Mission No. 100
20 Jun 1944
Station: 166
Target: V-1 Base at Predefin and La Belle Hotesse
Target: German flying bomb base at Predefin and La Belle Hotesse, France. This was the Group's one-hundredth mission since commencing operation in the European Theatre in mid-February. Fifty-four planes were dispatched to attack the enemy's flying bomb bases, thirty-six concentrating on the Predefin target and eighteen attacking the one at La Belle Hotesse. Bombing was done by boxes of eighteen aircraft, and assessment of damage later in the day by reconnaissance unit showed that at Predefin the "Launching Platforms and several buildings in the target area had been destroyed. The Square Building received three near misses. Target in Category "A" (suspended) as a result of the attack.
At La Belle Hotesse, which was under attack by one box of eighteen aircraft from another Group, the photo recon unit reported "many craters in the target area, some slightly damaging the Launching Platform. The target is in Category "A." One of the Group's planes was hit by flak as it entered the enemy coast. The pilot feathered the propeller on a damaged engine and continued on route, but being unable to keep up with the formation, the planes bombs were dropped on a casual target, the Merville Airdrome. In all eighteen planes were flak battle damaged, but there were no losses of casualties.
The feat of bringing a B-26 home on one engine had by this time become a fairly commonplace event at the Group's Base, But 1st Lt Donald H Wolfe of Canton, South Dakota, did a little more than that on the "Century Mission" of June 20. Driving across the enemy coast in the formation, Lt Wolfe's ship had its right engine knocked out of operation by a burst of heavy flak. By all rules in the book, he should have turned for home in the crippled ship, but with the crew as a board of directors, a decision was reached to go on to the target, one of the buzz bomb sites in the Pas de Calais area. Lt Wolfe caught up with the formation as it was making a second run at the target, a manoeuvre necessitated because of cloud cover on the first time over. The lack of speed caused by the dead right engine made it impossible for the "Wolfe-Pack" to fall in with the flight, but the alertness of the bombardier, Lt William R. Bass of Pitsburg, Tex. saved the day. He spotted a Nazi airfield through a break in the cloud and sent his bombs splattering across a hanger.
Having completed the one-ship mission successfully, Lt Wolfe brought his plane back to England, shepherded by a trio of P-47s, which had stuck with the bomber on the entire trip.
The remainder of the Wolfe-Pack's crew on this mission were:
2nd Lt William H. Kirschke, Co-pilot, of Redlands, Calif.
T/Sgt.Richard B Smith, Radio-Gunner, of Natrona, Pa
S/Sgt.Charles A Sexton, Armorer-Gunner, of Cortland, Ind
S/Sgt.Lloyd V. Alexander, Engineer-Gunner, of Mishawaka, Indiana.
Another milestone in the Group's history was reached on June 20 when the organization dispatched fifty-four of its B-26's on a mission to Northern France, a flight which rounded out an even one hundred combat missions against the enemy in Nazi-dominated Western Europe in a scant 125-day period. In reaching the Century mark, the Group had struck fourteen railroad marshalling yards, twelve airdromes, ten bridges, twelve German defence installations, and a host of pilot-less bomb sites. The Group had begun operations just fifteen days after reaching the European Theater, and its losses had been exceptionally low, representing approximately three-tenths of one percent of the planes and crewmen who participated on the hundred missions.
On June 20, in the total number of missions flown, 1st Lt. Donald H. Wolfe of Canton, South Dakota; 1st Lt. Richard J Snyder of Tampa, Fla.; and 1st Lt. Donald D. O'Hare of San Anselmo, Calif., were high with 52 sorties each.
1st Lt. Raymond B. Dearing, Jr, of Lexington, Ky., and 1st Lt. Junior W. Olfson, of Appleton, Wis., flew 51 missions by that date, and the fifty mission mark was shared by 1st William Sloss, of Duquesne, Pa., 1st Lt. Robert B. Logan of Frankfort Ind., and 1st Lt. Lawrence F. Schirmer of Sacramento, Calif.
Still going strong with seventy-eight missions to her credit, one of the ships nicknamed "Pink's Lady", was the most durable Marauder in the Group. The plane had never aborted through mechanical failure, testifying to the engineering skill of her ground crew and T/Sgt.Vernon L Heim, Crew Chief, of Schuylkill Haven Pa.
"Baby Doll III", crewed by T/Sgt. Robert B. Good of Maryville, Wash., had 68 missions to her credit; "Hot Sketch," crewed by T/Sgt. Robert Haberzettle of Clarinda, Ia., had 67 missions; "Misslaid", the ship of T/Sgt. Rufus A. Carr of Millsap, Texas, and "Bombay", crewed by T/Sgt.Perry V. Nail of Glendale,Ore., had 62 sorties each and "Ruthless," crewed by Milton L. Corbin of Freer, Texas, had flown on 61 raids.
Three other planes - "Wogpatterass", McCarty's Party, and "Happy Landing""crewed respectively by T/Sgt. Marion T. Seale of Giddings, Texas, T/Sgt. William Goldstein of Virginia, Ill., and T/Sgt.Earle E. Morrison of Boulder, Colorado, had racked up an even 60 missions.
The accomplishment of its "first hundred" was duly celebrated by the Group during the afternoon and evening of the 20th in events which included races, boxing, softball games and beer drinking. The Group Commander spoke to the men who attended the ceremony, commending especially the ground crews for a hard job well done. Among the lighter incidents at the party was the presentation of a "medal" for "Rationed Passion" to the Group Chaplin, John A. Moore, of St. Helen, Fla., who had flown on the century mission that morning in the plane which carried the nickname of which the "medal" was struck.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FOR THIS MISSION FROM THE GROUP MISSION RECORDS IS AVAILABLE IN THE "CREW LOADLING LIST" SECTION OF THIS WEBSITE here


Box #1 - Lead Flight
Williams
572
803-K
7
Sloss
572
822-O
24
Dearing
572
810-W
25
Whitson
572
825-B
25
Fry
572
828-L
24
Crim
572
842-D
28
Box #1 - High Flight
Sellers
573
801-G
19
Boylan
573
102-X
23
Hartman
573
802-P
21
Armstrong
573
820-S
21
Dillard
573
823-N
23
Bjork
573
806-C
22
Box #1 - Low Flight
Bird
574
931-F
34
Stanfield
574
873-U
37
Garwick
574
841-S
29
Hollis
574
927-N
32
Callison
574
851-M
31
Wolfe
574
866-X
31
Lowder
574
818-L
29

Box #2 - Lead Flight
Miller
572
673-A
8
Barker
572
809-O
16
Danforth
572
813-J
7
Jobe
572
834-B
9
Jacobs
572
719-F
13
Holliday
572
748-Q
6
Box #2 - High Flight
Erickson
572
947-U
15
Hanlon
572
812-D
9
Baehr
572
810-C
8
Roeper
572
806-M
14
Alexander
572
797-P
16
Mccarty
572
836-N
14
Box #2 - Low Flight
Schleicher
574
811-G
6
Harlow
574
811-V
47
Martin
574
268-K
44
Schirmer
574
833-U
47
Ljunggren-(Evans Crew)
574
597-O
32
Lowe
574
838-B
35
Newman
574
010-A
30

Box #3 - Lead Flight
Stalnaker
575
821-O
38
Wolfe
575
846-P
39
Tucker
575
844-B
38
Olfson
575
847-H
41
Ruble
575
853-F
39
Jacobi
575
932-T
46
Box #3 - High Flight
Bush
574
832-H
36
Horridge
574
841-A
28
Metelsky
574
839-G
37
Salmon
574
248-V
30
Carson
574
800-C
35
Majka
574
865-D1
34
Box #3 - Low Flight
O'Hare
575
808-C
44
Fleck-Sullens
575
843-J
45
Wilkinson
575
855-R
45
Mitchell
575
671-L
40
Jannsen
575
620-B
46
Lakin
575
678-M
40
Kiedinger
575
834-F
17
Box #3 - Spare Flight
Spare Lead
574
815-W
36
Spare Ship
573
978-Q
22