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Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description

Mission 280: V-weapon sites in France are hit. 234 of 243 and 138 of 185 B-24s hit 9 sites in the Pas de Calais area; 4 B-17s and 1 B-24 are lost, 1 B-17 is damaged beyond repair and 134 B-17s and 38 B-24s are damaged; casualties are 2 KIA, 15 WIA and 50 MIA. 128 of 145 B-17s hit 7 sites in the Cherbourg area; 64 B-17s are damaged.

Escort is provided by 266 P-47s; they claim 1-1-4 Luftwaffe aircraft on the ground; 1 P-47 is lost (pilot is MIA) and 5 damaged.

Mission 281: 6 of 6 B-17s drop 300 bundles of leaflets on Caen, Rennes, Amiens, Paris and Rouen, France at 2114-2206 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

303BG Mission Report - Target: "Crossbow" Wizernes, France (Pas de Calais area). Crews Dispatched: 20 (358BS - 2, 359th - 6, 360th - 6, 427th - 6). Crews Lost: Lt. Mars, 9 POWs, 1 EVD. Length of Mission: 4 hours, 5 minutes. Bomb Load: 5 X 1000 lb G.P. bombs. Bombing Altitude: 21,000 ft. Ammo Fired: 390 rounds.

Twenty 303BG(H) aircraft took off to attack "Crossbow" special missile launching construction sites in the Pas de Calais area. There were no designated secondary or last resort targets. Each Squadron bombed the target individually. The Group was led by Maj. Edgar E. Snyder, CO 427BS. There were no abortive aircraft. There were no clouds over the target, but there was some haze. Flak was moderate, but very accurate. Twelve aircraft sustained flak battle damage.

Nineteen Fortresses dropped a total of 93 1,000-lb. ANM44 bombs. Crews reported good hits in the target area. One aircraft, piloted by Lt. Hybert, dropped two 1,000-lb. bombs after mechanical troubles prevented dropping them on the target. Bombs were dropped at an altitude of 21,000 feet.

No enemy aircraft were seen. The returning aircraft contained three wounded crewmen–one seriously wounded. Friendly fighters provided area support. A few crews reported that they didn't see any friendly fighters. Chaff had no noticeable effect on the anti-aircraft fire.

#42-31929 received a direct hit from anti-aircraft fire between the IP and the target while on the bomb run. The B-17 was hit just a few seconds before "bombs away." It peeled off to the right, passing under the No. 4 aircraft and went into a shallow glide. About 30 seconds later, four parachutes appeared and opened as soon as they cleared the slipstream. About 30 seconds later, two more came out. One dropped about 10,000 to 15,000 feet before it opened and the other dropped to about 17,000 feet. A seventh 'chute appeared, but didn't open for a long time after it left the airplane. Tennessee Hillbilly nosed down in a half-spin with the left wing on fire. The left wing tip fell off and the aircraft made a three-quarter turn before it exploded in mid-air. At this time another parachute came out and opened. Although aircraft parts were all around it, the parachute didn't appear to be hit. A total of eight parachutes were seen before the B-17 blew up. The aircraft crashed at Lederzelle, 10 kilometers northeast of St. Omer.

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 - 18 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 82. Primary Target: V-1 site - Le Grismont, France. Target Attacked : Primary (Visual)

27 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 21. Aborted - 1. Scrubbed - 2. Spare, Returned As Briefed - 1. Ground Spare, Unused - 2.

source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
388BG Mission Report - The 388th furnished one ("A") Group plus the high squadron of the 452nd "B" Group. The Targets of both Groups were Military Installations on the Oherbourg Peninsula in France.

Our A/C were off by 1246 hours and after formations were formed, proceeded to the Target as briefed. As the Wing approached the Enemy Coast, the squadrons peeled off to bomb individually. When the "A" Group crossed the Cherbourg Peninsula, another Group was heading North and forced our Group to make a 360 degree turn and go around again.

At the IP, a malfunction caused the High Squadron to release their bombs accidentally from 21,300 feet. Flak over the city of Cherbourg was intense but off to the right. Over the Target, flak was moderate. No enemy fighters seen.

26 A/C landed at base by 1729 hours. Lt. McNicol landed at Great Ashfield before returning to base. Sgt. Anshutz was slightly wounded when flak hit the nose of the plane.

source: 388th Bomb Group web page http://www.388bg.info
389th Bomb Group Mission Report
Noball to Ciracourt, France - near St. Pol - rocket installation - 10 x 500 lb B.P. Used chaff, and flak was not so hot as far as we were concerned. No enemy fighters and friendly fighter cover was good. Over enemy territory only 1 hour - 22,000 feet, -20 degrees c. Bombing results were good. Would like about 22 more missions just like this.
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 613th Squadron flew as the Low Squadron in the Group formation. The following crews participated: Jones, Hess, Locher, Stelzer, Sharp, Scharff. Both photos and observations disclosed the bombing to be fair with a good bomb pattern but just right of the MPI. No enemy aircraft were encountered on this operation but flak was described as being moderate but extremely accurate. All crews returned to base safely.source: 613th Bombardment Squadron History
401BG / 614BS Mission Report - The 8th Air Force sent 573 aircraft to attack 16 rocket sites in Northern France on 26th March, the 401st providing twenty-one aircraft under the command of Captain Carl C. Hinkle to attack Watton. The 401st made up the High Box of the Wing formation. From crew observations and strike photos it was found that the bombing was fair with a fairly good pattern just to the right of the MPI. The crews described the flak as moderate but extremely accurate, and as it caused damage to 236 aircraft out of a total of 500 over the targets this can be taken as an accurate description. No enemy aircraft were seen. Two 614th crews took part and were: Kirkhuff, Smith.source: 614th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 615BS Mission Report - The mysterious Pas de Calais Rocket Coast, specifically, Watten, was the target on this mission and here, en route, the 615th Squadron suffered the grevious loss of one of its original crews - that of Capt. Rumsey. In fact Captain Rumsey and his crew had formed the nucleus of the 615th Squadron. An even greater blow was to be revealed later on when word came through the Red Cross that Captain Rumsey, Lt. Kaercher and Sgt. Roberts had been killed in action. Strike photos disclosed many bomb bursts in the target area forming an excellent pattern. No enemy aircraft were encountered. The flak was moderate but accurate. On returning to Deenethorpe a 614th Squadron aircraft, IW-B, Serial No. 42-31098, PENNY'S THUNDERHEAD, landed with a flat tire, ran off runway 28, nosed over, came to rest in the normal position minus one engine and a wrecked undercarriage - with five 1,000 lb bombs on board. The 615th Loading List was as follows: Rumsey (MIA), Byrd, Otton, Trimble, Knight.source: 615th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 612BS Mission Report - Crews: Currie, Hagan, Kelly, SE Smith, Johnson, Hershey.source: 612th Bombardment Squadron History
44BG Mission Report - A mission to Oscherleben, Germany was scheduled early today but was scrubbed, and a shorter mission to Petit-Bois-Tillencourt was substituted. The 67th sent 10 aircraft which bombed and returned safely. The target area was clear and the 44th bombed visually with good results. The A/A fire in the target area was moderate to heavy and very accurate, with many ships of the 44th receiving minor damage. Take-off was at 1200 hours after an 1100 briefing to bomb a secret installation in the woods south of Abbeville - a "no-ball" mission. But it was another long bomb run - too long. Lt.-Mercer's ship was hit twice, one through the astral dome, and one through their passing lights on the left wing. Sgt. Chase says that Damn, the Jerries are getting more accurate each day. Majority of the A/A shells burst just below us. I took off my flak jacket, sat on it and promised I'd go to chapel next Sunday - if He'd let me. Capt. Aldridge led the second section. 1st Lt. Lawrence V. Kannenberg was assigned from the 14th Combat Bomb Wing and assumed duties as Squadron Adjutant. Yesterday Captain Wayne H. Middleton was assigned from the 506th Sq.source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
447BG Mission Report - Briefing was at 1000 hours. The target was Noball #93 (V-1) site in Cherbourg area. The weapons were GP bombs and take off started at 1230 hours. The bombing altitude was 19,500 feet, bombs were released over the target and the planes made a sharp turn away from the anti-aircraft guns to head safely home. Landing started at 1635 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/
91st BG / 323nd BS Mission Report - On the 26th, a mission was carried out against one of the Military Constructional Works at Mimoyecques, France. Seven ships participating. Bombing results were good and the mission was considered as successful. All ships returned safely to base. It was one of the shortest of all the squadron has participated in. Enemy flak was surprisingly heavy in this area. A fragment struck S/Sgt. Joseph C. Fowler, Flexible Gunner on Ship #075 squarely on his chest but, by his wearing his flak suit, he escaped without injury. It is believed that the flak suit saved his life. source: 323rd Bomb Squadron / 91BG Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/
91BG / 401BS Mission Report - MISSION TO Marquis Mimoyecques, France. Many bursts noted on Northwest and East corner of target. Target area was generally well covered. ENEMY AIRCRAFT: None encountered or reported. Moderate and accurate AA fire was experienced by our A/C in the target area.source: 91st BG / 401st BS Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/

Non-Combat Accident Reports

Aircraft: B-17G (#42-31098).
Organization: 614BS / 401BG of Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire.
Pilot: Wilson, Carleton L.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51B5 (#43-6430).
Organization: 353FS / 354FG of .
Pilot: Leach, Jerry D.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Boxted, Essex England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/

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

Mission "8th AF 281"
Night leaflet operation France
March 26, 1944

Primary source for mission statistics: Mighty Eighth War Diary by Roger A. Freeman
Bomb TonnageEnemy
(on gnd)
660.00-0-00-0-00-0-00-0-0300 bundles
Mission Targets

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Leaflet drop
Leaflet drop
Leaflet drop
Leaflet drop
Leaflet drop
Aircraft Groups

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OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)
Aircraft Losses

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OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)