Mission

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Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description

Mission 746: The largest number of bombers so far dispatched, 1,586, and 841 fighters are sent to hit rail targets and bridges in W Germany using PFF means; 5 bombers and 2 fighters are lost:

1. 319 of 334 B-17s hit the marshaling yard at Frankfurt; 2 others hit targets of opportunity; 2 B-17s are damaged beyond repair and 9 damaged. Escorting are 167 of 181 P-51s without loss.

2. 297 of 353 B-24s hit the marshaling yard at Hanau; 5 hit the secondary, Karlsruhe, and 2 hit targets of opportunity; 4 B-24s are lost and 7 damaged; 36 airmen are MIA. Escorting are 143 of 159 P-51s; 1 P-51 is lost (pilot MIA) and 1 damaged beyond repair.

3. 353 of 540 B-17s hit the marshaling yard at Giessen; 135 hit the secondary, the marshaling yard at Koblenz; targets of opportunity are Euskirchen (12) and other (11); 1 B-17 is damaged beyond repair and 9 damaged; 2 airmen are WIA. Escort is provided by 349 P-47s and P-51s; they claim 0-0-1 aircraft on the ground; 1 P-51 is lost (pilot MIA) and 1 damaged beyond repair.

4. 171 of 182 B-17s hit bridges at Mannheim; 1 B-17 is lost and 18 damaged; 9 airmen are MIA. Escorting are 54 of 59 P-51s without loss.

5. 154 of 177 B-24s hit a bridge at Maximiliansau; 6 other hit the secondary, the marshaling yard at Hanau; 8 B-24s are damaged; 2 airmen are MIA. Escorting are 34 of 37 P-47s without loss.

6. 30 of 30 P-51s fly a scouting mission.

Mission 747: 3 B-17s and 8 B-24s drop leaflets in France, the Netherlands and Germany; 1 B-24 is lost.

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 Bridge at Mannheim, Germany. Crews Dispatched: 52 (358BS - 13, 359th - 13, 360th - 13, 427th - 13). Length of Mission: 8 hours, 10 minutes. Bomb Load: 2 x 1,000 H.E. M44 & 2 x 2,000 lb H.E. M34 bombs. Bombing Altitudes: 21,600, 21,700, 22,400 & 23,000 ft. Ammo Fired: 1,200 rounds.

On this mission the 303rd BG(H) dispatched the second largest number of B-17s during WWII. Ground crews labored long hours to prepare 52 aircraft. Four aircraft returned early.

The mission was uneventful. No enemy fighters were spotted and friendly fighter support by 167 1st BD P-51s was good. Anti-aircraft fire at the target was accurate, but moderate, and chaff was quite effective. There were no casualties and two aircraft had some minor damage.

Group bombers dropped 84 1,000-lb. H.E. M44 and 90 2,000-lb. H.E. M34 bombs on the primary target from 21,600, 21,700 and 23,000 feet. Weather at the target was 8/10 to 10/10 high clouds with bases at 23,000 to 24,000 feet, 7/10 to 9/10 middle clouds with tops at 19,200 feet, and dense, persistent contrails at 22,000 feet and up. Results from the GEE-H bombing were unobserved.

More info on this mission at the 303BG website

source: 303rd Bomb Group web page http://www.303rdbg.com/
366BS / 306BG Mission Report - 12 A/C of Sq flew as Lead Squadron in 40 'B' Group. (2 PFF A/C were borrowed from the 422nd and 364th Sq's). Lt. Anthony piloted lead A/C, and Lt. Facchinei flew deputy lead. Bombing was done by PFF methods with unobserved results. No strike photos were obtained due to 10/10 undercast. No E/A were encountered. Meagre inaccurate and scattered flak encountered at target. Frankfurt M/Y. Today's operation of 8th A.F. set an all time record with 1600 A/C ' Libs & Forts. Gp put up 48 A/C. None of our A/C is missing. 54 Officers and 73 Enlisted Men participated in mission. 2nd Lt. G.H. French returned from DS ' 15th A.F. source: Army Air Forces Online Forum http://forum.armyairforces.com/
306BG Mission Reportsource: 306th Bombardment Group website www.306bg.org/
34th BG Mission Report - Mission #99 Giesen. Command Pilot: TAVASTI. 40 planes dispatched. 39 planes dropped 78 tons on the primary target and 1 plane dropped 2 tons on a target of opportunity. 40 Credit Sorties. source: 34th Bomb Group Mission List compiled by Gary L. Ferrell http://valortovictory.tripod.com
351BG Mission Report - 47 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 238. Primary Target: Mannheim, Germany

51 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 45. Aborted - 1. Scrubbed - 1. Ground Spare, Unused - 4
42-97150 Jackson, Oakley Homer - Turned back at 1104 hrs due to #4 engine failure

source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
388BG Mission Report - For the second day in a row the 8th Air Force concentrated on transportation targets suppling the Western Front. 1st Air Division targets were Mannheim and Frankfurt while the 2nd Division went to Hanau. The 3rd Air Division attacked the marshalling yards at Giessen. The 388th furnished three Groups comprising the 45th C Combat Wing.

35 a/c plus 3 PFF a/c were airborne between 0747 and 0819 hours. Formations were effected and the briefed route to the target was flown. The target was attacked in Group formation using Micro-H technique at 1158 hours from 26,700 feet. Two of our a/c failed to drop their bombs due to mechanical problems.

Flak in the Rhine River area and at the target was meager and inaccurate. No a/c suffered battle damage.

All a/c returned to base by 1548 hours.

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 Frankfurt were bombed by PFF on December 11th and no strike photos or observations were obtained. The crews from the 613th flew in the Low Squadron and were led by Lt. Keeling and all returned to base without incident. Those flying were: 44-2607 Keeling, 44-6132 Jennings, 44-6313 Bradley, 44-6588 Carson, 42-31072 Curran, 43-38791 Kelso, 42-31591 Douglas, 42-102947 Steele, 43-37706 Cox, 43-38862 Hopley. source: 613th Bombardment Squadron History
401BG / 614BS Mission Report - This was the day when the biggest force of bombers up to this date were dispatched by the 8th Air Force on the one operation, the 1,467 bombers dropping almost 4,000 tons of bombs on rail targets and bridges. A combination of PFF, Micro H and H2X was used. The 401st put up 36 aircraft plus three PFF aircraft to form the 94th CBW "B" group with Major A.H. Chapman as Air Commander. There was very little flak and no fighters - the 841 8th Air Force fighters only claiming 1 German fighter damaged on the ground - and only 5 aircraft were reported MIA and 51 with battle damage. The aircraft of Lt. J.J. Brown Jr., 44-8258 was one of these B-17s that suffered battle damage and was landed on the continent and the crew returned by transport aircraft. Crews: 44-8258 Brown, 44-8033 Hubbell, 42-97322 St. Aubyn, 42-38330 Crozier, 43-38677 Moran, 42-97478 Fondren, 44-6464 Wittman, 42-102659 Thompson, 43-38646 King, 42-107151 Morton.source: 614th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 615BS Mission Report - This was the day that the largest force of bombers so far dispatched on one operation by the 8th Air Force attacked Germany. 1,586 four-engined bombers and 841 fighters set out to attack bridges and rail targets over western Germany, dropping almost 4,000 tons of bombs for the loss of 5 bombers and 2 fighters. The 401st helped to drop almost 1,000 tons of bombs on the Frankfurt marshalling yards by H2X, to give Mickey its correct name. The Group held a briefing for 39 crews at 0445 hrs and by 0827 hrs all aircraft were airborne. IW-G landed a few minutes later with mechanical trouble and the crew changed over to IY-A (a ground spare) and set off at 0905 hrs to catch up with the 401st formation. The 401st put up the 94th "B" Group, led by Captain A.H. Chapman with 1st Lt. R.S. Hubbell as deputy leader. The other two Squadron leaders were Lt. R.M. Fowler and Lt. M.J. Christensen. Bombing was done by the PFF method as 10/10th's cloud still precluded visual bombing. Results were unobserved. There was a total lack of any opposition so there was no battle damage and no casualties. But mechanical problems almost caused the loss of the mission leader, Captain A.H. Chapman. Over the target his aircraft had lost two engines and he radioed c he would try to make the airfield near Brussels known then as B-60. Word came through at 1700 hrs that they had made it and all the crew were OK. 43-38810 McKay, 43-38758 Hansen, 42-97664 Maire, 43-38125 Maloney, 43-37551 Jordan, 42-38425 Djernes, 42-31730 Sombart, 42-97931 Grimm.source: 615th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 612BS Mission Report - Bum weather set in and the Group remained on the ground for several days before returning to operations on December 11th. On this day the Air Force put up a record number of aircraft to attack German transportation facilities located back of the front lines but vital for German supply channels. Our particular target was a large marshalling yard at Frankfurt. Flying as the 94th CBW "B" Group the 401st dispatched 36 aircraft to help do the job. Bombing was again done in Group formation on the PFF method as 10/10's cloud continued to eliminate the possibilities of visual work. No strikes were available through the clouds so results were unobserved and could not be evaluated. As to the Question of what the enemy opposition amounted to the answer is a great big "NONE". That's something the boys are always proud of and also very seldom experienced these days. Lt. Christensen, with Lt. King as Navigator and Lt. McClendon as Bombardier led the High Squadron on this effort. Lt. Cromer, flew as Deputy Squadron Leader along with the seven other 612th crews flying in the same Squadron. Lt. Aiken was Low Section Leader and Lt. Ritting flew his 35th and last mission for the present combat tour. Crews: 44-6947 Christensen, 43-37628 Aiken, 42-31662 Cox, 43-38733 Cromer, 42-38788 Bloetscher, 43-38637 Long, 42-106992 Ritting, 42-102393 Jones, 42-39993 Thorne.source: 612th Bombardment Squadron History
44BG Mission Report - Today the 2nd Air Division was divided into two forces and The 44th dispatched 45 aircraft (11 were 67th) to represent the 14th Combat Wing in the force which bombed the railroad bridge at Karlsruhe. 67th's Lt. Brownlowe led the 67th and 506th's C.O. Major Middleton flew as Command Pilot. Two A/C aborted - 67th's Lt. Reynolds was forced to turn back due to a gas leak in #2 tank; and 506th's 1st Lt. Hal C. Tyree. So 43 A/C attacked on Gee-H with unobserved results. Flak was meager and inaccurate; fighter support was good. Two aircraft landed on the continent because of mechanical failure, but returned later. Lt. Al Jones adds: "Our ship #823 C+, a PFF and Gee-H ship. We flew deputy lead of 2nd section and it is a max-max. Indorf flew as the PFF man. MPI is a large railroad bridge. Took off about 0705, target run was Gee-H. My bombs went R.B.R., everything OK. Very bad weather on return; landed at 1630 hours."' Sgt. Chaffin adds: We flew P, a new silver ship, and carried a bomb load of 3 x 2000 lb GPs. There was a very high overcast up to about 25,000 feet over the target so bombing results were not visible. We bombed from 23,000 feet, temperature -36 Cent. The opinion is that we hit the target." 506th's reports add: This date will forever be remembered by 1st Lt. Jack C. Thorne and crew members. On returning from the mission to Karlsruhe, Lt. Thorne's A/C was drawn into a cumulo-nimbus cloud at an altitude of 9,000 feet. Upon entering the cloud the aircraft went into a steep bank to the right, losing altitude. All the gyro instruments except the needle and ball tumbled. By bracing his feet against the rudder pedals and with the assistance of the co-pilot, Lt. Thorne was able to regain level flight - at an altitude of 500 feet!source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
445BG Mission Report - Target: Hanau, Germany - Railroad Marshalling Yard. A/C Took Off: 41. A/C Bombed Target: 37. A/C Lost: 2source: 445th Bomb Group http://445bg.org
446th Bomb Group Mission Report
Karlsruhe

34 planes attacked a rail bridge through heavy clouds with unobserved results. Black Magic (42-110093) was hit by flak and crashed, killing all 11 crewmen.

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 / 324th BS Mission Report - Target: Frankfurt Marshaling yards. We furnished the high squadron for this mission to Frankfurt and bombing was done on pathfinder methods. Due to a malfunction of the PFF equipment in the lead ship of the group, Major Klette and Capt. Westwood assumed lead of group for the purpose of bombing but relinquished the lead after target. Bomb plot of PFF photo show that hits were in Eastern part of town, hitting the M/Yds on that side of the target.source: 91st BG / 324th BS Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/

Non-Combat Accident Reports

Aircraft: A-20C (#43-21762).
Organization: 646BS / 410BG of Voisins, France.
Pilot: Schurman, Clarence (NMI).
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Voisins/A-58 France.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#42-97791).
Organization: 332BS / 94BG of Bury St. Edmonds, Suffolk.
Pilot: Weltz, Robert E.
Notes: mid air collision with bird.
Location: Bury St. Edmonds, Suffolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-24D (#41-24215).
Organization: 702BS / 445BG of .
Pilot: Millsap, Frederick M.
Notes: taxiing accident.
Location: Tibenham (Sta 124) England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage):
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-24H (#41-29522).
Organization: 406BS / 305BG of Cheddington, Buckinghamshire.
Pilot: Abernathy, Curtis A.
Notes: crash landing.
Location: Woodbridge/RAF 10 England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D10 (#44-14300).
Organization: / 2SF of Steeple Morden, Cambridgeshire.
Pilot: Whalen, William E.
Notes: crash landing engine failure.
Location: Debden/ 2mi E Sta 356 England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D15 (#44-15560).
Organization: 503FS / 339FG of Fowlmere, Cambridgeshire.
Pilot: Gokey, John W.
Notes: bailed out-engine failure.
Location: Frinton-on-Sea England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51K (#44-11632).
Organization: / BAD2 of Warton, Lancashire.
Pilot: Mead, Frederic M.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Sywell England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/

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

Mission "8th AF 746"
Rail targets and bridge in western Germany
December 11, 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
158614673947.80-0-00-0-05-3-510-2-4792BG aircraft crashes France
401BG aircraft forced to land continent
94BG aircraft abandoned over Belgium
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Mission Targets

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FRANKFURT, GERMANY
Ost Railroad
marshalling yard319 A/C
HANAU, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yard297 A/Cphotos (3)
GIESSEN, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yard353 A/Cphotos (1)
LANDAU, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yard135 A/C
EUSKIRCHEN, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yard12 A/Cphotos (3)
MANNHEIM, GERMANY
Transportation
bridge171 A/C
MAXIMILIANSAU, GERMANY
Transportation
bridge154 A/C
HANAU, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yard6 A/Cphotos (3)
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
491BG
3RD BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
94BG
100BG
34BG
385BG
388BG
390BG
447BG
452BG
486BG
487BG
490BG
493BG
95BG
96BG
OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)
Aircraft Losses

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1ST BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
381BG (1 a/c)
2ND BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
445BG (2 a/c)
491BG (2 a/c)
3RD BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
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
8417770.00-0-00-0-12-2-00-0-2339FG baled over Frinton
4FG abandoned over France
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Mission Targets

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Escort
747 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
2ND BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
4FG (1 a/c)
3RD BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
55FG (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
54540.00-0-00-0-00-0-00-0-0
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Mission Targets

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CONTINENT / UK
Reconnaissance
weather5 A/C
GERMANY
Reconnaissance
photo2 A/C

Air Sea Rescue
15 A/C

Night ops
4 A/C

Communications
radio countermeasures9 A/C

Communications
radio-relay15 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)