Mission

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Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description

Mission 796: A planned major strike at oil and industrial targets in Germany is cancelled by weather; 627 bombers and 693 fighters are dispatched to hit oil targets; 2 B-24s and 1 P-51 are lost; due to heavy fog a large percentage of the bombers are diverted to various landing fields in the UK and on the Continent:

1. 364 B-24s are sent to hit the Rothensee synthetic oil plant at Magdeburg (61) and the oil plant at Ruhland (67); secondary targets hit are the marshalling yard at Dresden (138) and a tank factory at Magdeburg (61); 5 others hit a target of opportunity; targets are bombed visually and using H2X radar; 2 B-24s are lost and 8 damaged beyond repair; 3 airmen are KIA, 20 WIA and 22 MIA. Escorting are 368 of 392 P-51s; 1 P-51 is lost (pilot MIA) and 7 damaged beyond repair.

2. 263 B-17s dispatched hit secondary targets, the marshalling yard at Dessau (146) and 2 aircraft engine plants at Bitterfeld (96); 4 others hit targets of opportunity; all attacks are made using H2X radar; 2 B-17s are damaged beyond repair; 1 airman is KIA and 3 WIA. The escort is 194 of 203 P-51s.

3. 68 P-47s and P-51s fly a sweep.

4. 19 of 20 P-51s fly a scouting mission.

5. 5 of 7 P-51s escort a Spitfire on a photo reconnaissance mission on Berlin and Misburg.

Mission 797: 1 B-24 drop leaflets on Belgium 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,