The Eighth Air Force Historical Society

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The Eighth Air Force Historical Society

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Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description

AIRBORNE OPERATIONS (IX Troop Carrier Command): 2,000+ transports and gliders drop and land the British 6 Airborne and US 17th Airborne Divisions (plus artillery, vehicles, ammunition, and other supplies) E of the Rhine River N and NW of Wesel as the British Second and US Ninth Armies cross the river to the NW and SE.

Mission 911: In conjunction with the allied ground forces assault across the lower Rhine River (Operation VARSITY) the Eighth flies bombing, supply, and armed reconnaissance missions; during the day, 1,749 bomber sorties and 1,375 fighter sorties are flown to attack airfields visually in W and NW Germany in the morning and afternoon and drop supplies to US and British troops at midday; they claim 54-0-6 Luftwaffe aircraft; 19 bombers and 9 fighters are lost;

1. 175 of 179 B-17s bomb Vechta Airfield in the morning; 1 hits Rheine Airfield, a target of opportunity; 1 B-17 is lost; 1 airman is WIA and 9 MIA.

2. 527 B-17s are sent to hit Steenwijk (114), Zwischenahn (74), Varel (88), Varrelbusch (113) and Plantlunne (13) Airfields in the morning; targets of opportunity are Wittmundhafen Airfield (13) and other (2); 1 B-17 is lost and 2 damaged; 1 airman is KIA and 9 MIA.

3. 294 B-17s are dispatched to hit Rheine (36), Hopsten (62), Vechtel at Furstenau (72), Achmer (73) and Hesepe (36) Airfields in the morning; 1 other hits a target of opportunity; they claim 1-0-0 aircraft; 3 B-17s are lost, 1 damaged beyond repair and 100 damaged; 8 airmen are KIA, 5 WIA and 28 MIA. 4. All 58 B-24s hit Nordhorn Airfield without loss.

5. The 4 forces above have 1,158 P-47s and P-51s flying area support; they claim 53-0-2 aircraft in the air and 0-0-4 on the ground; 9 P-51s are lost (8 pilots MIA).

6. At midday, 240 B-24s are sent to drop supplies in the US (122) and British (118) assault areas flying at 300 to 400-feet (91 to 122 m); 14 B-24s are lost (mostly to small arms fire), 4 damaged beyond repair and 103 damaged; 5 airmen are KIA, 30 WIA and 116 MIA.

7. 182 B-24s are sent to hit Stormede (96) and Kirtorf (65) Airfields in the afternoon; 9 hit Ziegenhain Airfield, the secondary, and 11 hit the Treysa marshalling yard, a target of opportunity; 16 B-24s are damaged.

8. 114 B-17s are sent to hit Ziegenhain Airfield (104) in the afternoon; 6 others hit Siegen marshalling yard, the secondary; 2 B-17s are damaged.

9. 152 of 153 B-17s hit Enschede Airfield at Twente; 20 B-17s are damaged.

10. The 3 forces above are escorted by 95 P-47s and P-51s without loss.

11. 2 B-17s and 19 of 20 P-51s fly scouting missions; 1 P-51 is lost.

12. 8 P-51s escort 4 Mosquitos that monitor operations for the bombers.

13. 17 P-51s escort 19 aircraft on photo reconnaissance missions over Germany.

Mission 912: 10 of 12 B-24s drop leaflets in Germany and the Netherlands during the night and 24 B-24s fly CARPETBAGGER missions over Scandinavia.

The 859th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 492d Bombardment Group (Heavy) [attached to the 2641st Special Group (Provisional)] moves from Brindisi to Rosignano, Italy with B-24s and C-47s (the squadron is flying CARPETBAGGER missions in the MTO).

Source: THE ARMY AIR FORCES IN WORLD WAR II: COMBAT CHRONOLOGY, 1941-1945 by Carter / Mueller, the Office of Air Force History,