December 31, 1944. The 100th Bomb Group — the ‘Bloody Hundredth’ — strike an oil refinery near Hamburg.
First in the ‘Big Friends’ trilogy.
With more than 100 veterans’ signatures and a special Luftwaffe-signed edition.
- 235 Limited Edition with SEVEN aircrew co-signatures. $220
- 135 Complete Aircrew Edition with TEN aircrew co-signatures (Pilot, Co-pilot, Navigator, Air Gunners, etc.). $295
- 35 Artist’s Proofs with TWENTY-ONE aircrew co-signatures (incl. Command Pilot on this mission, Maj. C. A. Martin). $375
- 120 Group Edition with ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHT aircrew/groundcrew co-signatures. Comes with a list of signatories, printed on prime, acid-free paper and suitable for framing. $575 (SOLD OUT)
- 30 Combatants Edition with FOURTEEN aircrew co-signatures: six Luftwaffe, eight B17 aircrew. $525
- 25 Remarqued Edition with SIXTEEN co-signatures: six Luftwaffe, ten B17 aircrew. $695
- 140 Veterans Edition Not for sale by publisher. Signed by the artist only.
- 50 Studio Edition Signed by the artist only. $160
This print release honors every veteran of the legendary Hundredth Bomb Group and all those who flew the war-torn skies of Europe during World War II.
Special thanks to Mike Coenen, Wallace McNish, Ernst Scheufele and the pilots of JG5, Kevin Johnson, Mike Faley, Jan Riddling, Chuck Harding and the Hundredth Bomb Group Foundation for making this project possible.
Staff Sergeant Paul Zak is originally from Tourage, Lithuania. Trained at Army Air Field, Las Vegas, he joined 418 Squadron with the 100th Bomb Group. He flew with Harold Bucklew’s crew in ‘Silver Dollar,’ as the ball turret gunner. On the Hamburg raid, he disabled a FW-190, causing its engine to catch fire. On the return journey, he witnessed Glenn Rojohn’s B-17 collide with McNabb’s, and both B-17′s began a wide descending circle, drifting towards the coast. He reported the tail numbers at debriefing. Awards include Air Medal (5 OLC’s), Polish Flying Cross, Russian Victory Medal.
Major Harry Crosby was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1942. He flew 37 missions, mostly as the Lead Navigator, including the longest missions to the north (Trondheim, Norway), east (Berlin, landing in Russia), and south (Regensburg, landing in North Africa). Decorations include DFC (three times), Air Medal (seven times), Bronze Star, two Presidential Citations and the Croix de Guerre with Silver Star (two times). He retired as a Lt. Colonel. He is also author of the book On a Wing and a Prayer.
1st Lieutenant ‘Hong Kong’ Wilson was born in Dublin, Texas. He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and was trained in Prince Albert, (Saskatchewan), in Manitoba and at Prince Edward Island. After service flying over the North Atlantic, he joined the 100th Bomb Group and flew missions to Germany from England. On the Hamburg raid, ‘Hong Kong’ was leading the High Squadron, (B) with Major Harry Cruver as Command Pilot. They were flying deputy lead for the 100th BG that day. “Hong Kong’s’ Awards include the DFC and Air Medal.
Captain Glenn H. Rojohn was born in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. He received his training in the eastern States, and was Pilot-in-Command of ‘The Little Skipper’ on the Hamburg raid with the 100th Bomb Group this day. After bombing the target and on the way home, another B17 came up from underneath and collided with his aircraft. The two planes left the formation locked together, with Captain Rojohn controlling both planes with throttles. Some aircrew baled out, and Captain Rojohn crash-landed both aircraft on enemy territory. The Gestapo interrogated him for a few days, believing that he had commanded a new, 8-engined secret weapon. Awards include the DFC Air Medal, Purple Heart and POW Medal.
Major Charles A. Martin was born in Plaindealing, Louisiana, and trained at Randolph and Kelly Fields, Texas. He flew 8 combat missions over Germany in B-24′s with the 458th BG before being transferred to the 100th BG as Commander of 349 Bomb Squadron. He was the Command Pilot on the Hamburg mission (the main aircraft in FORMIDABLE FORTRESS). Decorations include DFC, Air Medal with 4 OLC’s and the Commendation Medal with 3 OLC’s.
2nd Lieutenant Ralph Bradley was born in St. Louis, Missouri and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. He enlisted in the Army Air Force Cadet Program in December 1942, at the age of 18. He was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant as a bombardier on May 21, 1944. He and his crew joined the 100th Bomb Group in September of 1944 and flew their first mission, to Bohlen, on October 7th. He completed 31 missions including Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, Mannheim, Munich, Duisburg and Cottbus. When he returned to the USA, he became an instructor to retrain bombardiers and Chinese army officers. He retired from the Air Reserve as a Lieutenant Colonel. Decorations include Air Medal with 5 Clusters, ETO, American Defense Medal and Unit Citation.
1st Lieutenant Robert H. Wolff was born in San Francisco and trained in Boise, Idaho, and Casper, Wyoming. Eventually assigned to the 100th Bomb Group at Thorpe Abbotts, England. He flew many missions to Germany and France, including the famous ‘Shuttle Mission,’ landing in Africa. His aircraft, ‘Wolf Pack,’ was too badly damaged to fly the return mission. On a later mission he had three engines shot out on a raid to France and ditched offshore, becoming a prisoner of war. Awards include the DFC, Air Medal and Distinguished United Citation.
1st Lieutenant Richard Antes was born in Greenville, Illinois. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps as an Aviation Cadet and after time on the P-40 Warhawk, was assigned as a co-pilot on B-17′s. His crew was assigned to the 100th Bomb Group in August 1944. He parachuted supplied to Warsaw, Poland, on September 18, 1944, continuing to Russia. He was also on the Hamburg raid. Lieutenant Ames was wounded in October 1944, having completed 33 missions. Awards include Air Medal, 5 clusters and the Purple Heart. Also awards from the Polish Home Army and Warsaw Resistance. His aircraft was ‘Glory Bound.’
1st Lieutenant Grant Fuller was co-pilot of the lead ship of the lead squadron, the plane featured in FORMIDABLE FORTRESS. During the attack, he sat in the tail gunner’s position and reported back his observations to the pilot. Born in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, he trained in San Antonio, Perrin Field, Hicks Field, Ellington Field (all in Texas) and Rapid City, South Dakota. He completed 30 combat missions. Awards include Air Medal with OLC’s, Unit Citation and Polish Home Army Cross.
Lieutenant Robert Rosenthal enlisted on December 8, 1941 and joined the Hundredth Bomb Group in 1943 as a pilot. On his third mission, ‘Rosie’ flew the strike to Munster. Only Rosenthal and his crew in ‘Royal Flush’ returned to base at Thorpe Abbotts. During the Bremen raid, he was a 2nd Lieutenant. He went on to complete 52 missions and was on this third tour when the war ended. He was awarded sixteen decorations, including the DSC, Silver Star (twice), DFC (twice), Air Medal with Seven Clusters, two Purple Hearts and British and French decorations.
Tech. Sergeant James M. McCullough was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He served in 349 and 350 Squadrons, 100th Bomb Group. He flew 26 missions as Top Turret Gunner with the following pilots: George Fowler, Hong Kong Wilson and Joe King. His missions include Berlin, Chemnitz marshalling yards, Nuremburg, Bremen, Brunswick (tank factory), Ulm marshalling yard, Jena (Car Zeiss Optical Works), Ahlhorn (jet airfield), Kiel docks, Leipzig, and many others. Decorations include Victory Medal, Air Medal (5 clusters), Presidential Citation with OLC.
1st Lieutenant Chuck Harding was born in Pen Argyl, Pennsylvania, training in California, Texas, New Mexico and Tennessee. Chuck was a B17 pilot with the 100th BG and flew the DDay mission, Russian Shuttle mission (both led by Colonel, now General, Tom Jeffrey). Chuck was shot down on his 17th mission over Augsburg, Germany. He got to Switzerland, where he was interned but escaped and returned to American forces. His escape plan was adopted by Army Intelligence and over 100 men were later able to escape, using the plan. Decorations: Air Medal, 2 Oak Leaf Clusters.
Sergeant Albert P. Lochra was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. Training was in Sioux Falls and Rapid City, South Dakota. He served in the 100th Bomb Group, 351 Squadron as a Radio Operator/ Gunner. Combat missions total 19, plus a mission to Holland where food was dropped to civilians. Decorations include Good Conduct Medal, American Theater Ribbon, Victory WWII Ribbon, American African-Middle East Ribbon with 2 Bronze Stars and Air Medal, with 2 OLC’s.
Staff Sergeant Edward J. Tatro was born in Joliet, Illinois. He trained in Minnesota, Nevada and Florida, becoming a Waist Gunner with the 100th Bomb Group, 418 Squadron. Decorations include Air Medal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters, European Campaign, Good Conduct Medal and Victory Medal.
Captain Thomas M. Barren flew 30 combat missions with the 100th Bomb Group. He was born in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. Captain Barrett became the Lead Bombardier with 418 Squadron and on one mission was wounded over Mainz, Germany. On the Hamburg raid, he was the Group Lead Bombardier. Decorations include Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, Air Medal with 4 OLC’s, ETO Ribbon, (6 Bronze Battle Stars), American Theater Ribbon and Polish Freedom Medal. He retired with the rank of Major.
Captain Harold Switzer joined the service in 1943 and took basic training in Atlantic City, NJ. His wings were received at Freeman Field. He then took transitional training to fly B17′s and joined the 100th BG. His most memorable mission was Magdeburg in April, 1945. Flying in the slot (Purple Heart corner) his squadron was attacked by Me262 jets. Second and Third Element Leads were knocked out, so he moved up to Second. His tail gunner (Dan Radice) and ball turret gunner (Pete Yarnot) shot down two jets and received full credit. The lead ship dropped out, and Captain Switzer led the squadron back to Thorpe Abbotts. He flew ten missions during the war, and was decorated with the Air Medal, Group Citation and Presidential Citation.
Lieutenant Victor E. Fienup was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He was a B17 pilot with 351 Squadron, 100th BG. On his 15th and last mission to a target near Paris, France, his B17 ‘Janie’ is said to have collided with another B17 flown by 2nd Lt. Charles Floyd Jr. in ‘Barker’s Burden.’ Another report says that a bomb dropped on ‘Janie.’ In any event, she went down, burning. Lt. Fienup tried to exit through the pilot’s window, but became stuck. The aircraft then blew up, and he descended by parachute, becoming a POW. He has the DFC, ETO and Purple Heart.
Oberleutnant Walter Schuck joined the Luftwaffe in 1937. He scored his first victory while with 7./JG5 based at Petsamo on the Polar Sea. On June 5., 1942, he shot down 4 Russian fighters. His rate of victories increased steadily. During March, 1944, he shot down 7 Boston bombers and by April had 84 victories. On June 15th he scored 6 more, and on the 17th, 12 more victories in 24 hours! By August he had 150. Later in the war he flew the Me262 jet with JG7. He shot down four B17′s in the 262, with 8 victories total on the jet. His all-up score was 206 confirmed aerial victories. His awards include the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves.
Unteroffizier Heinz Kent was born in 1922 on a farm in the Taunus region of Germany. He was interested in aviation from his childhood on reading books about famous pilots like the Red Baron. After flying gliders, receiving his pilots licence (1943) and fighter pilot training, he flew the Me109 and FW190 in France, Austria, Finland and Norway. He owns a hotel north of Frankfurt where his old friends of JG5 meet for their annual reunion.
Feldwebel Dieter Weinitschke was bora in 1920 in Berlin. He volunteered for the Luftwaffe in 1941 and was stationed in Finland with JG5. He was soon recognized as an excellent fighter pilot in the Me109. He also flew reconnaissance missions for Ju-87 and Ju-88 strikes against the Russian harbor of Murmansk. In 1942 he was shot down behind Russian lines, but three days later he was rescued by a Fiessler Storch. A year later he parachuted from his Me109 and became a POW in Russia. He is credited with 19 victories. With his many poems and writings he still has a special place in the hearts of his old friends of the JG5 Eismeerjager.
Leutnant Heinrich Freiherr van Podewils joined the Luftwaffe in 1939. He flew Me109′s and FW190′s in Bulgaria, Norway, Finland, and in the ‘Home Defence’ (Reichsverteidigung). His victories include a Hurricane, a B17 and a Beaufighter. He was shot down twice, once over Germany by a P47 Thunderbolt. In 1945 he commanded 8./JG5 in Norway, where he became a POW of the Americans. He was turned over to the French. In January 1947, he escaped from a POW camp in France but was caught near the German border. He remained a prisoner in France until June 1947, two years after the end of the war.
Oberleutnant Ernst Scheufele was born in Walldorf, Germany. He joined the Luftwaffe in October 1940 and later flew the Me109 with 4./JG4, on ‘Defense of the Reich1 missions. He also flew the Me109 with JG5 from Norway. On December 3, 1944, he was shot down by American ground fire near Aachen. He has a total of 18 victories, including three 4-engined bombers and two Mustangs. Ernst Scheufele flew 200 missions and holds the Frontflugspange in Gold.
Feldwebel Oscar Boesch joined the Luftwaffe in 1942. He volunteered for Sturm Staffel One, a special unit which attacked daylight four-engined bombers. During his first mission in April, 1944, he crash landed his FW190, which flipped onto its back. He was shot down in May, but went on to score 18 victories, including a Spitfire, a Mustang, six B17′s, two B24′s, four IL2′s, two Lagg 5′s and two Yak9′s. Oscar logged 120 combat missions, which ended in April 1945 when his FW190 collided with a Yak9 over Berlin. He was captured by the Russians, but escaped and walked 1000km back home to Austria.
Group Edition Signatures:
- Staff Sgt. Paul Zak, 418 Squadron
- Tech. Sgt. William G. Leonard, 350 Squadron
- Staff Sgt. Jim Sorenson, 349 Squadron
- Captain Arthur Juhlin, 418 Squadron
- Tech. Sgt. Calin Miller, 350 Squadron
- Staff Sgt. John Darr, 349 Squadron
- Staff Sgt. Joe Griego, 351 Squadron
- 1st Lieutenant Ed Hansen, 350 Squadron
- Captain Frank D. Murphy, 418 Squadron
- Staff Sgt. Jim Cashen, 349 Squadron
- Tech. Sgt. Al Lochra, 351 Squadron
- Tech. Sgt. Bruce Alshouse, 349 Squadron
- Captain ‘Hong Kong’ Wilson, 350 Squadron
- Tech. Sgt. Bob Mugridge, 350 Squadron
- Tech. Sgt. Nelson A. Pardee, 350 Squadron
- Captain Ferd Herres, 349 Squadron
- 1st Lieutenant George W. McLeod, 349 Squadron
- Sgt. Anthony Schimmel, 418 Squadron
- Staff Sgt. John J. O’Neal, Detached
- Staff Sgt. Dale E. Francis, 418 Squadron
- Staff Sgt. Bill Dondero, 418 Squadron
- Robert LaFontaine, 456 Squadron
- Captain Hal Switzer, 349 Squadron
- Staff Sgt. Richard Dale Long, 351 Squadron
- Staff Sgt. Leroy Kubuske, 350 Squadron
- Sgt. Dan Radice, 349 Squadron
- Staff St. Fred Wiegman, 349 Squadron
- Colonel E. A. Cassimatis, 418 Squadron
- Major Joseph P. Armanini, 349 Squadron
- Tech. Sgt. Rick Erickson, 350 Squadron
- Master Sgt. D.R. Christopher, 351 Squadron.
- Tech. Sgt. Robert King, 350 Squadron
- Sgt. Mike Gabor, 350 Squadron
- Tech. Sgt. Carl Carlson, 418 Squadron
- Lt. Colonel Victor Fienup, 351 Squadron
- Captain Fred Chapin, 351 Squadron
- Major John McLaughlin, 418 Squadron
- Staff Sgt. Roland Grunstead, 418 Squadron
- Tech. Sgt. James Grosskopf, 351 Squadron
- 1st Lieutenant Theodore Don, 349 Squadron
- Captain John Schwarz, H.Q. Squadron
- Tech. Sgt. Frank DeGeorge, 349 Squadron
- Staff Sgt. Paul Calkin, 349 Squadron
- Staff Sgt. William Wixom, 349 Squadron
- Staff Sgt. Charles Koons, 351 Squadron
- 1st Lieutenant Larry Ward, 351 Squadron
- Staff Sgt. Luther Wise, 350 Squadron
- Tech. Sgt. William Burkhart, 350 Squadron
- 1st Lieutenant Hal Higgs, 349 Squadron
- 1st Lieutenant Ray Lischer, 418 Squadron
- Captain Russell Engel, 349 Squadron
- 1st Lieutenant Bob Fitzgerald, 350 Squadron
- Staff Sgt. Rinaldo Bussino, 350 Squadron
- Major Red Carrillo, 350 Squadron
- Lt. Colonel Butch Goodwin, 349, 350 Squadrons
- Sgt. Edgard Smith, 351 Squadron
- Tech. Sgt. Bud Vieth, 351 Squadron
- Staff Sgt. Herman Horenkamp, 350 Squadron
- Tech. Sgt. Gene Bankston, 349 Squadron
- 1st Lieutenant Arnold Wimer, 350 Squadron
- 1st Lieutenant Gene Mulholland, 351 Squadron
- Staff Sgt. Frank Volk, 349 Squadron
- Staff Sgt. Joseph Blume, 418 Squadron
- 1st Lieutenant Jack Fogle, 349 Squadron
- Major Thomas Barrett, 418 Squadron
- Captain Bill Cully, 351 Squadron
- Captain Bob Shoens, 351 Squadron
- Staff Sgt. George Windisch, 351 Squadron
- Staff Sgt. Robert Guidi, 418 Squadron
- Tech. Sgt. Norman Miller, 349 Squadron
- 1st Lieutenant Richard Ames, 351 Squadron
- Tech. Sgt. Merton Wilch, 418 Squadron
- Staff Sgt. Glen J. Allen, 418 Squadron
- 1st Lieutenant Ernie Zapf, 351 Squadron
- Lt. Colonel Charles B. Cruikshank, 418 Squadron
- Captain Torn Hughes, 351 Squadron
- Sgt. Chester Skiba, 349 Squadron
- 1st Lieutenant Charles R. Hacker, 349 Squadron
- 1st Lieutenant Harold W Estill, 350 Squadron
- 1st Lieutenant Bill Woods, 349 Squadron
- Tech. Sgt. Louis Berard, 418 Squadron
- Staff Sgt. Marion Gallon, 418 Squadron
- 1st Lieutenant Dick Johnson, 351 Squadron
- Captain James Olmstead, 351 Squadron
- Corporal Leroy E. Wolf, 350 Squadron
- 1st Lieutenant Bill Brown, 351 Squadron
- Captain Ray Miller, 350 Squadron
- 1st Lieutenant George Tussing, 349 Squadron
- 1st Lieutenant Chuck Harding, 349 Squadron
- 1st Lieutenant Joe Martin, 349 Squadron
- Captain Lloyd Coartney, 418 Squadron
- 1st Lieutenant Cecil Daniels, 350 Squadron
- Staff Sgt. Earl Wilbur, 350 Squadron
- Tech. Sgt. Jim Mack, 418 Squadron
- 1st Lieutenant Robert Landino, 351 Squadron
- 1st Lieutenant Jim Lantz, 351 Squadron
- Captain Andrew Burkhart, 349, 351 Squadrons
- Staff Sgt. Robert J. Kennedy, 350 Squadron
- Captain Jerry Kane, 418 Squadron
- Tech. Sgt. Robert Anderson, 349 Squadron
- Tech. Sgt. Roland Eckert, 349 Squadron
- Lieutenant Hank Cervantes, 349 Squadron
- 1st Lieutenant Robert Gulp, 349 Squadron
- Tech. Sgt. Don Atkinson, 418 Squadron
- Captain Chuck Harris, 418 Squadron
- Staff Sgt. Edwin Hoffart, 418 Squadron
- 1st Lieutenant Dan Zeck, 350 Squadron
- Captain Glenn Rake, 349, 351 Squadrons
America’s entrance into war-torn Europe in 1942 was immediately at a strategic and tactical disadvantage. Germany had absorbed most of her neighbors into the Third Reich. Had it not been for England who stood defiant and largely alone, the scene that greeted the Americans would have been far more difficult. Europe by then was a fortress that had been carefully crafted by Germany’s architects of war. The continent and coastline bristled defensively in an ‘Atlantic Wall’ that defied breaching.
To combat ‘Fortress Europa,’ America and England adopted an air war doctrine that was designed to soften up the expected German resistance and entrenchment, prior to the allied invasion. The heart of the air doctrine was centered on a bombing campaign that consisted of heavy bomber groups of both British and American design, that addressed both day and night bombing of industrial and population centers throughout the occupied territories. America chose to follow the philosophy of daylight precision bombing, which was inherently more dangerous than night bombing, exposing both aircraft and crews alike to the onslaught of German day fighters. The casualties experiences in 1942-1943 brought that philosophy to the brink of cancellation.
Yet the aircrews and bombers like the B-17 Flying Fortress and Consolidated B-24 Liberator kept rising daily to do battle against the best that the Luftwaffe could muster. Time, effort and increased fighter escort proved to be the catalyst needed to change the picture of the air war. By the end of 1944, the Luftwaffe was losing ground to the mighty bomber streams that devastated their heartland.
In Robert Bailey’s painting, FORMIDABLE FORTRESS, elements of the 100th Bomb Group are seen just after their bomb release above an oil refinery near Hamburg. Surprisingly, the aircrews reported no snow in or near the target area, even though it was the end of December. The mission lacked fighter cover, which had been diverted to another B-17 raid that day. The ‘Bloody Hundredth’ were attacked by FW-190′s, Me-109′s and Me-262 jets. The fighters had been vectored to the scene by a captured B-17 flown by the Germans, who monitored the bomber stream, reporting height, speed and heading. The Hundredth lost 12 planes this day, but they had destroyed their target and then thundered home with an abiding faith in their fellow crew members and their formidable Fortresses.