9th AF Patch

416th Bombardment Group (L)

Mission # 181 -- January 2, 1945, Tuesday AM

Simmern, Germany

Railroad Bridge

 

WWII-Medal

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Summary of Operations

Field Order        : 115-695
OpRep #            : 274
Nature of Mission  : Bombing
Mission Status     : Attacked
Bombing Altitude   : 11,600 - 12,000 feet
Take-off Time      : 0824
Time Over Target   : 1106 - 1121
Landing Time       : 1319
Duration (Hrs:Min) : 4:55
 

Place of Take-Off  : A-55 Melun/Villaroche, France
A/C Dispatched     : 31 Total -- 9 A-20's, 22 A-26's
Modified British System Reference: L-840531
Secondary Target   : No Alternate Targets Authorized
Summary of Results : Flights scored three Excellent and two Superior.

Primary Target Latitude/Longitude: 49.97754,7.51397 (49° 58' 39" N, 7° 30' 50" E)
(Latitude/Longitude based on The "Coordinates Translator", (NGZ) wL840531)
(See Latitude/Longitude Coordinates and Target Identifiers for more information.)


Scanned original Mission 181 documents (multipage PDF files)

Mission Folder       Reports Folder       OpRep # 274       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
(Note:  Year Should Be 1945, Not 1944)



Loading List 2

Loading List 2, Boxes 2 and 3
(Note:  Year Should Be 1945, Not 1944)



mission 181 wreck

A-26 of the 409th Bomb Group crashed at the end of the runway on takeoff


mission 181

A-26 of the 671st Bomb Squadron, 416th Bomb Group, crashed at the end of the runway on takeoff

(Photos courtesy of Wayne Downing)

crash

Crash on takeoff  (Note error on date of "44" for "45")  (Photo courtesy of Fran Cachat)


This mission, launched from Melun-Villaroche, was a disaster as three ships crashed on take off caused by icing.
The crew of Lt. H.B. Clark (pilot) and S/Sgt. J.W. Sabadosh (gunner) was lost when their aircraft exploded,
the other two crews managed to escape from their aircraft which also exploded.
The mission was successful, with 27 aircraft being launched and the target being severely damaged.
Three more aircraft crashed on landing due to mechanical problems with landing gear due to flak damage.



Extract from a letter written in 2005 to Dr. Larry Smith from Lt. Earl Hayter (pilot, 669th Bomb Sq.):

"January 2nd 1945, this mission 45, Group mission #181, sticks in my mind as my most memorable mission.
Two planes ahead of me crashed on takeoff and I could have very well been the third one to crash.
While we were taxiing for takeoff, a fog had settled in on the takeoff runway. The temperature was also
below freezing causing a coating of ice to form on the windshield. Hiram Clark was in one of the planes
ahead of me and evidently lifted off the runway and then, for some reason, lost control and crashed just
past the end of the runway. I was waiting in takeoff position and remember seeing a ball of flame thru
my iced up windshield, not knowing really what happened or to whom. The control tower was yelling
'get those planes in the air' so I lowered my left side window and looking at the markers along side of
the runway and at my compass, I could see that I was headed in the right direction. So, I said my prayer
and, concentrating on my instrument panel, I made an instrument takeoff. Out of the corner of my eye I
could see runway markers and that told me that I was still on the proper heading. Then I could see a fence
which told me that I had cleared the end of the runway. The fog was just a thin layer, so I was above it at
about fifty feet elevation and the sun melted the ice off of the windshield so I was able to join up with my flight."






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

         Date          Report

A/C
Serial #
Type
Mis-
sion
#
Bomb
Sq
Location Personnel (Status when available)
Jan 2, 1945
Tuesday
AAR
45-1-2-529


43-22301
A-26B
181 669 300 yards north of Station A-55 Clark, Hiram Bovee (KIA)
Sabadosh, John Walter (KIA)
Jan 2, 1945
Tuesday
AAR
45-1-2-525


41-39218
A-26B
181 668 200 yards north of Station A-55 Roberts, William H. (Slightly Injured)
Windisch, Raymond P. (Not injured)
Jan 2, 1945
Tuesday
AAR
45-1-2-527


41-39214
A-26B
181 668 3 miles north of Station A-55 Lackner, Ralph Joseph Jr. (Slightly Injured)
Musarra, Anthony J. (Slightly 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 # 181 -- January 2, 1945, Tuesday AM
Simmern, Germany -- 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  671st                   
  44-089  5C-R  A-20K
  Lt Col Willetts, D.L.
  Lt Royalty, P.G.
  S/Sgt McElhattan, L.D.
  S/Sgt Thompson, G.
  2  671st                   
  41-39211  5C-K  A-26B
  Lt Ames, W.H.
  S/Sgt Brown, R.J.
 
 
  3  671st                   
  41-39250  5C-A  A-26B
  Lt Withington, D.L.
  S/Sgt Huss, C.F.
 
 
  4  671st                   
  43-22313  5C-B  A-26B
  Lt Remiszewski, A.
  S/Sgt DiOrio, F.
  [Landed at A-48]
 
 
  5  671st                   
  41-39237  5C-D  A-26B
  Lt Cocke, J.B.
  Cpl Redding, R.D.
  [Landed at A-48]
 
 
  6  671st                   
  41-39265  5C-V  A-26B
  Lt Milhorn, G.L.
  Sgt Chest, D.
  [Landed at A-48]
 
 

Box I -- Flight II
  1  669th                   
  44-178  2A-L  A-20K
  Capt Morton, R.J.
  Lt Moore, D.L.
  S/Sgt Burland, A.J.
  S/Sgt Heath, K.
  2  669th                   
  43-22300  2A-P  A-26B
  Lt VanMeter, G.C.
  Sgt Kirik, S.J.
  [Not Airborne Taxied Into Rack Pile]
 
 
  3  669th                   
  43-22301  2A-O  A-26B
  Lt Clark, H.B.
  S/Sgt Sabadosh, J.W.
  [Crashed & Blew Up]
 
 
  4  669th                   
  41-39229  2A-B  A-26B
  Lt Sorrels, D.W.
  S/Sgt Malara, V.A.
 
 
  5  669th                   
  41-39244  2A-I  A-26B
  Lt Johnson, R.K.
  Cpl Brandt, H.E.
  [Landed at A-48]
 
 
  6  669th                   
  41-39252  2A-D  A-26B
  Lt Willard, J.A.
  Cpl Hinker, C.V.
  [A/C Went Out for Elect. Trouble Before Ready Time]
 
 

Box I -- Flight III
  1  669th                   
  44-085  2A-T  A-20K
  Lt Miller, E.L.
  Lt Conner, J.K.
  S/Sgt Malloy, J.F.
  S/Sgt Pemberton, J.M.
  [Landed at A-48]
  2  669th                   
  41-39241  2A-F  A-26B
  Lt Hayter, E.R.
  S/Sgt Reiter, G.E.
  [Landed at A-48]
 
 
  3  669th                   
  41-39271  2A-R  A-26B
  Lt Butler, G.S.
  S/Sgt Sharp, R.P.
  [Landed at A-48]
 
 
  4  670th                   
  41-39224  F6-E  A-26B
  Lt DuBose, M.W.
  S/Sgt Griffin, D.L.
  [Landed at A-48]
 
 
  5  670th                   
  41-39215  F6-R  A-26B
  Lt Martin, E.C.
  Cpl Sumner, W.R.
  [Frost on A/C Prevented It Being Ready at Ready Time]
 
 
  6  671st                   
  41-39239  5C-N  A-26B
  Lt Smith, D.E.
  Cpl DeStefano, R.
  [Landed at A-48]
 
 


Box II -- Flight I
  1  671st                   
  44-185  5C-G  A-20K
  Lt Pair, H.F.
  Lt Corum, J.L.
  S/Sgt Fessler, H.S.
  S/Sgt Young, J.O.
  2  671st                   
  41-39234  5C-P  A-26B
  Lt Fero, D.A.
  S/Sgt Skelton, T.W.
 
 
  3  671st                   
  43-22326  5C-W  A-26B
  Lt Eastman, D.M.
  S/Sgt Eaton, A.B.
  [Not Airborne Visibility Obscured by Ground Haze]
 
 
  4  671st                   
  44-106  5C-E  A-20K
  Lt Lackovich, J.J.
  Lt Muir, R.C.
  S/Sgt Connery, T.
  S/Sgt Jones, R.J.
  5  671st                   
  41-39210  5C-J  A-26B
  Lt Jokinen, W.R.
  Sgt Creeden, E.J.
  [Not Airborne Visibility Obscured by Ground Haze]
 
 
  6  671st                   
  41-39208  5C-L  A-26B
  Lt Mooney, S.
  Sgt Buckley, W.C.
  [Not Airborne Visibility Obscured by Ground Haze]
 
 

Box II -- Flight II
  1  670th                   
  43-9439  F6-J  A-20J
  Lt Stanley, C.S.
  F/O Blount, J.H.
  Sgt Collier, C.B.
  S/Sgt Clark, C.J.
  2  668th                   
  43-22290  5H-L  A-26B
  Lt Hale, W.L.
  S/Sgt Geyer, J.F.
 
 
  3  668th                   
  41-39218  5H-C  A-26B
  Lt Roberts, W.H.
  Sgt Windisch, R.P.
  [Belly Landed & Blew Up]
 
 
  4  668th                   
  41-39219  5H-E  A-26B
  Lt Harris, F.W.
  Sgt Williford, C.W.
  [Not Airborne Icing on Windshield]
 
 
  5  668th                   
  41-39214  5H-B  A-26B
  Lt Lackner, R.J.
  Sgt Musarra, A.J.
  [Belly Landed Left Engine Failure]
 
 
  6  668th                   
  41-39233  5H-F  A-26B
  Lt Buchanan, R.C.
  Sgt Calabrese, C.L.
 
 

Box II -- Flight III
  1  670th                   
  44-173  F6-W  A-20K
  Lt Shea, D.F.
  Lt Koch, O.R.
  Sgt Urbanicio, F.R.
  S/Sgt Blackford, D.S.
  [Landed at A-48]
  2  670th                   
  41-39222  F6-S  A-26B
  Lt Johnson, E.L.
  Sgt Harmon, C.D.
  [A/C Went Out for Prop Governor before Ready Time]
 
 
  3  670th                   
  43-21467  F6-W  A-20J
  Capt Jackson, C.R.
  Lt McNutt, M.C.
  S/Sgt Burns, D.E.
  Cpl Torres, I.
  4  670th                   
  43-22337  F6-O  A-26B
  Lt Rooney, R.J.
  Sgt Caudell, S.R.
  [Not Airborne A/C did not Develop Full Power]
 
 
  5  670th                   
  43-22334  F6-G  A-26B
  Lt Sewell, J.C.
  S/Sgt Hummer, J.A.
  [Landed at A-48]
 
 
  6  670th                   
  43-22315  F6-L  A-26B
  Lt Brown, N.G.
  S/Sgt Ottaviano, J.O.
  [Not Airborne Icing on Windshield]
 
 


Box III -- Flight I
  1  668th                   
  43-22063  5H-A  A-20J
  Lt Evans, H.M.
  Lt McCartney, T.M.
  Sgt Skeens, C.L.
  S/Sgt Merritt, O.N.
  [Landed at A-48]
  2  668th                   
  41-39188  5H-R  A-26B
  Lt Montrose, J.H.
  Sgt Gentry, F.
  [A/C Went Out for Low Fuel Pressure at Ready Time]
 
 
  3  668th                   
  41-39269  5H-K  A-26B
  Lt Chalmers, J.J.
  Sgt Fortner, K.
  [Landed at A-48]
 
 
  4  668th                   
  41-39259  5H-H  A-26B
  Lt Cannon, L.E.
  S/Sgt Brzezinski, E.P.
  [Landed at A-48]
 
 
  5  668th                   
  41-39264  5H-I  A-26B
  Lt Prucha, L.J.
  Sgt Ferguson, L.C.
  [Landed at A-48]
 
 
  6  670th                   
  43-22296  F6-D  A-26B
  Lt Parkhurst, G.J.
  Cpl Newman, F.
  [Landed at A-48]
 
 



Group and Unit Histories

Mission # 181 -- January 2, 1945, Tuesday AM
Simmern, Germany -- Railroad Bridge


"416th Bombardment Group (L) - Group History 1945"
Transcribed from USAF Archives

A small but important railroad bridge at Simmern, Germany, was attacked on the 2nd. It was on the direct route from the Frankfurt area to Trier. The weather was very cold with much snow and ice covering the field. On the take-off, two A-26s crashed. Both crashed after the planes had gotten into the air. The bombs from the first plane exploded immediately and the plane burned. Both the pilot, Lt H.B. Clark, and his gunner, Staff Sergeant J.W. Sabadosh, were killed. The crew of the other plane, Lt R.J. Lackner and Sgt A.J. Musserra, crawled from the wreckage to safety just before the bombs exploded and uninjured. A third plane refused to get more than a few feet off the ground and settled down at the end of the runway where the landing gear collapsed. Its crew, Lt Wm. H. Roberts, and Sergeant Raymond P. Windisch, were uninjured. The reasons for the crashes are unknown, although icing of the wings or carburetor might have caused them. Twenty-seven planes bombed the target with 45 tons of bombs, scoring excellent to superior results. The hits blanketed the bridge, railroad tracks, and the highway. Lt Col Willetts, Lt Royalty, B-N, and Captain Pair, Lt Corum, B-N, were the box leaders. It was reported that five to 12 ME 109s attempted a pass at the formation, but they were steered away by our fighter escort.


"Attack Bombers, We Need You! A History of the 416th Bomb Group"
Ralph Conte
Pages 191 - 192

Mission #181 - 2 January - Simmern Bridge 26 miles north of Coblenz. Lt. Col. Willetts and Lt. Royalty, BN led Box I - Lt. Pair and Lt. Corum led Box II. Other flights were led by Lt. Stanley and F/O Blount, BN - Lt. Evans and Lt. McCartney, BN - Lts. Lackovich and Muir, BN. The field was covered with ice and snow and a haze covered the runway. A few ships did not make it to the runway due to poor visibility, but those that did, met with disasterous results. The first A-26 piloted by Lt. H. P. Clark with gunner S/Sgt. J. W. Sabadosh took off and crashed not far from the end of the runway. The plane, loaded with 1000 pound bombs exploded, killing both men. A second plane with Lt. R. J. Lackner at the controls, with gunner Sgt. A. J. Musserre crashed about a mile from the runway end, just about where the first plane exploded.

The crew of the second plane ran from the downed plane and sought safety, just as their bombs exploded, not harming them. The explosion knocked out windows of the squadron headquarters building. Lt. Rooney of the 670th squadron, was edging his plane down the runway for takeoff but something malfunctioned and he pulled up right off the end of the runway. Another plane behind Rooney took off and made it off the end of the runway, but didn't get more than a few feet off the ground and it went down. Rooney left his plane and when a third plane hit, he started to run toward them to help, if he could. The crew came running away from the plane and Rooney and his gunner took cover just as the 1000 pounders exploded, causing damage to Rooney's plane sitting at the end of the runway. The reasons for the failure to get off rested with icing on the wings and possibly in the carburetors. Lt. Roberts with gunner Windisch were in the third plane. Windisch was able to extricate Roberts from the plane before it exploded, too. With all that confusion to watch as other planes took off, they continued to form up and head for the target, all 27 of them. Scoring was superior and excellent, but the bridge still stood, requiring a few more mission to do it in. Flak was not too significant although ME-0109s attempted a pass at the formation, but were driven away by our fighter escorts.


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

Mission # 161 [actually, 181] was the first entry to mar our clean board for the New Year. The morning was very foggy, with a clear sky above the layer of mist. Twelve crews were provided from this squadron, of which only eight were to fly the mission. The B/N Team were Lt. Stanley & F/O Blount, and Lt. Evans & F/O McCartney. Each led the second and third flights of the second box respectively.

Trouble struck us before and during take off. On many planes, the heavy mist had frozen on the windshields, causing limited and sometimes no visibility. Ltís Harris & Montrose were forced to turn back with engine trouble. They never had the chance to get airborne. Ltís Roberts and Lackner? really had the misfortune. Lt. Roberts took off and just getting airborne, when his engines cut out. He landed at the end of the runway and rolled out into a field where his engines caught fire. His Gunner Sgt. Windish pulled him out of the ship and the two of them headed for the trees and for cover. It proved they made it just in time, as their load of 1000 lb. bombs went off scattering the plane all over the area. To us, back in the area, we thought another raid was on, and went for the foxholes. The concussion blew Lt. Robertís from behind his tree and slid him right across a frozen pond of water. Again, luckily, no one was hurt.

Lt. Lackner?, with Cpl. Mussarra (Gunner) had about the same trouble. The only difference was, their plane didnít burst into flames or blow up. They walked away from their crash landing, neither looking back. A silent thankfulness. A neighboring sister squadron, the 669th, lost a complete crew, when their ship blew up in the air. The cause for this has not been determined as yet. For the first mission of the year, you can say it was sent off in blood.

The target was the Railroad Bridge at Simmern. With all the trouble at the beginning, the crews were determined to make this mission a good one. They did beyond a doubt. The formation dropped their 1000 lb. missiles from the altitude of 11,600 feet and 12,000 feet, and they fell true to their mark. There was no flak coming and going, and all crews returned with no losses, casualties, or battle damage. Photos proved to the accuracy of the B/Nís. The team of Evans & McCartney brought laurels back to the squadron with a "superior" on their bombing. Stanley & Blount, bombing with another flight, came back with an "excellent". All in all, there were three "excellents" and two "superiors" scored by the Group. In a way, this was some consolation for the mishaps that occurred at the beginning. This mission was the only flying for the day.

Two more "65" pilots have left for the States recently. They are; Capt. A.N. Osborne Jr., and 1st Lt. R.G. Meredith. They are the last two pilots t leave of the original bunch that came over with us. To them we wish the best in their future endeavors.

The base is still on an "alert" basis, with guards posted everywhere. We have had no recent visits from Jerry, and all is rather quiet at present. Knock on wood!


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

Operation of the Pratt and Whitney engines (with which we were relatively unfamiliar) in temperatures far below freezing provided further difficulties. The Group suffered a sudden epidemic of crash-landings occasioned by power failures on take off. Two such accidents occurred to pilots of the Squadron at the outset of the combat mission flown 2 January 1945. Second Lieutenant William H. Roberts, when his craft had become airborne, could not gain sufficient power to remain aloft, and was forced to crash-land just off the end of the runway, with a full load of 1,000 pound bombs. The aircraft caught fire upon landing. Experiencing difficulty in getting out of the ship, the pilot was assisted by Sergeant Raymond P. Windisch, the gunner. The two men then fled from the burning plane, and had no sooner attained the shelter of a small wood some yards away when the flames reached the bomb bay and detonated the bombs, scattering fragments of the aircraft over a space of several acres. No injuries were sustained. Second Lieutenant Ralph J. Lackner suffered an almost identical accident, though in this case the plane did not burn or explode, but the pilot sustained a fractured ankle.

...

The reason for these crashes was largely undetermined, though frost on wings and frozen carburetors were believed to be important factors.

...

In spite of the weather hazards already mentioned, the Group flew fifteen missions in January, a considerable improvement over the previous two months. As an example of the difficulties encountered in destroying specific pinpointed targets, particularly under such weather conditions as to render visual bombing infeasible, the Simmern railroad bridge is a case in point. On 2 January we attacked this target with two pilots of the Squadron leading flights. The team of Lt. Hugh M. Evans and F/O Thomas M. McCartney (Bombardier-Navigator), scored a Superior, while Lt. Carl S. Stanley and his Bombardier-Navigator, F/O Judson H. Blount Jr., rated an excellent. Nonetheless, later reconnaissance photographs showed that although damage to tracks at both ends had rendered the route temporarily useless, the bridge still stood.


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

On the second, however, our crews participated in an attack on the Simmern railroad bridge. It was on this mission that Lieutenant Clark and Sergeant Sabadosh were killed. As the plane became airborne on take-off, it suddenly settled down, nosing into the ground. Before the crew was able to climb out of the plane, it began to burn. Soon the bombs exploded, killing the two crewmen. Although the exact cause of the accident was never determined, it was thought that either ice had formed on the wings during take-off or that there was ice in the carburetor. At this time we were experiencing extremely cold and damp weather. Two other planes crashed on take-off, one of them exploding, but the crews were able to get out of them safely. The rest of the planes went on to attack the target. Captain Morton, Lt. Moore, B-N, and Lt. Miller, Lt. Connor, B-N, both leading, flights scored excellent results with their bombing. The bridge, railroad tracks, and a highway were blanketed by the bombs. Five to twelve ME 109's attempted a pass at the formation, but they were steered away by the fighter escort.


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

The Simmern Railway Bridge was attacked on the 2nd of January after a series of very unfortunate and costly accidents on the takeoff. The weather was cold and much snow and ice covered the field. Three aircraft crashed with full loads of one thousand (1000) pound bombs after getting into the air. The first plane crashed just after takeoff and exploded and burned, killing its crew. The second crashed in exactly the same manner, but the pilot and gunner crawled away from the wreckage and ran to safety just before the bombs exploded. These explosives shook the entire base and knocked a window out of our squadron headquarters. Lt Rooney was preparing to take off just as this happened and because of a malfunction was just coming to a stop at the end of the runway as the crash occurred. He started to run to the accident to give whatever assistance he could when he saw the crew come out and run. He and his gunner then also took cover just as the explosion occurred and were uninjured. Lt Rooney's airplane standing just off the end of the runway was damaged by the flying bomb fragments. Shortly after that a third airplane started to takeoff, got a few feet off the runway, settled and its landing gear collapsed. Its crew members were uninjured, although the airplane was washed out. It is believed that these crashes were caused by icing of the wings and possible carburetor iceing. The remainder of the airplanes went on to bomb the target with superior results. They reported that a couple flights of ME 109s attempted an attack on the formation, but were scared off by the fighter escort. Three of our crews took part in this mission. Later reconnaisance showed that although our bombs had blanketed the bridge area and the roadway, it was not destroyed. Poor weather in the beginning of January slowed down the training of new crews and also worked a hardship on the entire squadron. Heavy snowfalls made almost constant effort necessary to keep the taxi-ways and runways clear for operations. A serious shortage of coal and wood had its effect on our living conditions and evenings found us huddled around stoves which had small and usually very inadequate fires burning in them. The solution to the problem was getting into bed early.


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

The New Year began in a weird way for the 416th Bomb Group. While the crews were still at briefing at 0730 a ground haze began to move into the area and by the time the ships were taxing the fog was so thick it was impossible to see the ships from the control tower. A number of ships never made it to the runway, but those that did will never forget the first mission of 1945. Colonel Willetts led the first flight, and by using their instruments his wingmen were able to get off, although the pilots claimed they could not see the edges of the runway. Puffs of smoke and a series of explosions followed shortly and when the smoke had cleared it was found the three ships crashed on take-off. The first one crash-landed about a mile from the end of the runway, but the crew got out of it all right. Lt. Clark of the 669th Bomb Squadron was piloting the second ship, but his luck had run out. The ship exploded when it hit the ground and the thousand pound bombs followed suit, rocking the whole field. Just a few minutes later the third ship crashed, but the crew abandoned it in time. Bombs of this aircraft also exploded in the fire that resulted. Investigation indicated that ice forming on the wings of these aircraft was responsible for them spinning in.

Despite the fog and the confusion met before taking off, the rest of the planes formed above the haze and headed for their target, the Simmern bridge spanning the Simmer River 26 miles south of Keblenz. Five flights attacked the bridge with excellent and superior results. Colonel Willetts and Lt. Royalty scored an excellent with the bombing of the first flight. The center of the bursts was 620 feet N.W. of the DMPI. The other two flights in the Colonel∆s box also received excellent ratings. Lt. Pair and Lt. Corum led the second box and "Shorty" Corum dropped his eggs directly on the main point of impact with a ne-errer rating and his second superior. The bombs of this flight blanketed across two railroad bridges, severely damaging both. The final flight dropped near Lt. Pair's and also chalked up a superior.

Flak was sparse, but crews reported having seen enemy fighters, although P-51 escorts prevented them from making a pass at the formation. Several ships ran off the runway upon landing to round out the mission. The casualty list, however, was limited to Lt. Clark and his gunner; while two ackack men were seriously injured by shrapnel from the explosions.




[January 2, 1945], HQ Twelfth Army Group situation map

Map showing Western Allies and Axis troop position details in Western Europe
as of approximately 1200 hours, January 2, 1945
World War II Military Situation Maps Collection
Library of Congress


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