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359th Campbell Crew
Claude W. Campbell, Pilot
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CLAUDE W. CAMPBELL CREW - 359th BS
(crew assigned 359BS: 08 Apr 1943 - photo: 17 July 1943)

(Back L-R) Capt Claude W. Campbell (P), 1Lt Arthur W. Miller (CP),
1Lt George M. Ririe, Jr. (N), 1Lt Winston E. Boutelle (B)

(Front L-R) T/Sgt Howard E. Hernan (E), T/Sgt Benton F. Wilson (LWG),
T/Sgt George D. Quick (TG), T/Sgt Harold A. Kraft (R)(POW) T/Sgt Kurt W. Bachert (RWG)

(Ranks and grades at time of last combat mission)

Thirty Dispatched (27 credited) missions flown by Capt Claude W. Campbell:
First 25 mission combat tour - 30 (16 April 1943), 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 38, 39, 41(A), 42, 43, 43A, 44, 45(A), 47, 48, 49, 50, 51(A), 54, 56, 57, 60, 63(SLC), 67, 69(SLC), 70(SLC), 80(SLC), 83(LC) (26 Nov 1943). Additional mission flown - 99 (14 Nov 1944). For Mission dates, targets and Mission Reports, see Combat Missions.
(LC) Flown as Group Lead Crew Pilot -- (SLC) Flown as Squadron Lead Crew Pilot
(A) Three Non credited aborted combat mission:
   #41, 11 June 43 - (1:13 flight hours) - Oil pressure out
   #45, 26 June 43 - (2:16 flight hours) - Oxygen system out
   #51, 17 July 43 - (2:12 fight hours) - Gunner's heated flying suit failed - Turned back 30 miles from Dutch coast.

Ten B-17Fs flown by Capt Claude W. Campbell on his 30 dispatched combat missions:

  • 42-3002 (P) The Old Squaw (359BS) BN-Z - 8 missions (32, 34, 35, 38, 41(A), 42, 43A, 54)
  • 41-29846 (No name) (359BS) BN-P - 5 missions (56, 57, 60, 63, 70)
  • 42-3029 (P) Wallaroo (359BS) BN-N - 4 missions (31, 39, 44, 45(A) )
  • 42-5257 (P) Miss Bea Haven (359BS) BN-S - 3 missions (49, 50, 51(A) )
  • 41-24561 (P) The Duchess aka Sure Stuff (359BS) BN-T - 2 missions (33, 43)
  • 41-24565 (P) Idaho Potato Peeler (359BS) BN-P - 2 missions (47, 48)
  • 41-24605 (P) Knockout Dropper (359BS) BN-R - 2 missions (67, 69)
  • 41-24635 (P) The '8' Ball Mk II (359BS) BN-O - 2 Missions (80, 83)
  • 42-5482 (P) Cat-O-Nine Tails (359BS) BN-W - 1 mission (30)
  • 42-41483 (P) B-17G Bonnie-B (359BS) BN-B - 1 mission (99)
    (P) - See the Nose Art photos
Crew Notes:
  • Capt Claude W. Campbell (P) - All 30 dispatched missions flown as first Pilot. Became a Squadron and Group Lead Crew Pilot. Combat tour completed on 26 Nov 1943 (Mission 83) and then volunteered for an additional combat mission #99 on 14 Nov 1943. Promoted to Captain in recognition of his Lead Crew Pilot status.

  • 1Lt Arthur W. Miller (CP) - Flew on 27 dispatched (24 credited) missions with 1Lt Campbell. (All Campbell missions except 69, 89 & 90) and two missions with other Pilots (40, 82). Completed combat tour on 16 November 1943 (Mission 82).

  • 1Lt George M. Ririe, Jr. (N) - Flew on 27 dispatched (24 credited) missions with 1Lt Campbell (All Campbell missions except 80, 83 and 99) and 1 Lead Crew Navigator mission with Major Calhoun and B/Gen Travis (76). Completed combat tour on 9 Oct 1943 (Mission 76) .

  • 1Lt Winston E. Boutelle (B) - Flew on 27 dispatched (24 credited) missions with 1Lt Campbell (All Campbell missions except 80, 83, 99) and 2 missions with another Pilot (76, 78). Completed combat tour on 14 October 1943 (Mission 78).

  • T/Sgt Howard E. Hernan (E), T/Sgt Benton F. Wilson (LWG) and T/Sgt Kurt W. Bachert (RWG) - Flew on 27 dispatched (24 credited) missions with 1Lt Campbell (All Campbell missions except 80, 83, 99) and two missions with other Pilots (40, 76). Completed combat tours on 9 Oct 1943 (Mission 76).

  • T/Sgt Harold A. Kraft (R)(POW) - Flew on 24 dispatched (21 credited) missions with 1Lt Campbell (All Campbell missions except 30, 31, 32, 50, 83, 99) - Mission 80 flown as LWG, and 3 missions with other Pilots (40, 76, 81). Became a POW on mission 81 , 5 Nov 1943, to Gelsenkirchen, Germany, in B-17F 41-24565 Idaho Potato Peeler (359BS) BN-P, 2Lt Ambrose G. Grant (P). Was hit by Flak and fell out of the formation while on the Group bomb run and followed 400 yards below and behind the formation on the return trip. It was last seen under German fighter attack about 40 miles from the enemy coast at an altitude of about 12,000 feet. One crewmen was KIA and nine became POWs. The B17 crashed near Roosendaal at the small village of Wouw, Netherlands. T/Sgt Kraft was flying as a substitute Radio Operator with the 2Lt Grant crew on his 23rd credited mission (MACR 1157).

  • T/Sgt George D. Quick (TG/WG) - Flew on 27 dispatched (24 credited) missions with 1Lt Campbell (All Campbell missions except 80 and 99). Mission 83 flown as Left Waist Gunner. Three credited missions flown with other Pilots: As RWG (73); As Togglier (77, 81). Completed combat Tour on 26 Nov 1943 (Mission 83).

  • Ball Turret Gunners - Not in crew photo - Missions flown with the 1Lt Campbell crew.: S/Sgt Peter P. Catozza (30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 38, 41(A), 42) - transfered to the 305th BG and KIA 23 July 1943 - buried at Cambridge American Cemetey; Sgt Fred J. Dioquardo (43, 43A, 44, 45(A)) - Completed combat tour on 4 Oct 1943 (Mission 74); Sgt Patrick N. McCauley (47, 48, 49, 50, 51(A), 54, 56, 57, 60, 63, 67, 69, 70, 80, 83) - Flew on 9 additional combat missions with other Pilots (85, 90, 91, 96, 109, 110, 111, 113, 118) and completed his combat tour on 6 March 1944; Other substitute BTG (99)
S/Sgt Howard E. Hernan (E) comments about German Fighter claims by 8th AF Gunners:
On mission #31, 17 April 1943, to Bremen, Germany, VIII Air Force gunners claimed a total of 63 enemy fighters destroyed, 15 probably destroyed and 17 damaged by the four Bomb Groups (91st, 303rd, 305 and 306th) and their 107 B-17s that bombed the target. 303rd BG(H) claims were 11-3-1. It was later determined that only 10 German fighters were lost. The four bomb groups lost 16 B-17s. On the average air gunner claims were six or seven times greater than the true destroyed figures.

S/Sgt Howard E. Hernan remarked after the war: "I know that gunners made many claims and probably a lot of us got credit for planes that were not actually shot down. I think this was true on both sides. In order to claim a fighter, you had to have two other witnesses. Heaven knows how many men were shooting at the same plane. Intelligence would ask for the exact location and it would sometimes take up to 45 minutes in interrogation if you were claiming an aircraft. By this time you were absolutely worn out, hungry, and trying to get warm, and it just wasn't worth the effort. After all, we weren't there to shoot down fighters. Our primary concern was the bombing of targets. Eventually, intelligence told us we were claiming too many fighters. From the on I never claimed another fighters, even if I knew I'd got it."

[photo from the 303rdBGA Archives]
[Researched by Harry D. Gobrecht, 303rdBGA Historian Emeritus]