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Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description

Mission 843: As a follow-up to the yesterdays attacks on transportation facilities as part of Operation CLARION, 1,274 bombers and 705 fighters are dispatched to hit marshaling yards in Germany; they claim 15-0-16 Luftwaffe aircraft; 1 B-24 and 6 P-51s are lost:

1. 446 B-17s are dispatched to hit marshaling yards at Treuchtlingen (61), Crailsheim (52), Neumarkt (74), Ansbach (109) and Kitzingen (95); targets of opportunity are Nordlingen (2), Schwabisch Hall (24), Winterhausen (7) and other (2); 1 B-17 is damaged beyond repair and 34 damaged; 1 airman is WIA. Escorting are 194 of 203 P-51s; they claim 5-0-2 aircraft on the ground; 2 P-51s are lost (pilots MIA).

2. 460 B-17s are sent to hit the marshaling yard at Plauen (110); targets of opportunity are Meiningen (49), Adelsberg (12), Hildburghausen (12), Kitzingen (88), Lichtenfels (13), Schweinfurt (12), Ellingen (25), Ottingen (48), Wurzburg (37), Crailsheim (38), and Zwolle (1); 1 B-17 is damaged beyond repair and 16 damaged; 3 airmen are WIA. 193 of 208 P-51s escort and claim 1-0-0 aircraft in the air; 3 P-51s are lost; 1 pilot is KIA and 3 MIA.

3. 368 B-24s are dispatched to hit marshaling yards at Weimar (57), Fulda (10) and Gera (46); targets of opportunity are Paderborn (104), Osnabruck (50), Jena (25), Schluchtern (20), Fritzlar (9), Reichenbach (9), Steinau (9), and other (1); 1 B-24 is lost, 4 damaged beyond repair and 6 damaged; 21 airmen are KIA and 4 WIA. The escort is 105 of 110 P-51s.

4. 141 P-47s and P-51s make a sweep of Neuburg, Landsberg and Leipheim Airfields claiming 9-0-14 aircraft on the ground; 1 P-51 is lost (pilot MIA).

5. 4 P-51s escort 10 F-5s on a photo reconnaissance mission over Germany.

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

Mission 844: 24 of 27 B-24s make a PFF attack on the Neuss marshaling yard during the night 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

Aircraft: B-24J (#42-110160). Organization: 785BS / 466BG of Attlebridge, Norfolk. Pilot: Kolaya, Theodore A. Notes: killed in ditching the aircraft. Location: Comer/ 15mi E English Channel. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
303BG Mission Report - Marshalling Yards at Kitzingen, Germany. Crews Dispatched: 39 (358BS - 9, 359th - 10, 360th - 10, 427th - 10). Length of Mission: 9 hours, 36 minutes. Bomb Load: 12 x 500 lb RDX M64 bombs. Bombing Altitudes: 11,500, 11,200 & 12,450 ft. Ammo Fired: 1,520 rounds.

Thirty-nine 303rd BG(H) aircraft were dispatched on this long 9 1/2 hour mission. No aircraft returned early. The primary target was at Zwickau, Germany, and the secondary and last resort targets were at Crailsheim, Germany—both marshalling yards.

The primary target was obscured by 10/10 cloud cover which prevented a medium altitude bomb run on that target. Thirty-eight 303BG Fortresses bombed a target of opportunity — the marshalling yard at Kitzingen, Germany. There were no clouds or contrails in the Kitzingen area and bombers dropped 458 500-lb. RDX M64 bombs from 11,500, 11,200 and 12,450 feet visually. Good hits were scored by the lead and low Squadrons on the marshalling yard and built-up city sections. The high Squadron results were poor. One high Squadron B-17 bombed with another Group dropping 12 500-lb. bombs on the Crailsheim marshalling yard.

Fighter support by 193 P-51s, good on the route in, was fair for the route back. Again, no enemy air opposition or flak were encountered. Nine aircraft landed at UK bases due to gas shortages and returned to Molesworth on 24 February. There were no casualties.

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/
351BG Mission Report - 36 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 272. Primary Target: Marshalling Yards - Plauen, Germany

43 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 36. Aborted - 2. Spare, Returned As Briefed - 1. Ground Spare, Unused - 4
42-38013 Drew, James L - Aborted HC; jettisoned bombs and rtd to base early due to mechanical failure; sal b/d (4/27/44);
42-97824 Van Pelt, Charles A - Aborted Jettisoned bombs and rtd to base early due to mechanical failure
42-102661 Turner, Willard J - Due to mechanical failure bombed 'target of opportunity' at Zwolle, Ger, with unobserved results.

source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
388BG Mission Report - For the second consecutive day in a row, the 8th Air Force bombers attacked marshalling yards in South-Central Germany. The 388th furnished three Groups which comprised the 45th B Combat Wing.

38 a/c including 4 PFF a/c were airborne by 0747 hours with no abortions. Formations were effected and the briefed route to the target was followed. Both, the 45th A and B Wings attacked the same target, the marshalling yards at Ansbach, Germany. Due to clouds which were higher than predicted, the Wing had to bomb 5,000 feet higher than briefed. Just before the IP, the weather cleared, but was not soon enough to drop down before bombing. Bombs were away at 1135 hours from 16,000 feet. Strike photos show very good results.

Neither flak or enemy fighters were seen. All of our a/c returned to base by 1634 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 - Cloud coverage prevented visual bombing of a rail junction at Bamberg on February 23rd and a road and rail bridge at Ottingen was hit with good results. Lt. J ..H. McGoldrick led the High Squadron with Lt. Lewis as Navigator and Lt. Peek as Bombardier. Crews participating were: 43-38791 Kelso, 44-8449 Tausig, 44-6313 Bradley, 42-102947 Steele, 43-38862 Carey, 44-6588 Nielson, 44-8550 McGoldrick, 42-31072 Baker, 43-38458 McKenny, 44-6132 Levy.source: 613th Bombardment Squadron History
401BG / 614BS Mission Report - This was the second day of Operation CLARION and the 401st, as the 94th "B" Group, bombed the marshalling yards at Ottingen in Squadron formation. The 614th Squadron, led by Lt. C.W. Utter, with Lt. J.V. Hope as bombardier, put 80% of their bombs within 500 feet of the MFI. This was another low-level attack with the Group's assigned target being Hamburg. Although the weather was good there were some clouds over the primary so the Air Commander went off to search for a target of opportunity and selected Ottingen, a town with a small marshalling yard. There was still no sign of enemy fighters and the flak did not prove to be very troublesome. Five of the Group aircraft landed on the continent after the mission including 1st Lt. G.H. Holmes and 2nd Lt. L.E. Ayre, with five others landing on various other bases in England due to bad weather at Deenethorpe. The 614th loading list was as follows: 44-8033 Utter, 42-97780 Spuhler, 43-38738 Gray, 43-38330 St. Aubyn, 42-97602 Cole, 42-97478 Fondren, 42-107151 Hartsock, 43-38565 Holmes, 42-97931 Ayre, 42-97931 Sorensen.source: 614th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 615BS Mission Report - THe second day of Operation CLARION with the 401st putting up 36 aircraft to form the 94th "C" Group. Briefing was at 0345 hrs with all aircraft airborne by 0755 hrs after about twenty minutes delay with problems with two 613th Squadron aircraft. The weather closed in during the day causing many aircraft to divert to other airfields on the continent and in England, including Lt. S.R. Smith, Lt. C.T. Park and Lt. F.T. Eglin of the 615th. This was another low-level mission with the clear weather over the target allowing visual bombing - but it was a target of opportunity , the primary at Hamburg being under thick cloud. The three Lead Bombardiers again turned in a very commendable performance and gained good to excellent results on their aiming points. Still no sign of the Luftwaffe which, we now know, had plenty of aircraft and pilots but no gas, the 8th Air Force having destroyed most of it and the means to produce it. There were ten 615th crews on the mission. They were: 44-8653 (PFF) Turk, 43-37551 Stephens, 44-6146 Bennett, 43-38758 Djernes, 44-8153 Gerber, 43-37706 Park, 42-31730 Smith, 43-38810 AR Grimm, 43-38160 Eglin, 43-38425 Callahan.source: 615th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
44BG Mission Report - Today is a great day for the 44th because it is our three hundredth (300) operational mission'. The Group dispatched 30 A/C to lead the 14th "A" Wing to the rail center at Weimar. Included in this number were seven A/C from the 67th with Captain Lavitt flying Group lead. This is another target in the series of railroad centers and oil targets that have been receiving the attention of the air blows that are being inflicted upon the enemy. 30 aircraft bombed the target on H2X with unobserved results. There was no flak in the target area, and fighter support was excellent. Three of the 67th and 15 more from the Group were forced to land at various bases in England on the return. There were no losses and five A/C experienced category "A" damage. The following personnel completed their tour: Lt.Struthers; T/Sgts. McDonald and Jacob; S/Sgts. Griffith, Carpenter and Lyn- don Crane Allen. The latter adds: "We flew in old J #318 and this was her 103 mission, all without an abort. Bomb load of 10 x 500 lb GPs, bombing from 18,000 feet. P-51 escort was very good. Sweated the weather most of the way. Pretty thick stuff, especially on the withdrawal." And so ended his 35th and last mission. Omitted from yesterdays activities are these comments from S/sgt. Chaffin: "We were the only Group to hit this target. We saw smoking targets at towns all along the way in and out. Every type of aircraft participated in today's effort - a reported 6,000 of them. Gottingen M/Y-,was packed full of supplies for the front lines and we bombed them from 8,000 feet. Our bombs hit right in the center of the yards and started a fire which flamed up to about 500 feet. There were only two bombs outside the 1000 foot circle of the MPI. Groups bombed targets of this type all over Germany today from low altitudes in a knock out blow to Germany's supplies.source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
445BG Mission Report - Target: Paderborn, Germany - Railroad Marshalling Yard. A/C Took Off: 33. A/C Bombed Target: 31. A/C Lost: 0source: 445th Bomb Group http://445bg.org
446th Bomb Group Mission Report

The city was bombed after the primary target, the Gera marshalling yards, was bypassed due to poor weather.

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 / 322nd BS Mission Report - Primary Target: Hoof - Rail Center. Major Newquist, Air Commander, and Capt. Towner flew the lead A/C of the 1st B group for which the 322nd furnished the lead squadron. The assigned target at Hoof was completely overcast and based on information furnished by Buckeye scouting force it was decided to bomb the R/R yards at Meiningen. The electrical equipment of the lead A/C was inoperative so the lead was assumed by the deputy group leader, Lt. Price, Pilot. Visual runs were made by the lead and low squadrons with results that cannot be properly assessed due to cloud and ground haze over the target, but believed to generally good. The high squadron bombed another unidentified rail target believed to be Hildburghausen. Accurate flak encountered over the front lines resulted in major battle damage to three A/C of this squadron and minor damage to five. source: 322rd Bomb Squadron / 91BG Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/
91st BG / 324th BS Mission Report - Target: T/O ( Meiningen ) Squadron Losses: None Group Losses: None Our squadron furnished the low squadron for this mission and attacked Meiningen. The primary target, Hof, Germany, was not attacked due to cloud cover. Flak in the target area was nil although some was observed en route. Strike photos taken show concentrations of bombs falling in the town.source: 91st BG / 324th BS Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/
91BG / 401BS Mission Report - MISSION TO Nieningen and Hildburghausen On the 23rd of February we dispatched 6 A/C and no crews. A/C 303 and 842 were flown by 324th crews. A/C 755, 901, 788, and 755 were flown by 324th crews. The briefed target was the Rail Center at the town of Hof. The Lead and Low Squadrons attacked the town of Nieningen, a target of opportunity. The High Squadron attacked Hildburghausen, a target of opportunity. AA fire was encountered along the route. Fighter support was good. The Group furnished the 1st "B" Group. Due to gas shortage some A/C landed on the continent. Aother A/C returned safely to base.source: 91st BG / 401st BS Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/

Non-Combat Accident Reports

Aircraft: B-17G (#42-98017).
Organization: 850BS / 490BG of Eye, Suffolk.
Pilot: Whiteman, Eaden M.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Eye, Suffolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#43-38745).
Organization: 526BS / 379BG of Kimbolton, Huntingdonshire.
Pilot: Olson, Vernon M.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Ipswich England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-24H (#41-29596).
Organization: 754BS / 458BG of Horsham St. Faith, Norfolk.
Pilot: Hunt, Daniel F Jr.
Notes: killed in mid air collision.
Location: Lodge Farm, Felingham England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-24H (#42-50449).
Organization: 753BS / 458BG of Horsham St. Faith, Norfolk.
Pilot: Bechtel, Russell J.
Notes: killed in mid air collision.
Location: Hunts Farm, Skeyton England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-24H (#42-52692).
Organization: 857BS / 492BG of Harrington, Northamptonshire.
Pilot: Shaw, William R.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Harrington, Northamptonshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-24J (#42-50715).
Organization: 735BS / 453BG of Old Buckenham, Norfolk.
Pilot: Slone, Harrison Y.
Notes: crash landing.
Location: Old Buckenham/ 1 1/4mi SE England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-24J (#42-50902).
Organization: 714BS / 448BG of Seething, Norfolk.
Pilot: Flinders, Kay L.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Seething, Norfolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D10 (#44-14129).
Organization: 370FS / 359FG of East Wretham, Norfolk.
Pilot: McGregor, Garland (NMI) Jr.
Notes: killed in a crash.
Location: East Wrentham/3 1/2mi NW England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D15 (#44-15291).
Organization: 503FS / 339FG of Fowlmere, Cambridgeshire.
Pilot: Krauss, Richard E.
Notes: crashed belly landing due to engine failure or fire.
Location: Debden/ 2mi ESE England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/

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

Mission "8th AF 844"
Night Bombing Operation
February 23, 1945

Primary source for mission statistics: Mighty Eighth War Diary by Roger A. Freeman
Bomb TonnageEnemy
(on gnd)
Mission Targets

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marshalling yard24 A/Cphotos (1)
Aircraft Groups

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OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)
Aircraft Losses

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OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)