Skip to main content
Edit entry 

Charles R Herbst




  • Joseph Booth

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 389th Bomb Group

Show more

Units served with

  • 389th Bomb Group

    389th Bomb Group

    The 389th Bomb Group, known in more familiar terms as "the Sky Scorpions", flew strategic bombing missions in B-24 Liberators from Hethel, England. They also sent detachments to join bases in North Africa at Benghazi No. 10, Libya, between 3 July 1943...

  • 466th Bomb Group

    466th Bomb 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...

  • 489th Bomb Group

    489th Bomb Group

    The 489th Bomb Group flew B-24 Liberators out of Halesworth, Suffolk, for several months from May 1944 until later in the year. The Group flew tactical missions in support of ground forces in northern France. It was in this tactical role that the crews...

  • 492nd Bomb Group (Heavy)

    492nd Bomb Group (Heavy)

    The 492nd Bomb Group were assigned to the 8th Air Force in April 1944. They flew 60 missions over occupied Europe from 11 May 1944 until 7 August 1944. ...

  • 785th Bomb Squadron


Associated Place

  • Attlebridge

    Military site : airfield
    Attlebridge was constructed for RAF use and completed to that standard in 1942. However, with news that it was to be assigned to the American Air Force, the runways were extended and additional hardstandings and outbuildings constructed for the heavy...


Event Location Date
Lived in Hudson County, NJ, USA 1942
Enlisted 16 October 1942
1st combat mission Berlin, Germany 22 March 1944

"We flew our own ship which was christened "Jamaica?", on it's first mission. Everyone was a little scared but curious as to what this first trip was going to be like. Once we got in the air there was a lot to do and not enough time to be scared. The trip up to the I.P was fairly nice even though the temperature was down to -45C. When we turned on the I.P. contrails developed and broke up the formation, making it plenty dangerous because planes were going in all directions and dropping bombs at the same time. We dropped our incendiaries on what we thought was our lead ship and turned for home. We saw plenty of flak right over the target but the contrails and the excitement took all our worries over that away. The Luftwaffe must have had a big party the night before as none of them showed up, even at that time of day, which was Noon. I saw our first losses go down when two ships from our group collided on the bomb run. We tacked onto a formation which really had a good leader, because he navigated us around all the flak areas on the way out. I asw only a corner of the town through the clouds and that was enough. There was no damage to the ship and nothing mechanically wrong with it." - From Charles Herbst's diary

2nd Combat Mission 52100 Saint-Dizier, France 24 March 1944

"I guess this was my birthday present from the Army as it really was a "milk run." The ship really is OK as again she flew a mission with no trouble at all. It was a beautiful day over France and I got my first look at Paris. The target was an airfield on which we did a good job. We were lost for awhile when the leader couldn't find the target. Nobody was mad at us this day for neither the Luftwaffe or flak gunners challenged us. If they could all be like this, it would be a good sight-seeing trip."

7th Combat Mission Lechfeld, 86836 Graben, Germany 13 April 1944

"Back with the old girl (Jamaica?) to another airfield in southern Germany. Seems like they have been the main objective of our missions lately. They say it is the war against the Luftwaffe to knock it out of the skies before our invasion of the continent. They are making parts at this place for some of the German fighter planes. We flew good formation, the complete trip which is something for our outfit. We made a pretty good bomb run and from the photos it would appear they will need plenty of repairs before using that plant again. The Jerries didn't put up a fight at all, not that we will complain, but it was a dull trip."

9th Combat Mission Osnabrück, Germany 7 May 1944

"We were supposed to go back to Brunswick but because of the weather we turned back a little short and hit this industrial city instead. IF was a large railroad center and made parts for the Panzer divisions. When the navigator told us where we were headed we expected a lot of flak. The target turned out to be fairly easy. Maybe we caught them with their pants down by changing the target at the last minute. Seems it is getting to be a habit to come into this area of Germany."

10th Combat Mission Brunswick, Germany 8 May 1944

"Going back to that city again, but not for the airfield this time, but some heavy industry on the other side of town. We never got to the target because of trouble with the #1 engine. The prop ran away, so we had to feather it. We tried to keep up in formation but the old girl just couldn't take it with a full load of bombs. We finally had to turn back by ourselves. All of us had to be twice as alert for this is what the Jerries look for as lone aircraft are usually easy meat. When we landed back at the base we found something had cut the prop governor line."

11th Combat Mission Tutow, Germany 13 May 1944

The old girl is alright again after four days rest and an overhaul of that prop and engine. We are going way up on the Baltic Sea for one of the longest trips we have made so far. They are making parts up there for fighter planes, so up we go to disturb production. It was a long trip, mostly over water. We went across the North Sea, crossed the Danish peninsula and then to our target across the Baltic. We could see Sweden and all the Baltic islands. The bomb run went off alright and we had no trouble at all from the Nazis. Our escort gave us a scare when they came rushing up like the Jerries usually do. There certainly was a lot of sweating until they got in range and we could identify them!

12th Combat Mission Brunswick, Germany 19 May 1944

"Well this is the third or fourth time this month we have been briefed for this town. They really must want to wipe it out! The day was clear as a bell over the continent and Jerry greeted us right at the coast with 40-50 bursts of ack ack. This made us a little jumpy, but it did no damage. On the bomb run we met the same accurate flak, but not as much of it as on previous visits. The leader of our fighter escort reported bandits in the area. After bombs away on our way home the lead squadron started making contrails which cut our overhead visibility down to about 500 feet. The pilot spotted four Jerries as they dived through the contrail to attack, but before he could war us they had completed their pass and were past us. They continued diving down and out of range. Most of us didn't even fire a shot. We were hit by three 20mm explosive shells and one 37mm shell. This was the first time the old girl had been hit really hard. The 37mm hit the left rudder and leading edge exploding as it exited the side. The rudder was all bulged out and shed rivets all the way home. The 20mm shells came through the top of the fuselage and hit three oxygen bottles where they exploded. This gave the boys in the waist a hot time for a while. The other 20mm passed through the arc of the #4 propeller which cut its fuse out and saved us. It did slice through the side of the auxillary fuel tank and came to rest inside. The tank didn't leak a drop. We got back okay but sweated out the rudder as we were sure it would hold together."


Date Contributor Update
26 December 2016 00:17:31 466thHistorian Changes to events

Combat Diary of Charles B. Herbst - 466th BG Archives

Date Contributor Update
02 May 2016 00:25:06 466thHistorian Changes to events

War Diary of Charles Herbst

Date Contributor Update
02 May 2016 00:24:23 466thHistorian Changes to events

War Diary of Charles Herbst

Date Contributor Update
01 May 2016 01:59:54 466thHistorian Changes to service number, highest rank and events

466th BG Archives

Date Contributor Update
09 March 2015 14:19:03 466thHistorian Changes to role, person associations, unit associations, place associations and aircraft associations

466th BG Historian

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:05:55 AAM AAM ingest

389th BG Roster / Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia