|Birth: ||Jun. 30, 1914|
|Death: ||Sep. 11, 1944, Germany|
WW2 8th Air Force
Tail Turret S/Sgt. Robert K. Place KIA
Hometown: Newport, Indiana
Squadron: 578th BS 392th Bomb Group
Awards: Air Medal, Purple Heart
Pilot 1st/Lt. Charles R. Rudd KIA
Target: Hannover Germany
MISSING AIRCREW REPORT: #08850
Date Lost: 11-Sep-44
Aircraft Model B-24
Aircraft Letter: "N-Bar"
Aircraft Name: "FORD'S FOLLY" 44th Mission
Location: northwest of the village of Winnen
Cause:German fighters(Me-109s) Crew of 10 8KIA 2POW
An ordnance manufacturing depot was attacked this day with excellent results achieved despite heavy aircraft and crew losses. Enemy fighters and flak would take a high toll.
Group aircraft began take-offs at 0730 and just after crossing the Rhine River the first heavy enemy opposition was encountered with 20-30 ME-109s attacking for approximately five minutes. Five ships were forced to abort over target because of fighter-inflicted damage which caused many mechanical difficulties; 3 planes were shot down near Koblenz by the fierce fighter attacks. In all, 4 ships and 3 aircrews were lost this day with many others killed or wounded.
MISSION LOSS CIRCUMSTANCES: Returning crew Pilot, Lt. Martin, 576th, gave this eye-witness account: "A/C hit by enemy A/C after which fire broke out in #3 engine; following which the whole plane burst into flames and peeled over, spun in and crashed; no chutes seen". German Report #KU967-A stated this aircraft had crashed at the village of Allendorf at 1200 hours, 11 September, and identified all of the casualties positively, and also noted the capture of (2) prisoners, Sgt Dobson and Sgt Clapp at the same time. A supplementary report to the above from airbase Giessen noted the transfer of Sgt. Clapp to Dulag Luft interrogation center, but no mention was made of Sgt. Dobson (who had been wounded according to a Sgt Ralston of the Jones' crew - MACR #8849).
INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS OF CREWMEN FATES: In a memorandum letter, dated 5 April 1946, excerpts of Sgt. Dobson's report on the loss of his crew and aircraft, "The following summary of the circumstances surrounding the loss of the aircraft and statements concerning the fate of the subject crew members written by Sergeant Dobson, a liberated prisoner of war: ‘The action took place on 11 September 1944 in the vicinity of Koblenz, Germany and the target to be bombed was Hannover, Germany. Going to the target we were attacked by enemy fighters. Number three (3) engine was hit and set afire; fire broke out in the bomb bay and we lost the formation as a result of these damages. The airplane went into a shallow dive and the crew prepared to bail out. Before this could be accomplished, however, the airplane started to spin and crashed into the earth near the town or village of Bad Homburg, Germany. This town is approximately (30) miles south of the city of Giessen (Note: also, about (8) miles due north of Frankfurt). Eight (8) crew members went down with the airplane:..1St Lt. Rudd, Pilot, was last seen leaving the cockpit with Pilot and standing on the flight deck buckling chute harness and was not wounded; 2nd Lt. Benson, Co-Pilot was last seen leaving cockpit with pilot and standing on flight deck with pilot before airplane went into spin and was not wounded; 2nd Lt. Dawson, Navigator, was in nose of airplane and was not seen or heard from during action; 2nd Lt Spencer, Bombardier, was in nose of ship and was not seen but was heard from only to say, "Lt. Rudd, you'd better salvo the bombs" ; Tech Sergeant Maynard, Engineer, was in upper turret. Early in action (he) was hit in head by exploding 20MM (shells) and was unconscious when plane started to spin. Was last seen laying on flight deck with pilot and co-pilot standing above him; S/Sgt. Hoganson, Ass't Engineer, was right Waist Gunner and accounted for at least three (3) enemy fighter planes. Two of these Me-I09s were seen to explode and one was seen by myself and T/Sgt. Clapp to dive by the right wing completely enveloped in flames after it was hit by S/Sgt. Hoganson's machine-gun fire. The third time he was shot and was unable to return (fire). He was last seen by myself laying on the floor bleeding about the face and head. He made the supreme sacrifice willingly and with utter disregard for his own safety; S/Sgt. Modlin, Nose Gunner, was in (the) nose turret and was not heard from during action (and) was not seen. S/Sgt. Place, Tail Gunner,..(his) tail turret motor caught afire (10) minutes before the fighter attack began. He stayed in the useless turret calling out enemy planes in a clear calm voice and tracked the planes manually with his turret - materially aiding other gunners ward off enemy planes. He was last seen laying on the floor bleeding about the head and face..and since he could not stand, he evidently was wounded in the legs also". This concluded the memorandum's account of Sgt. Dobson's recollection, but it continued with a statement made by the other survivor, Sgt. Clapp, which had been given to that AGO office on 3 August 1945, and quoted: ".. T/Sgt. Maynard had half his head blown away when a shell hit his turret and exploded...(he) died from his wounds before we went into a spin Lt. Rudd then gave the order to bail out, however, no one heard it except Lt. Benson and myself as the interphone had become inoperative...Lt. Rudd and Lt. Benson left the controls immediately after Lt. Rudd spoke and the plane first stood on its end and then fell away into a spin. I could see Lt. Rudd and Lt. Benson on the flight deck...they seemed unable to move (and) sort of rooted to the floor and both were standing...the Germans at Allendorf said no one else got out. After six days at interrogation I was told that no one else got out and that the remains of my crew had been buried...I know Lt Rudd, Lt Benson and T/Sgt. Maynard didn't get out...I could see all three as I left..(and) what, (Sgt.) Dobson has told me I don't believe took place (TG) could move, wounded too bad....the rest never got the orders to bail out and the plane was in a spin before they realized what was up". (End of quotes from this AGO memorandum of 5 April 1946).
BURIAL RECORDS: After the war, the US Army Graves Registration Command thoroughly investigated this crash. They learned that 1/Lt Rudd's burning Liberator, coming from the direction of Giessen, crashed at the edge of the woods 400 meters northwest of the village of Winnen, Germany. It was completely destroyed. The bodies of two crew members were found about 20 meters from the wreckage and an unknown number of remains were found in the wreckage itself. All were buried by a German army team in the cemetery at Winnen. Additionally, one flier bailed out over Allendorf and another in the community of Treis; both were captured by the Gendarmerie and taken to Giessen. 1/Lt Rudd, 2/Lt Benson, and 2/Lt Spencer are interred in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, Section 84 Site 147. S/Sgt Place is now buried in the United States.
The "FORD'S FOLLY" crew
1st/Lt. Charles R. Rudd Pilot KIA
1st/Lt. Charles R. Rudd Pilot KIA
2nd/Lt. Robert J. Benson Co Pilot KIA
2nd/Lt. Robert J. Benson Co Pilot KIA
2nd/Lt. Jennings B. Dawson Navigator KIA
2nd/Lt. William A. Spencer Bombardier KIA
T/Sgt. Claiborne R. Maynard Engineer KIA
T/Sgt. Roger E. Clapp Radio Op. POW
S/Sgt. Richard E. Modlin Gunner KIA
S/Sgt. Harvey G. Hoganson Gunner KIA
S/Sgt. Odell F. Dobson Gunner KIA
S/Sgt. Robert K. Place Gunner KIA
Maintained by: John Dowdy
Originally Created by: Carolyn Schwab
Record added: Jul 16, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 93725369