9th AF Patch

416th Bombardment Group (L)

Mission # 176 -- December 25, 1944, Monday AM

Munstereifel, Germany

Communications Center



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Summary of Operations

Field Order        : 103-682
OpRep #            : 266
Nature of Mission  : Bombing
Mission Status     : Attacked
Bombing Altitude   : 12,000 feet
Take-off Time      : 0912
Time Over Target   : 1110
Landing Time       : 1254
Duration (Hrs:Min) : 3:42

Place of Take-Off  : A-55 Melun/Villaroche, France
A/C Dispatched     : 35 Total -- 6 A-20's, 29 A-26's
Modified British System Reference: F-312178
Secondary Target   : No Alternate Targets Authorized
Summary of Results : One flight scored Superior on casual target, one Superior on Primary, one Excellent on casual, three did not attack - leader did not bomb. Casual targets attacked - Krimm and Kronenburgerhutte Communication Centers

Primary Target Latitude/Longitude: 50.55578,6.76571 (50° 33' 21" N, 6° 45' 57" E)
(Latitude/Longitude based on The "Coordinates Translator", (NGZ) wF312178)
(See Latitude/Longitude Coordinates and Target Identifiers for more information. Note: This coordinate represents the Primary Target Location, the Location actually attacked my differ)

Scanned original Mission 176 documents (multipage PDF files)

Mission Folder       Reports Folder       OpRep # 266       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 1

Loading List 1, Box I

Loading List 2

Loading List 2, Box II

Target Topo Map

Primary Target area around MBS Coordinate (NGZ) wF312178
Extracted from GSGS-4416/AMS-M641 Sheet S1 - "Bonn" 1:100:000 Military Topographic Map
(Downloaded from Map Archive of Wojskowy Instytut Geograficzny 1919 - 1939,
GSGS 4416 / AMS M641, 651, 671 Germany, Poland, Middle Danube 1:100,000,
Bonn sheet)
(Note: This coordinate and map display represent the Primary Target Location, the Location actually attacked my differ)

(Annotated Full Map PDF)

Bomb Run Photo

A-26 over Munstereifel

Bomb Run Google Overlay

A-26 Photo overlaid on current Google Earth display
(Overlay by Wayne Sayles)

Bomb Run Photo

Munstereifel Bomb Run Photo

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)
Dec 25, 1944
176 669 Near Blankenheim, Germany Kehoe, John William (MIA, KIA)
Graham, Robert F. (MIA, KIA)
Dec 25, 1944
No_Report   43-22302
176 668 A-60 Greene, William James (WIA)
Britt, Jesse W. (WIA)
Heath, Kalen (Not Injured)
Dec 25, 1944
176 668 Blankemheim, Germany Miracle, Richard Victor (MIA, KIA)
Burg, Jack J. (KIA)
Galloway, Arthur F. (MIA, DED)
Simmonds, John R. (MIA, DED)

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 # 176 -- December 25, 1944, Monday AM
Munstereifel, Germany -- Communications Center

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  671st                   
  44-185  5C-G  A-20K
  Lt Col Willetts, D.L.
  Lt Royalty, P.G.
  S/Sgt Connery, T.F.
  S/Sgt Davis, H.R.
  2  671st                   
  43-22313  5C-B  A-26B
  Lt Remiszewski, A.
  S/Sgt DiOrio, F.M.
  3  671st                   
  41-39249  5C-F  A-26B
  Lt Herman, A.E.
  S/Sgt Young, J.O.
  4  671st                   
  41-39209  5C-M  A-26B
  Lt Zubon, M.
  S/Sgt DiMartino, A.E.
  5  671st                   
  41-39284  5C-C  A-26B
  Lt Cocke, J.B.
  Cpl Redding, R.D.
  [Returned Early Airlock in Switching Tanks]
  6  671st                   
  41-39265  5C-V  A-26B
  Lt Wallman, M.
  Cpl Hardin, M.F.
  [Not Airborne Icing on Windshield]

Box I -- Flight II
  1  669th                   
  44-085  2A-T  A-20K
  Capt Stebbins, B.D.
  Lt Calloway, A.S.
  S/Sgt Brown, W.J.
  S/Sgt McGuire, J.J.
  2  669th                   
  43-22344  2A-C  A-26B
  Lt VanMeter, G.C., Jr.
  Cpl Kirik, S.J.
  3  669th                   
  41-39240  2A-K  A-26B
  Lt Kehoe, J.W.
  Cpl Graham, R.F.
  4  668th                   
  43-22302  5H-D  A-26B
  Lt Greene, W.J.
  Lt Britt, J.W.
  S/Sgt Heath, K.
  [Landed at A-60]
  5  669th                   
  41-39229  2A-B  A-26B
  Lt Street, M.S.
  S/Sgt Sharp, R.P., Jr.
  6  669th                   
  41-39241  2A-F  A-26B
  Lt Willard, J.A.
  Cpl Hinker, C.V.

Box I -- Flight III
  1  669th                   
  44-178  2A-L  A-20K
  Lt Blomgren, J.E.
  Lt Johnson, G.G.
  S/Sgt Malloy, J.F.
  S/Sgt Pemberton, J.M.
  2  669th                   
  43-22301  2A-O  A-26B
  Lt Tripp, W.F., Jr.
  S/Sgt Burland, A.J.
  3  669th                   
  43-22300  2A-P  A-26B
  Lt Smith, J.F., Jr.
  S/Sgt Carstens, R.W.
  4  669th                   
  41-39244  2A-I  A-26B
  Lt Butler, G.S.
  Sgt McGaughy, W.S.
  5  669th                   
  41-39252  2A-D  A-26B
  Lt Clark, H.B.
  S/Sgt Sabadosh, J.W.
  6  668th                   
  41-39213  5H-A  A-26B
  Lt Martin, E.C.
  Cpl Draft, L.B.

Box II -- Flight I
  1  671st                   
  44-089  5C-R  A-20K
  Lt Pair, H.F.
  Lt Corum, J.L.
  Cpl Schmidt, K.W.
  S/Sgt Hinson, A.H.
  2  671st                   
  41-39211  5C-K  A-26B
  Lt Miller, J.H.
  S/Sgt Galender, J.W.
  3  671st                   
  41-39210  5C-J  A-26B
  Lt Estes, C.L.
  S/Sgt Orvold, C.R.
  4  671st                   
  41-39250  5C-A  A-26B
  Capt Tutt, R.J.
  Cpl Schwartzapel, D.
  5  671st                   
  41-39237  5C-D  A-26B
  Lt Spires, J.W.
  Cpl Messinger, R.W.
  6  671st                   
  43-22291  5C-Z  A-26B
  Lt Mooney, S.
  Cpl Schumacher, R.C.

Box II -- Flight II
  1  668th                   
  44-108  5H-M  A-20K
  Capt Miracle, R.V.
  Lt Burg, J.J.
  S/Sgt Galloway, A.F.
  S/Sgt Simmonds, J.R.
  2  668th                   
  43-22290  5H-L  A-26B
  Lt Montrose, J.H.
  S/Sgt Gandy, R.S.
  3  668th                   
  41-39219  5H-E  A-26B
  Lt Chalmers, J.J.
  Sgt Fortner, K.
  4  668th                   
  41-39259  5H-H  A-26B
  Lt Jacobsen, O.F.
  S/Sgt Fild, P.G.
  5  668th                   
  43-22317  5H-O  A-26B
  Lt Prucha, L.J.
  T/Sgt Wilson, G.C.
  6  668th                   
  41-39264  5H-I  A-26B
  Lt Lackner, R.J., Jr.
  Cpl Musarra, A.J.

Box II -- Flight III
  1  670th                   
  44-076  F6-Q  A-20K
  Lt Shea, D.F.
  Lt Koch, O.R.
  Sgt Caudell, S.R.
  Sgt Urbanicio, F.R.
  2  670th                   
  43-22315  F6-L  A-26B
  Lt Sheley, S.H.
  Sgt Tharp, F.M.
  3  670th                   
  41-39217  F6-I  A-26B
  Lt Warren, J.R.
  S/Sgt Stroup, C.C., Jr.
  [Returned Early Landing Gear Would Not Retract]
  4  670th                   
  43-22334  F6-G  A-26B
  Lt Heinke, W.R.
  S/Sgt VanWert, G.R.
  5  668th                   
  41-39214  5H-B  A-26B
  Lt Turman, A.R.
  Cpl Willever, E.J.
  6  668th                   
  41-39218  5H-C  A-26B
  Lt Cook, J.A.
  Sgt Langley, T.R.

Group and Unit Histories

Mission # 176 -- December 25, 1944, Monday AM
Munstereifel, Germany -- Communications Center

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

Christmas Day arrived, and, although the holiday feeling prevailed, the 416th vowed that there would be no "Peace on Earth" for the enemy on this Christmas Day. We flew two missions on the 25th.

Taking off early Christmas morning, we continued to tie up the German supply routes to their Ardennes' salient by striking at the road junction and the town of Munstereifel itself. Only one flight of the formation was able to pick up the target, but they achieved superior results, hitting buildings and cutting the roads in the center of the town. Gee equipment failed in one flight, but it went on to bomb the town of Krimm, severely damaging and cutting the marshalling yard and highway. Another flight severely damaged the town of Kronenburgerhutte. Two other flights were unable to identify the target because of the haze and snow. The sixth flight lost its leader to flak going in on the target and did not bomb. Although the primary target was bombed by one flight only, its results and the results achieved on the two casual targets considerably impeded the progress of the counter-offensive. The flight leader's plane was hit by moderate to intense, heavy accurate flak that followed the formation from the bombline to the target. The plane, an A-20 Havoc, exploded in mid-air. One chute was seen to emerge and open. The crew consisted of Captain R.V. Miracle, Lt J.J. Burg, Staff Sergeants A.F. Galloway and J.R. Simmonds. An A-26 Invader was also hit going in to the target. Although the planes was burning, he continued on over the target and dropped his bombs with his flight. It broke way from the formation and went down burning, crashing just across the bombline. No chutes were seen. Lt K.W. Kehoe was the pilot; Corporal R.F. Graham, the gunner. Both crews are listed as MIA. The formation was badly hit by flak, with 14 planes suffering category "A" damage, 8 category "AC" damage, and one category "B" damage. This last mentioned plane, piloted by Lt William J. Greene, on his 65th mission, was hit in the right engine on the bomb run. He stayed with the formation, dropping his bombs on the target. By superior flying, despite injuries to his face caused by shattered glass from a broken windshield, he brought the plane back to one of our bases for a successful crash-landing. The plane was washed out. His observer, Lt J.L. Britt, was also wounded in the face by glass. Lt Col Willetts, Lt Royalty, B-N, and Lt Pair, Lt Corum, B-N, led the boxes.

"Attack Bombers, We Need You! A History of the 416th Bomb Group"
Ralph Conte
Pages 181 - 182

Mission #176 - 25 December - MERRY CHRISTMAS - AM - Munstereifel, Germany. A real sad day for such a joyous celebration. At 0900, the formation took off to bomb an important communication center. As the planes neared Malmedy and Munstereifel, heavy flak greeted them. Colonel Willetts and Lt. Royalty, BN led Box I. Other flights led by Captain Miracle, Lt. Burg, BN - Captain Prentiss, Lt. Burseil, BN, - and Lts. Pair and Corum, BN. On the straight and narrow bomb run, direct hits downed Captain Miracle's plane, he on his 65th mission. Lt. Kehoe of the 669th squadron took another hit, causing his plane to catch fire and go down. One chute was seen to open. In all, the main target was not rendered useless, since flak bursts obscured visibility. Bombardiers selected targets nearby, bridges, and roads, with effect. One plane piloted by Lt. Mooney lost his flight in the clouds, so he tacked on to another flight going in to bomb. Of the seven planes in that flight, only three were still together. Mooney's ship caught 74 flak holes in it. Lt. Greene of the 669th, on his 65th mission, was hit, but he did manage to get back. Mooney landed with a flat tire, but came out okay. Bombing scored one superior. Two did not bomb the primary and one - no attack.

"Operational History 668th Bomb Squadron (416th Bomb Group (L)) WWII"
Wayne Williams, et.al.

Merry Christmas; -- in peacetime those words would carry a wonderful feeling. Here, it marked the end of the trail for some of our best boys. Men, who came all the way with us, were lost today, one of the blackest days in the squadron’s history. They gave their lives on the very day that signified "peace on earth". Their sacrifices must never be forgotten, and never have to occur in the future generations to come.

Those who won’t answer the roll tonite are; Captain Richard B. Prentiss, Captain Richard V. Miracle, 1st Lt. Robert R. Svenson, 1st Lt. Jack J. Burg, 1st Lt. Francis H. Bursiel, S/Sgt. D.M. Brown, S/Sgt. P.G. Fild, Sgt. A.O. Wylie, S/Sgt. John H. Simmons, and S/Sgt. A.F. Galloway. The status of these men is unknown; they may be dead or alive. In many cases, witnesses doubt their chances of being alive. Time will tell, whom fate smiled on.

Very early on this Xmas morning, the formation took off to secure peace and happiness for the future world. Thirty-five aircraft were sent out, six of them containing crews from this squadron. The B/N Team of Miracle & Burg, with Gunners Simmons and Galloway led the second flight of the second box. Flying with them were; Lt’s Chalmers, Prucha, Montrose, Jacobsen, and Lackner?.

The trip over was mild until nearing the target. Again it was a communications center target, this time at Munstereifel, Germany. Heavy accurate flak came up, and took its toll. Just before the point of releasing bombs, a burst caught Capt. Miracle directly in the bomb-bay. The plane was seen t explode in mid-air, and that was all there was to it. Thus ended the career of four of the best men to have ever entered the squadron. Capt. Miracle was a West Point graduate, with a very promising future in the air. He had over 55 missions. Fate was against Lt. Burg, as he almost was lost on Capt. Meagher’s last flight. S/Sgt. Simmons, young and curly haired, had twenty missions to his credit. S/Sgt. Galloway was on the sure par with Simmons. This was one of the smoothest B/N Teams in operation. Several pilots on the mission claim to have seen one chute come from the plane. A dim ray of hope still shines for one of these men.

Another plane and crew was lost of another squadron. The rest of the formation returned intact to the base, badly riddled. Enemy planes were seen, but didn’t attack due to our perfect fighter cover. This mission was of 3:30 duration. Needless to say, everyone felt pretty bad when learning of the news. Xmas had ceased to exist for many. The results were good, with one "superior", two P.N.P., and one "no attack".

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

Christmas 1944 proved, ironically enough, the most disastrous day in the Squadron's history. Through cloudless skies, our aircraft participated in two highly successful missions against supply points behind the Ardennes salient. Intense accurate hostile ground fire was encountered on both sorties. The following personnel failed to return and are missing in action Capt. Richard V. Miracle, Capt. Richard B. Prentiss, 1st Lt. Jack J. Burg, 1st Lt. Francis H. Bursiel, 1st Lt. Robert R. Svenson, S/Sgt. Daniel M. Brown, S/Sgt. Arthur F. Galloway, S/Sgt. Phillip G. Fild, S/Sgt. John R. Simmonds and Sgt. Alvin C. Wylie.

Captains Miracle and Prentiss were original combat pilots of the Squadron. Captain Miracle, West Point graduate of the class of '42, was an able and respected officer on the threshold of a promising military career. Captain Prentiss, veteran of many hours of antisubmarine patrol in the Caribbean, and was a Flight Commander whose professional skill and wide experience will be sorely missed. Lieutenants Burg and Bursiel had both outstanding records as bombardiers, and they, as well as Lt. Svenson, were nearing the completion of their operational tours. S/Sgt. Fild was on the last mission of his combat tour.

"669th Bombardment Squadron (L) History"
Transcription from USAF Archives

Christmas Day arrived, but there was no "Peace on Earth" for the enemy. Two missions were flown by the Group.

In the morning a road junction in the center of the town of Munstereifel was attacked. Only one flight was able to pick up the target, but they scored superior results, cutting the roads and blocking others when the surrounding buildings were destroyed by the bombs. Captain Stebbins, Lieutenant Calloway, B-N, leading a flight, bombed the town of Krimm with superior results, severely damaging a marshalling yard and cutting a highway. Lieutenant Blomgren, Lieutenant G.G. Johnson, B-N, bombed the town of Kronenburgerhutte when they could not locate the primary target. They severly damaged the main highway and nearby buildings. On the bomb run Lieutenant K.W. Kehoe's plane was hit by flak. Although the plane was burning, he continued on to the target and dropped his bombs with his flight. The plane broke away from the formation and went down burning; it crashed just before it reached the bomb-line. No chutes were seen. Lieutenant Kehoe and his gunner, Corporal R.F. Graham, are listed as MIA. The flak ranged from moderate accurate to intense accurate on the bomb run and over the target. Almost half of the formation suffered battle damage. The plane flown by Lieutenant W.J. Greene, on his 65th mission, was hit by flak in the right engine on the bomb run. He stayed with the formation, dropping his bombs on the target. By superior flying, despite injuries to his face from broken glass from a shattered windshield, he brought the plane back to a friendly base where he crash-landed it. His observer, Lieutenant J.L. Britt, was also wounded in the face by glass. Both Lieutenant Greene and Lieutenant Britt were awarded the PURPLE HEART.

In the afternoon of the same day, our planes took off to bomb another well-defended target, a railroad junction at Hillesheim, Germany. The formation encountered intense accurate heavy flak from the moment it crossed the bomb line until it came out. Again half of the planes in the formation suffered battle damage. Lieutenant McQuade, Captain DeMun's B-N, was unable to identify the primary target and chose a road junction in the town of Pelm. The bombs scored excellent results. Lieutenant Cornell's B-N, Lieutenant Enman, also chose another target, the town of Feusdorf, which he bombed with telling results. Although two planes were lost, neither was from our Squadron.

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

Christmas Day of 1944 was different from others we had spent. There was the Christmas tree in the mess hall brightly decorated. There was the fine turkey dinner which Staff Sergeant Payton's men prepared so well. There was candy and fruit cake from home. There was even the radio blaring out with "White Christmas" and "Silent Night". But it was not like other Christmases we had spent. Thoughts were thousands of miles from Army Air Force Station A-55 that day. Two missions on Christmas Day kept everyone busy. The first was an attack on the Munsteriefel communications center and the town itself. Only one flight was able to pick up the target and achieved superior results. Another flight picked up another target and bombed it. This was the town of Krimm with its important marshalling yard and highway, which were severely damaged. A third flight hit the town of Kronenburgerhutte. Moderate to intense, heavy accurate flak followed the formation from the bomb-line to the target area and knocked down one of the planes of the 668th Squadron. The formation suffered heavy flak damage on this mission. The afternoon mission was an attack on the defended village of Hillsheim in which six of our crews took part. Although the primary target could not be picked up, heavy damage was scored on three secondary targets. They were the towns of Pelm, Fousdork, and Gereisten in Germany. Again the formation was subjected to intense accurate heavy flak from the bomb-line to the target and returning to the bomb-line.

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

Christmas day 1944 is one which will not be forgotten for quite some timeà not only by the 416th, but the Germans who had the full Allied aerial might thrown at them from dawn to dusk and then some. Running two missions against heavily defended targets was a costly on indeed for the 416th Bomb Group. Toll for the day were four ships and crews lost and 39 aircraft battle damaged.

Morning Mission

Colonel Willetts led the formation on the morning mission, taking to the air at 0900. The Group was briefed to hit the Communication center at Munstereifel being used as a key point in the German counter-offensive. Moderate to intense accurate heavy flak was encountered from near Malmedy to Blankensheim to the target. Lt. Royalty was unable to pick up the primary in the flak fury, but picked a railroad and highway near the town o Krimm and dropped his bombs with accuracy, severely damaging both. The second flight dropped their bombs on the primary with superior results, while Flight 111 picked a highway near the primary and bombed it with good results. Lt. Pair out the primary and failed to drop. Captain Miracle and Lt. Burg of the 669th Squadron led the second flight of this box and it was No. 65 for Miracle. However, fate stepped in and a flak burst caught his A-20, and the plane blew up in mid-air. Lt.Kehoe, also of the 669th, was shot down at the same time, his plane burning on the way down. One chute was seen to have opened, Lt. Mooney of this Squadron lost his own flight when it went through a cloud and joined in Captain MiracleÆs as he was one plane short at the time. The other plane joined them and the seven-ship flight went on the bomb run, but when the flak had cleared only three of the seven ships were still together. Lt. MooneyÆs ship, A-26B, 291 had 74 holes in it , but it made the jaunt back to the base and the pilot brought it down with a flat tire. Lt. Greene also of the 669th was on his 65th and almost didnÆt make it. A burst of flak hit his plane and he made a crash landing, but he came out of it OK.

Lt. Mike Zubon finished his 65th mission tour on Christmas morning in what he termed was "quite a mission". Lt.Zubon escaped the flak, but saw enough of it to keep him satisfied for a long while. For Lt. Zubon, a West-Pointer, completion of the 65 missions does not mean a long sojourn in the States, but he may receive a 30 day leave in the U.S.A. before returning to the E.T.O.,probably in a staff position.

[December 25, 1944], HQ Twelfth Army Group situation map

Map showing Western Allies and Axis troop position details in Western Europe
as of approximately 1200 hours, December 25, 1944
World War II Military Situation Maps Collection
Library of Congress

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