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698

2 November 1944

Official description

Not yet known

Description

Not yet known

Mission details

1.

Description

Not yet known

Aircraft type

Not yet known

Notes

Not yet known

Mission Statistics

2.

Description

BOMB TARGETS OF OPPORTUNITY

Aircraft type

Not yet known

Notes

Not yet known

Mission Statistics

3. BIELEFELD

Description

BRIDGE

Aircraft type

Not yet known

Notes

Not yet known

Mission Statistics

4. BIELEFELD

Description

INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

Aircraft type

Not yet known

Notes

Not yet known

Mission Statistics

5. BIELEFELD

Description

MARSHALLING YARDS

Aircraft type

Not yet known

Notes

Not yet known

Mission Statistics

6. CASTROP/RAUXEL

Description

OIL REFINERY

Aircraft type

Not yet known

Notes

Not yet known

Units

  • 466th Bomb Group

    466th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 466th Bomb Group flew B-24 Liberators from Attlebridge, Norfolk, during the last year of the war in Europe. The Group flew 232 missions in the course of the year and celebrated the 100th one by inviting local people onto the base to mark the...

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 45.5
Number of aircraft Sent 29
Number of aircraft Effective 27
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 0
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 0
Number of aircraft Damaged 3
Number of people Killed In Action 0
Number of people Wounded in Action 0
Number of people Missing In Action 0
Number of people Evaded 0
Number of people Prisoners of War 0
Number of people Died in Captivity 0
Number of people Interned 0

7. HALLE

Description

BOMB TARGETS OF OPPORTUNITY

Aircraft type

Not yet known

Notes

Not yet known

Mission Statistics

8. MERSEBURG/LEUNA

Description

OIL REFINERY

Aircraft type

Not yet known

Notes

2nd Lt. Robert E. Femoyer, 711th BS/447th Bomb Group (Navigator) is awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor during this action. This is the twelfth CMOH awarded to a member of the 8th Air Force.

Mission Statistics

9. MERSEBURG/LEUNA

Description

OIL REFINERY

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

An estimated 500 Luftwaffe fighters meet the bomber stream at Merseburg. The 9th AF provides the fighter escort for this mission. They supply 31 of 34 P-38s and 433 of 483 P-51s. These fighters claim 46-3-10 in the air and 25-0-0 on the ground. 8 P-51s are lost and the pilots are MIA

457th BG MISSION NO 143: MERSEBERG, GERMANY, 2 NOVEMBER 1944
In an attack which cost the Group nine aircraft lost to enemy fighters, the 457th's target was the high priority synthetic Leuna oil plant at Merseburg. It would mark the fiercest battle the Group engaged with the Luftwaffe. Major Peresich was Air Commander and Lt. Seesenguth was pilot. The Eighth Air Force committed 1,000 bombers to the bombing of German oil refineries.
Route over England, and the Division assembly line, were flown as briefed, on time and on course. The route over enemy territory was flown approximately as briefed until the next to the last turn before the briefed IP, when the Group deviated north of course. The IP was reached about 30 to 35 miles north of briefed course.

Ten tenths cloud coverage made it necessary to bomb by PFF. The bombs were released in the vicinity of Bernberg, approximately 35 miles north of Merseburg. After the BRL, a turn was made to the right. Shortly afterward, the Group headed southwest in order to close with other groups of the Division. About 15 minutes after bombs away, the formation was attacked by approximately 40 enemy aircraft, mostly FW-l 90s.
The enemy attacked the low box in closely spaced waves of 10 abreast, pressed the attacks to within 100 yards and then broke away in all directions. They were reforming for a second tail attack when P-51s intervened. In a ten minute air battle, the sky over the area became an inferno of falling, burning planes. Seven Forts were shot down from this squadron. Two more were brought down, one each from the lead and high squadrons.

The aircraft piloted by Lt. William J. Murdock, flying No. 1 position of the high element of the lead squadron, was hit by enemy aircraft in the tail and No. 3 engine, which caught fire. The aircraft stayed in fomration several minutes. Fire was observed coming out of the radio room and under the aircraft after the aircraft peeled off. The craft exploded at 25,000 feet. Three crew members lost their lives.

The aircraft piloted by Lt. Gordon E. Gallagher, flying No. 3 position in the high element of the high squadron, was hit by enemy aircraft fire and peeled off with an engine and the entire right wing on fire. Twenty millimeter shells hit outside the No. 4 engine near the gas tank and slashed a hole on top of the wing and through the bottom. The craft pulled up and peeled off to the right over the No.2 craft. After peeling off it went into a dive. Five crew members lost their lives.

The aircraft piloted by Lt. William A. Dawson, flying lead of the low squadron, was hit by enemy fire. It caught fire in the No.2 and No.3 engines, peeled off to the left and flew straight and level for about five minutes. It zoomed, then dove, pulled out at about 25,000 feet and then exploded. One crew member lost his life.

The aircraft piloted by Lt. Kenneth E, Guptell, flying No. 2 position in the high element of the low squadron, was hit by enemy fire and the No. I engine caught fire. The craft appeared under control as it peeled off, then leveled off heading north. The crew successfully parachuted and were taken as prisoners of war.
The aircraft piloted by Lt. Samuel H. Schimel, flying No. 3 position in the low element of the low squadron, was hit by enemy aircraft and peeled off to the left flying straight and level. The craft crashed near Ziegel rode, Germany. Three crew members lost their lives.

The aircraft piloted by Lt. Earl M. Morow, flying No. 2 Position in the low element of the low box, was hit by enemy fire in the No. 3 engine and caught fire, and a short while later another hit caught another engine on fire. Almost simultaneously with the bail out signal, the ship exploded. Three crew members did not survive.

The aircraft piloted by Lt. Graeme L. Bow, flying No. 1 position in the low element of the low squadron, was hit by enemy fire on the first pass. The hits caused a fire on the wing, that began to spread to the bomb bay. The bail out signal was given, the crew jumped just before the craft exploded. Five crew members, including Lt. Bow, did not survive.

(Compiler Note: Apparently a piece of flak hit Lt. Bow's craft before the enemy aircraft fire hit.)

The aircraft piloted by Lt. James B. Comher, flying No. 2 position in the low element of the lowsquadron, was hit by enemy fire. The craft crashed near Leimbach, Germany. Seven crew members did not survive.

The aircraft piloted by Lt. Bruce F. Harrison, flying No. 6 position of the low element of the low squadron, was hit by enemy fire. The craft crashed near Nebra, Germany. Two crew members did not survive.

In addition, four other planes suffered major battle damage and five minor damage.

(Compilers Note: Six of the craft were from the 751st Squadron and three from the 750th.)

After the mission, one crewman said it was almost a silent, eerie feeling over the target area, as if an omen as to what was to come. He stated it was one of the very few missions he experienced flak and fighters simultaneously.
For the day, the gunners were credited with eight enemy aircraft destroyed, eleven damaged and nineteen probably destroyed.
(Compiler Note: Roland Byers details the mission in "Flak Dodger".)
(Ed. Note: There is also an account of the mission in DEAD ENGINE KIDS)

Sgt. Jack Scarborough, top turret gunner on the craft piloted by Lt. Emest T. Salzer, recalls the last words said in the briefing room, "Watch out for enemy fighters ". Sgt. Scarborough continued, "The assembly and the trip over were as usual and everything looked okay, until we noticed that there was only light flak over the target. You could just sense that trouble was brewing. On the bomb run everything went well and our fighter escort was with us. Just after bombs away, enemy jet propelled planes appeared in a big group at nine o'clock high. At that time I was cranking up the bomb bay doors. Hearing the report coming over the interphone, 'Bandits at nine o'clock high', just as I finished, I quickly retumed to my turret. At that time, enemy fighters were called out at eight o'clock level and high, sliding toward the tail. I was watching the dog fight at nine o'clock. Then as the jets led our escorts away, I
glanced towards the tail and saw a company front of about 15 to 20 enemy planes coming in high from about 5 to 7 o'clock, with another front just behind them about level. The planes were identified as Focke Wolfe 190s.
"I picked one out at five o'clock high, the tail gunner had one picked for himself at about six o'clock and the ball turret picked one out of the third wave, the only wave in his view.
"The first two waves came in wiping out most of our box, but most of them were also wiped out. The plane I was shooting at went over our tail and tore off his left wing on the vertical stabilizer of our left wing man. I saw that our left wing man was on fire behind his number three engine and that he had begun to peel off. I swung my guns back to five o'clock again as the pilot using evasive action, dropped the plane about 25 to 50 feet, leaving the FW-190s shooting over us at the spot that we had just vacated.
"The next plane that I fired at went over the top of us and straight down in front of our nose. 'There's one for you, Stef,' (Lt. William H. Steffen, the bombardier), I called over the interphone and the bombardier poured lead into him as he went down in flames. At about that time, five FW-l90s were falling around us as the third and last wave started to come in. They were more broken up than the first two waves, because some of them were picking out the straggling forts as they fell in flames.
"Our low box now consisted of only two forts. The rest were scattered all over the sky. I could hear the ball turret gunner firing away. I started firing at the one at five, and the radio gunner was also firing at him. He started to smoke as he fell off our right wing, and down under our belly he burst into flames.The other one lost his prop and blew up about 25 feet from our tail. "It was over! What had seemed like hours, had been only between 3 and 5 minutes. Nine of our Forts did not come back, but we took our toll of the FW-190s. We are sure of the planes credited to us and know that many of the gunners on the unlucky Forts took their toll of enemy planes with them. The other boxes had their share of kills too.
"It is a great satisfaction to have been able to help reduce the striking powers of the Luftwaffe. Our crew worked like a clock, due to our other rough missions together, but actually the good Lord rode with us and protected us." Sgt. Bernard F. Sitek reported:
"Everything happened pretty fast that day, as it usually does when the Germans offer any opposition. "We had been off the bomb run about 10 minutes when vapor trails from fighters started to fill the sky. 'Friendly or enemy aircraft?' was the question in everyone's mind. But we soon learned the answer. There were FW-190s and Me-109s forming for one of those wolf-pack attacks.
"At first, it appeared they were on the same level as our box, but as they came closer, they lowered themselves for an attack on the low and lead boxes. Every one of them followed his course except the leader who must have liked the looks of one of the planes in our box.
"I got my sights on him from about 600 or 700 yards as he made his attack from 7 o'clock. I could almost see the bullets hit home. As he got closer I could feel his 20mm burst around me. At about 200 yards he seemed to stop dead. The ship rolled over and the pilot came out. A second later the plane burst into flames and broke into several pieces. The pilot did not wait long to open his chute, as I could see a chute open not too far beneath me. The chute attracted my attention because of the peculiar color.
"Other gunners had quite a day, too, as I could see several other enemy aircraft burning and explodingbeneath me."

Sgt. Brooks H. Eastes, tail gunner for the craft piloted by Lt. Carl P. Sundbaum, flying deputy lead in the high box reported: "We had already hit the target and started for home. At 6 o'clock, I could see a lot of planes coming our way. At first I could not tell if they were fighters or bombers. As they came closer, I knew they were fighters and coming our way. I called out over the interphone, 'Fighters at 6 o'clock low to level'. I then called up the lower ball and told him to watch them because I had never seen our escort come in that way and so many planes together. I also called the top turret, but his interphone was out and so was the pilot's. Just as they came close enough for me to tell were enemy planes the copilot cut off interphone us there bandits in area by this time fighters attacking lead and low box i saw two B-17s go down then up get first me-109 started tracking him he from about 8 o'clock on level with shot a short burst at when was 7 but had stop moved behind b-17 over 6 opened again never let triggers until his engine burning pulled if going back now 5 way it looked went into high speed stall watched one of wings knew gone.
"I do not know much more about the fight because I was too busy with that one ship. I did see several more enemy planes firing at our squadron and saw one of our B-I 7s go down.
"When the 109 was firing, it looked as though the leading edge of his wing was all ablaze. After the mission, the ball gunner (Sgt. Ed J. Zeitz), told me that he had seen the wing come off the plane just as I called up that I had knocked one down."

(Compiler's note: These gunners' accounts were taken from the 457th records).

Units

  • 1st Bomb Division

    1st Bomb Division

    Division
    The groups under the command of the 1st Bomb Wing came under the command of the 1st Bomb Division in August 1943. In December 1944, the Division was redesginated the 1st Air Division.

  • 457th Bomb Group

    457th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 457th Bomb Group began combat operations during the Big Week of 20-25 February when American bombers carried out concentrated raids against German aircraft bases, factories and assembly plants. The air crews' targets on that first mission were...

Mission Statistics

10. RHEINE

Description

MARSHALLING YARDS

Aircraft type

Not yet known

Notes

Not yet known

Mission Statistics

11. STERKRADE

Description

OIL REFINERY

Aircraft type

Not yet known

Notes

Not yet known

Mission Statistics

12. WOLFENBUTTEL

Description

BOMB TARGETS OF OPPORTUNITY

Aircraft type

Not yet known

Notes

Not yet known

Mission Statistics

Service

People

  • Harold Adams

    Military | Technical Sergeant | MOS 757 - Radio Operator / Mechanic / Gunner, AAF | 384th Bomb Group

  • Michael Alba

    Military | Captain | Fighter Pilot | 339th Fighter Group
    Born in Pasadena, California, Michael Alba grew up in Simi Valley where his family worked in the orchards. He was a 1937 teammate of future baseball star Jackie Robinson at the Pasadena City College, practicing on Catalina Island with the Cubs team....

  • Vernon Alexander

    Military | Captain | Pilot | 493rd Bomb Group
    Gayle flew with the 493rd Bomb Group, based at Debach in Suffolk. A native of Kentucky, he flew both B-24 and B-17 bombers in combat. He and his crew named their B-24 ‘Kentucky Kloudhopper’. On his 19th mission, a raid against Merseberg, his B-17 was...

  • Robert Applin

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 466th Bomb Group
    Our pilot, Bob Applin, was a natural leader and an excellent pilot. - Barky Hovsepian, R/O Complete a 35 mission tour

  • John Askins

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    First Lieutenant John Askins was a pilot with the 91st Bomb Group (Bassingbourn), flying B-17 44-6093. Askins was shot down over Westeroden and taken prisoner on November 2 1944 and interred in Stalag Luft VIIA. ...

  • George Asprocolas

    Military | First Lieutenant | Bombardier | 95th Bomb Group

  • Robert Atkins

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 453rd Bomb Group
    Robert Atkins served as a tail gunner with the 733rd Bomb Squadron of the 453rd Bomb Group, flying missions out of Old Buckenham, England.

  • Dale Avers

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 95th Bomb Group

  • Alvin Bader

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Spot Jammer / Voice Interceptor | 303rd Bomb Group
    Assigned to 359BS, 303BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Sterkrade, Germany in B-17 42-97781 'Eight Ball III'. Shot down 2-Nov-44 Killed in Action (KIA). MACR 10151 Awards: AM (3OLC), PH.

  • George Baker

    Military | Captain | Fighter Pilot | 359th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 368FS, 359FG, 8AF USAAF. Completed tour. Credited with 4.5 aerial kills, 1 x probable and a ground kill. Awards: WWII Victory, EAME.

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Aircraft

  • 42-107047 The Doodle Bug

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Tulsa 6/2/44; Grenier 3/3/44; Assigned 334BS/95BG [BG-M] Horham 17/3/44; with R.V. Mercer force landed Framlingham AFB 25/12/44 with engine failure; battle damaged Berlin 3/2/45 with H. Palmer; force landed Charleroi, Bel; 97m, repaired & ret...

  • 42-107062 Worry Bird/Miss Bea Haven

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 9/2/44; Rapid City 2/3/44; Dow Fd 3/4/44; Assigned 398BG Nuthampstead 25/4/44; no ops, transferred 562BS/388BG Knettishall 29/4/44 WORRY BIRD; Returned to the USA Bradley 8/6/45; 4168 Base Unit, South Plains, Texas 29/11/45;...

  • 42-97234 Bomber Dear

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 9/2/44; Gr Island 27/2/44; Grenier 20/3/44; ...

  • 42-97760

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 16/2/44; 1SAG Langley 12/3/44; Dow Fd 29/5/44; Assigned 562BS/388BG Knettishall 31/5/44; Salvaged 9AF Germany 11/1/46.

  • 42-97781 'Eight Ball III'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 24/2/44; Denver 3/3/44; Gr Island 312/3/44; Dow Fd 28/4/44; Assigned 359BS/303BG [BN-O] Molesworth 12/5/44; Missing in Action Sterkrade, Ger 2/11/44 with Jack Davis, Don Kohlstedt, Vernon Hellesvig, Nino Guiciardi, Dave Bloom, Rex...

  • 43-37917 Pauline

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered to Cheyenne 5/6/44; Kearney 18/6/44; Grenier 30/6/44; Assigned to the 545BS/384BG, squadron code JD-B, Grafton Underwood on 17/7/44; transferred with the group to Istres, France for passenger duties (Project Green); Salvaged 31/12/45. PAULINE...

  • 43-38617 New York Express

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 24/8/44; Hunter 7/9/44; Dow Fd 18/9/44; Assigned 336BS/95BG [ET-Q] Horham 19/9/44; with W.N. Dunwoody force landed Raydon afb, Suffolk 10/1/45; 80m, Returned to the USA Bradley 24/6/45; 4168 Base Unit, South Plains, Texas 28/6/45;...

  • 44-6583 Cadet Nurse

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Lincoln 16/9/44; Dow Fd 2/10/44; Assigned 336BS/95BG [ET-Y] Horham 13/10/44; battle damaged Nurnberg 20/2/45 with R. Lee Young, #2 feathered, crash landed near A-78 AF Florennes, Bel; 9RTD; 39m, sal 28/2/45. CADET NURSE.

  • 44-8144 Hell's Belle

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Dallas 27/6/44; Langley 27/7/44; Dow Fd 4/8/44; Assigned 335BS/95BG [OE-O] Horham 10/8/44; 336BS [ET-O], then 412BS [GW-O]; with W.V. Owen force landed Framlingham afb, Sfk 25/12/44; battle damaged Hamburg 30/3/45 with E.R. Parrish[wia];...

  • 44-8208 "My Baby II"

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Dallas 11/7/44; Langley 4/8/44; Dow Fd 12/9/44; Assigned 322BS/91BG [LG-Q] Bassingbourn 4/10/44. Missing in Action Merseburg 2 November 1944 with Pilot Captain Roy A. Hammer; Co-Pilot Oron E. Harper; Navigator Michael (Raphael ?) Czepkiewicz;...

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Revisions

Date Contributor Update
21 April 2020 00:18:57 466thHistorian Changes to person associations and aircraft associations
Sources

466th BG Archives - Report on Mission No 135 - Castrop-Rauxel, Germany 2 November 1944
NARA Research provided by Brad Sullivan

Date Contributor Update
21 April 2020 00:02:00 466thHistorian Changes to event
Sources

466th BG Archives - Report on Mission No. 135 Castrop-Rauxel, 2 November 1944

Date Contributor Update
22 April 2015 16:46:28 general ira snapsorter Changes to event
Sources

Mission details added courtesy of Diane Elizabeth Reese from 457th Bomb Group Mission Documents.

Date Contributor Update
22 April 2015 16:17:30 general ira snapsorter Created event
Sources

Mission details added courtesy of Diane Elizabeth Reese from 457th Bomb Group Mission Documents.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:43:08 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Lee Cunningham, 8th Air Force missions research database / Stan Bishop's 'Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces', the Combat Chronology of the US Army Air Forces and the work of Roger Freeman including the 'Mighty Eighth War Diary'.

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