Mission 207

Mission 207

This painting is dedicated to the memory of my brother S/Sgt. Robert C. Lind, the tail gunner on Aircraft #44-10568 depicted here.  He was killed with his crew when this aircraft went down over Augsburg, Germany on 27 February 1945 during this mission.

I have taken some artistic license in creating this painting so as to enhance the moment and to honor two other friends of mine who were with the 456th Bomb Group at the time.  Both Robert C. Carlin and Robert Reichard were flying on this mission and witnessed my brother’s aircraft going down.  Their assistance in helping me with details of the event, history of the 456th Bomb Group, and the 747th Bomb Squadron are immeasurable.   I would also like to thank Fred Riley and Roy Firestone for their support and help in aiding me in this endeavor.

The following story is based on the actual events as reported from the Enemy Evasion Aid Report from Headquarters 456th Bombardment Group (H) dated 27 Feb 1945, a copy of which was provided to me by my friend, the late Robert C. Carlin.  I have also based it from personal conversations with Bob Carlin and Bob Reichard and from their personal observations and articles written by them.  In addition facts were taken from the Group’s history book provided by Fred Riley, 456th Bomb Group Association historian.

It was a clear morning with unrestricted visibility when at 0845 hours on the 27th of February 1945, 28 B-24’s from the 456th Bomb Group based at Stornara Field, Italy took off on mission 207.  They were headed for the marshaling yards at Augsburg, Germany.  One B-24 turned back because of a bomb rack malfunction, leaving 27 aircraft to proceed on to the target.  The Group was being escorted by P-51’s and P-38’s, possibly from the 1st, 14th, or 82nd Fighter Group.

Mostly cirrus clouds covered the north Adriatic and north of the Alps as the Group continued on to the target.  Aircraft 44-10568 was flying Baker 3 position piloted by 2nd Lt. Jim Sugden. Sgt. Bob Lind, who normally occupied the ball turret position, moved to the tail turret position for this particular mission.  At 1300 hours a German fighter was seen being chased by two P-51’s below them.  Also four new German ME-262 jet fighters were seen at 35,000 feet.  Several other German fighters were seen circling at 15,000 feet below the Group.  Smoke and clouds covered the target and the anti-aircraft flak was heavy, intense and accurate.  The white smoke from the flak was an indicator that the Germans were using the heavy 120mm flak and not the usual 88mm.  Aware that the killing radius of the 120mm was about twice that of the 88mm the crews all knew they were in for one hell of a ride.

Then suddenly at 1334 hours, over the target, aircraft 44-10568 took a direct hit from flak in the midsection and broke in two.  Bob Reichard, flying in a flight behind the aircraft, recalled: “The front spiraled to the ground and the tail seemed to maintain level flight.  In fact, the lead pilot had to swing our flight off course to avoid a collision with it.”  Bob Carlin, Lt. Lee and at least 22 other crews reported the aircraft was last seen spinning towards earth, and no parachutes were seen to open.

On that day 27 aircraft dropped 143 bombs, 74.5 tons, on the target.  Only one aircraft was lost with 10 KIA’s and one Navigator-Bombardier seriously wounded in the leg by flak.  After the strike the remaining aircraft turned south and returned to base.  The return flight was uneventful.  Once back safe at Stornara Field the Enemy Evasion Aid Report was filed and sent to the Headquarters of the 15th Air Force.  It was signed by Capt. Gilbert Smith and substantiated by the following personnel: Lead Bombardier Lt. Turner, Command Pilot Capt. Ecker, Lead Pilot Lt. Brandecker, Lead Navigator Lt. Puehalski, PFF Navigator Lt. Lee.


Pilot- 2nd Lt. James W. Sugden

Co Pilot – 2nd Lt. Lee O. Bogue, Jr.

Navigator- 2nd Lt. Benjamin S. Opperman

Bombardier- 2nd Lt. George F. Collins

Engineer- T/Sgt. Edward H. Kinney

Radio Operator – T/Sgt. Anacleto E. Magliacane

Nose Turret Gunner- S/Sgt. Warren E. Smith

Top Turret Gunner- S/Sgt. Paul S. Hensley

Ball Turret Gunner- S/Sgt. Clifford E. Todd

Tail Turret Gunner- S/Sgt. Robert C. Lind