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896

19 March 1945

Official description

1,273 bombers and 675 fighters are dispatched to hit airfields and industrial targets in Germany visually and with H2X radar; clouds force 2 of the 3 forces to hit secondaries; 100+ Luftwaffe fighters including 36 Me 262s in formation (largest number of jets seen as a unit) are encountered; the AAF claims 41-3-19 Luftwaffe aircraft (including 3 Me 262s); 6 bombers and 10 fighters are lost:

1. Cloud cover prevents 496 B-17s from hitting the primary targets; secondaries hit are the optical works at Jena (197) and the motor vehicle plant at Zwickau (177); targets of opportunity are Plauen (32), the marshalling yards at Fulda (44) and Saalfeld (10) and other (4); bombing is by H2X radar with some visual attacks; they claim 1-1-2 aircraft; 4 B-17s are lost, 4 damaged beyond repair and 121 damaged; 9 airmen are KIA, 5 WIA and 49 MIA. Escorting are 183 of 198 P-51s; they claim 2-0-3 aircraft; 4 P-51s are lost.

2. Cloud cover forces 404 of 436 B-17s to hit the industrial area at Plauen, the secondary target using H2X radar; targets of opportunity, bombed visually, are the Fulda marshalling yard (20) and Prissig (1); 1 B-17 is lost, 2 damaged beyond repair and 4 damaged; 9 airmen are KIA, 3 WIA and 9 MIA. The escort is 141 of 153 P-51s.

3. 341 B-24s are dispatched to hit airfields at Neuburg (125) and Leipheim (84) and jet aircraft plant at Baumenheim (126) visually; 1 B-24 is lost; 11 airmen are MIA. 175 of 194 P-51s escort; they claim 5-0-0 aircraft without loss.

4. 95 of 98 P-51s fly a freelance sweep for the bombers; they claim 33-2-14 aircraft; 6 P-51s are lost.

5. 2 of 4 P-51s escort 15 F-5s and 2 Spitfires on a photo reconnaissance mission over Germany.

Description

Not yet known

Mission details

1. Airfields and Industrial targets, Germany

Description

All Bomb Groups of the 8th Air Force are sent to Germany to attack airfields and industrial targets.

Aircraft type

Not yet known

Notes

Not yet known

Units

  • VIII Bomber Command

    VIII Bomber Command

    Command
    VIII Bomber Command was constituted and activated in 1942. It oversaw heavy bombardment operations until February 1944, when it was redesginated as the 8th Air Force.

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 3,143.4
Number of aircraft Sent 1,273
Number of aircraft Effective 1,224
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 6
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 6
Number of aircraft Damaged 125
Number of people Killed In Action 18
Number of people Wounded in Action 8
Number of people Missing In Action 69
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Bomber Command 1
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Bomber Command 1
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 2

2. Böhlen (Primary) / Not Yet Known (Secondary) / Plauen (Tertiary) / Fulda (Opportunistic) / Prissig (Opportunistic)

Description

The Primary target for the mission was the Braunkohle-Benzin Synthetic Oil Plant in Bohlen Germany. Before the mission crews were briefed that they should only bomb visually, however when they arrived over Bohlen, they found the target covered with cloud.

The situation was the same at the Secondary target of the mission (location unknown).

Crews ultimately bombed the Tertiary target of Plauen using H2X Pathfinder equipment to provide visual assistance.

Other targets of opportunity were bombed visually.

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

Not yet known

Units

  • 1st Air Division

    1st Air Division

    Division
    In December 1944, the 1st Bomb Division was redesginated the 1st Air Division.

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 436
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 1
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 2
Number of aircraft Damaged 4
Number of people Killed In Action 9
Number of people Wounded in Action 3
Number of people Missing In Action 9

3. Plauen vehicle industry

Description

The Tertiary target of Vomag Maschinenfabrik in Plauen was bombed using a the visual assistance of H2X pathfinder equipment

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

The 384th Bomb Group were the only unit in the 1st Air Division to suffer a loss during this mission.

B-17 Flying Fortress (serial number 43‑39035) flown by Second Lieutenant Robert Griffin and his crew crashed near Reigate, England while returning to base due to pilot error. The nine men on board were all killed in the crash.

Units

  • 1st Air Division

    1st Air Division

    Division
    In December 1944, the 1st Bomb Division was redesginated the 1st Air Division.

  • 384th Bomb Group

    384th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 384th Bomb Group flew B-17s from Grafton Underwood, Northamptonshire, between May 1943 and June 1945. They were engaged in daylight bombing missions over Germany as part of the Allies' efforts to destroy the effectiveness of the Luftwaffe by...

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 1,007.4
Number of aircraft Effective 404
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 1
Number of people Killed In Action 9

4. Fulda Marshalling Yard / Prissig

Description

20 aircraft bomb the railway marshaling yards at Fulda visually as a Target of Opportunity with 48.8 tons of bombs.

1 aircraft bombs Prissig as a Target of Opportunity with 2.5 tons of bombs.

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

Units

  • 1st Air Division

    1st Air Division

    Division
    In December 1944, the 1st Bomb Division was redesginated the 1st Air Division.

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 51.3
Number of aircraft Effective 21

5. Neuburg (Primary) / Leipheim (Primary) / Baumenheim, (Primary)

Description

The 2nd Air Division were the only Bomb Division to carry out visual bombing of their Primary targets.

341 B-24s are dispatched to hit airfields at Neuburg and Leipheim, and the jet aircraft plant at Baumenheim visually; 1 B-24 is lost; 11 airmen are MIA. 175 of 194 P-51s escort; they claim 5-0-0 aircraft without loss.

Aircraft type

B-24 Liberator

Notes

Not yet known

Units

  • 2nd Air Division

    2nd Air Division

    Division
    In December 1944, the 2nd Bomb Division was redesginated the 2nd Air Division.

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 341
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 1
Number of people Missing In Action 11

6. Neuburg airfield

Description

125 B-24s attack the airfield at Neuburg

Aircraft type

B-24 Liberator

Notes

44th Bomb Group Mission report:
Jet Plane assembly factory at Neuberg, Germany was attacked today. Capt. Brownlowe, 67th, was credited with a Group lead, Wing and Division with the total of 33 of the 44th's aircraft. Our formation flew the briefed route until reaching the IP, where a thick haze was encountered, forcing the formation to drop 1,500 feet to get under it.
All aircraft reached the objective and all bombs were released on the Primary with excellent results. Enemy opposition was nil, while our fighters furnished very good support. Five of the Group's aircraft landed on the continent . One of the 66th aircraft is MIA for unknown reasons.

Units

  • 2nd Air Division

    2nd Air Division

    Division
    In December 1944, the 2nd Bomb Division was redesginated the 2nd Air Division.

  • 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs

    44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs

    Group
    The 44th Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated 15-January-1942 at McDill Field, Florida and equipped with B-24Cs. The Group moved to Barksdale Field, Louisiana and acted as a training unit for the 90th 93rd and 98th Bomb Groups and flew anti...

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 284.3
Number of aircraft Effective 125

7. Leipheim airifeld

Description

84 B-24s bomb the airfield at Leipheim

Aircraft type

B-24 Liberator

Notes

Not yet known

Units

  • 2nd Air Division

    2nd Air Division

    Division
    In December 1944, the 2nd Bomb Division was redesginated the 2nd Air Division.

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 189.5
Number of aircraft Effective 84

8. Baumenheim aviation industry

Description

126 B-24s attack the Aviation Industry at Baumenheim

Aircraft type

B-24 Liberator

Notes

Not yet known

Units

  • 2nd Air Division

    2nd Air Division

    Division
    In December 1944, the 2nd Bomb Division was redesginated the 2nd Air Division.

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 289.2
Number of aircraft Effective 126

9. Not yet known (Primary) / Zwickau (Secondary) / Jena (Secondary) / Plauen (Opportunistic) / Fulda (Opportunistic) / Saalfeld (Opportunistic) / Not yet known (Opportunistic)

Description

Cloud cover prevents the 496 B-17s from the 3rd Air Division from hitting the primary targets.

The 3rd Air Division are forced to use H2X radar and visual sightings to carry out attacks on the secondary targets and targets of opportunity. 197 B-17s hit the optical works at Jena, and 177 hit the motor vehicle plant at Zwickau.

The targets of opportunity are: Plauen, the marshalling yards at Fulda, Saalfeld

The 3rd Air Division claims 1-1-2 aircraft; 4 B-17s are lost, 4 damaged beyond repair and 121 damaged; 9 airmen are KIA, 5 WIA and 49 MIA. Escorting are 183 of 198 P-51s; they claim 2-0-3 aircraft; 4 P-51s are lost.

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

Not yet known

Units

  • 3rd Air Division

    3rd Air Division

    Division
    In December 1944, the 3rd Bomb Division was redesginated the 3rd Air Division.

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 1321.7
Number of aircraft Sent 496
Number of aircraft Effective 464
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 4
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 4
Number of aircraft Damaged 121
Number of people Killed In Action 9
Number of people Wounded in Action 5
Number of people Missing In Action 49
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Bomber Command 1
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Bomber Command 1
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 2

10. Zwickau vehicle industry

Description

177 B-17s effectively attack motor transport industry at Zwickau

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

Not yet known

Units

  • 3rd Air Division

    3rd Air Division

    Division
    In December 1944, the 3rd Bomb Division was redesginated the 3rd Air Division.

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 493.8
Number of aircraft Effective 177

11. Jena Optical Works

Description

197 B-17s effectively attach the optical works at Jena.

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

Not yet known

Units

  • 3rd Air Division

    3rd Air Division

    Division
    In December 1944, the 3rd Bomb Division was redesginated the 3rd Air Division.

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 563.1
Number of aircraft Effective 197

12. Fighter Escort

Description

Fighters from every fighter Group except the 20th and 56th Fighter Groups are dispatched to Germany to provide escort for bombers attacking airfields and industrial targets.

Aircraft type

P-51 Mustang

Notes

Not yet known

Units

  • VIII Fighter Command

    VIII Fighter Command

    Command
    VIII Fighter Command was established as VIII Interceptor Command at Selfridge Field on 2 February 1942.

  • 339th Fighter Group

    339th Fighter Group

    Group
    In the years before deployment to the UK, the Group had been designated as a Bombardment Group (Dive) and trained in A-24 and A-25 dive-bombers and P-39 Airacobras. When, in April 1944, they joined the Eighth Air Force in Britain though, the pilots...

  • 352nd Fighter Group

    352nd Fighter Group

    Group
    The 352nd Fighter Group were based at Bodney, Norfolk from July 1943 until November 1945 but in the winter months of 1944/1945 detachments moved to bases in Belgium to provide extra air support to ground forces during the Battle of the Bulge and to...

  • 353rd Fighter Group

    353rd Fighter Group

    Group
    The 353rd Fighter Group was assigned to the Eighth Air Force on 7 June 1943. The group flew P-47 Thunderbolts, and from October 1944, P-51 Mustangs, as escorts for bombing missions across occupied Europe and to strafe targets on the ground. Tactical...

  • 354th Fighter Group

    354th Fighter Group

    Group
    The Group moved to England in the autumn of 1943 and was assigned to the Ninth Air Force in December 1943. The Group were the first to fly P-51 Mustangs operationally and in their bomber escort missions pushed to find the long-range limits of the...

  • 355th Fighter Group

    355th Fighter Group

    Group
    Where the 353rd Fighter Group had pioneered ground strafing techniques, it was the 355th Fighter Group who destroyed more enemy aircraft by ground strafing than any other Eighth Air Force Group. Based at Steeple Morden from July 1943 to July 1945, the...

  • 356th Fighter Group

    356th Fighter Group

    Group
    The 356th Fighter Group flew 413 missions between 15 October 1943 and 7 May 1945 and suffered the highest ratio of losses to enemy aircraft claims of any Eighth Air Force Group. This gave the Group the reputation of being the 'hard luck' outfit. The...

  • 357th Fighter Group

    357th Fighter Group

    Group
    The 357th Fighter Group was the first P-51 Mustang Group in the Eighth Air Force, training with them from November 1943 at Raydon, England and entering combat with them in the February of the following year from their new base at Leiston. The Group was...

  • 359th Fighter Group

    359th Fighter Group

    Group
    The 359th Fighter Group flew 346 missions from East Wretham between December 1943 and April 1945. In the main these missions were escorting bombers flying over occupied Europe. The Group, soon after converting from Thunderbolts to Mustangs, were...

  • 361st Fighter Group

    361st Fighter Group

    Group
    The 361st Fighter Group was the last P-47 Thunderbolt Group to join the Eighth Air Force. Between 21 January 1944 and 20 April 1945, the Group flew 441 missions, the majority in an escort role in support of bombers flying over occupied Europe. The...

  • 364th Fighter Group

    364th Fighter Group

    Group
    The 364th Fighter Group flew 342 missions in P-38 Lightnings and P-51 Mustangs from Honington, Suffolk. The missions ranged from escorting bombers and dive-bombing and strafing targets to area patrol missions across a swathe of land that took in France...

  • 479th Fighter Group

    479th Fighter Group

    Group
    The 479th was the last Fighter Group to join the Eighth Air Force, which they did on 14 May 1944. Known as "Riddle's Raiders", after their first Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Kyle L. Riddle, the Group flew escort and fighter sweep missions before D-Day....

  • 4th Fighter Group

    4th Fighter Group

    Group
    Some of the pilots of the 4th Fighter Group had seen many hours of combat by the time they joined the 4th Fighter Group as they had volunteered with the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Air Force. The three 'Eagle Squadrons' of RAF Fighter...

  • 55th Fighter Group

    55th Fighter Group

    Group
    The 55th Fighter Group were the first P-38 Lightning Group to go fully operational from England. The pilots flew long-range escort missions for bombers flying over occupied Europe and racked up 'kills' of their own by destroying enemy aircraft in...

  • 78th Fighter Group

    78th Fighter Group

    Group
    The 78th Fighter Group was initially based at Goxhill but moved to Duxford in April 1943 and stayed there until October 1945. The 78th FG flew each of the three US built principal fighters of the AAF in the ETO. In their Thundetbolts, the 78th FG ...

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 675
Number of aircraft Effective 623
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 10
Number of aircraft Damaged Unknown
Number of people Missing In Action 9
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Fighter Command 40
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Fighter Command 2
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 17

Service

People

  • Edward Blattner

    Military | Flight Officer | Bombardier | 447th Bomb Group
    June 1, 1922: Edward Aloysius Blattner (Nickname: "Buddy") was born in Chicago Illinois ...

  • John Blumenstock

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 466th Bomb Group
    Retired from the USAF with the rank of Lt. Colonel

  • Walter Bourque

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter pilot
    19th March 1945 is noted in the Duxford Fighter Group’s History as being a day that would never be forgotten. On that day one of the most intense and successful air battles of WW2 was fought by Duxford’s 78th Fighter Group. Consequently detailed...

  • Charles Bruckman

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 447th Bomb Group
    Damaged 34th BG aircraft (#43-38971) mid-air collision with Ol' Scrapiron (#42-31582). Ol' Scrapiron broke apart at the waist on 23 Mar 1945. Seven crewmen of Ol' Scrapiron killed in Action (KIA) including Bruckman. Two survived (Schlag and Shibble).

  • Frank Calicura

    Military | First Lieutenant | B-17 Pilot | 95th Bomb Group
    Frank Calicura served as a pilot with the 95th Bomb Group. ...

  • Lewis Carter

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Radio Counter Measures/Right Waist Gunner | 452nd Bomb Group
    Prisoner of War (POW) crashed near Zwickau on 19 Mar 45 in B-17 'Daisey Mae' #4338368

  • Harry Downing

    Military | Colonel | Fighter Pilot, Pilot
    [ NOTE : Major Harry L. Downing is often mistaken for Captain Harry L Downing Jr - O-437990 who was a pilot in the 373rd Fighter Group/411th Fighter Squadron - shot down on 17 June 1944 in P-47 # 42-26323 which crashed near Brix, 9km West of Valognes,...

  • Fred Eisert

    Military | Captain | Pilot | 458th Bomb Group
    1Lt Fred J. Eisert and his crew arrived at Horsham St. Faith on September 11, 1944, just as the group was coming off of combat operations for a month in order to ferry gasoline to Patton’s army in France. The crew flew their first mission on October 5...

  • Roy Frawley

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 486th Bomb Group

  • James Frye

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter pilot | 353rd Fighter Group
    On 15 Sept 1943, Frye undershot runway on landing on training flight to Ford at Susses in P47#42-8503. RTD ...

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Aircraft

  • 42-37805 'Carol Dawn'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Long Beach 6/9/43; Gr Island 23/9/43; Assigned 525BS/379BG [FR-R] Kimbolton 2/12/43; to 527BG [FO-B]; retUS Bradley 12/6/45; 4168 Base Unit, South Plains, Texas 15/6/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman...

  • 42-51907

    B-24 Liberator
    B-24 Liberator (serial number 42-51907) was lost on a mission over Neuburg airfield on 19 March 1945. Eyewitnesses were originally uncertain about the fate of the aircraft, which was one of 6 aircraft to break formation after completing the bomb run....

  • 42-97392

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 28/2/44; Kearney 16/3/44; Dow Fd 5/4/44; Assigned 711BS/447BG Rattlesden 11/4/44; Returned to the USA Bradley 9/7/45; 4168 Base Unit, South Plains, Texas 21/10/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA)...

  • 44-72407

    P-51 Mustang
    P-51 Mustang # 44-72407 of 78th Fighter Group / 82nd Fighter Squadron was piloted by Major Harry L. Downing on the 19 March 1945 bomber escort mission to targets in Germany. It was shot down by German fighters and crashed in the vicinity of Lingen,...

  • 44-40277 'Miss Used'

    B-24 Liberator
    Aircraft flew 64 missions with 458th and was one of the 10 original AZON/Aphrodite project** control planes. Served as 'Mother Ship' to B-17F 41-24639 'Careful Virgin' on mission to bomb Mimoyecques, France. 4-8-44. ...

  • 44-15745 'Heavenly Body'

    P-51 Mustang
    Assigned to 82FS, 78FG, 8AF USAAF. Personal aircraft of 1st Lt Larry W Nelson. Re-assigned to 1st Lt Walter N Bourque.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
15 August 2019 15:22:50 Emily Changes to event
Sources

http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg

Date Contributor Update
15 August 2019 14:06:32 Emily Changes to event
Sources

Freeman, Mighty Eighth War Diary

Date Contributor Update
06 September 2018 01:49:38 jhuck Changes to event
Sources

John G. Huck, nephew of Edward Blattner

Source: History of the 447th Bomb Group by Doyle Shields; pp. 296-297

Date Contributor Update
06 September 2018 01:48:40 jhuck Changes to person associations
Sources

John G. Huck, nephew of Edward Blattner

Source: History of the 447th Bomb Group by Doyle Shields; pp. 296-297

Date Contributor Update
05 September 2018 00:21:17 jhuck Changes to event
Sources

From personal files of John G. Huck, nephew of Edward Blattner.

Date Contributor Update
03 September 2018 21:59:11 jhuck Changes to person associations and aircraft associations
Sources

From the files of John G. Huck, nephew of Edward Blattner

Date Contributor Update
22 August 2018 10:46:07 Emily Changes to official description
Sources

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

Date Contributor Update
22 August 2018 10:43:57 Emily Changes to event
Sources

Freeman, Mighty Eighth War Diary

Date Contributor Update
22 August 2018 10:38:52 Emily Changes to event
Sources

Freeman, Mighty Eighth War Diary

Date Contributor Update
23 March 2017 16:39:23 dwgdallas Changes to person associations and media associations
Sources

The personal collection of Lt. Billy J. Murray

Date Contributor Update
29 April 2015 11:43:28 general ira snapsorter Changes to event
Sources

Mission details added courtesy of Diane Elizabeth Reese from 457th Bomb Group Mission Documents. http://www.457thbombgroup.org/

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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