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Archive Report: US Forces
1941 - 1945

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.

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8th Air Force
30.11.1944 338th Bombardment Squadron (H) B-17G 44-8109, 1st Lt. Floyd B. Whaley

Operation: Lützkendorf oil installation (Mission #731), Germany

Date: 30th November 1944 (Thursday)

Unit No: 338th Bombardment Squadron (H), 96th Bombardment Group (H), 3rd Air Division, 8th Air Force

Type: B-17G

Serial No: 44-8109

Code: BX:R

Location: 1 km west of the railway station at Bebra, Germany

Base: Snetterton Heath (Station #138), Norfolk, England

Pilot: 1st Lt. Floyd Benjamin Whaley Jr. O-767927 AAF Age 21. PoW *

Co Pilot: 2nd Lt. Thomas Edward Accardi O-557596 AAF Age 22. PoW **

Navigator: 2nd Lt. William Carroll Senn Sr. O-723186 AAF Age 27. PoW **

Bombardier: 2nd Lt. Jack Edward Schimpf O-772746 AAF Age 21. PoW **

Mickey Op: 1st Lt. Giles Justin McCarthy O-659066 AAF Age 25. PoW **

Radio Op: T/Sgt. Reider John Tommeraas 17083678 AAF Age 29. PoW **

Engineer: T/Sgt. Francis R. Martin 12172688 AAF Age? PoW ***

Left Waist Gunner: S/Sgt. Jeremy C. Tipton 35707959 AAF Age? PoW **

Right Waist Gunner: S/Sgt. Willard H. Christensen 39921161 AAF Age? PoW ****

Tail Turret: S/Sgt. Russell ‘Russ’ Lee Anderson 38433818 AAF Age 22. KiA (1)

* Dulag Luft 12 Groß-Tychow Pomerania, Prussia now Tychowo, Poland.

** Stalag Luft 1 Barth-Vogelsang, today situated in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany.

*** Stalag Luft 4 Groß-Tychow, Pomerania, Prussia now Tychowo, 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).


B-17G 44-8109 took off from Snetterton Heath on the morning of the 30th of November 1944 as the deputy lead of the Squadron on a mission to bomb the Lützkendorf oil installations. However, due to the squadron being out of position, they bombed the Leuna oil installations at Merseburg.

Over the target the aircraft was hit by flak setting #2 engine on fire and blowing away the tail guns but did not injure the gunner.

The aircraft was last seen, losing altitude but still under control, near Lat/Long 51 02N, 11 45E at 13:25 hrs.

This Lat/Long is some 76 km SW of the Leuna oil installations at Merseburg.

They managed to fly a further 89 km due west before the crew were forced to abandon the aircraft, which crashed about 1 km west of the railway station in Bebra, Germany at 14:20 hrs.

Seven of the crew were captured together at about 14:40 hrs after they had landed some 800 metres north of Bebra. The pilot and co-pilot were captured near Rotenburg at 15:00 hrs. All the captured crew were transferred to Dulag Luft on the 2nd of December 1944.

(1) There was speculation as to the circumstances leading to the death of S/Sgt. Anderson.

What can be confirmed was that the pilot, 1st Lt. Whaley, asked S/Sgt. Anderson if he had been injured after his turret had been hit, to which he replied that he was OK. 1st Lt. McCarthy spoke with him about 2 mins before bailing out. Additionally, S/Sgt. Anderson had acknowledged the order to bail out and had been seen standing at the tail hatch ready to jump. 1st Lt. McCarthy also confirmed that he saw him bail out a few seconds after he himself had bailed out. Crucially none of the crew saw his parachute open.

Some of the crew reported that they had been shot at from the ground whilst descending on their parachutes.

The information reported by members of the crew in their Individual Casualty Questionnaires (ICQ) along with uncorroborated information from French forced laborers and German guards gives rise to two possible scenarios:

First: At the Bebra city jail 1st Lt. McCarthy spoke with some forced laborers from France who told him that S/Sgt. Anderson had been killed by German civilians. The captured airmen were given S/Sgt. Anderson’s clothing, assumed to be his flight suit, etc., to take with them to Dulag Luft. In the opinion of 1st Lt. McCarthy, given the condition of the clothing and the bloodstained parachute, he was sure that his parachute had opened. This was also the opinion of T/Sgt. Martin who had the task of carrying the clothing and parachute.

2nd Lt. Senn Sr. described how he and S/Sgt. Anderson had discussed fighting their way out if they survived being shot down. However, a few weeks later he thought better of this plan and told S/Sgt. Anderson that he had changed his mind. Apparently, this did not deter him and he continued to carry a large combat knife and other unspecified weapons.

Second:A German guard at the Bebra city jail informed T/Sgt. Tommeraas that S/Sgt. Anderson’s parachute had failed to open after he had bailed out. The Germans also told some of the forced laborers from France that S/Sgt. Anderson’s parachute had failed to open and described the airman’s multiple injuries to them, which were reiterated to the captured airmen at the Bebra city jail.

No corroborating evidence has been found to confirm or refute either scenario so all that can be concluded at this time is that S/Sgt. Anderson’s death remains unexplained.

S/Sgt. Anderson was identified by his ‘dog tags’ by the police at Bebra before being buried in the local Cemetery at Bebra on the 2nd of December 1944.

Burial Details:

Above: Return of S/Sgt. Anderson (Courtesy of the Fort Worth Star Telegram, dated Wednesday November 17th 1948)

S/Sgt. Russell ‘Russ’ Lee Anderson. Reinterred at the Netherlands American Cemetery in Plot 3K, Row 4, Grave 82 on the 20th of June 1945. He was repatriated and interred in the Fairy Cemetery, Fairy, Hamilton County, Texas. Born on the 23rd of September 1922 in Hamilton, Texas. Son of Reuben Lee and Euphia Ann (née Brummett) Anderson from Grand Prairie, Texas, USA.

Researched by Ralph Snape and Traugott Vitz for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with additional thanks to Traugott for his work on the ‘VitzArchive’.

RS & TV 16.11.2022 - Initial upload

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Acknowledgments: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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