Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description
Mission 501: 1,057 bombers and 753 fighters are dispatched to bomb targets in Belgium, France and Germany; 7 bombers and 2 fighters are lost:
1. 291 B-24s in 2 forces are dispatched to hit signal depots, fuel dumps and V-weapon supply sites and a bridge in Belgium and France but the forces are recalled because of cloud cover over the targets; the first force of 180 B-24s is dispatched to NW France V-weapon sites, fuel dumps and a railroad bridge; 1 B-24 is damaged beyond repair and 8 are damaged; 10 airmen are KIA; escort is provided by 235 P-47s and P-51s; 1 P-47 and 2 P-51s are damaged (pilots are MIA). The second force of 111 B-24s is dispatched to hit Brussels and Vilvorde fuel and supply depots; 8 B-24s are damaged; escort is provided by 40 of 53 P-51s.
2. 766 B-17s are dispatched to bomb the synthetic oil plant at Merseburg, Germany; 652 hit the primary while 36 hit Leipzig/Taucha oil refinery, 18 hit the Wiesbaden marshaling yards and 8 hit targets of opportunity; they claim 1-2-1 Luftwaffe aircraft; 7 B-17s are lost and 217 damaged; 1 airman is KIA, 7 WIA and 67 MIA. Escort is provided by 386 P-38s and P-51s; they claim 4-1-1 Luftwaffe aircraft; 2 P-51s are lost and 3 are damaged; 3 pilots are MIA.
Mission 502: 6 of 6 B-17s drop leaflets in France 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,
Thirty-seven 303rd BG(H) aircraft, plus two 305BG PFF B-17s, departed Molesworth to bomb the Leuna synthetic oil plant at Merseburg, Germany. Aircraft of the 303rd BG(H) flew as the 41st CBW-A which was led by Lt. Col. William R. Calhoun. No aircraft returned early.
Thirty-seven aircraft dropped 370 500-lb. M43 bombs. PFF bombing was utilized and results could not be observed. In the target area, there were 8/10 to 9/10 altostratus clouds with tops at 16,000 ft., with 3/10 to 4/10 tops of swelling cumulus extending to 20,000 ft. with occasional tops at 23,000 ft.
No enemy aircraft was spotted. Moderate to intense and fairly accurate flak was encountered in the target area, and meager and fairly accurate fire at Zeitz. Two aircraft sustained major and eight, minor battle damage.
45 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 38. Aborted - 1. Scrubbed - 1. Spare, Returned As Briefed - 1. Returned To Base - 1. Ground Spare, Unused - 3 42-3441 Strong, Bert F - Assembly A/C 42-31484 Herzog, John H 42-107148 Liebert, Jack L - aborted due to supercharger failure. Right main landing gear collapsed following a hard landing. Aircraft was damaged but crew were not injured.
source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
388BG Mission Report - The 1st and 3rd Air Divisions were sent to attack a synthetic oil refinery of I. G. Farbenindustrie in the Merseburg-Leuna area. The 388th furnished two Groups, the lead and low Groups in the 45th B Combat Wing.
18 a/c plus 2 PFF a/c of the A Group and 20 a/c of the B Group took-off between 0500 and 0527 hours. 3 a/c in the A Group aborted, 2 for mechanical reasons and one because he could not locate the formation.
After forming, the Groups flew East diagonally across Europe on a briefed flak-free course to the IP, where the course was changed to a East-West for the bomb run. Two sharp right turns were made at the target and RP and the same route was followed on the return to base. Due to cloudy conditions at the target, PFF methods were used with bombs away at 0941 hours from 24,000 feet. The bombs in one a/c of the B Group hung-up and had to be jettisoned South of the target at the RP.
One ME 410 was observed in the target area but did not attack. Meager flak was encountered at Koblenz and Kassel with accurate heavy flak at the target.
25 a/c suffered minor damage and 1 a/c major damage. Sgt. E. R. Finn was wounded.
All a/c returned to base by 1358 hours.
Battle damage to our aircraft. Number of flak holes per a/c.
source: 388th Bomb Group web page http://www.388bg.info
source: 398th Bomb Group web page http://www.398th.org/
401BG / 613BS Mission Report - Weather over the target was such that PFF bombing was employed and results were unobserved. Flak was ineffective due in all probability to the fact that the Wings ahead of us released considerable chaff. No air opposition was encountered and all aircraft returned to base. The following crews took part:- Lockhart, Fox, Etters, Connolly, Hannix, Thomason, Lemmons.
source: 613th Bombardment Squadron History
401BG / 612BS Mission Report - After a three day delay for bad weather the Group was back to strategic bombing July 28th when they attacked Merseburg. Germany. The target was the huge oil industry of I.G. Farben. Our Group furnished again three boxes of 12 aircraft each comprising the whole of 94th "A" CBW which led the Bomb Division. Clouds obscured the target area and a bomb drop by PFF method was necessary. Results were believed to be good. Enemy opposition proved negligible although moderate flak which was inaccurate was encountered over the target area. No enemy aircraft were sighted and friendly fighter support was described as good. All of the crews returned safely.
source: 612th Bombardment Squadron History
401BG / 614BS Mission Report - The weather was pretty awful over the target and PFF methods were used to drop around 1,600 tons of bombs into the area of the synthetic oil and ammonia plants. Results were unobserved. The flak was ineffective and was probably due to the fact that the wing in front had released a considerable amount of chaff over the target. But even if the 401st escaped the flak, some others were not so lucky and 217 of the 652 aircraft over Merseburg received battle damage. Seven others were shot down. Crews: 42-97872 Rozzell, 42-31369 Kovach, 42-102394 Harasym, 42-97869 Koons, 42-97780 Lerwick, 42-97602 La Fevor, 42-97145 Taylor, 42-102659 Mercer.
source: 614th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 615BS Mission Report - The two PFF aircraft from Polebrook flew into Deenethorpe the previous evening with 401st crews. "Partnership L", Serial No. '636 piloted by 2nd Lt. R.B. Sproul and "Carlton Y", Serial No. '600 piloted by 1st Lt. C. J. Parr. The 39 crews of the 401st were briefed at 0200 hrs. The weather ship, "Buzzard 0" (IY-O) got a flat tire in the take-off position and changed to "Buzzard X"(IY-X) , getting airborne at 0515 hrs. Then IW-Q, Serial No. 42-97478, went off the end of the runway on the take-off, but the crew were not injured and the aircraft undamaged. As the Lead aircraft took off, piloted by Lt. Kalinski and with Colonel H.W. Bowman as co-pilot and Division Leader, an engine caught on fire. The pilot flew straight on to Polebrook and the crew changed over to PFF aircraft '965 and caught up with the Group within a very short time. Lt. Kalinski was obviously fated to fly a three-engined aircraft that day because he lost an engine yet again over the target. The 401st Group furnished three 12 aircraft Boxes comprising the 94th "A" CBW, which led the 1st Air Division. Because of solid overcast over the target, which was the Leuna Chemical Plant of the I.G. Farbindustrie, bombing was done by means of PFF. No observations were made. No enemy air opposition was met. Moderate, inaccurate flak of the barrage and tracking type was encountered at the target. Fighter was good. This was an end of an era for the 615th Squadron, being the final mission for the team of navigator and bombardier that had helped to make the 401st B.G. (H) the most accurate outfit in the 8th Air Force. Captain R.F. Causey had completely his tour but he volunteered to fly an extra one to team up with his friend Captain A.C. Kuenning on this Divisional Lead with Colonel Bowman, the Group Commanding Officer. Lt. F.A. Kalinski flew the Divisional Lead aircraft and Lt. C.J. Parr flew the Deputy Divisional Lead aircraft. Lt. J.E. Ferdyn led the Low Squadron of the Lead Box. The 615th loading list was as follows: Ossiander, Stegemann, Wingard, Duckworth, McIlraith, Oas, Dow, Mann, Ferdyn, Sproul.
source: 615th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
source: 457 Bomb Group http://www.457thbombgroup.org
91st BG / 323nd BS Mission Report - The primary target was Taucha, Germany, but the formation bombed a target of opportunity. This was successfully done. Twelve ships of 323rd squadron participated.
Ship #2116 aborted. Primer line from #3 booster pump was leaking excessively with booster pumps on. There was still a small leak with #3 booster off. The ship came back and the crew took off in a spare airplane in an attempt to catch the formation and complete the mission, but they were unable to do so.
91st BG / 322nd BS Mission Report - Merseburg (Taucha). The synthetic oil plant 3 miles south of Merseburg which was the assigned primary target was obscured by 10/10 undercast and due to the failure of PFF equipment a T.O. at Taucha 5 miles N.E. of Merseburg was bombed. Flak in the target area was intense and accurate, 33 out of 36 A/C in this group being hit. Lt. Suther and Lt. Gauthier led the low group which was composed of 3 A/C from the 401st Squadron and 9A/C from the 322nd Squadron.
91st BG / 324th BS Mission Report - Target: Briefed on synthetic oil at Mersburg. Target of opportunity, Taucha, about 5 mi. NE of Leipzig was bombed with god results. Cloud cover prevented visual attack on primary target and failure of mickey set prevented P.F.F. attack. Most crews were disgusted at failure to bomb primary as they felt it could have been attacked visually. Battle damage was particularly heavy from flak, as course took formation over heaviest concentration. There were some 200 guns within range instead of the 64 which would have been in range at the primary.
Aircraft: B-24H (#41-28752). Organization: 785BS / 466BG of Attlebridge, Norfolk. Pilot: Vogel, Robert R. Notes: killed in a take off accident. Location: Attlebridge, Norfolk England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: L-5 (#42-98997). Organization: 375SerS / 802RG of Watton, Norfolk. Pilot: Cleveland, William H. Notes: taxiing accident. Location: Watton, Norfolk England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-38J (#43-28268). Organization: 435FS / 479FG of Wattisham, Suffolk. Pilot: Waller, Charles S. Notes: landing accident. Location: Wattisham, Suffolk England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-47D (#42-74671). Organization: 359FS / 356FG of Martlesham Heath, Suffolk. Pilot: Perry, James H. Notes: take off accident. Location: Martlesham Heath, Suffolk England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-47D (#42-75549). Organization: 361FS / 356FG of Martlesham Heath, Suffolk. Pilot: Leyser, Harry C III. Notes: take off accident. Location: Martlesham Heath, Suffolk England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-47D (#42-7960W). Organization: 552FTS / 495FTG of Atcham, Shropshire. Pilot: Jenkins, Arthur G Jr. Notes: killed in a crash. Location: Dolau, Llanfair Wales. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-47D (#42-8001W). Organization: 551FTS / 495FTG of Atcham, Shropshire. Pilot: Stark, Richard D. Notes: mid air collision. Location: Ludlow/ 3mi E England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51C (#43-25036). Organization: 436FS / 479FG of Wattisham, Suffolk. Pilot: Teeter, Robert R. Notes: killed in crash due to engine failure. Location: Wattisham, Suffolk England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D5 (#44-13742). Organization: 338FS / 55FG of Wormingford, Essex. Pilot: Garnett, Joseph K. Notes: killed in a crash. Location: Mile End England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Mission "8th AF 501" Targets in Belgium, France and Germany July 28, 1944
Notes: B-24s: signal depots, fuel dumps and V-weapon supply sites and a bridge in Belgium and France. B-17: synthetic oil plant at Merseburg, Germany
Primary source for mission statistics: Mighty Eighth War Diary by Roger A. Freeman