Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description
Mission 200: 623 B-17's and 154 B-24's are dispatched to hit aviation industry plants in Brunswick, Germany but cloud cover prevents visual bombing; 597 B-17's hit the secondary target, the city of Brunswick and 2 others hit targets of opportunity; the B-24's find dense smoke and contrails over the secondary and 104 bomb Hannover and 39 hit other targets of opportunity; the bombers claim 51-7-27 Luftwaffe aircraft; 18 B-17's and 2 B-24's are lost, 3 B-17's are damaged beyond repair and 104 B-17's and 11 B-24's are damaged; casualties are 4 KIA, 14 WIA and 206 MIA. Escort includes 635 P-38's, P-47's and Ninth Air Force P-51's; they claim 45-15-31 Luftwaffe aircraft; 2 P-38's and 2 P-47's are lost, 2 P-38's, 3 P-47's and 2 P-51's are damaged; casualties are 1 WIA and 4 MIA.
Mission 201: During the evening, 5 of 5 B-17's drop 1.2 million leaflets on Chateauroux, Brest, Chartres, Le Mans and Caen, France without loss.
Mission 202: In a night Oboe Mk II test, 1 B-17 drops 2 bombs on Duren, Germany.
Source: THE ARMY AIR FORCES IN WORLD WAR II: COMBAT CHRONOLOGY, 1941-1945 by Carter / Mueller, the Office of Air Force History,
German damage report (Brunswick) - Klaggesstadt, Rueningen, Melverode, supply depots of the Hermann Goering Works, Russian camp, Chemical Factory Helmstedter road, Griepenkerl road, Klingemann road, Loensstrasse, Duchess Elisabeth Street, Salzdahlumer road Leisewitzstrasse, Viewegstrasse, Georg Wolter road Riddagshausen, Rautheimer barracks, railway lines . 14 dead. (translated from German)
source: Brunswick city website http://www.braunschweig.de/kultur_tourismus/stadtportraet/geschichte/stadtchronik.html
303BG Mission Report - Target: Twin Engine Fighter Production Center, Brunswick, Germany (PFF Bombing). Crews Dispatched: 36 (358BS - 9, 359th - 10, 360th - 8, 427th - 9). Length of Mission: 6 hours, 25 minutes. Bomb Load: 21 or 42 x 65 lb M47A1 Incendiaries. Bombing Altitude: A Group, 24,400 ft; B Group, 25,300 ft. Ammo Fired: 8,030 rounds.
One aircraft in each of the two 303rd BG(H) formations aborted. All Group aircraft carried M-47A1 65-lb. incendiary bombs. The "A" Group bombed from 24,400 feet and the "B" from 25,300 feet. Both dropped their bombs on the PFF aircraft signal.
Meager and inaccurate flak was experienced at several points along the route. P-38, P-47 and P-51 fighter support was excellent. From 25 to 40 enemy aircraft were seen. The "A" Group had no direct enemy aircraft attacks and "B" Group had only one vicious attack. Groups had dense, persistent contrails over 25,000 feet that affected visibility and formation flying. All aircraft returned safely with no casualties.
The Fortress Knockout Dropper completed its 64th mission and The Duchess returned safely from its 52nd mission.
43 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 35. Failed To Return - 3. Aborted - 3. Scrubbed - 1. Some Crewmembers Bailed Out - 1 41-24578 Outen, Charles L - Aborted at Burnham due to #3 engine oil pressure dropping to 30 lbs and becoming erratic; cylinder head tempurature on #1 engine ran high with flaps open 42-3259 Heffley, Farris Ormond - turned back at 0945 hrs because throttle linkage was broken on #1 and had to be feathered; generators on other engines out 42-5404 Writz, Horace Fred - Failed to Return Low Grp; seen going down before bombs away due to enemy aircraft attacks; MIA; cr Himbergen, Ger; MACR 2264 42-5444 Ross, Burton Raymond - Failed to Return Low Grp; last seen at 1146 hrs, six minutes before the IP, being attacked by FW 190s and began falling away from the formation where he burst into flames, but continued on and dropped bombs on target; three chutes seen to emerge; MIA; e/a, cr Minden, Ger; MACR 2263 42-31222 Reed, Merlin H - turned back at Slugeford at 1000 hrs b/c of runaway prop on #2 42-31415 Fioretti, Edward Anthony - some crew bailed out Low Grp; jettisoned bombs at some point and turned back at the IP because ship was on fire due to enemy aircraft. All of the enlisted men except top turret gunner bailed out at the IP, due to a misunderstanding between the radio operator and bombardier after ship caught fire; crash-landed at base. 1st Lt. Edward Fioretti, pilot, and 2nd Lt. Scott Briley, co-pilot, both awarded Silver Stars. 42-37727 Penney, Comus Robert - Failed to Return Low Grp; MIA; seen going down before bombs away due to enemy aircraft attacks; cr Bad Muender, Germany; MACR 2265 42-37816 Hines, James W - jettisoned bombs when engine shot away by e/a and had to leave formation; S/Sgt. Everett Woodard, right waist gunner, awarded Silver Star 42-37848 Stier, George Withers - did not attack target but jettisoned bombs 5 mins after target due to a malfunction in bomb bay doors.
source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
388BG Mission Report - For this PFF mission the 388th furnished an "A" and "B" Group plus one A/C for the 96th BG. The "A" Group led the 45th Combat Wing with the "B" Group as low Group and the 3rd Air Division was the 2nd Division over the Target. 41 A/C took-off between 0850 and 0925 hours and made Wing formation over the overcast without difficulty. Two of our a/ c aborted for mechanical reasons.
The briefed route to the Target was followed and we had 10/ 10th clouds from the Coast to the Target with some as high as 27,000 feet. With these, along with the contrails, it was difficult for the bombardiers to see when the PFF A/C dropped its bombs. Bombs were away at 1225 hours from 26,800 feet.
Enemy a/c were seen in the distance but none attacked. Flak was meager at the enemy Coast from Egmond and Ijmulden but more intense in the Target area. Due to this flak, Lt. Bianchi, in A/C 42-31209, had mechanical failures and was forced to leave the formation with one prop feathered and one that would not feather. The Group Leader called our fighters to give him support. One waist-gunner and the tail gunner were killed, and the ball-gunner was badly wounded. 7 of the crew bailed-out just south of Bremen, but the navigators chute failed to open. The plane crashed at 1309 hours.
37 of our A/C landed at base by 1537 hours.
source: 388th Bomb Group web page http://www.388bg.info
source: 392nd Bomb Group web page http://www.b24.net/missions/
401BG / 613BS Mission Report - The last mission of the month on January 30th was to Brunswick, deep in Germany. This target was the site of large aircraft production and assembly plants. Seven crews with Lt. Riegler as lead formed the High Squadron of a composite Group formation. From this operation one crew, Lt. Rohner's, failed to return. Crews participating were: Rohner (M.I.A.), Riegler, Piper, Stelzer, Locher, Scharff, Shanks.
source: 613th Bombardment Squadron History
401BG / 614BS Mission Report - The last target of January was to the large aircraft production plant at Brunswick, deep in Germany. Crews of the 614th taking part were as follows: S.P. Wilson, Walsh, C.L. Wilson, Cammack, Stine, Zitkovic.
source: 614th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 615BS Mission Report - 26 aircraft were briefed for this mission at 0500 hrs, with take-off commencing at 0840 hrs and the final two aircraft taking off at 0942 hrs. The PFF ship leading this mission left Alconbury at 0945 hrs to join the 401st formation. The Air Commander for this mission was Lt. Col. H.E. Rogner, flying as co-pilot with Capt. R.J. White and a 615th crew. The weather ship for this mission was the B-17E used by the Group as a hack and target tug, 41-9107. This aircraft would scout the weather to the coast and then return to base. 42-31077 Ferdyn, 42-31091 Depmsey, 42-37833 Kaminski, 42-31069 Grinham, 42-37643 Christensen, 42-31485 White, 42-31518 Gardner.
source: 615th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
44BG Mission Report - There was an early alert for Watton, France but was scrubbed. However, the Group did take off with Hanover, Germany as the intended target, but due to very dense cloud conditions, a target of opportunity was bombed with unobserved results. Moderate but inaccurate flak and some enemy aircraft were seen but no attacks were made on the four 67th aircraft we sent. Take-off was at 0840 and all returned to base at 1515 hours.
source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
1,146 bombs were dropped on Brunswick, in one of the coldest missions yet flown, -18C. There was little enemy opposition.
source: 446th Bomb Group www.446bg.com
447BG Mission Report - 39 A/C took off between the hours of 0800 and 0900. 9 of the planes, led by Lt. Chardi, formed the high squadron on the 94th "B" group (low group of 4th "B" wing).
source: 447 Bomb Group Association http://www.447bg.com
91st BG / 324th BS Mission Report - Target: Brunswick Aircraft Components Factory. 10/10ths undercast. Bombing results unobserved. Thirty to fifty E/A attacked. Air to air bombing was reported and parachute bombs were described dropping ineffectively from enemy aircraft. Anti-Aircraft fire was meager to moderate and inaccurate. Soupy weather undoubtedly was the major factor in preventing good fighter support.
91BG / 401BS Mission Report - Mission to Brunswick, Germany. Brunswick: Made on PFF. Due to 10/10 undercast the results were unobserved. ENEMY AIRCRAFT: From 30 to 50 E/A were seen. Types were Me 109's, FW 190's, Me 110's, Me 210's and some Ju 88's. Our formations which were described as good, were subjected to two major attacks. One was suffered just before the I.P. to the target, and the other on the way back from Dummer Lake to the Zuider Zee. One FW 190 reported attacking with aerial bomb. Other A/C (enemy) dropped parachute bombs on formation. Maeger, inaccurate AA fire reported at Dummer See, Minden and at target. Moderate AA fire seen at Hanover. FIGHTER SUPPORT: Described as poor. No visible support enroute to the target and no area cover at the target. It is believed weather conditions were responsible. A/C 578 - T/Sgt. Fred B. Kirby - 20MM wound on legs, arms and head. A/C 591 - T/Sgt. Robert E. Gerstemeier - leg blown off by 20MM. A/C 958 - T/Sgt. Roy E. Pruitt - killed by 13MM.