James H. Clements |
Report of W.W.II
I did not keep a diary or very good records, for that matter, but from my personnel file I have a good record of the missions flown. I have very well verified these from the "Mighty Eighth War Diary," by R. A. Freeman.
First, about the airplanes I flew. I never had any single plane assigned to my crew. In June of 1943, we were part of 14 replacement crews sent to Topeka, KS to pick up planes to fly to the United Kingdom. When we arrived, we were told there were no planes available. The reason given was that the Ford Motor Company, Willow Run Plant, producing B-24's was on strike. This may have just been a rumor. I have never been able to verify this. Nevertheless, we were shipped over on the Queen Mary.
When I started flying missions towards the end of '43, there seemed to be a shortage of planes and we were never assigned one. When I flew lead, I flew N (which was equipped with Gee-H and etc.) more than any other.
Upon arriving in the U.K. we were assigned to the 93rd BG. Within a few days we (all 14 replacement crews) received orders for TD in North Africa (of course, we didn't know why). At that time, my bombardier was in the hospital and as no replacement was available, our orders were held up. Some of the other crews got to Ploesti. How many and who made the mission, I don't know. When my bombardier got out of the hospital, we proceeded by ATC to N. Africa. When we got to Tripoli, we were dumped. By that time, the Ploesti raid was over. We had a hard time getting back to the UK, in late August.
About two weeks later, I (without the rest of my crew in mid-Sept.) received orders to return to N. Africa. I was in Tunis until October and never flew a mission, which brings me to our first mission to Kjeller on November 18, 1943. I recall we were one of the only three planes to return in formation.
The reason for the two tours was that we were the first crew in the 44th to get a RRR (reset, recover, and return) leave to the states. Bill Brandon and Charles Hughes also were on same leave. Slow boat over and back.
I had the same crew for both tours (with exception of copilots). We went over together and flew back after VE Day in June of 1945.
Gail Larsen was our first copilot and went over with us. Roy Owen flew most of the missions with us and Richard Pedersen some and back to the states with us.
This is about all the information I can come up with now. If I recall more or come on any other information, I'll certainly send it to you.
Distinguished Flying Cross re: Capt. James H. Clements
Summary of Events:
It is recommended that James H. Clements, 0-670506, Captain, Air Corps, Pilot on a B24-type lead aircraft, be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for a high performance of skill and leadership on 19 operational missions over Germany and enemy-occupied countries over an extended period of time.
On each of these missions where the position occupied and responsibilities attached thereto was of most vital importance, Captain Clements demonstrated a high degree of personal force, oftentimes in the face of heavy enemy attacks from air and ground, thereby influencing those who followed to a higher degree of efficiency in the execution of their duties.
Captain Clements began flying his operational tour when daylight precision bombing by the 8th Air Force was still in its preliminary stages and his early missions were to such assigned targets as Oslo, Norway, and Bremen, Emden, Solingen, and Ludwigshaven, Germany. During this period, Captain Clements proved his capability as a pilot and was chosen to become a lead pilot on a B24 type lead aircraft. This officer's initiative and conscientious sense of duty has been a valuable asset to his organization and to those whom he led. At the present time, Captain Clements is capable of flying all types of B24 lead aircraft, including H2K and Gee-H leads.
On 21 January 1944, Captain Clements led a squadron of nine aircraft to an airfield at St. Jean D'Angely, France. The excellent results obtained on this mission were largely accounted for by Captain Clements' leadership. Due to towering type cumulus cloud cover and difficulty in maneuvering at the I.P., it was necessary to make four bomb runs before a successful alignment and sighting was possible. However, during this entire maneuvering, Captain Clements led his squadron with great skill, keeping them in such a formation to have their bombs blanket the assigned MPI, obtaining excellent results. Captain Clements' steadfastness of purpose and apprehensive knowledge of importance eof his assigned target was a large contributing factor in being lead pilot of one of the five squadrons in the 2nd Air Division to bomb their assigned objectives on this day.
An aircraft component part factory at Gotha, Germany was attacked on 24 February 1944 by a 12-ship squadron led by Captain Clements. This mission was carried out through continuous forced fighter attacks by approximately 50 single engine enemy aircraft for a period of an hour and 50 minutes during which time, Captain Clements exhibited superior leadership and flying ability by maintaining the integrity of his formation and attacking his assigned target visually with excellent results and without loss.
On the 11 April 1944, Captain Clements led the 14th Combat Wing to attack aircraft production plants and airdromes at Bernberg, Germany. Even though confronted with persistent and vicious enemy attacks by FW 190's and ME 109's at the I.P. which continued their attack for a sustained period of time, Captain Clements successfully led and maneuvered his formation to bomb its assigned target visually with excellent results.
On 27 September 1944, Captain Clements led the 44th Bomb Group to bomb the tank manufacturing plant at Kassel, Germany by H2X. This was Captain Clements' first lead in H2X aircraft and was performed over 10/10ths undercast. The target was attacked with unobserved results while encountering moderate accurate flak in the target area. The capability and initiative of this officer in here deftly demonstrated by his ability to successfully fly and lead in the newer type B24 aircraft.
On 26 November 1944, during a period of forced operations, Captain Clements fulfilled successfully the duties of a command pilot when he flew as air commander for the 14th Combat Wing while attacking transportation targets at Bielefeld, Germany, by Gee-H; bombing results were good. Here again, as in all instances, this officer demonstrated the high degree of leadership and responsibility with which he is endowed.
On 23 December 1944, Captain Clements led the 2nd Air Division to attack a road check point east of Ahrweiler, Germany. This target was attacked visually and the results were excellent. It was during this period that heavy bombardment aid was sorely needed and even though attacking through adverse weather conditions enroute and accurate intense tracking and barrage type flak in the immediate target area, Captain Clements exhibited an unprecedented degree of leadership by leading his formation to the successful completion of its mission.
On 28 December 1944, still in this same period of sorely needed heavy bombardment aid, Captain Clement again led the 2nd Air Division to road and rail choke points at Kaiserlautern, Germany. This target was attacked visually through 3 to 5/10ths cloud cover and light, accurate flak with excellent results. Again, as in all instances, Captain Clements demonstrated the qualities of leadership and responsibility, which he possessed.
During the early part of 1945, Captain Clement added to his already outstanding record of leadership, that of four division leads, all to important targets within the borders of Germany. On 31 December 1944, Captain Clement led the 14th Combat Wing to attack the railroad bridge at Nieweid, Germany by Gee-H through 10/10th undercast with results unobserved. On 7 January 1945, Captain Clement led the 2nd Air Division to attack the marshalling yards at Kaiserlautern, Germany, again by Gee-H, bombing through 10/10ths undercast with unobserved results. Then again on the 21st of February, Captain Clements led the 2nd Air Division with orders ton attack the marshalling yards at Nurnberg, Germany. On this occasion, bombing was done by H2X through a 10/10ths undercast with unobserved results. (#1)
In all instances, Captain Clements had exhibited a steadfastness of purpose and conscientious sense of duty which are aptly demonstrated by inspecting his record of operational missions. During this officer's tour of duty, he has accomplished a record of achievement of unique character. His exemplary record of service, personal force and initiative has won him the respect and acclaim of his superior officers and fellowmen and has been highly recommended by his squadron commander. Captain Clements is credited with 19 lead missions, 17 of which were lead missions. Seventeen of which were flown to targets within German borders and two in occupied France. This outstanding record of leadership consisting of five squadron leads, four group deputy leads, three group leads, three Wing Leads, and four division leads necessitated a
distinguished assumption of responsibility and reflects great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States.
Record of Missions
21 January 1944
Target: St. Jean D'Angely A/D, France 2nd Squadron 44th Bomb Group
Only group in the wing to attack this target as preceding formations abandoned the mission due to towering 8/10ths cumulus. This squadron attacked with excellent results through moderate accurate flak.
30 January 1944
Target: Handover, Germany
Briefed to attack Brunswick; attacked Hanover s T/O by H2X through moderate accurate flak with unobserved results. Sustained fighter interception by 30 ME 109's and JU 88's.
6 February 1944
Target: Siracourt, France
Due to 10/10ths cloud cover, the mission was abandoned over the target, moderate accurate flak encountered.
21 February 1944 3rd Squadron, 44th Bomb Group
Target: Diepholz, Germany
Railroad junction attacked visually through intense generally inaccurate flak with good results. 10-15 E/A encountered making intermittent eager attacks.
24 February 1944 2nd Squadron, 44th Bomb Group
Target: Gotha, Germany
A/D attacked visually through moderate generally accurate flak with excellent results. Intercepted at the IP and RP by 40 enemy aircraft.
6 March 1944 Group Deputy, 44th BG
Target: Genshagen, Germany
Heinkel A/C manufacturing and components part factory attacked visually through intense accurate flak with good results. Encountered moderate accurate flak along the route and interception by 30-40 E/A in the Berlin area.
15 March 1944 Group Deputy, 44th Bomb Group
Target: Brunswick, Germany
Brunswick (M/Y) Germany attacked by H2X through intense accurate flak results unobserved. Interception by 10-15 E/A at IP.
11 April 1944 14th Combat Wing
Target: Bernberg, Germany
A/D at Bernberg, Germany attacked visually with excellent results through moderate, accurate flak. Enemy interception by 20-30 E/A at IP.
8 September 1944 Group Deputy, 44th Bomb Group
Target: Karlsruhe, Germany
Attacked M/Y at Karlsruhe through 10/10ths undercast by H2X with unobserved results. Moderate, inaccurate flak at the target area with no E/A encountered.
27 September 1944 44th Bomb Group
Target: Kassel, Germany
Attacked M/Y at Kassel through 10/10ths undercast by H2X with unobserved results. Encountered light, accurate flak at the target area. No E/A encountered.
6 October 1944 Group Deputy, 44th Bomb Group
Target: Hamburg, Germany
Attacked Hamburg armament works visually with slight haze. Intense accurate flak, with excellent results.
26 November 1944 14th GBW (B)
Target: Bielefeld, Germany
Flew as Command Pilot on this mission. Attacked RR junction at Bielefeld, by Gee-H with unobserved results. No flak or enemy aircraft encountered.
23 December 1944 2nd Air Division
Target: Ahrweiler, Germany
Attacked road and rail choke point visually through intense barrage and tracking flak with excellent results.
28 December 1944 2nd Air Division
Target: Kaiserlautern, Germany
Attacked road and rail choke point at Kaiserlautern visually through light accurate flak and 3/10 to 5/10ths low cloud with haze obtaining excellent results.
31 December 1944 14th Combat Wing
Target: Nieweid, Germany
Attacked railroad and road choke point Gee-H through 10/10ths undercast with unobserved results. No enemy defenses encountered.
7 January 1945 2nd Air Division
Target: Kaiserlautern, Germany
Attacked M/Y at Kaiserlautern through 10/10th undercast by Gee-H with unobserved results. Light accurate flak encountered at the target area.
21 February 1945 2nd Air Division
Target: Nurnberg, Germany
Attacked the M/Y at Nurnberg through 10/10ths undercast by H2X with unobserved results. Moderate accurate flak encountered at the target area with light inaccurate flak along the route in.
17 March 1945 44th Bomb Group
Target: Munster, Germany
Attacked M/Y at Munster through 10/10ths undercast by Gee-H with unobserved results. Moderate accurate flak encountered at target area.
22 March 1945 44th Bomb Group
Target: Swobish-Woll Alo, Germany
Attacked A/D visually with excellent results.