Target Brunswick Again
On the 15th of March, the Third Air Division was put on
mission alert. We were all awakened with the usual fanfare
of noise and confusion. Lt. Herbert Devore and the other
three officers on his crew dressed out in full class “A”
uniform - pinks, blouse, tie - brass the whole works just as
though they were going to a dance. We joked with them
about it and Herb said, “This is our last mission and we’re
going to finish up in style.” At that time 25 missions
constituted a tour of duty and that was to be their 25th one.
We were briefed that morning to hit a Messerschmitt plane
factory at Brunswick, Germany. The Waggum aircraft plant
nearby was introduced as a secondary target in case we
were weathered out of the primary.
The Group formation for this mission consisted of 21
aircraft and departure was at 06:40 hours. The Group made
assembly at 2400 feet over the base at 07:00 hours. The
100th Group flew the low position in the 13th combat wing
with the 390th Group in the lead position and the 95th
Group in the high position.
Herb Devote was flying lead. Captain Roland Knight was
command pilot in the right seat and copilot Martin Tashjian
in the tail gun position as formation observer. I was flying
on his left wing and Ed McKay was on his right.
We climbed to an altitude of 24,000 feet which was about
2000 feet above an overcast of clouds.
We had good fighter support. Our little friends were thick
as fleas on a dog, thank goodness. We reached the target
IP at 11:54 hours and the flak was intense in the target
I was flying in close to the lead ship as we approached the
target to insure a good bomb pattern. Our bomb load for the
mission consisted of 10 - 100 pound GP bombs and 23 -
100 pound magnesium incendiary bombs. We bad our bomb
bay doors open and were about 10 seconds from bombs
away when I suddenly saw the entire cockpit area of Herb’s
plane fill with red fire and smoke and his body slump over
The plane nosed down slightly and started down. Standard
procedure was for the plane on the left of the lead to stay
with a stricken lead craft until a decision could be made as
to whether or not it could recover from the problem. It was
evident after about a minute that Herb’s plane was going in
so we dropped our bombs and I climbed back up and joined
the rest of the Group.
I had the copilot take over so I could watch the lead plane.
Herb’s plane started burning and pieces of the smoking
number 3 engine cowling began to fly loose as the bomber
went into a flat spin about 1000 feet above the cloud layer.
Just as they reached the under cast, the aircraft exploded and
the fiery mass disappeared into the clouds below. I saw no
parachutes before or after the explosion.
Devore had apparently received a direct flak hit that set off
his flares and incendiaries and the plane really just melted
down. This one has stayed with me for over 50 years now.
To read the whole story, Contact
Us for more information.