326th Squadron
Daily Operations Journal

May 1944

1 May 1944
starting this month with a full day for this group
squadron flew seven crews on a mission and no bombs dropped
however, they received credit for a sortie

it was carried on reports as Le Grismont, France

crews going out were
Lt. Ledyard - 479
Lt. Price - 536
Lt. Burkhalter - 227
Lt. Jones - 217
Lt. Brand - 958
Lt. McCormick - 489
Lt. Hodges - 121

Maj. Word flew on the afternoon mission with the 407th as wing commander

Sgts. McClure, Vorbroker, Tucker, Clements and Lts. Price and Gubler completed their tours on this mission

reports came through today from the Red Cross that Lt. Rosenfeld's crew was interned in Switzerland and that Lt. Donaher's crew was safe in Sweden

2 May 1944
flying today was restricted to local activities

news came in that Lt. Thompson, navigator on Lt. Upson's crew on the Berlin raid, as a POW

3 May 1944
weather again grounding our mission program

Capt. Belongia flew the men to Wharton on their way to the States

sugar report for this month had the 327th dispatching more ships over the target, but for the first time in a group a squadron went without an abortion, and it was our 326th
We hadn't missed out altogether

4 May 1944
seven crews as follows:

Lt. Hodges - 536
Lt. Burkhalter - 907
Lt. Pearl - 217
Lt. Jones - 898
Lt. McCormick - 227
Lt. Brand - 958
Lt. Wilson - 489

mission carried as a Berlin recall

fairly heavy flak was encountered on the way going in
to make matters worse, a weather front kept the boys from getting to the target area

credit was given

5th and 6th May 1944
slow days
we were grounded by weather
local flying was the limit

a formation flying practice was launched on Saturday
ground schools were all operating and received full attendance

7 May 1944
nine crews scheduled this day
it seems more missions are flown on Sundays than any other days

one of the pilots was grounded at briefing so only eight crews made the mission

Lt. Pearl - 217
Lt. Mahone - 536
Lt. Wilson - 753
Lt. Brand - 958
Lt. McCormick - 848
Lt. Burkhalter - 907
Lt. Shanks - 898
Lt. Hodges - 156

flying high squadron and first element of low squadron in high group

Lt. Wilson changing ships had a late start and failed to catch up with the group

two new crews assigned as were six brand new silver ships
squadron received three of them
(All silver B 17s, bare aluminum, from the factories started in the March 1944 production runs.)

8 May 1944
six crews returned from this Berlin trip
flying low squadron in air division, lead group

Lt. Hodges - 121
Lt. Mahone - 536
Lt. Jones - 898
Lt. Pearl - 217
Lt. McCormick - 848
Lt. Wilson - 907

Eighth Air Force losses were 36 bombers, 13 fighters
92nd had one loss

Lt. Pearl having engine trouble on the return came over the southern tip of "Happy Valley" and experienced a very heavy flak barrage
with a lot of hits there he came down to the suicide altitude of five thousand feet
tried to duck in and out of the clouds
one flak burst hit the nose of the plane
navigator and bombardier hit
they were F/O Grant and Lt. Palumbo
Lt. Marcus, co-pilot, also bailed out
He must have been over excited
since then Lt. Palumbo has been reported as a POW

ship had about 50 flak holes
two engines knocked out

9 May 1944
taking off at 6 o'clock for Thionville, France
leading the low group

Lt. Ledyard, Capt. Belongia - 156
Lt. Hodges - 848
Lt. Roll - 536
Lt. Jones - 898
Lt. Seitz - 121
Lt. Shanks - 907

Lt. Boyle finished his missions today

light flak
no fighters, ours or theirs

10 May 1944
eight crews went out and were recalled
weather closing in

it cleared up nicely in the afternoon

11 May 1944
late afternoon mission
six crews going out
flying high squadron, high group
target Konz/Karthus, France
hitting marshaling yards near the French/German coast

crews making the hop:

Lt. Mahone - 001
Lt. Roll - 536
Lt. Burkhalter - 907
Lt. Seitz - 121
Lt. Shanks - 299
Lt. Brand - 227

12 May 1944
a brief survey of today's raid on Merseburg
Germany center of oil production

Lt. Hodges flew position of group leader
Lt. Gisriel as lead bombardier for the first time
they made direct hits on the target

losses to 8th AF were very heavy
losses were 52 heavies, 13 fighters to enemies' losses of 150 fighters
mostly of the 109 and 190 types

crews making the trip:

Hodges - 156
Mahone - 001
Brand - 958
Jones - 898
Burkhalter - 907
Siegle - 489

position in formation for today - lead squadron, high group

13 May 1944
nine crews off today for Stettin, Germany
formation position high squadron and second element of low squadron in lead group

taking part were:

McKenzie - 001
Burkhalter - 907
McCormick - 848
Brand - 121
Siegle - 958
Wilson - 582
Jones - 898
Wiggins - 489
Sargeant - 227

no fighters at target or along the way, but flak was determined as moderate at target

flying in weather ship 154E with Major Word showed the weather was going loose as the weather was heavy and turned into a rain on return
however, they all landed without difficulty and stood down the following day

12 bombers, 8 fighters were lost to enemy losses of 30 fighters

14 May 1944
Capt. Belongia, operations officer, received his majority
not knowing how to handle his scotch, he had to hit the bed early

Lt. Boyle was flown to Wharton after completing his tour

15 May 1944
local flying in a practice formation of a 12-ship group was a new tactic, possibly for invasion purposes

16 May 1944
new crew assigned today
squadron strength went to 18 crews

weather has scrubbed missions for the past couple of days

17 May 1944
40th AD called in a Stand-By till midnight
alert came in at 2 o'clock rushing it so much the boys didn't have time for a meal
the cooks had it brought out to them
then the mission was scrubbed at taxi time

a heavy downpour of rain restricted duties to the swinging of compasses

18 May 1944
today was used for a practice gunnery mission off the Wash

good news came in today that Lt. Lalley was on his way back through information from the underground
his identification was made through S-2 that he checked five purses in at squadron ops for his crew members

19 May 1944
on yesterday's gunnery mission the boys were trigger happy and burned out 29 barrels
could have been inferior barrels, but the general consensus of opinion that it was the carelessness of firing caused them to burn out

six crews made the trip to Berlin today as follows:

McKenzie - 001
McCormick - 582
Pearl - 227
Brand - 958
Wiggins - 898
Burkhalter - 907

flying low squadron, high group

no fighter opposition and light flak at target

20 May 1944
A tragic accident occurred at both ends of the long runway.
Everything was going fine this morning. For the first time the group was going to fly a combat wing with three 12-ship groups.
The 407th flying the high group had taken off the ground.
Knowing our squadron as a group was off next, I counted them up to seven and then a long pause.
After a few minutes I looked out the window and through heavy fog could see a cloud of smoke at the take-off end of the runway.
Then 50s began popping. A short time later the 1,000 pounders began exploding.
I heard six blow.

Lt. Pearl had taken off and his #1 prop blade hit a pile of stones on the left side of the runway.
Visibility was very bad and the ship lost control with the loss of one engine.
Lt Pearl fought with the ship trying to get it up but failed.
The plane went down in the woods, killing all the crew members.

The tower called a halt to take-offs and stopped Lt. Seitz's ship a short distance down the runway.
He began to taxi it back up the runway.
Lt. Wiggins had probably failed to hear the message to delay takeoff and poured the coal to the ship and caught Seitz coming back up the runway.

Five men escaped from each ship.
Everyone up front was killed.
One bombardier escaped but died of severe wounds later.
Others were shaken up and will take some time to come out of it and will be OK.
Five enlisted men of the other crew had minor injuries and are back to flying duty.

The target was an airfield at Orly, France.

21, 22, 23 May 1944
activities at a stand still
The large crater in the middle of the runway delayed operations for a couple of days.
Engineers came in and after about four days the asphalt began to dry.
Normal operations began again.

Major Belongia made a hop to Ireland taking a gunner along as an instructor

24 May 1944
crews credited with a mission to Berlin;

McKenzie - 156
Hodges - 536
Shanks - 299
Wilson - 532
Roll - 121
Burkhalter - 907

no losses for squadron or group
flak light at target
a few enemy fighters made passes on other groups

flight was long and uneventful for our boys

a very unusual raid for Berlin

25 May 1944
326th led the low group (12 ships) to Thionville, France

Hodges - 848
Mahone - 536
Roll - 643
Jones - 848
McCormick - 299
Seigle - 958
Wilson - 582
Hersha - 217
Sargeant - 299

Major Word flew with the 327th as wing C.O.

On the six-hour flight light flak and no fighters encountered

Lt. Williams, N on Lt. Shevchik's crew, MIA in France is in London and awaiting identification

26 May 1944
a couple of test hops and a practice mission rounded out this day of activities

27 May 1944
seven crews were out

Lt. Sergeant returned early with a fuel line leak from the run to Mannheim, Germany

others were:

Lt. McCormick - 536
Lt. Jones - 156
Lt. Wilson - 582
Lt. Brand - 958
Lt. Gall - 121
Lt. Shanks - 643

position flown was high squadron, low group
trip a seven-hour haul
flak accurate
no fighters seen

Here at base we almost had summer weather for the second time this year.

Nine-man crews have been ordered to fly the Forts again from much higher up

Squadron supply issued every man a gun, mostly all carbines in preparation for "D" day.

28 May 1944
The day of rest [Sunday] seems to be the one day the bombers are always going out

8 crews to Ruhland, Germany, flying high squadron

McCormick - 156
Burkhalter - 536
Shanks - 299
Roll - 643
Seigle - 217
Hersha - 898
Wilson - 582
Gall - 227

Lt. Jones in 293 returned
flying lead in second element of low squadron the ball turret man in the lead ship of the low squadron (325th) fired his guns and hit Lt. Robinson, the co-pilot, and Lt. Spenser, N in arm and leg
co-pilot will probably be out of combat flying for the remainder and the navigator back in a couple of weeks
highly unnecessary carelessness

Eighth AF 30 bombers and 13 fighters today as to enemy losses of 93 fighters

29 May 1944
starting this week out right squadron is leading a raid to Cottbus, Germany
with Lt. Michelson bombing and hitting target
the bombing results have steadily increased since "Mike" has been leading and will probably continue to hit new heights as there is no question as to the man's ability of being one of the best bombardiers in the Eighth Air Force

crews going today

McKenzie - 848
Mahone - 156
Roll - 643
Brand - 299
Seigle - 227
Burkhalter - 907
Sargeant - 582

30 May 1944
we had a one-day respite from bombing

31 May 1944
flying low group low squadron to Strasburg [sic], Germany

Brand - 156
Seigle - 217
Shanks - 299
Wilson - 582
Hersha - 898
Burkhalter - 907

no bombs dropped due to complete overcast and general weather conditions were very heavy