kassel, Germany mission

Discussion in 'WWII Events' started by stephaniebrown, Sep 7, 2010.

  1. stephaniebrown

    stephaniebrown New Member

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    My grandfather, Wilbur E. Brown was apart of this mission and a paper was written just yesterday by my 15 year old cousin. I hope it is enjoyed and what he did for his country lives on even after his death.

    Wilbur E. Brown
    Feb 1925-April 2003

    Wilbur E. Brown: WWII Survivor


    Brianna Glase, an American teenager, wrote the history of her great uncle Wilbur E. Brown and his time in the United States Air Force, beginning at the time when he was drafted at 18 years old, believing that his story would be very worthy of relation to future generations. This belief has been proven true. Indeed this event was one of the greatest in United States history, not only of the Glase family, but a large part of the world over fifty years ago.

    For instance, despite the fact that World War II is now over, it had a very prominent effect on many people while it was still occurring, changing many families and their histories, including the aforementioned Glase family, because of the fact that it involved more than just a few countries, but the majority of the world at that time.

    For in those earlier times, Wilbur E. Brown and many people like him had enlisted or been drafted in the United States military, as was common at that time. He would become part of the Ace Air Force, and then later a top gunner in the 702nd bomb squadron, flying in a B-24 bomber aircraft, whose serial number was 100308 and whose nickname was “Our Gal.” This would be the main source of his and his family’s livelihood, no disgrace being attached to such an achievement, but even some glory. An illustration of this honor was displayed when Wilbur Brown became one of few survivors of the Kassel Mission in Germany.

    The United States had good pilots, but the Germans, too, had great flyers, as was proved by the following fact. During this 169th mission of the 445th bomb group, a fleet of German planes overtook 35 American planes. Indeed, 31 of these American planes were shot down, and thus the majority of the flyers were killed, having only a few survivors, one of them being Wilbur Brown the gunner.

    Now Wilbur Brown was a lucky man; and he could not have survived this ordeal, but through the possession of this luck.

    From this flight expedition we may infer a number of things. Now the plane that Wilbur Brown had been flying in had caught on fire, starting at the number 3 engine, and all members were advised to get out of the plane; but this is easier said than done. Indeed, the smoke was so thick and black that Wilbur Brown could not see and was struck unconscious. And yet, somehow, whether he had fallen or had been pushed, Wilbur Brown had gotten out of the combusting aircraft. I suppose if Wilbur Brown had not gotten out of the aircraft, he would have been killed in the fire or in the later crash, as was the case for nearly all of his companions in “Our Gal,” aside from him and two other survivors of that crew. Difficulty of employing the parachute led to Wilbur Brown being in danger yet again. Even after he had managed to utilize the parachute, Wilbur Brown fell into an unconscious state once more. In short, Wilbur Brown eventually landed safely in a German field, his parachute only hanging on by one single strap, and was greeted by a group of unwelcoming local Germans carrying a variety of guns and pitchforks.

    Even after the success of his safe landing, Wilbur Brown was still a soldier in a war fighting against the country he had landed in, so consequently he was taken by a German soldier on a motorcycle to a local hospital for treatment of the burns on his face. This led to Wilbur Brown’s discovery of the fact that he had been struck mostly blind and the realization of the terrible burns on his face as a result of engine number 3.

    Even after the trip to the hospital, Wilbur Brown was taken to a camp for Prisoners of War, and thus could not return to his family back in America. It was there that he was treated by a British doctor who changed his facial bandages and did anything else necessary to Wilbur Brown’s health. Four weeks later, the bandages could be removed from his face. One month later, his vision was restored; this led to Wilbur Brown’s discovery of the terrible conditions in which he was living.

    But as Wilbur Brown’s vision came back and his burns kept healing, he contracted an infection because of them and had to be quarantined in isolation for one week before being transferred to another German camp where it is said that he was held there without any medical attention.

    But at last came a time where Wilbur Brown was sent to yet another German camp; this one specifically for Prisoners of War who had developed eye related injuries and burns, and Wilbur Brown was treated by yet another British doctor. During his time at this camp, Wilbur Brown received much attention to his wounds, including various skin grafts to replace the eyelids and eyebrows that had been burned off by the fire in engine number 3.

    A year after the unsuccessful Kassel Mission had gone wrong, Wilbur Brown was released from his German captors and allowed to return to the United States, where much medical attention was given to the injuries that had still not cleared up. I grant that there had been much celebration for his return, likewise all of the other Prisoners of War who had been joyfully reunited with their loved ones at the end of World War II.


    Now, in the year of 1944, the Second World War was in full swing, and the affects of this war and is numerous battles, I say, changed the outcome of many a family at that time. Now, Wilbur Ernest Brown, being the son of Ernest Sylvester Brown and Eleanora Mary Hall, was of eighteen years at the time of WWII, and I shall say that it was customary of his time to have been drafted in the United States military, which is precisely what Wilbur Brown did. This thing Wilbur Brown did later resulted in his institution into the United States Air Force.

    Now, in this time of crisis for, not only America but the whole world, Wilbur Brown happened to be one of the young men who was drafted into the military when he was but an 11th grader, though he was 18 at the time, according to Jane Brown, so, consequently he was not able to graduate.

    It came to pass that I heard from Stephanie Brown and Diane Glase that Wilbur Brown became the top gunner for his aircraft; but Donna Jeppi relates that he was the flight engineer. With regard to this discrepancy, it is accepted by all parties that in the year of 1944, Wilbur Brown’s plane was shot down in the Kassel Mission in Germany – the 9th mission of his flight crew, and the 169th mission of his 445th bomb group -- with him being one of very few survivors.

    Now Wilbur Brown had many difficulties in his descent from 31000 feet, as Stephanie Brown relays; he was struck unconscious before jumping out of his plane, and discovered he was mostly blind from the excess smoke from engine number three which had caught on fire, but not before there were difficulties in opening his parachute, which, in turn, was only hanging on by a single strap. It was said that after being captured by the German enemies in whose country Wilbur Brown had landed, he spent over a year in Prisoner of War camps, most of his time being in the hospital and under intense medical care for his various facial burns and blindness, both of which were cured for the most part under the supervision of very competent doctors. In one of these hospitals was where he was reunited by one of his crewmates, Raymond Wayne Ray, as Ray recorded in his own personal journals, which were consequently told to me by Dorothy Wickman. Raymond Ray had also been a gunner in their plane, and, suffering from a shattered shoulder blade, was also taken as a Prisoner of War by the German people.

    Now, it is agreed upon by all relatives of Wilbur Brown that he returned from Germany at the end of the Second World War and was treated for any remainder of his physical ailments, but no attention was given to the mental and emotional trauma that Wilbur Brown had been exposed to. It is said by Stephanie Brown that Wilbur Brown had nightmares about his time in the camps, and it was very difficult for him to sit still for long periods of time, and nervous tension was still sometimes apparent in his demeanor. Dorothy Wickman also communicated that Wilbur Brown’s face was much scarred from his burns, and signs of his struggles would remain written on his face for years after his ordeal had ended.

    If it was not for the time in which he was a Prisoner of War, Wilbur Brown never would have reconnected with his future wife, Jane Wickman at the time, had it not been for the block party in celebration of his return, according to Jane herself; from this chance reuniting stemmed many relatives of the Glase family.

    Then secondly as a positive consequence of Wilbur Brown’s time spent overseas in Germany, he received the coveted high school diploma that he had not had the chance to obtain before he was drafted into the service. A fellow war veteran contacted Wilbur Brown and 13 other veterans, I was told by Jane Brown, who all consequently took classes until they were all able to receive their General Equivalency Diplomas from Century High School in Westminster.

    Now, Wilbur Brown was a lucky man, and though he suffered many hardships, it was very good fortune that got him out of said situations, I say, and there was much good that resulted from them, including his diploma and later his family, which, I say, indeed outweighed the bad.
     
  2. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    The September 27, 1944 mission assignment and orders for the 445th BG is still shrouded in mystery. The targets for the Second Bomb Division were in the Kassel area, but apparently the 445th, which was the lead bomb group, had orders to bomb a target in Gottingen to the northeast of Kassel, then swing south and pick up at the trail of the Division.

    The 355th FG, leading the escort for 2BD, had specific orders NOT to escort the 445th when they boroke away at the IP, and the rest of the 2nd BD had orders to proceed to the Kassel targets as planned.

    The 445th bombed successfully and turned south toward the rest of the 2BD as they headed for the Rally point to the east southeast of Kassel. They were attacked by a large force of Fw 190A-8's as well as Me 109s and maybe some Me 410s and clobbered from 1001 to 1007 when they called for help and some flights from 355th, 4th and 361st (339th?) arrived to drive away the remaining fighter force but the damage had been done.

    The leader of the mission was killed in the first pass. When the 445th returned all the pilots and navigators were instructed to not speak about the mission and all briefing materials were consficated. To this day it is unclear why.

    Of note - the Horton 229 was being developed at Gottingen and perhaps this is part of the mystery.
     
  3. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    the real cause is still shrouded Bill. no Me 410's on this mission, this was one of the rareties of the air war the Sturmgruppen were led to the 2nd AD and the 445thbg was found to be "out" of the stream and so was called upon to attack the group.
    The FW 190 pilots were amazed at the B-24's without escort, they couldn't believe their eyes.
     
  4. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    IIRC the primary discussion re: Me 410s were those destroyed on the ground by the 361st - I haven't found any claims of 410s in the air.
     
  5. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    understood Bill ........
     
  6. Linda

    Linda New Member

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    All of the above regarding the 445th that you have learned from Mike comes through my own personal research. A few things: I have been told that the 445th was ordered to turn and hit Goettingen by a single individual. Many things he told me have been proven since by other documents that have turned up. However, we are still working on confirming that this is true. To date, it is not yet confirmed. It brings up many issues.

    We have just learned, and Erich might be able to help us on this, from the lead crew pilotage navigator, that he believes he saw two Me-262's before the attack. He says they came up in front of the group, went straight up (he didn't know at the time what they were) and split-essed away and down into the clouds. Is there any information out there that could verify this that you or Erich might know of? This is brand new information to us.

    More than the Horton 229 were developed at Goettingen. Although they were not manufactured there, the V-2, V-3 and V-4 rockets were designed and models were built there. As you know, the V-4 was designed to hit New York. The fact that V-2 attacks began about three weeks before September 27 (September 8 to be exact), adds another interesting possibility.

    There was definitely much going on the ground at Goettingen to be interested in. The university is known today as the Birthplace of Rocket Science.

    Can you share where the orders came from to the 355th to NOT go with the 445th? Did these orders come at the time the 445th went off? Did the 355th see the 445th go off to the side, or did these orders come when they called for help? Was the call for help heard? We understand that the 361st responded to a visual sighting of a German fighter pulling up into the clouds, then diving back into the melee, which was hidden from view. At that point, Vic Bocquin led his squadron into the fray.
     
  7. Linda

    Linda New Member

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    #7 Linda, Sep 8, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2010
    Looking at the 2nd Bomb Division Field Order, the following groups were covering the Division, which went to Kassel:

    361st FG
    355th FG
    4th FG
    479th FG.

    The first fighters our 445th guys saw were P-38s, which were assigned on the return trip. Of the four fighter groups, the 479th is the only one that had P-38s.

    Following is one lost in the 434th FS, 479th FG:
    44-14324 P-51D 434 L2-L Lost 27 Sept 44 - Lt. William H Rodgers KIA 9247

    It is said that shortly after takeoff the above plane went off the radar, a strange and poor omen. It was never found.

    When was the 355th dispatched, Bill? At what point would the bombers have been on their trek? I know they joined up at the enemy coast, but at what point did they actually take off that day?
     
  8. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    The same conversation with Ev Stewart in 1982 re: orders to not follow or send another squadron... prior to the mission. Orders in place before the 445th went eastsoutheast.

    The call for help was heard by the 355th for sure. Not sure whether C channel frequency was same for all escort groups or specific to groups escorting a single bomb wing.
     
  9. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    there were no Me 262's flying in this area that I am aware, they would of been from Kommando Nowotny and if so they would of attacked any and all Bomb groups flying even for a single attack run and then to the wall flying back to base.
     
  10. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    I don't have the histories in front of me but from my log that I just showed you the 355th made RV near Apeldoorn at 0850. Back that out about 45 minutes for takeoff and assembly from Steeple Morden near Cambridge. I would say 0745 and the bombers would have been earlier as it took them longer to assemble squadron/group/wing/division than a 50 ship Mustang group taking off two at a time every 30 seconds, and then longer to climb out. The Mustangs would climb out and fast cruise at 250kts while the bomber stream would be at ~ 150-155 mph.

    I would guess that the first B-24s were off at 0645- 0700.
     
  11. Linda

    Linda New Member

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    Question: define "RV" for me. I assume that means making the enemy coast.

     
  12. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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  13. Linda

    Linda New Member

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    Hi there Tom,
    Is this loss recorded in the 355th history? I don't have that one here. Do we know which squadron still flew 38s at the end of September 44?

    Thanks so much!
     
  14. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    #15 drgondog, Aug 11, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2011
    Linda the loss of the 479th P-51 over Great Yarmouth is both in the 479th FG History as well as recounted by Robin Old's biography "Fighter Pilot" by Christina Olds and Ed Rasimus.

    434th and 436th FS flew their last complete mission with some P38's on the 27th. On the 28th only two P-38s flew the mission with 434 and the last mission with all P-38s in 436FS.

    Lt Rogers, lost in Channel on 27th flew a P-51D 44-14324 434FS so he was part of a mixed P-38/P-51 composed squadron on the 27th
     
  15. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    Linda/Bill how are your books coming on the Kassel mission and the 355th fg ?? my work on JG 301 is quite slow this year .................
     
  16. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Erich - I signed up with Schiffer last week - manuscript and tables and stories done. Have to go back and label 800 pics but otherwise its now behind me. I just ordered 40 rolls from HRC for VietNam sequence.
     
  17. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    E - How are you doing health wise?

    We are pretty much settled in now and loving Scurry (except for this particular heat wave) but miss our mountain view over the pasture/Vineyard. Cat is there for next 10 days between friends in merlin and friends in Cave Juntion.

    Wish you could have made it out before we sold it.
     
  18. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    yes twice planned to see you CAT and the "kids" but it never matured sadly.

    much success on this new edition Bill...................ok man any chance I get a signed copy from thee ?

    E ~ feeling pretty good but the in-laws are going steadily downhill we leave on the morrow for places north and the hospital. thanks for asking.
     
  19. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Of course on the book.

    sorry to hear of declining health issues with in-laws.

    Cat's dad is deep into alzheimer's now and may pass while she is up in your area so her vacation is somewhat tempered.

    I went with the 'dark side' on the book simply because I want quality more than royalty... and I wanted it my own way..Pete has been pretty accomodating in flexing his publishing standard on using tabs rather than imbedded spreadsheets - if I had to redo 200 pages of imbedded tabular data into tab format I woul blow my brains out.

    The book extensively acknowledges your help and so many others in putting together different antagonists in the same airspace - the last decision for me is whether to put together an index which is such bloody hard work.
     
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