Elsewhere in the blog I’ve shared some words describing the nature of AAF service in the Eighth Air Force based in England. The video clips that follow are a program broadcast by NBC in 1983. It is one of the finest descriptions of the aerial war over Europe I’ve seen.
One of the best features is the interspersing of veterans’ first person recollections throughout the program. In part 4, Bob Shoens, a pilot in the 100th Bomb Group tells of being one of the few planes in his Group to make it back home from a 6 March 1944 mission to Berlin. Several books were written about this particular mission and a blurb from one of the follows the video links at the end of this piece.
My father and his crew was scheduled for this mission but missed it due to having made a forced landing at an English coastal base on the 4th.
Part 1 of 4
Part 2 of 4
Part 3 of 4
Part 4 of 4
"Lets go Lieutenant; your crew is scheduled to fly." That is how pilot Robert Shoens was awaken on a cold March morning in 1944. Little did he know that by the days end, many of the bunks in his hut would be empty and this mission would forever be synonymous with his Crew. The date was March 6, 1944, and the Eighth Air Force would launch a full scale assault on the German capital of Berlin. "High Noon over Haseluenne" is a microcosm look at one bomb group that flew the mission and the catastrophic results that ensued. The book deals with the 100th Bomb Group, "The Bloody Hundredth" and the mission that solidified that moniker. The concentrated attacks by the Luftwaffe would destroy 69 American Bombers that day, the single highest loss for any mission by the 8th Air Force and 15 of those losses would come from the 100th Bomb Group. Lt Robert Shoens is our guide. His story, and that of many other 100th BG crewmen, puts you in the melee that followed the head-on attacks by over 100 German Me109s & FW190s. We take you inside the men and machines that had to brave one of the deadliest air battles of World War II and let them tell the story. "High Noon over Haseluenne" is filled with firsthand accounts, personal diaries, letters home, news clippings and illustrated with over 200 photos. This is real history "as it happened" on the March 3-8, 1944 missions to Berlin by the 100th Bomb Group. The book is capped off by a one hundred page historical appendices compiled by noted 8th AF researcher Paul M. Andrews ("Project Bits and Pieces").