Boyd V. Hall
322 Bomb Group, 452 Bomb Squadron
Revenge Raid Proves Real Pleasure for Flier
A NINTH AIR FORCE BOMBER BASE, England
A “revenge mission” against Ijmuiden, Holland, brought personal satisfaction to S/Sgt. Boyd V. Hall, as hundreds of B-26 Marauders swooped across the Channel to settle an old score.
Ijmuiden was the scene of a low-level Marauder attack several months previously in which several of Sgt. Hall’s buddies were lost by flak and fighters. The retaliatory attack underscored the growing might of the Marauders and their success at medium-altitude bombing, now climaxed in aerial support of allied invasion troops.
Sgt. Hall, who recently won the Distinguished Flying Cross for outstanding achievement as an engineer-gunner on thirty-seven Marauder missions, is a member of “Nye’s Annihilators,” pioneer 9th air force Marauder group in this theatre of operations led by Col. Glenn C. Nye. Sgt. Hall is a crew member of Col. Nye’s Marauder “Ginger 2nd.”
“The Marauder is a great bomber and can take plenty of punishment”, avers Sgt. Hall. He pointed out that on the “revenge mission” the Marauder in which he was flying brought its crew back to safety although flak had knocked out one engine, damaged the other so badly that it trailed smoke all the way back, and shot away part of the hydraulic systems. “My pilot, Lt. Col. Gove C. Cello, did a swell job of crash-landing the plane, ” declared Sgt. Hall.
The Marauder gunner has participated in the furious offensive of the Marauders against enemy airdromes, shipyards, power plants, marshalling yards, and other military objectives in western Europe. On many of these attacks intense flak and persistent fighter opposition were encountered but the Marauders took the obstacles in stride to bomb their targets with pin-point precision.
Sgt. Hall attended High School and was employed as a machinist for the railroad prior to induction into the army Dec. 10, 1941. He received engineering and gunnery training at Kessler Field, Miss., and the Glen L. Martin Co., Baltimore before coming overseas late 1942.
Sgt. Hall is a son of W. Wayne Hall and is one of three brothers in the service, T/Sgt. Norman N. Hall serving in the armored division and Pfc. David L. Hall is field artillery. He has been stationed in England since November, 1943 and earlier won the Air Medal and Oak Leaf Clusters for his service.
Sgt. Hall still vividly recalls bombing missions
Tech Sgt. Boyd V. Hall still recalls most of his bombing missions into the heart of Western Europe from July 1943 until Feb. 2, 1945, as a top turret engineer gunner aboard his twin-engine B-26 Marauder.
He muses there never was a return ticket guarantee on all 65 of his missions. One of the flights across the North Sea he dubbed as a revenge raid. Swarms of Marauders stormed across the sea to Ijmuiden, Holland, to knock out naval installations from which fast E-boats had harassed the allied shipping.
This was the scene of a low level attack on May 17, 1943, in which several of Hall’s buddies were lost to heavy flak and fighters. Among his campaign ribbons was the Air Offensive of Europe Normandy Invasion, Battle of Northern France and Rhineland. His decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 2 silver and one bronze oak-left clusters, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal and Presidential Unit Citation.
He briefly recalls the June 6, 1944, D-Day. Allied forces were alerted at mid-night to wear steels helmet and carry side arms.
Bombers hit the coastal guns in the Caen areas and came back in the afternoon and took out a highway bridge in the Caen area. The more furious offensives were air fields, ship yards, gunnery plants, rail yards, bridges and V-1 rocket launching sites.
On all these, there was persistent fighter opposition. As Hall continued, a tear formed in his eye as his recalled how easy it was to develop a personal affection for the craft that brought him through all these raids. “Like a guardian angle with wings,” he quipped. As I shook his hand, it struck me why this generation came to be known “as the greatest generation ever.”
I was safely at home as a young teenager building models of planes he and thousands flew and dreaming of being a war hero pilot. How quickly I came to learn it wasn’t all that simple.
Photo: Tech. Sgt. Hall is shown between his two .50-caliber guns in March, 1944. He later was wounded by enemy flak in the same turret.
Second picture of Mild & Bitter. This on is no. 13 in “Flak Bait”, the book by Devon Francis
“That’s me! They took advantage of us Yanks there, a Scotsman told me that they don’t wear any thing under this but you have my word for it that my ODS were just rolled up underneath.” Boyd V. Hall
Bomb Bay B-26 4 1000 Lb Bombs “The picture of the 1000 lbers (pounders) was looking into the bomb bay from the radio room can you imagine getting through those bomb racks it was a pretty tight squeeze, and what made it worse was with the chute harness on.” Boyd V. Hall
Lt. R. P. Moninger, Kuhl; Krikla; Fox 13th June 1944 target Foret d’Andaine fuel dumps. 42-107746 PN-D 449th.BS 322nd.BG hit by flak in right engine and gas tank. Dived out of formation and at approx 200′ Sgt Fox bailed out and killed. Rest of crew stayed with B26 which Moninger crashlanded in field near Tilly Sur Seulles, France. 1.Lt R E Moninger, 1.Lt R.D Messer, S/Sgt E Montes DeOca, S/Sgt J O Kuhl, S/Sgt B Krykla, Sgt S Fox
Capt. Lee Rice, Sgt. Patrillo, Lt. Eyeburgh, at Cherburgh
“Flak Rest Home” Warringtom, England – going to town “The horse and buggy this was at Warrington, England at what was called by the men the “flak rest home” and we did ride this buggy to town it was the taxy.”
“The Old Vet” 41-31739 DR-P
452nd BS, 322nd BG
“When the battle of the Bulge started we were on high alert that we may have to evacuate and return to England. All combat men had to stand guard duty on the different hard stands and I was on guard of the Old Vet. After I was discharged my wife and I went to the Movies at the Strand Theater and the Pathe news came on and it showed the destruction of the planes in Germany and one of them was the Old Vet.”
Lt. Col. Paul Shannon, CO. 452 was on 1st mission to Ijmuiden, Mild & Bitter
B26 on its nose. 43-34453 DR-S “Cherie” nosewheel collapsed on landing 14th February 1945. 1Lt. E.P Schnats and crew.
The group repairing the runway at Beauvais Tille, France Sept ’44
Wash day Beauvais Tille, France
B-26 Beauvais Tille
3/4 front right B26 on hardstand this is 44-67806 ER-L 450th BS, 322nd BG
41-18210 SS-A “Tobacco Road” in flight 451st BS, later renamed as “Piece Maker”
Boyd V. Hall 322 BG/452 BS
Lead Crew, third mission to Ijmuiden on the 26 of March 1944
“When we hit the IP the Norton bomb sight took over and the pilot followed the PDI indicator and he had to keep that arrow on zero till the bombs were dropped on one mission to the railroad yards at Tergnier I swear that that bomb run had to be 10 minutes, I could never tell you how we got through it we had some help from above. But I did get a piece of flak in my right leg. There was another time we went to hit a launching ramp down in Cherburgh and we got the book threw at us there was an 88 went through the fuselage during the evasive action and it went through the turret and cut all my wires off and the bonding on the wires stuck in my gloves if I hadn’t been facing forward I wouldn’t be writing this. I was the only one who ever got hit in all 65 missions. But Sheldon Past our navigator did get hit when he was flying with another pilot. All for now.”
“The 322 Bomb Group had 3 boxes of 18 planes to a box Col. Celio led the first box Col. Othel Turner led the second box and Maj. Louis Sibille led the third box. All three men were on the first Ijmuiden raid. With revenge in mind the 322 had long awaited the mission on the 26 March 1944 The objective was the harbor and Navel installations from which fast E boat harassed allied shipping. We were flying 41-311967 SS-H “Johnny Zero” We drew our first fire from the IP. Col Celio said that the left engine was loosing RPM and had to be shut down from the top turret I could see that the right engine had been hit and was smoking pretty bad but we managed to finish the bomb run and drop the bombs and fired a red flair to tell that we were dropping out of the lead and dropped down to about 5000 feet and headed west for England. The right Engine continued to operate but still smoked all the way back Capt Past said that it was 33 minutes till we got back. Many of the air craft were ripped by flak and had to crash land on return one was the our lead ship “Johnny Zero” which was forced to belly land at a B17 base at Framlingham, as we made our approach the landing gear was left down and registered as locked but wasn’t’ and collapsed when we hit the runway and we wound up on the grass fortunately no one was injured. I believe “Johnny Zero” was retired after that, this same crew on D Day at a little after 6AM we led the 322 to the beach at Caen we dropped 16 250-pound bombs on the gun emplacements. I was back again in the afternoon with Col. Nye to bomb a Highway bridge on the river Orn, it was in the Caen area and we were to get it at all cost. We flew the new “Ginger” 42-107689 PN-U as the first “Ginger” either was shot down or crash-landed. I flew my 65 missions and was rotated back to the states and was discharged under the point system, and was discharged on the 18th of May 1945.” Boyd V. Hall