Mission

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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,

Mission Reports

306BG Mission Reportsource: 306th Bombardment Group website www.306bg.org/
384BG Mission Report - 384th BG Mission Number 222. Primary Target: Leuna Works - Merseburg, Germany

44 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 33. Failed To Return - 1. Aborted - 2. Spare, Returned As Briefed - 3. Ground Spare, Unused - 5
42-97282 Drake, William Bright - Failed to Return - MIA; at 1145 hrs a/c pulled out of formation w #3 engine feathered but under control; was picked up immediately by P-51 escort and may have landed away; 42-97282 Rebel; flak, cr Neirstein, Ger; MACR 10352

source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
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 - PR Story - 2nd Lt. Richard L. Steele, Lincoln, Nebr., took his Fortress crew on their first mission the other day and came home after an emergency landing in Belgium, with the definite opinion that the ETO is still a \\\"rough theater\\\" for heavy bombardment operations. Arriving in the target area, which was Merseburg, and before bombs away, Lt. Steele had two engines hit by flak and found himself with two runaway propellers at the same time. Engine No. 4 had its oil pressure system shot out and the prop could not be feathered and the prop controls and supercharger of No. 3 were hit --all this at 26,000 ft in tight formation. The propeller of No. 4 engine finally twisted off its whitehot bearings and \\\"frozen in one position and No. 3 propeller, out of control, became steady at 2,250 revolutions per minute which gave the pilot some power to hold formation.

The bombs were dropped on Merseburg --and the Fortress began to steadily lose altitude, straggling at 15000 Ft, the aircraft was about to be attacked by Nazi fighters when nine Mustangs swooped in from out of the sun and chased them away. \\\"The last I saw of the Jerries they were diving into a cloud bank with our fighters hot on their tail,\\\" said Lt. Steele. \\\"It was a beautiful sight. A short time later a few more P 51\\\'s picked us up and stuck with us until we got over friendly territory.\\\"

The crew struck more flak from its vulnerable altitude and the hydraulics system was shot out, automatically knocking out the brakes. Over Belgium and in the vicinity of Brussels, Lt Steele saw an RAF base and decided to go in for a landing. But his trouble was not yet over. As he was about to let down, a fire started in the cockpit and while the crew stood ready to bailout, it was extinguished by the Engineer, Sgt. Frederick Stachura. The fire had so damaged the radio equipment that Lt. Steele could not call the control tower and tell them he was going to make an emergency landing, and without brakes. \\\"A formation was just coming in,\\\" said Lt. Steele \\\"and I couldn\\\'t get the green light. Something had to be done so I came on in anyway and when they knew I was going to land they gave me the all clear to land.\\\" On landing the crew counted 30 flak holes in addition to the damaged engines only excellent evasive action by the pilot prevented more damage when the second flak was encountered -one, Flight Officer D.J. Munt, the Navigator, had a slight flak wound on his face. The crew spent a couple of days at the base and then were flown to England, glad to get away from \\\"buzz bomb alley.\\\" All members of the crew were on their first mission except 2nd Lt. R.H. Little acting as co-pilot in breaking in the new crew. He has been on 20 missions and his experience acted as a stabilizing influence on other members who were in their praise of his work and judgment during the critical moments.

Other crews from the 613th were: 43-38160 Jennings, 44-6313 Budd, 42-38267 Annis, 43-37736 Steele, 44-6104 Keck, 43-38187 Carson, 42-31591 Douglas, 42-97931 Campbell.

source: 613th Bombardment Squadron History
401BG / 613BS Mission Report - Led by Major L. stann the 94th "A" Group (401st. B.G.) attacked the Leuna oil works at Merseburg on November 8th. Bombing was by PFF and the results were unobserved. The flak was moderate over the target but accurate. Aircraft 43-37736 ( LITTLE PEDRO, IN-T ) piloted by 2nd Lt. R.L. Steele was hit just before bombs away and was forced to make an emergency landing in Belgium.source: 613th Bombardment Squadron History
401BG / 614BS Mission Report - Captain D.V, Kirkhuff led the Low Squadron on this mission. The Squadron furnished 9 aircraft for the 94th "A" CBW. The target was the I.G. Farben synthetic oil plants again, the bombing was again by PFF so the strikes were unobserved. This was one of those Plan "A" and "B" missions where each is set up completely and the actual target given to the crews at the last moment. The Group put up 41 aircraft on this mission with Major L. Stann as the Air Commander. The Squadron put up the following crews: 43-38738 Spuhler, 42-102659 Rundell, 44-6464 Wittman, 42-97322 Seder, 44-6508 Sisson, 43-38677 Ochsenhirt, 42-38330 St. Aubyn, 42-107151 Morton, 42-97602 Babcock.source: 614th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 615BS Mission Report - 41 aircraft were briefed at 0430 hrs and given two plans of operation, A and B. At 0545 hrs Operations advised that plan "A" would be put into effect with take-off commencing at 0655 hrs. Aircraft IW-X failed to take off but all others were airborne by 0741 hrs. This was a return to the Leuna oil refineries at Merseburg with the 401st putting up the 94th "A" Group, led by Major Leon Stann, flying with Captain R.M. Dempsey of the 615th Squadron. Captain D.V. Kirkhuff and Captain P.E. Campbell were the other two Squadron Leaders.

For the fifth time during the month bombing had to be carried out by PFF techniques because as the formation reached the I.P. the 10/10'ths cloud and dense contrails completely obscured the ground. The bombing was carried out in Group formation with all radar instruments working perfectly. The Mickey operators believed they made a good run and believed the results to have been good.

The Luftwaffe remained on the ground yet again but considerable damaged was caused by the flak, which was moderate and accurate. Two aircraft received major and 23 minor battle damage. Lt. R.I. Steele, with two engines of his aircraft knocked out, made an emergency landing near Brussels. The aircraft was IN-T, Serial No. 43-37736,and was found to be beyond repair. The 615th Squadron put up the Group Lead aircraft and crew plus eleven others crews. They were: PFF aircraft 42-97947 Dempsey, 43-38425 Calloway, 43-38810 Cooper, 42-97664 Maire, 42-97780 Duckworth, 42-31485 McKay, 43-37551 Dow, 42-31730 Sombart, 42-102468 Hansen, 42-107113 Sullivan, 43-37891 Campbell, 44-8033 Lozinski.

source: 615th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 612BS Mission Report - The relentless offensive against German oil was the order of the day when the 401st returned to Merseburg on the 8th of November. Thirty-six aircraft were dispatched as Group "A" in the 94th CBW for this job. For the fifth time in the month the Leader had to resort to the PFF method of bombing when the formation reached the I.P. area as 10/10's undercast and dense contrails completely obscured the ground. Going in to bomb in Group formation with all instruments working perfectly enabled the Mickey Operator to get a good run and he believes the results to be good. No obser- vation or bomb strike pictures were possible due to the clouds. The Luftwaffe remained at bay again with no enemy aircraft sighted. However, considerable damage was sustained by 25 of the aircraft from moderate and accurate Flak over the target. One aircraft was missing for a couple of days from Flak damage but turned up safely in the newly conquered territory on the Continent. All other aircraft, members returned safely. The 612th did not furnish a Squadron lead for this effort although nine of the crews participated, all flying in the three High Flights of the Squadron. Lt.s Aiken, Maxwell and Lawrence each led one of these Flights. Crews: 43-37628 Aiken, 43-38541 Lawrence, 42-39993 Cox, 42-106992 Roadman, 43-38733 Comer, 42-102393 Jones, 43-38637 Long, 42-102398 Maxwell, 43-38680 Bloetscher.source: 612th Bombardment Squadron History
401BG / 612BS Mission Report - The relentless offensive against German oil was the order of the day when the 401st returned to Merseburg on the 8th of November. Thirty-six aircraft were dispatched as Group "A" in the 94th CBW for this job. For the fifth time in the month the Leader had to resort to the PFF method of bombing when the formation reached the I.P. area as 10/10's undercast and dense contrails completely obscured the ground. Going in to bomb in Group formation with all instruments working perfectly enabled the Mickey Operator to get a good run and he believes the results to be good. No obser- vation or bomb strike pictures were possible due to the clouds. The Luftwaffe remained at bay again with no enemy aircraft sighted. However, considerable damage was sustained by 25 of the aircraft from moderate and accurate Flak over the target. One aircraft was missing for a couple of days from Flak damage but turned up safely in the newly conquered territory on the Continent. All other aircraft, members returned safely. The 612th did not furnish a Squadron lead for this effort although nine of the crews participated, all flying in the three High Flights of the Squadron. Lt.s Aiken, Maxwell and Lawrence each led one of these Flights. Crews: 43-37628 Aiken, 43-38541 Lawrence, 42-39993 Cox, 42-106992 Roadman, 43-38733 Comer, 42-102393 Jones, 43-38637 Long, 42-102398 Maxwell, 43-38680 Bloetscher.source: 612th Bombardment Squadron History
44BG Mission Report - The ordered Primary was Rheine M/Y and the 44th dispatched 11 aircraft. The Groups briefed position was low Group in the Wing, second Wing in the Division. However, assembly was not accomplished because of the severe weather conditions in the form of heavy contrails and poor visibility and other changes in instructions. The formation proceeded on the briefed course to the target. Personnel error caused mis-interpretation and Enschede rather than Rheine was attacked hitting the railroad 1-1/2 miles east of town. The bombing was done through 10/10th cloud cover and results were poor. One aircraft bombed visually a factory northwest of the railroad objective. There was no enemy resistance and no losses. Lt. Struther's navigator, Lt. Carl Appelin termed the results "Pitiful - only plowed up some Brussel sprouts." Lt. Struthers and Lt. Hurst were the only two 67th ships represented in the formation. Capt. Waltpr T. Brady, Squadron Bombardier, having completed operational tour, transferred to CP 70th RD for return to the US.source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
457th Bomb Group Mission Linksource: 457 Bomb Group http://www.457thbombgroup.org

Non-Combat Accident Reports

Aircraft: B-17G (#42-3518).
Organization: 561BS / 388BG of Knettishall, Suffolk.
Pilot: Barton, Thomas H.
Notes: crashed belly landing.
Location: RAF Fersfield/Sta 140 England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#42-38064).
Organization: 749BS / 457BG of Glatton, Huntingdonshire.
Pilot: Furr, Arnet L.
Notes: missing in service [often a macr].
Location: English Channel.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#44-8418).
Organization: 749BS / 457BG of Glatton, Huntingdonshire.
Pilot: Elduff, James V.
Notes: mid air collision.
Location: English Channel.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-24H (#42-51198).
Organization: 785BS / 466BG of Attlebridge, Norfolk.
Pilot: [parked aircraft].
Notes: ground accident fire.
Location: Attlebridge, Norfolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-24J (#44-10536).
Organization: 714BS / 448BG of .
Pilot: Harshbarger, E I.
Notes: ground accident fire.
Location: Seething (Sta 146) England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 2
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-47D (#42-75429).
Organization: 62FS / 56FG of Boxted, Essex.
Pilot: Mauldin, David L.
Notes: crash landing engine failure.
Location: Boxted, Essex England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D (#44-14333).
Organization: 435FS / 479FG of Wattisham, Suffolk.
Pilot: Mueller, Wilbert (NMI).
Notes: take off accident.
Location: Wattisham, Suffolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D10 (#44-11162).
Organization: 435FS / 479FG of Wattisham, Suffolk.
Pilot: Baird, Robert J.
Notes: take off accident.
Location: Wattisham, Suffolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D10 (#44-14141).
Organization: 384FS / 364FG of Honington, Suffolk.
Pilot: Goodner, Charles G Jr.
Notes: crashed belly landing due to engine failure or fire.
Location: Clacton-on-Sea England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D5 (#44-13356).
Organization: 374FS / 361FG of Little Walden, Essex.
Pilot: Rizzio, Ernest V.
Notes: take off accident due to engine failure.
Location: Little Walden, Essex England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/

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

Mission "8th AF 706"
Night Leaflet Operation Nov 8/9 1944
November 08, 1944

Primary source for mission statistics: Mighty Eighth War Diary by Roger A. Freeman
 
Aircraft
Sent
Aircraft
Effective
Bomb TonnageEnemy
Aircraft
X-P-D
Enemy
Aircraft
(on gnd)
X-P-D
USAAF
Aircraft
X-E-D
USAAF
Personnel
KIA-WIA-MIA
Notes
17160.00-0-00-0-00-0-00-0-0
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Mission Targets

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DEVENTER, NETHERLANDS
Leaflet drop
ZUTPHEN, NETHERLANDS
Leaflet drop
ENSCHEDE, GERMANY
Leaflet drop
HENGELO, NETHERLANDS
Leaflet drop
ALMELO, NETHERLANDS
Leaflet drop
HORST, NETHERLANDS
Leaflet drop
PANNINGEN, NETHERLANDS
Leaflet drop
HEYTHUYSEN, NETHERLANDS
Leaflet drop
ROERMOND, NETHERLANDS
Leaflet drop
LINDERN, GERMANY
Leaflet drop
PUFFENDORF, GERMANY
Leaflet drop
ALDENHOVEN, GERMANY
Leaflet drop
NIDEGGEN, GERMANY
Leaflet drop
COLOGNE, GERMANY
Leaflet drop
LINNICH, GERMANY
Leaflet drop
ZULPICH, GERMANY
Leaflet drop
DUREN, GERMANY
Leaflet drop
JULICH, GERMANY
Leaflet drop
DUSSELDORF, GERMANY
Leaflet drop
WEISWEILER/ECHWEILER, GERMANY
Leaflet drop
BLATZHEIM, GERMANY
Leaflet drop
NORVENICH, GERMANY
Leaflet drop
GLADBECK, GERMANY
Leaflet drop
FROITZHEIM, GERMANY
Leaflet drop
KOBLENZ, GERMANY
Leaflet drop
COLOGNE, GERMANY
Leaflet drop
Aircraft Groups

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1ST BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
422BS
2ND BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
3RD BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)
Aircraft Losses

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1ST BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
2ND BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
3RD BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)