Mission

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Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description

Mission 791: 958 bombers and 469 fighters are dispatched to hit marshalling yards and Rhine rail bridges mostly by PFF methods; they claim 6-0-1 Luftwaffe aircraft; 8 bombers and 2 fighters are lost:

1. 367 B-17s are sent to hit the Mainz rail bridge (31), the Gustavsburg rail bridge at Mainz (95) and the Bischofsheim marshalling yard (119); 74 hit the secondary target, the Mainz marshalling yard; targets of opportunity are Euskirchen (13) and other (7); most attacks are made using Micro H but some formations bomb visually; 2 B-17s are lost, 1 damaged beyond repair and 126 damaged; 1 airman is KIA, 4 WIA and 19 MIA. Escorting are 79 of 80 P-51s; 3 are damaged beyond repair.

2. 276 B-24s are dispatched to hit rail bridges at Worms (86) and Rudesheim (89) and the Kaiserslautern marshalling yard (87); 1 hits a target of opportunity; most attacks are made using Gee-H but some formations bomb visually; 1 B-24 is lost, 1 damaged beyond repair and 39 damaged; 2 airmen are WIA and 10 MIA. The escort is 114 of 118 P-51s; 1 P-51 is lost and 1 damaged beyond repair.

3. 315 B-17s are sent to hit rail bridges at Germersheim (71, using Gee-H) and Maximiliansau (159) and rail and highway bridges at Mannheim (76) visually; 1 hits a target of opportunity; 5 B-17s are lost, 4 damaged beyond repair and 9 damaged; 3 airmen are KIA, 7 WIA and 42 MIA. Escorting are 77 of 82 P-51s; 2 are damaged beyond repair.

4. 102 P-47s and P-51s fly a freelance fighter sweep supporting the bombers; they claim 3-0-0 aircraft in the air and 3-0-1 on the ground; 1 P-51 is lost and 1 damaged beyond repair.

5. 45 of 45 P-51s fly a fighter-bomber mission against Mannheim, Trier, etc without loss.

6. 20 of 28 P-51s fly a scouting mission without loss.

7. 4 of 4 P-51s escort an F-5 on a photo reconnaissance mission over Germany.

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: 39 (358BS - 10, 359th - 9, 360th - 10, 427th - 10). Crews Lost: Lt. Eisenhart, 9 KIA; Lt. Rose, 9 POW; Lt. McGinnis, 3 KIA, 6 POW. Crewmembers Lost: 1Lt. E.H. Katz, KIA; Sgt. G.H. Craven, KIA. Length of Mission: 8 hours. Bomb Load: 6 x 1,000 lb H.E. M44 bombs. Bombing Altitudes: 24,350, 24,100 & 24,800 ft. Ammo Fired: 0 rounds.

Thirty-nine dispatched aircraft targeted a railroad bridge at Mannheim by visual, GH or PFF means. The mission proved to be one of the 303rd BG(H)'s costliest and roughest missions. Jigger Rooche II #43-38248, 427BS (Lt. Ayers), returned early due to mechanical problems and was diverted to Eye (490BG).

In the target area there were 5/10 low clouds with tops at 6,000 feet and moderate, persistent contrails above 19,000 feet. The target was attacked visually by the lead Squadron. The low Squadron bombed off the lead in Group formation. The high Squadron bombed PFF. Photos showed bomb hits close to the bridge, but due to smoke and clouds, it was impossible to tell if there were any direct hits on the bridge. The low Squadron bombs hit in a marshalling yard at the end of the bridge. The high Squadron results were unobserved. Ten leaflet units and 201 1,000-lb. H.E. M44 bombs were dropped from 24,350, 24,100 and 24,800 feet.

There was no enemy air opposition. Support by 77 P-51s was good. Moderate and accurate flak was encountered crossing the Rhine River just north of

Strasbourg on the route into the target. Moderate to intense and very accurate fire appeared at the target. Chaff had no effect and the good weather benefitted the German flak gunners. Fourteen Group aircraft sustained major battle damage and seven, minor damage.

Three 427BS aircraft were missing in action. #43- 38689 (No Name), 427BS, piloted by 2Lt. Oliver T. Eisenhart, received a direct flak hit in the tail that blew off the horizontal stabilizer and pulverized the whole tail. The aircraft started down in a steep dive, then broke up in the air. The aircraft crashed at Roxheim, Germany.

#44-6166 The Red, 427BS, piloted by 1Lt. Jack W. Rose, received a direct flak hit in the Nos. 3 and 4 engines which caught fire. After losing considerable altitude, the entire crew bailed out at 20,000 feet, after which the aircraft crashed at Pirmasens, Germany.

#42-107099 Old 99, 427BS, piloted by Capt. Martin S. McGinnis, was hit by flak just after bombs were released over the target. The Tail Gunner and Pilot were wounded. Another flak hit, setting the #4 engine on fire and Old 99 lagged behind the formation. The wounded Capt. McGinnis gave the bail out order and was assisted out of the B-17 by S/Sgt. Robert J. Lyons. The remainder of the crew bailed out with Co-pilot 2Lt. Frederick C. Doscher at the controls. The aircraft crashed in the Mannheim, Germany area.

All other 303rd BG(H) aircraft returned to England. Due to bad weather conditions at Molesworth, the aircraft were diverted to RAF Station Manston for landing. This mission proved to be very damaging to the 303rd BG(H).

More info on this mission at the 303BG website

source: 303rd Bomb Group web page http://www.303rdbg.com/
366BS / 306BG Mission Report - Squadron flew 12 A/C in Lead Sq of Group formation of 40 'B'. Capt. Anthony led formation which attacked the Maximiliansan RR Bridge nr Karlsruhe. Bombing was done visually. Photos show the bridge completely obscured by bursts in line with the approaches on each side. PRU after mission shows bridge intact but approaches on each side completely gutted. 45 Officers and 65 Enlisted Men participated in mission. All returned safely. 1st Lt. C.J. Facchinei transferred to 70th RCD upon completion of operational tour, as per par 1 SO 7 Hq 1st Air Div. S/Sgt. R. J. Roberts transferred to 70th RCD upon completion of operational tour, as per par 1 SO 9 Hq 1st Air Div. 2nd Lt's. W.C. Canoles and R.T. Nielsen promoted to grade of 1st Lt. S/Sgt. J.A. Malone on DS at AAF Station 102, per par 2 SO 7 Hq 1st Air Div. source: Army Air Forces Online Forum http://forum.armyairforces.com/
34th BG Mission Report - Mission #111 Bischofsheim. Command Pilot: FANDEL. 38 planes dispatched. 35 planes dropped 88 tons on the primary target and 3 planes failed to bomb. 35 Credit Sorties. Two crewmembers were listed as Wounded in Action. source: 34th Bomb Group Mission List compiled by Gary L. Ferrell http://valortovictory.tripod.com
388BG Mission Report - All heavy bombers of the 8th Air Force again answered the request of the ground forces by attacking Rhine River railroad targets from Mainz to Gemersheim. The targets for the 3rd Air Division were at a junction of the Main and Rhine Rivers.

The 388th furnished the lead and low Groups plus the lead element of the high Group. A/C from the 96th Bomb Group fill in the rest of the high Group.

33 a/c plus 3 PFF a/c took-off between 0815 and 0927 hours and no one aborted. Formations were effected and the briefed route to the target was followed. The primary target, which was the marshalling yards at Bischofsheim, was attacked visually by Groups at 1308 hours from 25,600 feet. On the bomb run, our low group bombardier was knocked from his sight by flak and the gyro was tumbled. Their bombs were slightly to the left of the target. The high Group bombs cut the railroad lines northwest of the marshalling yards. Flak over the target was accurate, being moderate to intense barrage type.

All a/c but two returned to base by 1630 hours. One a/c made an emergency landing at Eye and one landed in France.

The lead a/c took-off late and joined the formation at Ostend, falling in the deputy lead's position. The deputy leader retained the lead.

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 - An important bridge spanning the Rhine at Maximilianeau (near Munich) was bombed visually by the 94th "B" Group on January 13th. Strike photos showed direct hits by the Low Squadron and excellent bombing by the High Squadron some 95% of the bombs were within 1,000 ft of the MFI. Group Leader was Captain R.L. Stelzer with Lt. Col. Brown as Deputy. No air opposition was encountered but flak was meager to moderate and accurate. Crews from the 613th were: 44-6313 Garton, 44-6113 Scheller, 42-31072 Curran, 44-6132 Campbell, 44-8550 Cushman, 43-38791 Kelso, 43-38607 Cox, 43-38862 Carey, 44-6588 Nielson, 8211 Baker (Grafton Underwood Gee-II a/c).source: 613th Bombardment Squadron History
401BG / 614BS Mission Report - This was another tactical target, this time a rail bridge at Maximilianau, Germany. The 401st furnished the 94th CBW "B" Group plus a Gee-H aircraft from Grafton Underwood - the 384th B.G. (H). The beautiful CAVU weather made the attack a visual one, the Lead Squadron putting its bombs over the target. However, the Low and High Squadron Bombardiers put their bombs squarely on the assigned MPI and the results were reported as excellent. The Air Commander was Captain R.L. Stelzer with Lt. Col. E.W. Brown as deputy. Flak was encountered at the I.P. and over the target and was very accurate in both places with three crew members wounded and 12 aircraft with battle damage. Some idea of the terrible weather conditions that prevailed that morning can be gathered from the fact that seven fighter pilots were killed in take-off crashes on this morning. Crews: 42-38565 Babcock, 43-38646 Fondren, 44-6508 King, 42-38330 White, 42-39012 Richardson, 42-107151 Morton, 42-97602 Cole, 43-38637 Sorensen.source: 614th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 615BS Mission Report - The 401st were briefed to attack the Rhine rail bridge at Maximiliansau on Saturday 13th January. The briefing for the 38 crews taking part in this mission was at 0530 hrs with the Gee-H aircraft again taking off to join the assembly from Grafton Underwood. The aircraft carried six 1,000 pounder bombs each plus 2,500 gallons of gas. The Group put up the 94th "B" Group with Capt. R.L. Stelzer, Capt. T.J. Harlan and Capt. P.E. Campbell as the three Squadron Leaders. The bombing was visual with excellent results and the Squadrons led by Capt. Campbell and Capt. Harlan were commended for their job by CQl. E.A. Romig, Commanding Officer of the 94th Combat Wing. There was no enemy air opposition but the flak was intense. Lt. Louis Lawrence, the pilot who had so ably taken over the lead of the Group when Major J. Maupin had been forced to abort on 10th January, was struck in the head and fatally wounded. His crew landed in France where he was taken to hospital. He died that night. Two others were seriously wounded and one lightly wounded. Two aircraft received major flak damage and ten minor flak damage. One aircraft only landed back at Deenethorpe that night, not having received the radio message to divert to RAF Woodbridge. At 2000 hrs the Control Tower still hadn't located four outstanding aircraft, including one from the 615th Squadron whose pilot was Captain P.E. Campbell. The 615th Squadron put up the following ten crews: 43-38425 Deen, 43-38125 Wolf, 42-102468 Djernes, 42-31730 McKay, 43-38077 Turk, 42-31983 Cracraft, 43-38758 Hansen, 43-38810 AR Grimm, 42-97869 Jones, 42-97636 Campbell.source: 615th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
44BG Mission Report - The 44th dispatched a total of 23 aircraft to the Kaiserslautern M/Y, with one A/C leading the 392nd BG, and 67th's Capt. Overstreet leading the 491st, 44th's lead was made by Lt. Hill carrying 12 x 500 Demos, with two squadrons making up the formation. One squadron flew high right on the 392nd and the other flew high right on the 491st. All aircraft bombed the target on Gee-H with unobserved results. Flak was meager and inaccurate; fighter support was excellent. Lt. Kuklewicz 'was forced to turn back due to mechanical failure. All A/C returned safely.source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
445BG Mission Report - Target: Rudesheim, Germany - Railroad Bridge. A/C Took Off: 21. A/C Bombed Target: 19. A/C Lost: 0source: 445th Bomb Group http://445bg.org
446th Bomb Group Mission Report
Worms

30 planes bombed a rail bridge with very good 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/

Non-Combat Accident Reports

Aircraft: B-17G (#42-97934).
Organization: 750BS / 457BG of Glatton, Huntingdonshire.
Pilot: Flueman, Willmore (NMI).
Notes: taxiing accident.
Location: Glatton, Huntingdonshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#42-97952).
Organization: 413BS / 96BG of Snetterton Heath, Norfolk.
Pilot: Matthew, William C.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Snetterton Heath, Norfolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#44-8414).
Organization: 750BS / 457BG of Glatton, Huntingdonshire.
Pilot: Hay, Ralph L.
Notes: taxiing accident.
Location: Glatton, Huntingdonshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51B7 (#43-6987W).
Organization: 362FS / 357FG of Leiston, Suffolk.
Pilot: Anderson, Richard A.
Notes: killed in a crash.
Location: Horham/ 4mi E England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D (#44-11343).
Organization: 350FS / 353FG of Raydon, Suffolk.
Pilot: Lee, George S.
Notes: killed in a crash.
Location: Sudbury/ 4mi NE England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D (#44-14089).
Organization: / 4SAD of Hitcham, Suffolk.
Pilot: Brucks, George R.
Notes: crashed belly landing due to wether.
Location: Stoke on Trent England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D10 (#44-14245).
Organization: 362FS / 357FG of Leiston, Suffolk.
Pilot: Schlieker, Robert L.
Notes: killed in a crash.
Location: RAF Woodbridge/ 3mi E England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D15 (#44-15275).
Organization: 374FS / 361FG of Little Walden, Essex.
Pilot: Voss, John R.
Notes: taxiing accident.
Location: St Dizier/A-64 France.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D15 (#44-15305).
Organization: 360FS / 356FG of Martlesham Heath, Suffolk.
Pilot: Nelson, Wendel J A.
Notes: killed in a crash.
Location: Debach/ 2mi S England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D15 (#44-15358).
Organization: 374FS / 361FG of Little Walden, Essex.
Pilot: Mitenbuler, Jack C.
Notes: taxiing accident.
Location: St Dizier/A-64 France.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D20 (#44-63181).
Organization: 84FS / 78FG of Duxford, Cambridgeshire.
Pilot: Elin, Herbert W.
Notes: killed in a crash.
Location: Wimpole Hall/ nr England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D5 (#44-13319).
Organization: 358FS / 355FG of Steeple Morden, Cambridgeshire.
Pilot: Ksanznak, Thomas A.
Notes: killed in crashed on take off.
Location: Melbourn Village England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D5 (#44-13338).
Organization: 3GTF / of .
Pilot: Kensik, Raymond J.
Notes: bailed out-engine failure.
Location: Fotherdale Fm, Thixendale England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D5 (#44-13515).
Organization: 374FS / 361FG of Little Walden, Essex.
Pilot: Merritt, Joseph R.
Notes: taxiing accident.
Location: St Dizier/A-64 France.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D5 (#44-13685).
Organization: 328FS / 352FG of Bodney, Norfolk.
Pilot: Abbott, Earl L.
Notes: crash belly landing out of gas.
Location: Brest Peninsula France.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51K5 (#44-11686).
Organization: 369FS / 359FG of East Wretham, Norfolk.
Pilot: Shearer, Karl K.
Notes: killed in a crash.
Location: Ashill England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/

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

Mission "8th AF 791"
Marshalling yards and Rhine rail bridges
January 13, 1945

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
9589092439.20-0-00-0-08-6-1744-13-71398BG aircraft crash-lands base
2x 398BG aircraft forced to land France
448BG aircraft crashes Sarrat
34BG aircraft crash-lands Manston
303BG aircraft crashes continent
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Mission Targets

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MAINZ, GERMANY
Railroad
bridge31 A/C
MAINZ, GERMANY
Gustavsburg Transportation
bridge95 A/C
BISCHOFFSHEIM, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yard119 A/C
MAINZ, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yard74 A/C
EUSKIRCHEN, GERMANY
Railroad
bridge13 A/Cphotos (1)
WORMS, GERMANY
Railroad
bridge86 A/C
KAISERSLAUTERN, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yard87 A/Cphotos (1)
RUDESHEIM, GERMANY
Hindenburgbrčcke Railroad
bridge89 A/C
GERMERSHEIM, GERMANY
Railroad
bridge71 A/C
MANNHEIM, GERMANY
Transportation
bridge76 A/C
MAXIMILIANSAU, GERMANY
Transportation
bridge159 A/C
Aircraft Groups

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1ST AIR DIVISION
303BG
305BG
379BG
381BG
398BG
401BG
457BG
92BG
2ND AIR DIVISION
44BG
93BG
389BG
392BG
445BG
446BG
448BG
453BG
458BG
466BG
467BG
491BG
3RD AIR DIVISION
94BG
100BG
34BG
385BG
388BG
390BG
447BG
452BG
486BG
487BG
493BG
95BG
96BG
OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)
Aircraft Losses

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1ST AIR DIVISION
303BG (3 a/c)
457BG (1 a/c)
2ND AIR DIVISION
448BG (1 a/c)
3RD AIR DIVISION
96BG (1 a/c)
493BG (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
46944111.53-0-03-0-02-7-08-1-178FG crashes take-off
353FG crashes take-off
359FG cf Ashill
357FG crashes Butley
356FG crashes Grundisburgh
357FG crashes Laxfield
355FG crashes Melbourn
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Mission Targets

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Escort
274 A/C

Sweep
102 A/C

Fighter-Bomber
45 A/C

Reconnaissance
scout20 A/C
Aircraft Groups

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

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1ST AIR DIVISION
2ND AIR DIVISION
479FG (1 a/c)
3RD AIR 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
37360.00-0-00-0-00-0-00-0-0
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Mission Targets

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CONTINENT
Reconnaissance
weather4 A/C
GERMANY
Reconnaissance
photo11 A/C

Chaff
3 A/C

Communications
radio countermeasures5 A/C

Air Sea Rescue
8 A/C
AZORES/ATLANTIC/UK
Reconnaissance
weather4 A/C
Aircraft Groups

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

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