War Diary: 757th Squadron

S E C R E T

757th Bombardment Squadron (H)
Office of the Squadron Historian
A.P.O. 520

31 March 1944

1944
February 10
Organization debarked at Taranto, Italy and marched Five (5) miles to the Staging Area which was rough, having nothing but roughly stitched tents to accommodate the men. Major William M Fausnaught, Executive Officer and his staff made every effort with what little there was to make the men as comfortable as possible.

February 11 & 12
Awaited for further orders to move to permanent station. A temporary squadron mess was set up to provide as well as possible the feeding of the men. The mess personnel worked hard and did a good job. Prior to departure all equipment was checked and adjusted. Lt. Howard O. Hoshto, adjutant left with an advanced mess detail to provide for the main body upon their arrival.

February 13
Eight (8) Officers and Two hundred and sixty four (264) enlisted men departed to the staging area by train and after a full day of traveling arrived at Giullia Fl, Cerignola, Italy. The personnel was happy to have reached the destination knowing that they would be able to set up shop and be more or less settled. Major Fausnaught remained at the Staging area as acting Group CO in looking after the personnel of another squadron who were to leave on the following day.

February 14 to 29
Everyone in the Squadron was busy in setting up tents for sleeping accommodations, digging latrines, making provision for water and heating facilities because the weather was not only cold, but damp and rainy. The squadron mess was being established and operations and Orderly Room were being set up. The men worked hard but enjoyed it because they were accomplishing something and knowing that whatever was done was to be for their benefit.

March 1
The day of all days finally came and all the necessary preparations were made for the first combat mission.

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S E C R E T
(757th Bomb Sq (H) War Diary dtd 31 March 1944, cont’d.)

March 2
The first mission was participated by Captain Frank H. Knopper, Squadron Commander with ten (10) of the Squadron aircraft which made an attack on Velletri in an effort to disperse the enemy concentration in this area and against the Allies on the Anzio Beachhead. The mission was successful and all planes returned safely much to the pleasure of the squadron personnel who very eagerly and anxiously awaited to hear of the results and the return of the crews.

March 3
In the second mission ten (10) aircraft participated with the Group in attacking the Viterbo Main Air Field, purpose being to destroy as much of the German Air Force as possible. One plane failed to return.

March 4, 5 & 6
Missions were cancelled due to bad weather. Everyone took advantage of the opportunity and improvements were being made in the squadron area in supplementing the needs to make for better living conditions and for better cooperation and efficiency. In spite of the rain and mud, progress was being made. The morale was good and the men were enjoying a favorable mess.

March 8
Mission was recalled due to unfavorable weather.

March 9 & 10
No missions due to bad weather. Continuous improvements were being made. Upright tables were made to provide more convenient eating facilities as well as an extra wash section for mess kits to facilitate the washing of such and eliminating the long waiting lines.

March 11
Eight (8) aircraft took off on its fourth mission to destroy the Prato railroad yards to prevent any further materials and equipment from reaching the German forces. The mission was successful and all planes returned safely.

March 12, 13 & 14
Due to bad weather, missions were cancelled . In spite of the heavy rains and mud the morale of the men was good which was evidenced by the number of letters written.

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S E C R E T
(757th Bomb Sq (H) War Diary dtd 31 March 1944, cont’d.)

March 15
Eight aircraft participated in their fifth mission to bomb German concentrations in the Cassino area. All planes returned safely.

March 16
No mission. Weather was very uncertain with snow and rain mixed.

March 17
Ten (10) aircraft took off on their sixth mission to bomb a German airfield in Austria. One (1) plane failed to return. Due to persistent efforts of Captain Knopper and Major Faustenaught, the squadron now has a sufficient number of wooden latrine stools, wooden bunks for the men and upright mess tables for eating. Two (2) large tents have been provided to provide cover for Officers and Enlisted Men in the case of inclement weather.

March 18
Nine (9) planes participated in their seventh mission, all returning safely.

March 19
Eight (8) planes took part in their eight mission, all returning safely. A new replacement crew, consisting of Captain Eugene L. Flynn, three (3) Officers and six Enlisted men were assigned to the squadron.

March 20 & 21
Due to bad weather, missions were cancelled.

March 22
Nine (9) planes took part in their ninth mission, all returning safely.

Source: Kosloski, Michael J. “War Diary of 757th Bomb Squadron (H).” Historical Records, 31 March, 1944. Reel B0607, Microfilm 1284-1287.