Cruse Diary

 

                          (NO. 1)

FRANKFURT-GERMANY   (FIGHTERS) (FIGHTERS)

OCT 4-1943  AIRCRAFT FACTORY-6HR MISSION-5HRS OXYGEN

This was perhaps the biggest day I have had in the E.T.O.  Today we made our first

run. We flew with LT. Hoseapple, a hell of a good pilot. The raid was rough, one of

the hardest since our group got  here. Everywhere I looked was bursting flack, we made

our bomb run and then the whole German air force hit us. I saw some very unpleasant

things happen today, fortress exploding all over the sky. The fighters consisted of

EW190, ME109, ME110, JU88. They weren't very scared of us and bored in and

through our formation firing their 20 mm cannons. The were exploding all around us.

Took off our aerial and knocked plenty of holes in our ship. The sky was full of chutes

both enemy and ours. One ME bored in on our tail, I gave him a burst but he kept

coming then in desperation I clamped on the trigger. He rolled over on his back one

chute coming out, down he went in a uncontrolled spin. I had tasted my first blood.

Strangely enough I had no fright, only I was sweating and it was 28 below zero. Our

formation was breaking up. Stragglers all over the sky. Then when things looked

darkest the Lord must have taken a hand because our of the sun like guardian angels

come our escort of P 47's. They knocked down several and suddenly the sky was cleared

of enemy fighters and the P47's were riding above us like proud kings daring Jerry to

come back. No one in the world has more respect for the fighter pilots than I. They are

the tops. It takes guts to go over in the enemy back yard and trim him with a one engine

ship. Germany's super men don't show too good against just ordinary American boys.

Then came the coast of England and the let down. I was sure happy to be back and I

guess everyone felt the same. Devlin froze his finger and we will lose him now for quite

some time. So ended my first mission over into Jerry land. The mission was a success

and we left smoke towering up-0 to 7,000 ft. I would have liked to watch it but had no

time. I wonder how Germany likes a taste of their own medicine. Down on the ground

guns cleaned and on the whole a very worth while day for us. Later found I only got

credit for a probable on my air craft but I know he went down and so does Collins our

tail turret man.

 

Pilot              Hoseapple

Alt.                27,000 ft

Temp             27 below

Time              6 hrs. 5 oxygen

Target           Aircraft factory

Bomb load    44 incendiaries 100 lb.

 

                          (NO. 2)

MUNSTER, GERMANY    (FLACK) (FIGHTERS) (FLACK)

OCT 10, 1943

Today was perhaps one of the most unforgettable in all of my 28 years of life. We were

roused out of our beds at four in the morning. The target was the Marsheling yards in

Munster Germany. We went in at 26,000 our fighter cover left us about 20 minutes

before the target. They had no sooner left than the hun hit us. We were off course and

the flack was breaking all about us. Suddenly it felt as if I had a hot burning sensation

in my leg and I was hurtled from my seat way back to the escape hatch. It broke all my

lines. I had no felling in my leg and was afraid to look for fear it was gone. I crawled

back to my gun position, hooked up my oxygen and ear phones called the pilot and told

him i was hit, at this time the sky was full of enemy fighter. They swarmed all over us

and it seamed like they took turns shooting at us. There were so many I didn't know

which one to shoot at. Then over the inter-phone the navigator said our oxygen was shot

away. The bombidier was shot bad and he was shot in the eye. I'm sure we were all

praying plenty I know I was. It seemed again like the end was near and then and then

again in the nick of time came our p 47's again. We started to let down and Kriesky our

radio man went up front to help out. He passed out without no oxygen. We were

running low on gas and everyone was all in. The bombardier looked like he was dying

and the navigator looked like he had a bucket of blood spilled over his head. What a

mess. We came in at a strange field and they put all three of us in the hospital. The first

day I thought LT. Rosenthal would die. They wouldn't let me out of bed. They kept me

in bed for 10 days. I was black and blue from my ankle to my ass, looked like a horse had

kicked me. The hospital is full of wounded men and I met several I used to know in

gunnery school. Groans and guys screaming in their sleep. I thought I would go mad.

Met a kid from Storm Lake we talked of good old Iowa. His was the only ship that came

back out of his group. I was sure glad to get out of there. There was so much suffering I

was afraid I would lose my nerve.

 

Pilot              Wrisberg

Alt.                27,000

Temp             37 below

Time              5 1/2 hrs 4 oxygen

Target           Marsheling Yards

Bomb load    42 incendiaries 100 lb

 

                    SCHWEINFURT GERMANY

This is the one the boys went on while I was in the hospital. They say 60 planes were

lost. If the truth were known we lost almost that many at Munster and perhaps over 100

at this target. I really sweated it out the crew but when i got back i found they had

engine trouble and never made it.

 

                          (NO. 3)

WELHELSHAVEN-GERMANY

NOV 7, 1943

Today we hit shipping and docks at one of Germans biggest sea ports. We met quite a

reception but our cover was superb. The fighters came right in and flew with us. We

really sent out a force today perhaps the biggest ever sent out. We went in over Holland

and the low countries, everything looked so peaceful until the flack started to come up. I

think the temp was the coldest yet. There were quite a few enemy fighters but our cover

kept them away fine.

 

Pilot         Sipher

Alt            25000

Temp        45 below

Time         5 hrs 2 oxygen

Target      docks, shipping

 

                          (No. 4)

KESSEL-GERMANY

Today we struck deep in Germany we carved incinderiers and bombed on ____

finders. The target was rail roads in the city we saw only a few ____ and the flack was

just moderate fighter cover was perfect. It was the ____ yet today but a guy don't

mind so bad if the opposition isn't too ____.

 

Pilot               Sipher

Alt                  25000

Temp              50 below

Time               5 hrs 4 oxygen

Target            rail roads and city

Bomb Load    10-500 lb demo

 

                          (No. 5)

Knaben-Norway

Nov 16, 1943

Today we stretched out on a long raid. We went to Knaben Norway. We were only

supposed to be on oxygen for a couple of hrs. but the clouds were high and we had to

climb above them. as it was we were on oxygen about 6 1/2 hrs. The run was about 1800

miles. Most of the flight was over water and the navigator sure was on the ball, he hit a

very small target right on the nose. Norway was covered with snow really beautiful

lakes, mountains, trees, sure did look peaceful.

 

Pilot               Lt Hoseapple

Alt                  12000-18000

Temp              30 below

Time               8 hrs 6 1/2 oxygen

Target            Molybdenium Mine

Bomb Load    6-500 lb demo

 

                          (No. 6)

Emden-Germany

Today we hit Emden the good old stand by. We encountered a heck of a lot of flack and

the formations ahead really had hell with fighters. The count shot down was 138 by

fighters and bombers. we got up at four o'clock had beautiful fresh eggs. We pulled

against a strong wind on the way in, I thought we would never get across the north sea.

We ran out of gas on the way home and got ready to put her down in the channel. We

threw out everything that was loose so we could glide farther, finally found some gas in

the tokyo tanks and made it on home. Only 17 forts lost today on a whole it wasn't a

 very bad raid.

 

Pilot                Mc Cluskey (Iowa)

Alt                   26000

Temp               42 below

Time                5 1/2 hrs 4 1/2 oxygen

Target             shipping and docks

Bomb Load    10-500 lb demo

 

                          (No. 7)

Calis area-France

Dec 24, 1943 (Christmas Eve)

Today was the easiest raid yet we had no opposition at all. We went _____ the rocket

guns the jerrys had _____ to throw rockets into London was quite a scheme but after all

it was just a dream ____ as Hitler is concerned. We dropped demo bombs they say

there were 1500 planes in the sky. Really was a good ____ we really knocked hell out

ddd targets.

 

Pilot              Eikoff

Alt                 12000

Temp             20 below

Time              5 hrs

Target           Rocket Guns

Bomb Load   16-300 lb demo

 

                          (No. 8)

Frankfurt-Germany

Jan 24, 1944

Today we got up at 3:30 the loading was Bombay tanks and 500 lb demolition bombs so

we knew it was to be rough. Then we were briefed the target was Frankfurt and being

there before I knew it was to be plenty rough. We got all ready, loaded with plenty of

ammo. We had a hard time forming but finally left the coast. We went in through

Belgium and about 5 minutes over enemy territory we got a recall telling us to return to

our base. We had already been shot at so gave us a mission out of it. That makes eight,

not very close to 25 but I'm cutting them down a little, almost a third finished. I guess I

will never have an easier one so it don't hurt to give us one once in awhile, not very

many ever finish anyhow.

 

Pilot              Peters

Alt                 24000

Temp             45 below

Time               3 1/2 hrs

Target            RECALL from (Frankfurt)

Bomb Load    500 lb demo

 

                          (No. 8)

Frankfurt-Germany

Jan 23 1944

Today we hit Frankfurt I really sweated it out because I thought for sure it would be

tough as last time, it really wasn't to bad still the papers and raids says we lost 30

bombers and 15 fighters. There were a lot of enemy fighters but i never had any good

shots but really didn't care because when you get good shots they are generally shooting

plenty at you too. The flack was plenty thick and it looked pretty bad for us for awhile. I

guess it don't make any difference just so we get back.

 

Pilot               Mac Culsky

Alt                  24000

Temp              22 below

Time               7 hrs 6 hrs oxygen

Target            piston factory

Bomb Load    12 500 lb demo

 

                          (No. 9)

Bruinswick-Germany

Jan 24, 1944

Today we hit Germany again on a deep penetration raid. They really tired a guy out

yesterday, I was almost dead when I got out of the plane then another one today. They

always get us up about 3:30 on a mission so there isn't very much rest for one so tired. I

guess it is the nervous strain that makes us so dam tired. Today we bombed through the

clouds so I don't know how we did. There were quite a few fighters and I should have

got one if it hadn't been going so fast. He came from the front and if I had known he was

coming I could have got him easy but our bombs wouldn't release and the bombardier

was busy and never saw him in time. We had beautiful fighter cover or it would really

have been rough. All in all it wasn't so bad.

 

Pilot              Mac Culsky

Alt                 22000

Temp             32 below

Time              5 hrs 3 oxygen

Target           plane factory

Bomb Load   12 500 lb demolition

 

                          (No. 10)

Wilhelmshaven-Germany

Feb 3, 1944

Today we hit one of Germany's most important sea bases. We took off at eight the alt

supposed to be 22000 we kept flying through clouds and was forced up to 28000 to clear

them. We got to the target with beautiful fighter cover. We bombed through the clouds

and never saw any enemy fighters. The flack was there4 but very inaccurate the we

started back over the north sea. We started our let down and went from 22000 to 2500 ft

in clouds so thick you couldn't see your wing tips. Plenty of planes I thought sure we

would run into one another. Lost a new friend he was trying to crank up the bomb bay

door and passed out from lack of oxygen and fell 28000 ft with no chute on, hell of a way

to die!

 

Pilot               Mac Culsky

Alt                  28000

Temp             44 below

Time              6 1/2 hrs 4 oxygen

Target           ship building

Bomb Load   42 incendiaries

 

                          (No. 11)

Cheaturoux-France

Today we hit an air field deep in France, It was a long trip and we encountered quite a

few fighters but no flack, all in all it was a pretty easy raid. There was a lot of flack but

none of it got into us. The fighter cover was pretty good but the minute they left the

Jerrys came in shooting 20 mm to beat hell. We never got a hole in our ship, Guess the

good lord is taking care of me. We really plastered the target and it will be out of

operation for a long time. Our P-47's knocked hell out of everything that bothered us.

 

Pilot             MacLelan

Alt                 14000

Temp             24 below

Time              7 hrs

Target           Cheaturoux France

Bomb Load   12-500 lb Demolition

 

                          (No. 12)

Dippe-France

Feb 6, 1944

Today we were again kicked out of bed at four o'clock. Ever since I got back from

furlough it has been four or earlier. A lot of them have been canceled but just the same

it ruins a guys rest. The past three days they have really worked up. I think I have lost

10 lbs. and I'm sure all in. We were supposed to hit an air field deep in France in fact it

was only about 60 miles from Switzerland. We went over their and found the target

closed in by clouds. We started back and somehow lost our escort so the fighters came

in. One went by so close I could have spit in his eye. I was too eager thou, kinda like

buck fever and I shot too quick. I hit him a little but not a direct burst so he went on his

way. I'll nail him next time but shooting at a target attacking from the nose at 400 mph

and you going about 200 mph is a pretty tough target and you have to be on him or he is

gone. We carried our bombs back almost to the coast and dumped them on Dippe air

port, really splattered it.

 

Pilot          Mac Lelen

Alt              14000

Temp          18 below

Time

Target

Bomb Load

 

                          (No. 13)

Munster-Germany

March 11, 1944

Today we went to Munster again. It is surprising what a difference a few months can

make I remember as clear as any thing how on Oct 10 the Jerrys kicked hell out of up

on this very same target. At that time the flack was rough. We must have seen all of 100

that day, as many as 10 on our tail at a time but today we never saw one plane of enemy

make. I got a purple heart out of this target just six months ago today.

 

Pilot             Winton

Alt                 21000

Temp             22 below

Time              6 hrs 3 1/2 oxygen

Target           Marshiling yards

Bomb Load   42-100 lbs incendiaries

 

                          (No. 14)

Bouloone-France

Today we went out after military objectives in France. I flew with what is left of my old

crew. We never met any fighter opposition but did see a lot of accurate flack. It looks so

ugly those big black puffs of smoke and when you hear that stuff burst near your plane

with a big woof it makes a guy mighty uneasy. It really don't sound bad but when a guy

thinks of what will happen if one of those bursts hits his three tons of bombs it makes

him get kinda cold feet. We picked up six pretty good size holes. Today one piece hit the

navigator but went through an ammo box first so it didn't hurt him. Red, our old co-

pilot flew us. It sure is nice to fly with someone you know.

 

Pilot             Caughlan

Alt                 20000

Temp             38 below

Time              5 hrs 3 oxygen

Target           Rocket Guns

Bomb Load   12-500 lb Demolition

 

                          (No. 15)

Leippstaf-Germany

March 23 1944

Today we went deep into Germany to bomb an air field and installation. We had

beautiful fighter cover and only saw the enemy break through once making one pass,

they sent down two Forts in flame. However the P-38's got them shortly afterward on

the whole it was pretty easy. We were down on gas thou and it looked for awhile like we

would end up in the channel. I flew as nose gunner it is really warm and nice up there, a

guy can see everything. I hope I can ride up there more as it isn't so bad since you can

see how your engines are working. Soon I will be dropping the bombs myself if things go

good. We ended up bombing Munster.

 

Pilot              Scarlett

Alt                 20000

Temp             26 below

Time              7 1/2 hrs

Target           Munster

Bomb Load   12-500 lb Demolition

 

                          (No. 16)

Stettin-Germany

April 11, 1944

Today we drove deep into Germany. The whole trip was about 1400 miles and most all

of it was over enemy territory. It was a pretty bad strain. I think the paper says we lost

64 Forts and 22 fighters for the toll of 122 enemy fighters and some took hits on some

air craft factories. Our group wasn't attacked very persistent by fighters but the sky

was full of falling Forts due to flack. I think all of our boys came back. Coming out of

flack just about got me again it came up through the bottom knocking my foot over and

just barely missing my head. It made a hole I could put my fist in out the top of the

plexiglass nose. They had to put on a whole new nose. I guess they are all easy if a

person gets back.

 

Pilot              Scarlett

Alt                 15000

Temp             26 below

Time              10 hrs 45 min 6 oxygen

Target           Stettin Aircraft Factory

Bomb Load   42 incendiaries

 

                          (No. 17)

Swienfurt-Germany

April 13 1944

Today we went to that old airmans bungalow, I don't know how many we lost as they

didn't release the score but I know it was plenty. The fighter opposition was terrific as

heavy as it was when I first came over here. They have been wondering where the

Jerrys were, I guess they know now. They hit us in droves of 25 at a time, 109's they are

real small and fast as hell. The sky was full of burst 20mm and falling planes. Sure was a

rat race for awhile. The flack over the target was plenty tough and plenty of Rockets as

well. It wasn't into us thou as we only picked up a few holes. Maybe the Lord is standing

by I don't see how we get through any other way. I guess none of them are so bad when

a guy gets back. That is all that counts. Our fighter cover was good but it was out

numbered that gave Jerry a good crack at us.

 

Pilot              Scarlett

Alt                 21000

Temp             32 below

Time              8 hrs 6 oxygen

Target           Ball Bearing Works

Bomb Load   42-100 lbs Incendiaries

 

                          (No. 18)

Kassel-Germany

April 19, 1944

Today we went to Kassel Germany to hit another blow at the German air power. The

target was a Folk Wolfe Fighter factory. I think we hit it pretty good. I acted as a

bombarding today and laid the barrage myself. The flack was terrific and a large piece

came in the nose again and tore into my gun control making?them? run away. I had just

leaned over to drop the bombs or would have undoubtedly lost a finger or so. Guess the

good lord continues to watch over me. Wish I could set on the ground tomorrow and get

a little rest but know we will go as long as the weather stays good and it is perfect

recently. Flew in a brand new silver plane. I think it was her first time over. She picked

up about a half a dozen holes.

 

Pilot              Peters

Alt                 21,300

Temp             26 below

Time              7hrs 5 oxygen

Target           Fighter Factory

Bomb Load   100 & 500 lb demolition

 

                          (N0. 19)

Cherbourg-France

April 20, 1944

Today we went on a very short raid to hit the rocket coast. They call them no ball

names. They just hit military objective. I don't think they know what it is my opinion

Jerry looks for us to land there and has built up a lot of rocket slides to stop the beach

head. The place is alive with activity and the flack is terrific. Those flack shooters must

have check out on the Russian front. We got over fifty holes and of course some came in

the nose again but nor as bad as the back of the plane. Maybe little ? prayers are being

answered and the Lord is watching out for me. Alice says she prays for me every night.

I guess there are a lot of them for me. ? got hit today a piece of flack went through his

arm and into his side but guess he isn't so bad off.

 

Pilot              Scarlett

Alt                 20,000

Temp             22 below

Time              4 hrs, 1 hr 45 min oxygen

Target           Rocket installation

Bomb Load   12 500lb demolition

 

                          (No. 20)

Erding-Germany

April 24, 1944

Today we struck again at the German Air Force. We went deep into Germany in fact

we went way over it. We went along the edge of Switzerland seeing the Alps mountains.

Past Munich where Hitler got his start in the beer cellar. We hit a air field and really

pasted it good. Our fighter protection was excellent. It was a good thing because there

were plenty of enemy planes around. I rely saw a lot of dog fights. several planes going

down, some ours and some Jerrys. Heard one wing lost 27 bombers. I think all of our

group came back and most everyone in the wing. The flack on the coast was terrific and

accurate. Thought they had us one time. Guess they are waiting for the invasion on the

coast the have so many guns there. All in all a hell of a long trip.

 

Pilot              Chalmers

Alt                 20,300

Temp             26 below

Time              10 hrs, 8 hrs oxygen

Target           Air Field

Bomb Load   12 500 lb demolition

 

                          (No. 21)

France

May 1, 1944

Today we went to France again to bomb military targets, it was all clouded in so I don't

know if they counted it or not. I sure hope so we saw a lot of flack and one piece came in

the nose again. We took off in the dark and it was hard on the nerves. We flew through

the clouds and you could hardly see your wing man. I had on my chute and would have

got out in a hurry in case of a crash. We encountered no enemy fighters, a very easy

raid all in all.

 

Pilot              Scarlett

Alt                 26,000

Temp             38 below

Time              7 hrs 4 hrs oxygen

Target           France Objective

Bomb Load   12 500 lb G.P.

 

                          (N0. 22)

Luxembourg-Germany

Today we hit the rail road yards at Luxembourg. It was a good raid and not too hard.

We really plastered the target good. We had one attack made by fighters but our escort

was wonderful and we never had much trouble. I lost my jacket containing my

identification card and some other things including my short ? ?. Sure hated to lose it as

my wallet was in there too.

 

Pilot             Wrisberg

Alt                 19,000

Temp             18 below

Time              5 hrs 4 hrs oxygen

Target           Marshling yards

Bomb Load   5 1000 lb G.P.

 

                          (No. 23)

Luxembourg

May 11, 1944

Today we went back to the Marshling yards at Luxembourg. It was a very easy raid,

almost like a practice mission. Our fighter escort was wonderful. We hit the target right

on the nose again. It was really a nice raid. I would like to get seven more like that.

 

Pilot              Scarlett

Alt                 19,000

Temp             20 below

Time              5 hrs 45 min

Target           Marshling yard

Bomb Load   6 1000 lb GP

 

                          (N0. 24)

Politz-Germany

May 13, 1944

Today we again went on a long raid. It was to a vital German target so a guy don't mind

it was 9 hrs long, about 6 on oxygen and that's a song time with that dam thing on your

face. The target was well hit and I hope we don't have to go back there the flack wasn't

bad and we only picked up one hole but it was a good one. We were attacked by from 50

to 75 German fighters. Things looked kinda dark for awhile, however they never hit our

group at all. I must have shot a few hundred rounds. I think the score of the day was 54

Germany fighters against 10 of our escort and eight bombers.

 

Pilot              Scarlett

Alt                 25,000

Temp             32 below

Time              9 hrs 6 oxygen

Target           oil refiners

Bomb Load   38 100 lb GP

 

                          (No. 25)

Berlin-Germany

May 24, 1944

Today we again hit the big B. I don't see how we ever get any planes back from there.

The flack is terrific. You travel miles in it. I guess quite a few Forts were lost but we

never had any trouble. Today is the day after the raid and the rest of the guys had a

easy touch into France. It seems every raid I don't go. Sure wish I could get some of

these easy ones. Wish I would get in these 5 more before they change it again.

 

Pilot              Raser

Alt                 22,000

Temp             42 below

Time              8 hrs 6 hrs oxygen

Target           Berlin

Bomb Load   10 100 lb GP 32 Incendiaries

 

                          (No. 26)

On Sgt. Cruses' twenty sixth mission (one he would not have been on had they not

extended the missions to thirty before letting the airmen rotate home) his plane lost an

engine over Germany due to flack. Reports from other airmen stated that there were

parachutes seen and that all men should have gotten out.