(Courtesy of 381st.org)

533rd Bomb Sq.

381st Bomb Group (H)

WAR DIARY

Submitted by Pvt John Haggerty

JANUARY 1944

1. Many men of the squadron awoke to greet 1944 with furry tongues and throbbing noggins, after sessions in the pubs of Cambridge, Ridgewell and "Yoho" as Great Yeldham is called. Those whose stomachs weren't repelled by the sight of food enjoyed hot cakes, with butter and syrup, for breakfast and a full-course turket dinner at noon.

As on Christmas Day, the wooden mess hall tables were covered with white table cloths, giving the place a more domestic atmosphere. The cloths were not white long, after the men began pouring in however. Always overcrowded mess halls were packed for the special meal on New Year's Day. Coffee spilled on white table cloths, leaving spreading brown stains. Little altars of turkey littered the tables, along with scraps of bread and dabs of butter, the last man had left the mess hall which looked as if a cyclone had struck it. But the meal was good and the men satisfied.

Some 27 enlisted men of the 533rd left on 8-day furloughs. T/Sgt Vincent Garrity was reduced to Pvt.

2. No change.

3. Two officers and one enlisted man left on 8-day furloughs.

4. 1st Lts Dubois, Gleichauf, Purus and S/Sgt I. Johnson, all men who have completed their tour of combat duty were transferred to the casual pool, 12th RCD; and T/Sgt Pitts was transferred to HQ, 1st CCRC, at Station #172 Snettisham, for duty. Two officers left for 8-day furloughs.

Kiel took another battering from Flying Fortresses today, formation after formation of the big bombers roaring over the German port practically without opposition. Observers say the city was like "A sheet of flames" after the Forts had completed their task of destruction. Not a single bomb was wasted. Of the 22 ship sent by the 381st, six were from this squadron: Lts Klein, Sandman,Fridgen, Chason, Butler and Nason.

Parachutes save lives, but today 2nd Lt Adam A. Mackow, of Newark, N.J., saved a parachute. When the B-17 "Hellcat" approached Kiel, the chute of the navigator, 2nd Lt David E. Barer, of Brooklyn, N.Y., unexpectedly blossomed forth and bellied out in the nose section of the plane.

Lt Mackow, bombardier, temporarily left his position and gathered the billowing chute in his arms. He then helped Lt Barer remove his chute and both prepared for "Hellcat's" bomb run over the city. Later, when Lt Mackow had sent his bombs away with the rest of the strong Fortress formation, he tackled the job of re-packing Barer's chute.

"That same thing happened to me twice during my training days," said Mackow, "and I knew how to go about re-packing the chute. It was plenty cold but up there taking your nose in your hands it won't get frostbitten unless you touch metal. When my hands did began to get cold I put on silk gloves."

Relating how he carefully refolded the chute in the container, Lt Mackow said: "When I finally got it back in - after two hours work - it was packed well enough so that I would not be afraid to use it myself."

In addition to re-packing the chute at 20,000 ft and performing his ordinary duties as bombardier, Lt Mackow overhauled one of his .50 caliber machine guns before the trouble with the parachute began.

"You can say I had a busy day," he said.

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