Mission

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Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description

Mission 920: 1,348 bombers and 889 fighters are dispatched to hit synthetic oil plants, a refinery, munitions plant and tank factory; they claim 9-3-9 Luftwaffe aircraft; 5 bombers and 4 fighters are lost:

1. 229 B-17s are sent to hit the synthetic oil refinery at Zeitz using H2X radar; secondary targets hit are the oil plant at Bad Berka (29) and Gotha (20) visually; targets of opportunity are Erfurt (25) and other (8), hit visually; 3 B-17s are lost, 1 damaged beyond repair and 108 damaged; 1 airman is KIA; 2 WIA and 30 MIA. Escorting are 117 of 120 P-51s; 1 is lost (pilot MIA).

2. 294 B-17s are sent to hit Brandenburg (265); targets of opportunity are Stendal (9) and Salzwedel (9); they claim 0-1-0 aircraft; 1 B-17 is damaged. 207 of 221 P-51s escort claiming 5-0-0 aircraft; 1 P-51 is lost (pilot MIA).

3. 371 of 385 B-24s hit the secondary target, the marshalling yard at Brunswick; they claim 3-2-1 aircraft; 2 B-24s are lost, 3 damaged beyond repair and 3 damaged; 10 airmen are KIA, 1 WIA and 29 MIA. The escort is 253 of 266 P-47s and P-51s; they claim 0-0-7 aircraft; 2 P-51s are lost (pilots MIA).

4. 369 of 432 B-17s attack the secondary, the marshalling yard at Halle; targets of opportunity are Leipzig (8), Weimar (36), Aschersleben (7) and other (1); 37 B-17s are damaged. Escorting are 225 of 233 P-51s.

5. 8 B-17s fly a screening mission.

6. 26 of 30 P-51s fly scouting missions; they claim 1-0-1 aircraft.

7. 19 P-51s escort 8 of 10 F-5s on photo reconnaissance missions.

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

Mission Reports

German damage report (Brunswick) - Destruction near the Frankfurt street on the passenger station to the Ostbahnhof likewise, also in the neighborhood around the upper Husarenstrasse. Devastation in the cemetery. Harder hit in the north wing of the castle. Death lists published on 03./04. and 06 April. Funeral service at 06 April published on 07th/08th. April. (translated from German)source: Brunswick city website http://www.braunschweig.de/kultur_tourismus/stadtportraet/geschichte/stadtchronik.html
303BG Mission Report - Target: Marshalling Yards at Halle, Germany. Crews Dispatched: 35 (358BS - 3, 359th - 12, 360th - 11, 427th - 9). Length of Mission: 8 hours, 43 minutes. Bomb Load: 6 x 1,000 lb H.E. MkIII bombs. Bombing Altitudes: 25,000, 24,300, & 25,600 ft. Ammo Fired: 0 rounds.

The last mission in March targeted the Lutzkendorf synthetic oil plant, first priority (visual) and the marshalling yards in Halle, second priority (visual) and third priority (H2X). One aircraft returned early, #43-38645 (No Name), 359BS (Lt. Haynes), with mechanical problems.

Thirty-four B-17s dropped 198 1,000-lb. H.E. MkIII bombs and ten leaflet units on the third priority target. Bombing by PFF (H2X) produced unobserved results. In the target area, there were 9/10 high clouds with tops at 23,000 to 25,000 feet and light non- persistent contrails. Fighter support by 225 P-51s was very good. There was no enemy air or flak opposition and no battle damage or casualties. All aircraft returned safely 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 #155 Brandenburg. Command Pilot: SMITH. 38 planes dispatched. 37 planes dropped 70.3 tons on the primary target and 1 plane failed to bomb. 37 Credit Sorties. source: 34th Bomb Group Mission List compiled by Gary L. Ferrell http://valortovictory.tripod.com
351BG Mission Report - 36 aircraft were sent on this mission. source: 351st Bomb Group web page http://www.351st.org/ken.harbour
388BG Mission Report - The 388th furnished three Groups for the 45th B Combat Wing. 38 of our a/c took-off between 0525 and 0556 hours and all were credited for the mission. Lt. Aubry in a/c # 989 returned early and landed at 1130 hours.

Formations were effected and the briefed route was followed to the target. The assembly altitude was raised to 13,000 feet due to clouds. The 45th A Combat Wing leader overshot the IP causing the following Groups to do the same. Because of dense contrails at the primary target, the low Group did not release their bombs. They returned to the original IP and made a run on a last resort target, Gotha. Our lead Group made a 360? circle and picked up the low Group for the return route to base. The High Group had joined the 45th A Wing at the Rally Point for the return to base. The 388th was sixth in the Division column.

Our 36 a/c returned to base by 1334 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 - This was the 22nd mission for the month and was a long haul to the oil production plants at Merseburg. Halle and Weimar were the alternative targets and as the primary and secondary targets were obscured by clouds the formation went on to the third target at Weimar. The Group put up 36 aircraft with the 613th Squadron flying as the Lead Squadron of the 94th "C" Group. There was some cloud at Weimar so the Lead Bombardiers made an H2X run with visual assists through cloud breaks. The 613th had all their bombs within the 2,000 feet radius, as did the Low Squadron. Some flak was seen but none appeared to be aimed at the Group formation and all crews returned safely to base. The 613th crews taking part on this mission were: 42-31983 Young, 44-6588 Nielson, 44-6125 May, 42-31730 Lovelace, 42-102947 Berneburg, 42-97602 Shepard, 44-3767 Long, 44-6842 Litchfield, 44-6132 Bradley, 42-31591 Geren, 43-37706 Evans.source: 613th Bombardment Squadron History
401BG / 614BS Mission Report - This was a real early morning mission with the Group being briefed at 0200 hrs and all aircraft airborne by 0627 hrs. The 38 aircraft, under the command of Major J.D. Strauss, made up the 94th "C" Group of the Wing, and, like most formation that day, hit Weimar by PFF as a target of opportunity. The bombardiers had some visual assists and most of the bombs fell within a radius of 2,000 feet. Some flak was seen on this mission but the 401st escaped the wrath af the gunners and all aircraft returned to Deenethorpe safely. The Squadron furnished the following crews: 43-38330 Salisbury, 42-38012 James, 43-38565 Babcock, 43-38646 Cameron, 42-97931 Ayre, 42-97780 Gray, 42-102077 Scimeca, 42-97473 Stehman, 43-38791 Sorensen, 42-107151 Gibson, 43-38677 Viehman.source: 614th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 615BS Mission Report - The crews went into the briefing at 0200 hrs on this Saturday morning, which meant that they had very little sleep before taking off just after 6.00 am. The usual 38 crews took part in the briefing; they were given the assignment of visually bombing the oil refinery at Merseburg. They found both the primary and the secondary targets covered by cloud and eventually bombed the number three target at Weimar by PFF. The 401st put up the 94th "C" Group, led by Major J.D. Strauss with Capt. W.S. Harb and Capt. J.D. Gerber as the other two Squadron leaders. The Lead and Low Squadrons had all their bombs within the 2,000 foot radius while the High Squadron's fell far short and to the left. Flak was observed on this mission but none hit the formation, all aircraft returning safely to Deenethorpe. The loading list is missing from the 615th records for this mission but Major J.D. Strauss did fly with a 615th crew, and Capt. J.D. Gerber was a member of the 615th.source: 615th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
44BG Mission Report - A terrific pace of operations for the month was topped off with an attack on the Marshalling Yards at Brunswick, Germany. On this 25th and last mission of the month, the 44th dispatched 33 aircraft, 9 were 67th, to lead the 14th Combat Wing. The 67th's nine aircraft composed the high right squadron in the Group formation that was led by Lt. Reynolds, 67th. The Group's lead was flown by 66th's Captain Smith in A/C #356+ and with Major Hughes, C.O. of the 66th Squadron along as Command Pilot. Capt. Smith switched places with the Deputy Lead because his H2X equipment became inoperative. Brunswick was the secondary and was bombed H2X after the Primary, the Hoya Ammunition storage depot was found to be covered with 10/10th cloud cover. 500 lb RDX's were dropped through moderate and generally inaccurate flak. Fighter support was very good. All aircraft returned to base safely and with no battle damage. 2nd Lts. Carlberg, Kyle and Potter promoted to 1st Lts. SUMMARY The 67th Squadron participated in 25 missions for the month of March, flying a total of 162 sorties. This month was the biggest operational month since the Invasion month, June 1944. 23 Officers and 37 Enlisted Men completed their operational tour during the month. One crew was MIA, the first operational loss since October 1944. The 68th Squadron points with pride their fine record of mounting 194 consecutive sorties without an abortion due to mechanical failure. This period extends from February 1st to March 20. And their Engineering section was quite busy with their number of 15 engine changes completed. M/Sgt. Calvert, 68th, has maintained his record of continuous sorties without abortives due to mechanical failures to the tune of 107 sorties. M/Sgt. Nelson, 67th, has about the same number as Sgt. Calbert but it was not officially recorded at the end of this month.source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
445BG Mission Report - Target: Brunswick, Germany - Railroad Marshaling Yard. A/C Took Off: 32. A/C Bombed Target: 30. A/C Lost: 0source: 445th Bomb Group http://445bg.org
446th Bomb Group Mission Report
Brunswick

The armament works was bombed through heavy clouds.

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: Merseburg (Leuna). The locomotive depot at Halle was attacked by the lead and high squadrons and five A/C of the low squadron by PFF methods with unobserved results. Seven A/C of the low squadron bombed the M/Yds at Aschersleben visually with good results. Maj. Newquist led the high squadron with Lt. Moulton as his pilot. No damage was suffered by this squadron. source: 322rd Bomb Squadron / 91BG Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/
91BG / 401BS Mission Report - On the 31st of March we dispatched 11 A/C and 12 crews to attack the Mersberg Synthetic Oil Plant. No two target was the Locomotive Depot at Halle. The Lead and High Squadrons bombed Halle by means of instruments with unobserved results. While on their bomb run the Low Squadron ran into a collision course with another formation and were unable to drop their bombs. The Low Squadron went on to bomb the Marshalling Yards at Aschersleben visually with good results. The Squadron flew the Lead Squadron in the Group formation. The Group furnished the 1st "B" Group. AA fir at the target was meager and inaccurate. Meager, inaccurste concentrations of AA fire was experienced enroute to the target. Fighter support was very 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: A-26C (#43-22636).
Organization: / BAD2 of Warton, Lancashire.
Pilot: [ground crew].
Notes: taxiing accident.
Location: Warton, Lancashire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-24H (#42-50331).
Organization: 856BS / 492BG of Harrington, Northamptonshire.
Pilot: Polansky, Henry L.
Notes: killed in crash due to engine failure.
Location: Orkney Is/Kirkland North Sea.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-24J (#42-51241).
Organization: 409BS / 93BG of Hardwick, Norfolk.
Pilot: Tucker, Marvin L.
Notes: killed in a crash.
Location: Hardwick, Norfolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D10 (#44-14411).
Organization: 375FS / 361FG of Chievres, Belgium.
Pilot: Lassberg, Osbert M Jr.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Chievres, Belgium Belgium.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D10 (#44-15228).
Organization: 435FS / 479FG of Wattisham, Suffolk.
Pilot: Nicholson, Thomas G.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Wattisham, Suffolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D20 (#44-63236).
Organization: 435FS / 479FG of Wattisham, Suffolk.
Pilot: Salze, Floyd W.
Notes: crashed belly landing.
Location: Wattisham, Suffolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/

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

Mission "8th AF 920"
Synthetic oil plants, munition and vehicles factories
March 31, 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
134813023617.93-3-10-0-05-4-14911-3-5993BG aircraft crashes South Cove
466BG aircraft crash-lands Holland
453BG aircraft crashes Tunern
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Mission Targets

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ZEITZ-TROGLITZ, GERMANY
Braunkohle-Benzin A.G. Industry
oil refinery137 A/Cphotos (3)
BAD BERKA, GERMANY
Industry
oil refinery29 A/C
GOTHA, GERMANY
Industry
oil refinery20 A/C
ERFURT, GERMANY
Target of Opportunity
25 A/C
BRANDENBURG, GERMANY
City
265 A/C
SALZWEDEL, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yard9 A/Cphotos (1)
BRUNSWICK, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yard371 A/C
HALLE, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yard369 A/C
WEIMAR, GERMANY
Industry
munitions36 A/Cphotos (2)
ASCHERSLEBEN, GERMANY
Junkers Flugzeugwerke Industry
Aviation7 A/C

Screen
8 A/C
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
2ND AIR DIVISION
389BG (1 a/c)
453BG (1 a/c)
3RD AIR DIVISION
96BG (1 a/c)
100BG (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
8898470.06-0-80-0-04-0-00-0-4
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Mission Targets

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Escort
821 A/C

Reconnaissance
scout26 A/C
Aircraft Groups

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1ST AIR DIVISION
20FG
352FG
356FG
359FG
364FG
2ND AIR DIVISION
4FG
56FG
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
4FG (1 a/c)
361FG (1 a/c)
3RD AIR DIVISION
78FG (1 a/c)
339FG (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
1001000.00-0-00-0-00-0-00-0-0
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Mission Targets

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GERMANY
Reconnaissance
photo8 A/C

Chaff
9 A/C

Special Op
1 A/C
CONTINENT / UK
Reconnaissance
weather4 A/C
AZORES/ATLANTIC/UK
Reconnaissance
weather4 A/C

Air Sea Rescue
28 A/C

Air Sea Rescue
26 A/C

Communications
radio countermeasures3 A/C

Communications
radio-relay15 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)