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Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description

Mission 642: 796 B-17s are dispatched against marshaling yards in W Germany; weather prevents about half from bombing primary targets but most manage to bomb targets of opportunity; 7 bombers and 1 fighter are lost:

1. Of 380 B-17s dispatched, all hit targets of opportunity, i.e., marshaling yards at Koblenz (87), Dillenburg (39), Limburg (37) and Darmstadt (24); bridges at Limburg (35), Koblenz (25) and a bridge over the Rhine River at Koblenz (13); and Wiesbaden (38), Wetzlar (14), the railroad line at Koblenz (13) and Wiesbaden Airfield (12); 4 B-17s are lost and 159 damaged; 3 airmen are WIA and 37 WIA. Escort is provided by 131 P-47s and P-51s; they claim 3-0-1 aircraft in the air; 1 P-47 is lost (pilot MIA).

2. 416 B-17s are dispatched to hit marshaling yards at Hamm (186) and Soest (32) and depot at Dortmund/Unna (64); other targets hit are marshaling yards at Raesfeld (11), Wesel (9), Rheine (6) and Munster (3); Dillenburg (11), Emmerich (7), Hamm (5), Osnaburck (2) and others (6); 3 B-17s are lost, 2 damaged beyond repair and 120 damaged; 3 airmen are WIA and 18 MIA. Escort is provided by 109 P-47s and P-51s without loss.

100 B-17s and 61 P-51s takeoff from bases in the USSR and bomb the marshaling yard at Szolnok, Hungary and continue to bases in Italy. 172 of 182 P-51s supporting the First Allied Airborne Army in the Netherlands engage 100+ fighters, claiming 23-4-14; 6 P-51s are lost, 1 damaged beyond repair and 2 damaged; 1 pilot is KIA and 6 MIA.

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