War Diary: 758th Squadron (June 1944)

Source: Kosloski, Michael J., 1st Lt. Air Corps, Squadron Historian. “War Diary of 758th Bomb Squadron (H).” Historical Records, 30 June 1944. Reel B0607, Microfilm 1120-1130

W A R   D I A R Y

JUNE 1944

1 June 1944

No mission scheduled.

Having an unusually large sum of money in the Enlisted Men’s bar fund, it was decided to have a gigantic ‘on the house’ affair.
The program called for free haircuts, shaves, shoe shines, drinks and eats, and a musical program to be provided by a ‘hot’ negro (GI’s) Jazz Band.

The time: tomorrow, June 2nd. The place; Squadron mess hall.

Lt. Day, Lt. Mercer, S/Sgts Wolff, Simon, Daniel and Anderson, the six men who were able to land in Partisan territory when forced to bail out over Yugoslavia on April 15th, returned from Bari and rejoined our squadron. Army regulation wouldn’t permit their giving much information regarding their escape. However, from what they were able to tell us, we gathered that they had a very rough time of it before reaching Italy.

Lt. Walter H. Michaels and his crew joined our squadron. Besides Lt. Michaels the crew was made up of 2nd Lt. Lyden H. Beam, Jr., 2nd Lt. Lenaorard Borsky, F/O Arthur H. Knott, S/Sgt William S. Jensen, Sgt. John D. Baker, Sgt. Robert R. Beggs, Sgt. Clinton M. Draper, Sgt. Benjamin J. Russell and Sgt. Robert L. Anderson.
Pilots 2nd Lt. Max J Babb, 2nd Lt Leo Carlton, 2nd Lt Saul B. Anshen and 1st Lt. James O Baker and gunners Pvt Alva D. Adams and S/Sgt John W Menn, were assinged to our squadron from the 759th.

Sgt. Bruno Buronio from our engineering section and Cpl Richard Hemke from our transportation section, were reported to have a venereal disease. Both had intercourse in one of the adjoining towns. Failing to report same, and failing to take the necessary precautions, both were now forced to suffer the ignominious consequences.


(War Diary, 758th Bomb Sq, June 1944, cont)

2 June 1944

Our planes took off on their fifty first mission to bomb the marhsalling yards at Miskalli, Hungary, with results that were considered to be fair. No flak or enemy aircraft was encountered. All planes returned safely.

In the evening the enlisted men were given free drinks and hamburger sandwiches. A fine time was had by all. The refreshments really hit the spot. Wile the colored band gave out with some hot licks. The boys were solid.

3 June 1944

Today we bombed enemy troop concentrations at Split, Yugoslavia, with fairly good results. Moderate, but accurate, flak was encountered. All of our planes returned safely.

Major Lee commended the squadron for their fine performance record in sending planes over the target with a minimum of early returns.

Squadron Order 29 was published relieving Lt. P.J. Capobianco as squadron Ordnance and Transportation officer. Lt. Rutherford, our armament officer, assumed charge of the Ordnance section, while Lt. Archer took over the duties as transportation officer.

S/Sgt Jimmie Miller, our former mess sergeant, who had been hospitalized since February 22nd when a tommy gun was accidentally discharged, was released from the hospital and rejoined our squadron.

Lt. Plemons and his crew left for the rest camp at Capri.

Lt. Bruce H. Smith, one of our first pilots, was promoted to the grade of first lieutenant.

4 June 1944

On our fifty third mission over enemy territory, our planes blasted the marshalling yards at Genoa, Italy, with good results. Moderate flak was encountered, and all of our planes returned safely.

Lt. Van Horn and his crew returned from Capri


(War Diary, 758th Bomb Sq, June 1944)

5 June 1944

Lt. Warren took advantage of the off day, no mission to schedule a practice mission for formation flying. In addition a very comprehensive ground school schedule was arranged that involved some sort of instruction for every member of our combat crews

Lt. Montez, one of our pilots, was released from the hospital and returned to duty.

6 June 1944

Our fifty fourth mission saw our crews bombing the marshalling yards at Brasor, Romania, with results that were considered to be very poor. Slight, inaccurate flak was encountered, and no enemy aircraft was seen. Al of our planes returned safely.

7 June 1944

Today we hit the harbor installation and warehouses at Valdelig, Italy. A few hits were scored. No enemy opposition was encountered. All of our planes returned safely.

Lgt. Rutherfoord, Cummins, McCormack, Welborn, Prize and Scherbarth received notice of their promotions to first lieutenants, effective 27 May 1944.

Lt. Menges and his crew departed for the combat crew rest camp at Capri. Lts. Lisko, Archer and Williamson left for the officer’s rest camp at Villagio Mancuso, Italy, a resort in the mountains near Taranto.

8 June 1944

No Mission. No other change.

9 June 1944

Our men took off on the squadron’s fifty sixth mission to blast military installations at Munich, Germany. An undercast prevented clear observation of results. Both heavy flak and intense fighter resistance were encountered. Two of our planes failed to return from this, described by our crews as one of the missions to date.


(War Diary, 758th Bomb Sq, June 1944)

9 June 1944, con’t

Just after crossing the coast of France on their way up to the target, our formation was attacked by a large group of ME 109s. Wave after wave of the Nazis aggressively attached our planes. The Krauts were daring but failed to down a single one of our aircraft, while our gunners (the entire group) accounted for about five of them. Sgt. Brinnel, ball turret gunner on Lt. McLaughlin’s crew, was officially credited with downing one of them.

The loss of our two crews on this mission was more of a tragedy than usual, for; one of the crews, Lt. Michael’s, it was their first combat mission over enemy territory; the other, Lt. Oleson’s, was one of our original and most popular crews.

About five seconds past the target, Lt. Michaels’ plane was hit by five bursts of flak. The tip of the left wing curled up and the ship went into a dive. After falling about 500 feet, Lt. Michaels succeeded in leveling her out, but as he did so the number one engine fell off, sending the plane spinning earthward. No parachutes were seen to open and it was believed that all hands were lost. The crew was composed of Lt. WalterH. Michaels, 2nd Lt. Lydon H. Beam, Jr., 2nd Lt. Leonard Brosky, F/O Arthur H. Knott, S/Sgt. William S. Jansen, Sgt. Benjamin Russell, Sgt. Clinton ? Draper, Sgt. Robert L. Anderson, Sgt. Robert Baggs and Sgt. John S. Baker.

The same burst of flak that spelled doom for Lt. Michaels also hit Lt. Oleson’s plane, knocking out one engine. Maintaining control, Lt. Oleson slid his plane under the formation and flew there for about ten minutes, when another engine was seen to be feathered. With only two engines, numbers one and four, operative, Lt. Oleson began to lose altitude rapidly When last seen the plane seemed to be under control and was flying level. They were heading in the direction of Switzerland. No parachutes were seen, but it was strongly believed that the men would have been able to bail out if it became necessary.

The plane was manned by Lt. Herbert Oleson, Lt. Leo Carlton, Lt. John W. Crosby, Lt. Darwin G. Norton, T/Sgt. Steward V Hunkler, T/Sgt. Loran B. Taylor, S/Sgt. Daniel J Donovan, S/Sgt. Thomas J. Carideo, S/Sgt. Johns O. Robson and S/Sgt. William P Arsenault.

10 June 1944

Our crews continued their assault on German held targets by bombing the airdrome at Ferrara, Italy, with good results. Slight flak and no enemy aircraft were encountered. All of our planes returned safely.


(War Diary, 758th Bomb Sq, June 1944)

10 June 1944, con’t.

A new crew, formerly stationed with the 8th AAF in England, joined our squadron today. The crew was made up of 1st Lt. Leonard I. Kronheim, 2nd Lt. Harold J. Kriechbaum, 2nd Lt. Lionel Greenberg, 2nd Lt. Jack R. Nerlich, Sgt. Alexander Zemaitis, S/Sgt. Stanley ? ??seika, T/Sgt John J Kreyer, T/Sgt. Louis G Keim, S/Sgt Fred B Youngblood and S/Sgt Albert R. Cavalier.

11 June 1944

Today our crews took off the fifty eighth mission over enemy territory to bomb harbor installations at Giurgia, Rumania (on the Danube) with results that were apparently good. No enemy aircraft and some flak was encountered. All of our planes returned safely.

Cpl. Arthur Adams, and aerial gunner, was severly burned when a stove in the mess kitchen blew up as it was being ignited by one of the Italian KPs.

1st Lt. William Ryan was assigned to our squadron as the new Ordnance Officer,

Maj. Lee returned from Capri and was very satisfied with the performance recorded we had compiled in his absence.

12 June 1944

No missions was scheduled.

A phone call was received advising that S/Sgts Earl Sekora and John Detora, missing in action since 13 May 1944, were at the 12th AAF Headquarters in Foggia.

Our enlisted men’s soft ball team won thhe group championship and now awaited the playoffs to decide the Wing title.

Lt. Menges and his crew left for the combat crew rest camp at Capri/

F/O Vita was promoted to the grade of second lieutenant.

Another new crew joined our squadron, consisting of 2nd Lt. Lincoln Artz, F/O David Goldberg, 2nd Lt. William B. Lindsey, 2nd Lt. Leo A Evan, S/Sgt. Frank Fuquay, S/Sgt. George Zambo, Sgt Bryce Johnson, Sgt. Edward J Shea, Sgt Edward Donatelli, and Sgt. Richard Moulton.


(War Diary, 758th Bomb Sq, June 1944)

13 June 1944

Ten of our planes took off to bomb enemy manufacturing installations in the Munich, Germany, area. Intense flak and some fighters were encountered. Bombing results were believed to be good. Lt. Babb and his crew failed to return.

This was another one of those ‘rough ones’, filled with fierce enemy resistance. Unable to make the home field, Lt. Kalie headed for Naples and successfully crash landed his damaged plane.

T/Sgt. Charles Stephenson, radio man on Lt. Womack’s crew and one of the original men to be assigned to the squadron, was killed by flak. While throwing out chaff over the target, Sgt Stephenson was hit in the back of the neck, the only exposed part not covered by his flak helmet. He toppled over, falling into the arms of S/Sgt. Robert Klossner who vainly tried to stop the flow of blood. Mortally wounded, Sgt. Stephenson died a few minutes later.

A few minutes after the target, a plane from one of the other squadrons flew up from below, and for not apparent cause (he didn’t seem to be in trouble) crashed into Lt. Babb’s plane. Both planes were demolished in mid-air, exploded and plunged earthward. Three chutes were seen to open.

The missing crew was made up of 2nd Lt. Max J Babb, 2nd Lt. Donald N. Graham, 2nd Lt. Lionel Greenberg, F/O Frank W. Jones, S/Sgt. Kenned ? Weaver, Sgt. Harrison Crowell, S/Sgt. David Pegram, Sgt. Karl D. Reed, Sgt. Robert R. Best and Sgt. John T. Holt.

15th Air Force Headquarters notified us that S/Sgt J. A Rendleman and S/Sgt Louis Cardenas, missing in action since April 4; 2nd Lt Leo McMannon, Sgt. Albert C?ssanelli, Sgt. James T. Allen, F/O Leo Crammens, S/Sgt Edward Kodet and S/Sgt Samuel Harrell, missing in action since April 15th, were all prisoners of war.

14 June 1944

Lt. Scherbarth and S/Sgts Byfield and Gagliardi, all who had between forty five and fifty missions to their credit, were sent back to the States on a permanent change of station. Before reporting to their next station they were all to receive a 30 day furlough.

S/Sgts Sekora and Detora arrived and we learnned that they had safely parachuted from their damaged plane. Although they lost sight of the remainder of their crew, they were certain that all hhad been able to reach the ground safely and at worst were prisoners of war. During the 30 days, Sekora and Detora were sheltered by the Italians, eating, working and living with them. Often, the boys said, that they would be working in the fields when Nazi passed by, within 5 yards of them. They finally made their way to the front and crossed over into an area held by the British. When they arrived here, they were still wearing the English uniform with which they had been outfitted.

– 6 –

(War Diary, 758th Bomb Sq, June 1944)

15 June 1944

The scheduled mission was cancelled at station time.

Major Lee posted the following memorandum:

“It was with genuine regret that I received word today that I am to be transferred from this squadron. The loyalty and cooperation shown me by every member of the organization has not only been appreciated, but has been inspirational as well.

The 758th Bombardment Squadron is making an enviable record and I wish to commend all members for their performance and their devotion to duty. Your continued success is assured, and I am sorry that I will not be here to share it with you”

2nd Lt. Leo A. Ryan was appointed Squadron Mess Officer.

Our latrines seemed to be the most popular spot in camp. At least 70% of our men were suffering from the GI’s. The cause was undetermined, but next time through the chow line all men were forced to wash their mess equipment in a specially provided can of boiling water.

Maj. Lee’s memo, of course, overshadowed every other event. We, too, genuinely regretted his leaving. We had all grown to respect and admire him for the excellent manner in which he had executed his duties as our commanding officer.

Capt. Jack ?. Tompkins, operations officer of the 756th Sq. Was assigned as our new CO.

16 June 1944

Our sixtieth mission saw our men blasting the enemy oil refinery at Vienna, Austria, with results that are believed to be good. Intense flak and enemy fighter resistance was encountered. All of our planes returned safely.

T/Sgt Leo Dorson, S/Sgt Mike Meindl S/Sgt Pat Cuomo completed their fiftieth combat mission over enemy territory

17 June 1944

No mission.


(War Diary, 758th Bomb Sq, June 1944)

18 June 1944

Bad weather forced the scheduled mission to be cancelled. It rained the entire previous night. It was not good for flying, but it did certainly improve sleeping conditions.

The new mess kitchen was put into use. It was one of those prefabricated buildings, embellished and improved by capable Sgt. John Rice, our carpenter.

19 June 1944

Bad weather yet. No Mission.

Another shipment of beer arrived. This time we received enough so that each man could be given a full bottle. Although not as good as the beer back home, it was a welcome relief from the Italian wine.

Lt. Hamilton’s crew returned from Capri, while Lt. McCormack’s crew took their place at the rest camp.

20 June 1944

No Mission. N/C/

21 June 1944

No mission scheduled.

Two more new crews were assigned to our squadron.

One was made up of: 1st Lt. James G. Wilson, 2nd Lt. Bruce L Lowe, 2nd Lt. Bernard S. Dutch, Capt Edward E. Vanderhayden, T/Sgt. Roy ? Paquet, T/Sgt. Edward Czernecki, Sgt Richard G Ellis, Sgt. James Lush and Sgt. Stanley Lipcznski.

The second crew was composed of: 2nd Lt. Richard J Montgomery, 2nd Lt. Clarence Knutsen, 2nd Lt. John L. Crus?h, 2nd Lt. Robert E. Ehrlich, S/Sgt Thomas Beddoe, S/Sgt. Norman E. LaSalle, Sgt. Kenneth McGehee, Sgt. John L Falwell, Sgt. Joseph Mag?s and Sgt. Robert J Mahr.

– 8 –

(War Diary, 758th Bomb Sq, June 1944)

22 June 1944

Our planes bombed a truck assembly plant at Turin, Italy with excellent results. Moderate, but accurate flak was encountered. All planes returned safely.

Ten more men completed their fiftieth mission and were taken off of operational status.

23 June 1944

Our planes took off on a scheduled mission carrying thousand pounders. Before reaching the target, the weather closed in and they were all forced to return. It was dangerous to land with the bomb bays full. Some thought that they would salvo, but all ships landed with full bomb load.

24 June 1944

On their sixty second mission our crews bombed the railroad yards at Craious, Rumania with undetermined results. No flak or fighters were encountered. All returned safely.

Pvt. Punate and Cpl Dominguez, who had been on TD in Cerignola with the MP detachment, rejoined our squadron.

25 June 1944

Nine of our planes took part in the bombing of the marshalling yards at Avignon, France, with good results. Some flak and fighters were encountered. All planes returned safely.

A letter was received from Lt. Morin, who was among the first to go home on the rotation system. He advised that he was soon to be married and that he expected to see us soon.


– 9 –

(War Diary, 758th Bomb Sq, June 1944)

26 June 1944

Eleven of our planes hit the oil refinery near Vienna, Austria, with results that are believed to be good. The enemy threw everything up they had. Intense flak and persistent fighter resistance were encountered. We were given excellent coverage by our escorting P-51s, who were shooting down rocket bearing ME 210s all over the sky. Two of our planes failed to return.

Lt. Stedden was piloting one of the missing planes. Formerly copilot for Lt. Poe, it was his first mission as first pilot. Completing this unhappy cycle of firsts, it was the first mission over enemy territory for all the other crew members who had just joined our squadron five days earlier.

The plane was hit by enemy fighters prior to the target. With one prop feathered L. Stodden continued and made his bomb run. But he was unable to keep pace with the formation, falling behind. He was last seen after the rally point.

Lt. James Wilson, Capt Edward Vanderhayden, T/Sgt Roy Paquet, T/Sgt Edward Czarnecki, T/Sgt Richard C. Ellis, Sgt. John Lush, Sgt. Stanly Lipczyncki and Sgt. James Lyons were the men who failed to return.

The other plane lost was piloted by Lt. Artz and was last seen in the formation about ten minutes after the target. No one seemed to know what happened to him. His crew was composed of 2nd Lt Bruce L. Love, 2nd Lt. Leo Ryan, S/Sgt. Frank J Fuquay, S/Sgt. George Zambo, Sgt Bryce E Johnson, Sgt. Edward Donatelli, Sgt. Richard Moulton and Sgt. Edward Shea. This crew, too, had just joined our squadron and were participating in their third or fourth mission.

Lts Simpson and Warren were promoted to Captains. 2nd Lts.l Dunn, Battistoni, Spiese and Hamilton made first lieutenant. For Camptain Simpson it was a double cause for celebration, for he completed his fiftieth mission today.

27 June 1944

No mission was scheduled.

A count showed that forty four men had completed fifty combat missions and were removed from operational status. Each succeeding mission saw more men completing their tour of duty.

– 10 –

(War Diary, 758th Bomb Sq, June 1944)

28 June 1944

Eleven of our planes bombed an airdrome at Karlovo, Bulgaria, with excellent results. Slight flak was encountered. All planes returned safely.

Capt Tompkins and Lt. Kirsch went to Rome on temporary duty.

A fighter group phoned and said that one of their pilots saw ten chutes and verified them as coming from Lt. Artz’s plane which failed to return from the missions on 26 June 1944.

29 June 1944

Our planes took off on a scheduled mission. While over Germany the weather closed in and the planes were forced to return without reaching the target. They were credited, however, with their sixty sixth mission.

We were sweltering in a severe heat wave.

30 June 1944

No mission

General Order number 16 from 15th AAF Headquarters was published awarding the Purple Heart to T/Sgt. Edgar F. Webber for wounds recieved on 16 June 1944.

Sgt. Webber was wounded over the left eye by flak. It wasn’t too severe a cut and after medical treatment he was able to participate in the next scheduled mission.