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Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description

Mission 731: 1,281 bombers and 972 fighters are dispatched to hit synthetic oil plants in SE Germany and rail targets; intense accurate flak downs 29 bombers and 3 fighters are lost:

1. 451 B-17s are sent to hit the Zeitz (132) and Bohlen (68) oil plants; 116 hit the secondary, the Leuna oil plant at Merseburg; targets of opportunity are Gotha (22), Gera (17), Rudolstadt (17), Fulda (12), Saalfeld (12), Ohrdruf (10), Meerane (6) and other (9); 11 B-17s are lost, 4 damaged beyond repair and 287 damaged; 8 airmen are KIA, 16 WIA and 100 MIA. Escorting are 357 of 384 P-51s; they claim 4-0-0 aircraft in the air; 2 P-51s are lost (pilots MIA).

2. 539 B-17s are sent to hit the Leuna oil plant at Merseburg (301) and the Lutzkendorf (169) oil plant; targets of opportunity are Zeitz oil plant (19), Weissenfels (9) and other (12); 17 B-17s are lost, 6 damaged beyond repair and 325 damaged; 17 airmen are KIA, 42 WIA and 295 MIA. Escorting are 452 P-47s and P-51s; 2 P-51s are damaged beyond repair.

3. 291 B-24s are sent to hit marshaling yards at Neunkirchen (180) and Homburg (104). Escorting are 56 of 60 P-47s; 1 P-47 is lost (pilot MIA).

4. 30 of 33 P-51s fly a scouting mission.

Mission 732: 7 B-17s and 6 B-24s drop leaflets in the Netherlands and Germany during the night.

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