Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description
Mission 734: 455 bombers and 604 fighters make GH attacks on marshaling yards and fighter bomber attacks; they claim 34-3-7 Luftwaffe aircraft; 11 bombers and 4 fighters are lost:
1. 135 of 143 B-24s hit the Bingen marshaling yard; 1 others hit a target of opportunity; they claim 2-1-1 aircraft; 11 B-24s are lost and 4 damaged; 2 airmen are WIA and 102 MIA. Escorting are 97 of 104 P-51s; they claim 4-1-2 aircraft without loss.
2. 152 B-17s are dispatched to hit the Lutzel marshaling yard at Koblenz (9) and the Oberlahnstein marshaling yard (125); 6 others hit targets of opportunity; no losses. Escorting are 158 of 169 P-51s; they claim 6-0-0 aircraft without loss.
3. 160 B-17s are dispatched to Koblenz but abort the mission due to heavy clouds. Escorting are 153 of 156 P-51s; they claim 7-0-0 aircraft without loss.
4. 133 P-47s and P-51s fly fighter sweeps over the Cologne, Kassel, Meiningen, Mannheim and Frankfurt area; they claim 15-1-4 aircraft; 3 P-47s and 1 P-51 are lost (pilots MIA) and 2 P-51s are damaged beyond repair.
5. 28 of 30 P-51s fly a scouting mission. Mission 735: 7 B-17s and 6 B-24s drop leaflets in the Netherlands, France and Germany during the night.
Source: THE ARMY AIR FORCES IN WORLD WAR II: COMBAT CHRONOLOGY, 1941-1945 by Carter / Mueller, the Office of Air Force History,
The primary target was a marshalling yard in the small town of Oberlahnstein, at the junction of the Moselle and Rhine rivers, south of Koblenz. This area was under attack by the American 9th and 1st Armies. The secondary target was a marshalling yard in Koblenz by PFF and the last resort was another marshalling yard in Singen. Just a small GEE-H task force was dispatched in awful weatheró10/10 cirrostratus clouds with tops at 22,000 feet, a broken layer of 6/10 clouds at 25,000 to 26,000 feet and a layer of 10/10 clouds 27,000 to 29,000 feet with dense, persistent contrails.
The 303rd BG(H) dropped 418 500-lb. H.E. M43, nine 500-lb. RDX bombs and 20 units of leaflets on the primary target with unobserved results. The Lt McCutcheon crew B-17 dropped 12 500-lb G.P. bombs on or near Bremen, Germany, as a target of opportunity, shortly after aborting the mission. The No. 3 cylinder exhaust stack was blown. Results were unobserved.
No aircraft returned early. There was no enemy aircraft opposition and 153 P-51s provided good support. For a happy change, there was no flak and all aircraft returned safely to Molesworth.
source: 392nd Bomb Group web page http://www.b24.net/missions/
44BG Mission Report - The Group dispatched 11 aircraft, 3 being 67th's, led by 66th's Capt. McDonnell in our eight plane formation and leading the 14th Combat Wing to the Bingen Marshalling Yards. 67th's Lt. Lavitt led the high right squadron of the 392nd BG, along with 506th's Lt. Bayless lead of the low left squadron. All reached the objective and bombed on Gee-H with unobserved results. The weather was definitely worse than briefed! One of the Group's aircraft attacked a Target of Opportunity, a railroad bridge 3 miles west of the target and hits were observed on the north end of the bridge. Flak was meager and inaccurate in the target area and enemy fighters were observed in the area. No fighter attacked our formation, but attacks were observed on stragglers of other Groups. Unbelievably our Group lost two aircraft - one by the 68th and one by the 506th. The 506th aircraft #42-50766 D+ and piloted by 1st Lt. H.L. Bayless was leading the low left squadron of the 392nd when at 1246 hours this squadron passed through a cloud bank and Lt. Bayless was separated from the formation and no longer was seen. Lt. Bayless and four of his crew were KIA, 4 became POWs. The 68th A/C #42-50805 T, piloted by 2nd Lt. J.C. Hobbs, apparently, was a repeat of Lt. Bayless. Just before bombs away (1238) our formation flew into a cloud layer and this A/C was last seen entering this bank. Only two men survived and neither of them were ever officially listed as POWs. It can only be assumed that E/A attacked these two planes as stragglers. Our fighter support was very good and they were observed to engage enemy fighters immediately. 66th's 1st Lt. Hess in #329 left the formation because he lost #4 engine oil pressure and landed in France - all others returned to base safely. F/O Strug was assigned from the 498th BG.
source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
446th Bomb Group Mission Report Bingen
33 planes attacked the marshalling yards through clouds with unobserved results. 2 planes and crew were lost for unknown reason, the heavy clouds masking their troubles from other crews. Shes Mine (42-95105) and Tiger (42-51100) carried a total of 21 men, all of whom were killed.