February 16, 2011
Ray Allen WWII Veteran - B-17 Navigator
306th Bomb Group flew 35 combat missions over Europe
|Ray Allen will be our guest speaker at the February 16th Membership meeting that begins at 7 p.m.
Ray is a WWII veteran who flew 35 combat missions as Navigator aboard B-17s with the 306th Bomb Group. The 306th was the source of the book and later the movie Twelve O’clock High staring Gregory Peck flying with the factious 918th Bomb Group.
|We will hear about what went into flying day light missions and how the 8th Air Force was able to coordinate the launch and bombing raids involving a 1000 bombers and 500 fighter escorts flying out of numerous airfields throughout England.
History of the 306th Bombardment GroupConstituted as 306th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 28 Jan 1942.
Activated on 1 Mar 1942.
Trained for combat with B-17’s.
Moved to England, Aug-Sep 1942, and assigned to Eighth AF.
During combat, Oct 1942-Apr 1945, operated primarily against strategic targets, striking locomotive works at Lille, railroad yards at Rouen, submarine pens at Bordeaux, shipbuilding yards at Vegesack, ball-bearing works at Schweinfurt, oil plants at Merseburg, marshalling yards at Stuttgart, a foundry at Hannover, a chemical plant at Ludwigshafen, aircraft factories at Leipzig, and other objectives on the Continent.
Took part in the first penetration into Germany by heavy bombers of Eighth AF on 27 Jan 1943 by attacking U-boat yards at Wilhelmshaven.
Sgt Maynard H Smith received the Medal of Honor for his performance on 1 May 1943: when the aircraft on which he was a gunner was hit by the enemy and fires were ignited in the radio compartment and waist sections, the sergeant threw exploding ammunition overboard, manned a gun until the German fighters were driven off, administered first aid to the wounded tail gunner, and extinguished the fire.
Without fighter escort and in the face of powerful opposition, the 306th completed an assault against aircraft factories in central Germany on 11 Jan 1944, being awarded a DUC for the mission.
Received another DUC for action during Big Week, the intensive campaign against the German aircraft industry, 2~25 Feb 1944: although hazardous weather forced supporting elements to abandon the mission, the group effectively bombarded an aircraft assembly plant at Bernberg on 22 Feb.
Often supported ground forces and attacked interdictory targets in addition to its strategic operations.
Helped to prepare for the invasion of Normandy by striking airfields and marshalling yards in France, Belgium, and Germany; backed the assault on 6 Jun 1944 by raiding railroad bridges and coastal guns.
Assisted ground forces during the St Lo breakthrough in Jul.
Covered the airborne invasion of Holland in Sep.
Helped stop the advance of German armies in the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944-Jan 1945, by attacking airfields and marshalling yards.
Bombed enemy positions in support of the airborne assault across the Rhine in Mar 1945.
Remained in the theater after V-E Day as part of United States Air Forces in Europe, and engaged in special photographic mapping duty in western Europe and North Africa.
Inactivated in Germany on 25 Dec 1946.
Location:Mesa Beverage Company, Inc.
3200 N. Laughlin Road. Santa Rosa, CA
Directions: From Santa Rosa, take Highway 101 North and exit at Airport Blvd. Turn left on Laughlin Road toward the museum. The Mesa building is located on the left side of the street just past the museum and Nob Hill south gate.
Missed one? in 2010?
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|March 16||Lt Col James Warren WWII/Korea/Vietnam Veteran - Pilot & Tuskegee Airman. Author/Book sales|
|April 20||Peter Stekel, Author of Final Flight Mystery of WWII Plane Crash and the Frozen Airmen of the High Sierra. Book sales|
|May 18||Will Whiteside & Pacific Coast Air Museum Member, Reno Air Races Debrief|
|June 15||Jeane Slone, Author & Pacific Coast Air Museum Member, She Built Ships During WWII. Book sales|