War Diary: 459th Group



April 1–A well-knit newscast posted on the bulletin board (typewritten on yellow teletype paper) today revealed the following “Scintilla of Doubt” news–

San Francisco: Jap planes flying at 53,550 feet today rained bombs on old Frisco; no carriers in vicinity, leading to belief that planes were Tokyo-based.

Washington D.C.: Bill was today introduced to house to establish 15th A.F. Rest Camp. Plans include coterie of prostitutes to insure against promiscuous fornication now rampant in vicinity of Cerignola. Clergy up in arms but admit probability of imminent passage of bill.

Tia Juana, Mex: Prohibition Party today unanimously, on first ballot, nominated Capt. Guy L. Neville as their 1944 Presidential Candidate.

April 3–Boys finally found a use for material procurable under the “9H” column of the Surgeon General’s supply (condom) on a flight today. This durable material, impervious to moisture, was used to correct microphone difficulty on interphone system by the expedient of covering mike buttons with the thin elastic rubber diaphragm membrane.

April 5–“Sunny side up” the way you like ’em, made belated reappearance at EM mess
hall. “Buono” was general comment.

April 7–Passover (coinciding with Good Friday), commemorating the deliverance of the Jews from Egyptian bondage, found many men trekking to Bari and Foggia for services. Over 1000 soldiers of various allegiances attended, including refugees from Germany, France, Austria, Yugoslavia etc.

April 9–On special order of Col Clarvoe, after a meeting called for the purpose of “airdrome defense”. An elaborate system was outlined.


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April 10–The defense plan provided that three shots would signify “red alert”. At 2340 Sgt Levie fired two rhythmic shots before his carbine fell apart, got the third shot off three minutes later.

April 12–Enlisted Mens Recreation Hall “Action Committee, composed of Cpl Al Mattern, M/Sgt Floyd Irvine, M/Sgt Donald E. Lang, T/Sgt Bill Ereski and T/Sgt Miles Foresman announced that club will open Friday, April 21. Boys have done wonderful job; much credit must go to T/Sgt Miles Foresman and Sgt. ????? “Mutt” Wunderitch.

April 13—Huge Headquarters mail pouch included no Spam But did have package of roasted almonds. Lucky recipient was Cpl. ???laff.

April 14–After a three month lull, the army’s distinctive high-gear rumor mill ground out the highly palatable news of a German uprising. Said to have originated in the 756th B.S., where a BBC broadcast reportedly was heard making this statement, by noon the story had reached the assassination of Hitler stages.

April 15–the anti-malaria campaign got into official swing when mosquito netting installation was the order of the day.

April 1?–“Gas”, shouted Capt. Smallwood B. Fargis, and the assembled officers and EM put on the new mask as the first in a series of eight gas lectures to be delivered by Capt. Hargis (759th Supply officer) was held. “Recent civilians”, said the Captain, “will remember that this type of smoke gas, Adamsite is used in strike and riots where you don’t want to kill the victim but don’t mind if they kill themselves”.

April 19–Enlisted Men’s Club officially activated. “Action Committee nominated Desmond Hoag and Roy Sch??ndt for President, Charley Weinberger and Jerry Levie for Vice-President. Additional nominations from the floor supplied successful candidates–Al Mattern, best liked boy in Hq., as President, Miles Foresman as Vice-President. Board of Governors includes Art Stang, Mike A?sterpool, Gene

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Talbot, and “M?” Frank Doujac.

April 21–The sign read “Come One, Come All”. They did to the accompaniment of an eight piece band (imported from the 456th Bomb Group), 146 Hdqs. Men went down the hatch with 442 fifths of assorted martinis (Gin plus Vermouth), rum cokes, cherry brandies, cognac and vino. Featured performer: Esther Freeman–Cerignola Red Cross Girl–the only quieting influence, with heart-hitting tunes of the “You’ll Never Know” variety.

April 23–New course added to diet tonight–anti-malaria atabrine pills.

April 24–40 pounds of sugar, barter value of $3 per pound hijacked from group mess hall. Other booty included 6 cans corn, 5 peas, 6 Vienna sausage, 5 lunch meat, 3 sliced pineapple, 3 tomatoes–all in gallon containers. The boys did a bit of extra stocking up before departing by frying hotcakes and hamburger, using cooks’ mess gear.

April 25– From Major General Nathan Twining to and through Colonel Fay Upthegrove to 454, 456, 459 Bomb Groups: “The superior performance on the bombing attack on Bad Voslau 23 April by the 304 Bomb Wing is deserving of the highest commendation. No bombardment organization has ever done a better job. The skill of your bombardiers and the pilots ability to maintain good bombing formation is evidenced by the strike photos.”  From Colonel Upthegrove to 459th Bomb Group: “Hearty congratulations to Lt. Col. Munn and his group for the perfect bombing today (23 April 1944) at Bad Voslau. Please commend all crews, especially pilots for their superior formation and bombardiers for their bullseye bombing. A master job.”   Wing got into the big leaugues two days earlier, rec’d following congratulatory message from General George Catlett Marshall: “Give my personal congratulations and thanks to the crews of the groups that actually bombed Bucharest and Turnul Severin on 21 April with such devastating effect on the hostile air force encountered. Realizing all the difficulties of distance, weather and notable defense, this evidences fine leadership and aggressive action.”


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April 26– The supply situation is definitely getting better. It has been customary for Lt. Munday to say “No” automatically to any many who stood before his desk and started to make a request. Today Sgt. Ehlinger was allowed to finish his sentence before hearing it.

April 27–Award ceremony (for bombing mission of April 23-Bad Voslau) was cancelled as low ceiling kept Major General Twining grounded at Bari. However, mob that filled the briefing room enjoyed a riotous hour of ad lib, trigger-quick Lt. Col. Edward Casey, M.C., one-sentence masterpieces of understatement: By navigator Capt. Ells A. Goodrich (DFC award winner)–“I don’t know how we got there; must have been an accident.” By bombardier Lt. Victor C. Conway (DFC)–“I’d like to put in a plug for an element that had something to do with our success–the Sperry S-1 bombsight.”

April 30–Major General Twining and entourage put in their long-awaited appearance, awarded Distinguished Flying Crosses. “Continue to hit them on the button and we’ll go home soon,” said the rough-hewn general. And of the raid,–“The finest job yet done in the 15th Air Force” (Previous message had labeled it “without superior in air corps annals.”

Source: Herz, Robert T. “War Diary of 459th Bomb Group (HV).” Historical Records, 1944. Reel B0607, Microfilm 1235-1238.
Note: Bold emphasis added to quotes from Major General Twining, Colonel Upthegrove and General Marshall (WEVS)