Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description
Mission 851: 1,107 bombers and 745 fighters are dispatched to hit road and rail communications at Halle and Leipzig using H2X radar; they claim 83-0-19 Luftwaffe aircraft; 2 B-24s and 2 P-51s are lost:
1. 314 of 351 B-24s hit the marshaling yard at Halle; targets of opportunity are Bitterfeld (21) and other (3); 2 B-24s are lost and 4 damaged; 1 airman is KIA and 18 MIA. Escorting are 196 P-47s and P-51s; they claim 1-0-0 aircraft in the air and 45-0-3 on the ground; 2 P-51s are lost (pilots MIA).
2. 717 of 756 B-17s hit the rail center at Leipzig; 7 others hit targets of opportunity; 1 B-17 is damaged beyond repair and 3 damaged; 2 airmen are KIA. The escort is 453 of 489 P-51s; they claim 1-0-0 aircraft in the air and 36-0-16 on the ground without loss.
3. 28 P-51s fly a scouting mission without loss.
4. 13 P-51s escort 2 F-5s and 2 Spitfires on a photo reconnaissance mission over C and E Germany.
Mission 852: During the night of 27/28 Feb, 23 of 26 B-24s bomb Wilhelmshafen oil storage by PFF without loss and 1 B-17 and 11 B-24s drop leaflets in the Netherlands and Germany.
Source: THE ARMY AIR FORCES IN WORLD WAR II: COMBAT CHRONOLOGY, 1941-1945 by Carter / Mueller, the Office of Air Force History,
303BG Mission Report - Target: Marshalling Yard at Leipzig, Germany. Crews Dispatched: 39 (358BS - 9, 359th - 10, 360th - 10, 427th - 10). Length of Mission: 8 hours, 45 minutes. Bomb Load: 6 x 500 lb H.E. M43 & 4 x 500 lb M17 Incendiaries. Bombing Altitudes: 26,500, 26,300 & 26,800 ft. Ammo Fired: 640 rounds.
The marshalling yard at Leipzig, a central point for Axis troops and supplies going to the Eastern front, was attacked by bombers from Molesworth as the secondary target. The primary (visual) was a Leipzig ball-bearing plant, with a tertiary target, the Chemnitz marshalling yards. One aircraft returned early with a credited sortie. B-17G #44-6921 (No Name), 427BS (Lt. Cassels) had mechanical problems.
Thirty-eight Fortresses dropped 222 500- lb. H.E. M43, 148 500-lb. M17 incendiary bombs and ten units of T312 and T316 leaflets. Bombing was by PFF through a solid undercast with unobserved results. There were no contrails at the flying altitude.
There was no enemy air opposition. Flak was moderate and very inaccurate. There was no battle damage or casualties. Friendly fighter support by 218 P-51s was good. Three aircraft landed on the Continent with nearly empty fuel tanks. All other aircraft returned to Molesworth with many sweating out dangerously low fuel tanks.
44 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 37. Aborted - 1. Scrubbed - 2. Ground Spare, Unused - 4 42-102620 Ferrell, Oran D - at 1325 hrs #1 turbo went out; bombs jettisoned; rtd to base 43-39164 Carlson, Russell E - Aborted at 1224 hrs due to oxygen failure; rtd bombs
source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
388BG Mission Report - 756 heavy bombers of the 1st and 3rd Air Divisions were dispatched to attack the main marshalling yards at Leipzig. 351 of the 2nd Air Division went to Halle marshalling yards. The 388th furnished three Groups for the 45th A Combat Wing. We were the fifth Wing over the target. 38 a/c were airborne between 0929 and 1003 hours which included 4 PFF a/c. One a/c of the low squadron aborted for mechanical reasons.
Formations were effected without difficulty and the briefed route to the target was followed. The target was covered by 10/10 clouds and was attacked by squadrons using PFF methods. Bombs were away at 1346 hours from 27,000 feet. Meager, inaccurate flak was seen at Halle and Leipzig. None of our a/c received battle damage. All a/c returned to base by 1759 hours.
source: 388th Bomb Group web page http://www.388bg.info
source: 398th Bomb Group web page http://www.398th.org/
401BG / 613BS Mission Report - The 401st furnished 6 aircraft to comprise the Low Section of the High Squadron of the 94th "B" Group on February 27th. The target was the marshalling yards at Leipzig. Bombing was by PFF and no observations of results were possible. The three crews from the 613th flying were: 44-6313 Steele, 43-38862 Carey, 43-38458 May
source: 613th Bombardment Squadron History
401BG / 615BS Mission Report - For the second consecutive day the 401st experienced a partial stand down with only 12 aircraft being briefed, and five of these were spares for Polebrook and Glatton that were not required. Briefing was at 0700 hrs with all 20 aircraft being airborne by 1032 hrs. The Group furnished 6 aircraft to comprise the Low Section of the High Squadron of the 94th "B" Group, led by Lt. R.B. Steele,to bomb the marshalling yards at Leipzig. Bombs were dropped on the Lead aircraft of the 351st Group. The other aircraft flew with the 94th "A" Group. There was no air opposition and the flak at Halle and at the target was meagre and inaccurate. The 615th put up the following three crews: 42-107113 Moran, 42-102468 Berneburg, 44-6146 Jones.
source: 615th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
44BG Mission Report - 67th's C.O. Major Middleton, flew as Command Pilot today along with Captain Lavitt, who was credited not only with the Group lead but lead of the 14th Combat Wing as well. The target is the Halle M/Y, with the 44th dispatching 22 A/C (5 are 67U) 21 of them hitting the target. The H2X equipment in the lead aircraft was weak on range and defination, so the bomb run course Lt. was set up on DR. However, when Halle appeared on the scope, it was too late, far to the right and seemed too faint to be the target. When Bitterfeld appeared strongly, the course was altered and this target was bombed by all on H2X with unobserved results. Also, the H2X equipment was out on the 2nd squadron A/C so this formation bombed as a Group. Flak was nil; our fighter support was excellent. Lt. Lee, 67th, landed on the continent on the return flight due to gas shortage; will return to base tomorrow. Two combat crews that were attached to the 68th squadron for G-H and H2X Training as Lead Crews returned to their parent base, the 392nd BG. S/Sgt. Becker completed his tour.
source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
source: 486th Bomb Group web page http://www.486th.org/
91st BG / 324th BS Mission Report - Target: Leipzig Tank and Locomotive factory The squadron for this mission flew in the high squadron and bombed the secondary target of Leipzig with unobserved results. H2X photographs indicate good results. Meager and very inaccurate flak was experienced in the target area.
91BG / 401BS Mission Report - On the 27th of February we dispatched 11 A/C and 13 crews to attack a tank and locomotive factory on the NW outskirts of Leipzig. The secondary target was the Marshalling Yards in the center of the city. The secondary target was attacked by means of instruments with unobserved results.
Aircraft: B-17G (#42-39833W). Organization: 333BS / 94BG of Bury St. Edmonds, Suffolk. Pilot: Koval, Alfred R. Notes: taxiing accident. Location: Bury St. Edmonds, Suffolk England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#43-38709). Organization: 652BS / 25BG of Watton, Norfolk. Pilot: Merrill, Thomas L. Notes: taxiing accident. Location: Lagens AF Azores. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-24J (#42-50714). Organization: 409BS / 93BG of Hardwick, Norfolk. Pilot: Tully, Joseph J. Notes: landing accident. Location: Hardwick, Norfolk England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51B10 (#42-106447W). Organization: 364FS / 357FG of Leiston, Suffolk. Pilot: Eisert, Ralph E Jr. Notes: killed in mid air collision. Location: Westlton/ 1mi N England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51B15 (#43-24766). Organization: 363FS / 357FG of Leiston, Suffolk. Pilot: Hoffman, Robert R. Notes: killed in mid air collision. Location: Westlton/ 1mi N England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51B7 (#43-6876W). Organization: 352FS / 353FG of Raydon, Suffolk. Pilot: Long, William M. Notes: taxiing accident. Location: Raydon, Suffolk England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D (#44-15377). Organization: 434FS / 479FG of Wattisham, Suffolk. Pilot: Wendt, Eugene H. Notes: crashed belly landing due to engine failure or fire. Location: Maidston/ 4mi N England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D10 (#44-14730). Organization: 338FS / 55FG of Wormingford, Essex. Pilot: Ramm, Albert J. Notes: mid air collision. Location: Wormingford, Essex England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Mission "8th AF 851" Road and rail targets in Halle and Leipzig February 27, 1945
Primary source for mission statistics: Mighty Eighth War Diary by Roger A. Freeman
Enemy Aircraft X-P-D
Enemy Aircraft (on gnd) X-P-D
USAAF Aircraft X-E-D
USAAF Personnel KIA-WIA-MIA
486BG aircraft crash-lands continent
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