by a cloud, the lead bombardier
failed to positively identify the target
before it was too late and the flight
leader, Col. Thorup of the 94th BG, decided
to go around and attempt a new bomb run. The
other Bomb Groups following the 94th did see
the target, released their bombs and turned to fly back to
their bases. This left the 94th BG and the
three 447th planes on their own. Due to
the recall, all fighter support was also
withdrawn and the bombers were left to fend
for themselves. While on the bomb run, the crews
could see a great number of twin engine
Luftwaffe fighters assemble just outside the
target area. They were actually seen taking
off at the nearby airfield of Wunstorf. Flak
over the target area was medium to heavy.
Immediately after they left the target area and
were out of reach
of the German flak guns, the Luftwaffe
fighters attacked en masse. The sky was full of chaos.
German fighters pressed home their attacks
and wouldn't let up. The twin
engines Bf110s fired rockets at the B17s.
Within a short period, many Allied bombers and
Luftwaffe fighters were shot down.
The Hickey crew was attacked from astern by
three Bf110s, who managed to cripple two of
the B17's engines with rockets. The Hick's
Hack, as the crew had named their B17,
dropped from formation and was no match for
the attacking fighters. All of a sudden, the
three Bf110s came in for an attack with
their guns blazing. This made them an ideal target for the
tail gunner, S/Sgt Johnny Deerr.
S/SGt. Deerr shot down the first two
Bf110s in rapid succession. Both were seen to crash by the
crew. In the meantime, waist gunner S/Sgt
John L. Roth was fatally hit by either the
guns and cannons of the attacking fighters
or by flak. The crew tend to think that
S/Sgt Roth was hit during one of the first
strafing passes made by the attacking
The third Bf110 veered away and continued
his attack on the straggling bomber. It launched
its last rockets at the Hick's Hack,
crippling a third engine. Flying with one
engine was impossible and Lt. Claude Hickey
decided to crash-land the plane. The
navigator, Lt Morse, and bombardier, Lt Devitt, used their parachutes. They landed
safely and were taken POW by a hostile
crowd of German civilians.
When the Hick's Hack crash-landed just south
of the town of Wagenfeld, the plane broke in
two. Besides S/Sgt John L. Roth, ball turret
gunner S/Sgt Robert E. Schooling was also
killed on this mission. All other
crew members were wounded.
Margraten, The Netherlands
S/Sgt John L.
Roth was buried in the cemetery for POW's
and Russians in the German town of Diepholz.
After the war, his remains where interred at
the American Cemetery at Margraten, The
2nd Lt. Jerome Morse, Navigator
2nd Lt. Justin Kegley, Co-pilot
S/Sgt Johnny Deerr, Tailgunner
They Called Us Kriegies, unpublished
manuscript by 2nd Lt. Jerome Morse
Written account by 2nd Lt Justin Kegley
Telephone interview with S/Sgt Johnny Deerr
Margraten American Military Cemetery
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This website is
dedicated to the men and women who died
and/or are buried in The Netherlands during
World War II.