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Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description

Mission 253: 8 bombers and 1 fighter are lost on missions to Germany; the bombers claim 1-0-0 Luftwaffe aircraft; 221 bombers are damaged; details are:

1. 339 of 361 B-17s dispatched hit Berlin; 6 B-17s are lost and 1 is damaged beyond repair; casualties are 10 KIA, 6 WIA and 43 MIA.

2. 150 of 165 B-24s hit secondary targets at Hannover, Brunswick and Nienburg; 2 B-24s are lost and 1 damaged beyond repair; casualties are 12 WIA and 20 MIA. Escort is provided by 83 P-38s, 572 Eighth and Ninth Air Force P-47s and 153 Eighth and Ninth Air Force P-51s; no claims are made; 1 P-38 is lost, 2 P-38s and 1 P-51 are damaged beyond repair; casualties are 1 KIA, 1 WIA and 1 MIA.

784th, 785th and 787th Bombardment Squadrons (Heavy), 466th Bombardment Group (Heavy), arrive at Attlebridge, England from the US with B-24s; first mission is 22 Mar.

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

Mission Reports

303BG Mission Report - City Area, Berlin, Germany (PFF). Crews Dispatched: 19 (358BS - 5, 359th - 5, 360th - 6, 427th - 3). Bomb Load: 10 x 500 G.P. bombs. Bombing Altitude: 24,000 ft. Ammo Fired: 730 rounds.

The main target was the Heinkel Aircraft Plant at Oranienburg, Germany. The secondary, to be attacked by "bombing through the overcast technique," was military objectives in Berlin.

Eighteen 303rd BG(H) aircraft took off and one returned early. Fifteen of the 17 B-17s dispatched bombed the secondary target at Berlin from 25,000 feet with 37 1/2 tons of H.E. M43 G.P. bombs. Bombing was on signal from the PFF aircraft of the 40 CBW when the 41 CBW PFF equipment went out.

Aircraft #42-31830 Marie, 359BS-N (Hybert), dropped its bombs six miles southeast of Wittenburg. The ship lost altitude when gas tanks went out, causing two engines to stop. B-17 #42-37893 Bam Bam, 358BS-O, dropped its bombs at the IP– the bombs dropped out when the bomb bay doors were opened. There was 10/10 cloud cover at the target area and light persistent contrails. Winds were stronger and more easterly than predicted, causing the Group to be 45 minutes late at the target.

Moderate to intense and generally inaccurate flak was encountered. No enemy aircraft were seen. Fighter support going into the target was good. There was very little coverage to the target because the Group was late. Fortresses discharged chaff over the target area; it was believed to be very effective. Aircraft were "unseen targets" and the anti- aircraft fire was low and to the right. Nine aircraft sustained minor flak damage.

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 74. Primary Target: Heinkel Aircraft Plant - Oranienburg, Germany. Target Attacked : Secondary (PFF): City Center - Berlin, Germany

23 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 19. Failed To Return - 1. Aborted - 2. Spare, Returned As Briefed - 1
42-37781 Reed, Merlin H - Failed to Return - MIA; Lost after bombs away when bombs from high grp (379BG) hit a/c, knocking tail completely off in front of stabilizer; a/c dived straight down into a spin with all four engines going; no chutes observed; another a/c from another grp blew up when hit by 379BG bombs; cr Berlin; MACR 3005.
42-37785 Allison, Earl Thomas - Aborted at 1028 hrs b/c #3 oil temperature was 115 degrees and oil pressure was at 55 lbs at 16000ft, w condition getting worse; replaced by 1435
42-37848 Horton, Lloyd (NMI) - Aborted at 1102 hrs b/c #7 cylinder blew off of #2 engine and had to be feathered; 10x500GP rtd to base

source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
388BG Mission Report - The 388th furnished 10 A/C for this mission to fly as spares, 5 with the 452nd BG, and 5 with the 96th BG. The 96th and 452nd Groups made up the 45th Combat Wing. The 10 A/C were airborne by 0740 hours and assembled in their respective formations without difficulty. One A/C aborted for mechanical reasons and three returned to base as scheduled. Three of our a/c joined each of the above Groups, and proceeded to the Target as briefed. Bombs were dropped on the PFF A/C through 10/10th cloud coverage.

Flak was meager on the route to the Target at Amsterdam, Dummer Lake, and Nienburg. Over Berlin, the flak was intense and accurate. One of our a/c received major flak damage, one minor and F/O Dopko crew was shot down.

On this mission, F/O Dopko flying a/c 42-37839 "Little Willie", filled in with the 96th when one of their planes aborted. He was flying in the low squadron and went down shortly after bombs away. Flak ruptured an oil line in #2 engine and set it on fire. The prop would not feather and the fire spread in the wing. The crew was ordered to bail-out. Some of the crew were taken to the crashed plane by their German captors. Two of the crew, (Sgt. Hersberg, waist-gunner and S/Sgt. Naber, Engineer) escaped with two other POW's and made it to a British Tank outfit.

Four a/c returned to base by 1630 hours. Lt. Keck made an emergency landing at Beccles. All crew members are safe.

source: 388th Bomb Group web page http://www.388bg.info
389th Bomb Group Mission Report
About a week ago we started for Berlin, called back before we got to Helgoland on account of weather - nearly -60 degrees c. Plane crashed while forming as did two others a few days ago which hit in mid-air directly over us. Kurtz and crew killed. Today we started for a place 35 miles west of Berlin. Complete undercast so we never got there. Bombed Hanover through the clouds. Whole mission SNAFU. Flak was intense but we only got 14 holes. Spoils the fun not to see the bombs hit.
source: 389TH BG: Personal Mission Log of Bernard L. Prueher http://www.hrhodes.com/Mission%20Logs/mission.htm
392nd Bomb Group Mission Reportsource: 392nd Bomb Group web page http://www.b24.net/missions/
401BG / 613BS Mission Report - The primary target, Oranienburg, approximately 16 miles NW of Berlin, was obscured by cloud, forcing the formation to attack the secondary. The 613th put up the following crews which flew as spares: Lew, Locher, Sharp. Bombing was dene by Pathfinder through 10/10 undercast, consequently no results were available by photo or crew observation. The flak at the target was intense but only fair for altitude and deflection. In addition to bombs the Group dropped parcels of leaflets on Berlin.source: 613th Bombardment Squadron History
401BG / 614BS Mission Report - On this day the Group took part in the first American attack on Berlin proper. The briefed primary target was Oranienburg, about 16 miles Wd of the city of Berlin, but it was obscured by cloud and Berlin was the secondary target, and was bombed by PFF methods. The Group Leader was Lt. Col. E.W. Brown and he led 24 401st aircraft as the Low Box of the 94th Combat Wing. No observations or photographs could be taken through the 10/10ths clouds so no results were available. On this mission the crews were even more amazed by the total lack of any appearance by the Luftwaffe. Not one fighter was seen over the German capital - but we can take it for granted that the 10/10ths cloud cover had more than a little to do with this. The Luftwaffe were far from being defeated at this stage of the battle over Germany. The flak at the target area was intense but only fair for altitude and deflection. The 614th crews on this mission were: Wilson, Walsh, Weber, Stine, Cammack.source: 614th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 615BS Mission Report - The weather closed in again over the continent but the 8th Air Force again went after Berlin in force. The 1st and 3rd Air Divisions had about 340 B-17's over Berlin on this mission but the bombing was done by PFF through 10/10th's clouds on secondary targets. The 401st Group briefed 24 crews that morning at 0445 hrs and 24 aircraft had taken off by 0848 hrs under the command of Lt. Col. E.W. Brown. The Group flew as the Low Box of the 94th CBW and were the fourth wing over the target. The 615th Squadron flew as the High Squadron in the formation. At 1135 hrs a spare aircraft, the 613th's IN-D, Serial No. 42-31202, came back to Deenethorpe because none of the Group's ships had aborted and nosed over at the end of the runway-- with a full bomb and fuel load, blocking Runway 22. It took about six hours to clear the runway. The Squadron put up the following crews: Knight, Rumsey, Otton, Trimble, Post, Christensen.source: 615th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 612BS Mission Report - Crews: Dailey, Tanner, Fox, Hershey, Johnson.source: 612th Bombardment Squadron History
44BG Mission Report - Seven of the 67th aircraft left this base at 0830 hours with the other ships of the 44th to attack the airframe factory at Brandenburg, Germany. All returned to base at 1600 hours. It was a PFF mission that had unobserved results. Only three enemy aircraft were met and no attacks were made on our formation. The flak was meager and inaccurate according to the 67th records, but the 68th enlarged on this report with, "Due to equipment malfunctions to the PFF ship and other reasons, targets of opportunity were resorted to. The 44th Group was then sent over the Brunswick area. Stiff anti-aircraft fire was encountered with a number of A/C suffering minor damages'" 1st Lt. Kenneth G. Jewell lost leg. The 66th Sq. says the target of opportunity was Nienburg??source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
446th Bomb Group Mission Report

The planes could not bomb the intended target, an airframe factory, so targets of opportunity were bombed instead with unknown results.

source: 446th Bomb Group www.446bg.com
457th Bomb Group Mission Linksource: 457 Bomb Group http://www.457thbombgroup.org
91st BG / 323nd BS Mission Report - Oranienburg, another suburb of Berlin, was the target for attack by members of the 91st Bomb Group (H). Six ships of 323rd squadron took part. All ships returned safely. Fighter support was excellent that day. It accompanied the formation of bomber to and from the target area. The primary target could not be attacked due to 10/10ths cloud cover over the target so the secondary target, the center of the city of Berlin was attacked, bombs being dropped on PFF and results were unobserved. source: 323rd Bomb Squadron / 91BG Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/
91st BG / 324th BS Mission Report - Target: Berlin Heinkel A/C Assembly Plant. Unable to bomb primary because of weather, our A/C attacked the secondary, center of Berlin, with unobserved results. E/A opposition was nil and our fighter cover which was then on the way in as we were behind schedule was excellent in target area. A/A fire at the target was intense but inaccurate for our A/C at 25,000 ft.source: 91st BG / 324th BS Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/
91BG / 401BS Mission Report - Mission to Berlin, Germany. Berlin: The primary target in this case was the Heinkel A/C Assembly Plant in Oranienburg, 16 miles NNE of the center of Berlin. Due to heavy undercast, the secondary target, center of the industrial area in Berlin was attacked. Unobserved. Bombs dropped on PFF. ENEMY AIRCRAFT: none encountered or observed. FIGHTER ESCORT: Support was good in the target area. Spotty cover on the way in, due probably to the fact that formation was behind schedule. Enroute to target, meager to moderate accurate AA fire was reported from the vicinities of Imuiden and Vechta. Inaccurate, meager AA fire reported from vicinities of Celle and Wesendorf. Inaccurate but intense fire experienced at the target.source: 91st BG / 401st BS Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/

Non-Combat Accident Reports

Aircraft: B-17 (#42-31564*).
Organization: 325BS* / 92BG* of Podington, Bedforshire.
Pilot: Floyd, Richard.
Notes: crashed belly landing.
Location: Bredakra AAF Sweden.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#42-31169).
Organization: 710BS / 447BG of Rattlesden, Suffolk.
Pilot: Marcy, Charles H.
Notes: forced landing mechanical failure.
Location: Troston, Suffolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#42-31199).
Organization: 571BS / 390BG of Framlingham, Suffolk.
Pilot: Bleak, Rex H.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Framlingham, Suffolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#42-31202).
Organization: 613BS / 401BG of Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire.
Pilot: Keith, Robert I.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#42-3536).
Organization: 325BS / 92BG of Podington, Bedforshire.
Pilot: Webb, William L.
Notes: killed in a crash.
Location: Glebe Farm, Farndish England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: Oxford (#R6050).
Organization: 384Ser / 97SerG of Kings Cliffe, Northamptonshire.
Pilot: Mednick, Harvey (NMI).
Notes: take off accident.
Location: Bodney, Norfolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-38J (#42-67231).
Organization: 338FS / 55FG of Nuthampstead, Hertfordshire.
Pilot: Labella, Victor J.
Notes: bailed out due to fire.
Location: RAF Tuddenham England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-38J (#42-67751).
Organization: 38FS / 55FG of Nuthampstead, Hertfordshire.
Pilot: Chapman, Charles M.
Notes: crashed on take off.
Location: Nuthampstead, Hertfordshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-47D (#42-75137).
Organization: 63FS / 56FG of Halesworth, Suffolk.
Pilot: Lovett, George H Jr.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Halesworth, Suffolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51B5 (#43-6654).
Organization: 357FS / 355FG of Steeple Morden, Cambridgeshire.
Pilot: Momberger, William H.
Notes: killed in a crash.
Location: Wendy/1mi W Sta 121 England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/

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

Mission "8th AF Fighter Command Fighter Operation 264"

March 09, 1944

Primary source for mission statistics: Mighty Eighth War Diary by Roger A. Freeman
Bomb TonnageEnemy
(on gnd)
8088080.00-0-00-0-01-3-01-1-155FG crashes take-off
355 crash-lands take-off
55FG crashes Tuddenham
Mission Targets

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808 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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364FG (1 a/c)
OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)