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T/Sgt. Carl A. Benson
722nd Squadron
Carl Benson

Carl Benson

T/Sgt. Duane Corporon (left) and Al Benson (right) outside the "Manhattan Towers"
The "Manhattan Towers" was the nick name given to the barracks used by some of the 722nd crews

Because of the planes lost on missions, many of the crews came and went in that barracks. The only two crews that I can remember finishing their missions were Pilot Lombard’s Fast Freight crew and Pilot Keller’s Illegal Eagle (number 285) crew. As I have read in other combat reports, there was a special room in this barracks also, that had an unusual number of crews being shot down. It seemed like the contents of this one room were constantly being removed and new crews moving in much more often than in the other rooms. It was kind of scary to see a new crew come in to this room.

As I remember the barracks layout there were four rooms in the first half with a crew of enlisted men in each room. The second half was open with two crews; our crew the “Fast Freight” and the “Illegal Eagle” crew. It got rather chilly sometimes, so the men rigged up half an oil drum inside of the barracks with some media in the bottom, and a tank of gasoline on the outside with a tube running inside to drip into the makeshift heater. Not according to OSHA, but it did work, with no accidents that I remember.

There were fond memories of that barracks, like when George Fulton, who was 6’3 and had the first bunk an the left as you entered the large room, had his feet hanging over the end of his bunk, because these were barracks for the Italians who were much shorter. One of the other crewmembers came walking through the doorway and bumped into George’s feet. “Get those feet inside your bunk” he said to George. George looked up at him with a grin and said, “I don’t want those cold things in bed with me”.

Then one day Rusty, the tail gunner, decided he wanted some fresh eggs to eat, so he got a couple of eggs in town, Manduria, and set up a little makeshift stove using a number of candles bundled together over which he tried to fry the eggs in his mess kit. It was a mess alright and I don’t remember if he ate them or not. On another occasion a crewmember who had his bunk next to mine (actually there was a space between us where a bunk had been removed) had been drinking in town one night and when he got into the barracks, lost his cookies on the floor between our bunks. In the morning we noticed the mess and called it to his attention. “What a night”, he said as he lit a match to the mess on the floor. It burned quite awhile with the Vino, snails, and the rest of the mess. Snails were quite a delicacy there, but I never got up enough nerve to try them. It is surprising how many of these memories come back while the things that happen recently seem hard to remember.



Below is a list of missions flown by the 722nd Squadron from 26 May to 20 November 1944.
The missions marked with an asterik ( *   ) were missions T/Sgt. Benson flew.



722ND BOMBARDMENT SQUADRON (H) AAF
OFFICE OF THE OPERATIONS OFFICER
APO 520                       U.S. ARMY

1 DECEMBER 1944

SUBJECT:     Combat Mission Record

TO:               Whom it may concern

                1.     The following is a record of combat mission and operational hours for CARL A. BENSON, T/SGT
All entries are certified correct.

Operational hours          248:55                                 Sorties          37                                 MISSIONS______



Mission Flying Time Date Target Credit

70   5/26/44 Nice, France Single
71   5/27/44 Marseilles, France Single
72   5/29/44 WeinerNuestadt, Austria Double
73   5/30/44 WeinerNeustadt, Austria Double
74   5/31/44 Ploesti, Rumania Double
75   6/2/44 Simeria, Rumania Double
76   6/4/44 Genoa, Italy Single
77 *  6:15 6/5/44 Bologna, Italy Single
78   6/6/44 Ploesti, Rumania Double
79   6/9/44 Munich, Germany Double
80   6/10/44 Trieste, Italy Single
81   6/11/44 Constanza, Rumania Double
82   6/13/44 Munich, Germany Double
83   6/14/44 Orssje, Yugoslavia Single
84   6/16/44 Pratislive, Czech. Double
85 *  6:20 6/22/44 Ferrarra, Italy Single
86   6/24/44 Ploesti, Rumania Double
87   6/25/44 Toulon, France Single
88 *  8:15 6/26/44 Vienna, Austria Double
89 *  4:40 6/27/44 Brod, Yuugoslavia Single
90 *  6:20 6/30/44 Zagreb, Yugoslavia Single
91 *  6:30 7/2/44 Budapest, Hungary Double
92   7/3/44 Guirgui, Rumania Double
93 *  7:00 7/4/44 Pitesti, Rumaia Double
94   7/5/44 Toulon, France Single
95 *  6:15 7/6/44 Cosarsa, Italy Single
96 *  5:55 7/7/44 Zagreb, Yugoslavia Single
97 *  7:25 7/8/44 Markersdorf, Austria Double
98   7/9/44 Ploesti, Rumania Double
99 *  8:30 7/12/44 Toulon, France Single
100   7/13/44 Brescie, Italy Single
101   7/14/44 Budepest, Hungary Single
102 *  7:45 7/15/44 Ploesti, Rumania Double
103   7/19/44 Neauabing, Germany Double
104 *  8:00 7/20/44 Fredrickshaven, Germany Double
105 *  5:50 7/21/44 Korsching, Austria Single
106 *  7:15 7/22/44 Ploesti, Rumania Double
107   7/23/44 Berat, Albania Single
108   7/26/44 Markersdorf, Germany Double
109 *  7:00 7/27/44 Budapest, Hungary Single
110   7/31/44 Targeviste, Rumania Single
111   8/3/44 Ora, Italy Single
112 *  8:15 8/6/44 Toulon, France Single
113   8/7/44 Alabaner, Yugoslavia Single
114 *  7:00 8/9/44 Budapest, Hungary Single
115   8/10/44 Ploesti, Rumania Double
116 *  8:25 8/12/44 Marseilles, France Single
117 *  7:15 8/13/44 Toulon, France Single
118   8/14/44 Savone, Italy Single
119 *  8:15 8/15/44 Beach Head, S. France Single
120 *  7:00 8/17/44 Ploesti, Rumania Double
121   8/20/44 Szelnoa, Hungary Single
122   8/22/44 Labed, Austria Double
123   8/23/44 Vosendorf, Austria Double
124   8/24/44 Vinkovci, Yugoslavia Single
125   8/26/44 Guirgui, Rumania Single
126   8/27/44 Ferrare, Italy Single
127 *  7:15 8/28/44 Miskolc, Hungary Single
128   8/29/44 Ferrare, Italy Single
129 *  4:30 9/1/44 Kraljevo, Yugoslavia Single
130 *  4:30 9/2/44 Kraljevo, Yugoslavia Single
131   9/4/44 Trento, Italy Single
132   9/5/44 Ferrara, Italy Single
133 *  4:45 9/6/44 Leskovac, Yugoslavia single
134 *  5:00 9/8/44 Nis, Yugoslavia Single
135   9/10/44 Vienna, Austria Double
136   9/12/44 Munich, Germany Double
137   9/13/44 Budepest, Hungary Single
138 *  5:10 9/15/44 Larissa, Greece Single
139   9/17/44 Budepest, Hungary Single
140   9/18/44 Budepest, Hungary Single
141   9/19/44 Kraljevo, Yugoslavia Single
142 *  8:00 9/20/44 Malacky, Austria Double
143   9/21/44 Novi Sad, Yugoslavia Single
144   9/22/44 Larissa, Greece Single
145 *  7:00 9/23/44 Ora, Italy Single
146   9/24/44 Athens, Greece Single
147   10/4/44 Bolzano, Italy Single
148   10/7/44 Vienna, Austria Double
149   10/10/44 Padue, Italy Single
150 *  8:15 10/11/44 Vienna, Austria Double
151   10/12/44 Bologna, Italy Single
152 *  7:00 10/13/44 Behhida, Hungary Single
153   10/14/44 Maribor, Yugoslavia Single
154   10/16/44 St. Valentin, Aistria Double
155 *  8:15 10/17/44 Vienna, Austria Double
156   10/23/44 Brenner Pass, Italy Single
157 *  6:00 10/29/44 Munich, Germany Double
158   10/29/44 722 Did not fly
159   10/31/44 Rodgbrite, Yugoslavia Single
160   11/3/44 Moosriervaum, Austria Double
161 *  6:30 11/4/44 Munich, Germany Double
168 *  7:25 11/12/44 Ora, Italy Single
174 *  6:40 11/18/44 Aviano, Italy Single
176 *  5:00 11/20/44 Dodoj, Yugoslavia Single




FLIGHT LOG


To help me remember the Missions I flew, I kept a personal log of them.
Information as to the number of Sorties & Missions, the date of the missions, what plane I flew in, the number and types of bombs carried and the name of the Pilot of the plane.
When I flew in the Lead Plane or Deputy Lead as Radio Operator, I was responsible for sending the Bomb Report back to the base.
This log was kept in the barracks and entries were made upon the return of the planes from the mission.
Each page was scanned into the computer and arranged four to a page. The following pages contain the pages my log.
The first pages had turned yellow from age (they were scanned about 55 years after they were written).

T/SGT C. A. BENSON 36744224  - WAR DIARY

722ND BOMB SQUADRON 450TH BOMB GROUP

15TH AIR FORCE MANDURIA, ITALY

M = Mission. When a mission extended for a period of more than 6 hours; double credit was given.

S = Sortie. A flight in an airplane over a target in which bombs were dropped, regardless of distance or time in the air.

In the 15th Air Force 50 missions were required to complete a tour of duty. This requirement was reduced to 35 sorties, November 22, 1944.

MS = Mission Successful

MF = Mission Failed

OK = Weather OK

NG = Weather NG

PF = Bombed by Radar – Pathfinder

M/1 – S/1

Normandy Invasion June 6, 1944

June 5, 1944 Baldgna, Italy – Marshalling Yard

Heavy Intense Accurate Flak

Pilot – Schafranka

Plane – Passionate Witch – 710 #5

10 -500 lb bombs MS OK

Feathered No 3 prop over target, 5 flak holes in ship. Lost no ships. My first mission. Very nervous.

(The first several missions, the new crew members had to fly with an experienced crew before they could fly together in their own plane). 

M/2 – S/2

June 22, 1944 – Genoa, Italy, Marshalling Yard

Flak not accurate

Pilot – Keller

Plane – Illegal Eagle 285 – Lead box

20 – 250 lb bombs

MS OK

No holes in ship

Barrage flak over target and off to each side. But none came near us. Went out to plane for times before going on mission. Really sweated it out.

M/4 – S/3

June 26, 1944 Vienna, Austria Aircraft Factory

H.I & A Flak

Pilot – Lombard

Plane – Fast Freight 387 # 4

10 – 500 bombs

MS OK

Flak was very accurate – planes in # 2 & 6 spots went down in flames – one first mission as a crew. Collected quite a few holes in ship. Lost Toni Gayle.

M/5 – S/4

June 27, 1944 Brod, Yugoslavia Marshalling Yard

Light Flak

Pilot – Crockett

Plane – Booby Trap 332 # 3

20-250 lb bombs

MS OK

Bombed Brod as an alternate target were headed to Ploesti. Flak was very light and far below us.

M/6 – S/5

June 30, 1944 – Zagreb Yugoslavia Airfield

No flak

Pilot – Lombard

Plane – Fast Freight - 387

240 – 20 lb Frag Bombs

Cloudy over target so salvage bombs – 15 or 20 ME109's seen but did not attack us. 

M/8 – S/6

July 2, 1944 Budapest, Hungary Airfield

Heavy Intense & accurate Flak

Pilot – Lombard

Plane – 387 Fast Freight

240 – 20 lb Frags

Biggest flak hole received today 7 inches long – inch wide – knocked out Navigators oxygen regulator & mike switch – prop ran away – nearly lost two engines over target. 

M/10 – S/7

July 4, 1944 Pitesti, Rumania, Bridge; Railroad

No Flak

Pilot – Lombard

Plane – Fast Freight 387

5 – 1000 lb bombs

MS OK

One plane turned back and never arrived. So it is assumed it was jumped by fighters. Fighters seen at distance – P-51, P-38 Escort

M/11 – S/8

July 6, 1944 Casara, Italy, Bridge

No Flak

Pilot – Lombard

Plane – Passionate Witch 710

5 – 1000 lb bombs

MS OK

Hit bridges both hiway and railroad. Put hiway out of commission but only tore up a few sections of railroad. No flak – saw two fighters (ME109's) below us but they did not attack us. P-47 Escort.



M/12 – S/9

July 7, 1944 Zagreb, Yugoslavia, Marshalling Yards

Heavy Flak

Pilot – Lombard

Plane – Fast Freight 387

10 – 500 lb bombs

Received number of holes in ship due to flak. Briefed for no escort and about 50 P-51's showed up – scaring the pants off us.

M/14 – S/10

July 8, 1944 Vienna, Austria, Airfield

Heavy to light flak on our target

Pilot – Lombard

Plane – Fast Freight 387

40 – 100 lb bombs

One Ship in front of us blew up just off coast of Yugoslavia. On bomb run one more B24 blew up. Went in prop wash just before bombs away and nearly did a roll. 10 100 pounder hung up in bomb bay – almost armed themselves hit more prop wash – on way home two B-17's blew up – B24 made crash landing on Vis and burned. Lots of ME109's, but none attacked.

M/15 – S/11

July 12, 1944 Toulon, France, Bridge

Intense inaccurate flak

Pilot – Lombard

Plane – Passionate Witch 710

5 – 1000 lb bombs

Made 360 on target. Two planes landed on Corsica on way home. No fighters.

M/16 - S/12

July 15, 1944 Ploesti, Rumania, Astro-Romano Oil Refinery

Heavy intense accurate flak

Pilot – Lombard

Plane – Passionate Witch 710

10 – 500 lb bombs

Lead ship blew up (pilot got out ? ? when Rumania ? ?) Our hydraulic system was shot out – hit target good. Smoke (black) altitude 20,000 feet. All ships shot up. Flat tires, no brakes (used parachutes out of window to stop) one crashed landed in field near airport, and plane burned.

M/18 – S/13

July 20, 1944 Freisreschafen, Germany, Aircraft Factory (Flying Bombs)

Heavy intense accurate flak

Pilot – Lombard

Plane – Fast Freight 387

10 – 500 lb bombs

Target was just across lake from Switzerland – saw one chute dropping down – lost one ship.



M/19 – S/14

July 21, 1944 Steyr, Germany, Ball Bearing Factory

Heavy flak encountered

Pilot – Lombard

Plane – Fast Freight 387

10 – 500 lb bombs

Weather closed in so made 360 in Northern Italy – attacked by 2 ME109's – drew flak from Ufallce – other planes in box (113 & 421) shot at planes – one went down in flames.

M/20 – S/15

July 22, 1944 Ploesti, Rumania, Romano-Americano Oil Refinery

Heavy intense and accurate flak

Pilot – Lombard

Plane – Fast Freight 387

10 – 500 lb bombs

Two B-17's burned over target. Saw 9 chutes out of one plane – note out of other. Had new pilot for co-pilot and he sort of went haywire from it.

M/21 – S/16

July 27, 1944 Budapest, Hungary, Aircraft Factory

Heavy intense & accurate flak

Pilot - Lombard

Plane – Fast Freight 387 – Opposite Lead

10 – 500 lb bombs

Lost No. 5 plane – pal from our barracks in it – 4 chutes were seen. Lead plane had radio shot out so I sent bomb report along.

M/22 – S/17

(My 20th Birthday)

August 6, 1944 Toulon, France, Submarine Pens

Heavy intense and accurate flak

Pilot – Lombard

Plane – Fast Freight 387

10 – 500 lb bombs

MS OK

My birthday – Flak was most accurate I have encountered – one large hole by each waist window. Two small ones about 2 inches from where right waist gunner was standing  - numerous other holes in other parts of plane. Tail turret power cable was shot out. 15 holes counted. Plane ? gas during climb to 25,000 feet ? past left waist window (open).

M/24 – S/19

August 12, 1944 Toulon, France, Gun Emplacements

No flak

Pilot – Lombard

Plane – Fast Freight 387

10 – 500 lb bombs

MS OK

Made 360 over target – went home alone (our box). Our bombs hit a little wide of target. But hit at least one gun.



 

M/25 – S/20

August 13, 1944 Coast of France, Gun Emplacements

No flak

Pilot – Lombard

Plane – Male Call 260

10 – 500 lb bombs

MS OK

Target was on island - flew oldest ship on field – gas and oil were leaking like a sieve – we made it.

M/26 – S/21

August 15, 1944 Beach Head of France

Invasion of Southern France - Barbed Wire Entanglements

Two bursts of Flak

Pilot – Lombard

Plane – Fast Freight 387

40 – 100 lb bombs

MS OK

Took off at 3am – while in air circling field saw three planes explode – on course three more explosions were seen. Picked up rest of formation at Corsica. We went in just before naval barrage.

Every type of aircraft was there bombing, strafing, dive-bombing – Invasion of Southern France.

M/27 – S/22

August 17, 1944 Ploesti, Rumania, Astro-Romano Oil Fields

Heavy intense And accurate flak

Pilot – Lombard

Plane – Fast Freight 387

10 – 500 lb bombs

Met lots of flak over target. Lead ship was hit and four men were injured. Dropped from 25,000 feet to 1,600 feet in about ten minutes. Navigator got off the ball and we hit five flak areas on return trip – one squadron lost three ships over them.

M/28 – S/23

August 21, 1944 Miskolac, Hungary, Marshalling Yards

Light Flak

Pilot – Lombard

Plane – Fast Freight 387

10 – 500 lb bombs

1200 boxcars in yard – got good bombing percentage.

M/29 – S/24

September 1, Kraljeno, Yugoslavia, Marshalling Yards

No flak

Pilot – Lombard

Plane – Bachelors Blitz 441

10 – 500 lb bombs

Encountered 2 ME109's, but were not attacked.



M/30 – S/25

September 2, 1944 Kraljeno, Yugoslavia, Bridge

No flak

Pilot – Col. Gideon

Plane – Passionate Pirate 261

10 – 500 lb bombs

MS OK

Flew lead with our group C.O. Col. Gideon – flew radio and had no trouble. Hard landing on return, but who tells that to a colonel ?

M/31 – S/26

September 6, 1944 Nis, Yugoslavia, Troup Concentrations

Moderate flak

Pilot – Lombard

Plane - ? – Lead

5 – 1000 pounders

MS OK

Hit town square on aiming point. Thousand pounders laid houses flat for blacks and blocks. Reported to have been 35,000 Germans quartered there.  

M/32 – S/27

September 15, 1944 Larissa, Greece, Marshalling Yards

No flak at Target

Pilot – Lombard

Plane – Queen Ann 458 – Lead

10 – 500 lb bombs

MS NG

Went over target but did not drop bombs – 10/10 cloud coverage. No escort.

M/33 – S/29

September 20, 1944 Malacky, Czechoslovakia, Airfield

No flak

Pilot – Lombard

Plane – 041 – Lead

240 Frag Bombs

MS OK

Drew no flak at target. Saw Bratislavia oil storage burning as we passed near. Started with ship 252 but wheel wouldn't stay up, turbo went out, prop ran away – went back and got spare ship.

M/36 – S/30

September 23, 1944 Brenner Pass, Italy, Bridge

No flak at target

Pilot – Lombard

Plane – Lead Y-1

3 – 2000 lb bombs

Target weathered in 10/10 cloud coverage. Prop ran away.



M/37 – S/31

October 11, 1944 Vienna, Austria, Oil Storage

Flak (from Bagrea, Yugo)

Pilot – Lombard

Plane – Queen Ann – 458 – Lead

8 – 500 lb bombs

Weather closed in – went through heavy cloud bank – lost formation. P-38, P-51 escort. Up to 26,000 feet, B-17's crossed over us. Went over Zagreb where flak was shot at us – inaccurate.

Temperature -35.

M/38 – S/32

October 13, 1944 Budapest, Hungary, Marshalling Yards

Moderate Flak

Pilot – Lombard

Plane – Fast Freight 387 – Lead box

8 – 500 lb bombs

360 over target – no flak first trip – moderate second. One rocket shut up – one plane down in flames. Hit target. Fighters followed us. 4 P-38's as escort. Temperature -26.

M/40 – S/33

October 17, 1944 Vienna, Austria, Oil Storage

Heavy intense accurate

Pilot – Lombard

Plane – 526 – Lead Y-1

6 – 500 lb bombs

Today the chaplain came to briefing and said a prayer – must have helped us – lost no planes and had only one small flak hole in left aileron. Hardly noticeable. Temperature -20.

M/42 – S/34

November 4, 1944 Munich, Germany, Marshalling Yards

Heavy intense and accurate flak

Pilot – Lombard

Plane – 907 – Lead Z-1

8 – 500 lb incendiaries

Our first trip to Munich as a crew. The flak was heavy and intense. But we were fortunate and were not hit. Temperature -28. 10/10 cloud coverage so dropped by PPF. Hit target. Transfer pump froze on way back, so landed at fighter strip in northern Italy about 75 or 50 miles from front lines. While there, recon flew over us and ack-ack shot at them.  

M/42 – S/35

November 11, 1944 Ora, Italy, Bridge

Heavy intense accurate

Pilot – Lombard

Plane – Fast Freight 387 – Lead Y-2

6 – 1000 lb bombs

At last we made a mission after several tries. Yesterday we got up past Foggia and turned back because of bad weather. Temperature -45 over target. Flak was heavy and intense. Only one hole but the flak was in the other boxes. Good P-38 escort to and from target.

M/44 – S/36

November 18, 1944 Northern Italy, Airfield

No flak No fighters

Pilot – Lombard

Plane – Fast Freight 387 – Lead Y-2

40 – 100 lb bombs

Had E-20 camera with me and shot pictures of "bombs away" and of the target. Also shot pictures of crew and of formation. Ball gunner forgot top of heated suit, but was lucky as it only got down to -27. Lots of good cover (P-51's). Hit airfield good.

M/45 – S/37

November 20, 1944 Yugoslavia, Bridge

No flak

Pilot – Lombard

Plane – Fast Freight 387 – No.3 X-1

5 – 1000 lb bombs

Pilots last mission today – perfect mission. Everything went smooth. Flew tight formation on return to base. Corporon and Slim grounded today – Nav flew with Colonel - Pop Hobart and Colonel also finis today. Six months over seas today. 

November 22, 1944 Fererra, Italy, Bridge

NO CREDIT

Heavy intense accurate flak

Pilot – McCumsey

Plane – 352 – Lead Y-2

Our box was crowded out just before bomb run so we were unable to make a run on the target.

Lost lead ship of our group and possible three others. Flak was very accurate.



LAST MISSION 35 SORTIE DEAL CAME THROUGH AND I HAVE 37!!!!!!!!



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