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S/SGT  Joseph G. ALLEN

UNIT: 351st BOMB Sqdn POSITION: WG
SERIAL #: STATUS: FEH
MACR:

Comments1: HOOD RIVER, OREGON (ASN 19110337)

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW

2nd Lt Laurence J.Lazzari              P  FEH      CREW FLYING AT END OF HOSTITLITES
2nd Lt Guiher G.Greenwood        CP  FEH
2nd Lt Charles W.Staiger            NAV FEH
   Cpl Richard H.Heritage            TOG  FEH
   Sgt Lawrence W.Donnelly        BTG  FEH
   Cpl Robert J.Steele                ROG  FEH
   Cpl Charles A.Weiss                TTE  FEH
   Cpl Joseph G.Allen                 WG  FEH
   Cpl Daniel J.O'Connell,Jr.         TG  FEH 

351st Sqdn.  Crew,as above,joined the 100th Group on 21/1/45


TARGET: BUCHEN GERMANY, 7 APRIL 1945G. GENE GREENWOOD
Posted 18 Aug 02
Early morning, 7 April 1945; the Buchen Oil Storage Depot was the 100th Bomb Group's target. All present at the briefing thought that it would be a "milk run. " The briefing officer stated that there was a strong possibility that we would encounter ME-109 fighters in the target area and that these fighters would be piloted by youngsters with approximately 50 hours flying time. Hearing this, the pilots reflected on their own flying ability when they had only 50 hours flying a Stearman. The briefer suggested that we be more vigilant than usual if we were attacked by these neophytes; that "accidental" collision could be possible. Never once were we briefed that collision would be intentional. Read on!
After a weather delay, we finally got the green flare for take-off; it would be a long day. The 100th Bomb Group, with four squadrons totalling 38 B-17's, route of flight took them over a course from Great Yarmouth, over the Zuider Zee then bombing the target, Buchen. My personal log shows bombs away at 1327 hours. While enroute, the group encountered only two bursts of what appeared to be 88 mm flak. My personally written history of all my missions was recorded on a bomb tag while we were still airborne returning to Thorpe Abbotts, thus, I suggest that the events described in this article are as accurate as my writing was on the day of the day of the mission. We dropped our six 1000 pound RDX bombs from an altitude of 14, 880 feet. I also wrbte that we were under ME-109 fighter attack for 33 minutes. The official 8th Air Force report indicates we were under attack from 1250 hours to 1326 hours or 36 minutes. The 100th lost two aircraft and crews; Lt Arthur Calder flying in "D" Squadron (all crew members were killed) and Lt. William Howard flying in "B" Squadron (three killed and six including Lt. Howard and co-pilot Delgado were POW) Lt. Joe Martin and Lt. Henry Cervantes flying in "B" Squadron in B-17 #8514 was rammed by a ME-109 which sheared off the rudder and left horizontal stabilizer and left huge propeller wounds in the dorsal fin forward of the rudder. The picture of this damage can be seen on the cover of Richard LeStrange's "Century Bombers, The Story of the Bloody Hundredth. " After stabilizing the aircraft into semi-normal flight, Joe and Henry, unable to keep up, dropped from formation and returned to Thorpe Abbots alone. 

One would think that the saga of the 7 April 1945 Buchen mission would end at this point. Certainly, the author and some of his close friends-all 100th Bomb Group veterans, closed the book on this mission 51 years ago. However, recent discoveries and events have again brought the 8th Air Force operation of 7 April 1945 into the very bright sun light. Research conducted in Germany by Germans and faculty members of the Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, have reopened the case as to what really occurred on this day, only one month before the German unconditionally surrendered at Reims, France. But before that portion of this story is told as to how the world is currently viewing this infamous day, permit me to set the scene by referring to excerpts from a few official reports rendered by the Third Air Division and Headquarters Eighth Air Force. These reports, which were written immediately after the mission, were an attempt to assess the operation of 7 April 1945. As these reports are studied, one can easily detect inconsistences between them, and the authors surely missed the mark when we compare their conclusions with the known facts which were just recently revealed - 51 years later. The irony of this whole episode is that the information has been there all these years just waiting for some curious mind to open it up, dissect the information and expose all the facts. As you will become aware as the story unfolds, certain people, both in the United States and Germany are now attempting full disclosure. 
Recently retrieved from the Air Force Archives in Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, is the official 3rd Air Division report on the 7 April 1945 operations. The portion pertaining to the 100th Bomb Group follows:

THE 100TH GROUP (13B), FLYING SIXTH IN THE BOMBER COLUMN, WAS CONTINUOUSLY ATTACKED FROM 1250 HOURS AT 5230N-090E TO 1326 HRS AT 5220B-1030E BY APPROXIMATELY 10 TO 12 ME-109'S AND 1 FW-190. GROUP FORMATION WAS GOOD. E/A WERE FLYING IN GROUPS OF 3'S AND 4'S WHEN FIRST Seen DIVING OUT OF THE SUN WHICH WAS TO THE REAR OF THIS FORMATION. THEY WERE ENGAGED BY P-51'S AND WERE BROKEN UP. ALL ATTACKS WERE MADE BY SINGLE E/A ATTACKING FROM ALL CLOCK POSITIONS BUT MAINLY FROM 9 TO 11 O'CLOCK HIGH. THE MOST OFF (sic) REPEATED TACTIC WAS AN ATTACK FROM 9 O'CLOCK HIGH. PASSING THROUGH THE FORMATION, AND THEN MAKING ANOTHER PASS FROM 1 TO 3 O'CLOCK HIGH REPEATING SEVERAL TIMES. OTHER E/A ATTACKS WERE FROM 7 O'CLOCK HIGH AND LOW FLYING THROUGH THE FORMATION - USUALLY BETWEEN FLIGHTS. E/A OPENED FIRE FROM MACHINE GUNS AND 20 MM CANNON AT ABOUT 500 YARDS AND CONTINUED FIRING UNTIL OUT OF FORMATION. CREW REPORT E/A PILOTS FANATICALLY AGGRESSIVE AND ATTACKED THROUGH HEAVY CONCENTRATIONS OF FIRE FROM B-17'S GUNS. VERY FEW TURNED AWAY WHEN FIRED UPON. SO CLOSE DID E/A COME THAT ONE HIT THE TAIL SECTION OF A B-17 THEREBY SHEERING Off ITS WING - B-17 RETURNED TO BASE. PLAN WAS APPARENTLY FOR E/A TO ATTACK AND TURN FOR ANOTHER ATTACK UNTIL THEY WERE SHOT DOWN OR AMMUNITION WAS EXHAUSTED. SOME CREWS REPORT ME-262'S ATTEMPTED TO DISTRACT FIGHTER ESCORT SO THAT CONVENTIONAL E/A WOULD BE FREE TO ATTACK BOMBERS. THIS GROUP LOST 2 BOMBERS TO E/A.
 
The 3rd Air Division report contain some errors that should be discussed. It refers to a B-17 hit by an a/a that sheered off the B-17's wing. From eye witness reports the aircraft that had its wing sheered off by an a/a was Lt. Calder. The plane was lost and all were killed. The B-17 that was rammed by an a/a and survived was piloted by Lt. Joe Martin. The a/a sheered off most of the rudder and the left horizontal stabilizer. Unable to keep up, Lt. Martin left the formation and returned to Thorpe Abbots alone. 

Following is still another 3rd Air Division Report. Paragraph four reports:
OF 13 THIRD AIR DIVISION BOMBERS KNOWN LOST TO E/A, FIVE WERE LOST TO COLLISION WITH E/A. THESE WERE NOT SUICIDAL RAMMING ATTACKS, BUT IN EACH CASE, WERE AIRCRAFT CLEARLY OUT OF CONTROL, EITHER THROUGH INJURY TO PILOT OR STRUCTURAL FAILURE OF ATTACKING AIRCRAFT. CLOSENESS OF ATTACK HAS GIVEN RISE TO RUMORS OF RAMMING, BUT REVIEW OF COMPLETE DIVISION EXPERIENCE FAILS TO SUBSTANTIATE RAMMING THEORY. 

And paragraph five reports:
ENEMY PILOTS MADE MAXIMUM USE OF CLOUD COVER ABOVE AND BELOW BOMBERS; CONTRAILS AND SUN POSITION WERE USED TO FULLEST ADVANTAGE. FROM ANALYSIS OF ATTACKS, MORE EXPERIENCED PILOTS WERE APPARENTLY IN CONVENTIONAL FIGHTERS. 
From what we know now (51 years later), the 3rd Air Division author of this report, with some flawed analysis and conjecture, drew some erroneous conclusions. Reports from other sources, but written at the same time came to the conclusion that some ramming was intentional. Also, other sources indicate that the conventional fighters were flown by less experienced pilots and that the more experienced pilots were assigned to the ME-262's. 

This next report titled "MISSION OF 7 APRIL 1945" with a reference of (AMS-23) is undated, however, it is possibly an 8th Air Force report. Regardless of the source, it is an informative and interesting summary. Also, it is evident that the author of this report possessed far more detailed information that the previous reports. Pertinent excerpts are as follows:

Paragraph IV THE ENEMY SITUATION
"During March (sic 1945), Reichs Marshall Goering called for volunteers for special and dangerous work. The result was that later in the month, the first 300 pilots arrived for a ten day course of fighter-ramming. This course was chiefly political but the operational side included the method to be used to reach the bombers and the tactics to be employed when ramming. Late in March, the first 80 pilots were organized into units equipped with ME-109's from which most of the non-essential equipment was removed. "
"These special units were to receive top cover by orthodox single-engine fighters and together with ME-262's the enemy was prepared to put up a large scale interception. Pilots had been specially doped up with patriotic fervor, and every attempt was to be made to inspire these pilots in their almost suicidal task. "

Excerpts from paragraph V "THE AIR BATTLE"
"Shortly before the first bombers made land fall at the Dutch coast the enemy ramming units were taking-off and headed to Magdeburg for assembly. These aircraft had no means of reporting to the controllers and it seems likely that a number of them were unable to comply with the orders. From Magdeburg they appeared to have flown west to the vicinity of Hanover, with the ground controllers urging then to great deeds of heroism -- reminding them of the women and children lying under the ruins of their towns, and quoting patriotic songs. In this spirit the enemy pilots contacted the bombers just east of Dummer Lake in units of between 5 and 30, made suicidal passes through murderous hail of fire to get through . . . Many pilots appeared to have either lost their nerve or their life before ramming since only a limited number of reports of intentional ramming were made. "  "Possibly 6 bombers were lost through ramming of the 15 lost to enemy aircraft. . . "

Paragraph VI, B. FAILURE OF ENEMY'S PLAN
"A rapidly diminishing Luftwaffe made its swan song. Attempts to stimulate the pilots with patriotic fervor succeeded in that they made suicidal attacks, but the majority of the force put up will not be available for further operations. "
"His plan to terrify the bomber crew by deliberate ramming failed in that few crews realized that the ramming was intentional, but believed that the enemy aircraft crashed the bombers after the pilot had been killed or the aircraft was out of control. "

EIGHTH AIR FORCE INTOPS SUMMARY NO. 342, RE: 7 APRIL 1945
Paragraph C, INTELLIGENCE
"1. Enemy Air Operation
. . . . . . From all reports it appears that this was a desperation attempt on the part of the enemy and although a/a fought aggressively and made determined efforts to get through to the bombers, our losses were comparatively light while more than half the enemy force was destroyed or damaged. Signs of desperation are evidenced by the fact that FW-190 pilots deliberately rammed the bombers, bailing out before their planes went into the bomber formations and making fanatical attacks through murderous hail of fire. "
". . . . From today's reaction it would appear that although the enemy is fighting a losing battle, the GAF is preparing to fight to a finish in a fanatical and suicidal manner . . . . "
On 30 September 1996 through 2 October 1996 nine former 8th Air Force pilots who flew bombing missions to northern Germany on 7 April 1945 were brought together at the 8th Air Force Museum in Savannah, Georgia. The nine pilots were Jim Lantz, Charley "Hong Kong" Wilson, Joe Martin, Henry Cervantes and G. Gene Greenwood, all of the 100th Bomb Group (B-17's); Perry Sessoms and Clark Robinson of the 389th Bomb Group (B-24' s) and Harry Duccilli of the 452nd Bomb Group (B-17's). 
The purpose of the conclave was to probe these pilots memory and to discuss details surrounding the 7 April 1945 bombing operations in Northern Germany with particular emphasis on enemy aircraft tactics used to destroy our B-17 and B-24 bombers. Organizing this study effort were Dr. James S. Corum, Professor of Comparative Military Studies at the Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, and Phillip Mausshardt, a free lance television journalist from Stuttgart, Germany. Mr. Mausshardt is under contract to produce a television documentary for Suddeutsche Rudnfund (Southern German Network). In the United States we call it Public Television. 
At this point in writing this article, the author must stipulate some caveats regarding statements made involving the subject of this research effort. The central subject is to uncover as much information as possible regarding the employment of suicide or kamikaze fighter tactics towards the end of World War II in Europe by the German Air Force against Allied bombers. The author held long conversations with Dr. Corum and Mr. Mausshardt delving very deeply into information that they thus far have uncovered. Therefore, the reader must understand that the information and statements made in this article regarding recent findings on the central subject are heresay; I am simply repeating what I understood Dr. Corum and Mr. Mausshardt to say about the subject. 
It would appear that the German public and certain circles in the Untied States became aware in the very recent past that the German Air Force conceived, organized and deployed an aviation combat unit called:
"Sonder Commando Elbe" (Special Command Elbe). Another title used is "Schulungslehrgange Elbe" (Training Course Elbe). It is this Luftwaffe unit that the Southern German Network became interested in and ultimately assigned the task of developing a TV documentary to Phillip Mausshardt. As stated before, Dr. James Corum has conducted extensive study and research into the central subject. One must say that he is extremely knowledgeable on the subject. All of the prior referenced reports were handed to the author by Dr. Corum. He implied that he is in possession of much more documentation which supports the general thesis that the German Air Force did employ suicide tactics against our bombers. 
Mr. Mausshardt told me that he has interviewed in the recent past former Luftwaffe pilots that were assigned to the suicide unit. One former pilot is now a very successful industrialist; another is a very senior professor in one of Germany's universities. Each of these former pilots still possess a consuming hatred for the British and American Air Forces for the destructive bombing of German cities. They are extremely bitter about the British and American bombing of Dresden in February and 2 March 1945. These former pilots stated that these bombings stirred the fires of their hatred of Allied bombers and which drove them to be the ultra aggressive suicide fighter pilots that they were. They implied that if they could they would do it again. Mr. Mausshardt told me that he was going to show the TV tape of the interviews he conducted with us in Savannah to the two former Luftwaffe pilots and hopefully record their reactions. 
All the interviews that Mr. Mausshardt conducted in Savannah with myself and the other eight pilots were done individually and taped on TV cameras. I am not aware of what the other pilots said during the interview; however, in a post interview critique with the other interviewees and Mr. Mausshardt, we all had essentially the same story to tell. Of course, the B-24 pilots from the 389th had a far more harrowing experience when one ME-109 struck and knocked down three B-24 's. 
Now that I know the German Air Force had a suicide unit, that gives rise to the big question? At the briefing on the morning of 7 April 1945, the briefing officer stated that there was a possibility we would encounter pilots with little air time and experience and they could be dangerous. This information had to have come from somewhere? Allied intelligence, no doubt, gathered this information in Germany? If they could get that much, why did they not obtain the suicide or kamikaze aspect of the operation? And if they did, did they pass it on to 8th Air Force. And if the 8th Air Force received all this intelligence, why did it not filter down to our briefer and thus to the crews that were going to fly the mission? I doubt if we will ever find the answer. 
This is how history is written; dig and dig; research and research; write and rewrite. All in all, it is an extremely interesting subject. To be involved in a research project on a subject that I was involved in over 51 years ago is very rewarding. I know that I and my eight colleagues thoroughly enjoyed the part that we played in the research effort. But what we really enjoyed was one another and the closeness that each of us felt as we talked about events that occurred nearly 8 lifetime ago. Lastly, it is a pleasure to report that the B-17--B-24 competitive arguments are still alive and well. 
To those of you who are wondering why the Germans are delving into a 51 year old event that has been forgotten by most of the players, three or four of us, before the interviews commenced had the same question. What were the Germans going to do with these interviews? After concentrated questioning the issue with Dr. Corum and Mr. Mausshardt, we collectively took the position that it was purely an academic exercise and that no political incentive was present. We, therefore, proceeded with the interviews. 

G. GENE GREENWOOD
COLONEL, USAF, RETIRED
351st Bomb Squadron, 
100th Bomb Group
JANUARY - OCTOBER, 1945


The Laurence J. Lazzari Crew – Page 1
351st Bomb Squadron. 100th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force
26 September 1944 Through 23 October 1945
(Written for the most part by G. G. Greenwood) 

The initial organization of the crew occurred at Lincoln Army Air Field, Lincoln, Nebraska on 26 September 1944, per Special Order Number 183, dated 26 September 1944, as Crew Number 8686.

Pilot 
 2nd Lt (1091) Laurence J. Lazzari 
 0779904 
 
Co Pilot 
 F/O (1051) Guiher G. Greenwood 
 T-4912 
 
Radio 
 Cpl (757) Robert J. Steele 
 3673064 
 
Engineer 
 Cpl (748) Charles A. Weiss 
 3277275Z 
 
Togglier 
 Cpl (612) Richard H. Heritage 
 16086881 
 
Filler Crew 
 
Ball Turret 
 Sgt (611) Lawrence W. Donnelly 
 35456990 
 
Tail Gunner 
 Daniel J. O'Connell Jr 
 36891409 
 

This Special Order transferred 54 B-17 combat crews listed on this SO to AAB, Rapid City, South Dakota. Departing on or about 28 September 1944, the train trip took about two days, traveling through the pristine and picturesque hills and mountains of Nebraska and South Dakota. 

While at Rapid City, the crew received its Navigator, 2nd Lt. Charles W. Staiger, (1034) 020' 2589 and Cpl. Joseph C. Allen, 19110337, Waist Gunner. During the crew's training at Rapid City, a Bombardier was temporarily assigned to and flew with the crew, 2nd Lt. Hays or Hayes. Designated Crew Number I-41, the Lazzari crew flew day and night missions practicing bombing and gunnery, and learning combat procedures. 

Even though the crews would be flying B-17G's in combat, training was in B-17F's. In this older model, the supercharger waste gate position which controlled manifold pressure at altitude, was controlled by four levers on the throttle quadrant which positioned the waste gate with engine oil pressure. At altitude and in cold temperatures, sometimes the oil would congeal, making it difficult to control the waste gate and thus the manifold pressure. If the waste gate should close shut, that engine would develop an extremely high manifold pressure incurring extensive engine damage, sometimes blowing off cylinder heads. Fortunately, the B-17G's that would be flown in combat were equipped with the Minneapolis-Honeywell electronically controlled waste gate, which allowed for more accurate power management, and was therefore, much safer and simpler in ultra cold temperatures. 

As the name implies, Combat Training prepares the crew to perform as a team in various operational modes. All members were brought to a peak of efficiency in their respective position. However, the principal task was honing the pilot's skills with an Instructor Pilot in the right seat. Nearly all of these instructor pilots were combat veterans mostly from the 8th Air Force. On one night mission with an Instructor Pilot, Captain Roy Claytor, formerly of the 100th Bomb Group, in the right seat, and the Co-pilot, F/O Greenwood standing between the two pilots, the pilot's artificial horizon had not been fully uncaged, therefore giving an erroneous airplane attitude indication. Neither the pilot nor the instructor pilot had noticed the problem, until the co-pilot noticed the lights of Rapid City coming up on the left side of the airplane. The aircraft was in a descending left spiral while the uncaged artificial horizon indicated to the pilot that the aircraft was flying straight and level. Larry remembers, " In an attempt to hurry the take-off, I neglected to center the trim which added to the down spiral." The co-pilot yelled at the pilot and pointed to the lights coming up on the left side. Corrective action was quickly taken. 

While at Rapid City, it was not all work. As Larry recalls, he and Greenwood together with 2nd Lt. Ernest Hageman and his co-pilot F/O Jack Schwartz rented a car and went sight seeing up in the Black Hills visiting Custer Park and Mt. Rushmore. 2nd Lt. Staiaer spent his free time in Rapid City with his wife and daughter. Rapid City provided an acceptable, but limited, night life. 

After the Lazzari crew and the other crews in this class completed the combat training, Special Order Number 350. dated 18 December 1944, ordered them back to Lincoln AAF, Nebraska for "subsequent shipment overseas". 

On 20 December 1944, F/O Greenwood received a Direct Commission as a 2nd Lt. It is interesting to note that throughout Greenwood's 30 plus years in the Air Force, all records indicate his source of commission as "direct appointment from military life", not as a graduate of the Pilot Training Program as a Cadet. 

The crews left Rapid City by train on or about 22 December 1944, arriving at Lincoln AAF on 23 or 24 December (Christmas Eve). It was a cold miserable day. 2nd Lt Greenwood's home was in Winterset, Iowa, 120 miles east of Lincoln. He caught a train that night and spent Christmas with his family. He arrived back at Lincoln AAF about 0200 hours on 26 December, and found the tar paper barracks without heat and Larry Lazzari nearly frozen. Larry and crew had spent a terribly lonely, unhappy and miserable Christmas on the Air Base Lt Staiger, Cpl.s Heritage and O'Connell spent Christmas with their families in a Lincoln Hotel. Lt. Greenwood discovered how it felt to be hit by a train. Riding into Lincoln one evening with classmate. Lt. Lyle Lingel, in his 1941 six passenger Ford Coupe, just as we left the Base's east gate and crossing a rail road track, a freight train hit us on the right rear side, throwing the car over to one side of the track. Had the train hit us one foot forward, none of us would have had to worry about flying combat. Fortunately, there were no injuries and we continued on to Lincoln and partied most of the night. 

Per Movement Order FA-555-FA 1-26 Incl, To Overseas Destination, dated 1January 1945 26 B-17 crews were shipped, by train. To Camp Miles Standish (Just outside Boston.) Lazzari's crew number was 21. The only time that the train stopped was for fuel and water; there were 60 B-17 crews aboard, all replacements for the crews shot down during 31 December 1944 8th Air Force bombinq missions in which 27 crews were lost in the 3rd Division alone; 12 in the 100th Bomb Group. 

After 2 or 3 days at Camp Miles Standish, the B-17 crews were boarded on the Isle de France, a French ship, taken over by the English after France fell to Germany. The ship carried 13, 500 other troops, mostly infantry replacements for losses incurred during the "Battle of the Bulge." 

About 3 days at sea on 9 January 1945, 2nd Lt. Greenwood celebrated his 21st birthday. Then on 11 January, the troop commander visited the air crew section of he ship explaininq that his Infantry officers had had very little sleep or no sleep for 5 or 6 days in their attempt to console, or supervise or command their very young troops. Apparently, there had been self inflicted injuries and threats of suicide. He asked us to give him a hand by going down below and sitting with the troops. Of course, the Air Corps officers volunteered to help out. Lt. Greenwood drew an Infantry Company that was quartered on E deck, which is the lowest deck in the ship, just above the double bottoms and well below the water line. He recalls that these young men were very unstable, all "scared out of their skin" with the term "we're just cannon fodder" frequently used. Being an old 2nd Lt. barely 21 years old, he recalls the task of calming these men down a formidable task, to say the least and a task that was far removed from bending throttles in an airplane. However, as he recalls, he explained to them what it would probably be like sitting in a bomber 25 thousand feet in the air with thousands of flak guns firing at you along with hundreds of German fighter aircraft all with one purpose and that was to kill you. He then asked these young troops if any of them would like to trade jobs. None took up the challenge and the remainder of the voyage sitting with the Infantry troops went without incident. 

After zig-zaging unescorted and solo across the Atlantic, the Isle de France headed into the Irish Sea. Just south of Ireland she picked up an escort of 3 British destroyers. Just as she was making a left turn to the north to go up the Irish Sea, a German submarine fired a torpedo possibly at the Isle de France. One of the British destroyers took the hit; the extent of damage to the destroyer was never known. What was known to the air crews is that they had just experienced their "first shot fired in anger." All of the air crews realized that this was a prelude to what lie ahead for them. They knew full well that the exploding torpedo soon would be replaced by the German 88mm flak gun and 20mm cannon from ME109's or FW-190s. 

Anchoring in the Firth of Clyde, the Isle de France unloaded her passengers aboard small ships which ferried them to shore at Greenock, Scotland. Apparently being high priority replacements, the air crews were quickly loaded on a train bound for Stone England, where each crew would receive their Bomb Group assignment. It was in the Greenock Rail Station where we got our first glimpse of those very British looking passenger rail cars. And this was also our first encounter with the people and their accent and our first encounter, but not the last, with the children who would greet us with the "got any gum chum?" Our indoctrination into wartime cuisine was with the can opener that we kept on our dog tag chain and used to open the "K" ration tins. We discovered that the "k" ration was the only item on the menu while riding the railroads in Britain. 

After a few days stay at Stone Replacement Depot (40 miles north of Birmingham) the crew received their Bomb Group assignments. On a cold,  foggy, raining, snowy and thoroughly miserable morning, per Special Order 19, dated 19 January 1945, the following crews were assigned to the 100th Bomb Group, Station 139 over in Norfolk County next to the village of Thorpe Abbotts: Hellerich, King, Jensen, Lazzari, Thorkelson, Joe Martin and Munoz. Again, we were loaded on a train along with our "K" rations. Arriving at Diss, we were met by a convoy of trucks and transported to Thorpe Abbotts -- the Bloody Hundredth--. We all had heard about the 100th from Rapid City to Stone. Here we were, apprehensive, with a high level of anxiety, and a pulse rate of about 150. Larry recalls that, after settling in, his one and only check or familiarization ride was with a hard nose Captain "who impressed me with the seriousness of what was coming." Larry also recalls our first mission; target, Weimar. We were already half scared to death, but when we saw all the black puffs up ahead and the ME-163 rocket that went straight up through our group, we all knew that this was seriousness business, dangerous too. Little did we know that in a short 66 days later we would be one of he senior crews in the 351st with 29 missions. Little did we know that we would survive "Big B" on March 18th and a mid-air collision on March 23rd, little did we know that we would experience the agonizing sight of seeing too many of our friends shot from the sky. In retrospect, we probably realized all these terrible events could happen, but our attitude of invincibleness coupled with our youthful cocky attitudes would not let all those possible realizations surface. It did not take long during those 61 days of combat flying to experience a drastic attitude adjustment. Lt. Greenwood made the Air Force his life's career, flying the Berlin Airlift, flying transport missions in the Korean War, flying northern polar routes, flying the Atlantic ocean, and flying combat support missions in Vietnam. Not once did he encounter during these post World War II years, the intense danger, the heart pounding experiences that he experienced during his 29 missions with the 100th Bomb Group, 351st Bomb Squadron. And not once has he ever experienced the simple closeness, the comradeship the unit loyalty, the simple pride that he experienced during his combat tour with the 100th Bomb Group, 351st Bomb Squadron. He suggests that these "belonging" characteristics manifest themselves every two years at the 100th Bomb Group Reunions. 

The following summaries describe the 29 missions that the Lazzari crew flew from 9 February 1945 through 15 April 1945. The basic information was derived from a mission diary that Lt. Greenwood wrote on a bomb tag on each mission except mission number 29. Contributions from the pilot, Larry Lazzari are incorporated into the narrative. All details and information contained in each mission entry have been confirmed to the best of the author's ability from copies of official Air Corps orders, and other official documentation; and from Roger A. Freeman's MIGHTY EIGHTH WAR DIARY, Richard Le Strange's CENTURY BOMBERS,  THE STORY OF THE BLOODY HUNDREDTH,  and John R. Nilsson's THE STORY OF THE CENTURY. Any inaccuaracy omission, or down-right exaggeration of the truth is not intentional; however, the reader must realize that as of this writing, 49 years have elapsed since the events were lived, thus the memories have gotten hazy and the war stories get better each time they are told. If any reader does not believe this disclaimer, that reader should attend the next 100th Bomb Group reunion. 

After take-off, during the initial phases of each mission and using Buncher 28 as a navigational reference. The Group would complete its assembly, then start climbing to altitude and head across the North Sea or the English Channel. As the formation passed through 10, 000 feet and over the water, the order was given to arm the bombs. To accomplish this task, the Bombardier or the togglier, as the case may be, would arm the bombs by removing a cotter pin with a cardboard tag attached from each bomb. T/Sgt Richard Heritage, Lazzari 's togglier, after arming the bombs could then proceed to his combat station in the nose of the aircraft, and as he crawled under the cock-pit, he would reach up and hand one of the tags to Lt. Greenwood, who entered all the pertinent data for that particular mission on the tag. T/Sgt Heritage did the same thing. Therefore, this mission diary is a combination of the two diaries. This history is also a result of letters and phone calls between Larry Lazzari and Gene Greenwood. Each mission is numbered 1 through 29 except that mission 12b replaced 13 49 years ago. Discussion about mission 29's missing bomb tag will be in that mission's paragraph. To facilitate easy referencing, the number in parenthesis to the right of the Lazzari crew's mission number is the 100th Bomb Group's number. Remember, the 100th flew a total of 306 missions 

As you read these diary entries, you may refer to the map, which indicates the location of the target of each of our 29 missions. 

1. (257) Weimar, Germany, 1229 Hours, 2/9/45. 10 GP's. No hits. A ME-163 rocket plane went straight up in front of our squadron. This was our initiation in air battle and it scared the hell out of all of us. Bohlen oil refinery was the primary target, 7+20 hours. A/C 530

2. (259) Cottbus, Germany, 1218 Hours, 2/15/45 10ea 500 pound bombs, max bomb load. No hits, not much flak, no fighters, locomotive works and marshalling yard, Ruhland oil refinery was primary target, 8+50 hours. A/C 632 

3. (260) Giessen, Germany, 1308 Hours. 2/17/45. 10ea 500 pound GP's. Frankfurt was the primary target; got a lot of flak there. No fighters, but a lot of flak. No hits. 7+00hours.  A/C 861

4. 261 Osnabruck, Germany, 1345 Hours. 2/19/45. 12ea, 500 pound GP's, Target was marshalling yards. No hits, a lot of flak. No fiohters. One jet job. 6+15 hours. A/C 963

5. (263) Nurnburq, Germany, 1125 Hours, 2/21/54, 26, 000 , 5ea 500 pound GP's and 5 M-17's, no fighters, a lot of and accurate flak. 4 puffs damn near got us, but I took a steep turn to the right and got out of it. Saw French Maginot Line or what was left of it. Also Metz, 8+10 hours.
A/C 047 

6. 264 Greenwood's Bomb Tag diary states target was "somewhere in Germany. Bombed some cabbage patch, " 47 58 N, 08 32 E. A screwed up mission, supposed to hit a railroad objective. History books have us bombing Kitzingen marshalling yard. 1330 Hours. 2/22/45. 16, 200 feet. 12ea 500 Pound GP. 9+30 hours.  A/C 047

7. (265) Treuchtlingen railway junction, Germany. 1131 hours. 2/23/45. 12ea 500 pound GP's. Max gas load, no flak, no fighters, just a long trip. Bombed at 12, 000 feet. Circled target twice. 7+00 hours.  A/C 295

8. (269) Kassel, Germany. 1423 Hours. 2/28/45. Bombed at 24, 160 feet. 14ea 500 pound GP's, a 7000 pound bomb load; was this a first? Target was a marshalling yard. No flak that was too accurate, but plenty of it. No fighters. A perfect mission. Good formation, the Colonel lead today. Note; this means Colonel Frederick Sutterlin. 7+15 hours. With this 7000 pound bomb load, I have a vague recollection that the Colonel personally briefed us on the extra 1000 pounds, and that he would take off first, and if he made it then he expected everyone to follow. (FLEW ANOTHER SQDN PLANE)

9. (270) Dresden, Germany. 1030 Hours. 3/2/45. 20ea 250 pound GP's. Primary target Ruhland. Caught 3 flak bursts of flak at Zuider Zee. Bomb tag indicates 900: Note: this probably means 0900 Hours, but the Question is, could we travel the 400 miles to Dresden in 1+30 hours flying at 150 MPH indicated. Answer: We could, assuming that we were flying at 23, 000 feet with an OAT of -30 degrees F. and with a 50 MPH tailwind. German fighters were after us, but were fought off by our escort. A long 9+00 hours. A/C 126

10. (272) Ulm. Germany. 1014 Hours. 3/4/45. 6ea 500 pound GP"s and 6ea 500 pound M-17 incendiaries. Marshalling yard, no flak and no fighters. Due to throttle linkage failure (unknown cause} we lost #3 engine 10 minutes after target. Larry Lazzari recalls that on this mission a spent piece of flak nearly gave T/Sgt Heritage the Purple Heart. We have some differing memories on this subject; see narrative for mission number 11. 8+00 hours.  A/C 047

11. 273 Siegen, Germany. 1159 Hours. 3/7/45 24, 800 feet. Marshalling yard. Heavy flak, 3 flak holes. We got flak over Dortmund. No fighters. Greenwood's bomb tag diary indicates that Heritage got hit, but his flak jacket saved him. Note: During a visit with Richard Heritage at Greenwood's house in Stuart, Florida on 29 March 1994, this mission was discussed at length. Heritage stated that the spent piece of flak that came in through the nose, splintering the nose plexiglass, did in fact slightly cut his hand. When asked why he did not report it for it would have been a Purple Heart for him, he stated that had he reported it he might have missed a mission or two with his crew. That's the kind of men we had on this crew. This mission took 8+00 hours. 

12. 274 Giessen, Germany. 1413 Hours. 3/8/45. 21, 000 feet. 14ea 500 pound GP"s. Marshallings yard. Some flak, one hole through the elevator. No fighters. 7+30 hours. A/C 521

13. (Z76) Greenwood's bomb tag diary numbered this mission as 12b Dortmund, Germany. 1236 Hours. 3/10/45. 24, 189 feet. 42ea 100 GP"s and 2ea 500 pound M-17 Incendiaries. Some flak, no fighters, Some weather. 7+15 hours.  A/C 852

14. (280) Oranienburg, Germany, no time that bombs were dropped. 3/15/45. 12 bombs with delayed fuses 2-12 hours. Marshalling yard. Lots of flak, and some very accurate but no hits. No fighters got in close. 7+00 hours. A/C 992

15. (281) Plauen, Germany. 1304 Hours. 3/17/45. 26, 189 feet. 12ea 500 pound GP"s. Not much flak. No hits. No fighters. Primary target was Ruhland. A long 9+10 hours, with 1+10 hours of actual instruments. A/C 992

16. (282) Berlin, Germany. "Big B" 1129 Hours. 3/18/45. 25, 489 feet. Apparently Greenwood was so shook up after this mission, he forgot to record the bomb load on his bomb tag? Lots of flak, accurate. 4 ME-262's got a few of our boys. They were terrible looking things. Deadly. The 100th lost 4 planes today. Lazzari and Greenwood saw 2 Rapid City classmates go down; Rollie King and Merrill Jensen. Duke Guin's crew, on their last mission went down. Mike Griego, Guin's tail gunner was Greenwood's classmate in Primary Flying school at Thunderbird II, in fact, they had the same flight instructor, Woodrow Kramling. Griego, a Native American from the Taos tribe, lives in New Mexico and is a retired school principal. While on the bomb run, and after the ME-262's shot up the squadron, Lazzari was flying alone, or at least a good distance from the rest of the squadron. Both Lazzari and Greenwood remember that they flew back to Thorpe Abbotts solo. Everyone agrees that this was one of the roughest missions that they flew. The Jensen crew landed in Poland and eventually got back to Thorpe Abbotts. 7+35 hours.  A/C 992

17. (284) Plauen, Germany. 1004 Hours. 3/21/45. 21, 100 feet. 12ea 500 GP"s. Ruhland was primary target. We again hit a factory making ME-262 components. "CENTURY 80MBERS" says that the factory made tank parts. Moderate flak and plenty of ME-Z6Z fighters which attacked us from 6 o'clock; but we fought them off. 7+45 hours. A/C 992

18. (285) Alhorn, Germany. 1148 Hours. 3/22/45. 17740 feet. 38ea 100 pound GP"s. (38 must be in error, we always carried between 5000 and 7000 pounds) Jet air field, good bombing, No flak, no fighters. Shortest mission yet; 5+30 hours.   A/C 992

19. (286) Marburg, Germany. 1405 Hours. 3/23/45. 20, 600 feet. 38ea 100 pound GP"s and 2ea M-17 Incendiaries. This is the most memorable mission that the Lazzari crew flew. This was the first mission that the 100th flew with a 4 squadron 10 plane per squadron formation. Unna, the primary target, was successfully attacked by the first 3 squadrons. The 351st squadron, with Captain Lilinquist as command pilot, Carl Hellerich as lead pilot and Leroy Duncan as lead navagator, was the fourth squadron. (see a copy of the actual Lead Navigator's log) The command pilot decided to bomb the secondary target, Marburg. Immediately after dropping the bombs, the squadron made sharp descending turn to the right. While in the turn, the squadron took at least 3 flak bursts; one hit Larry Guardino, who was flying in the 2nd element, and as the plane fell, his right horizontal stabilizer hit our (Lazzari's) left wing and bent downward, 8 to 10 feet of the wing tip. With the tremendous drag that this damage caused, the Lazzari plane flipped on its back, or nearly on its back, and left the formation in a steep dive to the left. At this point, memories that are 49 years old trigger different pictures of that tense scene. Lazzari said, "I've always second guessed what might have happened had I reacted quicker and helped Gene manuever away from Guardino--but everything happened so fast and we were in such close formation our options were limited. I often regret that I didn't contact Guardino's family after returning to the USA." Greenwood has carried with him for 49 years, the memory of flying the plane at the time of the collision, and postulating many times. The "what if scenario." "What if I had positioned our plane 10 or 20 feet to the right, as Guardino went down, his tail would have missed our left wing tip. However, if I had positioned the plane to the right, then our plane would have taken the flak hit that Jim Lantz took, and since I was on the right side of the plane, I wouldhave been wounded, and not Jim Lantz." Greenwood remembers that instead of rolling the plane back clockwise in order to get the plane up right, he should have let the plane roll on around counter-clockwise and stopped the roll as the plane became straight and level. As the collision occurred, the formation was flying in excess of 150 MPH. In order to keep the plane from rolling to the left, we were forced to fly the plane about 105 MPH back to Thorpe Abbotts, and even at that speed it took both pilot's legs on the right rudder to keep the plane flying straight. By the time they reached home. Each pilot's right leg was stressed numb. Within 3 minutes after the collision, the Lazzari plane was limping along at 105 MPH,  falling further behind the group. The ME-109's were coming in for the kill. Lazzari or Greenwood broke radio silence and called for fighter protection. Someone heard the call for help for in less than 2 or 3 minutes 4 P-51's came in and fought off the attacking ME-109's. The next decision was; shall we not take any chances and land at Brussels, just in case there was more damage to the wing than we could observe. As we flew over friendly territory, Waist Gunner Joe Allen and Tail Gunner Dan O'Connell kept watching the left wing and reported that everything looked normal and if we kept the air speed at about 105, they thought we could make it home. One of them said, "anyway, there's a dance at the Red Cross Club tonight and if we don't get there, some other crew will take over our girls." So, with all this technical and social information and incentives included in the decision-making process, agreed that we could fly on to Thorpe Abbotts; and we did without incident. However, read on! As we approached the air field and reported our battle damage, the tower would not let us land on the long runway 28 but cleared us to land on the short runway 17. As we were on final approach to runway 17 with the "Before Landing Checklist" completed and about 1000 feet north of the runway and about 300 feet altitude, a black B-25 with British RAF markings flew in underneath us with an engine on fire, and crash landed right in front of us. Needless to say, there was only one thing to do and that was to pour the coal to the engines and go around. It was then that the tower cleared us to land on the long operational runway 28. With the bent wing tip comfortably clearing the runway surface by a foot or so, the landing was completed. It should be noted that Master Sergeant Robert Hargrave, our crew chief, with some superb dedicated technical help replaced the left wing outer panel and the Lazzari crew flew it on two missions the very next day. What a feat! What dedication! No doubt, it was performance like this that the ground crews did day after day that allowed the flight crews to hold so much respect for them. We, the flight crews, of the 351st will always be indebted to Captain Bill Carleton, squadron maintenance officer, Master Sergeant Bob Spangler, squadron line chief, and such crew chiefs as Master Sergeant Hargraves, and their men. Flight time for this mission was 7+15 hours.   A/C 992

After the Lazzari crew completed 2 missions on the following day,  Both in A/C 992,  Doc Kinder, after examining their eye balls, decided that 21 missions was enough, so it was arranged to send them to the "FLAK SHACK" It was during cocktails just before the evening meal at the flak shack, that the Bomber pilot and the Fighter pilot feud heated up. A cocky 20 year old Captain fighter pilot spoke, "let me tell you bomber guys just how stupid you are for flying those things, a few days ago when my group was performing escort duty for you guys, we got a radio call about a lone cripple about to be attacked by the ME-Lo9's. When we found him, here he was trying to keep that lumbering hulk of metal flying with his left wing all bent down." Lazzari and I about fainted. Here was the guy who led the flight of 4 P-51's that saved us from certain destruction. Talk about coincidence; this is hardly believable. The story ends with the greatful bomber pilots in possession of a fresh perspective regarding fighter pilots. 

One last story about this very memorable mission. In April 1985, Greenwood realized that it had been 40 years since he did his big thing in life. His son, Bill would graduate from Emory University Medial School in 2 months and Bill had about 10 days of free time. They flew to England, rented a car in Norwich, and found Dickleburg Road and what is now the 100th Bomb Group Museum. And they found Ken Everett, the farmer across Dickleburg Road from the Control Tower Museum. Standing in the Control with Ken Everett and his son Bill, Greenwood asked Ken to point out the two short runways that crossed the main east-west runway. Ken pointed and explained where the runways were back 40 years ago. Then Ken said, "its strange that you should ask that question for it prompts my memory of a good story. I was 14 years old in 1945, and living across the road, I always watched you come back from a raid. One day a crippled Fort came back with battle damage, and he was attempting to land on this short runway, when all of a sudden a British Mitchell Bomber came in underneath the Fort with an engine burning and crash landed on that short runway causing the Fort to go to another runway. Greenwood's son Bill had heard this story many times before, and he couldn't believe that he was hearing it from someone so far removed from his life. I suspect that the reader will have to agree that this mission created some very unusual events and stories. 

20. (287) Steenwijk, Holland. 0923 Hours, 3/24/45. 14, 230 feet. 38ea 150 Pound GP's. No flak, no fighters. Hit an airfield. 4+45 hours. a/c 992

21. (288) Zeigenhain, Germany. 1715 hours. 3/24/45. 14ea 500 pound RDX's. (Second mission this day) Light flak, no fighters. Hit an airfield. Could see the lines on the ground. 7+15 hours. A/C 992

THE CREW SPENT THE NEXT FEW DAYS AT THE FLAK SHACK, RECEIVING THE NECESSARY THERAPY TO GET THEIR SCRAMBLED BRAINS BACK INTO A NORMAL CONFIGURATION! 

The story of the "St. Louie Woman." 

Before a replacement crew could be assigned "their" airplane and therefore be authorized to name it and paint on the "nose art, " survival, longevity, and simple seniority in the squadron had to be established. During the first 15 or so missions, the Lazzari crew flew nearly every plane in the 351st Squadron. It was in 1944 that a B-17G with Studebaker engines made an emergency landing in a Belgian muddy plowed field. After it was repaired, the 351st Bomb Squadron became its new home, and the Lazzari crew could call it their very own. There was some apprehension in the crew why the powers above would give us an airplane that had crash landed, with mud still in the wheel wells and with Studebaker engines. As a child, Lt. Greenwood was taught by his Father to reject anything produced by Studebaker, because their products were inferior and had no dependability, whatsoever. So, how could they possibly make a Wright engine that was any good? So, with all these negative thoughts and reservations, the Lazzari crew flew their B-17G with Studebaker engines on six or seven missions, including the March 23rd Marburg mission where they had the mid-air collision. As it turned out, the plane had four really good engines. They always returned from a mission having consumed less fuel than most of the other planes. Of course the question surfaced, "was this low fuel consumption attributable to the Studebaker engines or surperb power management by the two men in the cock-pit. Lt. Greenwood who didn't trust those engines one bit argued for the latter explanation and life went on without this issue being resolved. After their 21st mission on 24 March, the Lazzari crew went on flak leave, and it was during their vacation from war that another crew flew the muddy Studebaker powered B-17G, and due to battle damage or running out of fuel that they crash landed in the Zuider Zee. The co-pilot on this ill fated mission was a barracks mate, Francis Beedle, Bob Ellis co-pilot. Upon our return from Flack leave, we were assigned a brand new B-17G, fresh from the States. Nice and shinny, with Wright engines, number 48836 with a square "D" on the tail, "H" immediately below and "EP" painted on the sides, the question of a name was again on the table. As Larry recalls 49 years later, none of the crew had any really firm ideas, so he pulled a little rank and named it "ST. LOUIE WOMAN" after his cousin, June Erspaner, who lived in St. Louis. Fate was stepping in here at this moment, so read on. Little did Larry or the crew realize how much this event would help cast Larry's future. Stay tuned in! It was after the war that Larry's cousin, June, visited him and his parents in Washington State. Her travelling companion was her good friend, Mary Dintelman, also of St. Louis. To make a long story short, Larry and Mary were married on 3 April 1948 and eventually had six children. With all this twisting and turning of fate, one could say Larry commenced his temporary association with "THE ST. LOUIE WOMAN" In March 1945-a B-17G Bomber-and then established and continued a permanent association with a "ST LOUIE WOMAN" his wife Mary, for life. 

22. (Z95) Leipzig, Germany. lOZ1 Hours. 4/6/45. 34ea 150 pound GP's and Z M-17 Incendiaries. Contrails made flying a little dangerous today. 10 flak burst 2 miles away. Surprisingly no flak or fighters. 8+45 hours. 

23. (Z96) Buchen, Germany. 132 7 Hours. 4/7/45. 14.880 feet. 6ea 1000 pound RDX's. 2 bursts of accurate flak. We were under fighter attack for 33 minutes; ME-109's. Two planes and crews were lost today. We saw one of them shot down. The picture of 1317 43-33514 on the cover of "CENTURY BOMBER" which, had a ME-109 fly through its tail was piloted by Joe Martin and copiloted by Henry Cervantes. Classmates at Rapid City. We saw the 100th gunners shoot down the ME-109, if fact, it was so close that we saw the ME-109 pilot slump over his stick as our gunner's bullets hit him. "CENTURY BOMBERS" page 196 does not give Martin and Cervantes credit for bringing this plane home. As the fighter collided with Martin's tail, his B-17's nose went up in a 45 degree angle, and I thought that he was going to spin in, but he got the plane stabilized and brought her home. I hope that Martin got the DFC for that performance. We heard later that Martin made the best landing of the day even though he had very little rudder and elevator control. He had to, for if he had not, he probably would not have made it. Mission time was 8+45 hours. 

24. (297) Eger (Cheb), Czechoslovakia, 1287 Hours, 4/8/45, 14, 900 feet, 10ea 500 pound GP's aand a 2500 pound M-17's. Marshalling yards. No flak that was close. Fighters were reported in the area, however, P-51's took care of them. 8+45 hours. 

25. (298) Munich, Germany. R. em Airport, 1659 Hours. 4/9/45. 21, 200 feet. 4ea 1000 pound GP's and 4ea 500 pound M-17's. Intelligence briefing indicated that Hitler was to be at this airport at the time we were to bomb it. at 1659 hours. But, he wasn't there; however, we really creamed the north side of the airport. I saw it later after the war and there was not much left. 9+15 hours. 

26. (299) Burg-bei-Magdeburg, Germany. 1428 hours. 4/10/45. (this is my Mother's birthday and my date of rank as a 1st Lt.) 20, 200 feet. 8ea 500 pound GP's and 4ea M-17's. Intense and accurate flak. ME-262's hit us with vengeance, shooting down 2 of our planes. I found out later that these were the last two losses from the 100th Bomb Group. Larry Lazzari recalls, "The ME-262's came out of dense vapor trails and hit Lt. Bazin, who seemed to explode in a white flash. His plane was on our right side, and broke in two behind the wing, with parts plunging down out of sight. Gene immediately took over the plane doing aerobatics I didn't think a B-17 was capable of doing. Everyone was trying to dodge the cannon fire. 

Heritage and O'Connell claimed 2 kills on this mission. 

1st Lt. John David Gross was a replacement Navigator on Lt. Bazin's crew. For reasons lost during these many years, Lt Gross did not have a permanent crew assignment. He was quartered in our (Lazzari's crew) barracks in the WAF site. After being captured 3 times and escaping 3 times, Gross hid out in the Luftwaffe Research and Development Center's wind tunnel at Braunschweig. Gross was a jeweler, by trade, and was not a violent person, but when asked how he escaped 3 times he said that "sometimes one has to resort to violent and drastic actions." He had lost most of his front teeth as a result of a German soldier hitting him in the face with a rifle butt. Gross had brought out with him numerous photos of Luftwaffe aircraft development. Greenwood has in his wartime collection many of these photos. A few days after the the German surrender, Gross came limping back to Thorpe Abbotts. Greenwood first saw him in the 351st Orderly Room, as Gross was claiming his belongings. They both asked for and received a 3 day pass to go to London. As Greenwood recalls, they went to London, obtained quarters at the Jules Officers Billets, went to a bar, bought theatre tickets, had dinner, then went to see George Black's "STRIKE IT AGAIN" at the Prince of Wales Theatre. Of course they had a box seat. Before the play started there was an orchestra fanfare that would raise your hair on the back of your neck, and 3 or 4 big spot lights stopped on our box. The men controlling the lights soon discovered their error as they observed 2 slightly tipsy American flyers in their spot lights and then moved the lights to the box to our right. There was General Eisenhower, Ike's son John, Kay Summersby, General Bradley, and English General Alexander and his wife. That is when Ike stood up and gave his famous smile and gave his famous speech when he said, " It is a pleasure to be back in a country where I can almost understand the language." Apparently, this was the first time that Ike had been back to England since VE day; the date was about 12 May 1945. Mission flying time was 7+30 hours. 

27. (300) Landshut, Germany. 1257 Hours. 4/11/45. 18, 120 feet. Bomb load unknown. Target was an ordnance depot. No flak, no fighters. Target is near Munich; perfect hit on target. Greenwood also noted on the bomb tag, "I only hope that the next 8 missions are like this one." 8+15 hours. 

28. (301) Royan, France. 1043 Hours. 4/14/45. 19, 500 feet. 6ea 1000 pound GP's 8-2s. Author does not know what a E3-Z is? Target was gun positions in a by-passed German pocket on the French coast. 8+00 hours. 

29. (30Z) Royan, France. 4/15/45. Since the author lost the Bomb tag for this mission, time over target is unknown. However, author recalls that the bomb load consisted of some P-51 wing tanks filled with napalm with an igniting device. Emitting fumes that even penetrated the crew's oxygen masks, the bomb bay doors were opened slightly to allow the fluid napalm to go out into the slip stream. One can conjecture that the personnel responsible for filling these tank did not take into consideration that by filling the tanks to the brim at ground level, the fluid would expand at altitude and over flow. As I recall the tactic of using napalm was to simply burn the Germans from their bunkers. I always wondered why I did not have a bomb tag for this mission; one answer could be that because we were dropping P-51 wing tanks and not conventional bombs, arming pins were not needed or overlooked? Larry Lazzari recalls that the P-51 wing tanks were attached to wires and due to the wires getting tangled some of the bombs malfunctioned. The crew did not know it at the time, but this was their last bombing mission. The mission lasted 8+30 hours. 

The Lazzari crew was alerted for their 30th mission on 21 April 1945 at about 0400 hours. The crew realized that the war was drawing down to an end; however, they went through the tried and proved rituals and procedures that they had completed 29 times before. The target for this mission according to page 199 of "CENTURY BOMBERS was an airport east of Munich which probably was probaly Riem (Landeberg AF). However, page 495 of Roger Freeman's "THE MIGHTY EIGHTH WAR DIARY" indicates the 3rd Air Division went to other targets. In any event, the author does not remember the name of the target. As the 100th was lined up for take-off, two red flares were fired from the control tower indicating that the mission was scrubbed. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief and taxied back to their hard stands. It was about an hour later, as the crew was turning in their flight equipment, that Lt. Greenwood was describing his reservations and apprehensive thoughts that he had prior the mission. Some of the other crew members confessed that they too had the same disconcerting thoughts; that the Lazzari crew was going to be flying into some extremely troubling skies. Jumping up to leave the room and expressing his relief that the mission had been scrubbed, Lt. Greenwood hit his head on one of the half-round structural ribs that held the Quonset Hut together, splitting his scalp open. So with blood all over his head and his clothes, the crew took him to the hospital where a medic sewed him up. The profound irony of this event hit everyone, and of course, a big laugh was had by all. The Lazzari crew had survived 29 missions without a scratch, and on the last scrubbed venture in harm's way ended up with the co-pilot clowning around in the equipment hut and incurring ring injury to G.I. property, namely Greenwood's scalp. This would be the last time that the Lazzari crew would be alerted for a bombing mission. However, there was still work to be done by the 100th' s bomber crews. 

Roger Freeman's MIGHTY EIGHTH WAR DIARY indicates on page 501 and 502 that the 13th Combat Bomb Wing (95th E.G., 100th B.G., and the 390th B.G, ) flew "Chow Hound" missions dropping food to Holland cities on May 1 through 7, 1945. The members of the Lazzari crew do not remember how many or which missions they flew. They know that they flew at least 2, but probably 3 of these "Chow Hound" missions. Lt. Greenwood's Form 5 "Air Force Individual Flight Record" documents that the Lazzari crew flew 4 hours on May 2, 3, 5, and 7. and 3+30 hours on May 6th Therefore, there is a possibility that the Lazzari crew flew 5 of the 7 "Chow Hound" mission. Lt. Greenwood recalls that on one mission to the Amsterdam Schipol Airport that the crew flying in the lower slot complained that his props were churning up the North Sea. The 100th was flying in standard 10 plane formation under a solid ceiling of less that 500 feet. Due to an agreement worked out with the occupying Germans, we were briefed that we had only a one quarter mile land fall on the Dutch coast. And if we varied off course, we were legal game for the German gunners. Fortunately, we had the best of Lead Navigators for we made land fall at precisely the authorized sector of the coast. ¶As we turned north to make our run on the airport, again we were restricted to a corridor one quarter mile wide. Again, I our navigation was without error, but as T/Sgt Richard Heritage and S/Sgt Dan O'Connell reported, the German gunners on the ground were aiming their guns at our planes. Our 50 caliber machine guns were loaded and ready to fire. I am sure that if one German had squeezed of one shot, he would have regretted it. for as we went into trail formation to drop our load of food, there were literally hundreds of B-17 gunners on super alert. We have vivid recollection of the Dutch people running out on the airport to pick up the food. They were 50 eager to get to the food, they threw all caution aside, for if one of the crates or boxes had fallen on one of them it could have killed them. we were briefed that the Germans were starving these people and that the situation was getting desperate; watching them scrambling to get the food confirmed the report. After dropping the food and still on a northerly heading, we flew over some of Amsterdam and there we witnessed a display of gratitude that none of us had ever seen; thousands of Dutch people waving anything they could get their hands on; bed sheets, table cloths and blankets. Being a part of this very humanitarian effort and witnessing the Dutch response was a topic of discussion at the 100th Bomb Group for many days afterward, taking the place of flak, fighters and losses. 

Larry Lazzari recalls the bad weather and our loose formation over the North Sea to land fall on the Dutch coast. He also recalls a German flak gunner who put a few bursts--much closer than a single warning. 

Larry reports that in Skagit Valley, Washington where he lives, he met some Dutch people who survived the near starvation imposed by the Germans, but literally saved by our "Chow Hound" food missions. They told him that the Spam was good and that the bread tasted like cake and that due to good packaging most of he food landed in very good condition. They made it very clear to Larry that the food was always distributed fairly. They remember several food drops. Larry recall is flying only two of these missions.


During the summer of 1945, the 8th Air Force assumed a number of varied support roles. One was converting the B-17 to a transport configuration; not very cost effective, but it worked. The 100th was given the task of moving the 357th Fighter Group to a former Luftwaffe Air Base near Munich. The Lazzari crew flew two of these missions. One mission was transporting Mess Hall equipment; some in the waist; some in the bomb bay. Larry remembers the tremendous devastation to Munich, and after we had lunch somewhere in the center of the city, the Austrian waiter saved all the food scraps. The waiter also showed us a picture of what the building that we were eating in looked like before the bombing. No doubt, Munich had been beautiful city. It was on this trip that Larry and I were wearing baseball caps with a silver bar pinned on the front, sun tan trousers and I don't recall what type of shirt we had on; possibly it was not too regulation? For sure we were not in proper uniform. As we were walking around the city looking at all the damage a very G.I. and proper Military Policeman came up to us, saluted and pointed out to us that we were very much out of uniform and that we should get out of town. We did!

MEMO 2:

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: DATE:  
AIRCRAFT: CAUSE:  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: ROW:  
GRAVE: CEMETERY:  

PHOTOS:

Laurence J. Lazzari Crew
Kneeling L to R: Sgt. Laurence W. Donnelly (BTG), T/Sgt. Robert J. Steele (ROG), 2nd Lt. Charles W. Staiger (NAV)Sgt. Joseph G. Allen.  
Standing L to R: Sgt. Richard H. Heritage (NG/TOG), T/Sgt. Charles A. Weiss (TTE), 2nd Lt. Laurence J. Lazzari (P), 2nd Lt. Guiher G. Greenwood (CP), S/Sgt Daniel J. O'Connell, Jr. (TG).

Kneeling L to R: 2nd Lt. Laurence J. Lazzari (P), 2nd Lt. Guiher G. Greenwood (CP), 2nd Lt. Charles W. Staiger (NAV).  Standing L to R: Sgt. Richard H. Heritage (NG/TOG), T/Sgt Robert Steele (ROG), T/Sgt. Charles A. Weiss (TTE),, S/Sgt Joseph Allen (WG),S/Sgt Lawrence Donnelly (BTG) Sgt. Daniel J. O'Connell, Jr. (TG). 

 

SERVED IN:

Crew 1

ID: 56