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8th Air Force 255

11 March 1944

Official description

Not yet known

Description

This mission is compsed of two separate elements. The first element is despatched to bomb the railroad marshalling yards at Munster, Germany as the primary target. The attack is made by B-17s from 1st Air Division. 3rd Air Division also sends B-17s to attack Targets of Opportunity (TOs) in the area. Mission Summary follows:

1st Air Division: 62 B-17s from: 352BG; 401BG; and 457BG are despatched. 62 aircraft are effective on Munster, Germany. 1 B-17 bombs on industrial areas of Bentheim, Germany as a Target of Opportunity. There are no losses, casualties or claims.

3rd Air Division: 62 B-17s from: 95BG; 385BG; and 447BG are despatched. 62 aircraft are effective on Targets of Opportunity (TOs) in the Munster area. 2 B-17s bomb the rail yards at Burgsteinfurt thinking it was Munster. 1 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) 9KIA 1POW. Shot down by AA fire, crashed near Haamsteded, Holland. Most landed on a sand bank at low tide, but their pleas for help from German workers and soldiers as the tide came in were ignored, 9 drowned. Searches after the war to find those responsible were not successful. There are no losses, casualties or claims.

The second element is a combined force of 51 B-24s from 44BG and 93BG despatched to bomb V-Weapon sites at Wizernes, France. 34 are effective on the target. Weather frustrates target acquisition. 1 aircraft is damaged. There are no other losses casualties or claims.

Mission details

1. BENTHEIM (Opportunistic)

Description

BOMB TARGETS OF OPPORTUNITY

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

Groups are part of 3rd Bomb Division. Bomber gunners make no claims.

Units

  • 385th Bomb Group

    385th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 385th Bomb Group, who took the nickname "Van's Valiants" after their first Commanding Officer Col. Elliot Vandevanter, flew B-17s from Great Ashfield, Suffolk. The Group led the famous attack on the Focke-Wolfe aircraft factory at Marienburg on 9...

  • 447th Bomb Group

    447th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 447th Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses on strategic bombardment missions out of Rattlesden, Suffolk. With their first mission coming on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1943, their main focus was hitting sites that would weaken enemy forces...

  • 94th Bomb Group

    94th Bomb Group

    Group
    Activated 15 June 1942 at MacDill Field, Florida. Initial organization and training at Pendleton Field, Oregon on 29 June 1942. Primary flight training at Davis-Monthan Field in Arizona from 28 Aug. 42 to 31 Oct. 42; then at Biggs Field, El Paso, Texas...

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 159.08
Number of aircraft Sent 62
Number of aircraft Effective 61
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 1
Number of people Killed In Action 9
Number of people Returned To Duty 1

2. BURGSTEINFURT (Last resort)

Description

ACCIDENTENTAL BOMBING

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

This target hit accidently. It has not been determined which Group form two Bomb Group attacked this target. Bomber gunners make no claims.

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 5.22
Number of aircraft Effective 2

3. Münster, Germany

Description

MARSHALLING YARDS

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

One 1st Bomb Division B-17 dropped on Bentheim as a Target of Opportunity. All targets bombed with blind-bombing. Groups are part of 1st Bomb Division. Bomber gunners make no claims.

457th BG MISSION NO. 11 - MUNSTER, GERMANY

11 MARCH, 1944

Twenty aircraft bombed military targets and the marshalling yards at Munster. The 457th comprised the high box of the 94th Combat Wing. Captain Leroy Watson was Air Commander. Bombing was done by PFF due to the heavy undercast, and results were not observed.

No enemy fighter opposition was encountered, due to the fighter escort provided. However, intense but inaccurate flak was encountered over the target area. Relatively light damage was inflicted and all aircraft returned safely to the Base.

All silver ships were used for the first time. As a diversion from seeing B-I 7s, the first B-29 ever to land at Glatton arrived on 11 March. Personnel of the Group were permitted to inspect it before its departure. Reportedly the craft, then designated as a YB-29, had been attached to the Eighth in an attempt to deceive German intelligence into believing the 8-29 was to become the replacement craft in the E.T.O.

Units

  • 351st Bomb Group

    351st Bomb Group

    Group
    The 351st Bomb Group flew strategic bombing missions from their base at Polebrook, Northamptonshire from April 1943 to June 1945. The Group's most famous member was Hollywood actor Clark Gable, who flew four/ five missions with them as an observer...

  • 401st Bomb Group

    401st Bomb Group

    Group
    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...

  • 457th Bomb Group

    457th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 457th Bomb Group began combat operations during the Big Week of 20-25 February when American bombers carried out concentrated raids against German aircraft bases, factories and assembly plants. The air crews' targets on that first mission were...

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 78.00
Number of aircraft Sent 62
Number of aircraft Effective 61

4. WIZERNES (Primary)

Description

V-1 MISSILE SITES

Aircraft type

B-24 Liberator

Notes

Groups are part of 2nd Bomb Division. Bomber gunners make no claims.

Units

  • 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...

  • 93rd Bomb Group

    93rd Bomb Group

    Group
    The 93rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated 1 Mar 42 at Barksdale Field, Louisiana. On 15 May 42. the Group moved to Ft. Myers, Florida, to continue advanced flight training and also to fly antisubmarine patrols over the Gulf of Mexico. They...

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 127.20
Number of aircraft Sent 51
Number of aircraft Effective 34
Number of aircraft Damaged 1
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 0

Service

People

  • Chester Adams

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 447th Bomb Group
    11-Mar-44 Shot down by AA fire in B-17G 42-97484, 447BG/710BS while serving as Navigator. Aircraft crashed in the North Sea shore off Haamstede, Holland on a mission to Munster, Germany on 11 Mar 1944. Most aircrew landed on sandbank at low tide, but...

  • Robert Andrus

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator | 401st Bomb Group
    Shot down 28 May 1944 in B-17 42-31034 'Bonnie Donnie. ' Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • Charles Atcher

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Left Waist Gunner | 401st Bomb Group

  • William Barlow

    Military | Staff Sergeant (3rd Grade) | Crew 302-514: Aerial Armorer Gunner; Tail Gunner; Ball Turret Gunner | 446th Bomb Group

  • Henry Benson

    Military | Captain | Navigator, bombardier, nose gunner | 93rd Bomb Group

  • Edgar Burton

    Military | Lieutenant | Navigator | 446th Bomb Group
    Flew 25 missions, ending just before D-Day. Flew on D Day just to see it. According to him, he never saw a German fighter but did see lots of flak.

  • Daniel Fasanello

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator | 447th Bomb Group
    11-Mar-44 Shot down by AA fire in B-17G 42-97484, 447BG/710BS while serving as Radio Operator. Aircraft crashed in the North Sea shore off Haamstede, Holland on a mission to Munster, Germany on 11 Mar 1944. Most aircrew landed on sandbank at low tide,...

  • Charles Gessert

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Left Waist Gunner, Waist Gunner | 447th Bomb Group
    11-Mar-44 Shot down by AA fire in B-17G 42-97484, 447BG/710BS while serving as Left Waist Gunner. Aircraft crashed in the North Sea shore off Haamstede, Holland on a mission to Munster, Germany on 11 Mar 1944. Most aircrew landed on sandbank at low...

  • Woodrow Harper

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 447th Bomb Group
    11-Mar-44 Shot down by AA fire in B-17G 42-97484, 447BG/710BS while serving as Engineer/Top Turret Gunner. Aircraft crashed in the North Sea shore off Haamstede, Holland on a mission to Munster, Germany on 11 Mar 1944. Most aircrew landed on sandbank...

  • Edward Johnson

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 447th Bomb Group
    11-Mar-44 Shot down by AA fire in B-17G 42-97484, 447BG/710BS while serving as Ball Turret Gunner. Aircraft crashed in the North Sea shore off Haamstede, Holland on a mission to Munster, Germany on 11 Mar 1944. Most aircrew landed on sandbank at low...

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Aircraft

  • 42-31087 'Heaven Can Wait', 'Boche Buster'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 17/9/43; Gt Falls 28/9/43; Assigned 612BS/401BG [SC-K] Deenethorpe 26/10/43; Missing in Action Politz 7/10/44 with Tom Hill, Wilbur Schmedel, Theo Block, Junius Chadwick, Jim Mullins, Vic Shewbert, Ed Hellenbeck, Buddy Keith, Omer...

  • 42-31098 Penny's Thunderhead

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 20/9/43; Gt Falls 2/10/32; Scott 25/10/43; Assigned 614BS/401BG [IW-B] Deenethorpe 30/10/43; ...

  • 42-31496 Salvo Sadie

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 12/11/43; Kearney 27/11/43; Assigned 612BS/401BG [SC-Q] Deenethorpe 1/2/44; Missing in Action Berlin 21/6/44 with Jack Atherton, Co-pilot: Don Awalt, Navigator: Dick Fitzmaurice, Bombardier: John Whelan, Flight engineer/top turret...

  • 42-31891 The Shape

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 31/12/43; Kearney 12/1/44; Assigned 612BS/401BG [SC-P] Deenethorpe 15/2/44; Returned to the USA 121 BU Bradley 1/6/45; 4168 Base Unit, South Plains, Texas 8/6/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA)...

  • 42-39943 Lassie Come Home

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Long Beach 13/10/43; Gr Island 31/10/43; ...

  • 42-40050 Channel Express III

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Long Beach 16/11/43; Gr Island 4/12/43; Presque Is 11/12/43; Prestwick, UK 15/12/43; Assigned 612BS/401BG [SC-J] Deenethorpe 1/1/44; Missing in Action Bordeaux 19/6/44 with Bill Massey, Bombardier: Lew Stelljes, Flight engineer/top turret...

  • 42-97484

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 29-Nov-43; Kearney, Nebraska 15-Dec-43; Presque Isle, Maine 23-Dec-43; Assigned 710BS/447BG Rattlesden 4-Jan-44. ...

  • 42-97487 Hangover Haven

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 30/11/43; Kearney 16/12/43; Presque Isle 19/12/43; Assigned 612BS/401BG [SC-C] Deenethorpe 12/1/44; crash landed base 3/10/44, Salvaged 2 SAD. HANGOVER HAVEN.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
23 February 2016 17:27:12 Lee8thbuff Changes to description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 23-Feb-2016. Added 2nd AD details to Mission Narrative based on "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. freeman and "Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces", Stan Bishop and John A. Hey MBE.

Date Contributor Update
23 February 2016 16:49:59 Lee8thbuff Changes to description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 23-Feb-2016. Added Mission Narrative based on "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
13 May 2015 13:36:27 general ira snapsorter Changes to event
Sources

Mission detail added courtesy of Diane Reese - http://www.457thbombgroup.org/Narratives/ma11.html

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:43:11 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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