The Arrowhead Club

Category Archives: WWII

WWII Timeline – 1946

I’m continuing my WWII Timeline series with a look at 1946 in this post.

A Timeline of WWII, 1946

March 5, 1946

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill delivered his Sinews of Peace/Iron Curtain Speech at Missouri’s Westminster College. This speech may be regarded as the most important Churchill delivered as Leader of the Opposition (1945-1951). His passage on the iron curtain had incalculable impact upon public opinion in the United States and in Western Europe. Russian historians date the beginning of the Cold War from this speech. A link to the entire speech is in the Sources section below and includes Churchill’s full reference to the iron curtain starting with,

From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent…

March 11, 1946

The British arrested former Auschwitz Kommandant Rudolf Höss, who was posing as a gardener or farm worker in Gottrupel, Germany.

March 20, 1946

The imprisonment of Japanese in American internment camps, which began on February 19, 1942, ended with the closing of the camps.

April 15, 1946

Rudolf Höss testified at the Nuremberg trials. Later he was tried in Warsaw, Poland and found guilty. While in prison, he wrote his memoirs about Auschwitz and claimed,

History will mark me as the greatest mass murderer of all time.

April 28, 1946

The International Military Tribunal for the Far East indicted Japanese War Minister Tojo Hideki as a war criminal and charged him with fifty-five counts.

May 16, 1946

The two month trial of the U.S. Military Tribunal for War Crimes for seventy-four former SS men, including Jochen (aka Joachim) Peiper and SS General Sepp Dietrich, concerning the Malmedy Massacre of December 17, 1944, began.

See more about the Malmedy Massacre of December 17, 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge in my Fall 1944 Timeline post and subsequent information regarding January 1945 in my Winter 1945 Timeline post.

The trial was held in a courthouse at Dachau. The defense team raised allegations of mistreatment including physical abuse by the U.S. Army and cited the use of mock trials in obtaining SS confessions as improper. The defense also complained that the court’s legal expert, a Jew, constantly ruled in favor of the prosecution.

The trial included testimony by a survivor of the massacre who was able to point out the SS man that actually fired the first shot.

July 11, 1946

In the Malmedy Massacre trial, the Judges returned a verdict after two and a half hours of deliberation. All of the SS were found guilty as charged. Forty-three, including Jochen Peiper, were sentenced to death, and twenty-two, including Sepp Dietrich, were sentenced to life imprisonment. The others received long prison terms in Landsberg Prison, the same prison where Hitler had served time following the failed Beer Hall Putsch of 1923.

Controversy continued, however, as various U.S. Army Boards conducted critical reviews of the trial process and methods used during pretrial interrogations. As a result, most of the death sentences were commuted and over half of the life sentences were reduced.

October 16, 1946

Hermann Göring commited suicide two hours before the scheduled execution of the first group of major Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg. Hans Frank and the others were hanged and the bodies taken to Dachau and burned in the final use of the crematories there.  Their ashes were scattered into a river.

During his imprisonment, Hans Frank stated,

A thousand years will pass and the guilt of Germany will not be erased.

December 9, 1946

Twenty-three former SS doctors and scientists went on trial before the U.S. Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. Sixteen were found guilty, and seven were hanged.

December 31, 1946

Harry Truman issued Presidential Proclamation 2714 declaring an official end to World War II, officially declaring the cessation of all hostilities. Even though the actual combat of the war ended May 8, 1945 in Europe and September 2, 1945 in the Pacific, the state of war was not lifted off of Japan and Germany in order to give a reason for the necessity of occupation troops in those countries.

Once the War Crimes Trials ended, the hostilities were seen as over. The signing of Proclamation 2714 is the reason why the U.S. recognizes its World War II veterans as anyone who has served between the dates of December 7, 1941, and December 31, 1946.

Sources:

This series of posts is based on a compilation of timelines from:

The Holocaust Encyclopedia

The History Place:

The National WWII Museum Interactive Timeline

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

World War II Chronicle by the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

Winston Churchill’s Sinews of Peace-Iron Curtain Speech

Rudolf Höss – Wikipedia

Höss Testimony at the Nuremberg Trials

Subsequent Nuremberg trials

Doctors and Scientists Trial

Jochen (aka Joachim) Peiper

Most recent post from the series:

Fall 1945

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2020

Louis Albrecht Letter to the Buslees

Almost four months since the B-17’s of the Buslee and Brodie crews of the 384th Bomb Group collided over Magdeburg, Germany, the father of David Franklin Albrecht, co-pilot of the Buslee crew, wrote a letter to Jay Buslee’s (the pilot’s) parents. The boys were still considered Missing in Action.

January 22, 1945
(Letter incorrectly dated December 22, 1945)
Congregational Church
Scribner, Nebr.
Louis M. Albrecht, Pastor

Mr. John Buslee
Park Ridge, Illinois.

Dear Friends:  We appreciate your letters and interest and wish to thank you.  I am enclosing a copy of a circular letter which we sent to a number of our friends.  There is very little to add.  We are anxiously waiting every day for more news.

Pat [David Albrect’s wife Patricia] has had her baby girl now.  She is getting along real well.  Since her folks are working that leaves her with the house work and she seems to be very busy.  She plans to come out to be with us soon.

Our second boy had a very narrow escape.  A machine gun was turned onto his buddy and himself.  His buddy was killed.  Junior received some scalp wounds.  The last letter was written Jan. 8.  He doesn’t expect to get to the front line till spring.  We hope and pray that the war may be over before he has to get into action.

We have also been writing to different members of the families of our boys crew.  The news and response was similar to that which you received.  We also hope with you for more and better news.

Sincerely yours,
Louis M. Albrecht

Mr. Albrecht included the circular letter,

Undated
(Enclosed Circular Letter)
Congregational Church
Scribner, Nebr.
Louis M. Albrecht, Pastor

Dear Friends:  As you can see by the heading we are now located at Scribner.  Several factors entered to make moving advisable.  This is a large town, a bigger field, and has more desirable school facilities.  It seemed to be an advicable step from every viewpoint.

The people here are just wonderful, but that is nothing unusual, as we have always found excellent people wherever we were.  We have had extremes of joys and sorrows during the past few months and found that friends from everywhere prayed for and sympathized with us.  During the last three months we received in the neighborhood of three hundred lovely cards and messages of sympathy and good will.  It is almost impossible to write a personal letter to all but we want you to know that we appreciate your kindnesses and thoughtfulness.  We would enjoy a visit from you.

Our older son, David, has been missing since Sept 28 1944.  We have not received any other information.  He had been commended for meritorious service and had attained the rank of First Lieut.  The younger boy, Louis Jr. through a series of bad breaks caused mostly by political bungling, was finally reverted to the infantry and went into active service in Holland and Germany.  He was wounded while in action at the front in Germany on Dec. 1 and is now recuperating in England.  He is probably back at the front by this time.  He has been awarded the purple heart.  Last letter written Dec. 26.

The rest of us are here; the girls in school and Mrs. A. and I are trying to do the pastoral work for this parish.  This is a town of about one thousand, mixed nationalities but a majority of German descent.  It is a beautiful town located on the Elkhorn River.  The church and parsonage are side by side and the city park is just across the street to the east.  The church had been re-decorated during the past year.  New chancel and pews.  We have a nice pipe organ and gas heat throughout.  No coal to carry nor ashes to clean out.  Just keep warm and pay the bills at the end of every month.

There have been quite a number of deaths this fall.  Mostly older people.  This town was hit by a terrific flood last June 11.  It has almost fully recovered.  The people set to work with a will and have re-built better than ever.  The railroad to Dodge and beyond is almost ready for use.

We hope that this circular letter will partly compensate for the nice messages and cards we have received.  May God’s blessings be with you and protect you and yours is our prayer.

Mr. and Mrs. Louis K. Albrecht and Girls.

The 1st Congregational Church of Scribner, Nebraska is today known as United Church of Christ. It is located at 614 Howard Street.

Thank you to John Dale Kielhofer, John Oliver (Jay) Buslee’s nephew, for sharing this family letter with me.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2020

WWII Timeline – Fall 1945

I’m continuing my WWII Timeline series with a look at October – December 1945 in this post.

A Timeline of WWII, Fall 1945

October 24, 1945

The United Nations was “born,” formally coming into existence on this day when its charter was ratified by its five permanent members: the United States, Great Britain, France, China, and the Soviet Union.

Otto Frank received word that his daughters Anne and Margot died at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Hermine “Miep” Gies, one of the Dutch citizens who hid the Frank family and four other Dutch Jews from the Nazis, gave him the diary written by Anne that she found in the annex after the family was arrested.

November 13, 1945

Free French leader General Charles de Gaulle was elected head of the provisional French government.

November 20, 1945

The best-known of the Nuremberg trials, the Trial of Major War Criminals, was held from November 20, 1945 to October 1, 1946. The former leaders of Hitler’s Third Reich on trial in Nuremberg, Germany included,

  • Hermann Göring
  • Rudolf Hess
  • Joachim von Ribbentrop
  • Wilhelm Keitel
  • Ernst Kaltenbrunner
  • Alfred Rosenberg
  • Hans Frank
  • Wilhelm Frick
  • Julius Streicher
  • Walther Funk
  • Hjalmar Schacht
  • Karl Dönitz
  • Erich Raeder
  • Baldur von Schirach
  • Fritz Sauckel
  • Alfred Jodl
  • Franz von Papen
  • Arthur Seyss-Inquart
  • Albert Speer
  • Konstantin von Neurath
  • Hans Fritzsche

The trial was conducted by a joint United States-British-French-Soviet military tribunal, with each nation supplying two judges.

The four counts in the indictment were:

  • Count 1 – Conspiracy to commit crimes alleged in the next three counts
  • Count 2 – Crimes Against Peace, including planning, preparing, starting, or waging aggressive war
  • Count 3 – War Crimes, including violations of laws or customs of war
  • Count 4 – Crimes Against Humanity, including murder, extermination, enslavement, persecution on political or racial grounds, involuntary deportment, and inhumane acts against civilian populations

The History Place reports that,

The majority of the defendants claimed they were unknowing pawns of Adolf Hitler or were simply following orders. Evidence used against the defendants included Nazi propaganda films and extensive Nazi paperwork documenting mass murder and other crimes. Also shown were films taken by the Allies after the liberation of extermination camps.

For more detail about the trial, follow the link below in Sources.

December 9, 1945

General George S. Patton broke his neck in a car accident near Mannheim, Germany. The accident left him paralyzed from the neck down.

December 21, 1945

General Patton died in a hospital in Luxemburg from injuries he sustained in the December 9 car crash.

December 22, 1945

Britain and the U.S. formally recognized the new government of Josip Broz Tito’s Yugoslavia.

U.S. President Harry S. Truman issued an executive order known as the “Truman Directive,” which gave preference to displaced persons for immigrant visas under existing U.S. immigration quota restrictions. Overall immigration into the United States did not increase but more displaced persons were admitted than before. About 22,950 displaced persons, of whom two-thirds were Jewish, entered the United States between December 22, 1945 and 1947 under provisions of the Truman Directive.

Sources:

This series of posts is based on a compilation of timelines from:

The Holocaust Encyclopedia

The History Place:

The National WWII Museum Interactive Timeline

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

World War II Chronicle by the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

The History Place: Nuremberg War Crimes Trial

Most recent post from the series:

Summer 1945

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2020

David Franklin Albrecht

David Franklin Albrecht, co-pilot of the Buslee crew, 384th Bomb Group

David Franklink Albrecht was born March 1, 1922 in Litchfield, Sherman County, Nebraska. His parents were Louis Michael Albrecht (1896 – 1969) and Minnie Jane Corder Albrecht (1895 – 1983). Louis’s heritage was German, Russian, and Polish. Louis’s father immigrated to America in 1873 as a child. Minnie’s family immigrated at some point prior to that as her parents were both born in the United States. Louis and Minnie were both born in Iowa.

According to the 1930 Federal census, Louis and Minnie Albrecht and their children lived in Newark Township, Kearney County, Nebraska. Louis, at 33 years old, was a high school teacher. Minnie, at 34, did not work outside the home. Their children were listed as son David F. (born in 1922, 8 years old), son Louis J. (born in 1924, 5 years old), and daughter Minnie M. (born in 1928, 2 years old). All of the children were born in Nebraska.

According to the 1940 Federal census, the Albrecht family lived in Hackberry Precinct, Polk County, Nebraska. The family’s last name was transcribed from the census record as Albracht rather than Albrecht, but the family members were the same, with everyone reported ten years older, but with the addition of another daughter, Lillian Lavon (5 years old and perhaps known as Bunny according to a newspaper article), also born in Nebraska. A middle name of Marie was recorded for daughter Minnie. Louis Sr. was a public school teacher. The 1940 census also noted that the family lived in the same home in 1935.

Although David’s father, Louis Albrecht, was listed in census records as a school teacher, he was identified as Reverend Louis M. Albrecht in the crew’s next-of-kin list and as Pastor of the Congregational Church of Scribner, Nebraska in the letterhead of the letter he sent to my grandmother in June 1945.

David Albrecht enlisted in the Army Air Corps on June 22, 1942. His Army serial number was initially assigned as 15125471, but once he completed pilot training and became an officer, his number changed to O-767423. His enlistment record also noted that his residence county/state was Gage County, Nebraska and he enlisted in Columbus, Ohio.

Although he enlisted on June 22, 1942, he received a deferred date of June 1943, one year from his enlistment. His nativity (the state in which he was born) was noted as Nebraska and the year of his birth as 1922. He had had three years of college as of his enlistment date.

On June 30, 1942, David registered for the draft in Marion, Marion County, Ohio. He listed his place of residence as Courtland, Gage County, Nebraska. He noted he was born on March 1, 1922 in Litchfield, Nebraska. The person he listed as the “person who will always know your address” was Rev. Louis M. Albrecht, Courtland, Nebraska. He listed his employer’s name as F. & Y. Construction Co. at RFD, Marion, Marion County, Ohio.

He listed his height as 5′ 8 1/2″, weight as 146 pounds, with blue eyes, blonde hair, and a light complexion.

David Franklin Albrecht married Patricia Hendrix of Chico, California on December 24, 1943 in Stockton, San Joaquin County, California at the First Congregational Church. She was born on September 20, 1926.

Patricia Hendrix Ross

David Albrecht  was assigned to the John Oliver Buslee crew of the 544th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) of the 384th Bombardment Group stationed in Grafton Underwood, England, per Army Air Forces Station 106 Special Orders #144 dated 22 July 1944. He flew his first of eighteen missions on August 4, 1944.

On September 28, 1944, David Franklin Albrecht was co-pilot aboard 43-37822 with the Buslee crew when it was involved in a mid-air collision coming off the target at Magdeburg. He was killed in the collision and is buried at the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial at Margraten in the Netherlands in Plot C, Row 2, Grave 11.

On December 8, 1944, Patricia Albrecht gave birth to her and David’s baby girl, still not knowing if her husband was dead or alive. She would not learn of his death until after the first of the next year.

Patricia remarried on April 7, 1947 to Albert Louis Ross in Chico, California and divorced him in March 1968. She died on December 10, 1991 at the age of 65 and is buried in Chico Cemetery, Chico, Butte County, California.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2020

WWII Timeline – Summer 1945

I’m continuing my WWII Timeline series with a look at July – September 1945 in this post.

A Timeline of WWII, Summer 1945

July 1, 1945

American, British, and French troops moved into Berlin.

July 5, 1945

Liberation of the Philippines from Japanese rule was announced by General Douglas MacArthur.

July 10, 1945

One thousand bomber raids against Japan began.

July 13, 1945

Italy (formerly an Axis power) declared war on Japan.

July 14, 1945

The first U.S. Naval bombardment of the Japanese home islands began when US Navy warships attacked the Japanese cities of Kamaishi and Muroran.

July 16, 1945

The first atomic bomb was successfully tested in the U.S. when the first-ever nuclear bomb was detonated in New Mexico at the Alamogordo Test Range. The bomb, nicknamed “Gadget,” created a crater nearly 1,000 feet wide. The test, code-named the “Trinity” nuclear test, began the Atomic Age.

July 17 – August 2, 1945

The Potsdam Conference, the last of the WWII meetings held by the “Big Three” heads of state (American President Harry S. Truman, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his successor, Clement Attlee, and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin) was held near Berlin. The conference established a Council of Foreign Ministers and a central Allied Control Council for administration of Germany. Talks primarily centered on the future of postwar Europe, but the “Big Three” also issued a declaration demanding “unconditional surrender” from Japan.

July 26, 1945

Clement Atlee of the Labour Party was elected British Prime Minister to succeed Conservative Winston Churchill.

The USS Indianapolis delivered components of the atomic bomb “Little Boy” at Tinian Island in the South Pacific.

July 28, 1945

A B-25 Mitchell bomber pilot became disoriented in heavy fog and crashed his aircraft into the Empire State Building in New York City. Although the accident did not compromise the building’s structural integrity, it caused fourteen deaths, three crewmen and eleven people in the building.

July 30, 1945

A Japanese submarine sank the Cruiser USS Indianapolis resulting in the loss of 881 crewmen. The ship sank before a radio message could be sent out leaving survivors adrift for two days. Only 316 onboard survived.

August 6, 1945

The United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan from a B-29 flown by Col. Paul Tibbets, killing as many as 140,000 people.

August 8, 1945

The Soviet Union declared war on Japan and invaded Manchuria.

August 9, 1945

The United States dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan from a B-29 flown by Maj. Charles Sweeney, killing as many as 80,000 people. Emperor Hirohito and Japanese Prime Minister Suzuki sought an immediate peace with the Allies.

August 14, 1945

Japan agreed to unconditional surrender. Some consider this date (August 15 in the UK because of time differences) as V-J (Victory over Japan) Day, but others consider September 2, when the surrender document was signed, to be V-J Day.

General Douglas MacArthur was appointed to head the occupation forces in Japan.

August 15, 1945

Some of the first child Holocaust survivors arrived in England from Europe.

August 16, 1945

General Jonathan M. Wainwright, a prisoner of war since May 6, 1942, was released from a POW camp in Manchuria.

Winston Churchill delivered an address in the British House of Commons stating,

…it is not impossible that tragedy on a prodigious scale is unfolding itself behind the iron curtain which at the moment divides Europe in twain.

August 27, 1945

B-29’s dropped supplies to Allied POWs in China.

August 29, 1945

The Soviets shot down a B-29 dropping supplies to POWs in Korea,

U.S. Troops landed near Tokyo to begin the occupation of Japan.

August 30, 1945

The British reoccupied Hong Kong.

September 2, 1945

President Harry S. Truman declared V-J (Victory over Japan) Day as Japan formally surrendered and signed a surrender agreement during a ceremony aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, as one thousand aircraft carrier-based planes flew overhead, officially ending WWII.

September 3, 1945

General Tomoyuki Yamashita of the Imperial Japanese Army, commander in the Philippines, surrendered to General Jonathan Wainwright at Baguio.

September 4, 1945

Japanese troops on Wake Island surrendered.

September 5, 1945

The British landed in Singapore.

September 8, 1945

General Douglas MacArthur entered Tokyo.

September 9, 1945

The Japanese in Korea surrendered.

September 13, 1945

The Japanese in Burma surrendered.

September 25, 1945

The Nazi party was declared illegal in Germany.

Sources:

This series of posts is based on a compilation of timelines from:

The Holocaust Encyclopedia

The History Place:

The National WWII Museum Interactive Timeline

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

World War II Chronicle by the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

Potsdam Conference

Fold3 Blog Post: The 75th Anniversary of the Sinking of the USS Indianapolis

Most recent post from the series:

Spring 1945

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2020

WWII Timeline – Spring 1945

I’m continuing my WWII Timeline series with a look at April – June 1945 in this post.

A Timeline of WWII, Spring 1945

Spring 1945

The Nazis continued marches of concentration camp and prisoner of war camp inmates. Some were marched westward away from advancing Soviet troops and some were marched eastward away from advancing American and British troops. At the same time, German civilians fleeing the advancing Russians often shared the road with the inmates marching. 

April 1945

The Allies discovered stolen Nazi art and wealth hidden in German salt mines.

Yugoslav Communist leader Josip Tito’s Partisan units captured Zagreb and toppled the Ustasa regime. Top Ustasa leaders fled to Italy and Austria.

Early April 1945

The Soviets drove the Germans and their Hungarian collaborators out of Hungary.

April 1, 1945

American troops encircled German forces in the Ruhr.

In the Pacific Theater, the Battle of Okinawa began with the final amphibious landing of the war when the U.S. Tenth Army invaded Okinawa.

April 4, 1945

The Soviets forced the surrender of Slovakia with the capture of Bratislava.

The Ohrdruf camp, a subcamp of the Buchenwald Concentration Camp, was liberated. It was the first Nazi camp liberated by U.S. troops. It was later visited by General Dwight D. Eisenhower (on April 12).

April 6, 1945

Codename “Operation Grapeshot” began. It was the Spring 1945 Allied offensive in Italy, the final Allied attack during the Italian Campaign near the end of WWII. This attack into the Lombardy Plain in Northern Italy by the 15th Allied Army Group ended on May 2 with the formal surrender of German forces in Italy.

April 7, 1945

American fighter pilots based on Iwo Jima escorted Boeing B-29 Superfortress bombers in their first P-51 Mustang fighter-escorted mission against Japan.

U.S. Aircraft Carrier-based fighters sank the Japanese super-battleship Yamato and several Japanese escort vessels which planned to attack U.S. Forces at Okinawa.

April 11, 1945

U.S. troops from the 6th Armored Division of the Third Army liberated the Buchenwald concentration camp shortly after the prisoners stormed the watchtowers and seized control of the camp.

U.S. forces liberated the Dora-Mittelbau camp.

April 12, 1945

President Franklin D. Roosevelt died of a cerebral hemorrhage at his Warm Springs, Georgia vacation home. Vice President Harry Truman, who had held the office for eighty-three days and had had little contact with Roosevelt, was summoned to the White House. Truman was unaware that Roosevelt had died. After being sworn in as President, one of Truman’s first acts was to meet with Roosevelt’s advisers to learn of matters of national security, including the existence of the atomic bomb.

Canadian forces liberated prisoners at the Westerbork camp in the Netherlands.

April 13, 1945

The Soviets captured Vienna, Austria.

April 15, 1945

British troops liberated the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Anne Frank and her sister Margot died of typhus at this camp a month earlier.

April 16, 1945

The Soviets launched their final offensive and encircled Berlin.

April 18, 1945

German forces in the Ruhr surrendered.

Pulitizer prize winner Ernie Pyle was killed by a Japanese sniper’s bullet while reporting on the Battle of Okinawa.

April 23, 1945

Soviets troops reached Berlin.

The 358th and 359th U.S. Infantry Regiments (90th US Infantry Division) liberated Flossenbürg.

April 28, 1945

The Allies took Venice.

Benito Mussolini and his mistress, Clara Petacci, captured as they attempted to flee to Switzerland, were executed by Italian partisans.

April 29, 1945

The U.S. 7th Army liberated the Dachau Concentration Camp.

Adolf Hitler married longtime mistress, Eva Braun.

April 30, 1945

Holed up in a bunker under his headquarters in Berlin, Adolf Hitler committed suicide. He and Eva Braun poisoned themselves and their dogs with cyanide capsules and Hitler shot himself in the head with his service pistol.

May 1945

Allied troops conquered Okinawa, the last island stop before the Japanese islands.

May 1, 1945

Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Reich Minister of Propaganda, and his wife Magda committed suicide after murdering their six children.

May 2, 1945

German troops in Italy surrendered.

The Theresienstadt Ghetto/Concentration Camp in the Czech Republic was taken over by the Red Cross.

The BBC History website reported about this date,

…After one of the most intense battles in human history, the guns at last stopped firing amongst the ruins of Berlin. According to Soviet veterans, the silence that followed the fighting was literally deafening. Less than four years after his attack on the Soviet Union, Hitler’s self-proclaimed thousand-year Reich had ceased to exist.

George Edwin Farrar, Lawrence Newbold, and other POW’s of Stalag Luft IV were liberated on the road near Gudow, Germany by the British Royal Dragoons.

May 5, 1945

The Mauthausen Concentration Camp was liberated. The camp was known for its “Todesstiege” (Stairs of Death) in the rock quarry at Mauthausen. The Nazis forced prisoners to repeatedly carry heavy granite blocks up 186 stairs until they died or were murdered if they failed.

May 7, 1945

Germany surrendered to the western Allies at General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Headquarters in Reims, France. German Chief-of-Staff, General Alfred Jodl, signed the unconditional surrender, to take effect the following day.

May 8, 1945

V-E (Victory in Europe) Day was declared as German troops continued to surrender to the Allies throughout Europe.

May 9, 1945

Germany surrendered to Russia at Soviet headquarters in Berlin. The Soviets had insisted that a second ceremonial signing take place in Soviet-occupied Berlin.

Hermann Göring was captured by members of the U.S. 7th Army.

May 14, 1945

The Austrian Republic was re-established.

May 20, 1945

The Japanese began withdrawal from China.

May 23, 1945

The German High Command and Provisional Government were imprisoned.

SS-Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler committed suicide while in British custody.

May 25, 1945

The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff approved “Operation Olympic,” the invasion of Japan, scheduled for November 1, 1945.

June 5, 1945

The Allies divided up Germany into four Zones of Occupation and took over the government.

June 9, 1945

Japanese Premier Suzuki announced Japan would fight to the very end rather than unconditionally surrender.

June 18, 1945

Japanese resistance ended on Mindanao in the Philippines.

American President Harry Truman authorized “Operation Olympic.”

June 22, 1945

In the Battle of Okinawa, which had begun on April 1, Japanese resistance ended as the U.S. Tenth Army completed its capture of Okinawa.

June 26, 1945

The United Nations charter was signed by fifty nations in San Francisco, California, USA.

June 28, 1945

General Douglas MacArthur’s headquarters announced the end of all Japanese resistance in the Philippines.

Sources:

This series of posts is based on a compilation of timelines from:

The Holocaust Encyclopedia

The History Place:

The National WWII Museum Interactive Timeline

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

World War II Chronicle by the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

Spring 1945 Offensive in Italy

Battle of Okinawa

Ohrdruf Camp

Adolf Hitler Suicide

The Battle for Berlin

Mauthausen Concentration Camp

Joseph Goebbels

Most recent post from the series:

Winter 1945

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2020

Clarence Burdell Seeley

Clarence Burdell Seeley, Engineer/Top Turret Gunner of the John Oliver Buslee Crew
Photo courtesy of grandson Jess Seeley

Clarence Burdell Seeley was born in Lincoln, Lancaster County, Nebraska on December 12, 1921, and grew up in Halsey, Thomas County, Nebraska. His parent were Ferris and Esther M. Rasmussen Seeley. Rather than Clarence, he preferred to go by his middle name, Burdell.

Burdell’s father, Ferris Seeley, was born in Nebraska in 1894. Ferris’s parents, John and Clara Seeley, were born in Iowa (John) and Illinois (Clara).

Burdell’s mother, Esther M. Rasmussen Seeley, was born in Christiansand, Norway in 1898. Her parents, George August and Gunnild Gurine Rasmussen, were both born in Norway. The Rasmussen’s immigrated to the United States in 1903 when Esther was five years old.

Ferris and Esther married on June 18, 1918 in Omaha, Nebraska shortly before Ferris enlisted for WWI service. He enlisted on July 25, 1918 and served in the Balloon Corps during the war. He was released from his military service on January 15, 1919.

I cannot locate a census record for Ferris and Esther Seeley for 1920, but their first son Donald Ferris Seeley was born that year in Omaha.

In 1930, according to the Federal census, the Seeley family lived at 2786 E. Street, Lincoln, Lancaster County, Nebraska, where Ferris Seeley worked as a delivery man in the construction industry. Ferris and Esther had four children – ten year old son Donald Ferris, eight year old son Clarence Burdell, six year old son Harold Floyd, and two months shy of four year old daughter Margaret Gwendolyn. All of the Seeley children were born in Nebraska.

In 1940, according to the Federal census and family records, the Seeley family lived in the village of Halsey in the Natick Precinct of Thomas County, Nebraska. The census record reported that on April 1, 1935, the family still lived in Lincoln, so the move to Halsey occurred after that point. Ferris worked as a “Care of Stock Rancher” on a ranch. Donald was no longer listed as living at home, but Burdell, Harold, and Margaret Gwendolyn were still at home with their parents. Burdell also worked as a “Care of Stock Rancher.”

In 1942, at twenty years old, Burdell was living in San Diego, California and working for Consolidated Air Craft when he registered for the draft on February 15. He listed his mother, Mrs. Esther Seeley of Halsey, Nebraska as the “person who will always know your address.” He listed his height at 5 feet 11 1/2 inches, weight at 167 pounds, and with brown hair, brown eyes, and a ruddy complexion.

Although I cannot find an enlistment record for Burdell in the National Archives under the Serial Number recorded for him in his 384th Bomb Group website’s personnel record (39270874), according to his U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, he enlisted in the Army on December 22, 1942.

Of course, at the time, the Air Force was part of the Army, so he either signed up for the Army Air Forces or he was designated so because of his aviation employment at Consolidated Air Craft. [Even without finding an actual enlistment record, I believe the December 22 date to be accurate because Burdell’s Social Security Number as indicated on the BIRLS file matches the SSN for him in the Social Security Death Index (both records found on Ancestry.com).]

Burdell’s two brothers also served in WWII. Older brother Donald Ferris Seeley (1920 – 1974) served in the Navy aboard the ammunition ship USS Rainier, and younger brother Harold Floyd Seeley served in the Army in a clerical position.

Clarence B. Seeley, Engineer/Top Turret Gunner, Buslee Crew

At the completion of his military training in the states, Clarence Burdell Seeley became the Engineer/Top Turret Gunner with the John Oliver (Jay) Buslee crew.  After final crew training in Ardmore, Oklahoma, the Buslee crew was assigned to the 384th Bomb Group based in Grafton Underwood, England on AAF Station 106 Special Orders #144 dated July 22, 1944. The crew flew heavy bomber missions in B-17s over Germany.  The ten-man crew included:

  • Pilot – John Oliver Buslee
  • Co-Pilot – David Franklin Albrecht
  • Navigator – Chester A. Rybarczyk
  • Bombardier – Marvin B. Fryden
  • Radio Operator/Gunner – Sebastiano Joseph Peluso
  • Engineer/Top Turret Gunner – Clarence B. Seeley
  • Ball Turret Gunner – Erwin V. Foster
  • Tail Gunner – Eugene D. Lucynski
  • Waist Gunner/Flexible Gunner – Lenard Leroy Bryant
  • Waist Gunner/Flexible Gunner – George Edwin Farrar

Once the Buslee crew of ten reached Grafton Underwood, flight crews had been reduced to only nine men per aircraft and included only one waist gunner rather than two. On the crew’s first mission on August 4, 1944 to Rocket R&D, Crossbow (V-Weapons), Peenemunde, Germany, Jay Buslee co-piloted alongside pilot Arthur Shwery, giving Buslee some combat training. This resulted in co-pilot David Franklin Albrecht flying with the Paul E. Norton crew, and George Edwin Farrar sitting out the mission as Lenard Leroy Bryant had been selected to fly as sole waist gunner on the Buslee crew’s first mission. Clarence Burdell Seeley completed his first mission as Engineer/Top Turret Gunner.

On the crew’s next mission, Shwery again provided combat training for Buslee, and Albrecht flew with the Norton crew. Farrar was rotated in as waist gunner and Bryant sat out this mission. This August 5 mission was to a military airfield in Langenhagen, Germany with the Buslee crew aboard aircraft 42-37982, The Tremblin’ Gremlin. At the beginning of the bomb run over the target, they were met with anti-aircraft fire. A shell exploded to the side of the Tremblin’ Gremlin’s nose and a shell fragment pierced the flying fortress and struck bombardier Marvin Fryden in the chest. Fryden managed to maintain his position and released Tremblin’ Gremlin’s bombs on the target before collapsing.

The engineer and top turret gunner, Clarence Burdell Seeley, sustained the second most serious injury. A piece of flak tore through the lower part of his right leg above the ankle. Also incurring minor injuries on the mission were navigator Chester A. Rybarczyk, pilot Arthur J. Shwery, co-pilot John Oliver Buslee, and waist gunner George E. Farrar.

The fort had sustained heavy battle damage. The right inboard engine was out. The radio compartment was riddled with flak holes and the radio equipment was destroyed. The trim tabs that control the plane’s balance were shredded. The hydraulic brake system was shot out. Part of the oxygen system was also out, causing the men up forward to use emergency supplies or tap other lines.

Only Fryden and Seeley needed immediate first aid treatment during the return trip. Navigator Chester Rybarczyk assisted Fryden, who remained conscious during the entire mission. Seeley attended to his own leg wound.

The left inboard engine went out as they reached the English coast and Buslee headed for the nearest airfield. Even with his brakes gone, Buslee managed to bring the plane in on the concrete landing strip and slide it off onto the grass to reduce the speed before finally coming to a halt.

Bombardier Marvin B. Fryden died later in an Army hospital with his friend Chester Rybarczyk at his side.

Engineer/Top Turret Gunner Clarence Burdell Seeley was seriously wounded and was taken to the 65th General Hospital for treatment. In the report written up regarding his qualification for the Purple Heart, the circumstances surrounding the receipt of wounds were reported as:

S/Sgt. Seeley was WIA by flak while serving as Top Turret Gunner on a B-17 aircraft on a bombardment mission over enemy occupied territory.

The report continued, describing that the wound consisted of:

Wound, penetrating, right, lower leg due to flak, 5 Aug., 1944. Hospitalized at 65th General Hospital, 35 days.

The 65th General Hospital during World War II was a reserve unit made up of staff from Duke University Medical Center of Durham, North Carolina, and was located in England on the grounds of Redgrave Park in Suffolk County. It was mainly Nissen Hut construction supplemented by ward tents. The hospital had 1456 beds and served from February 1944 to August 1945 as the major hospital center for the surrounding U.S. 8th Army Air Force.

Combat Data Specialist Keith Ellefson speculated that,

I suspect the 65th General Hospital was the general hospital closest to the field (Halesworth, Station 365) that they landed at upon return from the mission. Once he [Seeley] was ambulatory and it was determined that he would possibly recover well enough to go back on flight status, I imagine he would be returned to GU [the 384th’s base at Grafton Underwood] for convalescence and evaluation by the squadron flight surgeon.

Following his flak injury, Burdell Seeley was not able to fly again for almost two months.  As a result, he was grounded until October 1944.

With Seeley out as the Buslee crew’s engineer/top turret gunner, and the fact that flight crews had been reduced to only one waist gunner, Lenard Leroy Bryant was moved into the engineer/top turret gunner position on the crew. This left George Edwin Farrar as the sole waist gunner for the Buslee crew.

On September 28, just days before Seeley would return to flight duty, Lazy Daisy carrying the Brodie crew collided with 43-37822 carrying the Buslee crew after coming off the target at Magdeburg, Germany. Of the Buslee crew, only waist gunner George Edwin Farrar survived. The other eight members of the crew (see note below) were killed in the mid-air collision.

Burdell Seeley returned to flight duty for Mission 203 on October 2, 1944. He safely completed his tour with 34 missions, the last being Mission 285 on March 10, 1945, and was able to return home.

Clarence Burdell Seeley was released from military service on June 12, 1945. He and Patricia Louise Johnson of Merna, Nebraska were married that year.

Burdell returned to cattle ranching after the war and he and Patricia had two children. Burdell died on March 18, 1980 at 58 years old of a heart attack while working cattle in the corral with a neighbor. He is buried at the Kilfoil Cemetery in Merna, Custer County, Nebraska.

Note

On the September 28, 1944 mission the Buslee crew was made up of:

  • Pilot – John Oliver Buslee
  • Co-Pilot – David Franklin Albrecht
  • Navigator – William Alvin Henson II
  • Bombardier – Robert Sumner Stearns
  • Radio Operator/Gunner – Sebastiano Joseph Peluso
  • Engineer/Top Turret Gunner – Lenard Leroy Bryant
  • Ball Turret Gunner – George Francis McMann, Jr.
  • Tail Gunner – Gerald Lee Andersen
  • Waist Gunner – George Edwin Farrar (my dad)

Note of Apology

In an earlier post, I incorrectly identified Clarence B. Seeley, engineer/top turret gunner of the John Oliver Buslee crew of the 384th Bomb Group, as Clarence Benjamin Seeley, born on February 26, 1921 to Clarence A. and Marie A. Seeley, died August 17, 2007 in Portland, Clackamas County, Oregon. Interestingly, both Seeley families had roots in both Iowa and Nebraska, so I think it’s possible there could be a family relationship somewhere between them. Regardless, I apologize to both Seeley families for the mis-identification and thank Clarence Burdell Seeley’s grandson, Jess Seeley, for correcting me and providing me with biographical information on his grandfather, Burdell.

Sources

Press Release of the Buslee Crew’s August 5, 1944 Mission as reported in the Park Ridge, Illinois Advocate

65th General Hospital

Clarence Burdell Seeley and family memorial infomation on FindaGrave.com

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2020

WWII Timeline – Winter 1945

I’m continuing my WWII Timeline series with a look at January – March 1945 in this post.

A Timeline of WWII, Winter 1945

1945

As Allied troops advanced, the Nazis conducted marches of concentration camp and prisoner of war camp inmates away from outlying areas. Some were marched westward away from advancing Soviet troops and some were marched eastward away from advancing American and British troops. Prisoners received little aid from people in towns they passed through, and in some cases were harassed and assaulted. At the same time, German civilians fleeing the advancing Russians often shared the road with the marching camp inmates. 

January 1945

By January of 1945, the combined efforts of the Allied armies drove the Germans back to their original starting positions in the Battle of the Bulge. American troops reached the sight of the Malmedy Massacre of December 17, 1944 (see Fall 1944 post), now buried under two feet of winter snow.

The bodies of the eighty-one American POW’s lay frozen in the same spot they were murdered the previous month. They were located through the use of mine detectors and were numbered as each was uncovered. Forty-one of the POW’s had been shot in the head.

Columns of German POW’s were led by the site by their American captors during the U.S. medical team’s identification and recovery process, but no act of vengeance was perpetuated on the enemy soldiers.

January 1-17, 1945

German forces withdrew from the Ardennes.

January 3, 1945

In preparation for planned assaults against Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and mainland Japan, American General Douglas MacArthur was placed in command of all U.S. ground forces and American Admiral Chester Nimitz in command of all U.S. naval forces.

January 4, 1945

The British occupied Akyab in Burma.

January 6, 1945

The Russians liberated Budapest, Hungary, and in doing so, freed over 80,000 Jews.

January 9, 1945

The U.S. Sixth Army invaded Lingayen Gulf and landed on the island of Luzon in the Philippines.

January 11, 1945

U.S. Aircraft Carrier-based planes carried out an air raid against Japanese bases in Indochina.

January 12, 1945

In the Vistula–Oder Offensive, the Soviet Red Army made a major advance into German-held territory in Poland.

January 14, 1945

Russian troops invaded eastern Germany.

January 16, 1945

The U.S. 1st and 3rd Armies reconnected after a month-long separation during the Battle of the Bulge.

January 17, 1945

As part of the Vistula–Oder Offensive, Soviet troops captured and liberated Warsaw, Poland.

Swedish Foreign Ministry diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who in 1944 had saved nearly 33,000 Jews, was detained by Soviet agents and was never heard from again. (See post for July 1944 in Summer 1944 timeline series).

January 18, 1945

The Nazis evacuated 66,000 prisoners from Auschwitz.

January 19, 1945

As part of the Vistula–Oder Offensive, Soviet troops captured and liberated Krakow, Poland.

January 20, 1945

Crematory II at Auschwitz-Birkenau was destroyed by the SS using explosives, along with Crematory III, just seven days before the death camp was liberated by the Soviets.

U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was sworn in for his fourth and final term in office.

January 26, 1945

Crematory V at Auschwitz-Birkenau was blown up by the SS as the Soviets were approaching.

January 27, 1945

Soviet troops liberated the remaining prisoners at the Auschwitz death camp in Poland. By this time, an estimated 2,000,000 persons, including 1,500,000 Jews, had been murdered there.

January 28, 1945

The Allies finally eradicated the Ardennes salient (the Bulge).

The Burma road was reopened.

January 30, 1945

Adolf Hitler delivered his final radio address.

A Soviet submarine sank the MV Wilhelm Gustloff, a German armed military transport ship, in the Baltic Sea while evacuating German civilian refugees from East Prussia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, and Estonia and military personnel from Gotenhafen as the Red Army advanced. An estimated seven thousand to more than nine thousand died.

February 1945

Peru, Lebanon, Turkey, Uruguay, Paraguay, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Egypt joined the Allies and declared war on Nazi Germany and Japan.

Iran declared war against Japan.

February 3, 1945

The U.S. Sixth Army attacked the Japanese in Manila.

February 4, 1945

The U.S. First Army took the first of seven Ruhr Valley dams in Germany.

February 4 – 11, 1945

American President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet Union Premier Joseph Stalin attended the conference at Yalta on the Crimean Peninsula to discuss post-war spheres of influence.

February 6, 1945

The march of prisoners of war of Stalag Luft IV, of which my father George Edwin Farrar was one, began.

Tens of thousands of German civilians fled Breslau (now Wrocław), Poland before the westward advance of the Soviet Red Army.

February 12, 1945

All German women between the ages of 16 and 60 were called to service in the Volkssturm, the German people’s army.

February 13, 1945

The Soviets captured Budapest, Hungary after a two-month siege.

The 70th motorized infantry brigade of the Soviet Red Army liberated the Gross-Rosen concentration camp.

February 13 – 15, 1945

The German city of Dresden was destroyed by firestorm after Allied (British Royal Air Force and United States Army Air Forces) aircraft conducted bombing raids. Between 20,000 and 45,000 civilians were killed.

February 16, 1945

U.S. troops recaptured Bataan, a province on the Philippine island of Luzon, in the Philippines.

February 19, 1945

U.S. Marines invaded Iwo Jima with an amphibious assault.

February 23, 1945

U.S. Marines raised the flag atop Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima.

March 1, 1945

A U.S. submarine sank a Japanese merchant ship loaded with supplies for Allied POWs. The act resulted in a court martial for the captain of the submarine since the ship had been granted safe passage by the U.S. Government.

March 2, 1945

U.S. airborne troops recaptured Corregidor, an island located at the entrance of Manila Bay in southwestern part of Luzon Island in the Philippines.

March 3, 1945

U.S. And Filipino troops took Manila.

March 6, 1945

The last German offensive of the war began in an effort to defend the oil fields in Hungary.

March 7, 1945

The Allies took Cologne.

U.S. troops of the US 9th Armored Division captured the Ludendorff Railroad Bridge at Remagen, between Koblenz and Bonn, Germany, and crossed the Rhine River .

March 9/10, 1945

U.S. B-29 aircraft firebombing raids on Tokyo destroyed sixteen square miles of the city and killed an estimated 100,000 people.

March 10, 1945

The U.S. Eighth Army invaded the Zamboanga Peninsula on Mindanao in the Philippines.

March 15, 1945

Anne Frank died of typhus at the Bergen-Belsen Nazi Concentration Camp.

March 20, 1945

British troops liberated Mandalay, Burma.

March 26, 1945

The Battle for Iwo Jima ended with the Allied capture of the island from the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA).

March 27, 1945

The last German V-2 rocket struck Great Britain. The V-2 campaign killed nearly three thousand Britains.

B-29 aircraft laid mines in Japan’s Shimonoseki Strait to interrupt shipping.

March 30, 1945

Soviet troops captured Danzig, a port city on the Baltic Sea.

Sources:

This series of posts is based on a compilation of timelines from:

The Holocaust Encyclopedia

The History Place:

The National WWII Museum Interactive Timeline

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

World War II Chronicle by the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

Most recent post from the series:

Fall 1944

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2020

How Far Can You Throw That Bucket?

I’m presenting more detail on turbosuperchargers and bucket wheels to follow-up my previous posts, Gremlins, and Lazy Daisy’s Gremlin’s, Part 1 of 3, Part 2 of 3, and Part 3 of 3

During my research into gremlins, and particularly the gremlins infesting the 384th Bomb Group’s B-17 known as Lazy Daisy, I had to delve into a subject with which I am very unfamiliar, the mechanics of the B-17.

I am not at all mechanically-inclined, and in reading about Lazy Daisy’s gremlins (i.e., mechanical issues) some terms were more familiar ( like “broken piston heads,” “dropping oil pressure,” and “runaway props”) than others (like “lagging superchargers” and “throwing a bucket”).

So, to learn more, I asked a lot of questions and did a lot of reading. Here’s what I’ve learned.

Turbosuperchargers

In Lazy Daisy’s Gremlins, Part 2 of 3, the 384th Bomb Group’s Fred Preller and John Edwards helped me explain these terms, and since then, John and the 384th’s Keith Ellefson provided me with new information that I think deserves further review.

Remember the comment by pilot David Rucker after he used Lazy Daisy on the 29 May 1944 mission (in Lazy Daisy’s Gremlins, Part 3 of 3)? Rucker suggested,

A/C (Aircraft) 222 (Lazy Daisy) be taken out of combat because of oil regulator supercharger.  You cannot stay in formation with the electronic type.

John Edwards shed some more light on superchargers with,

When we say supercharger, that was a common name for the component as a whole. The actual name is turbosupercharger. There were two types of superchargers used, frequently called stages. You have a first stage which is used at lower altitudes and the one commonly referenced for higher (combat) altitude… The supercharger intake is a scoop on the bottom of the engine nacelle [the outer casing/housing of an aircraft engine]. This scoop feeds air into the charger which is the conventional way a supercharger worked back then.

The comment from the pilot is important because the GE [electronic type like Rucker mentioned] charger is a very widely used supercharger. It’s function operated in two stages as Fred indicated… [see Part 2 of 3].  I can’t determine other known vendors for the superchargers so for now I can only say that the tech data … clearly states the supercharger must be connected to an oil pump. These instructions apply to the B-17F and G model aircraft and Lazy Daisy is a G so this tech info applies. Therefore I can’t explain why the pilot mentioned the ‘oil one’.

Note: John is referencing a section named Removal of Turbosupercharger from B-17 Airplane of the book World War II – General Electric Turbosuperchargers.

With John’s new information, I’m not sure why Rucker phrased the reference to both the “oil regulator” and “electronic type” superchargers as he did either.

Apparently, the different models of B-17’s used different supercharger types and the transition from the (older) oil regulator to the (newer) electronic type came between the F and G models. I had determined that on all of David Rucker’s missions, up to the point of piloting Lazy Daisy on 29 May 1944, he had been assigned only G model B-17’s.

Combat Data Specialist Keith Ellefson told me that it was still possible that some of the G models Rucker had flown might still be of the older oil regulator type. Keith said,

I don’t know if all the G models were equipped with electronically controlled superchargers. I suspect that some of the early Gs were built with the oil control system until the inventory of oil control systems was used up and then the electronic system was phased in to replace the oil control system.

And even if Rucker had only flown the electronic type, Keith added,

Pilots would have to be briefed/trained on the difference between oil regulated and electronic regulated superchargers as the new ships came into the inventory. The controls for each system are different and it would be immediately apparent to the pilot when he got into the ship for a mission. In reality, I am sure that each pilot in the squadron knew which ships still had the oil regulator system and which ships had the electronic regulated system. From what I have read, the electronic system was a big improvement over the old, oil regulated system.

Keith also shared some information written by Wellwood E. Beall, who was Vice-President in charge of Engineering at Boeing Aircraft Company, that indicates that the electronic system was a “significant improvement” over the oil regulated system. The link to Beall’s document is below in the Further Reading section, and Beall’s more comprehensive text with illustrations in PDF format follows in the list.

Wellwood Edmetson Beall, who died in 1978, was an aerospace pioneer – an airplane designer and engineer – who had major roles in developing the B‐17 Flying Fortress, the B‐29 Superfortress, and the Boeing 707. In particular, for the B-17, Beall ordered continuous modification in the B‐17 Flying Fortress to meet changing battle conditions over Europe in World War II.

The History of

Turbosuperchargers

The information from Fred, John, and Keith led me to search the internet to learn more and I found a most interesting article in Google Books about the history of turbosuperchargers in B-17’s. Since it looks to be from a publication that is now in the public domain (a compilation of the 1945 issues of Air Force – The Official Service Journal of the U.S. Army Forces), I want to share part of it here.

In early March, 1939, Lt. P. H. Robey took a YB-17A up to 25,000 feet in a test run and clocked its speed at 311 mph. This was 100 mph faster than a B-17 had ever flown, even faster than any of our fighter aircraft had flown at that altitude. The test flight was an astounding performance for those days, but no one thought of it as milestone in the development of jet propulsion in this country. Yet, indirectly, that’s just what it was.

If that test flight had been unsuccessful, all orders for turbo-superchargers on B-17s would have been cancelled, for it was the turbo that produced the 100 mph margin in speed – and in early 1939 the turbo-supercharger definitely was on the spot. At the time of the flight, orders for turbos on B-17s had already been technically cancelled. The paper work had been initiated and forwarded to Washington. Boeing Aircraft and the AAF [US Army Air Forces] had lost faith in the turbo. For 20 years, the AAF had struggled with the gadget only to have one disappointing flight test after another. The Robey test used a turbo that was equipped with a new regulator, the final hope for assuring reliable performance.

As soon as the B-17 rolled to a stop after the record-breaking flight, the telegraph wires to Washington began to sizzle. Headquarters read the test results, threw the cancellation papers in the waste basket and issued a directive that all AAF high altitude bombers should be equipped with turbo-superchargers from that date on.

~ “Growing Pains of Jets” by Major Robert V. Guelich, Air Force Staff, June 1945 issue of Air Force (The Official Service Journal of the U.S. Army Forces)

For more information about turbosuperchargers, including the entire article “Growing Pains of Jets,” refer to the Further Reading list below.

Bucket Wheels

(And what it means to “throw a bucket”)

The 384th Bomb Group’s Historian, John Edwards, shed a little light on the bucket wheel that the pilots’ referred to “throwing,”

The wheel on the bottom of the [super]charger, which looks like the carousel of an old slide projector, is called ‘the bucket wheel’ as I found in [Roger] Freeman’s “The B-17 Flying Fortress Story on page 55.

The article, “Growing Pains of Jets” also explained the pilots’ phrasing of “throwing a bucket.”

The search for high temperature alloys [which could withstand the stresses of hot turbine wheels] was stimulated primarily by the AAF development program to the turbo-supercharger. This program was kept alive by a handful of men who refused to lose faith when time after time the turbo-supercharger would overheat and throw its buckets out of the turbo wheel.

~ “Growing Pains of Jets” by Major Robert V. Guelich, Air Force Staff, June 1945 issue of Air Force (The Official Service Journal of the U.S. Army Forces)

But the Pilot Training Manual for the Flying Fortress B-17 presented by the Aviation in World War II website explains turbosuperchargers and bucket wheels in short order in a section on Turbo-superchargers (links in Further Reading below).

Each engine on the B-17 has a turbo-supercharger which boosts manifold pressure for takeoff and provides sea-level air pressure at high altitudes.

To operate the turbo-superchargers, engine exhaust gas passes through the collector ring and tailstack to the nozzle box, expands to atmosphere through the turbine nozzle, and drives the bucket wheel at high speed…

…The amount of turbo boost is determined by the speed of the turbo bucket wheel.

As for the gremlins who liked to antagonize the pilots of Lazy Daisy and other AAF aircraft in WWII, I think disrupting turbosuperchargers and bucket wheels were probably a favorite pastime, and seeing which gremlin could throw a bucket the furthest must have been a competition for bragging rights. How far can you throw a bucket?

Please browse through the Further Reading links below for further (and quite interesting) reading about turbosuperchargers and bucket wheels and some excellent illustrations of the B-17’s mechanical parts.

* * * * *

Further Reading

Design Analysis of the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress by Wellwood E. Beall (webpage)

Design Analysis of the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress by Wellwood E. Beall (PDF document)

Aviation of World War II: Turbo-superchargers

Pilot Training Manual for the Flying Fortress B-17, Published for Headquarters AAF, Office of Assistant Chief of Air Staff, Training

Supercharge Me: How Boeing Helped GE Reinvent Jet Travel (GE Reports)

The Turbosupercharger and the Airplane Power Plant – General Electric, January 1943

Turbosupercharger Field Service Manual – General Electric

“Growing Pains of Jets” which begins on page 24 of the June 1945 issue of Air Force (The Official Service Journal of the U.S. Army Forces), and starting on page 441 of the 1433-page downloadable PDF document. To download the entire 1433-page PDF document, click the sprocket in the upper right corner of the page, then select “Download PDF.” Note: Air Force is a book in the public domain that Google has made available in digital format. Terms of Service available through a link on the landing page.

Sources

Wellwood Beall’s Obituary from the New York Times

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2020

WWII Timeline – Fall 1944

I’m continuing my WWII Timeline series with a look at October – December 1944 in this post.

A Timeline of WWII, Fall 1944

Late 1944

Oskar Schindler saved 1200 Jews by moving them from the Plaszow labor camp in the southern suburb of Kraków, Poland to his hometown of Brunnlitz, Czechoslovakia.

October 2 – 5, 1944

The Polish Home Army surrendered to the Nazis ending the Warsaw Uprising.

October 7, 1944

After learning that they were going to be killed, the Sonderkommando (special work units who were made up of Nazi death camp prisoners, usually Jews, and were forced to aid with the disposal of gas chamber victims) revolted at Auschwitz-Birkenau resulting in the complete destruction of Crematory IV.

October 10-29

Soviet troops captured Riga, the capital of Latvia on the Baltic Sea.

October 11, 1944

The U.S. began air raids against Okinawa.

October 14, 1944

German Field Marshall Erwin Rommel committed forced suicide by cyanide poisoning after being implicated in the July 20, 1944 attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler. His death was announced to be due to battle wounds suffered on July 17, 1944.

The Allies liberated Athens, Greece.

October 15, 1944

As the Hungarian government was pursuing negotiations for surrendering to the Soviets, the Hungarian fascist Arrow Cross movement, with German support, carried out a coup d’état (a revolt performed through violence), allowing the Nazis to seize control of the Hungarian puppet government. The deportation of Jews, which had been temporarily halted due to international political pressure, resumed.

October 17, 1944

SS leader Adolf Eichmann arrived in Hungary.

October 18, 1944

Fourteen American B-29 Superfortress aircraft based on the Mariana Islands attacked the Japanese base at Truk.

October 20, 1944

The U.S. Sixth Army invaded Leyte in the Philippines.

Soviet forces captured Belgrade, the capital of Yugoslavia, from the Germans.

October 21, 1944

The Germans surrendered at Aachen, Germany in the Battle of Aachen. It was the first German city to fall to the Allies.

October 23-26, 1944

The three-day Battle of Leyte Gulf, one of the largest naval battles in history, resulted in a decisive U.S. Naval victory over Japan.

George Edwin Farrar’s younger brother Robert (my Uncle Bob) Burnham Farrar served aboard the USS Intrepid, which was involved in the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

October 25, 1944

In World War II, a Japanese aircraft loaded with explosives and making a deliberate suicidal crash on an enemy target was known as a Kamikaze (meaning “Divine Wind”) attack. Fleet Admiral William Halsey called it the “only weapon I feared in the war.” The first recorded Kamikaze attack occurred against U.S. warships during the three-day Battle of Leyte Gulf.

October 28, 1944

Two thousand Jews in the last transport from Theresienstadt (a hybrid concentration camp and ghetto in the town of  Terezín, located in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia), arrived at Auschwitz.

October 29, 1944

A Japanese Kamikaze hit Bob Farrar’s ship, the USS Intrepid, on one of her port side gun positions. Damage to the ship was minimal, but ten men were killed and six were wounded. 

October 30, 1944

The last transport of Jews from Theresienstadt arrived at Auschwitz and the gas chambers there were used for the last time.

November 8, 1944

The Nazis forced 25,000 Jews to walk over 100 miles in rain and snow from Budapest to the Austrian border. A second forced march of 50,000 persons followed, ending at the Mauthausen Concentration Camp.

For the first time since 1933, Adolf Hitler failed to appear in Munich on the anniversary of the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch.

November 7, 1944

Franklin Roosevelt won his fourth consecutive term as U.S. President.

November 11, 1944

The U.S. navy bombed Iwo Jima.

November 18, 1944

The U.S. Third Army crossed the German frontier.

November 20, 1944

French troops drove through the ‘Beffort Gap’ in southwestern France to reach the Rhine.

November 23, 1944

American troops liberated the Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp, located in the Vosges Mountains close to the Alsatian village of Natzwiller in France.

November 24, 1944

The French captured Strasbourg, France.

Twenty-four B-29 Superfortresses bombed the Nakajima aircraft factory near Tokyo.

November 25, 1944

SS Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler ordered the destruction of the crematories at Auschwitz. Crematory IV had already been destroyed by inmates during a revolt on October 7, 1944.

Shortly after noon, two Japanese Kamikazes crashed into Bob Farrar’s ship, the USS Intrepid, killing sixty-six men and causing a serious fire. Bob Farrar was injured in the attack, mainly due to smoke inhalation. The ship remained on station, however, and the fires were extinguished within two hours. She was detached for repairs the following day.

December 4, 1944

Athens, Greece was placed under martial law during a Civil War.

December 11, 1944

At Hartheim Castle, near Linz Austria, German authorities carried out the last gassing of inmates, and under SS guard, Mauthausen (Austria) concentration camp prisoners dismantled the killing facility. Hartheim was one of six gassing installations for adults, the majority of them mentally and physically disabled patients, established as part of the Nazi’s “euthanasia” program.

December 15, 1944

U.S. Troops invaded Mindoro in the Philippines.

In the summer of 1944, bandleader Glenn Miller (a member of the U.S. Army since late 1942 and later Army Air Forces) formed a fifty-piece USAAF (United States Army Air Forces) band and departed for England where he gave hundreds of performances to Allied troops over the next six months. On this date, he left England to entertain American troops in France in a UC-64 Norseman (a Canadian single-engine bush plane), traveling over the English Channel, but never arrived. The wreckage of his plane was never found and his official military status remains Missing in Action.

December 16, 1944

The Battle of the Bulge in Luxembourg’s Ardennes Forest began as the Germans launched a final offensive in the west known as Operation Wacht am Rhein. The objectives were to re-conquer Belgium, split the allied forces along the German border, and capture the strategic port of Antwerp. Three German Armies conducted a surprise attack along a 70-miles front and quickly overtook the American line.

December 17, 1944

On the second day of the Battle of the Bulge, the Nazi Waffen-SS (the military branch of the Nazi Party’s SS organization) murdered eighty-one American POW’s in the Malmedy Massacre.

A regiment of the 1st SS Panzer Division of the Leibstandarte-SS, commanded by SS Lt. Col. Jochen Peiper, intercepted a truck convoy of the U.S. 285th Field Artillery Observation Battalion’s Battery B southeast of Malmedy. Peiper’s troops, called the Blowtorch Battalion, had burned their way across Russia and had slaughtered civilians in two separate villages.

The Panzer tanks fired upon and destroyed the lead vehicles in the truck convoy. The convoy halted while the tank fire continued. The Americans were forced to abandon their vehicles and surrendered.

The captured American Battery B soldiers were herded into a nearby field where an SS tank commander ordered an SS private to shoot into the prisoners. The SS opened fire on the unarmed Americans with machine guns.

When the machine gunfire ceased, an English speaking SS man walked among the victims on the ground asking if anyone was injured or needed help. Those survivors who responded were killed by a pistol shot to the head. In what was the single worst atrocity against American troops during World War II in Europe, a total of eighty-one Americans were killed.

Three American survivors reported the massacre to a U.S. Army Colonel stationed at Malmedy. Because the news spread quickly that Germans were shooting POW’s, the American troops became determined to hold the lines against the German advance.

The same day, in the Pacific Theater of Operations, the U.S. Army Air Forces established the 509th Composite Group to operate the B-29 Superfortresses that would drop the atomic bombs.

December 20, 1944

Bob Farrar’s ship, the USS Intrepid, reached San Francisco for repairs.

December 21, 1944

The Germans besieged U.S. paratroopers in Bastogne, Belgium. Units of Germany’s 5th Panzer Army captured St. Vith, Belgium.

December 22, 1944

Surrounded in the Battle of the Bulge, American Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe of the 101st Airborne Division received a surrender ultimatum from the Germans. His immortal reply: NUTS! [Use the link in Sources below to read the fascinating story.]

December 26, 1944

The 4th Armored Division, leading the attack by General George S. Patton’s Third Army, attacked the Germans at Bastogne and was the first unit to break through to relieve the besieged 101st Airborne Division of paratroopers. While American troops held the town, refugees were able to evacuate.

December 27, 1944

Soviet troops besieged Budapest.

Sources:

This series of posts is based on a compilation of timelines from:

The Holocaust Encyclopedia

The History Place:

The National WWII Museum Interactive Timeline

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

World War II Chronicle by the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

Oskar Schindler

The Forced Suicide of Erwin Rommel

USS Intrepid

Last Gassing at Hartheim

The Malmedy Massacre

The Story of Anthony McAuliffe’s NUTS! Reply

Most recent post from the series:

Summer 1944

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2020