lists your uncle's crew as #741 (although it lists him as Marshall E. Lewis). While they are not listed in the crew pages of another unit history, Attlebridge Arsenal
, there is a reference in an appendix to the Lewis crew, #741, as having flown Gallopin' Ghost
in combat, and in the crew list for the 787th
, with the proper middle initial. Unfortunately, that's all the info Arsenal
has about your uncle's crew, wiith one exception. In a section at the end on the ground echelon, the book notes that a Wilbur Haines, an assistant crew chief with the 787th
, was killed on 9/29/44 during a “Trucking” mission to France. So it sounds like he not ordinarily flight crew, but was getting some air time. Diaries
has one short paragraph about the crash, with the crew members' names, and, here, the assistant crew chief listed as Hain.
Re: your other questions. The 466th
flew solely B-24's. As you know, they had the standard four squadrons. Someone with more knowledge than I will most likely ring on the number of a/c. I think the number of planes assigned to each squadron varied early on from, say, 12-16, rising as the war went on. By the time the 466th
reached combat, I'd say there were most likely 16-20 assigned, but I could be wrong.
Three of the four squadrons would have participated in most missions, with all four flying occasionally. The mission list in Diaries
shows that the group generally put up a number varying between the mid- to high-20's up to the mid-30's. Some missions had 35-49 a/c dispatched, and it looks like the high number was 47 in June '44, exceeding 40 at least 2 other times. (I can provide more detail later, if you would like.)
I think 6 was a pretty typical number for a gas hauling mission. Generally, they did not like to put up any more men than necessary, due to the danger on any mission. (The 466th
lost another 6-man crew on another “trucking” mission on 9/23.) Crews on most missions would have been 10, but that could fall to 9, if the bombardier or ball turret gunner was not needed. A lead crew could have as many as 12 (carrying up to 3 navigators), and my great-uncle's waist gunner told me they had 13 on at least one mission, when General Peck flew with them.
My great-uncle was Paul W. Perry. He and his crew flew 13 missions with the 492nd
(H) before it was disbanded, and 17 with the 466th
(plus at least 2 gas hauling missions.) They started in the 785th BS, and then were transferred to the 784th
. His diary is up at the 492nd's website, http://www.492ndBombGroup.com
. Look for the Perry crew, under stories. The last couple sections or so have entries for the time they were at the 466th
Nice work on your research by the way. It's pretty compelling, isn't it?
If you'd like, I can make some book recommendations for learning more about operations, etc.