Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description
Mission 266: V-weapon sites in France are hit. 117 of 129 B-17s hit sites at Wizernes and Watten; 1 B-17 is lost and 74 damaged; casualties are 1 WIA and 10 MIA. 56 of 64 B-17s hit Marquise/Mimoyecques; 14 B-17s are damaged; 1 crewman is WIA. Escort is provided by 82 P-47s; 1 is damaged and the pilot is WIA.
Mission 267: 6 of 6 B-17s drop 300 bundles of leaflets on The Hague, Rotterdam, Leeuwarden, Utrecht and Amsterdam, The Netherlands at 2114-2140 hours without loss.
Mission 268: 35 P-47s [25 with 500-pound (227 kg) bombs] are dispatched to Gilze-Rijen Airfield, The Netherlands; 20 of the 25 bomb without loss; 39 P-51s fly a supporting sweep.
Source: THE ARMY AIR FORCES IN WORLD WAR II: COMBAT CHRONOLOGY, 1941-1945 by Carter / Mueller, the Office of Air Force History,
100th BG Crash Report - Miss Irish, # 42-31968, was damaged by flak and crash-landed at Raydon, an RAF base, on 19 March 1944 and was salvaged.
Lt John P. Gibbons (P)
Lt Robert Dykeman (CP)
Lt Everett M. Johnson (N)
Lt Sterling B. Blakerman (B)
T/Sgt Ira L. Arnold (TT)
T/Sgt Edward Walker Jr (RO)
T/Sgt Bernard L. Spragg (BT)
T/Sgt Frank W. Buschmeier (LW)
T/Sgt Myron J. Ettus (RW)
T/Sgt Archie Blunting (TG)
source: Army Air Forces Online Forum http://forum.armyairforces.com/
303BG Mission Report - Target: "Crossbow" Targets, Wizernes, France (Pas de Calais area). Crews Dispatched: 21 + 2 spares (358BS - 7, 359th - 3, 360th - 7, 427th - 7). Length of Mission: 4 hours, 25 minutes. Bomb Load: 12 x 500 lb (AN-64) RDX bombs. Bombing Altitude: 22,000 ft. Ammo Fired: 320 rounds.
Colonel William L. Travis, Chief of Staff for the 41 CBW, flew as co-pilot with 1Lt. Fred F. Wilson in #42-97590 Virgin Mary, 359BS-O. His brother, General Robert F. Travis, flew the lead plane with Maj. Kirk R. Mitchell. Maj. E.R.T. Holmes and two Lieutenants from the 41 CBW were crewmen on The '8' Ball MK II with LtCol. William R. Calhoun and Maj. Glynn F. Shumake.
Twenty B-17s dropped 240 500-lb. AN64 RDX bombs on the primary target. It was difficult to locate it until a few seconds before "bombs away." Several crews reported seeing hits in the target area, generally to the right of the assigned point.
No enemy aircraft were seen. Flak was moderate to intense and accurate. There were no casualties. Four aircraft sustained major battle damage and thirteen, minor damage – all from anti-aircraft gunfire. Fighter support was reported as good.
In the target area there were 1/10 to 3/10 patchy cumulus clouds with 10/10 swelling cumulus tops at 10,000 feet, ten miles south of the target. At the target there were no clouds, but there was considerable ground haze, which made it difficult to pick out the target. On the bomb run there was considerable glare from the reflection of the sinking sun on the haze. The bombardier could not keep the target in sight during the whole bomb run and was only able to pick it up again a few seconds before "bombs away."
source: 303rd Bomb Group web page http://www.303rdbg.com/
384BG Mission Report - 384th BG Mission Number 77. Primary Target: St. Omer V-1 Site - Wizernes, France. Target Attacked : Primary (Visual)
23 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 20. Failed To Return - 1. Spare, Returned As Briefed - 2 42-31926 Lovell, James MacNaughton - Failed to Return - MIA; a/c hit by a heavy piece of flak immediately after bombs away; later observed spiraling down with flames pouring from all parts of a/c; four chutes emerged, w one on fire; flak/ cr Wavrans-sur-Ternoise, a very small village, near a larger town called St Pol-sur-Ternoise MACR 3242 42-37982 Clayton, John E - Forced out of formation after first bomb run due to loss of #4 engine and rtd bombs to base
source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
401BG / 613BS Mission Report - Another mission to the rocket installations at Watton, France. These installations cover a comparatively small area. Usually these are in the open near a wooded area or even in a clearing in a wooded area and because of their size are difficult to identify. The 613th Squadron crews which flew as the Lead Squadron of the Group: Scharff, Stelzer, Shotts, Fitchett, Hess, Vokaty, Keith. Strike photos and observations indicated that the target had not been well hit and that, in fact, a poor job of bombing had been done.
source: 613th Bombardment Squadron History
401BG / 614BS Mission Report - This was another mission to the V-1 sites in Northern France. At this time the crews were not sure what these sites were to be used for, although rumors of rocket propelled aircraft and projectiles were rife. Eventually 30,000 of these weapons were produced and 20,000 were fired at targets in the U.K., France and Belgium. The sites themselves covered a very small area and were difficult to find,and,as they were bombed,the Germans made them smaller and even more difficult to detect from the air. Major D.E. Silver led 23 401st aircraft in the 94th Combat Wing formation and was the first one to cross the target. The strike photos and crew observations indicated that the bombing was poor on this occasion. No enemy fighters were encountered but the flak was continuous from reaching the enemy coast going in and enroute out. Since the Noball sites had first been attacked the Germans had continued to bring in new flak batteries - and it was extremely accurate. The 614th crews flying this day were: Dawes, Bartley, Stimson, Weber, Shaw
source: 614th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 615BS Mission Report - The 1st Air Division dispatched 129 B-17's to the the V-1 sites at Wizernes and Watten, with Watten as the primary target for the 401st. The flak batteries evidently found the correct altitude of the formation, with 1 B-17 shot down and 74 others sustaining flak damage out of a total of 117 over the target. The morning mission for the Group was scrubbed but a new briefing took place at 1300 hrs in the afternoon, with take off at a time when the Group had usually returned from the days mission - 1645 hrs. The last of the 23 aircraft on the mission finally became airborne at 1706 hrs. By 2000 hrs all but one aircraft had returned to Deenethorpe, with a 612th aircraft, SC-H, landing at RAF Woodbridge with the controls of the ship shot out and the tail wheel jammed in the up position. The Group was led by Major D.E. Silver with the Lead and Low Squadrons of the formation bombing the primary target with poor results, as indicated by the strike photos. The 615th crews on the loading list were: Christensen, Post, Campbell, Ferdyn.
source: 615th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
source: 457 Bomb Group http://www.457thbombgroup.org
Non-Combat Accident Reports
Aircraft: P-38J (#42-68046). Organization: 383FS / 364FG of Honington, Suffolk. Pilot: Stepman, Alfred C. Notes: bailed out due to structural failure. Location: Honington/12mi SE England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-38J (#42-68067). Organization: 383FS / 364FG of Honington, Suffolk. Pilot: Carlson, Creighton C. Notes: killed in a crash. Location: Honington/12mi SE England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-38J (#42-68143). Organization: 383FS / 364FG of Honington, Suffolk. Pilot: Staranick, Nicholas M. Notes: bailed out due to structural failure. Location: Honington/12mi SE England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-47D (#42-75213). Organization: 62FS / 56FG of Halesworth, Suffolk. Pilot: Fields, James E. Notes: taxiing accident. Location: Gosfield/Sta 154 England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-47D (#42-8624). Organization: 368FS / 359FG of East Wretham, Norfolk. Pilot: Brown, Cecil B. Notes: taxiing accident. Location: East Wretham, Norfolk England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Mission "8th AF 266" V-weapons site in France March 19, 1944
Primary source for mission statistics: Mighty Eighth War Diary by Roger A. Freeman
Enemy Aircraft X-P-D
Enemy Aircraft (on gnd) X-P-D
USAAF Aircraft X-E-D
USAAF Personnel KIA-WIA-MIA
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