Lee Van Leonard

Lee Van Leonard

Capt. Lee Van Leonard, Pilot, B-25 Mitchell, 321st Bomb Group, 448th Bomb Squadron

  • Italy

_During WW II Lee Leonard # 15095699, was an US Army Air Corp Pilot, into the 321st BG, the 448th Bomb Squadron.  Lee entered the Service in Bloomington, Indiana, Monroe County, 16 May, 1942.  He was highly qualified having completed 4 years of college, still single (he was born in 1920) and selected for the Army Air Corps. _

Stories to come from Vet, Lee Leonard.....  Barbi Ennis Connolly

321stBG Historian <a>PRINCESSBARBI_B25@msn.com</a>  Questions, Comments ? ? ?

Capt. Lee Leonard, B-25 Pilot, MTO/WW II

  • Italy

Combat Mission 28 Jan 1945;  (321st Bomb Group War-Diary)

448th Capt Lee Leonard Mission # 5 , we do not have the Missions in yet, but Lee Leonard was the Flight leader on James 5th Mission :)


th BS Mission Summary: Squadron Mission 484

TARGET: Lavis RR Diversion Bridge, Italy DATE: 28 Jan.1945

Type of Bombs: 1000 lb. 446

th Planes: 13

Capt. Leonard led the formation. Good concentration reported on both bridges. Direct hits seen on the N bridge. Some bombs were N of target cutting the rail line. Incendiary a/c reported good coverage of both flak positions. Falk was heavy, moderate, accurate. Eight planes holed, one man wounded. Leonard, Lee V., Capt, pilot, 448th BS

321stBomb Group, Capt Lee V Leonard, 448th Bomb Squadron

  • Corsica, France

Leonard, Lee V., Capt, pilot, 448th BS

First mission 19 May 44:

A/C No.  41-30548 P Greene, William A., 1Lt CP Leonard, Lee V., 2Lt N Hickey, William O., 2Lt B Greene, Louis P., 2Lt E Luton_, Howard W., S/Sgt_ R Gilpatrick, Jack H., T/Sgt G Wolf, Elmer A., S/Sgt F None

**448th BS War Diary:  Additional Narrative for May 1944: **

May 15 – 21 – 44: The following Officers and Enlisted Men were assigned and joined during this period.  Lieutenants:  Leonard, Bongiovanni, McKay, Martin, Holcombe, Tetlow, Goff, Gladwill, Tilton, Kruse, Frasier, Kiska; Sergeants:  Bergstrom, Corrigan, Irvine, Grim, Walker, Congdon, Hochron, Anderson, Magyar; Corporals:   Marsh, Nash, PFC. Larson.  The following Enlisted Men were returned to the U.S.A. S/Sergeant. Daniels, Corporal. Cwikla, PFC. Halley, Stein and T/Sergeant. Rodgers.  Due to the serious damage caused to the 340th when attacked all personnel in the 448th were required to disperse their tents into the brush.  The month of May saw a great improvement in both the Mess facilities and Rations and by the 21st of May both clubs were well on the way to completion.  If the squadron did not move their accommodations promised to the best yet experienced in the field.  Picture shows offered practically the only entertainment available.  Lee Van Leonard.

448th BS War Diary:  Additional Narrative for August 1944:

August 16 – 24 – 44:   The following Officers and Enlisted Men assigned and joined during this period Lts:  Churchill, Cherry, Copes, Cooper, Cook, Ivory, Sheffield, and Private Bilodeau, Crowther, Oddo, Oneth, and Pankiewicz, and Cpls: Schaffer and Bass.  The following Officers promoted from 2nd Lt. to first Lt:  Anderson, Bard, Bongiovanni, Carrington, Comfort, Grady, Holcombe, Leonard, Mallin, Martin, Mitchell, Moyer, Reedy, Schlenk, Shaw, Stevens, Swanson, Warren, Young, Sowder, Kruse, Tilton.  First Lt. Moss promoted to Captain.

12 Dec 44 - 448th BS War Diary:  The mission was stand down once again today due to weather conditions.  Lieutenant Moose left this morning for the Ile Rousse rest camp for a much needed rest.  Lieutenants Bongiovanni, Grady, Swanson, Rogers, and Shear received their orders for promotion to Captain.  Lieutenant Bongiovanni is the Squadron Navigator.  In an impressive ceremony this afternoon General Knapp presented the following awards to personnel of the Squadron:  DFC:  Captains Joyce and Grady, Lieutenants  Bard, Carrington, Kirk, Kiska, Leonard, Mallin, Martin, McRee, Norris, Riley, Rosenau, Tetlow, Young, and Zinkand, Sergeants Poteete, Bowman, Pealer, and Schaffer.  SOLDIER’S MEDAL:  Lieutenants Duggan and Sergeant Wilson.  BRONZE STAR MEDAL:  Sergeants Lund, Ruggere, Lange, Petruzelli, Rauch, Reiser, and Armock.   AIR MEDAL:  Captains Burks, Farwell, Lieutenants Garrett, Lyons, Myers, Norris, Tetlow, Autrey, Bechtle, Birkhead, Brink, Cherry, Churchill, Cook, Cooper, Copes, Freund, Ivory, Lesser, Schweitzer, Sheffield, Smith and Stromberg.  Sergeants Berman, Brusa, Morefield, Randall, Abiecunas, Baird, Bass, Bell, Goethals, Haack, Hawthorne, Hulse, Knauss, LaBella, Mardeuse, Moleski, Pealer, Qualls, Ratcliffe, Schaffer, Sharp, Edwards, Enderle, Gage, Justice, Langley, Reves, Wright.  PURPLE HEART:  Lieutenants Young, Churchill, Sergeants Pealer, and Schaffer.

448th BS War Diary:  Additional Narrative for December 1944:


One of the two outstanding missions for December 1944, that the 448th Squadron participated in was the attack on the railroad bridge and storage dumps at Asti, Italy, 15 December 1944, when twelve (12) of the Squadron’s aircraft left the Kraut target in a mass of ruin and devastation.

To the crew members this was perhaps, another routine mission in the systematic destruction of enemy tactical targets in Northern Italy, but to ground men who had occasion to observe otherwise came to realize that the Squadron had once again displayed its versatility and ability to think and act quickly.  This target was not the assigned target but one of opportunity.

Lieutenant Leonard, who led the Group formation of twenty-four (24) Mitchell bombers, came over the briefed target but his bombardier, Captain Joyce, was unable, due to heavy cloud formations, to pick it up in his bombsight.  Realizing that releasing the bombs here would be useless and perhaps cause unnecessary death and destruction to Italian civilian population below, Lieutenant Leonard turned the formation about and started for home base.

Joyce, Robert W., Capt, bombardier                                      Leonard, Lee V., 1Lt, pilot

Previously having been briefed that a possible enemy storage dump existed at a pin-point location near a railroad bridge at Asti, Italy, Lieutenant Leonard quickly decided and turned his formation toward Asti.  Playing tag with the fleecy cloud formations for about twenty minutes, Lieutenant Freund, displaying his navigational ability, brought the lead ship through a hole in the clouds and over the target area.

Freund, John F., 1Lt, bombardier                                          Leonard, Lee V., 1Lt, pilot

In a matter of seconds Captain Joyce had the bridge in his bombsights, and before the Krauts knew what was in store for them, another fine piece of Italian bridge work was no longer in existence for their use.  But the bridge was not the only thing hit.  Other bombs dropped in some buildings near the northern end of the bridge that the Krauts were using for storage purposes.  Destruction once again greeted the enemy.

_Joyce, Robert W., Capt, bombardier _

Breaking away from the target, the Krauts began their belated attempt to stop the formation with anti-aircraft fire.  But this was entirely ineffective, with none of the planes being holed or any casualties being suffered.

Smoke and fires from the storage dump were still burning furiously and apparently out of control as the Mitchell formation crossed the Italian shore and headed for the home base on Corsica.  Photographs the next day revealed that the center span of the bridge was down, and the entire area around the north end gutted by the raging fires from the razed buildings.

Thus another chapter to the “finis” of the Krauts in Italy was added to the already long list.  Insignificant as it may seem to some, it is just one more example of what can be done with Allied air supremacy, and one less Kraut bridge that can be used.

December 30, saw the same team of Leonard, Joyce, and Freund leading another formation toward Kraut-infested Northern Italy.  It was the same play of Leonard to Joyce once again as the bombs were “passed” to the bridge below.

Freund, John F., 1Lt, bombardier                                          Leonard, Lee V., 1Lt, pilot

Joyce, Robert W., Capt, bombardier

Flying as pilot of the lead plane in the twenty-one (21) plane formation, Lieutenant Leonard took the Mitchell bombers across Italy, then into the Po Valley toward the railroad bridge at Rovereto, Italy.  The Krauts quickly picked up the formation and began tracking it with anti-aircraft fire, but Lieutenant Leonard maneuvered his planes through the bursting flak with only a few holes in several of his planes.

Leonard, Lee V., 1Lt, pilot

Pulling away after the bomb run, they left another Kraut bridge down and useless to the enemy.  After the smoke had cleared away, photographs revealed direct hits on the south approach and end, with another 100% bombing accuracy mission scored for the record books.

The Krauts were using the bridge to bring much of their sorely needed supplies into Northern Italy, but now another route will have to be used which, of course will doubtless be useless to them soon when the Mitchell bombers team up to blast one of the bridges off the route.

Missions flown by the Squadron during the month of December were in tactical support of Allied ground troops now fighting their way north in the Rome-Arno campaign.  From a medium altitude the Mitchell bombers were engaged in bombing enemy installations behind the lines.  On twenty-four (24) missions and one hundred fifty-seven (157) sorties 368,800 lbs of bombs were dropped on German targets.


GO #252, 29 Nov. ’44 12th Air Force

For Meritorious Achievement

Lt. Leonard_, Lee V., pilot_                            Casalecchio, Italy 16 Sep ’44     6th OLC to AM

GO # 261, 7 Dec ’44, 12th Air Force

For meritorious achievement

Lt. Leonard_, Lee, pilot_                         Rimini, Italy                  17 Sep ’44      7th OLC to AM

16 Jan 45 - 448th BS: War Diary of:  Schaffer, Irving J., T/Sgt, radio-gunner:

“Awoke 7:30AM.  Raining hard.  Rained all night.  Fresh fried eggs, oatmeal, jelly, bread, coffee, fruit juice.  Scotty called for me at 8:10AM with carryall.  Went to 57th Bomb Wing.  Picked up orders at wing HQ area and left for flight line at 310th.  C-47 on field.  All flights canceled because of weather.  Water rising in all streams.  Returned to squadron at 9:30AM.  Commenced reading from book Elliott sent me "Stories of the Great Operas and Their Composers" by Ernest Newman. (Read Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro")  John, Wesley, Huha and Lt Bosick left for Bastia.  Fresh fried chicken, fresh boiled potatoes, gravy, fruit salad, bread, butter, coffee.  Raining continually.  Water getting in our gas supply.  Covered it with half shelter.  Corn beef hash, tomato sauce, kidney beans, dehydrated carrots, chocolate pudding, coffee.  Attended meeting at 8:45PM at EM club.  Capt Farwell (CO) spoke about fire hazard in area and immediate check up on clothing as records were destroyed in fire that destroyed supply tent. Still raining.  Capt Leonard checked our tent.  Retired 11:00PM.”

Farwell, Harold S., Capt, Commander                      Huha, George (NMI), Sgt, communications

Leonard, Lee V., Capt, pilot                                       Nelson, John F. “Chief”, Cpl, engineer-gunner

Schaffer, Elliott, Irving Schaffer’s brother                 Scott, Joseph M. “Scotty”, Sgt, intelligence

19 Feb 44 - 448th BS War Diary:  Cloudy weather prevailed over most of Corsica today and stormy weather over the Po Valley area made the mission scheduled for this morning stand down, but not before the crews had been briefed and were out at the planes awaiting take-off.  Captain Leonard and Lieutenants Brink, Autrey, and Rubin left for Cannes rest camp this morning, and Lieutenants Churchill, Cook, Smith, and Armstrong returned from Cannes.  Captains Grady and Bard and Sergeants Law, Qualls, Veeck, Schaffer, Brusa, Magyar and Markiewicz left for TD to Cairo, Egypt, for RAF Flight Control School.  Privates Brown, Denny, Dillon, Dunn, Griffin, Jungquist, Kovacs, Oddo, Oneth and Pankiewicz were promoted to Privates First Class today by the Commanding Officer.

24 Feb 44 - 448th BS War Diary:  Captain Leonard and Lieutenants Brink, Autrey and Rubin returned from the Cannes, France rest camp today, and Major Knievel and Lieutenants Ivory and Kuoni left as the Squadron’s quota to that famous resort.

448th BS War Diary:  Additional Narrative for March 1945

G.O. # 50, 12th AF, 15 Mar. ’45

for Gallantry in Action

Capt. Leonard, Lee V., pilot                Campo, Italy                25 Feb ’45       Silver Star

10 Apr 44 - 448th BS: War Diary of:  Schaffer, Irving J., T/Sgt, radio-gunner:

“CQ (Kurs) blowing whistle at 5:00AM.  Briefing 5:40AM.  Didn't sleep well.  Read until 1:00AM.  Ship #77 (43-36127). Capt Lee, pilot, Major Farwell, co-pilot.  Lead ship, lead group. Carrying 500 lb bombs.  48 ships.  Target is at Longastrino, Italy supporting the ground troops.  Hit target.  No flak. Gun positions (artillery).  Warm.  Not nervous. Take off 7:45.  Over target 9:00AM.  Landed 9:45AM.  (59th mission).  Briefing for PM missions 12:50PM.  Capt Leonard, pilot. Lead flight.  Carrying frags (#77 ship) (43-36127).  Target is reserve German troops in front line area.  Clear, warm weather.  Take off 2:45.  Target time 4:00. Landed 4:45. Flak.  Did not drop due to malfunction in bomb sight. (Lt Brink, bombardier).  Did not have any trouble on transmission on either mission.  "Jerry" tried to block me out (60th mission).  Feeling tired but OK.  Moved to right wing of bldg into bay #8.  Combat and group men separated.  Retired 8:30PM.”

28 Apr 44 - 448th BS War Diary:  Major Farwell, Captains Ivory and Leonard, Lt. Armstrong and Sergeants Martin, Shaw, Varga, Enderle, and Moleski left for Cairo this morning.  Pfc Griffen was promoted to Sergeant today.

_5 May 45 - 448th BS War Diary:  No mission was scheduled.  Major Farwell, Captains Ivory and Leonard, Lieutenant Armstrong and Sergeants Martin, Shaw, Varga, Enderle and Moleski returned from a ten day furlough in Cairo, Egypt.

_8 May 45 - 448th BS War Diary:  No mission was scheduled.  V-E Day begins tonight at midnight and will last for 24 hours.  Thirty-six bottles of American whiskey was donated to all Enlisted Men of this squadron in order to celebrate the event in the right manner.  Captains Ivory, Kneisle and Leonard, Sergeants Enderle, Moleski, Konczak, Lane, Lison, Updyke, Coomes, Ludtke, Polcawich, Rice, Sampson, Will, Ziemba, Lewis, Larson, Pfeiffer, Reiser, Lanningham, and Mindnich and Corporals Wiles, Liona and Bradford and Private Nelson returned to the United States on Rotation.

May 44 = 7,  Jun  = 9, Jul =, 11   Aug = 5,  Sep = 7,  Oct = 1,  Nov = 3,  Dec = 3,             Jan 45 = 2,  Feb =  4, Mar = 4,   Apr = 3,  May = 0   ***** Total = 59 *****__