Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description
VIII Bomber Command Mission 131. Two targets in Norway are hit with the loss of 2 bombers.
1. 130 of 189 B-17s hit the industrial area at Knaben at 1133-1238 hours; they claim 2-0-4 Luftwaffe aircraft; 1 B-17 is lost and 7 damaged; casualties are 1 WIA and 10 MIA.
2. 147 of 160 B-17s hit the industrial area at Rjukan at 1143-1145 hours; 1 B-17 is lost and 1 damaged beyond repair; casualties are 2 KIA and 10 MIA.
3. 29 of 39 B-24s hit the industrial area at Rjukan at 1204-1212 hours; no losses or casualties.
Source: THE ARMY AIR FORCES IN WORLD WAR II: COMBAT CHRONOLOGY, 1941-1945 by Carter / Mueller, the Office of Air Force History,
303BG Mission Report - Target: Knaben II Molybdenum Mine at Knaben, Norway. Crews Dispatched: 20 (358BS - 1, 359th - 6, 360th - 7, 427th - 6). Length of Mission: 8 hours, 30 minutes. Bomb Load: 6 x 500 w/internal tanks, 12 x 500 w/o internal tanks. Bombing Altitude: 11,000 ft. Ammo Fired: 13,100 rounds.
Twenty aircraft took off and twenty returned. There were no losses and no abortive aircraft. Due to the nature of the terrain and a cover of snow and ice, the target could not be found after a 25-minute search. No bomb run was made on the secondary target due to a lack of gas. Bombing was to have been at an altitude of 11,000 feet. All bombs were returned to Molesworth except eight that were jettisoned in the North Sea on the return trip. All twenty crews were credited with an Abortive Sortie.
Flak encountered was meager and inaccurate and emanated from a flak boat in the Stavenger Fjord. No battle damage was sustained. From six to eight enemy fighters were seen, but few attacks were made on the 303rd BG(H). There were no enemy aircraft claims. The fighters were picking on the stragglers. The trip was made without fighter escort.
21 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 20. Aborted - 1 41-24560 Jorgenson, Henry (NMI) - Aborted due to loose oil line on prop governor 42-5838 Frink, Horace E - Salvoed bombs near target (faulty bomb release mechanism)
source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
388BG Mission Report - On this mission there was no Combat Wing formation and Groups were instructed to follow at three minute intervals between Combat Wings, The 388th led the 45th Combat Wing and, when the 4th Combat Wing was late at Splasher #4, the 45th Combat Wing took over leading the Bomb Division.
Twenty of our a/c took-off at 0632 hours and had difficulty due to local weather conditions but effected formation as scheduled. Three of our a/c aborted as follows: Lt. Rodgers, turned back over Kings Lynn at 0817 hours after losing #2 engine; Lt. Dennis, lost the formation when it went through the clouds and was unable to locate it; and Lt. Zengerle, turned back over the North Sea when the tail iced up and he could not maintain formation. He jettisoned his bombs in the North Sea and landed at RAF Manby at 1115 hours. He returned to base at 1445 hours.
The remaining 17 a/c followed the briefed route except from landfall to the IP and from the RP back to the Coast as they were north of the designated course. As the formation neared the IP, the lead Bombardiers sight has frosted over and Lt. Pack, who was leading the high squadron (since Lt. Rodgers aborted), took over as Group Leader. By this time it was too late to drop the bombs on the first run. The Group then made a wide turn to the left for a second run and bombs were away at 1153 hours from 12,500 feet.
Meager flak was encountered with three of our a/c suffering flak damage. Only two enemy a/c were sighted and one of these a ME 109, fired his rockets and then made two passes at Lt. Moore's plane which sustained a number of 20mm hits, but no one was injured.
Lt. Obenschain flew with only nine crew members as one of his gunners was grounded and the substituted gunner was notified too late to make take-off.
source: 388th Bomb Group web page http://www.388bg.info
source: 392nd Bomb Group web page http://www.b24.net/missions/
44BG Mission Report - The target assigned was the second largest port in Germany, Bremen, which has extensive port facilities and its large manufacturing and storage facilities, plus its importance as a rail transport center. It was a fine plum for the 44th to hit. The Group put up 33 aircraft in today's mission but 13 of them were forced to abort for various reasons among them being the bad weather and intense cold that existed at the higher altitudes. The mission, however, proved to be an undecided affair, with the bombs being dropped on Path-finder flares of the B-17s. The results were unobserved. Adverse weather was the excuse for the apparent lack of flak over the target, but it was not detrimental to the enemy fighters which rose to give fierce engagements to the attacking formations. The enemy used the dense contrails to make their attacks and this proved to be a very successful technique. About 50 enemy aircraft made their attacks on this formation from all directions (we were flying 12 a/c section formation for the first time). The results were that the 44th lost two planes - one each from the 66th and the 67th Squadrons. Our enemy fighter claims were 3 - 2 - 1. 2nd Lt. Alslie in A/C #42-40973 Z "Battleaxe" was last seen over the North Sea on the return. The 67th plane, #42-7650 J, piloted by 1st Lt. L. M. Hansen, skillfully brought his badly damaged Lib back to the shores of Holland, but was forced to make a crash-landing when his engines would take him no-farther. None of the crew were injured in an outstanding belly landing. At Shipdham on the return Lt. Anderson of the 68th Sq. did a beautiful job of landing a badly shot-up plane, flying under the power of only one engine. The plane landed at the home base on a blown out tire, three of the crew were wounded by the enemy encounters, and in spite of the rough landing, no others were injured. In addition to the two aircraft and their 20 MIA men, we had 18 slightly wounded and three seriously wounded. The 68th plane number was #42-7551 Y, returned to service on the 18th!
source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
44BG Mission Report - The 44th put up 36 aircraft on a mission briefed for Oslo, Norway today. All but two of them returned before crossing the English coast. The 44th planes (one each of the 66th, 68th & 67th) along with three other groups attacked the secondary and targets of opportunity at Rjukan, Norway. The target selected was a hydronitrate plant and the results of the mission were termed "very good". No enemy encounters were experienced and sporadic inaccurate flak on the Norwegan coast was met. Lt. Jewell was lead pilot. The reason only two aircraft of the 44th participated is that a recall was ordered and these two ships failed to respond to that order. Lt. Jewell organized a formation of five and led it,
source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
91st BG / 323nd BS Mission Report - Flak: Meager and inaccurate at several points in Norway with no flak in the target area. Escort and Enemy Fighters: There were no fighter escorts on this mission. Bombing results: Our A/C circled the area three times without finding the target, which was obscured with snow, and ice, which covered the entire area. Flying: Six A/C flew on a formation and high altitude flight for total of 42:30 hours. A/C completed bombing flight with a total of 37:30 hours.
91st BG / 322nd BS Mission Report - Raid on the molybdenum mine located at Knaben, Norway. Time: Takeoff 0720. Return 1500. Bomb Load: 12 x 500 lb. G.P. Fighter Opposition: Up to 15 Me109s, Me110s and FW190s were encountered and attacked with persistence between 1128 and 1155 hours. A.A. Fire - Meager and inaccurate A.A. fire was observed from vicinities of Eigeroen, Epersund, Stapner and Beresford.
Remarks: Could not locate target, after making several runs in what was supposed to be the area.
91BG / 401BS Mission Report - Squadron supplied 4 A/C for this mission (Abortive sortie.) No bombs dropped. None for this group. ENEMY AIRCRAFT: From 2 to 15 E/A were reported, these consisted of Me 109's, 2 Me 110's and a few FW 190's. meager, inaccurate AA fire reported from vicinities of Eigeroen, Epersund, Stapnes and Raegefjord.