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Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description

The shuttle-bombing mission UK-USSR-Italy-UK is completed; of the 72 B-17s taking off from Fifteenth AF bases in Italy, 3 have various problems; the others bomb Toulouse/Francazal Airfield, France and then proceed to the UK; 62 P-51s (part of the shuttle-mission force) and 43 from the UK provide escort; no aircraft are lost; 70 B-17s and 58 P-51s land in the UK; 5 B-17s and 6 P-51s, either left in Italy or returning there during this mission, subsequently return to the UK.

Mission 545: 577 bombers and 436 fighters are dispatched to make visual attacks on the Metz marshaling yard and airfield in C and E France; 3 bombers and 3 fighters are lost (number in parenthesis are the number of bombers attacking the target):

1. 276 B-24s are dispatched to hit airfields at Mourmelon (75), Laon/Athies (63), Laon/Couvron (61) and Juvincourt (52); 3 B-24s are lost, 1 is damaged beyond repair and 46 damaged; 10 airmen are KIA, 7 WIA and 32 MIA.

2. 301 B-17s are dispatched to hit airfields at Chaumont (72), Buc (67), La Perthe (58) and Etampes/Mondesir (12); 69 hit the Metz marshaling yard; 1 B-17 is damaged beyond repair and 28 damaged; 9 airmen are KIA and 1 WIA. The 2 groups above are escorted by 386 P-47s and P-51s; they claim 1-0-0 Luftwaffe aircraft; 3 P-51s are lost (pilots are MIA).

Mission 546: 6 of 6 B-17s drop leaflets in France during the night. 486 P-38s, P-47s and P-51s attack transportation targets in the Paris and Brussels areas; they claim 5-0-0 aircraft in the air and 13-0-0 on the ground; 1 P-38s, 5 P-47s and 7 P-51s are lost (pilots are MIA). 220 P-47s and P-51s attack transportation targets in NE France; 2 P-51s are lost (pilots are MIA) and 3 are damaged beyond repair.

1 fighter group escorts Ninth Air Force B-26s.

The 850th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 490th Bombardment Group (Heavy), moves from Harrington to Eye, England with B-24s.

Source: THE ARMY AIR FORCES IN WORLD WAR II: COMBAT CHRONOLOGY, 1941-1945 by Carter / Mueller, the Office of Air Force History,