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Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description

Mission 669: 1,422 bombers and 900 fighters are dispatched to hit oil installations and armored vehicle plants in Germany; with one exception, bombing is visual; 40 bombers and 11 fighters are lost:

1. 142 of 149 B-17s hit the oil refinery at Politz; 17 B-17s are lost and 106 damaged; 2 airmen are KIA, 17 WIA and 171 MIA. Escort is proivded by 93 of 108 P-51s; they claim 7-0-3 aircraft; 1 P-51 is lost (pilot MIA).

2. 333 B-17s are dispatched to hit the oil refinery at Ruhland (59); targets of opportunity hit are Zwickau Airfield (60), motor vehicle facotry at Zwickau (58), Dresden (30), Freiburg (24) and other (87); 3 B-17s are lost and 172 damaged. Escort is provided by 214 of 256 P-51s; they claim 12-0-0 aircraft in the air and 1-0-1 on the ground; 4 P-51s are lost (pilots MIA), 1 damaged beyond repair and 1 damaged; 1 pilot is WIA.

3. 451 B-17s are dispatched to hit oil refineries at Merseburg/Leuna (129), Lutzendorf (88) and Bohlen (86); targets of opportunity are Bielefeld (51), Hameln (27) and Nordhausen Airfield (24); they claim 11-13-10 aircraft; 16 B-17s are lost, 2 damaged beyond repair and 240 damaged; 2 airmen are KIA, 15 WIA and 149 MIA. Escort is provided by 250+ P-47s and P-51s; they claim 10-0-1 aircraft; 1 P-47 and 1 P-51 are lost (pilots MIA), 1 P-51 is damaged beyond repair and 2 P-47s and 1 P-51 are damaged.

4. 489 B-24s are dispatched to hit an armored vehicle plant at Kassel/Henschel (122) and oil refineries at Kassel/Altenbauna (88), Magdeburg/Buckau (62) and Magdeburg/Rothensee (25); targets of opportunity are Clausthal (129), Bergen/Steinfort (10), Hengelo marshaling yard (4) and other (6); 4 B-24s are lost, 1 damaged beyond repair and 183 damaged; 2 airmen are KIA, 6 WIA and 38 MIA. Escort is provided by 214 P-38s, P-47s and P-51s; they claim 8-0-0 aircraft on the ground; 1 P-47 and 3 P-51s ar elost and 1 P-47 and 1 P-51 are damaged; 3 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,

Mission Reports

303BG Mission Report - Target: Marshalling Yards & Other Military Objectives at Dresden, Germany. Crews Dispatched: 36. Length of Mission: 9 hours, 10 minutes.

Bomb Load: 10 x 500 lb H.E. M43 bombs. Bombing Altitudes: 25,700, 25,380 & 25,000 ft. Ammo Fired: 1,120 rounds.

Fortresses from the 303rd BG(H) took off to attack the synthetic oil plant at Brux, Czechoslovakia. The PFF secondary target was military installations in Dresden, Germany. Four aircraft returned early.

Group aircraft dropped 290 500-lb. H.E. M43 bombs from 25,700, 25,300 and 25,000 ft. One B-17 dropped 10 bundles of T171 leaflets. Another dropped 10 500-lb. bombs in error. A 10/10 cloud cover over the primary target required that the secondary target, with only 2/10 to 3/10 low clouds, be bombed. There was a close destructive bomb pattern in the marshalling yard by the lead Squadron. The low and high Squadrons hit in the center of town.

No enemy aircraft were seen. Fighter support by 214 P-51s was good. Moderate and accurate flak was encountered at Dresden, moderate and accurate at Zietz and scattered at other points. Twelve aircraft sustained minor battle damage and 10, major. Four crewmen were wounded by flak. All aircraft returned to Molesworth.

More info on this mission at the 303BG website

source: 303rd Bomb Group web page http://www.303rdbg.com/
306BG Mission Reportsource: 306th Bombardment Group website www.306bg.org/
34th BG Mission Report - Mission #75 Merseburg. Command Pilot: LeBAILLY. 33 planes dispatched. 29 planes dropped 70 tons on the primary target, while 4 failed to bomb. 29 Credit Sorties. One plane lost due to flak. 9 crewmen were Missing in Action.

B-17G 44-8328 L/C Missing in Action Merseburg flak. This aircraft received a direct flak hit in the tail just after bombs away which sheared the tail section from the plane. The tail gunner was thrown free but his chute was not seen to open. The aircraft went into a dive straight down and was seen to crash. Crews reported at least two chutes that could have come from this plane. Crashed Merseburg. With 18BS. Pilot: Kiley. Missing Air Crew Report 9341. 3 Killed in Action, 6 Prisoner of War.

B-17G 43-38188 B/D Missing in Action, Merseburg flak. On the return, the aircraft was trailing the formation by about 20 miles with one or two engines out and airspeed at 125 KPH, when the pilot contacted the Group leader to ask for fighter support and permission to land at a friendly field on the continent. Permission was granted and fighters dispatched. Different crews monitoring the VHF heard the pilot contact the fighters and heard the fighters reply that they would follow him to a friendly field. The pilot was heard on VHF to state he was heading for Eindhoven, Holland. Unknown if he reached Eindhoven. Later learned that he forced-landed at Zutphen, Holland. With 7BS. Pilot: Heiby. Missing Air Crew Report # 9549. 2 Killed in Action, 7 Prisoner of War.

source: 34th Bomb Group Mission List compiled by Gary L. Ferrell http://valortovictory.tripod.com
351BG Mission Report - 48 aircraft were sent on this mission.

42-31192 Lt. E. Peterson - Crash-landed in Sweden with flak damage. KIA 7, RTD 2.

42-97196 Lt. V. B. Evans - Landed in Sweden with flak damage, crew interned.

42-97349 Lt. R. T. Ballard - Damaged by flak. Sgt. Lester Canada (WIA).

42-97843 F/O C. Stahl - Damaged by flak. KIA 1, WIA2 .

43-37674 Lt. D. R. McGuire - Landed in Sweden with flak damage, crew interned.

43-38171 Lt. D. N. Merrill - Shot down by flak. POW 9.

43-38426 F/O A. M. Fisher - Landed in Sweden with flak damage, crew interned.

43-38527 Lt. D. S. Dargue - Shot down by flak. POW 8, KIA 1.

44-8222 Lt. A. Bartzocas - Landed in Sweden with flak damage, crew interned.

source: 351st Bomb Group web page http://www.351st.org/ken.harbour
384BG Mission Report - 384th BG Mission Number 207. The 384th Bombardment Group flew as the lead and low squadrons of the 41st CBW "C" group on today's mission. In spite of difficulty seeing the target area, visual attacks were pressed home, with mixed results. Primary Target: Synthetic Oil Plant - Leipzig, Germany. Target Attacked : Primary (Visual)

30 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 23. Failed To Return - 1. Aborted - 1. Landed In Allied Territory - 1. Ground Spare, Unused - 4
43-37703 Groff, Richard H - Hot camera ship. Bomb doors had to be manually opened and closed.
43-38615 Orr, James W - Landed in Allied Territory At 1100 hrs in the vicinity of [Bad] Iburg, aircraft was hit by flak and peeled off from formation with #2 wing tank smoking and leaking; last seen over Osnabruck with wheels down and under control; no chutes; landed in allied territory with all crew safe.
44-6294 Mandelbaum, Norman W - Failed to Return At 1236 hrs over Ruhland, lost part control of aircraft over target after being hit by flak: co-pilot was killed instantly, and pilot mortally wounded. He peeled off from formation under control after bombing target and left formation; ship appeared to be in good condition; no chutes observed but crew did bail out (except for the pilots); crashed near Ruhland, Germany; MACR 9365

source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
388BG Mission Report - The 8th Air Force dispatched over 1200 heavy bombers to attack German Synthetic oil and transportation centers. The 1st Division went to Ruhland and Zwickau. 2nd Division forces went to Kassel and Magdeburg while the 3rd Division attacks were directed at Merseburg, Lutzkendorf and Bohlen. The 388th furnished three Groups composing the 45th A Combat Wing.

36 a/c including 4 PFF a/c took-off between 0635 and 0708 hours. When taking off, Lt. Resch in a/c 42-30195 "Blind Date", lost power and made a force landing on a field at Holly Tree Farm, Walpole. All of the crew got out before the a /c caught fire. The occupants of eight houses had to be evacuated. At 1030 hours, the main bomb load exploded and minor damage was done to 14 houses at Walpole. At about 1430 hours, the 6218 Flight RAF Bomb Disposal Unit arrived to render safe a 500# unexploded bomb. The crew consisted of: Lts. Resch, Fraser, Miner and Sjaardema; Sgts. Buckles, Jacobs, Checchia, Gollen and Mitchell.

Of the other 35 a/c, 2 aborted for mechanical reasons. Formations were effected and the briefed route was followed to the target. Our lead and high Groups bombed the primary target visually at 1232 hours from 26,000 feet. The low Group bombed the secondary target, the Nordhausen Airfield, with bombs away at 1340 hours from 23,400 feet.

Crews reported that the bombs fell in the hangar area.

There was a heavy smoke screen and intense flak at the primary target. Just before the IP, at 1210 hours, 30-50 ME 109's and FW 190's approached the formation without attacking. These enemy a/c attacked the formation ahead and destroyed 9 or 12 B-17's. At 1240 hours after bombs away, two of these a/c attacked our lead Group from the rear. There were no enemy a/c claims. 15 of our a/c had minor flak damage and 2 a/c had major damage.

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 - The target attacked was the synthetic oil plant at Politz. The MPI assigned to our Group was the compressor houses.The weather over the primary target was clear with the exception of smoke generated by an exceptionally effective smoke screen in operation over the synthetic oil plant at Politz. Bombing was done by visual means and lead bombardiers had considerable difficulty synchronizing on assigned MPI's because of the smoke cover. Strike photos indicated bombs fell within the target area. Moderate but very accurate flak was encountered at Stettin and Politz for a period of 9 to 14 minutes during which time five aircraft were lost, three sustaining major battle damage and 40 minor battle damage. Included in the 5 aircraft lost was Lt. A.J. Nelson and his crew. According to eyewitness reports his aircraft received a direct burst of flak in the vicinity of the nose directly over Politz. Most of the nose was reported blown off and the aircraft went down in a vertical dive, hit the ground and exploded. One to four chutes were reported to come out during the dive, no other observations concerning particulars of the jumps. Crews from the 613th which participated were: Etters, Hillested, McGoldrick, Jennings, Nelson, Hanson, Campbell, Keck, Budd, Douglas, Keeling, Coleman.source: 613th Bombardment Squadron History
401BG / 614BS Mission Report - The task on this mission was to bomb the second largest synthetic oil producing plant in Germany at Politz. The Squadron furnished 13 crews for the 94th "C" wing, and Captain Ted Carroll led and bombed visually but smoke obscured the target and the results were uncertain. The Squadron report states that the flak was intense and accurate and even that must be regarded as an understatement. The Squadron lost three crews out of the five lost by the Group. It must have been one of those days when everything went right for the flak gunners and the 142 aircraft over Politz were very heavily hit. 17 aircraft were shot down and 106 of then received flak damage. Another way of putting this is that the flak gunners missed hitting only 19 out of 142 aircraft. The three aircraft lost were: (1) 42-107084, piloted by Lt. A. Harasym was hit over the target, controls shot away and went into a vertical dive, no chutes were seen. (2) 44-6145, piloted by Lt. H.P. Silverstein was hit over the target by a direct hit in the right wing. The wine came off and the aircraft fell on fire and exploded. No chutes were seen. (3) 43-38452, piloted by Lt. R.W. James was hit over the target and force-landed in Sweden. All the crew were safe. Crews: 44-8033 (PFF) Carroll, 42-97478 Schultz, 42-107084 Harasym, 44-6145 Silverstein, 42-102659 Rundell, 42-97395 Hubbell,43-38565 Sisson, 42-38330 Crozier, 44-6464 Wittman, 42-97602 Mays, 43-38452 James, 44-6508 Morton, 42-38236 Moran.source: 614th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 615BS Mission Report - This was a maximum effort for the 8th Air Force with the 401st B.G. putting up 51 B-17's. Most of the targets for this day were oil refineries, and the one the Group went after was the big one at Politz. Briefing was at 0410 hrs with all aircraft becoming airborne by 0809 hrs. The 401st furnished three 12 aircraft Squadrons comprising the 94th "C" Group and 12 aircraft for the High Squadron of the 94th "B" Group plus PFF aircraft. The Group Leader was Lt. Col. W.T. Seawell flying with Capt. D.A. Currie. The Low Squadron Leader was 1st Lt. B.C. Konze of the 615th. Although much cloud cover was encountered along the route to the target, weather over the primary target was clear, with the exception of smoke generated by an exceptionally effective smoke screen in operation over the synthetic oil plant at Folitz. Bombing was done by visual means and the Lead Bombardier had much difficulty in synchronizing on the assigned MPI's because of the smoke cover. Some crews observed that bombs struck in the approximate area of the assigned MPI's. The aircraft were in flak for nine minutes from Stettin to Politz. The flak was moderate but extremely accurate and five aircraft were lost, although two did make it to Sweden. In addition to the missing aircraft, three others received major flak damage and 40 received minor flak damage. Casualties included 45 missing in action, four lightly wounded in action and three seriously wounded in action. At least four of the five ships that were lost were lucky in that two crews were made POW and two crews went to Sweden. The 615th loading list was as follows: 42-102674 Grimm, 42-31983 Callaway, 43-38125 Stegemann, 44-6146 Cooper, 43-37551 Duckworth, 42-31730 McKay, 43-38159 Oas, 42-102468 Dow, 43-38077 Haskett, 42-107113 Sullivan, 42-97737 Konze, 43-38425 Udy.source: 615th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 612BS Mission Report - Politz, Germany was the target again for October 7th, and it turned out to be a "Lulu". A maximum effort by the 8th Air Force saw 48 of the 401st Forts scheduled, three Squadrons of 12 aircraft each comprising one Group and a High Squadron flying in a composite Group furnished by the 94th CBW. PFF aircraft were included but for a change were not used. Good weather was the case this time but the tricky Jerries managed to put up an excellent smoke screen which thoroughly covered the whole of the target area. All this added up to a very difficult time for the Lead Bombardiers for they had to use checkpoints and points for killing course and the rate which were much further away from the MPI than the ones normally used. The Low Squadron's bombs right on the target but it was not possible to plot the strikes of the other three Squadrons due to the extensive smoke coverage. Subsequent hand-held camera shots showed the typical black billowing smoke from oil fires was beginning to tower far into the sky and someone definitely put their bombs on vital installations. This bombing was the only satisfaction gained on this mission by the returning boys. It was very rough with the planes encountering up to 15 minutes of continuous very intense and very accurate Flak. Most of the fellows described it as the worse they had ever seen. Every aircraft of the returning 43 had battle damage, three of them major, and five of the aircraft failed to return. Lt. Hill, from the 612th were one of these lost aircraft, and a total of seven crew members were wounded, five of these members of the 612th. It was very, very rough and although no enemy encountered we lost heavily. Subsequent reports are that Jones, of the 614th landed in Sweden and reports as yet indicates Lt. Hill also managed to get there. We hope they all made it. Captain Currie, with the capable assistance of Lt. Shapiro as Navigator, Lt. Winn as Bombardier and Lt. Howard as Mickey Operator led the 94th "C" Group. Eleven others of tee 612th crews flew with them in this lead Squadron and all but Lt. Hill returned. Crew loadings are as follows: 42-97938 Lawrence, 44-6506 Schaunaman, 42-39993 Gibson, 43-38637 Hocking, 42-97947 Currie, 079 Jones, 42-31087 Hill,42-102398 Maxwell, 42-31662 Aiken, 43-37790 Bonney, 42-106992 Burns, 42-102393 Cromer.source: 612th Bombardment Squadron History
44th BG Crash Report - Aircraft #44-40167, 506 BS, MACR #9342

The MACR relates that aircraft #167 was last observed in target area at Kassel. Bombs were away at 1224 hours under heavy anti aircraft fire. This plane then dropped slightly behind the formation.

Sgt. John Dahlin made the statements that the plane was hit by flak and set on fire. Seven of us bailed out. The plane broke into pieces soon afterwards. I met the other six men who had bailed out safely, but none of us ever again saw Sgt. Hibbs. Later, a German Major told me that three bodies were found in the crashed plane. He had a correct list of names of the missing crew members.

Radio Operator John Lord recalled: on the 7 October mission to Kassel, being the newest crew, we got one of the oldest planes to fly. It was patched up, my radio table was broken off, no place to write. When we opened the bomb bay doors, I could see the flash of flak guns shooting at us. We had trouble with one engine losing power, finally had to feather it. Not then being able to keep up with the formation, we began to fall behind.

Our pilot, Homer Still, asked John Wilson, navigator, for a heading to fly back over France. Another engine on the right side was lost, making two of them feathered on that side of the wing, and we were in deep trouble. About that time I heard a loud POP and then saw our copilot, Welborn, open the top hatch and climb out! When I turned around and looked into the bomb bay, I saw the reason for that exit. It was full of flames.

How was I to get out' Normally I could have climbed up on the radio table and pulled myself up though that same top hatch, but the table was broken. I had my chest pack chute on but in a dilemma as what to do when the plane made my decision for me ' it turned upside down. I then fell out of that open top hatch ' well, almost out. My heated suit and intercom plugs were holding me tight. I quickly broke or tore them loose and fell free. I found myself in a head first position and slowly spinning so that I had little sense of falling. I guess that my altitude at that time to be about 17,000 feet. Slowly I saw the ground getting closer, pulled my ring and thankfully saw my chute blossom out. Looking down, I could see a round, burning area of incendiaries, so I pulled on some shroud lines and missed the fire, and landed in an open field. Then a large piece of the aircraft ' the waist area ' came down close to me. I suspect that the plane had exploded for that piece to hit like that.

I had burns on my left hand and around my eyes. A young German lad of about 8 to 10 years old, helped me with my chute. Then German soldiers came running up, holding pistols on me. I had landed close to a Signal Corps practicing in the woods, unfortunately, with no possibility of evasion. They took me to a dispensary where I was bandaged on my hand and face. While I was there several teen-aged boys, who had been manning a flak gun nearby, came in to see me. They thought they had shot us down. Both Dahlin and Wyant had been shot at as they were coming down. I also learned that Welborn hit his head on something when he left through the top hatch, severely damaging his eye. I later got gangrene in my burned left hand, was treated by some British doctors who had been captured earlier, but suffered no permanent damage ' thanks to them.


  • STILL, HOMER E. Pilot 2nd Lt. Jacksonville, Fla., POW Florida
  • WELBORN, FRANCIS C. Co-pilot 2nd Lt. Lexington, Kentucky, POW
  • WILSON, JOHN E. Navigator Flt Of. Beeville, Texas, POW
  • STRUNC, HENRY Bombardier 2nd Lt. Staple Hurst, Nebraska POW
  • WESSMAN, HELGE E. Engineer S/Sgt. West Orange, New Jersey KIA
  • LORD, JOHN B. Radio Oper. S/Sgt. Maywood, Illinois, POW, burned
  • HIBBS, LEO R. Hatch Gun. Sgt. Corydon, Indiana, KIA
  • WYANT, JOHN C. RW Gunner Sgt. Uniontown, Pennsylvania, POW
  • DAHLIN, JOHN K. LW Gunner Sgt. Worcester, Mass., POW
  • BUHL, VERNON Tail Turret Sgt. Whitehall, Montana, KIA
source: Army Air Forces Online Forum http://forum.armyairforces.com/
44th BG Crash Report - The Group attacked the Tank Factory at Kassels with 37 aircraft. Flak at target was intense and accurate, with the 506th Squadron losing two planes and another was forced to land at Brussels, Belgium with the pilot seriously wounded. Aircraft #42-50789, MACR #9343


  • SALFEN, WILLIAM S. Pilot 1st Lt. O. ,Fallon, Missouri, POW
  • IDEN, DONALD B. Co-pilot 2nd Lt. Visalia, Calif., POW
  • VETTER, EDWARD F. Navigator 2nd Lt. Topeka, Kansas, POW
  • BAUMAN, MORTON Bombardier 1st Lt. West New York, New Jersey POW
  • BAGGETT, CARNEY W. Jr. Engineer T/Sgt. Clarksville, Tenn., POW
  • DOHERTY, ROBERT L. Radio Oper. S/Sgt. Grove City, Penn., KIA
  • SUSZEK, LEO C. RW Gunner Sgt. Detroit, Mich., POW/Injured
  • SINCLAIR, NORMAN L. LW Gunner Sgt. West De Pere, Wisc., POW
  • BUCKLEY, FRANCIS X. Tail Turret Sgt. Troy, NY, KIA

The MACR states that this aircraft, #789, was last seen in vicinity of Kassel at 1224 hours. #1 and #2 engines had been knocked out by flak and it fell out of formation, under control. It was last heard from at approximately 1239 hours calling on VHF for fighter support. It was believed to be trying for or heading toward friendly territory.

Lt. Donald B. Iden, co-pilot, sent the following information: we had just closed the bomb bay doors after releasing bombs over Kassel when our plane, which was named LAKANOOKIE, took two bursts of flak. One hit the left wing and the other went into the tail section. The hit in the wing took out the #1 and #2 engines, so that made it impossible to keep a heading without complete cross-control of ailerons and rudders. Needless to say, loss of altitude was very rapid.

We rode it down to 1,500 feet, at which time we bailed out and soon were captured. After Salfen and I bailed out, the aircraft entered a flat spin, crashed and burned.

Leo Suszek was badly injured on bailout. When we last saw him on the ground, he was unable to converse and appeared to be in extreme pain. I thought he had internal injuries of some kind. We gave him an injection of morphine before he was taken away.

We were told that Robert Doherty's parachute failed to open. Apparently Francis Buckley went down with the aircraft. I can only assume that he probably was unable to bail out, but for reasons unknown. Possibly the flak hit in the rear could have injured him or damaged his chute.

Spent the rest of the duration at Barth, Germany Stalag Luft I. After the war, Suszek visited me two or three times before he headed for the V.A. Hospital in Tucson, Arizona. I have not heard from him since.

source: Army Air Forces Online Forum http://forum.armyairforces.com/
44th BG Crash Report - Aircraft #42-50894, 56BS


  • JONES, JOHN W., Pilot, 2nd Lt., Tucson, Arizona, seriously wounded
  • HOLCOMBE, CLEMENT R.C., Co-pilot, 2nd Lt., Michigan, wounded
  • WESTENHISER, JAMES T., Navigator, 2nd Lt.
  • BAIER, EDWARD A., Bombardier, 2nd Lt.
  • KIRKLAND, ROBERT E., Engineer, S/Sgt., Coal Valley, Alabama,slight wound
  • VAN EPPS, ELWOOD, Radio Oper., S/Sgt.
  • SIMON, R. E., Ball Turret, Sgt.
  • GARZA, RAUL, RW Gunner, Sgt., Port Lavaca, Texas
  • HAGGARD, ROBERT G., LW Gunner, Sgt., Los Angeles, California
  • HAGE, MITRY K., Tail Turret, Sgt.

Aircraft #894 received a direct hit in the bomb bay and #1 engine, which had to be feathered. The aircraft headed for friendly territory and landed at Brussels. The pilot, Lt. Jones, had been hit in both legs, had his left leg amputated when treated at the 8th British Army Hospital.

2nd Lt. Clement R.C. Holcombe, co-pilot on this aircraft, was instrumental in making the safe emergency landing without a pilot. He states that the mission was to Kassel and the target was the Tiger Tank Factory. We were hit on the bomb run before dropping our bomb load. Lt. Jones was injured and I was hit in the back of my left shoulder, rendering my left arm useless.

Sgt. Kirkland, engineer, also was hit, but fortunately his flak suit protected him from serious injury. The right wing fuel tanks were punctured and both #1 & #2 engines were damaged and lost normal power. The radio was damaged and I learned later that we were transmitting all right but could not receive. Adding to our problems was our compass which was malfunctioning and would not indicate correctly. #4 engine caught fire briefly, but it was blown out because we lost a few thousand feet in a hurry.

When I finally got the plane straightened out, the formation was gone. I got Sgt. Kirkland to help Lt. Jones from his position and had him get into Jones' seat to handle the throttles and help me with the rudder pedals. With my injured left arm I could not manipulate the throttles or other controls which were on my left side. The plane was crabbing due to the uneven power output between the left and right sides, making straight flight most difficult.

We salvoed our bombs to help hold altitude and tried to contact our little friends, but were not able to contact any of the fighters. Since Jones was hurt badly, and we were losing fuel steadily, I was afraid we might have to ditch if we continued towards England, and probably couldn't get Jones out from a ditching situation.

Lt. Westenhiser, navigator, found that Strip B-58, near Brussels, had very recently been taken from the Germans, so we decided to try to land there. With the compass screwed up, we just plain lucked out, finding it on the first pass. I followed a B-17 in on the final, (approach leg) but he did not make it, and crashed just short of the runway. There were bomb craters everywhere, but enough had been filled in to make a landing possible.

With Sgt. Kirkland handling the throttles, I got the plane down OK. Jones and I were taken to the hospital. A day or two later, I was able to walk around with my arm in a sling. Our crew hitched a ride back to England in a C-54, but we hit bad weather and had to land near Dover. Next morning the C54 dropped us off right in front of the control tower!

This was our seventh mission, but I spent some time in the hospital before going on to fly 23 more missions before returning to the States. Other than Lt. Jones, Raul Garza, who was our ball turret gunner, was the only other crewman who didn't complete his tour. He went down over Germany while flying a make up mission.

source: Army Air Forces Online Forum http://forum.armyairforces.com/
44BG Mission Report - The target for today was a Tank Factory at Kassel, Germany. Lt. Bakalo led the low left squadron which was composed of 10 ships of the 67th. The Group had a total of 37 planes plus 2 PFFs. All but two aircraft attacked, with the first squadron results being excellent, second squadron poor, and the third and fourth unobserved. Lt. Steel was forced to turn back when the Navigator was taken ill, and the remaining 67th ships went on to register fair results. Flak at target was intense and accurate with four of the 67th planes suffering slight battle damage and returning safely. However, the 506th Squadron lost two ships and had another land in Brussels. 506th A/C #42-50789 pilot 1st Lt. W.S. Salfen 3 KIA, 7 POW Last seen in vicinity of Kassels, #1 & #2 engines had been knocked out by flak and it fell out of formation under control. It was last seen and heard from at 1239 hours, called VHF for fighter support and believed heading for friendly territory. 506th A/C #44-40167 (?) pilot 2nd Lt. H.E. Still - 3 KIA, 6 Pow Sgt. John K. Dahlin, LWG, relates: "Plane was hit by flak and set afire. Seven of us bailed out and the plane broke into pieces soon afterward. Later, a German major told me that 3 bodies were found in the crashed plane." 506th A/C #42-50894 (clear on tapes) was badly hit by flak and landed at Brussels. 1ts pilot, Lt. John W. Jones, Jr. had received a severe wound in the left leg, requiring amputation below the knee. He had been hit in both legs and was rushed to the 8th British Army Hospital.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: 40. A/C Bombed Target: 40. A/C Lost: 0source: 445th Bomb Group http://445bg.org
446th Bomb Group Mission Report

36 planes hit an explosives factory, leaving it in ruins.

source: 446th Bomb Group www.446bg.com
457th Bomb Group Mission Link source: 457 Bomb Group http://www.457thbombgroup.org
467th Bomb Group Mission reportsource: 467th Bomb Group web page http://www.467bg.com/
486th Bomb Group Flimsy reportsource: 486th Bomb Group web page http://www.486th.org/
91st BG / 323nd BS Mission Report - Frieburg, Northeast of Chemnitz, Germany, was bombed with very good results. Thirteen ships of the 323rd participated. Enemy fighters opposition to our ships has been slight, thanks to the fighter squadrons, which escort us to and from the target, areas, but flak still remains intense and accurate. source: 323rd Bomb Squadron / 91BG Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/
91st BG / 322nd BS Mission Report - Frieburg. This Squadron led the 1st C group, Capt. Newquist, Squadron Operations officer acted as air commander flying with Lt. Walton in the lead A/C. The Buckeye scouting force reported that the primary target, the oil plant at Brux, would be open, but the division later advised that it was not, and the lead and low squadrons went on to bomb the town of Frieburg, target of opportunity, with very good results. source: 322rd Bomb Squadron / 91BG Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/

Non-Combat Accident Reports

Aircraft: B-17F (#41-24480).
Organization: 87TpS / 27ATG of Chipping Ongar, Essex.
Pilot: Knoedler, Charles M.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Florennes, Belgium Belgium.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17F (#42-30195).
Organization: 561BS / 388BG of Knettishall, Suffolk.
Pilot: Resch, Haarold E.
Notes: forced landing structural failure.
Location: Walnut Tree Fm/1mi NNE England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#42-1-2689).
Organization: 526BS / 379BG of Kimbolton, Huntingdonshire.
Pilot: Land, William M.
Notes: taxiing accident.
Location: Kimbolton, Huntingdonshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#42-39851W).
Organization: 850BS / 490BG of Eye, Suffolk.
Pilot: Allan, Harper C.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: RAF Heston/Sta 510 England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#42-97232).
Organization: 412BS / 95BG of Horham, Suffolk.
Pilot: Lennox, Leslie A Jr.
Notes: take off accident.
Location: Horham, Suffolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51B (#43-12463).
Organization: / of .
Pilot: Talcott, Franklin D.
Notes: killed in a crash.
Location: Ljungbyhed Sweden.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D5 (#44-14042).
Organization: 376FS / 361FG of Little Walden, Essex.
Pilot: Smith, James D.
Notes: take off accident due to engine failure.
Location: Little Walden, Essex England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/

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

Mission "8th AF 669"
Oil installations and vehicle plants
October 07, 1944

Primary source for mission statistics: Mighty Eighth War Diary by Roger A. Freeman
Bomb TonnageEnemy
(on gnd)
142214013188.211-13-100-0-040-3-7016-38-3585x 351BG aircraft l Switzerland
2x 401BG aircraft l Switzerland
457BG aircraft l Switzerland
388BG aircraft crash-lands Walpole
457BG aircraft ditches sea
Mission Targets

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oil refinery142 A/Cphotos (3)
Braunkohle-Benzin A.G. Industry
oil refinery59 A/Cphotos (1)
60 A/C
August Horch Motorwagenwerke Industry
vehicles58 A/C
30 A/C
munitions24 A/C
Braunkohle-Benzin AG (BRABAG) Industry
synthetic oil refinery86 A/Cphotos (2)
Lutzkendorf Industry
oil refinery88 A/Cphotos (2)
Leuna Industry
oil refinery129 A/Cphotos (2)
24 A/C
ordnance depot51 A/C
Braunkahle (BRABAG) Industry
oil refinery25 A/Cphotos (4)
oil refinery62 A/C
vehicles88 A/Cphotos (1)
Henschel & Son Industry
Aviation122 A/C
Target of Opportunity
129 A/C
Aircraft Groups

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OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)
Aircraft Losses

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92BG (1 a/c)
305BG (1 a/c)
351BG (7 a/c)
384BG (1 a/c)
401BG (5 a/c)
457BG (5 a/c)
44BG (2 a/c)
392BG (1 a/c)
489BG (1 a/c)
94BG (8 a/c)
95BG (3 a/c)
96BG (1 a/c)
100BG (1 a/c)
34BG (2 a/c)
447BG (1 a/c)
OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)