities and the sale of signed lithographs. The signed lithographs are limited edition recreations of an original oil painting by renowned aviation artist Mr. Jay Ashurst, commemorating the achievements of the Eagles each year. The painting, commissioned each year by the ACSC graduating class, is hand-signed by each Eagle next to their portrait. The GOE Foundation also supports Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarships and aerospace educational efforts through academic and community outreach programs. The GOE Foundation operates on Maxwell Air Force Base through the GOE team, which consists of 15 students selected from the class to execute this year long project while meeting research requirements for graduation and a Master’s of Military Operational Art and Science Degree.
This Year we had the distinct honor of having two 100th Bomb Group (H) Veterans be recognized for their contributions and service , Capt. Robert Shoens, 351st Bomb Squadron, Pilot of "OUR GAL SAL" and Capt Robert Wolff, 418th Bomb Squadron, Pilot of "WOLFF PACK".  We wish to thank Bill DeMarco and his wonderful staff at Air Command and Staff College for arranging this great honor along with the other worthy Aviation Legends of GOE 2015.  

The Gathering of Eagles Foundation is a private, non-profit organization that supports the ACSC Gathering of Eagles program by organizing and funding GOE research, planning, promotion, activities and events. The GOE Foundation primarily funds GOE Week activities, such as Eagle guest travel and social events, through promotional activities and the sale of signed lithographs. The signed lithographs are limited edition recreations of an original oil painting by renowned aviation artist Mr. Jay Ashurst, commemorating the achievements of the Eagles each year. The painting, commissioned each year by the ACSC graduating class, is hand-signed by each Eagle next to their portrait. The GOE Foundation also supports Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarships and aerospace educational efforts through academic and community outreach programs. The GOE Foundation operates on Maxwell Air Force Base through the GOE team, which consists of 15 students selected from the class to execute this year long project while meeting research requirements for graduation and a Master’s of Military Operational Art and Science Degree.
This Year we had the distinct honor of having two 100th Bomb Group (H) Veterans be recognized for their contributions and service , Capt. Robert Shoens, 351st Bomb Squadron, Pilot of "OUR GAL SAL" and Capt Robert Wolff, 418th Bomb Squadron, Pilot of "WOLFF PACK".  We wish to thank Bill DeMarco and his wonderful staff at Air Command and Staff College for arranging this great honor along with the other worthy Aviation Legends of GOE 2015.   

Robert Wolff being interviewed at Gathering of Eagles 2015. 
The Gathering of Eagles Foundation is a private, non-profit organization that supports the ACSC Gathering of Eagles program by organizing and funding GOE research, planning, promotion, activities and events. The GOE Foundation primarily funds GOE Week activities, such as Eagle guest travel and social events, through promotional activities and the sale of signed lithographs. The signed lithographs are limited edition recreations of an original oil painting by renowned aviation artist Mr. Jay Ashurst, commemorating the achievements of the Eagles each year. The painting, commissioned each year by the ACSC graduating class, is hand-signed by each Eagle next to their portrait. The GOE Foundation also supports Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarships and aerospace educational efforts through academic and community outreach programs. The GOE Foundation operates on Maxwell Air Force Base through the GOE team, which consists of 15 students selected from the class to execute this year long project while meeting research requirements for graduation and a Master’s of Military Operational Art and Science Degree.
This Year we had the distinct honor of having two 100th Bomb Group (H) Veterans be recognized for their contributions and service , Capt. Robert Shoens, 351st Bomb Squadron, Pilot of "OUR GAL SAL" and Capt Robert Wolff, 418th Bomb Squadron, Pilot of "WOLFF PACK".  We wish to thank Bill DeMarco and his wonderful staff at Air Command and Staff College for arranging this great honor along with the other worthy Aviation Legends of GOE 2015.   

Robert H. Wolff, taking about his experiences as a Pilot of a B-17.  
The Gathering of Eagles Foundation is a private, non-profit organization that supports the ACSC Gathering of Eagles program by organizing and funding GOE research, planning, promotion, activities and events. The GOE Foundation primarily funds GOE Week activities, such as Eagle guest travel and social events, through promotional activities and the sale of signed lithographs. The signed lithographs are limited edition recreations of an original oil painting by renowned aviation artist Mr. Jay Ashurst, commemorating the achievements of the Eagles each year. The painting, commissioned each year by the ACSC graduating class, is hand-signed by each Eagle next to their portrait. The GOE Foundation also supports Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarships and aerospace educational efforts through academic and community outreach programs. The GOE Foundation operates on Maxwell Air Force Base through the GOE team, which consists of 15 students selected from the class to execute this year long project while meeting research requirements for graduation and a Master’s of Military Operational Art and Science Degree.
This Year we had the distinct honor of having two 100th Bomb Group (H) Veterans be recognized for their contributions and service , Capt. Robert Shoens, 351st Bomb Squadron, Pilot of "OUR GAL SAL" and Capt Robert Wolff, 418th Bomb Squadron, Pilot of "WOLFF PACK".  We wish to thank Bill DeMarco and his wonderful staff at Air Command and Staff College for arranging this great honor along with the other worthy Aviation Legends of GOE 2015.  

Robert H. Wolff being introduced to Gathering of Eagles 2015
The Gathering of Eagles Foundation is a private, non-profit organization that supports the ACSC Gathering of Eagles program by organizing and funding GOE research, planning, promotion, activities and events. The GOE Foundation primarily funds GOE Week activities, such as Eagle guest travel and social events, through promotional activities and the sale of signed lithographs. The signed lithographs are limited edition recreations of an original oil painting by renowned aviation artist Mr. Jay Ashurst, commemorating the achievements of the Eagles each year. The painting, commissioned each year by the ACSC graduating class, is hand-signed by each Eagle next to their portrait. The GOE Foundation also supports Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarships and aerospace educational efforts through academic and community outreach programs. The GOE Foundation operates on Maxwell Air Force Base through the GOE team, which consists of 15 students selected from the class to execute this year long project while meeting research requirements for graduation and a Master’s of Military Operational Art and Science Degree.
This Year we had the distinct honor of having two 100th Bomb Group (H) Veterans be recognized for their contributions and service , Capt. Robert Shoens, 351st Bomb Squadron, Pilot of "OUR GAL SAL" and Capt Robert Wolff, 418th Bomb Squadron, Pilot of "WOLFF PACK".  We wish to thank Bill DeMarco and his wonderful staff at Air Command and Staff College for arranging this great honor along with the other worthy Aviation Legends of GOE 2015.   

Medal presented to Robert Wolff by Gathering of Eagles ( photo courtesy of Nancy Phelps , Daughter of Robert Wolff) 
The Gathering of Eagles Foundation is a private, non-profit organization that supports the ACSC Gathering of Eagles program by organizing and funding GOE research, planning, promotion, activities and events. The GOE Foundation primarily funds GOE Week activities, such as Eagle guest travel and social events, through promotional activities and the sale of signed lithographs. The signed lithographs are limited edition recreations of an original oil painting by renowned aviation artist Mr. Jay Ashurst, commemorating the achievements of the Eagles each year. The painting, commissioned each year by the ACSC graduating class, is hand-signed by each Eagle next to their portrait. The GOE Foundation also supports Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarships and aerospace educational efforts through academic and community outreach programs. The GOE Foundation operates on Maxwell Air Force Base through the GOE team, which consists of 15 students selected from the class to execute this year long project while meeting research requirements for graduation and a Master’s of Military Operational Art and Science Degree.
This Year we had the distinct honor of having two 100th Bomb Group (H) Veterans be recognized for their contributions and service , Capt. Robert Shoens, 351st Bomb Squadron, Pilot of "OUR GAL SAL" and Capt Robert Wolff, 418th Bomb Squadron, Pilot of "WOLFF PACK".  We wish to thank Bill DeMarco and his wonderful staff at Air Command and Staff Ceollege for arranging this great honor along with the other worthy Aviation Legends of GOE 2015.  

Display page for Robert Wolff designed by Matt Mabe

How about these 2 handsome guys wearing their new jackets delivered from the 100bgmus UK! My Dad Bob Wolff and his 13 year old great grandson Rhys. Courtesy of Nancy Phelps 

How about these 2 handsome guys wearing their new jackets delivered from the 100bgmus UK! My Dad Bob Wolff and his 13 year old great grandson Rhys.  Courtesy of Nancy Phelps 

Bob Wolff at Thorpe Abbotts in 1983 (photo courtesy of Richard Gibson)

Wedding photo of Robert and Barbara Wolff from 1945 (photo courtesy of Nancy Phelps)

1. Cover page

2. A listing of our crew including Jim Brady, though he was not on our last mission. Carl Simon took his place, but at the time, I thought Jim should be listed as he was on most of our flights. The numbers on the plane were those of the plane we flew to Africa ("061") and not the one on our final flight.

3a. This is a very short and condensed pictorial of the education that turned a young civilian into a 2nd Lieutenant

4. This is my memory of what our plane may have looked like from the cockpit of the lead plane in our group, while we were over the Alps. We had left the target in Regensburg in ruins and were on our way to Africa, the date was Aug. 17, 1943. I had apparently seen the photo, taken of our plane during the flight, after we had returned from Africa, so I improvised a bit. Done in June of “44”

3b. This is a very short and condensed pictorial of the education that turned a young civilian into a 2nd Lieutenant (continued)

6. This is an unfinished pencil drawing of what I thought our plane looked like just before we landed in the water. Why it wasn't completed, I'm not sure. I know I had plenty of time on my hands.

5. This is the view of a B-17 in flight, viewed from below. Just thought I'd make a picture for the book in January 1944

7. In this painting, we had left the group after two engines were dead. we were under attack and had knocked down an enemy fighter. Our airspeed during this part of the flight reached over 320 miles an hour, the airspeed indicator was redlined at 320. The bridge we had to dodge when we got close to the ground is shown below and we eventually landed in the water between the island and the peninsula. Remember now I was a little busy and did no have time to fix the scene in my mind so a l little artistic license has been applied. This was done about six months after the event.

8. This is my final sight of our aircraft on our last mission, as viewed from our dinghy. As I have written elsewhere, I didn't recall feeling the impact of the damage to our fin and I had forgotten the damage to the horizontal stabilizer until I looked at this picture over fifty years later. Done in April 1944.

10. This is another copy , the only change from the original was the numbers on my "Kreigie tag". That tag is now in England at the 100th Museum in Thorpe Abbotts. The 'K" word is short for the tongue twisting, Kriegsgefangenen, meaning "War Prisoner".

11. This is my rendering of our barracks. The camp was built in the middle of a forest, surrounded by barbed wire. The buildings were of unpainted rough lumber, had wooden floors and few amenities. About four heaters fueled by compressed coal dust and wood, two toilets for night use (after lockup) and one cold water faucet. The ground in the camp was bare dirt, the object in the foreground is a water pond for storage in case of fire, fortunately not needed. This was pained in December of 1943.

12. Our Bunks in the barracks were "3 Story'. Mine was the middle one in this picture along with my laundry and towel. The bed boards, supporting the straw mattress were often used for shoring up the sides of tunnels. Ours had not been used yet but if the "goons" or guards saw some missing, they knew a tunnel was in progress. The name tag on my bunk says "Yama" short for Yamamoto. Someone thought I looked Japanese and the name sort of stuck. September 1944.

13. One of the guard towers that was on the perimeter of the camp. That gray thing in front is a searchlight. There was a low wire about ten or twelve feet from the double barbed wire fence around the camp. The low wire was the beginning of a "no mans land" that was "Verboten". No POW's were allowed in that area............or else. Completed in March 1944.

14. My version of a Christmas card for 1943. I guess I felt as gloomy as it looks. This gives a rough idea of our camp and surroundings.

15. I think I was in a better mood for this holiday card. The war was coming our way and we knew it wouldn't be too much longer.

16. Bob Wolff POW diary Page 16

17. Bob Wolff POW diary Page 17

18. Bob Wolff POW diary Page 18

19. Bob Wolff POW diary Page 19

20. Bob Wolff POW diary Page 20

21. Bob Wolff POW diary Page 21

22. Bob Wolff POW diary Page 22

23. Bob Wolff POW diary Page 23

Four 100th B-17s over the Alps, top "Cowboy" Roane in "LADEN MAIDEN," 2nd from top (smaller image) Henry Henington in "HORNY," center Bob Wolff in "WOLFF PACK, lower "Bucky" Egan and "Crankshaft" Cruikshank in "MUGWUMP". Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives)

 Lead Squadron flying over the Alps on 17 Aug 43. Command Pilot Jack Kidd (Group Operations Officer) & Ev Blakely in Just-a-Snappin A/C 23393 LD-Y, John D. Brady & John L. Hoerr in Stymie A/C 23237 LD-R, Command Pilot John Egan (418th Squadron Command Officer) and Charles Cruikshank in Mugwump A/C 230066 LD-U, and Bob Wolff & Charles Stuart in Wolff Pack A/C 230061 LD-Q. (Photo courtesy of Big Joe Armanini)  

 Photo of A/C 230061 Wolff Pack and A/C 23393 Just-a-Snappin taken from the nose of A/C 230170 Torchy 2. (Photo courtesy of Big Joe Armanini) Wolff crew information | Barr crew information | Blakely crew information | Regensburg mission information 

 A/C 230061 Wolff Pack with damaged stabilizer, A/C 23393 Just-a-Snappin in lead, and A/C 230066 Mugwump at the bottom on the 17 Aug 43 Regensburg mission. (Photo courtesy of Big Joe Armanini) Wolff crew information | Blakely crew information | Cruikshank crew information | Regensburg mission information 

 Regensberg damage to the 418th's "WOLFf PACK." (100th Photo Archives) 

 Lead Squadron Regensberg 17 Aug 1943. The damaged B-17 in the center was flown by Robert Wolff. In September 1943 the Germans were to fish Bob and his crew out of the English Channel. Wolff's water landing was one of the most successful of the war. There were no injuries, either in the landing or egress. Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) Bob Wolff's damaged B-17 over Italy 17 Aug 1943. Detailed information (100th Photo Archives) 

Wolff Pack 230061 LD-Q, 418th in North Africa - 17 Aug 1943 (100th Photo Archives) 

"WOLFF PACK" 230061 
LD-Q, in Africa after Regensberg - 17 Aug 1943 Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

 "WOLFF PACK" 230061 LD-Q, damaged vertical stabilizer in North Africa after Regensberg - 17 Aug 1943 Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

 Damaged "WOLFF PACK" enroute to North Africa from Regensberg 17 Aug 1943 (100th Photo Archives) 

 Lt Robert Wolff's a/c Wolff Pack on the ground in Africa after 17 August 1943 Regensburg mission. Note the damaged Vertical stabilizer. 

100th BG, Capt Robert Wolff and Crew went down on this mission. photo take from El P'sstofo.  courtesy of Capt Tong

 Lt. Col. Kidd (Group Opns. Officer). Look at that board and the names, you are looking September 3, 1943, from that list the following crews will be missing that day. Winkelman, Fineup, Floyd and not on the board yet is Richard C King. Henington will ditch in the Channel.  (100th Photo Archives) 

 Spectacular view of "WOLFF PACK's" damaged vertical stabilizer. Regensberg - 17 Aug 1943. The pilot, Bob Wolff, feared the impact had destroyed the aircraft. For the remainder of the flight both vertical and directional control was limited. He reported extensive buffeting in the rudder pedals and the control yoke. His offer to the crew to bail out if desired found no takers. Wolff was considered one of the 418th best aviators. Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

Bio's for Robert Wolff and Robert Shoens included in the Program for GOE
The Gathering of Eagles Foundation is a private, non-profit organization that supports the ACSC Gathering of Eagles program by organizing and funding GOE research, planning, promotion, activities and events. The GOE Foundation primarily funds GOE Week activities, such as Eagle guest travel and social events, through promotional activities and the sale of signed lithographs. The signed lithographs are limited edition recreations of an original oil painting by renowned aviation artist Mr. Jay Ashurst, commemorating the achievements of the Eagles each year. The painting, commissioned each year by the ACSC graduating class, is hand-signed by each Eagle next to their portrait. The GOE Foundation also supports Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarships and aerospace educational efforts through academic and community outreach programs. The GOE Foundation operates on Maxwell Air Force Base through the GOE team, which consists of 15 students selected from the class to execute this year long project while meeting research requirements for graduation and a Master’s of Military Operational Art and Science Degree.
This Year we had the distinct honor of having two 100th Bomb Group (H) Veterans be recognized for their contributions and service , Capt. Robert Shoens, 351st Bomb Squadron, Pilot of "OUR GAL SAL" and Capt Robert Wolff, 418th Bomb Squadron, Pilot of "WOLFF PACK".  We wish to thank Bill DeMarco and his wonderful staff at Air Command and Staff College for arranging this great honor along with the other worthy Aviation Legends of GOE 2015.  

Some of Ev Blakely Crew in North Africa Aug 17, 1943.  Sitting in front of Lt Robert Wolff’s aircraft "Wolff Pack" which was previously Capt Blakely's A/C  
Courtesy of Jim Blakely, Forkner Photo collection and Matt Mabe .

 

SERVED IN:

Crew 1

ID: 5628