Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description
VIII Bomber Command Mission 143. 349 B-17s, 29 B-24s and 3 PFF B-17s are dispatched to the industrial area at Solingen, Germany; 270 B-17s, the B-24s and 2 PFF B-17s abort the mission due to cloud formations which cause assembly difficulties and require flying at altitudes not feasible for the B-24s; 79 B-17s and 1 PFF B-17 use blind-bombing equipment to hit Solingen plus 1 aircraft drops on Wermelskirchen; they claim 1-0-0 Luftwaffe aircraft; 3 B-17s are lost; 3 are damaged beyond repair and 9 damaged; casualties are 11 KIA, 20 WIA and 23 MIA. This mission is escorted by 20 P-38s and 327 P-47s; they claim 0-2-1 Luftwaffe aircraft; 1 P-38 and 5 P-47s are lost and 1 each damaged; casualties are 6 MIA.
VIII Bomber Command Mission 144: 6 B-17s drop 1.4075 million leaflets on Paris, Rouen and Tours, France; and Krefeld and Opladen, Germany during the evening; no casualties.
HQ 357th Fighter Group arrives at Raydon, England from the US.
HQ 361st Fighter Group and its 374th, 375th and 376th Fighter Squadrons arrive at Bottisham, England from the US with P-47s. They will fly their first mission on 22 Jan 44.
Source: THE ARMY AIR FORCES IN WORLD WAR II: COMBAT CHRONOLOGY, 1941-1945 by Carter / Mueller, the Office of Air Force History,
388BG Mission Report - On this mission, the 388th put up two Groups, A and B. The 388th "A" with 2 PFF A/C attached, was to have led the 45th Combat Wing and 3rd Air Division. The "B" Group was to be the low Group in this formation.
41 A/C plus 2 PFF took-off by 0849 hours. Due to adverse weather conditions, neither A or B Group was able to effect the formation. Consequently, 29 A/C and the 2 PFF aborted because they were unable to locate their respective formations.
The remaining 13 a/c tacked on to various groups to complete this mission. Lt. Kelly in a/c #905, aborted at 1050 hours because of mechanical problems and landed at Pole-brook. Lt. Nelson in a/c #137, aborted at 1046 hours from 26,000 feet when the oxygen system went out in the waist. He landed at base at 1230 hours. Lt. Tobias in a/c #842, aborted over the channel when part of the oxygen system went out. He landed at base at 1035 hours.
The 10 remaining a/c followed the briefed route to the assigned Target, which was the city of Solingen, a steel center. No bomb burst were observed, as the bombs were dropped on the leader through clouds. Previous visual fixes and ETA reckoning, indicate that the formation bombed the Target area.
Various concentrations of flak were encountered between the IP and the Target, with intensity varying from meager to moderate.
No enemy fighters opposition was encountered but some were seen on the route.
Two of our a/c received flak damage and three crew members in 42-37867 were injured by flak, Lt. Hoehn, Pilot; Lt. Olmstead, Co-pilot and Sgt. Newman, Engineer. Also S/Sgt. Palmer of Keirsted crew.
10 a/c returned to base by 1452 hours.
source: 388th Bomb Group web page http://www.388bg.info
44BG Mission Report - Another "Flak Alley" was the area scheduled for today's mission. This time Solingen was the target. With its important manufacturing of aircraft parts and special steel this was a prime target. This target is located in the heart of the Ruhr Valley. Thirty aircraft from the group were scheduled, 28 managed to take off, but assembling was difficult due to the heavy and high clouds. The Group, alone, formed and crossed the Dutch coast where slight, heavy inaccurate flak was encountered. Failing to find any B-17 formations on which to bomb by PFF, the Group was forced to turn back with their bombs. The weather again was severely cold, resulting in ten men being victims of frostbite. In summary, the Group had seven operational accredited missions, while eight other missions were planned, all of which were of the major type against important German targets. These eight were scrubbed in every case because of bad weather. To say the least, this month was a month of great importance because of the type of targets that were being hit all of vital importance to the enemy war machine. In nearly every case great damage was inflicted upon the enemy, both in enemy aircraft destroyed and in the damaged targets. The feeling of proud achievement is with all of the men as this month rolled past.
source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
Non-Combat Accident Reports
Aircraft: B-17F (#42-25905). Organization: 560BS / 388BG of Knettishall, Suffolk. Pilot: Kelly, Paul J. Notes: landing accident. Location: Polebrook, Northamptonshire England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17F (#42-30096). Organization: 549BS / 385BG of Great Ashfield, Suffolk. Pilot: Smith, Robert C. Notes: killed in a crash. Location: Colne/ 1mi E Wakes England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/