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Target numbering question

Discussion in 'All Hands Club & Canteen Discussion Area' started by Tmac1397, Mar 7, 2017.

  1. Tmac1397

    Tmac1397 Member

    I'm looking at reports from a particular bombing mission and all the reports list the target as "4901W/E/1". I'm about 99% sure I know what the target was anyway but I'm curious if anyone knows if this is a particular map grid system or a target numbering system for pre-determined landmarks, buildings, bridges, etc. It is the 386th Bomb group, 9th Air Force.
  2. Tmac1397

    Tmac1397 Member

    I have attached a page that details the mission coordinates (listed under A 1&2) and location of possible flak guns (Listed under G). I can't make sense of the target number or the flak gun coordinates. Does this make sense to anyone?

    Attached Files:

  3. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    On June 22, 1944 the 386th attacked a target in/near Caen. Plane 42-96087 from the 386th went down over the target on that date. Fold3 for that loss gives the target as Chateau, Caen Area. (Am I on the right track so far???)

    A map of the Caen area is here:


    If you look down in the lower right corner of the map, it show how this map fits on the French Lambert Map. But there is also reference to an English Purple Grid "W". I think that just refers to the British Cassini Grid, which is the Grid used over the Britain (to the North of this map). But I wonder if some versions of the Cassini Grid extended into France??? If so, then I wonder if the the target with the co-ordinates 4901 W/E/1 is being named via the "extended" Purple Grid "W". Otherwise the reference may just by a code identifier for the particular target.

    I think the Flak locations are given via co-ordinates on the French Lambert Zone 1 Grid.

    Grids used are explained here: http://echodelta.net/mbs/eng-welcome.php
    The Grid translator is here: http://echodelta.net/mbs/eng-translator.php

    If you put in flak location T9567 on the translator (using the French Lambert Zone 1 Grid)
    T9567 is actually vT9567, which translates to Latitude : 49° 10' 08'' N, Longitude : 0° 28' 29'' W
    Other gun locations can be done similarly.

    A little on the "Purple" or Cassini Grid: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassini_Grid

    From the Air Force Chronology for June 22:

    TACTICAL OPERATIONS (Ninth Air Force): In France, around 600 B-26s and
    A-20s and 1,200+ fighters fly missions during the day; the main effort
    consists of an attack on the tip of the Cherbourg Peninsula in support of the
    US VII Corps assault on the port of Cherbourg; beginning 1 hour before the
    ground attack and continuing until the attack begins fighters and fighter-
    bombers pound the whole area S of the city from low level; as the ground
    assault begins, B-26s and A-20s strike a series of strongpoints selected by
    the US First Army, forming a 55-minute aerial barrage moving N in advance of
    ground forces; later in the day B-26s attack marshalling yards, fuel dumps
    and a German HQ; fighter-bombers fly armed reconnaissance over various
    railroads and bomb rail facilities, trains, road traffic and gun
    emplacements; 25 fighter-bombers are lost during the day's operations.

    I think the Chateau was the German HQ, mentioned in the chronology.

    Last edited: Mar 10, 2017
    25Kingman49 likes this.
  4. Tmac1397

    Tmac1397 Member

    Rs you are right on. The target was an HQ in a chateau at Baron sur Odon. I'm almost sure I know where this Chateau is but there are several in the area. I am just intrigued by that identifier (maybe a bit obsessed)and want to find out for sure. Great find on the flak locations. Thanks so much. If you follow my other posts you can see that my uncle's plane was shot down on this mission. I'm trying to find out all I can down to the smallest detail. It's become a great hobby for me. Thanks to you and all on this forum with your knowledge on the subject.
  5. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    Tmac1397, a couple of more thoughts on this. First question (no insult meant), but are you sure the reference "4901 W/E/1" is to the target? Have you seen other flash reports where items A 1 and 2 are target references. Does the fact the A1 and A2 are the same mean that there was no secondary target?

    I looked a little at the Gee charts that might have been used at this time and it does not appear that the reference would be Gee Co-ordinates.

    Have you looked at NCAP photos taken around Baron sur Odon. http://ncap.org.uk/

    It appears that several photos were taken on 24 June 44 over and around Baron sur Odon. (To be honest, I have never had much luck with NCAP and have not subscribed to get the high-res photos as they were never close to the dates I needed, but in this case June 24 is pretty close to June 22. )
  6. Tmac1397

    Tmac1397 Member

    I have seen the photos on NCAP. If you search for photos from Gavrus (very close to Baron) you can actually see the crash site in the trees and field next to a large Chateau. I found it amazing that they have photos from the area only two days after the crash. This Chateau was not the target in question. I have hundreds of pages of reports from this mission and all refer to the target the same way. It must have been some target code that they put together for static targets. The British fought through this area about a week later during Operation Epsom. Hill 112 is also only a few miles away. The Brits and Germans fought for weeks there at a terrible loss of life. We're hoping the DPAA excavates the crash site this year in hopes of finding my uncle's remains, and those of two other missing men. Thanks again for your assistance.
  7. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    Looking at the NCAP photos it appears to me that there was heavy bombing at Evrecy (next town SE of Gavrus). You can even follow the strings of bomb craters from individual planes.
  8. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    First, I commend you on your research into the loss of your uncle S/Sgt Thomas J Mccaslin, leaving no stone un-turned; well done! Above you say: "If you follow my other posts you can see that my uncle's plane was shot down on this mission.". Rolland [RSwank] has been a major contributor in nearly all of your posts. (No disrespect intended) but in following your posts/threads there is not one where a clear crew description is provided for your uncles crew; Rolland comes closest here naming your uncle http://www.forum.armyairforces.com/threads/item-found-at-b26-crash-site.65/ in post #3.

    Hopefully this post will help to further honor the memory of you uncle and his crew that day 22 June 1944. The 9 page MACR 6283 for the loss of B-26B-55-MA-42-96087 "Incendiary Mary" on 22 June 1944 is available on fold3 starting here https://www.fold3.com/image/29401225 (6 pages attached).

    S/Sgt Thomas J Mccaslin (TG) ASN: 17038437 (Nebraska)
    S.Sgt Thomas J Mccaslin.jpg

    Lt Col Don L Weiss (P) ASN: O-437629 (Iowa), DED,(Recovered 1995) findagrave (with photo) https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=56651304 , (Iowa) https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=37019551 & (Adlington) https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=15113313
    1st Lt Axel P Slustrop (CP) ASN: O-738483 (Oregon), DED, (Recovered 1995) findagrave https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=15113303
    1st Lt David Meserow (B) ASN: O-732880 (Illinois), DED, (Recovered 1995) findagrave (with photo & bio) https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=15113263
    1st Lt George H Hazlett, Jr (N) ASN: O-794005 (Massachusetts), DED, Recovered 1995) findagrave https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=15113222
    T/Sgt Robert E Perkins (RO-G) ASN: 33294732 (Pennsylvania), DED, (MIA) Tablet of the Missing, Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial https://www.abmc.gov/node/545146#.WMQuZ-QzWM8 findagrave https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=56648676
    S/Sgt John H Canty (ETTG) ASN: 11072858 (Connecticut), DED, (MIA) Tablet of the Missing, Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial https://www.abmc.gov/node/544327#.WMQvYOQzWM8 findagrave https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=56643004
    S/Sgt Thomas J Mccaslin (TG) ASN: 17038437 (Nebraska), DED, (MIA) Tablet of the Missing, Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial https://www.abmc.gov/node/545648#.WMQzFeQzWM8 findagrave (with photo & brief bio) https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=56647452 (Nebraska Cenotaph) https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=167659187
    Capt Orville D Thatcher (Passenger) ASN: O-356255 (Iowa), KIA, (MIA) (?) No memorial record with ABMC (even searching just his last name) findagrave (under Don, Iowa Cenotaph) https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=147231380

    Here is a French news article regarding remains recovery at this Caen crash site https://translate.google.com/transl...icain-remis-aux-autorites-3056054&prev=search according to this (Later were discovered the remains of Robert E. Perkins, machine gunner, and Thomas Mccaslin, rear gunner. They are buried in the Normandy American Cemetery Colleville-sur-Mer. If correct only the remains of your uncle and Capt Thatcher are yet to be recovered. We hope with you that DPAA excavates the crash site this year and finds your uncle and Capt Thatcher.

    Lt Col Don L Weiss (P) ASN: O-437629 (Iowa)
    Lt Col Don L Weiss.jpg

    Arlington Marker for Lt Col Weiss, and Lieutenants Slustrop, Meserow, and Hazlett

    Edit: Added name of plane.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 12, 2017
  9. Tmac1397

    Tmac1397 Member

    King man, the French article is actually wrong. The three missing still are S/Sgt John Canty, T/Sgt. Robert Perkins, and my uncle S/Sgt Thomas McCaslin. Capt. Thatchers body was found by the British in August 1944 about 200 yards from the crash site. Let. Col Weiss, Lt. Meserow, Lt. Slustrop, and Lt. Hazlett were found buried together in 1986, not identified until 1994. New remains were found at the he site in 2014 and are not yet identified. Your contributions and Rolland's have been instrumental in my search. Many others have weighed in also and have been a tremendously resource for me. I've learned so much from all of you. Here is a link to a newspaper story about my family's search for resolution: http://www.omaha.com/news/metro/oma...cle_e69d367d-4332-54f8-a7cb-3a793f6d5841.html

    Thank you to everyone for all your help. I will update the forum with the results of the excavation if it happens.
    25Kingman49 likes this.
  10. Tmac1397

    Tmac1397 Member

    Yes. The British bombed it to the ground in mid June. Lots of death in that little corner of Normandy.
  11. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Hi Tom, you may call me Scott, and I expect RS would be good with Rolland.
    My contribution to your quest has been quite small. Thank you for sharing the 16 January 2017 Omaha World-Herald article and video; it explains a lot. It seems you have been holding out on us, perhaps a useful tool in your line of work to squeeze further information from sources without revealing what is already known. Maybe that is true in this case with your presence on this forum too, perhaps not a bad tactic, however more "truthful" input on your part might have alleviated reinventing the wheel (my personal opinion). Related discoveries/revaluations from the Omaha World-Herald video for those members not paying attention (I guess with proper citing for all to the Omaha World-Herald & Mccaslin famely et al):

    Crash location image 24 June 1944 compared to more recently; you could elaborate more if you wish...but at this point?
    42-96087 crash site then & now.jpg

    B-26B, 42-96087 crashing to earth image 22 June 1944. And you thought this NOT relevant to share with this forum earlier?
    42-96087 crashing smoke trail 22June44.jpg

    And my personal favorite of withheld evidence, a Lt Col Weiss crew photo! Do you have the actual photo to post here? Edit: caption edited with Tom's Input.
    Lt Col Don Weiss Crew.jpg
    Standing (L to R): Lt Col Don L Weiss (P); 1st Lt David Meserow (N/B); 1st Lt Axel "Pete" Slustrop (CP)
    Kneeling (L to R): S/Sgt John H Canty (ETTG); S/Sgt Thomas J Mccaslin (TG); T/Sgt Clement Monaco (RO) - not aboard during the final mission 22 June 1944.

    Lt Meserow ID from his poor quality findagrave image
    Lt David Meserow.jpg

    Perhaps you might care or wish to identify those in this photo who remain unidentified just for histories sake and maybe their memory...or not.

    Please do keep this forum informed regarding new excavation discoveries of the 42-96087 site and analysis of remains already recovered yet still not identified. Those French, they will foul you every time as to who and what has actually been recovered. Thanks for the head-up regarding Capt. Thatchers' early recovery (August 1944), so that is probably his actual grave in Iowa (will search for a head stone application later)...

    Funny how more evidence is offered to this unknowing forum just at the end of this quest; quite remarkable as if you needed any help at all.

    Edit: No headstone application found for Capt. Thatcher and little else (just another of the missing and too often forgotten) This is likely him in the 1931 HS year book from Ft. Dodge, Iowa. His wish came true in 1944 giving his last full measure; And yes he was mighty.
    Donald O Thatcher Ft Dodge HS, Iowa 1931.jpg
    Death record
    Death; Capt Orville D Thatcher ASN O-356255.jpg

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 11, 2017
    Lucky Partners likes this.
  12. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    I may have been too harsh, this thread http://www.forum.armyairforces.com/threads/k-20-and-k21-camera-photos.799/ and your post #3, on 11 January 2017 clearly shows you offering the 22 June crash photo (in PDF). Nothing like a good old JPG to grab one's attention. I would likely have still missed this even with a less benign title than strike best #2-1. You know, a note with some gotcha like "here's my uncles plane crashing" and here the photo proof!
    42-96087 smoking crash.jpg

    Which seems an example of your research in progress, and at least I was not paying attention to your new discovery at the time.

    Attached Files:

  13. Tmac1397

    Tmac1397 Member

    Hello Scott,
    I want you (and all who have helped me along) that I only asked questions on this forum that I did not know the answers to or could not find the answer to on my own. I did find out quite a bit through my own research and findings. I've actually found so much that I can't quite organize it all into a cohesive document. Where I have gone wrong is that I have not taken the time to share with the forum all I have found. It was never my intention to withhold information from all of you, and I am happy to share anything with the group I have learned. All of this information means a great deal to me, but I guess I didn't realize until now how much others could learn from what I have found and all of you have helped me find. My sincere apologies. I DID need your help and will likely continue to need it. I will do better in the future to share my information.
    I did share the photo of the falling plane in a post in January. I only received the photos from the Air Force Historical Agency a week or so before that post. To answer some other points you brought up:
    Slustrop, Canty, Weiss, and Meserow all perished on the flight. According to a document I found Monaco was wounded by flak in April 1944 and nearly lost his arm. My uncle applied a tourniquet in flight and saved his life. Monaco survived the war and died in the 1990's. ( photo source :The Story of the Crusaders, The 386th Bomb Group in WW2, also posted on B26.com)

    Capt. Thatcher, flight surgeon for the 386th tending to a wounded (Source :The Story of the Crusaders, The 386th Bomb Group in WW2)
    Thatcher grave stone.jpg
    His head stone in North Lawn Cemetery, Ft. Dodge, IA. I visited his grave in May 2016.

    Geroge Hazlett photo.jpg Lt. George Hazlett, navigator. (Source :The Story of the Crusaders, The 386th Bomb Group in WW2)

    Pictures of Bob Perkins.jpg
    T/Sgt. Robert Perkins 386th BG, 555th sqd., pictured with pipe in mouth. The other men are unknown. I received these photo from Perkins' nephew.

    I could share lots of photos about the actual crash site and the bomb run if you wish. Or PM if you would like to see more.

    Again, I can't say enough how much this forum has helped me and I am truly sorry for not sharing more of the story. I am trying to put all this together in a powerpoint type document and will share it to whomever his interested. Thank you all.

  14. Tmac1397

    Tmac1397 Member

    I did not take your words as harsh. The purpose of this forum to is seek and share knowledge. I fell down on the second half. My day job and family keep me busy (As I'm sure everyone's does), so I steal time to do my research on this. I'm simply trying to give the DPAA all I can so they can hopefully find these men. One last photo:
    Grandma's letter.jpg
    I found this in the IDPF. It is a late 1940's letter from my Grandma asking for information on my Uncle's case. It drives me to keep looking.
  15. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Tom.
    Yes, the goal of this forum is to help those seeking records and history as you were. The gang around here like Rolland, and Hal "Lucky Partners" to name just two in the research group do a pretty swell job, no brag just fact. The payoff on this end is the knowledge that forum member guidance provided and individual research is accomplishing the desired task of recovering history. From the very beginning gauging the questions you were asking it was obvious you were on a mission with a serious quest. I am pleased your research has gone so well, and there is certainly no forum stipulation implied or otherwise that researchers must provide progress reports of their studies.

    That having been said it is always good to hear (read) positive feedback. It keeps the engine of wanting to help well oiled and leads to a desire to help more. Pretty simple formula actually feeding the fires of research, throw another log on any time you can. Personally I would be pleased if you would blanket this forum with all that you have learned via photos and documents you have recovered about your uncle, beyond what you have just posted. I am pretty confided others here feel the same way wanting to know more, and perhaps unknowingly you will help others with your discoveries. A note of caution, with your recently acquired AAF skills you are no longer an apprentice so be prepared to help others in their quests "probie"! Welcome to the research team.
    AACS45 and Lucky Partners like this.
  16. Tmac1397

    Tmac1397 Member

    Thanks Scott. I'm happy to help in any way I can.
  17. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member


    I "think" I have a start on how the co-ordinates of the target (4901W/E/1) works. The 416th BG has quite an extensive site and in particular a mission list, here:
    http://www.416th.com/missions/combat_missions.html If you go down through the missions, you find they used various methods of giving the target coordinates, including the method used in your case. After looking a such several examples you can begin to understand what might be happening.

    For your example, first go to the intersection of 49 00 N and 01 00 W. This is the 4901W part of the co-ordinate. (Some examples from the 416th end in E for East). This point will always selected to be the first "whole" coordinates below and left of the target. What happens next is that the "square" with lower left corner 49 00N, 01 00 W to upper right corner 50 00 N, 00 00 (i.e. 1 degree up and 1 degree to the right) is divided up into a series of lettered squares, A B C D, etc. I am not yet sure of the "pattern" and how many letters are used, but it looks like they at least get to the letter Q based on examples I saw on the 416th website. Possibly they are in a 5x5 grid and use 25 letters, or 4x5 etc., but those are just a guesses. What happens next is that the lettered squares are further divided into numbered squares. Again not sure how many numbered squares there are but again based on examples on the 416th website there are at least 34 (so maybe a 6x6 grid, but note that the grids do not have to be "square". Once we have the pattern, we would know how many minutes each square (either lettered or numbered) spans and can translate the co-ordinate into a degrees/minutes/seconds latitude and longitude.

    I will try and contact the 416th and see if they can explain the method in detail.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2017
  18. Tmac1397

    Tmac1397 Member

    I think you're on to something. The 49 01N is pretty close to the area. The coordinates of the chateau I think was the target is 49 07"N, 0 29W. Here is a picture from Google Earth.
    Possible target.jpg
    It sits only about a mile from the crash site as the crow (or B26!) flies. There is another chateau just south of the red line that were both there in 1944.

    I will look over what you sent and see if I can make sense of it. Thanks very much for your time and effort.
  19. Daniel

    Daniel New Member

    In my opinion "4901W" refers to the geographical area, "E" is the target category ("Headquarters and Camps") and "1" the first target of that category within that area.

    There is a Tactical Target Dossier for the Caen area at NARA II, RG 243 USSBS, Entry 18, File 1.h.(11) Caen area (second edition). There are also Tactical Target Folders in Entry 19.

    Tactical Target Dossiers: https://catalog.archives.gov/id/561240
    Tactical Target Folders: https://catalog.archives.gov/id/561272

    Kind regards,

    Attached Files:

    AACS45, RSwank and Tmac1397 like this.
  20. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    Daniel, I think you are correct. I played around a little more with my theory using mission information on the 416th BG site and it soon becomes clear that the letters following the first "W" or "E" are not a location "square".

    Unfortunately, that would mean that there is no "specific" location information contained in the target codes only a general area. We would need to go through the target files to see exactly where the targets were located.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2017

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