Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description
Mission 262: 2 primary targets and targets of opportunity in Germany are attacked; fighter opposition is heavy against the first force of bombers over France and Germany; the bombers claim 68-32-43 Luftwaffe aircraft; 23 bombers and 10 fighters are lost and 179 damaged:
1. 401 of 501 B-17s hit Augsburg, 46 bomb Gessertshausen and 18 hit Ulm; 18 B-17s are lost; casualties are 1 KIA, 10 WIA and 171 MIA.
2. 197 of 213 B-24s bomb Friedrichshafen and 13 hit targets of opportunity; 5 B-24s are lost and 1 damaged beyond repair; casualties are 6 KIA, 7 WIA and 46 MIA.
Escort is provided by 125 P-38s, 608 Eighth and Ninth Air Force P-47s and 135 Eighth and Ninth Air Force P-51s; claims and losses are: P-38s: 1 lost. P-47s claim 25-3-17 Luftwaffe aircraft; 3 P-47s are lost and 5 damaged; 3 pilots are MIA. P-51s claim 53-4-16 Luftwaffe aircraft; 6 P-51s are lost, 2 damaged beyond repair and 5 damaged; 6 pilots are MIA. The fighters also claim 1-0-13 Luftwaffe aircraft on the ground.
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, Augsburg, Germany (PFF). Crews Dispatched: 29 (358BS - 7, 359th - 7, 360th - 7, 427th - 8). Crew Members Lost or Wounded: 4 crewmen: 3 from enemy fire, 1 from frostbite. Length of Mission: 9 hours. Bomb Load: 65 lb M47A1/120 lb Frag. Bombing Altitude: 18,900 feet. Ammo Fired: 13,870 rounds.
Two boxes of 50 packages each of U.S.G. No. 31 leaflets were carried on the mission to Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany. Due to inability to sight for visual bombing, the secondary target at Augsburg was attacked and leaflets were dropped over this target at 1230 hours, from 18,500 feet on a heading of 256 degrees magnetic.
Twenty-five aircraft attacked targets in Germany. Twenty-two aircraft bombed the secondary target at Augsburg by bombing through the overcast technique with no results observed. Three aircraft bombed on a small town about five miles northwest of the primary target. These aircraft were flying in the low squadron of the low group. Aircraft #42-31483, piloted by Lt. Young was leading this squadron and due to No. 1 engine failure was forced to release his bombs to keep with the formation. His bombardier dropped on this small town and two other aircraft in this squadron released on this aircraft. Results were unobserved due to weather conditions of 8-10/10 cloud in the target area.
Twelve to seventy-five enemy aircraft were reported by this group, with the average number at thirty-five. One aircraft, #42-39785, piloted by Lt. Ferguson flew in formation with the 3rd Division and reported approximately one hundred enemy aircraft. The principal place where these enemy aircraft were encountered was in the vicinity of Troyes, at the IP and between Augsburg and Strasbourg on the return route. The enemy aircraft were not persistent in their attacks and seemed to stay out of range and then make a pass from the tail position. The attacks were generally from high with some few from a low position. Some of the enemy aircraft fired rockets. There were several instances of attacks in pairs. The enemy aircraft tried to take advantage of cloud cover before pressing to the attack.
Anti-aircraft gun fire was reported as meager to moderate and inaccurate in the Strasbourg area. This fire was directed at other groups in this area. In the target area, moderate and inaccurate fire was encountered with numerous reports of rockets being fired. These rockets burst at approximately our altitude. Weather over the base was not as briefed and difficulty in assembly was encountered because of a second layer of 8/10 cloud at 9,500-11,000 feet. At the target area there was 8-10/10 cloud with tops at 10- 12,000 feet making a visual run impossible. Visibility was unlimited above the clouds.
Chaff was discharged by this group as ordered, but our group was late so the place position was not quite as briefed. It was discharged on the run over the primary and none was used over the secondary target. This group was benefitted by the discharge of chaff by groups ahead of us.
Fighter support was generally good on the route to the target with few lapses. Over the target area and shortly thereafter there was a considerable lapse in fighter support probably due to the fact that our formation was not on schedule. Crews were loud in their praise of P-51s and P-47s, but felt that the P-38s were not too certain in their identification of enemy aircraft. There was one report of an enemy aircraft firing on one of our parachutes although there were B-17s in the vicinity and enemy aircraft may have been firing on the B-17s. This one parachute caught on fire.
source: 306th Bombardment Group website www.306bg.org/
351BG Mission Report - 10 aircraft were sent on this mission.
source: 351st Bomb Group web page http://www.351st.org/ken.harbour
384BG Mission Report - 384th BG Mission Number 75. Primary Target: Aircraft Assembly & Repair Works - Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany. Target Attacked : Secondary (PFF): City - Augsburg, Germany
30 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 23. Failed To Return - 2. Aborted - 3. Scrubbed - 1. Spare, Returned As Briefed - 1 42-31364 Goller, Theodore (NMI) - Jettisoned bombs at 1130 hrs when a/c was hit by bombs from Ledbetter a/c 7801 (MIA); bombs knocked out #2 engine and forced the jettisoning of bombs 42-31926 Lovell, James MacNaughton - Aborted at 1019 hrs b/c #2 engine vibrated and overheated and was throwing white and black smoke; bombs jettisoned 42-37801 Ledbetter, Edwin Dwight - Failed to Return - MIA; a/c observed jettisoning bombs and stayed in formation until target was reached where he left formation with all four engines going and appeared to be diving down into the low group; e/a; cr Augsburg, Ger; MACR 3243 42-37848 Stier, George Withers - Failed to Return - MIA; after bombing target at 1325 hrs, lost altitude and flew just above undercast; continued in this way for 1.5 hrs and then was lost from sight; e/a, cr Selestat, Ger; MACR 3244; 42-37974 Langlois, Robert Ezra - Aborted at 1017 hrs b/c he was pullling excessive power settings, losing airspeed, stalled out at 115 MPH, and was unable to maintain position in formation; bombs rtd 42-97136 Baylor, Robert B - Dropped 21 M4A1s & 25 parcels of G-26 Nickles on target 42-97521 Pryor, Raymond T - Aborted at 0955 b/c #3 & #4 engines failed; #1 oil cooler was leading very badly and the lead was off of sparkplug of #7 cylinder, #2 engine;
source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
388BG Mission Report - For this mission the 388th furnished the lead Group for the 45th Combat Wing. The 3rd Air Division was led by the 4th "A" Combat Wing. Each Combat Wing was assigned a different target if bombing was done visually.
20 a/c plus 2 PFF a/c were airborne between 0708 and 0815 hours with two a/c returning to base before the formation left the English Coast. One a/c aborted for mechanical reasons and the second was a spare. Two additional a/c aborted over occupied France for mechanical reasons and their bombs were dropped in wooded areas. The remaining a/c proceeded on the briefed course to the target which was covered with 10/10th clouds. The formation then proceeded to the secondary target, the City of Augsburg, where bombs were dropped at 1224 hours from 20,000 feet on a mag heading of 230 degrees.
Meager flak was encountered at Strasbourg, Compeigne and Chalons and moderate flak over the target. One of our a /c suffered minor flak damage.
Enemy fighters attacked in force at the IP, lobbing rockets into the formation from 1500 to 2000 feet behind. None of our a/c were damaged and one Me 110 was destroyed. All of our a/c returned to base between 1619 and 1645 hours.
source: 388th Bomb Group web page http://www.388bg.info
389th Bomb Group Mission Report Flew to Freidrichschafen on Lake Constance. Target covered with haze so instead of bombing pinpoint target - factory buildings - we bombed center of town. Hell of a long haul - 21,000, -30 degrees c., and my heated boots went out. Nearly froze my feet besides being sick with bad cold and sore throat. No enemy fighters, good fighter coverage all the way, and flak was moderate. Target was on one side of Lake Constance and other side was Switzerland. Quite a temptation to keep on going to Switzerland and then the war would be over so far as I was concerned. Interned for duration. Scenery was beautiful, especially Lake Constance, Alps in distance, and along Marne & Rhone rivers near Paris. Couldnt see Paris due to haze - only 20 miles away. Must have blasted hell out of city as we carried 5 x 1000 pounders and I saw them hit in center of town.
source: 389TH BG: Personal Mission Log of Bernard L. Prueher http://www.hrhodes.com/Mission%20Logs/mission.htm
source: 392nd Bomb Group web page http://www.b24.net/missions/
401BG / 613BS Mission Report - On March 16th the Group was briefed to bomb an enemy airdrome at Lechfeld, Germany which was known to be an experimental airdrome for Me-410's. The Squadron flew as the High Squadron in the Group formation. Crews: Vokaty, Sharp, Stelzer, Hess. On reaching the primary target it was found to be overcast. The Group went on to the secondary target, Augsburg, and bombed there by Pathfinder methods. As a result no photos or observations of the bombing were possible. Approximately 20 to 30 enemy aircraft were encountered throughout the mission. Most of the enemy fighters were Me-109's. Meager to moderate flak was encountered during the mission but was generally poor for altitude and deflection.
source: 613th Bombardment Squadron History
401BG / 614BS Mission Report - The primary target on this mission was the Me-410 experimental airdrome at Lechfeld, Germany, but, as so often happened, the target area was covered with 10/10ths cloud. Augsburg was therefore bombed as an alternative by PFF methods. There were no photos and no observations of the results. The Group was led by Captain McCree, 20 401st aircraft taking part and flying as the Low Box of the 94th Combat Wing formation. The formation was continuously attacked throughout the mission, mostly by Me-109 fighters and around 20 to 30 of them were seen. The flak was meager to moderate during the mission but was generally poor for altitude and deflection. The five 614th crews taking part on this mission were: Shaw, Walsh, Wilson, Kirkhuff, Bartley
source: 614th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 615BS Mission Report - The 8th Air Force put up 500 B-17's in the shape of the 1st and 3rd Air Divisions to attack the city of Augsburg, the B-24's of the 2nd Air Division going after Friedrichshafen. The 401st were unable to bomb their primary target at Augsburg so, with the Wing, dropped by PFF on Lechfeld. The 20 B-17's of the 401st were airborne by 0800 hrs with Capt. D.G. McCree as the Air Commander. Then, at 0954 hrs a 615th ship, IY-H, requested an ambulance. After dropping off the bombardier, who entered the ambulance, the aircraft swung slightly on taxiing and hit the ambulance, causing slight damage to the ambulance and to the leading edge of the right stabilizer. After all the ships had landed from the mission it was reported that IY-F was missing, but a short time later the Control Tower received a message that it had landed at Friston. The flak was moderate at Augsburg and meagre on the route home. During a gap of 1 hour in the fighter cover, enemy aircraft attacked, chiefly Me-109's which came in individually; very few were agressive. The 401st flew in the Low Box position of the Wing with the 615th Squadron in the Low Squadron position. S/Sgt. Michael J. Murcurio, Top Turret Gunner of Lt. Lozinski's crew, destroyed an enemy aircraft on this mission. The 615th crews flying the Mission were: Wysocki, Byrd, Lewis (with Captain G. Gould), Lozinski.
source: 615th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
44BG Mission Report - It was a long one today - all the way to Fredrickshafen, Germany. Eight 67th aircraft took off with the Group at 0720 hours and seven reached the objective (there being one early return). The bomb run was not visible so no results were.observed. The 68th Squadron had the honor to lead the entire Division on this mission, with Capt. Ben Gildart as pilot and Capt. Lehnhausen as Command Pilot. The flak was almost nil against the 44th but it varied against other Groups. Very few aircraft attacks made by the enemy apparently as few were seen. It was said that one reason for little flak was the result of aluminum chaff that was dropped at the I.P., thereby disrupting the enemy's controlled fire technique. Sorrowfully, the 67th had four officers and 3 enlisted men killed in a crash-landing at Woodchurch and all others injured. 67th A/C #42-7549 K "Shark" All KIA Scarborough, John I. 2nd Lt. Pilot Palacies, Texas Bean, Loren R. 2nd Lt. Co-pilot Wichita, Kansas Edmonds, David 2nd Lt. Navigator Whitemarsh, Pa. Nesbit, Alden C. 2nd Lt. Bombardier Magnolia, Arkansas Muirhead, Edgar P. S/Sgt . Engineer Houston, Texas Howln, Robert M S/Sgt. Radio Op. Spokane, Wash. Robert J. Stickel Sseverely inaured - died later.
source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
446th Bomb Group Mission Report Friedrichshafen
The Dornier works was bombed through clouds and a smoke screen created by boats on Lake Constance. Results were not considered good.
source: 458th Bomb Group web page http://www.458bg.com/
91st BG / 323nd BS Mission Report - The target was the Lechfeld A/F. Six ships of 323rd squadron participated. Results of bombing as observed indicate but little success on this mission. Ship #565 is listed as missing in action, but it is believed that the ship may have landed in Switzerland. There is good reason to believe that all are safe and interned for the duration of the war.
91st BG / 324th BS Mission Report - Target: Lechfeld, Germany Airdrome. Assigned targets obscured by under cast. Bombs were dropped on smoke from bombs of Wing ahead with unobserved results. Believed to be Augsburg or Munich. Considerable numbers of E/A were seen and although they attacked other formations, our A/C were not attacked. Fighter support was excellent.
91BG / 401BS Mission Report - Mission to Lechfeld, Germany. Lechfeld: Unobserved. Bombs dropped on smoke of Group ahead. ENEMY AIRCRAFT: This Group received no direct attacks. One 324th aircraft that flew with the 3rd Division, reported sighting up to 12o enemy fighters. FIGHTER SUPPORT: Reported as excellent, though some crews reported it as spotty. Meager and accurate AA fire was observed enroute to the target coming (Rest of sentence unreadable) At the target moderate and inaccurate AA fire was experienced by our aircraft.
Aircraft: B-24H (#41-28783). Organization: 814BS / 482BG of Alconbury, Cambridgeshire. Pilot: Cook, Leo W. Notes: landing accident. Location: Wendling, Norfolk England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: F-5C (#42-67118). Organization: 27PRS / 7PRG of Mount Farm, Oxfordshire. Pilot: Burks, Douglas D. Notes: bailed out due to weather. Location: Mount Farm, Oxfordshire England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-38J (#42-68019). Organization: 77FS / 20FG of Kings Cliffe, Northamptonshire. Pilot: Wells, Robert L. Notes: bailed out-engine failure. Location: Thorpe Village, Newark England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-47D (#42-75864). Organization: 63FS / 56FG of Halesworth, Suffolk. Pilot: . Notes: destroyed by fire on ground. Location: Halesworth, Suffolk England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-47D (#42-8414). Organization: / BAD1 of Burtonwood, Lancashire. Pilot: Oswalt, Jesse H. Notes: crashed due to engine failure. Location: Burtonwood, Lancashire England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51B1 (#43-12194). Organization: 357FS / 355FG of Steeple Morden, Cambridgeshire. Pilot: MacFarlane, Walter E. Notes: crash belly landing out of gas. Location: Royston England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51B5 (#43-6582). Organization: 364FS / 357FG of Leiston, Suffolk. Pilot: Sparks, Ray (NMI) Jr. Notes: take off accident. Location: Leiston, Suffolk England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Mission "8th AF 262" Augsburg, Germany and T/Os March 16, 1944
Primary source for mission statistics: Mighty Eighth War Diary by Roger A. Freeman