9th AF Patch

416th Bombardment Group (L)

Mission # 204 -- February 14, 1945, Wednesday AM

Mechernich, Germany

Repair Depot



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Summary of Operations

Field Order        : 165-747
OpRep #            : 317
Nature of Mission  : Bombing
Mission Status     : Attacked
Bombing Altitude   : 13,300 feet
Take-off Time      : 0850
Time Over Target   : 1000
Landing Time       : 1125
Duration (Hrs:Min) : 2:35

Place of Take-Off  : A-69 Laon/Athies, France
A/C Dispatched     : 38 Total -- 37 A-26's, 1 B-26 (PFF)
Modified British System Reference: F-223210
Secondary Target   : Selected in accordance with IX Bomb Div Cipher F-576-E (9-2-45)
Summary of Results : Unobserved. Some aircraft failed to bomb because bombs of box leader would not release. Some a/c dropped as briefed, though leader failed to release but knowing they were over enemy territory.

Primary Target Latitude/Longitude: 50.58346,6.63940 (50° 35' 0" N, 6° 38' 22" E)
(Latitude/Longitude based on The "Coordinates Translator", (NGZ) wF223210)
(See Latitude/Longitude Coordinates and Target Identifiers for more information.)

Scanned original Mission 204 documents (multipage PDF files)

Mission Folder       Reports Folder       OpRep # 317       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

Route Map

Loading List 1

Loading List 1, Box I

Loading List 2

Loading List 2, Box II

Bomb Run Photo

Mission Photo

Missing Air Crew Reports, Aircraft Accident Reports, and other incidents

         Date          Report

Serial #
Location Personnel (Status when available)
Feb 14, 1945
204 668 Heimersheim, Germany Chalmers, John J. (MIA, POW, RMC)
Eckard, Lawrence A. (MIA, KIA)
Fortner, Kim (MIA, POW, RMC, RTD)

To view more information regarding an Incident/Report, click on the Report hyperlink.
( = Entries having actual Reports available for review.   = Entries having additional Images or Photos.)
To view an individual's Memorial page, click on the "Name" hyperlink.

Mission Loading Lists Transcription

Mission # 204 -- February 14, 1945, Wednesday AM
Mechernich, Germany -- Repair Depot

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  671st                   
  43-22497  5C-E  A-26C
  Lt Col Willetts, D.L.
  Lt Royalty, P.G.
  Lt Basnett, R.J.
  Sgt Rose, J.W.
  2  668th                   
  43-22523  5H-N  A-26C
  Lt Stanley, C.S.
  F/O Blount, J.H.
  S/Sgt Collier, C.B.
  3  671st                   
  41-39237  5C-D  A-26B
  Lt Gary, J.C.
  S/Sgt Cheuvront, R.W.
  [Returned Early Failure of Elect System]
  4  671st                   
  41-39250  5C-A  A-26B
  Lt Remiszewski, A.
  S/Sgt DiOrio, F.
  5  671st                   
  41-39297  5C-T  A-26B
  Lt Ames, W.H.
  Sgt Simon, D.O.
  6  671st                   
  43-22326  5C-W  A-26B
  Lt Wright, J.R.
  Sgt Berkes, E.F.

Box I -- Flight II
  1  669th                   
  43-22521  2A-N  A-26C
  Lt Col Napier, J.G.
  Lt Moore, D.L.
  Lt Conte, R.
  S/Sgt Sharp, R.P.
  2  669th                   
  43-22383  2A-V  A-26B
  Lt Willard, J.A.
  Sgt Hinker, C.V.
  [Not Airborne Damaged Wing on taxiing]
  3  669th                   
  43-22306  2A-X  A-26B
  Lt Martin, E.C.
  Sgt Draft, L.B.
  4  669th                   
  41-39252  2A-D  A-26B
  Lt Smith, J.F.
  Sgt Dalton, A.A.
  5  669th                   
  43-22381  2A-Q  A-26B
  Lt Weinert, C.E.
  S/Sgt McGaughy, W.S.
  6  669th                   
  41-39241  2A-F  A-26B
  Lt Johnson, R.K.
  Sgt Brandt, H.E.

Box I -- Flight III
  1  669th                   
  43-22492  2A-E  A-26C
  Lt Miller, E.L.
  Lt Conner, J.K.
  S/Sgt Pemberton, J.M.
  2  669th                   
  41-39244  2A-I  A-26B
  Lt Tripp, W.F.
  Sgt Hawk, O.T.
  3  669th                   
  41-39271  2A-R  A-26B
  Lt Anderson, C.M.
  Sgt Deatherage, J.H.
  4  668th                   
  43-22321  5H-T  A-26B
  Lt DuBose, M.W.
  S/Sgt Griffin, D.L.
  5  668th                   
  41-39213  5H-A  A-26B
  Lt Jordan, C.S.
  S/Sgt Jensen, K.F.
  6  668th                   
  41-39264  5H-I  A-26B
  Lt Turner, D.O., Jr.
  S/Sgt Reyes, M.R.

Box I
  SPARE  671st               
  41-39300  5C-K  A-26B
  Lt Withington, D.L.
  S/Sgt Huss, C.F.

Box II -- Flight I
  1  671st                   
  43-22498  5C-R  A-26C
  Capt Pair, H.F.
  Lt Corum, J.L.
  Lt Muir, R.C.
  S/Sgt Swank, O.E.
  2  670th                   
  43-22469  F6-A  A-26C
  Lt Grunig, D.B.
  Lt Morris, B.C.
  Lt McNutt, M.C.
  Sgt Nowosielski, H.J.
  3  671st                   
  43-22352  5C-J  A-26B
  Lt Cocke, J.B.
  Sgt Redding, R.D.
  4  671st                   
  41-39249  5C-F  A-26B
  Lt Herman, A.E.
  S/Sgt Barber, F.E.
  5  671st                   
  43-22356  5C-C  A-26B
  Capt Wheeler, R.V.
  Sgt Farmer, L.J.
  6  671st                   
  41-39332  5C-P  A-26B
  Lt Milhorn, G.L.
  Sgt Chest, D.

Box II -- Flight II
  1  670th                   
  43-22501  F6-W  A-26C
  Lt Rooney, R.J.
  Lt Kirk, R.L.
  Lt Koch, O.R.
  T/Sgt Goggin, J.F.
  2  670th                   
  43-22330  F6-P  A-26B
  Lt Musgrove, W.
  S/Sgt Seighman, H.O.
  3  670th                   
  41-39224  F6-E  A-26B
  Lt Turner, E.O.
  S/Sgt Sienkiewicz, J.
  4  670th                   
  43-22315  F6-L  A-26B
  Lt Heinke, W.R.
  S/Sgt Friday, L.R.
  5  670th                   
  41-39223  F6-B  A-26B
  Lt Turman, A.R.
  Sgt Carney, T.D.
  6  670th                   
  41-39205  F6-M  A-26B
  Lt Bower, R.S.
  Sgt Rhoney, C.B.

Box II -- Flight III
  1  668th                   
  43-22505  5H-Y  A-26C
  Capt Andersen, C.J.
  Lt Babbage, W.
  S/Sgt Schafer, E.L.
  2  668th                   
  41-39188  5H-R  A-26B
  Maj Ferris, C.H.
  S/Sgt Stobert, R.F.
  S/Sgt Elliott, F.W.
  3  669th                   
  43-22512  2A-T  A-26C
  Lt Chalmers, J.J.
  Lt Eckard, L.A.
  S/Sgt Fortner, K.
  4  668th                   
  41-39335  5H-W  A-26B
  Lt Wright, J.W.
  Sgt VanGalder, D.W.
  5  668th                   
  41-39274  5H-S  A-26B
  Lt Prucha, L.J.
  S/Sgt Ferguson, L.C.
  6  668th                   
  43-22389  5H-X  A-26B
  Lt Laseter, W.H.
  Sgt Cross, R.M.

Box II
  SPARE  670th               
  43-22307  F6-N  A-26B
  Lt Chitty, W.D.
  Sgt Riggs, P.H.

Group and Unit Histories

Mission # 204 -- February 14, 1945, Wednesday AM
Mechernich, Germany -- Repair Depot

"416th Bombardment Group (L) - Group History 1945"
Transcribed from USAF Archives

Two missions took off to attack targets in Germany on the 14th. In the morning, the armored motor vehicle repair depot at Mechernich was attacked. The first box, led by Col Willetts, with Lts Royalty and Basnett as B and N, dropped on their PPF plane. The leader of the second box, Capt Pair, with Lts Corum and Pair as B and N, was unable to release his bombs. He peeled away form the formation after he had attempted a second run on Gee equipment unsuccessfully. The deputy leader took over and led the box east toward the Rhine, where he made a sweeping turn and headed back to our lines. The second box encountered moderate to intense accurate flak from the moment it left the target area until it reached friendly territory. Ten aircraft suffered battle damage. The eleventh aircraft, believed hit by flak, was last seen going down in flames in the vicinity of Heinersheim. One chute emerged. The crew of three included Lts J.J. Chalmers and L.W. Eckard, and S/Sgt K. Fortuner. Photos showed a large freight station severely damaged and two smaller buildings damaged. At least 15 goods wagons were badly damaged or burned out, and three rail lines in the sidings were knocked out. At least two hits were scored on the roof on well camouflaged concrete buildings which were partly underground.

"Attack Bombers, We Need You! A History of the 416th Bomb Group"
Ralph Conte
Pages 207 - 208

Mission #204 - 14 February - AM - Mechornish Motor Transport Repair Depot. Colonel Willetts, Lts. Royalty and Basnett as the BN team in Box I, with Captain Pair with Lts. Corum and Muir in Box II. - Lt. Colonel Napier with Lts. Conte and Kupits as BNs, and Lts. Anderson and Babbage, BN,- Lt. Chalmers with Lt. Eckard, BN, led flights with Lts. Stanley and Blount, BN flew deputy. Heavy, accurate flak at the target met the group. The first box leader dropped their bombs on PFF. Captain Pair's ship experienced mechanical failure, so they didn't drop. He turned away from the formation, with the deputy taking over and trying to bomb a secondary target. He led the box toward the Rhine River, then made a wide turn toward our lines, crossing over some heavy anti-aircraft guns, damaging ten planes flying in his box. Lt. Chalmers, Lt. Eckard, BN and gunner S/Sgt. E. Fortuner took a direct hit and went down in flames. One chute, believed to be Lt. Chalmers, was seen to open. Eckard and Fortuner were listed as MIA. Photo recon showed the target was pretty well damaged, with a large freight station severely damaged, and two smaller building being hit. Baggage cars were badly damaged and burned out, three rail lines were knocked out. At least two hits were scored on the roof of a well camouflaged concrete building. So, bombing through PFF is not all that bad! This was Lt. Conte's 65th mission, feeling lucky not to have been injured on this last combat sortie.

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

14th February – today was the first time we flew two missions from A-69. In the morning was Group Mission # 204, with six crews flying from our squadron. Andersen & Babbage led the third flight of the second box, while Stanley & Blount acted as deputy box leaders, flying A-1-2. Lt. Chalmers & Lt. Eckard, with Gunners Fortner went along, on what was destined to be their last mission. The target was the prime mover depot at Mechernich. It proved to be a "hot" target, and heavy accurate flak was encountered. The whole formation received flak, and in the case of Chalmers it was the payoff. He was last seen going down in flames. A parachute was seen, which gave hope that someone was able to get out. Who it was remains a question. All of the planes in the formation received flak damage in varying degrees of severity. Lt. Babbage, B/N for Capt. Andersen, had a piece of flak come thru the nose of the plane, missing him narrowly. The fact that he was bent over the bombsight saved him from serious injury, if not death. The formation returned to the base after a three-hour flight. The results on the mission were undetermined at the bombs were dropped on PFF.

"668th Bombardment Squadron (L) History"
Transcription from USAF Archives

On the morning of 14 February, heavy enemy ground fire was encountered over Machernich. Lieutenant John J. Chalmers and his crew were reported Missing in Action (see Item 4 above).

The afternoon of the same day, the new team of Major Price and Lt., Forma scored a "Superior" in an attack on Rheinbach Ammunitions Depot. Lt., Hand, Major Price's regular bombardier, was grounded due to a non-battle casualty (broken ankle).

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

No further missions were flown until the fourteenth of the month. During this period, the air echelon of the squadron moved from AAF Station A-55 to AAF Sta. A-69. The air echelon's part of the move was accomplished on the 12th of the month. Inclement weather prevented the aircraft from departing Sta. A-55 on February 11th as planned. Plans had been thoroughly and completely made. The entire movement proceeded with clocklike precision. Although the air echelon had only arrived on the twelfth of the month at the new station, the morning of the fourteenth saw aircraft of this squadron participating in an attack on the Mechernich Repair Depot. PPF technique was used. Reconnaissance photographs showed that excellent results had been obtained.

On the afternoon of the same day, the Rheinbach Ammunition Dump was bombed by aircraft of this squadron.

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

Two missions were flown of the 14th. In the morning the Mechernich Prime Mover Depot was bombed. Eight of our crews were on the mission. They ran into intense heavy accurate flak after they left the target which continued until they reached the bombline. One of the ships in the formation was hit and went down in flames. Photo reconnaisance later showed that rail lines, buildings and cars were severely damaged and burned out.

In the afternoon, eleven of our crews took part in the bombing of the Rheinbach ammunition dump. Excellent results were scored. Moderate heavy accurate flak was encountered at the target and on the turn off. Bright flashes observed by the crews indicated that their mission had been accomplished.

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

February 14th, 1945

The Ninth Bomb Division had its biggest day since Christmas 1944 on February 14th, 1945 and the 416th Group was in the midst of it, running missions against heavily defended targets. In the morning Col. Willetts and Capt. Pair led the Group against the Prime Mover Depot at Mechornich. The ColonelÆs box bombed on PFF and bursts were seen through the clouds near to the DMPI. A mechanical failure on Captain PairÆs ship prevented him from bombing, but many of the ships in his box dropped on different targets in enemy territory.

The deputy box leader took over the lead from Captain Pair when his ship failed to bomb, and he overshot the target area. The deputy ran into flak from several hot targets and the planes were badly shot up. Lt.Chalmers, his bombardier and gunner went down in this barrage which lasted fifteen minutes. The leader finally got clear. Eleven ships were battle-damaged.

The Skelton crew, which worked relentlessly to get the planes ready for the morning mission, were put to test again when the Group was alerted for another mission that afternoon. The ground and aircrews who had loaded the planes that morning with 500 pounders had the arduous task of throwing 250 pounders into the bomb bays for the second mission.

The planes were dispatched against the ammunition reserves at Rheinbach, 10 miles southwest of Bonn. A Pathfinder was once again sent, but it was unable to contact its station and the bombing was changed to visual. The first two flights chalked up superior results with the center of bursts 215 feet from the DMPI.

The third flight in the first box hit a town near the primary, after failing to drop on the first run. The second box bombed in one pattern, with the bombs hitting on the edge of the target area. Explosions indicated that ammunition was hit.

Flak was intense accurate over the target. Twenty planes received battle damage, but all returned.

[February 14, 1945], HQ Twelfth Army Group situation map

Map showing Western Allies and Axis troop position details in Western Europe
as of approximately 1200 hours, February 14, 1945
World War II Military Situation Maps Collection
Library of Congress

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