16.08.1944 733rd Bomber Squadron B-24J 42-110138 ‘Stinky’ 2nd.Lt. Milton A. Stanchfield
Operation: Dessau (Mission #556), Germany
Date: 16th August 1944 (Wednesday)
Unit: 733rd Bomber Squadron (453rd Bombardment Group (H)), 8th Air Force
Type: B-24J Stinky
Serial No: 42-110138
Location: ¾ mile north of Stapelburg, Germany
Base: Old Buckenham (Station #144), Norfolk, England
Pilot: 2nd.Lt. Milton A. Stanchfield O-810965 AAF Age 23. Killed
Co Pilot: F/O Frank Mishaga T-123187 AAF Age 22. Survived (1)
Nose Turret: Sgt. Howard Youree Jr. 14191135 Age 21. PoW *
Bombardier: 2nd.Lt. Earl Edward Shakley O-716973 AAF Age 27. PoW **
Radio/Op: T/Sgt. James Hamilton Marshall Jr. 12136917 AAF Age 22. PoW Unknown camp
Engineer: S/Sgt. Frank Joseph Baba 33433789 AAF Age 23. PoW *
Ball Turret: §
Right Waist: S/Sgt. Eugene Trapani 39556171 AAF Age 24. Killed
Left Waist: T/Sgt. Harrel William Fuller 18183278 AAF Age 22. Survived (1)
Tail Turret: S/Sgt. Herbert Lloyd Hall, III. 19206439 AAF Age 19. PoW *
The B-24 had 10 crew positions. Crew complements evolved during the war and generally comprised 9 personnel who were typically, but not always, Pilot, Co-Pilot, Bombardier, Navigator, Flight Engineer/Top Turret Gunner, Radio Operator/Waist Gunner, Nose Gunner, Ball Turret Gunner, Waist Gunner, Tail Gunner.
§ Ball Turrets were being removed in the spring of 1944 due to the increased long-range fighter escort being available and to save weight.
* Stalag Luft 4 Gross-Tychow, Pomerania, Prussia now Poland (Moved from Stalag Luft 6 Heydekrug. Moved to Wöbbelin near Ludwigslust and then to Usedom near Swinemünde).
** Stalag Luft 3 Sagan-Silesia, Germany, now Żagań in Poland. (Moved to Nuremberg-Langwasser, Bavaria).
REASON FOR LOSS:
B-24J Stinky took off from Old Buckenham, Norfolk on the morning of the 16th August 1944 on a mission to bomb the Junkers aircraft production facilities in Dessau, Germany. En route to the target the formation was attacked by German fighters and B-24J Stinky was shot down.
Fw. Friedrich Scheer from 10./JG 53 claimed a B-24 at 6500 m, NW of Halberstadt at 1056 hours local on the 16th August 1944. This was his fourteenth claim.
The aircraft left the formation about 10 to 15 miles SE of Göttingen and flew on for about 10 miles. 2nd.Lt. Stanchfield ordered the crew to bail out and he was last seen, unhurt, in the pilot’s seat holding the aircraft level whilst the crew bailed out. He had admitted on several occasions that he was afraid to use a parachute and would chance a crash landing if they were shot down.
German sources claimed that 2nd.Lt. Stanchfield stayed with the aircraft and was badly injured when it crashed. He died the same day in a German hospital. S/Sgt. Trapani was last seen slumped over in the waist section either wounded or passed out through lack of oxygen. It was established from the Individual Casualty Questionnaires (ICQ) that the remaining crew bailed out of the aircraft.
F/O Mishaga could not find his parachute and bailed out “piggy backed” with S/Sgt Fuller. This was witnessed by S/Sgt. Marshall before he himself bailed out from the aircraft. German documents recorded that the dead bodies of F/O Frank Mishaga and S/Sgt Fuller were recovered and that they were buried at the municipal cemetery in Veckenstedt near Halberstadt on the 18th August 1944, two days after they were last seen in the aircraft.
2nd.Lt. Shakley, S/Sgt. Baba, S/Sgt. Hall. and S/Sgt. Youree were captured at 1215 hours near Wernigerode about 7 miles SE of Stapelburg. S/Sgt. Marshall Jr. was captured nine days later on the 27th August in Mühlenberg some 15 miles SW of Stapelburg.
B-24J Stinky exploded in mid-air and the wreckage crashed about ¾ of a mile north of Stapelburg, which is about 9 miles east of Goslar at 1115 hours.
(1) The circumstances surrounding the deaths of F/O Mishaga and T/Sgt. Fuller were unknown until a General Military Government Court was convened at Dachau, Germany during the period 23rd to 28th July 1947.
Two German nationals were charged that they, did, at or near Stapelburg, Germany, on or about the 16th August 1944, wrongfully encourage, aid, abet and participate in the killing of two members of the United States Army, believed to be Harrel W. Fuller and Frank Mishaga, who were then and there surrendered and unarmed PoWs in the custody of the then German Reich.
The two accused were a Walter Heinrich Ernst Rieseberg, who was a former member of the Allgemeine (General) SS (Schutzstaffel), and also a member of the Nazi party and a Kurt Friedrich Wilhelm Dilba, who was also a former member of the Allgemeine SS. Rieseberg was in charge of a refugee camp for displaced foreign born Germans and was based in Ilsenburg.
The court heard that on or about the 16th August 1944 an American bomber had been shot down and the crew parachuted from the aircraft before it crashed. Two of the airmen had landed in the vicinity of Stapelburg, Germany and were captured by a group of hostile German civilians.
The prosecution claimed that one of the accused and two other SS men named, Frank and Watzinger arrived and took the two airmen into custody. There was some contradictory evidence as to which of the accused was driving the car but by his own admission it was Rieseberg. The airmen were placed in Rieseberg’s car together with the two SS men. The car was then driven along a narrow dirt road through a forest for a number of miles before Rieseberg decided to turn back and take another route back to Ilsenburg. He stopped the car and ordered Frank, Watzinger and the two airmen out of the car so that he could back up and turn around. After he had reversed for about 100 yards, Frank ran up and informed him that the airmen had attempted to escape and that they had been shot.
Rieseberg went to the scene of the shooting and found the dead airmen about 16 yards and 13 yards either side of the road. He left the scene after an unknown member of the Luftwaffe arrived whom he ordered to remain with the bodies.
A witness, who was the Gendarmerie Meister (Police NCO) of Ilsenburg, believed to be a man named Brenstedt, received a telephone call from someone in Vechenstedt, which could have been either Frank or Watzinger as they had been ordered to report the incident to the police, informing him that the bodies of two enemy airmen were lying in the woods of Stapelburg, some 2½ miles NNE of Ilsenburg. He found the bodies at the location and took them to the local morgue in Vechenstedt. When he examined the airmen he found that both had suffered a bullet wound to the back of the head and also in the face. It appeared to the witness that they had each been killed by a single shot to the head.
Rieseberg was found guilty of the charge and sentenced to life imprisonment. However, the Review and Recommendations board did not consider that the evidence was sufficient to satisfactorily establish his guilt and therefore the court’s findings and sentence were disapproved.
The court acquitted Dilba of the charge and he was released.
Evidence presented to the court clearly established that the two SS men named Frank and Watzinger were involved in shooting and killing of F/O Mishaga and T/Sgt. Fuller. It is not known why these two men had not been brought before the court.
(left: Courtesy: Des Philippet) 2nd.Lt. Milton A. Stanchfield. Air Medal (Oak Leaf Cluster), Purple Heart. Reinterred at the Netherlands American Cemetery, Margraten, Plot D, Row 4, Grave 30 on the 11th May 1945. Born in 1921. Husband of Arlene R. Stanchfield of Oakland, California, USA.
F/O Frank Mishaga. Air Medal (Oak Leaf Cluster). Reinterred at the Netherlands American Cemetery, Margraten, Plot O, Row 18, Grave 8 on the 23rd May 1945. Born in 1922. Husband of Mrs. Dorothy L. Mishaga of Cleveland, Ohio, USA.
(Right: Courtesy: Fred-FindAGrave) S/Sgt. Eugene Trapani. Air Medal (Oak Leaf Cluster), Purple Heart. Reinterred at the Netherlands American Cemetery, Margraten, Plot G, Row 6, Grave 27 on the 10th May 1945. Born on the 23rd September 1920. Son of Mrs. Christine Trapani of Los Angeles, California, USA.
(Left: Courtesy: FindAGrave) T/Sgt. Harrel William Fuller. Air Medal (Oak Leaf Cluster), Purple Heart. Posthumously awarded the DFC. Repatriated and buried at the Colorado City Cemetery, Texas on the 10th April 1949. Born on the 11th December 1922. Son of Garrel F. and Hilda Fuller of Colorado City, Texas, USA.
Researched by Ralph Snape and Traugott Vitz for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to the relatives of this crew. With thanks to Traugott Vitz for his work on the ‘VitzArchive’