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S/SGT  John K. ESCHBACH

UNIT: 349th BOMB Sqdn POSITION: TG
SERIAL #: 20323591 STATUS: POW
MACR: 07879 CR: 07879

Comments1: 5 AUG 44 MAGDEBURG (FLAK - FIRE)

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW

2ND LT BERT L. SCOTT                        P KIA   5 AUG 44 MAGDEBURG
F/O ELMORE W. HARVEY                    CP POW 5 AUG 44 MAGDEBURG
2ND LT EDWARD J. KONOPACK  BOM/NAV POW 5 AUG 44 MAGDEBURG TAPS: 19 MAY 1978
2ND LT AUGUSTUS C. CARAS           NAV CPT   10 OCT 44 COLOGNE
S/SGT BEALER W. MOORE               ROG POW 5 AUG 44 MAGDEBURG
S/SGT LLOYD E. MALTBIE                TTE KIA   5 AUG 44 MAGDEBURG  (see Maltbie record for mission log &  crew diary)
SGT RICHARD L. GOFF                     BTG POW 5 AUG 44 MAGDEBURG  (see Goff record for extensive details, 5 Aug 44 mission)
SGT JAMES J. RAKOSNIK, JR.          RWG POW 5 AUG 44 MAGDEBURG TAPS: 17 MAR 1989
SGT WILLIAM T. NELSON                LWG XFR  was transferred to 97th BG, (see email below)
SGT JOHN K. ESCHBACK                    TG POW 5 AUG 44 MAGDEBURG

349TH SQDN.. CREW, AS ABOVE, JOINED THE 100TH ON 12 JUN 1944.  ON THE MAGDEBURG MISSION OF 5 AUG 44, S/SGT DANEIL J. SULLIVAN WAS ABOARD AS THE NG AND BECAME A POW.  HE WAS FROM THE L.R. ROEDIGER CREW..pw

The following is quoted from Richard L. Goff's 1983 latter to Jim Brown.....pw

"On August 5, 1944 we were on our 14th mission. Just before the target we were forced out of formation by another aircraft. 
At that time we were hit by flak near the upper turret and behind the pilot. The plane began to burn. Just before being hit we had salvoed the bombs. There was a hell of an explosion and then the plane caught fire. We were at 24,000 feet. I managed to get out of the ball. The Waist Gunner and Radio Operator went out of the plane first, then me followed by the Tail Gunner. There was no bail out signal because the plane was destroyed when first hit by flak. I asked John (Eschback), who was the oldest of the crew, he was 30 and I was 19, how we ever survived getting out of the aircraft not to mention the long decent  and the mad people of Magdeburg. He said training and discipline. Everything went like clockwork adn no one lost their head."

Report by Lt. Edward J. Konopack adds that he and F/O Fred W. Harvey were unable to bail out because of the aircraft was in a spin but the ship blew up and they were thrown out by the force of the explosion. Probably the centrifugal force prevented Scott from getting out or he may have been killed by the initial flak hit...

ATTACHED EYEWITNESS DESCRIPTION OF CRASH, FORCED LANDING, OR CUMSTANCES PERTAINING TO MISSING AIRCRAFT

A/C #42-37839, Crew #4, B-17G

"At 1252 hours A/C #839 pulled out to right or was forced out by prop wash. A/C #865 moved up to fill in the formation. Pilot Scott apparently was trying to salvo bombs. About 90 seconds before bombs away (1256 Hours) bombs were salvoed. After dropping about 75 feet all 5 bombs exploded. At the same time it was observed that #2 engine was flaming. Wings and fuselage soon began to flame and two chutes came out the waist door. The A/C continued straight and level going down on fire. It did not explode."


REPORT ON CAPTURE OF MEMBER OF ENEMY AIR FORCE
KU 2654
POST: Hq. Local Air Base A (o) 13/III, Magdeburg - East
PLACE: Madgeburg
DATE:  7 August 1944
REGARDING: Crash: of, probable Fortress II
AT: between Gerwisch and Biederitz, 9 km northeast Madgeburg 5 August 1944, 1245

NAME: (LAST OR SURNAME)  GOFF

FIRST NAME: Richard L.

SERIAL NUMBER: (USA)36 878 674

RSULT: (DEAD OR CAPTURED)  captured

PLACE & TIME OF CAPTURE:  5 Aug 1944, 1410, Madgeburg-"Schrote" Garrison

REPORT ON CAPTURED AIRCRAFT
Form #2  KU 2654
POST:  Hq, Local Air Base A (o) 13/ III, Magdeburg - East
LOCATION:  Magdeburg
DATE:  8 August 1944

DATE & TIME A/C
WAS SHOT DOWN: 5 August 1944, 1255

PLACE OF CRASH: 500 meters south Airfield Madgeburg - East (nearest town)

KIND OF CAPTURE:  unidentifiable
(flak, hunter, night hunter
  emergency landing)

TYPE OF AIRCRAFT: Fortress II

MARKINGS OF CRAFT: unidentifiable
(letters, front and rear of insignia)

ADMITTANCE NO.: 337839 L

EQUIPMENT:  unidentifiable
F.T. Frequencies:  unidentifiable
CONDITION OF A/C: 90 % crash

DELIVERED TO DISTRIBUTORS:
(DULOG - LUFT, ETC)

The signature of the German officers initiating this report is unreadable, his rank was the equivalent of a USSAF 1st. Lt. -- pw

Sgt Lloyd Maltbie - Missions - 1944
 June 29 1st To Leipzig, hit target, smoke at least 15,000 ft.  Moderately accurate flak. One fighter attack.
 July 4          Mission called off because Of bad weather
 July 6    2nd No Ball, target just across channel in France. No fighters. Very little flak.  
 July 7    3rd Leipzig. No fighters. Flak through top turret. Lucky.
 July 13  4th Munich Longwy. Missed target 92 miles. 10/10 bad flak. Hit by fighters after target. Got good shots 
                                               and saw fighter go down in smoke.
 July 14  5th  Maquis Supply Drop, Carried parachute supplies to guerillas in Southern France. Dropped at 300 ft. Best mission ever made.
                       No flak. No fighters. Good satisfaction.
 July 17  6th  Montgournoy, Robot targets. 5 miles inland France. Very easy.
 July 18  7th Bombed canal at Kiel, 10/10, no fighters, some flak.
 July 19        Mission to Schweinfurt aborted - had runaway prop.
 July 20    8th  Leipzig. Had slow ship, fair flak, no fighters. Never bombed target, but hit secondary airfield.
 July 24 9th  St Lo, To front lines at 12,000 ft. 10/10. Didn't drop bombs. B24 outfit hit by own flak. Bombed own troops.
 July 25 10th  St. Lo, Went back to beach head at 11,000 ft. Very good bombing. Very accurate flak.
 July 29   11th Leipzig - Merseberg. Oil refinery. Very heavy flak. Flew all over area Hit by fighters. Saw several ships blown up. Lost oil in no. 4 engine. Couldn't feather, straggled back, followed other wings. P38's very helpful. No brakes, so landed on emergency air strip. Good landing. Never got back to base till 2 a.m. Group lost 5 ships. Many shot up. Mighty rough.
 Aug 3    12th  Troyes,  Tactical mission. Bombed marsheling yards 75 miles southeast of Paris. Little flak. No fighters. Good support. Made 4 runs on targets.
 Aug 4   13th  To Hamburg oil refinery  Flak very bad & accurate. No fighters. Flew new ship 306 1st mission.
 Aug 5   14th MAGDEBURG-Lloyd Maltbie was killed in action at Magdeburg the 5th of August, 1944...pw


HEADQUARTERS
100TH BOMBARDMENT GROUP (H)
Office of the Intelligence Officer
SUBJECT:Report on T/Sgt. Lloyd E. Maltbie, 18193937
To
T/5 James P. Hill, 38182822, 34th Evac. Hosp. (SM). APO 403 % 
Postmaster, New York City, New York
APO 559
31 July 1945

1. All information we have at this Headquarters concerning T/Sgt. Lloyd E. Maltbie, 18193937, is as follows: He was Engineer and Top Turret gunner on a B-17 crew. His pilot was Lt. Bert L. Scott. On the mission of 5 August 1944, he was flying in A/C #639 (last three numbers). This A/C was seen to be in distress just before bombs away over the target of Magdeburg, Germany. It fell out of formation and jettisoned its bombs. Soon after that fire broke out in it's #2 engine, spread into the left wing and seemed to just about cover the entire plane in a very short time. A few chutes were seen in the vicinity, but observing crew members did not know if they came from this A/C. The A/C continued down in a shallow glide and it was believed that all crew members could have bailed out. This happened at 12:52 hours. Anti-aircraft fire was intense and it is possible that Sgt. Maltbie and his pilot, Lt. Scott, were both killed in the A/C. All other mmbers of the crew were prisoners of war and have subsequently been liberated. 

2. The A/C in question must have crashed a few miles from Magdeburg, but there are no reports confirming this fact. It is possible that the battle causality office in Paris had more information. Also the Adjutant General's Office in Washington, D.C. should have further information concerning the two member of this crew who were killed. I regret my inability to give you any definite information, but trust this letter may furnish leads to the answer of all your questions.

Sincerely
Charles w. Terry
Capt., Air Corps.
P.W. Officer


Subj: Re: 100thBG Form Submission 
Date: 7/26/2001 6:35:56 AM Pacific Daylight Time 
From: Gimlet8746 
To: MPFaley 
File: dadb17.jpg (107604 bytes) DL Time (26400 bps): < 1 minute 
 According to talks I had with my dad the plane was hit by flak in the still open bomb bay shortly after dropping its load. The engineer was killed in the explosion and my father believed the pilot died due to removing his oxygen mask during the ensuing panic. He confirmed this in a meeting with CP Elmore Harvey at a VFW in St. Johnbury, VT (Harvey's hometown) in the early 1960's at which I was present. My father was thrown free when the aircraft exploded and parachuted safely to the ground.I would love to somehow have you folks look at the diary I mentioned, but I'm afraid you may be getting too exited about it's content. Perhaps describing it as a "diary" was a poor choice of words. It's a little hardback blank book called a "Wartime Log" that I believe was distributed to POW's by the YMCA through the Red Cross. My dad chose to fill it with drawings of the camp and POW life, labels from Red Cross parcels, books he read, etc. As a record of life in a German Stalag it seems invaluable, but I don't think it would help a Bomb Group historian that much. I will, of course, leave that to your best judgement and will remain in touch.I will try to have a copy made of the crew picture but in the meantime I am attaching a jpg photo of it. I think it may have been taken in the states because of the lack of paint on the airplane. My dad is third from the right.
     Sincerely,
     Ed Konopack

Subj: Re: 100thBG Form Submission 
Date: 7/27/2001 4:56:14 PM Pacific Daylight Time 
From: Gimlet8746 
 Ed Konopack Jr
To: MPFaley 
 Mike,Dad always referred to himself as a Bombadier-Navigator. I'm going to have to do some looking but I'm pretty sure I have an old yearbook of his around somewhere. If memory serves it was from Demming, NM and his graduation and commissioning upon completion of bombadier training. I always thought he had put in the vast majority of his B-17 time as a bombadier. I know he went to Demming after washing out of pilot training, however I don't know why he washed out. He always told a story about a mission shortly before he was shot down when the navigator, apparently somewhat shook up, attempted to shoot off a feathered prop with one of the aircraft guns. The rest of the crew, understandably, thought this was a bad idea and restrained him. I guess, because of that story, I felt Dad was doing double duty as both bom and nav during the mission when he was shot down.For whatever reason, I know he did know navigation. When I went through nav training at Mather AFB, CA in 1969 he knew enough about what I was doing to convince me.

 Mike, You say there were cases where bombadiers were used as navigators because they were trained for the job and toggeliers were used. Isn't that exactly what we're talking about here? In the "Wartime Log" I've mentioned, Dad listed a Joseph Sullivan as the toggelier. I assume this is Daniel Sullivan and the reason Dad got the name wrong is because the last mission was Sullivan's first with the crew and Dad just didn't know him that well (or maybe Daniel J. Sullivan went by "Joe").I've checked all of Dad's wartime wings and they're all bombadier wings. So are the miniature wings attached to the end of his dogtag chain and the wings mounted on a bracelet for my Mom. He was described in local papers at the time he was reported missing and at the time he was reported a POW as a bombadier. I don't remember anyone referring to him as anything else. He certainly considered himself a bombadier. The fact that the picture shows him wearing said wings seems perfectly normal to me.The picture was definitely taken after the official end of the war. Dad wasn't liberated until April 29, 1945 and by the time he got home, spent some time with Mom in the recovery camps and gained back the weight he had lost (he appears hale and hearty in the photo) it would have been at least late 1945 or early 1946. The ribbons are the (left to right on the left breast) Air Medal w/1OLC, Purple Heart, and EAME Campaign. The Presidential Unit Citation is on the right breast. He was in fact a 1st Lt. when the photo was taken. Ed Konopack Jr

EMAIL = john.nelson@csoconline.com
UNAME = John D. Nelson
CONNECTION = I am a relative of a 100th veteran
COMMENTS = Sent e-mail earlier today requesting correction to database for S/Sgt W. T. Nelson - 349th.  I incorrectly said he was a TTE (E) - turns out he was not assigned to this position until he was transferred to the 97th BG.  In the 100th, he was left waist gunner on Lt. Bert Scott's plane - as indicated under Lt. Scott's database entry.  He was not on the ill-fated mission to Magdeburg at which time Lt. Scott was KIA.


Letters from Crew Members 


Sgt. Bealer W. Moore 73121816 
Raxboro, N C.
Mr & Mrs. Elmer Maltbie
Amorita, Okla
Route 1
July 9, 1945

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Maltbie, 

I hope this will find you all well and happy. We are all well here and that goes for my daughter too one you haven't met yet but I hope you do soon.Mrs. Maltbie I don't know how to begin about Loyde. Nell told me you wanted to know about it all and that is why I am writing. I wouldn't want to write and hurt you any more than you have already been hurt for nothing on earth.I guess if it had been me instead of Loyde Mom and Nell would want to know too. About all I know and can tell is that I don't think Loyde felt any pain. We were hit in the bomb bay of the plane and Loyde was very near the bomb bay and could have been hit causing him not to get out.

It all happened so quick that we didn't have much time for anything except to get out. The co-pilot said he didn't look back to see Loyde. I cannot put into words how sorry I am that such a good boy like Maltbie had to go in this war. I am sure that if any boy ever goes to Heaven Loyde will. He was the best boy I have ever known and I am not writing this to make you happy because I know you know how Loyde was and I know the Army didn't change Loyde any because he was good all the time I knew him. He liked his job and did his duty as he was 
supposed to do.

He never missed a class while we were in training and could always be depended upon. Lt. Scott thought a lot of Loyde Maltbie so did we all. Everyone that ever met him liked him and couldn't help it.

The Germans told me he was burried in a cemetary near Madegburg. I don't now if his body was burned or not. The plane did go down on fire but exploded in the air Mrs. Maltbie I don't know if I should have wrote you that or not. Please forgive me if I did wrong. Jim and the rest said they was coming out to see you. I wish I could go with them but I have hurt my back and know I couldn't make the trip now. I do hope I can come out there soon. I might be stationed there someplace and if I do I will certainly come to see you all.

I thank you for the present you sent Bealer Gwen and if there is anything I can ever do for you please let me know because I will be glad to do anything for the parents of such a good boy and my friend. May God bless you always.
Love,
Bealer


Mrs Bert L. Scott
89 Liberty St. LYnn. 
Mass.
Sept. 25, 1944
Dear Mrs Maltbie,
Just received your letter and was deeply saddened by your news. I had hoped no one else would receive the same news as I did. My husband was reported killed, too, on the same date as Your son I'm sorry I didn't answer your first letter, but after I received the horrible news, I hardly knew what to write.

Your son probably told you that I am from Oklahoma, too, and I expect to go back soon. You might address your next letter to me - c/o Mrs. A.L. Schrimeher, Frederick, Okla I have been so undecided as to what to do. Even though the War Department says they are dead, I don't believe it, Mrs. Maltbie, and I won't until the war with Germany is over. There have been mistakes made 
before and I just pray, as I know YOU do that this is one I had a letter from the bombardier's wife saying her husband was a prisoner. You didn't mention hearing from her. Also had a letter from Nell, has a little girl.  I was so glad Bealer is a prisoner I've worried about her since we received the first telegram. If you hear anything more, I'd appreciate very much your letting me know. 

Let's don't give up hope, Mrs. Maltbie, and someday, if God is willing, our men will return to us.
Write again, won't you?
Sincerely,
Mrs Scott


 Postmark: New York, NY
 From: Lt. Edward J. Konopack Jr.
 June 7, 1945 451 4th Ave.
 Garwood. N.J.
 Wednesday, June 6, 1945
 
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Maltbie,

I information home but a few days ago and read your letter of May 20th) to my wife. I'm very sorry that you have not received more information about your son. I  don't know how much more I can tell you, but I will tell you all I know. I find it  very hard to write a letter of this type, but I would want my wife to know under  similar circumstances.

To the best of my knowledge this is what happened on Aug 5, 1944. It was about 12;30 P.M. when we dropped our bombs over Magdeburg, Germany. As the bomb bay doors were being closed we suffered a direct flax hit in the bomb bay and inboard engines, setting the plane on fire. Our electrical system must have been knocked out by the  burst as we never received the bail out signal. Most of the crew went out on their own  when they saw fire, which was the proper thing to do. The plane went into a dive and  spin before we could all get out leaving your son, Lt. Scott, the pilot, F/O Harvey  copilot and myself unable to leave the aircraft. While in the spin, the ship blew up. 

 I was blown out at that time and when the Germans took me on the ground I met F/O  Harvey who was blown out also and the others of the crew who bailed out before the explosion. Lt. Scott and your son were the only ones the Germans hadn't brought in. We tried to believe that they were still alive and hadn't been caught by the Germans. It wasn't until a few days later at the Interrogation Center that the Germans told us they found their bodies and identified them by their dog tags.
That, as well as I can remember is the true story. The Germans would not let us go see them and I never did get to find out where they were buried. However, I believe, if you inquire through the Red Cross they will be able to help you locate the burial place. The German government is supposed to notify the International Red Cross in Geneva, Switz. all pertinent information regarding the burial of our men and that information is forwarded to our government. I hope I have been of some little help in your time of need. We of the crew are very proud of Lloyd and I'm sure they Joins with me at this time in expressing our deepest sympathy to you, his family. I know he will always be remembered in our hearts and prayers.

Lt. E. J. Konopack Jr.


  79 Summer Stree
  St. Johnsbury Vermont
  August 17, 1945

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Maltbie:

I know that you have experienced great anxiety as to what happened to your son, Lloyd Maltbie. I feel so ashamed for not writing you sooner and I extend to you my humblest apologies.

The day that your son was killed, we were bombing the city of Magdeburg, Germany. We were shot down by antiaircraft guns. We had two direct hits in the bomb-bay. It was one of those hits that your son was killed. I assure you that his death was instaneous. He never knew what happened. The pilot was killed the same way. I still will never know why I wasn't killed in in that expulsion but I guess fate was with me. However, the Bombardier and myself were literally blown out of the side of the ship when she did explode.

Even today I can't say exactly what happened from the time the ship exploded until I regained consciousness. When I landed on the ground I thought that I was the only one to escape the explosion alive but I saw the Bombardier About one hour later. We were taken to a German airbase and it was here that I found out that the other enlisted men were alright. We stayed in the city of Magdeburg for two days then were taken to Frankfurt - on - Main This is the interrogating center for all POWs It was here that I found out that your son, Lloyd Maltbie and Lt. Scott were buried in Magdeburg, Germany. From the Interrogating Center we went to a transient camp at Wertzler, Germany. Our stay at this camp was two days and then we were sent to our main prison camp which was Stalag Luft III We were here until the Russian offensive in January. The Germans evacuated us to Mcoseburg, Germany which was about 25 miles northeast of Munich. 

We were there until we were liberated by the 3rd Army in April. That indeed was the happiest day of my life. We were flown out of Germany by airplane to Le Havre, France where we stayed for some time until we could obtain a boat home.Your son Lloyd was one of the finest boys I ever hope to meet. We had many great times together with the rest of the crew and I will always remember him. He stood in high esteem among the entire crew and Lt. Scott thought the world of him as we all did. He always did his job with a smile and never did he complain. 

To sum it up in a few words, he was one of the finest soldiers and indeed the finest crew member any one could ever hope to obtain. You indeed can feel very proud of him, as it was he and many others like him that made it possible for you and I and all the rest of America to walk and act like the free people that we are.I hope that this letter will clear up the story for you and if I may be of any further help please feel free to write and I will do my very best.
I remain, .

Slncerely,
Elmore W. Harvey
Flight Officer A.C.U.S. Army
 
 Elmore Harvey died in 1992.. Pw

MEMO 2:

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: Magdeburg DATE: 1944-08-05  
AIRCRAFT: (43-37839) CAUSE: FLAK - Fire  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: D ROW: 7  
GRAVE: 62 CEMETERY: Cambridge Military Cemetery  
ID: 1525