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Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description

Mission 182. Three aviation industry targets in Germany are hit; fierce opposition estimated at 500 Luftwaffe fighters is encountered and 60 bombers and 5 fighters are lost.

1. 177 B-17s are dispatched to Oschersleben; 139 hit the primary and 20 hit targets of opportunity; they claim 174-32-63 Luftwaffe aircraft; 34 B-17s are lost, 2 damaged beyond repair and 83 damaged; casualties are 9 KIA, 11 WIA and 349 MIA.

2. 114 B-17s are dispatched to Halberstadt; 52 hit the primary and 55 hit targets of opportunity; they claim 35-11-19 Luftwaffe aircraft; 8 B-17s are lost, 1 is damaged beyond repair and 42 damaged; casualties are 1 KIA, 18 WIA and 81 MIA. 177 P-47s and 44 Ninth Air Force P-51s escort; they claim 29-11-14 Luftwaffe aircraft; 2 P-47s are lost, 3 damaged beyond repair and 4 P-47s and 1 P-51 are damaged; casualties are 2 KIA and 2 MIA. Major James H Howard, a P-51 pilot of the 354th Fighter Group, shot down an Me 110 and then found himself the lone escort for a B-17 group being attacked by 30 Luftwaffe aircraft. For the next 30 minutes, he kept turning into the enemy fighters and firing until only one gun was firing; by this time, he was credited with 2-1-2 Luftwaffe aircraft and saved the B-17s. Major Howard was awarded the Medal of Honor.

3. 234 B-17s and 138 B-24s are dispatched to Brunswick; 47 B-17s hit the primary, 114 hit Osnabruck, 25 hit Bielefeld, 22 hit Peine, 10 hit Herford and 1 hit Nienburg; no B-24s hit the primary, 58 hit Meppen, 1 hits Lingen and 7 hit other targets; they claim 19-17-16 Luftwaffe aircraft; 16 B-17s and 2 B-24s are lost, 1 each damaged beyond repair and 47 B-17s and 7 B-24s damaged; casualties are 5 WIA and 176 MIA. This mission is escorted by 49 P-38s and 322 P-47s; they claim 2-1-2 Luftwaffe aircraft; 1 P-38 and 2 P-47s are lost and 1 P-47 is damaged; casualties are 1 MIA. Among the PFF aircraft are 4 B-24s, this being the first time B-24s are used in this capacity.

HQ 96th Combat Bombardment Wing (Heavy) is activated at Horsham St Faith, England.

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 of three halls of Luther-work at Bienrode. Seven dead. (translated from German)source: Brunswick city website http://www.braunschweig.de/kultur_tourismus/stadtportraet/geschichte/stadtchronik.html
303BG Mission Report - Target: (1) A.G.O. Flugzeugwerke, A.G., Visual bombing (2) FW-190 Assembly & Component Plant, Both at Oschersleben, Germany. Crews Dispatched: 40 (358BS - 11, 359th - 14, 360th - 8, 427th - 8). Crews Lost: 11. Crew Members Lost: 2 crewmen were also killed. Length of Mission: 7 hours, 15 minutes. Bomb Load: 500 lb G.P. bombs. Bombing Altitude: 20,000 ft. Ammo Fired: 52,670 rounds.

Oschersleben proved to be the most disastrous of 303rd BG(H) combat missions flown to date. The 303rd lost eleven B-17s. The 1st BD lost 34. The 8th AF lost 60 bombers and five fighters. Four aircraft aborted the mission.

While the aircraft were airborne, the weather started closing in over English bases and a recall signal was issued. B/Gen. Robert F. Travis, 1BD Air Commander, continued on to the target. He later claimed he had never received the recall order. Most of the 2BD and 3BD aircraft, whose target was Brunswick, elected to return to England and seek targets of opportunity. This left the 1BD with greater exposure to enemy fighter attacks, which were the most numerous in the air since the 14 October 1943 mission to Schweinfurt. Enemy fighters (FW-190s) first jumped the bombers over the Zuider Zee. Good fighter support was provided by P-47s on the penetration and by P-51s over the target. P-47s were airborne to provide withdrawal support, but they obeyed the recall order to return to England and left the bombers to fend for themselves on their return trip. Luftwaffe attacks intensified when our fighters left. Some of the German fighters attacked in groups of 15 to 30 aircraft. Over 300 enemy fighters were observed on single occasions. The Focke Wolfs carried belly tanks and attacked with them attached. They showed no hesitation in attacking the 1BD bombers with intense determination. Some fired rockets. A few appeared willing to ram a B-17.

Meager and fairly accurate flak was experienced on the bomb run, with intermittent inaccurate flak on the return trip. This was the first mission on which chaff was employed. It was largely ineffective because of an inadequate supply of chaff bundles and the inexperience of men dropping it. Bombing results were excellent.
#41-24587 Bad Check was the first 303BG B-17 to be lost. The ship was last seen in distress at 12,000 feet going down in a tight turn. Another crew reported it going down in a slow spin with wheels down. Five parachutes were seen. Bad Check went down between 1055 and 1105 hours in the Lienen area and crashed about 20 miles southwest of Osnabruck.
#41-24562 Sky Wolf was in distress at 20,000 feet before reaching the target. The ship peeled off, although all four engines appeared to be functioning, and crashed at Wolsdorf, Germany.
#42-39794 was believed to be the ship that went down in an area between Dummer Lake and Oschersleben. It crashed just before reaching the target.
#42-5360 Old Faithful peeled out of formation about 1110 hours and was last seen at 17,000 feet under control. No parachutes were reported. The ship crashed near Detmold, about 30 miles southeast of Osnabruck.
#42-37896 (No Name) was in distress at 19,000 feet on a 120E heading. The aircraft was on fire and went out of formation into a spin. The tail section came off. Three men, but no parachutes, were seen. The ship crashed near Kirchlengern.
#42-3131 Flak Wolf crashed at Kloster Oesede just south of Osnabruck.
#42-30865 (No Name) crashed near Nordhausen.
#41-24619 S for Sugar went down between 1110 and 1125 hours and crashed near Braunlage, Germany. It was one of the original 303rd BG aircraft.
#42-29524 Meat Hound was last seen with two feathered props at 1329 hours on a heading of 270E at 15,000 feet. Nine parachutes were reported over the Netherlands, most making delayed jumps. Lt. Watson returned his damaged B-17 alone to a fighter field at Metfield, England. The crew bailed out over IJsselmeer Holland.
#42-29894 Baltimore Bounce blew up at 20,000 feet on a 115E heading. Another report stated that it left the formation, rolled over on its back, and crashed. Further reports alleged that a wing came off. The ship crashed near Laubke/Lippe.
#42-3448 (No Name) crashed in Steinhuder Lake, Germany.

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 - 22 aircraft were sent on this mission.

42-29861 Lt. H. C. Cannon - Shot down by fighters. POW 10.

42-30780 Lt. W. H. Myers - Shot down by fighters. POW 3, KIA 5, MIA 2.

42-31481 Lt. R. J. Case - Shot down by fighters. POW 9, KIA 1.

42-3623 Lt. G. J. Procak - Shot down by fighters. POW 9, KIA 1.

42-39761 Lt. T. E. White - Shot down by fighters. POW 7, EVD 3.

42-39905 Lt. T. D. Garner - Shot down by fighters. POW 8, KIA 2.

source: 351st Bomb Group web page http://www.351st.org/ken.harbour
384BG Mission Report - 384th BG Mission Number 52. Primary Target: Ju-88 Aircraft Parts Plant - Halberstat, Germany. Target Attacked : Primary (Visual)

22 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 2
42-3051 Hines, James W - landed away Coltishall
42-29723 Rich, John (NMI) - Landed away Seething
42-37801 Stearns, Clarence Grover - landed away at Mepal after bombing w. the 401BG

source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
392nd Bomb Group Mission Reportsource: 392nd Bomb Group web page http://www.b24.net/missions/
401BG - 613BS Mission Report - The target was an aircraft plant at Oscherslaben located 120 miles west of Berlin. Eight crews of the 613th were dispatched and flew as the Lead Squadron of a composite Group. Major Brown, flying with Lt. Riegler\'s crew, was wounded by flak. One crew, Lt. Nason\'s, failed to return from this mission. Crews participating were: Riegler Shotts Keith Locher Piper Nason (M.I.A.) Sheahan Sharp.source: 613th Bombardment Squadron History
401BG / 614BS Mission Report - Nothing could have prepared the crews for this mission. It cost the Group four aircraft, the 614th Squadron losing Captain J.R. Foster and the Squadron Staff. The whole of the 1st Air Division received the Distinguished Unit Citation and Major (now Brigadier General) James Howard received his well deserved Congressional Medal of Honor. The target was the aircraft plant at Oscherslaben and Major A. Brooks led 33 401st aircraft on the mission, six from 614th Squadron. The 1st Bombardment Division put up 291 B-17's, 266 of which bombed the target. The losses were heavy; 42 aircraft missing in action, 128 aircraft damaged, 10 aircrew K.I.A., 29 wounded and 430 men M.I.A. The other Bomber and Fighter Groups lost a further 23 aircraft and 179 men M.I.A. The 614th Squadron crews taking part in this epic battle were: Cammack, Foster, Peck, Dawes, Wilson, Kirkuff.source: 614th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 615BS Mission Report - As Schweinfurt was to be remembered by the earlier 8th Air Force Groups so would Oscherslaben be remembered by the Groups that were to take part on this mission. The statistics of this mission tell the story very graphically. 139 aircraft attacked the aircraft production plant at Oscherslaben and 20 attacked targets of opportunity and of these 159 aircraft, 34 were shot down and 85 damaged. Of the crew members 349 were posted as MIA, 11 were wounded and 9 killed in action. In reply, the 1st Air Division bombers claimed 209 fighters as destroyed, 32 probables and 63 damaged. Although 8th Air Force Intelligence were somewhat dubious of these large claims by the gunners the post war Luftwaffe records showed that they were not far short of the true figures. The largest number of crews sent on a mission were briefed at 0400 hrs that Tuesday morning, with 33 of the 34 crews taking off by 0845 hrs. One aircraft failed to take off because of an oxygen leak. The Air Commander for this mission was Major A.C. Brooks. It was a great tribute to hard-working mechanics, armament and ordnance personnel of the 615th Squadron that each and every B-17 of the Squadron took part in this mission. The loading list for the mission was : 42-31485 White, 42-31193 Beers, 42-37843 Ferdyn, 42-31077 Grinham, 42-31091 Trimble, 42-37809 Chapman, 42-39893 Sprecher MIA, 42-37633 Rumsey, (with Major W.T. Seawell), 42-40057 Gardner.source: 615th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 612BS Mission Report - Crews: Goodman, McCree, Dailey, Kelly, Bingham, Johnson.source: 612th Bombardment Squadron History
44BG Mission Report - Four 67th A/C departed this base at 0815 hours, again 1 A/C abortive. Three planes reached objective and completed mission, returning this base 1400 hours. Brunswick, Germany was the intended target but as the formation crossed the enemy coast, a recall was issued. The 44th, just before turning back after the recall, spotted and opening in the clouds and decided to bomb a target of opportunity. Meppen, Germany was that target and it was bombed with an excellent bomb pattern laid upon the factory and the railroad area. Capt. Lehnhausen, 68th, was Lead Pilot of the 14th Wing, with Col. Dent as the Command Pilot. S/Sgt. Marsh, S/Sgt. Formally transferred in grade to 12th RCD. S/Sgt. Worley and Harbison promoted to T/Sgts. 2nd Lt. Fitzgerald returned from DS.source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
445BG Mission Report - Target: Brunswick, Germany - Braunschweig Assembly Plant - Power Station. A/C Took Off: 25. A/C Bombed Target: 21. A/C Lost: 0source: 445th Bomb Group http://445bg.org
446th Bomb Group Mission Report

This mission was recalled when the weather took a turn for the worse.

source: 446th Bomb Group www.446bg.com
447BG Mission Report - Between the hours 0740 and 0804, 11 January 1944, 21 A/C of the 447th Bombardment Group (H), "A" group, took off. Between the hours of 0712 and 0803, 11 January 1944, 15 A/C of the 447th Bombardment Group (H), "B" group, took off. source: 447 Bomb Group Association http://www.447bg.com
91st BG / 323nd BS Mission Report - Mission to Oschersleben, Germany: the FW-190 factory felt the full impact of tons of bomb's dropped from ships of the 8th Air Force on January 11, 1944. 323rd squadron sent seven ships, all of which returned except ship #372. It fell a victim to German fighters, which gave us a lot of trouble for a change. Our fighter escort did not seem to our gunners, so efficient as they have been in the past. However, the enemy lost six fighters destroyed, and two damaged by our gunners. #372, 1/Lt. Reid and crew, was shot down by enemy fighters in the vicinity of the target. It is not known whether or not they are alive and prisoners of war or still at large somewhere in enemy occupied territory. Even if the ship is severely damaged or destroyed, its personnel can often don their parachutes and bail out to safety.

Ships returning to the base, after this mission, were all considerably damaged by the enemy. During the following three days, the ground crews were busy getting them back into commission again. That was achieved by the 14th thanks to a very capable engineering staff who spared no pains to do their best work on ships in need of it. Combat crew engaged in ground school and training activities.

source: 323rd Bomb Squadron / 91BG Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/
91st BG / 322nd BS Mission Report - Raid on Oschersleben, Germany. Bomb Load: 12 x 500 - 6 x 500 and 21 x '47s. Bomb Altitude: 19,000. Bomb Results: Excellent. Time: Take off 0800. Target 1148. Ar. Base 1520. A.A. Fire: Meager to moderate and intense. Fighter Opposition: 75 to 100 E/A seen, E/A made aggressive attacks in groups of 3 to 20. Losses: Crews of 2nd Lt. Page, A/C 076, and 2nd Lt Murdoch, A/C057, failed to return. source: 322rd Bomb Squadron / 91BG Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/
91st BG / 322nd BS Newspaper Report - Coming back from Oschersleben on two engines, a bullet-ridden U.S. Eighth AAF flying fortress piloted by 1st Lt. Eldridged V. Greer, 29, of Houston, Texas, roared down the main streets of German towns, used trees as cover from pursuing enemy aircraft as it sped along at sometimes less than tree-top eight, strafed German soldiers on the ground, and finally crossed the enemy coast so low that Lt. Greer said, 'The flak towers had to shoot down at us.'

The fortress was the 'Spirit of '44,' and its crew claimed a bag of ten enemy fighters during the great Eighth AAF attack on the German fighter plant at Oschersleben last Tuesday. When the ship landed in England its nose had been shot out, cannon shells had blown gaping holes in its wings and fuselage, and it was riddled from tail to nose with bullet holes, but none of the crew members were injured.

In a mad race that lasted about an hour and one-half, the fort was pursued by two twin-engined German planes for more than 200 miles. Lt. Greer alternately dived, climbed, and then dived again to skim along the ground, barely avoiding electric high-tension lines and other ground installations. 'Wherever possible, we would fly below tree-top level alongside a wooded area,' said the pilot. 'Every time we saw a village, we'd pull over and fly down the streets so the fighters would have to shoot into their own town to shoot at us.'

Three times the exhausted crew prepared for a crash landing inside enemy territory. The bombardier ''ed. his precious bomb-sight. The gunners took off flying boots and put on field shoes and divided up their cigarettes. But the 'Spirit of '44' keep on going on its two remaining engines, with the enemy still chasing it. At one point they passed 25 feet above the crashed wreckage of another Fort, and the tail gunner, S/Sgt Robert A. Mueller, of Woodridge, N.J., strafed and killed a German soldier guarding the crashed Fort.

On the way to Oschersleben, 'The Spirit of '44' has participated in what was probably the greatest air battle in history. German bombers flew at the bomber formations 25 at a time, firing everything they had. The bombardier on 'The Spirit of '44', Lt. Louie R. Dobbs, of Katemacy, Texas, fired the new fortress chin turret throughout the battle and claimed the destruction of three Focke-Wulfe 190s. One was seen to crash, another exploded shortly after going into a dive, and the third disintegrated completely in the air

Tech. Sgt. Casmer W. Lewkowski, top turret gunner from Peninsula, Ohio, also claimed three enemy planes. Sgt. Mueller, the tail gunner, destroyed two. The ball turret gunner, S/Sgt. Ernest J. Koger, Jr., of Eau Claire, Wis., claimed one FW-190. When he reached England, he found three holes the size of baseballs in his ball turret, but he miraculously had escaped injury.

The crew's tenth fighter was claimed by S/Sgt. James E. Purton, waist gunner, from East Liverpool, Ohio. 'Over the target we lost the engines and our oxygen system, ' related 2nd Lt. William D. Wood, of Pleasure Ville, Ky., the co-pilot. 'We dropped down on the deck, fighting all the way down, to begin the race with the two Messerschmitt that picked us up deep in Germany and stayed with us to the coast. Between attacks they flew along like a friendly escort, one on each side of us, about 1,000 yards away.

'When we landed in England, we had about 250 bullet holes criss-crossed all through the ship. The plastic nose was shot out; there was a hole 18 inches in diameter in the radio room; a 20 mm. shell had exploded in the wings; and the bomb bay doors, which had been hit over the target, were part-way open.'

S/Sgt. Mueller, the tail gunner, declared, 'I'm proud to be on that crew. The fellows all used their heads. If we had any pilot other than Lt. Greer, we probably never would have got home. As a matter of fact, I can't believe I'm home now.'

source: 322rd Bomb Squadron / 91BG Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/
91st BG / 324th BS Mission Report - Target: Oschersleben - Aircraft Factory. Strike photos show target to be well covered by bomb bursts and smoke. Bombs from this group appear to have fallen short of target. Seventy-five to 100 E/A pressed aggressive attacks, often in formation, for about an hour. No fighter support was seen. A/A fire was inaccurate and meager to moderate. A/C 487 Lt. Hedglin missing ' Was seen to explode after being attacked by approximately twenty S/E fighters at 52:15 N - 09: 10 E. Three to four chutes were seen. A/C 230 Lt. Uskela missing ' Last seen near Dummer Lake, Germany falling back out of formation.source: 91st BG / 324th BS Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/

Non-Combat Accident Reports

Aircraft: B-17G (#42-31090).
Organization: 613BS / 401BG of Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire.
Pilot: Piper, Harry L Jr.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Matlask England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#42-31187).
Organization: 401BS / 91BG of Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire.
Pilot: Davis, John R.
Notes: forced landing due to weather.
Location: Deopham Green, Norfolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#42-31503).
Organization: 325BS / 92BG of Podington, Bedforshire.
Pilot: Capps, Gordon L.
Notes: taxiing accident.
Location: Podington, Bedforshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#42-40014).
Organization: 325BS / 92BG of Podington, Bedforshire.
Pilot: Floyd, Dick W.
Notes: taxiing accident.
Location: Podington, Bedforshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-25H (#42-64447).
Organization: 714BS / 448BG of Seething, Norfolk.
Pilot: Cline, Clair W.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Seething, Norfolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-47C (#41-6536).
Organization: 336FS / 4FG of Debden, Essex.
Pilot: Herter, Glenn A.
Notes: take off accident.
Location: Debden, Essex England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-47D (#42-22761).
Organization: 370FS / 359FG of East Wretham, Norfolk.
Pilot: Hair, Lynn W.
Notes: killed in a crash.
Location: Chipping Warden/nr England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-47D (#42-75090).
Organization: 370FS / 359FG of East Wretham, Norfolk.
Pilot: Tucker, William N.
Notes: killed in a crash due to weather.
Location: Rednal England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-47D (#42-75097).
Organization: 367FS / 358FG of Leiston, Suffolk.
Pilot: Hollaway, Joe R Jr.
Notes: taxiing accident.
Location: Goxhill, Lincolnshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-47D (#42-75428).
Organization: 358FS / 355FG of Steeple Morden, Cambridgeshire.
Pilot: Sluga, Emil L.
Notes: bailed out due to mechanical failure.
Location: St Neots-Cambridge England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: UC-78 (#42-58515).
Organization: / 65FW of Saffron Walden, Essex.
Pilot: .
Notes: ground accident.
Location: Debden, Essex England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/

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

Mission "8th AF Bomber Command Mission 182"
Aviation targets in Germany
January 11, 1944

Primary source for mission statistics: Mighty Eighth War Diary by Roger A. Freeman
Bomb TonnageEnemy
(on gnd)
291266598.2209-43-820-0-042-3-12510-29-430306BG aircraft 2x collide
401BG aircraft crash-lands Ludham
Mission Targets

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Ago / Focke-Wulf Industry
Aviation139 A/Cphotos (3)
Junkers Industry
Aviation52 A/Cphotos (2)
Target of Opportunity
75 A/C
MIAG - Waggum Industry
Aviation47 A/C
Aircraft Groups

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OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)
Aircraft Losses

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91BG (5 a/c)
92BG (2 a/c)
303BG (11 a/c)
306BG (4 a/c)
351BG (6 a/c)
379BG (1 a/c)
381BG (8 a/c)
401BG (4 a/c)
482BG (1 a/c)
OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)