Mission

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Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description

Mission 359: 638 bombers and 657 fighters are dispatched to hit targets in France and Belgium; 2 bombers and 4 fighters are lost; AAF claims 2-0-1 Luftwaffe aircraft in the air and 1-0-1 on the ground:

1. 190 B-17s are dispatched to bomb Orly Airfield (90 bomb) and Villacoublay Air Depot (73 bomb) in France; 4 B-17s are damaged beyond repair and 48 damaged; 20 airmen are KIA and 6 WIA.

2. 125 of 177 B-24s bomb Reims Airfield and marshaling yard in France; 5 B-24s are damaged.

3. 271 B-17s and B-24s are dispatched to marshaling yards at Liege and Brussels, Belgium but the mission is abandoned due to heavy cloud cover; 2 bombers are lost, 4 damaged beyond repair and 41 damaged; 17 airmen are KIA, 16 WIA and 17 MIA.

Escort is provided by 146 P-38s, 177 P-47s and 334 P-51s; P-38s claim 2-0-1 Luftwaffe aircraft in the air and 1-0-1 on the ground; 1 P-38, 1 P-47 and 2 P-51s are lost; 5 P-38s are damaged; 4 pilots are MIA.

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: Airdrome at Orly, France. Crews Dispatched: 12 + 2 spares (358BS - 0, 359th - 0, 360th - 7, 427th - 7). Length of Mission: 5 hours. Bomb Load: 6 x 1,000 lb M-44 G.P. bombs. Bombing Altitude: 24,000 ft. Ammo Fired: 170 rounds.

Fourteen aircraft, including two spares, took off to bomb the airdrome at Orly, France. The secondary target was an airdrome at Oreil, France. The two spare aircraft returned as ordered. No other aircraft returned early.

Twelve B-17s dropped 72 1,000-lb. M44 bombs from 24,000 feet with good results. Weather had no effect on the mission. There were no clouds in the target area, but some haze.

No enemy aircraft were seen. Moderate and inaccurate flak was encountered in the target area with some scattered fire along the route. No aircraft sustained any battle damage and there were no casualties. Friendly fighter support was excellent and it was considered that chaff had some beneficial effect.

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 - 12 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 110. Primary Target: Orly Airport - Paris, France. Target Attacked : Primary (Visual)

17 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 12. Spare, Returned As Briefed - 2. Ground Spare, Unused - 3
42-37792 Adams, William Lowell - rtd bombs b/c togglier did not have sufficient instruction in releasing bombs
42-102518 Dean, Ralph M - rtd 6x1000GP b/c bomb bay doors would not open

source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
388BG Mission Report - 25 A/C were scheduled for this mission, the marshalling yards in Brussels.

18 a/c plus seven spares were airborne by 0703 hours. 5 a/ c were schedule aborts and three for mechanical reasons. Formations were effected without difficulty and 17 a/c proceeded to the IP on the briefed course. At this point it was decided that the target could not be attacked because of cloud coverage and haze. The mission was therefore abandoned and all a/c returned to base by 1243 hours.

Meager flak was seen at Charleroi, Aachen and Eindhoven.

source: 388th Bomb Group web page http://www.388bg.info
389th Bomb Group Mission Report
Rhiems, France RR yds, 6 x 1000 lb. 2300 gals. Easy mission, flak a bit rough at target but we got only one hole, saw no enemy fighters. Did a damn good job of bombing - every one right in the target area. Had a good look at the big Cathedral as we were at 19,800. Flew in A+ instead of D+. Hell with that noise. No G box.
source: 389TH BG: Personal Mission Log of Bernard L. Prueher http://www.hrhodes.com/Mission%20Logs/mission.htm
398th Bomb Group Mission reportsource: 398th Bomb Group web page http://www.398th.org/
401BG / 613BS Mission Report - The target was a large hangar northwest of the large main runway at the aircraft works and airfield at Villacoublay, France. This target was given such a high priority rating that the order was given that no bombs should be released unless an accurate visual sighting could be made. Crews: Hammond, Protz. Bombing was done by visual means and observations and photos show that results were generally good. No enemy aircraft were encountered by the Group. Flak was not encountered along the route to and from the target. At the target area flak was moderate to intense and very accurate. All aircraft returned to base without incident.source: 613th Bombardment Squadron History
401BG / 614BS Mission Report - Only 15 401st aircraft took part in the attack on the airfield at Villacoublay on this day. It was a visual attack and made without losses to the 1st Air Division. The 3rd Air Division had another day of bad luck with heavy cloud causing them to abandon the mission, and they lost 8 B-17's destroyed in ground collisions and in the air on assembly. Bombing was done by visual means and from the strike photos, it would appear that the results were good. There were no enemy aircraft encountered and the only flak was that at the target which was moderate to intense and very accurate. Crews: Kenney, Bartley, Gruman, Taylor, Fisette.source: 614th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 612BS Mission Report - Crews: Goodman, Johnson, Massey.source: 612th Bombardment Squadron History
446th Bomb Group Mission Report
Reims, France

22 planes bombed the airfield with good results.

source: 446th Bomb Group www.446bg.com
447BG Mission Report - Briefing was at 0530 hours and the target was the marshalling yards at Liege, Belgium. The bombers were loaded with 500 pound GP bombs and take off was at 0700 hours. About 10 minutes after the formation left the coast, at 20,000 feet, Lt. A.E. Town of the 710th Squadron was hit by stray bullets. It is believed that a careless gunner from another Group was test firing his gun at the time. Town pulled out of the formation dropping his bombs while his plane was on fire. Ten men were seen leaving the plane as the plane broke up. The Group continued their mission at 21,000 feet finding the target covered with clouds, so they turned around and headed home. Flak was moderate but fairly accurate. Lt. C.R. Mitchell of the 709th Squadron went down in the target area. Landing started at 1200 hours. At interrogation the crews learned that only Town and his co-pilot Robert Lewis survived the crash. 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
15 A/C flew as one sqdr with 2 PFF ships and bombed the target. Bombing however was visaul and reported as excellent.; 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/
486th Bomb Group Flimsy reportsource: 486th Bomb Group web page http://www.486th.org/
91BG / 401BS Mission Report - Our target was the Villa Coublay A/C works and airfields, 5 miles southwest of Paris . 5 aircraft and crews were provided by this Squadron. BOMBING RESULTS: Crews report main concentration of bombs hit to the left of assigned MPI. ENEMY AIRCRAFT: One E/A observed 5000 ft above formation but chased off by our escort. FIGHTER SUPPORT: As briefed. FLAK: Moderate, accurate AA fire reported at the target. source: 91st BG / 401st BS Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/

Non-Combat Accident Reports

Aircraft: B-17G (#42-32001).
Organization: 326BS / 92BG of Podington, Bedforshire.
Pilot: Pearl, Jack (NMI).
Notes: killed in a take off accident.
Location: Podington, Bedforshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#42-37934).
Organization: 326BS / 92BG of Podington, Bedforshire.
Pilot: Seitz, William E.
Notes: killed in a take off accident.
Location: Podington, Bedforshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#42-97244).
Organization: 407BS / 92BG of Podington, Bedforshire.
Pilot: Hanson, Stanley M.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Podington, Bedforshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#42-97352).
Organization: 563BS / 388BG of Knettishall, Suffolk.
Pilot: Schneider, August E.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Knettishall, Suffolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#42-97489).
Organization: 326BS / 92BG of Podington, Bedforshire.
Pilot: Wiggins, James E.
Notes: killed in a take off accident.
Location: Podington, Bedforshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#42-97857).
Organization: 339BS / 96BG of Snetterton Heath, Norfolk.
Pilot: Estle, Raymond C.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Snetterton Heath, Norfolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-24H (#42-52691).
Organization: 832BS / 486BG of Sudbury, Suffolk.
Pilot: Hendricks, Fred A.
Notes: killed in crash landing.
Location: Preston Fm/NNE Lavenham England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-24H (#42-52726).
Organization: 832BS / 486BG of Sudbury, Suffolk.
Pilot: Sturgeon, Norman (NMI).
Notes: killed in a take off accident.
Location: Sudbury/ 1mi NE Sta 174 England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-24H (#42-52743).
Organization: 837BS / 487BG of Lavenham, Suffolk.
Pilot: Goethe, Everett F.
Notes: killed in crashed on take off.
Location: Sudbury England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-26B (#41-31724).
Organization: 555BS / 386BG of Great Dunmow, Essex.
Pilot: Tener, Philip (NMI).
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Boreham/Sta 161 England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: Mosquito XVI (#MM338).
Organization: 8WRX / 802RS of Watton, Norfolk.
Pilot: Bozarth, Hugh H.
Notes: crash landing.
Location: Watton, Norfolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: Oxford I (#T1203).
Organization: / 353FG of Raydon, Suffolk.
Pilot: Rose, John B Jr.
Notes: forced landing out of gas.
Location: Raydon/ nr Sta 157 England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51B5 (#42-106931).
Organization: 358FS / 355FG of Steeple Morden, Cambridgeshire.
Pilot: Coleman, Ralph L.
Notes: landing accident due to mechanical fail.
Location: Mendlesham, Suffolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-51B7 (#43-6725).
Organization: 335FS / 4FS of Debden, Essex.
Pilot: Simpson, Curtis (NMI).
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Debden, Essex 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 343"
Fighter support for 8th AF 359
May 20, 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
6576570.02-0-11-0-14-0-50-0-4
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Mission Targets

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657 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
356FG (1 a/c)
2ND BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
355FG (2 a/c)
3RD BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
55FG (1 a/c)
OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)