Ruhr Valley Raiders by Robert Bailey

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B-17's of the 91st. Bomb Group are attacked over Germany by Me 109's. The 91st. were first over the Ruhr Valley to Hamm, and led both Schweinfurt missions in 1943. They received credit for shooting down more enemy aircraft then any other group in the Eighth Air Force, and had the highest overall loss rate of any other B-17 group! Only 12% of original crews survived the war.

Main subject is the B-17 'Nine-O-Nine.' Others shown: 'The Wild Hare,' and 'General Ike. '


Standing silently today in the fields near Bassingbourn, England, one can hear the rustling stalks of grain as they sway in the gentl breezes, accompanied by the song of an occasional meadow lark. It is the picture of peace and tranquility. But it was not always so. To understand the significance of these fields, one must squint through the mists of time, back some sixty years ago, when those fields were occupied by the 91st. Bomb Group (H) of the USAAC (8th Air Force).

Back then, those same fields of wheat and oats lay flattened under the enormous wind generated by hundreds of radial engines, in preparation for an air armada destined for the Ruhr Valley in Germany. The ground would shake and the air would vibrate as wave after wave of B-17 Flying Fortresses lumbered down the airstrip under the weight of their lethal loads as they struggled to gain altitude for the day's mission. These were strikes to targets that would soon become familiar names to the young Americans who prepared the planes and the ones who flew them. Names like Hamm, Bremen, Meresburg and Schweinfurt. They named their planes after their hometown sweethearts, or from a sense of patriotism, or just from a sense of humor.

Names like 'General Ike,' 'Nine-O-Nine,' 'Outhouse Mouse,' 'The Wild Hare,' 'Hellsapoppin,' 'Memphis Belle,' and 'Mary Ruth' are some.

The crews who returned to Bassingbourn were not the same as when they left. They had exoerienced a terror high over Germany that few cam imagine. German fighters, anti-aircraft shells, sub-zero temperatures and the loss of close friends had altered their lives forever. The world has turned many times since those dark days when men of the 91st B.G. began building their proud history. A history based on duty, personal sacrifice and a belief in God and country. The fields around Bassingbourn have returned to their rural past as the men and machines have all but faded into the mists of time. What remains, as if distilled through the years, is the legend of the 'Ragged Irregulars.' The men who answered freedom's call with their blood, sweat and tears.

In Robert Bailey's exhilarating new picture, Flying Fortresses of the 91st are seen high over Germany's heartland in early 1944. Cleared from the flak corridor over the target, aircrews are set upon by waves of cannon-equipped Me109 'experten,' specifically trained to attack the multi-engine bombers. The men respond at every station with their twin fifties. It will be a long ride home.

150 The Collectors Edition with THIRTEEN signatures.

1st Lieutenant Andrew Caswell enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942. He ferried a B-17 to England in 1944 and was assigned to the 91st B.G., 324th Bomber Squadron. The Wild Hare was assigned to his crew and he flew 14 of his 34 missions in this aircraft. He was shot down on his 34th mission over Merseburg, Germany, and was liberated on April 29th, 1945. His decorations include the D.F.C., Air Medal with 4 O.L.C.'s, Army Commendation Medal and many other decorations. He retired as a Lt. Colonel.

1st Lieutenant Ralph Danekas is originally from Ritzville, Washington. He enlisted in the Air Force the day after Pearl Harbor. B-17 training was at Roswell, New Mexico. He was assigned with his crew to the 91st B.G. in Bassingbourn, England. His aircraft was Peacemaker. 1st Lieutenant Danekas was wounded over Cologne on his 17th mission and was in hospital for 3 months. His wounds were serious enough for a transfer to a VA hospital in Vancouver, Washington State for a further 7 months. He then flew C-47's until war's end. He has the Air Medal, Purple Heart, and the D.F.C.

Lieutenant Herbert F. Egender was born and raised in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He graduated from Bombardier School at Kirtland Field, Albuquerque, N.M. His first mission was to St. Nazaire, and he received a credit for an Me109 shot down on his second mission. He moved to squadron lead on his 7th mission, while his former crew were all shot down while flying his left wing. Lt. Egender was himself shot down en route to Schweinfurt, and became a P.O.W. Decorations include Legion of Merit, Purple Heart, Air Medal with 3 O.L.C.'s.

1st Lt. Gates, originally from Kansas City, Kansas, he hoped to fly the B-25 Mitchell two-engine bomber, but he was assigned the starboard side two engines of a B-17! He frequently flew 'Outhouse Mouse' in 1944. He also flew 'Nine-O-Nine', leading the low element in November 1944 to Merseburg, when the 91st lost 13 of 38 aircraft. He was on the Hamm, Schweinfurt and Cologne missions. He is the 2002 to 2004 91st BGMA President. He completed 35 missions.

Sergeant Joseph I. Harlick was born in Butte, Montana. Trained as a photographer, he served with the 324th Squadron in the 91st B.G. from May 1943. He was not listed as a flight crewmember, but flew as a volunteer and extra passenger on missions to solve bomb strike camera problems and to record mission events on film. Some of the books carrying his photographs are 'Ragged Irregulars of Bassingbourn,' 'The Mighty Eight,' 'Fortress of the Sky,' and 'Fortress at War.' Decorations include Victory Medal and Unit Citation with 1 O.L.C.

1st Lieutenant John Howland was born in Casper, Wyoming. He flew eleven missions as a line crew navigator with the 381st B.G. Following the first three raids to Berlin in March 1944; he was transferred to the Pathfinder Force of the 1st Bomb Division on detached service with the 305th and 91st Bomb Groups. He then flew his remaining 19 missions as lead or deputy lead navigator. He developed a unique Combat Wing formation assembly technique and became an ardent disciple of GEE box navigation. He was awarded the D.F.C., Air Medal and several citations for his performance as lead navigator.

1st Lieutenant Hal Johnson was born in Galesburg, Illinois. At an early age, he and his family moved to Sacramento, and he completed school through Junior College. He was transferred to the Air Force from the California National Guard and became a pilot in February 1944. Assigned to the 91st B.G., he completed 35 combat missions as co-pilot and then first pilot.

1st Lieutenant Harold W. Lasch was born in South Euclid, Ohio. He graduated from Selman Field as a navigator in April 1944. Flew on the November 2, 1944 Merseburg mission. His plane was Easy Does It and was practically destroyed, with 3 injured aboard. They left the formation and made it back to England alone. On December 5, 1944, again in 'Easy Does It', he was shot down over Berlin and became a P.O.W.

Sergeant Steve Perri was born in Asbury Park, New Jersey. He was with the 323rd Squadron as the Ball Turret Gunner. His aircraft was Delta Rebel #2. He completed 25 missions, mostly on this B-17. He was officially credited with 4 enemy aircraft destroyed: 2 Me109's, an Me110 and an Fw190. He claimed 7, but only 4 were confirmed. Sgt. Perri received the Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, plus a D.F.C. His longest mission was nearly 7 hours actually inside the ball turret.

T/Sergeant Clifford M. Schultz originally hailed from Chicago. He entered service in 1943 and arrived in England in August 1944. He was assigned tot he 324th Bomber Squadron with the 91st B.G. Flew in The Wild Hare as Radio Operator on his 9th mission, October 6th, 1944. Target was Neubrandenburg. The Wild Hare was destroyed by fighters on November 26th. He crashed on take off Christmas Eve, 1944 with a full load of bombs and fuel. Entire crew survived. He completed 35 missions. Awards include D.F.C., Air Medal with 5 O.L.C.'s and two Presidential Unit Citations.

1st Lieutenant Donald Scott Murray, one of four brothers in military service, enlisted in January 1942. He and his crewmates in their B-17F Miss Minookie were assigned as replacement crew to the 91st B.G. (H). Returning from his 16th mission as navigator he was shot down over Osnabruck, Germany in February 1944. He was wounded and unconscious, so his co-pilot attached a static line to his parachute and threw him out of the plane. He became a P.O.W. Decorations include Purple Heart and Air Medal.

1st Lieutenant Armando J. Sinibaldo was born in Chicago, Illinois. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1942 and became a navigator. He joined the 91st B.G. in the 323rd Squadron, and flew 35 missions, including such B-17's as Nine-O-Nine, General Ike and Outhouse Mouse. He completed his missions one-week before the 91st experienced 'Massacre at Merseburg.' He has the D.F.C. and Air Medal with four O.L.C.'s.

Sergeant G. Paul Lynch - 324th Squadron

Sheet size: 33 1/2" wide x 22" high.

20 Remarques with SEVEN signatures.

Sergeant Steve Perri was born in Asbury Park, New Jersey. He was with the 323rd Squadron as the Ball Turret Gunner. His aircraft was Delta Rebel #2. He completed 25 missions, mostly on this B-17. He was officially credited with 4 enemy aircraft destroyed: 2 Me109's, an Me110 and an Fw190. He claimed 7, but only 4 were confirmed. Sgt. Perri received the Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, plus a D.F.C. His longest mission was nearly 7 hours actually inside the ball turret.

T/Sergeant Clifford M. Schultz originally hailed from Chicago. He entered service in 1943 and arrived in England in August 1944. He was assigned tot he 324th Bomber Squadron with the 91st B.G. Flew in The Wild Hare as Radio Operator on his 9th mission, October 6th, 1944. Target was Neubrandenburg. The Wild Hare was destroyed by fighters on November 26th. He crashed on take off Christmas Eve, 1944 with a full load of bombs and fuel. Entire crew survived. He completed 35 missions. Awards include D.F.C., Air Medal with 5 O.L.C.'s and two Presidential Unit Citations.

1st Lieutenant Armando J. Sinibaldo was born in Chicago, Illinois. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1942 and became a navigator. He joined the 91st B.G. in the 323rd Squadron, and flew 35 missions, including such B-17's as Nine-O-Nine, General Ike and Outhouse Mouse. He completed his missions one-week before the 91st experienced 'Massacre at Merseburg.' He has the D.F.C. and Air Medal with four O.L.C.'s.

1st Lieutenant Hal Johnson was born in Galesburg, Illinois. At an early age, he and his family moved to Sacramento, and he completed school through Junior College. He was transferred to the Air Force from the California National Guard and became a pilot in February 1944. Assigned to the 91st B.G., he completed 35 combat missions as co-pilot and then first pilot.

1st Lieutenant Andrew Caswell enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942. He ferried a B-17 to England in 1944 and was assigned to the 91st B.G., 324th Bomber Squadron. The Wild Hare was assigned to his crew and he flew 14 of his 34 missions in this aircraft. He was shot down on his 34th mission over Merseburg, Germany, and was liberated on April 29th, 1945. His decorations include the D.F.C., Air Medal with 4 O.L.C.'s, Army Commendation Medal and many other decorations. He retired as a Lt. Colonel.

1st Lt. Gates, originally from Kansas City, Kansas, he hoped to fly the B-25 Mitchell two-engine bomber, but he was assigned the starboard side two engines of a B-17! He frequently flew 'Outhouse Mouse' in 1944. He also flew 'Nine-O-Nine', leading the low element in November 1944 to Merseburg, when the 91st lost 13 of 38 aircraft. He was on the Hamm, Schweinfurt and Cologne missions. He is the 2002 to 2004 91st BGMA President. He completed 35 missions.

Sergeant G. Paul Lynch - 324th Squadron

Sheet size: 33 1/2" wide x 22" high.

100 Group Edition with SIXTY signatures. (Each Group Edition comes with a list of signees, printed on acid-free paper and suitable for framing.
Included in the sixty signatures are two Gunners, Radio Operator and Navigator of 'Nine-O-Nine.')

1st Lieutenant Andrew Caswell enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942. He ferried a B-17 to England in 1944 and was assigned to the 91st B.G., 324th Bomber Squadron. The Wild Hare was assigned to his crew and he flew 14 of his 34 missions in this aircraft. He was shot down on his 34th mission over Merseburg, Germany, and was liberated on April 29th, 1945. His decorations include the D.F.C., Air Medal with 4 O.L.C.'s, Army Commendation Medal and many other decorations. He retired as a Lt. Colonel.

1st Lieutenant Paul Chryst was born in Hartford, Connecticut. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942. After aerial gunnery training he became a bombardier and assigned to the 91st Bomb Group in England. He first flew in combat on August 3 to Mulhouse, near the Swiss border. The same aircrew stayed together and he finished the prescribed 35 missions on December 15, 1944. Awards include D.F.C., Air Medal with 4 O.L.C.'s. Four of his missions were as navigator.

Staff Sergeant Fab. H. Cripps was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa. He enlisted in the army in 1942 and was assigned to the 91st B.G., 401st Squadron. In September 1942 he arrived in Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire, England, as a sheet metal crew chief. Along with T/Sgt. W.W. Hill of the 323rd B.S., he pioneered the installation of .50 caliber machine guns in the nose of B-17F's that their crews were flying.

1st Lieutenant Ralph Danekas is originally from Ritzville, Washington. He enlisted in the Air Force the day after Pearl Harbor. B-17 training was at Roswell, New Mexico. He was assigned with his crew to the 91st B.G. in Bassingbourn, England. His aircraft was Peacemaker. 1st Lieutenant Danekas was wounded over Cologne on his 17th mission and was in hospital for 3 months. His wounds were serious enough for a transfer to a VA hospital in Vancouver, Washington State for a further 7 months. He then flew C-47's until war's end. He has the Air Medal, Purple Heart, and the D.F.C.

Lieutenant Herbert F. Egender was born and raised in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He graduated from Bombardier School at Kirtland Field, Albuquerque, N.M. His first mission was to St. Nazaire, and he received a credit for an Me109 shot down on his second mission. He moved to squadron lead on his 7th mission, while his former crew were all shot down while flying his left wing. Lt. Egender was himself shot down en route to Schweinfurt, and became a P.O.W. Decorations include Legion of Merit, Purple Heart, Air Medal with 3 O.L.C.'s.

1st Lt. Gates, originally from Kansas City, Kansas, he hoped to fly the B-25 Mitchell two-engine bomber, but he was assigned the starboard side two engines of a B-17! He frequently flew 'Outhouse Mouse' in 1944. He also flew 'Nine-O-Nine', leading the low element in November 1944 to Merseburg, when the 91st lost 13 of 38 aircraft. He was on the Hamm, Schweinfurt and Cologne missions. He is the 2002 to 2004 91st BGMA President. He completed 35 missions.

Sergeant Joseph I. Harlick was born in Butte, Montana. Trained as a photographer, he served with the 324th Squadron in the 91st B.G. from May 1943. He was not listed as a flight crewmember, but flew as a volunteer and extra passenger on missions to solve bomb strike camera problems and to record mission events on film. Some of the books carrying his photographs are 'Ragged Irregulars of Bassingbourn,' 'The Mighty Eight,' 'Fortress of the Sky,' and 'Fortress at War.' Decorations include Victory Medal and Unit Citation with 1 O.L.C.

1st Lieutenant John Howland was born in Casper, Wyoming. He flew eleven missions as a line crew navigator with the 381st B.G. Following the first three raids to Berlin in March 1944; he was transferred to the Pathfinder Force of the 1st Bomb Division on detached service with the 305th and 91st Bomb Groups. He then flew his remaining 19 missions as lead or deputy lead navigator. He developed a unique Combat Wing formation assembly technique and became an ardent disciple of GEE box navigation. He was awarded the D.F.C., Air Medal and several citations for his performance as lead navigator.

1st Lieutenant Hal Johnson was born in Galesburg, Illinois. At an early age, he and his family moved to Sacramento, and he completed school through Junior College. He was transferred to the Air Force from the California National Guard and became a pilot in February 1944. Assigned to the 91st B.G., he completed 35 combat missions as co-pilot and then first pilot.

1st Lieutenant Harold W. Lasch was born in South Euclid, Ohio. He graduated from Selman Field as a navigator in April 1944. Flew on the November 2, 1944 Merseburg mission. His plane was Easy Does It and was practically destroyed, with 3 injured aboard. They left the formation and made it back to England alone. On December 5, 1944, again in 'Easy Does It', he was shot down over Berlin and became a P.O.W.

Captain Phillip L. Collins - 324th Squadron
1st Lieutenant John W. Howland - 324th Squadron
Staff Sergeant Bobby E. Pride - 401st Squadron
1st Lieutenant Ralph Danekas - 401st Squadron
1st Lieutenant Robert Slane - 401st Squadron
1st Lieutenant Sam Newton - 401st Squadron
Sergeant G. Paul Lynch - 324th Squadron
Technical Sergeant Howard L. Wilson - 323rd Squadron
Staff Sergeant Clyde J. Garrison - 324th Squadron
Technical Sergeant Steve Perri - 323rd Squadron
Technical Sergeant Russ Wilson - 324th Squadron
Technical Sergeant Cliff Schultz - 324th Squadron
Staff Sergeant Roy E. Loyless - 401st Squadron
Sergeant Joe Harlick - 324th Squadron
1st Lieutenant George Fredrickson - 401st Squadron
1st Lieutenant Hal Johnson - 401st Squadron
Staff Sergeant Earl G. Williamson Jr. - 323rd Squadron
1st Lieutenant A. J. Sinibaldo - 323rd Squadron
1st Lieutenant Paul Chryst - 401st Squadron
Staff Sergeant H. John Luke - 323rd Squadron
1st Lieutenant Harold W. Lasch - 322nd Squadron
2nd Lieutenant Herbert F. Egender - 322nd Squadron
Technical Sergeant William G. Reid - 322nd Squadron
2nd Lieutenant Sidney Barnsley - 322nd Squadron
Technical Sergeant Bernard V. Lopez - 322nd Squadron
Staff Sergeant Seymour B. Gold - 324th Squadron
Colonel Robert W. Harris - 323rd Squadron
Staff Sergeant Bruno Lombardi - 323rd Squadron
1st Lieutenant John Hatfield - 324th Squadron
Sergeant Richard McCoy - 323rd Squadron
1st Lieutenant John W. Allen - 401st Squadron
1st Lieutenant Frank D. Hintze - 322nd Squadron
2nd Lieutenant Verne Woods - 324th Squadron
Captain Dick Pressey - 401st Squadron
1st Lieutenant Harold W. Burts - 324th Squadron
Technical Sergeant Ralph 'Cliff' Vrooman - 401st Squadron
1st Lieutenant Melvin Dart - 322nd Squadron
1st Lieutenant Dan Haley - 324th Squadron
1st Lieutenant (later General) Earl G. Pate - 324th Squadron
1st Lieutenant Marv Anderson - 322nd Squadron
Lieutenant Asay B. Johnson - 324th Squadron
Corporal Erwin Steele - 322nd Squadron
1st Lieutenant Lauri E. Kivimaki - 323rd Squadron
Technical Sergeant George F. Witt 'Kwasniewski' - 323rd Squadron
2nd Lieutenant Alvin R. Leonard - 323rd Squadron
Staff Sergeant Ed. F. Jackman - 323rd Squadron
Technical Sergeant Donald R. Smith - 401st Squadron
Captain Walter Carpenter - 324th Squadron
1st Lieutenant Quentin Ellis - 323rd Squadron
Staff Sergeant Bernie E. Stanton - 401st Squadron
1st Lieutenant Donald R. Freer - 322nd Squadron
Captain Charles A. Holman - 324th Squadron
Sergeant Merle L. Choffel - 401st Squadron
Lieutnant Colonel Donald Sheeler - 322nd Squadron
Staff Sergeant Bert Larson - 324th Squadron
Corporal Jack Paxson - 322nd Squadron
Staff Sergeant Faber Cripps - 401st Squadron
Staff Sergeant C. W. 'Bud' Koeller - 401st Squadron
Sergeant Francis A. Hentges - 322nd Squadron
1st Lieutenant Andrew D. Caswell - 324th Squadron
Staff Sergeant James E. Dumouchel - 323rd Squadron
1st Lieutenant Edward Gates - 323rd Squadron
1st Lieutenant Donald Scott Murray

Sergeant Steve Perri was born in Asbury Park, New Jersey. He was with the 323rd Squadron as the Ball Turret Gunner. His aircraft was Delta Rebel #2. He completed 25 missions, mostly on this B-17. He was officially credited with 4 enemy aircraft destroyed: 2 Me109's, an Me110 and an Fw190. He claimed 7, but only 4 were confirmed. Sgt. Perri received the Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, plus a D.F.C. His longest mission was nearly 7 hours actually inside the ball turret.

T/Sergeant Clifford M. Schultz originally hailed from Chicago. He entered service in 1943 and arrived in England in August 1944. He was assigned tot he 324th Bomber Squadron with the 91st B.G. Flew in The Wild Hare as Radio Operator on his 9th mission, October 6th, 1944. Target was Neubrandenburg. The Wild Hare was destroyed by fighters on November 26th. He crashed on take off Christmas Eve, 1944 with a full load of bombs and fuel. Entire crew survived. He completed 35 missions. Awards include D.F.C., Air Medal with 5 O.L.C.'s and two Presidential Unit Citations.

1st Lieutenant Armando J. Sinibaldo was born in Chicago, Illinois. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1942 and became a navigator. He joined the 91st B.G. in the 323rd Squadron, and flew 35 missions, including such B-17's as Nine-O-Nine, General Ike and Outhouse Mouse. He completed his missions one-week before the 91st experienced 'Massacre at Merseburg.' He has the D.F.C. and Air Medal with four O.L.C.'s.

Sergeant Richard W. 'Dick' McCoy was born in Brooklyn, New York. He received basic training at Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, Mo. and Air Mechanics School at Kessler Field, Biloxi, Mississippi. In May of 1942 he was assigned to the 91st B.G. For 33 months he served in the ground crew, maintaining B-17's at Bassingbourn, England. Sergeant McCoy returned to the States aboard the B-17 Careful Virgin. Decorations include European Campaign Medal, Presidential Citation Medal and WWII Victory Medal.

1st Lieutenant Donald Scott Murray, one of four brothers in military service, enlisted in January 1942. He and his crewmates in their B-17F Miss Minookie were assigned as replacement crew to the 91st B.G. (H). Returning from his 16th mission as navigator he was shot down over Osnabruck, Germany in February 1944. He was wounded and unconscious, so his co-pilot attached a static line to his parachute and threw him out of the plane. He became a P.O.W. Decorations include Purple Heart and Air Medal.

Group Edition 33 1/2" wide x 24 1/2" high