Mission

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Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description

Mission 908: The Allied ground assault across the lower Rhine River begins; 1,276 bombers and 499 fighters visually attack rail targets in W and C Germany; they claim 1-0-1 Luftwaffe aircraft; 7 bombers are lost:

1. 319 B-24s are sent to hit the Rheine Bridge (79) and the Osnabruck (80) and Munster (142) marshalling yards; 2 others hit Hoya Airfield, a target of opportunity; 3 B-24s are lost, 1 damaged beyond repair and 95 damaged; 1 airman is KIA, 3 WIA and 35 MIA. Escorting are 79 of 80 P-51s.

2. 519 B-17s are sent to hit marshalling yards Hengstey (113), Giesecke (91), Holzwickede (184) and the Unna yard at Dormund (38); secondary targets hit are Meschede (19) and marshalling yards at Siegen (93) and Marburg (10); targets of opportunity are Herdecke (10), Haliger (1) and Schwerte (10); 3 B-17s are lost, 2 damaged beyond repair and 178 damaged; 6 airmen are KIA, 4 WIA and 27 MIA. 82 P-51s escort.

3. 438 B-17s are dispatched to hit marshalling yards at Coesfeld (145), Recklinghausen (120) and Gladbeck (141); targets of opportunity are Hechfeldt (12) and the marshalling yard at Westerholt (13); 1 B-17 is lost; 3 airmen are WIA and 10 MIA. The escort is 71 of 79 P-51s.

4. 125 of 131 P-51s fly a fighter sweep of the Bremen-Kassel area; they claim 1-0-0 aircraft in the air and 0-0-1 on the ground. 5. 71 of 84 P-51s fly a sweep for the Ninth AF.

6. 16 P-51s escort 15 F-5s and 4 Spitfires on photo reconnaissance missions over Germany.

7. 25 of 27 P-51s fly weather reconnaissance missions.

Mission 909: 1 B-17, escorted by 4 P-51s, bombs Ettinghausen Airfield in a Micro-H Mk II radar test.

Mission 910: During the night, 9 of 10 B-24s drop leaflets in the Netherlands and Germany; and 19 B-24s fly CARPETBAGGER missions to Denmark.

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 Facilities at Gladbeck, Germany. Crews Dispatched: 39 (358BS - 13, 359th - 13, 360th - 13, 427th - 2). Length of Mission: 6 hours, 10 minutes. Bomb Load: 35 x 150 lb G.P. bombs. Bombing Altitudes: 25,000, 23,900, & 26,000 ft. Ammo Fired: 0 rounds.

All Bomb Groups operated against rail targets in western and central Germany. Gladbeck was the first priority (visual) and second priority (GEE-H) target, and Munster was the third (visual) and fourth (H2X) priority. No aircraft returned early.

There were no clouds or contrails over the Continent, but target area visibility was restricted by the haze to about 15 miles. Thirty-nine aircraft dropped a total of 1371 150-lb G.P. bombs and five units of WG-42 and five of T-337 leaflets on the first target visually. The lead Squadron bomb pattern was about 500 yards northwest of the assigned MPI, with no hits in the yard. Bomb patterns of other Squadrons were unobserved, but bombardiers believed patterns to be slightly west of the yard.

Only a few friendly fighters were seen, far below the formations. There was no enemy air opposition. The bombers only encountered flak at the targetómeager to moderate, but accurate. Six aircraft sustained major battle damage, five minor damage, and one crewman was slightly wounded. All aircraft returned to Molesworth.

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 #150 Geisecke. Command Pilot: HERSHENOW. 38 planes dispatched. 38 planes dropped 81.4 tons on the primary target. 38 Credit Sorties. One plane was lost and 9 crewmembers were listed as Missing in Action.

B-17G 43-38971 B/A Missing in Action Holswickede, Germany, flak and mid-air collision. This plane was hit by flak just after bombs away and three to four feet of the left wing tip was torn away. The plane peeled away from the formation to the left and collided with a B-17 from the 447BG. That 447BG plane was in a three plane element flying with the 487BG that had been on a collision course with the 34BG on the bomb run. These three planes had also just released bombs and were peeling away when the collision occurred. Both planes crashed. Two chutes were seen but it uncertain from which plane they came. Crashed Hamm. With 18BS. Pilot: Bolser. Missing Air Crew Report # 13598. 9 Killed in Action.

source: 34th Bomb Group Mission List compiled by Gary L. Ferrell http://valortovictory.tripod.com
351BG Mission Report - 39 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 295. Primary Target: Marshalling Yards - Gladbeck, Germany

38 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 36. Failed To Return - 1. Aborted - 1
43-39053 Connor, John Michael - Failed to Return - MIA; left formation at target on fire; at 1345 in target area a/c received direct flak burst, putting #4 engine on fire and #2 engine smoking; a/c lost 9000ft in spin, then exploded in mid-air; two to four chutes observed; flak, cr Duisburg; MACR 13611
44-8430 Lewis, Charles Allyn - Forced to return early with bombs due to engine failure

source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
388BG Mission Report - The 388th furnished three Groups for a 45th Combat Wing. 39 a/c were airborne between 0920 and 0942 hours with one abortion. Lt. Bass returned to base at 1128 hours. The 388th bombed the marshalling yards by a lake northeast of Hagen in the Ruhr Valley. This was a "Shack". All of our a/c returned to base by 1537 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 - The tactical offensive continued on this day with the attack on the railway sidings and depots at Gladbeck, Germany. The 401st Group made up the "C" Group of the 94th Bomb Wing with the 613th aircraft forming the High Squadron. It turned out to be a lovely clear day with the Lead bombardiers doing another good job, their bombs all falling within the 2,000 feet radius of the assigned aiming point. Some of the other Squadrons were hit by meager flak on the bomb run causing damage to 12 aircraft. No other enemy opposition was seen. The 613th crews were: 42-102947 Berneburg, 44-6842 Kelso, 43-39125 Litchfield, 44-6132 Smith, 44-8767 McKenny, 43-38458 Levy, 42-31591 Maharick, 43-38862 Carey, 43-38758 Geren, 42-31985 Cracraft, 44-6588 Nielson.source: 613th Bombardment Squadron History
401BG / 614BS Mission Report - The tactical offensive continued on the 23rd with attacks by the whole of the 8th Air Force on rail targets in west and central Germany. The assigned target of the 401st was the railroad sidings and depots at the town of Gladbeck with Captain D.V. Kirkhuff as Air Commander of the Group. The 38 B-17's of the 401st B.G. made up the 94th "C" Group of the Wing formation with the take-off, taking 27 minutes to complete, over by 1012 hrs. For some reason the flying control officer, Captain David T. Steere, noted that Lt. Babcock (395) made a very beautiful landing, but does not give the reason for making this comment. The weather over the target turned out to be very clear and the lead bombardiers of each Squadron made a good run onto the MPI with all their bombs falling within the 2,000 feet radius. The flak zeroed in on the formation as it made the bomb run and 12 aircraft received minor battle damage. The 614th Squadron loading list was as follows: 44-8708 Kirkhuff, 42-107151 Stehman, 42-97395 Babcock, 43-38677 Lindsay, 42-102077 Park, 42-97322 Holmes, 42-97780 Gray, 43-38646 Cameron, 42-102468 Djernes, 42-97931 Ayre, 43-38738 Salisbury.source: 614th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 615BS Mission Report - The whole of the 8th Air Force carried out attacks on rail targets in west and central Germany, the primary target for the 401st being a storage depot and railway siding at Gladbeck in the Ruhr. Briefing for the 38 crews was at 0615 hrs, the 38 aircraft taking off in 27 minutes, the last one being airborne at 1012 hrs. The 401st put up the 94th IICII Group with Capt. D.V. Kirkhuff as the Air Commander. 1st Lt. A.D. Aschenbach and 1st Lt. M.J. Kochel led the other two Squadrons. The lovely weather allowed the bombardiers to visually bomb the target with all bombs falling within a radius of 2,000 feet of the MPI. On the bomb run the flak gunners got the altitude of the 401st just right causing damage of a minor short to twelve aircraft, but, as so often was the case, not one crew member was wounded. The Squadron put up the following crews: 44-8707 Kochel, 43-38941 Bennett, 44-8825 Aschenbach, 44-6947 Hart, 44-8648 Spuhler.source: 615th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
44BG Mission Report - The 44th is up to eight consecutive missions today when 30 of our aircraft, 7 67th, were dispatched to the Rhine M/Y. Lt. Alley, 66th, was lead pilot for the Group in A/C #672, while Lt. Reynolds, 67th, flew lead on the high right squadron. The target was hit visually, with good to excellent results, by all three squadrons each of them bombing individually by squadrons. Flak was moderate and accurate at the target and our fighter support was only fair. All aircraft returned to base safely, but seven of them had sustained category "A" battle damage and one "B" damages. In addition, three 67th men were slightly wounded but none required hospitalization. Lt. Lee was abortive due to mechanical failure.source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
445BG Mission Report - Target: Munster, Germany - Railroad Marshaling Yard. A/C Took Off: 22. A/C Bombed Target: 21. A/C Lost: 1source: 445th Bomb Group http://445bg.org
446th Bomb Group Mission Report
Munster

20 planes bombed the marshalling yards with very good results reported.

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: Coesfeld R/R Center. Lt. Marsh led the high squadron with Lt. Kane as his pilot. The R/R M/Yds at Coesfeld were bombed visually. Strike photographs show good results. No flak was encountered. source: 322rd Bomb Squadron / 91BG Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/
91BG / 401BS Mission Report - On the 23rd of March we dispatched 10 A/C and 12 crews to attack the RR center at Goesfeld. The target was bombed visually with good to excellent results. Our Squadron furnished the Lead Squadron in the Group formation.Maj. John D. Davis flew in A/C 357, piloted by Capt. Walker, as Acting Commander. The Group furnished the 1st "C" Group. AA fire was nil at the target. Fighter support was good. All Squadron A/C and crews returned safely.source: 91st BG / 401st BS Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/

Non-Combat Accident Reports

Aircraft: B-17G (#44-8604).
Organization: 336BS / 95BG of Horham, Suffolk.
Pilot: Dunwoody, William M.
Notes: killed in mid air collision.
Location: Campsey Ash/ nr England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#44-8754).
Organization: 336BS / 95BG of Horham, Suffolk.
Pilot: Savage, Cary L.
Notes: mid air collision.
Location: English Channel.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-24J (#44-40463).
Organization: 785BS / 466BG of Attlebridge, Norfolk.
Pilot: [parked aircraft].
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Attlebridge, Norfolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-24L (#44-49529).
Organization: 784BS / 466BG of Attlebridge, Norfolk.
Pilot: Sorensen, Erwin H.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Attlebridge, Norfolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: Mosquito XVI (#NS552).
Organization: 654BS / 25BG of Watton, Norfolk.
Pilot: Hunt, Morton M.
Notes: take off accident.
Location: Watton, Norfolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-47D (#42-7993W).
Organization: / of Bury St. Edmonds, Suffolk.
Pilot: Aldrich, Richard T.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Rattlesden, Suffolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-47M (#44-21194).
Organization: 63FS / 56FG of Boxted, Essex.
Pilot: Bokina, Carl J.
Notes: killed in a crash.
Location: Pound Farm, S of Milden England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D10 (#44-14192).
Organization: 370FS / 359FG of East Wretham, Norfolk.
Pilot: Schulte, Jack R.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: East Wretham, Norfolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D15 (#44-15484).
Organization: 79FS / 20FG of Kings Cliffe, Northamptonshire.
Pilot: Bishop, Lynn P.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Kings Cliffe, Northamptonshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/

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

Mission "8th AF 908"
Rail targets in west and central Germany
March 23, 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
127612443140.50-0-00-0-07-3-2737-10-72466BG aircraft crash-lands base
95BG aircraft crashes Campdea Ash
447BG aircraft crash-lands continent
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Mission Targets

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WESTERHOLT, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yard13 A/C
RHEINE, GERMANY
Railroad
bridge79 A/C
OSNABRUCK, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yard80 A/Cphotos (2)
MUNSTER, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yard142 A/C
HENGSTEY, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yard113 A/Cphotos (1)
GIESECKE, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yard91 A/C
HOLZWICKEDE, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yard184 A/Cphotos (1)
UNNA, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yard38 A/C
SIEGEN, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yard31 A/Cphotos (1)
MESCHEDE, GERMANY
Industry
Henschel19 A/C
MARBURG, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yard10 A/Cphotos (1)
HERDECKE, GERMANY
Railroad
bridge13 A/C
SCHWERTE, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yard10 A/C
COESFELD, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yard145 A/Cphotos (1)
RECKLINGHAUSEN, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yard120 A/Cphotos (1)
GLADBECK, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yard141 A/Cphotos (1)
Aircraft Groups

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1ST AIR DIVISION
303BG
305BG
306BG
351BG
379BG
381BG
384BG
398BG
401BG
457BG
91BG
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
490BG
493BG
95BG
96BG
OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)
Aircraft Losses

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1ST AIR DIVISION
384BG (1 a/c)
2ND AIR DIVISION
93BG (1 a/c)
389BG (1 a/c)
445BG (1 a/c)
3RD AIR DIVISION
100BG (1 a/c)
34BG (1 a/c)
388BG (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
4994690.01-0-00-0-10-0-00-0-0352FG supported 9AF operations
361FG supported 9AF operations
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Mission Targets

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Escort
273 A/C

Sweep
125 A/C

Support
71 A/C
Aircraft Groups

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1ST AIR DIVISION
20FG
352FG
356FG
359FG
364FG
2ND AIR DIVISION
4FG
355FG
361FG
479FG
3RD AIR DIVISION
55FG
78FG
339FG
353FG
357FG
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)

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
63620.00-0-00-0-00-0-00-0-0
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Mission Targets

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GERMANY
Reconnaissance
photo19 A/C

Chaff
8 A/C

Reconnaissance
monitor2 A/C
FRANCE / UK
Reconnaissance
weather1 A/C
AZORES/ATLANTIC/UK
Reconnaissance
weather3 A/C

Air Sea Rescue
17 A/C

Communications
radio countermeasures11 A/C

Reconnaissance
radar scope1 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)
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)