Mission

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Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description

Mission 347: 823 bombers and 668 fighters are dispatched to hit marshaling yards and airfields in France, Belgium and Luxembourg; this is the beginning of the pre-invasion bombing of enemy installations; 6 bombers and 7 fighters are lost:

1. Of 220 B-17s, 75 hit St Dizier Airfield, 53 hit Thionville Airfield and 37 hit Thionville marshaling yard, France and 53 hit Luxembourg marshaling yard, Luxembourg; 38 B-17s are damaged.

2. 242 B-17s are dispatched to bomb airfields in France; 113 hit Laon/Athies, 71 hit Juvincourt, 43 hit Laon/Couvron, 10 hit Lille/Vendeville and 1 hits Chievres; 2 B-17s are lost and 44 damaged; 1 airman is KIA, 1 WIA and 20 MIA.

3. Of 361 B-24s, 101 hit St Trond Airfield, 96 hit Florennes Airfield, 63 hit Liege marshaling yard and 6 hit Hody Airfield, Belgium and 68 hit Laon/Couvron Airfield and 10 hit Nivelles Airfield, France; 2 B-24s are lost, and 35 damaged; 2 airmen are KIA, 1 WIA and 44 MIA.

Escort is provided by 144 P-38s, 277 P-47s and 247 P-51s; the P-47s claim 2-0-1 Luftwaffe aircraft in the air and 1-0-4 on the ground, the P-51s claim 1-0-0 in the air; 1 P-38 and 6 P-51s are lost; 1 P-38 is damaged beyond repair and 1 P-51 is damaged; 6 pilots are MIA.

Mission 348: 3 of 3 B-17s drop 1.34 million leaflets on 4 towns in The Netherlands and 3 in Belgium.

13 B-24s are dispatched on CARPETBAGGER missions 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: Marshalling Yards at Thionville, France. Crews Dispatched: 12 (358BS - 0, 359th - 7, 360th - 0, 427th - 7). Length of Mission: 5 hours, 45 minutes. Bomb Load: 5 x 1000 lb G.P. bombs plus chaff. Bombing Altitude: 21,000 ft. Ammo Fired: 320 rounds.

Fourteen aircraft took off, including two spares. The spares returned to Molesworth and twelve aircraft continued on to the target. Weather had no effect on the mission. In the target area there were no low or medium clouds, with 3/10 cirrus at 30,000 feet. Visibility was ten miles.

Twelve B-17s dropped 60 1,000-lb. G.P. M44 bombs on the railroad marshalling yards from 21,000 feet with excellent results. Three concentrations hit the yards—the railway bridge, rail lines, buildings and equipment were struck.

No enemy aircraft were seen and no flak was encountered. Friendly fighter support was excellent. There were no casualties and all aircraft returned undamaged. One crew described the mission as "the best organized mission ever flown." Several other crews complained about the lack of "Scotch" at the interrogations. The weather officer, 1Lt. Andrew F. Bunker, was complimented when the wind direction and velocity proved to be exactly as predicted.

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 104. Primary Target: Marshalling Yards - Thionville, France. Target Attacked : Primary (Visual)

16 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 12. Aborted - 1. Scrubbed - 1. Spare, Returned As Briefed - 2

source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
388BG Mission Report - For this mission the 388th put up two 14 plane formations plus three spares. 15 a/c of the "B" Group took-off by 0555 hours followed by the 17 a/c of the "A" Group which were airborne by 0610 hours.

The 388th "A" Group led the mission with our "B" Group as low Group and the 96th Bomb Group as high Group. Wing formation was effected over King's Lynn at 0724 hours. The remainder of the route was flown as briefed. Leaving the English Coast at 0815 hours, altitude 15,000 feet; the enemy Coast was crossed at 0834 hours. Bombing altitude was reached at 0855 hours. The target was clear and bombing was done visually by Groups. The 96th had to make a second bomb run on the target. This was not known by the Wing leader until sometime later on the route out when they contacted the 45th Combat Wing leader and gave this information. No flak was encountered over the target and very little along the route.

Our a/c returned to base by 1125 hours.

source: 388th Bomb Group web page http://www.388bg.info
389th Bomb Group Mission Report
Florence Belgium. Target G. A. F. nite fighter field, Load 40 x 100 lb. G. P., 2300 gals. Got up at 0230, briefed 0330, Takeoff 0615. Flight alt. 16,000 - too low to suit me -20 degrees c temp. No flak until the target area where it was moderate and inaccurate. Excellent bombing job. Saw 20 mm shells bursting around us but damned if we could find the enemy fighters. The 453 flying high right lost 2 ships, saw one of them go down, 7 chutes. On the way, over one of our own ships (Shepperd) went down in the Channel for no apparent reason. Believed one of our ships killed the pilot while test-firing guns. Tough luck!
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 / 614BS Mission Report - The 8th Air Force sent 823 four-engined bombers to France on 9th May to attack marshalling yards and airfields, the start of the pre-invasion bombing of the German installations in and around Northern France. Twenty-one 401st aircraft, under the command of Major Seawell, furnished the Lead Box of the 94th Combat Wing. The target for the Wing was the marshalling yards at Luxembourg, and the bombs fell squarely on the MPl. One of the strike photos shows a vast explosion covering the whole of the MPI as a train load of ammunition blew up. The bombs of the 401st were seen to strike squarely on the MPI, which was a point between two roundhouses. These roundhouses and the surrounding buildings were covered with an excellent pattern. The Wing Leader and Wing Lead Bombardier described the results as Excellent. Crews: Owens Lincoln Gruman Fisette Wilson.source: 614th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 615BS Mission Report - This was the start of the pre-invasion bombing of the enemy installations in northern France, and 800 four-engined bombers of the 8th Air Force made visual attacks on airfields and marshalling yards. The 21 crews of the 401st were briefed at 0245 hrs and, under the leadership of Major W.T. Seawell, Here airborne by 0619 hrs and heading for Luxembourg. The 401st Bomb Group furnished the Lead Box of the 94th Combat Wing, which attacked their primary target, the marshalling yards at Luxembourg, visually. The bombs of the Group were seen to strike squarely on the NPI which was a point between the roundhouses. These roundhouses were covered with an excellent pattern. The Wing Leader and the Wing Bombardier described the results as excellent. From 4 to 6 enemy aircraft, silver with yellow noses and tails were observed in the area. Some flak was seen. Many important observations as to transport activity were noted by all crews participating on this mission. Capt. Arnold Kuenning described this mission in his log as "an ideal mission -- good target, good location, good weather, with lack of enemy opposition, and everything clicked perfectly." The fact that Capt. Kuenning was able to place his bombs within 100 feet of the roundhouse, his MPI, was due in no small way to the fact that Capt. Causey was one of the finest navigators in the 8th Air Force. During the course of a mission the navigator advised and identified each checkpoint, groundspeed, etc., giving the information to the bombardier who then adjusted his bomb sight to pre-determined angles listed for each checkpoint. Information was also fed to the bombardier by the "Mickey" operator. The fact that the 401st Bomb Group was the most accurate in the 8th Air Force points to the obvious fact that they had teams of the best navigators, bombardiers and radar operators in the ETO. The other 615th Crews on this mission were: Campbell, Wysocki, Ferdyn, Ochsenhirt, Post, Parr.source: 615th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 612BS Mission Report - Crews: Toussaint, West, Hershey, Kelly, Tanner, Opie.source: 612th Bombardment Squadron History
44BG Mission Report - Missions are coming thick and fast these days. Another one today with the 67th putting up nine ships in the 30 plane formation of the 44th. All aircraft reached the target, St. Trond / Brustrem A/F, Belgium and bombed with excellent results. This bombing was done at the request of the RAF who have encountered night fighters in quantity operating from this base. Bomb load was 52 x 100 M47s. One 68th Squadron plane, #42-100110, had a premature explosion of bombs just beneath the ship, and five men bailed out. (Four became POWs and one returned to duty.) But Lt. Larson brought the damaged plane back to England and crash-landed "Northern Lass" at Attleboro. Group landed at 1140 hours. Lt. J.P. Ferguson was assigned today. Sgt. Kipnes adds: "For awhile we could not find the target. I had the bomb bay doors open three times before we were sure of the target. Finally we let them go. On the way to the target we saw a B-24 ditching in the Channel. We saw our fighters circling the downed plane, so they must have been picked up." Roger Freeman reports that it was a 389th BG plane, two saved.source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
446th Bomb Group Mission Report
Liege, Belgium

The marshalling yards were severely damaged and the roundhouse totally destroyed by 21 planes. One plane caught fire and exploded before take-off, but not before all crewmen could escape unharmed. The pilot, 2/Lt Andy Lipsky, was awarded the Soldiers Medal for ensuring his crew was safely out of the burning, heavily armed plane before escaping himself.

source: 446th Bomb Group www.446bg.com
447BG Mission Report - Briefing was at 0330 hours and the target was an air depot at Laon/Athies, France. The field was on the east side of the town of Laon, about 50 miles northeast of Paris. The bombers were loaded with 1118 100 pond GP bombs with take off starting at 0600 hours. The bombing altitude of 22,000 feet was reached as the Group crossed the French coast near Calais. The mission was uneventful and the flak was light. Bomb results were rated as "Good" and landing started at 1050 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
Strike photos show good bombing results by 466th and 458th groups.; 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 - The twin-engine fighter base, 2 miles south of the town of St. Dizier , was today's target. This Squadron provided 6 A/C and crews for this mission. Described by crews as being very good, with MPI well covered with bursts, several explosions and much fire and smoke seen. ENEMY AIRCRAFT: None encountered by this Group. FIGHTER SUPPORT: Good and as briefed. FLAK: On the way back from target, meager but accurate AA fire was encountered from vicinity of Ath and Raghein.source: 91st BG / 401st BS Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/

Non-Combat Accident Reports

Aircraft: B-17F (#42-3382).
Organization: 369BS / 306BG of Thurleigh, Bedfordshire.
Pilot: Clark, Ralph F.
Notes: crash landing.
Location: Thurleigh, Bedfordshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-24H (#41-29587).
Organization: 848BS / 490BG of Eye, Suffolk.
Pilot: Moss, William G.
Notes: take off accident.
Location: Eye, Suffolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-24H (#42-7642).
Organization: 506BS / 44BG of Shipdham, Norfolk.
Pilot: Gibson, John H.
Notes: taxiing accident.
Location: Shipdham, Norfolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-38J (#42-67203).
Organization: 554FTS / 496FTG of Goxhill, Lincolnshire.
Pilot: Maloney, Robert F.
Notes: forced landing due to engine failure.
Location: Goxhill, Lincolnshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-38J (#42-67972).
Organization: 38FS / 55FG of Wormingford, Essex.
Pilot: Fisher, Paul (NMI) Jr.
Notes: crashed on take off.
Location: Eye, Suffolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-38J (#43-28374).
Organization: 38FS / 55FG of Wormingford, Essex.
Pilot: Woods, Sidney S.
Notes: crash landing.
Location: Wormingford, Essex England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51B10 (#42-106502).
Organization: 487FS / 352FG of Bodney, Norfolk.
Pilot: McMahan, Ernest B.
Notes: killed in mid air collision.
Location: Mersey Flats/nr Bradwell England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51B15 (#42-106823).
Organization: 334FS / 4FG of Debden, Essex.
Pilot: Allen, Eacott A.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Debden, Essex England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51B15 (#43-24802).
Organization: 376FS / 361FG of Bottisham, Cambrdigeshire.
Pilot: .
Notes: taxiing accident.
Location: Bottisham, Cambrdigeshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51B7 (#43-6840).
Organization: 336FS / 4FG of Debden, Essex.
Pilot: Bradley, Robert T.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Debden, Essex England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51C3 (#42-103310).
Organization: 487FS / 352FG of Bodney, Norfolk.
Pilot: Conrad, Vule V.
Notes: bailed out due to mid air collision.
Location: Mersey Flats/nr Bradwell 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 333"
Fighter support for 8th AF 347
May 09, 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
6686680.03-0-11-0-47-1-10-0-755FG crash-lands base
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Mission Targets

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668 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)
2ND BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
4FG (4 a/c)
3RD BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
357FG (2 a/c)
OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)