44th Bomb Group Mission Number 137

Date City Country Target
5/12/1944 Zeitz Germany Synthetic Oil Plant

Unofficial Mission Summary 

UMS
5/12/44
Zeitz, Germany, the site of synthetic oil plants, was the Primary target for 18 of the 44th planes today (5 were 67th). All reached the target and bombed, dropping 19 x 250 GPs and strike photos show bomb hits were excellent. Actually 19 ships were sent but a 506th A/C was forced to return early. Unfortunately, on the way out, our ship, #042 flown by Lt. Vance was hit by enemy aircraft and was seen to do down. The 68th Squadron reported that the 67th plane was first hit by flak, as was all of their planes but they lost none. The enemy aircraft did not hit the 44th formation but evidently attacked Lt. Vance as a straggler. All aircraft returned to base at 1715 hours. Sgt. D.V. Chase flew this mission, his 25th, as a radio operator on Lt. Metz's crew. "Off in the distance, about 2 o'clock level, I spotted a 24 that had had its top turret plastic (plexiglass) shot completely away. I kept thinking "Headless Horseman" ... 'Headless Horseman". The crippled ship continued flying, but slowly fell behind the Group's formation. As a straggler he was a prime E/A target. Hope he makes it. Hope we make it. (He didn't) When a crew goes down, foot lockers are pried open and personal belongings are collected, minus any objectionable material or firearms, and shipped to their next of kin. Their beds are stripped and the thin mattresses (bisquits) folded or stacked. Soon, newly assigned young men will arrive and the beds will be made again.

67th A/C #42-110042 J
Vance, Lewis I. 2nd Lt. Pilot Retz, West Virg. Officially reported POW
Barnet, Thomas P. Jr. 2nd Lt. Co-pilot Roanoke, Virginia Officially reported POW
Davidowitz, Edward F/O Bombardier Brooklyn, New York Unreported; later KIA
Swinburnson, Gilbert E. T/Sgt. Navigator Saskatchowan, Can. Officially reported POW
Holt, Nathan J. S/Sgt. Engineer Henderson, Texas Officially reported POW
Davidson, Andrew C. Jr. S/Sgt. Radio-Op. Detroit, Michigan Officially reported POW
Hockman, Robert C. Sgt. LW-Gunner Hutchingson, Kan. Officially reported POW
Rosinski, Stanley J. S/Sgt. RW Gunner Elizabeth, New Jer. Officially reported POW Pease,
Thomas H. Sgt. Tail Tur. Colorado Spr., Col. Officially reported POW
Miller, Ray E. S/Sgt. Ball Tur. Nappanee, Indiana Officially reported POW

1st Lt. Cooper, Squadron Navigator of the 67th Sq. was promoted to Captain. 66th's PFF ship #794 piloted by Lt. Yoder flew lead with the 392nd.
 
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