Mission

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Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description

Mission 707: 1,309 bombers and 738 fighters are dispatched to hit front line strongpoints and tactical targets in the Metz and Thionville, France areas; 4 bombers and 5 fighters are lost:

1. 460 B-17s are dispatched to hit transportation targets at Thionville (47); 276 hit the secondary, the marshaling yard at Saarbrucken; targets of opportunity are Saarlautern (34) and other (3); 4 B-17s are lost, 4 damaged beyond repair and 96 damaged; 8 airmen are KIA, 6 WIA and 27 MIA. Escort is provided by 187 of 192 P-51s without loss.

2. 437 B-17s are dispatched to hit transportation targets at Metz (345); 41 hit the secondary, the marshaling yard at Saarbrucken; 28 hit Koblenz; 3 B-17s are damaged beyond repair and 13 damaged; 19 airment are KIA. Escort is provided by 176 of 184 P-51s without loss.

3. 402 B-24s are dispatched to hit transportation targets at Metz (385); 15 hit the secondary, the marshaling yard at Saarbrucken; 1 B-24 is damaged beyond repair and 5 damaged. Escort is provided by 113 of 119 P-51s; 3 P-51s are damaged beyond repair.

4. 10 of 10 B-17s fly a screening force mission.

5. 139 P-47s and P-51s fly fighter-bomber missions in the Frankfurt-Lannheim area of Germany; 1 P-47 and 4 P-51s are lost; 4 pilots are MIA. 6. 30 of 32 P-51s fly a scouting forces mission.

Mission 708: 5 B-17s and 12 B-24s drop leaflets in France, the Netherlands and Germany during the night.

The 27th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron, 7th Photographic Group (Reconnaissance) (attached to VIII Air Force Service Command), moves from Mount Farm, England to Denain/Prouvy, France with F-5s.

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: Tactical Support of Ground Troops at Metz (Area), Germany. Bomb Load: 6 x 1,000 lb S.A.P. M59 bombs. Crews Dispatched: 39 (358BS - 9, 359th - 10, 360th - 11, 427th - 10). Crews Lost: Lt. R.W. Davis, 9 KIA; Lt. S.E. Pursel, 8 KIA. Length of Mission: 6 hours, 15 minutes.

The 41st CBW used the 303rd BG(H) B-17F #42-29947, Wabash Cannonball, to fly as an observer aircraft with the 360BS formation.

For the first time in weeks 303rd BG(H) bombers went out in support of ground troops near Metz. Thirty-two 303rd BG(H) B-17s dropped 219 1,000- lb. S.A.P. M57 bombs, 10 1,000-lb. G.P. M44 bombs, and 10 units of T202 leaflets on Metz using GEE-H equipment. The few observations through breaks in the 7/10 to 10/10 low clouds, with tops at 10,000 to 12,000 feet, indicated poor results–the consequence of the navigator's difficulty in picking up weak GEE-H signals. One aircraft bombed with the 384BG, one with the 379BG, one with the 351BG and one with a B-24 Group.

No enemy aircraft were seen. Friendly fighter support, by 176 P-51s, was very good. Only a few bursts of inaccurate flak were seen in the target area. Crews were uncertain about the effectiveness of chaff.

An otherwise uneventful mission was marred by the collision of two 427BS aircraft shortly after take-off. The B-17s crashed near Wenlock, Shropshire, England. One of the aircrafts was #43-37666 Full House. The other aircraft involved in the collision was #43-38057 (No Name)

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 #89 Metz area. Command Pilot: TAVASTI. 34 planes dispatched. 22 planes dropped 63 tons on the primary target and 12 (18BS) failed to bomb. 34 Credit Sorties. (Target was a heavily armed fort B big guns and 5,000 men. Dropped bombs 1 mile off to right of target. Scared hell out of enemy troops in fort.) 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. source: 351st Bomb Group web page http://www.351st.org/ken.harbour
384BG Mission Report - 384th BG Mission Number 223. Primary Target: Ouvrage de Sorbey (Metz), France

43 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 39. Scrubbed - 1. Ground Spare, Unused - 3

source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
388BG Mission Report - While the 3rd Air Division attacked the Marshalling Yards at Saarbrucken, the 1st and 2nd Divisions were attacking gun emplacements in the Metz area. The 388th furnished two Groups which were lead and high in the 45th A Combat Wing, which led the 3rd Divisons Task Force C.

26 a/c including 3 PFF a/c were airborne between 0551 and 0621 hours. Two a/c of the lead Group aborted with one landing at Matching Green (#242). Assembly of the formations was effected and the briefed route to the target was followed. The primary target which was to be attacked only visually, was covered with 10/10 clouds. The secondary target, the marshalling yards at Saarbrucken, was attacked in Group formation using PFF equipment. The deputy lead took over on the bomb run when the lead PFF equipment was not operating properly. Bombs were away at 1000 hours from 23,000 feet. Strike photos show that the main bomb pattern was in the center of the city.

Flak over the target was moderate accurate tracking flak. One of the two planes lost was due to this flak. No enemy fighters were seen.

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 - Close support of Allied troops advancing in the Metz area was the assignment on November 9th. The 613th flew 9 crews in the 94th "A" Group put up by the 401st B.G. Because of 7/10ths clouds over the primary, bombing was done by means of Gee-H. Precautionary measures to insure dropping of bombs clear of the front line troops included safety line markers utilizing friendly flak bursts and localizer beams. Strike photos indicated our bombs fell approximately 2 miles E of the assigned MPI in the vicinity of Villers Laquenexy. Flak was practically nil and no fighters were encountered. Crews participating were: 43-37706 Annis, 42-97931 Campbell, 43-38160 Keck, 42-31591 Hopley, 44-6113 Douglas, 42-38267 Scheller, 42-31076 Budd, 43-38646 Cox, 43-38187 Carson.source: 613th Bombardment Squadron History
401BG / 614BS Mission Report - The Squadron furnished ten aircraft to form the High Squadron of the 94th "A" CBW to attack forts holding up the 3rd Army. A fine commendation for the job was received from the C.G. of the Ground Forces. The take-off was before daylight. The bombing was done by the new Gee-H method. The "friendly flak" thrown up by the American lines was plainly visible and a successful mission resulted despite the 7/10's to 10/10th's clouds and many other handicaps. There was no damage to any of the Squadron aircraft. The 614th crews flying the mission were: 43-38607 Utter, 44-8033 Mercer, 42-97478 Ochsenhirt, 42-38565 Babcock, 42-107151 Morton, 44-6508 Sisson, 42-97602 Spuhler, 44-6464 Wittman, 43-38677 Moran, 42-97395 St. Aubyn.source: 614th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 615BS Mission Report - The 1st and 2nd Bomb Divisions of the 8th A.F. went after the front line strong points and tactical targets in the Metz area in support of the ground troops. The briefing was for 39 crews at 0300 hrs with the weather ship, SC-T, getting away at 0509 hrs. The cross wind of 20 to 25 mph caused some problems put eventually all aircraft became airborne, some crews having to change to ground spares. The 401st were carrying 1,000 lb armor piercing bombs to attack some German pill-boxes that were holding up General Paton's new drive just south of Metz, France. The Group put up the 94th "A" Group and were led by specialized Gee-H equipped aircraft in case clouds obscured the target. And the clouds were there. A run was made by Gee-H but the bombs fell some 2t miles away from the assigned MFI. Not one of the Group's better results.

The mission was of the type called a "milk run". No enemy fighters and very little,inaccurate flak near the target so there was no battle damage to record. The Gee-H aircraft was supplied by the 303rd B.G. and the Group Lead was shared by Capt. D.A. Currie and Capt. B.F. Carns. The other two Squadron leaders were 1st Lt. B.C. Konze and 1st Lt. J.L. Cromer. The 615th loading list is missing from the microfilm.

source: 615th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 612BS Mission Report - A day of rest was in order for the German oil industry on November 9th when the Group flew its first Tactical Support Mission for the Ground Forces since September 17th when it had supported the Paratroop landings at Groesbeck, Holland. This assignment was with 1,000 pound armor piercing bombs against some German pill-boxes that confronted General Patton's new offensive just south of Metz in France. The conventional three Squadrons of 12 aircraft each were dispatched to accomplish the task, flying as the 94th CBW "A" Group. Specialized Gee-H equipped aircraft led the formation to enable good bombing in case clouds obscured the target. The clouds were there and the run was made on Gee=H but not with good results for the bombs landed two and one-half miles away from the assigned target. We hope they did some good anyway. The mission proved to be a "Milk-run" of "Milk-runs" according to the commentating crews that participated. Meagre and very inaccurate Flak was the only form of opposition which was met near the target and all aircrafts returned safely. Captain Currie flew as Air Commander for the Group with Lt. Carns, which were flying their last mission. With them was a Mickey operator from the 303rd Bomb Group at Molesworth who specialized in the Gee-H bombing technique. LL Cromer was flying as Deputy Lead of the High Squadron and had to take over the lead when the Leader aborted. He turned in a commendable performance for an unexpected and also initial lead. Eight other 612th crews completed the mission, flying in the Lead Squadron with the exception of Lt. Maxwell who flew with another Group. Crews: 43-38541 Cox, 42-39993 Comer, 42-102393 Jones, 43-38637 Long, 43-38733 Maxwell, 166 Carns, 44-6506 Bloetscher, 43-37628 Boddin, 42-32012 Cromer, 42-107039 Ritting.source: 612th Bombardment Squadron History
401BG / 612BS Mission Report - A day of rest was in order for the German oil industry on November 9th when the Group flew its first Tactical Support Mission for the Ground Forces since September 17th when it had supported the Paratroop landings at Groesbeck, Holland. This assignment was with 1,000 pound armor piercing bombs against some German pill-boxes that confronted General Patton's new offensive just south of Metz in France. The conventional three Squadrons of 12 aircraft each were dispatched to accomplish the task, flying as the 94th CBW "A" Group. Specialized Gee-H equipped aircraft led the formation to enable good bombing in case clouds obscured the target. The clouds were there and the run was made on Gee=H but not with good results for the bombs landed two and one-half miles away from the assigned target. We hope they did some good anyway. The mission proved to be a "Milk-run" of "Milk-runs" according to the commentating crews that participated. Meagre and very inaccurate Flak was the only form of opposition which was met near the target and all aircrafts returned safely. Captain Currie flew as Air Commander for the Group with Lt. Carns, which were flying their last mission. With them was a Mickey operator from the 303rd Bomb Group at Molesworth who specialized in the Gee-H bombing technique. LL Cromer was flying as Deputy Lead of the High Squadron and had to take over the lead when the Leader aborted. He turned in a commendable performance for an unexpected and also initial lead. Eight other 612th crews completed the mission, flying in the Lead Squadron with the exception of Lt. Maxwell who flew with another Group. Crews: 43-38541 Cox, 42-39993 Comer, 42-102393 Jones, 43-38637 Long, 43-38733 Maxwell, 166 Carns, 44-6506 Bloetscher, 43-37628 Boddin, 42-32012 Cromer, 42-107039 Ritting.source: 612th Bombardment Squadron History
44BG Mission Report - A mission for support of ground forces at Metz was accomplished today. Eight aircraft of the 67th, along with 26 from the other Squadrons, departed this base at 0630 hours, all attacking the target on Gee-H with unobserved results. In addition, 66th's Lt. Willis led the 491st in #594 P+. Bombing load was 4 x 2000 lb GPs. Little flak and no enemy aircraft was encountered. Capt. Orthman flew Group deputy lead. Lt. Kleiderer flew his second mission and his tail gunner, S/Sgt. W.S. Chaffin adds: "Our target was the gun positions at Metz in France. These guns were holding up progress of Gen. Patton's Army, so we were to knock them out. What flak we saw was "scarecrow" flak. This leaves a long white smoke trail from the ground to where it explodes in a white cloud." 1st Lt. H.C. Henry (66th) participated, flying in K+. Lt. Al Jones adds: "We put a picture on one of the bombs. The boy was killed in France and his brother sent it to 'Pete' (Henry) to be delivered to Hitler in person. We reached the target at 0952 and 276 dropped with Gee-H as a group due to 8/10th cloud cover. We were bombing just ahead of General Patton's 3rd Army troops. They put up a friendly line of flak at 17,000 feet at their foremost position. We also had C-52 equipment to tell when we were past our own lines. These all worked very well and no bombs were dropped on our own troops. The target was well hit. We encountered some enemy rockets - about 50 in the area, but that was it. On the return we hit the ground 20 seconds behind our left wingman when it started raining and snowing. We flew a crew of 11 and finished up one man." Lt. Hurst's crew also participated and Lt. Appelin adds: "Bombed by instruments, 4000 yards ahead of our troops. Later, after turning for home, we could see out results. Right in the fortified area. One pilot had a brother in the Infantry who went in after the bombing. He said there was nothing but big slabs of concrete and the dead or stunned Jerries. No trouble at all taking the position."source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
445BG Mission Report - Target: Metz, France - Transportation Targets. A/C Took Off: 31. A/C Bombed Target: 30. A/C Lost: 0source: 445th Bomb Group http://445bg.org
446th Bomb Group Mission Report
Metz

General Pattons ground forces were being held up by German fortresses in the Metz area, and the 446th came to the rescue. Excellent results were reported as buildings, ammunition and oil dumps were seen being hit. Pattons forces were able to advance into the Saar area after the raid.

source: 446th Bomb Group www.446bg.com
457th Bomb Group Mission Linksource: 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 - On the 9th, a change in bombing tactics took place by bombing a tactical target in the Metz area in support of the ground troops. Results were unobserved. This was also our first bombing by 'GH' methods. All returned safely and there were no aborts. source: 323rd Bomb Squadron / 91BG Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/
91st BG / 324th BS Mission Report - Target: Fort 4 miles S.E. of Metz ( 155 mm guns ). Designates that A/C landed in France - Made three runs on target - Did not bomb - Shortage of gas. This squadron furnished the low squadron of the group for this mission. This mission was done at the request of Lt.Gen. Patton in coordination with his drive on Metz. The briefed method was bombing on Gee H and our target was a fort 4 miles SE of Metz. Bombs were not dropped.source: 91st BG / 324th BS Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/

Non-Combat Accident Reports

Aircraft: B-17G (#42-107034).
Organization: 749BS / 457BG of Glatton, Huntingdonshire.
Pilot: Burgess, Oliver G Jr.
Notes: landing accident due to engine failure.
Location: Glatton, Huntingdonshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#43-37666).
Organization: 427BS / 303BG of Molesworth, Huntingdonshire.
Pilot: Davis, Robert W.
Notes: killed in mid air collision.
Location: Harrington Bunch/15min E England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#43-38057).
Organization: 427BS / 303BG of Molesworth, Huntingdonshire.
Pilot: Pursel, Stanley E.
Notes: killed in mid air collision.
Location: Harrington Bunch/15min E England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#44-8227).
Organization: 422BS / 305BG of Chelveston, Northamptonshire.
Pilot: Reynolds, Gardiner B Jr.
Notes: crashed on take off.
Location: Chelveston, Northamptonshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-24H (#41-29131).
Organization: 576BS / 392BG of Wendling, Norfolk.
Pilot: Marello, John K.
Notes: ground accident.
Location: Wendling, Norfolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 2
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-24J (#42-50739).
Organization: 567BS / 389BG of Hethel, Norfolk.
Pilot: McNary, Lawrence B.
Notes: ground looped.
Location: Hethel, Norfolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-47D (#42-25505).
Organization: 361FS / 356FG of Martlesham Heath, Suffolk.
Pilot: Carwile, Jacob T.
Notes: taxiing accident.
Location: RAF Manston #9 England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-47D (#42-26455).
Organization: 84FS / 78FG of Duxford, Cambridgeshire.
Pilot: Kelly, William G.
Notes: killed in a crash.
Location: RAF Downham Market/ nr England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51B15 (#42-106875).
Organization: 375FS / 361FG of Little Walden, Essex.
Pilot: Street, William H.
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/
Aircraft: P-51D10 (#44-14073).
Organization: 383FS / 364FG of Honington, Suffolk.
Pilot: Woodside, Jackie D.
Notes: taxiing accident.
Location: Honington, Suffolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D15 (#44-14922).
Organization: 376FS* / 361FG of Little Walden, Essex.
Pilot: Durbin, Richard M.
Notes: killed in landing accident.
Location: Little Walden, Essex England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D5 (#44-13527).
Organization: 503FS / 339FG of Fowlmere, Cambridgeshire.
Pilot: Francis, Luther B.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Fowlmere, Cambridgeshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D5 (#44-13704).
Organization: 374FS / 361FG of Little Walden, Essex.
Pilot: Mayeux, Collins J.
Notes: crash belly landing on take off.
Location: Little Walden, Essex England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: UC-78 (#43-7481).
Organization: 84SrS / 78FG of Duxford, Cambridgeshire.
Pilot: Hewitt, Richard A.
Notes: crash belly landing due to mechanical failure.
Location: Duxford, Cambridgeshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 1
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/

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

Mission "8th AF 707"
Tactical targets in Metz and Thionville areas
November 09, 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
130911843751.20-0-00-0-04-8-11427-6-2791BG aircraft crash-lands France
452BG aircraft crashes sea
467BG aircraft crash-lands Woodbridge
2x 303BG aircraft collide assembly
388BG aircraft dropped 1000 lb bomb on Suffolk
388BG aircraft crashes Luxembourg
390BG aircraft crash-lands continent
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Mission Targets

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THIONVILLE, FRANCE
Tactical
47 A/C
SAARBRUCKEN, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yard276 A/Cphotos (1)
SAARBRUCKEN, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yard41 A/Cphotos (1)
SAARLAUTERN, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yards34 A/C
METZ, FRANCE
Tactical
730 A/C
SAARBRUCKEN, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yard15 A/Cphotos (1)
Aircraft Groups

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1ST BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
303BG
305BG
306BG
351BG
379BG
381BG
384BG
398BG
401BG
457BG
91BG
92BG
2ND BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
44BG
93BG
389BG
392BG
445BG
446BG
448BG
453BG
458BG
466BG
467BG
489BG
491BG
3RD BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
94BG
100BG
34BG
385BG
388BG
390BG
447BG
452BG
486BG
487BG
490BG
95BG
96BG
OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)
Aircraft Losses

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1ST BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
2ND BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
3RD BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
388BG (1 a/c)
452BG (2 a/c)
487BG (1 a/c)
OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)

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
73864520.20-0-00-0-05-3-00-1-4339 FG crash-lands Charleville, France
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Mission Targets

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Escort
476 A/C

Fighter-Bomber
139 A/C

Reconnaissance
scout30 A/C
Aircraft Groups

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1ST BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
20FG
352FG
356FG
359FG
364FG
2ND BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
4FG
56FG
355FG
361FG
479FG
3RD BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
55FG
78FG
339FG
353FG
357FG
OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)
Aircraft Losses

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1ST BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
20FG (2 a/c)
352FG (1 a/c)
2ND BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
355FG (1 a/c)
3RD BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
78FG (1 a/c)
OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)

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
57570.00-0-00-0-00-0-00-0-0
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Mission Targets

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GERMANY
Reconnaissance
photo4 A/C
CONTINENT / UK
Reconnaissance
weather3 A/C

Air Sea Rescue
18 A/C

Communications
radio-relay28 A/C
AZORES/ATLANTIC/UK
Reconnaissance
weather4 A/C
Aircraft Groups

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1ST BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
25BG
2ND BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
3RD BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)
7th Photographic Group (Recon)
Aircraft Losses

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