326th Squadron
Daily Operations Journal

January 1944

1 January 1944
our aircraft are returning from various bases scattered around in the Midlands
weather still the same old culprit
it, bad weather, hangs over from last year, which was just yesterday

Lt. Grumbles aborted around Brest, France
they did not return to the UK

*****

2 January 1944 and 3rd
this new month and year things have quietened down a bit
the Engineering department hasn't had a chance like this in a long time to get the ships back into flyable condition again

weather is clearing
92nd was alerted once more for a rumble to Germany

*****

4 January 1944
seven crews, namely:
Lt. Klein - 423
Lt. Rose 362
Lt. Lansing - 770
Lt. Shevchik - 175
Lt. Wild - 580
Lt. Wenger - 975
(the 325th used 623)
Lt. Hughes - 016 - "Sweet Sixteen"

these ships and crews took off from this base and were assumed to have joined another group
no definite reports were established relative to a missing crew and airplane
was this to be another of those mysterious losses?

those unaccounted for:
Lt. Hughes - pilot
Lt. Westlake - CP
Lt. Stern - N
Lt. Babcock - N
S/Sgt. Martin - R
S/Sgt. Tonon - Eng
Sgt. Ward - BT
Sgt. Milscik - TG
Sgt. Kurlanshik - WG
Sgt. Toth - WG

take-off at 0730 hours
target Kiel, Germany
bombing at the center of town on PFF 10/10 cloud cover

six ships dropped 96 250-lb. bombs from 25,000 feet at 1129 hours

about 12 fighters were seen
a few passes were made
no damages resulted or losses were sustained by those fighters

flak light to moderate and inaccurate

8th AF lost 18 bombers and two escorting fighters

*****

5 January 1944
second day punch at Kiel, Germany
only four crews called on to fly as fill-ins for another outfit
Lt. Lansing - 958
Lt. Shevchik - 770
Lt. Jessen - 961
Lt. Smith - 250

then Lt. Holch, Lt. Roth, Lt. Maxwell, Lt. Jackson flew with the 325th in the lead ship
center of town again was the aiming point
industrial target (women and children)
500[-lb.] GP
36 were dropped from 24,700 feet
time, 1132 hours

twelve or so enemy fighters appeared and made a few half-hearted passes
single and twin engine ships encountered and they lost one of theirs

two of our Forts damaged

one plane carried nickels

8th Air Force hit target[s] at Tours and Bordeaux, and in the Ruhr

total losses were 25 bombers and 12 fighters

580 blew a tire and careened off the ramp
another pilot did not see it and seared off the tail
"Equipoise" has completed her missions
she is sent to the salvage pile

seven ships originally scheduled
only four made it

"580" now has 22 raids on her

*****

6 January 1944
a new ship assigned today
serial number 42-37984-N
#532 goes to Staughton for a "G" model

*****

7 January 1944
three crews filling in for abortions were
Lt. Koss - 362
Lt. Clayton - 387
Lt. Larrivee - 623 came back early
no place in the formation for him to fill in
as well as a mechanical failure

take-off was 0815 for Ludwigshaven, Germany
industrial power plant was target
1,000[-lb.] GPs dropped from an altitude of 25,000 feet at 1145

a six and a half hour mission
about 14 enemy planes sighted
but they didn't take a chance of attacking the Boeings

flak moderate and very accurate
no losses in our squadron

8th AF stated the target as southwest Germany with losses twelve heavies and six fighters
so there were tragedies in other units

total flying time this week 140:15 hours

*****

8 January 1944
one ship being test flown today
compasses were swung in the others

alert was scrubbed due to what else, weather?

Fullin got his orders to start for the states tomorrow

*****

9 & 10 January 1944
five planes flying a practice mission
lead team practicing in tail number 175

weather taking a turn for the better
alert for tomorrow
an M/E (maximum effort)

eight ships in commission

new crew assigned today
Lt. Burnett - pilot - and co-pilot are not checked out in a B-17
they were released from the B-26 program
these medium bombers were being phased down
time and a check out with practice missions will make them good pilots in a B-17

*****

11 January 1944
eight ships and crews scheduled on a maximum effort
seven took off

after being checked, one man forgot his oxygen mask
it was run out to him with operations jeep

take-off was set an hour, then cut back to a half an hour

clear weather all night long
at take-off time an overcast and at landing time a heavy overcast with real heavy drizzle of rain and snow
as a result all landings were made at other bases

the crews flying were:
Lt. Lock - 175
Lt. Lansing - 532
Lt. Wenger - 362
Lt. Larrivee - 799
Lt. Wild - 387
Lt. Jessen - 770
Lt. Rose - 958

take-off was 0855

little did these men know that today's mission would be one of those "Stand Out" days in the history of serial warfare
it was similar to the second Schweinfurt run
target for today was Oschersleben, Germany (this was the center of the German aircraft industry)
target was 120 miles from Berlin

other targets in the same vicinity for other 8th Air Force heavies were Brunswick, Halberstadt and other places near Berlin

weather and visibility were good
turbulence was smooth

bombing altitude was 19,000 feet

the Forts were engaged with a determined and aggressive bee hive of enemy fighters all the way from the enemy coast line to their targets and they had to fight their way out
our bomber crews met all types of Germany fighters
"Herman" was sending everything that had wings on it and guns
This was an epic air battler; there were many losses

good for the 26th bomber crews, they were assigned to fly the high squadron of the high group
all seven of our ships got thru [sic] to their targets and dropped their eighty-four, five hundred pound bombs at 1200 hours
just in time for lunch
strike photos taken showed direct hits
bombers were dropped in "train" release

12,000 rounds of 50-caliber ammo expended
claimed were three enemy fighters and two probables
one of our Forts was listed as missing

flak moderate to intense
it was extra accurate

it was a guess that over 150 enemy A/C were screaming in and around the Forts

following is a list of crew members that went down with "Trudy"
ship # 175
Lt. Lock - P
Lt. Sherry - C/P
Lt. Cohen - N
Lt. Greenburg - B
T/Sgt. Brubacker - R
T/Sgt. Pencek - Eng
S/Sgt. Farrell - BT
S/Sgt. Scott - T/G
S/Sgt. Wilhoit - WG
S/Sgt. Mullins - W/G

ship hit by flak in the right wing
they were flying in the lead position after the bomb run
after flying for some time with the right wing on fire on the underside, no immediate action to blow out the flames by diving the ship was noted
finally, the right wing tank became on fire
ship was then seen going down in flames
other crews observed that the plane was near the Dutch, German border
also, the other crews saw an apparent struggle to keep the Fort level, to no avail
two chutes observed as the plane plunged downward

Lt. Lock was on his 24th mission

tail-end Charley ship later reported at debriefing that a total of eight chutes were seen

another little story about a gallant little engineer is told by some who knew him personally
there are plenty of stories of many heroic deeds that go untold
I was fully acquainted with this young fellow
I show no favoritism when I speak of T/Sgt. Pencek
Ray, to all his friends, was in the hospital last summer recuperating from an appendectomy
two weeks later this chap was back with his crew flying combat
on the second raid after the hospital stay, flying with his crew, he was hit by a shell on his hip
this incident was later related by his crew members
as attacks from enemy fighters were happening, even though this man was hurt real badly, he would struggle back up into his top turret and continue firing his twin 50s
this happened more than once
he was thinking only of the crew and the plane
with these outstanding acts of selfless bravery, he and his crew returned to Podington
Ray was right back in the hospital once more
in the meantime his crew went down on the terrible Schweinfurt trip
upon hearing about that he was all the more eager to get back to flying missions again
the operations officer held him back in spite of his pleading

then there is the tale about another of Lt. Lock's crew, S/Sgt. Scott, the tail gunner
this boy suffered severe frostbite to his hands and feet while giving life-saving assistance to injured crew member Sgt. Murphy
this act occurred on the first Ruhr raid, when they were flying with Lt. Stone
Murphy was very appreciative of this act of selfless courage

Pencek received a Purple Heart
none for Scotty

many a story could be told about the award of these medals
after realization strikes you when these men disappear, and you have lost them, you think about what a real honor it was to have known them, and have been working with them
these men in their quiet unassuming ways are the ones who are really keeping "America Fee."

*****

12 January 1944
the crews are flying back from the various bases where they landed
fog kept them from getting to station 109, Podington, after yesterday's mission

reports of losses were 59 B-17s and ten fighters
enemy losses were expected to exceed 100 fighter planes
there were probably more than we know as the lost bombers do not report their kills
intelligence guys have an estimate that they use, but our guess is just as good as their guess

*****

13 January 1944
weather is windy with a solid overcast
"Stand By" is posted for noon tomorrow
mostly to get the planes back to Podington
they still didn't all make it back from the 11th's raid

*****

14 January 1944
very busy in the office this morning

Lt. Makowski and crew are off to the rest home
those guys all need a break once in a while

alert comes thru [sic] at 0900 this morning
we're having some super "buzz jobs" from some P 47s, as well as an RAF aerial circus consisting of a Spitfire, JU 88, ME 109F, FW 190 and a few P 51s are also playing around out there

today's mission had good weather all the way
the way this mission was shoved thru [sic] in a hurry one knew that it was going to be a short run into France

crews to make this "Milk Run"
Lt. Wolf [sic] - 180
leading the group with Captain Belongia as co-pilot

Lt. George - 984
Lt. Lansing - 362
Lt. Smith - 799
Lt. Rose - 958
Lt. Jessen - 770
Lt. Koss - 109

take-off at 1330
Lingen, France, in the Pas de Calais area

weather clear at target area
altitude was briefed at 18,700

load to drop, 78 500-lb. GP bombs at 1556 hours
success at target, only one corner was hit
there were no enemy A/C encountered by the hundreds of bombers
flak light to moderate and inaccurate

there were no losses to the entire 8th Air Force

alert for tomorrow

*****

15 January 1944
eight crews were awakened at 0300 hours
immediately after that it was scrubbed
the boys went back to their sacks and stayed there until the 1:15 meeting

heavy ground fog today
flying time for this one-week period was 89:35 hours with 20,593 gallons of 100 octane fuel used

*****

16 January 1944
clear day today
crews are resting till noon
a regular Sunday procedure when no runs are scheduled

a meeting of all combat officers with Lt/Col Brousseau as the M.C. as well as his being noted as one who would keep the boys high stepping and tight formation flying
Captain Belongia was briefing on the last mission to France
it wasn't the kindest of words that he used

*****

17 January 1944
this is the seventeenth month anniversary of the 92nd BG in the European Theatre of Operations

command of the 8th Air Force and the 8th Bomber Command are consolidated under one Command, the 8th Air Force
head offices are now under the name of USSAFE, United States Strategic Air Force in Europe
a major general is appointed as commanding general of the 8th AF, changing places with Gen. Eaker
Four Star General Eisenhower is the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in England

a copy of the Lincoln, Nebraska, newspaper, we read that Red Cross stated S/Sgt. Bomberger, tail gunner on Lt. Clough's crew, was a POW [shot down 14 Oct 1943].

*****

18 January 1944
weather restricts flying

report that Lt. Grumbles, pilot, who went down on the Bordeaux raid [31 Dec 1943], is on his way back to England

*****

19 January 1944
mission for today scrubbed
raining all day
heavier than usual

stand by is up 0700 in the morning [sic]

*****

20 January 1944
for third straight day a raid was scrubbed after crews set to take off

weather cleared in the afternoon for flying 423 in a test flight
was accepted in commission for combat from the 446th Sub Depot

*****

21 January 1944
clear day
some buzzing by the Thunderbolts

crews took off at 1205

Lt. Wolf [sic] - 532
Lt. George - 984
Lt. Rose - 958
Lt. Lansing - 455
Lt. Shevchick - 362
Lt. Wenger - 975
Lt. Smith - 799

target - Bellvue, France
a four-hour trip
no bombs dropped
no enemy fighters encountered
light and inaccurate flak
no damages [sic]

Lt. George completes his 25 missions today

*****

22 January 1944
solid overcast today restricts flying

picture "Target Germany" shown to all combat, ground personnel for the purpose of seeing what is being accomplished from their work and efforts

*****

23 January 1944
weather clears at noon time
the RAF aerial circus departs with a few buzzes today

B-17 #532 practice bombings with the lead team

new plane assigned
Vega built aircraft
tail number 42-97489

*****

24 January 1944
seven crews took off, but were recalled because of weather over target
no trouble involved in foggy takeoffs or landings

rain came down real hard after lunch

four crews joined another group, encountered flak so were recommended credit (for the mission) by Col. Reid, but no credit comes from 1st Air Division

*****

25 January 1944
clear weather, but windy
B-17 #984 practice bombing with lead team

alerted at noon for a mission with ten screws scheduled to go
but it was a "no go"

*****

26 January 1944
eleven crews briefed for a mission with eleven of our ships flying in two squadrons
two groups flying high

flying high is a good set-up for the crews
if mission hadn't been scrubbed due to weather conditions

today's escorts were to include 900 fighters

*****

27 January 1944
squadron party held this evening at Special Service Office

B-17 #958 flying weather run this morning

some local flying

three B-26s buzz field after landing here

new ship assigned today
its number 42-31536
they will make a lead ship out of this one

#513 finally returns after a two months stay at Little Staughton

*****

28 January 1944
practice mission today
three ships to fill in for group
three flying alone
a couple of ships flying test hops

eleven crews alerted for tomorrow

*****

29 January 1944
mission #47 today
ten crews took off at 07:15 for Frankfurt, Germany, as follows:
Lt. Saunders - 948
Lt. Smith - 489
Lt. Rose - 958
Lt. Shevchick - 362
Lt. Koss - 455
Lt. Larrivee - 799
Lt. Lansing - 532
Lt. Jessen - 770
Lt. Wenger - 975
Lt. Nashold - 623 - aborted due to oxygen leak

this is the first time the 92nd flew two groups
dropping 378 65-lb. bombs from 24,500 at 11:08 on pff
expended 3,560 rounds of .50-caliber ammo
experienced moderate to inaccurate flak

also dropped "chaff" (tin foil strips) to throw off the radar siting of the anti-aircraft guns
it was fairly effective

15-20 enemy fighters seen

no losses to fighters
other groups did not fair [sic] so well
8th AF units lost a total of 29 bombers, five fighters to estimated losses for the enemy at 102 fighters

Lt. Wenger - 423 - landed at Boxted, UK

total of over 800 heavies out today

*****

30 January 1944
nine crews took off at 0830 for Brunswick, Germany, as follows:
Lt. Wolfe - 248
Lt. Col Brousseau - C.P.

Lt. Saunders - 536
Lt. Rose - 455
Lt. Shevchik - 799
Lt. Lansing - 362
Lt. Wenger - 489
Lt. Nashold - 623
Lt. Clayton - 531
Lt. Jessen - 770

bombing was pathfinder
a/p for center of city
a/c factory was the target
bomb load was 185[-lb.] GP bombs at 100 lbs. each
dropped from 23,000 at 12:08 hours

seven-hour flight
both single-, twin-engined fighters encountered
estimate was 30 to 40 fighters

flak moderate to accurate
enemy claims was [sic] one damaged

no losses to 326th Squadron
B-17 "Old Ready Teddy" of the 407th Sqdn went down on her 41st mission today
colliding with another B-17 in the same squadron as they were climbing thru the overcast
both ships went down

326th Sqdn led wing today
losses as reported by radio and newspapers, on two targets
our losses, 25 heavies and five fighters
enemy losses, 103 fighters

*****

31 January 1944
ten ships scheduled today
mission scrubbed before take off

"Pay Day"