Recreating an Air Battle Between American Bombers and German Fighters from American Archival Records
Individual Flight Recordsfrom St. Louis
Sometimes, for families who don't have a mission list, we start researching WWII pilots, navigators and bombardiers by getting their individual flight records from the National Archives in St. Louis. This is Ron's IFR from December, 1944. He was shot down on December 31, 1944 on a mission over Hamburg, Germany.
Bomber Records - Tactical Reportfrom College Park
Then we start pulling the Bomber Records from College Park. This record is a Tactical Report from the 13th Combat Bomb Wing, showing which wings and which groups flew together on the December 31, 1944 mission to Hamburg, Germany. You'll see that Ron's Bomb Group - the 390th - flew with the (Bloody) 100th Bomb Group and the 95th Bomb Group.
Bomber Records - Tactical Report - Bombers Lostfrom College Park
Also detailed in the Tactical Report from the 13th Combat Bomb Wing is a list of aircraft lost. On this mission, the Bloody 100th Bomb Group faced terrible losses. Ten lost B-17's are listed on this page, just from the one group - an unusual occurrence so late in the war.
Bomber Records - Tactical Report - Bombers Lost - Ron Nashfrom College Park
The next page shows two more Bloody 100th Bomb Group B-17 losses for December 31, 1944 for a total of twelve. Also listed is Ron Nash's B-17. Here we pick up his plane number (A/C 632), his squadron (568), and the letter designation of his plane, ``T``.
Command Pilot Narrativefrom College Park
Here is our first description of how Ron Nash and his crew were shot down. ``A/C 632 (Nash) was hit by flak in the target area, just after bombs away at 1154. A/C slid to the left and wingman went with him for a short distance. Wingman then returned to formation. Last seen at 55 22N 09 31E at 1200 hours., by wingman (A/C 484), under attack by ME262 (Note: the ME262 was a German fighter jet).``
Navigation Narrativefrom College Park
This narrative by 2nd Lt. Burmaster, Lead Navigator, provides a little insight into the exact moment Ron Nash's B-17 was hit: ``Bombs went away at 1152, heading 110 true, drift 24 right, and altitude was 26800'. Flak on the run was moderate and extremely accurate. Navigation in the wing lead was very bad. Due to high wind and continuous ``S``ing to the south we might have picked up extra flak.``