326th Squadron
Daily Operations Journal

September 1943

1 September 1943
S/Sgt. Bouvier is relieved from flying status today

Sgt. Ponte stopped at the office today to get flight certificates paying him for three months flying pay due a man when injured in combat
Sgt. Ponte's hands were frozen to the extent that he will not be able to use them for a two-year period
he must spend his time in a warm climate while they heal properly

*****

2 September 1943
alert today, but mission scrubbed
weather moved in

Major Winget flew today

a big headache, the hospital report, is completed today
just a lot more figures for one's eye wash

*****

3 September 1943
two new ships assigned to squadron today: 646 and 513

mission early this am
six planes took off at 0600, completed the hop
target a Nazi airfield at St. André, France

72 500[-lb.] GPs dropped from altitude of 23,000 feet
hits on target very successful
flak meager, but accurate
2,440 rounds 50-cal. expended
as about 75-100 enemy a/c of the FW 190 and Me-109 type were encountered
one claimed to be destroyed by T/Sgt. Root, engineer for Lt. George's crew

alert again for tomorrow

*****

4 September 1943
three planes transferred to the 379th Bomb Group: 9776, 9787, 9897

mission scrubbed

some ground school and regular daily routine work

*****

5 September 1943

Sunday the boys are somewhat lax in showing up
were they back home, mother would probably roust them out for church
if they were able after the Saturday night brawl

one class today
a training film on operation of a/c engines

S/Sgts. Scott's and Murphy's records and flight certificates were caught up to date
they are being transferred to the hospital while they are convalescing

alerted for Monday, the sixth
typing this up on the seventh
the boys are coming back; got to go out and sweat them in

*****

6 September 1943

seven crews alerted for today
squadron is leading the group on a deep penetration into the heart of Germany
the target being Stuttgart, which was covered with four to six-tenths clouds
secondary targets hit were Bforzheim and Strasbourg

Lt. McLaughlin w/Major Word in lead ship - 231
Lt. Belongia - 668
Lt. George - 717
Lt. Clough - 423
Lt. Holden - 802
Lt. Foster - 387
Lt. Whelan - 712

Lt. Belongia ditched the second time in his career
this time just a few miles off the coast
in 668, a 327th plane

all other planes made the coast at various fields

Lt. George the only plane from the group to make it back to Alconbury

group as a whole lost five planes and three crews on this raid

at the present we have two planes with 18 raids: 717 and 712
the squadron has gone nine raids (keeping fingers crossed) without a loss
trying not to sound mercenary
it takes 15 raids to acquire an award of a Silver Star for the squadron commander (here's hoping)

bombs dropped on target were 65-pounders, fragmentation
altitude of 24,000 feet
time of flight seven hours
degrees of success fair
mostly in that striking into the heart of Germany, it was bad on the already breaking German morale
5,000 rounds of 50-cal. expended
with a total of 19,830, counting the ammunition thrown overboard to lessen weight of ship on such a long journey
flak was light, but accurate
about 50 enemy aircraft seen
of which ten to 20 encountered
one destroyed, one damaged
confirmation on all planes comes in about two weeks later
90% of those are usually okay

this story or diary may be somewhat dry and more or less just records because the author is spending a lot of time working on reports, etc.
most write-ups are taken from reports

*****

7 September 1943
mission number 55
our ships scheduled, made and completed the mission

target Brussels, Belgium
a very good job on the target with Capt. White completing his tour of operational mission in the ETO
of which General Eaker is the commanding air general and General Devers, the commander of all air and ground forces

from time to time things of this nature will be wrote up in this journal:
the author's opinion of the Second Front Invasion after the fall of Italy will be as follows:
through northern Italy will come invasions around Switzerland and through the low countries Belgium, Holland and northen France, cutting off most of France
the basis for this opinion are [sic] on the present operations
airfields are being bombed which are occupied by the Luftwaffe in the low countries and northern France, softening up an opening as a quarterback does on a football team, softening up a certain lineman when he wants to run a play through that position.
anyway, it would be a waste of time and manpower to occupy the entire country of France
it would create supply problems as well as many others
better get back on the job as we have plenty of generals planning this war.
General Eisenhower isn't doing a bad job of it for the allies.

on with the raid
four planes made the trip
Lt. Wolfe - 423
Lt. Davis - 171
Lt. Whelan - 712
Lt. Fleming - 677

according to some of the men, it was one of the easiest milk runs, comparatively speaking

500-pounders of general purpose type bombs used
dropped from altitude of 26,500 feet
an average of 4:15 flight time
two to five enemy aircraft seen
none attacked
flak meager and inaccurate
no losses and no casualties for the entire group
460 rounds of ammunition expended
probably at long range fire

the present setup in 50-cal. is one tracer to four armor-piercing
some of the gunners claim quick shooting a tracer is essential to aim by
good logic even if Bomber Command wanted to take away tracers on some theory

in the coming years if you see generals wearing a flock of medals and some lower ranking officers or enlisted men wearing a few, you can draw your own conclusions on who is worthy

*****

8 September 1943
break today
only a practice mission
five planes flew an average of six hours

twin missions scheduled for tomorrow

working early in the evening with the alert officer
and announcement came over the radio at 1800 hours of the complete surrender of Italy to the Allies without reservations
a good move by a country that was being blasted from the air every day just to be conquered
the propaganda in Germany carried by Dr. Gobbels' machine was: We expected the macaroni eaters to become traitors, etc.
but they must have a lot of explaining to do to some of the German people that have been forced into fighting

*****

9 September 1943
seven planes scheduled for today's mission
leading group on this one

ships to take off were:
Lt. Foster - 608
Lt. George - 717
Lt. Clough - 387
Lt. Davis - 646
Lt. Holden - 580
Lt. McLaughlin - 423
Lt. Whelan - 712

t/o 0546 hours

target an airfield near Lille by name of Lesquin
degrees of success were very good
It recalls to memory the first real raid pulled by the 92nd group on the industrial center of Lille, eleven months ago on Oct. 9, 1942.

120-lb. fragment bombs dropped from altitude of 25,000 feet

average time of flight was 4:15

one plane failed to drop all of its bombs
some trouble in the bomb rack mechanism

The Studebaker people built good aircraft engines, but all pilots prefer Wright Engines in their Forts.

second part of this twin mission canceled
bad weather

no casualties or losses on this raid
one enemy fighter was seen, but did not attack

flak light, inaccurate

*****

10 September 1943
We are preparing for a move to Podington, only about 15 miles from this present base.

mission scheduled for today
six ships to be used with wing tip tanks
probably a long haul

on checking ships the men wished to have some fruit juices to take along
with aid of Lt. Holch, new squadron navigator, we were able to talk the mess sergeant into giving us several gallons of grapefruit and tomato juice so the boys were fixed up in that respect
but the mission was scrubbed after sweating the very bad weather, which became worse
then later in the day cleared up somewhat so in the evening no alert for tomorrow, but night flying was scheduled
but that, too, was scrubbed after the weather closed in again
then later on the weather again cleared
another idea of the weather in this country

Lt. Lockwood is the new squadron bombardier
filling in the place of Capt. White, who has completed his tour

Lt. Stone, who has completed his 25, is the new assistant operations officer
replacing Lt. Parkinson, who is being transferred to the new 325th, which is being reorganized, as asst. operations officer

a coin was flipped and our side won for the largest building for operations office at the new field

*****

11 September 1943
Sgt. Tornatore is relieved from flying status today
an AWOL case

on a stand-by until midnight
then it is called off entirely due to weather

*****

12, 13 September 1943
activity rather slow today
preparing for move
some ground school and compass swing, slow timing one airplane

Major Word talks [sic] to some armorers for faulty setting of bombs in racks on the last raid

*****

14, 15 September 1943
moving these two days about 95% complete
Lt. Stone, Lt. Holch, Lt. Ryan, I drove the squadron operations jeep down to this new field

nearest town is Podington, a very small village

the following day the combat crews flew the planes down

*****

16 September 1943
finally getting situated at our new base with some master maneuvering
Lt. Stone was able to rack off the best room in the building
It was already supplied with two large bulletin boards, one for a crew status board and one for aircraft status board

The commanding officer has his room in this building also, as well as 407th operations, 326th pilots room, 326th and 407th EM ready room combined
group gunnery office, finance office, locker room nearby
the drying room is in the same building
the control tower and one hangar are nearby

general landscape around the buildings is fine with nice lawn and flowers growing

worked late today getting the office in shape

the Squadrons Navigators and Bombardiers of the two squadrons have offices in the same building also

today word came in that Lt. Johnson's entire crew was okay and P/W in Germany
that making S/Sgt. Jackson, one of the other twins, happy

*****

17 September 1943
alerted today
seven planes and crews
mission scrubbed a few minutes before take-off

Lt. Koske transferred to Dep. of Patients Hospital

squadron meeting with CO, Ops. Off., Ass't. Ops. Off., Eng. Off. and Tech Supply Off.

two new crews assigned
Lt. Wild and crew
Lt. Byrne and crew
but Lt. Byrne is being transferred to the 407th and his crew will remain with the squadron

*****

18 September 1943
alerted for today

Lt. Fleming and crew starting passes today on regular schedule

mission scrubbed again
weather, as usual

*****

19 September 1943
crews sleeping in this morning

a fire is built for the first time this fall in the office
we have a pot-bellied stove, a product of Wheeling Steel
very efficient and very much appreciated by all

three planes on a practice formation flight this afternoon: 975, 513, 677
and four other planes: 646, 171, 623, 387

*****

20 September 1943
finally, the office is slowly, but surely getting on schedule

Lt. Stone has assumed the capacity of training officer for the combat crews and attendance has gone up

field is closed today
some repairs on the intersection of two runways

a B-40 is assigned to the squadron for maintenance and parts mostly

S/Sgt. Combs is relieved from flying status and is now working through Sqd Ops. cleaning the rooms

*****

21 September 1943
an early alert scheduled for today
crews are briefed and take off
but the mission is scrubbed before very much flying was accomplished

a new ruling out by Group that combat men will be on duty and attend all classes between 0800 hrs to 1700 hrs

*****

22 September 1943
ground school, no mission
clear weather

too many interruptions through the office to write up a good journal
(An excuse for lack of sufficient journalism knowledge.)

equipment is being installed on planes for night flying
ships were officially named through S-2

in a short discussion with Lt. Stone on his ops at the 303rd, the subject of gunners paying other gunners as high as three pounds to get on in their place on missions

another story about a boy from the group going on ops with the RAF and getting paid by their gunners for riding their position

alert for tomorrow

*****

23 September 1943
mission scrubbed
crews going back to barracks for sack time
an alert on for this afternoon

morning t/o time was at 0430
afternoon Mission No. 57 [sic]* for the Group and Number one at this new field of Podington

[*actually mission 37]

six planes took off at 1445 hours
target was a U-boat slip at Nantes, France
time of attack 1815 hours
72 GPs were dropped from an altitude of 24,000 feet (500 GPs)
hits were good
990 rounds of 50 cal were expended
one to five enemy AC were encountered with no results
two of our Forts came back with minor battle damages

Maj. Word received news of his receiving his award of a D.F.C.
presented for flying his crew back on a raid with the 407th when they were attacked by many fighters and cloud hopping it back to England after a struggle

*****

24 September 1943
alerted for today after being scrubbed, it turned out to be a very slow day
the records stack up so far with the 326th on the ball, according to Group
the general run of work in the office is working very smoothly
Lt. Koch, our gunnery officer, is handling affairs for the two squadrons EM's Ready Room
doing a fair job of it
only he is depleting the office supplies doing so

*****

25 September 1943
seven ships flying a practice mission with skeleton crews
more formation practice for new pilots
ships flew - 580, 623, 231, 423, 733, 646, 387 and 975 with the 327th

*****

26 September 1943
mission scheduled today, leading Wing and Group
more from reports
Maj. Winget flew in deputy lead ship
Lt. Col. Buck flying in lead ship
four hours and a half flying time, but weather closed in on the target so no bombs were dropped

*****

27 September 1943
mission today
same set-up as yesterday, leading Wing and Group
this time Maj. Word is flying deputy lead ship with Lt. Foster

seven ships flying - planes and crews:
Lt. McLaughlin, Lt. Col Buck - 580
Lt. Foster, Maj. Word - 387
Lt. Wolfe - 623
Lt. Whelan - 733
Lt. Fleming - 646
Lt. Clough - 608
Lt. Davis - 513

take-off at 0720 hours
target Emden, Germany, a naval base
dropping bombs from an altitude of 24,000 feet
attack time 1007 hrs
degree of success unknown as bombs were dropped on a parachute flare
1080 rounds of 50 cal expended
intensity and accuracy of A/A light and accurate
15-25 enemy aircraft encountered
with no losses to the enemy claimed and no damage to the Forts
however, the 8th AF lost 18 a/c on this raid

*****

28 September 1943
rainy weather
an alert was called at 1030
men alerted
six crews scheduled to take off
something on an order of a fire drill
but the weather outlook from the start not promising so the mission was scrubbed
from reports it was supposed to be an air sea rescue search
surprisingly, all details clicked for this rush mission

my birthday today

*****

29 September 1943
one plane took off this morning at 0630 hours with Maj. Winget as pilot
for sea patrol on the English Channel
patrolling for convoys

Maj. Word is flying 580
checking the A.F.C.E.
our Sqd lead ship
another plane is flying to accomplish monthly time for a new crew

*****

30 September 1943
pay day
English pounds floating around
a few crap games here and there
raining today
one plane scheduled this afternoon for a formation flight ordered by Group