DescriptionMISSION #19, Stuttgart, September 6, 1943.
On this mission, 24 aircraft took-off by 0547 hours not knowing that this would be the mostdisasterous mission in losses for the 388th Bomb Group of all the 306 combat missions flown. Eleven of our aircraft failed to return this day.
Group and Wing formations were effected without difficulty with the briefed course followedthroughout.
One of our planes aborted early due to low fuel pressure in the #1 engine, the two remainingabortion planes returned as they were not needed to fill the formation. Twenty one aircraftproceeded to the target. Lt. Wick in aircraft 42-3289 "Wolf Pack", was hit in the bomb runand the plane caught fire. Five chutes were seen.Then several targets of opportunity appeared,, but as we were flying the Low Group to the 96th lead, our lead bombardier dropped on their target
Fighter opposition was the strongest encountered to date with about 150 enemey aircraftattacking our formation, consisting of FW190's, Me109's,Me110's, and Me210's with a few JU88's.A few spasmodic attacks were made on the formations on the route to Stuttgart, but the large concentration was first met in the vicinity of the IP. The attacks were very intensefrom this point to the target, decreased over Stuttgart, but regained intensity until theformations reached Bernay on the route out.
The attacks centered on the low groups and as a result of this, one entire (563rd) low squadron is missing. 45 of our P-47's escorted the 2nd Task Force on the route to Le Chatelet and 112 Spitfires rendezvoused with the formations south of Bernay on the route out.
The low squadron was hit by flak after the IP, then as the planes would drop out offormation, they would be hit by fighters.
Casualities on this mission for the 2nd Task Force are as follows:
Unit A/C Bombed Lost e/a claims KIA Wounded Missing
94th BG 21 16 0 0-0-1 1 2 0
96th BG 21 20 0 6-1-8 0 1 0
385th BG 23 14 0 12-4-4 0 1 0
388th BG 21 20 11 12-4-6 1 7 108
on September 7th the following messsage was received from 8th Bomber Command:
"The 388th Bombardment Group suffered heavy losses yesterday. The spirit of the Group inbearing these losses and coming back with fighting hearts is a matter of great gratificationto me. I wish you would give the Group Commander my commendation to the 388th BombardmentGroup for their excellent spirit and confidence in the greatness of the task they are nowperforming."
Signed Eaker. The message was endorsed by Colonel LeMay, Commander of the 4th Combat Wing.
In aircraft #395, the pilot Lt. Krueger was killed and the copilot, Lt. Mayfield was very seriously wounded by a 20mm shell burst in the cockpit. The waist-gunner, S/Sgt Hill wasalso seriously wounded. Lt. Mayfield was able to bring this plane back to base.
The following is what I have come up with on the eleven crews lost that day: 4 escapedcapture; 9 interned in Switzerland; 56 taken prisoner; 27 killed in action; and 12 unknownor MIA.
Lt. Beecham in a/c 42-30478 "Impatient Virgin II", which was a new B-17, had to hitthe deck and headed for Switzerland
Lt. Karnezis in a/c 42-3293 "Slightly Dangerous", was attacked by two "Yellow Noses"at La Chapelle-Champigny, about 60 miles SE of Paris. The plane caught fire and five ofthe crew were able to bail out. Two of the crew were able to escape and returned to England via the French underground. Lt. Loveless injured his leg on leaving the airplane and was taken by a French couple before the Germans took him away along with the other two men captured
Lt. Melville in a/c 42-30201 "Shedowanna", was on fire in the nose and #4 engine when last seen in a spin near Strasbourg. Five chutes were seen. Sgt. Aldenhower chute was hit by an enemy aircraft on his descent. Sgt. Creamer was killed when the tail was blown off.
Lt. Mohr in a/c 42-30203, was shot down near Paris. The tail gunner was seriously woundedand was a wheel chair case that the Germans returned in a POW exchange.
Lt. Wick in a/c 42-3289 "Wolfpack", lost an engine over France on the way in and then hit by flak on the bomb run. They left the formation and were attacked by enemy fighters.The right wing blew off and the plane went into a spin and when the plane settled momentarily, the crew bailed out. Lt. Lemley and Sgt. Ivanoff landed near each other and after they hid their chutes, they were captured.
F/O Bowen in a/c 42-5942, "Sky Shy" was hit by flak killing the engineer and knockingout two engines. They headed for Switzerland but, when losing so much altitude, they decidedto bail out. Nine of the crew bailed out safely with the radioman being killed by Germancivilians on the ground. The copilot broke a leg in landing and spent three months in aGerman hospital before being sent to Stalag III. The plane crashed near Ulm, Germany.
Lt. Cunningham in a/c 42-3425 "In God We Trust", went down near Trojes, France. Thecrew bailed ou and all but the pilot were captured. Lt. Cunningham returned to England on October 25, 1943.
Lt. Kramer in a/c 42-30222 "Lone Wolf", was last seen near Toryes, France and crashed with the cockpit on fire. Lt. Kramer returned to England in two months via the Franch underground.
Lt. Miller in a/c 42-30234, left the formation and no other information is available.
Lt. Roe in a/c 42-3378 "Silver Dollar", was shot down with the crew bailing out. Thenavigator broke his back in the parachute jump and recoverd in a German hospital.
Lt. Wilkin in a/c 42-30349, was shot down near Paris with a fire in the nose from a20mm explosion.
From The 388th At War by Ed Huntzinger