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Sgt W Ray Carmack, KIA 25 Feb.'44 over Germany
25 Feb.1944 | Germany
Sgt W RAY Carmack, B-24 Radio/Gunner;
453rd Bomb Group, B-25 HEAVY; War-Diary - WEEK of 19th to 25th of Feb.1944 was called BIG WEEK;
Despite heroic effort of the Eighth and Fifteenth Air Forces, the objectives of POINTBLANK were not being fully realized. The success of this operation was crucial to resumption of the strategic bombing campaign and especially to the planning for the great invasion of the continent, then set to occur as Operation OVERLORD in May or June 1944. It was essential that the Allies have control of the air for such an amphibious landing to be successful. Time was running out. The Allied High Command took action, ordering maximum effort round-the-clock bomber and fighter attacks upon the German aircraft industry and upon its air depots, airfields, and its fighters. This was Operation ARGUMENT--and the week of February 19-25, 1944 became known as BIG WEEK.
Thanks principally to records summarized by Roger A. Freeman in Mighty Eighth War Diary, the story of BIG WEEK is told here: Maximum effort missions were flown by both the bomber and fighter groups of the Eighth Air Force on five days of that week. On the five missions a total of 3,721 bombers and 3,839 fighter aircraft were dispatched. Bomber losses were 114. Additionally, 21 bombers were damaged beyond repair, 1,032 were damaged to a lesser extent. Loss of airmen was severe: 88 American fliers KIA, 114 WIA and the staggering number of 1,554 crewmen MIA! The MIA were the equivalent of more than three bomber groups.***************************************************************************
(A very tragic week indeed)
History of 453rd BG
The 453rd Bombardment Group was born in the hills of Idaho, USA on 29th June 1943. They received training and instruction in heavy bombardment tactics, gunnery weapons, country missions, navigation problems, undertook local area flights, bombing and aerial gunnery practice before departing for England.
By 5th February 1944, all planes of the group and the servicemen had completed their journey to Old Buckenham. The arriving men of the 453rd BG found their new base in turmoil. The seasonal English weather of snow, rain and cold winds had made the base a quagmire. A lot of the men succumbed to colds and flu. Men were issued with over-shoes to counteract the mud. Many of the barracks weren’t even completed; roofs were needed in some, electricity in others, and stoves in the majority. The first mission was flown on 5th February 1944 against the airfield at Tours, France. It was a successful mission and all planes returned safely.
8th USAAF 2nd Air Division.(H) Norfolk Bomber Bases in WW2.
453RD BOMB GROUP. J OLD BUCKENHAM NORFOLK. DEC 1943. B.24.
732ND BOMB SQUADRON. (E3).
733RD BOMB SQUADRON. (F8).
734TH BOMB SQUADRON. (E8).
735TH BOMB SQUADRON. (H6).
FIRST MISSION 5/2/44. LAST.12/4/45. TOTAL 259 MIA.58.
14TH COMBAT WING.