MISSION NO. 4
25 FEBRUARY 1944
The Eighth Air Force penetrated in south Germany to attack three aircraft plants and production centers, and a ball bearing plant at Stuttgart.
Augsburg, the 457th’s assigned target, was the site of the production of Me-210 jet planes. The Germans were busy producing there an aircraft, unknown to aerial warfare at the time, that would be faster and capable of producing more firepower than any other fighter plane then in service.
Track chart for the February 25th 1944 Augsburg mission
The Group comprised the 94th Combat Wing’s low box. In addition, the Group provided six planes for the low squadron of the high box. Col. Luper was Air Commander and Lt. Donald E. Lady was pilot. Enemy opposition was heavy. The Group attacked the primaiy target with good results. For the Eighth Air Force the mission was another costly one, thirty-one aircraft lost to enemy forces.
Destroyed German planes after the attack
Just inside the French Coast on the way to the target, flak knocked out an engine on Lt. Edward J. Reppa’s craft (Mighty Little John), but he continued toward the target.The Lt. James R. Chinn crew was shot down by enemy fighters and crashed in France. Two of his crew evaded capture and later returned to England. Lt. Chinn did not survive. Seven crew members lost their lives, MACR 3003
The ship of the Lt. Archie F. Bowers crew was hit by flak in the target area, dropped out of formation and was attacked by enemy fighters. Six crew members were killed in action, MACR 2918
On the way back to England, Lt. Reppa lost another engine and ultimately crash landed at another base in England without any brakes to stop the craft, which finally came to a stop at a deep ditch after first hitting a tree. There were no serious injuries in the crew. The plane, A/C 42-97458, did not fare as well. It had come to its final resting place.
Lt. Green B. Poore, badly shot up, landed at another base with little gasoline remaining. Lt. Robert D. Lane landed with two engines out.
Lt. Clarence E. Schuchmann lost three engines, and in making a down wind landing, with another craft landing from the opposite direction, lost the fourth engine and made a dead stick landing. The other craft made a touch-and-go landing, avoiding a collision. Twenty-three, of the twenty-four aircraft completing the mission, suffered battle damage.
Though not directly attacked by the “Abbeville Kids”, the Group got their first glimpse of the highly trained Me-109 Squadron with the yellow noses.
In summary the first week in combat had been rough. If there were any doubts of what lay ahead for the Group, the format was on the map in the briefing room. The Eighth Bomber Command had identified strategic and tactical targets in all parts of The Third Reich.