March 10, 1945

Saturday

In England, Verne writes in his diary . . . .

03-10-45 – 15th Mission DORTMUND

Late start, but mission went through okay. Weather fine but cloudy under us. Flak intense and fairly accurate. Don Hood still missing in action.1 Sure he is safe however. Paid £12 tonight. Trying to make me sign a Statement of Charges for pants lost.2 Will find some first.

For the Dortmund bomb raid, Combat Crew 87 flew on Boston Blackie/Heavenly Cent B-17G #42-102972 flown by 2nd Lt. Roy R. Creasman.

The Dortmund mission was the 390th Bombardment Group’s 271st.

On 10 March a new phase was marked in the Battle of the Rhineland. The rail yard at Dortmund was one of several Ruhr Valley pressure points, governing not only the flow of military supplies to the German armies, but the reverse traffic as well.

The impending doom of the Ruhr had forced Germany to tear down and haul away what she could of the rich valley’s heavy industry. The western half of the area was semi-deserted, but Dortmund was unusually active in that part where dismantling was being carried out.3

Dortmund was obscured by a 10/10 undercast and bombing was done by H2X at 24,000’. Ground speed was 270 mph.4

Notes & Commentary

1 Donald L. Hood was a ball turret gunner with Crew 59. During a bombing raid on Dresden, the B-17G #43-39058 on which he was a crew member sustained damage to #3 engine, presumably from flak over the target. With heavy smoke pouring from the #3 engine the aircraft peeled out of formation losing altitude. The aircraft was noted to make a left turn and to head toward Russia. The Group leader received information from the aircraft commander that the aircraft was under control and that they expected to reach friendly territory. No chutes were observed.

About 20 minutes after leaving the formation, the crew bailed out in the vicinity of Turek, Poland. The crew was assembled on March 4 in Turek and all were present and uninjured.

Missing Air Crew Reports (MACRs) of the U.S. Army Air Forces, 1942-1947, digital image, Fold3.com (http://www.fold3.com/image/28831310/ : accessed 25 January 2015), B-17, Aircraft Serial Number 43-39058, MACR 12847. “Casualty Questionnaire” by 1st Lt. Richard Arthur Alberts.

2 The missing pants may be those that he sent to be dry cleaned on 15 February.

3 United States and Albert E. Milliken. The story of the 390th Bombardment Group (H). [New York]: Priv. Print., 1947. p. 123.

4 “390th Group Intelligence Report – Dortmund Mission of 10 March 1945”. 390th Bombardment Group (H) History, March 1945, Headquarters 390th Bombardment Group (H), 1 May 1945, microfilm B0426, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1973, frames 1576 – 1582.

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7 Responses to March 10, 1945

  1. Let’s hope Don Hood is found alive and well. The missing ‘pants’ almost gives it a sense of humour.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tony Wilkins says:

    I was always led to believe that crews always flew the same aircraft. Is this not the case?

    Like

    • a gray says:

      Those heavy bomber crews who were part of an initial deployment and who flew a bomber into a theater of operations probably flew the same aircraft on early missions. As aircraft broke down and crews became unavailable because of leave, sickness, transfers, casualties, etc., a one-crew/one-aircraft concept becomes untenable. The Operations Orders bomber units in the European and Pacific Theater of Operations amply demonstrate that bomber crews did not always fly the same aircraft. Bomber crews, as a basic unit, generally flew together, but even here, there could be variations from mission-to-mission. These are the sorts of details that journalists ignore when writing an article about a particular aircraft or crew on a mission. Historians ignore such details as they are concerned with the “big picture”.

      I know very little about fighter units, but it appears that a one-pilot/one-aircraft concept prevailed.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tony Wilkins says:

        Thank you for clearing that up for me. With regards to fighters I can’t say anything for the USAAF but in the RAF only the Wing Commander could have a personal aircraft and often it was marked in his initials as oppose to the squadron lettering

        Like

  3. Even with the bare facts, one can feel the tension and the emotion.

    Like

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