457th Bomb Group 457th Bomb Group Honor Roll
Mission No. 23
457th Bomb Group '749th Bomb Squadron
                                         (457th Home) (Back)            Updated 12/03/2000, 19:17:15

Mission Narrative

Mission No. 23
Date - April 09, 1944
Target - Gdynia
Over three hundred bombers were sent to bomb a FW-190 aircraft plane in Gydnia, Poland. This was the longest mission that the 457th had flown to date. Because of the distance friendly fighter protection would not be available near the target. The group lost three planes to a furious fighter attack both before they hit the target and on the way home. The route was over the North Sea, across Denmark and then East across the Baltic Sea. Many planes dropped out due to extremely bad weather conditions but the weather cleared as they approached the target. The bomb run and results were good in spite of enemy fighter attacks. Flak was moderate. The 457th lost three planes to enemy action. The 8th Air Force lost 32 bombers on this mission.
Plane s/n 42-97537, flown by Lt Amos Shepard, was hit by flak in the target area. At least one engines was out when he left the formation. Three parachutes were seen emerging from his plane. The plane dove down and leveled off and was immediately attacked by three FW-190's. All of the crew parachuted safely except engineer Fasone. He was found dead with an open parachute. (updated 04/05/01 based on infor received from Ralph Hammerstrom). Amos Bunch was injured in the upper lag by shrapnel but was able to abandon ship. He was later operated on in a German hospital and survived as a POW. Read Mission 23 in "Black Puff Polly" for a description of this mission by Harold Smith, ball turret gunner.

......... Crew

The crew was as follows:
     Plane s/n 42-97537     
PilotLt Amos W Shepard   POW
CopilotLt Ralph O. Hammerstrom   POW
BombardierLt Herbert W. Spalding   POW
NavigatorLt Kenneth Galyean   POW
Aircraft EngineerSgt Joseph I. Fasone   KIA  
Radio OperatorSgt Jon E. Roberts   POW
Left Waist GunnerSgt Arnold E. Kaufman   POW
Right Waist GunnerSgt Amos T. Bunch   POW
Ball Turret GunnerSgt Harold E. Smith   POW
Tail GunnerSgt William H. Good   POW
                                         (457th Home) (Back)            Updated 12/03/2000, 19:17:15
Note: Please feel free to send your observations/comments on
the Content:  Willard (Hap) Reese (Website Author)