A 40 plane formation of B-24's from the 464th Bombardment Group took off at 0630, 16 Oct 1944, from Pantanella AAB Italy on Mission #123. The target, St Valentin Tank Works, Austria. The formation was escorted by 40 P-38's and 11 P-51s. The aircraft were over the target from 1124 to 1130. Flying conditions were very bad, overcast was at 7000 ft. Anti aircraft fire was encountered enroute to the target. Anti aircraft fire over the target was heavy. Anti Aircraft fire was encountered leaving the target. The altitude and range of attack was 20,500 to 24,300 feet. Three aircraft crossed enemy lines but failed to attack the target. One aircraft had a defective turbo governor, one lost the number two supercharger, and one aircraft release lever was broken. Two aircraft failed to reach enemy lines, one because of loss of # 3 Turbo and one because of loss of #2 Turbo. Thirty five aircraft dropped 87.5 tons of bombs on the target area, the bombing results were fair. The formation returned to base at 1407. One plane, Red O, AAF Serial No. 42-51389 failed to return. Red O was last sighted at approximately 48, 9' N latitude, 14 30' E longitude. The crew of three officers and six enlisted men were initially reported MIA.
   Later, it was reported that, while leaving the target area, Red O encountered flak and took a direct hit on the #1 engine which exploded and caught fire. The plane fell from formation and spiraled into the clouds. The co-pilot Robert Keller and Sgt. Sidney Elder were able to parachute from the spiraling plane, and both were subsequently captured on the ground. The remainder of the crew, including 1st Lieutenant Raymond J. Farquhar, rode the plane to the ground. After being released from captivity and returning home, Sidney Elder called Raymond Farquhar's family to let them know that Raymond and helped him out of the plane and saved his life.
Witness Statements from MACR 9132
I was flying as Nose Gunner on Ship #563, which was flying in the Dog Box Position #23. I saw flak hit the wing of Red O and explode. Red O made a complete turn over and righted itself as it went by our nose. The ship went down under our ship just missing the nose. I lost sight of red O when it went under our ship. I watched Red O until it disappeared under our ship and during my observation of this ship I saw no chutes open.

Henry F. Weathers,
Sgt., 14083187,
Nose Gun., B-24J, #563,
776th Bomb Sq, 464th Bomb Gp (H),
APO 520, U.S. Army.

I was flying as Left Waist Gunner in ship #563, which was flying in Dog Box position #23. I was dropping Chaff when I saw Red O below our ship. I noticed that about twenty-five (25) feet of her left wing was missing and she was in a flat spin. I watched Red O until it disappeared into the clouds below and I only saw two (2) chutes open.

Matthew Hasselhan,
Cpl., 12132543,
Left Waist Gun., B24J, #563,
776th Bomb Sq, 464th Bomb Gp (H),
APO 520, U.S. Army.

KIA: The seven crew members that perished, 1st Lt. William W. Lee, 1st Lt. Raymond J. Farquhar, Jr., S/Sgt. Ralph V. King, Sgt. George M. Rauen, Sgt. Norman R. Kramer, Sgt. Shelby J. Sturgeon Jr, and Sgt. Kenneth C. Brown were buried by the community at Leonding (near Linz/Donau, Austria) on 17 Oct. 1944. See Red O Crew Cemetery and Awards.

Mission described in: "The 464th Bomb Group In World War II"

16 Oct 44, Narrative Mission Report (size=403 KB)

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