303rd Bomb Group
This page is dedicated to my uncle Clement Resto who served with the
303rd Bomb Group during World War II.
T/Sgt Clement Resto, 303rd Bomb Group, Squadron 358, September 20, 1943
2/Lt. William R. Hartigan's Crew
2nd row - S/Sgt James T. Ince - S/Sgt Val F. Stoddard - T/Sgt Robert L. Ward - S/Sgt John W. Lowther - T/Sgt Clement Resto
1st row - 2/Lt Bernard F. Dorsey - 2/Lt Lorin F. Douthett - 2/Lt. Edward N. Goddard - 2/Lt William R. Hartigan
303rd BG (H) Combat Mission # 72
27 September 1943
Target: Port Area, Emden, Germany
Crews Dispatched : 20
Crews Lost: S/Sgt. W.E. Rein wounded by flak
Length of Mission: 5 hours, 50 minutes
Bomb Load; 40 M47A1 Incendiary bombs
Bombing Altitude; 25,000 ft
Ammo Fired; 6655 rounds
Eighth Air Force General Eaker was satisfied with the results of the Pathfinder practice missions of 23 and 25 September and decided to use the Emden mission as the first 8th Air Force operational use of Pathfinder aircraft. Emden was chosen as the first target because the contrasting reflections of water and land would show up on the H2S radar scopes more distinctly than any land target.
Group aircraft were loaded with 1,000 lb general purpose H.E. M-44 bombs and 100-lb M47A1 white phosphorous bombs. The 303rd BG(H) approached the target at 25,000 feet to find 7/10 to 10/10 cloud cover and eight to ten miles visibility. 1Lt Donald F. DeCamp in B-17 Star Dust, 358BS, aborted the mission when the No. 2 engine throttle linkage, vibrated apart and control of the engine was lost.
Due to an extremely steep, tight left turn immediately before the target was reached to avoid a heavy cloud at the bombing altitude, the 303 BG(H) formation was separated from the Combat Wing at the target. Bombing instructions were to adhere to the policy of dropping on the Pathfinder B-17s parachute flares with the lead Group bombing on the flares and other Groups dropping on the lead Group. The 303rd BG(H) lead ship bombardier 1Lt. Reinaldo J. Saiz, never saw bombs being dropped by the lead Group aircraft and was unable to drop his bombs. Suring the subsequent confusion, three Group aircraft dropped their bombs in the vicinity of the target area--two on the city of Norden, Germany, one near the island of Borkum and two jettisoned bombs into the North Sea.
Flak over the target was meager and inaccurate. Approximately 25 enemy fighters were seen. Their attacks were not persistent due to the excellent fighter protection given the Group by P-47s. There was one slight casualty. S/Sgt. W.E. Rein, tail gunner on Lt. Brinkley's crew in #42-5483 Red Ass 360BS, was hit by a small anti-aircraft gunfire splinter.
Many of the 303rd BG(H) crews were critical of the policy that required them only to drop bombs when the Group lead ship dropped theirs. They could have dropped their bombs on the Pathfinder ships' parachute flares that were clearly visible. They also requested that the Pathfinders "should get better organized" Groups in other Divisions had similar confusion and problems and most bombs fell far and wide from the target area.
AIR-SEA RESCUE MISSION: On the return trip to Emden several B-17's were seen in distress with parachutes observed. A hastily organized air-sea rescue effort was organized to search in two areas. The emergency timing gave little time for mission preparation and organization. Gee equipment, useful in over-water searches, was missing. Crews complained that they were not provided with food. The search was unsuccessful. The next day, a second air-sea rescue search was conducted by 10 B17s of the 358th and 427th BSs. Four areas were searched at an altitude of 300 to 500 feet. The wing of an RAF fighter and a small tethered balloon were observed. The search lasted about five hours. Returning crews suggested that further searches be conducted at an altitude of 1000 feet rather than lower altitudes.
Mission # 76
The following is a description of the bombing of the Aircraft Component Plant at Anklam , Germany , a mission that my uncle participated in. On that mission he served on the B17-F # 42-5264 "Yankee Doodle Dandy", he received letters of commendation and the Air Medal for that mission. I thank Harry D. Gobrecht Lt.Col., USAF (RET), for allowing me to use material from his book "MIGHT IN FLIGHT" on this Web Site.
Commendations for Mission to Anklam, Germany
Click on images above to enlarge
Dispatches from Stockholm last night reported great fires blazing in the heart of Munster following Sunday's heavy raid by large formations of Flying Fortresses on the city of 143,000, the most important German railway head in the Ruhr and a major link with Ruhr-Emden Canal.
The Stockholm reports, quoting a Swedish correspondent in Berlin, said that the raid, which came on the heels of the Fortress and Liberator penetration deep into East Prussia and Poland, caught the Germans by "very great surprise."
Fliers returning to their bases in Britain said that the entire target area was blanketed with smoke and flames and that the raid was one of the most successful day assaults ever made over Europe.
Intense Fighter Opposition
Flak and fighter opposition was intense. The official Air Force communiqué claimed the Forts shot down 81 Nazi planes, while Thunderbolts which escorted the B17's on the 850 mile round trip destroyed 21. Against this total of 102 was the loss of 30 Forts and two P47s. Berlin radio claimed 40 Forts were shot down against a loss of 11 German fighters.
The USAAF heavies took a well deserved rest yesterday after their fifth big raid of the month carried them to Munster, a German Army garrison town which lies on the Dortmund-Ems canal and the Bremen-Cologne railroad - two important arteries carrying raw materials from North Sea ports to the industrial heart of the Reich.
As the Forts went over the target Sunday, the enemy attempted to set up a smoke shield to cover vital target areas. But something went wrong, the smoke blew in the wrong direction, and American crews reported excellent visibility for the bomb runs.
Even a Dornier as Fighter
In contrast to some recent raids, however, the Luftwaffe threw up swarms of fighters. Even a Dornier bomber joined the interceptors, according to 2/Lt Robert H Winnerman, 22, of Newark, bombardier on Slo Jo.
In the words of one flier, the Germans were "queuing up for us," and Capt. Robert B. Brown, 22, of Houston, Tex., pilot of Cabin in the Sky asserted; "You don't have to aim; just stick your gun out the window and pull the trigger. We're claiming 12 German fighters."
Mission # 79 Duren, Germany - Oct. 20, 1943
The following is a discription of the mission that my uncle Clement was on when his ship was shot down. He lost an eye on this mission and spent the rest of the war as a POW in Stalag XVIIB. As a result of this mission he was awarded the Purple Heart,POW Medal , Air Medal and one Battle Star.
The Charley Horse B17 # 42-29571, was shot down during the bombing of Duren. Four members of the crew 2Lt. W.R. Hartigan, 2Lt. L.F. Douthett, T/Sgt. R.L Ward, and S/Sgt. J.W. Lowther, evaded capture. S/Sgt. Dove was killed in action. The rest of the crew 2Lt. B.F. Dorsey, 2Lt. E.N. Goddard, S/Sgt. J.T. Ince, T/Sgt. C. Resto, and S/Sgt V.F. Stoddard spent the rest of the war in POW camps.
My uncle Clement after bailing out landed in Belgium. A Belgian civilian named Leonard Mercier and members of the Belgian resistance helped him. Despite their efforts, nine days later, the Gestapo in Brussels, Belgium captured T/Sgt Clement Resto. Interrogated at Saint Giles Prison and in Frankfort, Germany; he spent the rest of the war at Stalag 17B. I will be posting a short story written by my uncle, about that experience. I am also hoping to be able to put more information about the members of the Belgian resistance who tried to help my uncle. At this point, I am gathering information.
Caricuture of T/Sgt. Clement Resto by Donald Bevan
at Stalag XVIIB
My uncle did the drawings in this slide show while he was
a POW at Stalag 17B. The slides take about 30 seconds to load.
T/SGT Clem Resto in POW group photo (last row 8th left to right) taken in Berlin
a few months before being repatriated.
Letter of repatriation from
President Franklyn D. Roosevelt
Letters to Clement Resto
When my uncle T/Sgt Clement Resto was repatriated from Stalag 17B in early 1945, he brought home with him the names and addresses of about 400 fellow POW’s, so that he could write to their families to let them know that they were all right. He wrote to the families and they wrote back. I have about 200 + letters from those families which I am going to post on this page. As a child I always enjoyed reading the letters. I’ve been thinking that maybe the people that wrote the letters or their descendents would like reading them too. Included are letters from the family and friends. I will try to upload a few every day.
A Soldier Gets A
THE FITTINGS ARE COMPLETED. Sgt. Roland R Herbert
came from Camp Kilmer for a re-fitting.
Plastic eyes owe their origin to false teeth. The plastic compounds that appear in artificial dentures are the basic materials of the new prostheses (artificial eyes) that have proven so superior to the glass variety.
The plastic eye just had to be developed after World War II began, because the special glass for the older type of artificial eye was manufactured only in Germany. Major Victor M. Dietz, now chief of HGH’S Plastic Eye Section, and two other Army dental officers, created the new plastic prostheses at Valley Forge General Hospital.
The plastic eye is greatly superior to the glass prostheses. It is unbreakable: You can drop it, or step on it with your heel. The eyes look natural, and have every color of natural eyes, as near as possible to the anatomical structure where those colors appear in the real eye. They are like real eyes, and do not have the motionless stare so typical of the glass variety.
Halloran’s magnificent Plastic Eye Clinic and Laboratory is under the supervision of Major Dietz. NCO assistant to Major Dietz is Tec 4 David Grossberg. Sgt. Ellis Simpson does veining and modifying of eye color. T/Sgt. Robert B. Scott makes wax impressions which are cast in dental stone. All casts are reproduced by dental methods. Cpl. Bernard Greenwald and Pfc Richard M. Norman work in the plastic laboratory and do processing. The extremely delicate job of painting the irides in true, subtle natural colors is performed by Pfc Marvin Maurer.
Within the space limitations of this picture story, it is impossible to describe all the interesting and often, complicated details that taken together are responsible for the wonderful prostheses which is so realistic that only the expert can distinguished it from the real thing. We have just enough space to let you see what T/Sgt. Clement Resto, a patient, saw the day he came for his plastic eye. (Photos by Tec 5 Bill Baumbach. Major Dietz photo by Sgt. J. Pimper)
T/Sgt Clement Resto - Home again
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