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Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description

General Dwight D Eisenhower sets D-Day for the Normandy invasion as 5 Jun; the date subsequently will be changed to 6 Jun.

Mission 344: In the morning, 807 bombers and 729 fighters are dispatched to hit targets in Germany in a PFF mission; the bombers claim 76-16-16 Luftwaffe fighters, the fighters claim 55-4-20; 36 bombers and 13 fighters are lost:

1. 500 B-17s are dispatched to bomb Berlin; 386 B-17s hit the primary, 42 bomb Brunswick, 17 bomb Brandenburg and 8 bomb Magderburg; 25 B-17s are lost, 1 is damaged beyond repair and 169 damaged; 1 airman is KIA, 7 WIA and 261 MIA.

2. 307 B-24s are dispatched to Brunswick; 288 hit the primary and 1 hits a target of opportunity; 11 B-24s are lost, 7 are damaged beyond repair and 28 damaged; 7 airmen are KIA, 8 WIA and 112 MIA. Escort is provided by 152 P-38s, 295 P-47s and 282 P-51s; the P-38s claim 6-0-3 Luftwaffe aircraft, the P-47s claim 9-1-5 and the P-51s claim 40-3-12; 4 P-38s, 4 P-47s and 5 P-51s are lost; 1 P-47 and 1 P-51 are damaged beyond repair; 3 P-47s and 1 P-51 are damaged; 1 pilot is WIA and 13 MIA.

Mission 345: In the afternoon, 164 bombers and 97 fighters are dispatched against targets in France and Belgium; 5 bombers are lost: 1. 92 of 101 B-17s bomb V-weapon sites at Glacerie and Sottevast, France; 5 B-17s are lost, 1 damaged beyond repair and 29 damaged; 28 airmen are MIA. 2. 57 of 63 B-24s hit Brussels/Schaerbeck marshaling yard, Belgium; 29 B-24s are damaged; 2 airmen are KIA, 2 WIA and 19 MIA.

Escort is provided by 97 P-47s without loss. Mission 346: 3 of 4 B-17s drop 1.6 million leaflets on 10 towns in France 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) - Buessing - NAG, railway signaling works, Friedrichstrasse, Heidberg road, Heinrich Buessing road Querum, Melverode, airfield Waggum. 24 dead. (translated from German)source: Brunswick city website http://www.braunschweig.de/kultur_tourismus/stadtportraet/geschichte/stadtchronik.html
303BG Mission Report - Target: Crossbow "V" Weapon Target, Sottevast, France. Crew Dispatched: 19 (358BS - 4, 359th - 7, 360th - 2, 427th - 6). Crewmembers Lost or Wounded: 2 injured. Length of Mission: 4 hours. Bomb Load: 3 x 1600 lb Armor Piercing bombs. Bombing Altitude: 25,000 ft. Ammo Fired: 415 rounds.

Following up the mission to Berlin in the morning, the 303rd BG(H) flew across the Channel in the afternoon to attack "Crossbow" V-weapon installations in the Pas de Calais, France area.

As in the morning mission, flak was the only opposition offered, but it was described as "worse than Berlin." The formation flew through the flak to bomb the target with good visibility, no clouds and a slight haze. Group B-17s dropped 48 1,600-lb. A.P. MK1 bombs from 25,000 feet. Photos indicated that the target was missed, with two hits on a section of scaffolding.

Friendly fighters maintained sweeps around the area, but gunners reported no German planes or dogfights. All aircraft returned to Molesworth. There were no casualties and no aircraft damage.

Crews at post-mission interrogation complained about being fed beans and frankfurters for lunch just before taking off for the afternoon mission. They were also upset about the lack of whiskey at the afternoon interrogation. Some of the crews complained about having to attend three separate briefings on a single day.

More info on this mission at the 303BG website

source: 303rd Bomb Group web page http://www.303rdbg.com/
303BG Mission Report - Target: City area, Berlin, Germany (PFF). Crews Dispatched: 18 (358BS - 5, 359th - 3, 360th - 6, 427th - 4). Length of Mission: 8 hours, 10 minutes. Bomb Load: 10 x 500 lb M-43 G.P. bombs. Bombing Altitude: 26,500 ft. Ammo Fired: 590 rounds.

Eighteen aircraft took off to bomb Berlin. The last resort target was any military installation in Germany or any airdrome in occupied countries not adjacent to built- up areas. One aircraft returned, #42-97272 Duchess' Daughter 359BS (Lt. E.C. Miller, 360BS) due to failure of the No. 2 engine. Bombs were jettisoned at the point of turn-back.

Seventeen B-17s dropped a total of 180 500-lb. G.P. M43 bombs from 26,500 feet through 10/10 undercast using PFF bombing. Only a few enemy aircraft were seen and there were no attacks on 303rd BG(H) aircraft. Flak was moderate to intense and accurate. Three B-17s suffered flak damage. Chaff was effective, and friendly fighter support was excellent and as ordered.

Lt. Ferguson landed #42-31583 Clover Leaf, 358BS, at Hardwick with two engines out. All other aircraft returned safely to Molesworth. There were no casualties.

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 - 29 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 102. Primary Target: Area - Berlin, Germany. Target Attacked : Primary (PFF)

23 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 16. Aborted - 4. Scrubbed - 1. Ground Spare, Unused - 2
42-102402 Strand, Robert E - aborted at 0815 hrs; pilot became ill; BL ret.
42-102548 Courtemanche, Ralph E - aborted at 0856 hrs; left waist gunner became ill; rtd bombs.
42-107121 Sullivan, James D - Aborted at 1000 hrs b/c #4 prop ran away, #2 engine became rough, & #1 engine had high fuel pressure; 42 M47A1 rtd.
42-107125 Laboda, Joseph S - Aborted at 0849 hrs b/c #3 prop governor was throwing oil and pressure dropped to 65 lbs; bombs rtd

source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
384BG Mission Report - 384th BG Mission Number 103. Primary Target: Launch Site - Sottevast, France. Target Attacked : Primary (Visual)

23 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 15. Failed To Return - 3. Scrubbed - 2. Ground Spare, Unused - 3.
42-31211 Allison, Earl Thomas - Failed to Return Capt. Jacobs Flt Ldr; High Grp 41CBW; MIA; 40 secs before bomb release hit by continuously tracking flak; a/c received direct burst beneath the pilot's compartment, started in to a steep spiral; two men seen emerging, one chute; cr Sottevast; MACR 4560
42-31495 Foster, James E - Failed to Return - MIA; one min before bombs away hit by continuously tracking flak; a/c hit by burst between tail and waist doors and went into very steep uncontrollable dive; was seen to hit the ground still burning; tail gunner seemed to be blown out w no chutes observed; cr Sottevast, Fr; MACR 4561
42-97081 Brown, James Wesley - Failed to Return - MIA; flak, ditched in the Channel; MACR 4812
42-97510 Jackson, Winthrop A - Landed away Ford with #4 engine out and pilot wounded by flak; Formation chart lists Gottfried as pilot; Mission Narrative and Loading List specify Jackson as pilot.

source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
388BG Mission Report - The 388th furnished two Groups for the 45th Combat Wing. The A Group was lead with the B Group as low. The 4th CW led the 3rd Air Division on this mission.

All A/C were airborne between 0545 and 0613 hours. 4 a/c of the A Group and 6 a/c of the B Group aborted for these reasons: 1 personnel failure, 6 mechanical problems and 3 because of inability to catch the formation. On this mission, the 45th Combat Wing used the new 14 plane formation. Group and Wing formations were effected without difficulty. As the formation crossed the enemy coast, it was on course. At this time, the lead PFF a/c (96th BG) aborted and the deputy lead PFF a/c took over. At the Dutch-German border, the formation veered northward as the 2nd Air Division cut across our Combat Wing. Consequently, the 45th A and B Wings were very much north of the briefed course.

At 0953 hours, Southeast of Bremen, the 45th CW was attacked by enemy a/c and shot down the leading PFF a/c. Our A Group then took over the lead of the entire Wing formation. Since there were no PFF a/c left in the Wing, and with 10/10ths cloud coverage, our Group Leader deemed it more advisable to follow the 2nd Air Division and bomb on them. This was done, and bombs were dropped on their PFF flares at 1018 hours from 21,300 feet. Our lead navigators are of the opinion that the northern outskirts of Brunswick were attacked.

Meager to moderate flak was encountered at Bremen, Oldenburg and over Brunswick.

When the enemy fighters attacked (approximately 100 FW 190's and Me 109's) in the waves of 20 a/c, our B Group lost two planes. Most of the attacks were at the lead aircraft. T/ Sgt. Don Fancher on Thompson crew shot down one FW 190.

Lt. Pittman in a/c 42-39907 "Nasty Nellie", was lost due to the fighter attacks near Bremen. The plane went down near Martfeld at 1000 hours. When the crew was captured, the pilot, co-pilot, engineer and radioman were put into St. Joseph Hospital in Bremen.

Lt. Picket in a/c 42-107061 "Peg of my Heart", was shot down on the first pass of enemy fighters at 0955 hours when a 20mm shell exploded in the cockpit and the engineer was hit by a 30 caliber bullet. With #2 engine on fire, the crew bailed out and the plane crashed with a full bomb load S.E. of Bremen.

source: 388th Bomb Group web page http://www.388bg.info
388BG Mission Report - This was the second mission of the day for the 388th. 8 A/C were airborne to hit the V-I and V-II launching sites in the St. Lo area. Bombs were away at 1915 hours. On the bomb run, Lt. Heying in a/c 42-32011, was hit by flak and the plane caught fire. All of the crew bailed out safely with some landing in the water off the coast. The Germans told the pilot that some of the crew opened their chutes too soon and they drifted into the channel and drowned. Sgt. Morse hit a land mine when coming on shore.source: 388th Bomb Group web page http://www.388bg.info
389th Bomb Group Mission Report
Brunswick, Germany - center of city. 52 x 100 lb. Incendiaries, 2300 gals. Got us up at 0230, briefed at 0315, takeoff at 0615 - all went well until just before the I. P. where we were hit by enemy fighters. Our fighter cover was good but they were badly outnumbered by the so called extinct Luftwaffe. We were under attack for over an hour, the 453 who were leading lost 6 planes, but we never lost a plane. Never saw so many 109s and 190s since Gotha. Hope I never see another one. I saw at least 6 B-24s and one enemy fighter go down. Three of the 24s exploded in mid-air. Flak at target was heavy but not too accurate - our ship came through OK. As usual we got more flak at the Dommer Lake area - Alt. 22,500, Temp. -30 degrees c.
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/
398th Bomb Group Mission reportsource: 398th Bomb Group web page http://www.398th.org/
401BG / 613BS Mission Report - The 613th furnished the following crews for the mission: Lenkeit, Scharff, Lew, Fox, Barnett, Sharp, O'Neil. Lt. Lenkeit's plane was lost on this mission. Last reports said the plane received a direct burst of flak just behind the ball turret causing the plane to break in two with the tail floating down and the nose section going into a straight dive. Because of solid undercast, bombing was done by means of PFF and no observations of results were possible. No enemy aircraft were encountered. Flak was described as moderate although our Squadron lost one ship as a result of it.source: 613th Bombardment Squadron History
401BG / 614BS Mission Report - The Group put up 29 aircraft to form the Low Box and the High Squadron in the High Box of the 94th "A" Combat Wing. Because of solid undercast, bombing was done by means of PFF. Results were therefore unobserved. The flak over Berlin was moderate and of the 742 over the target 36 were shot down. A 613th ship, piloted by Lt. J.D. Lenkeit, received a direct hit by flak just behind the ball turret and the plane broke in two, the tail floating down and the nose section diving steeply into the ground. Crews: Taylor Lincoln Fisette Bartley Walsh Kenney Risher.source: 614th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 615BS Mission Report - Berlin again, with the defenses as tough as ever. Of the 742 effective aircraft over the target 36 were shot down and 205 damaged. In reply the bombers and their escorts accounted for about 120 German fighters. The 401st Bomb Group put up the Low Box and the High Squadron in the High Box of the 94th CBW. Because of solid overcast bombing was done by means of PFF techniques. The High Box led by the 457th B.G. bombed Brandenburg. No enemy air opposition was encountered. Moderate flak was met en route and on the return from the target. Intense and accurate flak was flown through over Berlin. Capt. C.A. Lewis led the 615th Squadron flying the Low position of the Lavl Box "A" Wing. The 615th crews on this mission were: Wysocki, Knight, Gillespie, Kaminski, Otton.source: 615th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 612BS Mission Report - Crews: Currie, Opie.source: 612th Bombardment Squadron History
44BG Mission Report - 33 aircraft of the Group (10 being 67th) took off to attack primary target on Plan A, the airdrome at Gutersloh, Germany, carrying 500 GPs. However, Plan B, a target in Brunswick, Germany was bombed on PFF, and the results were unobserved due to 10/10th clouds, smoke and ground haze. Time off was 0600 hours, and bombing altitude of 23,000 feet. The 506th Lt. Walsh in #177 was abortive after turning back twice: once for a crew member who forgot his oxygen mask and the second time as his radio operator broke his arm in the top turret! The formation met strong attacks by over 150 single-engine enemy aircraft near the target. Three enemy aircraft were claimed destroyed by gunners of the Group, two from the 67th Sq.: T/Sgt. William V. Rand, flying as a top turret gunner on A/C #616 was credited with an Me 109; S/Sgt. John F. Cox, flying as right waist gunner on A/C #616 (Glory Bee) was credited with one FW 190. This was a memorable day for the 66th Sq. as it was their first lead with PFF ship. Capt. Armstrong, pilot and Major Kahl as Command Pilot along with 11 other crew member flew in A/C #794 Q(?). All aircraft returned to base at 1300 hours. Flak, in general, was accurate for altitude but off on deflection near the target. Lt. Mercer s 'plane, #616 "Glory Bee" of the 67th Squadron destroyed two E/A. Sgt. Kipnes relates that: "Just as we started our bomb run we were hit by about 35 enemy aircraft. Buttons (Sgt. Rand) got an Me 109. Some of us saw this E/A explode. Cox, our replacement gunner, got another one. Our ships in our formation saw these two planes going down. Temperatures of 40 degrees below zero registered at bombing altitude of 23,000 feet. The 66th Squadron regrets the loss of two members in an aircraft crash on this date, but they were not members of Capt. Armstrong's crew. So this must not have been an operational flight. Mr. Tom Brittan has advised me that a 44th aircraft #41-28795 crashed at Halvergate on this date. Dead are: 1st Lt. Forest M. Musgrave and T/Sgt. Lawrence E. Cargill. They were reported as shot down!source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
446th Bomb Group Mission Report
Brunswick

360 incendiaries and 120 500-pounders were dropped on the city. Enemy fighter attacks were strong, but kept in check by little buddies.

source: 446th Bomb Group www.446bg.com
447BG Mission Report - Briefing was at 0330 hours and the target was again Berlin. The aircraft were loaded with 45 tons of GP bombs and take off started at 0615 hours. The "A" group assembled over the field at 10,000 feet and the "B" group (385th Bomb Group) assembled at 12,000 feet. The "A" group and "B" group dropped their bombs on a 210 heading through the clouds. Landing started at 1415 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
25 A/C attacked target by PFF through a 10/10 undercast. Results unknown; A/C MIA = 0; KIA = 0; WIA = 0; MIA = 0
source: 466th BG: Mission List (Mark Brotherton Collection)
467th Bomb Group Mission reportsource: 467th Bomb Group web page http://www.467bg.com/
486th Bomb Group Flimsy reportsource: 486th Bomb Group web page http://www.486th.org/
91BG / 401BS Mission Report - Berlin: The aiming point selected was the Railway Marshalling Yard at Luxembourg, situated on the Southern outskirts of the city. Unobserved due to heavy undercast. PFF method used. ENEMY AIRCRAFT: None encountered by this Group. FIGHTER SUPPORT: Excellent. FLAK: Enroute to the target, AA fire was reported out of range from vicinities of Imuiden , Quackenbruck and Vechta. At the target, AA fire was intense but inaccurate for our A/C. Inaccurate Ground Rockets were reported from the vicinity of Fassberg.source: 91st BG / 401st BS Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/

Non-Combat Accident Reports

Aircraft: B-17G (#42-107094*).
Organization: 601BS / 398BG of Nuthampstead, Hertfordshire.
Pilot: .
Notes: ground accident.
Location: Nuthampstead, Hertfordshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#42-107191).
Organization: 600BS / 398BG of Nuthampstead, Hertfordshire.
Pilot: Markley, William P.
Notes: ground accident.
Location: Nuthampstead, Hertfordshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 2
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-24H (#41-28795).
Organization: 66BS / 44BG of Shipdham, Norfolk.
Pilot: Musgrave, Forrest M.
Notes: killed in a crash.
Location: Great Yarmouth/8mi W England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-24H (#41-29155).
Organization: 707BS / 446BG of Bungay, Suffolk.
Pilot: .
Notes: ground accident.
Location: Bungay, Suffolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-24H (#42-52404).
Organization: 754BS / 458BG of Horsham St. Faith, Norfolk.
Pilot: Kingsley, Paul P.
Notes: take off accident.
Location: Horsham St. Faith, Norfolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: CG-4A (#42-73898).
Organization: / of Ramsbury, Wiltshire.
Pilot: .
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Ramsbury, Wiltshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: Horsa (#HG922).
Organization: / of Ramsbury, Wiltshire.
Pilot: .
Notes: ground accident.
Location: Ramsbury, Wiltshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 2
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: Horsa (#LH972).
Organization: / of Ramsbury, Wiltshire.
Pilot: .
Notes: ground accident.
Location: Ramsbury, Wiltshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: Oxford II (#T1371).
Organization: Hq / 10SerG of Ramsbury, Wiltshire.
Pilot: Echols, John W.
Notes: take off accident.
Location: Ramsbury, Wiltshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-38H (#42-67075).
Organization: 554FTS / 496FTG of Goxhill, Lincolnshire.
Pilot: Lee, Dwight D.
Notes: forced landing due to engine failure.
Location: Peakirk/ 1mi N England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-38J (#42-67682).
Organization: 554FTS / 496FTG of Goxhill, Lincolnshire.
Pilot: Kite, Darrell D.
Notes: killed in mid air collision.
Location: Barton-on-Humber/1mi SE England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-38J (#42-67998).
Organization: 79FS / 20FG of Kings Cliffe, Northamptonshire.
Pilot: McCarty, Benjamin F.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Wittering, Northamptonshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-47D (#42-8651).
Organization: 551FTS / 495FTG of Atcham, Shropshire.
Pilot: New, Almon W.
Notes: bailed out-engine failure.
Location: Halfpenny Grn/2mi NE England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51B (#43-12190).
Organization: 555FTS / 496FTG of Goxhill, Lincolnshire.
Pilot: Hagan, Harry N.
Notes: bailed out due to mid air collision.
Location: Barton-on-Humber/1mi SE England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51B7 (#43-6850).
Organization: 486FS / 352FG of Bodney, Norfolk.
Pilot: Worcester, John B.
Notes: killed in a crash.
Location: Bradwell Bay 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 331"
Fighter support for 8th AF 344
May 08, 1944

Primary source for mission statistics: Mighty Eighth War Diary by Roger A. Freeman
 
Aircraft
Sent
Aircraft
Effective
Bomb TonnageEnemy
Aircraft
X-P-D
Enemy
Aircraft
(on gnd)
X-P-D
USAAF
Aircraft
X-E-D
USAAF
Personnel
KIA-WIA-MIA
Notes
7297290.055-4-200-0-013-2-40-1-13
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Mission Targets

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Support
729 A/C
Aircraft Groups

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1ST BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
20FG
352FG
356FG
359FG
364FG
2ND BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
4FG
56FG
355FG
361FG
3RD BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
55FG
78FG
339FG
353FG
357FG
OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)
Aircraft Losses

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1ST BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
20FG (1 a/c)
352FG (1 a/c)
359FG (2 a/c)
364FG (3 a/c)
2ND BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
56FG (1 a/c)
361FG (2 a/c)
3RD BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
78FG (1 a/c)
357FG (2 a/c)
OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)