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Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description

Two missions are flown today. The first mission, 233, is dispatched to attack the German aviation industry at Gotha, Rostock, Poznan (Posen, Poland) and Schweinfurt. This mission is the second largest operation mounted during Big Week with 809 bombers dispatched with support from 767 fighters of Eighth and Ninth Air Force. The second mission, 234, is a night mission to drop leaflets on towns in France.

Mission 233: This mission is composed of three elements:

  • 1. 239 B-24s are dispatched to the primary target at Gotha, Germany (169 bomb Gotha); the lead bombardier from 2AD suffered from anoxia due to a faulty oxygen mask and mistook Eisenach as the primary target, 43 other B-24s released on his mistake (44 bomb Eisenach); they claim 50-10-20 Luftwaffe aircraft; 34 B-24s are lost and 29 are damaged; casualties are: 3 KIA, 6 WIA and 324 MIA.
  • 2. 266 B-17s are dispatched to the primary target at Schweinfurt (238 bomb); they claim 10-1-7 Luftwaffe aircraft; 11 B-17s are lost, 1 is damaged beyond repair while crashing on take-off for the mission, and 161 are damaged; casualties are: 2 KIA, 5 WIA and 110 MIA. These two elements are supported by: 70 P-38s from Eighth Air Force's 20th Fighter Group and 55th Fighter Group; 609 P-47s from Eighth and Ninth Air Force; and 88 P- 51s from Eighth and Ninth Air Force; the P-38s claim 2-0-0 Luftwaffe aircraft; the P- 47s claim 30-0-0 Luftwaffe aircraft; the P-51s claim 6-0-0 Luftwaffe aircraft; casualties are: 4 P-38s are lost and the 4 pilots are MIA; 4 P-47s are lost and the 4 pilots are MIA, 11 P-47 are damaged with 1 pilot WIA; 2 P-51s are lost and the 2 pilots are MIA.
  • 3. 304 B-17s are dispatched to the primary target of Poznan, Poland, but 9 abort. Cloud cover hampers bombing and only 32 manage to bomb Poznan using PFF. The remaining 263 divert to the secondary target of Rostock and other targets of opportunity. All 263 are effective. While Tutow and Kreising are also primary targets, neither target is bombed; the bomber gunners claim 23-11-45 Luftwaffe aircraft; 5 B-17s are lost, 1 B-17 makes a forced landing in Sweden (10 crew interned) and 60 are damaged; casualties are: 8 WIA, 40 MIA.

Mission 234: 5 of 5 B-17s drop 230 bundles of leaflets on the French towns of Lorient, Tours, Nantes, Rheims and Brest during the night; there are no losses, claims or casualties.

Source: Notes from Lee Cunningham