USAAF 42-95876 Martin B-26B-50-MA Marauder
USAAF serial number S/N: 42-95876 Martin B-26B-50-MA Marauder
1942095876, 42-95876 Martin B-26B-50-MA Marauder named 'Mary Jo' Fate: Unit: 344BG495BS Code: Y5-S
Remarks:Jens A Norgaard is a Major attached to 344th Bombardment Group. On June 6, 1944, D-Day, because of their excellent bombing accuracy, the 344th BG is chosen to lead the 387th, 397th, 394th, 323rd and the 386th BGs in an attack of the coastal batteries at Utah Beach. The first aircraft is to bomb at 0605 hrs and the last at 625 hrs – H-hour minus 5 minutes. Jens A Norgaard is lead pilot of this formation of more than 400 B-26 Marauders. At 0412 hrs he takes off in B-26 #42-95876, Y5-S, “Mary Jo” (named after his wife) (344th BG, 495th BS) from Stansted (station 169). The Marauders find their marks on the ground with great precision and – with a loss of only two aircraft – the 344th had a remarkable success.
Disposal: it survived the war and was ferried to the Landsberg, Germany scrap yard with the other 900 Marauders where it had its nose wheel dynamited with 20 lbs of TNT. Haven't been able to find how many missions it flew.
Information given by Matthew Botkin Date: 27th April 2012
Further information given by Karl W. Leach Mon, 29 Jun 2015 20:35:15
My uncle, John Robert Leach, was the radio operator of Mary Jo, B-26 Marauder, 344th Bomb Group. I have a jpeg sent me by a gentleman in Florida that shows Mary Jo with 101 bomb markings painted on the nose. The Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona, sent me a jpeg of Mary Jo in flight not long after the D-day raid over the Cherbourg peninsula on which Mary Jo was ordered to bomb German gun positions 6 June 1944. I can send you the jpegs if you want to add them to the website. Also, I can provide you the names of all men in the photograph you have published.
Back Row left to right: Capt. James P. Parish (killed by FLAK shrapnel when crew flew B-26 “Schiffoni’s” while Mary Jo was in shop for repair), Lead Bombardier; Major Jens A. Norgaard, Pilot and Formation Leader; 2nd Lt. Loris D. Gniffke, Navigator
Front Row left to right: Lt Col. Robert W. Witty, Co-Pilot and Deputy Group Commander; 1st Lt. Louis Offenberg, Lead Navigator; S/Sgt. Kenneth Hobbs, Engineer/Gunner; S/Sgt. Jules S. Theobald, Tail Gunner; T/Sgt. John R. Leach, Radio Operator/Gunner. — with Lt Col. Robert W. Witty, co-pilot, 1st Lt. Louis Offenberg, lead navigator, Capt. James P. Parish, bombardier, S/Sgt. Kenneth Hobbs, engineer / gunner, Major Jens A. Norgaard, pilot, S/Sgt. Jules S. Theobald, tail gunner, 2nd Lt. Loris D. Gniffke, navigator and T/Sgt. John R. Leach, radio operator / gunner.
Please, let me know if you want me to forward the images to you.
Karl W. Leach
Interesting links on the plane, crew, and mission
USAAF Military History Section
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