44th Bomb Group Mission Number 182

Date City Country Target
7/7/1944 Bernburg Germany Aircraft Factory

Unofficial Mission Summary 

A German Aircraft factory at Bernberg was the target for the thirty seven planes of the-44th plus 6 PFFs of the 66th.(13 of the 67th) The PFFs provided leads for the 392, 466th, 458th, and one bombed visually. The 44th bombed the target visually although PFF equipment was available. Enemy aircraft arose to give challenge to the formations, and the 68th report that this one was one of the roughest they have ever met. They lost three planes and crews, five received category "AC" damages and three "A" damages. Results of the bombing was listed as good to excellent; flak was moderate and accurate. The formation encountered 30 to 40 ME 410s and a few JU 88s. The Group claimed five - four - two with the 67th gunners S/Sgt. Ranson A. Tomlinson, flying as right waist on Lt. Ward's crew being credited with the destruction of one ME 410; Sgt. B.H. Nelson was credited with the probable destruction of one ME 410, 68th Squadron losses were: A C #42-110035 piloted by 1st Lt. D.H. Steinke - Two POWs, only A/C #42-100170 piloted by 1st Lt. J.A. Wilson - One KIA, 9 POW A/C #42-99966 W piloted by 1st Lt. T.L. Weaver - Seven POWs This latter plane, 99966 and so the name "Pull House", had a crew flying their 23rd mission. Just before bombs away some 12 ME 110s, twin-engined fighters dived on them in the high squadron of the formation. Only was pass was made but they hit "Full House" in the top turret, flight deck, navigators compartment, wings and the engines. One shell exploded in the instrument panel and filled the cockpit with smoke so that the pilots hardly got a glimpse of the attackers. Only one prop could be feathered, two others kept wind milling, and the navigator and left waist gunners were wounded. Losing altitude quickly the ship was quickly attacked by ME 109s and the gunners valiantly fought them off. Then A/C #170, also badly damaged, joined with "Full House" for a few minutes. But "Full House" didn't have the power to continue flying and the crew bailed out at 1100 hours. But the left waist gunner, Sgt. Stanley G. Nalipa, was wounded and had to be helped bail out, had no luck at all as his chute did not open and fell to his death. The co-pilot Shambarger landed about 33 miles southeast of Groningen City The Netherlands, not too far from the German border. When the people came up to Shambarger to assist and he thought that one wanted to shake his hand (a 22 year old Nazi sympathiser) but this youth suddenly pulled a knife and stabbed the Lt., killing him. So eight of the ten crew members survived to become POWs Lt. Al Jones adds that: "This is a max-max. Up at 2 AM: take-off at 0410, load is 52 oil bombs. Everything went well until we reached the I.P. I was just swinging the sight on the target when I chanced to look up. Just at that moment about 75 to 100 ME 410 hit the squadron ahead of us. I shut my eyes expecting all of the 24s to be knocked down. However, they only got one. I thought we were next to get an attack but because of our position, high and to the right with good formation, the ME's took the lower section, the 68th. I tried to watch because J.T. (a friend) was in that section but was unable to see. Besides, we were on the bomb run. I picked up the Target and we let our bombs go. First and Second squadrons had good results, the 3rd was excellent. However we saw 6 to 8 24s go down and many fighters. Our escort was in a full fight with the Germans by now and things were really popping. Saw two P-38s get a 410 in cross-fire and blew him up. Lee and I saw many fighters go down and we counted over 30 chutes. Found out later that J.T. got a 410 and so did his tail gunner. After getting home and eating M/Sgt. Mike Curtin, our crew chief, came over and Lee, Pete (Henry) Al (Winters) and I had drinks with him." There was another inspection made of the 67th Squadron area today. Two more combat crews joined the squadron.
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