351st Bomb Group

Polebrook, England

Group Mission #131

Credited Mission #125

 
DATE: 24 July 1944
Target: Berlin, Germany
 
Briefing Outline:
  1. Airplane and Crew Assignment Check.

  2. Time Schedule:
     ____ Box
    Stations   –0620
    Start Engines –0630
    Taxi     –0640
    Take Off   –0655
    Last Take Off –0720 - Cromer - 10,000 ft.

  3. Targets:
    Primary: Berlin
    Secondary: Berlin
    Last Resort: Any military objective in Germany.

  4. Loading:
    351 “A” : 18 x 100 G.P.’s [General Purpose Bomb]- 32 M47 I.B.’s [Incendiary Bomb]
    351 “B” :
    Composite:
    Nickels [Propaganda Leaflets] in Ship # - S–318 A-238 B-492
    Chaff: One minute after I.P. [Initial Point of Bomb Run] for 12 min.
  5. Gasoline Loading: 2700 [Gals.]
    Remarks:

  6. Wing Formation94th (A) CBW94th (B) CBWComp. GroupComp. CBW
    Lead457th
    Low401st
    High351st

  7. Division Formation:
    PositionCBW [Combat Wing]TargetDeparture Time at Coast
    Lead1st A0830
    2nd1st B0832
    3rd41st A0834
    4th41st B0836
    5th94th0838
    6th40th0840
    7th
    8th
    2nd Division28 Sqs.Melun A/D [Aerodrome] & Bretingy A/D, France0730
    3rd Division4 C.B.W.’sBerlin0817
    Marauders
    RAF [Royal Air Force]

    Remarks: ____

  8. Fighter Cover:
    • [Force][Latitude & Longitude][Call Sign][Time]
      2 Gp’s P-51’s 5420 - 0820  Balance 2-1 & 2-2  Zero [Hour] plus 154 [minutes] 
      2 Gp’s P-51’s 5334 - 1100  Balance 2-3 & 2-4 Zero plus 183
      1 Gp. P-51’s & 1 Gp P-38’s 5250-1340  Bal. 2-5 & 2-6 Zero plus 203
      1 Gp. P-38’s 5316 - 1200  Balance 2-7 Zero plus 246
      1 Gp. P-47’s 5345 - 1020  Balance 2-8 Zero plus 274

  9. Group Assembly:
    BoxAltitudePlace
    High10,000'Deenethorpe
    ____
    ____

  10. Navigator - _____
  11. S-2 - _____
  12. Weather - _____
  13. Special Instructions to Navigators, Bombardiers and Radio Operators:
    Intervalometer setting – 100 ft.
    Bomb in Combat Wing Formation
    Hit the center of town

  14. Squadron Leaders and Group Deputy report to Target Room. All but Pilots Dismissed.
  15. (A) Code Words –
    PFF Bombing –I.P. - Rag Doll
    Visual Bombing -Arm Chair
    Authenticator –Red Wing
    Recall -Hit the Road V.H.F.
    Weather Code -Eclipse-H-TVBIA
    Release "CHAFF" -Tin Hat

    (B) Call Signs:
    Call SignFlaresTail Letters
    351st AWoodcraft RedG [Green]J
    351st B
    401st AWoodcraft WhiteR [Red]S
    401st B
    457th AWoodcraft BlueRY [Red Yellow]U
    457th B
    Composite
    1st C.B.W.
    40th C.B.W.
    41st C.B.W.
    Composite C.B.W.

    (C)
    U.S. FightersBalance two-one - two-eight
    R.A.F. Fighters
     BombersVinegrove Two-Five
    U.S. Grnd. ControlColgate
    R.A.F. Grnd. Control

    Control Points:Fighter Reference Points:
    (1) English Coast – 0 Plus 60F – Orleans
    (2) 5413-0850 -- 0 Plus 160I - Etampes
    (3) 5334-1100 -- 0 Plus 183G – Fontainebleau
    (4) 5334-1100 -- 0 Plus 263H – Compiegne
    _____T - Hamburg
    _____E – Schwiner Lake [Schweriner Lake]
    _____R – Muritz Lake
    _____S - Berlin
    Remarks: Base reference altitude – 20,000 ft.

    (D)
    Colors of the Day
    TimeColorLetterChallenge
    May 24 – 0200 - 0800Y-YRZQ
    0800 - 1400GYOI
    1400 - 2000RGHD

    (E) Ships To Monitor [Radio Channels A, B, C & D]
    1. -
    2. - Lead A/C, Z-202, F-845
    3. - S-914, T-384
    4. -

  16. Let-Down on Deenethorpe, if overcast.
    351st A   30° Mag. [Magnetic Compass Heading]
    351st B   __° Mag. [Magnetic Compass Heading]
    401st A   __° Mag.
    457th A   __° Mag.

  17. Flying Control. –
    1. Taxi Plan.
    2. Emergency Fields.
    3. Landing Aids.

  18. Special Instructions:
    Spares turn back - 53°25'N - 03°10'E [50 miles NE of Cromer, England]
    Emergency Airdrome – Langham – 52°57'N – 00°58'E.
    1 Gp. P-47’s will arrive at 53°45' – 10°20' 15 minutes after last bombers of 3rd Division have arrived to pick up stragglers of both Divisions.
    1 Gp. P-38’s will arrive at 53°00'N between 09°00' and 10°00'E at time 1st Division is at 6° E and will sweep area south of bomber track. They will then join either 1st or 3rd Division at discretion of Group Leader to furnish area support.


Operations Narrative – High Combat Box:
  1. General Narrative. Twenty aircraft of the High Group of the 94th Combat Wing took off at 0655 hours and formed as briefed. The combat wing assembly over the Deenethorpe buncher was quickly completed. The formation made its departure on course and on time. Five minutes were gained on the flight plan over England and so a 360° turn was made northwest of Cromer in order to lose time. The Division assembled at the English coast, leaving three minutes early and staying north of course until about twenty minutes before reaching the enemy coast. All points were made on time, however.
     The enemy coast was reached on time and on course, and all points to the IP [Initial Point of Bomb Run] checked simultaneously, although the altitude at the IP was 23,000 feet instead of 26,000 feet as briefed. Soon after the IP was reached, the Group Leader, Captain Clay, began to lose altitude steadily. It was anticipated that he had encountered some sort of trouble and the deputy leader waited for his signal to take over the lead. Such a signal was not given until the formation was well on the bomb run, the altitude then being 22,500 feet due to the difficulty experienced by the Group Leader in maintaining the proper altitude.
     The High Group was abreast of the Low Group and in trail of the Lead Group at the time of bombs away, making the formation somewhat dispersed. After having crossed over the northwest corner of the target, a bomb run was made on a southerly heading. Results of bombing could not be observed due to a seven-tenths cloud cover over the target.
     Flak over the target was moderate before bombs away, but heavy and accurate thereafter. A turn to the left was made as briefed and the formation proceeded on the route out on course.
     There was no fighter opposition offered during the entire mission. Fighter support was very good.
     Upon leaving the target, the High Group quickly reformed in the proper position and kept it for the rest of the route out. The enemy coast was reached at 1259 on course. Let-down was started about ten minutes after crossing the enemy coast. High clouds and thick haze were encountered after starting the let-down, and so a climb was made on the order of the combat wing Air Commander. During the climb, visibility was not good enough to allow the Lead Group to be seen. The High Group proceeded to base alone, letting down in a clearance at mid-channel. The remainder of the route was flown without incident, and landings were made at base at 1535 hours.
  2. Aircraft Not Attacking. The two aircraft scheduled as flying spares returned from 53°25’N-03°10’E when there was no spot to fill in the formation. The remaining eighteen aircraft continued on course as indicated in the General Narrative and attacked the target in the formation shown on the attached diagram.
  3. Aircraft Lost. Aircraft 42-38005, pilot Captain Clay, was observed to be in difficulty shortly after the IP was reached. After bombing, this aircraft was seen to join the Low Group with one propeller feathered. Due to the absence of flak before any trouble was encountered by this aircraft, it is assumed that a mechanical failure was the cause of the loss.
  4. Group Leader. Captain Robert B. Clay, flying in aircraft 42-38005, led the High Group until the target area was reached. At that time he was replaced by 1st Lt. Joseph R. Berardi in aircraft 42-31725.

STATISTICAL SUMMARY
No. of A/C Scheduled - Less Two Flying Spares18
No. of A/C Taking Off - Less Two Flying Spares18
No. of A/C Attacking18
No. of A/C Not Attacking - Less Two Flying Spares0
No. of Sorties18
No. of A/C Lost1

[Signed] Clinton F. Ball, Lt. Colonel, Air Corps, Operations Officer




Bombardier’s Narrative:

Group: 351st
Target: Berlin, Germany
Method of Bombing: PFF
Altitude: 22,700’
Direction of Attack: 190° Mag. Heading
Wind Direction: 320°
Wind Velocity: 45 MPH
Bombardier’s Narrative: The High Box, 351st Bombardment Gp. (H), dropped on the Lead Group on a Mag. Heading 190° at 1114. The Primary, Berlin, Germany, was covered by 7/10 clouds, but bombs were observed falling into the North East section of the city.

[Signed:] Stanley Walaszek, 1st Lt., Air Corps, Deputy Lead Bombardier



Combat Bombing Flight Record:

Bombardier - 1st Lt. Walaszek, Stanley  Pilot - 1st Lt. Berardi, Joseph R. Navigator - 2nd Lt. Fruchter, Philip H.
Aircraft B-17G   725-L  Take-off - 0656 Landed - 1337
Objective - Berlin, Germany
Aiming Point (MPI) [Mean Point of Impact] - Center of City
Initial Point - As briefed
Method of Attack - Wing
No. of Attacking A/C in Group: - 18   Composite Group - ____
Number A/C Dropping Bombs by own Sighting Operation: PFF
Deflection and Range Sighting, Group: Lead Group   Composite Group - ____
Range Sighting only, Group - P.F.F.    Composite Group - ____
Bombs, Types and Sizes - 10 x 100 LB. G.P. [General Purpose] & 32 X 100 LB. M-47 I.B. [Incendiary Bomb]
Number of Bombs Loaded - 42   Released - Same
Fusing, Nose - 1/10   Tail - 1/100
Synchronization - P.F.F. On
Information at Release Point:

Altitude of Target - 115Magnetic Heading Ordered 124° Actual 190°
True Altitude Above Target - 22,600True Heading __°
Indicated Altitude - 22,700Drift, Estimated _° - Actual _°
Pressure Altitude of Target -68True Track __°
Altimeter Setting 29.92Actual Range 16,104'
Calculated Indicated Air Speed - 150 M.P.H.B.S. Type - M-9
True Air Speed - 214 M.P.H.Time of Release 1114
Ground Speed Est. 290 Actual 200Length of Bombing Run - 1 min.
Wind Direction Metro - 310° Actual - 320°Intervalometer Setting - 100 ft.
Wind Velocity Metro 45 Actual 45 C-1 Pilot [Autopilot] _____
D.S. - 129  Trail - 150   ATF - 38A-5 Pilot _____
Tan. D.A, Est. .61 Actual P.F.F. Manual Pilot - X [Used]

Type of Release - Train
Point of Impact If Seen - About 2 miles N.E. of A.P. [Aiming Point]
Mean Temp. Metro -__ Actual -__
Winds - Altitude - 20,000 Ft.  Direction - Metro 320°  Actual 320°  Velocity - Metro 45  Actual 45
Temp C. - Metro -30° C. Actual -30° C.



Preliminary Damage Assessment:
  1. The bombs of this group fell over a widely scattered area on the eastern edge of the city of Berlin. The area appears to be mainly residential and is not too heavily built up. Several hits are seen on a long building that appears to be industrial but no target information is listed.
  2. The bombs fell approximately 5¾ miles NNE of the briefed target area.
[Signed:] Thomas L. Cooper, 1st Lt., Air Corps, Group P.I. [Photo Intelligence] Officer


Intelligence S-2 Reports:
  1. Sixteen bombs of leaflets were carried; 8 G-41’s, 2 G-20’s and 6 G-10’s, and all were dropped in the target area.
  2. Preliminary study of photographs shows that our bombs hit in a rather sparsely settled area in the NE corner of the city.
  3. A few aircraft which appeared to be enemy aircraft were observed in the distance in the Berlin area but no attacks were made on this Group. No claims are being submitted.
  4. At the target flak was generally reported to be intense and accurate, although some crews commented that there was less flak here than formerly. Moderate accurate flak was encountered at Werneuchen, and meager inaccurate flak at Neuruppin and at Pritzwalk. Moderate flak was observed at some distance on both sides of our formation while it was passing between Lubeck and Hamburg, and there was moderate inaccurate flak at Heligoland.
  5. 5/10’s cloud coverage with visibility of 10 miles was reported over the target area.
  6. New constructions were reported at an airdrome located at 53°13’N-12°32’E [43 miles NW of Oranienburg, Germany].
  7. One of our aircraft, No. 005-G, is missing. Latest reports indicate that this aircraft flew in the Low Group of our CBW for thirty minutes after the target and then was reported to have fallen back with the following CBW. One B-17 was seen to blow up just before the target, three were seen exploding over the target, and two B-17’s were seen going down just after the target; no parachutes were seen from any of these ships. At 1210 hours five white parachutes were seen at an altitude of 12,000 feet at an approximate position of 53°28’N-11°15’E [13 miles SW of Schwerin, Germany], but crew members who reported this did not see the aircraft from which they came. Fighter support enroute and over target was very effective. C-1 [Autopilot] equipment was not used.


Bomb Camera Photos:
Click on Photo to Enlarge



Track Chart:
Click on Chart to Enlarge



A.A. Gunfire (Flak) Report:

1. Target: Assigned - Berlin Bombed - Berlin
2. Route as Flown. - As briefed to I.P., then formation turned to the left, went North of Neuruppin, made bombing run on approximately due North heading, out over Werneuchen, turned back at Bad Freienwalde, and returned as briefed.
3. Weather Conditions - A. at Target. - 5/10 cloud  B. En route - 10/10 cloud
4. Were our A/C "Seen" or "Unseen" targets? (a) At Target - not known (b) Enroute - probably unseen.
 Any Condensation Trails? - Yes
5. Description of Flak, including type of Fire Control: Most crews reported flak as intense and accurate, though some crews commented that there was less than formerly, and several pilots avoided bursts by individual evasive action. Evidences of continuous following fire control were reported, and some crews boxes of ten or more bursts appearing simultaneously.
6. Flak encountered or observed en route. (In the order experienced) -
 Werneuchen, 1120, 23,000’ – moderate, accurate.
 Neuruppin, 1130, 23,000’ – meager, height good, deflection poor.
 Pritzwalk, 1137, 23,000’ – meager, inaccurate.
 Lubeck, 1230, 23,000’ – moderate, inaccurate – observed.
 Hamburg, 1230, 23,000’ – moderate, inaccurate – observed.
 Heligoland, 1300, 23,000’ – moderate, inaccurate.
7. Was Chaff carried? - Yes How discharged? As briefed
8. Position of Group - High
9. Group – 351 A/C over enemy terr. – 18, A/C damaged – 2, A/C lost to flak – 0, Time over Target – 1114, 
Time of bombs away – 1114, Height – 22,700’, Axis of attack – 190° Mag., Bomb run – 10 min.
10. Comments - Phenomena: None



Combat Crew Comments:

    509th Sqdn.
A/C 914-S Bomb Fusings carelessly put in – left rack bomb fuse wires in safety holes and no safety wire. – Lt. Dudas.

    510th Sqdn.
A/C 509-V CBW or Group leaders should use more discretion when using the V.H.F. over the target or enemy territory. – Lt. Ross.
A/C 196-M Very poor leading today. – Lt. Raser.
A/C 124-F Prefer shredded wheat instead of hotcakes for breakfast, as the cakes are too heavy. – Lt. Baird.
Need toilet tissue in latrines. – Sgt. Lawson.
A/C 028-Q Don’t like English candy! - Whole Crew.

    511th Sqdn.
A/C 318-S Next time we go to bomb at 27,000 feet, let’s be at 27,000 feet! - Lt. Power.
A/C 875-P Bad formation; last few days they’ve been terrible. – Lt. Heller.
Let’s get some better food for these long missions and more of it. – Whole Crew.
A/C 492-B No reason for our ship, No. 5 position, low Squadron, to fly at 120 mph and use 1/3 flaps to avoid stalling out so as to stay in formation. – Lt. Karagiannis.
Prefer chocolate to carbohydrate rations. – Lt. Rowan.

[Signed] Richard E. Higley, 2nd Lt., Air Corps, Ass’t Group S-2 [Intelligence]



Hot News Summary:

1. The following hot news was reported at interrogation of the mission of this date:
Our aircraft, No. 560-A, while flying at an altitude of 3,000 feet observed a dinghy on the North Sea at an approximate position of 53°16’N-02°58’E [72½ miles ENE of Cromer, England]. There were nine men in the dinghy. Our A/C sent a distress message which was receipted for.

[Signed:] Richard E. Higley, 2nd Lt., Air Corps, Ass’t Group S-2 [Intelligence]



Mission Summary Report:
  1. Abortives:
    1. Airplane No. 42-31721, 510th Squadron. Returned early as planned.
    2. Airplane No. 42-97191, 511th Squadron. Returned early as planned.
  2. Battle Damage:
    1. Airplane No. 42-39914, 509th Squadron. Small flak hole in center of Plexi-glass nose section. Small flak hole in leading edge of wing near #3 Engine. Skin damage only.
    2. Airplane No. 42-97202, 509th Squadron. Small flak hole in #2 nacelle, skin, spark plug lead and bonding bracket damaged. Two small flak holes through left wing outer panel, skin and corrugation damaged. Two small flak holes through left flap, skin and corrugation damaged.

    TOTAL A/C DAMAGEDMINOR DAMAGEDAMAGED BY FLAK
    222
[Signed:] Carl A. Ekblad, Captain, Air Corps, Group Engineering Officer


Armament Report:
  1. The following malfunctions were reported on the mission of 24 May, 1944.
    1. A/C 42-31509 – 4 stations when release handle was placed in select position salvoed. Racks became unsynchronized.
    2. A/C 42-97472 – Intervalometer burned out. Replaced.
    3. A/C 42-97318 – Bombs did not release on first attempt. Doors were not fully open. Door switch thrown again – bombs dropped O.K.
  2. All electrical ships participated in this mission.
  3. The Station Ordnance Officer reported the expenditure of 1,560 rounds of caliber .50 ammunition on this mission.
[Signed:] Michael Steele, CWO, USA, Group Armament Officer


Disposition of Bombs – High Combat Box:

1. Following is the disposition of all bombs loaded for the Mission of 24 May, 1944.

AIRCRAFTBOMBS
Main BombfallOver TargetBombingNumberSizeTypeFusing: NoseTail
(Berlin)1816160100 lb.GP1/101/100
507100 lb.M-47Instantaneous 
Total Bombs Dropped160100 lb.GP1/101/100
507100 lb.M-47Instantaneous 
Bombs Brought Back20100 lb.GP1/101/100
(By 2 Flying Spares)60100 lb.M-47Instantaneous 
TOTAL BOMBS LOADED180100 lb.GP1/101/100
567100 lb.M-47Instantaneous 
NOTE - Two (2) A/C carrying Nickels dropped 2 – G-20, 2 – G-10, and 8 – G-41 bombs.

[Signed:] Robert B. Stratton, Captain, Air Corps, Statistical Officer



“J” Form:
  1. Call Letter and Last Four numbers of A/C in each Squadron:
    a. 94th Combat Wing   High Group
    Sqdn 508th A/C: None
    Sqdn 509th A/C: 8005–G, 1725–L, 7202–Z, 7845–F, 1384–T, 9914–S, 7169–N
    Sqdn 510th A/C: 1509–V, 1560–A, 8028–Q, 7196–M, 7124–F, 1975–O, (1721–S Spare)
    Sqdn 511th A/C: 1875–P, 7472–H, 8153–F, 7492–B, 7318–S, (7191–X Spare)

  2. Target: GH-487
  3. W/T and R/T Operational Call Sign of each Squadron:
    Squadron508 [Call Sign]W/T MWG R/T CARLTONSquadron510 [Call Sign]W/T LWM R/T TIPSTAFF
    Squadron509 [Call Sign]W/T UEM R/T HOTMINTSquadron511 [Call Sign]W/T KDF R/T PARTNERSHIP
  4. a. High Box: Taxi–0640; Take-Off –0655; E.T.D. Field–at Takeoff
    b. ___ Box: Taxi–____; Take-Off –____; E.T.D. Field–____
  5. Time:Height:  Place of Crossing English Coast: (OUT)
    083810,000 Ft Cromer
  6. Time:Height:  Place of Crossing Enemy Coast: (IN)
    101722,000 Ft 54°12'N-08°49'E [on the coast 1½ miles N of Hedwigenkoog, Germany]
  7. Time:Height:  Place of Crossing Enemy Coast: (Out)
    123822,000 Ft 54°12'N-08°49'E [on the coast 1½ miles N of Hedwigenkoog, Germany]
  8. Time:Height:  Place of Crossing English Coast: (IN)
    14265,000 Ft Cromer
  9. E.T.R.(Estimated Time of Return) Base: 1456 Hours
  10. MF/DF [Medium Frequency/Direction Finder] Section: "G"
  11. Bomb load of Each A/C: High Box
    508 Squadron:
    509 Squadron: 10 x 100 GP [General Purpose] 1/10 x 1/100 - 32 M47's IB's [Incendiary Bombs]
    510 Squadron: 10 x 100 GP [General Purpose] 1/10 x 1/100 - 32 M47's IB's [Incendiary Bombs]
    511 Squadron: 10 x 100 GP [General Purpose] 1/10 x 1/100 - 32 M47's IB's [Incendiary Bombs] (B-7492, S-7318 Nickels)


  12. Fuel Load of each A/C: 2700 Gallons
  13. Group Leader:
    a. High Box: Name: R.B. Clay Rank: Capt. A/C: 8005-G  Sqdn. 509th
    b. Low Box: Name: ___ Rank: ___ A/C: ___ Sqdn. ___
  14. Passengers, if any: (Full Name, Rank, A/C and Squadron Passenger flying with)
    None
  15. Actual Times Off and Return by Squadrons and A/C Letters:
  16. Lead Box
    SquadronA/C No. & LetterA.T.O.A.T.R.SquadronA/C No. & LetterA.T.O.A.T.R.
    5085098005–G________
    1725–L________
    7202–Z________
    7845–F________
    1384–T________
    9914–S________
    5101509–V________5111875–P________
    1560–A________7472–H________
    8028–Q________8153–F________
    7196–M________7216–Y________
    7124–F________1238–A________
    1975–O________7318–S________
    Flying Spare1721–S________Flying Spare7191–X________

    Report Compiled By John Maksimik, S/Sgt.



Formation Chart:
High Box Formation Take–Off
509th Squadron
Clay
A/C 42-38005 G
Garcia
A/C 42-97202 Z
Berardi
A/C 42-31725 L
Redmond
A/C 42-37845 F
Hicks
A/C 42-39914 S
Keese
A/C 42-31384 T
511th Squadron510th Squadron
Heller
A/C 42-31875 P
Ross
A/C 42-31509 V
Probasco
A/C 42-38153 F
Hoder
A/C 42-97472 H
Cessarini
A/C 42-38028 Q
Wrisberg
A/C 42-31560 A
Zotollo
A/C 42-97169 N
Raser
A/C 42-97196 M
Power
A/C 42-97318 S
Karagiannis
A/C 42-97492 B
Hopkins
A/C 42-31975 O
Anderson
A/C 42-107124 F
Smith
A/C 42-97191 X Spare
Borchert
A/C 42-31721 S Spare


Group Formation Over–Target
509th Squadron
Berardi
A/C 42-31725 L
Garcia
A/C 42-97202 Z
Keese
A/C 42-31384 T
Redmond
A/C 42-37845 F
Hicks
A/C 42-39914 S
511th Squadron510th Squadron
Heller
A/C 42-31875 P
Ross
A/C 42-31509 V
Probasco
A/C 42-38153 F
Hoder
A/C 42-97472 H
Cessarini
A/C 42-38028 Q
Wrisberg
A/C 42-31560 A
Zotollo
A/C 42-97169 N
Raser
A/C 42-97196 M
Power
A/C 42-97318 S
Karagiannis
A/C 42-97492 B
Hopkins
A/C 42-31975 O
Anderson
A/C 42-107124 F


Time Schedule:
Zero Hour: 0730 DBST [Double British Standard Time]  Briefing: 0400  Stations: 0620  Start Engines: 0630  Taxi: 0640  Take-off: 0655  Leave Base: 0655 [Breakfast: 0300 - Lead Teams at S-2 at 0230]



Description of the Mission printed in the book "The 351st Bomb Group in WWII" written by Ken Harbour & Peter Harris. Used with permission.

 Another mission was flown to Berlin by 18 planes. They were led by Captain Clay and Lt. Hatten, with Lt. Pullen as navigator and Lt. Arnold as bombardier. The bombs fell in a widely scattered pattern over the eastern edge of the city. No enemy fighters came close enough to be identified, but flak over Berlin was intense and accurate.  The lead ship, 42-38005, piloted by Captain Clay, abandoned the lead position because of a feathered engine shortly before the target. This ship was reported as flying with the low group of the Wing for a time after the target, but it finally left the formation altogether and was forced to crash land on the Danish island of Als. There were no injuries, but the crew was quickly captured by the occupying forces.



Missing Air Crew Report (MACR):
  • A/C# 42-38005   RQ-G  "Stormy Weather"  Pilot: Capt. Clay     A/C's 24th Mission   MACR # 5175

    Aircraft Loss Circumstances:

    Eyewitness Account in the Missing Air Crew Report #5175
    I, Joseph R. Berardi, 0-804588, was flying as Deputy Lead pilot in aircraft #42-31725, on May 24, 1944 on a mission to Berlin, Germany. The first thing I noticed about Capt. Clay, who [was] flying as Group Leader, was his loss in altitude and reduction of airspeed just at the I.P. [Initial Point of Bomb Run.] After he had fallen below the Lead Group, I saw him feather the propellor of the No. 2 Engine. There was no smoke from the engine. Immediately afterwards he gave me the red light signal to take over and then he peeled off to the right and went out of sight. I took over and led the Group on the bomb run. My Tail Gunner told me that Capt. Clay did drop his bombs from his position somewhere behind us. After bombs away I overheard Capt. Clay talking on VHF [radio] to the Wing Leader. He asked for fighter support and gave his position. He was trailing Low behind the Wing. He also said he didn't need the fighter support at the moment, but might later. This is all the information that I can give.
    [Signed] Joseph R. Berardi, 1st Lt., Air Corps.

    According to the MACR documents the crew except the pilot, Capt. Robert B. Clay, and Co-pilot, 1st Lt. Frank Hatten, parachuted from the plane over Denmark. The two pilots crash landed the plane "On the East coast of Denmark North of Flensburg" because Capt. Clay couldn't find his parachute. The Co-pilot, Frank Hatten, sustained a deep cut above the left eye during the crash landing. All were captured by the Germans.

    Individual Accounts of Crewmen Fates:
    • Pilot - Capt. CLAY, ROBERT B, From Utah, POW at Stalag Luft 3 Sagan-Silesia Bavaria (Moved to Nuremberg-Langwasser) 49-11, Returned to Military Control, Liberated or Repatriated
    • Co-pilot - 1st Lt. HATTEN, FRANK, From Texas, POW at Stalag 7A Moosburg Bavaria 48-12 (Work Camps 3324-46 Krumbachstrasse 48011, Work Camp 3368 Munich 48-11), Returned to Military Control, Liberated or Repatriated
    • Navigator - 1st Lt. PULLEN, MARSHALL R., From Texas, POW at Stalag 7A Moosburg Bavaria 48-12 (Work Camps 3324-46 Krumbachstrasse 48011, Work Camp 3368 Munich 48-11), Returned to Military Control, Liberated or Repatriated
    • Bombardier - 1st Lt. ARNOLD, GEORGE W., From Washington State, POW at Stalag 7A Moosburg Bavaria 48-12 (Work Camps 3324-46 Krumbachstrasse 48011, Work Camp 3368 Munich 48-11), Returned to Military Control, Liberated or Repatriated
    • Top Turret Gunner - T/Sgt. JILCOTT, CHARLES B., From North Carolina, POW and was Returned to Military Control, Liberated or Repatriated
    • Radio Operator - T/Sgt. BELSINGER, FRANK H., From Pennsylvania, POW at Stalag Luft 4 Gross-Tychow (formerly Heydekrug) Pomerania, Prussia (moved to Wobbelin Bei Ludwigslust) (To Usedom Bei Savenmunde) 54-16, Returned to Military Control, Liberated or Repatriated
    • Left Waist Gunner - S/Sgt. SURPRISE, DANIEL H., From Kansas, POW at Stalag Luft 3 Sagan-Silesia Bavaria (Moved to Nuremberg-Langwasser) 49-11, Returned to Military Control, Liberated or Repatriated
    • Right Waist Gunner - S/Sgt. TRAVIS, FRANKLIN L., From North Carolina, Stalag Luft 4 Gross-Tychow (formerly Heydekrug) Pomerania, Prussia (moved to Wobbelin Bei Ludwigslust) (To Usedom Bei Savenmunde) 54-16, Returned to Military Control, Liberated or Repatriated
    • Ball Turret Gunner - S/Sgt. DE MARIE, MICHAEL, From New York, Stalag Luft 3 Sagan-Silesia Bavaria (Moved to Nuremberg-Langwasser) 49-11, Returned to Military Control, Liberated or Repatriated
    • Tail Gunner - 1st Lt. WIMMER, JAMES H., From Arizona, POW at Stalag Luft 3 Sagan-Silesia Bavaria (Moved to Nuremberg-Langwasser) 49-11, Returned to Military Control, Liberated or Repatriated

 [Prisoner of War - 10]  [Wounded - 0]
The above records were obtained at the National Archives Records Administration and have been declassified by authority NND 745005
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