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The Eighth Air Force Historical Society

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Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description

Mission 720: 1,291 bombers and 954 fighters are dispatched to make PFF attacks using H2X on oil targets in Germany; they claim 73-7-25 Luftwaffe aircraft; 25 bombers and 15 fighters are lost:

1. 421 B-17s are sent to hit the Leuna synthetic oil plant at Merseburg (200); targets of opportunity are Meppen (24), Friedburg (21), Hersfeld (12) and Hunfeld (12) marshaling yards, flak gun batteries at Merseburg (12), Leeuwarden Airfield (11), Apolda (10) the Autobahn at Hersfeld (10), Quakenbruck (10), and other (69); the AAF claims 1-0-1 aircraft; 14 B-17s are lost, 3 damaged beyond repair and 205 damaged; 1 airman is KIA, 16 WIA and 129 MIA. Escort is 268 of 310 P-51s; they claim 63-7-20 aircraft in the air and 3-0-2 on the ground; 9 P-51s are lost (pilots MIA).

2. 402 B-17s are sent to Sterkrade, Lendorf and Hamburg but hit the secondary, the Osnarbruck marshaling yard (166) and last resort targets, i.e., Giessen marshaling yard (77), Wetzlar (62), Lingen (24), Koblenz marshaling yard (23), Bielefeld marshaling yard (9), and targets of opportunity (35); 7 B-17s are lost, 3 damaged beyond repair and 142 damaged; 2 airmen are KIA, 6 WIA and 65 MIA. Escort is 382 of 420 P-51s; 4 P-51s are lost (pilots MIA).

3. 366 B-24s are sent to hit the Dpag (178) and Rhenania (171) oil plants at Hamburg; 4 B-24s are lost, 2 damaged beyond repair and 220 damaged; 19 airmen are KIA, 8 WIA and 89 MIA. Escort is 177 P-47s and P-51s; they claim 5-0-2 aircraft in the air and 2-0-1 on the ground; 1 P-47 and 1 P-51 are lost (pilots MIA).

4. 12 of 12 B-17s fly a screening mission.

5. 31 of 33 P-51s fly a scouting mission.

Mission 721: 7 B-17s and 5 B-24s drop leaflets in France, the Netherlands 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,