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New Info on WAJ Jr's 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th Missions
NOTE: 04/15/02 - Information kindly supplied by Dewayne Bennett, former pilot of the 384th Bomb Group, 545th Squadron. All information below is directly quoted from email written by Dewayne Bennett to me on 04/15/02.
Mission #13 SORAU, GERMANY 4/11/44
We flew with the 384th on April 11, 1944 to Sorau, Germany. I was in the 41st "B" Combat Wing and your dad was in the 41st "A" Combat Wing. The 384th lost one crew that day, but the Luftwaffe made the 8th Air Force pay a dear price for the deep penetration to this target. The 8th lost 64 heavy bombers that day. There was no publicity, and few people know of these losses There are all kind of books written about the August 17th 1943, and the Oct. 14th, 1943 (Black Thursday) missions to Schweinfurt, and the March 6th, 1944 (I think that date is right) to Berlin where in each instant the 8th lost over 60 airplanes on each raid. Much publicity about those three missions, but not a word about Sorau, Germany. Your dad was in a/c 42-32106 JD-R, "Snuffy." They were flying in the high squadron of the high group, and were flying on the left wing of the Squadron leader.
Mission #14 SOTTEVAST, FRANCE 4/20/44
On April 20, 1944 we went to Sottevast, Fr. We were in the same group (384th) and because I was a new crew I flew on the squadron leader, and your dad was in the low squadron right behind us. He flew in a/c 42-37982 SU-K, "Tremblin' Gremlin" and there were no crews lost on this mission.
Mission #15 HAMM, GERMANY 4/22/44
On April 22, 1944 we went to Hamm, Germany. We got off late in the afternoon, and your dad was flying in the lead squadron on the left wing of the leader in a/c 42-31435 SU-S "West's End." I was flying number seven in the low squadron, and that spot was called "Tail End Charlie." The important thing about this mission is that by the time we returned to England it was dark, and the Luftwaffe followed us into England. In the course of trying to land the formations the enemy shot down 24 B-24s as they were trying to land. There is a book about this mission called the "Night of the Intruder." We never came back that late again.
Mission #16 OBERPFAFFENHOFEN, GERMANY 4/24/44
The next mission April 24, 1944, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany we were in the same group again, and in the 41st "B" Combat Wing made up of 384th planes, one squadron of 306th airplanes and one squadron of 303rd airplanes. Your dad and I were in different groups, along with one other group making up the 41st "B" Combat Wing lead by our Commanding Officer, Col. Dale O. Smith. The 41st "A" Combat Wing was lead by Gen. Robert Travis, and the mission was one of the worst the 384th flew both from losses in the 41st "B" combat wing. Your dad and I became blood brothers from this mission...