494

25 July 1944

Object Number - UPL 23863 - Mission map for 8th Air Force mission #494, July 25, 1944 to St. Lo, from Harold Motz, navigator on the Westrope crew, 708th squadron, 447th bomb...

Mission Details

Notes: Gen. Bayerlein continued, "The shock effect on the troops was indescribable. Several of my men went mad and rushed round in the open until they were cut down by splinters. Simultaneously with the storm from the air, innumerable guns of American artillery pounded drumfire into our positions." He continued, "over 70 percent of my soldiers were either dead, wounded, crazed or dazed." Because of the friendly-fire casualties, GEN Dwight Eisenhower forbids the use of heavy bombers in a tactical support role for ground troops for the remainder of the war.

MARGNY-SAINT-GILLES REGION

Notes: For the second consecutive day the 8th Air Force sent its forces to a tactical target near St. Lo, France. The 388th Bomb Group put up three Groups of 12 aircraft for the 45th A Combat wing. No aircraft aborted for the second day in a row. Formations were effected and the briefed route was followed to the target. Bombs were away at 1031 hours from 13,000 feet. Strike photos show a very tight pattern covering the target. Bombing was done from 3,000 feet lower than briefed because of clouds. No enemy fighters were encountered. Flak in the target area was meager and inaccurate. One of our aircraft in the C Group had self inflicted damage caused by the premature exploding of a fragmentation bomb at bombs away. There were no casualties. Brigadier General Kissner, 3rd Air Division Chief of Staff, and members of his staff accompanied personnel on the mission.

The insignia of the 388th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 1,647.60

MARGNY-SAINT-GILLES REGION

Description: BOMB TARGETS OF OPPORTUNITY

Notes: 483 of 500 Fighters (mix of P-47s, P-38s and P-51s) from 8th AF also participate in the attack with strafing and bombing runs. German Lt. Gen. Fritz Bayerlein, commander of the Panzer Lehr Division commented in his memoirs that," the bombers came as if on a conveyor belt. Back and forth the carpets were laid, artillery positions were wiped out, tanks overturned and buried, infantry positions flattened and all roads and tracks destroyed. By midday the entire area resembled a Mondlandschaft (moonscape), with bomb craters touching rim to rim. All signal communications had been cut and no command was possible."

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 24.6 T

MARGNY-SAINT-GILLES REGION

Description: TROOP CONCENTRATION

Notes: All groups of the 2nd and 3rd Bomb Divisions participate except the 486th Bomb Group and 487th Bomb Group. Continuation of OPERATION COBRA - 11 B-26 and A-20 groups from 9th AF continue to bomb the rectangle adjacent to the Periers/St.Lo Road. 42 B-26s repeat the bombing errors of the pevious day and short-bomb the area again hitting the 30th Infantry Division. 9th AF fighters strafe German troop positions also. While killing many Germans these attacks tended to shroud the bombing zone with smoke and dust, thus, hampering the bombing barrage launched by 8th AF. Some of the 8th Air Force's bomb drops were short also. The result was another tragic friendly-fire incident. 111 American soliders were killed and another 490 were wounded. Among the KIA casualties was Lt. Gen, Leslie J. McNair, who was conduting observation along the front lines. He was the highest ranking officer to be killed in the European theater in WWII. Despite the American losses the ground attack proceeded at exactly 1100 hours and First Army made an 800 yard advance though the bombed out zone.

  • Unit Hierarchy: Division
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
  • Unit Hierarchy: Division
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Combat organisation
  • Unit Hierarchy: Division
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Combat organisation

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 1723.1 T

Connections

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People

  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 401st Bomb Group 612th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 36215923 / O-692248
  • Highest Rank: Second Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Navigator
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 401st Bomb Group 615th Bomb Squadron
  • Highest Rank: Master Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Engineer/Top Turret Gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 390th Bomb Group 571st Bomb Squadron
  • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant (3rd Grade)
  • Role/Job: Ball Turret Gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 401st Bomb Group 615th Bomb Squadron
  • Highest Rank: Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Ball Turret Gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 401st Bomb Group 612th Bomb Squadron
  • Highest Rank: Second Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Bombardier, Navigator

Aircraft

Revisions

Date5 Jun 2015 17:50:10
ContributorPete
Sources

452nd Bomb Group Assoc.

Date9 Mar 2015 12:42:49
Sources

Information sent by Dick Read relating to Arthur M. Read and the 388th Bomb Group. (From 'The 388th At War' by Ed Huntzinger).

Date9 Mar 2015 12:41:18
Sources

Information sent by Dick Read relating to Arthur M. Read and the 388th Bomb Group. (From 'The 388th At War' by Ed Huntzinger).

Date27 Sep 2014 18:43:07
ContributorAAM
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'.

494: Gallery (4 items)