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Lt Hobart G "Bart" Osburn, 321st Bomb Group, 445th Bomb Squadron
1944 | Italy
Craig Losche of Bertoud, Colorado has assembled this information about his brother-in-law Lt Hobat Osburn.
Hobart (Bart) Osburn 31 Combat Missions as Bombardier/Navigator in the B-25 #42-64675, an "unnamed" B-25 with the puppy name POOCHIE painted on her nose. Hobart (Bart) G. Osburn/Osborn's first mission was 10 June 1943. Bart was on his 31st mission when his plane (James B. Fisher, pilot) was shot down and they ended up in Stalag Luft 1 near Barth, Germany for 18 months. (Info from research by brother in law Craig Losche
8 Oct. 1943; War Diary;
"After southern Italy was liberated Bart's unit moved to an air base in southern Italy (the "heel/toe" area). On October 8, 1943 on his 29th mission ("50 missions got you a vacation"), his unit was on their first bombing mission to Athens, Greece. The seven man crew was accompanied by an intelligence officer who worked for the Museum of Art in ???? and he wanted to see the Acropolis fromStalag 17B Braunau Gneikendorf Near Krems Austria 48-15 the air. During the flight across the water to Greece they encountered heavy German fighter attack. They got separated from the major part of the flight to protect after bomber. This is when their plane was damaged and were forced to ditch in the Gulf of Corinth at about 1:45 PM ("that's when my wrist watch stopped"). After trying to paddle their 6-man lifeboat (2 had to hang on from the water) to the shore, which was in sight, without little or no success, they were picked up by a German cutter at about 6 PM and taken to a German mountain camp. From this camp in Greece they were loaded on a train and taken to Frankfort, Germany".
Bart ended up a POW in Stalag Luft 1 near Barth, German on the Baltic Sea from October 8, 1943 until June 12, 1945. The entire CREW survived the ditching in the Bay of Corinth "at 1:45 PM - that's when my wrist watch stopped".Bart would tell Craig Losche.
Here are several POW stories that he related: -- the POWs had a radio that they listened to BBC to learn about the progress of he war at night. This radio was dismantled during the day and the pieces were carried around the camp by the POWs so the Germans couldn't find it.
-- the barracks along the outer fence were used to dig tunnels under the fence for escape. To alert the tunnel diggers that a German guard was around, the code word alert was "GOONUP" = German officer or non commission officer upon premise.
-- Stalag Luft 1 was under the flight path of bombers going to bomb Berlin or elsewhere and the POWs would cheer during their flight over and the Germans disliked these demonstrations so they said anyone found outside the barracks would be shot. Bart knew one POW was shot unknowing that there was a fight going over. A British doctor in the camp cared for the POW and Bart was called upon to give his O-negative blood. To repeatedly give this blood Bart received extra food (macaroni and cheese).
-- the POWs looked for ways to harass the camp guards. Bart remembers an elderly German officer counting the POWs at a line-up formation, Starting the count as "ein", "zwei". "drei", "vier", then his count was interrupted to tell a POW to take his hands out of his pockets. But he lost track of his count so he had to start over. "ein", "zwei". "drei", "vier", . . . . . . . . . "neun", "zehn" again his count was interrupted to correct another POW. Again he had to start over. "ein", "zwei". "drei", "vier", . . . . . . . . . "neun", "zehn" . . . . . . By this time the POWs made a game of the officer's memory problem so they periodically did something that interrupted the count until the German officer became frustrated. So he quit the count.
"445th BS War Diary: Our men are encountering more and more small Italian children
who stand by the garbage pails and be food. They are apparently ill fed. Back in Africa
there were the Arab children who pulled the same thing. Here, the plot is the same but
the characters different. Once again our men got a look at Photo Jerry this morning. He
is apparently interested in this base which is an aerial beehive. Our Squadron lost two
planes today in the raid on the Athens Eleusis Airdrome. Great damage was caused and several enemy fighters were destroyed, however."
Planes and Crew Lost 8 Oct. 1943;
A/C No. 42-64675 (missing crews – at sea) A/C No. 42-64590 (missing crews – at sea)
P Fisher, James B., Jr., 1Lt Hartmeister,
CP Carmine, John W.,
N Osburn, Hobat G., 2Lt
E Kunis, Theodore C., S/Sgt Kerbow, Joseph E., S/Sgt
R Garthwaite, Howard S., S/Sgt
G Woronuk, John (NMI), Cpl O’Neill, Phillip W., Sgt
F Corning, C. H., Capt (observer)
CREW; Theodore C. Kunis (Army serial # 33069075) http://aad.archives.gov/aad/record-detail.jsp?dt=893&mtch=1&tf=F&q=33069075&rpp=10&pg=1&rid=3559152 ("K" is unreadable)
Howard L Garthwaite; POW Stalag 17B Braunau Gneikendorf Near Krems Austria 48-15 http://aad.archives.gov/aad/record-detail.jsp?dt=466&mtch=2&tf=F&q=Garthwaite,&bc=sl,fd&rpp=10&pg=1&rid=67387&rlst=67386,67387
The B-25 plane number was #42-64675 and the crew was:
Pilot: Fisher, James B., Jr., 1Lt, SN#O&659966
CoPilot: Carmine, John W., 2Lt, SN#O&794527
Navigator: Osburn, Hobart G., 2Lt, SN#O&669098
Bombardier: McLeod, Jack P., 2Lt, SN#O&731211
Engineer: Kunis, Theodore C., S/Sgt, SN#33069075
R Garthwaite, Howard S., S/Sgt, SN#32402780
G Woronuk, John (NMI), Cpl, SN#6846610 (POW record of SN#, no enlistment record)
Their plane was damaged on their first bombing mission to Athens' Eleusis Airdrome in Greece. They were forced to ditch in the Gulf of Corinth at 1:45 PM ("that's when my wrist watch stopped" related Bart Osburn). After trying to paddle their 6-man lifeboat (2 had to hang on from the water) to the shore, which was in sight, without little or no success, they were picked up by a German cutter at about 6 PM and taken to a German camp in the mountains of Greece. From the mountain camp in Greece the crew was loaded on a train and taken to Frankfort, Germany (Dulag Luft near Frankfurt-am-Main).
After the Dulog Luft interrogation stop, the officer POWs were taken by train to Stalag Luft 1 near Barth, German on the Baltic Sea where he was held from October 1943 to May 1, 1945 when the Russians had liberated the camp. [Note: National Archives records list camp as: "Stalag Luft 1 Barth-Vogelsang Prussia".] After contact was made with the Russians arrangements were made to evacuate the liberated POWs by air. This was completed by 15 May 1945.
The plane's officers were held at Stalag Luft 1 in the following compounds:
1st Lt. James B. Fisher, Jr. (Missouri), South Compound (NOTE: National Archives POW records has him held at: Stalag 2A Neubrandenburg Mecklenberg)
2nd Lt. John W. Carmine (Virginia), North 1 & North 2 Compounds
2nd Lt. Hobart G. Osburn (Oklahoma), South Compound
2nd Lt. Jack P. McLeod (South Carolina), South Compound
Capt. Clarence H. Corning (Massachusetts), South Compound and then the North 1 Compound (Barracks Commander of Barracks 9).
***********************************************************************************************After the Dulog Luft stop, the enlisted personnel were held and liberated as follows:
S/Sgt Theodore C. Kunis, (Illinois), Stalag 3 at Sagan in Silesia (now Zagan, Poland) and then marched to Spremberg and then via rail to Stalag 7A at Moosburg just before liberation on 29 April 1945 by the 14th Armored Division.
S/Sgt Howard L. Garthwaite (New York), Stalag 17B at Gneixendorf near Krems, Austria and then 4000 POWs marched to a Russian prison camp north of Braunau am Inn, Austria just before liberation on 3 May 1945 by the 13th Armored Division. 400 sick POWs left at Stalag 17B were liberated on 9 May 1945 by the Russians. Note: Unknown which group Garthwaite was in.
Cpl John (No Mi) Woronuk (Massachusetts), Stalag 17B at Gneixendorf near Krems, Austria and then 4000 POWs marched to a Russian prison camp north of Braunau, Austria just before liberation on 3 May 1945 by the 13th Armored Division. 400 sick POWs left at Stalag 17B were liberated on 9 May 1945 by the Russians. Note: Unknown which group Woronuk was in.
20 July, 2008; Hi John (Fitzgerald) and Craig, I spoke with Fred Lawrence, he was the crew chief of the other ship that went down with Hartmiester, Frey, Flynn and others, 3 of that crew were KIA, 2 were returned in a few weeks and 2 went on to much bigger things (OSS).
Craig, Fred thinks that Bart has both of his books, and the crew chief of the Fisher ship was Moe Martinez, who lives in Calif. That was the personal ship of General Knapp and she had no nose art, the Hartmiester ship had 31 Missions (27 of which while Fred was her crew chief) but no name, other than a yellow name up under the nose, "Poochie". . . ( there was a "Poopsie" already) she was not otherwise named.
It was a long time, very long time, until the men knew the fate of that ship that Bart went down in, and Fred remembers him well. . . while not an original from the "training in the states" days, he was there a long tile. Fred has an amazing memory BUT I always remember to remind everyone that while every man was in the same war, all experienced it differently.
If Bart wished to speak with Fred, he would like that, if he remembers more of his own ship's crew chief, (Moe Martinez) I can get his phone # as well. I learned more but it does not apply to Bart. Craig, I hope that this little bit of information will be of assistance to you.... Fred only knew of the life of Jim Fisher, he returned, married and had 3 daughters. Carmine was new, he does not remember him, and he said the in his opinion that .....
"Bart was one *very fine* Navigator !" Blessings, Barbi
Barbi Ennis Connolly, Dad/447th BS, T/Sgt Ed Ennis, 321st BG and 319th BG Historian, 57th Bomb Wing Historical Researcher, PRINCESSBARBI_B25@msn.com Also John T Fitzgerald/Dad, 446th BS Lt Jack Fitzgerald.