Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description
Mission 961: 605 B-17s and 584 P-51s are dispatched to make visual attacks on rail targets in SE Germany and NW Czechoslovakia; they claim 18-1-5 Luftwaffe aircraft; 5 B-17s and 2 P-51s are lost:
1. 284 B-17s are sent to hit the marshaling yards at Elsterwerda (135) and Falkenberg (143); 27 are damaged. Escorting are 191 of 204 P-51s; they claim 5-0-0 aircraft; 1 P-51 is lost (pilot MIA).
2. 321 B-17s are dispatched to hit the railroad industry and rail bridge at Pirna (115) and Karlsbad (87) and the marshaling yard at Aussig (109); they claim 6-1-2 aircraft; 5 B-17s are lost and 13 damaged; 46 airmen are MIA. The escort is 197 of 206 P-51s; they claim 7-0-3 aircraft.
3. 138 of 154 P-51s fly a freelance mission in support of the B-17s.
4. 14 P-51s fly weather reconnaissance missions.
5. 6 P-51s escort 7 F-5s on photo reconnaissance missions over Germany; 1 P-51 is lost (pilot MIA).
During the night of 19/20 Apr, 11 of 16 B-24s fly CARPETBAGGER missions to Norway; 2 B-24s are lost.
Source: THE ARMY AIR FORCES IN WORLD WAR II: COMBAT CHRONOLOGY, 1941-1945 by Carter / Mueller, the Office of Air Force History,
Carpetbagger Casualty Report John T Gault , ASN# 33684921, Dispatcher; of Washington Cty, PA: KIA - MACR 14191
Edward C Tresemer , ASN# 0-434010, Navigator; of Temple City, CA: KIA - Group Navigator - MACR 13281
Alfred H Dauman , ASN# 0-715729, Co-Pilot; of Hudson County, NJ: MIA - RTD to Harrington October 1944
source: 398th Bomb Group web page http://www.398th.org/
401BG / 613BS Mission Report - This was the sixth day running that the 401st flew an operational mission. The Allied Armies had the Germany falling back rapidly on all fronts and the 8th were; hitting marshalling yards in quick succession to further disable the German defenses. The day before it had been southern Germany but on this day the attacks were centred on the Berlin Leipzig area with the assigned target at Falkenburg. The Group again flew in the new formation of 30 aircraft as the 94th "A" Group. It proved to be another clear day over the target and the three Lead Bombardiers all hit their assigned MPI's and did another good job of bombing. The patterns could have been slightly better but this was put down to the inexperience in flying the new type of formation. There was no enemy opposition of any kind and all aircraft and crews returned safely to base. The 613th Loading List for this day was as follows: 42-102947 Berneburg, 42-31730 Warthen, 43-37706 Woodward, 44-6842 Litchfield, 41-6132 Smith, 43-38862 Lovelace, 42-31983 Kerkes, 43-38458 May, 44-6588 McKinny.
source: 613th Bombardment Squadron History
401BG / 614BS Mission Report - This was a mission to visually attack rail targets by the 1st and 3rd Air Divisions of the 8th Air Force. Me-262's hit the 3rd Division formation and shot down 5 B-17's with the gunners claiming 6-1-2 in reply. The 401st took part in the attack on the marshalling yards at Falkenberg putting up 30 aircraft to form the 94th "A" Group with Major Strauss as Air Commander. Lt. Col. Eric de Jonckheere and Lt. Gerber were the other Squad- ron Leaders. It was another clear day and the three Lead Bombardiers all hit their assigned MPI's with good results. The patterns were not quite as good as expected and this was put down to the new 30 aircraft formation being used. The Squadron loading list was as follows: 42-102468 Gibson, 43-38330 Short, 43-38791 Sorensen, 42-32012 James, 42-102077 Friedsam, 42-107151 Lindsay, 43-38425 Reinhard, 42-97931 Park.
source: 614th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 615BS Mission Report - The 1st Air Division sent 284 B-17's to attack two marshalling yards with the 401st putting up 30 of the 143 aircraft that attacked Falkenburg. The three-10 aircraft formation made up the 94th "A" Group under the command of Major Strauss, with Lt. Col. E.T. de Jonckheere and 1st Lt. J.D. Gerber as the other commanders. 30 operational crews and one weather ship crew attended the briefing at 0330 hrs and the weather ship, IN-J, was airborne by 0520 hrs. The other ships were away by 0704 hrs and assembled at 3,090 feet at the Cottesmore Buncher. Visual bombing was carried out with all three bombardiers hitting their assigned r~I's, accomplishing good to excellent results. Patterns co~ld have been better and their failing was attributed somewhat to inexperience with the new type of formation. No opposition of any type was met and all aircraft returned safely to Deenethorpe. The 615th loading list was as follows: 44-8259 Gerber, 44-8825 Coleman, 44-8550 Hart, 44-8708 Cole.
source: 615th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
Aircraft: Mosquito XVI (#NS748). Organization: 653BS / 25BG of Watton, Norfolk. Pilot: Carter, John M. Notes: ground looped. Location: Watton, Norfolk England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D10 (#44-14065). Organization: OT / 339FG of Fowlmere, Cambridgeshire. Pilot: Hull, James F. Notes: landing accident. Location: Barkston Heath/Sta 483 England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D15 (#44-14983). Organization: 370FS / 359FG of East Wretham, Norfolk. Pilot: Murray, John F. Notes: crash landing engine failure. Location: East Wretham, Norfolk England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D20 (#44-63627). Organization: 27PRS / 7PRG of Denain/Prouvy, France. Pilot: Ward, Walter B. Notes: killed in mid air collision. Location: Bingen Germany. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D5 (#44-11229). Organization: 328FS / 352FG of Bodney, Norfolk. Pilot: Reiners, John F. Notes: killed in a take off accident. Location: Bodney, Norfolk England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Mission "8th AF 961" Rail targets in Germany April 19, 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
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