44th Bomb Group Mission Number 155

Date City Country Target
6/6/1944 Colleville/St. Laurent France D-Day Invasion

Unofficial Mission Summary 

UMS
6/6/44
"This is it! This phrase might well describe the events for today. The long-awaited D-Day has finally arrived. The base was closed last night early so that close security might prevail. Most ground personnel worked most of the night readying planes, loading bombs, and plans for a most busy day. And the missions started early. The first mission was to defend the area of St. Laurent-SurMer and Colleville-Sur-Mer in the coastal area NE of Caen. The 44th sent 36 planes, (10 were 67th) split up into six sections, each being led by a 66th Squadron PFF ship to hit individual targets in these two areas. Take off was at 0300, in the dark, and bombing was done by PFF through 10/10th cloud cover. The Group led the 14th Combat Wing with the 67th having 10 ships in this formation, and the 2nd Division went in first, followed by the 1st and 3rd Divisions. Results were unobserved - it was almost dawn.- Capt. Armstrong led the first squadron of the 44th and his A/C performed the bombing operation for PFF bombing, hitting Target A. All six squadrons bombed PFF, unobserved due to 10/10th cloud cover, T,/Sgt. Kipnes adds: - "Wouldn't you know it !! My last mission and it turns out to be the great day the entire world has been waiting for, "D-Day INVASION". I was pleasantly enjoying the movie "The Song of Bernadette" when the movie went off and the lights in the theatre were turned on. Colonel Hodges came up on the stage and announced that all combat crews were to report for briefing and all ground crews to report to their planes. At our briefing the Colonel read a message from General Doolittle. Even though we didn't know what was in store for us, we couldn't help but cheer as we left the briefing room. Take-off at 0307 in Glory B0. The Group assembled in the dark and it was quite rough. We finally did manage to assemble just before dawn. Bombing altitude at 16,000 feet. Bombed in six ship formations, each led by a PFF ship. It was too bad that we could not see anything beneath us. Bomb load was 250 fragmentation bombs which we sweated all the way into the target. Couldn't wait to get rid of them; dropping ours at 0617. Landed at 0910, my 30th mission and I was finished. Mission number two was aimed at a defended locality at Foret de Cerisy, France with 3 each planes from the 67th and 506, six by the 68th (no 66th PFF). Capt, Kuch was Lead Pilot (68th)of this 12 plane formation, a visual attack was intended, but 10/10th cloud condition prevented bombing, so no attack was made. The third mission of the day did not include our Group. The fourth mission of the day was very much like the first, with a choke point located in Vire, France as the target of our 24 A/C formation (8 of them from the 68th and 506th, 6 were 67th and two PFFs from the 66th. In addition two PFFs were leads for the 392nd BG and two more with the 492nd. They left the base at 1630 hours, reached the objective and bombs were dropped with unobserved results due to 9/10 to 10/10th clouds. As with the other missions this day, no flak or enemy aircraft were met! A fifth mission came in but we were stood down even though we were ready and eager to fly again, even though well-tired out from the day's activities. Needless to say, the ground personnel were really "on the ball" to have been able to have sent up three large missions on the same day - and ready for another. It required plenty of hard work, but it was done without any apparent trouble. So 19 aircraft of the .67th participated in the first day of the In- vasion;,78 by the Group. Almost no battle damage was reported. Aircraft #193 1, a new aircraft, was assigned to M/Sgt. W.J. Burress and crew. The following personnel completed their operational tours: Lts. Wahler, Kessler and Mercer; T/Sgts. Kokta, Lemley, Kipnes and Rand, S/Sgts. Johnson, Goodger, Zubowicz and Dambacher. Lt. Herring and crew assigned effective June 4th. T/Sgt. Seymore Calstein(?) completed tour of duty on the 3rd of June.
 
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