T/Sgt John S. Klisenbauer
B-24 Engineer / Top Turret Gunner
98th Bombardment Group - 344th Bombardment Squadron - 47th Bomb Wing - 15th Air Force
Lecce Airfield, Italy - 24 August 1944 to 16 March 1945

John S. Klisenbauer
T/Sgt, U.S.Army Air Corps
15 Apr 1943 - 6 Jun 1945

Johnny's B-24 Crew Map#1 Map#2 98th BG History 15th AF History Lecce Airfield, Italy 15th Air Force - Bari, Italy FLAK Towers
B-24 History B-24 Specifications B-24 Details and Crew Duties Combat Flight Engineer Duties B-24 Bailout Plan German B-24H
B-24 Flight Manual WW II Air Ops-Europe B-24 Nose Art Crew Rotation Paper- 1968Bomber BooksLt E.J.Reppa B-17 Missions
Building the B-24 - The FORD Motor Company Story of Willow Run - Video

B-24 MISSION LOG - 1944 to 1945

6 June 2019

Mission #
98th BG
Mission #
Location Target Fly Time AC Tail # Pilot in
24 August 1944 Thurs 1 (1) 287 of 417     Vinkovci, Yugoslavia Railroad Yard 6:55 44-50632 Debottis
27 August 1944 Sun 2 (1) 289     Avisio, Italy Viaduct 7:30 44-50601 Debottis
29 August 1944 Tues 3 (1) 291     Salcano, Italy Railroad Bridge 7:06 44-50601 Debottis
1 Sept 1944 Thurs 4 (1) 293 Yes Yes Mitrovica, Yugoslavia Railroad Bridge 4:55 44-50174 Debottis
5 Sept 1944 Tues 5 (1) 295 Yes Yes Ferrara, Italy River Bridge 6:40 44-50559 Debottis
8 Sept 1944 Fri 6 (1) 297 Yes Yes Nis, Yugoslavia Marshalling Yards 5:30 44-50250 Debottis
12 Sept 1944 Tues 7 (2) 299 Yes Yes Munich, Germany Allach Engine Works 9:10 44-50350 Debottis
15 Sept 1944 Fri 8 (1) 301 Yes Yes Athens, Greece Eleusis Air Base 6:30 44-40148 Debottis
One of three airfields in the area of Athens bombed on this day. The enemy was attempting a large scale evacuation of troops and supplies from Eleusis, Tatoi and Kalamari airfields.
19 Sept 1944 Tues 9 (1) 304 Yes Yes Mitrovica, Yugoslavia RR Bridge 4:45 44-50559 Debottis
Important rail link to Belgrade. Needed for withdrawal of enemy troops, B-24s keep bombing it as fast as they repair it.
21 Sept 1944 Thurs 10 (1) 306 Yes Yes Baja, Hungary RR Bridge 6:00 44-50951 Debottis
22 Sept 1944 Fri 11 (1) 307 Yes Yes Larissa Greece W Marshalling Yard 5:05 44-50785 Hubbard
The 98th, 376th, and 449th Bomb Groups struck the marshalling yard at Larissa, Greece, through mostly moderate, intense flak, with seventy-six B-24s. The raid cut all tracks and badly damaged a large number of freight cars, but some bombs were wide of the target.
4 Oct 1944 Wed 12 (1) 310 Yes   San Michele, Italy Marshalling Yard 8:10 44-50624 Kohl
10 Oct 1944 Tues 13 (1) 312     Vincenza, Italy Marshalling Yard 6:35 44-50526  
11 Oct 1944 Wed 14 (2) 314     Florisdorf, Austria Oil Refinery 7:10 44-50632  
14 Oct 1944 Sat 15 (1) 317     Maribor, Yugoslavia S Marshalling Yard 7:50 44-50990  
Heavy and intense accurate anti-aircraft fire. Bombing results were excellent.
16 Oct 1944 Mon 16 (2) 318     Steyr, Austria St Valentine Tank Works 9:00 44-50785 Poole
23 Oct 1944 Mon 17 (1) 320     Ora, Italy Brenner Pass 6:45 44-50624 Poole
31 Oct 1944 Tues 18 (1) 322     Podgorica, Yugoslavia German Troops 4:45 44-50559 Poole
Mission #
98th BG
Mission #
Location Target Fly Time AC Tail # Pilot in
4 Nov 1944 Sat 19 (2) 324 Yes Yes Munich, Germany W Marshalling Yard 8:50 44-50559 Kohl
6 Nov 1944 Mon 20 (2) 326 Yes Yes Moosebierbaum, Austria Oil Refinery 8:10 44-50147 VanSickle
Post mission debrief: "Some of the intense FLAK over the target consisted of incendiary rounds. Navigator Lt. Ostericher wounded. Many holes in plane. Bombardier combat clothes were on fire."
Fate Is The Hunter: 12 November 1944 - On short notice Capt Debottis and Lt Stubbs were selected to lead 98th Bombardment Group Mission #330 to destroy the Viaduct in Avisio, Italy. Capt Debottis' normal crew were on their mid-tour R & R leave (Island of Capri) or in the hospital (Lt. Ostericher-Navigator, wounded on mission #20 the week before) so he hand picked another crew. On this 21st mission together, Capt Debottis, Lt Stubbs, and their new crew were shot down over Avisio, Italy (AC# 44-49041) just before bomb release. The B-24 L's tail was severed by an 88mm FLAK round direct hit and the crew of 12 died. Read the Witness Report and Loss Report. The three extra people in the small forward compartment may have inhibited anyone from bailing out as the Liberator spun down to the ground.
This was a terrible blow to the remaining original crew which had flown all or most of the previous 20 missions with Capt Debottis and Lt Stubbs. Engineer Tsgt John Klisenbauer and Radio Operator Tsgt Thomas Crehan had flown every previous mission with Capt Debittis and Lt Stubbs. The original crewmembers were saved on this day by being on leave or wounded and unavailable to fly. Unfortunately they all had 15 more missions left to fly. 75% of bomber crews did not survive the first 25 missions. According to official Army Air Force records all remaining eight original crew members survived World War II.
19 Dec 1944 Tues 21 (2) 353   Yes Rosenhiem, Germany Marshalling Yard 8:50 44-50785 Kohl
21 Dec 1944 Thurs 22 (2) 354 Yes Yes Rosenhiem, Germany Marshalling Yard 7:35 44-50787 Poole
26 Dec 1944 Tues 23 (1) 356 Yes Yes Avisio, Italy Viaduct 8:10 44-50785 Rastede
15 Jan 1945 Mon 24 (2) 362     Vienna, Austria SE Railroad Targets 8:00 44-50624 Poole
1 Feb 1945 Thurs 25 (2) 366 Yes   Moosebierbaum, Austria Oil Refinery 7:40 44-50624 Poole
5 Feb 1945 Mon 26 (2) 367     Salzburg, Austria Marshalling Yards 10:30 44-50917 McCraney
22 Feb 1945 Thurs 27 (2) 381     Muhldorf, Germany Marshalling Yards 9:00 44-40148 Poole
25 Feb 1945 Sun 28 (2) 384     Linz, Austria S Marshalling Yard 8:30 44-50981 Poole
27 Feb 1945 Tues 29 (2) 385     Salzburg, Austria Marshalling Yard 8:40 44-10559 McCraney
1 March 1945 Thurs 30 (2) 387     Moosebierbaum, Austria Oil Refinery 8:00 44-50442 Poole
4 March 1945 Sun 31 (1) 389     Zagreb, Yugoslavia Marshalling Yard 6:55 44-50624 Poole
8 March 1945 Thurs 32 (2) 390 Yes Yes + Loss Kamaron, Hungary Marshalling Yard 7:40 44-50624 Poole
12 March 1945 Mon 33 (2) 392     Florisdorf, Austria Oil Refinery 8:20 44-50782 McCraney
14 March 1945 Wed 34 (1) 394     Varazcin, Yugoslavia Railroad Bridge 6:50 44-50782 McLenny
16 March 1945 Fri 35 (2) 396 of 417     Wiener-Neustadt, Austria Marshalling Yard 6:45 44-50981 McLenny

Totals: 35 Missions, 52 Credits, 7 Months, and 258.7 Combat Flying Hours
During John's final missions in March 1945 he encountered the new German secret weapon, the ME-262 jet powered aircraft. The aircraft did some initial damage to bomber formations but it arrived too late in the war to make any difference. American fighter pilots quickly destroyed them in the air and on the ground at the factory in Vienna, Austria. The 98th Bomb Group encountered many ME-262s on the 12 March 1945 mission to the Refinery in the Floridsdorf suburb of Vienna. John was there and probably used his twin 50 caliber Top Turret guns against the worlds first jet fighters. Germany produced 1400 of these aircraft. The majority of these aircraft never flew due to their very late introduction and the quick destruction by the Army Air Force.

After John and the crew rotated home in late March 1945 the 98th Bomb Group completed their last 21 missions of the war. Hostilities ceased in late April 1945 followed by VE day on 6 May 1945 and the official German surrender on 7 May 1945.

The number of missions that a bomber crew member was required to fly evolved and increased from 1942 to 1945 based on the expected attrition rate. 75% of bomber crews did not survive the first 25 missions. By mid 1944 bomber crews needed 35 missions and 50 "credits" to qualify for rotation to a non-combat assignment. Subjective "credits" were assigned to each mission based on the percieved threat. Medium threat missions earned "1" credit for a successful completion. High threat missions to highly defended targets (Munich, Vienna and any refinery or aircraft factory) earned "2" credits. The 15th Air Force attrition rates in 1943 on missions to highly defended targets reached 20%. This means that a crew could only be expected to survive five missions. Losses per mission did slow down in 1945 to 4% after months of hammering enemy factories, fuel refineries and transportation infrastructure by the 15th and 8th Air Forces.Thats where the 25 mission survival max came from. It did not get much better than that. We just delivered more aircraft and crews to drop more bombs. In 1968 the U.S.Air Force produced a report on the pilot rotation requirements and the calculations of WWII. No one was very happy when the number of missions required increased in mid 1944 but what could they do. It was quickly overcome by daily events. They were too busy trying to stay alive. They volunteered to fly and fight and destroy the Germans and Japaneese and they were successful. Thats why they are called "The Greatest Generation". When it was over they went home. They just wanted to get on with life and they all knew that this was probably the most important thing that they would ever do in their life. One thing for sure, I don't think John ever liked monkeys very much after his war experience.

Early in Training - May 1943 John with Monkey. Lecce Airfield, Italy
Camp mascot (Monkey not John) who enjoyed a few beers.
Monkey attacked John while in a drunken rage.
Lucky that John had his leather jacket on. Monkey let go
after a punch in the face. Monkey has drinking problem.
Monkey Grounded.
Between B-24 Missions

Visit the companion site dedicated to
Lt. Edward J. Reppa B-17G Commander

Website information sources and Links:
Joe Baugher's database:1944 USAAF B-24 Serial Numbers

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