326th Squadron
Daily Operations Journal

March 1944

1 March 1944
this month came in like a lamb
five ships flying local and cross country to Bovingdon checking baggage of the new crews reporting in

cloudy weather was the reason for the ships staying in the UK

*****

2 March 1944
today marked the beginning of the busiest month in the fledgling 8th AF's history

crews, planes assigned to this mission:
Lt. Koss - 907
Lt. Wenger - 975
Lt. Smith - 532
Lt. Rose - 958
Lt. Burnett - 735
Lt. Wild - 362
Lt. Makowski - 888
Lt. Saunders - 536
Lt. Upson flying a 407th crew, ship

Lt. Rose had a mechanical failure and they aborted

326th pilots usually come in to operations office while the rest of the crew is preparing the ship for the flight
pilots are then briefed on the day's flight
being acquainted with the briefings, I could usually tell what target they are going after (From the remarks made).

S/Sgt. Adams and S/Sgt. Sztorc, the latter being an original man who flew over from the USA with the group and was Capt. Belongia's tail gunner, were completing their tours of 25 missions today

flying over the target at 25,000 feet they were the low squadron, low group

one ship flying in #6 slot carried 12 500-lb. G/P bombs
remainder of the aircraft carried 252 65-lb. incendiaries
dropped on or near the target at Frankfurt, Germany
reason for the remark "on or near," some men coming back from France said our bombing was very sad
Well, who could really tell who did what?

bombs dropped at 12:08
flight averaged 7 hours 45 minutes
2,150 rounds of 50-caliber ammo dished out to approximately 20 Me 109s and Me 110s
no claims submitted

no damages or losses reported

many C-47s have been observed flying over regularly the past few days
they are practicing for the "Big Day," the invasion of Europe, that everyone has been waiting for

most C 47s [sic] carry airborne infantry who are to be the advanced troop assault

men in this service are paid $50.00 flying pay
officers get $100.00 a month if they flew during that month

Radio comments the past week by Winnie Churchill, the prime minister of Britain, commending the American 8th Air Force for the large number of bombers that are being dispatched for bombing from the British Isles are exceeding the RAF in numbers and size
In thinking about this, what about the various other Air Forces belonging to Uncle Sam, such as the 15th AF in the Mediterranean, the 10th AF in India, the 14th over there somewhere plus the Air Forces in the Pacific? Can you imagine, Mr. Churchill, what the USA is contributing as compared to the British Commonwealth in this struggle?

new ship is assigned, serial number 42-31898

Major General Jimmy Doolittle has replaced Major General Ira Eaker as the head of the 8th Air Force

*****

3 March 1944
the "boys" were briefed for Capital "B" formations and weather kept all but a few from going to the target
except for Lt. Wenger, 975, who aborted

Lt. Wolf - 536
Lt. Rose - 532
Lt. Smith - 489
Lt. Upson - 888
Lt. Wild - 958
Lt. Burnett - 907

all came back before the rest of the formation and they did not receive mission credits

the equipment in the ship Major Word flew went out of order and they came back early

entire wing came back because the cloud cover was too high to get on top
bombs jettisoned into the channel

a lot of fish were killed today

*****

4 March 1944
seven crews flying today
they drew the "low-low" spots again
it seems to be a regular spot for our squadron to be flying these days

on the mission:

Lt. Wenger - 489
Lt. Larrivee - 907
Lt. Wild - 362
Lt. Burnett - 772
Lt. Wall - 958
Lt. Rose - 888
Lt. Makowski - 932

take-off time 0830 for a 6 ½-hour flight for bombing at 25,000 feet

dropped 294 65-lb. incendiaries onto Bonn's city center in Germany

cloud cover made visual sighting impossible
no results seen

flak meager, accurate
no enemy fighters seen
and no damages or losses reported

*****

5 March 1944
only a couple of ships flying practice missions on a clear, cold day
activities slow; however, a mission alert received for tomorrow

*****

6 March 1944
target today "BIG BERLIN"
crews taking off 08:00 [sic]

Lt. Smith - 489 - aborted
all others got a mission credit

Lt. Larrivee - 907
Lt. Wild - 362
Lt. Makowski - 529
Lt. Rose - 898
Lt. Koss - 888

Lt. Burnett - 958
had number two engine shot out by flak before he reached the target
he returned alone
What great luck!

Lt. Upson - P
Lt. Hilger - CP
Lt. Dorgan - B
Lt. Thompson - N
Pvt. Schultz - R
S/Sgt. Hargrove - E
Sgt. Bishop - BT
Sgt. Standlee - TG
Pvt. Walton - WG
Sgt. Persons - WG

this crew reported as missing in action
from interrogation reports, Lt. Upson's crew was seen to have bailed out
No one ever knows if that is the case or not.
Sometimes two crews see very different things during combat

Major Word flew in PFF ship leading group, wing
target aiming point was the center of the industrial area
cloud cover at the target was intermittent clouds
sometimes target visible, sometimes not

mission an 8-1/2 hour flight
bombing altitude was a fairly low 21,000 feet
ordnance dropped, 50 500-lb. G/P bombs at 13:22 [sic] hours

enemy opposition consisted of ME 109s, FW 190s, JU 88s
a mixed bag of fighters
estimate of enemy fighters 75-80
claim submitted of one destroyed

one of our ships was missing and one damaged

heavy to intense flak was accurate

one ship carried the 500-lb. incendiaries
This was the first time this new weapon was used.

*****

8 March 1944
Erkner, a section of Berlin, was the target for today
take-off at 0800 hours

These crews were listed to go:

Lt. Saunders - 536
Lt. Smith - 489
Lt. Wild - 362
Lt. Burnett - 898
Lt. Wall - 907
Lt. Koss - 455
Lt. Rose - 532

The following completed their "25" missions:

Lt. Saunders - P
T/Sgt. Zygmunt - R
T/Sgt. Borassi - E
S/Sgt. Miskovsky - BT
S/Sgt. Baker - WG
S/Sgt. Hayes - TG

These crewmen were in the lead ship on this mission

time of mission over 8 1/2 hours
altitude 25,000 ft.

ordnance carried, 251 100-lb. general purpose bombs
dropped at 14:40 [sic] hours

12 single-engine fighters sighted
no encounters made

flak moderate, inaccurate

ball bearing plant was target hit today

on the raid of the 6th of March losses to the 8th Air Force were 68 Heavies, 11 fighters
enemy casualties listed at 172 fighters
good going for our side on the count of planes, but we were on the bottom of the figures for men lost, 680 souls.

losses today 38 Heavies, 16 fighters
enemy losses 83 fighters

Yesterday, the 7th, the ominous news came in that the sorties would be pushed up to 30 raids for a complete tour.
This would start on the 15th of March.
Everyone would start the serious business of recalculating numbers and chances of survival.

*****

9 March 1944
again the target for today was Berlin
so far targets for this group, comparatively, has [sic] been what the boys call a "milk run."
After the boys have been "sweating out" this particular target and dreading it, it turns out to be just another target.

two crews aborted this run:

Lt. Wenger - 898
Lt. Wild - 362

these five crews completed the mission:

Lt. Koss - 455
Lt. Lansing - 907
Lt. Burnett - 408
Lt. Smith - 489
Lt. Wall - 735

weather was cloud covered

nine hours needed to complete the mission

bombing done on the Pathfinder aircraft from 24,800 feet

ordnance dropped was 60 500[-lb.] G/P bombs

no encounter with enemy fighters was mentioned

flak moderate, inaccurate

a couple of thousand rounds of ammunition expended test firing

*****

10 March 1944
air crews sleeping in after a well earned rest
Bombing the capitol city, BERLIN, for three straight days is not an easy chore.
Especially when you know that you just got five more missions added to your tour of combat duty!

Mail from the states informed us that S/Sgt. Scott is reported as a POW. He was with Lt. Lock's crew from the January 11th mission. The plane was "Trudy's Ship," # 175.
So far no other news about the rest of the crew.
S/Sgt. Scott was the ball turret gunner

*****

11 March 1944
Today six of the "25-ers" were flown to Wharton near the #12 RCD, where all men report after they complete their missions.
Thence from there they are sent back to the States and home for a brief furlough before being reassigned to either training, or back to flying duties somewhere else.

six ships scheduled for a practice formation flying mission
Engineering section, however, took a couple of ships for maintenance. They can't seem to understand the importance training is playing to get better hits on the targets. There are too many flaws in this Air Force. The first and most important part is to drop bombs on the target the first time they go there. Sometimes this makes for a sad day, when the troops have to go back to the same target again and again and again. There are losses on these reruns, and that's really a crime because too many guys are getting lost and killed. Too many people do not really understand the importance of every job.

*****

12 March 1944
I haven't mentioned the weather much these days, so here it is.
The day is cloudy. The sun does sneak out on occasion.
So the planes and crews are getting in some local test hops, which vary from "slow timing" an engine to testing air surfaces.
So all people are at last working toward the same goal, I think."

*****

13 March 1944
today's scheduled mission scrubbed

boys got in some time on test hops

P-47s were buzzing the field in a lazy pattern
unfortunate accident happened between HQ, Group gunnery offices
A P-47 pilot failed to pull out of a dive, crashed in the garden
another P-47 pilot responsible
he inadvertently hit his gun switch instead of the camera switch
pilot tried to bail out, but was going in at such a speed that he could not
Even training is costly!

*****

14 March 1944
alerted for a mission
this was scrubbed 15 minutes later for a stand by instead

*****

15 March 1944
stand by this morning
after a stand by till midnight the next flight turned into a practice mission for six skeleton crews

two new crews reporting in today
both pilots, Lt. Donaher, Lt. Anthony, got in on the practice mission

heavies went out from the 8th Air Force today
40th Combat Wing did not participate

an unusual day
sky sunny, warm for an English spring day

London pounded by the Jerries last night
they lost 12 bombers

alert for tomorrow

*****

16 March 1944
following crews took off at 0800 hours:

Lt. Wild - 362
Lt. Wenger - 898
Lt Larrivee - 907
Lt. Lansing - 888
Lt. Makowski - 536
Lt. Wall - 489
Lt. Price - 532
Lt. Burnett - 735

these crews were flying positions in two high squadrons
target was Augsburg, Germany

aiming point was center of the city industrial area

weather, cloud cover

time: 0800 hours at 19,000 ft.

ordnance was 304 100-lb. fragmentation bombs
dropped at 12:15 [sic] hours
hits unobserved
cloud cover was all the way to, from target

50-100 fighters seen, but no encounters evident

flak moderate, inaccurate, according to S-2

one ship came back with flak damage
It must have run into flak deliberately.

*****

17 March 1944
reports on yesterday's mission: 22 Heavies, 13 fighters lost
72 enemy fighters reported as "downers"

*****

18 March 1944
after pushing up the time by one hour the boys took off at 0945 hours
target was Lechfeld, Germany
was an airfield that was later known as the home of the ME 262 jet fighters

flying this trip were

Lt. Wenger - 898
Lt. Larrivee - 958
Lt. Lansing - 532
Lt. Wild - 362
Lt. Price - 489
Lt. Koss - 455
Lt. Murdock - 513

they flew in positions in the high squadron of the high group

news today that Sgt. Van Selus, S/Sgt. Stump are in London ready for identification
crew members that are returned from the continent are always sent through an interrogation procedure in London prior to being returned to their original units.

mission required eight and one half hours flying

ordnance dropped was 500 G/P bombs from 24,000 ft. at 14:15 [sic] hours

hits observed as being very good
right on target

flak moderate, inaccurate
no enemy fighters seen
nor were any of our little friends

*****

19 March 1944
very clear day for a change

some local flying

I went by way of Bovingdon to London to identify Sgt. Van Selus, Sgt. Stump. I did not get to London from there. Try again some time soon, or send someone else.

*****

20 March 1944
target for today Frankfurt, Germany

take off scheduled for 08:10 [sic]

crews on the roster:

Lt. Makowski - 536
Lt. Rose - 898
Lt. Lansing - 888
Lt. Koss - 455
Lt. Murdock - 362
Lt. Anthony - 532
Lt. Larrivee - 489

weather bad
estimated flight time seven hours and forty-five minutes

flight altitude for dropping the 252 G/P 100-lb. bombs was 25,000 ft.

none were dropped

flak light to inaccurate

no enemy fighters encountered

flying time for the squadron this past week totaled 200 hours

*****

21 March 1944
a very foggy day today with no flying

I went to London to identify Sgts. Van Selus and Stump. Upon returning to base I was advised that a few more fellows were in London. Boy, another London run.

22 March 1944
eight crews on the roster for today's mission to our favorite target BERLIN

take off was at 7:45

flight list:

Lt. Wenger - 898
Lt. Wall - 489
Lt. Anthony - 735
Lt. Larrivee - 489
Lt. Koss - 455
Lt. Ledyard - 362
Lt. Murdock - 532
Lt. Lansing - 888

take off was at 0745

aiming point was the center of the city

weather partly cloud cover

hits unobserved

it was a nine-hour flight

bomb load was 80 500-lb. G/P bombs
dropped from an altitude of 24,000 feet at 13:07 [sic] hours

probable targets: the train stations or the markets

four ME 109s greeted our boys
no claims of "shoot downs"
no passes made at our guys

flak moderate to inaccurate

If you told someone before this raid, they wouldn't believe it

One other wing must have caught all hell.

we had no losses
all our ships came back
one ship had some battle damage, # 907

B-17 #975 made its 35th mission today.
#362 made it's 25th mission.

We received a letter from Jimmy Farrell's mother today.
She said that he was killed.
He was ball turret gunner on Lt. Lock's crew.
He also was a very good friend of the one writing this journal.
I get the bad news twice.

*****

23 March 1944
today seven crews are flying the mission to Herbern, Germany
located in the Munster area

our ships were flying low squadron, high flight

listed on this mission were:

Lt. Wenger - 898
Lt. Wall - 231
Lt. Larrivee - 888
Lt. Robbins - 455
Lt. Donaher - 513
Lt. Murdock - 532
Lt. Ledyard - 362

following four crews listed as missing: Murdock, Robbins, Wall, Larrivee

fighters swift, accurate
about 100 single-engine ME 109s, FW 190s concentrated on our group
they all lined up on our group, which may have been in a loose pattern, and took a big toll of four ships

This was the biggest loss for us and our squadron, and for the group.

claims were four enemy destroyed, one probable

flak moderate to light, accurate

bombs 65-lb. incendiaries
dropped from 21,000 feet

results not observed due to clouds flying low over target area

no escort fighters

a couple of new ships assigned today:
42-97217-L "Punkin"
42-38156-E "Mary B"

*****

24 March 1944
two crews flying "fill In"
Lt. Anthony going to Schweinfurt
Lt. Donaher gong to Frankfurt

Lt. Rose, his five enlisted men that finished up were flown to Wharton near the 12th RCD

Lt. Burnett, crew transferred to the PFF outfit
went down on the 22nd raid to Berlin flying deputy lead in the lead group

new ship assigned today: 42-97218-G, "Toonerville Trolley"

bombed on PFF

these hops were seven-hour runs

carried five 1000-pounders on each ship

no fighters encountered

flak moderate, accurate

no losses to our group

*****

25 March 1944
one ship flying air sea rescue search for the RAF who went out last night

warm, misty day

news that the following crew members are in London: Lt's. Shevchik, Thorson, Hoffman; Sgt. Wall
identified by Sgts. Van Selus, Stump, Scanlon

*****

26 March 1944
It was one of those unusual days, beautiful and warm. The sun was shining very brightly. It was really a spring day. The fellows are really ambitious. They cleaned up our skimpy lawn out front. It's now the best-looking on the field. All it needs is some care. I guess the boys are just damned glad to be able to do that clean-up. They are still alive.

after scrubbing the morning flight the higher HQ called in another alert for the afternoon

seven crews took off at 1320 hours:

Lt. Koss - #489
Lt. Wenger - #907
Lt. Anthony - #975
Lt. Donaher - #243
Lt. Ledyard - #362
Lt. Price - #217
Lt. Makowski - #536

Pas de Calais area was the target
this was the favorite target of the "Libs"
they hit it a bunch of times

The B-24 is a good aircraft.
It flies faster than the B-17, but it cannot take the punishment that our bird takes and still come back with its crew.

ordnance carried: 1,000[-lb.] G/P bombs

dropped from 20,000 feet
15:08 [sic] hours

flight time averaged about three hours

Lt. Koss aborted this one
He dropped his bombs in the channel

other men to return: Lt. Lock and Sgt. Mullins from the 11 January mission
Sgts. Buckner and Warner from Lt. McMurray's crew

Sgts. Montemarano and Foster completed their tours of 25 missions today

27 March 1944
after pushing up the time a couple of hours the boys finally took off at 11:30 [sic] hours for a six-hour flight to La Rochelle, France, to bomb an airfield from 22,000 ft.

weather conditions good

ordnance dropped were 82 500-lb. G/P bombs

visual observation indicated a good scattered pattern on the airfield
no enemy fighters seen

our boys had good fighter escort

one ship got minor flak damages [sic]

listed on this mission were:

Lt. Wolf - #536
Lt. Wenger - #156
Lt. Anthony - #523
Lt. Price - #217
Lt. Ledyard - #362
Lt. Donaher - #489
Lt. Koss - #907

Capt. Wolfe, our lead wing pilot, completed his tour of 25 missions

28 March 1944
Sgt. Van Selus returned to field today
gave a short briefing on escape, evasion
gave no secrets away, but did fill in the uninitiated crews as what they might expect if they fell to earth in Belgium or France or Holland

target for today's mission was airfield Dijon/Longvie, France
aiming point was hangar areas

84 G/P 500-lb. bombs dropped

seven-hour flight in clear, crisp, spring weather enabled our crews to visually report on a good hit pattern on the airfield

bombing from 23,000 feet

flak moderate, generally inaccurate

no significant damages reported
just one ship incurred minor damage

crews going on this trip were:

Lt. Smith - #156
Lt. Koss - #218
Lt. Donaher - #513
Lt. Rosenfeld - #753
Lt. Wenger - #907
Lt. Anthony - #362
Lt. Price - #217

29 March 1944
group sent out 21 ships
all returned

squadron was flying "fill in"
needing none for this fill up mission, all our ships stayed on the ground

when the mission returned, the weather was closing in rapidly
the rest of the group ships came in without any trouble

Our new guys are learning very fast!

30 March 1944
alerted but scrubbed on the same night

a major by the name of Katz has been spending a five-day furlough with the squadron
checking up on how a bomber squadron operations
also checking on S/Sgt. Sidders, the radio man on Lt. Shevchik's crew
only satisfaction he received was that Sgt. Sidders was in good health and possibly on his way back

Sgt. Scanlon was in the operations office today giving a briefing on his return trip from France
was operated on for flak, shell hits by German doctors, specialists

French underground gives 99% help to all American fliers to cooperate in returning to England

31 March 1944
mission scrubbed for today
two squadrons had already taken off
stayed in the air and got in some practice time with fully loaded aircraft

when fog lifted our planes landed

Lts. Thorson, Hoffman paid a visit to the office
not the talkative type so they did not say too much
did say that they thought Lt. Scheiman had been killed after he bailed out because he was badly hit.
Eureka.