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8th Air Force 851

27 February 1945

Official description

Not yet known

Description

1,107 bombers and 745 fighters are dispatched to hit road and rail communications at Halle and Leipzig using H2X radar

Mission details

1. Halle / Leipzig

Description

Road and rail communications at Halle and Leipzig are attacked using H2X Radar, fighter aircraft provide escort for the bomber force.

Aircraft type

Not yet known

Notes

Not yet known

Units

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 2728.7
Number of aircraft Sent 1852
Number of aircraft Effective 1752
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 4
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 2
Number of aircraft Damaged 7
Number of people Missing In Action 20
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Fighter Command 83
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Fighter Command 0
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 19

2. Halle / Leipzig

Description

Not yet known

Aircraft type

Not yet known

Notes

Not yet known

Units

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 2728.7
Number of aircraft Sent 1107
Number of aircraft Effective 1062
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 2
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 1
Number of aircraft Damaged 7
Number of people Killed In Action 3
Number of people Missing In Action 18

3. Leipzig Communications Centres (Secondary) / Targets of Opportunity

Description

The First Bomb Division are attack their Secondary target of Leipzig to bomb Communication Centres. 4 Aircraft bomb targets of opportunity.

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

The whole of the 1st Bomb Division were dispatched on this mission, with the exception of the 305th Bomb Group.

Units

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 926.0
Number of aircraft Sent 378
Number of aircraft Effective 366
Number of people Killed In Action 1

4. Fighter Escort

Description

246 P-51 Mustangs provide Fighter Escort for B-17 Flying Fortresses of the 1st Bomb Division attacking Leipzig

Aircraft type

P-51 Mustang

Notes

Not yet known

Units

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 246
Number of aircraft Effective 218

5. Halle Marshaling Yards (Primary) / Bitterfeld Marshaling Yard (Opportunistic) / Targets of Opportunity

Description

The 2nd Bomb Division are dispatched to Halle to bomb Marshaling Yards, 21 aircraft bomb Bitterfield opportunistically, while 3 others bomb Targets of Opportunity

Aircraft type

B-24 Liberator

Notes

All groups of the 2nd Bomb division participated in the mission.

Units

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 780.5
Number of aircraft Sent 351
Number of aircraft Effective 338
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 2
Number of aircraft Damaged 4
Number of people Killed In Action 1
Number of people Missing In Action 18

6. Fighter Escort

Description

P-47 Thunderbolts and P-51 Mustangs provide fighter escort for B-24 Liberators of the 2nd Bomb Division attacking Halle.

Aircraft type

Not yet known

Notes

Not yet known

Units

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 215
Number of aircraft Effective 196
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 2
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 1
Number of people Missing In Action 2
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Fighter Command 46
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Fighter Command 0
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 3

7. Leipzig Communication Centres (Primary) / Targets of Opportunity

Description

B-17 Flying Fortresses of the 3rd Bomb Division attack their primary target of communications centres in Leipzig, 3 aircraft bomb targets of opportunity.

Aircraft type

Not yet known

Notes

The 96th, 100th, 385th and 487th Bomb Groups did not participate in the mission.

Units

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 1022.2
Number of aircraft Sent 378
Number of aircraft Effective 358
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 1
Number of aircraft Damaged 3
Number of people Killed In Action 1

8. Fighter Escort

Description

P-51 Mustangs provide Fighter Escort for B-17 Flying Fortresses of the 3rd Bomb Division attacking Leipzig

Aircraft type

P-51 Mustang

Notes

Not yet known

Units

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 243
Number of aircraft Effective 235
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Fighter Command 37
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Fighter Command 0
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 16

9. Photo Recconnaissance

Description

2 F-5 Lightning's and 2 Spitfires of the 7th Photographic Reconnaissance Group were dispatched on photo reconnaissance duties over Eastern Germany

Aircraft type

Not yet known

Notes

Not yet known

Units

  • 7th Photographic Reconnaissance Group

    7th Photographic Reconnaissance Group

    Group
    Based for the majority of their service at Mount Farm, Oxfordshire, the 7th Photographic Group (Reconnaissance) took over three million intelligence photos during the course of 4,251 sorties over occupied Europe. The Group was awarded a Distinguished...

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 4

10. Fighter Escort

Description

13 P-51 Mustangs provide Fighter Escort for the Photographic Reconnaissance Aircraft flying over Eastern Germany

Aircraft type

P-51 Mustang

Notes

Not yet known

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 13
Number of aircraft Effective 13

11. Scouting Force

Description

28 P-51 Mustangs are dispatched as a Scouting Force

Aircraft type

P-51 Mustang

Notes

Not yet known

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 28
Number of aircraft Effective 28

Service

People

  • Warren Anderson

    Military | Sergeant | Nose Gunner | 445th Bomb Group
    Warren Anderson was Nose Turret Gunner on board of B-24 42-51506 on the 27 February 1945 mission to the Halle Marshalling Yards, Germany. Crashed Betzenhausen, 1,5km NW of Freiburg-im-Breisgau, Germany. Prisoner of War (POW).

  • Felix Kolasinski

    Military | Sergeant | Left Waist Gunner | 445th Bomb Group
    Felix Kolasinski was Left Waist Gunner on board of B-24 42-51506 on the 27 February 1945 mission to the Halle Marshalling Yards, Germany. He baled out in the vicinity of Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany. According to US trial Review and Recommendations...

  • Lambert Koupal

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator / Bombardier | 445th Bomb Group
    Lambert Koupal was Navigator/Bombardier on board of B-24 42-51506 on the 27 February 1945 mission to the Halle Marshalling Yards, Germany. Crashed Betzenhausen, 1,5km NW of Freiburg-im-Breisgau, Germany. Killed In Action (KIA).

  • Leif Ostnes

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 384th Bomb Group
    Leif R. Ostnes was born in Discovery Otter in the Iditarod country of the Territory of Alaska December 28, 1918. Discovery Otter is named for the discovery of gold December 25, 1908 on Otter Creek. The area has other nearby prominent mining areas, Flat...

  • Eugene Smietana

    Military | Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner | 445th Bomb Group
    Eugene Smietana was Right Waist Gunner on board of B-24 42-51506 on the 27 February 1945 mission to the Halle Marshalling Yards, Germany. Crashed Betzenhausen, 1,5km NW of Freiburg-im-Breisgau, Germany. Prisoner of War (POW).

  • Ralph Squires

    Military | Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 445th Bomb Group
    Ralph Squires was Tail Gunner on board of B-24 42-51506 on the 27 February 1945 mission to the Halle Marshalling Yards, Germany. Crashed Betzenhausen, 1,5km NW of Freiburg-im-Breisgau, Germany. Prisoner of War (POW). He was one of six brothers who all...

  • James Sullivan

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 445th Bomb Group
    James Sullivan was Co-Pilot on board of B-24 42-51506 on the 27 February 1945 mission to the Halle Marshalling Yards, Germany. Crashed Betzenhausen, 1,5km NW of Freiburg-im-Breisgau, Germany. Prisoner of War (POW). ...

  • Louie Tillery

    Military | Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 445th Bomb Group
    Louie Tillery was Top Turret Gunner on board of B-24 42-51506 on the 27 February 1945 mission to the Halle Marshalling Yards, Germany. Crashed Betzenhausen, 1,5km NW of Freiburg-im-Breisgau, Germany. Prisoner of War (POW).

  • Stanley Vitkavage

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 445th Bomb Group
    My father, Stanley William Vitkavage, was assigned to the 701st Bombing Squadron of the 445th Bomb Group flying out of Tibenham, England. He was flying a B-24J Liberator (tail number 42-51506) when the aircraft was lost on 27 Feb 1945. There is a MACR ...

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2019 15:37:28 Emily Changes to name
Sources

Restored information removed by User Vitkvage2LtB24PilotStanleyFamily from mission record to ensure that the record reflects the experience of the whole 8th Air Force rather than that of one group.

Mission name, number, narrative and details from:
Freeman, Mighty Eighth War Diary
8th Air Force Historical Society

Date Contributor Update
28 May 2018 18:08:52 Vitkvage2LtB24PilotStanleyFamily Changes to person associations and media associations
Sources

Official Military reports and records. First hand account by Pilot.

Date Contributor Update
28 May 2018 18:04:59 Vitkvage2LtB24PilotStanleyFamily Changes to name
Sources

Military Records and First hand report from Pilot.

Date Contributor Update
28 May 2018 18:02:50 Vitkvage2LtB24PilotStanleyFamily Changes to event
Sources

First hand report from Pilot and military records/reports.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:43:09 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Lee Cunningham, 8th Air Force missions research database / Stan Bishop's 'Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces', the Combat Chronology of the US Army Air Forces and the work of Roger Freeman including the 'Mighty Eighth War Diary'.

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