Bloody day over Vienna

0086 - Susquehanna, PA

This is for my father, SSgt R. Hadden, and the rest of the White Able crew.
On Oct. 17, 1944, the 464th Heavy Bomber Group, 15th Air Force, was on a maximum-effort mission to Vienna, Austria. Their B-24 was hit by flak in the bomb bay shortly after bombs away. Damage and fire caused them to drop out of formation and spiral down and across the river, where they crashed in Zohor, Slovakia. Lost in the fire and crash were pilot 2nd Lt John Fassnacht, and ball turret gunner SSgt Merton Haigh. Not surviving the bail out was bombardier 2nd Lt Robert Cunningham. The remaining crewmen were captured almost as soon as they hit the ground: co-pilot John Lindsay, navigator Richard Witt, gunner/eng. John Lonsdorf, gunner John Krogstadt, gunner Lyndle Clark, gunner James Hutchinson, and the tail gunner, my father.
As POWs they were in, Stalag Luft 3 for the officers and Stalag Luft 4 for the noncoms. who later survived the Black March to Stalag Luft 1. My dad never talked much about any of his time in service, and through his discharge papers and a once-active website of others who served, I learned of the trials and tribulations of our elders who gave freely and without regrets for us.
Thank you to all.

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