Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description
VIII Bomber Command Mission 81: The Ruhr is targetted with the bombers concentrating on manufacturing installations and synthetic oil.
1. 183 B-17s are dispatched to synthetic oil installations at Bochum, Gelsenkirchen and Recklinghausen; some B-17s become separated on the bomb run and bomb various targets of opportunity; 133 B-17s hit the targets at 0845-0925 hours; they claim 25-5-11 Luftwaffe aircraft; 23 B-17s are lost, 2 are damaged beyond repair and 103 are damaged; casualties are 5 KIA, 49 WIA and 232 MIA.
2. 147 B-17s are dispatched to manufacturing installations at Bonn; 110 hit the target at 0850-0858 hours; they claim 4-2-2 Luftwaffe aircraft; 2 B-17s are lost, 1 is damaged beyond repair and 69 are damaged; casualties are 1 KIA, 7 WIA and 21 MIA.
VIII Air Support Command Missions 17 and 18: 71 B-26s are dispatched to the Poix/Nord Airfield in France; 34 hit the target at 1052 hours; 13 aircraft are damaged.
Source: THE ARMY AIR FORCES IN WORLD WAR II: COMBAT CHRONOLOGY, 1941-1945 by Carter / Mueller, the Office of Air Force History,
Into "Happy Valley" (Ruhr Valley) flew a formation of Flying Fortresses to mark the first heavy daylight bombing raid to the heart of the Ruhr. The bombers flew unescorted to the target area but were met on the return journey by P-47 "Thunderbolt" fighters. One 427th BS aircraft, #42-24619 S for Sugar (Shope), aborted after the No. 4 engine failed. The bombs were jettisoned in the wash.
Weather on the trip was fair with good visibility until the formation reached the target area. At the target flying at 27,000 feet, cloud cover, ground haze and smoke made it impossible for crews to observe the bombing results. However, the bombers had made a good run on the target with evasive action, dodging the most intense flak yet encountered. Later analysis indicated that no 8th Air Force bombers were successful in hitting the primary target.
No fighters attacked until the Fortresses dropped their 38 tons of 320 British 250-lb. incendiary bombs. As soon as they turned away from the target area, 100 to 150 FW-190s and ME-109s started to concentrate their attacks on the 303rd BG(H). The fight lasted 45 minutes with almost continuous attacks. Gunners claimed four destroyed, four probables and one damaged. The attack broke off when the P-47s appeared. Scattered flak was encountered at different stages of the journey, but the Ruhr Valley barrages were intense and accurate.
Aircraft #42-29640 Old Ironsides 359BS was last seen at a point ten miles south of Hokum, Germany after dropping its bombs. It fell behind the formation after a fighter attack and was almost completely on fire. It crashed at Wuppertal, Germany.
source: 306th Bombardment Group website www.306bg.org/
351BG Mission Report - 16 aircraft were sent on this mission.
42-29874 Lt. J. A. Garcia - Crash-landed. KIA 1.
source: 351st Bomb Group web page http://www.351st.org/ken.harbour
384BG Mission Report - Lecates aborted, attacked airfield in Holland
source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
384BG Mission Report - 384th BG Mission Number 14. Lecates aborted, attacked airfield in Holland. Formation problems prevented attack on primary target. Unidentified military installations were bombed leaving primary target area. Heavy fighter attacks for over an hour. Primary Target: Synthetic Fuel Plant - Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Target Attacked : Target of Opportunity (Visual): Military Installations, Germany
21 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 9. Failed To Return - 5. Aborted - 6. Scrubbed - 1 42-3104 Keck, George B - Failed to Return - MIA; e/a; cr Hennef, Ger; MACR 286 42-3216 Ogilvie, Donald Potter - bomb bay doors wouldn't open - bombs had to be salvoed later; flak and .30 cal hole, nothing serious. 42-3218 Armstrong, Lloyd R - Aborted at 0810 hrs b/c of supercharger failure on #3 & #4 engines; rtd 16x250 British IB 42-3222 Mattes, Frank G - heated gloves insufficient at high altitude; four frozen guns - 2 waist, 1 nose (and gun socket), and 1 in ball turret; flak hole in #2 prop; hole through left wing; hole through ball turret. 42-3230 Wofford, Drewry Fry - Aborted at 0811 hrs b/c #3 engine was throwing oil and vibrating and had to be feathered; bombs rtd 42-3231 Carrington, Richard T - Failed to Return Capt. Carrington; MIA; e/a, cr Liblar; MACR 287 42-3259 Magowan, David - Landed at Framlingham w one wounded; 42-5806 Swank, Robert D - Failed to Return - MIA e/a; cr Bonn, Ger; MACR 288 42-29686 Bigelow, William H - Failed to Return - MIA; e/a, cr Heisterbacherrott, Ger; MACR 290 42-29699 Frink, Horace E - Aborted #1 and #3 and #4 oil pressure dropped off between nothing and ten; feathered #1 and #3. Loading list marked "Abortive Sortie." 42-29768 Willing, Mark S - Oxygen system in ball turret out before departing England; both waist gunners hands almost froze; Right brake weak; adaptor too long in right waist gun; stoppage in right tail gun - cause unknown, perhaps in receiver; astrodome broken; left window in nose broken; oxygen system on left side of a/c shot away; #1 prop has 2 inch hole; numberous holes in fuselage and wings. 42-29927 Higdon, Philip E - Flying suit of Jacobsen went out completely; boots and gloves went out on Kinowski; leak in ball turret oxygen; could not get full power from #1, #2, and #3 due to flak holes in exhaust, causing superchargers to run awsy; general flak damage. 42-29985 Lecates, Robert L - Aborted Returned early after bombing target of opportunity; #1 engine oil cooler sprung leak and lost power. 42-30026 Algar, Philip M - #1 engine running rough at 29,000 ft; when pilot gave it the throttle, it would run smoothly; flak holes scattered over ship. 42-30039 Bishop, Charles W - Interphones out in tail and ball turret; flak holes, 20 mm holes. 42-30043 Goulder, Edmund Samuel - Aborted over Yarmouth; could not reach altitude or keep up with formation; lower turret was out and top turret Vickers unit was vaporizing 42-30046 Sierens, Ernest J - Failed to Return - MIA; flak, cr Gelsenkirchen; MACR 289 42-30139 Kelly, James H - Aborted LSqLd, Flt Deputy; aborted at 0828 hrs b/c #1 engine failed 42-30142 Hausenfluck, Jesse D - S/Sgt. Raymond Gregori, tail gunner, awarded Silver Star; Interphone out; waist guns failed to feed after 300 rounds; radio guns will not feed; morphine frozen; top turret gun froze (right); #2 engine rough, rpm eratic (later it was all right); 20 mm burst in tail position; flak through left wall of radio room; holes in wings and ball turret. 42-30196 Armstrong, James Edwin - Heated gloves and shoes of ball turret operator failed; same failures for radio operator and both waist gunners; Supercharger in #4 tore up - it was a reconditioned one; 2 flak holes through left wing.
source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
91st BG / 323nd BS Mission Report - Six planes 323rd squadron took part in a mission to bomb public utility and artificial gasoline plants at Gelsenkirchen in the Ruhr - Pilots Capt. Lethers, Lieutenants Rodman, Arcaro, Silvernail, Kethley and Thompson. Major Bishop lead the group with Capt. Lethers and bombing accuracy was not too good, owing to poor visibility and smoke screen. Lieutenants Kethley and Thompson's ships were badly hit by the first E/F attacks and did not return.
91st BG / 322nd BS Mission Report - Raid on synthetic oil plant located in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Bomb Load: 10 x 500. Bombing Altitude: 30,000. Results of Bombing: Fair. A. A. Fire: Intense at target but altitude 323rd A/C prevented serious damage. Enemy Attacks: E/A met group at 0829 hours and continued their intermittent attacks until 0940 hours when we enjoyed friendly fighter support. Weather - 41 below, 5/10 cloud. Time: Leave base 0651. Target 0857. Return 1117.
Lt. R. S. Gerald, pilot of A/C 511 became ill enroute to target - returned to base 0635 hours. A/C 990 aborted due to faulty supercharger; brought bombs back. A/C 973 aborted over Holland because of oxygen system failure and interphone trouble, dropped bombs on airfield eight (8) miles north of the Hague. Returned to base at 1015 hours. A/C 497 aborted at Weerden directly after S/Sgt R. A. Thegpen (ball turret) had been seriously injured as result of part of supercharger breaking loose and striking him in the head. #4 and #2 superchargers failed to function properly so this A/C brought bombs back. Low temperatures at altitude (-44 degrees) resulted in freezing of oxygen masks - guns - turrets. Two men of group died due to lack of oxygen.
91st BG / 324th BS Mission Report - Target: Gelsenkirchen synthetic oil plant. Four aircraft lost, last seen near target. No parachutes seen. 32000 ft. seemed too high. Frosted windows made visibility a problem. Thirty to forty enemy aircraft pressed persistent attacks. Bombing results generally unobserved., but reported very poor to good.
91BG / 401BS Mission Report - Target area bombed heavily, with large explosions and smoke and fire seen in vicinity of pin-point. Hits also noted in industrial area south of river. Intense accurate flak in target area. Light flak reported from vicinity of Antwerp. ENEMY AIRCRAFT: Intense E/A opposition was experienced from some 30 to 40 aircraft. The E/A many of which had yellow noses and cowls were probably from elite groups, possibly the Herman Goering Squadron. 20 Missing in action. A/C 162 and 587 taking evasive action just prior to target, collided in mid-air. Both planes were damaged, but continued flying in formation and proceeded over target. Last seen still under control but losing distance and altitude in vicinity of Koblenz.