Thomas; Ratajczyk, Thomas S., S/Sgt 321st Bomb Group, 448th Bomb Squadron, B-25's MTO
Wednesday, 31 March 1943
KILLED IN ACTION On 31 March 1943
448th Bombardment Squadron War Diary:
On March 31, 1943, on a low element sea sweep over the Mediterranean Sea, Off of Northeastern Tunisia, the first battle casualties of the squadron occurred. 2 Crews, (13 Men), and 2 Planes were Lost,1st Lt. Hess, McKinney; 2nd Lts: Campbell, Welton; S/Sgts: Cookman, Hines, Kirol, McGinnis, McMurray, Ratajczyk, Rodgers, Headings and Lottes were shot down into the Mediterranean Sea by enemy fighters. The mission however did succeed in sinking two enemy ships.
At 12:45 15 planes off to bomb on sea sweep, over the Mediterranean Sea. 14 (planes) dropped 84 x 500 bombs. 12 planes back at 17:05. One landed at Bone. Met convoy, lower element (48) claims M/V (Military Vessel) broken in two, one M/V (Military Vessel) left sinking, one left burning. 4 E/A (Enemy Aircraft) destroyed. About 50 E/A (Enemy Aircraft) attacked 2 B-25's (Lts: Hess and McKinney) shot down. Intense, heavy accurate flak, balloon barrage. Bombing was at 100-200 feet. Weather: Clear.
Own Aircraft Losses: Two. B-25C 41-13209 and B-25C 41-13205. One by flak and 1455 hours - 37°35'N, 10°47'E; the other by fighters at 1512 hours - 37°48'N, 10°27E.
A/C No. 41-13205 (MACR-14578 "Lost at Sea. Aircraft was lost to enemy aircraft and anti-aircraft")
P: McKinney, Charles A., 1Lt~KIA
CP: Campbell, John F., 2Lt~KIA
B: Kirol, Edward A., S/Sgt~KIA
E: Ratajczyk, Thomas S., S/Sgt~KIA
R: Headings, Boyd V., S/Sgt-KIA
G: McGinnis, Lofton F., S/Sgt~KIA
F: Lottes, Richard O., Sgt(ASV)~KIA
Another sea sweep this afternoon led by Major Cook with 25 P-38’s escorting. The formation of 15 B-25’s (8 of the 445th) took off at 12:45. Major Cook led two formations at 8000 ft. and Lt. Veum led one element at 100 ft, dropping 84 x 100 lb. (48 by 100 lb. by the 445th) bombs at 14:52 on a convoy consisting of 4 large merchant vessels, one transport, 4 barges, one Siebel Ferry, 4 destroyers, and 1 escort vessel. One merchant vessel appeared to be in town, one large merchant vessel sunk. One was left burning and in a sinking condition. Two other ships were left in flames. The transport was hit twice and appeared to be down at the bow. Barrage balloons were attached to three of the ships. Intense, heavy flak was experienced form the convoy. The formation was attacked by 50 enemy aircraft including ME-109’s, 210’s, FW-190’s, and at least 1 JU-88. 30 to 50 ME 109’s attacked the formation. The B-25’s claimed 4 ME 109’s, and 1 unidentified plane shot down over the target. Two B-25’s of the low element were lost. The fighter escort destroyed 1 JU-88 and 1 ME-109. One P-38 lost and another missing. The right wing tip of Lt. Miller’s ship was blown off by 20 mm fire. The ships returned at 17:05. Lt. Bonus landed in Bone because his engineer, S/Sgt. Krzyzanowski was seriously injured in the chest by 20mm shell. S/Sgt. Brainard, who is Lt. Clinton’s engineer, was wounded in the chest by a 30 cal. Bullet. Both Sgt. Krzyzanowski and St. Brainard continued to man their guns in spite of their critical wounds and each shot down an ME-109 approaching from the tails of their shops. Two other ME-109’s were claimed today by our gunners.
A/C No. 41-29769 (?) McKinney, Charles A., 1Lt Campbell, John F., 2Lt None McMurray, Walter J., S/Sgt Ratajczyk, Thomas S., S/Sgt Headings, Boyd V., S/Sgt McGinnis, Lofton F., S/Sgt
Barbi Ennis Connolly 4 Febuary, 2013
PRINCESSBARBI Barbara Ennis Connolly
Dad/Ed Ennis http://www.warwingsart.com/12thAirForce/ennis.html
57th Bomb Wing Historical Researcher,319th & 321st BG Historian