Theodore V Harwood

media-41375.jpeg UPL 41375 456th BS Reunion.

L - T ________, ________, Theodore V Harwood, George Commendor, ArthurPakula. Lt. Arthur J. Pakula

Connected photo to Ted Harwood.


Object Number - UPL 41375 - 456th BS Reunion. L - T ________, ________, Theodore V Harwood, George Commendor, ArthurPakula.

Ted joined the 323rd BG in Beaulieu, England on August 13, 1944 and flew his first mission on August 13/14, 1944 to Foret de House Bivouc and an Airdrome. It was a night mission, described by the combat crews as "creepy", "the worst". Of it, Ted said,

"Our first mission was extremely adventuresome. I will remember this me rest of my life. I walked out to the flight line and looked at all the different aircraft parked in the darkness. There were no heavy bombers, but I remember other bombers; Night fighter P70, all black with radar and Douglas A20's for night bombing raids. Just prior to the first mission, a French lady gave us a lesson in the French language, basic phrases. The first phrase that we learned and memorized was "I am an American" ("Je suis Americain") and the second phrase "I am wounded" ("Je suis Blesse"). Before every mission the entire craft had to be inspected thoroughly for any possible mechanical problem. This pre-flight inspection was done systematically and by the book, so as to protect the lives of each member of the crew. The list was huge, from hydraulics to tire pressure.

"The take off was to be over the harbor, in the English Channel. It was pitch-black darkness, there was a "black out". The harbor was blockaded by immense barrage balloons floating and suspended by large steel cables. The German planes would fly in and shear their wings off on the balloon cables. The British would lower the barrage balloons to let our planes fly out. After our entire group was out, the balloons were allowed to float up again. When we took off, we took off at 20-second intervals. The anticipation to be the plane thundering down the darkened runway was an exciting experience. We flew at 20-second intervals at a designated fixed air speed toward the target. The first mission was flown at night so the usual evasive type flying patterns were unnecessary. The pathfinder ship would locate the target and drop a flare at the "IP" (Initial Point) and a flare on the target. At the "IP" the bombardier took over the controls and flies the plane with the bombsite until over the target area. When over the target area, every third plane flies at an altitude variation of 1000 feet, no formation or flight leader. The altitude variation was to prevent mid air collision during flight. So it was 1000 feet altitude variations and 20 second intervals. We were flying in the dark, and with radio silence. We were flying with our instruments with only small ultraviolet lamps over the instruments. It was so dark you could not see the other planes, even inside your own plane. The only visible light was the "IP" flare, target flare, and the distant, mute flash of our bombs exploding on the ground far below. After the bombardier yells, "Bombs away", the pilot regains control of the plane from the bombardier. The pilot returns the plane to the base. While on the return flight back to base we passed over the Island of Guernsey. The island was still heavily fortified and as we crossed over, an aerial flare exploded with massive flash. The entire sky lit up and the Marauders were like huge silhouettes in the sky. The aerial flare was so bright it nearly blinded us. Almost simultaneously, the German artillery opened fire on our position with 88-millimeter anti-aircraft guns. They sky was still lit up, so we could not see the flash of the immense cannons below. As the flare faded, you could see the heavy contrast of the brightly exploding flak projectiles against the pitch darkness of the night. After a time, the incoming artillery fell away behind our aircraft and we came in and all landed safely with no injuries or battle damage reported. I slept well that night.

"We eventually got orders to move from Beaulieu, England to an airfield in France. The French airfield was "A-20" on the Cherbourg Peninsula. Just before we crossed over to France we left a lot of excess stuff behind. I scrounged up a short coat to sleep in. The ground crews went across the channel in boats. The ground people got around on bicycle and they were not allowed to take their bikes on the boats so they begged us to fly their bikes over the channel for them, so we put them in the bomb bay and flew them across. When we landed, it was on a newly made landing field. The landing field was made of those large perforated steel plates attached to the ground with huge, long staples. The ground crew had problems because the staple edges worked loose and were really chewing up our tires.

"We arrived at "A-20" (The hedge rows) a couple months after the invasion Of June 6th. The troops had gone through but there were still dead bloated cows and horses all over the place. The hedgerows were boulders, from the fields, stacked with bushes on them. Two guys went out m the hedgerows scrounging and blew their hands off with grenades that had been left behind from the battle. One morning I heard a huge explosion. I looked to see a tire and wheel 60 feet up in the air. A truck hit a mine, it also blew the guys' leg off.

"From "A-20" we bombed the giant Nazi submarine base at Brest. We bombed Brest four times and on the return home from one of the missions, we could see one of the Nazi subs that had broken away and was trailing water. We would have probably attacked the sub but we could not break formation.

"Between missions we went out scrounging around. We found some dead G.I.'s. The dead guys were bloated up like huge balloons. They still had morphine syringes stuck in their lifeless arms, left there, as they died in pain. We reported the dead to grave registration units. There was also dead German guys lying about. It was quite macabre.

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Units served with

Private First Class Barbara O'Brien of the Womens Army Corps, paints the nose of a B-26 Marauder (YU-Y. serial number 41-34982) nicknamed "Jolly Roger" of the 323rd Bomb Group. Image stamped on reverse: 'Associated Press.' [stamp], 'Passed for Publcation 4 Dec 1943.' [stamp] and '295589.' [Censor no.] Printed caption on reverse: 'W.A.C.S. on duty at a Bomber Station. Associated Press Photo shows:- Pfc: Barbara O'Brien painting the Jolly Roger on the nose of a Marauder with the crew looking on.'
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force Ninth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment


  • Aircraft Type: B-26 Marauder
  • Nicknames: The Gremlin II
  • Unit: 323rd Bomb Squadron 456th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-26 Marauder
  • Nicknames: City of Sherman
  • Unit: 323rd Bomb Group 456th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-26 Marauder
  • Nicknames: Weary Willie, Jr.
  • Unit: 323rd Bomb Group 456th Bomb Squadron
The nose art of a B-26 Marauder nicknamed "Hell's Belle" of the 453rd Bomb Squadron, 323rd Bomb Group Handwritten caption on reverse: 'Appears to be 453BS/323BG although Hell's Belle is 386 name. AFM.'
  • Aircraft Type: B-26 Marauder
  • Nicknames: Hell's Belle
  • Unit: 456th Bomb Squadron
Ground personnel of the 323rd Bomb Group tow a B-26 Marauder (serial number 41-34969) nicknamed "Crew 13". Image via G Spradling. Written on duplicate slide: 'Single engine return, Laon, France, Dec 1944.'
  • Aircraft Type: B-26 Marauder
  • Nicknames: Crew 13
  • Unit: 323rd Bomb Group 456th Bomb Squadron



Date26 Jan 2020 20:11:07
ChangesCreated entry with surname, middlename, firstname, nickname, nationality, highest rank, role, biography, unit associations and place associations


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