457th Bomb Group 457th Bomb Group Honor Roll
Mission No. 154
748th Bomb Squadron
457th Bomb Group 748th Bomb Squadron
                                         (457th Home) (Back)            Updated 12/03/2000, 19:17:22

Mission Narrative

Mission No. 154
Date - November 30, 1944
Target - Bohlen-cr in Belgium
The synthetic oil refinery at Bohlen, Germany was the target for the 457th on this date and the Group was led by Col Rogner who was Air Commander. One run on the target was made but because of smoke and haze the target could not be identified and a second run was attempted. On the second run, another group almost "shuffled the deck" with the 457th and the groups bombs were dropped off the target. One Squadron dropped it's bombs on the town of Gotha. Flak was intense and accurate and two planes, s/n 42-107026 and s/n 42-31505, were shot out of the formation but managed to land in France. The lead plane, s/n 43-38583, in high element of the high box was also hit and managed to land at a P-47 airbase in Belgium.
Plane s/n 43-38583, 748th Squadron, was hit by flak over the target at Bohlen, Germany. The plane left the formation and managed to stay aloft till they reached a P-47 airbase in Belgium where they landed safely. None of the crew were injured. (Here is a description of this mission from Harry Cornell, tail gunner on Speth's crew).

"The mission to Bohlen was one of our roughest missions. It was a long haul deep into southern Germany. I remember we flew over a lot of high mountains. The sky was clear of clouds, and the flak was intense over the target area. The lead ship had their oxygen system shot out, and they dropped from formation. Our group didn't drop our bombs, and we had to take a 360, and go over again. This time the flak was very accurate, and we took many hits, knocking out two engines. The feathering device on one engine was hit, and the pilot couldn't feather the prop. It then started to windmill and put a heavy drag on our airspeed. We couldn't maintain altitude, and was dropping fast. Then it broke loose from the shaft, and began spinning out of control, and shaking the whole plane to pieces. Everyone was about ready to bail out. The pilot tried everything to dislodge the prop but couldn't. The waist gunners had pulled the pins on the waist door, and it dropped out. We flew alone on our way back, but did have a lone P51 for an escort for a little while. The pilots knew that we would never make it back over the channel, and decided to land at any friendly base. When we got over our battle lines into friendly territory they spotted the P 47 and decided to land there. The runway was too short, and we knocked over a few trees at the end, but everyone was okay. The prop fell off when we landed. I don't think that plane ever flew again. We stayed in Belgium for a couple of days, and then flew to France, and came back to Glatten in a C 47." (Also, see John Welch's story about this mission in "Black Puff Polly" by Roland Byers)

......... Crew

The crew was as follows:
     Plane s/n 43-38583     
PilotLt Lauren M. Spleth
CopilotLt John F. Welch
BombardierLt Theodore M. Braffman
Aircraft EngineerSgt Robert L. Haynes
Radio OperatorSgt Edward J. Grybos
Left Waist GunnerSgt Norman T. Orenberger
Right Waist GunnerSgt Karl Lambertson
Ball Turret GunnerSgt John J. Briol
Tail GunnerSgt Harry J. Cornell
                                         (457th Home) (Back)            Updated 12/03/2000, 19:17:22
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the Content:  Willard (Hap) Reese (Website Author)