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Legacy Of:

Charles  L.  Armstrong

 

Personal Legacy
Combat Mission Diary of Captain Charles L. Armstrong ASN # 0671844,
8th Air Force, 2nd Bomb Division, 44th Bomb Group, 66th Bomb Squadron
and
389th Bomb Group, 564th Bomb Group
World War II European Theatre of operations 1943- 1944,

#1. Target: Airdrome Foggia, Italy Date: August 16,1943
Time: 10 hrs.
Base: Benghazi, Libya. Bennia Main
Takeoff07:30 Joined in formation over the field. Crossed the Mediterranean Sea then up the Adriatic between Italy and Albania, Crossed the Italian coast just below the
peninsula Gargano Hd. About 2 min. after crossing coast light flak was low and off to our left. As we went into the target we hit by heavy intense flak which knocked out the Group Leaders #2 engine. After leaving the target we were hit hard by 50 to 60 fighters all of our attacks came from the tail and 3 and 9 o'clock. The fighters hit us for about 15 minutes 8- B-24's were lost over the target and numerous fighters were shot down. The water was a very welcome sight. the trip home was uneventful. Three of the Eight ships missing were piloted by crews that I had gone through the phases with. The 67th. Sq.
was hardest hit 66th Sq. lost one ship. I was flying as copilot to Bob Felber in ship #973. Landed about 18:30. One hole in ship.

#2 Target: Harbor. Leghorn. Italy Date: September 21,1943
Time: 7hrs. 45 min.
Base: Tunis, Tunisia, Oudna # I
Take off at 09:00 Assembled over the field. I was flying copilot with Lt. Comey in # 769 B. We joined the other groups on route from Mature to Cape Sedi Ali and proceeded across the Mediterranean to the west of Sardinia and Corsica. We proceeded North of the Island of Corsica before turning in toward the target. We made the run over the target with a very good pattern. No fighters were encountered, but about I 1 burst of flax was seen, but it was behind us. The trip home was uneventful. All ships returned safely.

#3 Target: Marshaling Yards. Pisa Italy Date: September 24,1943 Time: 6hrs.30min.
Base: Tunis, Tunisia.
Flying with Lt. Comey in 769 B. We took off joined formation in the normal manner
and then proceeded to join the rest of the wing. We left the African coast at Cape Sedi Ali proceeded on course North between the islands of Corsica & Sardinia and the western coast of Italy. We turned in and crossed the coast just North of Leghorn. We made the bomb run and the target was destroyed; after bombs away we turned right and headed home. No opposition. was encountered, we saw fighters on the ground but none came up after us. All planes returned safely.

#4 Target: Wiener Neustadt Date: October 1,1943
Time: 9hrs, 30 min.
Base:Tunis, Tunisia. Oudna # 1
Take off and assembly in normal manner; things were a little messed up but we made it all right. We left the coast at Cape Seed Ail and proceeded north just west of the Italian coast. About an hour out we ran into some clouds which busted up the formation but we rejoined, We crossed the Italian coast just north of Naples and about half way across Italy we saw flak but it was off to the right. We proceeded across Italy then out over the Adriatic Sea, soon after we hit the other coast we turned north. There was between 9 & 10 tenth under cast all the way. It was clear at the IP and as we turned toward the target I saw the heaviest concentration of flak I'd ever seen and as we turned I glanced up at 2 o'clock and there were about 50 or 60 fighters above us and before we finished the turn they hit us head on with between five and ten in a wave, In the first pass they knocked down the two element leaders in front ofus and things were pretty messed up and B-24's were going every which way but managing to stay together. We made our run and dropped our bombs with the flak and fighters hitting us all the time. Just after bombs away our #2 engine was shot out a 20mm had exploded in the oil tank. The fighters hit us continuously for at least a half hour and when they left it was sure a relief. How we got though I don't know, the Lord sure must have been with us that day. I saw two 24's on fire and one exploded. We lost 7 ships over the target. As we left the target I saw nine ships with one engine feathered. We finally got over water again and then we started checking our damage. The waist gunner had been hit by 20mm Shrapnel and had about eight wounds in his back and two in his leg they were just under the skin. I applied first aid and made him as comfortable as possible. Then I crawled back to the cockpit only to find that the Pilot had decreased RPM to 1900 and the elec. sys. had gone out and we were unable to increase.it , but finally after changing voltage regulators we got our generators to working and every thing went along fine for a while. Then I thought we were going to have to ditch #3 engine suddenly stopped on us and we just had two engines left, but it turned out that the engineer had made a mistake in changing the fuel valve and we got it started again. After that we continued south down the Adriatic. We crossed the Italian coast South of Foggia which had been occupied by the Allies. We then proceeded across Italy to Salerno where we were told was a landing field. After getting to Salerno #4 was acting up and we were low on fuel so we decided to land. When we tried to put the landing gear down but the hydraulics were shot out of the left main gear; the right lowered all right. We tried to crank them down but the crank stuck finally it broke loose and the gear came down. We circled field and landed. The field was an R.A.F. Spitfire field. We landed successfully. Two other B-24s also landed at the same field. We had 625 holes in our ship 9- 20mm 1- 88mm. We left the ship there and returned to base by A. T .C. Out of 25 ships only 9 got back to the base that night. we lost 7 crews over the target.

#5. Target: Kjeller, Norway Aircraft Repair Depot ,-Lillestrom, Norway Date: November 16, 1943
Time: 9hrs 30 min.
Base: Shipdham, England
Take off 06:01 Pre dawn assembly. Assembled as scheduled and left the English coast. Leader of our section aborted and I took over, later ran across group leader and joined his formation; we had so few ships with us that we decided to drop on him. On way to the target four Stukas ( dive bombers) made two passes at us; then left to pick on a straggler which they Knocked down. Entered target area and made three passes at target and never dropped bombs. Why the leader didn't drop we don't know. Jettisoned bombs in the drink off the coast. Leader turned back 20 min. out and headed for Sweden. Hit by about 15 fighters m 88s; FW 190s; ME 11 Os about an hour out and they stayed with us 35min. before they left. Rest of the trip uneventful. Right waist gunner Arthur Shreck claimed one fighter. Landed at 15:45 total time on mission 9hrs, 30min. 5 ships lost in our group. Light and heavy flak in the target area. Saw one FW 190 shoot a rocket.

#6. Target: Cognac, France Date: December 5, 1943
Time: 9hrs.
Base: Shipdham, England
Take off 07:00 still dark, left field at 08:30. Formation in good shape, after leaving the coast undercast was encountered in mid channel and continued all the way across France. Light Flak way off to side on crossing the enemy coast. P47 escort picked us up before we reached the coast. When they had to leave we were picked up by P38s. We went in over the target at 12,000ft, briefed for 19,000ft. Overcast caused us to drop down. Target and surrounding area overcast unable to drop bombs. Turned out toward the Bay of Biscay and as we crossed the coast the flak was moderate and accurate. One B-24 had a direct hit in the bombay and blew up, two chutes left the ship. Crossing the Brest Peninsula we were picked up by Spits and Typhoons which stayed with us back to the English coast. On return to the field 500ft ceiling, visibility poor. Landed at 16:00. Total time on mission 9hrs. Schreck waist gunner had moderate frost bite of his left foot: the heated boot went out. One small hole in the vertical stabilizer just below the horizontal stabilizer on the left side due to Flak.

#7. Target: Kiel, Germany
Date: December 13, 1943
Time: 7hrs 35min.
Base: Shipdham, England
Trip was much easier than expected. No enemy aircraft were encountered. Passed over numerous Flak Batteries, flak was inaccurate as far as our formation was concerned. P 51s escorted us in the target area saw about 9. Target was completely overcast . Dropped Bombs on the Pathfinder

#8 Target: Breman, Germany Date: December 16, 1943
Time: 6hrs 50min
Base: Shipdham, England
Take off at 8:40 it was overcast so the instrument procedure was used. Soon after take off we developed a gas leak and had to return to base. We got on the ground the leak was corrected. Took off again and joined the formation in proper place at 8,000 ft. over splasher #5. Soon after we left the coast we started our climb following the Forts because they had the Pathfinder with them. There was a thin layer of mist at 18,000ft.and above. Later on the trip we lost the Forts but picked them up again before reaching IP .Flak was encountered before we picked them up the 2nd time and it was accurate. We dropped the bombs on Pathfinder flares. Flak in target area was very heavy and intense one piece going through Pilots window & one though astro dome After leaving target area a Group back ofus was hit by fighters. We also sighted the P-47 escort. No flak after leaving target area. On return to base buncher was being jammed but we started instrument procedure the cloud cover was lO/lO. Soon after we started procedure buncher started working and we returned to the field and landed after circling a couple times and sweating out the other aircraft in the air. We also had a flak hole in right waist by the heater connection and one under left wing close to the end of the flaps. One of our aircraft crashed on the English Coast. No one injured on my ship.

#9 Target: Rocket gun location north of AbbeviIle, France Date: December 24,1943
Time: 5hrs. 15min.
Base: Shipdham, England
We flewas Deputy Lead off of Felber. The assembly was under contact conditions with slight haze. We assembled and left the English coast at 12,000 ft. at Beachy Head, we were flying behind the 392nd. Trip to French coast was uneventful we test fired guns in the usual manner. After crossing coast, target was picked up and bombed from 12,000ft.. Results were good. We saw no flak or fighters. There were plenty of friendly fighters giving fighter protection. Bomb load was 1250mb. bombs.

#10 Target: Ludwigshafen, Germany Date: December 30,1943
Time: 8hrs. 20min.
Base: Shipdham, England
Take off contact conditions. We were leading the low element of the second section. Assembly was ordinary, left on coarse and picked up B-17s out in the channel. Route in was uneventful until half hour before the target when we were hit by fighters; one of the ships in our formation was knocked down and we were hit in the nose turret with 20mm and one on the flight deck and out in the wing. Bombardier & Engineer were slightly wounded and nose and top turret had to be replaced and the outer wing section. Rest of trip was uneventful bombs dropped PFF. We had fighter protection in and out P-47s, Spits, and P-51s.

#11 Target: Meppen, Gernlany Date: January 11, 1944
Time: 5hrs. 30min.
Base: Shipdham, England
Take off at 08:30 nornlal assembly at 10,000 ft.. Flying second element leader in lead box. We had Pathfinder in B-24 for the first time. Left the English coast at 13,000 ft.after assembly started climb halfway across the channel was held up due to overcast. Crossing enemy coast at 18,000 ft., about 45 min. after crossing the coast received recall message and we bombed a target of opportunity. Target was hit, light flak and our own fighter protection was very good. Return was uneventful.

#12 Target: Rocket Site about 15 min. N.E. of Rouen, France Date: January 21,1944
Time: 5hrs. 5min.
Base: Shipdham, England
This was my first time to lead the Group and Col. Dent our C.O. was riding with me.. We had thirteen men aboard 2 Navigators, Gunnery Officer and Command Pilot. We took offat 11:40. We had a normal assembly at 5,000 ft. After assembly we preceded on Combat Wing assembly line. We were leading the 14th. Combat Wing. It was normal with 392nd BG high and to our right. We left field at 13:00 on course following 2nd Combat Wing which was leading the Division. We followed them climbing on course to 12,000 ft. which was bombing altitude. Crossed English coast and left them at mid channel and proceeded to I.P. which was Dadeville then to target. We made five runs over target and due to cloud cover. we were unable to bomb. As we made our last run we were attacked by about 15 FW 190s. who pressed their attacks on our low flight shooting down 5 Libs. We Proceeded to coast where on crossing just north of Fe Camp we were hit by flak which was very accurate no one being hurt. The route home was uneventful. We crossed the English coast by Rye and proceeded to base making nornlal peel off and landing. We jettisoned some of our bombs in the Channel because of delayed action fuzing.

#13 Target: Installations at Watten. France Date: February 8, 1944
Time: 3hrs. 50min.
Base: Shipdham, England
Take off 07:00 Joined over the field, I was leading the high section stacked up to right of lead section We turned on course and the ship I had was slow but managed to get in good position as we left English coast at Beachy Head which was the I.P. As we crossed French coast there was scattered flak and in Target area and after leaving it flak flak was very accurate and concentrated. We made our run on the target but the bombs hung up. We turned off the target hit more flak , left french coast. Rest of trip was uneventful. We had numerous flak holes one punctured our right wing auxiliary tank. Small hole through pilots window. One ship had to crash land in Southern England the crew bailed out except for Pilot and Co Pilot. Outside of that an ships returned safely.

#14 Target; Berlin, Germany Date: MaJch 22, 1944
Time: 8hrs, 40 min. Base:
Bethel, England
I am now in a Pathfinder Squadron and this is my first mission since I finished my training to become a pathfinder. Today I lead the 44Sth BG which was leading the 2nd Combat Wing with Major James M. Stewart riding as co pilot and command pilot. We took off at 08:00 climbed up through overcast and assembled over Buncher 6 at 8,000 ft. The assembly was normal and we took off on co$e for Division assembly. The 20th V' Combat Wing was lead, 96th next, then the 2nd Combat Wing. We left the English coast at Buncher 4. The trip to enemy coast was fairly uneventful the lead ofDivision was a
little south of course all the way over but we entered enemy territory at the proper place. As we crossed the enemy coast the P47s picked us up and later PSIs. There was flak quite a distance off to our left on way to IP. Just before hitting IP the ships started throwing off heavy contrails and we had to sort of dodge these. As we turned off the IP and on to the bomb run P38s also picked us up in target area. The cloud cover over target was from 9/10 toI0/10 with very small breaks and bombing was by PFF. Afterturn on IP the ship flying on our left wing accidentally dropped his bombs and some of the other
ships dropped on him. The MPI was the center of the city and from all indications thats where our bombs went. The flak was fairly heavy in the target area and I saw one B-24 go down that was in the Wing ahead of us. We made turn to right leaving target area and slowed down so any stragglers could catch up, and lost 3,000ft. Bombing was at 21,000ft. We ran into occasional flak on way out some of it fairly heavy but not to bad. We had fighter support all the way out. On return to England it was 10/10 so instrument procedure was used. As far as I know all the ships in our Wing returned safely. Lt. F.B. Sneff my Navigator operated the Mickey Equip. and it worked very well the whole trip. I saw no enemy fighters and that didn't make me a bit mad. We had two or three flak holes in tail. About half hour from target we lost #4 super charger.

#15 Target: Briefed Ludwigshafen, Germany hit Pforzheim, Germany Date: April I, 1944
Time 8hrs. 10min.
Base: Hethel, England
I was leading the 2nd Combat Wing wth 453rd BG wth Major Hubbard, Command Pilot. We were the third Combat Wing with 2Oth CW and 14th CW in front of us. Take off and assembly was fairly normal assembling over Buncher 6 at 10,000ft. then climbing to 18,000ft. for wing assembly. At proper time we took out on course for Division assembly behind the 20th CW .The 14th CW was early and got ahead of the 20th CW so we followed the 20th which was to lead. We left English coast at proper altitude 18,000ft and started to climb but had to let down again due to overcast. We crossed into enemy territory at 16,000ft.. we continued following the 2Oth CW who was off course all the way in but we figured they would correct but they never did and kept going south of course. Finally when the Navigators told us we were 94 miles south of the target which we were briefed to approach from the North, we made a decision to take our Combat Wing to the target so we corrected our course toward target. Due to things being so screwed up the DR Navigator failed to get a good wind and as we approached Pforzheim he said it was Ludwigshafen which was the briefed target. So we bombed the town with moderate flak around the edges of town. The town was similar to that of Ludwigshafen but was about 30 miles south. The course out was slightly off because we were following two other groups apparently a CW. We had to let down again due to cloud cover as lowas 11,500ft. just before crossing coast we caught heavy accurate intense flak. We had one flak hole. Flak was encountered at different points on both route in and out. We crossed coast and back to England made a nornlallet down and landing. Our Wing did better than anyone even though we didn't hit primary target we knew about where we were all the time. One of the other Groups bombed a Swiss town by mistake and others dropped at numerous points. The Division lead screwed every thing up. Fighter escort was excellent even though we were off course. Thank God for that. We were lucky..

# 16 Target: Briefed Brunswick hit Banover, Germany Date: April 8,1944
Time: 6hrs. 50min.
Base: Bethel, England
I was leading the Division, which was leading the Air Force flying with the 44th Bomb Group leading the 14th CW. Takeoff and assembly was normal assembled at 15,00 ft. over Buncher 5. Wing and Division assembly was also normal. we left English coast at Cromer 3min. early. As we crossed Dutch coast there was flak off to our right. We came in right on course, weather was cavu all the way. Just before hitting Wing IP about 50 to 60 enemy fighters hit us head on and they really pressed their attacks. Six ships were seen to go down out of our Group the first pass. The ones I saw were silver F. W. 190s. It seemed as if they were awful determined and one almost ran into us us. The Col. said he did see him crash into the #5 man. They just made one major attack then the P 51s who were around at the time sort of kept them off our Group although I understand they also hit the Groups in back of us. We turned at Wing IP on route to Group IP. Bombing was to be visual. We turned at Group IP but were unable to pick primary target and we bombed the airfield just North of Banover, The flak at Banover was heavy intense and accurate and we got numerous flak holes in ship. After leaving target it took quite awhile to assemble groups again, because they had gotten fairly well spread out. But we finally got together again and flak was encountered only once on trip home and it was ineffective. Our fIghter escort was good P47s ,51s, and 38s. Trip home was fairly normal and normal letdown and landing was made. No one on ship was injured. Col. Gibson CO of 44th BG was Command Pilot. Lt Sacowski rode as Pilotage Nav. and he finished his tour today his 27th mission. According to reports so far eleven planes are missing from the 44th BG.

# 17 T arget~ Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany Date April 13, 1944
Time: 7hrs. 45min.
Base: Rethel, England
I was leading 2Oth CW with 93rd BG with MajorPorter as Command Pilot. We were also leading the 2nd Division. We took off and made our assembly over Buncher 7 on the Ball of Fire the 93rds assembly ship. After the Group was assembled it peeled off and we took over. Wing assembly was over Buncher 8 and Division assembly was from Splasher 5 to Buncher 5 both of these were in normal manner. We went from Buncher 5 to Oxfordness where we left English coast. We were at 20,000 ft. breaking the enemy coast here we had to maneuver to get out of way of the B 17 s which were going in ahead of us. We were right on course all the way to the target and the only flak was off to one side. The clouds were pretty heavy along the route but they broke up to about 6/10 in the target area and when we hit the IP we decided on a visual run and the target was picked up OK with help of Mickey and Pilotage Nav. Bombing was good. Light accurate flak in target area. Our camera was damaged by flak. We slowed down and S'd after leaving Target to allow Wing to reform. On way out we caught up with B 17s again and had to manuver to stay behind them. There were also a lot of high clouds which we had to maneuver around some of them going up to around 25,000 ft. 30,000 ft. was lost coming off of target. Route out was right on course. Normal let down and landing was made on return.

#18 Target: briefed Ramm, Germany ~ Bombed Koblentz, Germany Date: Apri122. 1944
Time: 6hrs. 5min.
Base: Rethel, England
I was leading 2nd. CW which was leading the 2nd Bomb Division. Col Terrill was Command Pilot. We took off at 16:30 in the afternoon. Assemblies were normal. Division assembly was from Buncher 5 to Splasher 6. We left English Coast at Lowestoft. As we crossed channel we got a little a south of course but corrected back and crossed at proper point. Went across Zuider Zee about 5 mi.South turned right on course. The weather CAVU all the way and the Pilotage Nav. was following us through and said we were right on course, what happened. I don't exactly know but the Pilotage man said we were on course and all of a sudden we found our selves in the middle of the Ruhr and south of the briefed target. We got out of there and the Command Pilot / wanted to make a run on Hamm which was smoking and on fire, but other planes interferred and we had to turn off. So we continued on course and bombed Koblentz the briefed secondary .The route out was farly uneventful with formation fairly spread. On return to England it was dark and a few planes were shot down by enemy night fighters. Also a few by Norwich Flak. We landed with out trouble at about 00:30. We had flak damage; one control cable almost shot away to the aIlerons. Our fluxgate Compass also screwed up on us. Snafu

#19 Target; Berlin, Germany Date: April 29, 1944
Time: 8hrs. 15min.
Base: Rethel, England
I was leading the 20th CW with 93rd Group. Col. Feagel was Command Pilot. Take off and assembly were normal and the Division assembly was Buncher 5 to Buncher 6. We took our place in trail of the 96th CW. 2nd CW was lead. The trip in was fairly uneventful with a little flax encountered every once in a while. Around Dummer Lake I saw fighters hit the wing in front of us and knock down several ships, but they never came back to us. The P38s took care of them apparently. We were South of course all the way in. We hit IP and made run on target with Mickey equipment, cloud cover was about 8/10 and PFF bombing was done.. Flax in target area and was a little lighter than expected. We turned off target to right and cut comer short to catch up with the other wings. We went to far South off target in following the, other wings. The flax was pretty heavy in spots on route out and fighters started picking at gaps all around us and they were also picking off all straglers. The Mickey went out just past the target and we weren't sure where we were because we had to S a lot to stay behind the other wings.
There was no fighter escort from target till we were almost to the Zueder Zee. The winds were stronger than expected and as a result we were 20min. late at target and 50min. late leaving enemy coast. After leaving coast normal let down and landing was accomplished. 1 Flak hole in cowling.

#20 Target: Briefed Brunswich, Germany Date: May 4. 1944
Time: 5hrs.
Base: Rethel, England
I was leading the 14th CW with 44th BG. Col Gibson was Command Pilot. We took off and attempted to assemble the group over Buncher 5 but due to contrails and clouds we were unable to get the group together. We left on Wing assembly line with no ships, but kept trying to contact them, at start of Division assembly we still had no ships with us. We left English coast alone and we were in sight of enemy coast when we fmally got the Group formed on us 27 ships. We never made contact with the other Groups in our Wing. After crossing coast we sighted the 96th CW with about 43 ships so Command Pilot decided that we should follow them in due to our small formation. About 30 min. in Recall was recieved and we turned around and came back. Normal let down and landing was made on return to England. No Flak seen. Later S-2 report stated that over 200 enemy aircraft were waitng for us in Durnmer Lake area. We turned back about 5 minutes from there.

#21 Target Brunswich, Germany Date: May 8 1944
Time: 6hrs. 30min.
Base: Shipdam, England
I was leading the 44th BG which was leading the 14th CW. We were the third CW in the Division order. Take off and assembly were normal. Major Kahl my Squadron C.O. was Command Pilot. We took out on course as briefed. On way in we were hit by fighters but fighter escort was very good. Bombing was P ,F .F 10/10 cloud cover in the target area. Withdrawal was normal and normal let down and landing was made.

#22 Target: Brunswich, Germany Date: May 19,1944
Time: 7hrs.30min.
Base: Shipdam, England
I was leading the 44th BG which was leading the 14th CW .We were the 2nd Combat wing in the Division order. Major Felber was Command Pilot. Take off and Group assembly were normal, but twice we started for the Wing assembly line and both times we received a message delaying departure. The first delaying it 30min. and raising assembly altitude 2,000ft. putting it at 14,000 the second message delayed it 15min. more and raised the Division assembly to 18,000ft. We finally got started and assembled the Wing together. The other Groups in our wing were the 492nd and the 392nd. But the
wing got busted up on the Division assembly. We had to climb to 21,000ft. to get above some clouds and all of a sudden we ran into some more clouds and it busted up the formation pretty bad. We heard 20th CW call in that they were on time at control point which was Great Yarmouth our point of departure at the English coast. We intercepted them at that point. Our formation reformed while crossing the North Sea. Land fall was made on enemy coast right on time. At this point we were at 23,00ft. And my Navigator Frank B. Sneff had trouble with his oxygen mask and almost passed out, but he got all right. Just before reaching Dummer Lake our Wing was attacked by 50 to 100 fighters. Our Fighters kept them off fairly well. These attacks continued all the way to the target and back to Dummer Lake. We reached our IP and started our run on the target; there was about 8/10 cloud cover in target area and we tried to bomb the airdrome at Wagum just out side of town but we were unable to pick it up so we bombed the Marshaling yards in the City and my bombardier Lt. N.A Vickery laid them right in. The 20th CW made a 2nd run and we followed them around, but when they started the third we broke off and came on home. Flax at target was fairly heavy but not to accurate. Flak was picked up at Dummer Lake on way out. P38s picked us up at target and brought us out. P47s had taken us in. Upon leaving enemy coast let down was started and normal landing was made. No battle damage to my ship. 11 ships were lost out of the Wing I was leading. 12 all together in 2nd Div. 26 for Air Force plus 16 fighters. Ist and 3rd. Divsions the B17s went to Berlin

#23 Target: Berck Sur-Mer, France Date: June 2, 1944
Time: 5hrs. 5min.
Base: Shipdham, England
Take off and assembly were normal. I had no Command Pilot I was leading the high Squadron of the 44th BG flying high right off the 492nd BG. The route out was normal until the IP then the leader headed for the wrong target so we having uncovered at IP made our own Bomb run on the briefed jarget. Bombing was on H2X a lO/lO undercast existed, no observations. No flak ; No fighters. Bombing altitude 17,000ft. Return off the target we didn't get together with our Group due to the fact they bombed at another point, outside of that; letdown and landing was normal.

#24 Target Berck Sur-Mer, France Date: June 3,1944
Time: 4hrs. 15min.
Base~ Shipdham, England
I was leading the 96th CW with Major Wallace as Commmand Pilot. It was a rush mission and we got off late 12:00 which was 15min. late When we got to assembly altitude 15,000ft. the group was just starting to get formed up. We had trouble getting the formation together and as a result we left on course about 15min. late, but after getting on course everything was normal with the 20th BW flying in trail of us. We hit our IP in mid channel and made bomb run on H2X. Letdown and landing normal. No Flak, No Fighters.

#25 Target: St. Laurent-Sur- Mer Target E Date: June 6, 1944 D-Day
Time: 6hrs. 15min.
Base: Shipdham, England
I was leading the 44th B.G,14th CW. and 2nd Division with Major James W, Kahl as Command Pilot in A/C 794 Takeoff was at 02:30. Normal instrument departure, climbing to 10,00ft. and returning to Buncher 5. Departed Bu. 5 at 03:23 enroute to Pt. A Climbing enroute to 16:000ft. Arrived Pt. A at 04:02 went into a holding pattern so the other A/C could join the formation. Departed Pt.. A on course at 04:47 to Pt .B, maintaining 16,000ft. Route out was as briefed departed the English Coast at Selsy Bill and turned on course to the target. We were in the clear at flight altitude. There was an undercast 9-10/10. After crossing the coast the Navigator Frank Snefff said you should see this scope it is completely full of returns. Every time we passed over a break in the clouds you could see at least one or more vessels on the water. We preceded to the target. Bombing was done PFF H2X + sight with bombs away at 05:53. Continued on course to a point south of the target and turned west across the Cherbourg Peninsula to 3 degrees West. turned right on course to Portland Bill where we crossed the English coast. Continued back to base making a normal let down and landing. No Flak -No Fighters - No Damage to the A/C. Remarks on mission analysis report -Bombing was done PFF, results unobserved. Reports bombing excellent. Lead the 8th AF and was first bomber to bomb during invasion morning mission.

#26 Target: Vire France, Marshalling Yards
Date: June 6, 1944 D Day 2nd Mission Time: 6hrs 30min.
Base: Shipdham, England
I was leading the 392nd B.G, Takeoffwas at 16:00 after takeoff normal climb and assembly were accomplished. The mission was flow as briefed. Bombing by PFF 9/10 to 10/10 cloud cover. Results unobserved. Afternoon mission D Day. No Flak - No Fighters

#27 Target: Politz, Germany, Oil Refinery Date: June 20, 1944
Time: 9hrs.
Base: Shipdham, England
I was leading the 44th B.G. 14th C. W 2nd Air Div. and the 8th AF, Col. John H. Gibson was Command Pilot. Takeoffwas at 05:00. Takeoff climb and assembly were normal. The mission was flow as briefed. The route in was over Southern Denmark, North of Kiel and to the Target. We had fighters all the way in and out. As we approached the IP I noticed something that had not happened on any other mission I had flow there was an unusual number of fighters hovering above and in front us. Soon after we were hit by about 60 fighters. After returning from the mission I was told that 8th AF intercepted a message to German fighters directing them to destroy the first group over the target. We had excellent fighter protection only 7 of the 60 fighters attacking got through to the 44th B.G. We had one aircraft that was damage and he landed in Sweden. The fighters went through our group and attacked the 492nd B.G which was behind us shooting down a large number of aircraft. We turned at the IP. The weather was clear we made a visual run on the target and Bombardier Norman Vickery hit the target right on the button. We turned right off c the target the Wing reassembled. We could see heavy smoke and fire coming from the target area results were excellent. Flight home was normal. We had fighter escort all the way in and out. Normal letdown and landing was made. Only one aircraft from the 44th B. G. failed to return a 68th. Aircraft which was damaged and last seen heading for Sweden. It was later reported that Lt Richard I. Keller's crew did land safely In Sweden with One wounded gunner on board. This was Col Gibson's last combat mission. My last three misions I flew as Command Pilot because I became Operations Officer of the 66th Bomb Squadron after the Politz mission

#28 Target: Breman, Germany ( Obleshusen) Date: July 29,1944
Time: 6hrs.30 min.
Base: Shipdham, England
I flew as Command Pilot with Capt, Stanhope in a/c # 7941eading the 44th B,G and 14th C.W. Mision was flown as briefed. Bombing was done through 10/10 cloud cover screening the target. Post mission recon reports results excellent. The following is a copy of the message sent by Gen. Hodges 2nd. Bomb Division Commander to all units on July 301944.

SDK HET SHP HSF HWT V KIll NR 11 P
FROM KIll 30/1230B
TO USLIST QB-QC
SECRET 2BD Y-1210-A

FLASH REPORT JUST RECEIVED FROM PINETREE STATES H2X MISSION TO BREMEN YESTERDAY WAS ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL TO DATE. PRU SHOWS SEVERAL DAMAGING HITS ON THE ORDERED PRIMARY TARGET; AND CONCENTRATION IN THE DESCHlMAG U-BOAT SHIPBUILDING WORKS, A TARGET WHICH HAS ALWAYS BEEN PRIORITY NO. ONE. CONSIDERABLE DAMAGE IS ALSO EVIDENT TO THE YARD FACILITIES AND TWO OR THREE SHIPS, ONE OF WHICH WAS A VERY LARGE VESSEL, WERE SUNK. FURTHER, A WAREHOUSE DISTRICT NORTH OF DESCHlMAG, THE KAFFE-HANDLE SAG PRIORITY THREE, SUSTAINED HEAVY DAMAGE AND IN THE PRINICIPAL BREMEN: WAREHOUSE DISTRICT EAST OF DESCHIMAG, EVEN HEAVIER DESTRUCTION WAS CAUSED. TWELVE WAREHOUSES WERE SEVEREL DAMAGED AND AT THE TIME PHOTO RECONNAISSANCE WAS TAKEN, TWO LARGE WAREHOUSES WERE STILL BURNING. RAILROAD FACILITIES NORTH OF THE TARGET WERE HIT HEAVIL AND CONSIDERABLE DAMAGE WAS CAUSED TO ROLLING STOCK. FULL RECONNAISSANCE COVERAGE HAS NOT YET BEEN OBTAINED AND IT IS QUITE POSSIBLE THAT EVEN FURTHER DAMAGE WAS CAUSED. MY MEARTIEST CONGRATULATIONS ON THIS GOOD NEWS.
HODGES

#29 Target: Lyons, France Date: August 13, 1944
Time: 7hrs, 45min.
Base; Shipdham , England
I was flying Command Pilot leading the 44th Bomb Group. I didn't write any notes for this mission nor do I have any other documentation. To the best of my recollection this mission was flown as briefed.

#30 Target: M.E. Factory at Schwerin ,Gennany Date: August 25,1944
Time: 7hrs. 50min.
Base Shipdham, England
I was flying Command Pilot with Captain Farmer leading the 44th B.G. I didn't write a notes for this mission but I do have the strike photo and we hit the target right on the button. I completed my combat tour on this mission.

Completed 30 combat missions 234 combat hours in the EAME Theatre of operations, with the 8th Air Force. Authorized Decorations: Distinguished Flying Cross, with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal, with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters, EAME Theatre Ribbon with 5 stars, Air Offensive Europe, Sicily, Naples-Foggia, Nonnandy, Air Combat Balkans , President Unit Citation.

I returned to the States in October on the Queen Elizabeth sailing from Glascow ,Scotland and docking in New York City.

*******************************************

CHARLES L. ARMSTRONG
World War II

Taken from a letter to Pete.

Charles L. Armstrong
2557 Marston Road
Tallahassee, Florida 32312

May 5, 1985

Dear Pete:

I was a lead crew pilot in the 66th Squadron. I was assigned to the 44th B.G. on July 21, 1943 while in Combat Crew School and to the 66th B.S. on 30 July 1943. I stayed in the 44th until February 17, 1944 when my crew was assigned to the 482nd B.G. to go to Pathfinder School. Upon completion of the training on March 21, 1944 the crew was assigned to the 389th B.G. 564th B.S. All of the Pathfinder Lead Crews in the 2nd Bomb Division were assigned to the 564th B.S. at that time. During this time my crew flew lead for several of the 2nd Air Division Bomb Groups including the 44th B.G. I recall flying with Col. Gibson, 44th B.G. Commander and to Berlin with Major Jimmy Stewart. I don't recall the bomb group he was with at the time.

I was reassigned back to the 44th B.S., 66th B.S. on May 5, 1944 when the 66th B.S. received the Pathfinder Aircraft and stayed there until I finished my combat tour. I became Squadron Operations Officer of the 66th when Major Spencer Hunn became Squadron Commander. I flew my last combat mission on August 25, 1944 as a Command Pilot, with Stan Hope in A/C 800 - 66th Squadron.

I remember your name, Pete, but I don't have a visual image of you, but after almost 41 years, I guess even that is pretty good. I remember Charlie Hughes. He was Spencer Hunn's pilot on the low-level Ploesti mission. If you see him at the 2nd ADA reunion in September, give him my best.

I won't be able to make the reunion in September because I am currently coaching high school football at Washington High School in Pensacola, Florida with my son and nephew and will be getting ready for the opening ball game at that time.

It was a real pleasure to hear from you.

Yours truly,

Charles L. Armstrong
 
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