Mission

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Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description

Mission 353: 886 bombers and 735 fighters are dispatched to hit oil production facilities in Germany and Czechoslovakia; there is strong Luftwaffe fighter reaction and 46 bombers and 7 fighters are lost:

1. 326 B-17s are dispatched to Mersenburg (224 bomb) and Lutzkendorf (87 bomb); 1 hits Hedrongen and 1 bombs Bullstadt; 2 B-17s are lost, 3 damaged beyond repair and 189 damaged; 4 airmen are KIA, 6 WIA and 20 MIA.

2. 295 B-17s are dispatched to Brux, Czechoslovakia (140 bomb) and Zwickau (74 bomb); 11 hit Chemnitz, 14 hit Gera marshaling yard, 15 hit Hof and 4 hit targets of opportunity; 41 B-17s are lost, 1 is damaged beyond repair and 162 damaged; 3 airmen are KIA, 8 WIA and 377 MIA.

3. 265 B-24s are dispatched to Zeitz (116 bomb) and Bohlen (99 bomb); 14 hit Mersenburg, 1 hits Ostend Airfield, Belgium and 12 hit targets of opportunity; 3 B-24s are lost, 5 damaged beyond repair and 61 damaged; 7 airmen are WIA and 33 MIA.

Escort is provided by 153 P-38s, 201 P-47s and 381 P-51s; P-38s claim 2-0-0 Luftwaffe aircraft, P-47s claim 26-0-8 and P-51s claim 33-0-3 in the air and 5-0-2 on the ground; 4 P-47s and 3 P-51s are lost and 4 P-47s and 9 P-51s are damaged; 7 pilots are MIA.

Mission 354: 5 of 5 B-17s drop 1.74 million leaflets on Denmark; 1 aircraft is damaged; 2 airmen are KIA and 3 WIA.

Source: THE ARMY AIR FORCES IN WORLD WAR II: COMBAT CHRONOLOGY, 1941-1945 by Carter / Mueller, the Office of Air Force History,

Mission Reports

Notes: First 8AF attack on oil industry
303BG Mission Report - Target: Launa Synthetic Oil Plant at Merseburg, Germany. Crews Dispatched: 17 (358BS - 6, 359th -6 , 360th - 3, 427th - 2). Length of Mission: 8 hours, 10 minutes. Bomb Load: 16 x 300 lb M-31 G.P. bombs. Bombing Altitude: 26,000 ft. Ammo Fired: 570 rounds.

Fifteen B-17s dropped 226 300-lb. G.P. M31 bombs from 26,000 feet. Results were reported as excellent. Two aircraft jettisoned their bombs on the bomb run. There were no clouds in the target area, but the haze was bad.

Only six to fifteen enemy aircraft were seen. A lone ME-109 made a pass at the Group, but there were no real attacks. Flak was moderate and accurate at the target, but meager at other points along the route. One crewman was injured by flak. Aircraft damage included eleven aircraft from flak, two of which were major, and one from fighters. Chaff had no apparent effect.

There were no casualties and all aircraft returned safely. This mission was the final 303rd BG(H) mission to use an “F” model B-17. B-17F #42-3398 Mrs. Satan - Queen of Hell (360BS), piloted by 1Lt Donald M. Johnston, was the last B-17F to fly a 303rd BG(H) combat mission.

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 - 16 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 106. Primary Target: Oil - Merseburg, Germany. Target Attacked : Primary (Visual).

42 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 31. Aborted - 6. Scrubbed - 2. Ground Spare, Unused - 3
42-37776 Kelsay, Omar F - Took off late due to mechanical difficulty in assigned a/c; joined 91BG as #6 in LSq; bombed their primary target with them
42-38208 Johnson, William T - Aborted at 1201 hrs b/c #1 engine went out and was running rough and losing oil; bombs rtd. The notation '(Radar)' appears after T/Sgt T F Watson's name, who is listed as an observer.
42-39766 Pryor, Raymond T - PFF aircraft provided by 305th BG; flew as 546BS. Remaining crew positions filled by non-384th personnel.
42-39888 Druckenmiller, Leon C - Aborted at 1055 hrs over Clacton after two crew members reported flames shooting from left wing panel; bombs rtd
42-97367 Hale, Charles E - Aborted at 1131 hrs; #4 prop running away; BL jettisoned in Channel
42-97574 Morrison, Donald S - PFF aircraft provided by 305th BG. Remaining crew positions filled by non-384th personnel.
42-102402 Castleman, Milton Eugene - Aborted at 1025 hrs; ball turret gunner blacked out at 8000 ft; BL ret.
42-102566 Pulliam, Lyle J - Aborted t/o on three engines and had only 35 inches manifold pressure on #1 engine; turned back north of Kettering when #1 cylinder head blew out and engine had to be feathered; 38x100GP rtd

source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
388BG Mission Report - On this mission, the 388th furnished two Groups, an A and B which were lead and low of the 45th C Combat Wing. The 45th A CW was to lead the 3rd Air Division. The 45th and 13th CW's attacked the synthetic oil plant at Brux in western Czechoslovakia. The 4th CW attacked the aircraft plant at Zwichau. The 1st and 2nd Air Divisions were to attack oil refineries and aircraft plants in the Leipzig and Mersburg area.

20 A/C plus 2 PFF A/C of the A Group took-off by 0826 hours and three of these aborted for mechanical reasons.22 A/C of the B Group took-off by 0807 hours and four of these aborted for mechanical reasons. 1 A/C of the A Group returned as a scheduled abort.

Formations were effected without difficulty and the briefed course was followed to the Target. On the route to the Target, in the vicinity of Frankfurt (1225 hrs) the formation was attacked by about 75 enemy a/c, FW 190's and Me 109's. This attack lasted for 35 minutes and one of our A/C was shot down. Lt. Loslo in a/c 42-31549, in the low squadron, went down at 1238 hours with #4 engine on fire. After the crew had bailed-out, an Me 109 shot the plane down.

Visibility was perfect at the Target. The PFF A/C of the A Group had a malfunction on the bomb run, held his bombs, and decided to make a second run. Just as the formation was about to leave the Target area, the #3 ship in the second element of the lead squadron suffered a direct flak hit and caused the bombardier to salvo the bombs. Consequently, the group leader decided not to make a second bomb run and proceeded to the RP. The a/c in the formation who were still carrying bombs, dropped them on the PFF A/ C in the vicinity of Hol on the return route. The B Group attacked the Target with excellent results. Hits were seen on the main M.P.I. and surrounding buildings.

Meager flak was encountered at Koblenz and Schweinfurt and very accurate flak in the Target area. Several ground rockets were seen in the Target area.

32 A/C landed safely at base by 1710 hours. Lt. Salles in a/c 42-107165 made an emergency landing at Manston. Lt. Mergenthaler in a/c 42-32030 made an emergency landing at Honington. All crew members are safe.

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/
398th Bomb Group Mission reportsource: 398th Bomb Group web page http://www.398th.org/
401BG / 613BS Mission Report - The primary target was the synthetic oil plant and ammonia and nitrogen works of the I.G. Farhben Industries located just 3 miles south of the center Merseburg. Crews: Sharp, O'Neil, Pruitt, Protz, Lew, Windham, Tonti, Scharff. Crews reported results as being good. Observations indicated that hits were scored on the MPI with the Low Group obtaining an excellent pattern. No enemy aircraft attacks were directed against this Bomb Wing on the mission although a few enemy planes were seen operating in the distance. The main reason for there being no enemy aircraft attacks was the fact that our friendly fighter support was so effective. Flak was encountered in varying intensity on route. All our aircraft returned to base without incident. An exception to this was S/Sgt. Alfred A. Tomlinson who was killed by flak.source: 613th Bombardment Squadron History
401BG / 614BS Mission Report - The primary target for the mission was Merseburg, with the MPI being the synthetic oil plant and ammonia and nitrogen works of the I.G. Farben Industries located just 3 miles south of the center of the city. The Group put up 41 aircraft to form the Lead and Low Boxes of the 94th CBW. The Group lead the 1st Air Division on this mission. The 1st Air Division sent 326 aircraft to attack an oil target at Merseburg and lost 2 aircraft --- the 3rd Air Division sent 295 aircraft to attack the same sort of target at Zwickau and lost 41 aircraft, the 96th B.G. losses were 12 and the 452nd B.G. losses were 14. Proof that the German Air Force could still deliver hammer blows.Crews reported the results as good and observations indicated that hits were scored on the MPI by the Low Group, which was flying a tight formation and obtained an excellent pattern. The pattern of the Lead Group was described as good, but was observed to be short of the MPI, although hits were observed in the marshalling yards and surrounding buildings. Crews: Kilmer Chapman Kenney Wlah Myers Fisette.source: 614th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 615BS Mission Report - This was the first attack on German oil production by the 8th Air Force. The 3rd Air Division was heavily attacked by German fighters and lost 41 of their B-17's. One of the most briefed targets the 401st had had finally resulted in a mission to Merseburg - home of the large synthetic oil refineries supplying the German Air Force. The 401st Bomb Group led the 1st Air Division, putting up the Lead and Low Boxes for the 94th CBW. The Group's 41 aircraft were led by the Group Commander, Colonel H.W. Bowman. Strike photos were rated as fair, since most of the bombs fell short of the briefed MPI. No enemy attacks were made against the Wing, but there were a good number of enemy aircraft operating in the vicinity - judged by the reports to the Wing and Division. It was generally observed that the friendly fighter support was the most efficient and numerous yet given to the 401st. Flak was encountered en route and there were considerable concentrations of it over Merseburg. The 615th loading list was as follows: Gillespie, Christensen, Trimble, Mann, Post, Grinham.source: 615th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 612BS Mission Report - Crews: McCree, Johnson, Kelly, Opie, Massey, Hagan, Bingham, West, Tanner.source: 612th Bombardment Squadron History
44BG Mission Report - Zeitz, Germany, the site of synthetic oil plants, was the Primary target for 18 of the 44th planes today (5 were 67th). All reached the target and bombed, dropping 19 x 250 GPs and strike photos show bomb hits were excellent. Actually 19 ships were sent but a 506th A/C was forced to return early. Unfortunately, on the way out, our ship, #042 flown by Lt. Vance was hit by enemy aircraft and was seen to go down. The 68th Squadron reported that the 67th plane was first hit by flak, as was all of their planes but they lost none. The enemy aircraft did not hit the 44th formation but evidently attacked Lt. Vance as a straggler. All aircraft returned to base at 1715 hours. Sgt. D.V. Chase flew this mission, his 25th, as a radio operator on Lt. Metz's crew. "Off in the distance, about 2 o'clock level, I spotted a 24 that had had its top turret plastic (plexiglass) shot completely away. I kept thinking "Headless Horseman" ... 'Headless Horseman". The crippled ship continued flying, but slowly fell behind the Group's formation. As a straggler he was a prime E/A target. Hope he makes it. Hope we make it. (He didn't) When a crew goes down, foot lockers are pried open and personal belongings are collected, minus any objectionable material or firearms, and shipped to their next of kin. Their beds are stripped and the thin mattresses (bisquits) folded or stacked. Soon, newly assigned young men will arrive and the beds will be made again. 67th A/C #42-110042 J Vance, Lewis I. 2nd Lt. Pilot Retz, West Virg. Officially reported POW Barnet, Thomas P. Jr. 2nd Lt. Co-pilot Roanoke, Virginia Officially reported POW Davidowitz, Edward F/O Bombardier Brooklyn, New York Unreported; later KIA Swinburnson, Gilbert E. T/Sgt. Navigator Saskatchowan, Can. Officially reported POW Holt, Nathan J. S/Sgt. Engineer Henderson, Texas Officially reported POW Davidson, Andrew C. Jr. S/Sgt. Radio-Op. Detroit, Michigan Officially reported POW Hockman, Robert C. Sgt. LW-Gunner Hutchingson, Kan. Officially reported POW Rosinski, Stanley J. S/Sgt. RW Gunner Elizabeth, New Jer. Officially reported POW Pease, Thomas H. Sgt. Tail Tur. Colorado Spr., Col. Officially reported POW Miller, Ray E. S/Sgt. Ball Tur. Nappanee, Indiana Officially reported POW 1st Lt. Cooper, Squadron Navigator of the 67th Sq. was promoted to Captain. 66th's PFF ship #794 piloted by Lt. Yoder flew lead with the 392nd.source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
446th Bomb Group Mission Report
Bohlen

Very good results were obtained against an oil refinery, which was set ablaze. This refinery generated about 5% of Germanys synthetic oil. S/Sgt Frank Romano shot down an ME 410.

source: 446th Bomb Group www.446bg.com
447BG Mission Report - Briefing was at 0600 hours and the target was an aircraft repair depot at Zwickau, about 40 miles south of Liepzig. The aircraft were loaded with 500 pound GP bombs and the first plane started its take off at 0820 hours. There were 700 enemy fighters in interceptor range following assembly. The armada headed for Frankfurt which drew the Luftwaffe in that direction. As the Third Division crossed the Rhine, there were only one of our fighter groups in escort. 130 enemy fighters attacked overwhelming out escort scoring heavily on the bombers. Another of our fighter escort joined the fray and were able to get control. Remnants of the Luftwaffe re-organized and struck the Third again, but our fighters were able to handle them. The Third lost 30 B-17s. The 447th dropped their bombs with "Good" results. The following crews were lost: Lt. E.D. Wright, 708th, Major W.W. Brown and Captain W.B. Larson, 709th, Captain Van Every and Captain K.A. Johnson, 710th, Lt. M. Pettus and Lt. T.C. Mandrell, 711th. Lt. Moses ditched in the North Sea on return, seven men were rescued. Landing started at 1640 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/
458th Bomb Group personal reminiscencesource: 458th Bomb Group web page http://www.458bg.com/
466th BG Mission Report
Strike photos show the 1st squadron bombing the oil refinery at Leuna with good results. 2nd squadron bombed a target not definitely determined. Crews report target possibly the oil refinery at Zeitz.; A/C MIA = 1; KIA = 0; WIA = 0; MIA = 10
source: 466th BG: Mission List (Mark Brotherton Collection)
467th Bomb Group Mission reportsource: 467th Bomb Group web page http://www.467bg.com/
492nd Bomb Group Mission Linksource: 492 Bomb Group Mission Links http://www.492ndbombgroup.com
91st BG / 322nd BS Mission Report - Lutzkendorf. Due to heavy smoke over target which was the synthetic oil plant at Lutzkendorf, the marshalling yards two miles west were bombed with unobserved results. No casualties or E/A claims. source: 322rd Bomb Squadron / 91BG Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/

Non-Combat Accident Reports

Aircraft: B-24H (#41-29562*).
Organization: 4BS / 34BG of Mendlesham, Suffolk.
Pilot: Redigo William E.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Mendlesham, Suffolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: Mosquito XVI (#MM308).
Organization: Hq / 482BG of Alconbury, Cambridgeshire.
Pilot: Stewart, Henry M II.
Notes: crash landing.
Location: Alconbury, Cambridgeshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-38J (#43-28404).
Organization: 79FS / 20FG of Kings Cliffe, Northamptonshire.
Pilot: Learned, Albert S.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Kings Cliffe, Northamptonshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-47D (#42-22468).
Organization: 311FRS / 27ATG of Langford Lodge, Northern Ireland.
Pilot: Hoenes, Mathew G.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Thorpe Abbots, Norfolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-47D (#42-26027).
Organization: 352FS / 353FG of Raydon, Suffolk.
Pilot: Keywan, Richard V.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Raydon, Suffolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51B15 (#42-106842).
Organization: 504FS / 339FG of Fowlmere, Cambridgeshire.
Pilot: .
Notes: take off accident.
Location: Fowlmere, Cambridgeshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51C3 (#42-103305).
Organization: 505FS / 339FG of Fowlmere, Cambridgeshire.
Pilot: Jaaskelainen, William (NMI).
Notes: take off accident.
Location: Fowlmere, Cambridgeshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51C7 (#42-103348).
Organization: 364FS / 357FG of Leiston, Suffolk.
Pilot: Sullivan, Joseph G.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Leiston, Suffolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51C7 (#42-103352).
Organization: 354FS / 355FG of Steeple Morden, Cambridgeshire.
Pilot: Robinson, G C.
Notes: crashed belly landing.
Location: RAF Hurn England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/

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

Mission "8th AF 353"
German oil industry targets
May 12, 1944

Notes: First 8AF attack on oil industry

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
8868141687.70-0-00-0-046-9-4127-21-43095BG aircraft ditches sea
452BG aircraft ditches sea
452BG aircraft ditches sea
93BG aircraft crash-lands Woodbridge
385BG aircraft ditches Thames
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Mission Targets

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MERSEBURG, GERMANY
Leuna Industry
oil refinery224 A/Cphotos (2)
MüCHELN, GERMANY
Lutzkendorf Industry
oil refinery87 A/Cphotos (2)
ZWICKAU, GERMANY
August Horch Motorwagenwerke Industry
vehicles74 A/C
BRUX, CZECHOSLOVAKIA
Sudetenlandische-Treibstoffwerke A.G. Industry
hydrogenation plant140 A/Cphotos (1)
CHEMNITZ, GERMANY
Industry
oil refinery11 A/C
GERA, GERMANY
Railroad
marshalling yard14 A/C
ZEITZ-TROGLITZ, GERMANY
Braunkohle-Benzin A.G. Industry
oil refinery116 A/Cphotos (3)
BOHLEN, GERMANY
Braunkohle-Benzin AG (BRABAG) Industry
synthetic oil refinery99 A/Cphotos (2)
MERSEBURG, GERMANY
Leuna Industry
oil refinery14 A/Cphotos (2)
Aircraft Groups

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1ST BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
303BG
305BG
306BG
351BG
379BG
381BG
384BG
398BG
401BG
457BG
91BG
92BG
2ND BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
44BG
93BG
389BG
392BG
445BG
446BG
448BG
453BG
458BG
466BG
467BG
492BG
3RD BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
94BG
100BG
385BG
388BG
390BG
447BG
452BG
95BG
96BG
OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)
Aircraft Losses

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1ST BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
92BG (1 a/c)
457BG (1 a/c)
2ND BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
44BG (1 a/c)
93BG (1 a/c)
389BG (1 a/c)
3RD BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
94BG (2 a/c)
95BG (1 a/c)
96BG (12 a/c)
100BG (2 a/c)
385BG (2 a/c)
388BG (1 a/c)
447BG (7 a/c)
452BG (14 a/c)
OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)