B-17, 42-29486, and crew were assigned to the 348th Squadron of the 99th Bomb Group. Three members of
the crew were buried on January 12, 1950 in Section E 267 at the Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery.
1/Lt Martin J. Devane, Pilot Zachary
Taylor National Cemetery
2/Lt Howard L. Freeburg, Copilot Burial location unknown
1/Lt Edward B. Drueding, Navigator POW
2/Lt Sanford V. “Sammy”
Lavine, Bombardier Burial location unknown
T/Sgt Harold E. Penoyer, Radio Operator POW
T/Sgt William I. Craton, Engineer POW
S/Sgt Frank A. Curley, Ball Turret Gunner POW
S/Sgt Harold A. Yorton, Tail Gunner POW
S/Sgt James A. Harold, Gunner Zachary Taylor National Cemetery
Sgt Louis A. Smitkin, Gunner Zachary Taylor National Cemetery
On July 5, 1943, twenty-seven B-17s of the 99th flew a raid
against the airdrome at Gerbini, Sicily. Gerbini was the headquarters of the Luftwaffe Air Division III. The raid that day
was in preparation for the invasion of Sicily that would begin just five days later.
During the raid, the 27 B-17s encountered more than 100 enemy
fighters! The sky was so filled with enemy fighters that one B-17 gunner reported shooting down a fighter he wasn't even aiming
at; it simply flew through his line of fire.
Three of the B-17s were shot down! It was their 21st
Mission! During the fighting the plane exploded. Of the 10 men on that plane, five were killed. Four were wounded, including
two who received life-threatening injuries. All of the survivors were captured and became prisoners of war.
1st Lt. Edward B. Drueding, Navigator
Gerbini raid. Suffered a rib injury while parachuting from the aircraft. William Craton reported he was held in Stalag 3A
at Moosburg, Germany, for 2 years. William Craton also said he last saw him at Stalag 7A near Munich, Germany. He was killed
at Godman Air Base, Kentucky, in 1947 when his T-6 trainer was hit from behind by another aircraft.
1st Lt. Martin J. Devane, Pilot
at Gerbini when the aircraft exploded. Stayed aboard as long as there was a chance of anyone in the crew getting out.
2nd Lt. Howard L. Freeburg, Copilot
at Gerbini. Was without a scratch while waiting to exit the aircraft when it exploded.
2nd Lt. George J. Doyle, Bombardier
of crew when aircraft was ferried to Africa. Possibly replaced later by Bostoni, who was replaced by Lavine on the Gerbini
TSgt. William I. Craton, Engineer & Top Turret Gunner
down 4 enemy fighters during Gerbini raid. Sustained a severe head wound and other wounds to the body when the aircraft exploded.
Wounded in right leg by a fighter firing at him while he parachuted from the plane. After discharge from the Army Air Forces
in 1945, he re-enlisted in the USAF in 1947 as a SSgt. He eventually received a field promotion to Lieutenant and retired
as a Major
SSgt. Harold A. Yorton, Tail Gunner
down 5 enemy fighters during Gerbini raid. He was seen in Austria (probably at Stalag 17B) in 1945.
TSgt. Harold E. Penoyer, Radio Operator & Left Gunner
down 2 enemy fighters during Gerbini raid. He was wounded in both legs by shrapnel. He may have been in the same Sicilian
hospital as Lt. Drueding. He last saw Lt. Drueding on a prison train in Italy. Held in Italian and German POW camps for 2
years. Met William Craton at Stalag 17 in late 1944. Last saw William Craton and Harold Yorton on prisoner march in Austria in April,
1945. He died November 1978 from lung cancer.
SSgt. James A. "Jay" Harold, Right Gunner
at Gerbini when his parachute got caught on the horizontal stabilizer and he could not work his way free.
SSgt. Frank A. Curley, Ball Turret Gunner
wounded at Gerbini. Unable to evacuate aircraft. My father and possibly others threw him out the door. He was repatriated
to the U.S. due to his wounds. His wounds caused him to be paralyzed from the waist down. He died of a massive heart attack
in March, 1977
2nd Lt. Sanford
V. "Sammy" Lavine, Bombardier
at Gerbini when aircraft exploded.
Louis A. Smitkin, Gunner
at Gerbini. He was added to crew as 10th man after bomb missions started. He was supposed to be Left Waist Gunner, but was
assigned to the Radio Operator's gun position.
Thank you for your dedication to this website.Lt.Sanford Lavine is buried at Syracuse, New York, along
with the rest of his family, including three brothers who also served during WW11. Lt. Lavine volunteered to fly with the
Devane crew,# 229486 for one mission. He had flown 30 missions with his original crew “ the Bransom or Branson Crew
“, aircraft # 223178.According to Mort Magee his R/T operator and very good friend, the Bransom crew finished 50 missions
and all survived.
Lt.Lavine was my mother’s brother. I was born in 1940 and really did not know him.
Ridgeway & Conger, Inc.
2123 Main Street
New Woodstock, NY 13122
This B-17, Fortress, 42-30466, and crew were assigned to the 32nd Squadron of the 301st
Bomb Group. They were assigned to 2nd Bomb Group and were transferred to 301st Bomb Group on November 14, 1943 after 27 missions.
Missing In Action Piraeus, Greece on January 11, 1944 on the 12th mission with 301st Bomb Group. Damaged by explosion
of another B-17 and crashed near Patrai, Greece. Donald Ready crew, Miller, Siegel, Fitzgerald, Myers, Brock, Sehursky, Carlino,
Wright. Siegle, Sehursky POW, rest KIA. (MACR 1830). On March 31, 1949, three
members of the crew were buried in Section E Site 45-46 of the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery.
No one can be certain but this is what we believe happened;
the two planes from the 97th B.G. ran into trouble and had to abort. They turned back, still in the clouds. Then someone remembered
that the 301st was behind them. So they turned off. Instead of turning to the right they turned left and came right across
the leading element of the 301st. The 301st plane on the extreme left saw them at the last moment and dove off, escaping the
2Lt Donald S. Ready, Pilot KIA Fort Sam Houston Nat’l Cemetery
2Lt Richard A. Miller, Copilot KIA Fort Sam Houston Nat’l Cemetery
2Lt Aaron Seigel, Navigator Returned
2Lt Lawrence Fitzgerald, Bombardier KIA Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery
T/Sgt Edgar Myers, Engineer KIA
Fort Sam Houston Nat’l Cemetery
T/Sgt Samuel Schursky, Radar Returned
S/Sgt Roger N. Carlino, Turret Gunner KIA Zachary
T/Sgt Dale W. Brock, Gunner KIA Zachary
Taylor Nat’l Cemetery
S/Sgt Edward G. Wright, Tailgunner KIA Burial location
could not be found.
January 1,1944 began an especially tough month for the 15th Air Force. They had only recently settled
in to their Italian bases after moving up from North Africa during the previous month. The heavy bomber units had flown their
first combat sorties from Italy on 15 December 1943. The weather, which had been merely awful, got even worse. Their bases
around San Giovanni and Cerignola, Italy were built on the Capitanata plains along the Southeast coast and this assured that
the endless rain and snow storms, plus the run off from the nearby Appennino Napoletano mountains kept the field's ankle deep
in mud. The pierced steel matting used to provide a hard surface for their runways was simply pushed under the ooze by heavily
laden bombers. All too often the planks became unlatched from each other leaving sharp edges hidden below the surface and
several times up to four B-17s in one day suffered cut tires during take off and landings. After being loaded up for a mission
the heavy airplanes frequently sank up to the wheel hubs and had to be towed rather than taxied to the sodden runways for
takeoff. However, combat operations had to carry on regardless of these complications.
On the night of 7 January 1944 an eight day period of unusually cold weather began which froze the
ground hard enough for normal operations to be carried out. In the middle of this freezing period, on January 11, the four
B-17 groups were tasked with an assault against the docks of Piraeus Harbour, Athens, Greece. The Fifth Bomb Wing had visited
Athens eight times during late 1943 working over the Luftwaffe's fighter airfields but mission 217 was to be their first raid
on the docks.
As usual for this time of year the forecast weather aloft was very poor. 10/10ths cloud cover was expected
for most of the route with varying temperature layers causing ice on the wings. Persistent vapor trails acted as guidelines
directly to the armada for the Luftwaffe. To add to the woes of the aircrewmen the windows iced over making it almost impossible
to spot lurking fighters out for the kill. The 3/10ths cloud predicted over the target was considered ‘good’ bombing
weather by comparison.
In the 342nd Bomb Squadron of the 97th Bomb Group, S/Sgt Thomas Huffman, a veteran of 19 combat sorties
was on the roster of men selected to fly on the upcoming Piraeus operation. Despite his experience in aerial combat, he checked
out a gunnery instruction manual from the Squadron Operations Office to take along on the flight. He promised the librarian
that he would return the book as soon as he returned from the mission. At Cerignola Auxillary Number One, home of the 301st
Bomb group, navigator Second Lieutenant Neil Daley was far from pleased when he arrived at his airplane to find that someone
had made off with the swivel chair bolted to the floor in front of his desk in the nose of his B-17. He managed to round up
a milk crate to use as a seat, which was near enough the right height and was sturdy enough to last the whole the trip. It
was reinforced with wire slots so there was a bit of give and for additional comfort he switched his parachute for a seat
pack as padding for the long haul ahead. Normally he wore a chest parachute in the crowded ‘office’ in the nose
of his ship. The advantage of a chest pack was that he could unclip the parachute from its harness and stow it out of the
way while he worked. The downside of stowing one's parachute away is that when you need the thing you generally need it desperately.
Later on this mission Daley would have reason to thank whoever it was that liberated his swivel chair.
On the four other bases of the bomb groups involved in the day's mission hundreds of people were busy
with the normal routines of getting the airplanes ready for another blow against the Nazis. The briefed mission was to be
a standard bombing operation with the 2nd, 97th, 301st and 99th Bomb Groups flying in train. They were to fly down the heel
of Italy to the town of Lecce where they would take a heading of 98 out over the Adriatic Sea, to the point 3748'N - 2248'E
then pass over the Peloponnese peninsula of Greece. The bomber stream was briefed to make a 90 turn to the Initial Point over
Lagonisos Island. From there it was be a straight run to the target, drop the bombs, rally and come home. Piece of cake, really,
aside from such complications as wrestling an overloaded, four-engined bomber through contrails and prop wash. Then there
was always the Luftwaffe lurking here and there along the course. And as always they could expect a welcome from flak batteries
in the target area. In addition to that the weather made things even more complicated. Heavy clouds and tricky winds made
navigation extremely difficult. The combined turbulence of the weather and hundreds of four-engined bombers kept many of the
pilots of the heavily laden bombers fighting for their lives to avoid collisions within their formations. Still, these were
determined, experienced air crews to whom all this was their standard working environment.
The 301st Bomb Group had just begun its climb to bombing altitude through the 10/10ths cloud. At 12:40
hours the formation came out into relatively clear air at 19,000 feet. Navigator Walter B. Burry fought to peer through his
iced over windows keeping a keen lookout for other aircraft in the gloom. Before he could react, a pair of 97th Bomb Group
Forts leaped out of the swirling mist, headed directly for his airplane. One of them nicked his Fortress, throwing it out
of control. The collision had ripped off a wing tip and one entire horizontal stabilizer before the other ships disappeared
back into the clouds. Burry was roughly thrown out of his position and found himself in a heap on the nose hatch door. The
gyrations of the airplane convinced Burry that his airplane was done for. He jerked open the emergency release and tumbled
out into the air. Incredibly his pilot, Lieutenant Flathers and the co-pilot were able to regain control of the plane and
complete the mission and return to Italy. But for Burry and fourteen other American airmen it was the beginning of a very
long month and a half as guests of the andartes, or guerrillas, of the Greek Underground in Peloponnese. Fifty-three other
airmen were not so lucky and lost their lives within a matter of seconds of Burry bailing out.
Walter Burry came down near the town of Kalavrita and was met by a party of andartes. They took him
into the valley overlooked by the Monastery of Krania that was sprinkled with the wreckage and the bodies of the crews of
42-30341 and 42-30466. The mortal remains of the crews were brought in and buried in the monastery graveyard by the villagers
after a Greek Orthodox ceremony. Dog tags, AGO cards and personal effects were gathered and were later turned over to the
15th Air Force Intelligence Officer by returning crewmen.
Shortly after B-17 42-30466 thundered to earth near the sheepfold of the monastery Agai Lavra the monks
and the citizens of Kato Loussi and Kastria gathered to view the scene of this disaster that had dropped among them from the
skies. The ship had come to its end near the top of Trikokia Mountain rooting out rocks, trees and shrubs in blazing smear
of desolation down the side of the slope. It left a trail of twisted metal and bits of the bodies of its seven crewmen who
died in the bomber scattered along its path. A band of andartes under the command of Captain Sfakianos from Kalavrita soon
arrived at the crash site and took charge of the shattered remains of the ship. They did not allow the onlookers to remove
anything or to touch what was left of the seven unfortunate men of the air crew. A short distance from the scene Aaron Seigel
and Samuel Schursky landed safely in their parachutes and joined up with each other. They were in the process of deciding
what to do next within the forest they now found themselves. Soon a search party of monks and armed guerrillas came across
them and approached with caution. The bewildered Americans surrendered, identified themselves and were taken to the monastery
where they were put up for the night.
On the ground the hellish sights resulting from this multiple collision must have been staggering to
the peaceful Greeks. Fragments of airplanes and crew men began raining down into the valley. There were tragically few parachutes
mixed in with the falling debris. Out of a total of seventy seven men aboard the seven B-17s that descended in fragments only
fourteen lived through the disaster.
It was warm for January even though there was snow on
the ground. A farmer on his way to the forest of Helmos to cut branches from the fir trees to feed his goats heard the rumble
of the American bomber stream as it passed through the intentions of this wild-eyed, armed man rushing toward him. It was
soon established that both were friendly towards each other and Murray was helped into the village of Kato Soudena and sheltered
in a shop. Murray had injured his ribs in the rough landing and was obviously in great pain.
The inhabitants of both villages gathered around staring
at the American and trying to decide what was to be done. This was more than a discussion about giving first aid. The Germans
made no secret of their brutal policy toward anyone caught or even suspected of assisting allied personnel. On the other hand,
no one felt much inclined to do anything to assist the occupiers in any way. Finally one of the local men, whose name is not
recorded, assisted the damaged airman to his home. While attempting to relax in front of the fireplace, Murray tore the Staff
Sergeant stripes from his flight suit and threw them into the fire along with his escape map and other documents. A neighbor
who had lived in the United States some thirty years earlier was summoned to act as translator. With broken
It sometimes seems incredible that any downed airmen at all were able to evade capture in German held
territory. The German policies at that time made it lethally dangerous to be caught assisting enemies of the Reich. The Wehrmacht
had been in Greece since 1940. In light of their no-nonsense approach to partisans they should have made the country virtually
escape proof by 1944. The Greeks helped allied crews despite the very real threat of retaliation; or perhaps because of it.
All the same, it would take courage beyond comprehension to risk the fury of Nazi searchers. From the first days of the occupation
the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, or OKW, set the tariff for reprisals against partisans. For wounding a German ten hostages
would be killed. Fifty to one hundred hostages were to be shot for the death of a German soldier. The Wehrmacht General le
Suire in charge of Peloponnese had no qualms toward carrying out reprisals. In April of 1941 General Drech and three of his
aides were ambushed and killed by andartes near the town of Molaos. The response to this was the shooting of all the men whom
the troops could find in the villages on the road between Molaos and Sparta. In addition, 100 ‘bandit suspects’
who were being held in various locations in Peloponnese were killed. For good measure, 200 people classed as communists who
were being held in Athens also paid with their lives in the same act of retribution.
After another ambush, this time on the road between Sparta and Tripolis, 100 Greeks were taken to the
place of the attack and machine gunned. Shortly thereafter 50 hostages were hanged in public for guerrilla action against
railroad yard east of Tripolis. At the end of October 1943 a band of andartes, in a reprisal of their own, captured and killed
78 soldiers of General le Suire's own 117 Jaeger Division in the northern Peloponnese. After that the General made a full
time vocation of his revenge. By the middle of December during a series of raids throughout the mountains around Kalavrita,
hub of his discontent, le Suire's troops burned 25 villages to the ground and shot to death nearly seven hundred Greeks including
the entire male population of Kalavrita, over five hundred men and boys. To this day the village clock remains stopped at
2:34, the time of the mass murders. This must certainly have hardened the Greek resolve to resist with every means possible,
even if that could only mean harboring airmen who had been unfortunate enough to be downed while delivering justice to the
The B-17, 42-30111, was assigned to the 32nd Squadron, 301st
Bombardment Group. The plane was attacked by fighters and shot down over Wiener Neustadt, Austria on November 2, 1943. There
were no survivors. The crew was buried on February 20, 1950 in Section E 281-283 at the Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery.
1/Lt John N. Gibson,
2/Lt Bernard N. Brown
S/Sgt Edward C. Davis
Walter E. Dessart
T/Sgt Thomas J. Helm
1/Lt Roy H. Kirsch,
T/Sgt Clark J, Pugh
William T. Stewart
S/Sgt Anthony Massone – Burial location unknown
I am the nephew of Sgt Anthony Massone who was shot down over Wiener Neustadt, Austria on November
You have him listed as – “Burial location unknown.”
Just for the record he was buried at St. Johns Cemetery in Queens, New York, in 1946. Aircraft # B-17, 42-30111
Thomas J. Massone, Massapequa, New York
The B-29 42-6368, Calamity
Sue, was assigned to the 794th Squadron, 468th Bomb Group. It was downed on August 20, 1944 and the crew buried
August 23, 1949 in Section E 91-92 at the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery.
Captain Ornell J Stauffer, Pilot
Sgt Michael J, Karlovich, Gunner
Raymond J, Keelan,
S/Sgt Clinton A,
T/Sgt Walter A. Dansby, Radio Operator
Irving S. Newman, Navigator - POW
2/Lt Austin C. Shot, Flight Engineer
2/Lt Ben R. Bloom, Bombardier
– Burial at an unknown location
T/Sgt Robert W. Bonner, Tailgunner
– Burial at an unknown location
Sgt James A. O’Brien,
Gunner – Burial at an unknown location
1/Lt Jimmie Wine, Copilot –
POW – Buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of The Pacific
This B-29, 42-6368, was hit by pieces of 42-6334, which was rammed
by a Japanese fighter. It crashed in Einumaru, Orio-Cho, Yawata City, Fukuoka Prefecture.
Two crewmembers of 42-6368 were captured shortly after the landed
and were moved to Seibu Army Headquarters, then moved and imprisoned in Omori POW Camp and returned to the USA after the war.
One crewmember of 42-6368 was captured the next day and moved to Ofuna POW Camp and later to Omori POW Camp and returned to
the USA after the war. One crewmember of 42-6368 died of his wounds on 24 August 1944 at Kokura Army Hospital.
1st Lt. Jimmy Wine landed safely and escaped to the mountains.
He appeared at Ashiya Air Field on 31 August 1944 and fought against the Japanese soldiers with his pistol and was shot to
A Japanese Report
2nd attack to the Yawata make 鐵
place which designates the mainland China Chengdu as the base. At the Yawata city sky, the fragment of B29#42-6334 which dashes
to the 屠 dragon of army flight fourth squadron Nobe Sigeo sergeant operation to hit, fall to the Yawata city time tail
town. As for NEWMAN second lieutenant, SHOT second lieutenant and DANSBY technical sergeant in the defensive General Headquarters
of Tokyo by way of the western army area headquarters sending 致, accommodation to main place of 1944 December 19 Nitto
capital 俘 虜 internment camp.
WINE lieutenant junior grade, on
the 29th, invades the Ashiya airport. With the precaution soldier and the pistol of the possession after the gun battle, it
committed suicide with last 1 departure.