9th AF Patch

416th Bombardment Group (L)

Mission # 214 -- February 25, 1945, Sunday AM

Kerpen, Germany

Road Junctions



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Summary of Operations

Field Order        : 179-764
OpRep #            : 328
Nature of Mission  : Bombing
Mission Status     : Attacked
Bombing Altitude   : 12,500 - 13,500 feet
Take-off Time      : 1007
Time Over Target   : 1123 - 1125
Landing Time       : 1325
Duration (Hrs:Min) : 3:18

Place of Take-Off  : A-69 Laon/Athies, France
A/C Dispatched     : 39 Total -- 38 A-26's, 1 B-26 (PFF)
Modified British System Reference: F-267529
Secondary Target   : Selected in accordance with IX Bomb Div Cipher F-576-E (9-2-45)
Summary of Results : Box 1 - Excellent, Box 2 - PNB.

Primary Target Latitude/Longitude: 50.87089,6.69532 (50° 52' 15" N, 6° 41' 43" E)
(Latitude/Longitude based on The "Coordinates Translator", (NGZ) wF267529)
(See Latitude/Longitude Coordinates and Target Identifiers for more information.)

Scanned original Mission 214 documents (multipage PDF files)

Mission Folder       Reports Folder       OpRep # 328       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.


Route Map

Loading List 1

Loading List 1, Box I

Loading List 2

Loading List 2, Box II

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

         Date          Report

Serial #
Location Personnel (Status when available)
Feb 25, 1945
214 669 Kerpen Road Junctions Farley, John J. (MIA, KIA)
Hardesty, Edgar Russell (MIA, KIA)

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 # 214 -- February 25, 1945, Sunday AM
Kerpen, Germany -- Road Junctions

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                   
  43-22497  5C-E  A-26C
  Lt Col Willetts, D.L.
  Lt Royalty, P.G.
  Lt Basnett, R.J.
  Sgt Rose, J.W.
  2  668th                   
  43-22508  5H-Z  A-26C
  Lt Mish, C.C.
  Lt Shaft, R.E.
  S/Sgt Roberts, J.H.
  3  671st                   
  41-39209  5C-M  A-26B
  Lt Remiszewski, A.
  S/Sgt DiOrio, F.
  4  671st                   
  41-39249  5C-F  A-26B
  Lt Herman, A.E.
  S/Sgt Barber, F.E.
  5  671st                   
  41-39332  5C-P  A-26B
  Lt Edstrom, L.W.
  S/Sgt Gurkin, C.W.
  6  671st                   
  43-22326  5C-W  A-26B
  Lt Graeber, T.E.
  Sgt Miller, A.H.

Box I -- Flight II
  1  669th                   
  43-22521  2A-N  A-26C
  Capt Sommers, H.L.
  Lt Kupits, J.
  S/Sgt Heath, K.
  2  669th                   
  41-39271  2A-R  A-26B
  Lt Tripp, W.F.
  S/Sgt Mani, J.
  3  669th                   
  41-39314  2A-H  A-26B
  Lt Willard, J.A.
  Sgt Hinker, C.V.
  4  669th                   
  43-22381  2A-Q  A-26B
  Lt Allen, J.F., Jr.
  S/Sgt Veazey, C.W.
  5  669th                   
  41-39252  2A-D  A-26B
  Lt Renth, E.J.
  Sgt Brinkman, E.R.
  6  669th                   
  41-39238  2A-M  A-26B
  Lt Farley, J.J.
  Sgt Hardesty, E.R.

Box I -- Flight III
  1  669th                   
  43-22492  2A-E  A-26C
  Lt Blomgren, J.E.
  Lt Johnson, G.G.
  S/Sgt Bookach, M.
  2  669th                   
  43-22344  2A-C  A-26B
  Lt Martin, E.C.
  Sgt Draft, L.B.
  3  669th                   
  43-22354  2A-S  A-26B
  Lt VanRope, R.W.
  Sgt West, N.D.
  4  669th                   
  41-39229  2A-B  A-26B
  Lt Turner, D.O., Jr.
  S/Sgt Reyes, M.R.
  5  670th                   
  41-39205  F6-M  A-26B
  Lt Hayter, E.R.
  S/Sgt Dalton, A.A.
  6  670th                   
  43-22307  F6-N  A-26B
  Lt Weinert, C.E.
  Sgt Francis, R.D.

Box I
  SPARE  671st               
  41-39300  5C-K  A-26B
  Lt Col Meng, W.J.
  S/Sgt Elliott, F.W.

Box II -- Flight I
  1  671st                   
  43-22498  5C-R  A-26C
  Capt Pair, H.F.
  Lt Corum, J.L.
  Lt Muir, R.C.
  S/Sgt Fessler, H.S.
  2  671st                   
  43-22490  5C-X  A-26C
  Lt Brewster, F.S.
  Lt Dennis, L.W.
  S/Sgt Clark, W.O.
  3  671st                   
  43-22356  5C-C  A-26B
  Lt VanNoorden, H.M.
  S/Sgt Thompson, G.
  4  671st                   
  41-39297  5C-T  A-26B
  Lt Ames, W.H.
  S/Sgt Brown, R.J.
  5  671st                   
  41-39250  5C-A  A-26B
  Capt Sears, A.C.
  M/Sgt Wells, J.J.
  6  671st                   
  41-39239  5C-N  A-26B
  Lt Mooney, S.
  Sgt Buckley, W.C.

Box II -- Flight II
  1  668th                   
  43-22505  5H-Y  A-26C
  Capt Stanley, C.S.
  F/O Blount, J.H.
  Sgt Edenburn, J.C.
  2  668th                   
  43-22523  5H-N  A-26C
  Lt Jacobsen, O.F.
  F/O Harvest, R.W.
  Lt Tank, F.R.
  Sgt Pettinicchi, A.
  3  668th                   
  43-22321  5H-T  A-26B
  Lt Carver, J.H.
  Sgt Graham, N.M.
  4  668th                   
  41-39213  5H-A  A-26B
  Lt McCready, T.D.
  F/O Gunkel, H.G.
  Cpl Ray, R.K.
  5  668th                   
  41-39325  5H-L  A-26B
  Lt Laseter, W.H.
  Pvt Hawk, D.W.
  6  668th                   
  41-39305  5H-U  A-26B
  Lt Colquitt, J.K.
  S/Sgt Mohr, C.M.

Box II -- Flight III
  1  670th                   
  43-22501  F6-W  A-26C
  Lt Singletary, R.B.
  Lt Rosenquist, A.E.
  S/Sgt Cianciosi, A.A.
  2  670th                   
  41-39223  F6-B  A-26B
  Lt Bower, R.S.
  Sgt Puskas, N.A.
  3  670th                   
  41-39416  F6-O  A-26B
  Lt Errotabere, M.
  Sgt Bowie, E.A.
  4  670th                   
  41-39286  F6-D  A-26B
  Lt Barausky, P.P.
  Pvt Wilson, B.R.
  5  670th                   
  43-22334  F6-G  A-26B
  Capt Borman, H.W.
  Pfc Finnell, D.O.
  6  670th                   
  41-39215  F6-R  A-26B
  Lt Chitty, W.D.
  Sgt Riggs, P.H.

Box II
  SPARE  670th               
  41-39315  F6-F  A-26B
  F/O Green, J.A.
  Sgt Rorbakken, R.R.

Group and Unit Histories

Mission # 214 -- February 25, 1945, Sunday AM
Kerpen, Germany -- Road Junctions

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

These two attacks were the beginning of a series of attacks made on targets on the Cologne Plain prior to and during the drive of the American First and Ninth Armies to the Rhine.

Another of these attacks was made on the 25th on the Kerpen road junction. Thirty six planes made the attack, dropping on the lead plane of the first box with excellent results. Bombs covered the aiming points, destroying buildings and cutting or blocking several roads. At least two direct hits were scored on railroad tracks. Moderate accurate flak was fired at the formation from about one minute before the bombs went away until the formation came out over the bomb line on the way back. Six aircraft suffered category "A" battle damage; two, category "AC" and one aircraft was hit by flak over the target. The left engine was knocked completely out of the nacelle and the plane turned over on its back. It went out of control and into a spin. No chutes were seen. The crew, Lt J.J. Farley and Sgt E.R. Hardesty, are listed as MIA. Col Willetts, Lts Royalty and Basnett as B and N, and Capt Pair, Lts Corum and Muir as B and N, led the two boxes.

"Attack Bombers, We Need You! A History of the 416th Bomb Group"
Ralph Conte
Pages 213 - 214

Mission #214 - 25 February - Kerpen Communication Center. Colonel Willetts with Lts. Royalty and Basnett, BNs and Captain Pair with Lts. Corum and Muir, BNs, led boxes. Lts. Stanley and Blount, BN and Lts. Mish and Shaft, BN led flights. The first box sighted the target without PFF leading and scored an excellent. The second box followed PFF in and dropped on their lead. Lt. J. J. Farley, flying deputy on Col. Willetts took a direct hit on his left engine, knocking it out of the nacelle. Control was lost and the plane spun down. No chutes were seen. Sgt. E. R. Hardesty was the gunner with Farley. Other crew members reported the plane exploded. A piece of the engine struck Lt. Graeber's plane, but he was able to straighten it out and stay with the formation. Flak bursts blossomed out in front of the formation as it neared the target area, and continued on until they crossed the bomb line going home. Eight aircraft were pretty badly damaged, but they all managed to get back to base. The crews counted 27 guns firing at them near the target and 50 east of the target. A formidable concentration of firepower! On take-off, Colonel Willetts could not get his wheels up and did not access the lead. Lt. Mish was supposed to have taken the lead position, but the flights formed up on the deputy, Lt. Farley, instead. One flight from the second box formed up with the first box leaving Captain Pair with only one flight in his box. Colonel Willetts eventually caught up with the formation and assumed the Box I lead. Another first was experienced on the mission, with two newcomers to the 668th squadron flying in the jump seat of the A-26s, "to see how things are done." Lt. Tank and F/O Gunkel flew with Lts. Jacobsen and McCready. Their enthusiasm and excitement was expressed all over the base.

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

The Kerpen Road Junction in Germany was attacked with excellent results on the morning of February 25th. Once more the 669th Bombardment Squadron had the misfortune of losing one of its combat crews. Lt. John J. Farley and his gunner, Sgt. Hardesty, were reproted [reported] missing in action. The aircraft in which they were flying was seen to have been hit by enemy anti-aircraft fire and then to have fallen toward the ground.

On the afternoon of the same day, the Duren area again received a pounding. The Nouvenich Communication Center was bombed by the use of PPF. The results were unobserved because of cloud cover.

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

Three more missions were flown on the 24th and 25th against communications centers at Vierson, Kerpen and Morvanich.

Captain Daniel F. Shea left for the United States on 25 February where he was to spend a 30 day leave and then return to the squadron for reassignment to the Ninth Bombardment Division.

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

February 25th, 1945

The 416th continued to hammer targets in the Cologne area on February 25th by running two missions against two strongly fortified communication centers. In the morning Colonel Willetts led the formation as a representative of the 671st Bomb Squadron for the last time, having been transferred to Group Operations as Operations Officer the next day.

Colonel Willetts and his bombardier-navigator team of Lt. Royalty and Lt. Basnett scored excellent results against the Communication Center of Kerpon, just ten miles from Cologne. But intense accurate flak took a lot of the joy away from the mission. Lt. Farley of the 669th Squadron, flying deputy lead on Colonel Willetts, was shot down over the target and the ColonelĘs ship received a flak hit at the same time. It was not in a vulnerable spot, however. The aircraft lost was hit in the right engine. The plane turned over on its back and went into a spin. Several crews reported that the aircraft later exploded. A piece of the plane struck the leading edge of Lt. GraeberĘs ship, but he was able to bring the aircraft back in tact.

Flak was first encountered about three miles before the target and continued until the bomb line was reached on the way out. Eight ships in all were battle damaged. Plotted gun positions consisted of 27 heavy guns enroute and 50 heavy guns east of the target.

The mission became snafued just after take-off. Colonel Willetts could not get his wheels up and was unable to access the lead immediately. The formation was supposed to form on Lt.Misch in this case, but instead formed on Lt. Farley. Colonel Willetts finally pulled his wheels up and took over the first box with Lt.Farley his deputy. Another flight of the second box formed in the first box, leaving Capt. Pair with just his own flight and one other. A Pathfinder was dispatched with the formation, but upon entering the target area it was evident that visual bombing could be employed successfully. Therefore the first box dumped their bombs by this method. The center of the pattern was 590 feet east of the DMPI, covering a large part of the town. The Pathfinder dropped on its own and Captain Pair released his bombs either on the Pathfinder or one of the ships in Box I. He did not receive word that the mission was changed from Pathfinder to visual. Hits on rail tracks were made by Capt. PairĘs flights.

Afternoon Mission

"Pure Cake" was the definition given the mission against the Horvenich Communications Center on the afternoon of February 25th, the second tartet of the day for the 416th Invaders. The Group met no flak enroute or at the target and all ships returned untouched. The bombing was by Pathfinder lead. Results were undetermined, as there was no photo or visual observation.

[February 25, 1945], HQ Twelfth Army Group situation map

Map showing Western Allies and Axis troop position details in Western Europe
as of approximately 1200 hours, February 25, 1945
World War II Military Situation Maps Collection
Library of Congress

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