9th AF Patch

416th Bombardment Group (L)

Mission # 174 -- December 23, 1944, Saturday PM

Waxweiler, Germany

Defended Village



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Summary of Operations

Field Order        : 101-680
OpRep #            : 264a
Nature of Mission  : Bombing
Mission Status     : Attacked
Bombing Altitude   : 11,500 feet
Take-off Time      : 1427
Time Over Target   : 1604
Landing Time       : 1741
Duration (Hrs:Min) : 3:14

Place of Take-Off  : A-55 Melun/Villaroche, France
A/C Dispatched     : 37 Total -- 6 A-20's, 31 A-26's
Modified British System Reference: L-019669
Secondary Target   : Suitable Alternate Authorized
Summary of Results : Two flights PNB, rest Undertermined results. Individual flights bombed Arlon, Seffern Area, Waxweiler, Casual in vicinity of Waxweiler, Prum and one flight leader did not drop because Acting Command Pilot ordered pilot to hold bombs.

Primary Target Latitude/Longitude: 50.09387,6.36514 (50° 5' 38" N, 6° 21' 55" E)
(Latitude/Longitude based on The "Coordinates Translator", (NGZ) wL019669)
(See Latitude/Longitude Coordinates and Target Identifiers for more information.)

Scanned original Mission 174 documents (multipage PDF files)

Mission Folder       Reports Folder       OpRep # 264a       Fuel Use

If nothing happens on Click, check to see if the PDF file was automatically saved to your computer. Depending on Internet speed, the display or download may be slow.
These Public Domain, Declassified Mission documents were graciously provided to the 416th BG Archive by the dedicated staff of the Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA).
An on-line index of records held by AFHRA up to 2001 is available at Air Force History Index.org.
Most of these PDF files are unaltered originals provided by the AFHRA, a few have been re-organized.
Pages may be out of sequence; files may contain scanned blank pages and/or pages scanned upside-down; some pages may be included in more than one file.
The "Mission Folder" usually contains the majority of documents for a Mission, including Field Orders, Status Reports, Pilot Interrogations, Photos (if available), etc.


 Route Map

Loading List 1

Loading List 1, Box I

Loading List 2

Loading List 2, Box 2

Field Order

Field Order 101-680

Mission Photo 1

Mission Photo 1

Mission Photo 2

Mission Photo 2

Mission Loading Lists Transcription

Mission # 174 -- December 23, 1944, Saturday PM
Waxweiler, Germany -- Defended Village

Included are Box, Flight and Position; Bomb Squadron; Aircraft Serial Number, Fuselage Code and Model; and Crew Members
transcribed from individual mission Loading List documents by Chris and Mary Adams and Carl Sgamboti.
Some information, such as Squadron, Serial Number, etc. has been expanded from other documents.

Box I -- Flight I
  1  669th                   
  44-085  2A-T  A-20K
  Capt Morton, R.J.
  Lt Moore, D.L.
  S/Sgt Burland, A.J.
  S/Sgt Heath, K.
  2  669th                   
  43-22301  2A-O  A-26B
  Lt Tripp, W.F.
  S/Sgt Mallory, D.F.
  Brig Gen Backus, E.N.
  3  669th                   
  41-39229  2A-B  A-26B
  Lt Butler, G.S.
  S/Sgt McClain, H.B.
  4  669th                   
  41-39252  2A-D  A-26B
  Lt Greene, W.J.
  S/Sgt McGuire, J.J.
  Capt Murphy, G.D.
  5  669th                   
  43-22300  2A-P  A-26B
  Lt VanMeter, G.C.
  Cpl Kirik, S.J.
  6  669th                   
  41-39244  2A-I  A-26B
  Lt Hackley, R.H.
  Cpl Koons, H.A.

Box I -- Flight II
  1  671st                   
  44-185  5C-G  A-20K
  Lt Greenley, R.E.
  Lt Basnett, R.J.
  S/Sgt Schrom, R.G.
  Lt Lindsay, G.E.
  [Lindsay (4th CCU)]
  2  671st                   
  41-39239  5C-N  A-26B
  Lt Estes, C.L.
  S/Sgt Orvold, C.R.
  Lt Hlivko, A.E.
  3  671st                   
  41-39250  5C-A  A-26B
  Lt Gary, J.C.
  Pvt Schoen, A.E.
  4  671st                   
  41-39284  5C-C  A-26B
  Lt Lackovich, J.J.
  Lt Muir, R.C.
  S/Sgt Connery, T.
  5  671st                   
  41-39237  5C-D  A-26B
  Lt Milhorn, G.L.
  Sgt Chest, D.
  6  671st                   
  41-39209  5C-M  A-26B
  Lt Murray, T.J.
  S/Sgt DeBower, D.H.

Box I -- Flight III
  1  671st                   
  44-089  5C-R  A-20K
  Lt Brown, C.J.
  Lt Kerns, J.E.
  S/Sgt Sunderland, H.E.
  S/Sgt DiMartino, A.E.
  2  671st                   
  41-39211  5C-K  A-26B
  Lt Fero, D.A.
  S/Sgt Skelton, T.W.
  3  671st                   
  41-39249  5C-F  A-26B
  Lt Henderson, F.W.
  S/Sgt Coulombe, P.E.
  4  671st                   
  43-22291  5C-Z  A-26B
  Lt Herman, A.E.
  S/Sgt Young, J.O.
  5  671st                   
  41-39234  5C-P  A-26B
  Lt Jokinen, W.R.
  Cpl McNellis, D.E.
  6  671st                   
  43-22313  5C-B  A-26B
  Lt Remiszewski, A.
  S/Sgt Miguez, J.H.

Box I
  SPARE  669th               
  41-39271  2A-R  A-26B
  Lt Merchant, W.A.
  Sgt Gurkin, C.W.

Box II -- Flight I
  1  669th                   
  44-178  2A-L  A-20K
  Capt Hulse, D.A.
  Lt Conte, R.
  S/Sgt Stephens, D.W.
  S/Sgt McGaughy, W.S.
  2  669th                   
  41-39238  2A-M  A-26B
  Lt VanRope, R.W.
  Cpl Graham, R.F.
  3  669th                   
  43-22344  2A-C  A-26B
  Lt Kehoe, J.W.
  Cpl Richardson, L.L.
  [Not Airborne Pilot Failed to Put A/C into Low Blower]
  4  669th                   
  41-39232  2A-A  A-26B
  Capt Peck, W.A.
  Lt Britt, J.W.
  S/Sgt Carstens, R.W.
  5  668th                   
  43-22302  5H-D  A-26B
  Lt Street, M.S.
  S/Sgt Sharp, R.P.
  6  668th                   
  43-22290  5H-L  A-26B
  Lt Martin, E.C.
  Cpl Draft, L.B.

Box II -- Flight II
  1  670th                   
  44-076  F6-Q  A-20K
  Capt Harrold, F.J.
  Lt Brewer, W.E.
  Sgt Caudell, S.R.
  Cpl Kamischke, R.J.
  2  670th                   
  43-22337  F6-O  A-26B
  Lt Merritt, T.S.
  S/Sgt Gatti, R.J.
  3  670th                   
  43-22315  F6-L  A-26B
  Maj Conant, H.F.
  S/Sgt Majewski, S.J.
  4  670th                   
  41-39212  F6-K  A-26B
  Lt Heinke, W.R.
  S/Sgt Blackford, D.S.
  5  670th                   
  41-39223  F6-B  A-26B
  Lt Brown, N.G.
  S/Sgt Ottaviano, J.O.
  6  670th                   
  41-39217  F6-I  A-26B
  Lt Popeney, H.
  Sgt Candler, H.C.S.

Box II -- Flight III
  1  668th                   
  44-108  5H-M  A-20K
  Capt Miracle, R.V.
  Lt Burg, J.J.
  S/Sgt Galloway, A.F.
  S/Sgt Simmonds, J.R.
  2  668th                   
  41-39218  5H-C  A-26B
  Lt McCready, T.D.
  Sgt Lemonds, W.E.
  3  668th                   
  41-39214  5H-B  A-26B
  Lt Wright, J.W.
  S/Sgt Profita, P.J.
  4  668th                   
  43-22317  5H-O  A-26B
  Lt Jacobsen, O.F.
  Sgt Gooch, H.I.
  5  668th                   
  41-39213  5H-A  A-26B
  Lt Prucha, L.J.
  Sgt Ferguson, L.C.
  6  671st                   
  41-39265  5C-V  A-26B
  Lt Blevins, J.W.
  S/Sgt Pfenning, G.H.

Box II
  SPARE  670th               
  41-39227  F6-F  A-26B
  Lt Barausky, P.P.
  Sgt Hall, M.

Group and Unit Histories

Mission # 174 -- December 23, 1944, Saturday PM
Waxweiler, Germany -- Defended Village

"416th Bombardment Group (L) - Group History 1944"
Transcribed from USAF Archives

That afternoon a mission that seemed doomed for failure from the first took off to attack the defended village of Waxweiler. The morning mission was just returning when word of the afternoon mission was received. Some of the crews were unable to eat dinner because the briefing for the second mission had started before the interrogation of the first mission was completed. There were no pictures of the target available so that 1:100,000 maps had to be used. Briefing was still going on when, according to the time schedule, the engines should have been started. It was also the first time that Capt. Morton and Lt. Moore had led a formation on a visual bombing mission. Their inexperience as formation leaders plus the lack of time for sufficient preparation and study caused a grave error to be committed. When Lt. Moore's Gee equipment failed, he fell back on D/R. He mistook the town of Arlon, inside our own lines, for the target. His bombs fell on a marshalling yard on the edge of town. The other five flights realized the error and located themselves for an attack on the proper target. Snow that covered the ground further handicapped the navigation. The second flight bombed the town of Seffer near the target area. Lt Conte, Captain Hulse's bombardier in the lead plane of the second box, located the primary target and scored excellent results on it. The two flights in Captain Hulse's box followed him in and bombed targets in the vicinity of the primary.

"Attack Bombers, We Need You! A History of the 416th Bomb Group"
Ralph Conte
Pages 178 - 181

Mission #174 - 23 December - PM - Waxweiler Marshalling Yard. Captain Morton and Lt. Moore, BN of the 669th squadron were assigned to lead Box I, with Captain Hulse and Lt. Conte, BN to lead Box II. Moore was being indoctrinated to become a box leader and the assignment was for Lt. Conte to take over in the event Lt. Moore got in trouble. Other flight leaders were Lts. Miracle and Burg, BN, Lts. Greeley and Basnett, BN, Lts. Brown and Kerns, BN, Lts. Lackovich and Muir, BN, and Lts. Estes and Hlivko, BN

When Box I approached the Initial Point, they took off in the wrong direction, toward a marshalling yard being held by allied forces. Conte tried to contact Moore to have him bring his box behind Box II but Moore kept going, dropping his bombs on our equipment and gasoline supply. It happened to be some of General Patton's gas for his tanks.

Conte turned his box toward the assigned target, blanketing it. He then got Box I to fall in behind his, and they returned to base.

On the way to de-briefing, Major Napier summoned Conte and Hulse into his tent. Napier was on the phone with General Backus of the IX Bomber Command and said that Backus wanted to talk to Conte. Backus wanted to know what happened up there. Conte explained he saw Moore going off- target, so turned his box toward the assigned one and dropped. Backus tore a little into Conte for breaking formation, but then congratulated him for doing the right thing. General Backus told Conte he was coming to our squadron in a few days and wanted Conte to navigate a mission with him. This was done on 27 December.

The more experienced bombardiers on other flights were aware that the first box was heading in the wrong direction, so they did not drop. Lt. Claude Brown, with Lt. Jim Kerns as BN, relates this story:

Jim and I were assigned to fly flight 2 on the first box, this is the flight to the right of the leader. At the IP, we broke off into flights to do our individual bombing.

At the IP, I didn't hear anything from my bombardier

I said, 'Jim, they called the IP.'

Jim said, 'I'm sorry Brownie, I don't see a damn thing I recognize.'

So I'm following the leader down the trail maybe thirty seconds or a minute, and they open their bomb doors. Again, there is silence. 'Jim, they opened their bomb bay doors.'

'Brownie, I'm sorry, just don't see anything I recognize.' said Jim.

Another few seconds go by and the leader announced, 'Bombs Away' I said with considerable emotion, 'they dropped their bombs.'

So we closed the bomb doors. As we left the target it was customary to put the aircraft into a slight dive to pick up about 300 MPH and scoot out of area as quickly as possible. On this occasion, I called the leader and asked him for permission to re-attack the target. That request was denied and I was told to take the bombs home.

I got on poor Jim's back all the way home. Said a lot of ugly things to him for the next two hundred miles. 'Jim, we practiced all winter, and the first time we have an opportunity to make a name for ourselves you screwed up.' I felt we were going to be in big trouble.

We landed without incident with our four thousand pound bomb load. We taxied to our area and our hardstand. Who should be waiting for us but the Squadron Commander. Oh brother, I thought, here it comes. I was sure a courts martial was coming our way. As I climbed out of the airplane he was all smiles, approached us and put an arm around me and said, 'Great job, Brownie'

I said, 'Sir, you don't understand, we've still got our bombs.' He said, 'Yeah, we know' then went and shook Jim's hand. By this time, the crew truck has come around to take us to debriefing. I'm in a quandry. I don't know what's happening. When we get to debriefing, there was a lot of hell raising going on. The leader's navigator mistook the city he was supposed to bomb, and he bombed on our side of the bomb line. The bombs struck a jump off point that General Patton was establishing. It contained a large reserve of fuel and supplies. As I understood it, he lost most of his gasoline reserves. The lead bombardier was court martialed.

First Lieutenant "Punchy" Moore was demoted.

"Operational History 668th Bomb Squadron (416th Bomb Group (L)) WWII"
Wayne Williams, et.al.

It was our day, today, as the sun came up with a clear sky and a heavy frost on the ground. This was our chance to hammer the enemy drive and bomb his supplies and communications. Both the 8th and 9th Air Force went all out today.


No sooner had the planes returned to their hardstands, when the ground crews were swarming around, refueling, re-loading, and preparing for the next mission. They hadnít long to wait, as the crews were briefed and out to the planes at 1430.

The roar of planes taking off soon filled the air, as thirty-seven aircraft left the base. This was the afternoon mission, Group Mission # 174. we furnished six crews this time, with the B/N Team of Miracle & Burg leading our flight.

This time Communications Center at Waxweiler, Germany was singled out by headquarters. The trip was uneventful, but for light inaccurate flak over the target. Out of the whole formation, only one flight bombed the primary target. Other flights developed difficulties, and bombed casual targets. There was no scoring on the bombings, and the planes returned to the base after a journey of 3:15. Out of the formation, five aircraft were damaged by flak, none of which were damaged seriously.

Thus ended the dayís operational flying. Now that the cold clear weather is here, the future holds promises of being very busy. Xmas draws near, but no one has much time to think about it.

"669th Bombardment Squadron (L) History"
Transcription from USAF Archives

On the 23rd, the highway bridge over the Saar River at Saarburg was attacked. Captain DeMun, Lt. McQuade, B-N, and Captain Stebbins, Lt. Calloway, B-N, both scored excellent results on the target, while leading flights. The bombs completely destroyed the bridge which had borne many tons of equipment going to the troops advancing in their Ardennes breakthrough.

That afternoon the defended town of Waxweiler was attacked. Due to the haste in which the mission was planned, insufficient time for preparation, and meager target material, Lieutenant Moore, Captain Morton's B-N, leading the first box, made an error in navigation and bombed a marshalling yard at the outskirts of Arlon, behind our own troops. Captain Hulse, Lieutenant Conte, B-N, leading the second box, went on in to bomb the primary target with excellent resutls.

"670th Bombardment Squadron (L) History"
Transcription from USAF Archives

With the enemy advance came a high priority job of destroying his vital supply lines. On the 23d of December a mission took off to destroy the bridge at Sarrburg over which enemy materials were flowing. Twelve 670th crews took part in this attack behind the Ardennes salient. In spite of intense accurate flak over the target the planes dropped their 1,000-pound bombs with deadly accuracy and completely destroyed the bridge. Before this mission returned to the base another was on the line. This was to attack the defended village of Waxwieler.

"671st Bomb Squadron (L) Unit History"
Gordon Russell and Jim Kerns

December 24th, 1944

Captain Lavern Marzolf and his bombardier, Lt. Beck, gave the 416th Bomb Group their last excellent as a team on the afternoon of December 24th, 1944 when the Invaders struck at the Communication center at Zulpich. It was only right that Lt. Beck should make his going away present to his boss-man one that would go down in the books. And it did go down on the books for "Gus", flying his 65th mission with the 671st, scored a superior rating on his bomb pattern, which blanketed the DMPI. All bombs were within 1000 feet and the center of the bursts was on the main point of impact. Several hits were made on the railroad tracks. So ends the partnership of Marzolf and Beck who have led flights and boxes over the target many times for the 416th Bomb Group and have chalked up a record comparable to any other pilot/bombardier teams in the outfit. Lt. Beck hit the fifty mark on this mission and is now being groomed to finish his tour with Captain Tutt.

S/Sgt.Herbert A. Marion flew with Captain Marzolf and completed his tour with Number 51. Marion had a tour in the South Pacific before he joined the 416th back in Lake Charles. S/Sgt. Marion was assigned to Lt. Pair when the outfit went on operational status and was with Pair when e crashed landed in March of 1944. Marion was back on flying status before his pilot. He racked up a number of missions with Major Dunn and a few other pilots, but joined Lt. Pair again when he returned to the Squadron in July.

Three other flights besides Captain Marzolf's received excellent and superior ratings on the target, which proved to be a rather hot one. One aircraft was knocked down and eleven were flak damaged, but all crews of the 46th returned.

Continuing the all-out drive against Von Runstadt's counter offensive, the 416th took to the air again in the afternoon to hit at a communication center at Waxwieler. Results were not very favorable due to the misjudgment of the lead bombardier/navigator team. Captain Morton and his bombardier, Lt. Moore led the formation and mistook the target. He dropped his bombs on the town of Arlon, in the possession of the Americans. The bombs of his flight hit the marshalling yard causing fire and damage. Lt.Greenley and Lt. Pasnett, leading a flight together for the first time used quick thinking and accurate judgement. Lt. Basnett called his pilot and told him that the first flight had dropped on the wrong target. Lt. Greenley and his bombardier tried to pick up the right target, but were unable to at that stage of the game, so they flew out the time to the target and bombed a casual village in Germany, in German hands. Lt. Brown and Lt. Kerns also realized that it wasn't the right target, and did not drop his bombs. One flight did find the primary and bombed it with undetermined results. The two other flights hit casual targets near the primary.

Group saw no reason why this mistake was made by the lead team and placed the direct blame on the neglect of the bombardier, Lt. Moore, who is now up for court martial.

There was an absence of enemy fighter opposition, but flak was intense. Five of the ships received battle damage, but all returned.

[December 23, 1944], HQ Twelfth Army Group situation map

Map showing Western Allies and Axis troop position details in Western Europe
as of approximately 1200 hours, December 23, 1944
World War II Military Situation Maps Collection
Library of Congress

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