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Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description

Mission 652: 1,049 bombers and 724 fighters are dispatched to hit oil and military vehicle factories in C Germany using PFF means; they claim 37-8-18 Luftwaffe aircraft; 34 bombers and 7 fighters are lost:

1. 445 B-17s are dispatched to hit the Magdeburg/Rothensee oil refinery (23); 359 hit the secondary at Magdeburg and 35 hit targets of opportunity; they claim 10-7-5 aircraft; 23 B-17s are lost, 2 damaged beyond repair and 126 damaged; 8 airmen are WIA and 208 MIA. Escort is provided by 263 P-38s and P-51s; they claim 24-0-13 aircraft in the air and 1-0-0 on the ground; 5 P-51s are lost, 1 damaged beyond repair and 4 damaged; 5 pilots are MIA.

2. 342 B-17s are dispatched to hit the Merseburg/Leuna oil refinery (301); 10 others hit targets of opportunity; 10 B-17s are lost, 4 damaged beyond repair and 251 damaged; 4 airmen are KIA, 15 WIA and 92 MIA. Escort is provided by 212 of 231 P-51s; they claim 2-1-0 aircraft in the air; 1 P-51 is lost (pilot MIA).

3. 262 B-24s are dispatched to hit the Kassel/Henschel motor transport plant (243); 1 hits a target of opportunity; 1 B-24 is lost and 86 damaged; 10 airmen are MIA. Escort is provided by 171 of 195 P-47s; 1 P-47s is lost and 3 damaged; 1 pilot is MIA. Mission 653: 4 B-24s and 6 B-17s drop leaflets in France, the Netherlands and Germany during the night.

194 B-24s fly a TRUCKIN mission to France with fuel.

The 374th, 375th and 376th Fighter Squadrons, 361st Fighter Group, move from Bottisham to Little Walden, England with P-51s.

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

Mission Reports

303BG Mission Report - Target: Krupp Grusonwerke A.G., Magdeburg, Germany. Crews Dispatched: 30 (358BS - 7, 359th - 7, 360th - 8, 427th - 8). Crews Lost: Howard (1 KIA,8 POW), Hahn (6 KIA,3 POW), Matheson (5 KIA,4 POW), Railing (9 KIA), Shields (7 KIA,2 POW), Miller (6 KIA,3 POW), Gillespie (9 KIA), Lay (8 KIA,1 POW), Glasgow (8 KIA,1 POW), Michaelis (8 KIA,1 POW), Mayer (1 KIA,8 RTD). Length of Mission: 7 hours, 50 minutes. Bomb Load: 5 x 1,000 lb G.P. M44 & 10 x 500 M17 bombs. Bombing Altitudes: 25,700, 25,600 & 27,100 ft. Ammo Fired: 13,100 rounds.

Twenty-eight 303rd BG(H) aircraft plus two borrowed PFF aircraft took off to attack the Krupp Grusonwerke A.G. at Magdeburg, Germany. The secondary target, to be bombed if PFF means were used, was the Magdeburg railroad marshalling yards. Last resort targets were airdromes at Gardelegen, Quedlinberg and Giessen.

The aircraft took off between 0735 and 0759 hours and returned to Molesworth between 1527 and 1608 hours—a seven-hour fifty-minute mission. One aircraft returned early: #43-38248 Jigger Rooche II, 427BS (Lt. Drewry), when his No. 2 turbo went out during assembly.

Sixteen aircraft dropped 50 1,000-lb. M44 G.P. bombs and 60 500-lb. M17 incendiary clusters on the secondary target from 25,700, 25,600 and 27,100 ft., using PFF equipment. Aircraft #42-97187 Miss Umbriago, 360BS, piloted by 2Lt. W.F. Miller, 359BS, was carrying "Nickels" (leaflets). It was lost before reaching the IP. Lt. Miller spotted the leaflets falling from his stricken B-17 as he parachuted to earth.

In the target area there were 8/10 to 10/10 swelling cumulus clouds with 16,000 to 18,000 ft. tops and no middle or high clouds. Meager and fairly accurate flak was encountered at Hallendorf and Gardelegen with moderate and accurate flak in the target area. Chaff had some beneficial effect.

Eleven B-17Gs failed to return. They were lost to enemy aircraft after a persistent attack of an estimated 40 FW-190s and ME-109s. After a bomber was hit, the enemy pilots continued their attack and followed it down. Attacks were chiefly from five to seven o'clock, from low to level and were concentrated on the low Squadron. Friendly fighters arrived to engage the enemy and, during the course of dogfights, sporadic attacks were made. Some crews reported that these attacks were made singly and others felt they were made by as many as six abreast. The tactics utilized by the enemy pilots demonstrated that they were determined, efficient, and experienced.

The Group was flying excellent formation at the time of the attack. Nine of the 12 B-17s in the low Squadron were lost on the first pass by enemy aircraft. Another was lost on a subsequent attack. The lead ship, piloted by 1Lt. Bernard C. Fontana, was hit in the No. 3 supercharger and was unable to maintain altitude and air speed. Lt. Fontana jettisoned the bombs on #44-8318 (No Name), 360BS, in an unsuccessful effort to catch up with the lead Squadron. They fell in with another Group that came off the target ahead of the lead Squadron and came home with them. Aircraft #43-38532 (No Name), 360BS, piloted by 1Lt. Bertrand C. Hallum, also survived the attack on the low Squadron, but sustained major battle damage. The crew jettisoned its bombs on a target of opportunity.

Ninety-nine men were missing in action. Five men were wounded during the German air attack. Thirteen aircraft were damaged. Friendly fighter support was good during most of the mission, but was not adequate during the time of the enemy air attack.

-17 #43-37930 (No Name), 360BS was hit by 20mm shells from the severe and intense fighter attacks. Two of the projectiles exploded in the waist. Parts of the B-17 were seen to come off. The left wing was on fire. When last seen it was going down in a spin 20,000 feet below the formation. Four parachutes were seen coming out of the waist just after it started down. All opened right away. The fortress crashed near Ohrum S/Wolfenbuttel. The FW-190 formation attack put a large hole in the right wing of #42-97805 (No Name), 360BG, piloted by 1Lt. James T. Hahn. The gas tank behind the No. 4 engine was hit and was on fire, then fire enveloped the entire right wing. The aircraft was forced out of the formation and then started down. 1Lt. Hahn ordered his crew to bail out and his fortress blew up while in a spin. He died while at his controls. The aircraft crashed near Ohrum S/Wolfenbuttel.

Aircraft #42-97893 Minnie the Moocher, 360BS was flying in the tail-end charlie position. German fighters put approximately six 20mm shells through the fuselage, exploding in the cockpit and killing Lt. Matheson, Co-pilot 2Lt. James C. Johnson and S/Sgt. Jimmie R. Smith (ENG). Shells also killed S/Sgt. Lloyd D. Hagan in his ball turret and tail gunner Sgt. Charles R. Coughlin. The B-17 spun in to about 12,000 feet and then blew up. It crashed at Schladen, near Hornburg (south of Brunswick, Germany).

Aircraft #43-38572 (No Name), 360BS was last seen in formation, under control. The right wing was on fire. No parachutes were seen. It crashed near Hornburg.

B-17 #44-8330 (No Name), 360BS went into a spin after being attacked and exploded almost immediately thereafter. It crashed one km southwest of the Helmstedt Air Base at Suppingen, 8 km west of Helmstedt.

The left wing of #43-38186 (No Name), 358BS was on fire between the Nos. 1 and 2 engines. The ball turret was demolished. When last seen, it was about 2,000 yards from the formation at 25,000 ft., partially under control. It peeled off to the right and went down in a steep dive. No parachutes were observed. It crashed south of Wolfenbuttel.

Aircraft #43-38206 Silver Fox, 358BS was burning from the waist back when first seen to be in trouble. About 20 seconds later, it burst into flames all over, turned on its back, and fell straight down. No parachutes were seen.

Returning crews reported the following about #44-8335 (No Name), 427BS. The aircraft was in the Lead Group, 4th flight, and the only aircraft lost in the formation. It was hit in the radio room and at the Nos. 1 and 2 engines. An explosion, followed by fire, was seen in the radio room. It peeled off to the left, under control, on fire. Two parachutes were seen. The five pieces of the exploded aircraft crashed southwest of Brunswick, Germany.

Aircraft #42-97329 Flak Hack, 360BS was reported as under control, in formation, with the right wing on fire. It then plunged to the earth out of control and crashed near Bad Grund, 60 km southwest of Wolfenbuttel, 20 km northwest of Gosler.

#43-38176 Bouncing Betty II lost oil pressure on #2 engine and the prop could not be feathered. The #1 gas tank was hit and ruptured, the gas flow barely missing supercharger. With #1 and #2 engines out, #3 and #4 ran away, pulling plane into steep spiral. Mayer lost altitude from 27,000 feet to 15,000 feet. The plane was badly damaged with holes throughout, bomb bay doors would not close and most of electric system was gone.

More info on this mission at the 303BG website

source: 303rd Bomb Group web page http://www.303rdbg.com/
34th BG Crash Report - B-17G #44-8303 B/K sustained a direct flak hit between #2 engine and the fuselage, hitting an incendiary grenade which exploded, setting the ship ablaze from the radio room on back. The plane pulled out of the formation, saving other aircraft in the formation, and went into a spin. The aircraft exploded after about three turns at about 12,000 feet. Some crews saw two chutes: Walters and Smith. They landed within 25 yards of each other and were captured immediately by German soldiers. Smith was bleeding from a head injury and had a broken arm.


BAKER LESLIE H is buried at the Netherlands American Cemetery, A-19-4.
RENTZ BENNETT J is buried at the Netherlands American Cemetery, P-15-13.

source: Army Air Forces Online Forum http://forum.armyairforces.com/
34th BG Mission Report - Mission #70 Merseburg. Command Pilot: CREER. 36 planes were dispatched. 29 planes dropped 73 tons on the primary target, 3 planes dropped 8 tons on targets of opportunity and 4 failed to bomb. One plane was lost Missing in Action to flak. 9 crewmen were listed Missing in Action. 33 Credit Sorties. Score; fair, possibly good.

B-17G 44-8303 B/K Sustained a direct flak hit between #2 engine and the fuselage, immediately burst into flames which enveloped the entire plane. The plane pulled out of the formation, saving other aircraft in the formation, and went into a spin. The aircraft exploded after about three turns at about 12,000 feet. Some crews saw maybe two chutes.

source: 34th Bomb Group Mission List compiled by Gary L. Ferrell http://valortovictory.tripod.com
351BG Mission Report - 37 aircraft were sent on this mission.

42-97926 Lt. J. R. Barker - Crash-landed at Ypres, crew safe.

source: 351st Bomb Group web page http://www.351st.org/ken.harbour
384BG Mission Report - 384th BG Mission Number 201. The 384th Bombardment Group (H) flew as the 41st CBW "C" Wing on today's mission. Near the target, another formation of bombers flew below this wing, forcing them to hold their bombs. The wing made a second bomb run and released their bombs on the primary target. Primary Target: Steelworks - Magdeburg, Germany. Target Attacked : Primary (PFF)

40 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 32. Failed To Return - 2. Aborted - 1. Scrubbed - 2. Landed In Allied Territory - 1. Ground Spare, Unused - 1. Returned Early - 1
42-31222 Brodie, James Joseph - Failed to Return - MIA; collided with 43-37822 over target; both ships went down on fire and out of control; no chutes observed; crashed near Erxleben, Germany; MACR 9366.
42-32106 Wismer, Richard G - Aircraft suffered mechanical failure; bombs dropped at indicated location in enemy territory with unknown effect. Returned to base.
43-37822 Buslee, John Oliver - Failed to Return - MIA; collided with 42-31222 over target; both ships went down on fire and out of control; no chutes; crashed near Osteringersleben, Germany; MACR 9753.

source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
388BG Mission Report - All of the 3rd Air Division forces were sent to bomb the I. G. Farbenindustrie synthetic oil refineries at Merseburg. The 1st Division went to Magdeburg and the 2nd Division went to Kassel. The 388th put up three Groups comprising the 45th "A" Combat wing.

33 A/C plus 3 PFF A/C were airborne between 0700 and 0750 hours. 2 a/c aborted for mechanical reasons. Formations were effected without difficulty and the route across Belgium and enemy territory was followed to the Target. 8/ 10th clouds prevented visual bombing and the secondary Target was bombed using the PFF methods. Strike photos show poor results with the bombs bursting short of the Target. A triangular course was followed around the target and the route in was followed on the return.

After bombs away and while doing evasive action, Lt. Heimendinger's a/c hit and cut Lt. Lord's a/c into just behind the ball turret. Lt. Lord's a/c went into a spin. Before the ball-gunner could bail-out the plane was spinning in a flat nose down position. During this spin, the wings came off and the ball-gunner passed out. This part of the plane crashed upside-down in a spoil area of a factory in the Meresburg area. When the gunner came to, the Germans were helping him out of the ball turret. He was taken to the factory office with his left leg and arm crushed and a head cut from his left eye to right cheek. He was taken from the factory to the local jail and then by train to a red cross hospital in Leipzig run by Polish doctors. They had very little medicine and used paper for bandages. The beds were straw complete with bed bugs. He was later taken to Stalag Luft IV and ended up in Stalag I, Barth. The waist-gunner also survived. Three crew members in the other a/c survived.

Flak was intense in the Target area and to the RP. 5 a/c including one PFF a/c were lost to flak and a mid-air collision just after bombs away. One of the 5 a/c made it to Belgium and crash-landed near Leige (Lt. Gierach). 17 a/c had major flak damage and 10 men were wounded.

23 A/C plus 2 PFF A/C returned to base by 1542 hours. 1 A /C landed at a different base in England.

source: 388th Bomb Group web page http://www.388bg.info
392nd Bomb Group Mission Reportsource: 392nd Bomb Group web page http://www.b24.net/missions/
398th Bomb Group Mission reportsource: 398th Bomb Group web page http://www.398th.org/
401BG / 613BS Mission Report - Because of cloud cover over the target, the secondary (PFF) target was bombed by means of PFF on 28th September. Glimpses of Magdeburg obtained through cloud breaks disclosed that bombing results on the marshalling yard were very good. Nine aircraft from the 613th flew in the Lead Squadron. No enemy air opposition was encountered although flak at the target area was moderate to intense and accurate and accounted for two of our aircraft going down. Our nine crews which participated and returned to base safely were: Douglas, Jennings, Campbell, Budd, Baker, Thomason, Etters, Mannix, Annis.source: 613th Bombardment Squadron History
401BG / 614BS Mission Report - The Group furnished 36 aircraft to form the 94th "A" Wing with three PFF, two flying with the Lead Squadron and one in the High Squadron. The Air Commander on this occasion was Captain Locher with Captain Gruman leading the Low Squadron, which attacked an aero-engine factory with GP's and I.B.'s, getting excellent results. They did not see the mass attack on some of the other Groups and reported no enemy air opposition. Flak was reported as moderate and fairly accurate over the target. Crews: 44-8033 Brown, 42-39012 Gruman, 44-6464 Whittman, 42-97145 Lerwick, 42-38330 Crozier, 42-97602 Mays, 42-31863 Utter, 44-6508 Sisson, 42-107084 Moran.source: 614th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 615BS Mission Report - Briefing for the mission to Magdeburg, the Group's 150th mission, was at 0500 hrs and was attended by the crews of 39 operational aircraft and 1 weather ship crew. While taxiing around the perimeter track for the take-off a member of the ground staff walked into the prop of IN-F and was killed instantly. This happened just in front of the briefing room. The 401st furnished three 12 aircraft Squadrons to comprise the 94th "A" CBW, led by Capt. J.R. Locher, Capt. McCord and Capt. Gruman were the other two Box leaders. The Lead and Low Box bombed visually and the High Box bombed by PFF techniques, all with good results. The 1st Bomb Division met some opposition from the Luftwaffe, but not the 401st, they were met by moderate to intense flak over the target. IW-X, Serial No. 42-31863, landed on the continent with heavy flak damage and was written off as being beyond repair. The 615th lost IY-K, Serial No. 42-31069, piloted by 2nd Lt. E.H. Daves. It blew up after the No. 2 engine was hit by flak and no chutes were seen, although the aircraft was known to be under control until it exploded. Two other aircraft received minor flak damage. The 615th loading list of nine crews was as follows: Oas Jr., Sombart, McKay, Stegemann, Callaway, Dow, Kochel, Sullivan, Daves MIA.source: 615th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 612BS Mission Report - Returning to the marshalling yard type target at Magde- dispatched 36 aircraft on September 28th, three PFF aircraft included. Adverse cloudiness necessitated another PFF drop on this target although a few breaks in the clouds did enable the bombardier to assist the Mickey operator on the bomb run. Anyway, the PFF bombing was right in there with of the Lead and Low Boxes bombs falling within the 2,000 foot radius line and a snatch glimpse of the High Box's bombs shows hits on the target also. Flak was encountered over the target and was moderate to intense in amount and fair to good for accuracy accounting for the loss of one aircraft. No enemy aircraft were observed and all other aircraft returned safely. Captain McCord led the High Box ably assisted by his crew and Lt. Howard as Mickey operator. Eight other 612th crews completed the mission with crew loadings as follows: 42-97938 Lawrence, 42-31087 Nagle, 42-31662 Schaunaman, 153 (PFF) McCord, 42-106992 Hocking, 42-102393 Aiken, 43-37790 Bonney, 42-107039 Harlan, 42-102398 Cromer.source: 612th Bombardment Squadron History
44BG Mission Report - Today was almost a repeat mission. The Primary was the motor works at Kassel if bombed visually and the Secondary was the same target on PFF. Lt. Bartless led the 3rd section with eight of the 67th planes. The Group led the 14th Wing and dispatched a total of 28 A/C and 2 PFFs. All aircraft attacked the Secondary through 8 to 9/10th cloud cover and results were unobserved. One plane of the Group (number unknown) was hit by flak and lost #1 engine while #2 and #4 started to throw oil, being only damaged. The pilot headed for Belgium with excellent P-47 escort and landed at Antwerp. Two men, who had bailed out over Belgium, returned by transport, as were the crew that remained with the ship. We lost just the one plane landing at Antwerp, but all the crew are safe. No E/A were observed. Sgts. Ward and Johnson; Cpl. Whitmore, and three of the older ground men in the 67th Squadron left today to return to the States.source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
445BG Mission Report - Target: Kassel, Germany - Henschel Armored Vehicle Plant. A/C Took Off: 10. A/C Bombed Target: 10. A/C Lost: 0source: 445th Bomb Group http://445bg.org
446th Bomb Group Mission Report

27 planes bombed for a second day. The group saw 7 enemy jet fighters.

source: 446th Bomb Group www.446bg.com
457th Bomb Group Mission Linksource: 457 Bomb Group http://www.457thbombgroup.org
486th Bomb Group Flimsy reportsource: 486th Bomb Group web page http://www.486th.org/
91st BG / 324th BS Mission Report - Target: Magdeburg Synthetic oil plant. PFF equipment in the lead ship was working intermittently. The lead bombardier saw target about 20 seconds before bombs away but visual attack was hurried and results were poor. The low squadron dropped in trail on lead squadron with unobserved results. The confusion at target prevented high squadron from bombing, they held their bombs and attacked Eschwege A/D. A last resort target, with a good PFF approach but results unobserved. Enemy opposition nil in the air and weak and inaccurate from A/A.source: 91st BG / 324th BS Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/

Non-Combat Accident Reports

Aircraft: B-17G (#44-6313).
Organization: 613BS / 401BG of Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire.
Pilot: Budd, Clayton R.
Notes: taxiing accident.
Location: Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 1
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: C-47B (#43-48712).
Organization: 325FRS / 27ATG of Prestwick, Scotland.
Pilot: Porter, Charles R.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Hendon/Sta 575 England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-47C (#41-6267W).
Organization: 552FTS / 495FTG of Atcham, Shropshire.
Pilot: Clark, Fay H.
Notes: killed in a crash.
Location: Bricklin Fm,nr Whitchurc England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51B1 (#43-12208W).
Organization: 352FS / 353FG of Raydon, Suffolk.
Pilot: Sladek, Charles E.
Notes: killed in a crash.
Location: Woolpit/ W England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D10 (#44-14502).
Organization: 434FS / 479FG of Wattisham, Suffolk.
Pilot: Hendrix, George D.
Notes: crashed belly landing due to engine failure or fire.
Location: Ipswich/ 6mi SE England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/

Mission Stats (Targets, Aircraft, Casualties, etc.)

Mission "8th AF Fighter Command"
Escort for 8th AF 652
September 28, 1944

Primary source for mission statistics: Mighty Eighth War Diary by Roger A. Freeman
Bomb TonnageEnemy
(on gnd)
7246460.026-1-131-0-07-1-70-0-7364FG crash-lands Brussels
Mission Targets

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646 A/C
Aircraft Groups

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OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)
Aircraft Losses

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20FG (1 a/c)
359FG (1 a/c)
364FG (2 a/c)
56FG (1 a/c)
361FG (1 a/c)
357FG (1 a/c)
OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)