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Auer Edmund Frank “Misch”

Edmund Frank “Misch”  Auer
Serial Number:
836th Bomber Squadron, 487th Bomber Group, Heavy
Date of Death:
Catholic Cemetery Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana

Edward Auer was born on June 12, 1915 and was from Fort Wayne Indiana.
On December 24, 1944 he served as lead Navigator on B-17 Treble Four and was shot down. Auer Survived.
On December 24, 1944 the 8th Air Force launched mission #760, the largest aerial mission of the war, which involved more than 2000 heavy bombers. The mission was to bomb German airfields and supply lines, to stop the German offensive in the Ardennes known as the Battle of the Bulge. B-17 “Treble Four” (44-8444) was chosen as lead for the 487th Bomb Group, which led the entire 8th Air Force that day.
The crew roster on that day:
B-17G Treble Four” (44-8444 )– 836th Bomb Squadron, 487th Bomber Group, 4th Bomber Wing, 8th Air force:
Harriman, Robert W – 1/Lt – Pilot – KIA Castle, Frederick W – Brig Gen – Air Leader/Copilot – KIA MacArty, Henry D – 1/Lt – Navigator – Bailed out; survived Auer, Edmund F – Capt – Pilotage Navigator –Bailed out; Survived Biri, Paul L – 1/Lt – Bombardier – Bailed out; survived Procopio, Bruno S – 1/Lt – Radar Operator – Bailed out; died form wounds next day Rowe Jr, Claude L – 1/Lt – Off. Tail Gunner – Bailed out; died from wounds next day Hudson, Lowell B – S/Sgt – Waist Gunner – Bailed out; survived Jeffers, Quentin W – T/Sgt – Engineer Gunner – Bailed out; survived Swain, Lawrence H – T/Sgt – Radio Operator – Bailed out; found dead
Brigadier General Frederick W. Castle, Commanding Officer of the 4th Bomb Wing, flew as air leader with Harriman's crew in the copilot's position. Copilot Lt Rowe moved to the tail gunner's position as Officer Tail Gunner and formation observer, as was the custom. The 487th Bomb Group's target was the airfield at Babenhausen, Germany, but the formation was attacked by German fighters before reaching the target. BG Castle refused to dump their bombs afraid it might injure friendly troops below. He directed the crew to bail out while he and Pilot Harriman flew the aircraft and subsequently shot down by enemy aircraft. Five of the crew died; five survived. A memorial to the plane is located near the crash site near Tinlot, Belgium in the province of Liege.
Brig Gen Frederick W Castle, wing commander, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for action on 24 Dec 1944 when he kept a burning B-17 from crashing until other members of the crew had parachuted to safety.
Captain Edmund F. Auer, Army serial number O-795170 was a lead navigator in the 838th Bomb Squadron of the 487th Bomb Group at Lavenham, Suffolk, England. His buddies in the service called him 'Misch', after the actor Mischa Auer. His good friend Dr. Isadore Lerner explained: "His real name was Edmund Auer, but he was quickly tagged as Misch, after a well-known movie comedian who usually portrayed old phony Russian aristocrats. Misch himself was a funny fellow, always in good humor, and never complaining. We joined up as roommates, and became fast friends. He was older than most of the men in the squadron. In fact he was my age, 27." Capt Auer was shot down while flying with the crew of Lt Robert W. Harriman on December 24, 1944.