457th Bomb Group 457th Bomb Group Honor Roll
Mission No. 143
751st Bomb Squadron
457th Bomb Group 751st Bomb Squadron
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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 43-37556, 751st Squadron, piloted by Lt William Dawson, was hit by 20 mm shells in the tail section and the #2 and #3 engines. This was a lead plane with two navigators and an Air Commander flying as copilot and the regular copilot flying in the tail gun position. The aircraft left the formation, climbed sharply and then dove to about 25000 ft. A fire seemed to develop in the tail section and while the pilot held the plane level several parachutes were seen to leave the plane before it blew up. One member of the crew were killed and nine became POW's. Lt Korb reported that McDaniel broke his leg in landing and Sgt Harden was shot in the hand by civilian fire while descending in his parachute. (See Jerome Silverman's account of this incident in "Black Puff Polly" by Roland Byers)

......... Crew

The crew was as follows:
     Plane s/n 43-37556     
PilotLt William A. Dawson   POW
CopilotCapt John B. Wallace   POW
NavigatorLt Jerome Silverman   POW
Navigator2Lt George P. Korb   POW
BombardierLt Frank C. Pappenfuss   POW
Aircraft EngineerSgt John N. Roster   POW
Radio OperatorSgt Harold L. McDaniel   POW
Left Waist GunnerSgt Joseph M. Geller   POW
Ball Turret GunnerSgt Glenn C. Hardin   POW
Tail GunnerLt Charles W. Ford   KIA  
                                         (457th Home) (Back)            Updated 12/03/2000, 19:17:19
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the Content:  Willard (Hap) Reese (Website Author)