Mission 001 (24 Dec 1943) Droinville, France

Target Type: NoBall No. 50, V-1 missile site

 

Lead Squadron (710th SQ)
092        Harris / Smith
169        Guynn
148        Johnson K
217        Chardi
840        Hickey
185        Graham
High Squadron (709th SQ)
128        Sheppard / Brown
7824     Greenwell
188        Smith B
107        Larson / Jumper
108        Harris
223        McGuire
100        Nance
206        Sizer
Low Squadron (708th SQ)
854        Newman / Jarrel
184        Gilleran
227        Morley
165        Jurnecka
871        Pauling
096        Hopla
Abort
167        Putnam

 

 

[General Order No. 67, 26 DEC 1943, 447bg.com Ref: B0558-0514]
Three crewmen were decorated for wounds received on this mission:

2nd Lt. Donald D. Wilson
2nd Lt. Robert J. Bloom
S/Sgt. Hamlin R. Cathey

 


 

From the Public Relations Office:
Written in December 1943, author unknown

The day before Christmas a Heavy Bombardment Group went operational.  For the first time, the Group was represented with the many other units that make up the U.S. Army Eighth Air Force in a combat mission over Hitler’s Fortress Europe.  It was lead by the Commanding Officer of the group, Col. Hunter Harris, Jr., 34 of Athens, Georgia.  As the planes began to take off and assembled in formation above the field the hard working boys of the ground crew began to realize that the long, tedious hours that they had worked on the planes in the past few months was not in vain.  For at last they could see the results of their efforts.  The planes that they repaired so many times, the planes whose engines they had endlessly changed, those very planes were up there now doing their share in bringing a quick victory to the United Nations.

Towards the time that the mission was to return a gathering of men and officers began to assemble outside the briefing room.  All eyes were looking upwards, each one anxiously awaiting the planes’ return.  Suddenly someone pointed to a spot on the horizon “there they are,” he cried.  “One, two, three, four,” and so on as everyone counted the returning ships.  Yes, all the planes had returned and were flying in exceptionally good formation.  Obviously there was very little battle damage.  Col. Harris’ ship was the first to land and as the planes taxied around the perimeter we could see that the mission was not as simple as first surmised. Flak holes were very much in evidence on the Commander’s ship. 

Then one after the other the planes began to land and the crew members hurried to the interrogation room to tell their individual stories of the day’s mission to the intelligence officers.  Comments from the men concerning the mission seemed to run along the same thread.  “Flak was very heavy,” was the remark from nearly all.  From the report of the men the results of the bombing itself were very satisfactory.

Thus ended the first operation mission of this Heavy Bomb Group, and on that Christmas eve the entire personnel of the group from Col. Harris, the Commanding Officer down to the greenest buck private went away with the satisfaction of knowing that the Group was at last on the way to becoming one of the hottest Bomb Groups in the ETO and the words of Col. Harris himself when he said “They’ll be reading about us in the papers” didn’t seem unlikely.

[447bg.com Ref: B0558-0524, retyped for clarity]

 

 


 

From Combat Diary- Sgt. Harley Tuck

1st mission

Rattlesden December 24 Friday

The C.Q. came in this morning and told us to get on the beam, today we got our first mission. All crews were briefed at 7:30, gunners at the main briefing room at 7:30, then they went out to the ship. I had to go to a separate R.O.’s briefing. After collecting all my stuff; got out to the ship #184 to wait 45 minutes for the guns to be brought out. Took off at 12, got over the target about 3:15 dropped all bombs O.K. after going over target twice. Almost no flak even near us, no enemy fighters, a lot of P-38’s escorting us were buzzing around. The target was gun emplacements from which the Germans were supposed to be able to bombard cities in England as far away as London with some sort of rockets. It is all supposed to be pretty secret; even our ground crew doesn’t know what we bombed. M.P.s are standing at all doors of the briefing building. We landed at 5:05 after an uneventful trip. B-11.