I am continuing my series of articles based on the entries from Kit C. Carter and Robert Mueller’s U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II Combat Chronology 1941 – 1945 and Jack McKillop’s USAAF Chronology: Combat Chronology of the US Army Air Forces. Both combat chronologies are excellent sources of information regarding combat missions in World War II and I thank the authors for sharing them online.
These articles are concentrated on the operations of the 8th Army Air Forces on the missions on which the John Oliver Buslee crew and James Joseph Brodie crew of the 384th Bomb Group participated. The statistics of other dates and missions and of other branches of the American Air Forces and theaters of operation of World War II are available through the links provided in this article to these two sources for those interested.
Today’s installment is the 28 September 1944 mission in which the Buslee crew and Brodie crew participated and were both lost in a mid-air collision.
WWII Combat Chronology – Thursday, 28 September 1944
384th BG Mission 201/8th AF Mission 652 to Magdeburg, Germany.
Target: Industry, Steelworks.
The John Oliver Buslee crew of the 544th Bomb Squadron and the James Joseph Brodie crew of the 545th Bomb Squadron participated in this mission.
Carter and Mueller’s U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II Combat Chronology 1941 – 1945 entry:
Nearly 1,000 HBs attack 2 synthetic oil plants, a motor plant, and city area—all in or near Magdeburg, Kassel, and Merseburg plus T/Os in C Germany including Eschwege A/F. 15 supporting ftr gps claim 26 aircraft destroyed. Over 30 HBs fail to return. Nearly 200 B-24’s carry fuel to France.
Jack McKillop’s USAAF Chronology: Combat Chronology of the US Army Air Forces entry:
EUROPEAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS (ETO)
STRATEGIC OPERATIONS (Eighth Air Force): Two missions were flown.
- Mission 652 to oil and military vehicle factories in C Germany. The Buslee and Brodie crews participated in this mission and both were lost in a mid-air collision.
- Mission 653, a leaflet drop in France, the Netherlands, and Germany during the night.
Also, B-24s fly a TRUCKIN’ mission to France with fuel. The 374th, 375th and 376th Fighter Squadrons, 361st Fighter Group, move from Bottisham to Little Walden, England with P-51s.
Mission 652: 1,049 bombers and 724 fighters are dispatched to hit oil and military vehicle factories in C Germany using PFF means; they claim 37-8-18 Luftwaffe aircraft; 34 bombers and 7 fighters are lost:
445 B-17s are dispatched to hit the Magdeburg/Rothensee oil refinery (23); 359 hit the secondary at Magdeburg and 35 hit targets of opportunity; they claim 10-7-5 aircraft; 23 B-17s are lost, 2 damaged beyond repair and 126 damaged; 8 airmen are WIA and 208 MIA. Escort is provided by 263 P-38s and P-51s; they claim 24-0-13 aircraft in the air and 1-0-0 on the ground; 5 P-51s are lost, 1 damaged beyond repair and 4 damaged; 5 pilots are MIA.
342 B-17s are dispatched to hit the Merseburg/Leuna oil refinery (301); 10 others hit targets of opportunity; 10 B-17s are lost, 4 damaged beyond repair and 251 damaged; 4 airmen are KIA, 15 WIA and 92 MIA. Escort is provided by 212 of 231 P-51s; they claim 2-1-0 aircraft in the air; 1 P-51 is lost (pilot MIA).
262 B-24s are dispatched to hit the Kassel/Henschel motor transport plant (243); 1 hits a target of opportunity; 1 B-24 is lost and 86 damaged; 10 airmen are MIA. Escort is provided by 171 of 195 P-47s; 1 P-47s is lost and 3 damaged; 1 pilot is MIA.
This is the final post in this series. Although some of the Buslee crew members (Chester Rybarczyk, James Davis, Clarence Seeley, Erwin Foster, and Eugene Lucynski) and Brodie crew members (William Barnes and William Taylor) served in the 384th Bomb Group past this mission, I have limited combat chronology coverage here to only those missions leading up to and including the mid-air collision of 28 September 1944.
- The Buslee crew’s and Brodie crew’s participation in 384th Bomb Group Mission 201/8th AF Mission 652
- Kit C. Carter and Robert Mueller’s U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II Combat Chronology 1941 – 1945
- Jack McKillop’s Combat Chronology of the US Army Air Forces
Except for entries from Carter and Mueller’s U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II Combat Chronology 1941 – 1945 and McKillop’s Combat Chronology of the US Army Air Forces © Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2022