Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description
Mission 764: Freezing fog at bases in the UK restrict operations but 641 bombers and 390 fighters are dispatched against rail targets in W Germany in support of the battlefront in the Bulge; they claim 29.5-1-9 Luftwaffe aircraft; 2 bombers and 5 fighters are lost:
1. 227 B-17s are sent to hit marshaling yards at Fulda (118) and Andernach (63) and the rail bridge at Neuwied (7); 13 others hit a target of opportunity; 1 B-17 is damaged beyond repair and 45 damaged; 9 airmen are KIA. The escort is 44 of 46 P-51s; 1 P-51 is lost (pilot MIA).
2. 182 B-24s are dispatched to hit marshaling yards at Neunkirchen (57), Homburg (46) and Kaiserslautern (33) and the rail bridge at Kaiserslautern (19); targets of opportunity are the marshaling yard at St Wendel (9) and the rail junction at Enkenbach (8); 1 B-24 is lost, 5 damaged beyond repair and 60 damaged; 18 airmen are KIA, 11 WIA and 6 MIA. Escorting are 88 of 96 P-51s; 2 P-51s are lost (pilots MIA).
3. 232 B-17s are sent to hit the marshaling yard at Euskirchen (72), the Gerolstein rail junction (58) and rail bridges at Bullay (34) and Altenahr (25); targets of opportunity are Hillesheim (12) and Eckfeld (1); 1 B-17 is lost, 1 damaged beyond repair and 83 damaged; 9 airmen are KIA, 6 WIA and 9 MIA. Escort is provided by 46 of 48 P-51s without loss.
4. 163 P-47s and P-51s fly a fighter sweep and engage about 200 Luftwaffe fighters; they claim 29.5-1-9 aircraft; 2 P-51s are lost (pilots MIA).
5. 15 of 15 P-51s fly a scouting missions without loss. Mission 765: A night leaflet mission is flown over 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: Railroad Marshalling Yard at Euskirchen, Germany. Crews Dispatched: 39 (358BS - 9, 359th - 10, 360th - 10, 427th - 10). Length of Mission: 6 hours. Bomb Load: 18 x 250 lb H.E. M57 & 2 x 500 lb M17 Incendiaries. Bombing Altitudes: 23,650, 22,800 & 23,500 ft. Ammo Fired: 7,240 rounds.
Freezing weather and fog again restricted operations at many 8th Air Force Bases. None of the 38 Group aircraft dispatched returned early.
Thirty-five aircraft dropped 601 250-lb. H.E. M57 and 66 500-lb. M17 incendiary bombs from 23,650, 22,800 and 23,500 feet. Four aircraft jettisoned their bombs. Bombing was visual and some hits were made on the target. High Squadron bombs hit in a field 2 1/2 miles from the target. There were no clouds or contrails in the target area and visibility was unlimited.
There was no enemy opposition and 46 US P-51s provided poor support. Most crews reported seeing only a few friendly fighters. Anti-aircraft fire was moderate, but accurate, over the target. Meager and quite accurate flak was encountered a few miles south of St. Vith, along the battle line. Seventeen aircraft sustained major battle damage and 14, minor damage. Five crewmen were wounded and all aircraft returned to Molesworth.
44 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 37. Failed To Return - 1. Aborted - 1. Scrubbed - 3. Ground Spare, Unused - 2 42-31484 Erickson, Stanley W - While attempting to Landed away at Manston, cr into dispersal area; a/c exploded, killing the entire crew 42-107083 Nelson, Elmer - Failed to Return - MIA; received direct flak burst two minutes after attacking secondary; burst hit behind ball turret and completely disengaged the tail assembly; three chutes observed; cr Muehlbach, near Arenburg, Ger.; MACR 11248 44-8401 Gabel, Raymond J - aborted over base due to instrument failure; 6x1000GP jettisoned
source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
source: 392nd Bomb Group web page http://www.b24.net/missions/
401BG / 613BS Mission Report - A marshalling yard at Gerolstein through which heavy traffic was flowing in support of enemy ground forces was the target on December 27th. The weather for a change was good and visual bombing was accomplished by the Lead and Low Squadrons with excellent results. The High Squadron bombed a selected target at St. Vith with excellent results. Captain Coleman was the Low Squadron Leader in which nine crews from the 613th flew. They were: 44-3449 Coleman, 42-31072 Curran, 44-2607 Tausig, 44-6132 Annis, 43-38738 Scheller (614th aircraft), 44-38941 McGoldrick, 43-38862 Campbell, 42-102947 Steele, 44-6113 Bradley, 42-31591 Kelso (spare).
source: 613th Bombardment Squadron History
401BG / 614BS Mission Report - With all the aircraft back at Deenethorpe the 401st furnished the 36 aircraft for the 94th "C" Group plus three PFF aircraft. The Air Commander for this mission to bomb a marshalling yard at Gerolstein was Major A.H. Chapman. The Lead and Low Squadrons made a visual run on the target and the results were excellent, bombs blanketing the area of the MPI. The High Squadron was forced to make a 360 degree turn and when they got back on to what they thought was the previous MPI bombed the marshalling yards at St Vith. No fighters were seen although the escorts did claim 29 air victories in keeping the Luftwaffe away from the bombers. The flak was said to have been meager with the 1st Air Division sustaining battle damage to 83 of its 232 aircraft. Crews: 42-97636 Mercer, 44-8369 Hubbell, 42-97395 Hartsock, 42-97602 Mays, 42-97322 St. Aubyn, 42-39012 Cole, 42-107151 Morton, 44-6464 Fondren, 44-6508 King, 43-38646 Hoemann.
source: 614th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 615BS Mission Report - At 04oo hrs the airdrome was inspected and found to be very icy on the runways and perimeter tracks and they were sprayed with sand and salt. Half an hour later 39 crews were briefed and given possible diversions to A83 or A41 - airfields on the continent. After a delay of one hour all ships were airborne by 0920 hrs. The target was an important, even if small rail center for communication and transport, carrying traffic to the front line and was designated as the primary target on this mission. Bombing was by visual means, strike photos disclosing the majority of strikes of the Lead and Low Squadrons in the immediate vicinity of the MPI, with the MPI coveFed. The High Squadron bombs were observed to be short of the MFI. The 401st furnished the 94th "C" Group of three 12 aircraft Squadrons led by Major A.H. Chapman, flying with Captain J. Mercer. Capt. Coleman and Lt. Christensen were the other two leaders. The lack of enemy air opposition was noted but meagre, accurate flak was met at one spot causing major battle damage to one aircraft and minor damage to 9 others. The nine 615th crews on the trip to Gerolstein were: 43-38565 Spansel, 43-38125 Wolf, 43-38779 Cooper, 42-31485 McKay, 42-102468 Gerber, 43-38758 Hansen, 42-97664 Jordan, 43-38810 Grimm, 42-97869 Jones.
source: 615th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 612BS Mission Report - Finally the aircraft returned to base and completed another mission on December 27th. This was another tactical target in support of the Ground Forces resisting the German counter-offensive and was a small marshaling yard. Three Squadrons of twelve aircraft each were dispatched to carry out this job. The Lead and Low Squadrons found the primary target and the weather vas very clear. The completely blanketed the assigned area to accomplish a good job of bombing. The High Squadron had to make a 360 degree turn and upon resuming the bomb run misidentified and bombed the wrong target, some marshalling yards at St. Vith - but another good job. Only one little spot furnished meager and accurate Flak to hamper the operations and no enemy opposition developed. Ten of the aircraft sustained damage but all air- craft and personnel returned safely. Lt. Christensen, were leading the High Squadron which bombed the wrong target. Lt. Cromer was his deputy leader. Seven other 612th crews completed the mission in the· same Squadron. Lt. Aiken was leading the Low Section. Crews: 42-31662 Cox, 44-6506 Aschenbach, 42-106992 Comer, 43-38733 Hudnall, 44-8371 Christensen, 43-38680 Boddin, ? Cromer, 43-38788 French.
source: 612th Bombardment Squadron History
44BG Mission Report - Operations were resumed when 6 A/C of the 67th, 23 in total of the 44th, took off with 66th's Capt. McDonnell leading our Group. The first squadron was made up of 10 ships from the 66th. 67th's Captain Holmer led the high right squadron of the 44th with six planes from the 67th. Lt. Lavitt, 67th, led the 491st BG and their bombing results were excellent. Haze in the target area made it difficult to pick up the assigned target. The lead squadron remained on course until the last few minutes of the bomb run. However, a last-minute correction which was needed, was made and was sufficient to get the squadron on correct leading, but there was not enough time left for the Bombardier to synchronize properly. Neither the first or second squadron's bombing results were good. Bomb load was 52 x 100 lb frags. Flak was moderate and fairly accurate; fighter support was fair. No battle damage was reported except for 10 category "A" damages that were quite light. The third squadron's bombing results were excellent, and two ships bombed Kaiserlautern M/Y. Lt. Appelin adds: "Saw a pitiful sight. #4 ship in the Group dead ahead of us (446thBG) blew up just outside of Strassburg, taking its two wing ships, too." One of these two managed to make it nearly back to England, ditching off the Kent coast.
source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
446th Bomb Group Mission Report Kaiserslautern
18 planes hit a rail bridge with fair results and 7 more hit Enkenbach. 1 plane (42-50330) crashed on takeoff, killing the pilot. A second plane (42-50491) experienced multiple engine problems and ditched in the channel, killing 7 crewmen. The remaining 3 were rescued. A third plane (42-51312) was hit by flak and the crew was forced to bail out. 6 crewmen were taken prisoner, and 4 landed in allied occupied territory and returned to base. A fourth plane, Shoo Shoo Baby (42-52747), experienced severe engine damage and crashed in Belgium. All crewmen bailed out safely.
Aircraft: B-24H (#42-50330). Organization: 705BS / 446BG of Bungay, Suffolk. Pilot: Andrews, Jerome C. Notes: killed in a take off accident. Location: Bungay, Suffolk England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-24H (#42-50898). Organization: 732BS / 453BG of Old Buckenham, Norfolk. Pilot: Brown, Roscoe C. Notes: killed in a take off accident. Location: Old Buckenham, Norfolk England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-24J (#42-51505). Organization: 712BS / 448BG of Seething, Norfolk. Pilot: Malone, Edward J. Notes: landing accident. Location: Halesworth, Suffolk England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: Mosquito XVI (#NS519). Organization: 653WX / 25BG of Watton, Norfolk. Pilot: Hunt, Morton M. Notes: crashed on take off. Location: Watton, Norfolk England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D (#44-14139). Organization: / 4SAD of Hitcham, Suffolk. Pilot: Pace, Jean W. Notes: crashed belly landing. Location: Wattisham, Suffolk England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D10 (#44-14850). Organization: 435FS / 479FG of Wattisham, Suffolk. Pilot: Sowerby, Theo J. Notes: landing accident. Location: Wattisham, Suffolk England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/