Crew 37 – Assigned 753rd Squadron – October 29, 1943
Back Row: Gordon Wyman – B, Paul Krueger – P*, Casimer Kolezynski – CP.
Middle Row: Charles Joerger – E/TTG, Jack Vogelsang – RO, Frank Boch – TG
Front Row: Conrad Lunz – BTG, William Price – NTG, Frederick Frenz – WG
Not Pictured: Donald Nielsen- N
*2Lt Paul E. Krueger was replaced prior to movement overseas.
|1Lt||Stephen F Davidson||0675563||Pilot||06-Oct-44||CT||Trsf to 70RD - Completed Tour|
|2Lt||Casimer J Kolezynski||0693687||Co-pilot||06-Mar-44||POW||Shot down over Berlin -w/McMains|
|1Lt||Donald Nielsen||0694837||Navigator||06-Oct-44||CT||Trsf to 70RD - Completed Tour|
|1Lt||Gordon E Wyman||0752913||Bombardier||01-Dec-44||CT||Trsf to 70RD - Completed Tour|
|T/Sgt||Jack P Vogelsang||33276524||Radio Operator||06-Oct-44||CT||Trsf to 70RD - Completed Tour|
|T/Sgt||Charles C Joerger||32439996||Flight Engineer||06-Oct-44||CT||Trsf to 70RD - Completed Tour|
|S/Sgt||William H Price||15382869||Aerial Gunner/2E||14-Aug-44||UNK||Disqual from flights|
|S/Sgt||Frederick Frenz, Jr||32433423||Aerial Gunner/2E||Sep-44||CT||Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross|
|S/Sgt||Frank J Boch, Jr||33430696||Armorer-Gunner||Aug-44||CT||Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross|
|S/Sgt||Conrad C Lunz||33502423||Armorer-Gunner||06-Mar-44||POW||Shot down over Berlin -w/McMains|
2Lt Paul E. Krueger was originally assigned as the pilot for Crew 37. At some point during training he was reassigned, reason unknown. He was transferred to the 15AF 451BG in Castelluccio, Italy. On May 5, 1944 his crew was shot down by fighters near Ploesti, Romania. Two of his crew were KIA, and Krueger spent the rest of the war as a POW. Krueger was replaced by 2Lt Stephen F. Davidson as Crew 37’s first pilot. Records do not indicate the manner in which this crew moved to England – by ship or plane, but they arrived at Horsham St Faith at some time in January or February 1944.
Crew 37 participated in both of the diversion missions the 458th flew in support of the Eighth Air Force “Big Week” at the end of February 1944. They also flew on the 458th Bomb Group’s first operational mission to Frankfurt, Germany on March 2nd.
The crew, as a whole, did not fly on the March 6, 1944 raid on Berlin, but 2Lt Casimer J. Kolezynski, co-pilot and S/Sgt Conrad C. Lunz, ball-turret gunner flew with Crew 29 piloted by 2Lt Jesse L. McMains. They were one of five 458th ships lost that day. Kolezynski and Lunz bailed out successfully along with five others of the crew, but two gunners and McMains were killed in action.
Crew 37 flew two more missions in March and then, perhaps awaiting replacement crew members, the crew did not fly again until the April 8th raid on Brunswick, Germany. The crew took off at 10:40 that morning flying B-24H 41-28671 and carrying a new co-pilot, 2Lt Gerald G. Banghart and a new gunner, Sgt Orville R. Terry.
753rd Squadron records
“While on the bomb-run, Lt Davidson’s aircraft was attacked by enemy fighters and later suffered damage from flak with the result that the rudder controls were shot away, fuel lines severed, hydraulic system destroyed, part of the tail assembly shot away, a tire punctured, and a landing strut damaged. By skillful manipulation of the throttles in lieu of rudder controls, Lt. Davidson was able to remain in formation and bomb the target. Sgt. Charles C. Joerger, flight engineer, risked his life by straddling [the] open bomb bay to patch the broken fuel lines without informing the crew of the extent of the damage, and enabled the plane to return to its base where Lt. Davidson landed it successfully despite the flat tire, no brakes, no flaps, and a damaged landing strut. Sgt. O.R. Terry, ball-turret gunner on Lt. Davidson’s crew was hit in the left leg by flak.”
The squadron records also show that in addition to patching up the damage done to the fuel system, Sgt. Joerger had time to shoot down an enemy aircraft. 2Lt Gordon E. Wyman, bombardier, was also credited with an enemy aircraft destroyed from the nose turret.
In the May section of “Awards and Decorations” for the 753rd Squadron, T/Sgt Joerger and 1Lt Davidson were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for the April 8, 1944 action. 2Lt Gerald G. Banghart was awarded the Soldier’s Medal, and Sgt Orville R. Terry was awarded the Purple Heart.
The Germans hadn’t heard the last of Sgt’s Joerger and Terry. On August 15, 1944 the crew was on one of their final missions to hit German held airfields near Vechta, France. They had been assigned B-24J 44-40273 Silver Chief. In the vicinity of Meppel, “an estimated nine E/A attacked our formation using all kinds of tactics in their effort to destroy as many as possible. None of our A/C were lost, but our gunners succeeded in destroying three E/A, thus helping to further deplete the vaunted Luftwaffe”. Joerger and Terry were each credited with an ME-109 destroyed on this mission and were awarded an Oak Leaf Cluster to their Air Medals.
Most of the crew completed their 30 missions in August and September and were rotated back to the States or to other assignments in October and November. 2Lt Wyman went home in December. S/Sgt William H. Price was “disqualified from aerial flights” on August 14, 1944. It is not known if he completed a tour.
|Date||Target||458th Msn||Pilot Msn||Serial||RCL||Sqdn||A/C Msn||A/C Name||Comments|
|24-Feb-44||DUTCH COAST||D1||--||42-52306||--||J4||D1||UNKNOWN 030||Diversion Mission|
|25-Feb-44||DUTCH COAST||D2||--||42-52306||--||J4||D2||UNKNOWN 030||Diversion Mission|
|08-Apr-44||BRUNSWICK/WAGGUM||17||5||41-28671||K||J4||12||UNKNOWN 001||2 FIGHTERS DEST|
|09-Apr-44||TUTOW A/F||18||ABT||41-29300||M||J4||--||LORELEI||Bmbdr ILL, PASSED OUT|
|13-Apr-44||LECHFELD A/F||21||6||41-28733||P||J4||14||RHAPSODY IN JUNK|
|22-Apr-44||HAMM M/Y||25||8||41-28735||S||J4||13||UNKNOWN 005|
|24-Apr-44||LEIPHEIM A/F||26||ABT||41-28721||L||J4||--||DOWNWIND LEG||PILOT RPT TAIL FLUTTER|
|25-Apr-44||MANNHEIM A/F||27||9||42-100341||A||J4||12||SATAN'S MATE|
|26-Apr-44||PADERBORN A/F||28||10||41-28733||P||J4||20||RHAPSODY IN JUNK|
|29-Apr-44||BERLIN||31||ABT||42-50320||J||J4||--||UNKNOWN 018||CP STOMACH, Bmbdr TOOTHACHE|
|01-May-44||LIEGE M/Y||32||12||42-50320||J||J4||3||UNKNOWN 018|
|12-May-44||BOHLEN||40||ABT||42-50320||J||J4||--||UNKNOWN 018||Bmbdr SEVERE TOOTHACHE|
|13-May-44||TUTOW A/F||41||13||42-50320||J||J4||11||UNKNOWN 018|
|19-May-44||BRUNSWICK||42||ABT||42-50320||J||J4||--||UNKNOWN 018||PILOT THOUGHT RECALL|
|20-May-44||RHEIMS A/D||43||14||42-50320||J||J4||12||UNKNOWN 018|
|21-May-44||SIRACOURT||44||ABT||42-50320||J||J4||--||UNKNOWN 018||LOST ALL ELECTRICAL|
|08-Jun-44||UNSPECIFIED TGTS||AZ04||--||44-40201||N||J4||--||SILVER CHIEF||ABANDONED - WEATHER|
|24-Jun-44||ST OMER||78||16||41-29352||K||7V||31||WOLVE'S LAIR||MSN #2|
|28-Jun-44||SAARBRUCKEN||81||ABT||41-28682||I||Z5||--||UNKNOWN 003||TURBOS FROZEN|
|01-Aug-44||T.O.s FRANCE||100||17||44-40201||N||J4||6||SILVER CHIEF|
|02-Aug-44||3 NO BALLS||101||18||44-40201||N||J4||7||SILVER CHIEF|
|04-Aug-44||ROSTOCK||103||19||42-110141||U||J4||9||BREEZY LADY / MARIE / SUPERMAN|
|15-Aug-44||VECHTA||114||24||44-40201||N||J4||13||SILVER CHIEF||2 FIGHTERS DEST|
|17-Aug-44||LE FOULONS RR BRG||AZ11||25||44-40277||P||J4||6||MISS USED||10/10 CLOUD NO DROP|
|25-Aug-44||MOERDIJK, NETH||AZ12||26||44-40201||N||J4||14||SILVER CHIEF||SELLERS, RC Capt OBS|
|26-Aug-44||MOERDIJK, NETH||AZ13||27||44-40201||N||J4||15||SILVER CHIEF||NO DROP - SORTIE CREDIT|
|01-Sep-44||RAVENSTEIN, HOL||AZ14||28||44-40273||T||J4||22||HOWLING BANSHEE|
April 8, 1944 – Battle damage to B-24H-10-DT 41-28671 J4 K
#671 was eventually repaired, but met her end on May 12, 1944 on an ill-fated Test Hop
(Photo: Aaron Oakes)
Lt. Davidson inspects the damage to his aircraft after their return to Horsham St. Faith.
Jack Vogelsang, Frank Boch, Frederick Frenz
(Photos: Anne Zimmer)
T/Sgt Joerger and 1Lt Davidson
Both were awarded DFC’s for their actions on April 8th
(Photo: Anne Zimmer)
Confirmed Victories – April 8, 1944
T/Sgt Joerger and 2Lt Wyman were each credited with an enemy aircraft destroyed.
August 15, 1944 – Mission to Vechta
S/Sgt Frederick Frenz, Jr – Mission List
|18||1-Aug-44||TGT's of OPP, FRANCE|
|19||2-Aug-44||3 NO BALLS|
|24||17-Aug-44||RR BRIDGE, FRANCE|
Courtesy Sharon Frenz Ferko
B-24H-20-CF 42-50320 J4 J Bums Away
Standing: Frank Boch, Gordon Wyman, Charles Joerger, Stephen Davidson, Don Nielsen
Gordon Wyman beneath the tail.
After new paint job, “Circle-K” and part of serial still visible on rudder.
Crew “sweating out” the mission.
Crew around Horsham
“Dave” Davidson and T/Sgt Al Rohrs, Crew Chief, with Downwind Leg (left) and Jack Vogelsang, Foster, Orville Terry with the same aircraft.
Davidson and crew readying for a mission. Gerry Banghardt, the crew’s co-pilot (right)
(Photos: Anne Zimmer)
Distinguished Flying Cross
Crew before receiving their DFC’s
Standing: Charles Joerger, Donald Mallon, Donald Nielsen, Stephen Davidson, Jack Vogelsang
Stephen Davidson (Left) and Don Nielsen
Charles Joerger (left) and Frank Boch
Gordon Wyman (left) and Orville Terry