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Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description

The transfer of training functions from VIII Air Force Composite Command to combat groups is completed; the VIII AF Composite Command ceases to function as personnel are attached to the Air Disarmament Command (Provisional) by the US Strategic Air Forces in Europe (USSTAF).

The airfield at Denain/Prouvy, France is assigned to HQ Eighth AF; this is the first step in establishing an VIII Air Force Services Command Service Center on the European continent so that Eighth AF can service and administer its own aircraft and personnel in the area.

Mission 705: 690 bombers and 890 fighters are dispatched to make a PFF attack on Merseburg oil plants and Rheine marshaling yard; bad weather causes the recall of 350+ bombers; 3 bombers and 11 fighters are lost:

1. 267 B-17s are dispatched to hit the Leuna oil plant at Merseburg (193); 2 others hit a target of opportunity; 9 of 12 B-17s fly as a screening force; 3 B-17s are lost and 85 damaged; 1 airman is WIA and 27 MIA. Escorting are 752 P-47s and P-51s; they claim 2-0-1 aircraft in the air and 0-0-1 on the ground; 2 P-47s and 9 P-51s are lost (pilots MIA) and 2 P-51s are damaged beyond repair.

2. 145 B-24s are dispatched to hit the Rheine marshaling yard (77); targets of opportunity are Enschede (8), Nordhorn Canal (8) and other (1); 15 B-24s are damaged. Escorting are 36 of 37 P-47s without loss.

3. 266 B-17s dispatched to hit the Leuna oil plant at Merseburg are recalled due to weather. 11 of 14 P-51s fly a scouting missions without loss.

Mission 706: 5 B-17s and 12 B-24s (2 abort) drop leaflets in France, the Netherlands and Germany during the night without loss.

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