Mission

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Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description

Mission 896: 1,273 bombers and 675 fighters are dispatched to hit airfields and industrial targets in Germany visually and with H2X radar; clouds force 2 of the 3 forces to hit secondaries; 100+ Luftwaffe fighters including 36 Me 262s in formation (largest number of jets seen as a unit) are encountered; the AAF claims 41-3-19 Luftwaffe aircraft (including 3 Me 262s); 6 bombers and 10 fighters are lost:

1. Cloud cover prevents 496 B-17s from hitting the primary targets; secondaries hit are the optical works at Jena (197) and the motor vehicle plant at Zwickau (177); targets of opportunity are Plauen (32), the marshalling yards at Fulda (44) and Saalfeld (10) and other (4); bombing is by H2X radar with some visual attacks; they claim 1-1-2 aircraft; 4 B-17s are lost, 4 damaged beyond repair and 121 damaged; 9 airmen are KIA, 5 WIA and 49 MIA. Escorting are 183 of 198 P-51s; they claim 2-0-3 aircraft; 4 P-51s are lost.

2. Cloud cover forces 404 of 436 B-17s to hit the industrial area at Plauen, the secondary target using H2X radar; targets of opportunity, bombed visually, are the Fulda marshalling yard (20) and Prissig (1); 1 B-17 is lost, 2 damaged beyond repair and 4 damaged; 9 airmen are KIA, 3 WIA and 9 MIA. The escort is 141 of 153 P-51s.

3. 341 B-24s are dispatched to hit airfields at Neuburg (125) and Leipheim (84) and jet aircraft plant at Baumenheim (126) visually; 1 B-24 is lost; 11 airmen are MIA. 175 of 194 P-51s escort; they claim 5-0-0 aircraft without loss.

4. 95 of 98 P-51s fly a freelance sweep for the bombers; they claim 33-2-14 aircraft; 6 P-51s are lost.

5. 2 of 4 P-51s escort 15 F-5s and 2 Spitfires on a photo reconnaissance mission over Germany.

Mission 897: 11 of 12 B-24s drop leaflets in the Netherlands and Germany 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,