9th AF Patch

416th Bombardment Group (L)

Mission # 185 -- January 14, 1945, Sunday AM

Schleiden, Germany

Road Junction



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Summary of Operations

Field Order        : 127-707
OpRep #            : 286
Nature of Mission  : Bombing
Mission Status     : Attacked
Bombing Altitude   : 13,000 feet
Take-off Time      : 1016
Time Over Target   : 1200
Landing Time       : 1300
Duration (Hrs:Min) : 2:44

Place of Take-Off  : A-55 Melun/Villaroche, France
A/C Dispatched     : 24 Total -- 6 A-20's, 17 A-26's, 1 B-26 (PFF)
Modified British System Reference: F-106153
Secondary Target   : No Alternate Targets Authorized
Summary of Results : Excellent results, two A-20's dropped Window, two A-26's Bombed Bitburg with 409th B.G.

Primary Target Latitude/Longitude: 50.53055,6.47547 (50° 31' 50" N, 6° 28' 32" E)
(Latitude/Longitude based on The "Coordinates Translator", (NGZ) wF106153)
(See Latitude/Longitude Coordinates and Target Identifiers for more information.)

Scanned original Mission 185 documents (multipage PDF files)

Mission Folder       Reports Folder       OpRep # 286       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:  Three  Aircraft and Crews also Assigned Window  Mission; Only Two completed.
Another Aircraft and Crew Crashed  on Take Off)

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

         Date          Report

Serial #
Location Personnel (Status when available)
Jan 14, 1945
185 669 2 miles north of Station A-55 (Melun, France) VanMeter, George Constance Jr. (KIA)
Kiker, Charles Milton (KIA)
Jan 14, 1945

185 671 Station A-54 - Le Bourget, France Wilson, Harold James (Slightly Injured)
Stypenski, Valentine S. (Not injured)
Jan 14, 1945
185 668 Strip B-87 - Rosieres, France Cannon, Lovick E. (Not injured)
Robinson, J. W. (Not injured)
Jan 14, 1945
185 669 Station A-69 - Laon, France Blevins, John W. (Not injured)
Gentry, Fred Jr. (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 # 185 -- January 14, 1945, Sunday AM
Schleiden, Germany -- Road Junction

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  669th                   
  44-085  2A-T  A-20K
  Capt Hulse, D.A.
  Lt Conte, R.
  S/Sgt Carstens, R.W.
  S/Sgt Sharp, R.P.
  2  670th                   
  43-21467  F6-W  A-20J
  Capt Atkinson, P.G.
  Lt Ackerson, D.G.
  Sgt Friday, L.R.
  Sgt Collier, J.L.
  3  669th                   
  41-39333  2A-Q  A-26B
  Lt VanMeter, G.C.
  Sgt Kiker, C.M.
  [Crashed & Blew Up on Take-Off]

Box I -- Flight II
  1  671st                   
  44-185  5C-G  A-20K
  Capt Tutt, R.J.
  Lt Beck, J.T.
  Sgt Wood, W.
  Cpl Schwartzapel, D.
  2  671st                   
  41-39234  5C-P  A-26B
  Lt Milhorn, G.L.
  Sgt Chest, D.
  [Not Airborne Airspeed Frozen]
  3  671st                   
  41-39265  5C-V  A-26B
  Lt Winn, A.J.P.
  S/Sgt Stephenson, G.G.
  4  671st                   
  41-39239  5C-N  A-26B
  Lt Henderson, F.W.
  S/Sgt Galender, J.
  5  671st                   
  41-39237  5C-D  A-26B
  Lt Cocke, J.B.
  Cpl Redding, R.D.
  [Bombed with 409th]
  6  671st                   
  41-39284  5C-C  A-26B
  F/O Wilson, H.J.
  Cpl Stypenski, V.S.
  [Bombed with 409th. Landing Gear Collapsed on Landing at A-54]

Box I -- Flight III
  1  668th                   
  41-39319  5H-B  A-26B
  Lt Cannon, L.E.
  S/Sgt Robinson, J.W.
  [Wheels Up Landing at B-87]
  2  668th                   
  43-22290  5H-L  A-26B
  Lt Hale, W.L.
  S/Sgt Geyer, J.F.
  3  668th                   
  41-39264  5H-I  A-26B
  Lt Parkhurst, G.J.
  Cpl Newman, F.
  4  669th                   
  41-39271  2A-R  A-26B
  Lt DuBose, M.W.
  S/Sgt Griffin, D.L.
  5  669th                   
  43-22367  2A-K  A-26B
  Lt Blevins, J.W.
  Cpl Gentry, F.
  [Left Main Landing Gear Collapsed on Landing at A-69]
  6  669th                   
  41-39238  2A-M  A-26B
  Lt Prucha, L.J.
  Sgt Ferguson, L.C.

Box I -- Flight IV
  1  670th                   
  41-39222  F6-S  A-26B
  Lt Hall, R.B.
  S/Sgt Blackford, D.S.
  2  670th                   
  41-39224  F6-E  A-26B
  Lt Johnson, E.L.
  Cpl Hayes, R.J.
  3  670th                   
  43-22315  F6-L  A-26B
  Capt Gruetzemacher, R.O.
  Sgt Hudnutt, L.W.
  4  670th                   
  41-39223  F6-B  A-26B
  Lt Brown, N.G.
  S/Sgt Leahigh, L.L.
  5  671st                   
  41-39208  5C-L  A-26B
  Lt Turner, E.O.
  S/Sgt Belcas, J.O.
  6  671st                   
  43-22313  5C-B  A-26B
  Lt Musgrove, W.
  S/Sgt Seighman, H.O.
  [Landed at A-69]

Box I -- Flight WINDOW
  1  671st                   
  43-22023  5C-X  A-20J
  Lt Buskirk, J.A.
  Lt Hanna, R.C.
  S/Sgt Corbitt, C.H.
  S/Sgt Swank, O.E.
  2  670th                   
  43-9439  F6-V  A-20J
  Lt Merchant, W.A.
  Cpl Pompa, P.A.
  S/Sgt DeBower, D.H.
  [Returned Early Engine Trouble]
  3  668th                   
  44-081  5H-P  A-20K
  Lt Carver, J.H.
  Sgt Stewart, A.B.
  S/Sgt Fuehrer, W.F.

Group and Unit Histories

Mission # 185 -- January 14, 1945, Sunday AM
Schleiden, Germany -- Road Junction

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

The following day, the 14th, weather cleared and a box of planes, led by Captain Hulse, bombed the defended village of Schleiden visually. Again, an unexplainable take-off crash cost the lives of two of our crew members, Lt G.C. Van Meter and Sgt C.M. Kikar. The plane crashed north of the field shortly after take-off and exploded. The bombing was excellent and might have been superior had not one flight been out of position when the bombs were released. The bombs hit roads and buildings in the center of the town and severed the rail line in four places. All north-south road traffic was blocked by the bombing. Three planes landed at other fields and crashed when their landing gears collapsed. None of the crews were injured. The pilots were Lt L.E. Cannon and J.W. Blevins and Flight Officer H.J. Wilson. Weak, heavy flak was experienced on the turn off the target.

"Attack Bombers, We Need You! A History of the 416th Bomb Group"
Ralph Conte
Pages 193 - 194

Mission #185 - 14 January - Schleiden Strong Point. Captain Hulse and Lt. Conte, BN led Box I. Captain Tutt and Lt. Beck, BN and Lt. Buskirk with Lt. Hanna, BN led other flights. The A-26 piloted by Lt. G. C. Van Meter and gunner Sgt. C. M. Kiker could not gain altitude and crashed just north of the runway, exploding, killing both crewmembers. The mission took off behind PFF Pathfinder B-26s. When reaching the target area, the lead BN took over the lead from the PFF leaders and went down the bomb run visually, his bombs blanketing the aiming point. The bombs blasted roads and buildings, severing a railroad line in four places. All north-south roads were blocked by the results of the bomb craters. The group received an excellent report. Many of the planes had to land at alternate airfields since A-55, our field, was closed in due to weather. Three planes experienced problems with landing gears which collapsed on landing. They had been hit with heavy flak. Lts. L.E. Cannon, J.W. Blevins, and F/O H. J. Wilson were not injured on their landings. F/O Wilson from the 671St squadron on his first flight, showed the results of his good training, when he found his engines cutting in and out due to icing. He lost his position in the flight, but kept going in the direction of the formation. The engines began purring correctly, so he tagged on to the end of another group (409th) on their bomb run. Heavy flak greeted the flight. Returning, Wilson left the flight as it neared A-55 but he lost sight of it. He headed toward Paris and went in to land. He checked indicators and saw all wheels were down and locked. As he landed, the wheels collapsed, causing his plane to skid off the runway into a snowbank. He suffered a broken leg. His gunner, Cpl. Stypenski, was uninjured.

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

With barely enough planes on the field to make a formation, GP Mission 185 was flown early in the afternoon. It will be recalled that yesterday’s formation landed at another field, and didn’t return till late this afternoon. The weather was poor and PFF bombing was employed. We added six crews to the loading list, one of which were B/N Teams.

The communications center at Schleiden felt the weight of our bombs. There was scant flak and the formation bombed from the lead ship at 13,000 feet. The bombs fell true to their mark, as photos proved later. Again the crews were forced to land away from the field, as weather made landing here unsafe. Two of our boys crash landed, but fortunately, were unhurt. Lt. Cannon crashed at A-69, having trouble with his landing gear. Lt. Blevins made a crash landing at A-69, with the same trouble as Lt. Cannon experienced. The rest of the formation landed at A-58, and returned to the base at dusk in the evening.

The journey lasted over three hours, but the score of the mission was worth it. The photos taken scored "excellent" for the bombing. Lt’s Cannon & Blevins returned to the base with their gunners, after being picked up by the C-64.

Squadron B had trouble at take-off this time. One of their aircraft took off and then exploded for some unknown reason. Both pilot and gunner were killed.

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

Three days later, on the 14th, Captain Hulse, Lt. Conte, B-N, led another formation in an attack on the defended village of Schleiden. As the plane flown by Lieutenant Van Meter, Sergeant Kikar gunner, began to get airborne, it suddenly settled to the ground and crashed. Before the crew was able to get out of the burning wreckage, the bombs exploded. The crew was killed. The rest of the planes formed into one box behind Captain Hulse and went on to attack the target. Lieutenand Conte dropped his bombs squarely on the aiming point. Had it not been for one flight that was out of position when it dropped, he would have been credited with a superior. Hits were scored on the road junctions, and buildings in the center of the town. All north-south road traffic was blocked. The rail line was also cut in four different places.

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

Excellent results were achieved on the next day's mission, which was an attack on the defended village of Schleiden. On the takeoff another airplane crashed, probably due to wing and carburetor ice and its crew members were killed. It was a 669th Squadron airplane. On the turn off the target weak heavy flak was experienced which was ineffective. Seven of our crews took part in this attack.

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

Taking off on snow-capped runways, 24 aircraft of the 416th Bomb Group went out to hit the communication center of Schleiden, six miles east of the Monschau Forest where Germans launched their winter offensive. Tragedy struck again like on the morning of January 2ndà The first A-26 to take off mushed in just a short distance from the end of the runway and the bombs exploded upon crashing. The crew from the 669th Squadron was killed instantly.

The mission was originally scheduled as a PFF, but upon reaching the target area the visibility was very good, and the Group leader took over the lead. All ships bombed in one pattern, with 85% of the bombs within the 1000 foot radius. Hits were scored on buildings and roads in the center of town, causing severe damage. Flak was nil. The group received an excellent on the bombing results.

F/O Wilson had more to contend with than he expected in flying his first operational mission. Due to icing his engines were cutting out after takeoff and he was unable to keep up with the formation. His plane finally shaped up all right and he tagged on with the 409th Bomb Group, which was headed toward Bitburg. He bombed this town with the 409th and saw plenty of flak. He broke away from the formation when it reached this vicinity, but could not locate A-55. He picked up A-48 at Le Bourget in Paris and came in for a landing. His indicators show the wheels to be down and locked, but just a few seconds after hitting the runway the gear folded up and the plane skidded of the runway into a snow bank. F/O Wilson received a fractured leg and was hospitalized in Paris for a few days, but returned to the Squadron on the 19th. His gunner, Cpl. Stypenski, was uninjured and returned the day after the accident.

[January 14, 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 14, 1945
World War II Military Situation Maps Collection
Library of Congress

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