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Comments1: 20 APR 45 ORANIENBURG




2ND LT DAVID G. RAIFORD           P FEH Became a Lead Pilot, Jan 45
2ND LT JORDAN L. BROWNING  NAV CPT 20 APR 45 ORANIENBURG, MY (was with Lt Dawson crew when they bailed out,see below)
F/O FRITZ KRETZSCHMAR         BOM CPT 20 APR 45 ORANIENBURG, MY (joined Lt Hansen Crew in Jan 45)
CPL GEORGE RUBIN                  ROG FEH       sn#12176656
CPL HEINZ A. WOLF                   WG FEH (joined Lt Hansen Crew in Jan 45)

T/Sgt George Rubin would become a Mickey Operator and states that he flew 20 Missions.  Two known missions of the above crew were Nov 2, 1944-Merseburg and Dec. 31, 1944-Hamburg.  A/C flown 231991"Raiford's Raiders" 

In view of the fact both Kretzschmar and Wolfe are known to have come from this crew, it is logicial to
assume the co-pilot Bob Wendling also joined your crew (Lt Hansen) as well.  You will note that the crew roster for 
the Raiford crew also lists Fritz Kretzschmar as a Bombardier, agreeing with your recollection. 
The fact this crew joined the 100th a little over two weeks after your crew and they may have missed some missions during 
the transfer from Raifords's to  your crew could account for the fact Wendling and Kretzschmar completed their tour in April 
45 instead of the eariier date you finished. I think Wolf fllew the 20 Apr 45 Oranienburg missions but may have been 
behind them in total mission count and as result is carried as FEH (Flying at end of hostilities) rather than completing a tour. 
                                                              (unknown who sent this but believe it was Sgt L.J. Edwards, Lt Hansen Crew…mpf)

In January 1945 Lt David Raiford received all the enlisted men from Lt Charlie "Hong Kong" Wilson’s Crew. This crew would eventually become a Lead crew consisting at different times of the crew listing below; Sgt Hoffpauir transferred to the 15th Air Force when they changed over to a lead crew and Sgt Jay Kendell moved from BTG to Waist Gunner. 

Lt RaifordsLead Crew after Jan 1945: 

Lt David G. Raiford             Lead Pilot
Lt Robert Wendling           Co-Pilot/Formation Officer
Capt Ross Chenney            Lead Navigator (from original crew of Lt Armstrong)
2nd Lt Charles J. Scott       moved up to Lead NAV (FEH) (from original crew of Lt McNab)
1st Lt Douglas S. Eden       moved up to Lead BOM (FEH) (from original crew of Lt McNab)          sn# 0-1997861
1st Lt Paul R.Ruth,Jr.          Lead Bombardier (from original crew of Lt Fellows)
2nd Lt Harry Tennenbaum   Mickey Operator (from Lt Shaddix original Crew)
1st Lt Earl Frye                   Radar/Nav          (flew with Lt Seamans lead crew and Assigned Group Radar Officer on 8 Apr 1945)                   
2nd Lt James  M. Pivonka     Mickey Operator (from Lt Dawson Crew)
T/Sgt  EMERY N. CASTLE      ROG FEH                                                                                sn# 37523614
T/Sgt  NORMAN G. NANCE     TTE FEH                                                                                sn# 19171578
Sgt   JAY D. KENDELL           BTG FEH moved to WG when became Lead Crew                        sn# 39908662
Sgt   GEORGE L. PESLER        WG CPT 24 MAR 45 STEENEIJK/ ZIEGENHAINE                         sn# 35051164
Sgt   ARCHIE E. HOFFPAUIR    WG FEH Transferred to 15th Air Force when became lead Crew    sn# 38266722
S/Sgt   JACK R. DeBORDE        TG FEH flew 10 missions as formation officer.                             Sn# 39615579

Missions of S/Sgt Jack Deborde with Lt Raiford Crew/Lead Crew

06 JAN 45      ANNWEILER
10 JAN 45      COLOGNE
14 JAN 45      DERBEN
28 JAN 45      DUISBURG 
03 FEB 45      BERLIN      
06 FEB 45      CHEMNITZ 
21 FEB 45      NURNBURG
24 FEB 45      BREMEN
26 FEB 45      BERLIN
10 MAR 45     DORTMUND
11 MAR 45     HAMBURG
14 MAR 45     HANOVER
17 MAR 45     PLAUEN
19 MAR 45     JENA
22 MAR 45     ALHORN
28 MAR 45     HANOVER
31 MAR 45     BAD BERKA
09 APR 45     MUNICH
15 APR 45     ROYAN
17 APR 45     AUSSIG
taps I have..Jordan L Browning Died March 20, 2001 350th Squadron Navigator with the David G Railford crew, he completed his tour in April 1945. After the war hegraduated from Mississippi State and worked for the Department ofAgriculture. He and Eva were married for 57 years and they had threechildren.(Jim Browning)


2ND LT LESLIE H. DAWSON               P FEH
2ND LT JOHN H. LECHLEITER         CP FEH  (may have become 1st Pilot of own Crew)
2ND LT JOHN W. SILVA              BOM FEH
CPL RICHARD J. MULLANEY             WG CPT 28 MAR 45 HANOVER (taken off crew when reduced to 9 men)
CPL JAY L. HENION                     TG FEH

350TH SQDN.  CREW JOINED THE 100TH ON 5 OCT 1944.  For more data on this crew, go to 100th BG Data file and look under Lt Leslie Dawson Crew listing and under military.  This became a Lead Crew in December44/Jan 45.  At this time, Lt Lechleiter may have been given his own Crew.  Also Cpl Kitlowski would have been taken off this Crew and replaced with a radar operator.  Both of these observations have yet to be factually verified….mpf 2002
Lt Jordan "Bailout Brownie"  Browning took over as Nav (from Lt Raiford Crew) when Dawson became a lead Crew.  See story below. 

My grandfather's name was Chancy Lawrence Finfrock, and my uncle Chan's first name was after him. So, it is definitely Chancy Albert Finfrock. 

Born: 19 Mar 1925, Urbana, IL 
He concluded his service at the rank of: 
Tech. Sgt. Chancy Albert Finfrock  
Service ID: 3675-4556 
B-17 Radioman/Gunner 
350th Squadron 
100th Bomb Group 
13th Bomb Wing (3rd Div.)

MISSIONS of T/Sgt Chancy Finfrock (mpf 2002)

1.   26/10/44      HANOVER
2.   02/11/44      MERSEBURG
3.   05/11/44      LUDWIGSHAVEN
4.   06/11/44      NEUMUNSTER
5.   16/11/44      AACHEN
6.   21/11/44      OSNABRUCK
7.   26/11/44      HAMM
8.   09/02/45      WEIMAR
9.   15/02/45      COTTBUS
10.  19/02/45     OSNABRUCK
11.  20/02/45     NURNBURG (had to bail out due to flak damage, see story below)
12.  02/03/45     DRESDEN
13.  03/03/45     BRUNSWICK
14.  04/03/45     ULM
15.  07/03/45     SIEGEN 
16.  08/03/45     GIESSEN
17.  15/03/45     ORANIENBURG
18.  18/03/45     BERLIN
19.  24/03/45     STEENWIJK
20.  31/03/45     ZEITZ
21.  15/04/45     ROYAN
22.  17/04/45     AUSSIG
23.  20/04/45     ORANIENBURG (BERLIN)

      03/05/45     BERGEN
      05/05/45     AMSTERDAM   

Date:  2/20/45
Status:  SAL
NH:  G
Sqdn Target:  LN-W  Nurnburg
Pilot:  L. Dawson
Co-Pilot:  J. Lechleiter

Feb       FRANCE/BELGIUM border -  B-17 Shot Down  (from Finfrock Diary)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Germans       "… we had anti-aircraft fire over the French coast when there were still Germans on the French coast, and it hit our plane and on the way in, it caught fire, and we had to bail out at the Belgium/French border, around Luxembourg.  I used to have the name of the city where we went into.  And, that morning when I picked up my parachute, it was kinda loose, and said [to myself],  ‘Well I never use this thing anyway’, and I had to push it back in there… and didn’t think anything more about it until … he [the pilot] dove once to try to put it out and it wouldn't go out; it just fanned it worse… so he said 'bail out' !… and I thought about that [then].   And, I had to put that on…   and then I had to go…”
"… Some of 'em jumped out the bomb-bay…some out the front hatch… some out the back door on the fuselage… that's where I jumped out.  Jumped out the first time, and the wind threw me back in… couldn't jump out.  And boy, that really panicked me.  I didn't try too hard I s'pose (giggle) the first [time].  So, then I jumped out real quick and pulled the ripcord too quick, and just about hit the tail… I was getting' frantic at that time… and I wanted to get out before it blew up!"
"I timed myself goin' down… took between 10 and 15 minutes to get down. And this was February [1945].  It was -60F to -70F below up there at about 28,000 ft.  You had to wear heated suits."
"I lit in a forest there, it was winter, and I saw all these trees comin' up… with no leaves on 'em you know, and I crashed through there, and I didn't have the slightest idea where I was, naturally.  And, my chute hung up and I pulled that down to hide it.  They had fire lanes in these forests… I found a fire lane… and I peeked around and looked out, and didn't see anything, and so I went back in [to the forest].  A little later, I looked out again and I saw some men down where there was a crossroad, about probably 1/4 mile or 1/2 mile down.  And, they had guns on a couple of my crewmen.  And, they were civilians, but they were… I found out subsequently… they were French Underground.  So, I kept just kinda peekin' out, then all of a sudden I saw 'em pattin' 'em on the back and shakin' their hands, so I figured well uh, okay, now I'll come out."
[see newspaper article: “ Finfrock ‘Chutes to Earth, Treks Back From Missing’ ” – 16 Mar 1945, Champaign-Urbana, IL newspaper article].

Above "TIMELINE" was submitted by Chancy A. Finfrock's nephew, Randy Finfrock - 4226 E. 84th Pl. - Tulsa, OK  74137-1817
Mr. Faley, FYI, I sent the below e-mail to Cindy Goodman, Splasher Six Editor a few days ago:
In an ‘interview’ 2-1/2 years ago, I asked my Uncle Chan if he’d ever kept up with others that he served with?      He replied verbatim:
©  “I was in the 100th bomb group, and I came back and I didn’t hear from the 100th bomb group for 45-years.  When I was leavin’ England, they assigned me to a different bomb group, I was gonna go into B-29’s in Japan.   I was headin’ for Japan then.  I was on the Queen Elizabeth in the middle of the [Atlantic] ocean when they dropped the Atomic Bomb!
… I presume my whole crew got re-assigned at the same time.  And, we knew we were goin’ to Japan, and goin’ in to train on B-29’s; well obviously, the 100th bomb group wouldn’t have been there.  So, apparently this other bomb group that I 'got in', was assigned [to] B-29's. I don’t know… I never did really look into this… I just told them [when they contacted me]: “I was never in your bomb group!”
 Then, of course, my records left the 100th Bomb Group, and when they started their thing [newsletter], they didn’t have records of it.  So, I ended up knowin’ more about that other bomb group, the history of it… cause I read their magazines for 30-years or so.
[The above was from a conversation with my Uncle back in Dec-1998]  
Cindy, I don’t know whether or not my uncle is truly interested in keeping up with everyone since he had kept it all to himself for so many years.  But, I do know that he shared so much with me when he came to visit his older brother (my Dad) in Dallas, TX just before my dad died.  My uncle has been living in Venice, FL for years now (having retired there from his long time home in Urbana, IL). 
I am writing this both for me (due to my interest), and for Uncle Chan as well.  He lost his wife in the middle of April 2001 and is now by himself  in Florida.  He has married daughters living in San Diego, CA, and in Urbana, IL, and his son is in Pawnee, IL. 
I can’t help but think that it would be so good for him if he could allow himself to ‘open up’ and be a part of his old bomb group after so many years.  He really has a clear memory of so much, and I want to keep questioning him on certain events, etc.  But do not want to ‘be pushy’ at the same time.  
… with his permission, I would like to someday present the ‘interview’ that I’m typing up to your newsletter if this is agreeable to you.  First though, I will need to get some additional details on ‘missing chronological information’ from Uncle Chan and fill it in somewhat and refine it.  Mostly, I desire this record to be strictly his recollections, not including anything else (i.e. gleaned from books or newspapers).   
For now I’ll close, and again thank you for being there – to keep the memories alive for future generations and to recognize all who proudly served our country.   
Randy Finfrock
Mr. Faley, here is another item (a letter from my Uncle) that I thought I'd share with you now for the 100th B.G. archives.   At the present time, pls do not load or share on the website or print any of this as I would first want to get his permission before printing anything.  However, I feel that this letter is a very typical response from a WWII veteran of what it meant to serve his country.  

 “Dear Randy,
 It was between one and two o’clock on a winter afternoon I first heard of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  It was a total shock and surprise to everyone.  Most people didn’t even know where Pearl Harbor was.  At first, everyone said we would lick the Japs in ninety days.  How wrong a prediction that was.  Most people went from 'isolationists' to 'win the war'.  Germany quickly declared war on us also.
 So, all my friends wanted to join up.  Of course, at that time, I was only 16 years old, so I had to wait.  But, even so, we all participated in the war effort.  At home, I started a Victory Garden for our supplement to food rationing.
 I joined the Victory Club at high school where we supported the war effort by scrap metal drives, tin can drives, bond and stamp drives and bandage rolling.  Then, of course, we started having rationing on things like sugar, meats and other foods, on gasoline for cars, rubber for tires and related products.  So, all we thought about other than school was the war and its news.
 When I was a senior, I went with a few friends to Chanute Air Base at Rantoul, Illinois to enlist as a pilot’s trainee.  I passed all the tests better than any of my friends, but flunked the colorblind test.  So that was that, “never to fly”, they told me.  What a laugh.
 So, I signed up with the draft board to enlist as soon as I graduated.  I graduated in June, and was in the Army Air Force in July 1, 1943.  The rest you have the history on.
 There was no question, everyone I knew was behind the war effort.  If a young man was declared ‘4F’ [unfit for duty and unable to serve], he was devastated.  There has never been a time in my 74 years that [our] nation was so totally together on a subject.
 In my senior class, I believe about fourteen friends were killed.  This was out of about 75 senior boys.
 [P.S.]  Of course, most of people in war’s are non-combat people.”

Subj: My Uncle Chan Finfrock's Taped Recollection of the 20 Feb 1945 Flight  
Date: 12/6/2002 9:04:19 PM Pacific Standard Time 
Sent from the Internet (Details) 
Your friend,
Randy Finfrock

©:  Oh, my garsh yes, like a pie pan thin.  And it was just where they happened to hit.  They could hit your air supply, hydraulic supply, hit engines… I think it was what hit our engines when we bailed out that time.  

®:  That time the engine caught fire, is that what you think happened?

©:  Yeah, we had anti-aircraft fire over the French coast, when there were still German’s on the French coast and it hit our plane and on the way in, it caught fire, and we had to bail out at the Belgium/French border, uh around Luxembourg.  I used to have the name of the city where we went into.  [ed:  later on Uncle Chan did recall the name of the nearby village: Trelon, France]

And, as I told you that day when I picked up my parachute, it was kinda loose, and said ‘Well I never use this thing anyway’, and I had to push it back in there… and didn’t think anything more about it until they said: “We’re on fire, bail out”… and I thought about that.  And, I had to put that on.  And then I had to go…

®:  Did you have to do a radio call right before leaving?

©:  Well, yeah, I sent out a radio call where we were – not too long a call! (Ha- ha!!)

®:  I didn’t think you’d have much time…

©:  No, because the others still in formation would see us and could advise.  And, well I tried to jump out the door, and the slipstream pushed me in… I wasn’t too eager to jump out I guess.  So, I took a runnin’ jump the next time and pulled my ripcord just about too soon, just missed the tail.  It took about… I timed myself goin’ down… took between 10 and 15 minutes to get down.  And, this was February [1945].

(SF):  I was gonna say, wasn’t that awful cold?

©:  Sure, it was -60 to –70 below up there, you had to wear heated suits.

®:  You were at about what …26,---… [Altitude]

©:  28,000 ft at that time, yeah.  And, I lit in a … this was just at the end of the Battle of the Bulge and there were a lot of German’s around and they were dumpin’ guys in American uniforms [into the area], so everybody was suspicious of everybody.  But, anyhow, I lit in a forest there, it was winter, and I saw all these trees comin’ up… with no leaves on ‘em you know, and I crashed through there, and I didn’t have the slightest idea where I was, naturally.  And, my chute hung up, and I pulled that down to hide it.  And, they had fire lanes in these forests… I found a fire lane… and I peeked around and looked out, and didn’t see anything, and so I went back in.  A little later I looked out again and I saw some men down where there was a crossroad, about probably ¼ mile or ½ mile down.  And, they had guns on a couple of my crewmen.  And, they were civilians, but they were… I found out subsequently… they were French Underground.  

So, I uh… I didn’t think too much of that, so I kept just kinda peekin’ out, then all of a sudden I saw ‘em pattin’ ‘em on the back and shakin’ their hands, so I figured well uh, okay, now I’ll come out!  And, so I went down there, and then we had … I remember he had home-made wine… he gave us some home-made wine, and I was a wigglin’ for miles, walking along there… powerful stuff. 

And, we had to walk through some villages, and I’ve got a ring still that some girl took off her hand and gave me.  It had that… “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” on it.  

®:  Did she give it in appreciation?

©:  I guess!  And, I wore it on my bracelet, my identification bracelet, for a long time.  And, we went into… finally… we walked for hours, and we finally got to this crossroads where there was this ‘strong-point’, where you know we were guarding the crossroads from the enemy.  I remember we went in there and they had a dance that night.  We brought our parachute along.  And, all the women wanted the silk parachute for pantaloons!  They couldn’t get any silk, you know.  And, so, I gave them that [the parachute], and that was… made a big deal.  

And, I remember going in the john, and sittin’ there…and the wall was about as high as these things here [pointing to the arms on a chair, about 2 feet tall], and all of a sudden three women came in there…and, I’m sittin’ on the john!  They’d come in there and go up to the mirror, and pull up their skirts, and pull down their thing, and I’m sittin’ there… [hesitation]… really couldn’t go then!! 

®:  I guess not!

©:  But, that’s just the way they did it over there.  I mean, that wall didn’t hide nothin’!

(SF):  When my parents were in Italy [after the war], my mother said that it was nothing to see a man just going over and just doing it on a wall. 

©:  In Europe they had little troughs; out in the churches they had troughs.  I didn’t get comfortable doing that.  So, then they had a dance that night, and so on and so forth, and then I remember we had to get on a truck and bouncing over all those cobblestone roads.  I don’t know, we finally were there about 3-4 days I guess. 

Then, I flew back to England in a C3 cargo plane, those two-motor jobs.  They didn’t give you parachutes; felt kinda naked without a parachute.  And we got back there [to the base] and they’d already carried all our stuff out like we were dead.  Then, we got to go on a week’s ____splash down on the Isle of Wight.

®:  How did you communicate behind enemy lines?  And, how did they find you?  The Free French took you to a community?

©:  Well, when a plane was shot down and you had parachutes comin’ down, they could follow you where you were goin’.  The enemy could trace you there, or friends if it happened to be that the French Underground were there.  German’s were droppin’ people in American uniforms during the Battle of the Bulge, so they were very suspicious of those kinda guys until they determined that we were the real thing, I guess.  It was an experience.

I remember an old parachute started collapsing one time, that scared the hell out of me; the wind just blew and caught it sideways and I thought it was collapsing probably – enough to make me nervous.


Hello Michael-  I do not have a scanner etc. so will just send stuff this way.  I will try and get the photo doctored a little before I send it.
Letter from Jourdan Browning dated Feb. 11, 1993
Dear Mr. Baumann,
At long last I have a picture of sorts for you of the crashed B-17.  I was never able to locate the original negative and several reprints that are somewhere in our house.  I have just had a negative made from the snapshot that had been in my billfold since 1945 and enough reprints made for my son and grandchildren.  You can see that it is faded.  Bud Dawson in the center and I am on his left.  The third man was the radar operator whose name I can't recall.  He was a late comer to the crew, lived in another barracks, and was never very close to the rest of us.
We parachuted from the burning plane about 10:35 am Greenwich time on Feb. 20, 1945 enroute to Nuremburg, Germany.  As best that could ever be determined, the fire was from an oil leak,  Another plane called Bud and told him that our plane was smoking.  We were at 15,000 feet and climbing on course to the 25,000 feet at which we normally bombed.  Bud turned on the fire extinguisher and dived 2,000 feet but the fire soon developed again, at which time he gave the order to "Bail Out".  Flames were reaching the back side door some 75 feet away by that time.  The most serious injury was to the co-pilot who sustained a broken ankle when he landed.  He was riding the tail gunners position as we were a lead crew and had a command pilot riding in the co-pilots seat.
It took me ten minutes to reach the ground.  That no. 3 engine fell from the plane before I reached the ground.  I could see it fall.  Bud set the plane on automatic pilot and the path of the crash showed it clipped tree tops  as it descended as if making a perfect landing.  I heard the bombs explode after I landed in a forest.  My wife still has the 13-page letter I wrote her describing what happened.  There is no charge for the picture.  I needed some more copies anyway.  If I can be of further help, don't hesitate to let me know.
                                                                                              Sincerely, Jourdan Browning
P.S.  We landed in southern France near Reims as I recall.  I recovered my partly burned log and E 6 B computer.  I was the navigator.
Bud Dawson was some "Cool cucumber", remaining remarkably calm throughout this ordeal and making the decision that had to be made.  He was also some swell guy- diplomatic and using his authority with restraint.
On August 14, 2003 I had a telephone conversation with Pete Morisco  the Flight Engineer and the following are my notes:
 He said when they got back to England the crew that took over as lead crew told them they saw tracers go into the wing of Bud's plane.  He also said that B-17 was old and worn but it contained the radar and other equipment needed for a lead ship, so it was used.  When they got back their chief mechanic said that ship was a "mechanical" problem and he was glad it was gone.  The mechanic also said the fire extingshiers in the engine would not work.
On August 13, 2003 I talked with John Lechleiter the co-pilot by telephone.  He said he thought the engine fire was caused by a broken piston.  He rode in the tail gun position to monitor the rest of the formation when they were a lead ship.  The regular tail gunner served as a waist gunner during these times.
About this same time (2003) I went down to New Albany, MS and spent a evening with Mr. Browning.  He was a Southern Gentleman of the first order and enjoyed my visit.  I asked him about "nose art" of the planes he flew in.  He said they had no one plane to use- there were lots of mechanical etc. problems and they flew in what ever was ready for that day.  They were quite often the lead plane and on one mission they were the division lead.  He also said that Bud received his DFC for accomplishment of his duties etc.
Bud's wife said also included in the DFC was the fact that upon bail-out, one of the crew members did not have his parachute, and as the leader, Bud gave him his own, and  an old partly open one that was in the cockpit.  My wife's mother had a piece of that 'chute but threw it away before I found out about it.  I have been to the little museum at Thorpe's-Abbot and gave them a photo of Bud in one of those Link (sp?) trainers.  I can send you a copy if wanted.  As a college kid I used to bug Bud about his experiences but he would just turn away and I was not perspective enough to understand.  He died in his 40's of cancer and took his story to the grave.  His widow is still alive and we visit her several times a year.  We live in Michigan and she is in Illinois.  
I hope this information is helpful, I am an amateur military historian and collector of 1845-1945 militaria.  WWII folk are my heroes.
Ken Baumann (wifes first cousin was Dawson)

Hello Michael- Many thanks for the photos and the newspaper clipping.  Are you interested in a photo of the crash site?  Other information I got from crew members?  An addition to the clipping- When the navigator, Jourdan Browning ("Bailout Brownie") got back to London he was able to call or cable his wife in Memphis.  He told her not to worry about the MIA telegram, that they were all safe; she was a telephone operator and on the job contacted the families of the other crew members with the good news.  Brownie said they crashed seven miles from the front lines so got no credit for the mission.
Regards, Ken Baumann





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