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JOHN SCOTT CREW - 360th BS
(crew assigned 360BS: 06 Feb 1945)
(Back L-R) T/Sgt Leroy M. Hart (E), T/Sgt John M. Gentry (R),
S/Sgt Robert W. Morris (WG), Sgt Donald M. Wright (BTG), Sgt John C. Woolpert (TG)
2Lt John Scott (P),
2Lt Bernard M. Weinandt (CP),
Twenty-eight credited combat missions flown bt 2Lt John Scott:
Ten B-17Gs flown by 2Lt John Scott on his 28 credited combat missions:
Mission 356: LtCmdr Richard King (U.S. Navy), Mission 332; Sgt John T. Brody (427BS-VI); Mission 359: S/Sgt Richard D. Elliott (360BS- RCM); Mission 360: Sgt Jack M. Thomas (360BS-RCM)
Messerschmitt Me-262 "Schwalbe"/"Sturmvogel" Jet Fighter/Bomber
Mission #341, 20 March 1945, to Hamburg, Germany Oil Refinery that made fuel for the new German Jet Fighters, in B-17G #43-38870 (No name) (360BS) BN-B.
The B-17 was hit by anti-aircraft fire which knocked out one of the engines. The 2Lt Scott crew lost some altitude but carried on. Over Hamburg they lost another engine when it was hit by a bomb from another B-17 that was flying above. Armament for the 2Lt Scott crew's B-17 was Fragmentation bomb clusters. When the attack started and bombs were released the clusters broke open as they left the bomb bay. Some of the other B-17s were hit by the bomb clusters.
The 303rd formation experienced six attacks by 15-20 German ME-262 jet fighters. The attacks started about three minutes after bombing the target and continued for about 30 minutes until the formation reached the coast. The jet fighters pressed their attacks as close as fifty feet sometimes zooming through the formation. Most attacks were on the tail level, although a few hit on the nose and from the sides. 303rd BG)H) Gunners claimed five jet fighters destroyed, four probables and three damaged. Good fighter support from 72 P-51s prevented the ME-262s from making prolonged and coordinated attacks. The 303rd suffered greatly from the attacks - Three B-17 with heavy battle damage and seventeen with minor damage. There were no casualties among the returning crewmen. The ME-262s successfully downed two 303rd B-17 with 8 crewmen KIA and 11 POWs.
Sgt John C. Woolpert (TG) on the 2Lt Scott crew, shot down one of the ME-262 but only after the Jet had shot out the third engine. The German Pilot's name was Fritz Gehlker. During this attack three ME-262s came in level from 4 o'clock and slid around to 6 o'clock. Sgt Woolpert started firing at the center one at 1,000 yards out. The other two Me-262s pulled off. The ME-262 opened fire at about 600 yards and Sgt Woolpert kept on firing until the ME-262 burst into flames at about 500 yards. It started down in flames and disintegrated. The ME-262s downed were among the first downed by 8th AF bomber crewmen.
In order to get home over the North Sea, 2Lt Scott (P) ordered the crew to dump all-nonessential items to lengthen their load. 2Lt Weinandt (CP) came on the interphone and asked if he had to throw out the apple he had gotten at the mess hall that morning. That was one of the most calming statements anyone could have made. It broke the tension among all crewmen.
It was soon apparent that the crew still had a major problem and the order was given to prepare to jump. S/Sgt Morris, attached his parachute to his harness and sat down with his legs hanging out of the front hatch ready to jump into the North Sea. Lt Otis Bergvall (N) grabbed S/Sgt Morris's harness and pulled him back into the B-17. The fires were all out and under control and the crew made it back to Molesworth.
After the B-17 taxied back to its site the crew chief told the crew to come around to the front of the B-17. The number one engine had a tubular rack behind the propeller lodged against the cylinders. He said if the rack had moved forward a fraction of an inch the engine would have exploded.
Note: Mission comments from: "Might in Flight Book", pages 678-680, mission 341 remarks; 303rd BG CD-ROM, Mission 341 comments from John Woolpert (TG); HANL February 1999, pages 13-14 remarks from Robert W. Morris (TOG); 23 Oct 2005 E-Mail message from Robert W. Morris.
Short Snorter Bill owned by John C. Woolpert
Signed by: Don M. Wright, Bernard M. Weinandt, Leroy M. Hart, unreadable,
John M Gentry, O. A. (Otis) Bergvall, John Scott, Anthony D. Grezzo
[Researched by Harry D. Gobrecht, 303rdBGA Historian Emeritus]