351st Bomb Group

Polebrook, England

Group Mission #1

Non-Credited Mission

 
13 May 1943
Target: Ft. Rouge Aerodrome
St. Omer, France
 
Operations Narrative:

The Group received the Field Order at 0320 May 13, 1943. Briefing was held at 0930. Eighteen airplanes were scheduled. Four failed to taxi, and fourteen took off on schedule. The Group joined the 96th Group as scheduled. Due to a combination of poor visibility and the aborting of 96th Group leader and Deputy Group leader confusion occurred after joining. Col. Hatcher decided to proceed to the point of departure when it became evident that any other action would cause an abortive mission.

Upon reaching the point of departure, North Foreland, the Group headed on course in an attempt to join the 401st Combat Wing. It was impossible to accomplish this before the enemy coast was reached. Col. Hatcher turned the Group around and returned to base. The mission was abortive in all respects.
[Signed:] Theodore R. Milton, Major, Air Corps, Operations Officer.



Intelligence S-2 Narrative:
  1. All available aircraft were ordered for this Group for 13 May 1943. The primary target was the Fort Rouge Aerodrome near St. Omer, France. There was no secondary or last resort target.
  2. 14 A/C took off between 1341 and 1359. There were 4 abortives due to mechanical failures, the details of which are as follows:
    (a) A/C 874 #2 engine rough; feathered prop and it failed to start.
    (b) A/C 872 oxygen system failed; #2 supercharger was erratic at altitude.
    (c) A/C 847 Interphones out; flaps failed to come up; hydraulic and oxygen leak in ball turret.
    (d) A/C 848 Oxygen out in ball turret.
  3. The remaining ten aircraft turned back at mid channel due to top squadron falling too far behind to risk taking Group into enemy territory under such conditions. These ten aircraft landed between the hours of 1716 and 1732.
    [Signed:] John L. Scott, Major, Air Corps, Group S-2.




Communications Report:
  1. SIGNAL PROCEDURE EMPLOYED:
    1. Command Set 5010 K/C Bomber to Bomber Communications.
    2. Splasher Beacons 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 13.
    3. "J" Beams D on During Mission not used as Aircraft were not equipped for reception.
    4. VHF equipment available and working.
  2. USE AND FUNCTION OF RADIO AIDS:
    1. Navigator of Lead plane only reported use of Radio Compass on indicated plane.
      PLANE 858 SPLASHER BEACONS 5 & 6, RESULTS Good
  3. BREACHES OF RADIO DISCIPLINE: A. None.
  4. COMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT FAILURES:
    141 – Interphone failure 20,000.
    858 – Co-Pilot Mike switch out.
    862 – Pilot and Co-Pilot Mike Switch out.
    868 – Ball Turret Mike Out.
    684 – Interphone weak 20,000.
    848 – Interphone weak 27,000.
    847 – Interphone cut out 18,000.
    872 – Interphone cut out 11,000.
  5. REMARKS: The majority of above failures were caused by lack of preventive maintenance caused by shortage of personnel to date.
  6. RECOMMENDATIONS: Pilots should attempt fuller use of VHF equipment. Navigators should practice in use of beacon aids to Navigation.
    [Signed:] Stuart B McLaughlin, 1st Lt., Communications Officer


“J” Form:
  1. Total No. A/C in each Squadron and Letters of each:
    Sqdn 508th A/C: 858 – G, 821 – F, 868 – K, 862 – H, 141 – A, 817 – D (6)
    Sqdn 509th A/C: 838 – U, 841 – V, 684 – T, 863 – Y, 861 – X (5)
    Sqdn 510th A/C: 848 – F, 701 – B, 874 – J (3)
    Sqdn 511th A/C: 847 – T, 872 – W, 877 – X, 150 – Q (4)
  2. Target: St. Omer
  3. Station call sign and Operational call sign respectively of each Squadron
    Squadron508 Ops:R1USquadron510 Ops:PM3
    Sta:PointerSta:Sprocket
    Squadron509 OpsR1USquadron511 Ops:PM3
    Sta:PointerSta:Sprocket
  4. Taxi Time – 1st A/C 1250;     Take-Off Time 1st A/C 1305;     E.T.D. Over Field 1423
  5. Time:Height:Place of crossing English Coast OUT:
    152325,000ftOxford Nest
    161525,000ftDungeness
  6. Time:Height:Place of Recrossing Enemy Coast:
    164125,000ftGravelines
  7. Time:Height:Place of crossing English Coast IN:
    170125,000ftClacton
  8. E.T.R.: 1730 Hours
  9. MF/DF [Medium Frequency/Direction Finder] Section: N
  10. Bomb load of Each A/C:
    Squadron: 508 16–300 pound, Fuse - instantaneous Nose, 45 Sec Tail Fuse
    Squadron: 509 16–300 pound, Fuse - instantaneous Nose, 45 Sec Tail Fuse
    Squadron: 510 16–300 pound, Fuse - instantaneous Nose, 45 Sec Tail Fuse
    Squadron: 511 16–300 pound, Fuse - instantaneous Nose, 45 Sec Tail Fuse
  11. Fuel Load of each A/C: 1700 Gals
  12. Actual Times Off and Return by Squadrons and A/C Letters:
    Squadron A/C Letter A.T.O. A.T.R. Squadron A/C Letter A.T.O. A.T.R.
    508858–G13411716509838–U13491727½
    821–F13421718684–T13491725
    862–H1342½1720861–X1347½1724
    868–K13491732
    141–A13481720½
    817–D13431717
    510848–F13461638*511847–T13501659*
    701–B13591726878–W13551618*
    874–J13471619*
    509th – 841 & 863 – failed to go on mission – Turret Modifications
    511th – 877 & 150 – same as above – 877 also out for altitude
    *The following ships returned from Group Formation:
    848 of 510th– oxygen system failed in Ball Turret.
    847 of 511th– oxygen system and Hydraulic system failed, Interphone out.
    872 of 511th– oxygen system in Ball Turret failed.
    874 of 510th– oxygen system in Ball Turret failed.
    Report Compiled By C.A. Blanchard Sgt.


Formation Chart:
Group Formation
509th Squadron
Hatcher – Stewart J.
A/C # 858 G
Argiropolus
A/C # 821 F
Geiger
A/C #868 K
McCoy
A/C # 862 H
Forest
A/C # 141 A
Fitchen
A/C # 817 D
509th Sqdrn.510th Sqdrn.
Ledoux – Russell
A/C # 821 F
Forsythe – Stewart R.
A/C #821 F
Spika
A/C # 841 V
Hathaway
A/C # 684 T
Boyd
A/C # 848 F
Norris
A/C # 150 Q
Adams
A/C # 847 T
Carraway
A/C # 701 B
Peters
A/C # 821 V
Moss
A/C # 877 X
Strouse
A/C # 861 X
Garcia
A/C # 874 J


Time Schedule:
Zero Hour: 1600   Stations: 1140   Start Engines: 1240   Taxi: 1250   Take-off: 1305   Rendezvous: 1423  
E.T.R.[Estimated Time of Return]: 1830
The above records were obtained at the National Archives Records Administration and have been declassified by authority NND 745005
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