44th Bomb Group Mission Number 241

Date City Country Target
10/18/1944 Leverkusen Germany Chemical Works

Unofficial Mission Summary 

UMS
10/18/44
26 aircraft (8 being 67th's), 2 G-H and 3 PFFs were dispatched to lead the 14th Combat Wing, second wing in the Division, to the Chemical Works at Leverkusen. And the 67th pilot, Lt. Bakalo was flying our Group lead. Bombing was accomplished on Gee-H and results were unobserved. 10 aircraft and one PFF did not attack the target due to equipment failure in the PFF which led the high high right squadron. One of these aircraft ran into mechanical trouble and left the formation, heading for Brussels. Due to poor visibility, he missed the field, and running short of fuel, he salvoed, his bombs. The resulting blast blew out the windows in the aircraft and damaged the elevators - no elevator controls. #3 engine began burning and #2 began smoking. Used throttles to maneuver nose up and down. Had rudders and ailerons. Went into grassy meadow NE of Brussels (25 to 30 miles)(Hentje/ Westerloo) and nose wheel collapsed, but main gear held up. It split the ship apart, shoved dash board back, and minor crew bruises and cuts from flying plexiglass. A/C completely wiped out. Note: Difficulty in identifying A/C #. 66th Squadron's ship and they recorded as #51234 L+. Tom Brittan, F.O.T.E. has it as #42-50526, and reconciliation still goes on. (#123 T ??) On the return Lt. Bakalo's aircraft, while in a cloud bank, evidently hit the prop wash from other aircraft ahead. They were in a large cloud bank or front that had built up to 28,000 feet and could not go over. They were at 24,000 feet and proceeded to go through it. After hitting the prop wash the engines were throttled back and then it felt like a huge force was lifting the right wing. The plane went into a sharp bank to the left. Col. Turnbull, Command Pilot, said, "Center the needle" - twice. The aircraft then flipped over on its back. Sgt. George Encimer, RW gunner, said, "In looking up I saw the escape hatch and the next thing I remember I was outside the ship. S/Sgt. Cecil L. Scott, left waist gunner, landed approximately 25 to 30 feet from me, but his chute hung up in a tree. We landed approximately seven miles from Ghent, Belgium."
67th A/C #41-28944 D "Flying Ginny" First eight men KIA
Bakalo, Michael 1st Lt. Pilot New York City, N.Y.
Herman, Bernard L. 2nd Lt. Co-pilot Baltimore, Maryland
Bradshaw, Eugene T. 1st Lt. Navigator Warrensburg, Mo.
Fowls, Ralph A. 1st Lt. Bombardier Piketon, Ohio
Turnbull, John I. Lt. Col. Command P. Baltimore, My.(HQ)
Holabaugh, John W. T/Sgt. Engineer Tylersburg, PA.
Stern, Jerone J. T/Sgt. Radio Oper. Brooklyn, N.Y.
Lopez, Charles R. S/Sgt. Tail Tur. Topeka, Kansas
Ziegler, Norbert J. S/Sgt. Nose Tur. Collyer, Kansas
Scott, Cecil L. S/Sgt. LW Gunner Winnemucca, Nevada
Encimer, George J. S/Sgt. RW Gunner Chicago, Illinois

Both of these men seriously injured and were returned to the USA for treatment. The loss of this aircraft broke the string of 89 consecutive missions without an operational loss. This is believed to be a record in the 8th Air Force. In addition to this 67th airplane and crew, the 68th Squadron lost two aircraft of their own, from unknown causes at that time.
68th A/C #42-50381 D piloted by 1st Lt. J.H. Dayball 10 KIA
68th A/C #42-50596 0 piloted by 1st Lt. E.C. Lehrihausen 10 KIA

No eye witnesses from the Group saw these two aircraft go down. However on the route out, near the coast, the severe front building up to 28,000 feet caused the Group to break its integrity, all planes for themselves. B-58 Station information is that these two ships crashed at 1307 and then burned. M.A.C.R. says that the losses were due to a collision in that electrical storm. No survivors from either crew with which to establish cause. 1st Lt. Atkinson promoted to Capt. effective 16th October. S/Sgt. L.C. Allen also adds these comments: "What a rat race! We formed above 20,000 feet and didn't let down till leaving the coast. Planes really strung out to I.P. Moderate flak at target and over Rhine, but no holes. Don't know what we bombed. Bomb load 6 x 500 GPs and 6 x 500 M17s dropped from altitude of 23, 000 feet. P-51 escort, temperature -35 Centigrade. A seven hour flight in U"(539?)
 
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