Wayne made no entry in his journal for December 30, 1944 nor did he fly on this date,
In England, Verne recorded his first mission in his diary:
12-30-44 — 1st Mission KASSEL
Took part in my first mission into Germany where we bombed the marshaling yards at Kassel. Encountered moderate and inaccurate flak over target. Even at that the stuff was too damn close for comfort. Sure am tired out tonight. Received shot of whiskey, coffee and sandwiches after mission. Wasn’t as scared and nervous as I expected to be normally.
Verne flew as a waist gunner on Boston Blackie/Heavenly Cent, a Boeing-built B-17G #2102972, piloted by Charles W. Sidden.1 The target was the marshalling yards at Kassel, Germany. The 390th Bombardment Group (H) dropped 320 500 lb. general purpose bombs and 58 500 lb. incendiary bombs.2
One aircraft from the 568th Bombardment Squadron was lost on this mission. It was not seen nor heard from after entering the clouds after takeoff from Station 153. No trace of the aircraft was ever found.3 B-17G #42-32026, took off as briefed at 0834 climbed in pattern and disappeared into the clouds over the base which were from 3,000’ up to 9,500’ with moderate to severe icing conditions reported at about 7,000’.4 The aircraft is believed to have iced up and crashed into the North Sea. Nothing more is known of the plane and crew. The name of the plane? Tis A Mystery.
The attack on the Kassel marshalling yards was in support of the ground forces fighting in the Battle of the Bulge.
As the Americans were taking the offensive, reports commenced to trickle through as to results of the bombing campaign on German railroads. It was found that [German] units destined for action in the Ardennes were detrained close to the west bank of the Rhine River, and that it required from five to eight days for them to arrive at the front after detraining.
On 30 December the Group maintained pressure on the Rhine railroad system by bombing Kassel through the clouds.5
Notes & Commentary
1 Interactive Library. 390th Memorial Museum. (https://www.390th.org/interactive-library/ : accessed 27 December 2014)
2 United States and Albert E. Milliken. The story of the 390th Bombardment Group (H) . [New York]: Priv. Print., 1947. p. 28.
3 Operations Narrative of Mission #234, 30 Dec 44. Headquarters 390th Bombardment Group (H), Office of the Operations Officer, 1 January 1945. microfilm B0426 Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1973, frames 652-653.
4 Missing Air Crew Reports (MACRs) of the U.S. Army Air Forces, 1942-1947 , digital image, Fold3.com (http://www.fold3.com/image/30325973/ : accessed 27 December 2014), B-17G, Aircraft Serial Number #42-32026, “Missing Air Crew Report, #11247”, by Capt. Kenneth J. Binder, Statistical Officer.
5 ” United States and Albert E. Milliken. The story of the 390th Bombardment Group (H). [New York]: Priv. Print., 1947. p. 117.