Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description
Mission 650: 1,192 bombers and 678 fighters are dispatched to hit industrial and transportation targets in W Germany and use PFF methods for all targets; 28 bombers and 2 fighters are lost:
1. 421 of 462 B-17s hit a secondary target (Cologne) and 10 others hit Blatzheim; 1 B-17 is damaged beyond repair and 165 damaged; 3 airmen are KIA; 7 WIA and 1 MIA. Escort is provided by 221 P-47s and P-51s; they claim 5-0-0 aircraft in the air; 3 P-47s are damaged.
2. 415 B-17s are dispatched to hit Ludwigshafen/Opau oil refinery (214) and Mainz (171); 4 others hit targets of opportunity; 2 B-17s are lost and 142 damaged; 3 airmen are KIA, 9 WIA and 19 MIA. Escort is provided by 212 P-47s and P-51s; they claim 1-0-0 aircraft in the air; 1 P-47 is damaged.
3. 315 B-24s are dispatched to hit Kassel/Henschel aircraft plant (248); 35 also hit Gottingen; they claim 5-3-0 aircraft; 26 B-24s are lost, 6 damaged beyond repair and 41 damaged; 20 airmen are KIA, 2 WIA and 245 MIA. Escort is provided by 207 P-38s, P-47s and P-51s; they claim 25-0-6 aircraft in the air and 5-0-1 on the ground; 2 P-51s are lost (pilots MIA), 1 P-51 damaged beyond repair, and 2 P-38s and 2 P-47s damaged.
Mission 651: 8 of 10 B-17s drop leaflets in France, the Netherlands and Germany during the night.
163 B-24s on a TRUCKIN mission carry fuel to France.
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 Yards at Cologne, Germany. Crews Dispatched: 39 (358BS - 10, 359th - 10, 360th - 9, 427th - 10). Length of Mission: 6 hours. Bomb Load: 12 x 500 lb G.P. M43 bombs. Bombing Altitudes: 24,600, 24,200 & 23,800 ft. Ammo Fired: 1,790 rounds.
The 303rd BG(H) B-17s dropped 442 500-lb. G.P. M43 bombs from 24,600, 24,200 and 23,800 ft. One aircraft dropped leaflets. Aircraft #42-107206 Old Black Magic, 359BS (Lt. Miller) was hit by flak before reaching the target and the bombs wouldn't release. They were jettisoned over the English Channel on the return trip. There were 8/10 to 10/10 low clouds and no middle or high clouds in the target area. Bombing results were unobserved. Friendly fighter support by 221 P-47s and P-51s was good. No enemy aircraft were seen. Flak was moderate to intense and extremely accurate over the target. Twenty-two aircraft sustained major and thirteen, minor damage. Chaff had no effect. Three returning crewmen were slightly wounded.
source: 303rd Bomb Group web page http://www.303rdbg.com/
34th BG Mission Report - Mission #69 Ludwigshaven. Command Pilot: BURTON. 36 planes were dispatched and 35 were airborne. 33 planes dropped 99 tons on the primary target and 2 failed to bomb. One aircraft was lost to flak. 10 crewmen were listed Missing in Action and 1 as Killed in Action. 34 Credit Sorties.
B-17G 44-8185 H/P Mean Kid Missing in Action Ludwigshaven by flak. #2 engine and trailing edge of the left wing on fire. Stayed in formation 2-3 minutes while up to 3 crewmembers bailed out. Made 90 degree turn and jettisoned bombs while at least one more crewman bailed out. Made another 90 degree turn going into a steep dive, apparently trying to put out the fire. Last seen apparently under control, holding altitude with #2engine feathered but still on fire. Crashed Stromburg, Germany. Pilot: Capt. Blackburn. Missing Air Crew Report # 9367. 11 Prisoner of War.
source: 34th Bomb Group Mission List compiled by Gary L. Ferrell http://valortovictory.tripod.com
351BG Mission Report - 39 aircraft were sent on this mission.
42-98004 Cap. J. H. Geiger - Hit by flak on ball turret. Aircraft broke in half on landing at Polebrook. POW 1, KIA 1.
source: 351st Bomb Group web page http://www.351st.org/ken.harbour
384BG Mission Report - 384th BG Mission Number 200. The 384th Bombardment Group (H) formed the 41st CBW "A" wing for today's attack on railroad marshalling yards in Cologne, Germany. Primary Target: Railroad Marshalling Yards (PFF Aiming Points) - Cologne, Germany. Target Attacked : Primary (PFF)
43 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 36. Aborted - 1. Scrubbed - 4. Spare, Returned As Briefed - 1. Ground Spare, Unused - 1 42-97282 Blankenmeyer, William J - Landed with wounded aboard. 43-37703 Orr, James W - Went over target but did not release bombs due to bomb bay malfunction; bomb bay doors could not be fully opened, either electrically or manually. Returned bombs to base. 43-37717 Green, Loren L - Aborted due to internal failure in an engine.
source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
388BG Mission Report - For this mission the 388th furnished 11 a/c to fly the high Group in the 92nd Combat Wing. The 388th also furnished 1 PFF a/c to fly with the 34th Group and 1 PFF a/c for the 452nd Bomb Group which also went to Mainz.
13 a/c from this base were airborne between 0600 and 0642 hours and none aborted. After assembly was effected, a course was followed across Belgium to the Rhine River and the target. Because of weather conditions, all a/c bombed using PFF methods. Bombs were away from our Group at 0939 hours from 26,400 feet. Our two PFF a/c led their respective Groups, the 34th and 452nd.
All of our a/c encountered moderate flak in the target area with one of our a/c receiving battle damage. Both of the PFF a/c had flak damage.
All a/c returned to base by 1222 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 - A Cologne plant was located on the west side of the town and was engaged in the production of portable gas-producers for wood and mineral fuels. Weather was described as 8/10 10/10ths enroute and at the target 9/10ths to 10/10ths, although cumulus necessitated bombing by means of PFF. Crews reported observing a river immediately after bombs away, DR fix disclosing that bombs fell on a briefed PFF target. No enemy air opposition was encountered. In an effort to reduce the effectiveness of flak:, squadrons and sections were stacked going over the target area and squadron leaders believed this an effective method of reducing flak damage. Only five aircraft suffered battle damage, all minor. Crews participating from the 613th were: Douglas, Budd, Hanson, Keck, Jetter, Hillestad, Caron, Thomason.
source: 613th Bombardment Squadron History
401BG / 614BS Mission Report - The 27th and 28th September 1944 saw the success of the new German attack system called Sturmgruppen. It was a mass attack formation by the armored fighter aircraft, the FW 190. On the 27th the 445th B.G. of B-24's lost 25 of their aircraft in about three minutes - that means that 225 airmen of this Group did not return from the mission. The 2nd Division aircraft also brought back to their bases 20 dead aircrew. It was the turn of the B-17's on the following day when 18 B-17's went down in one pass, this time the 303rd Bomb Group from nearby Molesworth lost 11 aircraft, the 401st losing one, that of a 615th crew piloted by Lt. E.N. Daves. The near destruction of the oil industry saw the Germans using portable gas producers that used wood and coal. The U.S. Army requested that the 8th Air Force go after a factory that were making this equipment at Cologne. The 39 aircraft of the Group made up the 94th "B" Wing under the leadership of Captain Clyde Lewis with Captain J.A. Gruman leading the 614th as the High Squadron. The weather over the target was 9/10th's to 10/10th's so a PFF attack had to be made but some visual check points just after bombs away seemed to indicate that the "Mickey" operator had done a good job. The 401st did not suffer any attack from the Luftwaffe and the flak made up for this by giving the Group a taste of moderate and accurate bursts that caused battle damage to eleven aircraft. Crews: 42-97780 Gruman, 42-31863 Whittman, 42-107084 Harasym, 42-97145 Lerwick, 42-38236 Moran, 42-107151 James, 42-97478 Hubbell, 42-38330 Crozier, 44-6508 Sisson, 42-97602 Mays.
source: 614th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 615BS Mission Report - Back to the industrial and transportation targets in western Germany was the Group's assignment for 27th September. Because of the expectation of bad weather the PFF and primary target were the same. Briefing was at 030o hrs for 39 operational pilots and 1 weather ship pilot. All aircraft became airborne by 0700 hrs. The 401st furnished three 12 aircraft Boxes to make up the 94th "BII Group, led by Captain C.A. Lewis - at that time the acting C.O. of the 615th Squadron - flying with 1st Lt. W.M. Heenan, also of the 615th. Lt. Carns and Capt. Gruman led the other two Boxes. Bombing was by PFF with results believed to be good to excellent because of the visibility of a few good check points. Lt. Chaffey was the Mickey operator and Lt. J.M. Kane the Lead Navigator. The Luftwaffe were busy with the B-24's of the 2nd Bomb Division and the fighter escort and did not show up in the 401st area. There was some meagre to moderate flak at the target which caused minor battle damage to five of the Group's aircraft. The ten Squadron crews flyin this mission were: Grimm, Callaway, Heenan, McKay, Oas Jr., Haskett, Sombart, Daves, Sullivan, Udy.
source: 615th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 612BS Mission Report - Back to synthetic oil production was the Group's assignment for September 27th. The 401st furnished three boxes of 12 aircraft each, flying as 94th "B" CBW in this effort flown to Cologne, Germany. A solid overcast at the target necessitated PFF bombing again and crews reported seeing visual checkpoints just after bombs away that indicated a good job by the Mickey operator. The PFF target was the same as the Primary assignment. Flak was the only form of enemy opposition encountered. This proved to be meagre to moderate and fair in accuracy at the target, and also meagre to moderate and fair in accuracy in the Koblenz area. Lt. Carns, led the Low Box in the Wing formation accompanied by nine other 612th crews, all returning safely. Crews: 42-97938 Lawrence, 42-39993 Gibson, 42-102393 Nagle, 42-97487 Cromer, 42-106992 Hocking, 42-97487 Hills, 42-31891 Carns, 42-102398 Maxwell, 43-37790 Bonney, 42-107039 Harlan.
source: 612th Bombardment Squadron History
44BG Mission Report - 28 A/C (8 67th) and 2 PFFs were dispatched today and all but one attacked the secondary, the tank factory at Kassel, Germany via PFF. The Primary was the same target if bombed visually. Lt. Bartlett led the second section composed of 67th aircraft and two from the 68th Squadron. Again, PFF equipment was necessary to bomb this target, so results were unobserved. Flak was moderate to intense, but inaccurate. bomb loading was 12 x 500 lb GPs, altitude of 25,500 feet at -37 Centigrade. Enemy aircraft were seen to the rear and it is believed that following Groups were attacked, although no attacks were made on our formation. We received excellent fighter protection and the Group sustained no losses. Lts. Burtsavage and Henneberry had problem with their oxygen systems. Lt. Appelin adds: "Tiger tank factory was a specific target, and results were fair. Received 26 holes from flak. Saw the most beautiful air battle today. Over 300 P-51s hit about 130 FW 190s and ME 109 - the Jerries were hit hard on this one. Poor 445th BG - 25 bombers went down out of 32 in one attack. I have never seen so much fire in such a short time. It was a bit strange(?) to see four lonely ships come out of a Group of 32 bombers ( 2 crash-landed in France) and in only about 30 seconds of attack. It's a fast war! We had to make a second run over the target. First time over nothing happened, but the second one really pulled up the flak." 2nd Lt. Murray promoted to 1st Lt. effective 24th Sept.
source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
source: 486th Bomb Group web page http://www.486th.org/
91st BG / 322nd BS Mission Report - Cologne, Germany. The PFF target, the M/Yds at Cologne, was attacked by the 1st C Group with unobserved results. Lt. Hammer led the low Squadron which was furnished by the 322nd Squadron. (Note: Customary terminology for combat formations has been changed so that the following terms are now official: 12 A/C now called Squadron 36 or 24 A/C formation called Group an two or more Groups called CBW. Two or more CBWs are an Air Division and any number of CBWs assigned to the same target are now designated a Task Force.
91st BG / 324th BS Mission Report - Target:Cologne. Lead Sqdn. - M/T factory of Ford Motor - Low Sqdn. - Plant making portable gas producers for wood and mineral fuels. High Sqdn. - Synthetic oil plant. Weather prevented attack of visual targets (3 separate ones assigned to our group) and forced a PFF attack. Results were unobserved but mickey navigator was confident of good results. Malfunction of equipment in lead A/C made it necessary for deputy lead to assume leadership 19 miles from target. Seven A/C failed to drop on deputy lead and brought bombs back.