Clutter Crew – Assigned 752nd Squadron – February 13, 1945
If anyone can identify the other men in the photo, please contact me.
(Photo: Lynn Kafalas)
Flying at the End of Hostilities
|Rank||Name||Serial #||Crew Position||Date||Status||Comments|
|2Lt||Leland W Clutter||02058107||Pilot||17-May-45||FEH||Transferred to 755BS|
|2Lt||Horace J Reisner||02058086||Co-pilot||17-May-45||FEH||Transferred to 755BS|
|F/O||Frank K Furrelle||T134904||Navigator||12-Apr-45||FEH||DS to 482BG - H2X Trng|
|S/Sgt||Calvin L Hebenstreit||36652534||Radio Operator||17-May-45||FEH||Transferred to 755BS|
|S/Sgt||John G Kafalas||42003143||Flight Engineer||17-May-45||FEH||Transferred to 755BS|
|Sgt||Paul J Desmond||11110326||Aerial Gunner||17-May-45||FEH||Transferred to 755BS|
|Sgt||Lawson L Glisson, Jr||34826773||Aerial Gunner||17-May-45||FEH||Transferred to 755BS|
|Sgt||Clifford C Reed, Jr||17132252||Aerial Gunner||17-May-45||FEH||Transferred to 755BS|
|Sgt||Gerard E Roberts||31445850||Armorer-Gunner||17-May-45||FEH||Transferred to 755BS|
The crew of 2Lt. Leland W. Clutter arrived at Horsham St. Faith on February 13, 1945, 72 days prior to the end of the air war over Europe. They were assigned to the 752nd Squadron and would remain there until the end of the war. The crew flew their first mission on March 9, 1945 to the marshaling yards at Osnabruck, Germany. The reason for the long delay in the start of their combat tour is unknown. Most crews, after arriving and going through a week or so of indoctrination and training flights, would be in combat fairly quickly.
Their second mission, on March 14th, was to the marshaling yards at Holzwickede, Germany, just east of Dortmund. They were flying an older B-24H-30-DT 42-51206 7V S named The Pied Piper that had been taken over the Continent by a number of other crews 52 times during the preceding months. According to 458BG mission reports, they lost their #3 engine near the Initial Point and were forced to turn for home. The S2 (Intelligence) report states, “Four A/C are NYR (Not Yet Returned). A/C 206-S left formation vicinity 5100-0800 after losing No. 3 engine. Last seen under control heading for France.” They made it safely to airfield B-53 near Merville, France, about 250 miles west of the target area. They were back at Horsham by March 18th, just in time to take part on the 458th’s last mission to Berlin.
On the March 21st mission to an airfield near Hesepe, Germany, the crew experienced mechanical difficulties and were forced to abort, returning to base after jettisoning their bombs in the Channel. They completed the month of March with six combat missions to their credit, thus earning their first Air Medal.
The crew would fly an additional eight missions in April, including the raid on the airfield at Lechfeld, Germany on April 9th. It was over the target that the 458th would suffer its 47th and final combat loss when the crew of 2Lt. Leonard Abramowitz (753BS) was shot down by flak. Flying in the lead squadron, Clutter was positioned directly behind them, and must have had a horrifying view of the flaming aircraft dropping out of formation. Of the nine men on Abramowitz’ crew, eight made it out safely, while nose turret gunner Sgt. Allen C. Rupp was killed in action.
The crew’s last mission was on April 15, 1945. This was the first use of Napalm by the Eighth Air Force and was directed at the German pockets of resistance in and around the coastal area of Royan in southern France. The crew had completed 14 missions granting them a second Air Medal which was awarded on April 21, 1945.
On May 17, 1945 the entire crew, except for navigator, F/O Frank K. Furrelle, was transferred to the 755th Squadron. On April 12th, Furrelle had been sent on DS (Detached Service) to the 482BG at AAF102 Alconbury to receive training as an H2X (radar) navigator. It is unknown if he completed this training or returned to Horsham when the war ended less than a month later.
Since they had not completed a full combat tour, it is very likely that the crew was held over during May and part of June in order to ferry one of the group’s Liberators back to the U.S.
|Date||Target||458th Msn||Pilot Msn||Serial||RCL||Sqdn||A/C Msn||A/C Name||Comments|
|14-Mar-45||HOLZWICKEDE||203||2||42-51206||S||7V||53||THE PIED PIPER||LANDED AT B-53|
|21-Mar-45||HESEPE||209||ABT||42-50504||L||7V||--||UNKNOWN 019||ABORT - #4 TURBO OUT|
|22-Mar-45||KITZINGEN||210||5||44-10487||R||7V||47||Girl on surfboard (no name)|
|07-Apr-45||KRUMMEL||220||10||42-50504||L||7V||33||UNKNOWN 019||FLYING w/466TH "C" GRP|
|09-Apr-45||LECHFELD||222||11||41-29340||N||7V||78||YANKEE BUZZ BOMB|
|11-Apr-45||REGENSBURG||224||13||42-51270||A||7V||40||MY BUNNIE II|
|15-Apr-45||ROYAN AREA||226||14||41-29352||K||7V||93||WOLVE'S LAIR|
March 21, 1944 – Mechanical Trouble
Abortion Report for Clutter Crew.
The aircraft they were flying on this date was actually 42-50504 which was unnamed. The report erroneously shows 42-50502 Larrupin’ Linda, which the crew flew on their first and twelfth missions.
April 9, 1945
Formation Chart showing the positions of Clutter and Abramowitz in the lead squadron over the target when Final Approach was hit.
Clutter crew (flying B-24H-15-CF 41-29340 7V N Yankee Buzz Bomb); Abramowitz crew (flying B-24H-15-FO 42-52457 7V Q Final Approach)