457th Bomb Group 457th Bomb Group Honor Roll
Mission No. 143
751st Bomb Squadron
457th Bomb Group 751st Bomb Squadron
                                         (457th Home) (Back)            Updated 12/03/2000, 19:17:18

Mission Narrative

Mission No. 143
Date - November 02, 1944
Target - Merseberg
The 143 mission of the 457th will be remembered by all who were with the group at that time or after. On Nov 2nd the 8th Airforce committed over 1000 bombers to oil refinery targets in central Germany.The Group was commanded by Major Peresich. The division assembly was as briefed and the group continued toward their target with a total overcast over most of the target area. On this date the 8th had excellent fighter cover and word was give that the Luftwaffe would be up in force also. As the group approached their target IP, it suddenly made a change of direction to the North and left the bomber stream. This later turned out to be a navigation error by the lead PFF plane. The group proceeded further and further away from it's fighter protection and dropped it's bombs on an unknown target. After bombs were dropped the group made a turn to the right in an attempt to return to the protection of the bomber stream and it's fighters. The low squadron fell behind on the turn and, as the turn was completed, was hit from six oclock level by about 40 or 50 FW-190's. The ensuing air battle lasted about 5 minutes but was the Group's fiercest battle of the war. The planes came in 10 abreast and struck the low squadron. White puffs of exploding 20 mm cannon fire filled the sky. The first pass knocked out most of the planes in the 12 plane squadron. The fighters circled and reattacked. Flaming and damaged planes were everywhere and soon the sky was filled with parachutes and exploding planes. The bomber gunners took a heavy toll of German aircraft but the Group lost 9 planes in this encounter. P-51's arrived and engaged the Luftwaffe planes which quickly disappeared into the clouds below. The planes lost by the group were: 42-31923, 42-106998, 43-37532, 43-37556, 43-37766, 43-37782, 43-38309, 43-38561, and 44-6155.
Plane s/n 43-37532, 751st Squadron, named "Patches N' Prayers," and piloted byLt James B. Corriher, was hit with 20 mm cannon shells from FW-190's during the first pass of the fighters. He lost two or more engines and left the formation with fire in the right wing. He was last seen diving for cover in the heavy cloud cover below. The demise of the plane was unobserved. Seven members of the crew were killed and two became POW's

......... Crew

The crew was as follows:
     Plane s/n 43-37532     
PilotLt James B. Corriher   KIA  
CopilotLt Jeremiah J. Healy   KIA  
NavigatorLt Earl L. Hill   KIA  
BombardierLt Harold A. doerr   KIA  
Aircraft EngineerSgt George P. Levassauer   KIA  
Radio OperatorSgt Harry F. Gormley   KIA  
Left Waist GunnerSgt Gail E. Schatz   POW
Ball Turret GunnerSgt Daniel M. Willis   POW
Tail GunnerSgt Robert J. Gunther   KIA  
                                         (457th Home) (Back)            Updated 12/03/2000, 19:17:19
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the Content:  Willard (Hap) Reese (Website Author)