Today, February 21st, marks the day our group was send out on a mission for the first time! This first mission was executed on the second day of, what is called,  BIG WEEK.

Another maximum effort by 8th Air Force to bomb 6 airfields in Germany as primary targets: Diepholz, Guttersloh, Lippstadt, Werl, Achmer and Handorf. In addition the industrial areas of Brunswick city are included as a primary target. Weather and heavy fighter opposition hamper the bombing effort. The contingent from 3rd Bomb Division is the only one that has PFF aircraft so their results are better. A total of 861 heavy bombers take to the air for the attack. Mission Summary as follows:

3rd Bomb Division: 281 B-17s from: 94BG; 95BG; 96BG; 100BG; 385BG; 388BG; 390BG; 447BG; and 452BG are dispatched to bomb the airfield at Diepholz and Brunswick City. 175 are effective on Diepholz and Brunswick City; 88 aircraft are effective on the industrial areas of Hannover and the airfields at Alhorn and Verden as Targets of Opportunity (TOs). 4 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) – 19 KIA 21 POW. 3 aircraft are Damaged Beyond Repair (DBR), 1 with battle damage in a crash landing upon return – 10 RTD and 2 that sustain a mid-air collision during assembly – 21 KIA. 4 airmen are WIA in returning aircraft. 36 aircraft are damaged. The bomber gunners in this dispatch claim 2-5-2 of attacking German aircraft.

1st Bomb Division: A combined force of 336 B-17s from: 91BG; 92BG; 303BG; 305BG; 306BG; 351BG; 379BG; 381BG; 384BG; 401BG; 457BG and 482BG are detached to the primary German airfield targets at Guttersloh; Lippstadt and Werl, Germany but cloud cover obscures these targets and the formations seek out Targets of Opportunity (TOs). 285 aircraft are effective on the following airfields as Targets of Opportunity (TOs): Achmer, Hopstein, Rheine, Diepholz, Quackenbruck and Bramsche. In addition, the railroad marshalling yards at Coevorden and Lingen, Germany are bombed as Targets of Opportunity (TOs). This is the first combat mission for 457BG. 9 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) – 24 KIA 60 POW(1 DIC) 5 RTD (rescued by ASR). 63 aircraft are damaged. 4 airmen are KIA and another 14 WIA in returning aircraft. The bomber gunners of this element claim 12-5-8 of attacking German aircraft. It is not known how many German aircraft were destroyed or damaged on the ground in these strikes, but damage to facilities runways and flak batteries was extensive.

Amongst the four airmen who were KIA, two were 457th BG men; Sgt. Schenkel and Sgt. Pliss. Amongst the 9 aircraft who Failed to Return, one was from the 457th BG; A/C #42-31596/’Tail End Charlie’.

2nd Bomb Division: A combined force of 244 B-24s from: 44BG; 93BG; 389BG; 392BG; 445BG; 446BG; 448BG and 453BG are dispatched to bomb the airfields of Achmer and Handorf, Germany. 11 aircraft managed to bomb the airfield at Achmer using PFF equipment; 203 others bomb the airfields at Diepholz, Verden and Hesepe, Germany and the industrial areas of Lingen as Targets of Opportunity (TOs). 3 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) – 13 KIA 17 POW. 1 aircraft is Damaged Beyond Repair (DBR) – 1 KIA 9 RTD. 3 airmen aboard returning aircraft are WIA. 6 aircraft are damaged. The Bomber gunners of this element claim 5-6-4 of attacking German aircraft.




OK I think a lot of people will get excited about this news! In May 2018 the 457th Bomb Group Association is planning an excursion to Glatton!!!

It will be great meeting our ‘old’ and new friends from overseas. When we have more information we will post this on our website and Facebook page.


457th Bomb Group Asscoiation



Bill Siler was my friend. Our friendship resulted because both of us were involved in a common cause more than 70 years ago. We were both assigned to the same military unit, same squadron and our service with that organization overlapped; however, it was nearly 50 years later at a meeting of the Old Timers that we met and our friendship blossomed.

Bill was a little senior in age to many of us and in the early 1940’s, as the war clouds began to loom, decided to go north and enlist his service with the Royal Canadian Air Force. To my knowledge he is the only person assigned to the 457th that served in the RCAF. After our entry in the conflict Bill came back and ultimately was assigned to the 457th.

After he finished his tour he volunteered to fly with a reconnaissance group and stayed in England flying reconnaissance missions. His service did not end with the conclusion of WWII. He saw service in the Korean conflict and later in Vietnam and in between flew the Berlin Air Lift. Unknown to many was his role in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Bill held a top security clearance and at the height of the crisis was holed up in a windowless room at a undisclosed military installation

From and after our first meeting we maintained an ongoing contact. Bill continued at an energetic pace almost to the end. My son, David and I had Sunday Dinner with Bill in August and he was upbeat as usual. I asked him if he planned to go to England next year. His answer was “If I feel as good then as I do now”.

After he returned to Morro Bay I had a final email from him which indicated he had just about finished his tour.

Happy Trails and Blue Skies Bill!





Retired Coral Gables Police Officer Plans to Walk Across The Pyrenees Like His Father Did Escaping From Nazi Occupied Europe in 1944.

Crew of Frank McNichol’s B-17 bomber. 7 of the 10 would not return from the raid on Augsberg in 1944. Source: www.457thbombgroup.org Public Domain

In 1944 Frank McNichol was on active service with the United States Army Air Force (748 Bomb Squadron, 457 Bomb Group) stationed at Glatton Airfield near Huntingdon in East Anglia. Finding the East of England flat, heavily agricultural, and perfectly placed, the US 8th Air Force, ‘The Mighty Eighth’, quickly turned the area into a huge land based aircraft carrier for launching massive daylight raids on targets in Nazi occupied Europe. There were close to 100 USAAF airfields and 100 000 men at the height of the war.

On the morning of the 25th February 1944, McNichol was part of the 10 crew man crew of a B-17 heavy bomber (B17 G 42-31517). It was only his second mission, and he was the navigator charting a course for Augsberg, Gemany. Approaching the target, flying at 20 000 feet, the plane received a direct hit from German anti aircraft fire. One engine caught fire and the plane was unable to stay within the formation of bombers. Isolated and losing altitude the plane was attacked by German fighters. Further damaged, “the ship suddenly made a violent twist, and we prepared to leave.” McNichol’s parachute got caught and he was pushed out of the hatch by John Vollmuth the bomb aimer.  Only three crew managed to exit the plane as it banked steeply: McNichol, Vollmuth and Vito Peragine the engineer/top turret gunner. As they parachuted to the ground they saw the plane, in a spin, crash into the ground on the edge of the village of Mont Saint Martin, near Rheims. The plane exploded on impact killing the remaining crew. (more…)


Today we added more information to the website! We added two new photo sections and photos have been added to the Lest We Forget section and to the Officers and Enlisted Men Portraits section. If you have any photos you want to share with us please contact us!

Also we added a search bar which will make finding information on the website even more easy.

New photo sections added

Lest We Forget This is a memorial for all the 337 457th members who were KIA, MIA or KIS. Some work still needs to be done to get all 337 names in this memorial but 224 names have been added so far. Some photos are in low resolution but we will try to get these in higher quality so they can be viewed properly.
For the Fallen

Duane Zemper collection Duane Zemper was the photo officer at Glatton. He took many beautiful photos during his time with the 457th Bomb Group. Thanks to Eric Zemper we have 540 beautiful photos to show you in the photo section.
Duane Zemper Collection

Savannah Reunion 2015 This June we had a great reunion in Savannah Georgia. It was great meeting each other again and listening to the great stories our veterans shared with us. The visit the the 8th Airforce Museum was great. We saw the newly restored B-17 ‘City of Savannah’ and the saved and restored terrazzo compass rose from Hunter Field’s original operations building. The 2016 reunion will be held in Washington so make sure you write that down in your agenda’s!

Savannah Georgia 2015 reunion

Bill Mach’s collection Bill Mach was one of the photo officers at Glatton. He took many beautiful photos during his time with the 457th Bomb Group. Thanks to Trisha Mach Robertson we have 850+ beautiful photos to show you in the photo section.

Bill Mach’s Wartime Photo Collection


The 457th Bomb Group Association is pleased to announce the online edition of mission Loading Lists.  This volume was the result of the tireless efforts of Joe Toth, Immediate Past President.  This archive will be a valuable research tool for those interested in the History of the 457th Bomb Group.

If you have any additional information please let us know by contacting the webmaster, Erwin DeMooy: webmaster457thbombgroup@outlook.com

Click here for more information …