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The Eighth Air Force Historical Society

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Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description

Mission 901: Preparatory air operations for the forthcoming (23 Mar) crossing of the lower Rhine River by Allied ground forces begin. 1,408 bombers and 806 fighters, in conjunction with Ninth Air Force and RAF aircraft, attack jet fighter bases; with one exception, all attacks are visual; they claim 58-3-49 Luftwaffe aircraft; 7 B-17s and 9 P-51s are lost:

1. 107 of 152 B-17s hit the secondary target, the tank factory at Plauen; targets of opportunity are Reichenbach (34) and other (1); they claim 3-3-3 aircraft; 5 B-17s are lost and 48 damaged. The escort is 273 of 314 P-51s; they claim 9-0-0 aircraft in the air and 3-0-0 on the ground; 3 P-51s are lost (pilots MIA) and 1 damaged beyond repair.

2. 129 of 151 B-17s attack Hardorf Airfield; 14 others hit Vorden Airfield, a target of opportunity; 1 B-17 is lost, 1 damaged beyond repair and 71 damaged. Escorting are 94 of 98 P-51s; they claim 0-0-2 aircraft in the air.

3. 214 B-17s are sent to attack the airfields at Zwischenahn (57), Marx (77) and Wittmundhafen (74); casualties for 1., 2. and 3. above are 7 WIA and 56 MIA. 108 of 109 P-51s escort and claim 2-0-8 aircraft on the ground; 1 P-51 is lost (pilot MIA).

4. 518 B-24s are dispatched to hit airfields at Ahlhorn (61), Hesepe (165), Achmer (180) and Mulheim Airfield at Essen (90); 21 B-24s are damaged. Escorting are 95 of 99 P-51s; they claim 35-0-30 aircraft on the ground; 3 P-51s are lost (pilots MIA).

5. 373 B-17s are sent to hit airfields at Hopsten (159 using Gee-H) and Rheine (180); targets of opportunity are the airfields at Hesepe (13) and Achmer (12); 1 B-17 is lost and 49 damaged; 1 airman is KIA, 3 WIA and 9 MIA. 97 of 102 P-51s escort; they claim 6-0-0 aircraft on the ground.

6. 36 P-51s fly a sweep over Giebelstadt Airfield and claim 0-0-6 aircraft on the ground.

7. 13 P-51s escort 9 F-5s, 1 P-38 and 1 Spitfire on photo reconnaissance missions over Germany.

8. 35 P-51s fly a scouting mission.

Mission 902: In a DISNEY operation, 3 B-17s attack the E-boat pens at Ijmuiden, the Netherlands with rocket bombs; 6 P-51s escort.

Mission 903: 1 B-17 bombs Oberursel in a Micro-H Mk II radar test; 4 P-51s escort.

Mission 904: During the afternoon, 90 of 92 B-24s attack Mulheim Airfield at Essen; 60 are damaged and 1 airman is WIA.

Mission 905: 8 of 9 B-24s drop leaflets in 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,