Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Lieutenant Lawrence W. Riegel B-17 Pilot Killed In Action
Lieutenant Lawrence W. Riegel
350th Bomb Squadron, 100th Bomb Group
Sept, 11. 1944
Riegel a 20 year old pilot for the Eighth Air Force, stationed somewhere in England has been awarded the Air Medal in recognition of “exceptionally meritorious achievement” in the air war in Europe.
Lt. Riegel has to his credit three missions to Merseberg, Germany where important synthetic oil plants were blasted, and attacks on targets at Berlin, Hamburg, Kiel and Magdeburg, as well as other industrial citadels in Germany. At Magdeburg his B-17 Flying Fortress suffered severe damage from the flak badly damaging the tail, so that he had extreme difficulty in bringing the bomber back to its base in England.
He graduated from Port Carbon High School and was a student at Penn State Central before entering the Army Air Corps.
Note the day this article was in the Pottsville Journal September 11, 1944 Lt. Riegel was on a mission to the Rhuland Oil fields flying the B-17 Leading Lady this crew was lost at Ruhland September 11, 1944 with six members KIA..
According to info from the 100th Bomb Group archives, The plane 44-6089 "LN-B" flown by Lt. Riegel's was heavily damaged and lost altitude the crew partially bailed out before the plane finally crashed in forested hill close to Kovarska. CZ. Six crewmembers were killed during the crash. Including Lt. Riegel.
Eyewitness Report(: "The group in which A/C 089 was flying was attacked by 50 to 70 enemy aircraft. The attack caused at least three of our aircraft to explode and most of the others appeared to be damaged, some were attacked again as stragglers. In a few minutes all but one disappeared beneath the undercast. Since none of them returned no account of the loss of specific aircraft is available. About half of them appeared to be under control as they disappeared into the undercast. Two chutes were seen before the aircraft disappeared, but from which one they came is undetermined,"
Following is a statement by Lt. Dolby in a letter dated 23 July 1945.
"We were attacked by German fighters, Southeast of Dresden, Germany, while on a mission to Ruhland, Germany on Sept.11, 1944 at about 12:20. After the first attack we had our interphone knocked out and the oxygen supply under the pilots compartment was on fire.. Due to lack of interphone we could not carry on a conversation and I know nothing of what took place in the rear of the ship. The Navigator, Lt. Prater and I jumped due to the burning condition of the plane. According to our ball turret gunner who I met at Camp Lucky Strike in France, he said he was blown out of his turret and parachuted to safety, also he mentioned that our vertical stabilizer and horizontal stabilizers were blown off." He is S/Sgt Nestor Celleghin.
1st Lt Lawrence W. Riegel P KIA 11-Sep-44 Ruhland
2nd Lt Joseph R. Johnson CP KIA 11-Sep-44 Ruhland
2nd Lt George H. Prater NAV POW 11-Sep-44 Ruhland
2nd Lt Charles L. Dolby BOM POW 11-Sep-44 Ruhland
T/Sgt Ray S. Deming, Jr ROG KIA 11-Sep-44 Ruhland
T/Sgt Edgar L. Herrick TTE KIA 11-Sep-44 Ruhland
S/Sgt Nestor A. Celleghin BTG POW 11-Sep-44 Ruhland
S/Sgt Phillip D. Mangan WG KIA 11-Sep-44 Ruhland
S/Sgt Jewell D. Spruell TG KIA 11-Sep-44 Ruhland
The Missions Lieutenant Riegel flew with his crew.
# Date Aircraft Nbr & Name Target
01 7/17/1944 3413-HARD LUCK AUXERRE & MONTGOURNOY
02 7/18/1944 106986-SACK ARTIST KIEL & HEMMINGSTADT
03 7/19/1944 3413-HARD LUCK SCHWEINFURT & DUREN
04 7/20/1944 31220-FLETCHER'S CASTORIA II MERSEBURG
05 7/21/1944 31903-HARD LUCK II REGENSBURG
06 7/24/1944 31220-FLETCHER'S CASTORIA II ST LO (GND SUPPORT)
07 7/25/1944 31220-FLETCHER'S CASTORIA II ST LO (GND SUPPORT)
08 7/28/1944 102657-BOSS LADY MERSEBURG
09 7/29/1944 102657-BOSS LADY MERSEBURG
10 8/02/1944 31220-FLETCHER'S CASTORIA II TERGNIER/LAFERE
11 8/03/1944 3413-HARD LUCK TROYES (RAIL YARD)
12 8/04/1944 37882-HAPPY-GO-LUCKY HAMBURG (OIL)
13 8/05/1944 97924-PARTY TONIGHT MAGDEBURG
14 8/06/1944 97924-PARTY TONIGHT BERLIN
15 8/07/1944 37994-MY BLUE HEAVEN BEAUTOR (BRIDGES)
16 8/08/1944 37994-MY BLUE HEAVEN ST. SYLVIAN
17 8/14/1944 37994-MY BLUE HEAVEN LUDWIGSHAVEN (OIL)
18 8/15/1944 37994-MY BLUE HEAVEN VENLO
19 9/05/1944 37994-MY BLUE HEAVEN STUTTGART (AERO ENGS)
20 9/10/1944 37994-MY BLUE HEAVEN NURNBURG
21 9/11/1944 6089-LEADING LADY RUHLAND (OIL)