Thursday , 2 November 1944

Mission Number: 164
Date: 2 Nov. 1944
Group Air Commander: Maj. A.H. Chapman
Crews Briefed: 39
Target: Merseburg
Target Details: Oil refinerie - I.G.Farben
04:00 The crew is awoken by the guard.Then they leave by truck to the Combat Mess.
The breakfast consist of eggs, canned ham, bread, butter, and marmalade and of course with coffee and tea.

05:30 When the crew arrived at the briefing room , suddenly the curtain rises on the day`s episode with the usual chorus of Ohs and Ahs.
After the flight routes and the targets are discussed, it is once more communicated, what one must do in case of an emergency.
Today the target of the 8th Air force is Merseburg and the 401st provides 3 squadrons.
Then they leave by truck to obtain their equipment.
When they arrive at the plane the ground staff has already looked after the fuel tanks ( 2498 gallon ).
After thorough check up the men crawl in the "WOLF PACK".
Each crew member has a bullet free jacked and a steel helmet to offer protection against the grenade shells.

08:10 Engines are turned on.

08:25 Taxied towards runway 05

08:40 TAKE OFF , with intermissions of 30 seconds the planes take off.

09:45 All planes except for 1 are airborne We are shortly climbing 60 meters per minute and heading for the rally point.
From there the course will be set to the Netherlands , altitude 26000 feet.
When the plane reach an altitude of 10000 feet the men need to use oxygen masks.
Target of that day will be the synthetic oil refinery " LEUNA " in Merseburg , 130 miles southwest from Berlin
Deep in the hart of central Germany , the number one producer of oil for the Third Reich.
Merseberg became Hitler's most fortified stronghold in all Germany, encircled with hundreds of flak battery emplacements and numerous squadrons of Luftwaffe Messerschmidt's, Focke-Wulfs

12:40 Target is in reach.

12:43 After the bombs are dropped , the flak was very heavy.
Just 3 minutes later the plane was hit by flak in her No 3 engine.

According to the report of the pilot ( Herbert Oas Jr ) , the navigator ( william Green ) and the bombardier ( William Mencow ) directly abandoned the plane on his " bail out " signal.
10 seconds after it , eyewitness saw the plane go down in a spiraling dive.
The " Wolfpack " crashed at the village exit of Kriegsdorf ( now it is called Friedensdorf ) 2 miles east of Merseburg.
Its was assumed that the Ball turret gunner ( Theodore Monarcky ) , the waist gunner ( John Dunn ) and the Radio operator ( William Brereton ) did not jumped due to lack of time.
There is no knowledge about what happend to the Top turret gunner ( Byron Cook ) and the co-pilot ( Thomas Hayes ) .
Tail gunner John Reardon must of have jumped because he died of his wounds the day after the crash.

16:06 All Aircrafts , except for the Wolf Pack , returned to Deenethorpe.
Two other 401st ships received major battle damage and 25 received minor damage.

Take a look at a video of the Merseburg raid , mission 164

If you have questions, remarks or information , please feel free to Email me
or leave a message in my guestbook