Mission

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Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description

Mission 968: 589 bombers and 486 fighters fly the final heavy bomber mission against an industrial target, airfields and rail targets in SE Germany and Czechoslovakia; they claim 1-1-0 Luftwaffe aircraft (including an Ar 234 jet); 6 bombers and 1 fighter are lost:

1. 307 B-17s are sent to hit the airfield (78) and Skokda armament works at Pilsen, Czechoslovakia; 6 B-17s are lost, 4 damaged beyond repair and 180 damaged; 8 airmen are WIA and 42 MIA. Escorting are 188 of 206 P-51s.

2. 282 B-24s are sent to hit marshaling yards at Salzburg (109), Bad Reichenhall (56) and Hallein (57) and electrical transformers at Traunstein (56); 20 B-24s are damaged; 1 airman is WIA. The escort is 203 of 216 P-51s; they claim 1-0-0 aircraft in the air.

3. 17 of 19 P-51s fly a sweep of the Prague-Linz area claiming 0-1-0 aircraft in the air; 1 P-51 is lost.

4. 17 of 19 P-51s fly a screening mission.

5. 4 P-51s escort 2 OA-10s on an air-sea-rescue mission.

6. 22 P-51s escort 5 F-5s on photo reconnaissance missions over Germany and Czechoslovakia.

7. 88 of 98 P-51s escort RAF bombers.

Mission 969: During the night of 25/26 Apr, 11 B-24s drop leaflets in France, the Netherlands and Germany. 12 B-24s and 1 A-26 are dispatched on CARPETBAGGER missions to Norway; 7 aircraft complete the mission.

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

Mission Reports

Notes: Final 8AF heavy bomber mission of the war
303BG Mission Report - Target: Skoda Armament Works at Pilsen, Czechoslovakia. Crews Dispatched: 42 (358BS - 12, 359th - 5, 360th - 13, 427th - 12). Crews Lost: 1Lt. Mauger - 3 KIA, 4 POW, 1 EVD. Length of Mission: 9 hours, 21 minutes. Bomb Load: 10 x 500 lb G.P. bombs. Bombing Altitudes: 22,000, 21,500 & 23,000 feet.

This was the mission that men of the 303BG(H) had been waiting for since the group flew its first mission on 17 November 1942. Climaxing the end of the air war over Germany, the 303BG(H) attacked one of the most renowned targets in Europe—the Skoda armament works in Pilsen (Plzen), Czechoslovakia. Allied radio had broadcast a warning to the Czech workers to stay away from the factory since it was the target. Such an advance mission warning was unprecedented.

Forty-two aircraft were dispatched, including six spares, with assigned targets as follows: #1 – Skoda Armament Works, Pilsen, Czechoslovakia (visual); #2 – Munich, Germany marshalling yard (visual) and #3 (H2XO). New group commanding officer, Lt. Col. William C. Sipes, led the 41st CBW-A and 303BG(H) as Air Commander. No aircraft returned early. There was no Scouter or Weather B-17 for the Group or Wing.

Forty-one aircraft dropped 400 500-lb. G.P. bombs and ten leaflet unitsontargetNo.1. Bombingresults were good. The lead Squadron bombs hit about 500 feet south of the assigned MPI. Smoke from the lead Squadron bombs hit close to their MPI and hit a power point. Practically every bomb was in the target area and one large explosion was seen. Overall results were very good.

Target weather was 6/10th low clouds, tops at 8,000 feet. Since the target could not be seen on the first bomb run, all three Squadrons decided to make another run from a different angle. Strike photos showed direct hits on the huge factory. Later reports from plant workers revealed much devastation, and the plant was rendered inoperative.

There was no enemy air opposition and 188 P-51s provided good air support. In the target area anti-aircraft fire was meager to moderate and inaccurate on the first bomb run and became intense and very accurate on the second bomb run. Every returning aircraft sustained battle damage – twenty-four major and fifteen, minor. Five men in one crew were wounded. Many aircraft landed without gear or flaps. The end of the runway looked like a parking lot.

More info on this mission at the 303BG website

source: 303rd Bomb Group web page http://www.303rdbg.com/
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/
44BG Mission Report - The 67th dispatched seven crews, the 44th a total of 30, to attack the Marshalling Yards at Hallein, Austria. Lt. Reynolds led the low left squadron in the Group formation. All of the 30 aircraft attacked this priority #1 target visually by squadrons, and achieved excellent bombing results. Flak was moderate and accurate from Bertesgaden and Salzberg. One 67th aircraft sustained slight battle damage. No enemy aircraft activity was reported. Fighter support was excellent and all of our aircraft returned to baae safely. T/Sgt. Dunkle completed operational tour. SUMMARY During the month of April 1945 crews and aircraft of the 67th participated in 14 operational missions, flying a total of 106 sorties. Eight officers and 18 enlisted men completed their operational tour of duty. There were no casualties or injuries suffered, and no aircraft lost during this period. There were only four turn backs for the month. The last two days brought varying reports to the end of hostilities but at this writing fighting still continues on. NO HISTORY WAS PRESERVED FOR ANY 44TH SECTION FOR MAY, 1945. ALL MICROFILM RECORDS SEEM TO END FOR RETENTION AT APRIL 30, 1945!!source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
445BG Mission Report - Target: Salzburg, Austria - Railroad Marshalling Yard. A/C Took Off: 19. A/C Bombed Target: 19. A/C Lost: 0source: 445th Bomb Group http://445bg.org
446th Bomb Group Mission Report
Salzburg

A bridge over the Salzach river was bombed with good results on the 446ths last mission. 2 days later, 6 crewmen were killed on a night transition flight when their plane crashed, the last casualties of the war for the 446th.

source: 446th Bomb Group www.446bg.com
467th Bomb Group Mission reportsource: 467th Bomb Group web page http://www.467bg.com/
91st BG / 323nd BS Mission Report - This mission was our last one for this theatre, although, it wasn't known at that time. This made the 340th mission for the group and for ship #909; 140 completed missions without an abortive, still holding the ETO record. This last attack was made on an airfield at Pilsen, Germany . Good results were obtained. 12 A/C of 323rd squadron participated. All returned safely and there were no abortives. source: 323rd Bomb Squadron / 91BG Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/
91st BG / 322nd BS Mission Report - Primary Target: Pilsen A/F. REMARKS: Lt. Col. Sheeler, with Capt. Schroeder as his co-pilot, flew in the lead A/c as group air commander. The airfield just SW of Pilsen was bombed visually. Results for the lead and low squadrons were unobserved but the high squadron strike photographs showed good results. Moderate but very accurate flak was encountered over the target just before bomb run for about three minutes, resulting in minor damage to 13 A/C and major damage to 11 A/C. Lt. Wilks, navigator on Lt. Schone's crew, was hit by flak in the right thigh. Lt. Marlow flying A/C #306 was forced to land on the continent due to damage from flak over the target. source: 322rd Bomb Squadron / 91BG Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/
91st BG / 324th BS Mission Report - Target: Pilsen Airfield We furnished the low squadron for this mission to Pilsen, Czechoslvakia. The target was an airfield on the South West outskirts of Pilsen. Bombing was done visually by this squadron with unobserved results. This was an area attack on the city of Pilsen and its industries.source: 91st BG / 324th BS Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/

Non-Combat Accident Reports

Aircraft: B-17G (#42-97646).
Organization: 709BS / 447BG of Rattlesden, Suffolk.
Pilot: McClanahan, Marion R.
Notes: taxiing accident.
Location: Rattlesden, Suffolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#43-38013).
Organization: 544BS* / 384BG of Grafton Underwood.
Pilot: [parked aircraft].
Notes: ground accident.
Location: Grafton Underwood England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage):
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#43-38318).
Organization: 731BS / 452BG of Deopham Green, Norfolk.
Pilot: Sanda, John A.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Deopham Green, Norfolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#43-39138).
Organization: 544BS / 384BG of Grafton Underwood.
Pilot: Grove, Alfred W.
Notes: ground looped.
Location: Grafton Underwood England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-24J (#42-51307).
Organization: 36BS / 482BG of Alconbury, Cambridgeshire.
Pilot: Grubisich, George (NMI).
Notes: taxiing accident.
Location: Alconbury, Cambridgeshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: Mosquito XVI (#NS707).
Organization: 865BS / 492BG of Harrington, Northamptonshire.
Pilot: Kuntz, James G.
Notes: killed while bailing out due to fire.
Location: Winchfield/ nr England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51B5 (#43-6319W).
Organization: OT / 55FG of Wormingford, Essex.
Pilot: Cooter, Alvin B.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Wormingford, Essex England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51B5 (#43-6322W).
Organization: 354FS / 355FG of Steeple Morden, Cambridgeshire.
Pilot: Burns, Charles R.
Notes: forced landing due to engine failure.
Location: Bowser Fm, Bingham Ldg England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51C7 (#42-103758W).
Organization: 487FS / 352FG of Bodney, Norfolk.
Pilot: Prichard, Joseph W.
Notes: ground looped.
Location: Honington, Suffolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D15 (#44-15382).
Organization: 82FS / 78FG of Duxford, Cambridgeshire.
Pilot: Carroll, Edward J.
Notes: crash landing weather.
Location: Sawton Hall/ 1/2mi E England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51D5NT (#44-11213).
Organization: 385FS / 364FG of Honington, Suffolk.
Pilot: Bloodgood, Donald L.
Notes: bailed out due to structural failure.
Location: Honington/ 4mi SE England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51K5 (#44-11649).
Organization: 82FS / 78FG of Duxford, Cambridgeshire.
Pilot: Henahan, Donald J.
Notes: crashed on take off.
Location: Duxford, Cambridgeshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/

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

Mission "8th AF 968"
Airfields and rail targets in Czechoslovakia and southeast Germany
April 25, 1945

Notes: Final 8AF heavy bomber mission of the war

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
5895541385.80-0-00-0-06-4-2000-9-42305BG aircraft crash-lands France
91BG aircraft forced to land Illesheim airfield
2x 379BG aircraft collide
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Mission Targets

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PILSEN, CZECHOSLOVAKIA
Airfield
78 A/C
PILSEN, CZECHOSLOVAKIA
Skoda Industry
armaments198 A/C
SALZBURG, AUSTRIA
Railroad
marshalling yard109 A/C
BAD REICHENHALL, GERMANY
Railroad
station56 A/C
HALLEIN, AUSTRIA
Railroad
marshalling yard57 A/C
Aircraft Groups

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1ST AIR DIVISION
303BG
305BG
379BG
381BG
384BG
398BG
91BG
92BG
2ND AIR DIVISION
44BG
93BG
389BG
392BG
445BG
446BG
448BG
458BG
466BG
467BG
491BG
3RD AIR DIVISION
OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)
Aircraft Losses

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1ST AIR DIVISION
92BG (1 a/c)
303BG (1 a/c)
305BG (1 a/c)
384BG (1 a/c)
398BG (2 a/c)
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
5845390.01-1-00-0-01-0-00-0-0Last 8AF fighter MIA
20FG baled over Dusseldorf
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Mission Targets

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Escort
417 A/C

Sweep
17 A/C

Support
88 A/C

Reconnaissance
scout17 A/C
Aircraft Groups

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1ST AIR DIVISION
20FG
352FG
356FG
364FG
2ND AIR DIVISION
4FG
355FG
361FG
479FG
3RD AIR DIVISION
78FG
353FG
357FG
OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)
Aircraft Losses

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1ST AIR DIVISION
2ND AIR DIVISION
4FG (1 a/c)
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
45450.00-0-00-0-00-0-00-0-0
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Mission Targets

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CZ / GERMANY
Reconnaissance
photo5 A/C
ATLANTIC / CONTINENT / NORTH S
Reconnaissance
weather8 A/C

Chaff
5 A/C
AZORES/ATLANTIC/UK
Reconnaissance
weather4 A/C

Air Sea Rescue
11 A/C

Communications
radio countermeasures3 A/C

Communications
radio-relay9 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)