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Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description

Mission 275: 524 B-17s and 244 B-24s are dispatched to attack airfields in W Germany and aircraft factories in the Brunswick area; due to unfavorable weather conditions, only 68 B-24s hit a primary target and 639 bombers hit secondary targets and targets of opportunity; the bombers claim 33-8-11 Luftwaffe aircraft; 22 B-17s, 6 B-24s and 4 P-51s are lost; details are:

1. 205 B-17s hit Brunswick and 3 hit targets of opportunity; 16 B-17s are lost, 1 damaged beyond repair and 221 damaged; casualties are 3 KIA, 6 WIA and 158 MIA.

2. 47 B-17s hit the secondary target at Munster, 83 hit Hamm, 67 hit Ahlen and 19 hit Neubeckum; 6 B-17s are lost and 56 damaged; casualties are 1 KIA, 3 WIA and 61 MIA.

3. 68 B-24s hit the primary target, Handorf Airfield; 36 hit Achmer City, 21 hit Achmer Airfield, 12 hit Munster, 52 hit Osnabruck and 14 hit other targets of opportunity; 6 B-24s are lost and 45 damaged; casualties are 1 WIA and 59 MIA.

Escort is provided by 119 P-38s, 539 Eighth and Ninth Air Force P-47s and 183 Eighth and Ninth Air Force P-51s; details are:

1. P-38s: no claims or losses.

2. P-47s claim 4-0-10 Luftwaffe aircraft; 1 P-47 is damaged beyond repair and 1 damaged.

3. P-51s claim 18-1-6 Luftwaffe aircraft; 4 P-51s are lost and 1 damaged; 4 pilots are MIA.

The fighters also claim 2-0-10 Luftwaffe aircraft on the ground. Mission 276: 5 of 5 B-17s drop 262 bundles of leaflets on Grenoble, Vichy, Lyon, Toulouse and Limoges, France at 2227-2304 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) - Damage in the Wolfenbuettel and iron Buetteler road. Railway bridge and road Wolfenbuetteler Wolters Brauhaus damaged. About 17 deaths. (translated from German)source: Brunswick city website http://www.braunschweig.de/kultur_tourismus/stadtportraet/geschichte/stadtchronik.html
303BG Mission Report - Target: Railroad Marshalling Yards, Hamm, Germany & City area, Ahlem, Germany. Crews Dispatched: 27 (358BS - 7, 359th - 7, 360th - 6, 427th - 8). Length of Mission: 6 hours, 15 minutes. Bomb Load: 12 x 500 lb G.P. & 42 x 65 lb M47A1 bombs. Bombing Altitude: 20,000 ft & 21,200 ft. Ammo Fired: 3,180 rounds.

Twenty-eight aircraft, including one spare, took off to attack the primary target, the airdrome at Gutersloh, Germany. The secondary target was the city of Munster; and the last resort was any industrial target in Germany that could be bombed without disrupting the fighter support. Twenty-one flew as the lead Group in the 41st Composite CBW. The remaining seven flew as the High Group, high Squadron of the 41 CBW.

The weather over Germany was 8/10 undercast. The 303BG-A could not bomb the primary or secondary targets because of the cloud conditions. They bombed a last resort target through a large break in the clouds. The 359BS formation bombed a secondary target containing enough cloud holes to find check points.

The spare aircraft returned as ordered. No other aircraft returned early. Twenty B- 17s of the main 303BG-A dropped 240 500-lb. M43 bombs on Hamm from 20,000 feet, the target of opportunity, with good results. The aiming points were a river bridge and railroad marshalling yards. The 359BS dropped 294 65-lb. M47A1 incendiary bombs on Ahlen, Germany from 21,200 feet with poor results.

Only seven aircraft saw one to five enemy aircraft. There were no attacks on the Group. Flak was meager and inaccurate over Hamm and moderate to intense and accurate at Ahlen. Meager inaccurate flak was encountered at several other points. Six aircraft sustained flak damage, two major and four minor. Chaff was dropped, but results could not be determined. Fighter support was excellent.

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 - 35 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 80A. Primary Target: Airdrome and Airpark - Gutersloh, Germany. Target Attacked : Target of Opportunity (Visual): City - Freckenhorst, Germany

21 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 20. Aborted - 1
42-30026 Cole, Howard Woodrow - Aborted at 0835 hrs because all four superchargers were unocontrollable; 2 ran away at takeoff; bombs returned to base.

source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
384BG Mission Report - 384th BG Mission Number 80B. Primary Target: Airdrome and Airpark - Gutersloh, Germany. Target Attacked : Target of Opportunity (Visual): Industry - Ahlen, Germany

6 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 5. Aborted - 1

source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
388BG Mission Report - For this mission, the 388th furnished an A Group plus the high squadron of a composite Group which was led by the 452nd BG. Our A Group was the low Group of the 45th Wing, which was the last Wing of the 3rd Division. The Composite Group was scheduled to fly as low Group of the 13th Wing, which was the 2nd CW of the 3rd Division. All a/c of the 3rd Division were to attack aircraft plants at Brunswick. The 1st and 2nd Divisions attacked aircraft plants in West Central Germany.

31 A/C took-off between 0600 and 0651 hours and 4 of these aborted, 2 for mechanical reasons and 2 legal aborts. Formations were effected without difficulty and the briefed course was followed to the target. The formation was about 15 minutes early when it crossed the enemy coast and even earlier when it reached the target. Consequently, no friendly fighter escort was met until the formation was near the IP. During this time, 35 to 45 enemy a/c, mostly FW 190's were encountered. This was between 0955 and 1010 hours between Dummer Lake and Steinbuden Lake. The attacks were vicious. On the first attack, from 9 to 10 o'clock high, they dove through the formation to hit the low squadron: 3 of our a/c in the low squadron were lost on this attack, Lts. McFall, Filler and Wilson. One of the enemy a/c collided with a/c #003, knocking off one wing. Both a/c went down and it was a miracle that more planes did not collide during this attack. At least 10 a/c went down during this one attack.

Due to cloud coverage in the target area, Brunswick was bombed by PFF methods, on the flares of the PFF a/c of the lead groups in the wing. Bombs were away at 1040 hours from 20,000 feet. Strike photos show that the bombs hit north of the city.

The route back was south of the briefed course and the formation flew through the northern defenses of the Ruhr Valley, encountering intense flak, losing 2 a/c.

On the route in, meager flak was encountered at Delstorl. Inaccurate flak and some rockets were encountered in the target area.

22 a/c returned to base by 1306 hours.

Lt. Davis in a/c 42-548, was hit by flak at the Northern defenses of the Rhur Valley. He left the formation with the engines smoking but under control. Shortly afterwards, the crew bailed out and the plane blew-up. The enlisted men were in Stalag I, Barth, Germany.

Lt. Gerstenhaber in a/c 42-38120, was hit by flak in the #3 engine over the Northern tip of the Ruhr Valley.

Lt. McFall in a/c 42-31745 "Heaven Can Wait", was hit by enemy fighters and shot down near Neinburg. The last man to bail out was the tail-gunner when the plane was a few hundred feet in the air. The enlisted men were in Stalag 17-B and Barth.

Lt. Filler in a/c 42-30808, was hit by enemy fighters east of Quakenbruck. With #1 engine on fire, the crew bailed out with one chute failing to open. The POW's were in Stalag I.

Lt. Wilson in a/c 42-31103, was attacked by enemy fighters, one of which collided with this aircraft knocking off a wing. This a /c went down in a spin. Three chutes were seen to open, one of which was split.

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 - Weather over Gutersloh, however, was 10/10 and the format-ion had to seek a target of opportunity. The target bombed was Ahlen, Germany. The 613th furnished spares which were as follows: Livingstone. The target hit was important as a rail center and industrial community. Observations and strike photos confirm the fact that the factory was well hit. No enemy aircraft were encountered but meager flak which was described as being inaccurate was put up in the region around Hamm.source: 613th Bombardment Squadron History
401BG / 614BS Mission Report - The Group was briefed to bomb the airdrome at Gutersloh, Germany, but the weather again made this impossible. The 10/10ths cloud forced the formation to search for a target of opportunity and the target bombed was Ahlen, Germany.In the lead of the Group's 20 aircraft,as the 94th Combat Wing' Low Box, was Captain Maupin. Through breaks in the clouds and from the strike photos it was confirmed that the target, an important rail and industrial center, had been well hit. No enemy aircraft were encountered but some meager and inaccurate flak was met around the region of Hamm. The six 614th crews on this mission were: Shaw, Wilson, Stine, Bartley, Owens, C.L. Wilson.source: 614th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 615BS Mission Report - The 401st Bomb Group visited Ahlen for the first time on this mission when they bombed this target of opportunity as part of a force of 67 aircraft. The observations and the reports on the strike photo's confirmed that a large factory and important rail lines and the business section were hit. No enemy aircraft were seen and the flak was generally meagre and inaccurate except at Hamm where the reverse was true. The briefing that morning was at 0345 hrs, which meant, allowing time for dressing, shaving, having breakfast etc., that the crews would have been out of bed by just after 2:00 am. The 20 401st B-17's were in the air by 0735 hrs under the command of Capt. Jere Maupin with the 615th flying as the High Squadron under the leadership of 1st Lt. C.A. Lewis. The crews of the 615th taking part in this mission were: Post, Knight, Ferdyn, Lewis, Wysocki, Byrd.source: 615th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 612BS Mission Report - Crews: Fox, Johnson, Currie, Hershey, Tanner.source: 612th Bombardment Squadron History
44BG Mission Report - It was another PFF mission today for an airfield near Osnabruck and Bransche, Germany. There was very little flak encountered and no enemy aircraft were seen by the Group. The fighter support, luckily was almost completely lacking, probably due to the very adverse weather conditions that prevailed. Take-off was as 0630 with eight of the 67th aircraft with the 44th formation, bombing altitude of 21,000 feet with 52 x 100 lb oil bombs. It was 10/1Oth clouds over target and bombs were away at 1029 hours after a 15 minute bomb run. Results of bombing unobserved but reported to have been good with an excellent pattern of bombs on the airdrome.source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
446th Bomb Group Mission Report
Handorf Airfield

Bombs were dropped on runways and hangars with fair results. S/Sgt Mitchell Sok received credit for shooting down an ME 109.

source: 446th Bomb Group www.446bg.com
447BG Mission Report - The crews were awakened at 0200 hours for briefing. The target was aircraft plants near Brunswick and Munster. The weapons for this mission were GP bombs. Take off started at 0615 hours. During assembly two planes aborted the mission. Bombing altitude was 21,000 feet and the target was heavily cloud covered so the secondary target, Brunswick, was selected. The 447th had no losses and landing started at 1245 hours. source: 447 Bomb Group Association http://www.447bg.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/
466th BG Mission Report
Crews report targets were hit and many fires started; A/C MIA = 2; KIA = 0; WIA = 0; MIA = 19
source: 466th BG: Mission List (Mark Brotherton Collection)
91st BG / 322nd BS Mission Report - Yerl Airdrome, situated just north of Yerl, Germany. Take off at 0650 and landed at 1305 hours. The primary target was not attacked due to cloud cover. All aircraft attacked industrial target north of Hamm, Germany, with 12 x 500 G.P. and 42 x 100 I. B.'s. A/C 996 and 353 sustained minor flak damage. Flak met along their route Munster, Hamm, Dordrecht and Rotterdam. Flak meager to moderate with accurate flak striking after bombs were away. The fighters encountered did not attack our group but concentrated on the group behind us. There were no casualties. source: 322rd Bomb Squadron / 91BG Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/
91st BG / 324th BS Mission Report - Target: City of Ahlen - Target of opportunity. Broken clouds over primary and secondary forced our aircraft to attack targets of opportunity - Ahlen and Hamm - with unobserved results. ( pictures show Ahlen well hit.) Fighter support was good. There were no encounters with E/A.source: 91st BG / 324th BS Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/
91BG / 401BS Mission Report - Mission to Ahlen, Germany. The original target was the airdrome at Werl. 324th 91st Group dropped bombs at Ahlen about 12 miles NE of Hamm. Strike photos indicated the SW part of the town was well hit. It is believed that the Composite Group composed of 381st and some 324th A/C attacked the Hamm area. ENEMY AIRCRAFT: No opposition encountered. FIGHTER ESCORT: Very good and close. Enroute to the target, AA fire was reported as follows: Ostend, meager and out of range, Bonn, moderate and rather accurate. Vicinity of Munster, moderate and inaccurate. At the target, moderate, rather accurate AA fire coming from Hamm. Upon returning, meager and inaccurate AA fire reported from vicinities of Dordrecht and Rotterdam. source: 91st BG / 401st BS Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/
92BG Mission Report - Losses: 326th Squadron, a/c B-17 231455. Shot down at Nateln over Werl, near Münster. #2: A/c B-17 231888. #3: A/c B-17 231231. #4: A/c B-17 231532, Black Magic. #5: 325th Squadron, A/c B-17 23104.source: 92nd Bomb Group web page http://92ndma.org/

Non-Combat Accident Reports

Aircraft: B-17G (#42-31114).
Organization: 568BS / 390BG of Franlingham, Suffolk.
Pilot: Watts, Robert W.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Horham, Suffolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-24H (#41-28673).
Organization: 564BS / 389BG of Hethel, Norfolk.
Pilot: Locke, Alfred H.
Notes: taxiing accident.
Location: Old Buckenham, Norfolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-24H (#41-29538).
Organization: 68BS / 44BG of Shipdham, Norfolk.
Pilot: Barry, Warren H.
Notes: take off accident.
Location: Shipdham, Norfolk 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 278"
Fighter support for 8th AF 275
March 23, 1944

Primary source for mission statistics: Mighty Eighth War Diary by Roger A. Freeman
Bomb TonnageEnemy
(on gnd)
8418410.020-1-62-0-104-1-20-0-4362FG crash-lands base
Mission Targets

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841 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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357FG (1 a/c)
OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)
354FG (3 a/c)