457th Bomb Group 457th Bomb Group Honor Roll
Mission No. 87
748th Bomb Squadron
457th Bomb Group
748th Bomb Squadron
                                         (457th Home) (Back)            Updated 12/03/2000, 19:17:05

Mission Narrative

Mission No. 87
Date - July 12, 1944
Target - Munich. Crashed in Switz.
This was the second consecutive day that the 8th bombed Munich. There were over 1200 planes and the 457th put up 36 planes and led the 94th Wind on this mission. No fighters were encountered by the 457th but two planes were hit by flak and elected to try to fly to Switzerland. Twenty six planes were lost by the 8th on this day. Bombing was visual and the results were good. The planes lost by the 457th were s/n 44-6111, (Lt Kozel) and 42-31552 (Lt Kerr). Another plane (s/n unknown), flown by Lt Robert L. Kaufman was badly damaged and did not make it back to England. The crew bailed out over the English Channel and all were safely picked up by Air-Sea Rescue.
Plane s/n 42-31552, named "My Buddy," and piloted by Lt Gerald L Kerr was hit by flak on the bomb run as they approached Munich. Engines #1 and #4 were knocked out and gas was pouring from the wing tanks. They left the formation and dropped down several thousand feet. Kerr called for fighter support and two P-51's responded. The decision was made to try to make it to Switzerland. The fighters escorted them all the way to the Swiss border and when they thought they had left Germany, Kerr gave the order to bail out. Five of the crew in the rear of the plane bailed out only to find they were still in Germany and were taken prisoner by the Germans. The officers and the engineer elected to stay with the plane but shortly they found themselves in clouds with mountains higher than they were and a third engine about to fail. The Copilot and Engineer bailed out but before the rest could, the plane crashed into the side of a mountain. The copilot was killed when his parachute failed to open and all the officers of the crew were killed in the crash. The engineer, Sgt Leon Finneran, after struggling through snow for many hours was finally arrested by Swiss guards and was interned in Switzerland. He later escaped through the French underground and returned to England.

Gerald L. Kerr Crew

The crew on this mission was as follows:
     Plane s/n 42-31552     
Pilot Lt Gerald L. Kerr   KIA  
Copilot Lt Arthur H. Lindskoog   KIA  
Navigator Lt Edward A. Shilling   KIA  
Bombardier Lt Melvin L. Levine   KIA  
Aircraft Engineer
Sgt Leon Finneran    INT
Radio Operator
Sgt Ernest J. hegedus    POW
Left Waist Gunner
Sgt Harold E. Alhfors   POW
Ball Turret Gunner
Sgt Samuel P. Younger, Jr.   POW
Tail Gunner
Sgt Donald B. Boyle   POW
                                         (457th Home) (Back)            Updated 12/03/2000, 19:17:05
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the Content:  Willard (Hap) Reese (Website Author)