Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description
Mission 770: 1,315 bombers and 572 fighters are sent to attack rail and communications targets in W Germany; 4 bombers and 2 fighters are lost:
1. 526 B-17s are dispatched to hit marshaling yards at Kassel (314) and Mannheim (181); 9 other hit a targets of opportunity; 3 B-17s are lost and 37 damaged; 24 airmen are MIA. Escorting are 301 of 325 P-51s; 2 are lost (pilots MIA).
2. 414 B-17s are sent to hit rail bridges at Bullay (72) and Kaiserslautern (72) and the marshaling yard at Bischoffsheim (35); secondary targets are the marshaling yards at Kaiserslautern (144) and Mainz (45); and 25 hit the city of Kassel; 1 B-17 is lost, 1 damaged beyond repair and 24 damaged; 12 airmen are KIA and 6 MIA. Escort is provided by 144 of 154 P-51s without loss.
3. 369 B-24s are sent to hit rail bridges at Altenahr (61), Auskirchen (91), and Irlich (58), the Irlich rail bridge (58), the Remagen Bridge (57) and the marshaling yard at Mechernich (87); 1 B-24 is damaged. The escort is 63 of 72 P-47s without loss.
4. 6 of 6 B-17s fly a screening mission.
5. 20 of 21 P-51s fly a scouting mission.
Mission 771: 8 B-24s and 3 B-17s drop leaflet in the Netherlands, Luxembourg 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,
42 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 35. Aborted - 3. Scrubbed - 2. Spare, Returned As Briefed - 1. Ground Spare, Unused - 1
source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
388BG Mission Report - The 388th again participated in the all-out effort of the 8th Air Force to wreck German transportation supplying the Western Front. The 3rd Air Division forces, led by the 388th, attacked railway yards at Kassel, Bebra and Mannheim. 1st Air Division went to targets of a tactical nature in the Cologne area. The 2nd Air Division went to similar targets at Mainz.
The 388th put up three squadrons composing the 45th A Combat Wing. 35 A/C plus 5 PFF A/C were airborne between 0700 and 0838 hours. One spare a/c returned to base. Wing formation was effected, and the briefed route to the Target was followed. Bombing was done through a 10/ 10th cloud coverage by squadrons using PFF methods. The Mickey Operators are confident the Target was hit. Bombs were away at 1253 hours from 26,500 feet. Six planes of the high element of the B Group, preceded the formation into the Target to distribute chaff and released their bombs at 1246 hours from 24,300 feet.
Flak was moderate, inaccurate barrage at the Target. Flak at the Target was quite accurate on the six chaff planes. As the Wing went over the Target, flak was below, above and ahead of the formation. 10 to 12 ground rockets were seen in the Giessen-Limburg area. 6 a/c had minor flak damage.
All but one of our a/c returned to base by 1615 hours.
Lt. Radtke in a/c 43-37724, "Solvang Revenger" aborted in the vicinity of Koblenz when they lost #3 engine. He left the formation and asked for fighter escort, but used cloud cover to get to friendly France. They made an emergency landing at Lille, France and were taken by truck to Brussels, Belgium. During this trip, they were attacked by a German night fighter. New Years Eve was spent in Brussels as the City was having a grand party having recently been liberated. On New Years Day, the airfield near-by was attacked by enemy fighters which destroyed the aircraft they were to fly back to England. They were then taken by truck to Merville, France to pick up an aircraft ready to be flown back to England. They arrived back at Knetishall on January 4, 1945.
source: 388th Bomb Group web page http://www.388bg.info
source: 398th Bomb Group web page http://www.398th.org/
401BG / 613BS Mission Report - Continuing the attack of transportation facilities the 94th "A" Group bombed a rail overpass at Kaiserlautern on December 30th. Because of solid undercast bombing was by Gee-H and no results were observed. No flak or air opposition was encountered and all aircraft returned safely to base. Crews from the 613th were: 43-38791 Kelso, 43-37706 Annis, 42-31591 Steele, 43-38862 Hopley, 44-8259 Baker, 44-6113 Scheller, 44-6313 Cox, 44-6132 Carey, 44-6588 Nielson.
source: 613th Bombardment Squadron History
401BG / 614BS Mission Report - This was another tactical target and it turned out to be a rail overpass at the town of Kaiserslautern, Germany, feeding material into the German lines. The 401st B.G. supplied the aircraft to form the 94th "A" CBW under the command of Captain D.A. Currie with the 614th Squadron making up the High Element in each of these Squadrons. The weather had returned to its usual 10/10th's undercast for this mission and the Group went in to bomb by Gee-H. Naturally, because of this, there were no photographs and no results could be ascertained. The flak was again very light with few casualties through battle damage and of almost 2,000 fighters and bombers only 6 were lost and two of these were caused through a collision in the target area. The Squadron put up the following crews for this mission: 42-38330 Crozier, 42-102659 Thompson, 44-6508 White, 43-38677 Moran, 42-97322 Fondren, 43-38646 Cole, 42-107151 Morton, 42-38565 Babcock, 42-97395 King.
source: 614th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 615BS Mission Report - The G-H aircraft for this mission came in from Molesworth and found that all the runway lights were out, and landed with great difficulty with the "Hi Light" only. 39 crews plus the weather ship crew were briefed at 0430 hrs, the weather ship becoming airborne at 0644 hrs. Take-off was then delayed for one hour but all operational ships were airborne by 1010 hrs. The target, the marshalling yards at Kaiserslautern, was a tactical target and the 401st furnished the 94th IIAII Group with the G-H aircraft along in.case it was required. It was. Because of solid undercast the Group bombed by the G-H method in Group formation with unobserved results. There was no opposition by the Luftwaffe or by flak and all aircraft returned to Deenethorpe safely. The mission leader was Captain D.A. Currie with 1st Lt. G.S. Schaunaman and 1st Lt. H.E. Haskett leading the other two Squadrons. The ten crews from the 615th Squadron were as follows: 42-97638 Haskett, 43-38941 Turk, 42-31485 Sombart, 43-38779 Stegemann, 42-102468 Spansel, 43-38758 Hansen, 43-38758 Cooper, 42-31983 Cracraft, 42-31072 Wolf, 43-38810 Grimm.
source: 615th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 612BS Mission Report - December 30th found the 401st out again bombing in the tactical category of operations with the marshalling yard at Kaiserslautern, Germ- anythe objective. Thirty-six aircraft were dispatched as the 94th CBW "A" Group with specially equiped Gee-H aircraft along in case the target was obscured. Because of the solid undercast the aircraft bombed by the Gee- R method in Group formation with results. No observations or photos of the target were available and no results could be ascertained. The enemy did not put up any opposition either in fighter or Flak and all the crews and aircraft returned safely. Captain Currie flew the mission as Group Leader - his last mission on his second tour - with Lt. Hayes,. Lt. Schaunaman and crew led the Low Squadron with Lt. Cromer, flying the Deputy Lead position. Seven other 612th crews completed the mission flying in the Low Squadron. Crews: 42-31891 Lawrence, 42-106992 Roadman, 42-39993 Aschenbach, 43-38541 Comer, 42-31662 Schliemann, 43-38733 Martin, 42-107039 Jones, 43-38680 Long, 44-8153 Harlan, 44-6506 Hudnall.
source: 612th Bombardment Squadron History
44BG Mission Report - A rail and road junction in the Ahrweiler area, at Altenahr, was hit today by eight planes of the 67th. The 44th dispatched 34 all together, including these. All but one aircraft attacked on Gee-H through 10/10th undercast with unobserved results. However, H2X navigators, in preliminary reports, stated that this formation had bombed Stadtkyll. Interpretation of scope photos proved this to be true. The reason for this mishap is unknown since Gee-H information was set into equipment properly and equipment checked properly on the ground after the completion of the mission. Fighter support was good, and enemy resistance was nil. The Group sustained neither loss or damage. Capt. Holmer flew deputy lead, Capt. Henry was 3rd squadron lead, and Henry's bombardier adds: "Ship 907 B+, load of 6 x 1000 lb GPs. Dropped on the lead plane. Interphone went out on the bomb run, couldn't get racks in select position, either. Lee let me know when the bombs went away. I sent an impulse through my sight releasing the squadron's bombs. Pete, (Henry) finally let our bombs go by using the emergency salvo lever. I broke the salvo lever trying to let the bombs go." S/Sgt. Chaffin adds: "Flew in S (763?) This was our first milk run as we did not see a single burst of flak."
source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
source: 486th Bomb Group web page http://www.486th.org/
Non-Combat Accident Reports
Aircraft: B-17G (#42-97479). Organization: 327BS / 92BG of Podington, Bedforshire. Pilot: Van Stratton, Joseph M. Notes: killed in a crash. Location: RAF East Kirby/ 2mi N England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#42-97824). Organization: 544BS / 384BG of . Pilot: Steinwinter, Joseph E. Notes: taxiing accident. Location: Grafton Underwood England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-47D (#42-26413). Organization: 63FS / 56FG of Boxted, Essex. Pilot: Batson, Samuel K. Notes: killed in crash due to engine failure. Location: Boxted/SE of Sta 150 England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-47D (#42-8535). Organization: / BAD A of . Pilot: Kicher, John E. Notes: ground accident fire. Location: Burtonwood, Lancashire England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51B (#43-6904). Organization: 363FS / 357FG of Leiston, Suffolk. Pilot: Stern, John R. Notes: landing accident. Location: Harrington, Northamptonshire England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51B7 (#43-6591). Organization: 334FS / 4FG of Debden, Essex. Pilot: Davis, Harry L. Notes: taxiing accident. Location: Debden, Essex England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Mission "8th AF 771" Night Leaflet Operation Dec 30/31 1944 December 30, 1944
Primary source for mission statistics: Mighty Eighth War Diary by Roger A. Freeman
Enemy Aircraft X-P-D
Enemy Aircraft (on gnd) X-P-D
USAAF Aircraft X-E-D
USAAF Personnel KIA-WIA-MIA
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