The Mershon Collection

The following pictures were taken by individuals of the 57th Bomb Wing in the Italian Theatre during WWII.
The photos are provided courtesy of Dave Mershon, 487th BS.
Text was provided by David Mershon, except where noted


Looking Forward

Taken from the nose of a ship in a box down and back of the lead box. The hooks and cords are for a flexible handheld 50 caliber machine gun, if and when it was mounted in the center of the nose. There were only two or three ships that were so armed in the 487th.

Briefing

487th Squadron briefing (April 2, 1945) in Rimini Italy.
Included in this picture are Azzara, Peters, Gull, Hartman, Smith, Rambo, Cuthbertson, Hovermale, Hogge, Mershon, Naruszewicz, Bruce, Brown, Slaughter, Chumney, Fitzgerald, Yeonapolus, Carlson, Olson, Patterson, Papiernik, Knaggs, Nixon, Watson, Reynolds, Pew and Tappert. The area in the background was the location of an air service group with the 340th. It did work on ships, engines and props the crew cheifs would not do in the revetments. There is a ship from the 487th parked in this area. (if anyone would like to have a larger version of this photo or need the people identified in the photo, please let me know - Erich)

Premature Explosion

Premature explosion of a 100 pound white phosphorous bomb dropped by a ship flying out in front of the plane in the photo. This ship was with the 310th based on the tail markings.

Orr Bridge

A load of white phosphorous bombs going down. The target was a railroad bridge and not the diversion channel or dam. Photo was taken from the hatch at the top of the bomb bay. Brenner Pass is narrow at this point. You can see the mountain sides reaching down to the floor of the pass, where a road and railroad are passing through.

7D

Photo taken by F/O W.M. (Bud) Hartman of "White Lightin" 7D in the lead (487th BS).
Note spinner on prop and ring around engine nacelle were painted. The colour denoted the squadron.
486th - White
487th - Blue
488th - Red
489th - Yellow

6M

Photo by John Sutay of 6M at Alesan, Corsica.
Enroute from Alesan to Italy, 6M later went in to a cloud bank in a box of six and never came out. No trace of the plane or crew was ever found. (text by John Sutay)

6B

Photo by John Sutay of Devil's Helper - 6B (B25J #327487) at Alesan, Corsica. Insignia is the 486th BS insignia of Bugs Bunny throwing a bomb.
On March 20, 1945 on a mission to Campo, near the Austrian border, 6B received a direct hit by an 88MM shell and went down. Crew included Mack Coneglio, Granger McKinnan, Racetlo and Zawestowski. Mack (pilot) was the sole survivor and spent the remainder of the war in Mooseburg Prison Camp. (text by John Sutay)

Ritterbusch and Del Percio

Edward Ritterbusch (Radio Gunner) on left and Hank Del Percio (Tail Gunner) on right. Photo taken prior to a mission (date unknown). Note both men are wearing boots which were highly important as the temperatures aloft were freezing and even below zero (F).

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Comments? Contact Erich Hetzel

Last Updated 1/July/2000