8th Air Force 760

24 December 1944
Captain Misch of the 487th Bomb Group in front of a B-17 Flying Fortress. Handwritten caption on reverse: 'Misch.'

Object Number - FRE 2042 - Captain Edmund F. Auer of the 487th Bomb Group in front of a B-17 Flying Fortress. Handwritten caption on reverse: 'Misch' This is Captain Edmund F....

Description

1. Decision.
Weather forecast at the afternoon conference indicated that high pressure
center would be situated over the southwest Germany, causing a condition of no cloud
in the bases and in the target areas. The only weather affecting these would be
local fog patches in the valleys and it was expected that these would burn off as
the day progressed. It was upon this forecast that the decision was made to dispatch
a maximum effort of heavy bombers, which was to be the largest mission yet airborne.
Targets were selected in the area of Frankfurt and the battle line.

2. Force.
1st bomb division was to dispatch fourteen groups of 36 A/C each on airfields
at Ettinghausen, Kirch Gons, Nidda, Merzhausen and Giessen.
2nd bomb division was to dispatch all available operational aircraft on fourteen
tactical targets in the front line area.
3rd bomb division was to dispatch all available operational aircraft on airfields
at Gross Ostheim, Darmstadt/Griesheim, Biblis, Babenhausen, Frankfurt/Rhein Main and
Zellhausen. This would consist of approximately twenty three groups of 36 A/C each. Forces
available by the respective divisions were uncertain up to just prior to take-off due to the fact that
previous operations had caused a number of A/C to be diverted to fields other than own.

3. Plan.
All divisions were to depart UK and penetrate southeast to the target areas.
Axis of the attack was chosen as being generally up or down wind for all divisions, with
1st division attacking up wind and breaking off their target to withdraw along the
reciprocal of penetration route. 2nd division was attacking up wind along the Gee-H approach,
their withdrawal being the reciprocal of the penetration route. 3rd division was attacking down-
wind from the northeast in order to minimize the effect of anti-aircraft defenses in the target areas.
Withdrawal was to be south of Saarbrucken and northeast to UK. Timing was controlled further to eliminate the
possibility of conflicting courses within the target areas. Zero hour was chosen at 1100 hours in order
to allow ample time for take-off assembly of such a large force and to allow time for the fog to
dissipate in the target areas.

Mission Details

Description: BOMB TARGETS OF OPPORTUNITY

Description: ESCORT MISSION

Notes: The P-51s escort 9 spitfires and 8 F-5s on a photo reconnaissance mission.

Description: SCOUTING MISSION

AHRWEILLER

Description: INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

A flight of B-24 Liberators of the 446th Bomb Group fly in formation above the clouds.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
The insignia of the 93rd Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

BABENHAUSEN

Description: AIRFIELD

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

The insignia of the 487th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

BABENHAUSEN

Description: INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

Biblis, Germany

Description: AIRFIELD

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
The insignia of the 95th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

BITBURG

Description: INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

The insignia of the 389th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
A pathfinder B-24 Liberator (serial number 42-51681) of the 453rd Bomb Group flies in formation with a fellow Liberator of the 453rd and and a pathfinder Liberator of the 445th Bomb Group. Image via Alan Rowsell.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

COCHEM

Description: INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

The insignia of the 389th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

DARMSTADT

Description: AIRFIELD

Notes: A high pressure front across Western Europe brings clear weather and the 8th AF launches the greatest maximum effort of WWII. 2,034 bombers and 852 fighters are despatched. The mission was led by the 486th BG. 94th Bomb Group CO, BRIG GEN Fred Castle was KILLED IN ACTION (KIA) with 3 others on the "Treble Four" 44-8444, when he crash-landed the aircraft at Hods, Belgium after the aircraft was hit in the #4 engine by collision with an enemy aircraft. Present day Castle AFB is named in his honor.

DARMSTADT

Description: INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

DAUN

Description: INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

Unofficial emblem of the 467th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

ETTINGHAUSEN

Description: AIRFIELD

The insignia of the 381st Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Air base

EUSKIRCHEN

Description: INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

Notes: A mix of 87 of 92 P-47s and P-51s provide escort. Mix not given in available data.

The insignia of the 448th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

FRANKFURT-RHEINE

Description: AIRFIELD

The insignia of the 34th Bomb Group
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
The insignia of the 490th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
The insignia of the 493rd Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

GEROLSTEIN

Description: INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

Three little girls hold up a balloon celebrating the 100th mission of the 466th Bomb Group in front of a B-24 Liberator (serial number 42-95592) nicknamed "Black Cat". Handwritten caption on reverse: 'On our 100 Mission party Day- 18 Aug 1944, Attlebridge, 466th- wouldn't it be something if we could identify these girls? How could I do it?'
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
Unofficial emblem of the 467th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

GROSS OSTHEIM

Description: AIRFIELD

Notes: 486th BG was also scheduled to bomb this target, instead they went to seacondary target at Pforzheim M/Y

The insignia of the 385th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
The insignia of the 447th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
The insignia of the 487th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

HEILBRONN

Description: MARSHALLING YARDS

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: Target of last resort bombed by 6 B-17's and 1 PFF Ship

The insignia of the 452nd Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

KAISERSLAUTERN

Description: INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

KAISERSLAUTERN

Description: MARSHALLING YARDS

Description: AIRFIELD

KOBLENZ

Description: INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: 457th BG MISSION NO. 162 : KOBLENZ, GERMANY : 24 DECEMBER, 1944 The Eighth Air Force was unable to cope with the weather. 20 December to 23 December was a repeat of 16 to 18 December. A relentless and stubborn fog had moved in and had accomplished what the German Luftwaffe had been unable to do, keep the bombers on the ground. The ground troops were desperate for air support. That was to finally come on Christmas Eve, when the Air Force meteorologists predicted a break in the weather. The Eighth Air Force planned what would be the largest air assault in the history of air warfare, 2,000 heavy bombers, plus fighter and other support units, with all groups putting up all airworthy planes. The 457th responded with 45 bombers. The assigned target was Coblenz, Germany. The 457th was to comprise the lead, low and high squadrons of the 94th A Combat Group, flying ninth in Division formation. The Air Commander was Captain Doherty with Captain Seesenguth as pilot. Despite the meteorologists' predictions, the weather on Christmas Eve was just as miserable as the days before, snowing, foggy, with a coldness that penetrated the skin. In early morning, just before six o'clock, two bombs (V-I's) dropped south of the base, apparently intended for a nearby munitions plant. The explosion shook the base. The crews flying the mission had an early morning briefing and proceeded to the planes. However, takeoff was delayed due to the weather. At 1024 hours, the planes did begin taking off. Six planes were airborne before the craft piloted by Lt. Carl P. Sundbaum crashed on takeoff,, claiming the life of one crew member. The explosion rocked the base for the second time that day. The crash closed the runways, because it was not visible in the fog, and crash equipment had difficulty finding it in the field off the end of the runway. Two of the Group aircraft, having been diverted from the previous mission, took off from other bases and joined the six craft already airborne from Glatton. The eight craft assembled on the Glatton Buncher at 7,000 feet and continued to circle it, waiting for the other craft to assemble. Word was then received from the tower that the mission had been scrubbed and to proceed to Ridgewell and land. A little later a stand by was received and shortly thereafter the eight were directed to form with the 401St Bomb Group, and proceed with the mission. They were to fly as high-high squadron with the 40 1st. The aircraft took interval behind the high squadron of the 40 1st Group, but the high-high lead craft was forced to abort after having been hit by antiaircraft fire, and turned the lead over to the No.3 position (the deputy was not able to take over because of mechanical difficulties). Because of this, the section became separated from the 401st and was not able to maintain formation. A visual run was made on Coblenz. There was about one-tenth cloud coverage and visibility was fair. The MPI was not actually sighted because it was obscured by smoke and clouds, and bombing was done by triangulation, the bombs being released from 26,000 feet. No other difficulties were encountered. The lead craft attacked a target of opportunity and returned to base Individually. The other seven aircraft, being unable to rally with the 40lst,joined the 398th Group formation and flew the return route without incident. All aircraft were diverted to other bases because of local weather conditions. A normal let down was made and they landed without further difficulty. Thirty-four aircraft took off in the afternoon and assembled on the Glatton Buncher at 7,000 feet. No difficulties were encountered. No Division assembly was accomplished. Because of the late takeoff, word was received to proceed to the Channel and jettison bombs in order to return to base by 1700 hours. After releasing bombs, the Group executed a 180 degree turn and flew back to the Glatton Buncher. One crew went into enemy territory alone and bombed Daun, a target of opportunity. Because of local weather conditions, all aircraft were diverted to Eye and Horham, where the crews spent a rather miserable Christmas. Three craft that had been diverted from the 19 December mission departed from Knettishell and bombed with the 3 88th Bomb Group. The Eighth Air Force was led on the mission by General Frederick W. Castle, Commanding Officer of the 4th Combat Wing. As General Castle's plane neared the front battle lines of the ground forces, No. 4 engine began to give trouble. A short time later a swarm of Me-I 09s appeared and attacked. No longer able to maintain its lead position, the plane pulled out of formation and was attacked again by the Me-I 09s. With the full bomb load still being carried; General Castle attempted to fly the plane to a spot where no damage could occur to Allied troops. The plane exploded and crashed in Belgium, killing General Castle and the pilot. For gallantry in action, above and beyond the call of duty, General Castle was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously.

  • Unit Hierarchy: Division
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
Unofficial emblem of the 457th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

MAYEN

Description: INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

MERZHAUSEN

Description: AIR DEPOT

NIDDA

Description: AIRFIELD

PFAZEL

Description: INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

PZORZHEIM

Description: MARSHALLING YARDS

RHEINBACH

Description: INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

RUWER

Description: INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

SCHONECKEN

Description: INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

Description: INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

WITTLICH

Description: INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

ZELLHAUSEN

Description: AIRFIELD

Connections

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People

  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 466th Bomb Group 784th Bomb Squadron 786th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: O-716310
  • Highest Rank: First Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Navigator
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 401st Bomb Group 612th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: O-760521
  • Highest Rank: First Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Pilot
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 401st Bomb Group 615th Bomb Squadron
  • Highest Rank: Technical Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Engineer/Top Turret Gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 95th Bomb Group 336th Bomb Squadron
  • Highest Rank: First Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Bombardier
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 401st Bomb Group 615th Bomb Squadron
  • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Tail Gunner

Aircraft

The nose art of a B-24 Liberator (4Z-V+) nicknamed "Wolves Inc." of the 791st Bomb Squadron, 467th Bomb Group. Handwritten caption on reverse: '467th B.G., 4Z-V+.'
  • Aircraft Type: B-24 Liberator
  • Nicknames: Wolves Inc.
  • Unit: 467th Bomb Group 789th Bomb Squadron 791st Bomb Squadron
An airman of the 95th Bomb Group with a B-17 Flying Fortress (serial number 42-102447) nicknamed "El's Belles". First handwritten caption on reverse: 'F/L on last of 365's bases in Belgium other side "Angels Sister" [name struck-out and annotated 'No'] 365 FG C Johnson/icm/75' Second handwritten caption on reverse: 'BG-A 95 BG.'
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: El's Belles
  • Unit: 95th Bomb Group 334th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Paisano
  • Unit: 95th Bomb Group 96th Bomb Group 335th Bomb Squadron 336th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Lucky Lady ; Screaming Eagle
  • Unit: 351st Bomb Group 95th Bomb Group 335th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Farmer's Daughter
  • Unit: 401st Bomb Group 614th Bomb Squadron 615th Bomb Squadron

Revisions

Date20 Feb 2018 09:47:06
Contributormarshaferraro
Sources

Personal list of 30 missions Lloyd C. Kenagy participated in with the 401st Bomb Group 613th Squadron between Aug 1, 1944 and April 11, 1945.

Date29 Apr 2015 10:58:36
Sources

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

Date8 Mar 2015 16:28:46
Contributorjoost900
Sources

mission report
www.24december1944.com

Date8 Mar 2015 16:23:32
Contributorjoost900
Sources

mission report
www.24december1944.com

Date8 Mar 2015 16:22:28
Contributorjoost900
Sources

mission report
www.24december1944.com

Date8 Mar 2015 16:21:42
Contributorjoost900
Sources

mission report
www.24december1944.com

Date8 Mar 2015 16:20:42
Contributorjoost900
Sources

mission report
www.24december1944.com

Date8 Mar 2015 16:19:50
Contributorjoost900
Sources

mission report
www.24december1944.com

Date8 Mar 2015 16:18:50
Contributorjoost900
Sources

mission report
www.24december1944.com

Date8 Mar 2015 16:17:52
Contributorjoost900
Sources

mission report
www.24december1944.com

Date8 Mar 2015 16:15:51
Contributorjoost900
Sources

mission report
www.24december1944.com

Date8 Mar 2015 16:14:10
Contributorjoost900
Sources

Mission report
www.24december1944.com

Date4 Mar 2015 18:07:25
Contributorjoost900
Sources

mission reports
www.24december1944.com

Date4 Mar 2015 18:06:24
Contributorjoost900
Sources

Mission Reports
www.24december1944.com

Date3 Mar 2015 17:50:40
Contributorjoost900
Sources

Mission report
www.24december1944.com

Date3 Mar 2015 17:35:13
Contributorjoost900
Sources

Mission reports
www.24december1944.com

Date3 Mar 2015 17:31:39
Contributorjoost900
Sources

Mission reports

Date3 Mar 2015 17:28:29
Contributorjoost900
Sources

IRIS Number 00223365 / B5010 NARA
www.24december1944.com

Date20 Feb 2015 18:27:54
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 20-Feb-2015. Edited Title adding "8th Air Force"

Date14 Nov 2014 13:07:43
ContributorLucy May
Sources

Changed location from 'BILIBIS' to 'Biblis, Germany'.

Date27 Sep 2014 18:43:08
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'.

8th Air Force 760: Gallery (9 items)