Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description
Mission 273: 474 B-17s and 214 B-24s are dispatched to bomb aviation industry plants at Oranienburg and Basdorf, Germany but 8/10 to 10/10 cloud cover prevents an attack; the bombers hit the secondary target, Berlin, and targets of opportunity; the bombers also drop 6.368 million leaflets; 1 bomber is damaged beyond repair and 347 bombers are damaged; casualties are 20 WIA and 135 MIA. Details are:
1. 460 of 474 B-17s bomb Berlin; 7 B-17s are lost.
2. 196 of 214 B-24s bomb Berlin and 1 bombs Heide; 5 B-24s are lost.
Escort is provided by 125 P-38s, 496 Eighth and Ninth Air Force P-47s and 196 Eighth and Ninth Air Force P-51s. There is no air combat and the only claim is for 1-0-0 Luftwaffe aircraft on the ground by P-47s. Details are:
1. 3 P-38s are lost and 7 damaged; 3 pilots are MIA. 2. 5 P-47s are lost, 1 damaged beyond repair and 9 damaged; casualties are 1 WIA and 5 MIA. 3. 4 P-51s are lost and 2 damaged beyond repair; 4 pilots are MIA.
Mission 274: 6 of 6 B-17s drop 263 bundles of leaflets on Paris, France; and The Hague, Amsterdam and Leeuwarden, The Netherlands at 2135-2207 hours without loss.
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, Berlin, Germany (PFF). Crews Dispatched: 28 (358BS - 8, 359th - 7, 360th - 6, 427th - 7). Crew Members Lost or Wounded: 2 crewmen suffered frostbite. Length of Mission: 9 hours, 15 minutes. Bomb Load: 42 x 65 lb bombs. Bombing Altitude: 27,000 ft & 25,000 ft. Ammo Fired: 1,495 rounds.
Twenty-eight aircraft, including one spare, took off to bomb the Ernest Heinkel aircraft factory at Oranienburg, Germany. The secondary target, if weather conditions dictated PFF bombing, was the Friedrichstrasse Station in Berlin, Germany. The last resort was any industrial target positively identified as being in Germany, which could be bombed without disrupting fighter support.
The spare aircraft returned to base. One aircraft returned to base having flown 4 1/2 hours.
There were 8/10 to 10/10 clouds at the target with light, non-persistent contrails, which necessitated using PFF equipment to bomb the secondary target. Flak at the target was intense and both accurate and inaccurate. Meager inaccurate flak was seen at nine other locations. Virtually no enemy aircraft were seen and there were no attacks on the 303rd BG(H). In the 303BG-A formation, two aircraft sustained minor battle damage and one, major damage. Two Squadron formation B-17s received minor damage. There were no casualties. Friendly fighter support was excellent.
Twenty-four aircraft dropped 1,006 65-lb. M47A1 incendiary bombs from 27,000 feet. The bombs dropped in Berlin around the Potsdamer Station, about one mile south of the Friedrichstrasse Station. The city itself could be seen through cloud breaks–with flames and smoke coming from the bombing area. The 427BS bombs also hit in the city area. One B-17 dropped 58 bundles of USG 31 leaflets. Lt. Lynch, a 360BS pilot, jettisoned his bombs about 15 miles south of the secondary target because of mechanical difficulties with two engines.
The Vern Moncur crew, in their interrogation report, again complained about the sandwiches – "More jam and less meat sandwiches." The same complaint was lodged by the Henry McManus crew. The Quentin Gorman crew commented, "Change type of sandwiches." Comments on the previous mission from various crews were: "More filling for sandwiches, very poor." "Scotch good, idea excellent." "Sandwiches good today. More to eat for breakfast." "Sandwiches terrible, impossible to eat." The usual complaint is for meat rather than jelly sandwiches. The Intelligence Officers and Mess Officers must have had a good laugh at conflicting crew post-mission interrogation remarks like these.
source: 306th Bombardment Group website www.306bg.org/
384BG Mission Report - 384th BG Mission Number 79A. Primary Target: Heinkel Aircraft Assembly Plant at Annahof Airfield - Oranienburg, Germany. Target Attacked : Secondary (PFF): Area - Berlin, Germany
22 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 19. Aborted - 1. Spare, Returned As Briefed - 1. Ground Spare, Unused - 1. 42-37758 Barad, Robert L - Aborted at 1149 b/c oil pressure in #4 engine dropped and engine had to be feathered; 42 M47A1 jettisoned in North Sea 42-39888 Foster, James E - dropped 21 M47A1, 25 parcels G-31 Nickles on secondary
source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
384BG Mission Report - 384th BG Mission Number 79B. Primary Target: Heinkel Aircraft Assembly Plant at Annahof Airfield - Oranienburg, Germany. Target Attacked : Secondary (PFF): Area - Berlin, Germany
7 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 6. Aborted - 1 42-31375 Courtemanche, Ralph E - Aborted at 1142 hrs b/c of excessive vibrations and loss of power in #2 engine; bombs jettisoned in North Sea
source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
401BG / 613BS Mission Report - THe Heinkel aircraft assembly plant at Oranienburg, Germany, a few miles north of the city of Berlin. The 613th Squadron was represented by the following crews who flew in the High Squadron position of the Group formation: Lew, Stelzer, Shotts, Fitchett, Locher, Jones. Because of 10/10 cloud cover over the primary target bombing was done at the secondary target which was the Friedrichstrasse Station in the heart of Berlin. Bombing was done by Pathfinder and consequently it was impossible to ascertain the results. Leaflets were also dropped over Berlin. No enemy air opposition was encountered anywhere on the mission. Right at the target intense flak was encountered but was inaccurate. From the target to the enemy coast on the route out meager flak was encountered. All crews returned to base.
source: 613th Bombardment Squadron History
401BG / 614BS Mission Report - The attacks on and around the Berlin area continued and on 22nd March the assigned target was Oranienburg, just a few miles north of the city. Then, because of 10/10ths cloud over the primary the secondary target, the Friedrichstrasse Railway Station in the heart of Berlin, was bombed by PFF methods. Oranienburg was the Heinkel aircraft assembly plant location. No results were ascertained due to the cloud cover. The 401st also showered Berlin with leaflets. The mission leader was Captain Leon Stann, the Group putting up 21 aircraft as the High Box of the 94th Wing. No Luftwaffe opposition was met and the flak, although intense, was inaccurate as far as the 401st were concerned. Of the 657 aircraft over the target only 12 failed to return, and one of these, a 96th B.G. aircraft, was hit by bombs from its own Group. A mystery on this day was the fate of a Pole- brook aircraft that was never seen again after taking off and failing to join the formation. The 614th crews flying on this mission were: Shaw, Kirkhuff, Bartley, Wilson, Dawes.
source: 614th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 615BS Mission Report - Back to "Big B" again, bombing by PFF for a change through 8110th's clouds. Flashes could be seen through breaks in the undercast indicating hits in the center and NW section of the city. No enemy opposition was encountered and friendly fighters rendezvous was made as briefed. The v~I for the Group was the aviation industry plants at Oranienburg. 21 crews were briefed for the mission at 0430 hrs with all aircraft becoming airborne by 0826 hrs. The 401st flew as the High Box in the 94th CBW with the 615th Squadron flying as the Low Squadron and led by Capt. W.H. Rumsey. The Group mission leader was Capt. Leon Stann. The 615th crews on this mission were: Knight, Lozinski, Rumsey, Campbell, Otton, Christensen.
source: 615th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 612BS Mission Report - Crews: Bingham.
source: 612th Bombardment Squadron History
44BG Mission Report - Six of the 67th planes joined with the others of the 44th to participate in a mammoth bombardment of Basdorf (Primary), near Berlin, but weather conditions forced the PFF system to be used, so Berlin was hit instead with unobserved results. Take-off was at 0815'hours and the Group returned at 1645 hours. The flak over the city was intense and accurate, both predictor control fire and barrage fire type. Many of the Group's planes received flak damage. Fighter support was excellent and no enemy aircraft were sighted. A total of 657 heavy bombers participated in the raid. Sgt. Chase: "It was a long day, up hours before dawn, breakfast, briefing, pre-flight; 8-1/2 hours in flight dodging your own aircraft on climb-out through the clouds, sucking in your breath as shards of 88s and 110s pierce your ship's thin, olive drab skin, checking the configuration of fighters to determine if they are bandits or Little Friends, hoping that the oil pressure of number 4 engine doesn't drop any lower and possibly force your ship to be a straggler for E/A to prey upon -- all keeps the adrenalin surging. It was on this mission that, as I straddled the catwalk during the bomb run and pressed the bomb bay anti-creep lever, a chunk of shrapnel ripped through my bunny suit, nearly making an instant soprano of me as it shorted out my suit. It was a cold flight home."
source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
446th Bomb Group Mission Report Berlin
The crews made a return trip to Berlin with unknown results. War Goddess (42-100306) was forced to land in Sweden after suffering engine failure. Its crew was interned. Another plane, Joker (41-29151) , crashed. 9 of its crew were taken prisoner, and one died in the crash.
source: 458th Bomb Group web page http://www.458bg.com/
466th BG Mission Report Fredericksstrauss RR Station. Results unobserved but 5 a/c reported having seen bursts in target area; A/C MIA = 2; KIA = 0; WIA = 0; MIA = 20
source: 466th BG: Mission List (Mark Brotherton Collection)
91st BG / 322nd BS Mission Report - Assembly plant at Oranienburg, Germany. Our aircraft Nos. 1947 and 1353 were flown by 323rd Sq. and both returned to base. Took off at 0600 and landed at 1700 hours. The secondary target (industrial area of Berlin ) was attacked at 1314 hours from 26,500 ft. with good results. Aircraft dropped incendiary. bombs. Primary target was covered with clouds. A/C 353 piloted by Lt. Fancher turned back at 1350 hours while at 24,300 ft. due to runaway prop #2 engine could not feather and was unable to stay with formation. Minor damage was sustained by 983, and A/C 634 suffered major damage. Flak at the target was intense and accurate. From Brunswick to the Zuider Zee.
91st BG / 324th BS Mission Report - Target: Aircraft Assembly Factory - Oranienburg. Weather obscured primary and our aircraft attacked the center of Berlin dropping bombs on PFF flares with unobserved results. Some crew members reported glimpses through the clouds of fires in city. No enemy air opposition but flak was accurate. Fighter escort was excellent all the way.
91BG / 401BS Mission Report - Mission to Berlin, Germany. Berlin: Bombing was done by PFF and was generally unobserved. Some crew members report smoke and fires in Berlin. The primary target was Oranienburg but due to poor visibility the secondary, industrial area of Berlin, was attacked. ENEMY AIRCRAFT: No attacks on this group. FIGHTER SUPPORT: Good all the way, and especially good over the target. AA fire out of range from Hamburg and Lubeck, seen enroute to the target. At Berlin, AA fire was intense and accurate. On return journey, moderate, inaccurate AA fire was reported from Brunswick and Nienburg. Some crews reported rather accurate AA fire almost continuously along the route from Brunswick to the Zuider Zee. A/C 911 - Lt. J. T. Ashvy - Flak wound in right leg. Ten Officers and men missing in action. MIA: A/C 125