401st Bomb Group, Mission No. 232, 19 Mar 1945, Plauen, Germany.
At briefing, which took place at 0445 hours, the Group was briefed on two alternate plans. Plan A was decided on and a 45 minute delay ordered, resulting in the taxi and takeoff times shown above.
All operational aircraft were off by 0850, with the two spares returning early as unneeded. Because of the length of the mission, it was anticipated that most of the ships would have to land to refuel, and all did so, a number landing on the Continent. By 2200 hours, Flying Control could report that all but eight of the operational aircraft had been accounted for. The 401st made up the 94th Combat Wing "B" Group on this mission, providing the usual three squadrons. The primary target, the benzol plant at Molbis, near Leipzig, could not be attacked because of heavy cloud cover. The 401st therefore dropped on the secondary target, the cellulose plant at Plauen, using PFF (radar) techniques. Results could not be observed.
Unlike the previous day's mission, the 401st encountered no form of enemy opposition and all crews returned to Deenethorpe without casualties.
The 401st Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses from Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire, from November 1943 to June 1945. Starting their missions at that time meant the focus was very much on the coming invasion attempt of France planned for the following...
Military site : airfield
Deenethorpe was a base purpose-built for American heavy bombers, with the Class A regulation 2,000 and 1,400-yard runways. All the buildings on site,such as the accommodation and administrative blocks, were temporary. In December 1943, several local...