Thirty-five 445th Bomb Group B-24 Liberators and 336 men who make up their crews, suffered the greatest single-day loss to a group from one airfield in aviation warfare history, all within six minutes.

Twenty-five of the heavy bombers are downed inside of Germany’s borders; three crash land--two in France and one in Belgium; two make forced landings at an emergency field in England; and another crashes after it makes it home but is waved off to try again. All tolled, only four B-24s of the original thirty-five return safely to base at Tibenham.

117 airmen of the Mighty Eighth’s 445th are killed in action, 121 are taken prisoner, and only 98 are returned to duty.

This website is dedicated to telling their stories.

Recent News

On this Memorial Day, we gather to honor the courage and sacrifice of the 117 American and 19 German airmen who perished during the Kassel Mission on September 27, 1944. This day of remembrance is dedicated to acknowledging the bravery displayed by these men...
Porter Spencer sits stoically in his chair as a powerful Army officer in his perfect dress blues places a flag in the young boy’s hands. Porter Spencer is 9 years old, and he carries the blood and the name of an aviator who died defending the United States and the world from atrocities unreal and unimaginable.
It’s a darker time and a sinister time as Nazi Germany spreads its hatred across Europe. The year 1940 is a rough year as the German war machine indulges Adolf Hitler’s hate and his delusional ambitions. They spread the fragmentation of his hate as German panzers and ground troops slam into France and Belgium and Holland.


The Kassel Mission of Sept. 27, 1944 was not only one of World War 2's most spectacular battles, it was also one of the most unusual, in that it took place between 20,000 and 26,000 feet above what would become the dividing line between East and West Germany. As a result, half of the 25 bombers that were shot down crashed east of the border, and the crash sites were not accessible to anyone from the West until the German reunification in 1990. Of the 117 American airmen who died in the battle, eight were still listed as Missing in Action, including five from the Hansen crew. Just recently, the DPAA (Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency) announced that through advanced DNA testing of remains, it has identified two of those crew members, Technical Sergeant James Triplett of Spokane, Washington; and Second Lieutenant Porter Pile of Harlingen, Texas. The two will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery in a special ceremony on October 31. In this episode of the Kassel Mission Chronicles, hosts Linda Alice Dewey and Aaron Elson discuss the efforts of the Kassel Mission Historical Society to reach out to family members of airmen who perished on the flight, and to coordinate with the DPAA on several active cases involving the six remaining MIAs. In addition, Aaron shares a recording of P-51 pilot Bob Volkman who tells of a dramatic dogfight between fighter pilot Bill Beyer and a noted German ace. Thank you for listening, and be sure to visit the Kassel Mission web site, kasselmission.org. Also look for Aaron's oral history of the mission, "Up Above the Clouds to Die," available at amazon and aaronelson.com; and check out Linda's great artwork at LindaAliceDewey.com, where you can order notecards, calendars and many other items featuring pastels of Leelenau County, Northern Michigan and Arizona.
Of all the tragedies surrounding the ill-fated Kassel Mission of Sept. 27, 1944, this one is still ongoing. Lt. Raymond Ische, the lead navigator for the 445th Bomb Group that day, remains MIA, and may still be buried in German soil. In this episode of the Kassel Mission Chronicles, Linda and Aaron discuss the search for Lieutenant Ische with MIA investigator Robert Rumsby.
There are hundreds of individual stories associated with the Kassel Mission. Some have been told many times, others will never be told. This is Frank Bertram's story.