Mission

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Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description

Mission 736: 1,191 bombers and 977 fighters are dispatched to make PFF attacks on rail targets in Germany; 3 bombers and 3 fighters are lost:

1. 419 B-17s are dispatched to hit marshaling yards at Kassel (212) and Soest (188); 2 others hit targets of opportunities; 4 B-17s are damaged beyond repair and 3 damaged. Escorting are 375 P-47s and P-51s; 1 P-51 is lost (pilot MIA).

2. 315 B-24s are sent to hit the Bebra marshaling yard (199); targets of opportunity are marshaling yards at Koblenz (78) and Giessen (21) and other (1); 1 B-24 is lost and 15 damaged; 10 airmen are MIA. Escorting are 290 P-47s and P-51s; they claim 6-0-11 aircraft on the ground.

3. 457 B-17s are sent to hit marshaling yards at Mainz (221) and Giessen (62); targets of opportunity are the Friedburg marshaling yard (119), Fulda (24), barges on the Rhine River (11) and other (6); 2 B-17s are lost, 1 damaged beyond repair and 106 damaged; 1 airman is WIA and 18 MIA. Escorting are 238 of 244 P-51s; 2 P-51s are lost (pilots MIA).

4. 36 of 37 P-51s fly a scouting mission. Mission 737: 10 of 11 B-17s and B-24s drop leaflets in the Netherlands, France 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,

Mission Reports

303BG Mission Report - Target: Railroad Marshalling Yard at Soest, Germany. Crews Dispatched: 39 (358BS - 4, 359th - 11, 360th - 13, 427th - 11). Length of Mission: 8 hours, 8 minutes. Bomb Load: 10 x 500 lb RDX & 2 x 500 lb M17 Incendiary bombs. Bombing Altitudes: 25,000, 24,400 & 26,450 ft. Ammo Fired: 1,540 rounds.

The 303rd BG(H) primary target was at Soest, secondary at Kassel, and the last resort, a German airfield at Paderborn. One aircraft returned early due to engine trouble: #42-102569 Miss Lace, 427BS (Lt. Petersen).

Thirty-eight aircraft dropped 370 500-lb. RDX and 74 500-lb. M17 incendiaries and five units of T231 leaflets on the primary target. Results were unobserved due to the 9/10 swelling cumulus clouds with tops at 18,000 to 20,000 feet in the target area. Visual bombing was impossible.

There was no enemy fighter opposition and friendly fighter Groups provided good support with 375 Mustangs and Thunderbolts. The bombers encountered meager and inaccurate flak at the target.

Sixteen aircraft landed at Bases on the Continent to refuel. The formations were delayed in the air for an hour, resulting in unexpectedly high gas consumption. Fourteen B-17s replenished their gasoline at Laon, France and one at Brussels, Belgium then returned to Molesworth the next day. Lt Juns first landed at airfield B-58 at Brussels, found they had no spare gas, then moved to airfield A-70 at Laon, France.

Fortress #43-37590, Neva-The Silver Lady, 358BS piloted by 1Lt Harry D. Gobrecht, suffered flak damage and was low on gasoline. #43-37590 landed at a 9th Air Force P-38 airfield, 370th FG, strip No. A-78, at Florennes /Juzaine, Belgium.

More info on this mission at the 303BG website

source: 303rd Bomb Group web page http://www.303rdbg.com/
34th BG Mission Report - Mission #96 Fulda, Friedberg. Command Pilot: FANDEL. 37 planes dispatched. 35 planes dropped 94 tons on the primary target and 2 failed to bomb. 37 Credit Sorties. (Cleveland Romero #13. Heated suit shorted out and almost froze. Had to put legs in bombsight heater.) 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 235. Primary Target: Soest, Germany

44 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 38. Spare, Returned As Briefed - 1. Returned To Base - 1. Ground Spare, Unused - 4
43-38750 Freiman, Peter P - c/l in open field near Deenethorpe during assembly; all crew remained in plane and all are ok
43-38752 Farnsworth, Reuben J - completed mission; turned back at Belgian Coast on return; landed in Belgium or France

source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
388BG Mission Report - The 388th furnished 26 aircraft for the 45th Combat Wing on this mission and there were no abortions.

The entire Eighth Air Force concentrated on attacking marshalling yards in Western Germany. 1st Division Forces attacked Kassel and Soest and 2nd Division Forces attacked Berba. The 3rd Divsion attacked Mainz and Giessen. The 388th furnished the lead and high squadrons of the 45 B Group.

11 a/c plus 2 PFF a/c of the A Squadron (lead) were airborne between 0945 hours and 1007 hours. 12 a/c plus 1 PFF a/c of the B (high) squadron took off between 0947 and 1008. There were no abortions. Assemblies were effected without difficulty and the aircraft followed approximately the briefed course to and from the target.

The target, which was the marshalling yard at Mainz, was covered by 9/10 clouds. The crews were briefed to attack the target by groups. The A Squadron, with the 486th B which was flying low squadron in the 45th B Group, attacked the Mainz M/Y using PFF equipment. Bombs were away at 1303 hours from 24,500 feet while on a mag heading of 45 degrees. Results were not observed and strike attack photos cannot be plotted because of cloud coverage.

The B Squadron became detached from the group formation at the IP and attacked the Mainz M/Y visually through the breaks in the clouds. Bombs were away at 1305 hours from 25,000 feet while a mag heading of 130 degrees. Strike photos reveal very poor results. The pattern is approximately 11 miles over the MPI.

No e/a were sighted on this mission.

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 marshalling yards at Kassel with a capacity of 2,300 wagons every 24 hours was the target on December 4th. Capt. Coleman was the Squadron Leader in the 94th "A" Group furnished by the 401st B.G. Because of undercast bombing was done by means of PFF and no observations concerning results were possible. Flak was described as meager and inaccurate and no fighter opposition was encountered. All aircraft returned safely to base. those from the 613th participating in the mission were: 44:2607 Coleman, 44-6313 Bradley, 44-6132 Jennings, 43-38680 Douglas, 43-38160 Tausig, 43-37706 Annis, 42-97931 Campbell, 44-6113 Scheller, 43-38791 Carey, 42-31072 (Spare) Curran.source: 613th Bombardment Squadron History
401BG / 614BS Mission Report - This was an attack on the important marshalling yards at Kassel, a yard which was capable of handling 2,300 wagons every 24 hours. The Group furnished the usual 39 aircraft to form the 94th ""A" group with Captain C.A. Lewis as the Air Commander. The usual 10/10th's clouds blotted out the target and PFF was used with the result that no observations were possible. The crews described the flak over the target as meager and inaccurate with two other areas the formation flew over sending up the same type. Incredibly, only three aircraft of the 1st Division formation, numbering 419 aircraft, received battle damage of a minor type and 4 received type "E" damage. Early that morning a 384th ship from Grafton Underwood, the base a few miles away, had crashed shortly after take-off, coming down just short of one of the Deenethorpe runways. All the crew lost their lives in the incident. The 614th supplied ten crews for the mission and made up the Low Squad-ron with Lt. C.W. Utter as the Squadron Commander. The crews were: 42-97780 Brown, 44-6464 Utter, 43-38646 Thompson, 42-97602 Mays, 42-102659 Fondren, 43-38738 Spuhler, 42-39012 Seder, 42-97478 Babcock, 42-97395 White, 44-6508 Sisson.source: 614th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 615BS Mission Report - The Group were briefed at 0430 hrs for this mission. 39 crews and the weather ship crew took part. The weather ship was away by 0624 hrs and then the take-off was delayed for one hour for the operational B-17's. Not very long after the Deenethorpe aircraft were airborne a Grafton Underwood B-17, "Clinker D", gave out a "Mayday" call and tried to come in on the long runway. The pilot then radioed that he was not going to make it and bellied in about 1,000 yards N.E. of the field. Amazingly, with a full load of gasoline and bombs, they got away without any injury to the crew. The aircraft Serial No. was 43-38750. During this phase of activity on the western front, the 8th A.F. was assigned the task of destroying communications and transportation centers and choke points. The target for December 4th was a bottleneck at Kassel marshalling yards. Because of undercast bombing was carried out by means of PFF. No observations were possible. The 401st furnished the 94th "A" Group, led by Captain C.A. Leis of the 615th, flying with Captain R.M. Dempsey, Lt. C.W. Utter and Captain E.W. Coleman being the other leaders. No enemy aircraft were encountered and only meagre, inaccurate flak observed along the route. Fighter support was good. The ten 615th crews on the mission were: 42-97636 Dempsey (PFF ship), 44-8258 Turk, 42-31730 Maloney, 43-38425 Stegemann, 42-107151 Hansen, 42-97664 Maire, 42-31485 McKay, 44-6146 Jordan, 43-38810 Grimm, 42-102468 Jones.source: 615th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 612BS Mission Report - Operations for December got under way on the 4th when the Group dispatched three Squadrons of 12 aircraft each, flying as the 94th CBW "A" Group to attack the important enemy marshalling yards at Kassel, Germany. PFF bombing again started the month's activities as 10/10's clouds in the target area made it impossible to bomb visually. No observations concerning results were available. Meager and inaccurate was the Flak story at the target and two other spots put up the same kind to complete the enemy opposition for the day. No battle damage and no personnel casualties were the result of the poor enemy showing, and all aircraft returned to base safely. This was another stand-down for a lead from the 612th Squadron but nine of the 612th crews completed the mission. They flew in flights of three each in each Squadron with Lt.s Roadman, Cox and Comer each leading a Flight. Crews: 42-106992 Roadman, 42-31662 Cox, 42-107039 Cromer, 42-102398 French, 43-38733 Boddin, 43-38637 Aschenbach, 43-37790 Schilemann, 43-37628 Hudnall, 43-38788 Bloetscher.source: 612th Bombardment Squadron History
44BG Mission Report - A mission was briefed to Soest M/Y and the 44th dispatched 24 A/C (5 were 67th) and three Group ships flew with other formations such as Capt. McDonnell leading the 392nd. They bombed Bebra. 67th's Lt. Brownlowe led the 44th, with Lt. H.C. Henry (66th) leading the 2nd squadron. The leading Group of the Wing was forced to make a right turn on the bomb run due to a collision course with the preceeding Combat Wing. They, the 44th, were unable to pick up a tracking pulse and bombed on the smoke markers of the preceeding Wing. The 392nd, led by our McDonnell, bombed the Primary on Gee-H. The 44th was able to get onto the G-H homing trace but were forced to avoid another collision course. The lead aircraft elected to turn left and the PFF Deputy Lead took over to bomb a Target of Opportunity (also disputed) of Wetzlar (Per the 44th Hq.) and Kolschhausen by H2X (per 66th). Results were unobserved for all aircraft, and there were no aircraft that did not attack. Enemy resistance was nil; fighter support was excellent. But one aircraft was lost to unknown causes. 66th's A/C #42-95124 P+ "Sand Bomb Special" piloted by 2nd Lt. W. Rogers, Between the I.P. and the target this A/C fell out of formation and went down apparently under control. Another crew reported seeing a B-24 with two engines feathered but could not identify. 7 men POW, 2 KIA. The 67th's Lt. Struthers ship 11 had the prop governor's go out and landed at Woodbridge. Capt. Benedom flew down to get the crew and his ship had hydraulic trouble and it was midnight before the crews returned. They ate fish and chips at the English base. Lt. Hurst's crew report that they dropped 12 x 500 lb GPs on a clover leaf on super highway intersection at Kolsch-Hausen, results good. Lt. Al Jones, bombardier on Lt. H.C. Henry's K+ 279 reported they dropped on an unknown section of Germany. Lt. Jones also adds: "Took off at 0845 hours to fly second squadron lead. Fighter support from a group of P-51s bomb load 10 x 500 lb GPs and 2 x 500 incendiaries. Q+, Scottie Mac, lost an engine just before the target. We are to drop as a group. My R.B.R. was jammed. The leader made two runs, Gee-H on the yards, but didn't drop either time. PFF finally took over and dropped on an unknown section. P+ lost two engines (329?) and landed in France. Q+ landed in Brussels. Returned to Shipdham at 1700 hours. 2nd Lts. Brown and Kazmirzak promoted to 1st Lt. The following combat promotions were effective as of the 1st: S/Sgts. to T/Sgt: Andreiotta and Coughenour; Sgts. to S/Sgts: Hopper, Warpack, Wirth, Moore, Small, Hasson, Van Dercreek, Lewis, Hastings, Root, Brenn, Williams and Thompson; Cpls. to Sgt; Arthurton, Davis, Feeney, Hulbert, Lynch, Ogilvie, Roach, Snell, Battenberg, Doyle, Germolus, Johnson, McQuade, Panico, Rosen and Vanneste.source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
445BG Mission Report - Target: Bebra, Germany - Railroad Marshalling Yard. 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
Koblenz

20 planes attacked the marshalling yards with unobserved results.

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 - Kassel, Germany was the target for today, bombing the marshalling yards on PFF. However, the low squadron bombed visually with good results after making a 360 over the target. Twelve ships and crews from this organization took part. All returned safely except for Capt. Boggs and crew, which, due to mechanical failures of nos. 1 and 3 engines shortly after leaving the target, and due to losing altitude and ground speed, they were forced to land in or near Brussels. They took off and flew back to base the following afternoon. source: 323rd Bomb Squadron / 91BG Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/
91st BG / 324th BS Mission Report - Target: Briefed - R/R marshaling yards at Soest. Attacked - M/Y at Kassel. We flew in the low squadron and bombed the secondary target at Kassel, Germany. Bombing was done by mickey methods and was unobserved. The low squadron took over the lead at I.P, and relinquished the same after the target. A good run was reported and operator believes there were good results. No pictures were available.source: 91st BG / 324th BS Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/

Non-Combat Accident Reports

Aircraft: A-35B (#41-31369).
Organization: 1GTF / of Little Walden, Essex.
Pilot: Tatosian, Krekor (NMI).
Notes: mid air collision due to engine failure.
Location: Little Waldon/3mi SE England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#42-97645).
Organization: 814BS / 482BG of Alconbury, Cambridgeshire.
Pilot: Opsata, Andrew W.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Alconbury, Cambridgeshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#43-37826).
Organization: 748BS / 457BG of Glatton, Huntingdonshire.
Pilot: Staubach, Gibert E.
Notes: ground accident due to friendly fire.
Location: Glatton, Huntingdonshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 2
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#43-38750).
Organization: 544BS / 384BG of Grafton Underwood, Northamptonshire.
Pilot: Freiman, Peter P.
Notes: crash landing.
Location: Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-24J (#42-96273).
Organization: 790BS / 467BG of .
Pilot: Dickerson, Madison E.
Notes: ground accident.
Location: Rackheath (Sta 145) England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-24J (#44-40465).
Organization: 790BS / 467BG of Rackheath, Norfolk.
Pilot: [parked aircraft].
Notes: ground accident.
Location: Rackheath (Sta 145) England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51B (#42-106659W).
Organization: 384FS / 364FG of Honington, Suffolk.
Pilot: Reidenbach, Gerald C.
Notes: killed mid air explosion.
Location: Bury St Edmunds/3mi S England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51B7 (#43-6987W).
Organization: 362FS / 357FG of Leiston, Suffolk.
Pilot: Williams, Harry J.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Leiston, Suffolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D (#44-13667).
Organization: 79FS / 20FG of Kings Cliffe, Northamptonshire.
Pilot: Taylor, Wesley H.
Notes: taxiing accident.
Location: Kings Cliffe, Northamptonshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D (#44-14189).
Organization: / 1SF of Honington, Suffolk.
Pilot: Schofield, William E.
Notes: crashed belly landing.
Location: Honington, Suffolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D10 (#44-14152).
Organization: 362FS / 357FG of Leiston, Suffolk.
Pilot: Gruber, William W.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Leiston, Suffolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D5 (#44-13334).
Organization: 362FS / 357FG of Leiston, Suffolk.
Pilot: Murphy, Alva C.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Leiston, Suffolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/

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

Mission "8th AF 736"
Rail targets in Germany
December 04, 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
119111443276.20-0-00-0-03-5-1240-1-2891BG aircraft forced to land continent
398BG aircraft forced to land Belgium
384BG aircraft crash-lands take-off
4152BG aircraft crash-lands continent
457BG aircraft crash-lands continent
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Mission Targets

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SOESTE, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yard188 A/C
BEBRA, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yard199 A/C
LANDAU, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yard78 A/C
GIESSEN, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yard21 A/Cphotos (1)
GIESSEN, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yard62 A/Cphotos (1)
MAINZ, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yard221 A/C
FRIEDBERG, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yard119 A/Cphotos (2)
FULDA, GERMANY
Target of Opportunity
24 A/C
Aircraft Groups

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1ST BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
303BG
305BG
351BG
379BG
381BG
384BG
398BG
401BG
457BG
91BG
92BG
2ND BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
44BG
93BG
389BG
392BG
445BG
446BG
448BG
453BG
458BG
466BG
467BG
491BG
3RD BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
94BG
100BG
34BG
385BG
388BG
390BG
452BG
486BG
487BG
490BG
493BG
95BG
96BG
OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)
7th Photographic Group (Recon)
Aircraft Losses

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1ST BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
2ND BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
44BG (1 a/c)
3RD BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
390BG (1 a/c)
452BG (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
9779390.00-0-06-0-113-1-00-0-372x P-38 of 9AF participated
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Mission Targets

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Escort
903 A/C

Reconnaissance
scout36 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 (1 a/c)
2ND BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
3RD BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
339FG (1 a/c)
353FG (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
70700.00-0-00-0-00-0-00-0-0
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Mission Targets

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CONTINENT
Reconnaissance
weather4 A/C

Communications
radio countermeasures8 A/C

Air Sea Rescue
16 A/C

Screen
14 A/C

Communications
radio-relay22 A/C
COLOGNE / KOBLENZ GERMANY
Reconnaissance
photo2 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)
36th Bomber Squadron
Aircraft Losses

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