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SGT  Charles H. BOYD


Comments1: 17 OCT 44 COLOGNE




2ND LT WILLIAM B. KENNEDY                   P CPT 17 OCT 44 COLOGNE, MY   sn# O-756257
2ND LT JOSEPH T. CARLIN                   NAV CPT 17 OCT 44 COLOGNE, MY 
S/SGT ALBERT E. ROGAHN                   TTE CPT 17 OCT 44 COLOGNE, MY 
SGT WILLIAM H. MURPHY                     BTG CPT 17 OCT 44 COLOGNE, MY  TAPS: 27 DEC 1985
SGT CHARLES H. BOYD                         WG CPT 17 OCT 44 COLOGNE, MY   TAPS: 06 OCT 1973
SGT ELMER L. KOVACH                         WG KIA 31 DEC 44 HAMBURG
SGT CHARLES H. PORTER                       TG CPT 17 OCT 44 COLOGNE, MY 



Here are the missions of Lt Joseph Carlin (from Son). The Bold entries are what my dad reported. I then compared to your database and got the other stats below each mission. 
1 - JUN 29, 1944 BOHLEN 
· database listing on this date = # 150 - BOHLEN, OIL REFINERY 
· database listing on this date = # 154 - FLEURY, CREPEUIL (NOBALL) 
3 - JULY 8, 1944 - BOURTH 
· database listing on this date = # 156 - CLAMECY-JOIGNY, BOURTH LeLENTE (ST) 
4 - JULY 11, 1944 - MUNICH GER
· database listing on this date = # 157 - MUNICH, AERO ENGINES 
5 - JULY 12, 1944 - MUNICH GER 
· database listing on this date = # 158 - MUNICH, INDUSTRIAL AREA 
6 - JULY 13, 1944 - MUNICH GER
· database listing on this date = # 159 - MUNICH, JET ENGINES 
7 - JULY 14, 1944 - SOUTHERN FR
· database listing on this date = # 160 - SOUTH FRANCE, MAQUIS SUPPLIES 
8 - JULY 18, 1944 - KIEL
· database listing on this date = # 163 - KIEL (100TH "A") 
9 - JULY 19, 1944 - SCHWEINFURT
· database listing on this date = # 164 - SCHWEINFURT & DUREN 
10 - JULY 21, 1944 - LUDWIGSHAVEN
· database listing on this date = # 166 - REGENSBURG & LUDWIGSHAFEN 
11 - JULY 24, 1944 - NORTHERN FR
· database listing on this date = # 167 - ST. LO, GROUND SUPPORT 
12 - JULY 25, 1944 - BATTLE LINES FR
· database listing on this date = # 168 - ST. LO, GROUND SUPPORT 
13 - JUL 28, 1944 - MERSEBURG (Tough target. This and next were worst missions) 
· database listing on this date = # 169 - MERSEBURG, OIL REFINERY 
14 - JULY 29, 1944 - MERSEBURG (Costliest mission of your tour)
· database listing on this date = # 170 - MERSEBURG, OIL REF & HILDESHEIM 
15 - AUG 2, 1944 - LEFERE 
· database listing on this date = # 172 - TERGNIER, La FERE, RAIL BRIDGES 
16 - AUG 3, 1944 - TROYES
· database listing on this date = # 173 - TROYES, RAIL JUNCTION 
17 - AUG 5, 1944 - MAGDEBURG
· database listing on this date = # 175 - MAGDEBURG, TANK, AC 
18 - AUG 8, 1944 - NORTHERN FR
· database listing on this date = # 178 - ST. SYLVIAN, GROUND DEFENSES 
19 - AUG 18, 1944 - PACY SUR ARMANOON
· database listing on this date = # 183 - PACY sur ARMANCON, OIL DUMP 
20 - AUG 24, 1944 - RUHLAND
· database listing on this date = # 184 - RUHLAND, OIL REFINERY 
21 - SEP 1, 1944 - MAINZ
· database listing on this date = # 189 - MAINZ (RECALL ACCT OF WEATHER) 
22 - SEP 3, 1944 - CROZON
· database listing on this date = # 190 - BREST, GROUND DEFENSE 
23 - SEP 5, 1944 - STUTTGART
· database listing on this date = # 191 - STUTTGART, AERO ENGINES 
24 - SEP 8, 1944 MAINZ (your birthday mission)
· database listing on this date = # 192 - MAINZ, ORDNANCE DEPOT 
25 - SEP 25, 1944 - LUDWIGHAVEN 
· database listing on this date = # 200 - LUDWIGSHAFEN, MY PFF 
26 - SEP 26, 1944 - BREMEN
· database listing on this date = BREMEN, TANK WORKS 
27 - SEP 27, 1944 - MAINZ
· database listing on this date = MAINZ, MY 
28 - SEP 30, 1944 - BIELEFELD
· database listing on this date = # 204 - BIELEFELD, ORDNANCE DUMP 
29 - OCT 2, 1944 - KASSEL
· database listing on this date = # 205 - KASSEL, AERO ENGINE PFF 
30 - OCT 5, 1944 - HANDORF 
· database listing on this date = # 207 - HANDORF, AF 
31 - OCT 6, 1944 - BERLIN
· database listing on this date = # 208 - BERLIN (SPANDAU), AC PARTS 
32 - OCT 9, 1944 - MAINZ
· database listing on this date = # 210 - WIESBADEN & MAINZ PFF 
33 - OCT 12, 1944 - BREMEN 
· database listing on this date = # 211 - BREMEN, AC FACTORY 
34 - OCT 15, 1944 COLOGNE
· database listing on this date = # 212 - COLOGNE, MY PFF 
35 - OCT 17, 1944 COLOGNE 
· database listing on this date = # 213 - COLOGNE, MY PFF


T/Sgt Norman S. Edwards, ROG on Lt William Kennedy Crew, 351st BS. Notes on Missions as recorded right after completion of said mission:

#1   No note.

#2.  July 7, 1944  “FEVER BEAVER”: Take off 06:15.  No Ball target South of Tours, France.  20 250lb demos.  No E/AC or escort.  Light flak.  Bombs dropped in forest. Time 4hrs 30 min. 

#3   July 8, 1944  “OUR GAL SAL”: Take off  02:45.  6-1000lb demos. Target of Opp in France, saw no enemy aircraft, no flak, Bomb did not release. Time 5 hrs

#4  July 11, 1944 “FEVER BEAVER”: Take off 0800, 42 Incendiary bombs.  Target Jet propulsion engine plant Munich, Germany.  No E/AC, Heavy accurate flak. Time 8 hrs 45 min. 

#5  July 12, 1944 “521” (SKYWAY CHARIOT): Take off 0800. 4 500 lb Incendiaries.  Target Munich, Germany.  Took birthday present from (my) Dad to Hitler.  Heavy flak, no hits.  4 E/AC but no attacks.  P-51 chased them away.  Bombed industrial center of Munich Time 9 hrs 3 min. 

#6  July 13, 1944 “ALL AMERICAN GIRL” Back to Munich!  Take off 05:30, 4 500 lb demos, 6 500 lb incendiaries, very heavy flak, no E/AC.  Target covered w/clouds.  All three missions hit town.  Time 8 hrs 15 min.  Saw Lake Constance in Switzerland. 

#7  July 14, 1944  “667” (YANKEE WAHINE), Take off 0400. Load of supplies for Free French (Partisans). NE of Bordeaux.  Saw Pyrenees Mts. No flak, no E/AC. A very interesting mission, supplies dropped from 500 ft by parachute. Time 9hrs. P-51 escort.

#8  July 18, 1944  “SKIPPER II” Take off  0500 hrs. 10 500 lb demos for oil refinery in Denmark near Kiel Germany. No flak, no E/AC 

#9  July 19, 1944,  “233” (HUMPTY DUMPTY), Take off 0545, Load of 5 1000 lb demos.  Target ball bearing factory at Schweinfurt. Heavy and accurate flak.  12 flak holes in place. E/AC reported but made no pass at our group.  Time 7hrs 15 mins. 

#10  July 21, 1944  “SHE HASTA”, Take off  0545, Load of 10 500 lb incendiaries for Me109 plant at Regensburg. Ran into clouds at 26000 ft. Formation split up and we rallied after about an hour.  We hit Ludwigshaven. Flak moderate and accurate.  7 flak holes in plane. No E/AC. Time 8 hours. 

# 11  July 24, 1944 “SHE HASTA”. Took off 10AM with load of 38 Demos to bomb front lines. Target area 1500 yds from our lines. Bombs did not drop.  Light flak, one B-17 exploded in mid air. No E/AC. Time 5 hrs    ST. LO, GROUND SUPPORT 

#12  July 25, 1944  “SHE HASTA”. Take off at 0745 with 38 100 lb demos.  Target German front lines at St Lo. Same as yesterday. Good results.  Light flak, no E/AC time 6hrs.

#13  July 28, 1944  “SHE HASTA”, Take off 0500 with 10 500 lb for synthetic oil plant in Merseburg, Germany. Ample 155mm flak, one hit in right wing. No E/AC in our wing. Time 8hrs 25 min. 

#14  July 29, 1944  “THE LATEST RUMOR”.  Take off 0530 with 20 250lb demos. Synthetic oil refinery at Merseburg, Ger.  Visual bombing with very good results Large column of smoke up to 20,000 ft.  Flak heavy and accurate-3 holes in ship, lost on plane “007” Good fighter support.  Time 8hrs. 

#15. August 2, 1944, “MASON AND DIXON”.  Take off at 1500. Load o f6 1000lb demos for France. Target railroad east of Paris. Target clear and bombing good. Light flak. No E/AC.  Good support. Time 7hrs.

#16. August 3, 1944  “HUMPTY DUMPTY”. Take off 1200 with 20 250lb demos for gasoline dump (storage tanks) in France.  Troyes. Clear target, good bombing results. Very light flak. No E/AC. Good support. Time 7hrs. 

#17  August 5, 1944  “OUR GAL SAL” Take off 0845 with 10 500lb RDX demos. Target Krupp Iron Works at Magdeburg, Germany.  Target clear and bombing results good. Flak moderate and accurate. Two holes in Left Wing. Saw large number of E/AC but support of 51’s and 38’s met them and stopped all attacks on us.  Saw jet propelled plane above us. Good support. Time 6hrs 30 minutes. 

#18  August 8, 1944  “521” (SKYWAY CHARIOT). Take off 0830 with 12 500lb internal and 2 1000 lb on wings.  Low altitude attack on battalion Hdqts at St Sylvain, France on British-German front.  Target clear and bombing results excellent.  Falk heavy and accurate for 11 min. 15 holes in plane.  One Me210 in vicinity.  No attack from E/AC. Area support.  Time 5hrs 30 min. 

#19  August 18, 1944  “SKIPPER II”. Take off 10:00  Load 12 500lb demos. Target oil refinery south east of Paris.  Target clear, good bombing results with no flak over target.  Very accurate but lite flak over pocket at Faliase.  3 holes in plane. 13,000 ft over trap. No E/AC. Good P-51 support. Time-8hrs.

#20  August 24, 1944 “QUITTIN TIME”. Take off -0800.  10-500lb demos.  Target synthetic oil refinery at Ruhland, Germany.  Target clear, bombing results good. Ample flak 3 times before target but inaccurate. Moderate but accurate flak over target.  Saw Berlin from approx 20 miles.  Flew over Czechoslovakia. First time “520” had been on an operational mission in 3 months.  No E/AC. Good support. Time 9hrs. 

#21  September 1, 1944 “SKIPPER II”.  Take off 0700.  Load 4-1000lb demos, 4 500lb incendiaries.  Target-supply dump near Frankfurt, Germany. Flew through clouds and snow. At 25,000 feet.  Temp -40, No flak, No E/AC.  Did not reach target, Recall!  Good Support, contrails beautiful. Time 7hrs.  

#22  September 3, 1944  “SKIPPER II”  Take off 0600. Load 12-500lb armor piercing demos. Target-troop concentration and fortifications at Brest. Target clear, good bombing results. Bombing Altitude 8,500ft. All time record for B-17’s.  No flak, no E/AC. Area support. Time 7hrs

#23  September 5, 1944  “SKIPPER II”. Take off 0700. Load 10-500lb incendiaries. Target-Damiler-Benz engine factory at Stuttgart, Germany. Soupy weather, clear over target and target demolished. Flak accurate and moderate. Saw flashes of guns in cities. No E/AC, Fair Support. Time 9 ½ hrs.

#24  September 25, 1944  “SKIPPER II”  Take off 0700. Bomb load 12-500lb demos. Target-marshalling yards at Ludwigshaven, Germany.  Bombed PFF, damaged unobserved. Heavy but inaccurate flak. No E/AC, poor support. Time 7hrs. 

#25  September 26, 1944  “HUMPTY DUMPTY”.  Take off 1200.  Bomb load 6-1000lb demos. Target Focke Wulf assembly and repair plant at Bremen, Germany.  Weather clear and bombing results good  Flak moderate and inaccurate. Good support. Time 7hrs. 

#26  September 27, 1944 "LATEST RUMOR". Take off 0600.  Bomb load 12-500lb demos. Target-marshalling yards at Mainz, Germany by request of Ground Forces.  Bombed PFF, results unobserved. Flak moderate. No E/AC.  Good support.  Time 5hrs

#27  September 30, 1944 "FOOLS RUSH IN"  Take off 0900. Bomb load 12-500lb demos.  Target-Ordnance Depot at Bielefield Germany near Osnabruck.  Bombed PFF. No flak over target but some afterwards. No E/AC. Good Support  Time 6hrs. 

#28. October 2, 1944  "SKYWAY CHARIOT"  Take off 0700.  Bomb load 10-500lb demos.  Target-Locomotive repair stop in Kassel, Germany.  Dropped bombs early. Moderat flak over target, bombed PFF.  Good Support.  Time 8hrs

#29 October 5, 1944   Take off 0800.  Bomb load 10-500lb clusters of incendiaries.  Target-Airport at Munster, Germany. Recall, no enemy oppostions. Good escort. Time 6hrs

#30 October 6, 1944  "HUMPTY DUMPTY" Take off 0730. Bomb load 5-1000lb demos. Target-Aero Engine factory at Berlin, Germany.  Target clear and results good. Moderate to heavy flak over target. 12 holes in ship. #1 priority target in Germany Hit.  E/AC in area. Good support. Time 8hrs.

#31 October 9, 1944 "SKIPPER II"  Take off 1100. Bomb load 5-1000lb demos.  Target-Marshalling yards at Mainz, Germany. Bombed PFF. Moderate inaccurate flak. No E/AC, Good support.  Time 6hrs.

#32 October 12, 1944  "SKIPPER II" Take off 0800.  Bomb load 5-1000lb demos. Target-Focke Wulf component parts factory at Bremen, Germany. Target clear and results perfect. Flak moderate and not to accurate. Saw flashes from guns. No E/AC.  Good support. Time 7hrs.

#33 October 15, 1944  "SKIPPER II" Take off 0500. Bomb load 16-250lb demos and 5-500lb incendiary clusters. Target-Marshalling Yards at Cologne, Germany. Flak was heavy to intesnse and damn accurate. 20 holes in plane.  No E/AC  Good support.  Time 8hrs  8th AF went- we led

#34  October 17, 1944  Target: Cologne     Going Home, who cares!     

Memories of  Thorpe Abbots
William B. Kennedy                                                                                                                    
October 22, 2002                                                               
                                          MEMORIES OF THORPE ABBOTS
                                                        William B. Kennedy                       

    My intention was to never revisit World War Two.  Then, on October l, 2002, I discovered the 100th Bomb Group Foundation website.  On the message board was a request from Craig Carlin for information about his father, Joseph T. Carlin.  Joe was navigator on the crew on which I was pilot.  We were operational from mid-June, 1944 to the middle of October 1944. 
     I responded to Craig on the message board and also sent him an e-mail.  He came back  
immediately, said he would put his father and me in contact, and requested as much information as possible about our tour of duty with the 100th.
     What follows won't be a recitation of missions, targets, or fighter attacks.  Many crews had a much rougher time than we did, and their exploits have been well documented.  Instead, I will relate a few incidents and make a few observations, which may lend color to that experience.  If published on the website, few 100th veterans will be reading this.  There isn’t that many of us left.  But hopefully there will be lots of children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews visiting the website.  This is written for them.
 During our tour at Thorpe Abbots, I didn't keep a diary, take notes, or include narratives in letters home. So, what follows are excerpts from a giant, 58-year leap into a dimly lit past.
 To the charge of factual inaccuracy, I plead old age and a poor memory.  To the charge of trying to tell a good story, I plead guilty.

                                                      GETTING THERE 
 Having completed crew training at Avon Park, Florida in May, we were transferred to Hunter Field; Savannah, Georgia. This was a big depot full of new aircraft. We were assigned a shiny, brand new B-17G to ferry to the ETO. Parked next to it was the first Douglas A-26 I had ever seen. What a beautiful airplane! In the Korean War it was designated B-26, the designation for the Martin Marauder twin-engine bomber during World War 2. 
 We test-flew our airplane and then took off for Grenier Field; Manchester, New Hampshire. I don't remember anything unusual about this leg. 
 From Grenier, we headed for Goose Bay, Labrador. That's when it got interesting. On the north side of the St. Lawrence River there was solid overcast. We began to have icing problems. Unable to climb above the overcast, we tried to find holes to get under it and finally did, hugging the rough terrain. We were very close to the magnetic North Pole, and you can imagine the problems this and our ice-avoidance maneuvers created for our navigator, Joe Carlin.  Joe was able to get us close enough to Goose Bay to pick up the radio homing station on the ADF (Automatic Direction Finder, also called "Bird Dog" because it pointed) and we were able to follow the needle to our destination. 
 Now we had a couple of over water legs and it was nice to know that Joe had trained at a Pan American contract school in Florida and had lots of celestial navigation experience. 
 Taking off from Goose Bay, we were building rime ice on the wings before we cleared the pattern. We also experienced carburetor icing on this leg. Further along in the flight we were able to get above the weather and Joe obtained a celestial fix, which got us to the southern tip of Greenland. There we turned and paralleled the coast until we reached Tuna Fjord.
 An overcast had settled in Tuna Fjord as we turned and started up it. It was like flying in a tunnel. We avoided the iceberg in the middle of the final approach and landed at a field called Bluie West 8. There was one runway. It ran uphill toward the base of the glacier. You landed uphill and took off downhill, no matter what the wind direction. 
 For the last leg, we reversed our course and returned to the southern tip of Greenland. From there we proceeded in good weather to Prestwick, Scotland. Before landfall we were met and inspected by a picket plane, a Mosquito as I recall. This was a very fast twin-engine British plane made of laminated wood. 
 Arriving at Prestwick, we were met in the parking area by a supply officer. He gave me a receipt that read something like this:
 1 - Type B-17G Aircraft--------------------------------------$250,000
I lost the receipt years ago. 

                                                        IRON PANTS 
     Shortly after we joined the 100th, the group went on a shuttle mission. Being a new crew,we were not selected for the mission. Instead, we were assigned temporary duty with a neighboring group.
     One day when I was in the mess hall, a burly, dark-haired man came in. There was an
immediate hush.  This brigadier general wore those riding britches type pants with leggings.   There was a grommet in his cap instead of the 50-mission crush we all sported.  I think he wore a Sam Brown belt.  He went through the chow line, then sat down by himself at a table in the back of the hall.  As quietly as I could, I asked the guy next to me, "Who is that?" 
Just as quietly he replied, "Iron Pants LeMay."
Shortly after that, General LeMay left the 3rd Air Division to take over the 20th Air Force
for the B-29 assault on Japan.
                                           SIGHTSEEING THE FALAISE GAP
     I doubt that it was a mission planning error because courses to and from the target were designed to follow "flak-free" corridors.  
     Returning from one mission (I don't remember which), I heard our navigator, Joe Carlin, say something on the intercom like, "----, the ----- is taking us over the Falaise Gap!"  ( Not his exact words.) In the Gap were bottled up thousands of German troops.  Their armor and vehicles jammed the roads, looking like a maze of dashed lines reaching in all directions.
    The group had already begun the return descent, making us more vulnerable to fire from the ground. We had been flying tight on the right wing of an element lead plane, but when I heard  Joe's warning, I moved out a little to give the Germans more empty air to shoot at.  Soon, they turned up everything that could reach us and cut loose.
     An 88mm shell burst at our altitude close to the tail of the element lead, just about where we had been positioned.  Had we not moved, we could have taken serious damage.  As it was, thetail assembly of the element lead was damaged.  But they made it home.
     I don't remember about their tail gunner.  Hope he was OK.

                                  A SMALL DECISION OVER SCHWEINFURT                                                                         
 We used to say that Schweinfurt was famous for making ball bearings and flak. This was not that historic first mission to Schweinfurt but a later one: July 19, 1944.
  On the way to the target one engine began to have those small surges in rpm that warn of a forthcoming runaway prop. It self-controlled OK and I hoped to keep it in service until the bomb run had been completed. But shortly after starting the bomb run, there was a larger surge of rpm and the replacement co-pilot called "runaway prop," and hit the feathering button. Too late now to control it by partial injections with the button. We shut the engine down.                                                                                                                                                                                                
 We could have dropped our bombs short of the target in order to have a better chance of keeping up, but decided to sacrifice altitude for airspeed and gradually fall back just outside the bomber line. By doing this our bombardier, "Lefty" Robison, was able to drop from just below and behind the last group and put our load where it belonged.                                                                                              
 Now we were alone and the sole target of a battery of 88s. We twisted and turned our way out of the area, with the ack ack explosions twisting and turning with us but, fortunately, 180 degrees out of phase. We finally cleared the area with no serious damage.                                                                    
 With the bomber line out of sight, Joe Carlin, our navigator, gave us a heading and we
proceeded homeward, using all the power we felt the remaining three engines could safely deliver. A little friend came alongside and accompanied us for a few minutes. It was very comforting to have him there.  As the 100th formation reached Thorpe Abbots we caught it and were able to land with the other planes.                                                                                                                                             
 An  interesting side note:  Many years later I met a German-American citizen who, as a youth, lived in Schweinfurt. His father worked in the ball bearing factory, and also commanded a flak battery. The son asked if the gunnery was good. I said it was first rate. He was obviously proud.  He had a right to be.

Excerpts from Joe Carlin's comments.   Bill, thanks for your remembrance, "A Small Decision Over Schweinfurt."  Reading your excerpt of this mission brought back some memories of this flight.  I remember a lot of talk on the interphone, you, the co-pilot, and engineer talking about whether we could continue on.  I remember the co-pilot feathering the engine without asking you.  That was one of the few times I have seen you angry.  We had lots of excitement as the crew were reporting the higher group of planes had overtaken us and were opening their bomb bay doors.  I also remember on our way home when a little friend, I think a P-51, came alongside and flew with us for a short while.  The whole crew was thankful and that made our trip home more pleasant…………Joe

                                                  RUNAWAY BALL TURRET                                                                                                                                                                                      
       I always thought that "She Hasta" was the airplane that had the runaway ball turret gun.  We were close by when it happened. But, Carroll Woldt says he flew that airplane on July 11,1944 and I'm going to go with him. That leaves "King Bee" as the aircraft involved in this unfortunate incident, so we're told.                                                                                                                                
 According to my sortie list, we had gone to Munich that day, the first of three days in a row to the same target. We were stretched out in a tent, waiting to be picked up to go to interrogation, when we heard a .50 caliber machine gun start firing. It sounded like a cannon. Tired from the day's work, for an instant we were in kind of a daze, wondering what was going on. Then holes appeared in the tent, above our heads, and we knew that no matter what was going on we had better get out of there fast and find shelter.                                                                                                                                         
 Near the tent was a ditch located behind a hedge row. Our guys hurled themselves through the hedge and into the ditch. I was next to last and didn't penetrate the hedge, but our tail gunner, Charles Porter, crashed into me and carried both of us through.                                                                                            
 After the machine gun stopped firing, I saw  someone climbing a ladder leaned against the front of a smoking wing, trying to put out the fire. That took guts.                                                                                                                                       
 The story of how it happened is already well known: a problem in disarming a machine gun, an unlocked ball turret that started rotating, and a gunner who panicked and fled to his death.               
 Not a very happy day. 

                                                              BUZZ BOMBS                                                                                                                                  
 I think they called it a rocket. Actually, a Buzz Bomb was a bomb with wings, a ram-jet engine, and a programmed amount of fuel that would run out at a predetermined point after which it would glide to the ground and hopefully, from the German viewpoint, hit a specified target.                                                                                                                                 
 The Germans had lots of Buzz Bombs. This was a very crude method of bombing, and many of them missed their intended target, landing indiscriminately over the English countryside.  From the ground, if the engine cut out after the bomb was past you, OK. If it cut out overhead, still OK. But if it cut out before it got to you, it was time to start sweating out the impact.                                                                                                                           
 So, lying in bed one night waiting for the mission list to be posted on the door of our
barracks, I heard the familiar hoarse, staccato sound of an approaching Buzz Bomb. Quite
sure that I was the only coward in the barracks who sweated these attacks and, wishing to
conceal the fact that I was doing just that, I pulled the blanket over my head in order to
secretly light a cigarette.                                                                                                          
 That done, I propped up my pillow and leaned back to take a drag and wait. As I did, I
looked up and down the barracks to make sure that I had not awakened anyone.                                        
 There was a cigarette glowing in nearly every bunk.

                                                         BREAKOUT AT ST. LO
Letter from Bill Kennedy to Joe Carlin, October 14, 2002
Hi again Joe, Craig sure got my memory machine going. It used to seem like our tour over there really didn't happen---it was just a book I read. But it did happen, and as our clocks wind down I feel the need to help get the story told.                                                                                                                  
 What do you remember about the mission that helped break the Allied troops loose from the German encirclement around St. Lo? I have a sortie dated July 25th to "Battle Line Fr." Was this it? The name Avranches also pops into my memory.  There's also one on the previous day to "Northern France."                                                                                                                                             
  I think that with a short run over and back, that unneeded fuel weight was put into
additional bombs, like one two-thousand pounder under each wing and four one-thousands in the bomb bay---the biggest load we ever carried.                                                                                                           
 We went in low, 12,000 feet, I think, for accuracy.  Or was it lower? At low altitude we could not only see the flak burst, we could hear it rush in and burst---sort of like
SsssssssshhhhWOP!  At high altitude the air was too thin for me to hear the flak. Could we smell it?                                                                                                                                                
 I believe this was the mission when the front main spar of the left wing was shot completely through outboard of  No. 1 engine.  The skin and back spar held everything together. When we got back, the airplane was taken out of service for a complete new outer wing panel. Or, maybe that damage occurred the time we got into some 105mm flak near Aachen. Help?                                                                                                            
 Were we supposed to be bombing ahead of smoke flares set by the Allied ground troops? We heard the next day that for some reason, the bomb line kept falling back until we were bombing our own troops. I heard that Lt. Gen. McNair was behind the front lines observing and that he was killed by our bombs. Was it because the wind changed and blew the smoke from the flares back toward our side. Or, was the target line obscured by our own bomb explosions?                                                           
 It must have been a living nightmare for the ground troops. I was always so glad to be up in the air instead of down there on the ground slogging it out face-to-face and sometimes hand-to-hand.                                                                                                                               Can you help on this one?                                                                                                           
Thanks, Bill

Joe Carlin's comments.   Bill, the thing I remember about the flights to help free the troops from St. Lo is as follows: 
 July 24 listed as northern France, we flew parallel to the battle lines between the Germans and the Allied forces.  It was my understanding that a lot of planes dropped on the Allies the next day, July 25th (Battle lines, France).  We were directed to fly perpendicular to the lines, i.e., across the lines.  Don't hold me to this as my memory is not toogood.
                                                CRAIG CARLIN'S QUESTIONS                               
Bill and Dad, 
These are great stories. I've never looked so forward to checking my email. I can't wait to get home and look for the latest installment of your adventures in the ETO. Here are a few questions to help jog your memory. 

(I have done a good bit of editing and revising here.  I couldn't answer all of Craig's questions and have been able to do a better job on those I did answer.  BK)

Craig:     What time did you get up on mission days?
Bill:         Early enough so that after eating breakfast, attending briefing, and taking off, it  
                was usually still dark when we were assembling the group over a radio beacon.
Craig:     What did you have for breakfast?
Bill:         Reconstituted dehydrated eggs ("powdered eggs"), scrambled with pieces of 
                chopped up ping pong balls in them to simulate egg shells and make it seem
                 like the real, fresh thing.  Joking aside, I don't remember breakfast being
                 anything but the typical menu.

Craig:     Was the B-17 a good handling plane?  Was it forgiving or exhausting to fly?    
               How was it empty?
Bill:         The B-17 was a good handling plane.  It was forgiving.  Formation flying was 
               exhausting.  The co-pilot and I split, 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off.  It was a 
               little livlier empty than fully loaded.

Craig:      If you had the plane trimmed for level flight during the bomb run, it must have
               Started to ascend rather quickly once the load was dropped.                                                 
Bill:         Right. But we anticipated the change and it was no problem.  Immediately after
                the drop, everyone had but one thought: "Let's get the Hell out of here!" 

Craig:     Did you change or tighten the formations for fighters vs flak? 
Bill:         The important thing for defense against fighters was to be in a position so that 
                 all guns on all planes were uncovered and had a maximum field of effective
                 fire. The flak was mostly on the bomb run and Jerry didn't like to fly into his 
                 own flak  A tight formation here made for a tight bomb pattern.

Craig:     Was there "friendly competition" of any kind between crews? or animosity?
Bill:         I don't recall a lot of competition or animosity. I guess lots of guys had their
   superstitions. I didn't. The best way to survive is to train hard and then do what
                you were trained to do. Of course, luck helped when it was the good kind.
Craig:     It must have been surreal up high in the blue sky full of bombers and contrails. It
               must have been quite a sight.
Bill:        When the days were clear, it was surreal. Blue sky above and red rooftops
               Dotting  green ground below. There were eerie, hollow hums and whines on
               VHF. Contrails got to be a hazard, forcing succeeding groups higher. On Mes
                (Maximum Efforts) it  was possible for the large number of planes to create so
                 many contrails that it  amounted to an artificial overcast. Try flying formation
                on instruments. The one at the controls fixed on the lead ship, the other pilot 
                calling out attitude from the instrument panel to help overcome vertigo. For 
                 example: "...level, ...shallow turn   left, ...climbing turn right."  Formations
                 flying in the soup didn't hold together very long.

Craig:     What did it smell like? Sound like? 
Bill:         I wasn't aware of smells or sounds at high altitude.  We were wearing oxygen
               Masks and headphones, and I was already half deaf.                                                                                                                                                                   

Craig:     What was the most nerve-wracking part of the flight? The most boring? 
Bill:         The most nerve-wracking part of the flight?  All of it, especially the bomb run.                                                         
    The most boring part of the flight? None of it.

Craig:      Do you remember the apprehension of your first mission? When was the first
                 time you thought "Holy S---, this is for real".
Bill:         As to the first mission, you said it---apprehension. I thought it was for real the
                day  I got to Thorpe Abbots
Craig:     How about seeing the English coastline and then landing on your final mission?
Bill:         I didn't see the coastline, I was flying. Same for the landing. Just trying to get it 
                Down safely.  Did we celebrate? I don't remember.  I think I was numb.

Craig:     What did you do in-between missions? Did you go to town? Play sports?
              What were the good places to eat in town?
Bill:         Between missions we tried to relax and catch up on sleep.  Town was London
               on pass.  Thorpe Abbots was a country corner, and I don't remember much about                        
.              Diss except that it was where we boarded the train for London.  Some guys
               may have played sports.  I didn't except maybe for table tennis.  As for the good
               places to eat, the English were terribly short of food.  Maybe we got good chow 
               when on R & R (Rest and Recuperation) for a week.
I could ask a million questions. Keep the stories coming. These truly are priceless memories that I can share with my son and he will pass on to his children.                                                                   
Sincere Regards, 
Craig Carlin
                                                            GROUND SUPPORT                                                                                                                 
 Before we flight crews could do our work, the ground support personnel had to do theirs.  Administration, armament, transportation, food, supply, maintenance, security,  medical care, and  communications, to name some.  
 The support personnel we knew best were the "ground crews” assigned to maintain a
specific aircraft.  The work done by the 100th Bomb Group's ground crews was the finest
example of  professional dedication and skill  that I have ever seen. The aircraft we flew were almost always "on the initial," (the crew chief's initial) meaning that every known problem had been fixed.  In short, the maintenance was superb.
      We really appreciated that. 

                         *            *            *            *            *            *            *            *







 William B. Kennedy crew: Kneeling from left: William H. Murphy, Albert E. Rogahn, Elmer L. Kovach, Charles H. Porter Jr, Norman S. Edwards and Charles H. Boyd. Standing: William B. Kennedy, Joseph T. Carlin, Ernest M. Robison and Robert W. Jenkins. Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 



Crew 1

ID: 480