447th Bomb Group Association
Photo courtesy of Greg & Rose Eanes, 2007
710th Bomb Squadron
29 Oct 1943
Shot Down 13 Feb 1944
row, left to right: Lt. Edward Kaffun (0-802863) Pilot;
Lt. Clifford W. Coultas (0-752049) Co-Pilot; Lt. John L.
Brown (0-67472) Navigator; Lt. James S. Tyson (0-748117)
Bottom row, left: S/Sgt. John P. Prasch (36609583) Top Turret Gunner; S/Sgt. John R. Linkus (33238916) Right Waist Gunner; S/Sgt. Eugene F. Schmitt (16016476) Radio Operator; Sgt. Kenneth J. McIntyre (12157823) Tail Gunner and lone survivor; S/Sgt. Jack W. Miley (35714709) Ball Turret Gunner; and Sgt. Robert G. Lutes (33238916) Left Waist Gunner.
Kaffun Crew, 710th Bomb Squadron, 447th BG. SSG John Linkus, left waist gunner, is on bottom row, second from left. All the others are unidentified.
The aircraft was named 'Mickey'. Nose art is unknown.
447th Bomb Group Mission No. 19
to Noball 78 & 110, France on Feb. 13, 1944
The Kaffun Crew, "B" Group, attacked Noball 78. These were V-1 rocket sites in the Pas de Calais area.
Official Report: "Eighteen aircraft of the 447th "A" Group took of between the hours of 1335 and 1440. No spares were furnished due to critical shortage of operational aircraft. There was no Wing or Division assembly and the Group formed over Splasher 7 using bad weather procedure at 7,000 feet departing at 1417 hours for Beachy Head. Figher support was to be area support by P-51s and P-47s but no fighters were seen. No ships of this Group were lost. Only fourteen aircraft were in this formation due to an accident on the perimeter track. (Track gave way and ships got stuck blocking ships behind.) This caused other ships to experience such delay in take off that they were unable to catch the formation.Eighteen aircraft of the 447th "B" Group took off between the hours of 1319 and 1340. Take off was delayed 15 minutes due to bombs not being loaded (not enough time was given). Group assembly was accomplished over Splasher 7 at 9,000 feet and departed English coast from Hastings at 1432 1/2 hours. Area support was to be furnsihed by P-51s and P-47s although none were seen. Bombing was by Squadrons at 30 second intervals. Two aircraft were lost to direct flak hits. Aircraft lost were 157, piloted by Lt. MacDonald [709 Squadron], who is believed to have cleared entire crew from ship just within the French coast. Aircraft No. 160, Lt. Kaffun [710 Squadron], exploded in air due to direct flak hit just before target was hit. No further report is available on this crew. Thirty-three aircraft had one abort. Dropped 346x500-pound bombs and 36x500-pound bombs. Two aircraft were lost. One suffered major damage and nine suffered minor damage due to enemy action. Group returned to base about 1630 hours."
"Mickey's" tail section fell off as a result of the explosion. The tail gunner managed to bail out and became a POW as documented in My Three Years by Edward Patterson (Chicago: Adams Press, 1999) p64-65. Patterson was in the 709th Squadron and was in the McDonald aircraft. He wrote of his transport to a German interrogation center with his surviving crew stating, “On February 16…We came to a small town where the bus stopped and another American boarded. The first thing he said was ‘THANK GOD, YANKS’. His face was severely burned. His ears were shriveled up and his hair was all gone. We found out that he had been the tail gunner in the plane behind us. They had received a direct hit breaking the tail off with him in it. He was the only survivor. I think his name was Kenneth McIntyre from Long Island, NY. He had some bread, margarine and bologna that he wanted to share with us. We thanked him and told him we were well supplied from the Germans.”
According to Doyle Shields in the 447th history, "They let us sleep in this morning. That meant that it was not going to be a long mission. Briefing was at 1100 hours. Col. [Hunter] Harris made opening remarks followed by the Intelligence Officer who removed the cover form the mission map. We learned that we were to hit more 'Noball' targets in the Pas de Calais. The weather man promised us good weather over the route of the mission. There were 36 crew in the briefing room, enough for two 18-plane groups. Our planes were loaded with 96 tons of G[eneral] P[urpose] bombs. Out assigned bombing altitude was 12,000 feet."
Capt Edward E. Beaty, 710th Bomb Squadron wrote in his diary: "2-13-44 Target Noball on invasion coast. Briefed at 1130 - missed dinner - took off at 1300. Bombed at 12.000 ft. Carried 12-500 lb GPs in "Stormy Weather." Short mission - no fighters - flak was terribly accurate at such a low altitude - got two of our ships. Lt. Kaffun, my good friend - blew up and fell apart in the air - no chance that they got out - Damn - Lt. McDonald, a flamer. Rough! Mission #10."
Sgt Harley Tuck, 708th Bomb Squadron wrote in his diary on Sunday, 13 February 1944: "The "A" group, the one we were in, didn't see any flak or fighters, "B" group ran into a lot of flak and some fighters 127 + 104 came back like sieves. We lost 2 ships, one hit by flak + went down in flames, one ditched. Somebody sent SOS's for them + we saw the launch going out on the way in."