24 October 1942

24 October 1942

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24 October 1942

October 1942

> November

Far East

Battle of Santz Cruz takes place off Guadalcanal. USS Hornet is sunk

The United Nations is born

On October 24, 1945, the United Nations Charter, which was adopted and signed on June 26, 1945, is now effective and ready to be enforced.

The United Nations was born of perceived necessity, as a means of better arbitrating international conflict and negotiating peace than was provided for by the old League of Nations. The growing Second World War became the real impetus for the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union to begin formulating the original U.N. Declaration, signed by 26 nations in January 1942, as a formal act of opposition to Germany, Italy, and Japan, the Axis Powers.

The principles of the U.N. Charter were first formulated at the San Francisco Conference, which convened on April 25, 1945. The conference laid out a structure for a new international organization that was to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war…to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights…to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.”

Two other important objectives described in the Charter were respecting the principles of equal rights and self-determination of all peoples (originally directed at smaller nations now vulnerable to being swallowed up by the Communist behemoths emerging from the war) and international cooperation in solving economic, social, cultural, and humanitarian problems around the world.

Wheels West Day in Susanville History – October 24th, 1942

The Orpheum Theater and the Golden Rule Clothing Store circa 1920.

Golden Rule Store is Sold
San Francisco Firm is Purchaser
October 24th, 1942

Sale of the Golden Rule store, one of Susanville’s oldest and best known department stores, was announced this week by Mrs. B. F. Lyle, who has been closely connected with the store since 1919.

Negotiations leading to the sale were completed a week ago.

Established prior to 1919 by J. R. Lyle the Golden Rule store was purchased in 1919 by the late B.F. Lyle in partnership with G. E. Bedell and it was operated under this management until 1923.

Bedell sold his interests to W. Morrow at that time and the partnership of Morrow and Lyle continued until 1926 when Lyle purchased his partner’s share.

Mr. Lyle had operated the Golden Rule store for more than twenty years. He had been active in all civic affairs and was a director of the Three Flags Highway Association.

Following the death of her husband three years ago, Mrs. Lyle has led active management up until the time of the recent sale.

New owner of the establishment is the firm of Levison and Schneider of San Francisco who announce that the store will continue to operate with the same staff of employees. Mrs. Lyle will continue to make her home in Susanville.

General Paulus to Hitler: Let us surrender!

German Gen. Friedrich Paulus, commander in chief of the German 6th Army at Stalingrad, urgently requests permission from Adolf Hitler to surrender his position there, but Hitler refuses.

The Battle of Stalingrad began in the summer of 1942, as German forces assaulted the city, a major industrial center and a prized strategic coup. But despite repeated attempts and having pushed the Soviets almost to the Volga River in mid-October and encircling Stalingrad, the 6th Army, under Paulus, and part of the 4th Panzer Army could not break past the adamantine defense of the Soviet 62nd Army.

Diminishing resources, partisan guerilla attacks, and the cruelty of the Russian winter began to take their toll on the Germans. On November 19, the Soviets made their move, launching a counteroffensive that began with a massive artillery bombardment of the German position. The Soviets then assaulted the weakest link in the German force-inexperienced Romanian troops. Sixty-five thousand were ultimately taken prisoner by the Soviets.

The Soviets then made a bold strategic move, encircling the enemy, and launching pincer movements from north and south simultaneously, even as the Germans encircled Stalingrad. The Germans should have withdrawn, but Hitler wouldn’t allow it. He wanted his armies to hold out until they could be reinforced. By the time those fresh troops arrived in December, it was too late. The Soviet position was too strong, and the Germans were exhausted.

By January 24, the Soviets had overrun Paulus’ last airfield. His position was untenable and surrender was the only hope for survival. Hitler wouldn’t hear of it: “The 6th Army will hold its positions to the last man and the last round.” Paulus held out until January 31, when he finally surrendered. Of more than 280,000 men under Paulus’ command, half were already dead or dying, about 35,000 had been evacuated from the front, and the remaining 91,000 were hauled off to Soviet POW camps. Paulus eventually sold out to the Soviets altogether, joining the National Committee for Free Germany and urging German troops to surrender. Testifying at Nuremberg for the Soviets, he was released and spent the rest of his life in East Germany.

Article content

In late October and early November 1942, a Victory Loans campaign was underway. It was in the midst of the Second World War, and Canadians were being asked to buy Victory Bonds, interest-bearing investments much like Canada Savings Bonds.

Doing so was a contribution to the war effort, citizens were told, and necessary for the support of the servicemen fighting overseas — as well as an investment in their own freedom and that of their children. (Given how the war was going at that point, this was not merely hyperbole.)

History Through Our Eyes: Oct. 24, 1942, Victory Bonds Back to video

This photo from our archives, dated Oct. 24, 1942, shows pedestrians passing a sign whose middle panel reads “Don’t wait for the storm. Buy Victory Bonds.” It was covering Eaton’s shop windows in downtown Montreal.

In our Oct. 29 edition, we carried a report about a speech to the St. Lawrence Kiwanis Club by Maj.-Gen. L.R. LaFleche, Minister of National War Services. We quoted him as telling his audience that “we must come to the realization that the value of life and of liberty transcends the value of money, of goods, of property. We must also understand that money in very large amounts is essential to the successful prosecution of the war. Therefore, money becomes at once a shield and a sword, the first to protect us against attacks of the enemy, the second to destroy him.”

The target of the campaign was to sell at least $750 million worth of bonds. On Nov. 12, we reported that the goal had been surpassed, reaching $971 million, and that one in six Canadians had participated.

Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King called that a “splendid response.”

The Rattler (San Antonio, Tex.), Vol. 24, No. 1, Ed. 1 Friday, October 9, 1942

Semi-monthly student newspaper from St. Mary's University in San Antonio, Texas that includes campus news along with advertising.

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four pages : ill. page 20 x 15 in. Scanned from physical pages.

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Founded in 1852 by Marianist brothers and priests, this is the first institution of higher learning in San Antonio and oldest Catholic university in the Southwest. Its mission is forming people in faith and educating leaders for the common good through community integrated liberal arts and professional education and academic excellence.

John Basilone beats off Japanese on Guadalcanal

Some idea of conditions on Guadalcanal – a USMC image of one of their supply routes on the island. FIELD TELEPHONE, still in working order after being hit by a shell fragment when a Japanese “knee-mortar” shell landed six feet away. In the absence of reliable radio communications, wire communications were heavily relied upon. The EE–8 field telephone and the sound-powered telephone were used for long and short distances, respectively.

There were pivotal battles in several places this week. On the 23rd, just as the British attacked at El Alamein, the Germans launched another ‘final assault’ at Stalingrad. On the other side of the world at Guadalcanal the Japanese were determined to evict the the US Marines from their positions around Henderson Field.

After yet another tropical downpour Sergeant John Basilone was sitting in the mud of the defensive perimeter. He was given a whispered warning over the radio that a Japanese assault force had been spotted approaching his position. His fifteen man squad found themselves at the brunt of an attack by around three thousand Japanese infantry. They were trying to overcome the U.S. Marines position by sheer weight of numbers. They almost succeeded.

Sergeant John Basilone, awarded the Medal of Honor for his determined stand on Guadalcanal.

John Basilone was to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions that night:

For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry in action against enemy Japanese forces, above and beyond the call of duty, while serving with the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division in the Lunga Area, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, on 24 and 25 October 1942.

While the enemy was hammering at the Marines’ defensive positions, Sgt. Basilone, in charge of 2 sections of heavy machine guns, fought valiantly to check the savage and determined assault. In a fierce frontal attack with the Japanese blasting his guns with grenades and mortar fire, one of Sgt. Basilone’s sections, with its gun crews, was put out of action, leaving only 2 men able to carry on.

Moving an extra gun into position, he placed it in action, then, under continual fire, repaired another and personally manned it, gallantly holding his line until replacements arrived.

A little later, with ammunition critically low and the supply lines cut off, Sgt. Basilone, at great risk of his life and in the face of continued enemy attack, battled his way through hostile lines with urgently needed shells for his gunners, thereby contributing in large measure to the virtual annihilation of a Japanese regiment. His great personal valor and courageous initiative were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

John Basilone was to become a feted American hero when he returned to the USA for a publicity tour to promote war bonds. It was not a role he welcomed and he returned to the Marines to take part in the invasion of Iwo Jima in 1945. He was killed in the early hours of that action. Uniquely he was awarded the Navy Cross for his heroism at Iwo Jima in addition to the Medal of Honor won at Guadalcanal.

SURVIVORS OF THE SS PRESIDENT COOLIDGE. This transport struck an Allied mine in Pallikula Bay. Espiritu Santo Island, 26 October 1942. Of the 4,000 troops aboard, only two men were lost however, vitally needed equipment and stores went to the bottom with the ship. FLYING FORTRESS ON A SORTIE over Japanese installations on Gizo Island in October 1942. Smoke from bomb strikes can be seen in the background. This raid was part of a series of air attacks on the enemy during the fight for Guadalcanal. Most of the B–17’s came from Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides. (Boeing Flying Fortress heavy bomber B–17.)

U.S. 93rd Bombardment Group Flew Many Missions Throughout World War II

While the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses did their share in the air war against Germany, they were far from alone in their efforts. One-third of the U.S. Eighth Air Force’s total heavy-bomber strength was consolidated within the three combat bomb wings of the 2nd Air Division, the Consolidated B-24 Liberator division. Those three combat wings grew out of the 93rd Bombardment Group–the first B-24 group and the third U.S. Army Air Forces heavy-bomber group to see combat in the European Theater of Operations.

The 93rd Bomb Group was activated on March 1, 1942, under the command of Colonel Edward J. Timberlake at Barksdale Army Air Field in Louisiana. The initial cadre of personnel had been transferred from the 44th Bomb Group. Like the 44th, the fledgling 93rd was equipped with the four-engine B-24 Liberator heavy bomber. Built by Consolidated Aircraft, the B-24 featured the high-aspect ratio Davis wing, a new airfoil designed to reduce drag and increase lift, thus allowing heavier payloads, faster speeds and generally better performance than the older Boeing B-17. Although B-24 crews were often ribbed about the plane’s appearance by their peers flying B-17s, the Liberator was actually the more versatile airplane. Even though the slim wings made the airplane less stable than the B-17, the B-24 was a good 20 knots faster and could carry a larger bombload over a greater distance.

After initial training in the Liberator, the new 93rd moved to Fort Meyers, Fla., for advanced training prior to deployment overseas. While in Florida, group aircrews gained their first combat experience flying anti-submarine patrols over the Gulf of Mexico. The group was credited with destroying three U-boats, including one sunk by the crew commanded by Lieutenant John ‘The Jerk’ Jerstad, one of the group’s most popular pilots.

On September 5, 1942, the first flight of 93rd Liberators left for England from Grenier Field, N.H., but got only as far as Newfoundland, where they were forced to land because of bad weather. Four days later, 18 B-24s left Newfoundland and landed in Prestwick, Scotland, after flying through 8_ hours of thunderstorms, ice and strong winds. This flight by the 93rd was the first nonstop flight across the North Atlantic by American bombers. The trip was marred by the loss of one aircraft and crew at sea.

On October 8, one month after arriving in England, the 93rd flew its first mission–to the Lille-France Steelworks on the Franco-Belgian border. Colonel Timberlake and Major Addison Baker led in Teggie Ann, which was also the group’s lead ship on subsequent raids. Opposition en route and over the target was heavy one B-24 was shot down and a second was forced to land at another base in England. Lieutenant John Stewart’s Boomerang came home with more than 200 holes, prompting the ground crew chief, Master Sgt. Charles A. Chambers, to explode, ‘Lieutenant! What the hell have you done to my ship!’ The severely damaged Liberator was earmarked for salvage, but Chambers and Stewart managed to save it. Boomerang went on to become the most famous Liberator in the Eighth Air Force.

In late October, the 330th Squadron was temporarily detached from the group for anti-submarine patrol duties over the Bay of Biscay with the Royal Air Force Coastal Command. Although no submarines were attacked during the 330th’s service with that group, Major Ramsay Potts’ crew was jumped by five German Junkers Ju-88s during one mission. The Liberator’s gunners managed to shoot down two of the enemy fighter-bombers and damage a third–the other two broke off their attack.

On November 14, the 93rd was honored by a visit from King George VI–his first visit to an American bomber base. By that time, the group had flown nine missions, including attacks on submarine pens at Saint-Nazaire and two missions to Lorient. In early December, General Ira Eaker, commander of the Eighth Air Force, ordered Colonel Timberlake to take the group to North Africa for a 10-day mission. On December 5, the 328th, 330th and 409th bomb squadrons left foggy England for the hot desert sands of North Africa, while the 329th remained behind for a special mission. The 10-day mission turned out to be a 90-day deployment, with the group operating first from Tafaroui, then moving to Gambut.

While the living conditions in Libya were atrocious, at least the crews encountered less fighter opposition there than over occupied Europe. On the other hand, the flak over the targets was intense. Missions were flown in support of Allied troops in North Africa. Then, after the Afrika Korps was pushed out of Africa, the B-24s were sent against Italian targets–Naples, Palermo and Messina. After a final mission against Cretone on February 22, 1943, the 93rd returned to England, this time to Hardwick, where the ground crew had moved while the aircrews were operating in North Africa.

The group’s operations officer, K.K. Compton, now a lieutenant colonel, remained in Africa to take command of a new B-24 group, the 376th Bomb Group. Many other 93rd staff officers and squadron commanders were given command of new B-24 groups in the European Theater of Operations.

The 329th squadron had remained in England, working with an experimental program. When that assignment ended, the squadron flew missions with the newly arrived 44th Bomb Group. Although the 44th was older than the 93rd, the newer group had been first in combat. The 93rd had thus far escaped severe damage from the enemy, but the 44th began taking heavy casualties from the onset of operations. The newly arrived Liberator group attained a reputation as a hard-luck outfit, and took to calling themselves the ‘Flying Eight Balls.’

While the 93rd was in Africa, the group public relations officer, Corporal Carroll Stewart, began issuing news releases describing the outfit’s exploits, dubbing the 93rd ‘the Traveling Circus.’ A newspaperman in civilian life, Stewart published The Liberator, the first overseas troop newspaper of the war. News releases mailed directly to U.S. newspapers made the group famous and caused great consternation among the B-17 groups. Stewart was told by a two-star general, ‘From now on you’ll work for the whole Eighth Air Force, or else.’ Stewart, along with another Eighth Air Force public relations man, James Dugan, would later write the definitive account of the most famous B-24 mission of the war, the raid on the Rumanian oil fields at Ploesti.

From Hardwick, the 93rd resumed flying missions over Europe. Several were diversions, missions flown against less important targets to draw fighters away from B-17 formations. On March 18, 1943, the 93rd bombed Vegesack, Germany. Over the target, the German fighters bypassed the accompanying B-17s to concentrate their attacks on the B-24s. One 93rd airplane was lost, but the 44th had its usual bad luck and took the most casualties. It became a joke in B-17 circles that crews were glad to see the B-24s on a mission because they knew the fighters would go after the Liberators and leave the Flying Fortresses alone.

Since there were more B-17 than B-24 groups in England, tactics in the Eighth Air Force were built around the Flying Fortress. Because the B-24s were so much faster, the Liberator pilots were forced to fly at reduced airspeeds and do a lot of jockeying to maintain the precise formations called for by Eighth Air Force policy. Consequently, the B-24 was underutilized in the strategic bombing role in Europe.

The 93rd became part of the 2nd Combat Bomb Wing in early 1943. After a short stand-down to train for night operations, the 93rd resumed daylight bombing. Missions were flown to Rotterdam, Antwerp, Brest and Bordeaux in the spring of 1943, along with several diversions for B-17 groups. The Traveling Circus crews worked with crews from newly arrived B-24 groups, teaching them the rudiments of combat flying.

In early June, the group was taken off combat operations and ordered to begin practicing low-level flying. The prospect of a low-altitude mission was frightening to the men of the Traveling Circus. They had good reason to be fearful. The 93rd was to be part of the mission code-named Tidal Wave, the disastrous attack on the oil fields in Ploesti, Rumania.

On June 25, 1943, after two weeks of low-level training over England, the 93rd departed for Benghazi, Libya, along with the 44th and 389th. The three groups made up the 201st Provisional Combat Wing, commanded by Timberlake. Command of the Traveling Circus itself had passed to Addison Baker, now a lieutenant colonel. From Libya, the three Eighth Air Force Liberator groups began flying missions against targets in Italy, where Allied ground forces were making their way toward Rome. News of ground successes in Italy made the B-24 crews think that perhaps the low-level mission they had trained for would not come off, but they were wrong.

In mid-July, the three Eighth Air Force groups began practicing for a low-level mission against the Ploesti oil refineries, along with the 376th and 98th groups from the Africa-based Ninth Air Force. Tidal Wave called for the 93rd to be the second group in the low-altitude formation, which would be led by K.K. Compton’s 376th Bomb Group.

According to the plan drawn up by Major John Jerstad, now with the 201st Provisional Combat Wing, the 93rd would strike in two sections. Section A, led by Colonel Baker, was to hit target White Two, the Concordia Vega refinery Section B, led by Ramsay Potts, was to hit White Three, the Standard and Unirea Spearantza refining units. The Traveling Circus attacks were to be conducted simultaneously with the lead group’s attack on White One, the Romana Americana plant. Three other groups also would hit targets.

On August 1, 1943, a total of 177 Liberators took off from Libya for Ploesti󈞓 of them from the Traveling Circus. Extra fuel and a maximum load of bombs, ammunition and thermite sticks put each airplane well over the safe takeoff weight for a B-24. One B-24 crashed on takeoff when an engine failed after the wheels left the ground there were only two survivors from the 10-man crew.

All went well as the formation, now down to 167 heavily laden bombers, flew onward. Brigadier General Uzal Ent and Colonel K.K. Compton led the formation in Teggie Ann, formerly the 93rd’s lead ship. Teggie Ann reached the first initial point, but four similar-looking valleys lay between it and the second initial point. As they approached Targoviste, Rumania, the 2nd initial point, 20 miles away from the 3rd initial point where the formation was to turn into a bomb run heading of 127 degrees, Compton led his formation in a turn. Unknowingly, he had taken up a heading that would miss Ploesti altogether–his group was headed for Bucharest.

Colonel Baker, with Major Jerstad in the co-pilot’s seat, saw Compton make the turn and recognized the mistake, as did others in the 167-plane formation. Several pilots broke radio silence in an attempt to warn Compton of his error. For a time, Baker followed the 376th, but halfway to Bucharest, seeing the smoke of the Ploesti refineries to his left, the 93rd commander made his decision. He turned Hell’s Wench 90 degrees to the left, away from the lead group, and headed for Ploesti–with all 38 Traveling Circus planes strung out behind.

Because of Compton’s error, the Traveling Circus targets were on the other side of town, so Baker took the 22 planes of his section toward an unfamiliar target. As they approached the refineries, the 93rd lead section encountered heavy flak. Pilots ordered the gunners to engage the flak towers while they hugged the ground to spoil the anti-aircraft gunners’ aim. Airplane after airplane was hit by the heavy fire and went down in flames. Hell’s Wench struck a balloon cable, then received a direct hit from an 88mm anti-aircraft gun. Other crews saw their leader take three more hits and burst into flames.

Even though there were flat fields in which he could have landed, Baker elected to continue leading his group toward the target he had selected. He and Jerstad jettisoned their bombs so that the mortally wounded B-24 would stay airborne just a few moments longer. Over the refineries, the ill-fated Liberator climbed to 300 feet so the crew could bail out, then fell off on one wing and crashed in a field. There were no survivors from Hell’s Wench. Baker and Jerstad were posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions over Ploesti.

As the bombs detonated on Ploesti’s refineries, gasoline tanks caught fire and began exploding, throwing debris high into the air, into the paths of approaching Liberators. Now the B-24 crews had a new threat to contend with, as if the deadly anti-aircraft fire and enemy fighters were not enough.

Ramsay Potts’ Section B bombed Astro Romania, the largest oil producer in Europe, a target originally assigned to the 98th. As the remnants of the 93rd’s two sections drew away from the target, they were attacked by fighters. Gunners aboard the Liberators managed to force them to break off the attack. As the German pilots regrouped, they caught a couple of B-24s that were flying at about 300 feet instead of hugging the ground, where the fighters could not safely attack. Both Liberators were shot down.

When the Tidal Wave survivors got back to their bases in Libya, 11 of the 93rd Liberators were missing–almost one-third of those dispatched from the group had failed to return. Lieutenant Colonel George S. Brown, who had been in the formation over Ploesti with Baker, was assigned as interim commander until Colonel Leland G. Fiegel could arrive from the United States to take command of the group. Colonel Brown later became chief of staff of the Air Force. Colonel Fiegel had been with the 93rd in the United States and remained in command of the Traveling Circus until after D-Day.

With the memories of Ploesti still fresh in their minds, the five B-24 groups in Libya were sent on another mission against a heavily defended target, the Messerschmitt factories at Weiner-Neustadt, Austria. Colonel Timberlake led 101 B-24s on one of the longest missions of the war. They damaged two of four assembly buildings so effectively that Me-109 fighter production at the plant was cut by more than one-third. Other missions were flown in support of the Allied advance in Sicily. Finally, the three Eighth Air Force B-24 groups were allowed to return to England. The 93rd reached its Hardwick base on August 27.

After a few days of rest for the pilots and repair for the planes, the Traveling Circus resumed operations on September 1. On September 6, the group flew a diversion for B-17s en route to Stuttgart. On the 15th, they were sent to Chartres, where the 93rd was the only group to bomb the primary target. The next day, the group was alerted for another deployment to Africa, this time to Tunis. The Traveling Circus was living up to its name.

Arriving at Tunis on September 18, the Traveling Circus began operations in support of the Fifth Army in Italy, as well as strategic bombing missions. Missions were flown against the Italian cities of Leghorn, Pisa and Lucca. On October 1, the Traveling Circus went back to Weiner-Neustadt on a mission again led by Timberlake. It was the longest B-24 mission of the war to that point. Unlike the earlier Weiner-Neustadt mission, when enemy resistance had been comparatively light, the Liberators were greeted by strong flak and a large force of fighters. Fourteen B-24s were lost on the mission, although none were from the 93rd. The next day the group returned to England.

For the remainder of the war, the 93rd was involved in Eighth Air Force operations flying out of England. The 93rd was now the lead group of the 20th Combat Bomb Wing, under the command of Ted Timberlake, who was now a brigadier general. The 20th Wing was one of three combat wings of B-24s that made up the Second Air Division, the only B-24 division of the Eighth Air Force.

On October 8, 1943, the 93rd went to Vegesack again. That was followed by a mission to Danzig on October 9 and a diversion for the famous B-17 mission against the ball bearing factories at Schweinfurt on October 14. Several 93rd aircraft were lost over Vegesack. On December 16, the 93rd went to Bremen, the 50th mission for Boomerang, the Liberator that had almost been condemned to the scrap pile after the group’s first mission. Boomerang flew 53 total missions, including Ploesti, and her gunners were credited with downing one Italian and 11 German fighters before she was sent to the United States on a war bond tour in the spring of 1944.

In late February 1944, after several weeks of bad weather, the Eighth Air Force launched an all-out assault on the German aircraft factories during what came to be known as the ‘Big Week.’ The 93rd went to Gotha on the 20th, then to Achmer on the 21st. After a day of bad weather, the Traveling Circus went to Gotha again on the 24th, followed by Furth on the 25th. The combined efforts of the Eighth Air Force B-17 and B-24 groups managed to severely cripple the German aircraft industry, cutting actual production to less than half of that planned for March.

After Big Week, the Eighth Air Force turned its attention toward the most important target in Germany: Berlin. A huge strike launched on March 3 was canceled after the bombers were airborne, but one B-17 group failed to get the word and continued on to become the first American bombers to hit the German capital, doing little damage but creating great material for the press. Three days later, a 730-plane force of B-17s and B-24s went to Berlin, escorted by 796 fighters. Sixty-nine bombers (including 16 B-24s) did not come back from the Eighth’s most costly mission of the war. On March 8, Eighth Air Force bombers went back to Berlin a second time and met less opposition.

Throughout April, the 93rd flew deep penetration missions against targets in Germany, plus strikes at V-2 rocket bases in the Pas de Calais. In May, the group began operating in support of the upcoming invasion of occupied Europe, bombing targets in France and Belgium. On June 6, 1944, the Traveling Circus joined other Eighth Air Force bombers in pounding the beaches of Normandy in advance of the invasion.

After the invasion, some B-24 crews, including some from the 93rd, were put to work flying ‘trucking’ missions–the aerial resupply of ground forces. Dropmasters from the Ninth Air Force Troop Carrier Command replaced waist gunners on missions in which bundles of supplies rigged for parachute drop replaced the bombs normally carried. Airdrop missions called for low-altitude flying in the face of intense ground fire, bringing back memories of Ploesti for some 93rd personnel. Some of the most important trucking missions were flown in support of General George Patton’s Third Army during its breakout from Avranches and the subsequent dash across France.

The 93rd Bombardment Group continued performing its primary mission of bombing enemy targets right up to the end of the war. On April 25, 1945, the Traveling Circus flew its last mission of the war, the 391st time that 93rd crews had faced the enemy. The 93rd’s 391 missions were the most flown by any Eighth Air Force heavy-bomber group, making the Traveling Circus the Eighth’s most productive bomber group. The 93rd is also recognized as the most traveled group in the Eighth. Boomerang was the first B-24 to complete 50 missions. During the group’s combat tour, the 93rd earned two Presidential Unit Citations. After the end of the war in Europe, the 93rd returned to the United States to be re-equipped with Boeing B-29 Superfortresses. Before the Traveling Circus could be redeployed to the Pacific, World War II came to an end.

This article was written by Sam McGowan and originally appeared in the May 1997 issue of World War II magazine. For more great articles subscribe to World War II magazine today!

History and development

Despite the problems encountered by the League of Nations in arbitrating conflict and ensuring international peace and security prior to World War II, the major Allied powers agreed during the war to establish a new global organization to help manage international affairs. This agreement was first articulated when U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill signed the Atlantic Charter in August 1941. The name United Nations was originally used to denote the countries allied against Germany, Italy, and Japan. On January 1, 1942, 26 countries signed the Declaration by United Nations, which set forth the war aims of the Allied powers.

The United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union took the lead in designing the new organization and determining its decision-making structure and functions. Initially, the “Big Three” states and their respective leaders (Roosevelt, Churchill, and Soviet premier Joseph Stalin) were hindered by disagreements on issues that foreshadowed the Cold War. The Soviet Union demanded individual membership and voting rights for its constituent republics, and Britain wanted assurances that its colonies would not be placed under UN control. There also was disagreement over the voting system to be adopted in the Security Council, an issue that became famous as the “veto problem.”

The first major step toward the formation of the United Nations was taken August 21–October 7, 1944, at the Dumbarton Oaks Conference, a meeting of the diplomatic experts of the Big Three powers plus China (a group often designated the “Big Four”) held at Dumbarton Oaks, an estate in Washington, D.C. Although the four countries agreed on the general purpose, structure, and function of a new world organization, the conference ended amid continuing disagreement over membership and voting. At the Yalta Conference, a meeting of the Big Three in a Crimean resort city in February 1945, Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin laid the basis for charter provisions delimiting the authority of the Security Council. Moreover, they reached a tentative accord on the number of Soviet republics to be granted independent memberships in the UN. Finally, the three leaders agreed that the new organization would include a trusteeship system to succeed the League of Nations mandate system.

The Dumbarton Oaks proposals, with modifications from the Yalta Conference, formed the basis of negotiations at the United Nations Conference on International Organization (UNCIO), which convened in San Francisco on April 25, 1945, and produced the final Charter of the United Nations. The San Francisco conference was attended by representatives of 50 countries from all geographic areas of the world: 9 from Europe, 21 from the Americas, 7 from the Middle East, 2 from East Asia, and 3 from Africa, as well as 1 each from the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and the Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic (in addition to the Soviet Union itself) and 5 from British Commonwealth countries. Poland, which was not present at the conference, was permitted to become an original member of the UN. Security Council veto power (among the permanent members) was affirmed, though any member of the General Assembly was able to raise issues for discussion. Other political issues resolved by compromise were the role of the organization in the promotion of economic and social welfare the status of colonial areas and the distribution of trusteeships the status of regional and defense arrangements and Great Power dominance versus the equality of states. The UN Charter was unanimously adopted and signed on June 26 and promulgated on October 24, 1945.

332nd Fighter Group

A P-51 Mustang (10) of the 332nd Fighter Group. Handwritten caption on reverse: 'Genuine WWII colour photo, Mustang Fossia (sp. Foggia) Italy.' Printed caption with image: 'A/C of negro 33nd (332nd) FG.' P-51D-15-NA #44-15648 "Lollipoop II" Code: #10

1LT Washington DuBois Ross Fighter Pilot 332nd Fighter Group - 15th AF

Captain Lee Rayford 332nd FG - 100th FS - 15th AF

Major George S. "Spanky" Roberts Commander - 99th Fighter Squadron 325th Fighter Group P-51C-10-NT #44-11088

Woodrow Crockett (facing camera, center) & Edward Gleed (right) Fighter pilots with the 332nd FG - March 1945

1LT Charles P. Bailey, Sr. (right) with his crew chief and his P-51C "My Buddy" named in honor of his father

1LT Herbert Eugene Carter at the time of his commissioning. 332nd FG - 99th FS - 15th AF

Captain Wendell O. Pruitt (Left) with a member of his ground crew P-51C "Alice-Jo" 332nd FG - 302nd FS - 15th AF

P-51C-10-NT #42-103762 332nd FG - 100th FS - 15th AF Andrew D. Turner - Pilot

P-51C-10-NT #42-103956 Pilot: Clarence "Lucky" Lester

Constituted as 332d Fighter Group on 4 Jul 1942. Activated on 13 Oct 1942. Trained with P-39 and P-40 aircraft. Moved to Italy, arriving early in Feb 1944. Began operations with Twelfth AF on 5 Feb. Used P-39’s to escort convoys, protect harbours, and fly armed reconnaissance missions. Converted to P-47’s during Apr-May and changed to P-51’s in Jun.

Operated with Fifteenth AF from May 1944 to Apr 1945, being engaged primarily in protecting bombers that struck such objectives as oil refineries, factories, airfields, and marshalling yards in Italy, France, Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Rumania, Bulgaria, and Greece. Also made strafing attacks on airdromes, railroads, highways, bridges, river traffic, troop concentrations, radar facilities, power stations, and other targets. Received a DUC for a mission on 24 Mar 1945 when the group escorted B-17’s during a raid on a tank factory at Berlin, fought the interceptors that attacked the formation, and strafed transportation facilities while flying back to the base in Italy.

Watch the video: Stalingrad: The Battle for the Martenovskii Shop


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