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Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description

Mission 226: The Eighth Air Force begins Big Week attacks on German aircraft plants and airfields. For the first time, over 1,000 bombers are dispatched; 21 bombers and 4 fighters are lost hitting 3 areas in Germany, i.e.:

1. 417 B-17s are dispatched to Leipzig/Mockau Airfield, and aviation industry targets at Heiterblick and Abnaundorf; 239 hit the primary targets, 37 hit Bernburg, 44 hit Oschersleben and 20 hit other targets of opportunity; they claim 14-5-6 Luftwaffe aircraft; 7 B-17s are lost, 1 damaged beyond repair and 161 damaged; casualties are 7 KIA, 17 WIA and 72 MIA.

2. 314 B-17s are dispatched to the Tutow Airfield; 105 hit the primary and immediate area, 76 hit Rostock and 115 hit other targets of opportunity; they claim 15-15-10 Luftwaffe aircraft; 6 B-17s are lost, 1 damaged beyond repair and 37 damaged; casualties are 3 KIA and 60 MIA.

3. 272 B-24s are dispatched to aviation industry targets at Brunswick, Wilhelmtor and Neupetritor; 76 hit the primary, 87 hit Gotha, 13 hit Oschersleben, 58 hit Helmstedt and 10 hit other targets of opportunity; they claim 36-13-13 Luftwaffe aircraft; 8 B-24s are lost, 3 damaged beyond repair and 37 damaged; casualties are 10 KIA, 10 WIA and 77 MIA.

Missions 1 and 3 above are escorted by 94 P-38s, 668 Eighth and Ninth Air Force P-47s and 73 Eighth and Ninth Air Force P-51s; they claim 61-7-37 Luftwaffe aircraft; 1 P-38, 2 P-47s and 1 P-51 is lost, 2 P-47s are damaged beyond repair and 4 aircraft are damaged; casualties are 4 MIA.

Mission 227: 4 of 5 B-17s drop 200 bundles of leaflets on Tours, Nantes, Brest and Lorient, France at 2123-2200 hours without loss.

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) - Cellerstrasse, Hildesheimerstrasse, Lenaustrasse, turning ring, Julius Konegen Street, Ernst-nurse-road uetzenkamp, ​​Bahnhofstrasse, Cyriaksring, Helen Street, Schoettlerstrasse, Kramer Street, Factory Street, Frankfurter Strasse Sophienstrasse MIAG, General Hospital, the Red Cross. 28 dead. (translated from German)source: Brunswick city website http://www.braunschweig.de/kultur_tourismus/stadtportraet/geschichte/stadtchronik.html
303BG Mission Report - Target: A Group - Junker Aircraft Works, Leipzig, Germany B Group - Industrial Plants, Hettstedt, Germany. Crews Dispatched: 38 (358BS - 9, 359th - 9, 360th - 10, 427th - 10). Crew Members Lost or Wounded: 2 minor wounds, 1 crash landing. Length of Mission: 9 hours, 10 minutes. Bomb Load: 12 x 500 lb G.P. & 42 x M-47 Incendiary bombs, plus 3000 lbs of nickels. Bombing Altitude: A Group - 19,000 ft; B Group - 16,000 ft. Ammo Fired: 9,740 rounds.

The 303rd BG(H) had 38 aircraft airborne: 34 were dispatched and 32 attacked targets in two Group formation. Six aircraft were abortive. The A Group bombed its primary target with 500-lb bombs from 19,000 feet. One B Group B-17, piloted by Lt. Snyder (#42-31224), flew with the "A" Group. One aircraft carried 60 bundles of leaflets and no bombs. Moderate flak was encountered in the target area and meager and inaccurate flak was seen at eight other locations. Twenty-five to thirty enemy aircraft were reported, but attacks were scattered and not pressed home. Three to four rockets were observed coming up from the target area.

The 303rd BG(H) "B" Group dropped 65-lb. M47A1 incendiary bombs from 16,000 feet on a target of opportunity. Neither the primary target at Bernburg, Junker's Assembly Plant, nor the secondary target at Gotha, Gothaer Waggenfabrik Plant could be located. Bombs were dropped at Hettstedt, between Bernburg and Eisleben. One Group aircraft dropped on an unidentified target with B-24s of the 446BG(H) and one Group B-17 dropped with the 305BG, 40th CBW on the Erla plant at Leipzig/Heiterblick. Accurate, meager flak was reported at several locations and four aircraft sustained minor damage. Enemy air opposition was weak. Fifteen to twenty enemy aircraft were reported, but there were no attacks on the Group. Friendly fighter support was intermittent and was not regarded as good. All "B" Group aircraft returned safely to Molesworth.

Four aircraft in "A" Group sustained flak battle damage, one major. Ten aircraft in "B" Group sustained flak battle damage, two major. This was the first mission of "Big Week," 20-25 February.

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 -

42-31763 Lt. C. R. Nelson - Crashed at Polebrook. POW 1, KIA 4, MoH 2

source: 351st Bomb Group web page http://www.351st.org/ken.harbour
384BG Mission Report - 384th BG Mission Number 63A. Primary Target: Aircraft Industry - Leipzig, Germany. Target Attacked : Primary (Visual)

21 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 17. Aborted - 4

source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
384BG Mission Report - 384th BG Mission Number 63B. Primary Target: Junkers Aircraft Plant - Bernberg, Germany. Target Attacked : Primary (Visual).

22 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 18. Aborted - 3. Scrubbed - 1
41-24560 Witt, Francis John - aborted at 0905 hrs due to complete loss of power in #1 engine; a/c took off a second time but could not catch up with grp; bombs rtd to base
42-31058 Rinne, Austin Dean - Aborted at 1023 hrs due to #2 cylinder head on #1 engine blew out, causing a fire, which resulted in feathering of engine; 12x500GP rtd to base; B 'High' Grp
42-37789 Horton, Lloyd (NMI) - Landed away Bourne after bombing target.
42-39991 Algar, Philip M - aborted at 1105 hrs b/c of failure of #2 engine; 12x500GP rtd to base;

source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
388BG Mission Report - For this mission which was to have been visual, the 388th put two Groups which flew as lead and low Groups in the 45th "A" Combat Wing. The 452nd Group flew as high Group and they also furnished four spare a/c for our groups. The 45th "A" CW and the 13th CW "A" and "B" were assigned targets in the same area. The 13th CW had PFF a/c attached as navigational aids. In the vicinity of the target, the two Groups were to disperse, attack their targets and reform at the IP for the return.

All our a/c were airborne between 0723 and 0812 hours and effected formations without difficulty, then proceeded as briefed to the target. Shortly after leaving the Danish Peninsula, the lead combat wing made a wide turn to the left and crossing the German Coast in the Rostock area. Our wing leader decided to follow the lead wing. Bombs were away at 1405 hours from 18,000 feet from the "A" Group while the "B" Group dropped from 17,000 feet. Both of our lead Navigators are of the opinion that bombs were dropped on Rostock itself. Two barrage balloons could be seen above the clouds where the bombs were dropped.

Flak over the Danish Peninsula and in the target area was scattered and inaccurate.

At the Danish Coast on the route in, in the target area, and on the route out approximately 20 to 25 twin engine a/c, most Me 210s and 10 to 15 FW 190s and Me 109s were encountered. They used both 20mm cannon and rockets during these attacks. They were weak attacks against the "A" Group but aggressive attacks against the "B" Group.

Lt. Reed in a/c 42-31126, was hit in the left wing by a 20mm shell and fighters coming in at all angles, then the plane went out of control. T/Sgt. Morse was killed in the turret by enemy gun fire. As they got the plane under control, the pilot opened the bomb bay doors for bail-out. The plane burst into flame, and some of the crew still with the plane were blown out. The co-pilot stayed with the plane and was killed. The radio man was captured three days later near Farborg. The plane crashed at 1219 hours.

Lt. Payne in a/c 42-39894, radioed the base that they were returning because of a gas leak and that was the last that was heard of them. They made an emergency landing near Assens (Isle Fuenen) at 1200 hours. The tail gunner was taken prisoner and put into the hospital badly wounded. This was the crews 2nd mission.

35 a/c landed at the base between 1651 and 1739 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/
401BG / 613BS Mission Report - The 613th furnished the High Squadron in the Lead Box and 3 aircraft as an element of the High Squadron. S/Sgt. Wilber F. Weaver, the Ball Turret Gunner on Lt. Jones' crew, had a break in his oxygen line and passed out at altitude. He was taken to the radio room where he was resuscitated. This was the only casualty of the entire mission. The specific target in Leipzig was an elaborate Me-109 assembly complex. It was bombed visually and with excellent results as the photographs later indicated. Enemy air opposition was represented by approximately 30 to 50 single engine fighters which were vicious in their tactics. In the target area moderate flak was encountered which was good for altitude and deflection. The following crews were dispatched: Shotts (Squadron Leader), Scharff, Locher, Shanks, Sharp, Hess, Stelzer, Jones.source: 613th Bombardment Squadron History
401BG / 614BS Mission Report - This was the longest mission the Group had yet flown and the target was Leipzig, Germany. 41 B-17's, led by Colonel H.W. Bowman, and in turn leading the 1st Air Division, attacked factories producing aircraft for the Luftwaffe; the specific target for the 401st being the Me - 109 assembly plant. For a change the bombing was visual and photographs indicated that the results were excellent. The Group was attacked by 30 to 50 fighters, the aircraft of Lt. Ed Gardner, 615th Squadron, being shot down in the battle. In the target area moderate flak was also encountered which was good for altitude and deflection - on target in other words. The nine 614th crews on this mission were: Chapman, Smith, C.L. Wilson, Kirkhuff, Kaufman, S.P. Wilson, Dawes, Stine, Weber.source: 614th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 615BS Mission Report - In line with the 8th Air Force determination to wreck Germany's aircraft plants, the target on the 20th February was Leipzig, and the MPI was an area containing two final assembly plants for JU-88's and other ships including the ME-109. The plant assembling the ME-109 was the specific target of the 401st, and the photographs of the bombing they did showed good hits among the buildings surrounding the MPI as well as the MPI itself. A record number of B-17's took off that morning from Deenethorpe, with all 41 aircraft briefed becoming airborne by 0955 hrs. The mission leader was the Boss himself - Colonel Bowman. 42-39840, IN-A, one of the original B-17's, flew as weather ship. On this mission the Squadron lost Lt. E.T. Gardner and his crew in 42-31518, due to a fighter attack. Lt. Gardner held the ship on a level course while the crew bailed out but failed to get out himself and was killed when the ship crashed. The 401st put up two Groups on this mission, and bombed from 20,500 and 21,000 feet respectively, both visually. The loading list for the 615th Squadron was as follows: 42-31077 Byrd, 42-31091 Christensen, 42-31069 Wysocki, 42-37833 Rumsey, 42-39873 Kaminski, 42-31521 Campbell, 42-31730 Lewis, 42-31369 Trimble, 42-31518 Gardner.source: 615th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 612BS Mission Report - Crews: Dunaway, Goodman, Currie, Dailey, Hagen, Bingham, West, Hersey, Johnson.source: 612th Bombardment Squadron History
44BG Mission Report - A break in the weather at last. 37 planes of the Group (11 of them 67th) were briefed for Halberstedt, Germany as the Primary target. Malfunctioning of the PFF aircraft forced the Group to bomb visually on two targets of opportunity - Oschersleben and Helmstedt. Both of these targets were hit with fair results, flak was not experienced over the targets, but slight fairly accurate flak was encountered just after the targets, coupled with attacks by enemy aircraft. The Group lost two ships: 66th's 1st Lt. D.R. Decker in A/C #42-64166 "Big Fat Butterfly"; and 506th's 2nd Lt. F.H. Rawson in A/C #42-100373. The weather was severely cold with the ground covered with snow, both at the target and at the home base. The bombs were 500 lb GP.source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
446th Bomb Group Mission Report
Gotha

The longest mission to date, with 1,020 planes from many bomb groups attacking Gotha. A total of 444 bombs were dropped by 446th planes through heavy cloud cover.

source: 446th Bomb Group www.446bg.com
91st BG / 323nd BS Mission Report - Targets in Germany were again attacked on the 20th. Leipzig and to Oschersleben. Fourteen ships of 323rd squadron took off. One, ship #985, aborted due to mechanical difficulty. Enemy opposition was stronger than it had been for the past three weeks. Two members of crew on ship #739 were wounded; S/Sgt. Samuel Orazie suffered slight wounds in one arm and one leg and S/Sgt. Calvin E. Camp, enlisted bombardier, quite seriously wounded in his hand, losing one finger. Thirteen ships, a record number for the squadron went over the target and dropped their bombs. source: 323rd Bomb Squadron / 91BG Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/
91st BG / 322nd BS Mission Report - Raid on Aschersleben (Oschersleben was hit due to cloud cover over primary), Germany. Bomb Load: 6 x 12 x 500. Bombing Altitude: 14,500. Bombing Results: Large explosion and fires started. Time: Take Off 0925. Target 1326. Ar. Base 1710. A/A Fire: At the target A/A fire was meager to moderate and accurate for altitude. Visibility was good. Kassel threw up moderate and inaccurate, otherwise only scattered bursts were observed on the way home. Fighter opposition: 10/15 E/A were reported. Mostly FW-190s, Me110s and Me109s also seen. One B-17 observed shot down by 4 FW-190s flying (sic) a P-47 formation attacking from 1:00 high. Remarks: A/C 656 M.I.A. source: 322rd Bomb Squadron / 91BG Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/
91st BG / 324th BS Mission Report - Target: Leipzig - Aschersleben Aircraft Factory (A Group). P.F.F. ships took our B formation to Oschersleben instead of Aschersleben, good bombing results reported with large fires and explosions. A Group reported direct hits in target area. Col. Putman said at briefing, For the first time since the war started, the rate of destruction of the G.A.F. is greater than his ability to replace losses. This was one of the best jobs of navigation to date. A credit to Lts. Borellis and Ryan. Borellis, A crew navigator, has been responsible for some outstanding work to date. Lt. Close was shot up by 50 cal. before he had reached altitude and he was forced to abort with 50 cal. slugs in his wing tank. Lt. Major took over the lead and did a fine job although it was his first experience in the lead. Leipzig had been bombed the night before by about a thousand R.A.F. bombers of which they lost about eighty.source: 91st BG / 324th BS Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/
91BG / 401BS Mission Report - Leipzig Group: Crews reported smoke being seen for about 30 minutes after leaving target. Some crews reported direct hits in target area. Bombing generally good. Aschersleben Group: Crews reported good bombing results on target of opportunity, believed to be Oschersleben. Large explosions and fires reported by crews. Reports varied from 2 to 25 FW 190s and Me 109s with a few Me 110s. There was only one direct attack on this formation by one black FW 190. This is E/F opposition encountered by Leipzig Group. Fighter escort for the Aschersleben Group was fair, and described as spotty. There were intermittent periods with no support visible. Enroute to the target, the Leipzig Group observed AA fire coming from vicinities of Egmond, Amsterdam, Magdeburg, Dessau, and Wittenberg. At the target, moderate to intense and accurate AA fire was experienced by our A/C. For the Aschersleben Group one 5 flare Rocket was seen bursting at our altitude at the target. Its color was brilliant red.source: 91st BG / 401st BS Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/
92nd BG Crash Report - Hit by flak about 50 miles SW of Leipzig after bombing. S/Sgt. William G. Belk killed instantly, rest of crew bailed out bomber continued to fly on autopilot, Slowly lost altitude, finally landed on snow-covered ground, three motors still running, slid through valley, up slope, across Strasse Ahrdt in Altenkirchen before it stopped. Germans thought that crew had landed the a/c and searched for crew for days. source: Army Air Forces Online Forum http://forum.armyairforces.com/
92BG Mission Report - Losses: 326th Squadron, a/c B-17 G-1-VE 239770 Q. Hit by flak about 50 miles SW of Leipzig after bombing. Flight engineer was killed instantly; rest of crew bailed out. The bomber continued to fly on autopilot; slowly lost altitude, finally landed on snow-covered ground with three motors still running. Slid through valley, up slope, across Strasse Ahrdt in Altenkirchen before it stopped. Germans thought that crew had landed the a/c and searched for crew for days.source: 92nd Bomb Group web page http://92ndma.org/

Non-Combat Accident Reports

Aircraft: B-17G (#42-31368).
Organization: 730BS / 452BG of Deopham Green, Norfolk.
Pilot: Stephens, Frank S.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Deopham Green, Norfolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#42-40004).
Organization: 548BS / 385BG of Great Ashfield, Suffolk.
Pilot: Ruby, Billy E.
Notes: killed in a crash destroyed by fire.
Location: Manor Farm B,Alysham England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#42-97553).
Organization: / of .
Pilot: Rowan, Frederick L.
Notes: crash landing.
Location: Fintrach Bay Ireland.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-24J (#42-100285).
Organization: 66BS / 44BG of Shipdham, Norfolk.
Pilot: Talbott, David R.
Notes: crash landing out of gas.
Location: Ipswich/ 5 1/2mi SW England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-38J (#42-67822).
Organization: 343FS / 55FG of Nuthampstead, Hertfordshire.
Pilot: Piscitelli, Anthony L.
Notes: taxiing accident.
Location: Nuthampstead, Hertfordshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-47D (#42-22524).
Organization: 359FS / 356FG of Martlesham Heath, Suffolk.
Pilot: .
Notes: ground accident.
Location: Martlesham Heath, Suffolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-47D (#42-8559).
Organization: 359FS / 356FG of Martlesham Heath, Suffolk.
Pilot: Weber, Herbert (NMI).
Notes: forced landing due to engine failure.
Location: RAF Ipswich/S edge England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/

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

Mission "8th AF 226"
Tutow and Rostock airfields; Aviation industry in Germany
February 20, 1944

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
314296708.015-15-106-1-370-0-03-0-60100BG aircraft interned Sweden
385BG aircraft crashes Tuttington
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Mission Targets

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TUTOW, GERMANY
Airfield
105 A/Cphotos (1)
ROSTOCK, GERMANY
Heinkel Industry
Aviation191 A/Cphotos (5)
Aircraft Groups

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1ST BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
482BG
2ND BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
3RD BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
94BG
100BG
385BG
388BG
390BG
447BG
452BG
95BG
96BG
OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)
Aircraft Losses

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1ST BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
2ND BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
3RD BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
100BG (2 a/c)
385BG (1 a/c)
388BG (2 a/c)
390BG (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
6895841510.050-18-190-0-015-4-19817-27-149351BG aircraft crashes Glatton
44BG aircraft crashes Holbrook
392BG aircraft crashes Paglesham
392BG aircraft crashes Tibenham
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Mission Targets

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LEIPZIG, GERMANY
Mockau Airfield
239 A/C
LEIPZIG, GERMANY
Erla Flugzeugwerke Industry
Aviation239 A/C
BERNBURG, GERMANY
Junkers-Zweigwerke Industry
Aviation37 A/Cphotos (3)
OSCHERSLEBEN, GERMANY
Ago / Focke-Wulf Industry
Aviation44 A/Cphotos (3)
GERMANY
Target of Opportunity
20 A/C
GOTHA, GERMANY
Gothaer Waggonfabrik Industry
Aviation87 A/Cphotos (5)
OSCHERSLEBEN, GERMANY
Ago / Focke-Wulf Industry
Aviation13 A/Cphotos (3)
GERMANY
Target of Opportunity
68 A/C
HEITERBLICK, GERMANY
Erla Flugzeugwerke Industry
Aviation417 A/Cphotos (2)
BRUNSWICK, GERMANY
MIAG - Petritor Industry
Aviation76 A/C
BRUNSWICK, GERMANY
MIAG - Wilhelmitor Industry
Aviation76 A/C
Aircraft Groups

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1ST BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
303BG
305BG
306BG
351BG
379BG
381BG
384BG
401BG
482BG
91BG
92BG
2ND BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
44BG
93BG
389BG
392BG
445BG
446BG
448BG
453BG
3RD BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)
Aircraft Losses

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1ST BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
91BG (1 a/c)
92BG (1 a/c)
305BG (2 a/c)
306BG (1 a/c)
381BG (1 a/c)
384BG (1 a/c)
401BG (1 a/c)
2ND BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
44BG (2 a/c)
389BG (2 a/c)
445BG (3 a/c)
453BG (1 a/c)
3RD BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)