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Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description

Mission 246: 555 B-17s and 193 B-24s are dispatched to industrial areas and aviation industry plants at Berlin, Erkner and Oranienburg but deteriorating weather and dense contrails force the formations to abort or seek targets of opportunity, i.e.:

1. 9 of 555 B-17s are lost, 61 hit Wilhelmshaven and 14 hit targets of opportunity; casualties are 2 KIA, 3 WIA and 83 MIA.

2. 2 of 193 B-24s are lost and only 4 hit targets of opportunity; casualties are 3 KIA, 8 WIA and 20 MIA. The bombers claim 3-1-1 Luftwaffe aircraft. Escort is provided by 89 P-38s, 484 Eighth and Ninth Air Force P-47s and 130 Eighth and Ninth Air Force P-51s; claim and loses are: 1. 1 P-38 is lost and 1 damaged; 1 pilot is MIA. 2. 1 P-47 is damaged beyond repair and 13 damaged; 1 pilot is WIA. 3. P-51s claim 8-1-3 Luftwaffe aircraft; 6 P-51s are lost; 5 pilots are MIA.

During a CARPETBAGGER mission on the night of 3/4 Mar, 2 B-24s are lost.

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

Mission Reports

Carpetbagger Mission Report
Joseph P Connor Jr, ASN# 0-734428, Bombardier; of Los Angeles, CA: KIA - MACR 3437

Edward NMI Martinez Jr, ASN# 0-795278, Navigator; of San Antonio, TX: KIA - MACR 3437

Cornelius F O'Leary , ASN# 31160055, Radio Operator; of Lawrence, MA: KIA - MACR 3437

Leo E Roettger , ASN# 362264875, Dispatcher; of Stillwater, MN: KIA - MACR 3437

Earl W Underwood , ASN# 34201882, Engineer; of Miami, FL: KIA - MACR 3437

Frederick N Wagner , ASN# 39007470, Tail Gunner; of Ukiah, CA: KIA - MACR 3437

Gerald S Wagstad , ASN# 0-665744, Pilot; of Eau Claire, WI: KIA - MACR 3437

Henry N Walsh Jr, ASN# 0-684583, Co-Pilot; of Blue Island, IL: KIA - MACR 3437

John H Dudley , ASN# 3352998, Tail Gunner; of Roanoke, VA: EVR/POW - Captured 20 Jun 44, interned Stalag Luft IV - MACR 3435

Lonnie Hammond Jr, ASN# 0-800715, Navigator; of Laurinburg, NC: KIA - MACR 3435

William D Rees , ASN# 0-679281, Bombardier; of Baltimore, MD: KIA - MACR 3435

Wade A Carpenter , ASN# 0-533302, Pilot; of Potter Cty, PA: POW - Interned Stalag Luft III, Mooseburg - MACR 3435

Eden C Burris Jr, ASN# 38130795, Radio Operator; of Tulsa, OK: POW - Interned Stalag Luft IV Gross-Tychow - MACR 3435

Glenn C Nesbitt , ASN# 0-732647, Bombardier; of New York: POW - MACR 3435 - Interned Stalag Luft I, Barth-Vogelsang Prussia

Edwin G Herdman , ASN# 35275733, Dispatcher; of Springfield, OH: POW - MACR 3435 - Interned Stalag Luft IV Gross-Tychow

Clarence L Johnson , ASN# 14059730, Engineer; of Knoxville, TN: POW - MACR 3435 - Interned Stalag Luft IV Gross-Tychow

Bernard M Eshleman , ASN# 0-886274, Co-Pilot; of Washington, D.C.: POW - Interned Stalag Luft 1, Barth-Vogelsand, Prussia - MACR 3435

source: The Carpetbaggers http://www.801492.org/
303BG Mission Report - Target: V.K.F. Ball Bearing Works, Erkner (Berlin), Germany. Crews Dispatched: 27. Crew Members Lost or Wounded: 1 crewman frostbitten, 1 crewman injured from accident in A/C. Length of Mission: 6 hours, 10 minutes. Bomb Load: 42 x M47 Incendiaries. Bombing Altitude: Failed to reach target due to weather. Ammo Fired: 120 rounds.

Colonel Kermit D. Stevens lead the 41st Combat Wing. Lt. R.W. Sheets was scheduled to lead the 303BG-A formation, but aborted the mission. LtCol. Lewis E. Lyle (DCO 303BG) flew as pilot with 1Lt. Jack Watson in Ole George #42-31574 358BS-G, leading the 358BG high Squadron 303BG-A formation. Maj. Jesse M. Barrett, Group S-2 Officer, went along as a passenger. There were twenty aircraft in the lead group of the 41st CB Wing and seven aircraft in the low squadron of the high group of the 41st CB Wing.

There was 8/10 cloud cover at the Danish coast with mounting clouds and poor weather over the target. There were dense, persistent contrails at altitude. The Group turned back before reaching the target and no bombs were dropped. Scattered meager and inaccurate flak was seen, but no enemy aircraft were seen. All aircraft returned safely and there were no casualties.

Returning crew members reported a collision between 91BG and 94BG B-17s at 27,000 feet. The aircraft exploded and crashed two miles northeast of Hamburg at 1125 hours. No parachutes were seen.

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 - 15 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 70. Mission recalled by 8th AF after entering enemy airspace, due to fuel shortage: recalled crews were awarded combat credit for the mission. Primary Target: Roller-Bearing Factory - Berlin, Germany. Target Attacked : Mission RECALLED - No Target Attacked

27 aircraft assigned to this mission: Aborted - 11. Recalled - 15. Ground Spare, Unused - 1

source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
388BG Mission Report - This was to be the first Berlin mission. The.388th was to furnish one full Group and the lead and low squadrons of the Composite Group. The 45th Combat Wing was to be the last Wing of the 3rd Air Division over the target.

The "A" Group of 21 a/c plus 1 PFF a/c took-off by 0756 hours, and the 13 a/c of the Composite Group by 0754 hours. 3 a/c of the "A" Group and 2 a/c of the Composite Group aborted because of weather or mechanical reasons.

Formations were effected with some difficulty due to weather conditions. The briefed course was followed until the formation passed the Danish Coast when the entire formation aborted because of adverse weather.

No enemy a/c were sighted and inaccurate flak was seen at Heligoland and the Danish Coast. All remaining a/c returned to base by 1410 hours. Sgt. Lutes, waist-gunner on Lt. Amann's crew, died of anoxia when his face mask froze up. Several other crew members suffered from the extreme cold.

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 - Target: the Erkner ball bearing plants. The 613th furnished the spare aircraft. The following crews participated in the mission: Fitchett, Sharp, Vokaty, Lew, Lenkeit. Shortly after crossing the enemy coast the formation was forced to turn south due to the weather. Bombing was done by pathfinder on a target thought to be Wilhelmshaven. No crews were lost, all returning to base without incident.source: 613th Bombardment Squadron History
401BG / 614BS Mission Report - The crews were briefed for THE target on 3rd March - Berlin. The actual target was Erkner on the outskirts of the capital, the site of one of the few remaining ball bearing plants in Germany. The 401st put up 20 aircraft and were led by Captain Carl C. Hinkle, flying as co-pilot with Lt. A.H. Chapman and his crew. After they had reached the enemy coast the formation was forced to turn south because of the weather and eventually bombed by Pathfinder. The target was believed to have been Wilhelmshaven. Three crews from the Squadron flew on this mission and were: Chapman, (With Capt. Hinkle as co-pilot and mission leader.), Owens, Dawessource: 614th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 615BS Mission Report - This was to be the day the 8th Air Force finally attacked Berlin but with deteriorating weather, dense contrails and 10/10th's undercast the formations turned back or sought targets of opportunity. The 401st Group put up the High Box in the 94th C.B.W., and after abandoning the primary, Erkner, they bombed Wilhelmshaven by PFF. 25 crews were briefed for this mission at 0420 hrs that morning but only 20 aircraft finally took off at 1010 hrs under the command of Captain C. Hinkle. At 1200 hrs the Control Tower were advised by Division that there had been a recall. The Loading List for this mission was as follows: Byrd, Grinham, Otton, Ferdyn, Grinham, Wysocki.source: 615th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 612BS Mission Report - Crews: Dunaway, SE Smith, Johnson, Christensen.source: 612th Bombardment Squadron History
44BG Mission Report - Again bad weather intervened with our intended plans for blows against the Reich. Oranienburg was the Primary, with Berlin the secondary when our eight planes accompanied the 44th, taking off at 0810 hours. The formation was forced to return due to the very severe weather conditions that grew steadily worse as the North Sea was crossed. There were no bombs dropped nor any enemy encounters.source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
446th Bomb Group Mission Report

Foul weather again caused a recall of planes without the mission being completed.

source: 446th Bomb Group www.446bg.com
457th Bomb Group Mission Linksource: 457 Bomb Group http://www.457thbombgroup.org
458th Bomb Group Mission reportsource: 458th Bomb Group web page http://www.458bg.com/
91st BG / 323nd BS Mission Report - An operational mission was carried out with Berlin, Germany as the target, but due to weather conditions Wilhelmshaven, Germany, was bombed. Due to unfavorable weather conditions, this mission was not successful. All ships returned safely to base except ship #965 which, due to being shot up by the enemy and all its engine failing, was compelled to ditch in the North Sea. All crew members succeeded in getting out before it sank, but five members perished from exposure in the water due to the life raft's failing to inflate. source: 323rd Bomb Squadron / 91BG Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/
91st BG / 322nd BS Mission Report - Raid on Wilhelmshaven, Germany. All five 323rd A/C bombs from 26,500 ft. Lt. Elmer Laedtke passed out due to lack of oxygen, was revived and finished the mission. No E/A were sighted, and no claims were made. Fighter support was very good, and none 323rd A/C are missing. source: 322rd Bomb Squadron / 91BG Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/
91st BG / 324th BS Mission Report - Target: Wilhelshaven area. Weather caused abandonment of attack on Berlin and forced our A/C to drop bombs in Wilhelshaven area with unobserved results. Am. Fighter planes flew over Berlin, however, to have the honor of being the first Am. Aircraft over Berlin in daylight. This station was alive with newspaper correspondents and photographers and we were alerted for a visit from Gen. Eisenhower. There was a state of excited tension in the air as most men on the station sensed an important operation.source: 91st BG / 324th BS Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/
91BG / 401BS Mission Report - The original target was in the Berlin area. Unobserved, on target of opportunity not definitely identified, but believed to be Wilhelmshaven area. ENEMY AIRCRAFT: None were sighted or encountered. FIGHTER ESCORT: The fighter support was very good. The rendezvous was kept with first group as briefed. The escort stayed with us even when radical changes in route were made. Complete undercast prevented identification of localities putting up AA fire, but all AA fire was reported as meager to moderate and inaccurate. The bursts were black and white. Although the First Wing was recalled, it made a bomb run by PFF on what is believed to be the Wilhelmshaven Area. A/C 812, 079 and 869 did not see the PFF flares and therefore did not drop their bombs with the rest of the formation. A/C 506 had a supercharger out and couldn't keep up with formation. As a result it turned back at a point 5418N-0847E. On the way back it jettisoned its bombs on a point 5418N-0841E. source: 91st BG / 401st BS Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/

Non-Combat Accident Reports

Aircraft: B-17G (#42-37891).
Organization: 568BS / 390BG of Franlingham, Suffolk.
Pilot: Quackenbush, Max J.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Alconbury, Cambridgeshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-24J (#42-99939).
Organization: 328BS / 93BG of Hardwick, Norfolk.
Pilot: Sneddon, Gomer J.
Notes: killed in crashed on take off.
Location: Hardwick, Norfolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-24J (#42-99979).
Organization: 578BS / 392BG of Wendling, Norfolk.
Pilot: George, Floyd A.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Neaton/Sta 505 England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: Havoc I (#AX924).
Organization: 4GGTF / of Greencastle, Northern Ireland.
Pilot: Woodman, George C.
Notes: killed in a crash.
Location: Greencastle/6mi N Sta 237 Ireland.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: L-4B (#43-666).
Organization: 41SerS / 33SerG of Halesworth, Suffolk.
Pilot: Smith, Bernard R.
Notes: taxiing accident.
Location: Halesworth, Suffolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: Mosquito XVI (#MM337).
Organization: 50FS / 8RW of Nuthampstead, Hertfordshire.
Pilot: Maslow, Edward J.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Nuthampstead, Hertfordshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-38J (#42-67889).
Organization: 55FS / 20FG of Wittering, Northamptonshire.
Pilot: Buie, Joseph N.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Warboys England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-47D (#42-76088).
Organization: 487FS / 352FG of Bodney, Norfolk.
Pilot: Ellison, Charles E.
Notes: crashed belly landing.
Location: Bodney, Norfolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/

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

Mission "8th AF Fighter Command Fighter Operation 259"
Fighter support for 8th AF 246
March 03, 1944

Primary source for mission statistics: Mighty Eighth War Diary by Roger A. Freeman
Bomb TonnageEnemy
(on gnd)
7307300.07-1-30-0-07-1-140-1-620FG crashes sea
357FG ditches sea
Mission Targets

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730 A/C
Aircraft Groups

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OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)
362nd Fighter Group
363rd Fighter Group
354th Fighter Group
358th Fighter Group
Aircraft Losses

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20FG (1 a/c)
4FG (4 a/c)
357FG (1 a/c)
OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)
354FG (1 a/c)