Wagner Crew – Assigned 755th Squadron – June 5, 1944
(Photo: Gene Roberts / ID’s: Josanne Ekelin)
|Capt||Kermit A Wagner||0813617||Pilot||Jan-45||CT||Trsf to 70RD for return to ZI|
|1Lt||Wade Jones||0761114||Co-pilot||Dec-44||CT||Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross|
|1Lt||Russell E Lower||0700635||Navigator||Nov-44||CT||Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross|
|1Lt||Augustine A Quinzani||01995852||Bombardier||01-Dec-44||UNK||Air Crew Leave|
|T/Sgt||Lewis E Roberts||19188542||Radio Operator||Nov-44||CT||Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross|
|T/Sgt||Walter J Schafer||35550043||Flight Engineer||Dec-44||CT||Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross|
|S/Sgt||Edward A Miklaucic||13107048||Aerial Gunner/2E||23-Oct-44||UNK||Trsfr to 752nd Sq - McGough Crew|
|S/Sgt||Sherman A Herman||13092979||Armorer-Gunner||Dec-44||CT||Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross|
|S/Sgt||John P Starr||34764138||Aerial Gunner/2E||Dec-44||CT||Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross|
|S/Sgt||William O Dustin||384197718||Aerial Gunner||Dec-44||CT||Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross|
2Lt Kermit Wagner’s crew joined the 458th BG on June 5, 1944, the day before D-Day. They were assigned to the 755th Squadron. For reasons unknown, their co-pilot, Lt Wade Jones, did not arrive at Horsham until June 12th, the date that the crew flew their first combat mission to Evreaux, France. Over the next two weeks the 458th were involved in hitting various targets in France in order to aid the invasion forces, and Wagner’s crew flew five of these missions in June. During July and August Wagner and crew flew 17 missions. On the July 16th raid on Saarbrucken, Wagner aided with forming the group by piloting the 458th’s assembly ship Spotted Ape with Major Jamison, the 755th Squadron CO.
The crew flew two combat missions in early September before the 458th was removed from combat operations and assigned to ferry gasoline to General Patton’s Third Army in France. A variety of “war weary” Liberators was used for this purpose and came from several different groups. The B-24’s were modified to carry gasoline in special bomb bay tanks, wing tanks, and also in five gallon cans. The aircraft would leave Horsham singly, fly to newly captured airfields in Clastres and Lille France, unload their gasoline and return to Horsham. From September 12 through the end of the month the 458th devoted 13 days to these Truckin’ Missions. Crews received no mission credit, although some of these flights, loaded with thousands of pounds of gasoline were more dangerous than some combat missions. The group lost two crews – one due to a crash on takeoff, and one was shot down returning from France when they strayed too far over German lines. Wagner’s crew flew eight of these days, their last on September 22nd when they crashed while landing in France.
Flying with Wagner as co-pilot on September 22nd was Lt Robert N. Simon, who had been assigned to the 755th as part of 2Lt Dudley J. McArdle’s crew the previous May. Truckin’ missions did not require a full crew and personnel normally consisted of, but were not limited to, a pilot, co-pilot, navigator, radio operator, flight engineer, and one gunner. Listed as gunner (but most likely hitching a ride to France) was S/Sgt Leon R. Santoni from the crew of 1Lt Joseph H. French. This may be the “passenger” that Lewis Roberts referred to in his log entry on this date. (See below)
After September, records indicate that 1Lt Wagner was moved to a Squadron HQ position. He is not listed as flying any missions in October, but reappears in November as a command pilot, flying lead missions. The remaining men on the crew were transferred to the 752nd Squadron on October 23rd with 1Lt Leroy E. McGough as their new pilot. McGough had arrived at the 458th as a co-pilot with Lt James J. Boyle Jr’s crew on June 6, 1944 – one day after Wagner. T/Sgt Lewis Roberts (RO) logbook entries and the mission record of Lt McGough seem to point to the fact that the crew’s missions in October and November were under Lt McGough’s leadership. One load list from November 26th, shows most of the crew flying with Lt Wade Jones, who also had become a first pilot after Wagner moved to Squadron HQ.
While it is not known for sure, it seems likely that the majority of the crew completed their combat tour of 35 missions at the end of November or beginning of December. Most of the men are listed as receiving the DFC in December 1944.
Kermit Wagner was promoted to Captain in January 1945 and left the group that same month after completing his tour.
Lt William Purifoy, bombardier, was presumably replaced at some point during Stateside training by F/O Augustine A.Quinzani who was assigned with the crew. F/O Quinzani was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant in November 1944, went on leave in December, but nothing further is known about his time with the group. Likewise, S/Sgt Edward Miklaucic seems to have disappeared from the group’s records after the October 23, 1944 transfer. It is assumed that these two men completed their combat tours with different crews.
Missions – Kermit Wagner as Pilot
|Date||Target||Pilot||458th Msn||Pilot Msn||Cmd Pilot||Serial||RCL||Sqdn||A/C Msn||A/C Name||Comments|
|23-Jun-44||3 NO BALLS||WAGNER||76||ABT||41-29303||H||Z5||--||LIBERTY LIB||OIL LINE, INST, 2 ENG's|
|24-Jun-44||CONCHES A/F||WAGNER||77||5||41-28735||V||J3||27||UNKNOWN 005||MSN #1|
|02-Jul-44||COUBRONNE||WAGNER||83||ABT||41-28719||Q||J3||--||PADDLEFOOT||#1, 3 SUPER CHG BLOWN|
|17-Jul-44||3 NO BALLS||WAGNER||92||9||42-95316||N||J3||28||PRINCESS PAT|
|20-Jul-44||EISENACH||WAGNER||95||ABT||42-95316||N||J3||--||PRINCESS PAT||#1 ENGINE|
|25-Jul-44||ST. LO AREA "B"||WAGNER||98||12||41-29288||L||J3||40||BIG-TIME OPERATOR|
|28-Jul-44||LEIPHEIM & CREEL||WAGNER||SCR||--||42-95316||N||J3||--||PRINCESS PAT||BRIEFED AND SCRUBBED|
|01-Aug-44||T.O.s FRANCE||WAGNER||100||14||42-95316||N||J3||32||PRINCESS PAT|
|02-Aug-44||3 NO BALLS||WAGNER||101||15||42-95316||N||J3||33||PRINCESS PAT|
|27-Aug-44||FINOW||WAGNER||121||20||42-95316||N||J3||43||PRINCESS PAT||MISSION CREDIT NOV|
|09-Sep-44||MAINZ||WAGNER||124||21||44-10602||A||J3||6||TEN GUN DOTTIE|
|18-Sep-44||HORSHAM to CLASTRES||WAGNER||TR2||NTO||42-100425||O||J3||T2||THE BIRD||NO TAKE OFF|
|19-Sep-44||HORSHAM to CLASTRES||WAGNER||TR3||--||42-100425||O||J3||T3||THE BIRD||CARGO|
|22-Sep-44||HORSHAM to CLASTRES||WAGNER||TR6||ACC||42-94952||A||GJ||T1||SHACK RAT||Landing Acc Clastres|
|23-Sep-44||HORSHAM to CLASTRES||WAGNER||TR7||--||42-52737||K||489BG||T5||THE SHAFT|
|25-Sep-44||HORSHAM to LILLE||WAGNER||TR8-1||--||42-52441||I||J3||T6||LAST CARD LOUIE||1ST FLIGHT - CARGO|
|25-Sep-44||HORSHAM to LILLE||WAGNER||TR8-2||--||42-52441||I||755||T7||LAST CARD LOUIE||2ND FLIGHT - CARGO|
|26-Sep-44||HORSHAM to LILLE||WAGNER||TR9||--||42-52441||I||755||T8||LAST CARD LOUIE|
|28-Sep-44||HORSHAM to LILLE||WAGNER||TR11||--||42-52441||I||755||T10||LAST CARD LOUIE|
|29-Sep-44||HORSHAM to LILLE||WAGNER||TR12||--||42-50320||H||755||T7||NO NAME|
|30-Sep-44||HORSHAM to LILLE||WAGNER||TR13||--||41-29551||389BG||T3||NOT 458TH SHIP|
|10-Nov-44||HANAU A/F||HANSEN||146||22||WAGNER||42-50578||H||J3||18||SKY ROOM||LEAD|
|10-Dec-44||BINGEN||URBANIAK||154||23||WAGNER||42-50575||O||J3||13||UNKNOWN 020||LEAD SEC 2|
|18-Dec-44||KOBLENZ||MORAN||REC||--||WAGNER||42-51939||G||J3||--||UNKNOWN 028||RECALL -LEAD SEC3|
|24-Dec-44||SCHONECKEN||ANDERSON||157||24||WAGNER||42-50684||B||J3||8||A&G FISH SHOPPE||LEAD|
|28-Dec-44||ST. WENDEL||BLUM||160||25||WAGNER||42-50608||W||J3||15||FILTHY McNAUGTY||LEAD SEC 2|
|01-Jan-45||KOBLENZ||EVANS||163||26||WAGNER||42-50504||S||J3||17||UNKNOWN 019||LEAD SEC 2|
|07-Jan-45||RASTATT||MORFORD||166||27||WAGNER||42-51939||G||J3||13||UNKNOWN 028||LEAD SEC 3|
|14-Jan-45||HALLENDORF||FLOYD||170||28||WAGNER||42-50608||W||J3||17||FILTHY McNAUGTY||LEAD SEC 2|
September 22, 1944 – Truckin’ Mission Accident
STATEMENT of 1st Lieutenant KERMIT A. WAGNER, Air Corps, Pilot, 755th Bomb Sq, 458th Bomb Gp, AAF 123, APO 558.
On 23 September 1944, in A/C 952, on a trucking mission from AAF 123, to A-71, I made a normal approach and landing. Immediately after landing the right wing dropped and I thought the right tire was flat. I tried to hold A/C on runway with the right throttle, and left brake and rudder. At about 50-70 MPH the wing dropped enough to make me realize it was main landing gear failure. The A/C left the runway, and skidded to a stop in the grass, after hitting a P-51 A/C, truck and two jeeps. Injuries were minor and were treated immediately at A-71. The A/C did not burn, but was a total loss.
Kermit A. Wagner
1st Lt. Air Corps
Shack Rat was “on loan” from the 44BG for the Truckin Missions
Photo: Brendan Wood
T/Sgt Lewis Roberts’ Logbook entry – September 22, 1944 / Shack Rat wreckage (below)
Diary & Photos: Gene Roberts
Missions – Wade Jones as Pilot
|Date||Target||458th Msn||Pilot Msn||Serial||RCL||Sqdn||A/C Msn||A/C Name||Comments|
|21-Nov-44||HARBURG||148||1||42-109812||V||7V||46||UNKNOWN 016||Listed in 752nd Recs|
|26-Nov-44||BIELEFELD||150||2||42-51110||M||7V||54||TOP O' THE MARK||2BD|
|30-Nov-44||HOMBURG||151||3||--||--||--||--||Listed in 752nd Recs|
|11-Dec-44||HANAU||155||4||42-51215||B||7V||17||UNKNOWN 024||DID NOT LAND AT HORSHAM|
|12-Dec-44||HANAU||156||5||42-51206||S||7V||25||THE PIED PIPER||Listed in 752nd Recs|
|18-Dec-44||KOBLENZ||REC||--||41-29567||G||7V||--||MY BUNNIE / BAMBI||RECALL DUTCH ISLE|
|28-Dec-44||ST. WENDEL||160||6||42-51206||S||7V||27||THE PIED PIPER||Listed in 752nd Recs|
Missions – Leroy McGough as Pilot
|Date||Target||458th Msn||Pilot Msn||Serial||RCL||Sqdn||A/C Msn||A/C Name||Comments|
|24-Aug-44||HANNOVER||117||3||42-95120||M||J3||40||HOOKEM COW / BETTY|
|26-Aug-44||DULMEN||120||4||42-100407||R||J3||42||LITTLE LAMBSY DIVEY|
|08-Sep-44||KARLSRUHE||123||5||42-100407||R||J3||45||LITTLE LAMBSY DIVEY|
|22-Sep-44||HORSHAM to LILLE||TR06||--||42-7629||A||755||T3||NOT 458TH SHIP||TRUCKIN' MISSION|
|25-Sep-44||HORSHAM to LILLE||TR08-1||--||41-29288||L||J3||T6||BIG-TIME OPERATOR||1ST FLIGHT - CARGO|
|25-Sep-44||HORSHAM to LILLE||TR08-2||--||41-29288||L||755||T7||BIG-TIME OPERATOR||2ND FLIGHT - CARGO|
|26-Sep-44||HORSHAM to LILLE||TR09||--||41-29288||L||755||T8||BIG-TIME OPERATOR||TRUCKIN' MISSION|
|27-Sep-44||HORSHAM to LILLE||TR10||--||41-29288||L||755||T9||BIG-TIME OPERATOR||TRUCKIN' MISSION|
|28-Sep-44||HORSHAM to LILLE||TR11||--||41-29288||L||755||T10||BIG-TIME OPERATOR||1ST FLIGHT|
|28-Sep-44||HORSHAM to LILLE||TR11||--||41-29288||L||755||T11||BIG-TIME OPERATOR||2ND FLIGHT|
|29-Sep-44||HORSHAM to LILLE||TR12||--||41-29288||L||755||T12||BIG-TIME OPERATOR||1ST FLIGHT|
|29-Sep-44||HORSHAM to LILLE||TR12||--||41-29288||L||755||T13||BIG-TIME OPERATOR||2ND FLIGHT|
|03-Oct-44||GAGGENAU||127||7||42-100407||R||J3||49||LITTLE LAMBSY DIVEY|
|09-Nov-44||METZ AREA||145||ANA||42-95050||J||7V||55||GAS HOUSE MOUSE||SEE OPS REC|
|25-Nov-44||BINGEN||149||15||42-95050||J||7V||58||GAS HOUSE MOUSE|
T/Sgt Lewis E. Roberts’ Mission Log Book & Calendar
5/14 – Landed Scotland
#1 (Fr.) Evreaux – Fauville (Airdrome) 24-250 G.P. (runway) Saw heavy flak – one hole in tail
#2 (Fr.) Domleger (rocket emplacement) 12-500 G.P. (saw strike target) saw thick shrapnel below – one red hot burst – 2 holes in waist – number holes in L. wing
#3 (Fr.) Tours (Airdrome) 10-500 G.P. (Hit runway, was in top turret at time) felt flak – took turret when Schaffer was hit in head – left turret when on grnd. 3 holes tail, 1 turret, dent cowl #2
#4 (Ger.) Ostermoor (oil refinery) 12-500 GP (saw bombs strike target, heavy smoke, flames) saw flak – smoke pots – lost #2 Eng. When left enemy coast – Took Turret – xmtr. wouldn’t tune – 3 red-red flares on landing – 2 .50 cal holes in rudder from another ship on ground before mission
Abortion (Berlin) lost 3 engines on takeoff – fired flare – turned off end of runway
Abortion gear jammed down after take off – finally went up – few min. After #2 engine out and feathered – #1 running away and on fire – salvoed 18 – 250 lb. bombs in open field at 800’ landing on runway Abt. ¼ mi. beyond – fired 2-red-red fl. On approach – 2 bombs exploded in air below ship – rest in field – 2 bombs hung up in Bombay – landed with both bombs found it was RAF Mosquito base – ate lunch – came back in G.I. truck
#5 (Fr.) Paris (Conches) (Airdrome) 12-500 GP hangers & runways made 2nd run – heavy fl. below on 1st run – #4 smoking all way over – OK though – in top turret most of mission – saw rockets
Abortion got to 20,500’ lost #1 & #3 supercharger lost alt. (were attempting 24,000) one gear jammed up – later came down landed with bombs 12-500 GPs
#6 (Ger.) Kiel (U-Boat Yards) 6-500 GP, 6-500 incend. clust. Light flak on run – heavy at target -4 rockets – saw bombs hit – fires. In top turret to home – flak in front (P-51s) on way back near Ger. Coast
#7 Ger. Lutzkendorf (oil refinery) 10-500 G.P. in top turret all way over & back to Ger. Coast – when #3 lost – called distress sta. hit Eng. Coast O.K. – only 1 gun in turret – saw planes fall at target – heavy flak on run – at target – rockets – lost #3 over Zieder Zee – 3 flares on landing
#8 Ger. Munich (rail yards) 40-100 GP in top turret till after run – gun cable burnt up – heavy flak at target – was in other formation – Gas low – left formation – got 3 QTFs – fuses out – ice over chann. Saw strip at coast – landed late – more gas – skidded off runway twice. Home. Contrails
#9 Fr. Resmaisnil (fly bomb site) 24-250 GP 2 bombs hung in bomb bay – close flak (salvoed)
#10 Fr. Troarn (Troop Concentration) 48-100 GP – heavy flak – 3 holes left wing – didn’t drop bombs – ran off end of runway – tug pulled us out of dirt – saw white flak bursts (S. balls) low take off!
Abortion – Eisenach oil pump out lost #1 landed wi. Bombs – 12-500G.P.
#11 Ger. Munich (Jet-Plane Factory) 10-500 G.P.- in top tur. Till chann. Way back – ‘Contrails – intense flak at target – very close – #3 hit 9 holes at bombs away – cowl covered with oil – feathered 15 min. after – saw fighter go down – chute – wi. 24 #1 jet. Guns – tuned up – no need – 20 holes in ship
#12 Fr. St. Lo (troop Concentration) 52-100 GP at 12,000 – snowballs – traffic – saw bombs hit also heard – bomber went down 2 chutes – one in bomb area – no bombs dropped short – tho voice on int. reported bombs dropped on run – everyone denies saying so ???
#13 Ger. Ludwigshafen (Poison Gas Plant – Syn. Oil Plant) 24-250 GP – in top tur. – undercast – ship in front hit after b. away – man bailed above our tail – spin – windshield broken in front Jones face by flak – 8 holes in ship – big hole in waist – aileron – heavy flak over target
#14 Fr. Belloy (robot bomb site) 24-250 G.P. – undercast – saw no flak – didn’t drop bombs – Schaff. R. gun fired 2 shots L/ rudder – wasn’t called for briefing – just made it.
#15 Fr. Wadicourt (robot bomb site) 24-250 G.P. blew #1 Cil. Head & feathered over target – fighter dove over us to rear – lagged behind dodged flak – 5 pic. #1 – #4 oil press. Low – got flak out of nose from prev. miss. – saw red s. bomb go down
#16 Ger. Hamburg (oil ref 12-500) 23,000 – Terrific flak (240 guns) like thunder – 4 holes -slammed ship all over sky – lost 3 planes
#17 Bel. Ghent (oil refinery) 48-100 13,000 – 7,000’ crossed target 4 times – no flak
#18 Gr. Saarbrucken (rail yards) 5-1000 18000’ int. flak – 4 holes – rode tur. – ship above 9 men bailed out over target – ship stayed up
#19 Fr. Ground supp. SW of Seine Rv (road crossing) 48-100 GP 17,000’ hit roads – Flak & Snowballs
#20 Fr. Metz (Aircraft eng-plant) 12-500 GP cathedral at Chartres beautiful – 2 rock. Over target – flak from burning field returning – Pic. Of target – railyards – lead – planes collided in back 8’ wing gone (OK In Fr.) – herman lost Q.A.C. on landing – hayfield afire fm. Flames – left target in flames – landed low on gas
Abortion – Berlin [Target was an airfield at Finow – crews were given credit for this mission in November]
#21 Ger. Karlsruhe 10-500 G.P. (marshalling yards & repair shops) flew wi. Hauser – saw PFF bombs go down hit shops – lots smoke – moderate flak at target – flew through cloud way in – lost Mike in cloud – 25,500’ over cloud bank – Airdromes destroyed – Mike MIA (home next night 11:00)
#22 Ger. Mainz (marshalling yard 20-250) Heavy flak no damage
[After September 11, 1944 the 458th came off of combat operations in order to ferry gasoline to General Patton’s supply starved 3rd Army in France. Flying a “borrowed” B-24 from the 44th BG, the rather eventful Truckin’ Mission below was the Wagner crew’s last of this type. They flew 8 of these in September. See section above]
9-22-44 3,600 gal gas (100-80) crashed on Clustres airdrome France – R. landing gear gave way on landing – folded back slowly – wing hit runway at aprox. 80 M.P.H. (fired R-G flare when gear started) swerved off runway hit control truck tearing R. wing off at #4 eng. Also #4 prop & nose turret hit Jeep (T. loss) shearing off #3 prop – hit nose P-51 spinning it around. Wag., C.P., Shaf., Russ, & I went out top hatch – Starr & Passenger out waist window – gas poured out wing but didn’t burn. Nose gone from Nav. Dome forward – fus. Broke behind wing – both rudders smashed also stab – Russ cut on head & C.P. later discovered had broken back – sent to hosp.
#23 Ger. Gaggenau 12-500 INC. clust. D.B. Motor works New P. [pilot, Lt Leroy E. McGough] – Temp -30 at 24,300’ – flew very tight form. – (Pic) – flak crossing Siegfried Line both ways. Could see Swiss pass
#24 Ger. Stade 12-500 INC cl. A.F. & hangers Took pic of coast out (-25deg) – Passed over 3 A.F. on long bomb run. Flak – no damage near Hamburg
#25 Ger. Cologne 16-250, 4-500 inc. cl. -33deg – cloud over target – saw inc. hit field – not ours – heavy flak – 5 holes – pic. of holes
#26 Ger. Mainz 12-250, 6-500 inc. cl. -40deg – cloud over target – heavy flak – 7 holes – Pic. of flak & Br. Mar. over target – in turret – ice on dome
#27 Ger. Harburg (20-250 oil ref.) clouds – heavy flak behind us – mew man along today – things worked good.
#28 Ger Karlsruhe (4-,2000 GP railyards) -31deg – cloud over target – 1 bomb hung-up – fell through door in Ger. – I kicked door off over FA [France]. – mod. Flak at target – very rough air coming back & rain found piece flak in bomb bay – 1” pic.
#29 Ger. Rheine (12-500 rail yards) lost formation in cloud – went alone to Holl. Caught form. – silver tails – went to 27,000’ to get over clouds – came home alone #1 feathered – 30 min late
#30 Fa. Metz (fort in woods 3-2,000 -40deg) ground supp. – ice on wings, engines & tail – still dark at take-off – dropped just over lines – QAM over FA. – rain at field – Almost hit other plane in pattern – saw bombs hit target.
#31 Ger. Harburg (12-500 oil ref) -32deg used spare ship – bombs dropped along run – saw one hit AF – our bombs hit highway bridge & city – oil fires – Hydraulic system hit – aileron cables hit – interph. out – gas tank hit – 10 holes – tug dragged us off runway.
#35 Ger. Hanau
Courtesy: Gene Roberts
Wagner Crew enlisted at Horsham St Faith
If you can identify these men, please contact me.
Photo: Gene Roberts
Distinguished Flying Cross – November 22, 1944
Lt Col Williamson (752nd Sq CO) presents T/Sgt Roberts with the DFC
Photo: Gene Roberts