457th Bomb Group 457th Bomb Group Honor Roll
Mission No. 159
750th Bomb Squadron
457th Bomb Group 750th Bomb Squadron
                                         (457th Home) (Back)            Updated 12/03/2000, 19:17:19

Mission Narrative

Mission No. 159
Date - December 12, 1944
Target - Merseberg
On this date the 457th put up 36 plane whose primary target was Lutzekendorf, Germany, Just before the IP the group leader turned over the lead to the deputy because of PFF failure. Because of confusion at the target area the group elected to bomb the secondary PFF target at Merseberg. Bombs were dropped but results unobserved. Flak was moderate but one plane, s/n 43-27567, was hit and left the formation and later crashed in Germany. Seven aircraft sustained flak damage.
Plane s/n 43-37567, 750 Squadron, named "Willie III," and piloted by Lt Montell C. Higgins, was having difficulty keeping up with the formation prior to reaching the IP. The plane was seen to have feathered engine #4 and dropped it's wheels. No parachutes were observed. The pilot was killed when the plane nosed straight into the ground. The rest of the crew parachuted and became POW's.


The crew was as follows:
     Plane s/n 43-37567     
PilotLt Montell C. Higgins   KIA  
CopilotLt William M. Bell POW
NavigatorLt John C, McCaughan POW
BombardierF/O Harold F. Harstedt POW
Aircraft EngineerSgt Francis J. Winder POW
Radio OperatorSgt Fred E. Lawyer POW
Left Waist GunnerSgt Russell A. Perry POW
Ball Turret GunnerSgt Philip G. Porter POW
Tail GunnerSgt Bill C. SmigielskiPOW

                                         (457th Home) (Back)            Updated 12/03/2000, 19:17:19
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the Content:  Willard (Hap) Reese (Website Author)