| 303BG Mission Report - Airfield near Wiesbaden, Germany. Crews Dispatched: 39 (358BS - 9, 359th - 9, 360th - 11, 427th - 10). Crews Lost: 9 A/C, 23 KIA, 48 POW, 10 EVD Crewmembers Lost or Wounded: 1 KIA, 2 WIA. Length of Mission: 6 hours, 46 minutes. Bomb Load: 4 x 1,000 lb G.P. M43 & 4 x 500 lb M17 Incendiary bombs. Bombing Altitudes: 25,600, 25,500 & 24,900 ft Ammo Fired: 50,050 rounds. |
Thirty-nine 303rd BG(H) B-17s took off, flying as the 41st "B" CBW formation. Thirty- seven aircraft dropped a total of 147 1,000-lb. M43 and 146 500-lb. M17 incendiary bombs on the primary target. Hits were made on one hangar with a near miss on another. The airfield landing ground sustained numerous hits, the entire area was blanketed by incendiary bombs. Three hits were made on a railroad line. Bombing was from 25,600, 25,500, and 24,900 ft.
Moderate to intense and accurate anti-aircraft fire was encountered at the target, chiefly from Frankfurt. It was also observed from several other areas. Chaff had very little beneficial effect. Eleven aircraft returned with flak battle damage and three wounded airmen. From 25 to 40 enemy aircraft were reported.
#42-102432 Tiny Angel, 427BS, piloted by 1Lt. Harry S. Cook, exploded and crashed near Malberg. Most of the crew parachuted.
#42-31423 Jigger Rooche, 427BS, piloted by 1Lt. Henry C. Clark, was shot down 8 km northeast of Bitburg at Bickenforf and exploded.
The lead aircraft, #43-37838 Fearless Fosdick, 358BS, piloted by Capt. Arnold S. Litman and Lawrence J. Stein, was observed going down in flames. No parachutes were seen. It crash landed near Wittlich, Germany. A 20mm shell exploded in Bombardier 2Lt. Lawrence M. Wolf's back. He immediately lost consciousness and died within 10 minutes. 1Lt. Wayne E. Krouskup, navigator, tended him until he died. The Germans removed his body from the B-17 after the landing.
The right wing of #44-6086 My Blonde Baby, 358BS, piloted by 2Lt. Oliver B. Larson, exploded and came off. The aircraft crashed at Seffern, Germany.
The crew bailed out of #44-6291 (No Name), 358BS, piloted by 2Lt. Alfred I. Smith. The aircraft crashed at Orsfield.
#42-102680 (No Name), 358BS, piloted by 2Lt. John L. Cathey, exploded and some of the crew were spotted bailing out one km northwest of Rommersheim. Lt. Cathey reported that they were hit by an ME-109 fighter which set the No. 3 engine and gas tank on fire.
#42-31224 Hell in the Heavens, 358BS, piloted by 2Lt. Samuel C. Smithy, was hit from the rear by FW-190s. The pilot tried to fly evasive action, gave the bailout order, and put the B-17 on automatic pilot. when fire was seen on the left wing, he bailed out. The co- pilot, Lt. Ernest P. Boat, flew the aircraft for another ten minutes before bailing out himself. The Fortress crashed and explode in the Koblenz, Germany, area near Adenau/Eifel.
Four of the engines of #42-97085 (No Name), 358BS, piloted by 1Lt. Roman P. Charnick, were on fire and two parachutes were observed. The aircraft pulled straight up and exploded — scrap landed as far as 14 km northeast of Bitburg near Wittlich.
Coming off the target, #42-31183, Bad Penny, 359BS, piloted by 2Lt. Arthur L. Goss, was the first 303rd BG(H) B-17 to be attacked by enemy fighters. Bad Penny exploded in mid-air. One burning wing crashed into Seinsfeld and set some farmhouses and barns on fire. 2Lt. Lester E. Reuss landed near Preist, Germany. He was caught in a tree by his chute and tried to unbuckle himself. Two unarmed German soldiers tried to help. A local Nazi party man arrived and shot Lt. Reuss. Two other civilians then beat him to death with a club and hammer. These three men were found guilty of murder at a war crimes trial and hanged on 29 June 1945. A "Landwacht" (Home Guard) man who watched the murder, was also sentenced to death, but his sentence was changed to life at hard labor. Sgt. Patsy Rocco bailed out safely, was captured and jailed at the Indenheim police post. The next day, while being transported to Bitburg, the escorting policeman shot and killed Sgt. Rocco for an uncertain reason. Witnesses claimed he was trying to escape. A war crimes trial in August, 1945, resulted in the policeman being sentenced to a life imprisonment, which was later reduced to two years.
More info on this mission at the 303BG website
|source: 303rd Bomb Group web page http://www.303rdbg.com/|