Countdown to Kassel - September 22, 1944

From the war diary of Sgt. Herbert W. Schwartz, Tail gunner, French Crew.

September 22 was the first mission for the 445th to Kassel and Schwartz’s 19th of 30. Here is his account.

September 22              Target: Kassel, Germany

19th Mission    Results: Unknown PFF

Since part of our crew has finished, we have four new men:           

Fiske – radio-Md. [Maryland]

Jacobs – Engineer – Ill.

Right W – Huddleston – Ohio

Left W – Corman

We had a good flight as mission was not too long and weather was comparatively mild. We met scattered flak, both accurate and inaccurate on the way to & … from the target. Flying through Belgium, we were over enemy territory only two hours.

The more I fly these missions, the more anxious I am to complete my tour.

Our Continental Europe is beautiful. We can see fairly well when we bomb visually. We caught some accurate flak before reaching the target and though I did not know it until we landed, we received a large hole in our right rudder near my tail. Flak was very heavy over the target but we did not get much of it. We formed at 11,000 and bombed at 22,500 and had Mustangs as our escort. Enemy fighters were reported in the air but we were never bothered. The whole 8th Air Force bombed the target today. We were leading the low element. We were the last group of the last wing—next to last sqd. over the target. I know that the target was well hit and by time we got over the target, many of the flak guns were out of order. We were almost crowded off the target by two B-17 squadrons. They were making their second run on the target. Also, rockets were seen today. They are surely a deadly looking weapon. Farr and Mueller, two ships flying off our wing, both feathered props & came back on three…

Note from Linda Dewey: The new radio man, Fred Fiske, would go on to entertain DC area radio fans for decades after the war. KMHS tried to find him, couldn’t, and all the while he was broadcasting loud and clear on the radio. We even had a reunion in DC in 2005 and didn’t know. Didn’t find him until 2010.