9th AF Patch

416th Bombardment Group (L)

Mission # 101 -- July 18, 1944, Tuesday PM

Mantes Gassicourt, France

Railroad Bridge



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Summary of Operations

Field Order        : 132-436
OpRep #            : 109a
Nature of Mission  : Bombing
Mission Status     : Attacked
Bombing Altitude   : 11,000 - 12,000 feet
Take-off Time      : 1458
Time Over Target   : 1705
Landing Time       : 1824
Duration (Hrs:Min) : 3:26

Place of Take-Off  : AAF-170 Wethersfield RAF Station, England
A/C Dispatched     : 39 Total -- 32 A-20G's, 7 A-20J's
Target Number      : 4801E/B/7
Illustration       : 4801E/18
Illustration Ref   : 067002
Secondary Target   : Glos Sur Risle Railroad Junction (4900/C/21)
Summary of Results : Primary target not attacked, Boxes 1 and 2 attacked Secondary (Glos Sur Risle RR/J), Box 1 - Excellent; Box 2 - Good. Box 3 - P.N.B. - bombed Target of Opportunity

Primary Target Latitude/Longitude: 48.98379,1.73308 (48° 59' 2" N, 1° 43' 59" E)
(Latitude/Longitude based on Google Maps, Visual match to Target Illustration)
(See Latitude/Longitude Coordinates and Target Identifiers for more information.)

Scanned original Mission 101 documents (multipage PDF files)

Mission Folder       Reports Folder       OpRep # 109a       Fuel Use

If nothing happens on Click, check to see if the PDF file was automatically saved to your computer. Depending on Internet speed, the display or download may be slow.
These Public Domain, Declassified Mission documents were graciously provided to the 416th BG Archive by the dedicated staff of the Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA).
An on-line index of records held by AFHRA up to 2001 is available at Air Force History Index.org.
Most of these PDF files are unaltered originals provided by the AFHRA, a few have been re-organized.
Pages may be out of sequence; files may contain scanned blank pages and/or pages scanned upside-down; some pages may be included in more than one file.
The "Mission Folder" usually contains the majority of documents for a Mission, including Field Orders, Status Reports, Pilot Interrogations, Photos (if available), etc.

Loading List

Loading List 1, Box I

Loading List

Loading List 2, Box II
with Three Aircraft and Crews also designated Window Mission

Bomb Run Photo

Primary target not attacked.
Boxes 1 and 2 attacked Secondary Target Glos Sur Risle Railroad Junction.

Bomb Run Google Overlay

Bomb Run Photo overlaid on current Google Earth display
(Overlay by Wayne Sayles)

Missing Air Crew Reports, Aircraft Accident Reports, and other incidents

         Date          Report

Serial #
Location Personnel (Status when available)
Jul 18, 1944
101 668 Eng. Channel off Little-Hampton, Essex, Eng. Cruze, Raymond Kyle (MIA, KIA)
Cherry, Frank Edward (KIA)
Giesy, Samuel H. Jr. (WIA, RTD)
Jul 18, 1944
No_Report   43-9452
101 670 Hulse, David Arnold (Not Injured)
Conte, Ralph F. (WIA)
Allred, Fred D. (Not Injured)
Stephens, Donald W. (WIA)
Jul 18, 1944
No_Report   43-9680
101 670 Ford, Sussex Landing Field, England Rooney, Robert John (WIA, RTD)
McCleary, Herbert M. (WIA, EUS)
DiNapoli, Sebastian F. (Not Injured)

To view more information regarding an Incident/Report, click on the Report hyperlink.
( = Entries having actual Reports available for review.   = Entries having additional Images or Photos.)
To view an individual's Memorial page, click on the "Name" hyperlink.

Mission Loading Lists Transcription

Mission # 101 -- July 18, 1944, Tuesday PM
Mantes Gassicourt, France -- Railroad Bridge

Included are Box, Flight and Position; Bomb Squadron; Aircraft Serial Number, Fuselage Code and Model; and Crew Members
transcribed from individual mission Loading List documents by Chris and Mary Adams and Carl Sgamboti.
Some information, such as Squadron, Serial Number, etc. has been expanded from other documents.

Box I -- Flight I
  1  668th                   
  43-9444  5H-J  A-20J
  Maj Price, R.F.
  Lt Hand, A.R.
  S/Sgt Fejes, J.A.
  S/Sgt Judd, E.R.
  2  668th                   
  43-21819  5H-K  A-20G
  Lt Kreh, E.B.
  Sgt Wright, R.E.
  Sgt Novak, S.G.
  3  668th                   
  43-10176  5H-T  A-20G
  Lt Hill, L.E.
  S/Sgt Burch, R.W.
  S/Sgt Yost, C.H.
  4  668th                   
  43-9975  5H-W  A-20G
  Lt Cruze, R.K.
  Sgt Giesy, S.H.
  Sgt Cherry, F.E.
  5  668th                   
  43-9894  5H-R  A-20G
  Lt Andersen, C.J.
  Sgt Euga, P.G.
  Sgt Schafer, E.L.
  6  668th                   
  43-9935  5H-F  A-20G
  Lt Kenny, J.P.
  Sgt Spadoni, J.K.
  Sgt Noteriani, F.

Box I -- Flight II
  1  671st                   
  43-21711  5C-S  A-20J
  Lt Meagher, J.F.
  Lt Burg, J.J.
  T/Sgt Robbins, L.G.
  S/Sgt Simpson, D.H.
  2  668th                   
  43-9362  5H-L  A-20G
  Lt Peede, L.G.
  S/Sgt Kelly, E.E.
  S/Sgt Hibbs, C.L.
  3  668th                   
  43-9195  5H-D  A-20G
  Lt Svenson, R.R.
  S/Sgt Fild, P.G.
  S/Sgt Pfenning, G.H.
  4  668th                   
  43-9379  5H-G  A-20G
  Lt Downing, W.E.
  S/Sgt Shelton, E.
  S/Sgt Sylva, H.J.
  5  668th                   
  43-9745  5H-I  A-20G
  Lt Clausen, T.
  Sgt Fetko, C.
  Sgt Brown, D.M.
  6  668th                   
  43-9907  5H-O  A-20G
  Lt Cannon, L.E.
  Sgt Robinson, J.W.
  Sgt Brzezinski, E.P.

Box I -- Flight III
  1  670th                   
  43-9452  F6-Q  A-20J
  Capt Hulse, D.A.
  Lt Conte, R.
  S/Sgt Allred, F.D.
  S/Sgt Stephens, D.W.
  2  670th                   
  43-9209  F6-K  A-20G
  Lt Hall, R.B.
  Sgt Blackford, D.S.
  Sgt Burger, L.C.
  3  670th                   
  43-9892  F6-L  A-20G
  Lt Gruetzemacher, R.O.
  Sgt Wilson, B.R.
  Sgt Hall, M.
  4  670th                   
  43-9680  F6-R  A-20G
  Lt Rooney, R.J.
  S/Sgt McCleary, H.M.
  S/Sgt DiNapoli, S.F.
  5  670th                   
  43-9200  F6-A  A-20G
  Lt Sparling, J.R.
  Sgt Shaw, C.L.
  Sgt Leahigh, L.L.
  6  670th                   
  43-10211  F6-O  A-20G
  Lt Sewell, J.C.
  S/Sgt McKee, J.
  S/Sgt Eutsler, R.

Box I
  SPARE  670th               
  43-21759  F6-G  A-20G
  Lt Brown, N.G.
  S/Sgt White, H.E.
  S/Sgt Addleman, R.F.
  [Returned Early as Briefed No Sortie]

Box II -- Flight I
  1  671st                   
  43-9645  5C-R  A-20J
  Lt Marzolf, L.A.
  Lt Beck, J.T.
  S/Sgt Wellin, H.E.
  S/Sgt Kutzer, L.G.
  2  671st                   
  43-9937  5C-B  A-20G
  Lt Platter, E.T.
  S/Sgt Johnson, K.L.
  S/Sgt Czech, J.L.
  3  671st                   
  43-9714  5C-N  A-20G
  Lt Henderson, F.W.
  S/Sgt Griswold, R.M.
  S/Sgt Coulombe, P.E.
  4  671st                   
  43-9220  5C-E  A-20G
  Lt Perkins, R.D.
  S/Sgt Sherry, V.N.
  S/Sgt Linneman, R.H.
  5  671st                   
  43-9363  5C-L  A-20G
  Lt York, R.W.
  S/Sgt Ashton, L.A.
  S/Sgt Wilds, H.J.
  6  671st                   
  43-10165  5C-H  A-20G
  Lt Zubon, M.
  S/Sgt Russell, W.C.
  T/Sgt Tanner, J.R.L.

Box II -- Flight II
  1  669th                   
  43-10135  2A-T  A-20J
  Lt Morton, R.J.
  Lt Moore, D.L.
  S/Sgt Webb, C.L.
  S/Sgt Citty, F.M.
  2  669th                   
  43-9900  2A-Q  A-20G
  Lt Land, W.H.
  S/Sgt Alden, S.F.
  S/Sgt Ballinger, R.L.
  3  669th                   
  43-9840  2A-V  A-20G
  Lt Renth, E.J.
  S/Sgt Scott, J.O.
  Pvt Moskowitz, L.
  4  669th                   
  43-9202  2A-B  A-20G
  Lt MacManus, P.F.E.
  S/Sgt Rogers, J.L., Jr.
  S/Sgt Fleischman, G.I.
  5  669th                   
  43-9743  2A-W  A-20G
  Lt Robertson, R.B.
  Sgt Hay, J.E.
  Sgt Buskirk, J.A.
  6  669th                   
  43-9943  2A-F  A-20G
  Lt Blomgren, J.E.
  Sgt Fleming, L.R.
  Sgt Bookach, M.

Box II -- Flight III
  1  671st                   
  43-21724  5C-A  A-20J
  Lt Cole, H.P.
  Lt Basnett, R.J.
  S/Sgt Fandre, B.G.
  S/Sgt Chvatal, F.R.
  2  671st                   
  43-9951  5C-P  A-20G
  Lt Miller, J.H.
  S/Sgt Schrom, R.G.
  S/Sgt Galender, J.
  3  671st                   
  43-9711  5C-M  A-20G
  Lt Morehouse, R.C.
  S/Sgt Zygiel, L.A.
  S/Sgt Burgess, A.J.
  4  671st                   
  43-9956  5C-Z  A-20G
  Lt Durante, A.R.
  S/Sgt Best, H.T.
  S/Sgt DeGiusti, I.R.
  5  671st                   
  43-9221  5C-F  A-20G
  Lt Withington, D.L.
  Sgt Huss, C.F.
  Sgt McElhattan, L.D.
  6  671st                   
  43-10214  5C-C  A-20G
  Lt Andrews, H.D.
  S/Sgt Werley, E.R.
  S/Sgt DeBower, D.H.

Box II
  SPARE  669th               
  43-9717  2A-N  A-20G
  Lt Vleghels, A.J.
  S/Sgt Rice, R.W.
  S/Sgt Young, C.E.
  [Returned Early as Briefed No Sortie]

Box II -- Flight WINDOW
  1  670th                   
  43-22058  F6-C  A-20J
  Lt Shaefer, R.F.
  Lt Lytle, W.M.
  S/Sgt Donahue, W.J.
  S/Sgt Brayn, M.R.
  2  670th                   
  43-9689  F6-I  A-20G
  Lt Bartmus, G.F.
  S/Sgt Orr, J.R.
  S/Sgt Flacks, F.L.
  3  670th                   
  43-9750  F6-M  A-20G
  Lt Connor, J.S.
  S/Sgt VanDuyne, J.E.
  S/Sgt Rodgers, H.C.

Group and Unit Histories

Mission # 101 -- July 18, 1944, Tuesday PM
Mantes Gassicourt, France -- Railroad Bridge

"416th Bombardment Group (L) - Group History 1944"
Transcribed from USAF Archives

That afternoon, Major Price, with Lt Hand, B-N, and Lt Marzolf, Lt Beck, B-N, led two boxes in an attack on the Mantes Gassicourt inland railroad bridge. As they approached the target, they met a solid wall of clouds that forced them to turn back. They chose the Glos-Sur-Risle railroad junction as a secondary target. The bombs fell in a beautiful pattern squarely on the junction. A letter of congratulations was received from General Brereton on the job done.

"Attack Bombers, We Need You! A History of the 416th Bomb Group"
Ralph Conte
Pages 110 - 112

Mission #101 - 18 July - PM - Gles-Sur-Risle Railroad Junction - Pontautou. This target was again heavily defended resulting in a number of injuries to personnel and planes. Six members of the 670th were wounded on this trip, including Lts. Rooney, Sommers, and Conte. S/Sgts. McCleary, DiNapoli, and Stephens were also hit. Lt. Pat Rooney was leading a window mission when his right engine was hit, rendering it useless. A second burst hit his interphone and hydraulic lines. A third burst also hit the plane, and the two gunners could not communicate except through lip reading and pointing. McCleary motioned to his fellow gunner, DiNapoli that he was badly wounded. DiNapoli came down from his turret position, tore away part of McCleary's flying gear, applied a tournaquet and administered a shot of morphine to ease the pain. Lt Rooney, being hit badly, and realizing his plane was pretty well shot up and no way to talk to his gunners, thought he had better try to land for assistance to everybody on board. He left the formation and headed back to base - salvoed his bombs in a field, and reached an airfield in Ford, England for an emergency landing. As he touched down, a Spitfire was taking off on the same runway, headed right for Rooney. The Spitfire got off the ground and raised his wheels, just missing Rooney. With no hydraulics, and only one wheel down, a belly landing was made. Rooney was so badly shot up he could not get out of his cockpit, and was extracted by ground personnel. He and McCleary were transported to a nearby hospital for treatment. McCreary's arm bore a bad compound fracture, necessitating his recuperation back to the states. Rooney's plane was a total wreck. The scoring on the bombing was rated as excellent. Flights were led by Lts. Marzolf and Beck, BN Lts. Cole and Basnett BN, and Captain Hulse and Lt. Conte, BN.

On this same mission, Lt. Hall took a flak hit just as the formation crossed the French Coast toward the target. He stayed in formation and got to drop his bombs with the rest of the flight. His air speed indicator and altimeter were not registering. He called back to his gunners to check if they were wounded. He also asked them to check to see if any hydraulic lines were broken. They determined that hydraulic and other lines were ruptured. S/Sgt Burger cut off the jagged edges of damaged tubing, flared open the flattened parts, took rubber tubing from his Mae West and improvised a repair which got the instruments in the pilot's instrument panel to begin registering again. Lt. Hall headed back to base, where their Crew Chief T/Sgt Spillett said the repair was so professional that it could last a long time.

Another sad occurence on this mission, relates to Lt. R.K. Cruze of the 668th squadron.

His ship was so badly damaged that he had to ditch in the channel. His two gunners, Sgts. Geisy and Cherry were with Cruze. Air-Sea Rescue was ready to pick them up as Lt. Cruze was swimming toward them. His Mae West was either damaged or he did not have it on. Cruze went under before he got to the rescue boat and drowned. Sgt. Cherry was picked up but the rescue team worked on him for hours, but could not bring him around. He also passed away. Sgt. Giesy's wounds required him to be hospitalized.

All other ships landed, badly shot up.

Not all fatalities occur on bombing missions. A group of our boys were on their way to a railroad station, in a jeep. Their jeep cracked up and S/Sgt William H. Coe, a gunner with 47 missions, only 19 or 20 years old injured in the accident was hospitalized and passed away after many days of attention.

"668th Bombardment Squadron (L) History"
Transcription from USAF Archives

The afternoon of the 18th, on the Group's 101st sortie, a mission against Gles sur Risle, we lost one of our original pilots. First Lieutenant Raymond Kyle Cruze, his aircraft severely flak-damaged, was forced on the return journey to ditch in the channel. Though he was seen to leave the sinking plane, Lt. Cruze's body was never found. He had been reported Missing in Action, and presumably drowned. The body of Sgt. Frank E. Cherry, armorer-gunner of the crew was recovered from the channel, but efforts to resuscitate him were in vain. He was officially reported Killed in Action. Sgt. Samuel H. Giesy Jr., the mechanic-gunner, was rescued from the channel, though seriously wounded and suffering from exposure. Lt. Cruze was a veteran of forty-three sorties over enemy territory.

"670th Bombardment Squadron (L) History"
Transcription from USAF Archives

The July 18th mission proved to be another important one, in not only the history of this organization, but also in the history of the war. Missions of the group on this date preceded the attack by the British Second Army on their break-through from Caen. The missions were part of a massive air assault that dumped 8,000 tons of bombs on the enemy. We were a part of 2,000 allied warplanes that heaped tons of explosives on German bastions around Caen as a prelude to that memorable ground offensive. Eighteen of our crews participated in the two missions of that day. The Stars and Stripes of July 19th commented; "Spearheading the great onslaught on the continent, was a dawn attack by Havocs and Marauders against German armor massed ahead of the British east flank in Normandy." Of the later mission, another column carried the description "continuing the spectacular support of ground troops, Ninth Air Force Havocs bomber rail bridges at St Hilaire du Harcourt on a line leading to the Normandy battle area."

Evidence of the bitterness of this air attack was very prominent among our own combat crews. Of the six crews participating in the afternoon mission, six members returned with wounds. Lts Rooney, Sommers and Conte; and S/Sgts McCleary, DiNapoli and Stephens received the Purple Heart for wounds sustained on this mission.

Lt Rooney was piloting his plane on a "window mission" on this attack, and was about ten minutes over France when a burst of flak made the right engine useless. A second burst damaged the interphone and the hydraulic lines. A third burst riddled the aircraft and with the interphone out of commission, lip reading was resorted to by the two gunners, S/Sgts McCleary and DiNapoli, which led to the knowledge that Sgt McCleary was badly injured. Sgt DiNapoli ripped McCleary's suit with a knife and applied a tourniquet and gave the injured gunner a needle of morphine to ease the pain. Lt Rooney was wounded in the back, and had severe pains in the abdomen, and fearing his gunners would not be able to get out due to possible wounds since the ship was so riddled, he turned his plane back, salvoed his bombs over a wooded area in France, and made for an emergency landing field in England. Coming into Ford, Sussex, landing field, a taking off Spitfire was heading right for them, and, raising his wheels just in time, the Polish pilot of the fighter just cleared the incoming ship of Lt Rooney. There was no hydraulic pressure left, and only one wheel dangled, but with no support, so Lt Rooney made a belly landing. The ship was a total wreck. Due to the severity of his wounds Lt Rooney was unable to get out of the plane and had to be extracted by the ground crews of the field. Both he and Sgt McCleary were rushed to the hospital there. A very bad compound fracture of the arm resulted in the transfer of Sgt McCleary to a hospital unit for removal back to the United States for recuperation.

Another crew, part of this days missions, encountered difficulties as a result of the heavy flak met. As the plane of Lt Hall approached the coast of France it was met by heavy anti aircraft fire. Gunner S/Sgt Burger's parachute and boots were cut; the pilot line and static line of the plane were tore apart. When the bombing run on Glos Sur Risle, the secondary target, was completed, Lt Hall perceived that his air speed indicator and altimeter were useless and called to his gunner to see if anyone was wounded, and asked that they check the control lines. Discovering two tubes torn by flak, S/Sgt Blackford, other gunner of the crew, gave the scissors from his kit to S/Sgt Burger who cut off the jagged edges of the tubes and bored open their flattened parts. Sgt Burger replaced the broken parts of the metal lines with rubber tubing from his Mae West. The jagged metal tore the tubing, so, with tape from Sgt Blackford's earphones, he sealed the tubes, and the air speed indicator and altimeter were restored to normal use. In spite of poor visibility the plane made its way back. The task was performed in such a manner that T/Sgt Spillett, crew chief, remarked that the instruments were repaired sufficiently to have worked for a long time.

"671st Bomb Squadron (L) Unit History"
Gordon Russell and Jim Kerns

July 18th Ż July 25th, 1944

The weather (enough said) curtailed the 416th Bomb Group's activity again during this period, but seven missions were chalked up. Mission No. 100 came off on the morning of July 18th , and in the afternoon the Group passed the century mark. Single missions were run off on the 19th, 22nd, 23rd, 25th and 26th of July. Bombs were dropped on all these flights except the latter on in which a cloud covering over the target interfered. All of these missions were in direct support of allied ground forces in Normandy.

No ships were lost, but flak was met in many instances. A gunner from one on the other Squadrons was killed by a direct flak burst in the turret. This was the first time a member of a crew was brought back to base dead. Lt. Murray had the honor of being the first member of the Squadron to land on the Normandy beachhead when his plane ran short of gas on a late mission on July 19th. Lt. Murray and his gunners, S/Sgt. Jones and DeBower, landed on a P-47 field on the Peninsula and were treated in good fashion. They returned the next day with a few souvenirs... helmets, rifles, etc. They all related to quite and experience.

This Squadron fell behind the others this month in individual sorties mainly because when the 671st had a large number on the loading list, path°finders were used and a number of the crews would be scrubbed.

Lt. Lackovich got his first mission in on July 18th and is rapidly joining the ranks of the other crews. The first mission in the rough one. After that the rest come a little more easily. Each pilot will tell you that the sack felt wonder°ful after their first mission. (And you won't find one that tells you it still doesn't feel mighty good.)

Highlight of the above missions was the afternoon encounter on July 18th when the Group received an excellent rating on bombing a Railroad Junction at Gles-Sur-Risle. The strike photo showed a remarkable pattern right in the target area.

[July 18, 1944], HQ Twelfth Army Group situation map

Map showing Western Allies and Axis troop position details in Western Europe
as of approximately 1200 hours, July 18, 1944
World War II Military Situation Maps Collection
Library of Congress

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