44th Bomb Group Mission Number 129

Date City Country Target
4/29/1944 Berlin Germany  

Unofficial Mission Summary 

The battle of Berlin was resumed today when the Group was ordered to the German capitol. The Group put up 21 ships (8 were 67th) with take-off at 0730 hours. All planes were over the target and bombed, but three of the Group's planes failed to return to base. (1730 hours). Three of the 67th gunners claim destroyed E/A. T/Sgt. Boman, 2nd Lt. Olpin and F/O Klemer, flying as a tail gunner, all claimed one FW 190 each. The formation encountered moderate to intense flak and approximately 30 enemy aircraft. Crews reported a good pattern of bombs, but due to an undercast results were partially unseen. Sgt. Kipnes reports that, ship "Glory Bee". Target, underground railway in the heart of Berlin. About 40 to 50 FW 190s and Me 109s attacked us persistently from the time we hit Berlin to the time we left enemy territory. Flak was extremely heavy over the target and spasmodic along the way. Our fighter support was fair, as the 44th, had an escort to the target but our fighters had to drop out because of fuel consumption. We then had to make the return trip unescorted. Many of the stragglers were picked off by enemy fighters. This day S-2 announced that the 8th AF lost 62 bombers. Our crew saw five bombers go down. Our prop (#1) ran away right over Berlin and we had to feather the engine. We sweated out gas consumption on the way back. We feared that we might possibly have to ditch in the North Sea. I sent an SOS for air-sea rescue, but could not get an acknowledgement as there were so many SOS calls being made. We did make the English coast and dropped in for a landing at the first field we saw. It was the 93rd BG at Hardwick. We landed with #2 and #3 tanks practically bone dry at 1525. Every one of our gunners got in quite a few shots at enemy fighters but made no claims". 2nd Lt. R.J. Hruby, 506th squadron, was not quite so fortunate. His aircraft #41-29513? was damaged by flak in the target area, too, and it is believed this caused a leak in either the main gas tank or gas line. The plane further had problems with #4 prop governor, and #2 engine was surging as much as 600 RPM. Despite the fact that the engineer reported all gauges registered empty on leaving the coast, Lt. Hruby determined to complete the mission and bring his aircraft and crew back. All possible equipment was thrown over-board, all engines were put on cross-feed to keep them running as long as possible. The crew took their ditching positions, but they could not contact air-sea rescue. Flying at 5500 feet and the English coast barely in view, all four engines quit. Ditching came off without a hitch, the nose buried itself for a few seconds and the plane came to rest with no visible damage. Not even the plexiglass in the nose turret was broken! The crew was uninjured. The plane sank in 15 minutes while the crew floated in their rafts for 1/2 hour before picked up by a British mine sweeper.

68th A/C #42-29471 X piloted by 2nd Lt. G.H. Sweigart - 3 POW

67th A/C #42-100279 1 "Tuffy"
Schuyler, Keith C. 2nd Lt. Pilot Berwick, Penna. Officially reported POW
Emerson, John F. 2nd Lt. Co-pilot Santa Monica, Ca. Officially reported POW
Rauscher, Dale E. 2nd Lt. Navigator Goodland, Kansas Officially reported POW
Davis, Jay L. 2nd Lt. Bombardier Cleveland, Ohio Officially reported POW
Sanders, William L. S/Sgt. Engineer Karnak, Illinois Officially reported POW
Rowlandq Leonard A. S/Sgt. Radio Oper Portland, Oregon Officially reported POW
Renfro, George N. Sgt. LW Gunner Handley, Texas Officially reported POW
Cox, George G. Sgt. RW Gunner Louisa, Kentucky Officially reported POW
Schow, Harry J. Sgt. Tail Tur. Austin, Minn. Officially reported POW
Reichert, Walter E. Sgt. Ball Tur. Farragut, Idaho Officially reported POW

The crew of Capt. Craig was assigned and joined from 8th AF today.

Today, overnight passes have come into the act again. This was good news for the boys, and most of them took advantage of it the first day. The days have been getting warmer and that is the best inducement for travel.
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