Z SQUARE 7, A B-29 TRUE STORY

Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 25

Home
The Z Square 7 Crew
Z Square 7 Crew Families
Z Square 7 Crew Cemeteries.
Missing Air Crew Report
Z Square 7 Crew Military Funeral
Memorial Lt Eugene M. Thomas Jr (Marion, Al)
Memorial Lt Francis X. Glacken (Cambridge, MA)
Memorial Lt Norman B. Bassett (Cornell University, Ithaca, NY)
Marcia Bassett McGrattan
Memorial Sgt George P. Demers (Lynn, MA)
Memorial Sgt George P. Demers (Lynn, MA)
Peter & Lillian Demers/Charlotte (Demers) Fiasconaro
Memorial Sgt Louis A. Dorio (Clarksville, VA)
HIRE OUR VETERANS!
POW-MIA-KIA Ceremony
500th Bomb Group, 73rd Wing Honor Roll
Bill Mauldin With Willie And Joe
Father John McBride
S/Sgt Kenneth O. Eslick with Photo Album
Sgt Jesse S. Klein. 41-13180
Frank Farr & Merseburg, Germany
"Lili Marlene" The Song!
"Lili Marlene" The B-17
"Lily Marlene" The B-24
"Lili Marlene" The B-24
Ivan Fail Introduction and "Long Before The Guns And Tanks."
Ivan Fail's "Tribute to the Queen"
American Battle Monuments Commission - Cemeteries
American Battle Monuments Commission - Memorials
NATIONAL WORLD WAR II MEMORIAL
THE MARINE CORPS WAR MEMORIAL (IWO JIMA )
KOREAN WAR VETERANS MEMORIAL
VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL
M/Sgt Roy P. Benavidez, Vietnam Medal Of Honor
Frank Farr Poetry "November 2, 1944", "Old Men And The War", " Merseburg"
Some Pictures of World War 2
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Pages Introduction
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Crew Index
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 1
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 2
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 3
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 4
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 5
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 6
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 7
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 8
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 9
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 10
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 11
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 12
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 13
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 14
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 15
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 16
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 17
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 18
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 19
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 20
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 21
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 22
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 23
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 24
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 25
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page - B29 Superfortress
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page - B26 Marauder
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page - B25 Mitchell
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page - B24 Liberator
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page - B17 Flying Fortress
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page - C87 Liberator Express
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page - PBM-5 Mariner
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page - A20 Havoc Attack Bomber
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page - C47 Transport
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page - P61 Black Widow
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page - A26 Invader
GIVE OUR VETERANS JOBS!!
Ivan Fail's "The Tuskegee Airmen"
Airmen Medal Of Honor Memorial
Memorial Page #1
Memorial Page #2
Memorial Page #3
Memorial Page #4
Memorial Page #5
Memorial Page #6
The Navajo Code Talkers & Native American Medals Of Honor
Ivan Fail's "D Day, The Normandy Invasion"
B-29 Crew Positions & Specifications
About The Book
C. Clayton Thompson Bookseller
Ivan Fail's "When The Mustangs Came"
Contacts
Ivan Fail "The Eighteen Wheeler's Hymn"
Awards
Lompoc Veterans Memorial Building with photo album
Ivan Fail's "Against All Odds - Mission Complete"
Ford Tolbert by Sallyann
Ford Tolbert Pictures
A Tribute to Lt Raymond "Hap" Halloran
Lt Raymond "Hap" Halloran
Colonel Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, USMC, The Black Sheep Squadron
Lt Halloran Eulogy for Colonel Boyington
Omori POW Camp
Ivan Fail's "A Salute To Lt. Holguin"/ "Shoo Shoo Baby"
Great Bend, Kansas B-29 Memorial
General Lemay's biography including a B-29 nose art photo album
THE GENERAL AND MRS CURTIS LEMAY FOUNDATION
March 9 and 10, 1945 Over Tokyo
Lt "Hap" Halloran on March 10, 1945
General Earl Johnson
General Earl Johnson Biography
313th Bomb Wing Mining Missions
Lt Robert Copeland, copilot, Z Square 8
Pyote Bomber Base With A Photo Album
History of "Diamond Lil" With A Photo Album
History of "FIFI" With A Photo Album
"Hap" Halloran induction Combat Airman Hall of Fame
Blackie Blackburn with a photo album
Hap's Memorable Flight On FIFI
C. Douglas Caffey, A WW2 Veteran, Book Of Poetry
C. Douglas Caffey Collection Of Poetry
Page 1
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5
Page 6
Page 7
Page 8
Page 9
Page 10
Page 11
Page 12
Page 13
Page 14
Page 15
Page 16
Page 17
Page 18
Page 19
Page 20
Page 21
Page 22
Page 23
Page 24
Page 25
Page 26
Page 27
Page 28
Page 29
Page 30
Page 31
Page 32
Page 33
C. Douglas Caffey on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
C. Douglas Caffey With More on PTSD
C. Douglas Caffey Memorial Day Flying The Flag
C. Douglas Caffey Saying Goodbye To America
OUR VETERANS NEED WORK!
Pearl Harbor with Photo Album
The Pacific Theater
Battle of Saipan, Mariana Islands
Saipan Medals of Honor
Battle of Tinian, Mariana Islands
Tinian Medals of Honor
Battle of Guam, Mariana Islands
Guam Medals of Honor
Battle of Iwo Jima
Iwo Jima Medals of Honor
Cpl Ira Hayes, USMC
Battle of Okinawa
Okinawa Medals of Honor
Japanese Surrender
Navy Ships At Surrender Ceremonies
Ivan Fail's "The Saga Of The Superfortress"
Ivan Fail's "The Silent Sentries"
Last Page

starbar.gif

This B24, “Jodey B,” 42-52261, and crew were assigned to the 736th Squadron of the 454th Bomb Group.  The plane and crew were lost over Cecina, Italy on February 16, 1944 when they were accidentally hit by bombs dropped from a higher aircraft. On January 17, 1950, four members of the crew were buried at Zachary Taylor National Cemetery at Section E206

 

F/O Eveland, Robert W            Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

S/SGT Gandy, Thomas R       Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

SGT McQuown, Philip C,          Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

S/SGT Simpson, James S         Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

2/LT Harry W Gay      Florence American Nat’l Cemetery

SGT Elbert H  Andrews   Golden Gate Nat’l Cemetery

SGT Victor S  Runyan

2/LT Ralph S Crawford  

2/LT Bruce B  Rabun  Pilot Florence American Nat’l Cemetery

SGT Joseph F Hanke       Florence American Nat’l Cemetery

SGT Charles F Malitz, Jr.   Florence Ameican Nat’l Cemetery

starbar.gif

littlelulu-v5-2.jpg
B24 "Little Lulu"

This B24 Liberator, 42-52479, “Little Lulu,” was assigned to the 776th Squadron of the 464th Bomb Group.  On August 24, 1944, the plane was attacked by German fighter pilots and exploded in mid-air as they were returning from the mission. There was one survivor. Eight members of the crew were buried on September 2, 1949 at Zachary Taylor National Cemetery in Section E155-156.

 

1/LT James, John H       Pilot   Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

2/LT Dunham, Erwin G,   Navigator          Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

SGT Ivan, Edward G              Gunner    Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

SGT Jeleniewicz, Eugene A     Engineer     Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

2/LT Maloney, Edward J,      Copilot     Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

SGT Robinson, Ralph            Gunner     Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

SGT Watson, Thad J Sr         Gunner     Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

2/LT Weaver, Walter W Jr       Bombardier    Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

SGT Gleason, Felix E.               Gunner   Lorraine American Cemetery

SGT D’Amore, John F.             Radio            Survivor

 

The 464th Bomb Group in WWII - Our Allies

Jiri Sasek, Czech Republic

    My name is Jiri Sasek and I am working to open a museum in Jindrichuv Hradec, Bohemia in the Czech Republic.    As soon as the museum is open (circa 2008), I'll mail photos of the show cases dedicated to the bombers of the 464th BG. This is the results of my research into the events of 24 August 1944 when the 15th USAAF attacked targets in Czechoslovakia.


    There were 368 bombers sent to oil refineries at Pardubice (55th Bomb Wing), Kolin (304th Bomb Wing) and the airfield in Pardubice (5th Bomb Wing).


    At 12.40, German fighters engaged the first bombers over the Czech Republic near Jindrichuv Hradec. The B-24 “Little Lulu”  42-52479, piloted by 1/LT John H. James, was shot down and crashed near Vlcice, Czech Republic. The only survivor of this crew was the Radio Operator, John F. D'Amore.

 

    D'Amore recalls, "On August the 24th, after successfully dropping our bombs on the target we were starting on our way back when we were attacked by several Me 109 fighter planes. As the radio operator my battle position was the left waist gun, the attack came from the right side and also from the rear. Six 20 mm shells came into the fuselage about six inches from my toes, then the ship went into a flat spin. I was thrown to the floor and pinned there due to the centrifical force of the spin. Then the ship exploded and broke into several parts, leaving me in the rear section and 1/LT James in the front part. As soon as my parachute opened I hit the ground and I never saw any member of the crew from then on.  (Both his legs were broken upon landing; the villagers who lived near where the plane crashed turned him over to the Germans, in part so that he could receive medical care. The rest of the men were buried by the villagers, and later reinterred in Zachary Taylor National Cemetery in Louisville, KY.)

 

It is my belief that a shell exploded in the front of the plane and killed everyone up there, thus causing the flat spin, I know if 1/LT James was alive he would have recovered from the spin. To me and the crew he was the best pilot in the world. I only knew 1/LT James for four months, but in that length of time I got to know him as a good officer, a good pilot, and a good sport - a combination very seldom encountered in this army. I feel as if I lost nine brothers. Every night I say a prayer for them."

    B-24, Little Gismo II, no. 42-78376 (776th BS) piloted by 1st/Lt. Virgil A. Leverett exploded in mid-air after heavy damages over Cimer (Czech Republic). The wreckage crashed directly on Cimer killing two crewmembers and grand dame, Sophie Bohm (92).

    B-24, Black Hall, no. 42-51083 (779th BS) came near Gross-Gerungs (Austria) with a burning right wing. Shortly after, the pilot 1st/Lt. Kermit F. Dannehl gave the order to bail out. The plane crashed near Kehrbach, close to Gross-Gerungs. Two men were killed-in-action.

    B-24 Red-O, no. 42-52520 (776th BS), flown by 1st/Lt. Thomas N. Vague's crew was heavily damaged over Jinrichuv Hradec and lost altitude. The plane crashed near Klagenfurt, Austria. Seven men managed to survive, but the other three were killed.

    B-24 Journey’s End, no. 42-78437, (Black K, 779th BS) piloted by 1st/Lt. Joyce W. Lewis recovered first from the German attack over Jinrichuv Hradec and with serious damage headed back to the south.  During the battle T/Sgt. William F. Wrinn and four injured crew members bailed out. The plane landed late that afternoon on the base in Bari. T/Sgt. Richard L. Du Pre died of his wounds. All 10 men were awarded the Silver Star medal.

   But not only American losses were in this battle. About 6 Fw 190s and 4 Bf 109s were shot down by the American gunners' defensive fire.

 

Strmilov -Vlcice [Strmillov / Vlchitse] Aug 24, 2004

 

Two men set out for this trip into the Southern Moravian-Bohemain border heading for the small town of Strmilov midway of the  Telc and Jindrichuv Hradec  route [Taelch] in Moravia [Yindrzhickoov Hruddaets ]  in Bohemia -  me and another member of our Plumlov Cz AA No 9 member who had been born there and  aged 8 he saw the Luftwaffe fighters attacking an bunch of American heavy bomber planes on August 24, 1944.

 

Vlcice Aug 24, 1944


There was a beautiful sunny day on August 24, 1944, sky over the town of Strmilov without a single cloud. At 11.00 a.m. the noise of American bombers flying at the altitude of 20 thousand feet on the 020 course in groups of 7 ships came to my ears. There was a black bomber mid each “seven” and other six ones were in silver.


I counted 22 “sevens” but I might have been wrong cause there was a no fix point in the sky to launch counting from. At about 11.30 hours the last seven was coming out of sight heading Northwest.  NOTE – Objective: Refineries in Pardubice and Kolin.


At 12.25 were the bombers returning on the course of 200 at the same altitude. There was no ship missing in single seven. I saw 2 silver fighter planes taking the left curve above the fifth “seven” of the bombers. Later I saw none of the silver fighter ones.


Approximately the mid “seven” of the bundle came under attack of the Luftwaffe fighter planes approaching as a pack from the West in the course of 90.


The black ship of this seven got it first making its tail dive first. This plane descended like a falling leaf swinging 5 or 6 times like this – my attention was being paid to the German fighters going down at this moment, so I wasn´t able to give the correct number of the swings.


At the altitude of 1200 – 1500 ft the engines of the black ship roared. The nose up, the plane nearly stopped. At this moment one white chute appeared. Several German fighters were going down doing somersaults and black chutes of their pilots came in my sight.


Before this black ship`s touching the ground, the left front airship of the same ‘seven’ accelerated and about 8 white parachutes turned up. At the same moment the left rear bomber of this ‘seven’ was being abandoned by its complete crew. This ship started to fall several seconds later and the detonation was heard in a while. About 12 German fighter planes were downed. This ‘seven’ kept flying Southwest box-shaped though reduced to four kites only.


Because the crashsite of the black bomber was about 2km far, I rushed there riding my bike. Passing the dam of the Hejtman [Haeytmun] pond I noticed one German pilot climbing down the tree. His chute was in the tree and the pilot was complaining to one civilian from the Rozkose [ Rozkooshae] village by Strizkovice [Strzheezhkovvitse]. His plane had been hit by the American fire before opening the fire of his own. But I did not care and rode on towards the wreck being in flames in the field about 200 metres North of the village Vlcice [Vlchitse] at the distance of 25 m from the mud road to German village of Olesna  -Nova Olesna [Novvah Ollaeshnah] now and 150 metres from our pond  / rented by my father/ NOTE : German village means the village settled only by the Germans.


The rear turret of this black ship was in the brook flowing into this pond, at the distance of about 60 metres from the bomber`s wreckage. An American airman – gunner- was lying on the outer ploughshare next to the road, approximately 30 metres far from the crashsite. He was dead with lots of shots.

 

The only member of this crew leaving the bomber at the last possible moment landed with his chute about 80 m form the crashsite near birch trees. Because he broke his leg – his ankle was dislocated at the angle of 90 – he was immobile. He introduced himself as James saying one word more I did not understand.  Apart from English he spoke also French. We carried him into the house opposite to the village chapel. He was laid onto the owner`s bed. The saved man wore battledress. Then one young man pedaling from the town of Kunzak [Koonzhuck] arrived at the scene. He spoke to the airman in French and translated their conversation into Czech. Later Gestapo ie.German Secret Police came and took away as the airman as this young Czech man. This civilian never came back from a Nazi Concentration Camp.

 

The airship was on fire for two days. It must have been full of ammo. There were lots of 12.7.cartridges in the turret mentioned above. The cartridges were of brass color, bullets blunt with red tips. Compared with the German ammunition, the American one was longer. The German 20mm cartridges were shorter, black coloured and bullets round shaped.


The other American airmen from the above mentioned two silver bombers of the same seven landed on the territory of so-called Sudety frontier Region and the Czechs were barred from entering it. NOTE : annexed by Hitler after the Munich Agreement signed by Prime Ministers Daladier – France and Chamberlain – Britain, as well as by Hitler – Germany and Mussolini – Italy on September 30, 1930. The Czechoslovak Republic was betrayed by its two Allies.


About 6 airmens` chutes landed in the trees by the pond of Ratmirov [Rutmeerrov]. There was lots of rumors among the Czechs that the American airman landing on his chute in the field had been pierced by the pitchfork handed by one Sudety-Austrian working there. The airman was said neither to provoke or defend himself.

 

The remains of  Lts. John J. James, Edward Maloney, Erwin G. Durham, Walter W. Weaver, as well as of  Sgts. Eugene Jeleniewicz, Ralph Robinson, Edward C. Ivan, Thad J. Jackson and Felix B. Gleason were buried into six graves by the Western wall of St. Andrew`s small church on August 26, 1944. This place was at the distance of about 150 m from our house, passing the churchyard on my way to school, me and Miluska Stranska laid bunches of meadow flowers on these graves. Though there was a man keeping an eye on these graves to prevent us – and not only us – from doing so, we did laying them at the time of his temporary absence. Mrs Cermakova –
the tailor Cermak`s wife – was seen by me to put big bunches of flowers onto these six graves. And these ones were all the time covered in flower till the winter 1944/45.


Pieces of plastics as well as aluminium had been found by me and the other boys in the forest near the pond of Hejtman and the surrounding ones. After the field at Vlcice ploughed and harrowed was, me and my 12 year old cousin Milan Povolny went to see the crashsite of the No 42-52479 black B-24 bomber. The soil was black within the 11 step-wingspan and the one of 12 steps within the ship`s length.


An amount of little bones – metacarpals, phalanges and metacarsals was scattered there. These bones had not been picked by the Germans and that is why me and Milan collected them and put into a bag. The bag was laid by us into one of these six graves.


Shortly after the end of WW II in Europe about 82 American soldiers in polished limousines and motorcycles arrived in Strmilov. Two soldiers were in each car and one on each motocycle, so the Square of Strmilov village was filled to the brim. The soldiers had clean and neat uniforms, armed with rifles. Strmilov residents and above all girls were in frenzy of enthusiasm.


The mourning ceremony was performed by them at the gravesite of these American airmen being watched by the Red Army soldiers. In several minutes after this festive ceremony, the Soviets brought one plain clothed German and shot him dead beyond the churchyard`s wall. This man was buried at the wall, but within the churchyard. The way the Soviets did not hesitate to spoil the sentiment of the American ceremony was shock for all the residents of Strmilov.  In August 1945 were the remains of the American airmen transported somewhere to France to find their final resting place there.


I must have my say on one issue more. Some articles published in this country inform about 4 ships downed on Aug 24, 1944. They are wrong. I could see only three bombers going down and the black one differed from the two ships in silver. I`m not sure whether the black bomber downed on Aug 24, 1944 really an B-24 type was. I could see the ship shortly before her falling on the ground – the nose up – and there was not a two-fin rudder construction seen by me at all, possibly cut off by the fire of German fighters, as well as the above mentioned tail turret. The fourth American bomber seen by me at 1 pm to fly on two engines only and going down in the surroundings of Strmilov on January 7, 1945. The bunch of airships eyewitnessed by me on that day was not flying in such a nice formation as the one of Aug 24, 1944.


Bombers were missing in several groups of 7 ships heading southwards and lots of them flew only by three engines in action. The bunch on the course of 200 was at the lower altitude as the one on Aug 24, 1944. that is why I was able to recognize props of the damaged engines.


The incident was seen by me from the firm Satrapa – now Strojobal Strizkovice – premises. One of the bombers kept on decreasing guarded by two Mustangs. Flying at the altitude of 1800 ft the ship came out of my sight beyond the forest towards the Krvavy pond and my deduction is, she must have crash landed somewhere in the territory of Lomy, Clunek, Hospriz. There were no black airships in any “seven “ of this bundle of US bombers on Jan 7, 1945. All were silver and of B-24 type.


Recalled by Boleslav Povolny


NOTE : Mr Povolne [Povvolnee] has been a long standing Member of Czech Republic`s Airmen Association. He had served for more than 20 years as a pilot in the Czech Republic Air Force, even picked by a head constructor of the Albatros jet plane Mr Vlcek to join the staff of the test pilots. After a suspicious death of the Mr Vlcek the staff of test pilots was disbanded. Declining to train Lybian pilots in their homeland, Mr Povolny was sacked and had to do his living as a teacher.

 

Me accompanied by Mr Povvolnee arrived at the churchyard of Strmilov on Aug 24, 2004 to take part in the ceremony there. One woman wearing the Czech Army festive uniform from the Jindrichuv Hradec garrison came to the scene in addition to Mr Burian, the Czech Military History hobbist. No one from the US Embassy at all !


I was shown the crashsites of the No 42-52479, as well as of a tail turret and tail gunner.
   
 

starbar.gif

This B17 Flying Fortress, 44-6328, and crew were assigned to the 342nd Squadron of the 97th Bomb Group. On April 20, 1945 the plane was lost over Innsbruck, Austria. On December 7, 1949, six members of the crew were buried at Zachary Taylor National Cemetery in Section E214-215.

 

T/SGT Tichy, Robert G          Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

S/SGT Bonner, Thomas W         Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

S/SGT McKinney, James E      Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

S/SGT Porter, James D,              Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

S/SGT Tomaszycki, Alfonsc J    Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

2/LT Wilcox, John E                   Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

SGT Connor, Victor C.

SGT Dudek, Chester A.

2/LT Sullivan, Earle  L.   Pilot

S/SGT Weinstein, David                 Long Island National Cemetery

2/LT Townsend, Gordon K.

 
Bombing of Innsbruck in World War II

Innsbruck, an Austrian city, was annexed by Nazi Germany in 1938. It was bombed 22 times by the Allies in World War II, suffering heavy damage.

 

Background

 

The widespread area bombing of Innsbruck began in December 1943 and went on until April 1945. Innsbruck is a main transport hub where four rail lines (Arlbergbahn from the west, Mittenwaldbahn from the north, Westbahn from the east and Brennerbahn from the south), converge. A key function as a railroad supply center for Italy made Innsbruck an important strategic target for the Allies.

 

Until autumn 1943, Innsbruck was too far away for the Allied air forces. With the establishment of the Fifteenth Air Force (15th AF) in November 1943, the success of "Operation Husky", (the name for the Allied invasion of Sicily) and the subsequent construction of several bases near Foggia in Italy, the city was then in range.

 

 

The first two raids (December 15 and 19 1943), happened unexpectedly: the residents of Innsbruck did not use the air-raid shelters therefore there was a high death toll (259 + 65 people killed). During the next six months attacks were suspended by the Allies because of preparations for Operation Overlord in Normandy, (France). In this break the military and urban administration of Innsbruck rearranged the anti-aircraft defenses and expanded the air raid shelters. These shelters were mainly constructed by forced labor from the Arbeitslager Reichenau in Innsbruck. 25 underground shelters with a total length of 11,2 km and space for 28,755 civilians were built in 1944.

 

The third attack on June 13, 1944 concentrated on the marshalling yards in Innsbruck. 37 aircraft of the 484th Bomber Group/5th Wing of the 15th Air Force were originally destined for targets in Bavaria, (Oberpfaffenhofen near Starnberg, Allach near Munich, Milbershofen near Dachau and Neuaubing near Munich). Due to bad weather conditions and strong air defenses over Munich, Innsbruck was the alternate target. The narrative report of Mission 31 states:

 

"Maybe men had been wounded, but remained heroically at the assigned posts. Approaching the target, for the second time on this mission the formation encountered heavy, intense and accurate anti-aircraft fire. In the face [of] repeated bursts of murderous enemy gun-fire, the group leader kept his remaining force intact and led the formation on a perfect bombing run for a brilliant peace of precision bombing."

 

The bomber group, with about 350 crew members, suffered heavy losses: four killed, four wounded and 54 missing. 56 tons of bombs killed two civilians, and destroyed the marshalling yards and the Wilten monastery.

 

The bomber crews received a "Presidential Unit Citation."

 

The 13th attack on Innsbruck on December 16, 1944, indicated a change in the stratetic approach: a higher percentage of delayed-action and incendiary bombs (600 high explosive and 45 delayed-action bombs and 12,000 incendiaries). Innsbruck was no longer treated as a strategic target. The high number of civil buildings destroyed and the high death toll (40 persons killed) indicates "morale bombing".

 

The 21st attack on April 10, 1945 was the only night operation. This raid was carried out not by the USAAF but by No. 205 Group RAF. 31 people were killed.

 

The war ended in Innsbruck on May 3, 1945, when the resistance movement liberated and units of the US 103rd Infantry Division entered the city. From December 1943 to April 1945 60 percent of the buildings in Innsbruck were damaged, 461 people were killed.

 

Besides the marshalling yards, many historic monuments were destroyed, including: the Servitenkloster monastery (1614–1616) and the Bartholomäuskapelle, one of the oldest buildings in Innsbruck (13th century). The Landhaus or old federal state parliament of 1724, city hall, St. James's Cathedral (1717–1724), Stift Wilten monastery (1651–1667), the Jesuit Church (1627–1637) and several buildings in the historic center were badly damaged.

 

97th Bombardment Group

 

From Nov 1943 to Apr 1945, engaged chiefly in long-range missions to targets in Italy, France, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and Greece, attacking oil refineries, aircraft factories, marshalling yards, and other strategic objectives. Received a DUC for leading a strike against an aircraft factory at Steyr on 24 Feb 1944 during Big Week, the intensive air campaign against the German aircraft industry. 2nd Lt David R Kingsley, bombardier, was awarded the Medal of Honor for saving the life of a wounded gunner on 23 Jun 1944: during a mission to Ploesti, Kingsley's B-17 was seriously crippled and the tail gunner was injured; when the crew was ordered to bail out, Kingsley gave his parachute to the gunner, whose own had been damaged, and assisted him in bailing out; Kingsley died a few moments later when his bomber crashed and burned. The group received its second DUC for a devastating raid against one of the Ploesti refineries on 18 Aug 1944. Other operations of the 97th included pounding enemy communications, transportation, and airfields in support of Allied forces at Anzio and Cassino; bombing coastal defenses in preparation for the invasion of Southern France; and assisting US Fifth and British Eighth Army in their advance through the Po Valley. Inactivated in Italy on 29 Oct 1945.


Deployed to Algeria in November 1942, assigned to the new Twelfth Air Force in North Africa and upgraded to B-17Fs. Raided shipping in the Mediterranean Sea and airfields, docks, harbors, and marshalling yards in north Africa, southern France, Sardinia, Sicily, and the southern Italian mainland in a campaign to cut supply lines to German forces in north Africa. Helped force the capitulation of Pantelleria Island in June 1943. Bombed in preparation for and in support of the invasions of Sicily and southern Italy in the summer and fall of 1943.

 

Reassigned to the new Fifteenth Air Force and the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO) in southern Italy, November 1943, flying combination of B-17Fs and new B-17Gs. From Southern Italy engaged in very long range strategic bombardment missions, attacking targets in Italy, France, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and Greece, attacking oil refineries, marshalling yards, aircraft factories, and other strategic objectives. Participated in first shuttle-bombing mission to Russia (Operation Frantic) in June 1944.

 

Returned to the United States after the German Capitulation in May 1945, prepared for transition to B-29 Superfortress aircraft and deployment to Twentieth Air Force in the Pacific Theater. Japanese Capitulation in August ended training activities, squadron was demobilized and inactivated in October.

 

 

starbar.gif

previous.jpg

top.jpg

next.jpg