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Sterling P. Hoch
397BG/596BS

Lt. Hoch and Lt Garton in France (probably Peronne) in January, 1945. Lt. and Mrs (Evelyn) Hoch, and Lt. and Mrs. (Betty) Garton holding son Doug in Dodge City, Kansas where they shared a house as instructor pilots.

Bomb arming pins from 1st mission (April 22, 1944) and D-Day mission (lists crew on the tag)


Lt. Hoch and crew standing from left: Lt. Hoch (pilot), Ed Hammack (eng.),
Lt. Garton (co-pilot) kneeling: Joe Ceravolo (togglier), George Kapitan (radio)

 

Date

Mission #

Commentary

16-Apr 1944

Ready for first mission – briefing – scrubbed

19-Apr 1944

Diversionary mission – 2 tons bombs – didn’t drop

22-Apr 1944

1

Box 2 #2-C flight – lots of flak; none for me

23-Apr 1944

2

Coastal gun position at Benerville, France

26-Apr 1944

3

Up at 3:30AM, but never crossed channel.  Back up at 9:00PM.  Penetrated Belgium, but didn’t drop – meals far apart.

30-Apr 1944

4

Lots of flak – got a few holes.  Engine trouble – back over France by self.  Detonation blew gates from carburetor.

1-May 1944

5

Several delays – long mission and rough turbulence – minimum flak

5-May 1944

Scheduled for long one – scrubbed just before take-off

6-May 1944

Alerted but not briefed because of foul weather.

8-May 1944

6

Rough mission – flak close.  George Hoffman shot down over France.

9-May 1944

7

Not too rough, but a bombardier killed.

13-May 1944

8

Mission in AM.  Colonel Wood’s navigator killed.  Another briefing late afternoon – scrubbed before take-off.

15-May 1944

9

On mission to bomb airfield – heavy clouds – returned with bombs.

18-May 1944

Leonard Jackson flew in (in P-51).  Has an enemy ship to his credit.

19-May 1944

10

Short mission – target-shore guns

20-May 1944

11

Late evening mission – heavy clouds – made 3 runs – returned with bombs.

22-May 1944

Scheduled, but cancelled before take-off.

23-May 1944

AM mission – 11 miles from Germany – scrubbed before take-off.  PM – milk run scrubbed because of weather.

24-May 1944

Was scheduled for AM, but never got off.

27-May 1944

12

Late mission – returned at 10:30, bed after midnight.  Light flak. (Le Manoir RR bridge)

28-May 1944

13

Long mission – 11 miles from Germany.  Hit bridge; no fighters.  Another long one scheduled for evening, almost to Paris, but plans changed. (Maissons La Fitte RR bridge)

29-May 1944

Was scheduled to fly, but called off.

30-May 1944

Scheduled for PM flight, but was called off.

31-May 1944

14

Went on a long mission – hit bridge.  Plane returned with new left engine. (Rouen highway bridge)

1-Jun 1944

15

Early mission scrubbed – bad weather.  Later mission (same target – Le Harve) carried out despite bad weather.  Very rough – engine cut out.  Pulled off target at 350 mph.

2-Jun 1944

Started on a short one, but aborted when engine started to cut out after take-off

3-Jun 1944

Scheduled for second mission of the day, but only one was flown.

4-Jun 1944

Scheduled for two missions, but none were flown.

5-Jun 1944

Up at 4:30 – scheduled for 2 missions. First – 3 hour delay, take off through heavy clouds, flew to Channel and returned to base.  Second one scrubbed.

6-Jun 1944

16

Up at 1:00AM (D-Day).  Briefing at 2:00AM – take off after 4:00AM.  Bad weather – zero hour 6:30AM.  Hit target at 6:20.  (Les Dunes de Verreville) 5,300 ships in channel – guns flashing – some ships sinking, others on fire.  Engine cut out over target.  One of our planes in formation ahead of us blew up.  Just a big red flash.  Was scheduled for second mission, but was cancelled.

9-Jun 1944

Scheduled to fly – rain all day – scrubbed.

10-Jun 1944

17

Up at 3:30AM – much indecision.  Briefing finally at 10:30AM.  Hit beachhead gun emplacement, only a few hundred yards from our own lines.  Still hundreds of ships in the channel.

11-Jun 1944

18

Mission to Cherbourg Peninsula again.  Several layers of clouds.  Made several passes at target and returned with bombs. (St. Lo road junctions)

12-Jun 1944

In briefing room from 3:45PM to 8:00PM – no mission ever came in from headquarters.

13-Jun 1944

19

Up at 5:30AM – mission scrubbed.  Alerted again in PM.  Waited around until 8:00PM takeoff.  Returned at 11:00PM.

14-Jun 1944

20

Got us out of bed for 10:30 briefing – sat around until almost 6:00PM.  Took off at 6:30PM – returned 9:30PM.  Saw first dog fight – 1 ME109 vs. 4 P-51s. (Chartres RR bridge)

16-Jun 1944

Scheduled for morning mission, but was scrubbed.  Had to hang around for PM mission.  Finally, called briefing at 6:30PM, but scrubbed again.

17-Jun 1944

21

Scheduled for AM, but was scrubbed.  Briefing at 6:00PM, takeoff at 7:40PM – returned at 11:40PM.  Capt. Armbruster ran out of gas and crash landed.  A 599th plane crashed on field and burned up.  Doubt if anyone survived.

23-Jun 1944

22

Briefing at 8:15AM – mission scrubbed.  Another briefing at 6:30PM.  Shortest mission in ages – only 2:35.  Returned at 10:50PM.

24-Jun 1944

Didn’t fly today, thank goodness.  Those that did had a rough one to Paris;  quite a few didn’t get back.

26-Jun 1944

Up at 4:30AM, briefing at 5:30AM – mission scrubbed.  Bad weather, heavy clouds, rain.

29-Jun 1944

Bad weather continues.  Fifth day of alert and no flying.

30-Jun 1944

Briefing at 1:30PM, but Pathfinder replaced us.

3-Jul 1944

Still raining – no mission

5-Jul 1944

Briefing at 6:00AM – 1 hour delay, then scrubbed.  Another briefing at 6:15PM, scrubbed at 6:20PM.

6-Jul 1944

23

Up at 4:30AM – flew first mission in two weeks.  Flak heavy – one piece almost hit our gas tank. (Dol-Rennes RR Line)

7-Jul 1944

Up at 4:00AM – one hour delay, then scrubbed at 8:00AM.

10-Jul 1944

Went to south England to pick up plane with only crew chief as crew – not ready yet.  Had tea at English Field.

12-Jul 1944

Up for mission in AM – scrubbed.  Flew test hop, discovered oil leak.  Three more briefings in PM.  Released at 7:00PM.

14-Jul 1944

Up at 4:30AM – three one-hour delays, then scrubbed.  Another briefing at 5:00PM – cancelled at 6:50PM.

15-Jul 1944

24

Governor control problem in AM mission – didn’t take off.  Flew 4 hour mission in PM – lots of flak.  Longest mission to date.  Had engine trouble – less than 50% power between both engines.  Couldn’t keep up with formation – flew by ourselves, kept losing altitude.  Flew over Pas de Calais at several hundred feet, flak and tracers all around us.  Reported down in channel – searches by plane, helicopters and ships.  Flew at tree top levels back to base.  Called in for emergency landing – had to wait for rest of formation to land.  All running out of gas.  Planes crash landed couple of miles short of runway.  Several crashes and burning on field.  Had to wait until runway cleared.

18-Jul 1944

25

Lots of flak today – had approximately 7 holes in first 24 missions, and got about 10 today.  Tough and long. (Cherisy RR bridge)

19-Jul 1944

26

Up at 4:00AM – mission scrubbed just before take-off.  Another long mission in evening – milk run.  (La Possonniere RR bridge)

20-Jul 1944

Flew to Earl’s Colne to pick up secret papers.

21-Jul 1944

Flew to B-17 base with Hayes to see Hayes’ friend.

22-Jul 1944

Had briefing at 5:00PM – scrubbed at 5:30PM.

23-Jul 1944

Briefing at 8:00AM, but was replaced for Pathfinder.

24-Jul 1944

27

Briefing at 11:00AM – scrubbed at noon.  Another mission in PM.  Take off 6:00PM.  Left engine hit by flak – on fire.  Made single engine emergency landing on strip in France. (3,500 foot runway)

25-Jul 1944

Hitch hiked within three miles of front.  Spent some time with eight-inch artillery.  Back to England on C-47 late PM.

29-Jul 1944

Brother came to visit.

30-Jul 1944

28

Flew afternoon mission in B-26F – light flak.

31-Jul 1944

29

Split time on mission with Julius. (Mayenne RR Viaduct)

1-Aug 1944

30

Up at 4:00AM – mission scrubbed at 5:30AM.  Flew long mission in PM.  Saw three enemy fighters.  One shot down, also one of our B-26s.  Another B-26 all shot up, but returned to base. (Le Ponts de Ce RR bridge)

3-Aug 1944

31

Mission in PM.  One of our ships crashed after another chewed its tail off.  Other ship spun, but recovered. (Li Laigle La Trinte de Reville RR-highway intersection)

5-Aug 1944

Moved to Hurn in South England.  All planes over loaded (all tail heavy – see picture on this date in Bridge Buster’s book).  Many planes crashed, and some burned.

7-Aug 1944

32

Flew mission in number 4 position.

8-Aug 1944

33

First day in which I flew two missions.  Both had window ships, but no flak.  Both were expected to be rough, but were milk runs.  First was four hours.

34

Second was two hours and twenty minutes.

9-Aug 1944

Scheduled for mission.  Almost ready to taxi out when discovered that cowl flaps didn’t work.  Did not fly.

11-Aug 1944

35

Very rough mission.  Low ceiling at take-off.  Encountered some rain.  Heavy flak.  Over four hour mission.

13-Aug 1944

36

Afternoon mission.  Not much flak. (Corbiel marshalling yard)

14-Aug 1944

37

Another milk run today.

15-Aug 1944

38

On milk run to St. Malo.  Invasion of Southern France today.

16-Aug 1944

Scheduled, but scrubbed when taxiing out.  100th group mission.

17-Aug 1944

39

Took off late – came back through heavy overcast – 300 to 500 foot ceiling.

24-Aug 1944

Briefing in AM, but mission scrubbed just before starting engines.

25-Aug 1944

40

Mission to Brest.  Expected it to be rough.  Several bursts directly in front of us, but no hits.

26-Aug 1944

41

Morning mission, lots of flak.  Briefing – dive away from target to left.  King led us over and to right into biggest concentration.  Had one hit on windshield, plus four or five others.  Other fives planes in flight crash landed.

28-Aug 1944

42

Up at 6:00AM, mission scheduled at 8:30AM.  Heavy clouds at 5,000 ft.  Flew mission in evening.

3-Sep 1944

Brief at 9:00AM.  Started engines, then delayed.  Another briefing in PM – never took off.

4-Sep 1944

Out to planes in AM, returned for dinner.  Back to planes again, returned for supper.  On way to planes again in evening, mission scrubbed.

5-Sep 1944

43

To planes late AM, then back for dinner.  To planes again – several delays, then back for supper.  Finally, flew to Brest in evening.

6-Sep 1944

44

Up at 5:00AM – easy flight to Brest.

8-Sep 1944

 

On alert all day, but never flew.

19-Sep 1944

45

First mission over Germany.  Some flak in bomb run.  Not flying my ship – had not hits.  Capt. Evans was flying my plane, and wheels collapsed on landing – came in on belly.

20-Sep 1944

46

Second flight over Germany – milk run.  Blew up a marshalling yard.

22-Sep 1944

AM briefing – scrubbed after engines started.

25-Sep 1944

Up at 5:15AM for briefing – one hour delay.  Boarded planes, then scrubbed.

28-Sep 1944

47

Flew mission today in messed up formation around target.  Brought bombs back.

29-Sep 1944

48

Mission in PM.  Heavy clouds at 4,000 feet.  Lots of flak, but inaccurate. (Bitburg barracks area)

1-Oct 1944

Scheduled, but mission scrubbed before we got to briefing.

2-Oct 1944

49

6:30AM briefing – milk run.  Brought bombs back.

14-Oct 1944

Scheduled, but never reached briefing stage.

15-Oct 1944

Up at 4:30AM.  Several delays, then mission scrubbed.  Was to have been out deepest penetration into Germany (35 minutes from Berlin).

16-Oct 1944

Scheduled, but scrubbed before briefing.

19-Oct 1944

UP at 6:30AM – mission scrubbed before briefing.  Another briefing scheduled at noon, but never took place.

20-Oct 1944

50

Flew number 50 today, as window.  Dropping aluminum foil.  To Holland.

21-Oct 1944

Two briefings, but scrubbed before take-off.

22-Oct 1944

Scheduled briefing, scrubbed again.

23-Oct 1944

Pathfinder mission scrubbed after briefing.

29-Oct 1944

51

Scheduled as spare.  A screwed-up takeoff due to holes in taxi strip.  Was German base, never completely repaired after out take over.  Never caught up to formation.  Returned to field, and skidded off end of wet runway.  No damage.

30-Oct 1944

Up at 6:00AM.  Briefing for deep penetration into Germany.  One hour delay, then scrubbed.

4-Nov 1944

Scheduled for mission, but scratched for Pathfinder.

5-Nov 1944

52

Up at 5:30AM.  Briefing at 7:00AM, mission scrubbed, then briefing for Pathfinder.  Formation had lots of trouble going up through heavy clouds.

9-Nov 1944

53

Flew mission in AM, returned with bombs.  Flew through snow storms.  Ice on windows.  Got stuck in mud.

54

Without dinner, flew Pathfinder mission – returned with bombs.

11-Nov 1944

55

Pathfinder mission in AM.  Milk run, although it was heavily defended.  Used window.

16-Nov 1944

Briefing for our largest mission (54 ship formation) to aid big offensive.  Several planes had taken off when mission was scrubbed.


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