457th Bomb Group 457th Bomb Group Honor Roll
Mission No. 72
457th Bomb Group '749th Bomb Squadron
                                         (457th Home) (Back)            Updated 12/03/2000, 19:17:08

Mission Narrative

Mission No. 72
Date - June 21, 1944
Target - Berlin
On June 21st the 8th Air Force sent 935 bombers to bomb motor industry targets in Berlin, Germany. Nineteen bombers were lost on this mission. One hundred thirty four bombers flew from England to bomb Berlin and then on to a base in Russia. The operation was known as "Frantic" and was a disaster. 47 of the 73 planes that landed at a Russian airfield were attacked on the ground by German fighters and were destroyed. The 457th Put up 37 aircraft with Major Leroy Watson in command. Flak was moderate but two planes, s/n 42-107015 and 42-31656 from the 457th were lost. Plane 42-31656 blew up over the target and the other left the formation over the Baltic Sea and flew north to Sweden. The crew was interned in Sweden for the remainder of the war.
Plane 42-31656, piloted by Lt Hershell Wilson dropped their bombs on target and were immediately hit by a burst of flak near the nose of the plane. This was Lt Wilson's first mission. The order was given to abandon ship and the plane spiraled down, caught fire and blew up . Five members of the crew did not survive. How the five died is not known. (See Mission No 73 in "Black Puff Polly" by Roland byers, and the account of this mission by the waist gunner, Francis X. Heekin.)

......... Crew

The crew was as follows:
     Plane s/n 42-31656     
PilotLt Hershel L. Wilson   KIA  
CopilotLt Baily J. Gaudinier   POW
NavigatorLt Chester D. Perkins -  KIA  
BombardierLt Jack B. Srout   KIA  
Aircraft EngineerSgt Joseph F. Schankin   POW
Radio OperatorSgt Frank J. Garzia   KIA  
Left Waist GunnerSgt Francis X. Heekin   POW
Ball Turret GunnerSgt Edward L. Attleton   KIA  
Tail GunnerSgt George N. Vassilopoulos  POW
                                         (457th Home) (Back)            Updated 12/03/2000, 19:17:08
Note: Please feel free to send your observations/comments on
the Content:  Willard (Hap) Reese (Website Author)