Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description
VIII Bomber Command Mission 149. Airfields in France are targetted; 8 B-17s and 1 B-24 are lost.
1. 216 B-17s are dispatched to La Rochelle/Laleu, St Jean DAngely, Paris/Ivry, Paris/Bois and DColombes airfields; none hit the target due to weather; 1 B-17 is damaged beyond repair and 1 damaged.
2. 96 B-24s are dispatched to Cognac/Chateaubernard Airfield; 2 hit St Nazaire; 1 B-24 is lost and 7 damaged; casualties are 2 WIA and 10 MIA. 3. 236 B-17s are dispatched to the Bordeaux/Merignac air depot; 1 hits the target; they claim 12-5-5 Luftwaffe aircraft; 8 B-17s are lost and 19 damaged; casualties are 1 KIA, 4 WIA and 50 MIA.
These missions are escorted by 34 P-38s and 266 P-47s plus 36 Ninth Air Force P-51s; 1 P-47 is lost; the pilot is MIA.
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: St. Jean D'Angely, France. Crews Dispatched: 20 plus 3 spares (358BS - 7, 359th - 3, 360th - 6, 427th - 7). Length of Mission: 5 hours, 45 minutes. Bomb Load: 500 lb G.P. bombs. Bombing Altitude: 11,000 ft. Ammo Fired: 1,935 rounds.
After the 41st Combat Wing had formed, heavy cloud cover over France prevented positive identification of targets. The formations returned without bombing, in accordance with VIII Bomber Command policy of no indiscriminate bombing of targets in German-occupied countries.
All flak experienced was meager and inaccurate. No battle damage was sustained. One to four enemy aircraft were reported, with no attacks on the 303rd BG(H) formation.
Excessive prop wash was encountered due to the converging of the Combat Wing and steep and unnecessary turns by the Combat Wing leader.
source: 306th Bombardment Group website www.306bg.org/
351BG Mission Report - 33 aircraft were sent on this mission. Cloud covered target, returned without bombing.
source: 351st Bomb Group web page http://www.351st.org/ken.harbour
384BG Mission Report - Target obscured by dense overcast
source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
384BG Mission Report - 384th BG Mission Number 40. Target obscured by dense overcast. Primary Target: Fighter Airfield - St. Jean D' Angely, France. Target Attacked : No Target Attacked
23 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 20. Aborted - 1. Spare, Returned As Briefed - 2.
source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
388BG Mission Report - The 388th put up two Groups on this mission with 24 planes in each Group. The planes took-off between 0730 and 0806 hours with the "A" Group as low Group and "B" Group as high Group of the 45th Combat Wing formation which was the last Combat Wing of the 3rd Air Division.
Three a/c of the "A" Group aborted as follows: F/O Bianchi, returned to base at 1040 hours because the gas cap was off his #3 engine; Lt. Swift, returned to base at 1230 hours when he lost power in #2 engine, and Lt. Hughes, turned back off the French Coast when valves on the Tokyo tanks stuck and landed at base at 1230 hours.
Two a/c of the "B" Group aborted as follows: Lt. Rubottom, when #2 supercharger went out and landed at 1200 hours and Lt. Hennessy, turned back at 1034 hours when the oxygen supply on the Pilots side cut out.
The remaining 43 a/c proceeded to the Target, except after crossing the Coast on the way out into the Bay of Biscay near Coudre, the formation was south of the briefed course so the formation made four wide circles into the Bay of Biscay and headed for the IP and Target. The Target was cloud covered and the bombs could not be dropped. The formation then headed for Cognac Airfield, the secondary Target, which was also cloud covered and bombs could not be dropped. At this point 18 a/c jettisoned their bombs because of gas shortage. One a/c jettisoned its bombs when a 20mm shell set its incendiaries on fire.
Flak encountered was meager except in the Target area where it increased in intensity. About a dozen enemy a/c were encountered in the Target area with most attacks out of the sun, but none of these attacks were pressed home.
Lt. Todd, in a/c 42-30837 "Ole Bassar" left the formation north of the Target with #1 Engine feathered and was shot down by FW 190's.
S/Sgt. Harvey Norton, Ball-gunner on Lt. Kempton's crew was very seriously wounded by a 30 caliber bullet.
After the bomb run when this a/c was attacked by fighters, Sgt. Norton was very severely wounded. Though suffering extreme pain, he remained by his guns, fighting off the vicious assaults until the last plane had been driven off. Only then was he helped from his turret to receive emergency first-aid treatment. Sgt. Norton received the Silver Star for gallantry in action.
Lt. Moyer in a/c #350, returned with a crippled plane and the entire crew bailed-out over England safely. Lt. Joho landed at Bevingdon because of gas shortage.
source: 388th Bomb Group web page http://www.388bg.info
source: 392nd Bomb Group web page http://www.b24.net/missions/
401BG / 614BS Mission Report - An aero-engine works in the French capital, Paris, was the target for the 3rd mission of the Group, and the 22 401st B-17's were led by Major A. Brooks. The weather over the target was 10/10ths undercast and meant that bombing by PFF was forbidden to protect the lives of French civilians near the target. Not so lucky was the village of Deenethorpe, adjoining the base and named after it. A 613th aircraft flown by Lt. Keith and his crew got into difficulties on takeoff, believed to have been a combination of prop wash and icing. The port wing touched the runway and at high speed the aircraft slewed to the left and ran down the hill into the village until brought to a halt by a cottage. Some of the crew were badly injured. One casualty of the explosion that followed twenty minutes later was the fire truck of the 401st. The loss of the fire truck should have meant that the Group were diverted to other bases but this also had its problems. The aircraft were still loaded with bombs and the crews on their first or second missions in most cases. After much heart searching permission was finally given for them to land back at the base without this truck standing by. The touch downs were without incident - and everyone breathed again. The crews flying were: Peck, Chapman, Kirkhuff.
source: 614th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 615BS Mission Report - The target on this mission was a ball-bearing plant located five miles northwest of Paris. The 401st B.G. was the High Box of the Wing formation and consisted of 20 aircraft. Due to 10/10th's cloud cover no bombs were dropped and the mission was classed as an abortive sortie mission. This was also the day that Lt. Walter B. Keith crashed on take-off into the village of Deenethorpe. It was believed a combination of prop wash and icing caused loss of power causing the port wing to sink until it touched the runway, turning the aircraft to port and down the hill into the village. The heroes of the crash were Captain Ralph J. White and T/Sgt. William N. Luna who aided injured members of the crew to escape before the aircraft's 6,000 lb bomb load and full tanks exploded. To this day the crater made by the explosion can still be seen, and many pieces of 42-39825 can still be picked up on the site. The Squadron put up the following aircraft and crews: 42-31036 Seawell, 42-31077 Rumsey, 42-37809 Dempsey, 42-31193 Beers, 42-31069 Wysocki, 42-37843 Christensen.
source: 615th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
44BG Mission Report - There was an early morning briefing, then the 44th dispatched aircraft to attack the Cognac-Chateaubernard Airfield in France. This mission had to be abandoned due to the very dense and high cloud condition that prevailed. No fighters were encountered, but intense accurate heavy flak was experienced over the French Coast on the return.
source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
91st BG / 323nd BS Mission Report - Three A/C of 323rd squadron took off on a mission to Paris France to bomb the Ball Bearing Works of C.A. M. 28 A/C of this group were scheduled to take part in this mission. However, only ten were able to get off before the field closed in. Very meager AA Fire and no enemy aircraft were encountered. Fighter escort was scheduled for the entire mission and was excellent all the way. 10/10 cloud cover over all briefed targets resulted in this group's returning without bombing. All ships landed safely at Ridgwell.
source: Marshall Stelzreide Wartime Story http://www.stelzriede.com/warstory.htm
Non-Combat Accident Reports
Aircraft: B-17F (#42-30350*). Organization: 563BS / 388BG of Knettishall, Suffolk. Pilot: Meyers, Robert W. Notes: bailed out out of gas. Location: Lands End England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#42-39825). Organization: 613BS / 401BG of Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire. Pilot: Keith, Walter B. Notes: crashed on take off. Location: Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/