Mission 269: 353 B-17s and 92 B-24s are dispatched to targets in Germany but high clouds and the malfunction of blind-bombing equipment cause nearly 300 bombers to abort the mission; 7 bombers and 8 fighters are lost; the bombers claim 2-0-0 Luftwaffe aircraft; the bombers also drop 900,000 leaflets; details are: 54 B-17s hit Mannheim, 51 hit Frankfurt, 19 hit Bingen and 22 hit targets of opportunity; 5 B-17s are lost, 1 damaged beyond repair and 150 damaged; casualties are 1 KIA, 8 WIA and 40 MIA. 1 of 92 B-24s hit Bretuit Airfield; 2 B-24s are lost and 15 damaged; casualties are 3 WIA and 21 MIA. Escort is provided by 44 P-38s, 345 P-47s and 205 Eighth and Ninth Air Force P-51s; claims and losses are: P-38s: no claims or losses. P-47s claim 1-0-1 Luftwaffe aircraft on the ground; 6 P-47s are lost and 9 damaged; 6 pilots are MIA. P-51s claim 4-0-1 Luftwaffe aircraft; 2 P-51s are lost and 3 damaged; 2 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 for this date:
Some entries may be scrollable
303BG Mission Report - Target: City area, Frankfurt, Germany (PFF). Crews Dispatched: 19 plus 2 spares (358BS - 7, 359th - 7, 360th - 5, 427th - 2). Length of Mission: 8 hours, 15 minutes. Bomb Load: 36 x 100 lb G.P. bombs Bombing Altitude: 26,300 ft. Ammo Fired: 310 rounds.

Twenty-one B-17Gs took off to attack the Albert Teves plant in Frankfurt, Germany. Two spare aircraft returned to Molesworth shortly after take-off. The secondary target was military objectives in case visual bombing of the primary target was impossible. The 482BG furnished the PFF aircraft.

Weather to about 2 degrees east was fairly good. From 2 degrees east to the target and back were 7/10 to 9/10 cumulus clouds with tops at 12,000 to 14,000 feet. There were also cirrostratus clouds between 12,000 and 26,000 feet and visibility was limited to 300 to 400 yards. Persistent and dense contrails added to the visibility problems. At 1150 hours, the low Group in the 41st CBW turned back due to poor weather conditions. As a result, the aircraft in the low 358BS were unable to find the formation and their five B-17s turned back with all bombs. Three aircraft lost the formation due to poor visibility.

The remaining eleven Fortresses dropped 418 100-lb. G.P. bombs on the secondary target. Bombing was by the PFF technique through solid undercast and results could not be observed. The PFF crew believed that the bombs hit in the northeast part of the city.

Only three enemy aircraft were seen and there were no attacks on the 303rd BG(H). Moderate, inaccurate flak was encountered five times to and from the target. At the target eight aircraft received minor battle damage from moderate, accurate flak. Friendly fighter support was intermittent during the mission, but the weather prevented them from being observed most of the time. All aircraft returned safely.

More info on this mission at the 303BG website
source: 303rd Bomb Group web page http://www.303rdbg.com/

351BG Mission Report - 19 aircraft were sent on this mission. Weather recall, mission credited.
source: 351st Bomb Group web page http://www.351st.org/ken.harbour
384BG Mission Report - 384th BG Mission Number 78. Impossible atmospherical conditions compelled our planes to turn back over France without dropping their bombs. Clouds extended up to 25,000 feet when the bombers abandoned their attack. Primary Target: Industry - Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany. Target Attacked : Mission RECALLED - No Target Attacked.

23 aircraft assigned to this mission: Spare, Returned As Briefed - 3. Recalled - 20
source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/

388BG Mission Report - All heavy bombers of the 8th Air Force were assigned various targets in the Frankfurt Area. The assigned target for our Group in case bombing could be done visually, was the Heddenbeum Prop Factory.

The 388th furnished 24 a/c for this mission with five aborting for mechanical reasons, one because the co-pilot became sick and two as scheduled. After takeoff, the planes assembled in their respective formations without difficulty and proceeded as far as St. Quentin on the briefed course. From this point to the target and all the way back, instrument conditions prevailed with occasional openings in the clouds below. Because of this weather condition, the Wing broke formation before reaching the target, but our Group stayed together until after bombs away. Bombs were dropped at 1201 hours from 22,300 feet on an unidentified target. Our photo interpreters could not identify the target.

After bombs away, our Group formation broke up and most of our a/c returned alone with seven landing at other airfields. Five of these returned to base when weather got better and two had to be left behind for repairs. The crews were uninjured. Eight of our a/c were able to land safely at this base.

On the way in, flak was seen to the right of the formation at Neufchatel, good for altitude but out of range. There were a few scattered bursts in the vicinity of Poix and Gilsy. This Group encountered a moderate barrage at Koblenz where most of our a/c suffered minor damage.

Lt. Patterson in a/c 42-31153, was forced to leave the formation on the route to the target due to an oil line failure. When he was unable to maintain formation, he aborted and hit the deck. When they were near Lille, France they received some cannon hits in the waist, killing Sgts. Thompson and Fischer and setting fire to one of the engines. As soon as they passed over a forest, Lt. Patterson crash-landed in a field. Lt. Patterson and the surviving enlisted men were captured and sent to Stalag I, while the other three officers were sent to Stalag III.
source: 388th Bomb Group web page http://www.388bg.info

306BG Mission Report
source: 306th Bombardment Group website www.306bg.org/
389th Bomb Group Mission Report
Started for Frankfurt with 40 x 100 lb. G.P. bombs. Everything going fine until we got to 5005N - 0545E, where we ran into soup - couldnt get over. Suddenly came barreling thru formation which scattered in a hurry. We got the hell out and came home alone. Four beautiful P47s escorted us to the Channel. Didnt drop our bombs as we were still in Belgium, 10 miles from German border.
source: 389TH BG: Personal Mission Log of Bernard L. Prueher http://www.hrhodes.com/Mission%20Logs/mission.htm
446th Bomb Group Mission Report

The mission was abandoned in enemy territory due to bad weather.
source: 446th Bomb Group www.446bg.com

457th Bomb Group Mission Link
source: 457 Bomb Group http://www.457thbombgroup.org
384BG Mission Report - Impossible atmospherical conditions compelled our planes to turn back over France without dropping their bombs. Clouds extended up to 25,000 feet when the bombers abandoned their [attack]. (PRO Log). Records available in September 2012 do not support determination of whether the decision to abandon this mission was made by higher HQ (recall), or by operational commanders in the air (abort). Until resolved, all sorties will carry the designation returned early.
source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
401BG / 612BS Mission Report - Crews: Christensen, SE Smith, Dunaway, Hershey, Currie.
source: 612th Bombardment Squadron History
401BG / 614BS Mission Report - Frankfurt had been bombed by the 401st more times than any other target and it was to this target that they returned yet again on the 20th March to bomb the Alfred Teves Works, manufacturing machine parts. The mission leader was Captain W.C. Garland and the 401st put up 21 aircraft as the Lead Box of the 94th Combat Wing. 30 miles into enemy territory the formation ran into solid undercast and overcast and reached 24,500 feet in trying to get over it. At this altitude there was still a solid undercast and overcast and the order was given to turn back. As a consequence the target was not reached and the bombs were brought back. The only enemy opposition was some flak at the coast going in but it was not accurate. Despite this a 612th aircraft, piloted by Lt. John A. Dunaway, was posted as Missing In action. Three 614th crews were on this mission and were: Chapman (Capt. W.C. Garland as co-pilot and Air Commander), Stine, Stimson.
source: 614th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 615BS Mission Report - The Squadron Historian describes this mission as an almost perfect example of an imperfect mission - no leaflets were carried; no bombs were dropped; no enemy opposition was encountered; no friendly fighters were observed after making landfall, and only intermittent flak was observed. The reason, as usual, was the weather. A solid overcast which built up solidly higher and higher, hence nothing was possible to do but to turn back. The two PFF ships from Alconbury, "Chopstick Mil and "Chopstick Nil", landed at Deenethorpe at 0345 hrs, in time to get their special briefing before the normal one at 0500 hrs. 20 of the Group's aircraft were airborne by 0846 hrs with the last of the 21 to take part in the mission finally getting away at 0925 hrs but, with the Group, Wing and Division assembly usually taking almost two hours, he no doubt had plenty of time to slot into his position in the Group formation before it went out over Splasher No.5 near Cromer. The Group Leader was Capt. W.C. Garland and flew in the Lead Box position of the 94th CBW. The 615th Loading List was as follows: Wysocki, Lozinski, Knight.
source: 615th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
447BG Mission Report - Briefing was at 0500 hours. The target was a propeller plant at Frankfurt, Germany. Take off started at 0915 hours and the assembled force was made up of 445 heavies. The mission was aborted due to heavy cloud cover so most of the force dropped their bombs over the North Sea. The 447th started landing at 1330 hours with no losses.
source: 447 Bomb Group Association http://www.447bg.com
91st BG / 322nd BS Mission Report - Raid on Frankfurt, Germany. At 1215 hours from about 20,000 ft. our A/C dropped -47 I. B.'s with unobserved results on what was believed to be Frankfurt. No PFF was with our formation which bombed through complete overcast. A/A fire at the target was moderate to intense and accurate with six 323rd A/C receiving minor flak damage.
source: 322rd Bomb Squadron / 91BG Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/
91st BG / 323nd BS Mission Report - Frankfurt, Germany was the target for the 20th. This was the 125th mission in which the squadron has participated. There being 10/10 clouds over the target the mission could not be completely observed, but the mission was considered as successful.
source: 323rd Bomb Squadron / 91BG Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/
91st BG / 324th BS Mission Report - Target: Frankfurt Component Works Adverse weather conditions caused our A/C to drop bombs on what was believed to be Manheim. 10/10 under cast with unobserved results. No E/A encountered but flak was accurate. Extreme weather and change in route made Fighter rendezvous impossible.
source: 91st BG / 324th BS Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/

Accident Reports for this date:
Aircraft: B-17G (#42-37765).
Organization: 367BS / 306BG of Thurleigh, Bedfordshire.
Pilot: Kirk, William S.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Thurleigh, Bedfordshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17G (#42-97471).
Organization: 532BS / 381BG of Ridgewell, Essex.
Pilot: Beekman, Bernard F.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Ridgewell, Essex England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-24H (#41-29404).
Organization: 790BS / 467BG of Rackheath, Norfolk.
Pilot: Beaney, Elroy W.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Rackheath, Norfolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/

Mission "8th AF Fighter Command Fighter Operation 275"
Fighter support for 8th AF 269
March 20, 1944

mission statistics sources:
Mighty Eighth War Diary by Roger A. Freeman
Bomb TonnageEnemy
(on gnd)
Mission Targets:
Support: 594 aircraft       
Aircraft Groups:
352nd Fighter Group
356th Fighter Group
359th Fighter Group
364th Fighter Group
4th Fighter Group
56th Fighter Group
355th Fighter Group
361st Fighter Group
78th Fighter Group
353rd Fighter Group
357th Fighter Group
OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)
363rd Fighter Group
354th Fighter Group
Aircraft Losses:
356th Fighter Group (6 a/c)
OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)
363rd Fighter Group (2 a/c)