Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description
Mission 951: 1,348 unescorted bombers are dispatched to visually attack strongpoints on the French Atlantic coast; the first two forces below make the sole operational employment of napalm bomb by the Eighth AF against German ground installations (pillboxes, gunpits, tank trenches, and heavy gun emplacements); the results are negligible and HQ recommends its discontinuance against this type of target:
1. 492 of 529 B-17s hit four strongpoints and flak batteries in the Royan area; 5 B-17s are damaged.
2. 341 of 359 B-24s hit six strongpoints and flak batteries in the Royan area; 1 B-24 is damaged beyond repair and 3 damaged; 2 airmen are KIA.
3. 442 of 457 B-17s hit 9 strongpoints and flak batteries in the Bordeaux/Royan, Pointe Grave and Pointe Courbre area without loss.
4. 3 B-17s and 20 P-51s fly scouting missions.
5. 107 of 109 P-51s support Ninth AF B-26s; 1 is lost (pilot MIA).
6. 6 of 7 P-51s escort 6 F-5s on photo reconnaissance missions over Royan and Germany.
Mission 952: 1 Mosquito and 9 B-24s abort a mission to Lechfeld Airfield during the night.
Mission 953: 10 of 11 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,
The 8th Air Force again went after German strong points in the Royan, Bordeaux, Pointe Grave and Pointe Coubre areas. Nineteen flak batteries were targeted. The 303BG(H) again bombed Royan.
Weather was completely clear, enabling bombardiers to drop 80 2,000-lb. G.P., 79 1,000-lb. S.A.P. bombs and ten leaflet units on the target. Overall results were fair with a few hits around the assigned MPI. One aircraft dropped two 2,000-lb. G.P. and two 1,000- lb. S.A.P. bombs with the 396BG on its target in the same area. There again was no enemy opposition and all aircraft returned to Molesworth undamaged with no casualties. For the second day there was no fighter support.
German forces at Fort de Royan surrendered immediately after this second day of bombing.
source: 303rd Bomb Group web page http://www.303rdbg.com/
source: 34th Bomb Group Mission List compiled by Gary L. Ferrell http://valortovictory.tripod.com
351BG Mission Report - 40 aircraft were sent on this mission.
source: 351st Bomb Group web page http://www.351st.org/ken.harbour
388BG Mission Report - For the second day in a row, the 388th was sent to bomb Royan, France. We furnished three Groups for the 45th Combat Wing. Our 38 a/c were airborne between 0600 and 0626 hours with no one aborting this mission.
Our a/c returned to base between 1335 and 1414 hours.
source: 388th Bomb Group web page http://www.388bg.info
source: 398th Bomb Group web page http://www.398th.org/
401BG / 613BS Mission Report - This was a repeat performance of the previous days mission. guns at Royan received another heavy battering from the 36 401st aircraft that attacked in sections of six. Unfortunately two of the section bombardiers selected the wrong aiming point so the bombs of twelve aircraft went astray. Enemy opposition again remained nil and it proved to be another proverbial milk run.
source: 613th Bombardment Squadron History
401BG / 614BS Mission Report - The target on the mission was again the gun emplacements at Royan. This time 1,278 aircraft dropped 2,855 tons of bombs on the confined area still being held by the German Army, and one must have grudging admiration for troops that could withstand this sort of punishment. There was no fighter or flak defences available to them under this tremendous bombardment. The 401st put up the 94th "A" group with Lt. Col. Voorhees as Task Force and Group Leader. Bombing was done by sections and the other leaders were Major J.R. Locher, Lt. Col. E de Jonckheere, Lt. W.S. Knowles. Lt. Post and Lt. R.D. Speer. Results were classed as excellent with clear skies, and no flak or enemy fighters to spoil the bombardiers aim, except that two of them aimed at the wrong point of the target. The 614th loading list was as follows: 43-38425 Short, 43-38677 Salisbury, 42-97602 Gibson, 42-97780 Gray, 43-38791 Sorensen, 42-102077 Yeargan, 42-97322 Viehman, 42-32012 James, 42-97478 Stehman, 43-38646 Cameron, 42-97931 Ayre.
source: 614th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 615BS Mission Report - This was another mission to the gun emplacements at Royan with the 401st putting up the 94th "A" Group. Lt~ CoL B.K. Voorhees was the Task Force and Group Leader with Major J.R. Locher, Lt. Col. E.T. de Jonckheere, 1st Lt. W.S. Knowles, 1st Lt. E.A. Post and 1st Lt. R.D. Speer as the other leaders. Bombing was by sections with four of the air sections getting excellent results. 38 crews and a weather ship crew were briefed at 0410 hrs with-all ships becoming airborne for the op~ration by 0746 hrs - this time without the problems of the previous day. Again the enemy opposition in the air and on the ground was nil and all aircraft returned safely to Deenethorpe. The loading list for the 615th was as follows: 43-38941 Knowles, 44-9646 Aschenbach, 44-8812 Hart, 44-8454 Speer, 44-8653 Post, 43-39146 Cole.
source: 615th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
44BG Mission Report - The target was the same as yesterday. Only today the new Napalm bombs were used for the first time in this theater. Our seven aircraft joined with 26 other 44th aircraft to return to the Royan Area, without fighter support. Three squadrons of ten aircraft each carried fighter tanks filled with Napalm, and they were to be followed in by a #4 squadron composed of three aircraft, to drop M-47 incendiary bombs. Visual conditions existed, but the lead and high right squadrons could not pick up the briefed MPI of the target #7 because of smoke. So they dropped on target #1 which they could see had not been hit, achieving good results. The low left and #4 squadrons dropped on target #7 and their patterns were in the briefed area. Flak was meager and inaccurate, and all of our aircraft returned safely and with no damage., On the 14th, Lt. Fremstad assigned and joined from the 66th BS. Four crews on local test hops. 2nd Lt. Carpenter promoted to 1st Lt., effective the 12th. 1st Lt's. Stevens and Kleiderer promoted to Capt. effective 12th. F/O Stoner appointed 2nd Lt. effective the 13th.
source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
source: 486th Bomb Group web page http://www.486th.org/
91st BG / 322nd BS Mission Report - Mouth of Gironde River. Primary Target: 4 x 220 mm Guns. Lt. Johnson flew in the lead A/C of the squadron which furnished the low squadron of the group. Gun emplacements at the mouth of the Gironde estuary were attacked visually with excellent results as shown by the strike photographs. Assembly of the group was accomplished over France. No flak was encountered at the target.
91st BG / 324th BS Mission Report - Target: Freiham Underground oil storage depot We furnished the low squadron on this mission and bombed Freiham, an underground oil storage depot. Strike photographs show excellent results, but no oil fires were visible. No A/A fire was encountered at the target.
Aircraft: B-17G (#42-38031). Organization: 549BS / 385BG of Great Ashfield, Suffolk. Pilot: Phillips, Lewis M. Notes: landing accident. Location: Great Ashfield, Suffolk England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#42-97992). Organization: 412BS / 95BG of Horham, Suffolk. Pilot: Durham, John O. Notes: taxiing accident. Location: Horham, Suffolk England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 2 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-24H (#41-29593). Organization: 785BS / 466BG of Attlebridge, Norfolk. Pilot: Devlin, Joseph J. Notes: killed in crash due to engine failure. Location: Mattishall/ nr England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D20 (#44-63196). Organization: 27PRS / 7PRG of Denain/Prouvy, France. Pilot: Barnes, Allen E. Notes: take off accident. Location: Denain/Prouvy, France France. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D20 (#44-63197). Organization: 350FS / 353FG of Raydon, Suffolk. Pilot: Fitch, William C. Notes: killed due to structural failure. Location: Thaxted Lodge Fm, Essex England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D20 (#44-63652). Organization: 27PRS / 7PRG of Denain/Prouvy, France. Pilot: Tubbs, Shirley B. Notes: bailed out due to mechanical failure. Location: Meiningen/ 10mi W Germany. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Mission "8th AF 951" Bordeaux and Royan strong points and batteries April 15, 1945
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
1st and only use by heavy bombers of 500lb napalm bombs 466BG aircraft crashes take-off
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