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Robert W Horton

Military

Killed in Action (KIA) while on TDY to the 9th AF during the Ploesti Raid, flying the B-24, 'Sand-witch' (42-40735).

Service

People

  • Chris Christensen

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot, Co-Pilot; Pilot | 453rd Bomb Group
    Shot down on 9th mission, 9 May 1944 in B-24 #42-52186, Prisoner of War (POW). AM/ PH/ POW

  • Jack Dieterle

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Pilot | 389th Bomb Group
    After completing his training as a bomber pilot at Biggs Field in Texas, his squadron, the 566ᵀᴴ BS of the 389ᵀᴴ BG, was established at Hethel Field in Norwich early in 1943. ...

  • James Lambert

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 389th Bomb Group
    Killed in Action (KIA) while on TDY to 9thAF for Ploesti Raid in B-24 'Sand-witch' 42-40735.

  • Melvin Neef

    Military | Lieutenant | Pilot | 389th Bomb Group
    Prisoner of War (POW) while on TDY to 9th AF for Ploesti raid on 8/1/43 in B-24 'Boomerang' 42-40115.

Show more

Units served with

  • 389th Bomb Group

    389th Bomb Group

    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...

  • 566th Bomb Squadron

    566th Bomb Squadron

    Squadron
    Constituted 566th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 19 Dec. 1942. Activated on 24 Dec. 1942. Inactivated on 13 Sept. 1945. Campaigns: Air Offensive, Europe; Sicily; Naples-Foggia; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe; Air...

Aircraft

  • 42-40735 'Sand Witch'

    B-24 Liberator
    Pilot 1/Lt Horton, Robert W. KIA, Co-Pilot 2/Lt Hull, Charles T. KIA ...

Missions

  • Operation Tidal Wave

    1 August 1943
    Operation TIDAL WAVE. B24D Liberators attack the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania. The bombers flew low to avoid radar detection and dropped time delayed bombs. Out of the 177 B-24s that took part in the raid 167 managed to attack their targets. 57 B...

Associated Place

  • Berca

    Military site : airfield

Events

Event Location Date
Born Indiana 16 January 1923

His parents were Norval C. Horton (1895–1963), and Marie A. (Gruber) Horton (1892–1967).

The Crash of Horton's Plane 1 August 1843

Chris Christensen, a pilot from 389th BG, tells us what he witnessed during the Ploesti raid:

"The airplanes going straight in were getting hit. The Hughes airplane (J), third directly ahead of us was on fire but kept going and dropped its bombs into the target. Horton's airplane (C-) directly ahead was getting hit after he released his bombs as he made a slight correction to the right to avoid smoke and flames. Bill Nading and I looked at each other and I concurred by a hand gesture with him to go through the smoke and flames. We were flying at an altitude about half way up the height of the chimney of the power plant, the target of the lead airplanes in each element. Our bombardier released the bombs and we zipped through the smoke and flames. We could see the flash from the barrels of guns shooting at us from pointblank range, but Blonds Away continued to fly normally. I assumed we were getting hit but could not detect any damage. Our tail gunner, Joe Fussi, reported that the tail turret had failed and he was trying to repair it. (Later examination showed this to be an equipment failure unrelated to the combat.) We crossed the village of Campina flying just above the roofs of the houses. We could see Mooney's airplane (R-) wobbling along and we were trying to move into a tight formation with it. We caught up with Horton's airplane (C-) which appeared to be in bad shape with a major fire in the fuselage. Just as we were even with it, perhaps fifty feet higher and one hundred feet to the left, the airplane hit the vertical bank of a stream bed just beyond the village. The airplane crumpled into a fireball. It did not appear that anyone could survive this crash, but a few months later we learned the top turret gunner survived."

DSC Citation 1943

Headquarters, Ninth U.S. Army Air Force, General Orders No. 89 (1943)

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to First Lieutenant (Air Corps) Robert W. Horton (ASN: 0-736522), United States Army Air Forces, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as Pilot of a B-24 Heavy Bomber in the 566th Bombardment Squadron, 389th Bombardment Group (H), NINTH Air Force (Attached), while participating in a bombing mission on 1 August 1943, against the Ploesti Oil Refineries in Rumania. During a long and hazardous attack against a vital enemy oil installation made at low-altitude by a formation of B-24 type aircraft, First Lieutenant Horton was Pilot of a B-24 bomber assigned to drop bombs on the refineries. Flying in at an altitude of about 200 feet, Lieutenant Horton pierced bristling defenses and, showing fearlessness and determination of the most extraordinary kind, reached the target and enabled it to be bombed. His heroism in the face of deadly peril has added luster to the record of achievement of the United States Air Forces. The personal courage and zealous devotion to duty displayed by First Lieutenant Horton on this occasion, at the cost of his life, exemplified the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, the 9th Air Force, and the United States Army Air Forces.

Distinguished Service Cross Cincinnati, Ohio 1 August 1943

"First Lieutenant (Air Corps) Robert W. Horton (ASN: 0-736522), United States Army Air Forces, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as Pilot of a B-24 Heavy Bomber in the 566th Bombardment Squadron, 389th Bombardment Group (H), NINTH Air Force (Attached), while participating in a bombing mission on 1 August 1943, against the Ploesti Oil Refineries in Rumania. During a long and hazardous attack against a vital enemy oil installation made at low-altitude by a formation of B-24 type aircraft, First Lieutenant Horton was Pilot of a B-24 bomber assigned to drop bombs on the refineries. When his plane was severely damaged he continued on, in the face of almost insurmountable odds. Over the blazing target he remained steadfast in the cockpit and, with heroic calm and unflinching loyalty, continued his bombing run. The personal courage and zealous devotion to duty displayed by First Lieutenant Horton on this occasion, at the cost of his life, exemplified the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, the 9th Air Force, and the United States Army Air Forces."

Killed in action 1 August 1943

"Suspected of having been hit on the bomb bay tank and fuel ignited by explosions on the refinery [at Campina during the Ploesti raid]. A wing fire also reported. Attempted a crash landing on the Prahova river near Bobolia village approximately 2 miles SW of Campina. and north of the L. Hughes crashed aircraft. Aircraft disintegrated upon impact killing 7 crew members. The the TTG miraculously escaped with injuries. Robert Kaufman and James Lambert were extracted with injuries but died shortly thereafter."

Jack Dieterle's Account of Horton's Crash 1 August 1943

"I saw Lieutenant Morton [Horton] just after he had passed over the target and dropped his bombs. His ship caught fire from one of the explosions and it looked to me as though he was going to try and crash land beyond the town. Upon landing on what looked like a beach, Lt. Morton's ship exploded and burned. I failed to see anyone leave the ship after it crashed and burned."

Buried Springfield Cemetery, Madison, Indiana

The crew were originally buried at Campina, Romania, along with Hughes' crew. The US Grave Commission reinterred them in the US. Horton is buried at Springdale Cemetery
Madison, Jefferson County, Indiana, North grave, East ½, Lot 635, Plat 6.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
06 November 2019 15:27:04 general ira snapsorter Changes to events
Sources

Ploesti Sortie Reports, 389th Bomb Group

Date Contributor Update
17 March 2019 03:52:44 Dieterle Changes to events
Sources

Richard Dieterle, correcting a typo.

Date Contributor Update
16 March 2019 19:30:13 Dieterle Changes to events
Sources

Richard Dieterle, from papers in the possession of Dan Masters.

Date Contributor Update
16 March 2019 19:21:35 Dieterle Changes to media associations
Sources

Richard Dieterle from papers in the possession of Dan Masters.

Date Contributor Update
16 March 2019 18:43:49 Dieterle Changes to media associations
Sources

Richard Dieterle, from Find a Grave > Robert W Horton.

Date Contributor Update
16 March 2019 18:12:13 Dieterle Changes to biography and events
Sources

Richard Dieterle, Citation of Distinguished Service Cross to Robert W Horton, Headquarters, Ninth U.S. Army Air Force, General Orders No. 89 (1943).

Date Contributor Update
23 January 2019 21:13:16 Dieterle Changes to place associations
Sources

Richard Dieterle.

Date Contributor Update
21 January 2019 22:53:00 Dieterle Changes to events
Sources

Richard Dieterle, correcting a typo.

Date Contributor Update
21 January 2019 22:40:55 Dieterle Changes to mission associations
Sources

Find a Grave website > Lieut. Robert W. Horton.

Date Contributor Update
21 January 2019 22:25:37 Dieterle Changes to events and person associations
Sources

Find a Grave website > Lieut. Robert W. Hortonn.

Date Contributor Update
21 January 2019 22:15:34 Dieterle Changes to biography and events
Sources

Find a Grave website > Lieut Robert W. Horton.

Date Contributor Update
21 January 2019 21:19:29 Dieterle Changes to service number and events
Sources

General Orders: Headquarters, Ninth U.S. Army Air Force, General Orders No. 89 (1943).

Date Contributor Update
21 January 2019 21:12:12 Dieterle Changes to person associations
Sources

Ploesti Formation Plan, 566th BS.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:24:16 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 156

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