Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description
VIII Bomber Command Mission 154; the port area at Bremen and Kiel, Germany are hit; 5 aircraft are lost. This is the first mission where more than 600 aircraft are dispatched.
1. 171 of 182 B-17s dispatched to Bremen hit the target at 1159-1206 hours; 1 B-17 is damaged beyond repair and 30 damaged; casualties are 1 KIA and 3 WIA.
2. 367 of 403 B-17s, 93 of 107 B-24s, 12 of 12 B-17 PFF and 6 of 6 B-24 PFF aircraft are dispatched to Kiel; heavy frosting and poor visibility disrupts the formation and 78 B-17s hit targets of opportunity in Hamburg at 1300-1305 hours; the remaining aircraft hit Kiel at 1245-1317 hours; 7-3-17 Luftwaffe aircraft are claimed; 4 B-17s and 1 B-24 are lost; 1 B-17 is damaged beyond repair and 136 B-17s and 4 B-24s are lost; casualties are 4 KIA, 16 WIA and 50 MIA.
These missions are escorted by 31 P-38s, 322 P-47s and 41 Ninth Air Force P-51s; they claim 1-0-1 Luftwaffe aircraft; 1 P-47 and 1 P-51 are lost, 1 P-38 and 1 P-47 are damaged beyond repair and 1 P-38 is damaged; casualties are 2 WIA and 1 MIA. P-51s escorting the heavy bombers reach the limit of their escort range for the first time.
VIII Bomber Command Mission 155: 5 B-17s drop 1 million leaflets on Le Mans, Rennes, Tours, Nantes and Chartres, France at 2138-2155 hours; no losses.
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: City area, Bremen, Germany (PFF Bombing). Crews Dispatched: 40 plus 3 spares (358BS - 10, 359th - 13, 360th - 10, 427th - 10). Crew Member Lost: T/Sgt. J.J. Barrett. Length of Mission: 6 hours, 30 minutes. Bomb Load: 42 x M47A1 incendiaries. Bombing Altitude: 28,500 ft. Ammo Fired: 7,905 rounds.
December 13th’s mission represented an "all-out" VIII Bomber Command effort with a record number of aircraft dispatched. It also was a record 303rd BG(H) effort. One aircraft in the 303rd BG-A Group was abortive.
Moderate to intense accurate flak was encountered over Don Helden at the enemy coast. Meager inaccurate flak was seen in the target area. Neither 303rd BG(H) formation saw any enemy fighters. Fighter support was excellent. Contrails made it difficult for pilots to fly good formation and for other crewmen to make observations.
The target area was 10/10ths overcast. Contrails restricted visibility. Bombing was accomplished from 28,500 feet, (A Group). The lead B-17 #41-24635, did not drop any bombs because the PFF flares signaling "bombs away" were not seen until the formation had passed the release point.
The 303rd BG(H) "B" Group dropped its bombs on signal from the lead PFF B-17. Most aircraft carried 42 M47A1 incendiary bombs except three that carried 36 incendiaries plus two boxes of G18 and G19 leaflets.
source: 306th Bombardment Group website www.306bg.org/
351BG Mission Report - 16 aircraft were sent on this mission.
source: 351st Bomb Group web page http://www.351st.org/ken.harbour
384BG Mission Report - Primary Target: Port Area - Bremen, Germany. Target Attacked : Primary (PFF)
40 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 36. Aborted - 4
source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
388BG Mission Report - On this mission the 388th was to furnish 21/2 Groups, the "A" Group with two PFF a/c was to lead the 45th Combat Wing and 3rd Air Division with the "B" Group as low Group. 9 a/c were to fly as high Group on the 2nd Combat Wing put up by the 45th Wing. Six a/c aborted, 5 for mechanical reasons and 1 personnel failure.
The remaining 43 a/c proceeded to the Target across the North Sea, taking a route just south of Heligoland. The assigned Target was ship-building and Naval center at Kiel. Bombs were dropped on the PFF A/C on the second run as they had problems getting the bomb bay doors open on the first run.
Fighter opposition was weak with some of the 15 enemy a/c attacking our Group. Intense flak was encountered in the Target area and all but six of our a/c received battle damage. Lt. Cwiklinski, Navigator on Lt. DeJean's crew, was KIA from a 20mm burst in the nose. All a/c returned to base.
One PFF A/C from the 413th Sq., 96th B.G. was lost on this raid, Lt. Parker. All of crew bailed-out except the Pilot and Co-pilot and were POW's. This crew was in the 388th before going to the 96th.
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 - In bad weather the best targets to find by radar for PFF bombing were seaports whose outlines were studied on the ground by the Mickey operators. Kiel was a good example of this type of target which was attacked by 21 401st aircraft on this, the fifth Group mission. The Group was led by Lt. Col. H.E. Rogner and the following 614th crews took part: Wilson, Peck, Dawes.
source: 614th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 615BS Mission Report - Col. H.E. Rogner led this mission to Kiel in a 615th ship, IY-O, 42-31091, but the crew with him was not named. 21 ships were despatched and 18 attacked the primary target. The bombing was carried out by PFF with unobserved results. Four 401st aircraft sustained battle damage. 42-31077 Lewis, 42-37809 Chapman, 42-37843 Kaminski, 42-37943 Dempsey.
source: 615th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
44BG Mission Report - This morning the 44th dispatched 24 aircraft for a return to Kiel, Germany, to-attack their ship-building and submarine building center. Nearly six month earlier our Group attacked this port with heavy losses so the worst was naturally to be expected on this raid. Fortunately, the exact opposite occurred - both the flak and enemy aircraft were very mild and even meager when compared to any recent mission that we have flown. The results of the attack were unobserved due to cloud conditions. Fighter protection was perfect and there were no losses. For the first time the 445th BG, a new Group, flew with the 2nd Division.
source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
91st BG / 323nd BS Mission Report - Seven A/C of 323rd squadron took off at 0830 hours on a mission to Bremen, Germany to bomb the center of the city. At the target AA fire was moderate and accurate for our A/C at 26,000 and 28,000 feet. There was no enemy fighter opposition and our fighter support was reported as exceptionally good. Bombing results were generally unobserved. All ships 323rd group returned safely. Casualties: S/Sgt. Walter W. Reich was slightly injured by flak fragments sustaining abrasions about the face.
91BG / 401BS Mission Report - ENEMY AIRCRAFT: Only four seen - no combats. FIGHTER SUPPORT: Reported to be exceptionally good. P-47's escorted from IP to channel. Meager, Inaccurate fire reported from vicinities of Neuwark Island, Alta Mellum, and Wesermunde. At target fire was moderate and accurate. Several white puffs observed. Leaving the target meager, inaccurate fire was experienced from Den Helder and Southern tip of Texel Island.