Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description
Mission 287: 440 bombers and 475 fighters are dispatched to bomb the chemical industry at Ludwigshafen, Germany - the largest in Europe.
1. The 245 B-17s dispatched of the lead force abandon the mission over the French coast due to heavy clouds; 7 B-17s are damaged.
2. The 195 B-24s in the second force became widely dispersed and bomb targets of opportunity; 101 hit Pforzheim; 38 hit Schaffhausen, Switzerland; 17 hit Strasbourg, France; and 9 hit Grafenhausen; Schaffhausen and Strasbourg were mistaken as German towns; they claim 1-1-0 Luftwaffe aircraft; 12 B-24s are lost, 3 damaged beyond repair and 42 damaged; casualties are 9 KIA, 12 WIA and 113 MIA.
Escort is provided by 280 P-47s and 195 Eighth and Ninth Air Force P-51s: P-47s claim 13-1-19 Luftwaffe aircraft on the ground 2 P-47s are lost and 12 damaged, 2 pilots are MIA; P-51s claim 5-2-4 aircraft, 2 P-51s are lost and 2 damaged, 2 pilots are MIA.
Source: THE ARMY AIR FORCES IN WORLD WAR II: COMBAT CHRONOLOGY, 1941-1945 by Carter / Mueller, the Office of Air Force History,
source: 392nd Bomb Group web page http://www.b24.net/missions/
401BG / 614BS Mission Report - The 401st put up 21 aircraft, under the command of Captain Goodman, to form the Highh Box of the 94th "B" Combat Wing on this mission. The target was the airfield and fighter assembly plant at Marienburg, located 3i miles east of the city. For a change the weather over Germany was clear with a slight ground haze at the target itself. The bombing results were excellent as the strike photographs indicated. Lt. William R. Dawes and his crew crashed into the sea after the target had been bombed with the loss of the entire crew killed. Crews: Dawes, Walsh, Shaw, Stimson, Wilson.
source: 614th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
44BG Mission Report - Grafenhausen, Germany was the target for 25 of the Group's aircraft (6 were 67th) and nine planes did manage to hit this primary. Capt. Martin, 68th, was lead pilot of the Group, but the second element was that one that bombed Schaffhausen, Switzerland. The "Fool's Day" was an unfortunate day for the Group. A neutral country was accidentally bombed because of adverse weather conditions and navigational difficulties. The 66th Squadron reports that the bombs falling on Switzerland fell in a wooded area about three miles southeast of the Swiss city; others appeared to hit along the river front, in the railway yards, a small factory district, and a few hits on a large plant across the river from the town. Neither flak or enemy aircraft were encountered on this mission, and our planes returned at 1415 hours.
source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
446th Bomb Group Mission Report Ludwigshaven
The group commander chose to abandon the mission when bad weather set in. Another group did not follow his example, and mistakenly bombed a town in Switzerland, causing an international incident.