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MISSION NO. 23

GYDNIA, POLAND

9 APRIL, 1944
gydnia
A large scale attack was launched against the FW-190 eastern complex of aircraft factories in north central Germany and Poland. Twelve Combat Wings were airborne for the deepest penetration to date.The 457th’s target was an aircraft factory, situated at Rahmel, seven miles from the center of Gydnia, that produced FW-190s. The 457th comprised the 94th A Combat Wing, and led the Wing. U. Col. Henry B. Wilson was Air Commander with pilot Lt. J. L. Smith. In addition, the 457th supplied two squadrons for the high box. Major Fred A. Spencer as the high box leader, with Lt. Jerome E. (Jerry) Godfrey as pilot. The flight route took the Group in a northeasterly direction over the North Sea, across Denmark and the Baltic Sea, and to the target area. Bad weather, which had hampered the Group in England and over the North Sea, caused seven planes to become lost and abort the mission. In addition, four more were lost from the high box and two, having failed to assemble with the Group, aborted when the Group they joined abandoned the mission.The weather had cleared by the time the formations reached the IP.A good formation produced a good bomb run, and bombing results were good, in spite of enemy fighter attacks along the run. Flak was moderate over the target.Immediately after leaving the target, the formation was attacked by waves of FW-190s and Me-109s, coming in from the nose and from the tail. Aircraft piloted by Lt. Amos W. Shepard and Lt. Robert K. Walker took direct hits, with both being shot down. One member of Lt. Shepard’s crew and three of Lt. Walker’s crew, including Lt. Walker, failed to survive. The aircraft piloted by Lt. Stuart James took a direct hit, claiming the life of one crew member.The attacks continued over the Baltic Sea, where Lt. David P. Parks was shot down and seven crew members lost their lives. The attacks continued over Denmark. Lt. Donald G. Karr crashed his badly damaged aircraft at Woodbndge, an English base near the coast.Gunners from the 457th received credit for three enemy aircraft destroyed, one probably destroyed and one damaged. The mission required eleven hours. The bombing results drew a commendation from the Division Headquarters.(Compiler Note: For an account of LT. Donald Karr’ mission, for which he was awarded the Silver Star, see Chapter 19.) scannen-amerika0022 gdynia-201500200722 gdynia-201500200723 gdynia-201500200732