The 384th Bomb Group’s Mission #176 was the 8th AAF’s Mission #533.
My dad, George Edwin Farrar, participated as waist gunner in his second mission with the 384th Bomb Group on 9 AUGUST 1944, flying with the 544th Bomb Squadron’s John Oliver Buslee crew.
The 384th Bomb Group was part of the 1st Bombardment Division, 41st Combat Wing, of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, and today they flew as part of the 41st “B” Combat Wing.
The 384th Bomb Group website’s Mission Summary describes the mission as,
More Bad Weather
The 384th Bombardment Group (H) provided all three groups of the 41st B Combat Bombardment Wing – except for three aircraft from the 303rd BG, which formed the high element of the high group – on today’s mission. Although the division abandoned operations at the Dutch Coast due to bad weather, the 41st B carried on until after they had passed Aachen, at which point the weather had become impenetrable. The wing leader ordered the wing to attack the briefed target of last resort, which the lead and high groups accomplished. However, the low group’s bombsight gyro ‘tumbled’ just before bombs away, so they went on to bomb a target of opportunity (TOO).
Thirty-five aircraft of the 384th Bomb Group were assigned to the mission. Of the 35,
- 30 completed the mission (not including spares)
- 2 aborted because of personnel failure and unable to locate the formation
- 2 were scrubbed
- 1 ground spare aircraft was unused
None of the aircraft are missing.
Mission documents identified the specific target of the day as the,
Erding Air Depot and A/F 20 miles NE of Munich, very important Air Storage Deport [Depot] holding large stores of A/C parts and equipment. Repairs and overhaul of operational A/C are carried out in the workshops. MPI is the center of the Sq. group of bldgs. 1 3/4 mi WNW of the A/F. This is a dispersed storage unit.
The targets of last resort were A/F at Stuttgart and the shoe factory at Permarens.
The Buslee crew flew today in the Low Group led by Capt. Edward William Lane. In his Low Section Leader’s Narrative, Lane noted that they bombed a target of opportunity, a bridge at Nohfelden, Germany, over the Nahe River.
The Buslee crew flew under these leaders on this date,
- Low Group Commander Capt. Edward William Lane, 384th Bomb Group Assistant Group Operations Officer
- 41st “B” Combat Wing Air Commander Lt. Col. William R. Calhoun, Jr., originally of the 303rd Bomb Group, transferred to 41st CBW at Molesworth as Director of Operations and Executive Officer until 23 DECEMBER 1944. [The American Air Museum in Britain reports that Calhoun was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel at age 23 and Clark Gable pinned Calhoun’s silver oak leaves on him. Read more about Calhoun on their site].
- Major Gerald Busby Sammons (not a mission participant), 544th Bomb Squadron Commanding Officer 14 September 1944 to 6 November 1944
- Col. Dale Orville Smith (not a mission participant), 384th Bomb Group Commander 23 November 1943 to 24 October 1944
The Buslee Crew Loading List for Mission #176 was:
- Pilot – John Oliver Buslee
- Co-Pilot – David Franklin Albrecht
- Navigator – Chester Anthony Rybarczyk
- Bombardier – James Buford Davis
- Radio Operator/Gunner – Sebastiano Joseph Peluso
- Engineer/Top Turret Gunner – Lenard Leroy Bryant
- Ball Turret Gunner – Erwin Vernon Foster
- Tail Gunner – Eugene Daniel Lucynski
- Waist Gunner – George Edwin Farrar (my dad)
The Buslee crew were aboard B-17 44-6149, Hot After It. The Tactical Interrogation form filled out by Lt. Buslee at the completion of the mission described,
- Time took off 0705
- Time landed 1345
- Target attacked at 1052 from an altitude of 18,500 ft.
- Bombs on target: 6 with group, Returned: 4
- Observed Results, Probable Damage: Poor
- No flak reported
- No battle damage reported
Buslee reported Technical Failures:
- Tail gunner’s (Lucynski’s) interphone push to talk button on the gun inoperative.
- Three (3) bombs hung up on the right inboard rack. 1 on upper station of right outboard rack.
- Fluxgate compass inoperative.
Mission data in group reports included Armament Failures reported for 44-6149 as Four bombs returned.
With Buslee flying his first mission as first pilot, David Franklin Albrecht flew in the co-pilot position with the Buslee crew for the first time in combat.
With Clarence Seeley in the hospital recovering from his flak wound of the 5 AUGUST mission, Lenard Leroy Bryant, one of the two waist gunners assigned to the Buslee crew, took over as Engineer/Top Turret gunner for the crew.
With the death of Marvin Fryden due to flak on the 5 AUGUST mission, James Buford Davis became the Buslee crew bombardier, and flew his first combat mission of the war.
Also on this same mission with the Buslee crew, but flying in the High Group, the original members of the James Brodie crew of the 545th Bomb Squadron completed Mission #176 aboard B-17 42-31484, Mairsy Doats, minus waist gunner Leonard Opie. The crew’s other waist gunner, Harry Liniger, manned the waist guns for the crew on this mission, leaving Opie to sit this one out.
The Brodie crew did not report any battle damage or failures other than the range sites were bent on both waist guns and the tail gunner’s heated suit went out.
The James Brodie crew left crew training at Ardmore, Oklahoma at the same time as the Buslee crew on their way to the ETO, European Theatre of Operations. Both crews were assigned to the 384th Bomb Group within days of each other after reaching England although the Buslee crew was assigned to the 544th Bomb Squadron while the Brodie crew was assigned to the 545th.
The two crews participated in many of the same missions, although it is unlikely that the men of the two crews interacted in any other way as they were members of different crews and different squadrons at Grafton Underwood, although they may have recognized each other from their time at Ardmore together.
- Previous post on Mission 176
- Thank you to the 384th’s Fred Preller and Keith Ellefson for obtaining and sharing WWII reports and mission documents from the National Archives for the 384th Bomb Group.
- Mission documents and other mission information courtesy of Fred Preller’s 384th Bomb Group website
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2020