Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description
VIII Bomber Command Mission Number 51: 25 B-24s are dispatched against the Brest, France U-Boat base while 83 B-17s are dispatched against the Lorient, France U-Boat base. 19 B-24s drop 52 tons on Brest at 1337-1338 hours; the B-24s claim 2-3-1 Luftwaffe aircraft; 3 B-24s are lost, 1 is damaged beyond repair and 9 are damaged; casualties are 3 WIA and 31 MIA. 59 B-17s bomb Lorient at 1412-1414 hours dropping 147 tons of bombs; they claim 9-4-2 Luftwaffe aircraft; 1 B-17 is lost and 8 are damaged; casualties are 7 WIA and 10 MIA. The attack is hindered by an effective smoke screen and strong fighter opposition.
HQ 96th Bombardment Group (Heavy) arrives at Great Saling, England from the U.S.
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: Power Station, Lorient, France. Crews Dispatched: 21 (358BS - 1, 359th - 6, 360th - 7, 427th - 7). Length of Mission: 6 hours, 50 minutes Bomb Load: 5 x 1,000 lb H.E. M44 bombs Bombing Altitude: 26,700 ft. Ammo Fired: 37,450 rounds. Enemy Aircraft Claims: 4 destroyed, 1 probable.
Maj. Glenn E. Hagenbuch, CO 427BS, flew #41-24619, S for Sugar, as lead B-17 of the Low Squadron.
Maj. Gene Romig led the 303rd BG(H) formation of 21 aircraft dispatched to bomb Lorient in Knockout Dropper, #41-24605 (359BS) BN-R. Five aircraft aborted the mission. The remaining sixteen aircraft bombed the primary target. Flak over the target was moderate and inaccurate. There were 20-25 single engine enemy fighters that attacked the Group in the vicinity of Lorient. B-17F #42-5360, Old Faithful, piloted by 1Lt. James McDonald, was badly damaged, but fought off the enemy aircraft, shooting down two. Lt. McDonald landed his badly damaged B-17 at RAF Predannack. Lt. L.D. Griffin landed 360BS #42-5434 Lady Luck at Daordstowe with a supercharger out and a flat tire. All other aircraft returned to Molesworth with six stopping at Predannack for refueling.
source: 303rd Bomb Group web page http://www.303rdbg.com/
306th Bomb Group Mission Report MISSION
VIII BC 51
Brest and Lorient Uboat bases
INFORMATION IN DETAIL
A/C: 20; 4 returned early; 3 landed away (2 at Colerne and 1 at Portreath); 1 brought bombs back because bomb bay door would not open
Bombing: 1415, 28000 ft
RESULTS OF BOMBING
Not good; only 12 of 20 A/C bombed; leader went past IP; most bombs fell short
moderate but inaccurate over target
ENCOUNTERS AND CLAIMS
20-25 E/A with yellow noses and yellow tails also black fuselage with orange tails
4-6 aerial bombs dropped by E/A; Ju88 stood off in distance at same elevation as our A/C; believe it giving elevation to dive-bombing E/A
Waist gunner with shell fragment in eye
Tail gunner with flak in right arm
B-17 going down over Lorient - 3-6 chutes (ed: this is a 305th BG a/c)
Pilots noted formation poor
Vannedge ball turret became locked at 29000 ft.
More walk-around oxygen bottles needed
Vapor trails the whole way
source: 306th Bombardment Group website www.306bg.org/
44BG Mission Report - Very bad weather has kept us grounded for ten days, but today eleven planes of the 44th (Lt. Cameron being our only representative) attacked the target of Brest, France once again in the dock area. Captain John Diehl, 68th Squadron, led the formation and the bombing results were reported to have been excellent. Considering the smoke screen that the Nazi's had surrounding the target, the bombing was a fine piece of work. The flak was variously described as light by the 68th and heavy by the 66th while enemy fighter attacks appeared to have concentrated on the 93rd BG. We made no claims, and all returned safely to base. On orders from the 2nd Bomb Wing, the 44th BG concentrated on the training of newly arrived combat crews throughout the month of April. No further missions were carried out this month. ENGINEERING NOTES: Nose and belly of the B-24-D is poorly defended. Solution: Increase the fire power by making guns more efficiently aimed and fired. Give gunners more ammunition in longer belts for sustained attacks. Formations are too small to cope with new attacks of many aircraft at one time. So, fly formations close enough to limit attacks on any one group and still permit individual ships evasive action. NOTE No. 2. Lt. Cameron's flight log indicated a mission to Kiel Germany but I can find no substantiation in any of these records. Perhaps the date is shown incorrectly as it precedes the diversion of 4 April.
source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
91st BG / 323nd BS Mission Report - Six ships of 323rd squadron, piloted by Captains Dwyer and Clancy, Lieutenants Rand, Biggs, Evins and Birdsong took part in the mission on the power station at Lorient, France. The bombing results were poor, most of the bombs dropping into the river to the right of the target.
91st BG / 322nd BS Mission Report - Thirteen of group A/C bombed the Naval Poer Station at Lorient, France, with 5 x 1000 bombs at 1412 hours. Of 15 E/A seen none offered to attack our group. The flak was moderate and inaccurate. Three A/C of 322nd went - #139 Capt. Bruce D. Barton, #481 Lt. James D. Baird, #497 Lt. Wm. F. Genheimer. Bombing was fair. All our A/C returned safely. No casualties.