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SERIAL #: 35217110 STATUS: CPT

Comments1: 14 JAN 45 DERBEN




2ND LT ROBERT G.MELLEM               CP CPT 21 MAR 45 RUHLAND & PLAUEN  sn# O-713852
T/SGT PAUL J. BOWMAN               ROG CPT 14 JAN 45 DERBEN, OIL STORAGE sn# 35217110
T/SGT DAVID R. COLBY                 TTE CPT 14 JAN 45 DERBEN, OIL STORAGE sn# 32833197
S/SGT CLYDE E. BUSH                   BTG CPT       ?     DATE & MISSION UNK  sn# 37703778
S/SGT ARTHUR L. BREHM               WG CPT 03 FEB 45 BERLIN, CITY            sn# 32432853
S/SGT ROBERT B. KAZEE                TG CPT 14 JAN 45 DERBEN, OIL STORAGE sn# 35871676


S/Sgt Arthur L. Brehm was later dropped from the crew and reassigned because Army Air Force changed from 2 waist gunners to 1 and the Crew was reduced from a 10 man crew to a nine man crew.

LIST OF MISSIONS FOR S/Sgt Robert B. Kazee (mpf 2001)

1. 03/09/44 BREST
2. 05/09/44 STUTTGART
3. 10/09/44 NURNBURG
4 11/09/44 RUHLAND
7. 19/09/44 SZOLNOK, HUNGARY
8. 25/09/44 LUDWIGSHAVEN
10. 02/10/44 KASSEL
11. 05/10/44 MUNSTER
12. 06/10/44 BERLIN
13. 07/10/44 BOHLEN
14. 09/10/44 MAINZ
15. 12/10/44 BREMEN
16. 18/10/44 KASSEL
17. 19/10/44 MANNHEIM
18. 22/10/44 MUNSTER
19. 30/10/44 MERSEBURG (RECALL)
20. 02/11/44 MERSEBURG
21. 05/11/44 LUDWIGSHAVEN
22. 02/12/44 KOBLENZ (RECALL)
23. 04/12/44 GIESSEN
24. 05/12/44 BERLIN
25. 12/12/44 DARMSTADT
26. 18/12/44 MAINZ
28. 25/12/44 KAISERLAUTERN
29. 28/12/44 KOBLENZ
30. 29/12/44 FRANKFURT
31. 30/12/44 KASSEL
32. 06/01/45 GERMERSHEIM
33. 07/01/45 COLOGNE
34. 13/01/45 MAINZ
35. 14/01/45 DERBEN

                                                                     MY VIEW FROM THE TAIL
                                                                           By Bob Kazee
                                                                           Tail Gunner on
                                                                   Capt. Willis “Moose” Miller Crew

In 1994 while cleaning out some old drawers, I found my diary of missions in World War II. I thought at the time it would be a simple matter to put this in some kind of readable form. But was I surprised to find out how much work I was making for myself. It is now 1998 and I have finally finished. Thanks to my family and especially to my son Bobby who has put this all together on the computer and to my friend Max McRae who scanned the photos and miscellaneous papers for me.  These two are responsible for all the work and deserves the credit.  

The 100th Bomb Group was called the “Bloody 100th” for two reasons.  First, the casualty and plane losses were very high.  Second on one mission, 3 German fighters’ tried to force a lone B-17 to land in Germany. The B-17 pilot tipped his wing to indicate he agreed but when the 3 fighters came into lead them to a German air base, the B-17 opened fire and shot down 2 of the fighters with the 3rd flying back to its base to report the incident.  From That day forward, the Germans were always looking for a square D, the 100th letter indicator. 

(This Second reason is a widely regarded event that lead to one of the many legends of the 100th Bomb Group. It’s truth, myth; legend is debated to this day and will continue…mpf)

After completing our training at Rapid City we picked up a B-17 Bomber in Kearny, Nebraska and flew to Bangor, Maine.  We left Bangor on July 18, 1944 for England but when we stopped at Gander, Newfoundland for fuel we were grounded for 13 days because the weather over the North Atlantic was bad.  We were able to fly on July 31st and landed in Valley, Wales.  We had formation flying and Gunnery School for a couple of weeks before going to the 100th Bomb Group at Thorpe Abbotts near the small town of Diss, England.  We became a part of the 8th Air Force,  100th Bomb Group (H) and the 349th Squadron.  

"The Mighty Eighth"-as it was so named by historian Roger Freeman, was called that because of the destruction it caused to the manufacturing facilities throughout Germany and the demise of the "Luftwaffe"-German Air Force.  The 8th was formed in Savannah, Georgia and grew from zero planes and men in 1942 to 4,000 aircraft and 200,000 men in the middle of 1944.  At the same time the entire air force grew to strength of 50,000 aircraft and 2.3 million men.  By the spring of 1944 there were more than 130 air fields’ crowded in an area smaller than the state of Vermont.  Forty-two of these fields were crowded with B-17's and B-24's and fifteen had P-47's and P-51's with an occasional P-38 (Little Friends" as the fighter support was called).  

The 100th Bomb Group located at Thorpe Abbotts completed 306 missions, released 19,257 tons of bombs and 137.8 tons of supplies.  785 men were killed in action/flying accidents, or Prisoners of War.  In all 229 'Flying Fortresses" (B-17F & B-17G) were lost or salvaged.  The average force at Thorpe Abbotts to fly and maintain the aircraft at any given time was 3,500 men. Squadron Hardstands were as follows:

#1-13         351st Squadron
#13A-26     349th Squadron (My Squadron)
#27-37       350th Squadron
#38-50       418th Squadron

The 8th Air Force in 1,008 days used a billion gallons of gasoline, 99 million machine gun rounds, dropped 732,000 tons of bombs, lost 5,982 bombers, 3,000 fighter planes, and had 46,000 men killed wounded or captured.  According to the book "One Last Look" the average life of a bomber crew member was fifteen missions (in 1942-43 you were on borrowed time after 8 missions…mpf).  Since I was able to complete thirty-five missions which contained several near-death experiences.  I have always felt God had something he wanted me to do and since then I have tried to follow his direction.  The same book also said flying missions was a volunteer assignment and you could ask for a transfer anytime and you would get it.  I don't remember anyone over there telling me that.  Someone once said the army was good about showing equality in the ranks.  Some Things we experienced in England tend to disagree with that. Flying personnel were fed in separate mess halls from the ground personnel; we were given fresh eggs on mission days; and if there was any shortage of things at the PX, the flight crews got first choice. Since I didn't smoke I always gave my cigarette rations to the ground crew who took care of our plane.  We use to sit around the planes waiting for red flares to be fired which meant the mission was cancelled.  When we saw a green flare we knew we were on our way.  

Mission # 1  September 3, 1944-BREST, FR.

The first mission was a rather easy one which included three 13 ship groups carrying 2000 lb bombs and dropping them from 11,000 feet on costal gun emplacement near Brest, France.  The invasion forces could not knock out theses concrete bunkers so they surrounded and cut them off and left them for the 8th Air Force to destroy by heavy bombardment.  Since there were no fighters or flak on this mission, my first was considered a “milk run”.  One crew had their plane catch on fire on the way to the target and crashed in the channel. Six men were killed and the other three were rescued by a British boat in the English Channel (Lt John David Crew).  

Mission # 2  September 5, 1944-STUTTGART, GERMANY

The 100th put up three groups again and took off at 5:30am for an attack on an aero-engine plant at Stuttgart, Germany.  The ten and a half hour flight was long and we encountered heavy flak over the target and many planes were shot up badly but returned safely.  September 6th through the 9th we had a pass and all the crew went to London for a couple of days and just relaxed the rest of the time.

Mission # 3  September 10, 1944-NURNBURG, GERMANY

The target today was a tank factory in Nurnburg, Germany.  We flew over the target at 24,000 feet and encountered heavy flak and several planes were lost over the target on this seven and a half hour flight (no aircraft from the 100th were lost…mpf)

Mission # 4  September 11, 1944-RUHLAND, GERMANY

This was our crews’ first encounter with the “Luftwaffe” and it was reported they put up 500 fighters.  This was an eight and a half hour flight with flak not too much of a problem because there were so many German fighters in the air.  As reported in the book “Century Bombers” at 12:05pm the Germans hit our bomb group with everything they had. Three waves of enemy aircraft came deceptively out of the sun to overwhelm the trailing and unprotected low group in front attack which tore the 350th Squadron apart and at the same time knocked the six planes in the lead element out of formation. We were a part of the low Squadron of the low group. Our group was the only group to hit the target, bombing from 26,000 feet. Total 8th Air Force losses for this mission were 45 B-17 and B-24 Bombers with the Germans losing over 100 Fighters.  On returning to base the 100th claimed 16 fighters shot down.  (The 100th lost 12 a/c on this mission…mpf)

Mission # 5  September 13, 1944-STUTTGART, GERMANY

My diary indicates the target as Stuttgart but in the “Century Bombers” book the target is indicated as Leipzig which is approximately 200 miles Northeast of Stuttgart (actual target was SINDELFINGEN, mpf). I assume my diary is incorrect because we both agree it was an easy mission lasting approximately seven and a half hours with no flak or fighters to contend with. We had several days of alert status and some rain but on the 18th, 36 planes took off for Russia.  10 ½ hours fuel-2780 gallons topped off. 

Mission # 6  September 18, 1944-RUHLAND (RUSSIAN SHUTTLE)

We were up at 3:00am for breakfast and briefing and took off at 6:00am for our longest trip which would take us over the North Sea and Sweden enroute to Warsaw, Poland.  The weather over Warsaw was poor so we circled for almost an hour looking for an opening in the overcast. Our group was attacked by Me 109’s and lost several B-17’s.  We finally went over the target at 13,500 feet and dropped supplies and ammunition by parachute to the Polish underground.  Flak was heavy but not as accurate as on some other missions. We picked up a Russian fighter escort at target and flew on to Krakow, Russia.  Flight took ten and a half hours and as we landed I was about half asleep in the waist floor of the plane and was scared out of my wits because we landed on a metal temporary runway.  I thought we had crashed but much to my chagrin other members knew what was going on but didn’t bother to tell me since they thought I was asleep.  My records indicate we lost 12 planes over the target or left in Russia for repair.  (This record is right but for an earlier sortie, this was the amount of a/c lost on the Ruhland mission of Sept. 11th, 1944. The 100th lost no planes to enemy fire on Warsaw mission…mpf)

This was quite an adventure for an old hillbilly boy.  We were about to be billeted in Krakow for the night but I was the lucky one who had to stay and guard the plane. After we had eaten (I don’t know what it was but I remember that “Black Bread”) I was driven back to the plane and told to guard it with my life but when the Russian ground crew came out to load the bombs,  they were Russian bombs and a strange configuration.  Of course they didn’t fit too well so they took hammers and started pounding on them to make them fit.  That’s when I decided it was time to run for the hills as we used to say in Kentucky.  As it turned out they said there was no danger because Russian bombs are not armed the same way US bombs are but who cares?  I didn’t wait to see who was right. 

Mission # 7  September 19, 1944-SZOLNOK, HUNGARY

We took off with the load of Russian bombs and experienced rough flak over the Danube river as we approached Budapest, Hungary.  The target was a railroad marshalling yard in Szolnok, Hungary and the Russian bombs worked fine.  We had to fly below the 18,000 feet scheduled altitude and after the target we dropped down to 14,000 feet over Yugoslavia.  Soon we were over the beautiful blue Adriatic Sea on our way to Foggia, Italy some six and a half hours from Krakow, Russia.  We spent September 20 and September 21 in Foggia with some crews going to Naples or Rome.  We left Foggia on September 22 for a seven hour flight back to England.  When we got back to the base we were told that we missed several “Buzz Bombs” while we were gone as well as German fighters flying over the field (for surveillance, I guess). By the way, of the 110 B-17’s on the shuttle, 84 returned and several that were left in Russia and Foggia, were repaired and returned.  Hampered by weather on the return, we were ‘stood down” for a couple of days because rain and overcast had set in when we got back to our base. 

Mission # 8  September 25, 1944-LUDWIGSHAFEN, GERMANY

Three groups from 100th on mission; target is the marshalling yard at Ludwigshafen.  Target was not visible due to undercast and bombs were dropped by pathfinders and results were not observed. Since we couldn’t see the target they couldn’t see us so flak was inaccurate and a six and a half hour mission was rated a “milk run”.  The base’s 200th mission party was scheduled for September 30th and we were suppose to “stand down” for the party but at the last minute we were put on alert and flew.  

Mission # 9  September 30, 1944-OLDENBURG,GERMANY

This was a six hour mission to Oldenburg, Germany (actual target was BIELEFELD..mpf). We experienced some flak as we passed over the coast but since we were anxious to get back to the party it didn’t seem too bad.

                                                              THE CENTURY BOMBERS
                                                           Cordially invite you to attend a
                                                               200 Mission Fiesta Party
                                                                   AT THEIR BASE
                                                               On 30th September 1944
                                                                    From 8p.m. to ?

We had several buzz bomb attacks and our area became known as “Buzz Bomb Alley” but the party was a big success and lasted for 2 days and longer for some, I understand because it took MP’s several days to find all the girls and get them off the base.  The party included a carnival with the usual rides, ferris wheel, etc. also all kinds of games to play.  General Jimmy Doolittle arrived about 1630 and at 1700 had a big bar-b-que.  The dance started at 1900 in #2 hangar with about 1,500 women on the base-USAC, ATS, WAAF’s, WREN’s and civilian girls from as far away as London.  The hangar dance remained me that on September 1st before my 1st mission we had the Glenn Miller band in this same hangar performing with men everywhere, even hanging fro the supporting structure.  “The Modernaires” were also with the band and it was a terrific show.

Mission # 10  October 2, 1944-KASSEL, GERMANY

Target; Kassel, Germany, seven and a half hours with heavy flak at target but no fighters. According to newspaper reports the 8th put up 1,200 planes and lost 12 but my diary doesn’t indicate that many planes in the area because weather was not good and bombing results were not observed.

Mission # 11  October 5, 1944-MUNSTER, GERMANY

Target; Munster, Germany, five hours, weather was so bad that the lead navigator got lost and we never did find the target and we did an unusual thing-we returned with bombs.  We normally have a secondary target in case the first one is not visible but since we got lost, all planes returned with bombs.  We experienced both V-2’s and buzz bombs during the night before. 

Mission # 12  October 6, 1944-“BIG B” BERLIN, GERMANY

This was our crew’s first mission to Berlin and the flak was very heavy and fighters showed up but P-51’s were escorting today and they intercepted the German fighters and none got to the bombers in our group.  100th put up 34 planes and newspaper reports stated 8th Air Force put up 1300 bombers over Berlin and Hamburg.  Our target was Spandau aircraft component factory which was really plastered.  As I mentioned, the 8th put up 1300 bombers and 800 fighter escorts and we lost 19 bombers and 10 fighters with 20 German planes downed.  We lost one bomber over the target from our group while flying at 28,000 feet just below high clouds so the target was visible.  

“While in England I sort of adopted 2 children who had lost their parents in a bomb raid.  Te boy was a bout 10 or 11 and a beautiful blonde headed girl about 7 or 8.  They lived near the base ands would come by everyday to see me, partly I guess because I kept them supplied with candy and also I saved what food I could get my hand on, including fruit.  I’ve wondered about them often but lost contact with them when I came back to the U.S.  The boy and I wrote to each other for a while but finally drifted apart.  For that I am sorry.” 

Mission # 13  October 7, 1944-BOHLIN, GERMANY

Target; Bohlin, Germany, eight hours.  The flak was very heavy (you could almost walk on the bursts) but no fighters sighted today.  Newspaper reports indicated this was a maximum effort with the 8th Air Force putting 1000 bombers in the air and 800 bombers from the 15th Air Force in Italy and numerous from Royal Air Force. 

Mission # 14  October 9, 1944-MAINZ, GERMANY

Target; marshalling yard at Mainz, Germany lasting six hours.  “Milk Run”

Mission # 15  October 12, 1944-BREMEN, GERMANY

Target; Bremen, Germany aircraft parts factory, six and a half hours, good results.  Typical flight order today- Breakfast 3:00am/ Briefing 4:30am/ aircraft inspection 5:30am/ Green flare 6:30am/ first planes take off 7:57am/ Group assembled 9:31am/ climb to 20,000 feet over channel, and at 10:45am, escort arrived.  By this time we were at 25,800 feet flying in formation at 155mph. Bombs were released at 11:41am and we returned home and were at 10,000 feet at 1302 and circled field at 1410. Landed shortly after.  Debriefing took place as soon as possible, then meal and to barracks. At about 2345 buzz bombs flew across the field at about 100 feet and landed nearby.  

We had a pass September 14 through 17 and went to London for a couple of days.  The buzz bombs and V-2’s were very active and I was asleep in the hotel when a V-2 hit nearby and knocked me out of bed.  These 2 types of bombs were entirely different.  Buzz bombs were very loud and you didn’t need to worry until the engine stopped, then it went down with a large boom.  The V-2’s were silent. They had been fired up in the air to great height like a rocket and when the fuel was burned up they came down on the target with no warning, just a loud explosion on impact.  London was always nice for a visit.  They had unique ways of disguising food but sooner or later you tell it was “Spam” fixed a different way.  

Mission # 16   October 18, 1944-KASSEL, GERMANY

Back to Kassel again fro an eight and a half hour ‘Milk Run”. About 2200 hours the field was rocked by 2 big explosions of V-2’s but no major damage. 

Mission # 17  October 19, 1944-MANNHEIM, GERMANY

Seven hour missions to Mannheim with poor results.  The weather was bad and flak was moderate. Poor weather continued so we “stood down” until the 22nd.  The weather was beginning to get colder and each barracks had a ration of 1 bucket of coal per day for the pot belly stove.  Our habit was to wait until bedtime to build a fire which would last most of the night and we would save enough coal to build a fire in the morning hoping it would last until we got dressed.  As the winter got worse I had finagled seven blankets.  I put two under the mattress, 2 on top of the mattress and three on top of me and then my very heavy winter coat on top of the blanket making it almost impossible to turn over. 

Mission # 18  October 22, 1944-MUNSTER, GERMANY

Easy trip to marshalling yard at Munster, Germany.  The 100th put up 24 planes today and had good results in bombing and also classed as a “Milk Run” because flak was light and inaccurate.  I’m no sure whether this occurred on this mission or not but it was about this time.  Anyway, the story is the same.  Early in a mission I had a touch of the G.I.’s and needed to use facilities that were not available on 
B-17’s.  I decided to put newspaper in my flak helmet and then properly put the wrapped newspaper on the bomb bay doors.  As we neared the target the bombardier called out over the intercom “Bomb bay doors are open”.  Much to everyone’s surprise the ball turret gunner yelled “we’ve been hit, I can’t see a thing”.  He was not a happy camper when I told him what had properly happened. 
The newspaper reminds me of another story that happened while we were training in Rapid City, South Dakota.  I was a young 19 year old from the hills of Kentucky and when approached by a 10 to 12 year old boy selling newspapers, my reply to his sales pitch was “Sorry I can’t read”.  His reply “well buy one of my papers and put it in your back pocket and you won’t look so damn dumb”.  So much for newspapers!

Mission # 19  October 30, 1944-MERSEBURG, GERMANY

The weather had been bad for days but we got the alert for a mission to Merseburg. The mission was recalled and we returned to base after four and a half hours. 

Mission # 20  November 2, 1944-MERSEBURG, GERMANY

The return to Merseburg lasted eight and a half hours.  The target was the Leuna Oil Plant with good results.  As we turned on the I.P. (initial turning point of the bomb run) we got hit from flak and one engine caught fire.  The engine feathered and fire went out after dropping bombs on the target.  We saw no enemy fighters and were able to make it back okay. Newspaper articles about this raid stated 1100 bombers were sent out and 14 bombers were lost.  We had 900 fighters’ escorts with the following results: 130 Nazi fighters shot down by P-51 escort, B-17’s shot down 53 fighters and 25 fighters were destroyed on the ground.  So we were fortunate we weren’t picked up by enemy fighters as we flew back alone. 

Mission # 21  November 5, 1944-LUDSIGSHAFEN, GERMANY

Target; marshalling yards at Ludwigshafen lasting seven and a half hours.  This was a most unusual mission for me.  We were 1 of 3 ships that flew over the target first and dropped boxes of aluminum strips called “Chaff” which was supposed to foul up the ground radar making it difficult to determine the altitude of the bombers that followed.  As we turned on the I.P. the bombardier always had everyone check in. I reported “tail gunner okay” and put my flak jacket, which was a very heavy lead protective jacket.  Somehow, I knocked my oxygen hose loose without knowing I did it.  The next thing I remembered was Bill Anderson (waist gunner) slapping me in the face yelling “wake up”!  Of course he had reconnected my oxygen and was trying to revive me.  The bomb run had lasted from 5 to 10 minutes long between the I.P. (initial point) and the R.P. (rally point).  When the bombardier checked on everyone at the R.P. I did not respond so Bill came back to see what was wrong.  We landed at the 390th base instead of ours and I spent one day and one night in the hospital trying to see if I had any brain damage from oxygen loss.  I thought I was okay but ever since my family and friends found out about it some would always say “so that’s your problem” or something to that effect.  There have been times since that I have wondered about it. 

Bad weather again grounded us for a few days and our crew was given flak leave (now called R & R) from November 15 thru November 23rd.  Traveled by train to London, Ipswich and surrounding countryside.  Another thing that happened in English winters was fog.  After getting up at 2:00 or 2:30am, having breakfast about 3:30, the 4:30 briefing would close with the following:  “Gentlemen, it is now 4:49 and fifteen seconds, 10, 9, 8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1, Hack.  We would then exit and head for the plane to check guns, ammo, bombs, etc for take off shortly after daybreak.  At times when the fog or weather was too bad for early take off we sat by the plane waiting for flare gun to be fired, green for go or red for scrubbed.  On several occasions we would get to the plane but before take off the fog would roll in off the North Sea and you couldn’t see from one end of the plane to the other end.   At the end of a mission we also had to go to debriefing. The first thing we were offered as we entered the debriefing room was two shots of whiskey. I was very popular.  Since I didn’t drink, everyone wanted to walk in with me to get my two shots. Next stop was the Red Cross for doughnuts and coffee. 

Missions # 22   December 2, 1944-KOBLENZ, GERMANY

Wasn’t until December 2, 1944 which was a long time since last mission-almost a month.  I told all the crew member that I had gotten all that time off for everyone because they couldn’t find a tail gunner replacement for me while I was in recovery. They didn’t buy it but it was fun trying anyway. Six hours, the target was Koblenz.  The weather was terrible and the mission was recalled.  The mission was from 0900 to 1440 and we were carrying 500 lb bombs and 2,750 gallons of fuel.  

Mission # 23   December 4, 1944-GIESSEN, GERMANY
Seven hour mission with Giessen as the target.  The weather was questionable so some planes hit a target of opportunity, a marshalling yard at Friedburg.  We had flak along route and fighter escorts with no German fighters observed. 

Mission # 24  December 5, 1944-BERLIN, GERMANY

Target; Berlin Tegal Tank works, eight hours.  Good results, flak was moderate.  We saw P-51’s in dog fights with Me 109’s and 110’s but Germans never got to our group although other groups did have fighters and lost 12 bombers and 22 escort fighters.  91 German fighters destroyed. 

Mission # 25  December 12, 1944-DARMSTADT, GERMANY

Target; Darmstadt marshalling yard, eight hours.  Flak light, saw V-2 rockets being fired from the ground.  Bandits reported in the area but we didn’t see any.

 December 13, 1944 took off for target- Osnabruck but returned to RAF base in southern England and back to our base the next day.  The fog on the 13th was terrible and that was the reason we went to RAF base.

December 15, 1944 late in the day it was announced Major Glenn Miller was missing.  History of course reports they took off in bad weather for Paris but never landed and had never been found.  

A few days before Christmas 1944 I got a package from home and there are two things that have stuck in my mind all these years.  There was a large can of pork and beans which we cooked on the pot belly stove in the Quonset hut we called home.  I went to the mess hall and talked the cook out of a little bacon and some old cornbread.  We added the bacon to the pork and beans and warmed the cornbread which was one of the best meals we had while in England.  I’m sure we had other things but beans and cornbread was a sure sign of “them there Kentucky hills”.  Mom had also made an applesauce cake which made the trip just fine. 

Mission # 26  December 18, 1944-MAINZ, GERMANY

Target; marshalling yard at Mainz, seven hours. Weather bad at target. Some planes dropped bombs by pathfinders but we returned with bombs.  Weather had been bad for several days and we were unable to fly.  Christmas party was on December  23rd.  “The Battle of the Bulge” had been going on during this bad snow storm and on Christmas Eve the skies cleared enough for us to fly. 

Mission # 27  December 24, 1944-BIBLIS, GERMANY

Eight hours, target Biblis, Germany.  This was maximum effort with 2046 B-17’s airborne and release 5,052 tons of bombs.  The 100th put up 62 planes, 556 crewmen which was the greatest display since operations began.  Saw fighters in dog fights and some flak but there was so many planes in the air it was hard to see what was going on.  Target was plastered and helped to ease the situation in the “Bulge”. 

Mission # 28  December 25, 1944-KAISERLAUTERN, GERMANY

Seven hours, target marshalling yards, Kaiserlautern.  Light but accurate flak.  Not too bad for #28

Mission # 29   December 28, 1944-KOBLENZ/ LUNEBACH, GERMANY

Six hours, target Lunebach but hit Koblenz as secondary target (S.T.) “Milk Run”

Mission # 30  December 29, 1944-FRANKFURT, GERMANY

Six and a half hours, target Frankfurt marshalling yards.  Our roughest mission. Lost one engine as we approached target, Capt. Miller asked if we should drop out of formation but crew wanted to release bombs before leaving formation.  After bombs were released we lost 2nd engine on the same side.  Other things began to happen-we had to dive plane to put out fire in 2nd engine, and also lost hydraulic power and oxygen system.   We had to descend to 10,000 feet because we had lost power and oxygen.  We were all poised ready to bail our but Capt. Miller said let’s wait and se if we can get back home.  As we make our final approach the Capt. saw another plane landing in the wrong direction.  He was able to ease to the right of the runway and miss the other plane but had difficulty getting enough power to go around again. Somehow it was decided someone was worth saving and we were able to go around and “Moose” (Capt. Miller)  made a perfect landing except we had no brakes.  The flight engineer Dave Colby and I attached my chest chute to the main strut just forward on the tail gunner door.  As the wheels touched down, my chute was pulled and thrown out the smaller door.  It opened and slowed the plane enough for the pilot to run off the end of the runway and do hard right rudder and the plane went around once and stopped (ground looped).  We were all extremely happy to have made it back but thought we should give the crew of the plane that landed from wrong direction a good going over. As we approached the plane I got sick as a dog because they had a direct hit in the tail and it was some kind of a mess.  When we examined our plane I found a baseball size piece of flak stuck in the plane just behind my head area of the plane. 

Mission # 31  December 30, 1944-KASSEL, GERMANY

After such a mission as the last one, you would think we might have a day off, but no such luck!  We got a new plane and target; Kassel.  Seven hours, flak was very heavy but below us. 

Mission # 32  January 6, 1945-LUDWIGSHAFEN, GERMANY

Seven and a half hours, by this time the warmest place on the base was the mess hall.  We would go to bed cold, sleep cold, and get up frozen, but #35 was getting nearer so we were ready to roll. Target Ludwigshafen, seven and a half hours, heavy flak. 

Mission # 33  January 7, 1945-COLOGNE, GERMANY

Seven hours, target Cologne, secondary Limburg. We hit Cologne-weather bad, meager flak.  Pass January 8 thru January 12 to London.  Hoping we could make 2 more. 

Mission # 34  January 13, 1945-MAINZ, GERMANY

Eight hours, target Mainz.  Took off from icy runway. Light flak, mission okay. 

Mission # 35  January 14, 1944-DERBEN, GERMANY

Eight hours, target Derben underground depot just outside of Berlin. Our hopes for an easy mission flew by quickly as we approached the target we were jumped on by about 50 FW-190’s.  Our P-51’s escort took out after them and we saw quite a dog fight.  The 390th was behind us and lost six bombers.  There was no flak but I guess the fighters knew it was our last mission and this was their way of saying good-bye. But as we passed over the coast and headed toward England we all gave a  big sigh of relief because by completing 35 missions we would be inducted into the “Lucky Bastards Club” and soon be on our way to the good ole U.S.A. 
Another funny thing happened when we finished our last mission. I was called in and offered a permanent rank in the army as Master Sgt with a battlefield commission to 1st Lieutenant if I would stay  in England for another tour of duty.  I couldn’t stop laughing.  My only remark was “I want on the first available flight or boat going back home”.





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