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Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description

Mission 291: 3 separate forces, a total of 664 bombers divided into 13 combat wings, escorted by 780 fighters, are dispatched against airfields in NW Germany and aircraft factories in the Brunswick area; 34 bombers and 23 fighters are lost.

1. 59 of 59 B-17s hit Oldenburg Airfield; 32 B-17s are damaged; casualties are 5 WIA.

2. 255 B-17s are dispatched to Achmer, Quakenbruck and Rheine Airfields; 83 hit Quakenbruck, 60 hit Achmer, 41 hit Rheine, 22 hit Twente Enschede, 21 hit Hesepe, 19 hit Handorf and 3 hit targets of opportunity; 4 B-17s are lost and 128 damaged; casualties are 1 KIA, 3 WIA and 40 MIA.

3. 350 B-24s are dispatched to aviation industry targets in Brunswick; 190 hit the primary, 59 hit Rosslingen, 48 hit Langenhagen Airfield and 6 hit targets of opportunity; they claim 58-9-32 Luftwaffe aircraft; 30 B-24s are lost, 2 damaged beyond repair and 87 damaged; casualties are 8 KIA, 23 WIA and 300 MIA.

Escort is provided by 136 P-38s, 438 Eighth and Ninth Air Force P-47s and 206 Eighth and Ninth Air Force P-51s; the fighters claim 88-3-46 Luftwaffe aircraft in the air and 49-6-38 on the ground: 5 P-38s are lost and 3 damaged, 5 pilots are MIA; 4 P-47s are lost, 2 damaged beyond repair and 12 damaged, 4 pilots are MIA; 14 P-51s are lost and 3 damaged, 14 pilots are MIA.

Mission 292: 5 of 5 B-17s drop 1 million leaflets on Liege, Brussels, Ghent, Antwerp, and Mont-sur-Sombre, Belgium at 2215-2227 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) - Severe damage particularly in the Frankfurt street Wolfenbuetteler road Salzdahlumer road. 116 dead. (translated from German)source: Brunswick city website http://www.braunschweig.de/kultur_tourismus/stadtportraet/geschichte/stadtchronik.html
388BG Mission Report - On this mission which was visual, the 388th furnished one Group plus a squadron for the Composite Group. The 388th A Group led the 45th CW, which in turn was the 2nd Wing of the 3rd Division. The Composite consisted of a squadron from the 96th BG as lead, a squadron from the 452nd BG as high and the 388th as the low squadron. This Composite Group flew as low Group in the 4th CW which was the tailend-Charlie of the 3rd Division.

The target of the A Group was Achmer Airfield while the Composite Group hit the Rheine Airfield. Both of these are operational airfields in northwestern Germany. The 13th CW attacked Quakenbruck airfield. The 1st Division hit Oldenburg and Diepholz airfields. All planes of the 2nd Division attacked Brunswick.

32 of our a/c took-off between 0943 and 1019 hours. One a /c aborted for mechanical reasons and two were legal aborts.

Formations were effected without difficulty and the briefed routes were followed to and from the targets. The weather was very good over both targets with bombs away from the A Group at 1349 hours from 20,000 feet, on a mag heading of 55 degrees. Bombs were dropped by the Composite Group at 1352 hours from 19,300 feet on a mag heading of 95 degrees. Strike photos show excellent results.

All of our planes landed safely at the base by 1552 hours.

No enemy a/c were seen. The only flak encountered was over the targets. The A Group had continuous following flak, moderate but accurate while the Composite Group had extremely accurate flak.

Lts. Stuart and Zographos and S/Sgt. Bourgoin were wounded.

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/
44BG Mission Report - This day was an ill-fated day for the Group - one of its worst so far as losses were concerned. On this mission briefed for Brunswick, Germany as primary eleven planes were lost to both flak and heavy fighter attacks. The 506th lost five, the 68th lost three, 67th lost two and the 66th one. The 44th sent out 38 aircraft (8 were 67th) with only 27 actually bombing. Take-off was at 0945 hours and return at 1625 hours. The Primary, Brunswick, as well as the secondary were obscurred by a smoke screen, so a target of opportunity Langenhagen A/D, was bombed instead. Bombing results were fair, with hits seen on the hangers on the northern end of the field. Claims of the Group were: 12 E/A destroyed, 6 probable and 1 damaged. Group Commander Colonel Gibson was Command Pilot leading the Group's formation and the 68th squadron reported bombing as "excellent". Losses: 66th A/C #42-99996 W piloted by 2nd Lt. W.M. Richardson ALL KIA 68th A/C #42-110020 Z piloted by 2nd Lt. W.B. Altemus 7 KIA 68th A/C #42-99987 S piloted by 2nd Lt. W.H. Barry 1 KIA 68th A/C #42-109822 0 piloted by 1st Lt. R.H. Townsend 5 KIA 506th A/C #42-109827 Q piloted by 2nd Lt. D.L. Sprinkle 6 KIA 506th A/C #42-73506 X piloted by 1st Lt. G.W. Johnson 1 KIA 506th A/C #42-100423 piloted by 2nd Lt. J.M. Winn All POW 506th A/C #41-29153 L piloted by 1st Lt. R.H. Marx All POW 506th A/C #42-110023 piloted by 2nd Lt. E.A. Herzing All POW 67th A/C #42-110083 X Mayes, Robert A. 2nd Lt. Pilot San Antonio, Texas Unreported; later KIA Russell, James F. 2nd Lt. Co-pilot Ashville, N.C. Unreported; later KIA Russell, Robert P. 2nd Lt. Navigator Ashville, N.C.? Unreported; later KIA Plaszczykowski, E. M. 2nd Lt. Bombardier Chicago, Illinois Unreported; later KIA O'Neal, Charles E. S/Sgt. Engineer Cumberland, Maryland Unreported; later KIA Siegert, Paul C. S/Sgt. Radio Oper Toganoxie, Kansas Unreported; later KIA Logan, Donald J. Sgt. LW Gunner Peru, Indiana Unreported; later KIA Thomas, Archie M. Sgt. RW Gunner Palestine, Texas Officially reported POW Burk, William J. Sgt. Tail Tur. Talladega, Ala. Unreported; later KIA Newton, Robert J. Sgt. Ball Tur. Burlington, Vt. Unreported; later KIA Sgt. Thomas was the only one to parachute and then only at an altitude of approximately 400 feet. Plane spun all the way down. 67th A/C #42-7767 C Thom, George J. 1st Lt. Pilot Burlington, Wisc. Officially reported POW Abad, Anthony J. 2nd Lt. Co-pilot San Francisco, CA. Officially reported POW Gille, Gerald G. 1st Lt. Navigator Quincy, Illinois Officially reported POW (506th Sq.) Alcott, Russell J. 2nd Lt. Bombardier Houston, Texas Officially reported POW Kowalski, Andrew A. T/Sgt. Engineer Reading, Penna. Officially reported POW Johnson, Alvin D. T/Sgt. Radio Oper Hastings, Neb. Officially reported POW Knotts, Loyes H. S/Sgt. LW Gunner Waynesburg, La. Officially reported POW Proulx, Earl D. S/Sgt. RW Gunner Tacoma, Washington Officially reported POW Smilanich, Bronko S/Sgt. Tail Tur. East Hibbing, Minn. Officially reported POW Meinke, Harvey H. S/Sgt. Ball Tur. Elmwood Park, Il. Officially reported POW 2nd Lt. Max Finesmith, Navigator on Lt. Winn's crew, reported that the formation was supposed to get fighter support at rendezvous point, but they never showed up. His ship hit by FW 190s in port engines and fire broke out. All bailed out safely, last one at about 5,000 feet. Lt. Guy W. Johnsont pilot of 42-73506, managed to parachute safely from his stricken aircraft, but when he tried to surrender on the ground, saying word to the effect, "Don't shoot - I surrender" he was shot and killed. In fact, the entire crew were being shot at by small arms fire as they descended in their parachutes. S/Sgts. Fong and Boyd completed their tour and were transferred to 12th RCD. Captain Frank D. Slough, formerly 506th pilot and Ploesti veteran, transferred in from 44th BG Headquarters.source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
446th Bomb Group Mission Report

The target was a bomber components factory, but the group missed and hit various other places in the general area. 2 planes were lost to the intense and accurrate flak, The Beast (42-7679) and The Princess (42-7620) (odd coincidence). 4 men were killed and 16 were taken prisoner. One of the men was believed shot to death by German civilians on the ground.

source: 446th Bomb Group www.446bg.com
447BG Mission Report - Briefing was at 0800 hours and the target was an airfield at Rheine, Germany. Each planes weapons were forty 100 pound GP bombs. Take off started at 1040 hours. The bombing altitude of 21,000 feet was reached as the Group crossed the Netherlands North Coast. The airfield was just inside the Dutch - German border and the Flak was heavy. Lt. Anderson of the 711th took a hit and went down, it was the crews third mission, his fourth. There were 611 attacking heavies in the mission. 26 aircraft from the 447th began landing at 1540 hours. source: 447 Bomb Group Association http://www.447bg.com
458th Bomb Group Mission reportsource: 458th Bomb Group web page http://www.458bg.com/
91st BG / 322nd BS Mission Report - Raid on the Oldenburg Airfield, Germany. Took off at 1100 hours Landed at 0615 hours. The target was attacked at 1417 hours from 30,000 feet. Results good. The flak at target was moderate and accurate. Enroute, some meager, accurate flak was reported. No enemy fighters were seen. source: 322rd Bomb Squadron / 91BG Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/
91BG / 401BS Mission Report - Mission to Oldenburg, Germany. (Airdrome) Oldenburg: Most crews described results as Excellent. Much fire and smoke was seen in target area. ENEMY AIRCRAFT: None encountered. FIGHTER SUPPORT; Described as good. Enroute to the target, meager, inaccurate AA fire was experienced from the vicinity of Imuiden. At the target AA fire was moderate and accurate for our A/C. From two to six Rockets were reported in the target area, some bursting level and only a hundred yards in front. On the return journey, meager and accurate fire was reported from the vicinity of Detern.source: 91st BG / 401st BS Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/

Non-Combat Accident Reports

Aircraft: B-17G (#42-97214).
Organization: 534BS / 381BG of Ridgewell, Essex.
Pilot: Bond, Leslie A.
Notes: crash landing.
Location: Ridgewell, Essex England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-24J (#42-73505).
Organization: 577BS / 392BG of Wendling, Norfolk.
Pilot: Anderson, Thomas L.
Notes: killed in crash landing.
Location: Badwell Farm, Sidesstrand England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-47D (#42-74714).
Organization: 376FS / 361FG of Bottisham, Cambrdigeshire.
Pilot: Frank, Wallace B.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Bottisham, Cambrdigeshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-47D (#42-76422).
Organization: 361FS / 356FG of Martlesham Heath, Suffolk.
Pilot: Hewett, Sidney H.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Martlesham Heath, Suffolk 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 291"
Fighter support for 8th AF 291
April 08, 1944

Primary source for mission statistics: Mighty Eighth War Diary by Roger A. Freeman
Bomb TonnageEnemy
(on gnd)
7807800.088-3-4649-6-3823-2-180-0-2378FG crashes base
Mission Targets

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780 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 (4 a/c)
352FG (1 a/c)
4FG (4 a/c)
355FG (3 a/c)
361FG (1 a/c)
55FG (1 a/c)
78FG (1 a/c)
353FG (2 a/c)
OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)
363FG (2 a/c)
354FG (4 a/c)