Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description
VIII Bomber Command Mission 159: the port area at Bremen, Germany is hit. 357 of 407 B-17s, 103 of 127 B-24s and 12 of 12 PFF aircraft hit the target at 1142-1214 hours; they claim 21-14-23 Luftwaffe aircraft; 21 B-17s and 6 B-24s are lost; 3 B-17s are damaged beyond repair; 213 B-17s and 34 B-24s are damaged; casualties are 9 KIA, 41 WIA and 270 MIA. Window-metal foil strips which, when dropped from an airplane, provide an echo which confuses radar locating equipment is used for the first time on an Eighth Air Force mission. This mission is escorted by 26 P-38s, 418 P-47s and 47 Ninth Air Force P-51s; they claim 19-3-6 Luftwaffe aircraft; 2 P-47s and 4 P-51s are lost; 1 P-47 is damaged beyond repair and 5 P-47s are damaged; casualties are 1 WIA and 5 MIA. Twin-engine, rocket-firing Luftwaffe fighters attack under protection of single engine airplanes.
VIII Bomber Command Mission 160: 5 B-17s drop 1 million leaflets on Lille and Lens, France and Ghent and Brussels, Belgium at 2005-2015 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. Crews Dispatched: 21 plus 2 spares (358BS - 8, 359th - 8, 360th - 0, 427th - 7). Crews Lost: 2 crews; 2Lt. A. Alex, 1 KIA, 6 POW, 3 REP and 2Lt. F. Leve, 8 KIA, 2 POW Crew Members Wounded: 5 Wounded, 6 Injured on 2Lt. J.F. Henderson crew, ditched in North Sea. Length of Mission: 6 hours, 40 minutes.
Bomb Load: 42 x M47A1 Incendiaries. Bombing Altitude: 26,200 ft. Ammo Fired: 17,120 rounds. Enemy Aircraft Claims: 5 Destroyed, 1 Probable, 2 Damaged.
After several relatively easy missions to Bremen, this one proved to be difficult and costly. Two aircraft aborted the mission. Intense and accurate flak was experienced in the target area. From 100 to 125 enemy fighters were reported by crews. Attacks were persistent from all sides. Persistent contrails above 15,000 feet made formation flying difficult. Enemy fighters used the contrails as a cover to press home their attacks. Gunners claimed five aircraft destroyed, one probable and two damaged. Thirteen Group aircraft sustained damage by flak, three aircraft received damage from fighter attacks, three were damaged by friendly fire and seven aircraft received major damage. Two boxes of leaflets were dropped. There was a solid overcast above the English Channel that thinned to scattered clouds before reaching the target area. Good visibility at the target permitted visual bombing. A smoke screen at the target prevented observation of the bombing results. Twenty-four tons of 65- lb. incendiary bombs were released from 26,000 feet.
#42-39764 Santa Ana 360BS (with 427BS crew): anti-aircraft knocked out one engine and a subsequent fighter attack resulted in the crew bailing out and the plane crashing near Bremen, Germany.
#42-31233, (No Name) 427BS fell about 6,000 feet in a straight dive, then leveled off before hitting cloud cover. No parachutes were seen. The B-17 crashed near Bremen, Germany.
23 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 21. Failed To Return - 1. Spare, Returned As Briefed - 1 41-24525 Smith, Roger Clement - Landed away at Attlebridge due to impending fuel exhaustion 42-3429 Sprague, Alfred L - High squadron lead; landed away at Attlebridge due to impending fuel exhaustion - #3 engine out 42-3441 McDonald, Raymond L - Took off late, possibly due to scrubbing original aircraft on the ground. Unable to locate the 384th formation, joined the 379BG and bombed with them. 42-29703 Robinson, Robert L - Had two bombs hung in racks due to malfunction; jettisoned them in the North Sea 42-29927 Carter, T L (IO) - Deputy Flight Leader 42-29935 Carnes, James Frederick - Failed to Return - MIA; crew's first mission; left formation shortly after attacking target; ran out of fuel and ditched in the English Channel; MACR 1725. 42-31073 Kew, William J - Had two bombs hang up; jettisoned in the Channel 42-37758 Jones, William A - Returned As Briefed Flying Spare; returned 42 x 65 lb. incendiaries as briefe 42-37776 Courtemanche, Ralph E - Landed away at Attlebridge due to impending fuel exhaustion 42-39784 Covington, Royston Truitt - Brought one bomb back due to malfunction
source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
388BG Mission Report - The 388th put up one full Group and 12 a/c for the low Group of the Composite Group of the 45th Combat Wing. All a/c took-off between 0830 and 0857 hours. 4 a/c of the "A" Group aborted and 1 a/c of the Composite Group aborted. The briefed route was followed, and bombs were away at 1207 hours from 26,000 feet.
Flak at the Target area was very intense and every plane suffered battle damage. Lt. Eccleston, in a/c 42-31084, was lost due to this flak; and, when last seen at 1212 hours, he was going down with his bomb bay doors open and on fire.
No enemy a/c were encountered and our fighter escort was excellent.
T/ Sgt., R. J. Fanning and T/Sgt. Ambrose were seriously injured by flak.
All of our a/c landed by 1544 hours.
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 - Bremen, Germany, was another port target for this mission a full week after the last one; a good indication of the weather over northern Europe at this time of the year. The Group Air Commander on this mission, leading 21 B-17's, was Major W.T. Seawell. The three 614th crews flying were: Cammack, Foster, Stimson.
source: 614th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 615BS Mission Report - During the day the RAF Deenethorpe Commanding Officer, Squadron Leader Edward Watson, handed the base over officially to Colonel Bowman, and it became Station 128 of the USAAF. This was another visit to the port of Bremen with 15 of the 19 aircraft despatched hitting the primary target. 14 of the Group's aircraft sustained battle damage on this mission, in fact over half of the force of 472 aircraft hitting Bremen were battle damaged. The loading list for the Squadron was as follows: 42-31077 Seawell (Weather ship), 42-40057 White, 42-31068 Grinham, 42-31069 Wysocki.
source: 615th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
44BG Mission Report - It was back to Bremen again today with the 44th dispatching 29 aircraft (7 were 67th), but several of them aborted due to extremely bad weather and mechanical problems. The effective force was 19 A/C. The mission was a visual bombing run and the results were good. Again, the enemy threw up plenty of flak and eight aircraft of the Group sustained category "A" battle damage. Estimates of from 50 to 75 enemy aircraft made attacks on our formation, taking advantage of the contrails for their attacks. Several claims were made by the Group for destroyed aircraft. The 506th lost #42-7630 P piloted by 1st Lt. W.M. Maynor which was first hit by flak and then several FW '190s. Lt. James R. Perry flying "Star Spangled Hell" on their very first mission were forced to crash-land on their return. T/Sgt. D.V. Chase, radio operator states that "I felt helpless as 'bandits' swept through out formation. While the other sergeants were manning gun positions I had only a Very pistol for firing signal flares. While under attack I stood behind the armor plate located on the back of the co-pilot's seat. Hunkering as low as possible and still be able to observe E/A anywhere from 9 through 3 o'clock, I watched the red wink-wink-wink of German 20 mm cannon fire and heard our responding .50s."
source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
446th Bomb Group Mission Report Bremen
26 planes took off for Bremen, but had to return when they failed to join Division. Bumbs Away (42-7494) strayed and was hit by flak. The pilot tried to return the damaged ship to base, but crashed in England. The entire crew of 10 was lost.
source: 446th Bomb Group www.446bg.com
91st BG / 323nd BS Mission Report - Seven A/C of 323rd squadron took off at 0620 hours on a mission to Bremen, Germany to bomb the center of the city. AA fire was intense and accurate for our group. Seventeen to twenty enemy aircraft were reported to attack the wing, some of which E/A were using rockets. Bombing which was on PFF and reports of crews indicate that most of their bombs fell short. All A/C returned to base safely.
91st BG / 322nd BS Mission Report - Attack on the city of Bremen, the 2nd target, seaport in Germany. Altitude: 27,000. Results: Unobserved at time of attack. Bombed on PFF. A/A Fire: Meager, inaccurate A/A fire from southern tip of Texel Island to Aldeneues and Delmenhorst where it became rather accurate. A/A fire was intense and accurate at target. Barrage fire with continuous as A/C left target. Enemy Fighter Opposition: Upwards of 15 E/A mostly S/E with few T/E seen, no combat by this squadron. Casualties: S/Sgt Albert (NMI) Furtado, ASN31165091, tail gunner of A/C 738 froze to death.
91BG / 401BS Mission Report - It is believed that bombs fell at or near Delmenhorst, a few miles short of the target. However, crews in Composite Group are certain some of their bombs fell in Northwestern edge of target. ENEMY AIRCRAFT: Up to 17 E/A reported for period just before target to point of leaving enemy territory at Juist Island, ten of them being single engine fighters, FW 190's and Me 209's and seven being twin engine fighters, Ju 88's and Me 110's. Attacks were concentrated on stragglers. Twin engine fighters were observed firing rockets. Ju 87's observed firing laterally at formation. FIGHTER SUPPORT: P-47 escort exactly as briefed, from enemy coast to point just short of target, and described as good. Only 4 P-38's seen while several P-51's were reported. Meager, inaccurate AA fire experienced from South tip of Tassel Island. Moderate, accurate fire reported at Oldenburg and Delmenhorst. At target AA fire was intense and accurate. Leaving target, meager, inaccurate fire reported from vicinities of Hagen, Brake, Jade, Viral, Aurich, Ardhof, and Juist Islands. S/Sgt. L. S. Kerr received flak wound in right cheek. A/C 767 made a crash landing at Marshall Field near Cambridge. This was due to failure of three engines, two were damaged by Flak, the third had a fuel shortage. As a result of the crash the A/C received major damages but the crew was uninjured. A/C 073 landed at Ludham due to fuel shortage.