The Arrowhead Club

The 384th Bomb Group’s Mission #196 was the 8th AAF’s Mission #642.

My dad, George Edwin Farrar, participated as waist gunner in his thirteenth mission with the 384th Bomb Group on 19 SEPTEMBER 1944, flying as the only Buslee crew member on a ship piloted by William Marcus Reed. See more detail about the makeup of the crew below in the loading list…

The 384th Bomb Group was part of the 1st Bombardment Division, 41st Combat Wing, of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, and today they led the 41st “A” Combat Wing.

The 384th Bomb Group website’s Mission Summary describes the mission as,

Mixed Results
The 384th Bomb Group, flying as the 41st A CBW, attacked the primary target at Hamm, Germany, with fair results for the Lead group [squadron], and poor results for the Low group [squadron]. The High group [squadron] did not bomb.

Mission documents, specifically the Pre-Briefing Target Study, identified the specific target of the day as the R.R. M/Y [railroad marshalling yards] at Hamm, Germany. PFF, same target.

Briefing Notes further detailed,

Primary Target: Rail Road Marshalling Yards at Hamm. Target has capacity of 10,000 railroad cars per day and is the largest and busiest yards in Germany. The nerve center of German Rail Traffic. Handles traffic between the Ruhr and North and Central Germany. Four lines leave the South end of the Yard and two from the North. Yard is three miles long. It is directly connected with supplying the enemy troops opposing our airborne operation.

PFF Target is the same as your primary target visual.

Last Resort are two Air Force targets at Gütersloh and Handorf. If unable to bomb these, any military target positively identified as being in Germany and East of the Current Strategic Bomb Line, which is marked on flak maps of lead navigator.

[Briefing Notes edited by the author for readability].

A special warning instructed,

Be on the alert for enemy aircraft entire time from England.

Forty-three aircraft of the 384th Bomb Group were assigned to the mission. Of the 43,

  • 36 completed the mission (not including spares)
  • 1 flying spare completed the mission
  • 3 ground spare aircraft were unused
  • 1 was scrubbed
  • 2 landed in Allied territory. Both were flying spare and filled in with the 41st “B” wing with the 303rd Bomb Group. One crew (Carnes) bailed out over Binche, Belgium and one crew (Hassing) landed in France.

My dad flew in the Lead Group commanded by Col. Dale Orville Smith, 384th Bomb Group Commander.

Dad flew under these leaders on this date,

  • 41st “A” Combat Bombardment Wing Lead, Air Commander Col. Dale Orville Smith, 384th Bomb Group Commander 23 November 1943 to 24 October 1944, in the 384th’s lead aircraft in the Lead Group. This was the first of my dad’s missions in which the Group Commander participated.
  • Major Gerald Busby Sammons, (not a mission participant), 544th Bomb Squadron Commanding Officer 14 September 1944 to 6 November 1944.

The Air Commander’s (Col. Dale Smith’s) Narrative stated, regarding one of the crews landing in Allied territory,

A/C No. 7982 [B-17 42-39782, Tremblin’ Gremlin], Lt. Carnes, Pilot is missing. [Buslee crew tail gunner Eugene Daniel Lucynski was aboard this aircraft]. This aircraft, a spare, joined the formation of 41st Combat Bombardment Wing “B.” Just before the I.P. this aircraft was struck by flak and left the formation immediately after dropping its bombs on the Target. Aircraft appeared to be under control at the time.

The B-17 42-39782, Tremblin’ Gremlin, was the ship of my father’s first combat mission and the only B-17 name he ever mentioned in his WWII stories to me as I was growing up.

The Low Section Leader’s (Capt. Edgar Ellsworth Ulrey’s) Narrative stated, regarding the crew that landed in France,

A/C No. 8014 [B-17 42-38014, Little America II], Lt. Hassing, Pilot is missing. This aircraft, a spare, joined the formation of the 41st Combat Bombardment Wing “B.” The aircraft was struck by flak just before the I.P. and immediately after dropping on the target was observed leaving the formation, apparently under control.

The Loading List for Mission #196 for the aircraft carrying George Edwin Farrar of the Buslee crew was,

  • Pilot – William Marcus Reed (originally co-pilot of the Frank Allred crew; promoted to pilot and at that time took over command of the Dale McKinney crew when McKinney was transferred; Mission 196 was his next to last mission before he completed his tour of 35 missions)
  • Co-pilot – Donald George Springsted (of the Dale McKinney crew)
  • Navigator – Edward Gregory Jacobs (of the Dale McKinney crew)
  • Togglier – Nickolas Leschak, Jr. (of the Frank Allred crew)
  • Radio Operator/Gunner – Melvin Joseph Meyer (of the Dale McKinney crew)
  • Engineer/Top Turret Gunner – William C. Murphy (of the Dale McKinney crew)
  • Ball Turret Gunner – Robert McKinley Mitchell, Jr. (of the Frank Allred crew)
  • Tail Gunner – Albert Richard Macuch (of the Dale McKinney crew)
  • Waist Gunner – George Edwin Farrar (my dad, of the John Buslee crew)

Other than Farrar, the only other Buslee crew member to participate in this mission was Eugene Daniel Lucynski, the Buslee crew’s tail gunner.

My dad flew aboard pilot William Marcus Reed’s B-17 43-38062, Pleasure Bent. The Tactical Interrogation form filled out by Lt. Reed at the completion of the mission described,

  • Time took off 1000
  • Time landed 1630 Away
  • Target attacked at 1355 from an altitude of 24,600 ft.
  • Bombs on target: 12 x 500
  • Inaccurate flak reported at the target
  • Visual observations: 6 barges in one of canals
  • Technical Failures: none
  • Armament Failure: none
  • Battle damage: none

The James Brodie crew – James Brodie, Lloyd Vevle, replacement navigator Richard Potter, replacement togglier Theodore Rothschild, William Taylor, Robert Crumpton, Gordon Hetu, Wilfred Miller, and Harry Liniger – of the 545th Bomb Squadron flew on this mission in the High Group aboard B-17 42-97309, Kathleen Lady of Victory.

The Brodie crew reported,

  • Moderate to heavy inaccurate flak at the target area and East of the Moselle River.
  • Technical Failures, Aircraft: none.
  • Battle damage: none.

Mission data in group reports included,

  • No enemy aircraft encountered.
  • Flak encountered at target only was inaccurate for the Lead and Low Groups and fairly accurate for the High Group. Continuously Pointed Fire (CPF) employed.
  • Fighter support as briefed – good.
  • A/C 982 and A/C 014 missing. The two missing aircraft were briefed to fly as spares in the Lead and Low Groups respectively, but filled in with 303rd Bomb Group. Hit by flak after bombs away and forced to leave formation. No further information available at present – to follow.
  • Thirty-seven aircraft returned to England 19 September. A/C 083 only returned to base that date, A/C 703 landed at Woodbridge, one engine out. Balance of aircraft landed at Old Buckenham because home base was closed in. All aircraft except 703, 9888, 7788, 7320, and 1222 returned to home base 20 September. The five aircraft have remained at the bases they originally landed at.
  • PFF Aircraft 007 and 986 flew Lead and Deputy Lead of Lead Group respectively.

Written by Lt. Eugene Theron Hassing, pilot of the B-17 that flew with the 303rd Bomb Group and landed in France, “Lt. Hassings’ Story” was also included in the Mission Folder.

Flew with the 303rd High Group, and just before bombs away, got into the overcast and went on to bomb Munster. Hit by flak in the Rhur area. (Leader of this group got lost and we went thru the Rhur area). Low and Gas, and left formation to find a landing field just after leaving the Rhur. Landed at Vitry En Artois. Plane was undamaged. Only one hole in gas lines.

Stopped at Dugua. They fed eighteen men for four days.

To be continued next week, the fate of the Tremblin’ Gremlin and her crew…

Notes

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 196
  • 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 may be found, viewed, and saved or printed courtesy of Fred Preller’s 384th Bomb Group website.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2020


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