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1Lt Oliver Lee Bashor
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Mission Log and Notes
March 08, 1945 - April 25, 1945
1Lt Oliver Lee Bashor
Pilot, 359th Bomb Squadron

After completing a successful checkout flight with Col. Cole, the following missions were achieved. See Crew Notes for each mission.

1. 3/8/45: Mission 332 - Essen, Germany - Benzol Plant - B 17 (no-name) experienced Combat Pilot in Co Pilot seat - High Squadron, right side of leader - meager flak over target - no enemy aircraft - one B-17 returned with many flak holes

2. 3/10/45: Mission 333 - Schwerte, Germany - Marshalling Yards - B-17 Sweet LaRhonda - experienced Combat Pilot in Co Pilot seat - Lead Squadron, left side of leader - moderate flak - no enemy aircraft - Crew learned to track flak.

3. 3/12/45: Mission 335 - Betzdorf, Germany - Railroad Center - B-17 (no name) Low Squadron, right side below leader - no flak or enemy aircraft

4. 3/14/45: Mission 336 - Minden, Germany - Railroad Bridge - B-17 Sweet LaRhonda - High Squadron, Tail-end Charlie - thick fog and haze - bridge missed

5. 3/15/45: Mission 337 - Zossen, Germany - German High Command - B-17 Sweet LaRhonda - Lead Squadron, left side - flak over Minden, Hanover, Berlin Area - Dense Contrails - two runs over target - Three German Jets seen - one B-17 crashed landed in Poland

6. 3/18/45: Mission 339 - Berlin, Germany - Marshaling Yards - B-17 Sweet LaRhonda - Low Squadron, Tail-end Charlie - 6/10 clouds - no enemy aircraft - intense flak - several B-17's major damage, many minor damage - two B-17's land in Poland/Russia - Sweet LaRhonda, hole in supercharger and many flak - returned on three engines

7. 3/19/45: Mission 340: Plauen, Germany - Machine Works - B-17 Sweet LaRhonda -10 hrs. 20 min. High Squadron, Tail-end Charlie -10/10 clouds, dense fog, contrails - accurate flak - struck by lightning at take-off, on instruments - form over France - only Sweet LaRhonda on leader at target due to clouds - target run cut off by B-24 group - two bomb runs - Sweet LaRhonda retuned alone on 3 engines on instruments - many B-17's landed on Continent -1 B-17 crash landed

8. 3/20/45: Mission 341: Hamburg, Germany - Oil Refinery- B-17 Sweet LaRhonda - Lead Squadron, left side - 6/10 clouds - moderate and intense flak -15/20 Me-262 attacked for 30 minutes - Me-262 downed 2 B-17's - 3 B 17's major damage, many minor damage - Sweet LaRhonda returns on 3 engines

9. 3/24/45: Mission 345: Furstenau, Germany - Airfield - B-17 Sweet LaRhonda - Lead Squadron, behind lead - Clear day - no flak or enemy aircraft - feathered #3 engine during take-off, caught up with squadron at IP - completed Mission on 3 engines

10. 3/28/45: Mission 347: Berlin, Germany - Motorenwerk - B-17 Sweet LaRhonda- Lead Squadron. Right side -10/10 undercast - adverse weather - accurate flak - Bomb load leaflets, flak through Bomb bay and leaflets all over Sweet LaRhonda - Sweet LaRhonda returns on two engines - two aircraft crash landed - some aircraft land on continent - several aircraft major damage - many aircraft minor damage

11. 3/30/45: Mission 348: Bremen, Germany - Submarine Yards - B-17 Sweet LaRhonda - low Squadron left side - take-off, bad weather - formation by following exhaust of other aircraft - moderate to accurate flak - one Me 262 seen - high leader crashed landed - several aircraft major battle damage - many aircraft minor battle damage - Ball turret gunner lost oxygen

12. 3/31/45: Mission 349: Halle, Germany - Marshalling Yards - B-17 Sweet LaRhonda - High Squadron right side - 9/10 high clouds, contrails - no enemy aircraft or flak

13. 4/3/45: Mission 350: Kiel, Germany - Submarine Works - B-17 Sweet LaRhonda - Lead Squadron, right side - 6/10 clouds, contrails - moderate and inaccurate flak - Me 163 and 262 seen, no attack

14. 4/4/45: Mission 351: Uterluss, Germany - Factory - B-17 Sweet LaRhonda - Low Squadron, right side -10/10 clouds up to 14,000 - Bombing altitude approximately 11,000 - Four runs over target - meager to accurate flak - many B-17 minor damage

15. 4/5/45: Mission 352: Bayreuth, Germany - Ordinance Depot - B-17 Sweet LaRhonda - Low Squadron, right side - no enemy aircraft or flak - ten hrs. and 38 minutes - several B-17's landed away from base, lack of fuel - Sweet LaRhonda left Tokyo tank full on landing, major landing problem

16. 4/6/45: Mission 353: Leipzig, Germany - Marshalling Yards - B-17 Sweet LaRhonda - High Squadron, Tail -end Charlie- 10/10 and 4/10 clouds - dense contrails - moderate flak - Me 262 attacked other squadron - 2 B-17's mid air collision

17. 4/7/45: Mission 354: Hitzacker, Germany - Marshalling yard - B-17 Sweet LaRhonda- Lead Squadron, Col. Cole - 7/10 clouds - low altitude bombing - many target runs - accurate flak - three B-17's land on continent - many B-17's major damage - some B-17's minor damage

18. 4/11/45: Mission 358: Freiham, Germany - Oil storage - B-17 Sweet LaRhonda- 10 hrs. and 31 minutes - lead Squadron - clear- no flak - several B-17's land away from base for fuel

19. 4/15/45: Mission 360: Royan, France - huge guns - B-17 Yankee Girl - Low Squadron, under leader - clear skies - no enemy opposition - bombing altitude 15,000 - two B-17's of other Squadron collide - so many aircraft, hard to maintain formation

20. 4/16/45: Mission 361: Straubring, Germany - Railroad bridge - B-17 Yankee Girl - High Squadron under Lead - clear - no enemy aircraft or flak - low altitude bombing

21. 4/17/45: Mission 362: Dresden, Germany - Marshalling Yards - B-17 Sweet LaRhonda - Lead Squadron, right side -10/10 high clouds to 22,000 ft. - dense contrails - bombing altitude 16,000 ft. - intense flak - three bomb runs - two B-17's lost, flak damage - many B-17 major battle damage - several minor damage - some landed away for fuel

22. 4/25/45: Mission 364: Pilsen, Czechoslovakia - Armament Works - B-17 (no name) - New Officer Crew - (SEE LAST MISSION REPORT)

When the war ended, Aerial Tours of Continental Europe and targets bombed by the 303rd BG (H) were arranged for group personnel. The "Continental Express" gave the groups non-combat personnel and opportunity to see how their own activities made valuable contributions to the combat activities of Group air crews.

Tour #1: The Squadron formed as in a regular combat mission and after arriving in Europe separated into individual flights. Each aircraft then toured various areas including Paris, Frankfurt, Bonn, Cologne, and Munchen. During this tour it was a pleasure to fly close to the Rhine River pass Cologne and circle the Eiffel Tower.

Tour #2: The Squadron formed as it would for a normal combat mission but we had pour weather conditions. As we approached the English Channel, the weather forced the Squadron down to tree tops causing the mission to be aborted.

On April 20, 1945, I was assigned to the 358th Squadron as a Flight Commander and was recommended for promotion to Captain. The promotion to Captain was turned down because I was only 20 years old.

For the mission to Pilsen, take-off and formation gathering was fairly routine. However, while flying over the English Channel, we learned that the Allied Radio had broadcast a warning to the Czech workers to stay away from the factory since it was the target. Such advance mission warning was unprecedented. Anti-aircraft fire at Pilsen was intense and we were tail - end Charlie. The Lead Bombardier was required to use visual techniques for this target. Because a small cloud covered a view of the target, two attacks of the target were needed. All returning B-17's had battle damage, three B-17's landed away from the base, one B-17 was lost, and the end of the runway looked like a parking lot.

Flak and Me 262's provided many hazards but extreme weather, associated with flying in formation in and out of clouds, provided the biggest problem for pilots and Mission success.

[courtesy of Oliver Lee Bashor]