44th Bomb Group Mission Number 117

Date City Country Target
4/8/1944 Langenhagen Germany Airdrome

Unofficial Mission Summary 

The 8th brought an ill-fated day for the Group - one of its worst so far as losses were concerned. On this mission briefed for Brunswick, Germany as primary eleven planes were lost to both flak and heavy fighter attacks. The 506th lost five, the 68th lost three, 67th lost two and the 66th one. The 44th sent out 38 aircraft (8 were 67th) with only 27 actually bombing. Take-off was at 0945 hours and return at 1625 hours. The Primary, Brunswick, as well as the secondary were obscurred by a smoke screen, so a target of opportunity Langenhagen A/D, was bombed instead. Bombing results were fair, with hits seen on the hangers on the northern end of the field. Claims of the Group were: 12 E/A destroyed, 6 probable and 1 damaged. Group Commander Colonel Gibson was Command Pilot leading the Group's formation and the 68th squadron reported bombing as "excellent".
66th A/C #42-99996 W piloted by 2nd Lt. W.M. Richardson ALL KIA
68th A/C #42-110020 Z piloted by 2nd Lt. W.B. Altemus 7 KIA
68th A/C #42-99987 S piloted by 2nd Lt. W.H. Barry 1 KIA
68th A/C #42-109822 0 piloted by 1st Lt. R.H. Townsend 5 KIA
506th A/C #42-109827 Q piloted by 2nd Lt. D.L. Sprinkle 6 KIA
506th A/C #42-73506 X piloted by 1st Lt. G.W. Johnson 1 KIA
506th A/C #42-100423 piloted by 2nd Lt. J.M. Winn All POW
506th A/C #41-29153 L piloted by 1st Lt. R.H. Marx All POW
506th A/C #42-110023 piloted by 2nd Lt. E.A. Herzing All POW

67th A/C #42-110083 X
Mayes, Robert A. 2nd Lt. Pilot San Antonio, Texas Unreported; later KIA
Russell, James F. 2nd Lt. Co-pilot Ashville, N.C. Unreported; later KIA
Russell, Robert P. 2nd Lt. Navigator Ashville, N.C.? Unreported; later KIA
Plaszczykowski, Edmund M. 2 Lt. Bombardier Chicago, Illinois Unreported; later KIA
O'Neal, Charles E. S/Sgt. Engineer Cumberland, Maryland Unreported; later KIA
Siegert, Paul C. S/Sgt. Radio Oper Toganoxie, Kansas Unreported; later KIA
Logan, Donald J. Sgt. LW Gunner Peru, Indiana Unreported; later KIA
Thomas, Archie M. Sgt. RW Gunner Palestine, Texas Officially reported POW
Burk, William J. Sgt. Tail Tur. Talladega, Ala. Unreported; later KIA Newton,
Robert J. Sgt. Ball Tur. Burlington, Vt. Unreported; later KIA

Sgt. Thomas was the only one to parachute and then only at an altitude of approximately 400 feet. Plane spun all the way down.

67th A/C #42-7767 C
Thom, George J. 1st Lt. Pilot Burlington, Wisc. Officially reported POW
Abad, Anthony J. 2nd Lt. Co-pilot San Francisco, CA. Officially reported POW
Gille, Gerald G. 1st Lt. Navigator Quincy, Illinois Officially reported POW
(506th Sq.)
Alcott, Russell J. 2nd Lt. Bombardier Houston, Texas Officially reported POW
Kowalski, Andrew A. T/Sgt. Engineer Reading, Penna. Officially reported POW
Johnson, Alvin D. T/Sgt. Radio Oper Hastings, Neb. Officially reported POW
Knotts, Loyes H. S/Sgt. LW Gunner Waynesburg, La. Officially reported POW
Proulx, Earl D. S/Sgt. RW Gunner Tacoma, Washington Officially reported POW
Smilanich, Bronko S/Sgt. Tail Tur. East Hibbing, Minn. Officially reported POW
Meinke, Harvey H. S/Sgt. Ball Tur. Elmwood Park, Il. Officially reported POW

2nd Lt. Max Finesmith, Navigator on Lt. Winn's crew, reported that the formation was supposed to get fighter support at rendezvous point, but they never showed up. His ship hit by FW 190s in port engines and fire broke out. All bailed out safely, last one at about 5,000 feet.

Lt. Guy W. Johnsont pilot of 42-73506, managed to parachute safely from his stricken aircraft, but when he tried to surrender on the ground, saying word to the effect, "Don't shoot - I surrender" he was shot and killed. In fact, the entire crew were being shot at by small arms fire as they descended in their parachutes. S/Sgts. Fong and Boyd completed their tour and were transferred to 12th RCD. Captain Frank D. Slough, formerly 506th pilot and Ploesti veteran, transferred in from 44th BG Headquarters.
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