401st Bomb Group, Mission No. 197, 17 Jan 1945, Paderborn, Germany.
Group briefing took place at 0600 hours. Aircraft were loaded with six 1,000 pound bombs and 2,600 gallons of gas. By 1020 all operational aircraft were airborne, and the three spares landed early as planned. At 1445 one ship reurned with a broken propeller shaft. By 1624 all operational aircraft had returned.
The 401st furnished the three squadrons making up the 94th Combat Wing "B" Group on this mission. Because a solid undercast prevented bombing the primary target at Altenberken, the Group bombed rail facilities at Paderborn. As a result of a Gee-H malfunction, bombing was conducted by the PFF (radar) method, with unobserved results. No enemy aircraft and no flak were encountered--a "milk run" for the crews.
401st Bomb Group, Mission No. 206, 10 Feb 1945, Dulmen, Germany.
Briefing took place at 0445 hours. Aircraft loading was six 1,000 pound G.P.'s. and 2,500 gallons of gas. Assembly to be at 21,500 feet. After briefing, taxi and takeoff times were delayed by one hour and then delayed indefinitely, with crews ordered to stand by in their dispersals. Finally, takeoff was ordered for 0945 hours, and all operational aircraft were airborne by 1037 hours. All ships had returned by 1719 hours except one aircraft that landed at Halesworth with engine trouble.
The 401st furnished three squadrons comprising the 94th Combat Wing (C) Group. The primary target, a tactical target in Wesel, Germany, was to be bombed only by visual sighting. As cloud cover foreclosed that possibility, the Group bombed the secondary target at Dulmen by Gee-H means, with no results observed or photographed. No enemy air opposition or flak were encountered.
401st Bomb Group, Mission No. 205, 9 Feb 1945, Lutzkendorf (Primary) Eisenach (T.O.) Germany.
The Group was briefed at 0530 hours. Aircraft loading was ten 500 pound GP's and 2,780 gallons of gas. One aircraft, on takeoff, could not unlock its tailwheel u and went off the runway, necessitating a change from Runway 23 to Runway 28. All aircraft were airborne by 0945 hours. Gale warnings were received at 1340 hours, with winds of 50 miles per hour. By 1755 hours, all operational aircraft had returned except three which landed at other bases in England or on the Continent.
The 401st provided the three squadrons making up the 94th Combat Wing "C" Group on this mission. The target was covered by 8/10's to 10/10th's clouds, but the Lead and Low Squadrons bombed through breaks in the clouds. While the Lead Squadron's photos were obscured by clouds, photos indicated that the Low Squadron's bombs landed in the area of the assigned MPI. The High Squadron was unable to pick up the target but made an excellent PFF (radar) run on a target of last resort, with only partially observed results.
No enemy air opposition was encountered by the bomber force, although Allied fighters downed 24 German aircraft. Flak was meager to moderate and resulted in minor damage to seven aircraft. One ship (44-6113) piloted by Lt. Richard R. Scheller, forced landed on the Continent and was abandoned.
401st Bomb Group, Mission No. 204, 6 Feb 1945, Giessen (T.O.) Eisfeld (T.O.) Germany.
Briefing took place at 0415 hours. Aircraft loading was ten 500 pound GP's. During takeoff, one ship reported engine problems and was told to circle the field until called in. Another ship had a flat tire when in No. 3 in takeoff position. Within ten minutes the ship had been cleared from the runway, and takeoff proceeded. While the ship with engine trouble landed and the crew attempted to take off in a ground spare, they were unable to make the formation. One other aircraft was also forced to abort.
Upon return fourteen ships were diverted to other airfields in England by bad weather, and two landed on the Continent.
The 401st provided the three squadrons making up the 94th Combat Wing "A" Group plus another squadron which flew with the 94th CW Composite "B" Group. Because the clear weather expected over Germany didn't materialize, one secondary and 13 targets of opportunity were attacked instead. Since bombing was by PFF (radar), no results were observed.
No enemy fighters were encountered, but meager and accurate flak was met in two different places and caused minor battle damage to five aircraft. With regard to the two aircraft that landed on the Continent, the Group History remarks, "a weekend in Paris maybe?". In fact, the crews returned immediately.
401st Bomb Group, Mission No. 203, 3 Feb 1945, Berlin, Germany.
Briefing took place at 0300 hours. Aircraft loading was ten 500 pound GP's and 2,780 gallons of gasoline. All aircraft were airborne by 0819; two aircraft were forced to abort, and one spare also returned early. By 1541 hours all but two aircraft had landed. The ship piloted by Lt. C. P. Djernes landed at Woodbridge with low fuel, brakes out and two wounded aircrew; the other ship, piloted by Lt. Myron L. King, was reported that have headed for Russian controlled territory after losing an engine over the target.
The 401st put up three squadrons, making up the 94th Combat Wing "B" Group on this mission. As the weather was clear, the target was bombed visually. While the target was obscured by the smoke and fire caused by bombs dropped by the preceding eight Groups, the 401st lead bombardiers used the RAF grid with outlying checkpoints to verify aiming points. The Lead and Low Squadrons were right on target and, while the High Squadron's bombs dropped short, they were still in the immediate area of the MPI.
While no German fighters were encountered, the flak was heavy and accurate. Four aircraft received major battle damage and seventeen others suffered minor damage. Lt. Myron L. King, whose B-17 had lost an engine over the target, decided to fly eastward and landed successfully in Russian controlled territory. Only after weeks of inhospitable treatment by our Russian "allies", graphically described in the book, "Portrait of a Flying Lady" by George Menzel, was the crew able to return to Deenthorpe.
401st Bomb Group, Mission No. 202, 1Feb 1945, Ludwigshaven, Germany.
Briefing took place at 0515 hours. Loading was twelve 500 pound GP's and two M17IB's. Assembly to be at 19,000 feet.
At 0840, during Group takeoff, a B-17 piloted by Lt. F. E. Babcock, suffering a malfunction, ran off the runway and continued beyond the perimeter track. The aircraft was only slightly damaged and the crew, who were not injured, transferred to a ground spare and were airborne by 0947 hours. Three aircraft were forced to abort, and one spare also returned early. All other operational aircraft had landed by 1748 hours.
The 401st again provided the three squadrons comprising the 94th Combat Wing "A" Group. Because of cloud cover over the target, the target was attacked by the Lead and Low Squadrons using Gee-H (radio beam) means. Because the High Squadron experienced a Gee-H failure on the bomb run, the Squadron attacked the target of last resort at Pferzheim by PFF (radar) technique.
No German fighers were encountered, and the meager flak caused only minor damage to five aircraft.
401st Bomb Group, Mission No. 201, 29 Jan 1945, Bad Kreuznach, Germany
During the night a total of 16 RAF Halifax bombers landed at Deenethorpe and were parked on Runway 05. They will be refueled and leave in the morning. Briefing of the Group took place at 0430 hours. All but two of the operational aircraft were off by 0816 hours, and the two who had been delayed were airborne by 0859 hours. All 401st aircraft had returned by 1532 hours. Flying Control reported: "Snowing again".
The 401st not only provided the three squadrons making up the 94th Combat Wing "A" Group but led the entire 1st Air Division. Because the primary target, rail workshops at Siegen, Germany, was completely obscured by clouds, a run was started on the secondary target. However, the Gee-H system failed, and as a backup a PFF run was ordered. By that time it was too late to attack the secondary, so bombs were dropped by PFF (radar)on the town of Bad Kreuznach. No flak or fighters were encountered, and no battle damage or casualties were reported.
401st Bomb Group, Mission No. 200, 28 Jan 1945, Cologne, Germany.
Briefing took place at 0500 hours, and all operational aircraft were airborne by 0912 hours. Two spares landed early, and two other ships aborted, one with No. 1 propeller feathered and full bomb load aboard. All aircraft had returned by 1521 hours.
On this, the 200th mission flown by the 401st, the Group put up three squadrons comprising the 94th Combat Wing "B" Group. Because of cloud cover, bombing was by PFF (radar), but breaks in the clouds permitted visual assists. Results were good, with hits seen directly in and around the marshaling yards.
No enemy fighters were seen, but accurate flak was encountered over Cologne. As a result, two aircraft received major battle damage and twelve others minor damage. However, no crewmen were wounded.
A big party was held at the base to celebrate completing 200 missions. The guests included Lt. General James Doolittle, Commander of the 8th Air Force, and Brig. General Howard Turner, Commander of the 94th Combat Wing and other high ranking Air Force officers.
401st Bomb Group, Mission No. 198, 21 Jan 1945, Aschaffenburg, Germany.
Briefing was conducted at the relatively early hour of 0400. Aircraft were loaded with six 500 pound G.P.'s and six 500 pound M-17's. All aircraft were off by 0855; the three spares returned early, as planned; and all operation aircraft had returned by 1716 hours.
The 401st provided the three squadrons comprising the 94th Combat Wing "C" Group on this mission. Because of 10/10th's cloud cover, the primary target, the tank park at Aschaffenburg, which required visual sighting, could not be attacked. Accordingly, the secondary target, the railroad marshalling yards at the same city, was attacked using PFF (radar) means. Because of the clouds, results could not be observed. No enemy aircraft were seen and no flak was encountered.
401st Bomb Group, Mission No. 207, 14 Feb 1945, Dresden, Germany.
Briefing took place at 0400 hours, as the mission was to be a long one. Pilots were advised that on takeoff they would encounter a 30 degree crosswind at 15-20 miles per hours. Aircraft loading was six 500 pound G.P.'s plus six 500 pound M17's.
All operational aircraft were airborne by 0854 hours. Two aircraft were forced to abort, and two spares also returned early. Upon return, several aircraft landed at alternate airfields because they were running low on fuel.
The Group put up three squadrons making up the 94th Combat Wing "A" Group on this long mission to eastern Germany. The target was a small marshalling yard in the center of Dresden being used by the Germany Army retreating from the Russian advance. Because of 9/10ths cloud cover, bombing was initiated using PFF (radar) means. However, a break in the clouds enabled the lead bombardier to see railroad tracks and buildings resembling round houses in the target area and, synchronizing, dropped his bombs visually. Although unobserved, results were believed to have been good.
No enemy air opposition was encountered. But while flak was described as meager and inaccurate, one 401st ship received major battle damage and four others sustained minor damage.
Delivered Cheyenne 15/9/43; Scott 20/10/43; Assigned 613BS/401BG [IN-K] Deenethorpe 26/10/43; TDY Polebrook 16/6/44, ret 6/7/44; TDY Egypt 6/8/44, ret 29/8/44; force landed continent 3/3/45; Returned to the USA 121 BU Bradley 7/6/45; 4168 Base Unit, South Plains, Texas 13/6/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 17/12/45. BETTY J.
(This was the only original aircraft of the 401st BG to return to the USA after the war. The aircraft was named after Lt. Bryan Shotts' Wife "Betty Jean Shotts".)
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 | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 401st Bomb Group
Military | Staff Sergeant | Togglier | 401st Bomb Group
Military | Sergeant | Engineer / Top Turret Gunner | 401st Bomb Group
Assigned to 613BS, 401BG, 8AF USAAF.
Awards: WWII Victory, EAME.
Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 401st Bomb Group
Assigned to 613BS, 401BG, 8AF USAAF. 31 x combat missions. Shot down 28-May-44 in B-17 42-102581 'Lonesome Polecat'. Killed in Action (KIA). MACR 5306.
Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator | 401st Bomb Group
Military | First Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 401st Bomb Group
Military | Sergeant | Waist Gunner/ Tail Gunner/ Ball Turret Gunner | 401st Bomb Group
26 November 1943
The industrial areas of Bremen, Germany are the target for this massive mission (largest to date) of 505 B-17s which included 14 B-17 Pathfinders from 482BG spread among the B-17 formations - 13 of these completed the mission and 7 were damaged.
11 December 1943
This mission is a massive raid of 583 heavy bombers on the industrial areas of Emden, Germany. The first element is a combined force of 242 B-17s from 1st Bomb Division that included: 91BG (24); 92BG (18); 303BG (20); 305BG (21); 306BG (20); 351BG (40)...
22 December 1943
This mission is composed of two forces directed at two separate targets, the communication centers at Osnabruck and Munster, Germany. The force attacking at Osnabruck is composed of two elements. The first element is composed of 227 B-17s (2 are PFF...
11 January 1944
Three aviation industry targets in Germany are bombed. The bomber force consists of 291 B-17s despatched from 1st Bomb Division in two elements, one element of 177 B-17s is despatched to Oschersleben, Germany as the primary target, the other 1BD...
21 January 1944
This mission is directed at 36 V-Weapon sites (34 in the Pas-de-Calaise area and 2 in the Chrebourg area of France) 24 of these are bombed successfully. All three Bomb Divisions participate in the attacks and the bomber gunners claimed 5-1-2 of...
5 February 1944
German airfield in France are the targets for this mission. All three Bomb Divisions despatch aircraft. The combined bomber gunner's claims of all three Bomb Divisions were 5-0-5 (displayed with Chateauroux element of 1BD). Summary as follows:
29 May 1944
Mission #2. The target was an aircraft assembly plant. Flak was exceedingly heavy. We were in the air 7-1/2 hours.
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...
Military site : airfield
Polebrook was laid down for RAF Bomber Command use in 1940-1941. Built by George Wimpey and Co. Ltd, it had short runways which were lengthened for USAAF heavy bomber use. The RAF used the base for operational trials - including of B-17 Flying...
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