Mission

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Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description

Mission 801: 772 bombers and 455 fighters are dispatched to hit synthetic oil plants at Sterkrade and rail targets and bridges in W Germany using H2X radar; they claim 1-0-0 Luftwaffe aircraft; 4 bombers and 3 fighters are lost:

1. 36 of 309 B-17s hit the Holten oil plant at Sterkrade; 225 hit the secondary target, the marshalling yard at Rheine; 1 B-17 is lost, 2 damaged beyond repair and 68 damaged; 8 airmen are KIA, 33 WIA and 61 MIA. Escorting are 189 of 199 P-51s; 1 P-51 is lost (pilot MIA).

2. 187 of 223 B-17s hit the Heilbronn marshalling yard; 8 hit the secondary, the Pforzheim marshalling yard and 2 hit a target of opportunity; 2 B-17s are lost, 1 damaged beyond repair and 18 damaged. Escort is provided by 39 of 48 P-51s without loss.

3. 170 of 230 B-17s hit the Mannheim marshalling yard and rail bridge; targets of opportunity are Stuttgart (24), Mannheim (21) and other (1); 1 B-17 is lost, 4 damaged beyond repair and 29 damaged. The escort is 130 of 137 P-51s; they claim 1-0-0 aircraft; 1 P-51 is lost (pilot MIA).

4. 36 of 39 P-51s fly a fighter sweep in the Frankfurt area; 1 P-51 is lost (pilot MIA).

5. 16 of 16 P-51s fly a sweep in the St Vith/Duren area without loss.

6. 16 of 16 P-51s fly a scouting mission without loss.

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

Mission Reports

390th Bomb Group Mission Linksource: Louis Hensgens 390 Bomb Group http://www.louishensgens.com/
303BG Mission Report - Target: Railroad Bridge at Mannheim, Germany. Crews Dispatched: 39 (358BS - 10, 359th - 10, 360th - 10, 427th - 9). Crewmembers Wounded or Killed: Lt. James Burns - DOW. Length of Mission: 6 hours, 40 minutes. Bomb Load: 5 x 1,000 lb RDX bombs. Bombing Altitudes; 26,000, 23,700, & 27,800 ft. Ammo Fired: 0 rounds.

Thirty-nine Fortresses were dispatched to attack a railway bridge at Mannheim, Germany primary (visual or GEE-H) and secondary (PFF). B-17G #42-38050 Thunderbird, 359BS (Lt. Barrat), returned early with mechanical problems.

Thirty-seven aircraft dropped 180 1,000-lb. RDX bombs and ten units of leaflets by PFF from 26,000, 23,700 and 27,800 feet. Results were unobserved. The GEE- H equipment on lead Squadron B-17 failed. In the target area, there were 8/10 clouds with tops at 28,000 feet, 3/10 hazy clouds from 22,000 to 26,000 feet, and dense, persistent contrails above 20,000 feet.

There was no enemy air opposition. Although none of the 224 1st AD escorting P- 51s were seen by any crews, especially on the way to the target, the support was as briefed. The lack of sighting was caused by poor visibility. Meager to moderate and generally inaccurate flak was encountered at the target. Two aircraft sustained minor battle damage and one, major damage.

Fortress #43-38258 Forget Me Not Olly, 358BS, piloted by 1Lt. Kenneth E. Bixby, 359BS, landed on the Continent. His co- pilot, 2Lt. James S. Burns, was badly wounded and later died of injuries in the 30th British General Hospital on 21 January 1945.

Due to a heavy snow storm at Molesworth at the time of landing, nine low Squadron aircraft were diverted to other Bases. The snow storm started as the other aircraft were landing. There were no casualties on the returning aircraft.

More info on this mission at the 303BG website

source: 303rd Bomb Group web page http://www.303rdbg.com/
306BG Mission Reportsource: 306th Bombardment Group website www.306bg.org/
34th BG Mission Report - Mission #115 Rheine. Command Pilot: BRUNK.32 planes dispatched. 19 planes dropped 54 tons on the primary target and one plane dropped 3 tons on the secondary target. 12 planes failed to bomb. 20 Credit Sorties. One plane was lost and 5 crewmembers were listed Missing in Action and 2 crewmembers were Killed in Action.

B-17G 43-38332 B/Q 'Gallopin' Ghost' with 18BS crashed on take-off. Highest altitude reached was about 500 feet. #1 engine out with fire in the wing. Salvoed safetied bombs in a field near Gipping Lane near Haughley. 4 men bailed out. Hulings' chute did not open. Navigator missing. The other two were injured and are in hospital. The rest of the crew rode the plane in on the crash landing and are OK.Pilot: Mote. 2 Killed in Action. Plane salvaged.

B-17G 43-38263 E/N This plane caught fire in #1 engine during assembly over Buncher #19 at about 20,000 feet. As the flames began to flow over the wing, the pilot had the crew stand by for bail out. As the flames continued to increase in intensity and the aircraft started to go out of control into in diving spiral, the pilot ordered the bail out as it seemed the plane could blow up at any moment. 5 crewmembers bailed out at this time, over the English Channel. Air-Sea Rescue was advised immediately. When the increased airspeed seemed to extinguish the flames, the remaining crew was ordered to stand by and await developments. Returning to the field the plane caught fire once again then went out as it came in for a landing. Caught fire again when it landed but went out as the prop stopped turning. As the crew left the plane, it caught fire once again and had to be put out by the fire crews. With 7BS. Pilot: Austin. Unnumbered Missing Air Crew Report showing 5 MIA, later changed to KIA. The plane was eventually repaired and put back into service.

source: 34th Bomb Group Mission List compiled by Gary L. Ferrell http://valortovictory.tripod.com
351BG Mission Report - 35 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 257. Primary Target: Mannheim, Germany

43 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 36. Aborted - 1. Scrubbed - 2. Ground Spare, Unused - 2. Crashed - 2

32 a/c landed away because of weather (severe snowstorm)
42-97251 Cook, Raymond D - Crashed in Allied Territory Ground spare, replaced 42-107125. Low Squadron Deputy. Battle damage. Crew bailed out over England due to weather: Two crewmembers received minor injuries. Aircraft crashed and exploded.
43-38542 Fleshman, Warren G - Crashed in Allied Territory c/l near Molesworth; 2 crew killed, 7 seriously injured; sal;

source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
398th Bomb Group Mission reportsource: 398th Bomb Group web page http://www.398th.org/
457th Bomb Group Mission Linksource: 457 Bomb Group http://www.457thbombgroup.org
486th Bomb Group Flimsy reportsource: 486th Bomb Group web page http://www.486th.org/
91st BG / 322nd BS Mission Report - Ludwigshaven. Major Thompson flew as pilot in the lead A/C with Capt. Walter W. Thompson acting as Air Commander of the 1st B group. The Mannheim-Ludwigshaven bridge over the Rhine was the assigned target which was bombed with PFF with results that were unobserved. From plotting of Mickey scope photos and some strike photos of the area beyond the target it is believed that good results were obtained. The lead and high squadrons suffered no battle damage but the low squadron had 11 A/C with minor damage. source: 322rd Bomb Squadron / 91BG Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/
91st BG / 324th BS Mission Report - Target: Ludwigshaven Marshaling yards. Major Klette assisted by Lt. Brubaker lead this low squadron for to days mission, which took them to Ludwigshaven-Mannheim span bridge crossing the Rhine river connecting the two cities. Photo interpretation shows that most bombs fell on the Western approach to the bridge. Bombing altitude was 27,300 ft.. Majority of the A/C suffered minor battle damage, which applies to this squadron only. Fighter support in general was o.k.source: 91st BG / 324th BS Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/

Non-Combat Accident Reports

Aircraft: B-17G (#42-31228).
Organization: 525BS / 379BG of Kimbolton, Huntingdonshire.
Pilot: Phinney, Keith L.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Duxford, Cambridgeshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#42-97251).
Organization: 546BS / 384BG of Grafton Underwood, Northamptonshire.
Pilot: Cook, Raymond D.
Notes: bailed out due to mechanical failure.
Location: Old Weston/ 2 1/4mi NW England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#42-97766).
Organization: 814BS / 482BG of Alconbury, Cambridgeshire.
Pilot: Slocum, Robert L.
Notes: bail out.
Location: Home Fm, Blatherweeck England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#43-37796).
Organization: 750BS / 457BG of Glatton, Huntingdonshire.
Pilot: Guca, Frank R.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Glatton, Huntingdonshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#43-38277).
Organization: 508BS / 351BG of Polebrook, Northamptonshire.
Pilot: Ashton, Edward R.
Notes: taxiing accident.
Location: Polebrook, Northamptonshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#43-38332).
Organization: 18BS / 34BG of Mendlesham, Suffolk.
Pilot: Mote, Daniel D.
Notes: killed in crash landing.
Location: Mendlesham/3mi W S 156 England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#43-38542).
Organization: 544BS / 384BG of Grafton Underwood, Northamptonshire.
Pilot: Fleshman, Warren G.
Notes: killed in a crash.
Location: Molesworth, Huntingdonshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#44-6618).
Organization: 323BS / 91BG of Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire.
Pilot: Whitten, Edwin E.
Notes: ground looped.
Location: Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#44-8174).
Organization: 324BS / 91BG of Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire.
Pilot: Johnson, Elmer O Jr.
Notes: crash landing.
Location: Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-24H (#42-94851).
Organization: 406BS / 305BG of Cheddington, Buckinghamshire.
Pilot: Callaghan, Cornleius (NMI).
Notes: killed in bail out.
Location: Woodbridge England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: Mosquito XVI (#MM342).
Organization: 654BS / 25BG of Watton, Norfolk.
Pilot: Polovick, Joseph A.
Notes: ground looped.
Location: Watton, Norfolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D (#44-15361).
Organization: 360FS / 356FG of Martlesham Heath, Suffolk.
Pilot: Romine, Jack P.
Notes: ground looped.
Location: Villacoublay/A-42 France.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/

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

Mission "8th AF 801"
Synthetic oil industry at Sterkrade
January 20, 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
7726841769.70-0-00-0-04-7-1158-33-6134BG aircraft crashes Gipping
91BG aircraft crash-lands base
384BG aircraft crashes Clopton
384BG aircraft crashes Tun Langton
379BG aircraft crash-lands base
390BG aircraft crash-lands Steinbourg
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Mission Targets

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OBERHAUSEN-HOLTEN, GERMANY
Ruhrchemie AG Industry
oil refinery36 A/Cphotos (1)
RHEINE, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yard115 A/Cphotos (1)
HEILBRONN, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yard187 A/Cphotos (1)
PFORZHEIM, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yard8 A/C
MANNHEIM, GERMANY
Transportation
bridge170 A/C
MANNHEIM, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yard21 A/C
STUTTGART, GERMANY
Industry
24 A/C

Screen
10 A/C
Aircraft Groups

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1ST AIR DIVISION
303BG
305BG
306BG
351BG
379BG
381BG
384BG
398BG
457BG
91BG
2ND AIR DIVISION
3RD AIR DIVISION
100BG
34BG
388BG
390BG
447BG
452BG
486BG
487BG
490BG
95BG
OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)
Aircraft Losses

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1ST AIR DIVISION
398BG (1 a/c)
2ND AIR DIVISION
3RD AIR DIVISION
95BG (1 a/c)
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
4554260.01-0-00-0-03-0-00-0-3
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Mission Targets

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Escort
358 A/C

Sweep
52 A/C

Reconnaissance
scout16 A/C
Aircraft Groups

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1ST AIR DIVISION
359FG
364FG
2ND AIR DIVISION
4FG
355FG
3RD AIR DIVISION
78FG
339FG
353FG
357FG
OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)
Aircraft Losses

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1ST AIR DIVISION
2ND AIR DIVISION
355FG (1 a/c)
3RD AIR DIVISION
78FG (1 a/c)
357FG (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
33320.00-0-00-0-00-0-00-0-0
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Mission Targets

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CONTINENT / UK
Reconnaissance
weather5 A/C
GERMANY
Reconnaissance
photo3 A/C

Screen
4 A/C

Communications
radio countermeasures8 A/C

Air Sea Rescue
10 A/C
AZORES/ATLANTIC/UK
Reconnaissance
weather3 A/C
Aircraft Groups

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1ST AIR DIVISION
25BG
2ND AIR DIVISION
3RD AIR DIVISION
OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)
7th Photographic Group (Recon)
7th Photographic Group (Recon)
5th Emergency Rescue Squadron
36th Bomber Squadron
Aircraft Losses

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