415th Bombardment Group (Dive)

415th Bombardment Group (Dive)


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415th Bombardment Group (Dive)

History - Books - Aircraft - Time Line - Commanders - Main Bases - Component Units - Assigned To

History

The 415th Bombardment Group was originally used by the School of Applied Tactics before becoming a training unit.

The 415th was activated on 15 February 1943 and was equipped with a mix of aircraft. It was used as a demonstration group by the Army Air Force School of Applied Tactics (at Orlando).

By March 1944 the group became a standard replacement training unit, but this was a short-lived assignment and it was disbanded on 5 April 1944.

Books

-

Aircraft

Aircraft: Douglas A-20 Havoc, Douglas A-24 Banshee, Douglas A-26 Invader, North American B-25 Mitchell, Bell P-39 Airacobra

Timeline

12 February 1943Constituted as 415th Bombardment Group (Dive)
15 February 1943Activated
5 April 1944Disbanded

Commanders (with date of appointment)

2d. Lt Michael J Panek: 1 Mar 1943
Maj Wesley E Dickerson: 12Mar 1943
Lt Col Robert K Martin: 29 Mar1943
Col John R Kelly: 23 Oct 1943
LtCol Steele R Patterson: 6 Mar-5 Apr 1944

Main Bases

Alachua AAFM, Fla: 15 Feb1943
Orlando AB, Fla: 25 Feb 1944
Dalhart AAFM, Tex: 19 Mar-5 Apr 1944

Component Units

465th Bombardment Squadron: 1943-44
521st (formerly 667th) Bombardment Squadron: 1943-44

Assigned To

squadron


Dalhart Army Airfield

Dalhart Army Air Base is a former World War II military airfield complex near the city of Dalhart, Texas. It operated three training sites for the United States Army Air Forces from 1943 until 1945.

The majority of the namesake city of Dalhart, Texas lies in southern Dallam County, while those parts of Dalhart city south of 11th Street are actually in northern Hartley County, Texas. The main airfield of Dalhart Army Air Base was 3.4 miles southwest of the city, so it was located in Hartley County. Auxiliary #1 (Hartley Field) was 10.2 miles west-southwest of the city, also in Hartley County. Auxiliary #2 (Dallam Field) was located 5.5 miles east-northeast of the city in Dallam County.


Lights Out

The lights seemingly vanished immediately after Allied forces on the ground captured Nazi bases of operation East of the Rhine river near Rees and Wesel Germany. This location was notorious for its experimental activities with weapons and technology during wartime, and was long thought to be the source of the foo fighters.

After the victory in Europe many of those installations were kept under guard and rummaged for valuable technological information. The seizure provided designs for many examples of advanced aircraft but found no evidence for the capability to produce remotely guided craft capable of the advanced flight maneuvers reported by Allied pilots at operating altitudes.

Foo Fighters photographed following a Japanese Mitsubishi Ki-51 reconnaissance fighter.

Further confusion surfaced after renowned British physicist and intelligence expert Dr. Reginald Victor Jones referenced in his reports stories of German pilots witnessing the very same phenomenon to their own bewilderment.³ This suggested that the fascination with the foo fighter mystery was not exclusive to the Allied forces, but included the entire war theater.


27th Bombardment Group

27th Bombardment Group
United States Army Air Corps 1225 airmen of the 27th Bombardment Group (L) left Savannah, Georgia and arrived in Manila, Philippine Islands on 20 Nov 1941. Their dive bombers did not arrive in time to stem the Japanese attack which began on 8 Dec 1941.

When U.S. forces were ordered to evacuate Manila and its airfields these airmen went into the Bataan Peninsula and formed the 2nd Provisional Air Corps Regiment, Infantry. They fought gallantly as infantrymen while holding a front line sector.

Those who survived the bitter battle were ordered to surrender on 9 Apr 1942. They were then subjected to the horrors of the “Bataan Death March”, followed by three and one half years of brutal treatment as prisoners, and to the ultimate bestiality of the “Hell Ships” from which so few survived.

In honor and memory of those who made the supreme sacrifice and to help restore the human dignity which was so cruelly stolen from them this plaque is respectfully dedicated.

May they rest in peace with God

Topics. This memorial is listed in this topic list: War, World II.

Location. 32° 11.837′ N, 84° 7.632′ W. Marker is near Andersonville, Georgia, in Macon County

. Memorial can be reached from Prison Site Road, on the left when traveling east. The marker is affixed to the exterior wall of the patio to the south of the National Prisoner of War Museum at the Andersonville National Historic Site. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Andersonville GA 31711, United States of America. Touch for directions.

Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Oflag 64 Prisoners of War (here, next to this marker) American Ex-Prisoners of War (here, next to this marker) This Was Andersonville (a few steps from this marker) To the Vermonters who Perished at Andersonville (a few steps from this marker) Memorial to POWs at Hiroshima, Japan (within shouting distance of this marker) The Battling Bastards of Bataan (within shouting distance of this marker) Earthwork Defenses (within shouting distance of this marker) National Prisoner of War Museum (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Andersonville.

Also see . . . American POWs on Japanese Ships Take a Voyage into Hell. Describing a 'Hell Ship', one survivor said, "The prisoners had been so crowded in these other holds that they couldn't even get air to breathe. They went crazy, cut and bit each other through the arms and legs and sucked their blood. In order to keep from being murdered, many had to climb the ladders and were promptly shot by guards. Between twenty and thirty prisoners had died


Medal of Honor, Staff Sergeant Henry Eugene Erwin, United States Army Air Forces

MEDAL OF HONOR

STAFF SERGEANT HENRY EUGENE ERWIN (Air Mission)

  • Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army Air Corps, 52d Bombardment Squadron, 29th Bombardment Group, 20th Air Force
  • Place and date: Koriyama, Japan, 12 April 1945
  • Entered service at: Bessemer, Ala.
  • G.O. No.: 44, 6 June 1945

Citation: He was the radio operator of a B-29 airplane leading a group formation to attack Koriyama, Japan. He was charged with the additional duty of dropping phosphorus smoke bombs to aid in assembling the group when the launching point was reached. Upon entering the assembly area, aircraft fire and enemy fighter opposition was encountered. Among the phosphoresce bombs launched by S/Sgt. Erwin, 1 proved faulty, exploding in the launching chute, and shot back into the interior of the aircraft, striking him in the face. The burning phosphorus obliterated his nose and completely blinded him. Smoke filled the plane, obscuring the vision of the pilot. S/Sgt. Erwin realized that the aircraft and crew would be lost if the burning bomb remained in the plane. Without regard for his own safety, he picked it up and feeling his way, instinctively, crawled around the gun turret and headed for the copilot’s window. He found the navigator’s table obstructing his passage. Grasping the burning bomb between his forearm and body, he unleashed the spring lock and raised the table. Struggling through the narrow passage he stumbled forward into the smoke-filled pilot’s compartment. Groping with his burning hands, he located the window and threw the bomb out. Completely aflame, he fell back upon the floor. The smoke cleared, the pilot, at 300 feet, pulled the plane out of its dive. S/Sgt. Erwin’s gallantry and heroism above and beyond the call of duty saved the lives of his comrades.

Crew of the B-29 Superfortress “City of Los Angeles:” Front row, left to right: Vern W. Schiller, flight engineer Henry E. Erwin, radio operator Howard Stubstad, CFC gunner. Standing, Pershing Younkin, navigator Roy Stables, pilot William Loesch, bombardier Leo D. Connors, radar bombardier George A. Simeral, aircraft commander. (Alabama Department of Archives & History Q8799)

XXI Bomber Command’s Mission #65 for 12 April 1945 was an attack against the Hodogaya Chemical Plant (Target #2025) at Koriyama, a city on the island of Honshu, Japan. The chemical plant produced tetraethyl lead, a critical ingredient in high-octane aviation gasoline. Eighty-five B-29 Superfortress long-range heavy bombers took of from their base at North Field on the island of Guam, the largest and southernmost of the Marianas. Each bomber was loaded with 500-pound (227 kilogram) AN-M64 general purpose demolition bombs. The planned time over the target was 12:35–13:26, with the bombers attacking at altitudes of 7,000 to 9,000 feet (2,134–2,743 meters). The weather report for the target area was clear, with visibility of 15 miles (24 kilometers).

29th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) B-29 Superfortresses at North Field, Guam, 1945. (U.S. Air Force)

Koriyama was 1,506 miles (2,424 kilometers) from North Field. With a round-trip distance of 3,041 miles (4,894 kilometers), this was the longest bombing mission flown up to that time.

Navigation Track Chart, XXI Bomber Command Missions No. 64 and 65. (U.S. Air Force)

City of Los Angeles, a Martin-Omaha B-29-25-MO Superfortress, 42-65302, was the lead ship of the 52nd Bombardment Squadron, 29th Bombardment Group. The Superfortress was under the command of Captain George Anthony Simeral. The 52nd squadron’s commander, Lieutenant Colonel Eugene O. Strouse, was on board as co-pilot.

B-29 Superfortress very long range heavy bombers of the 29th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy), 314th Bombardment Wing (Very Heavy), XXI Bomber Command. (U.S. Air Force) Aogashima (Landsat)

The 52nd Squadron’s assembly point was over over Aogashima, a small volcanic island of the Izu archipelago in the Philippine Sea, 222 miles (357 kilometers) south of Tokyo.

It was near this island that City of Los Angeles‘s radio operator, Red Erwin, dropped white phosphorus signal flares to give the squadron a visual reference point.

When the faulty signal flare prematurely ignited, it burned at about 1,300 °F. (704 °C.) and filled the cockpit with dense smoke. The other crew members could not see the difficulty Erwin was having trying to drop the flare overboard.

Erwin was gravely injured. Phosphorus self-ignites in the presence of air. With particles of phosphorus all over, his body was still on fire. The phosphorus could not be extinguished.

A B-29 Superfortress circles Mount Suribachi, a 554-foot (169 meter) volcano at the southwestern end of Iwo Jima, circa 1945.

Captain Simeral aborted the mission and turned City of Los Angeles toward the island of Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands, where an emergency landing field for the B-29s had been built. Iwo was the closest point where Erwin could receive medical treatment.

Erwin’s injuries were so severe that he was not expected to survive. He was evacuated to Fleet Hospital 103 at Guam.

Fleet Hospital 103, Guam, 1945. (U.S. Navy)

Major General Curtis E. LeMay, commanding XXI Bomber Command, and Brigadier General Lauris Norstad, Chief of Staff, Twentieth Air Force, sent a recommendation for the Medal of Honor to Headquarters, U.S. Army Air Forces in Washington, D.C.

The nearest Medal of Honor was in a display case in Hawaii. Because Erwin was not expected to survive, that medal was obtained and flown to Guam so that it could be presented while he was still alive. In a ceremony held in Orthopedic Wards 3 and 4 of Fleet Hospital 103, Major General LeMay and Major General Willis H. Hale, Commanding General, Army Air Forces, Pacific Ocean Areas, and Deputy Commander, Twentieth Air Force, presented the Medal of of Honor to Staff Sergeant Henry Eugene Erwin, United States Army Air Forces.

Flight crew of B-29 City of Los Angeles and Staff Sergeant Henry E Erwin at his Medal of Honor presentation, 19 April 1945. Major General Willis H. Hale, Commanding General, Army Air Forces, Pacific Ocean Areas, is at right. (U.S. Air Force 170331-F-ZZ999-102)

General LeMay told Sergeant Erwin that, “Your effort to save the lives of your fellow airmen is the most extraordinary kind of heroism I know.”

General of the Army Henry H. Arnold, commanding the U.S. Army Air Forces, wrote to him, “I regard your act as one of the bravest in the records of the war.”

Red Erwin was the only crew member of a B-29 Superfortress to be awarded the Medal of Honor during World War II.

Red Erwin underwent 41 surgical procedures. The phosphorus particles in his body continued smoldering for months. Erwin was hospitalized for 2½ years before he was discharged from the U.S. Army Air Forces as a master sergeant, 8 October 1947.

Major General Willis H. Hale bestows the Medal of Honor on Staff Sergeant Henry E. Erwin at Fleet Hospital 103, Guam, 19 April 1945. (U.S. Navy)

Henry Eugene Erwin was born 8 May 1921, at Docena, a small mining village in Jefferson County, Alabama. He was the fourth of nine children of Walter Marshall Erwin, a weighman at a coal mine, and Pearl Landers Ervin.

Gene Erwin spent two years working with the Civilian Conservation Corps, a “New Deal” public work relief program. By 1940, he had found employment as a secretary with the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company (TCI RR).

On 27 January 1942, Erwin enlisted in the Army Reserve Corps. He had red hair, brown eyes and a “ruddy” complexion, was 5 feet, 10 inches (1.75 meters) tall and weighed 165 pounds (75 kilograms). He was appointed an aviation cadet, Air Corps, 3 February 1943. Because of “flight deficiencies,” Cadet Erwin did not complete flight training and in June 1943 was reassigned for training as a radio operator and technician.

In April 1944, Erwin was assigned to the 52nd Bombardment Squadron (Very Heavy), at Dalhart Army Airfield, Texas, for B-29 Superfortress combat crew training.

Sergeant Henry E. Erwin married Miss Martha Elizabeth Starnes, 6 December 1944, at Ensley, Alabama. The ceremony was performed by Rev. Daniel E. Draper. They would have four children, Hank, Bette, Nancy and Karen.

A B-29 Superfortress of the 29th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy), 314th Bombardment Wing, lands at North Field, Guam, in the Marianas. (U.S. Air Force)

The 52nd Squadron deployed to the Pacific in February 1945 as an element of the 29th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy), 314th Bombardment Wing (Very Heavy), XXI Bomber Command, Twentieth Air Force, based at North Field, Guam.

Mission Number 65 was Erwin’s eleventh combat mission.

Gene Erwin never fully recovered. Although he had been blinded by the phosphorus burns, he eventually regained his sight. His right arm was disabled, and his body was covered in scars.

When he was able to return to work, Erwin was employed the Veterans Administration, and remained there for thirty-seven years before retiring.

Master Sergeant Henry Eugene Erwin, United States Army Air Forces (Retired), died 16 January 2002 at Leeds, Alabama. His body was buried at the Elmwood Cemetery, Birmingham, Alabama.

In his honor, the United States Air Force established the Henry E. Erwin Outstanding Enlisted Aircrew Member of the Year Award. The library at the Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, is named the Red Erwin Library.

Mrs. Erwin, with the portrait of her husband, painted by artist John Witt, a long time contributor to the Air Force Art Program.

B-29-25-MO 42-65302 was one of 536 Boeing B-29 Superfortresses built by the Glenn L. Martin–Nebraska Company at Fort Crook, Omaha, Nebraska (now, Offutt Air Force Base). Fifty of those were the Block 25 variant. The new B-29 was delivered to the U.S. Army Air Forces on 11 January 1945.

Once assigned to the 314th Bombardment Wing (Very Heavy), the airplane was named City of Los Angeles, in keeping with the wing’s practice of naming the aircraft after cities in the United States. When it arrived at Guam, 42-65302 was identified with a large yellow letter “O” surrounded by a black square, painted on its vertical fin and rudder. The numeral 󈬕” was painted on each side of the fuselage aft of the wings.

29th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy), 314th Bombardment Wing (very Heavy), B-29 Superfortresses at North Field, Guam. Note the “Black Square O” identification symbols. (U.S. Air Force)

The B-29 was the most technologically advanced airplane built up to that time, and required an immense effort by American industry to produce.

The B-29 Superfortress was designed by the Boeing Airplane Company as its Model 345. Produced in three major versions, the B-29, B-29A and B-29B, it was built by Boeing at Wichita, Kansas, and Redmond, Washington by the Bell Aircraft Corporation at Marietta, Georgia and the Glenn L. Martin–Nebraska Company at Fort Crook (now Offutt Air Force Base), Omaha, Nebraska. A total of 3,943 Superfortresses were built.

B-29s were normally operated by an 11-man crew: Pilot, copilot, navigator, bombardier, radar bombardier, radio operator, flight engineer, a central fire control gunner, and right, left, and tail gunners.

The B-29 Superfortress was 99 feet, 0 inches (30.175 meters) long with a wingspan of 141 feet, 3 inches (43.053 meters) and an overall height of 27 feet, 9 inches (8.458 meters). It had a wing area of 1,736 square feet (167.28 square meters) The standard B-29 had an empty weight of 74,500 pounds (33,793 kilograms) and gross weight of 120,000 pounds (54,431 kilograms).

A newly-completed B-29 Superfortress at the Martin Bomber Plant. (Nebraska State Historical Society RG3715-2-11)

City of Los Angeles had four air-cooled, supercharged, 3,347.662-cubic-inch-displacement (54.858 liter) Wright Aeronautical Division R-3350-41 (Cyclone 18 787C18BA3) two-row 18-cylinder radial engines with direct fuel injection. The R-3350-41 had a compression ratio of 6.85:1 and required 100/130 aviation gasoline. It was rated at 2,000 horsepower at 2,400 r.p.m. at Sea Level, and 2,200 horsepower at 2,800 r.p.m, for take-off. The engines drove four-bladed Curtiss Electric reversible-pitch propellers with a diameter of 16 feet, 7 inches (5.080 meters), through a 0.35:1 gear reduction. The R-3350-41 was 6 feet, 2.26 inches (1.937 meters) long, 4 feet, 7.78 inches (1.417 meters) in diameter and weighed 2,725 pounds (1,236 kilograms).

The B-29 had a cruise speed of 220 miles per hour (354 kilometers per hour) at 20,000 feet (6,096 meters). Its maximum speed was 306 miles per hour (492 kilometers per hour) at Sea Level, and 357 miles per hour (575 kilometers per hour) at 30,000 feet (9,144 meters). The bomber had a service ceiling of 33,600 feet (10,168 meters). The Superfortress had a fuel capacity of 9,438 gallons (35,727 liters), giving it a maximum range of 3,250 miles (5,230 kilometers) at 25,000 feet (7,620 meters) with 5,000 pound (2,268 kilograms) bomb load.

The B-29 could carry a maximum bomb load of 20,000 pounds (9,072 kilograms). Defensive armament consisted of twelve air-cooled Browning AN-M2 .50-caliber machine guns mounted in four remotely-operated powered turrets, and a tail turret. B-29 variants before Block 25 also had a single M2 20 mm autocannon mounted in the tail.

City of Los Angeles was damaged on a combat mission against Kobe, Japan, in July 1945. Captain Simeral was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

42-65302 survived the war and remained in service with the U.S. Air Force for several more years. It was “reclaimed” at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, 17 November 1943.

This B-29 Superfortress of the 29th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) on fire over Kobe, Japan, 17 July 1945, MIGHT be City of Los Angeles. (U.S. Air Force)


Below are some 498th BG veterans, whose families, and friends have graciously lent me pictures and names to put up on this site.

If you visit here please take a minute to scroll down this page to my Seeking 498th Veterans section in the hope that you may be able to provide information to relatives seeking traces of their fathers, uncles, and brothers of the 498th.

T-square 36 “Tokyo Raiders” (25 missions)

T-square 36 “Tokyo Raiders” (25 missions)
J. Creedon (AC), W. King (CP), R.V. Thomas (N), A. McNicoll (B), F.L. Ackerman (V), C. Moden (FE), C. Cary (RO), C.N. Schultz (TG), L. Devries (RG), E.R. Jenkins (LG), D.W. Perkins (CFC)
T-36 shot-up from enemy aircraft and flak on 5 June 1945 over Kobe. After an emergency landing on Iwo Jima crew reassigned to T-33
Information courtesy of George Schultz (son of C.N. Schultz)

Crew-T42, 875th Bomb Squadron

Crew-T42, 875th Bomb Squadron
H.A. Brandt*, R.C. Stickney (AC), L.E. Winslow, R.F. Thompson, J.N. Herowitz (Hurwitz?)
J.L. Boyd, J.P. Quinn, Thomas*, J.O. Merriwether, P.M. Haines (Haynes?), E.M. Zeohe (Zeone?)
T-42 Crashed in the Marianas on Anatahan on their first mission (no survivors).
*Not on fatal flight.
Information courtesy of Curt Kessler.

R. Livingston’s Crew, 874th Bomb Squadron

R. Livingston’s Crew, 874th Bomb Squadron
R.A. Livingston (AC), R.D. Town, C.E. McCoy, O. Baskin, M. Melbostad, S. Cook
N. Cure, M.A. Palmer, F.J. Whitney, B.O. Hopsan, J.B. Comeaux
Information courtesy of Sue Erickson.

H. Taylor’s Crew, 874th Bomb Squadron

H. Taylor’s Crew, 874th Bomb Squadron
R. Mossholder (LG), J. McDonald (CFC), R. Northrup (RN), D. Miller (TG), C. Green (RG), W. Clecker (RO), J. Damm (B), W. Blume (N), H. Taylor (AC), A. Nevotti (CP), M. Gardner (FE)
Information courtesy of Bill Blume (Son of W. Blume).

Cassady Crew, 874th Bomb Squadron

Cassady Crew, 874th Bomb Squadron

Devil’s Darlin’ Crew, 873rd Bomb Squadron

Devil’s Darlin’ Crew, 873rd Bomb Squadron
Silk, Burton, Malone, Kossoff, Woods, Clarke, Schiffine, Osborne, Dayoff, Ritchie, Dijeweke

Lee McClendon Crew, 874th Bomb Squadron

Lee McClendon Crew, 874th Bomb Squadron
David Beckett, Paul J. Sobonya, Lee McClendon, Arthur J. Petro, James W. Bissantz, Travis P. Watkins, J. Edwin Barnitz, Edward C. Kane, Hubert C. Nalcton, Virgil L. Young, Alfred D. Peck.


Unidentified crew, 874th Squadron
1., 2., 3. Pilot, 4., 5. Tsgt. Roger Moosmann (CFC), 6., 7., 8., 9.-11. (not shown).

08-Nov-44 T8 42-24645 ditched Trecek crew, 2 survived.

Nick F. Garcia served as a Sergeant and Central Fire Control on B-29 ” T-Square 8 “ #42-24645 873rd Squadron, 498th Bomb Group, U.S. Army Air Force during WW II. He resided in McKinley County, New Mexico prior to the war. B-29

” T Square 8 ” #42-24645 took off, with a crew of 11, from Isley Field, Saipan on a bombing mission over Iwo Jima during the war. While in route to the target the #1 engine caught fire. The Engineer cut the fuel to the engine and tried, unsuccessfully, to extinguish the fire. The Captain gave the orders to abandon ship. The Bombardier, Left & Right Gunners, and the CFC successfully bailed out. Then the Captain, feeling he could save the B-29 and return to base, ordered the rest of the crew to stay in their positions. The bomb bay doors were opened and all bombs released into the ocean along with the additional fuel tanks in an effort to make the B-29 lighter. However they were unable to save the plane and eventually ditched in the sea.


Watch the video: BombersOverNorthAfrica Part1


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