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bomber_mama

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Posts: 11
Reply with quote  #1 

Hi,

 

I'm the daughter of Cpl. Marvin G. Althauser who was assigned to the 774th BS Motor Pool. 

 

Unfortunately, my dad passed away in January of 2004. In his memory and dedicated as well to the men of the 463rd, I'm writing a paranormal romance novel about a 463rd pilot and the granddaughter of his co-pilot.  The pilot goes down with his B-17 on the return flight after the 17 October 1944 Blechhammer Mission. Fifty-five years later, a group headed by the granddaughter, an aeronautical engineer, recovers the bomber for restoration. One of her objectives is to recover the pilot's body for proper burial with full military honors. What she doesn't count on is recovering his ghost as well. As the bomber is restored, so is the pilot's corporeal form.  As he slowly becomes corporeal, he and the granddaughter fall in love, but he has a mission he must complete, given to him by an angel upon his death. Before he and the granddaughter can have a life together, he must save her from an old boyfriend who is willing to resort to murdering her to obtain her design plans for a new and innovative jet fighter. 

 

There is a sub-plot involving a love triangle between the pilot, the co-pilot and a woman from Foggia. About half the book will be flashbacks to WWII, involving these three.

 

Although I'm attempting to remain as true to actual historical fact as possible, I am, of course, taking literary liberties with the one aircraft the 463rd lost that day in October '44 and the circumstances of that loss.  I would like, however, to give honorable mention to that aircraft and her crew in my foreword.  If anyone knows the names of the crew, if they were lost or survived that day and/or the nose art name of that aircraft, along with any pertinent information as to how and where the plane went down, please contact me either here or by email.

 

I also need basic information about the Blechhammer Mission, including the weather that day, how heavy the anti-aircraft fire was?  Was there any fighter resistance, and if so, how heavy, etc.

 

Also, does anyone know what the Red Cross Officer's Club in Foggia looked like on the inside? Was it anything like the USO clubs?  Were there hostesses who danced with the guys, that sort of thing. Meals? Drinks? Did the Brit pilots out of Torterella also go there?

 

I would appreciate any bits of information anyone can provide in these areas, no matter how small or trivial they think it might be. I will be including an acknowledgment page in my book, including the names of those providing helpful information.

 

Thank you very much.

 

Merrylee Lanehart

Kelso, WA

 

email: the_fat_fairy@adelphia.net

jj463rd

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Reply with quote  #2 

Hi MerryLee I am sorry you lost your father.I lost mine in the same year as well.You should contact Swindy as he would have more information and he has a CD that has thousands of pictures on it(I need to get it too).

On my fathers flight logs(dad was in the 772nd) on October 17,1944 he flew that sortie to Blechhammer for a flight duration of 9 hours 15 minutes.It also says that under the remarks (SQN. LOST,WEATHER)FLAK and under the specialized time he FLEW OUT OF GERMANY ALONE.

On Aug 27th 1944 my dad also flew another sortie to Blechhammer but it was against the North Oil Refinery.

That mission lasted 8 hours 15 minutes.The FLAK was intense on that day.

So in conclusion I think that the weather was bad on the

Oct 17th sortie and there was FLAK.On the 463rd website it lists the bombing results as unobserved.

 

I looked in the book 772nd Bomb Squadron The Men-The Memories and it states that ship # 46419 LIL'LIZ II ran out of fuel and crashed at Ornis.McCoy.(MACR(Missing Air Crew Report) 9210) on Oct 17th 1944.So the plane lost was in the 772nd.

I don't know the name of the crew.Swindy(Joel) probably would know.

 

Hey I live in the State of Washington too(Tacoma).

 


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Son of 1st Lt. James L. Jarmon Pilot 15th A.F. 463rd B.G. 772nd B.S.
Swindy

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Reply with quote  #3 

Merrylee,

I will sit down and gather as much information regarding the 17 Oct 44 mission to Blechhammer, including the crew names of "Lil Liz II" that went down that day.

 

Also, I do have a picture of the inside of the Red Cross Officers Club in Foggia.  I'll check it out and see if I can determine answers to your questions regarding it.  I can also send a copy of it to you, if you wish.  I have lots of pictures of the outside of the club, but as near as I can remember only one inside.

 

As to whether the RAF pilots went there, I have no idea.  I have not heard it mentioned but I suppose its possible.  There was a South African RAF Group sharing Celone Field near Foggia with the 463rd.  They flew B-24's on their missions. 

 

I'll find as much information as possible for you and get back to you.


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Joel
463rd BG Historian
Proud son of 1/Lt Leroy J. Swindlehurst (1921-1950)
Navigator, 772nd Squadron
Joel@463rd.org
bomber_mama

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Posts: 11
Reply with quote  #4 

Hi, Joel (or should I call you Swindy?)

 

I'm so glad to get your reply post. I just finished answering Jonathan's earlier post, regarding the 17 Oct. 1944 mission, and he recommended that I contact you, which is what I was going to do next.  I had sent an email to you some time ago about this, but never received an answer back. Perhaps it got lost in the netherworld of the Internet as sometimes happens.

 

I would love it if you could email me a scan of the picture you have of the inside of the Red Cross Officer's Club in Foggia. I only have one picture of the outside, so if you'd like to include a couple of the outside, from different angles maybe, that would great, too.  What I really need to do is buy the CD. In fact, I still have to send my membership dues for this year, too. Yikes! Talk about procrastinating!

 

Anyway, any info you can give me on the 17 October 1944 mission to Blechhammer and/or on the crew of Lil' Liz would be great. As far as Lil' Liz, I'm mainly interested in their names, their ranks and crew positions, and what happened to them. Did they bail out or go down with the plane? Jonathan said they went down at "Ornis.McCoy". Can you tell me where or what that location is?

 

I have another, unrelated question for your, unrelated to my book anyway. I've always thought my dad was in the 774th BS. My mother wrote in his photo album that he was in the 774th. However, just the other day, I was going through some of his paperwork and found a MacDill Field vital area pass, dated 27 Nov. 1943, and it has his bomb squadron as the 773rd. Is there any way I can find out which BS he was in? Would you have that information or know where I could get it> 

 

Thanks again for your willingness to provide me with my requested  information.  I'll be waiting to hear back from you.

 

All my Best,

Merrylee Lanehart

 

P. S. Where is Hines, OR?  Just wondering how close it is to the Longview-Kelso area where I live. Kelso is  located on the Columbia River about half way between Portland and Astoria, only on the Washington side, of course.

Swindy

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Posts: 254
Reply with quote  #5 

Bomber Mama,

 

I sent you a private email with some information regarding the Gail McCoy crew.

 

Your father is listed on the 774th Group roster and that is all I have to go by.  While they were in training at MacDill, he may have been in the 773rd but was later moved to the 774th, I don't know.

 

Hines, OR is adjacent to Burns, OR, in the high desert country of eastern Oregon.  The middle of nowhere, according to some.  It is about a 7 hour drive southeast from Kelso.  I know very well where Kelso is as I used to stop there regularly on business trips, coming back from Tacoma.  It was a good place to stop for the night so we wouldn't be caught in the evening rush hour traffic in Portland. 

 

You may call me by either name.

 

 


__________________
Joel
463rd BG Historian
Proud son of 1/Lt Leroy J. Swindlehurst (1921-1950)
Navigator, 772nd Squadron
Joel@463rd.org
rrood41828

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Posts: 25
Reply with quote  #6 

Hi,

 

My dad was chief armorer of C flight, 772nd, during this period. The following are entries from his personal diary. Hope the info helps.

 

Ron Rood

 

Oct 17th.  Target Bleckheimer, Germany. Ships took off loaded with “R.D.X’s” ; due back at 3:00 p.m. They started to straggle in at four thirty. Three of my ships, #271, #419, and #377 did not return. About 7:30, #271 came in after spending eleven hours in the air, with enough fuel to last just seven more minutes. A severe storm broke up the formation, which scattered.

#419, with Bob Dobeski, Bores, and Miltler aboard, was forced down in the Adriatic. We are still sweating them out. #377 came back early this morning (8:00 a.m.) after landing and refueling at an emergency field in Yugo-Slavia. #271 had quite a tale to tell about climbing the face of a mountain so closely that they thought the props would hit. All instruments were “out” and no navigator aboard.

Loaded 250’s this p.m.

 

Oct 18th.  “Non-op” – just practice mission. I checked over #271 and #377 and found them in fair shape. #277 smashed her new K13 sights in the “waist” when they thought the ship would hit the mountain, and the pilot “took her upstairs” in a hurry. Radio room floor “buckled” and all “ammo” thrown out to lighten ship.

 

Oct 19th.  Mission “scratched”. We thought #419 had “ditched” and that Dobeski and the others got out, but later reports do not confirm this. We don’t know where they are at 6:00 p.m. this evening. Showers on and off all day. 250’s again tonight.

 

Jan 26th. “Non-op”. Overcast – mission scratched at last moment as usual. Helped unload #385 and load practice bombs into her. Understand we may move back to our own area in a day or two. I really hope so. Forgot to mention yesterday that “Lute” informed us that “Dobeski” has finally been located. He’s a “P.O.W.” We’re very thankful.

 

 

Smithlife

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Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #7 

Really good.I will concern about it.




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