457th Bomb Group 457th Bomb Group Honor Roll
Mission No. 133
457th Bomb Group
457th Bomb Group 457th Bomb Group
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Mission Narrative

Mission No. 133
Date - October 07, 1944
Target - Politz - Ditched in Channel
The mission to Politz, Poland on this Oct 10th turned out to be one of the most costly mission for the 457. The group not only lost five planes to enemy action but it also lost the group commander, Col James Luper. The target at Politz was a synthetic oil refinery that had been bombed a couple of times before. The group put up 48 planes for this mission led by the group commander, Col Luper. Thirty six planes made up the lead box and the extra 12 planes went to make up another box together with twelve planes put up by the three other groups of the 94th Wing. The 457th group was to be the first over the target at 26,000 ft. The flight to the target was uneventful. The bomb run was to be 8 minutes long and each squadron bombed in trail. The visibility was good but the Germans put up an artificial smoke screen that hid much of the target area. The lead plane, s/n 44-8046, containing Col Luper was hit by accurate tracking flak before they could drop their bombs. Also aboard this plane was the Group Surgeon who was killed. The deputy lead took over and the #3 plane was also hit badly and left the formation. The lead plane in the low squadron s/n 42-97638 was also hit and left his formation. In addition to the six planes lost, thirty eight sustained some damage and five had major damage. The planes lost were: 44-8046, 42-97638, 44-6469, 43-38529, and 42-102905.
Plane 43-38529, piloted by Lt Ernest T. Salzer, was a "lemon" of an airplane that had had many problems in the past. On the way to the target the plane was performing so badly that they had to drop back out of the Group but proceeded to the target in trail and rejoined the group to bomb the target. They tried to stay with the Group but could not and their fuel consumption was such that they could not make it back to England. They threw everything they could overboard to lighten the load and considered going to Sweden but did not. They also found that they had a ground crew man on board who had stowed away. They radioed Air-Sea rescue and then ditched in the North Sea. All the crew were rescued.

......... Crew

The crew was as follows:
     Plane s/n 43-38529     
PilotLt Ernest T. Salzer
CopilotLt Rex R. Monson
NavigatorLt Kenneth Post
BombardierLt William H. Steffen
Aircraft EngineerSgt Jack F. Scarborough
Radio OperatorSgt Vincent A. Toth
Left Waist GunnerSgt Richard F Mitrenga
Ball Turret GunnerSgt Benjamin W. Hamrick
Tail GunnerSgt Boyd S Ballinger
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the Content:  Willard (Hap) Reese (Website Author)