351st Bomb Group

Polebrook, England

Group Mission #249

Credited Mission #242

DATE: 30 Dec. 1944
Target: R.R. Overpass, Kaiserslautern, Germany
Briefing Outline:

    1. TARGETS: 
    2. Visual Primary: Kaiserslautern, R.R. Overpass
    3. PFF Primary: Kaiserslautern - Center of Industrial Area
    4. Visual Secondary: 
    5. PFF Secondary: Same
    6. Last Resort: Any military objective in Germany not prohibited by existing regulations.

    Zero Hour: - 1030
    Stations: - 0850
    Start Engines: - 0900
    Taxi: - 0910
    Take Off: - 1925
    Target Time: - ____
    ETR [Estimated Time
       of Return]:
    - ____

    Deadline for last take-off - 1030
      Gasoline 2,600 Gallons

     Lead - 6 x 1000 G.P. [General Purpose] 1/10 – 1/100 [Fuses] - All A/C
     High - Same
     Low - Same
     Composite - ___

  3. Intervalometer Settings: 100 Ft. All secondaries [sic] 100 Ft.

  4. Chaff: Each A/C – 504 units. Commence release at I.P. and continue for 21 minutes.

  5. Disposition of Forces [Bomb Group]TargetTime of Departure
    "A" Gp. in 94 CBW
    [Combat Bomb Wing]
    401  0950
    "B" Gp. in 94 CBW 3510952
    "C" Gp. in 94 CBW4570944
    1 Div. Lead1 A,B,C
    2nd CBW40 C
    3rd CBW41 A,B,C
    4th CBW94 C
    5th CBW40 A,B
    6th CBW94 A,B
    2nd Div.12 Grps.Tactical Targets
    3rd Div.14 Grps.Strategic Targets

    PFF A/C to fly as: "GH" A/C with Mickey [Radar] - Lead. PFF's to fly as Deputy Lead and High Squadron Lead.
     Interval between Groups – 2 minutes.
     Leaders will make every effort to bomb at briefed altitude and keep interval between squadrons to a minimum on the bombing

  6. Fighter Cover: 2 Gps. of P-51’s Free-Lancing; 6 Gps. of P-51's - 67th Wing - Mohair; 2 Gps. of P-47 - 8th A.F. - Colgate

  7. Other Forces: Buckeye Blue gives weather to Able Lead Twenty minutes prior to target. Buckeye Red gives weather to Woodcraft Able 20 minutes before Target. 3 [RAF] Mosquito's in Target area at target time.

  8. Assembly:
    Lead at15,000'feet on Kings Cliffe Buncher
    High at16,000'feet onKings CliffeBuncher
    Low at14,000'feet onKings CliffeBuncher
    401st at15,000'feet onCottesmoreBuncher
    457th at16,000'feet onGlattonBuncher
    Composite at____feet on____Buncher

    Combat Wing Assembly Line: Thetford to Splasher #8
    Division Assembly Line: ____

  9. Navigator - _____

  10. S-2 - _____

  11. Weather - _____

  12. Special Instructions:
     a. Type of Bombing Formation - Good Tight Formation
     b. Bombardier and Navigator of the #3 A/C of each sqdn. report to Photo Lab.
      They are: Lead - C-753, High - G-078, Low - A-428
     c. Camera A/C   F-711, P-676, V-854   Pick up hand camera at Photo Lab.
      to return at  Continental Coast Out [Bound]
     d. Spares to turn back at French Coast
     e. REMARKS: Two minute intervals between Groups.
      Use Southern Cross-In Point.
      G.H. Close up - P.F.F. Blind Syd tape internal [sic]
      Caution V.H.F.


    351stWoodcraft BakerRG [Red Green]
    401stWoodcraft AbleRY
    457thWoodcraft CharlieRY
    1st Div. Air CommanderSwordfish AbleGGMajor Rooney
    94th CBW Air CommanderWoodcraft Able LeadRYCapt. Currie

    FightersBalance 2-8701
    BombersVinegrove 2-12
    Grnd. ControlMohair - 1st Div.
    Colegate - 8th A.F.

    Remarks: Reference Altitude: 23,000’

  14. Ships To Monitor [Radio Channels A, B, C & D]
    1. Channel “A” - All A/C monitor except the following:
    2. Channel “B” - U-381, C-640, O-277
    3. Channel “C” - 67th F.W. [Fighter Wing] Y-108
    4. Channel “C” - 8th A.F. [Air Force] L-956
    5. Channel “D” - All A/C have A/S [Air/Sea] rescue crystals except Y-8495; A-358; G-078; Q-080 which have 8th A.F. crystals.

    1. Runway on Take Off. ____
    2. Expected Runway on return. ____
    3. Emergency Airfields on Continent. ____

Operational Narrative.
  1. Date of Mission - 30 December, 1944.
    1. Target Attacked: The Primary Target at Kaiserlautern, Germany was attacked by GH methods.
    2. Force: 94th "B" Group. Thirty-eight aircraft, including one GH ship, two PFF ships, and two flying spares, were dispatched.
    3. Position: The 94th "B" Group flew its briefed position, last group in the Division Formation, behind the 94th "A" Group, after some difficulty in getting into its proper slot.
    4. Lead Teams
      Group Lead
      Group Leader: Major Jerome H. Geiger
      Pilot:Captain Norman A. Trapp
      Navigator:Lt. Albert W. Luich
      Bombardier:Lt. Robert E. McFarlane
      Mickey Operator:Lt. Arthur Schoen

      High Squadron
      Pilot: Capt. Vernon R. Weatherman
      Co-Pilot:Lt. Charles G. Hammett
      Navigator:Lt. Thomas C. Kyser
      Bombardier:Lt. Arnold Schiffman
      Mickey Operator:Lt. Horace E. Hardaway

      Low Squadron
      Pilot:  Lt. Harlan E. Popp
      Co-Pilot:Lt. John W. Zimmerman
      Navigator:Lt. Orvil L. Wolz
      Bombardier:Lt. Jerald E. Traczewitz
  2. Narrative.
    1.  Squadron and Group Assembly: The assembly was carried out at the King's Cliffe buncher at the briefed altitude of 15,000 feet. (The Group Leader reported that his altimeter showed 15,000 feet at the buncher, while the Navigator's indicated an altitude of 15,500 feet).
    2.  Route Over England: Departure from the assembly area was made four minutes early (1306). The early departure was made as the Group Leader wished to insure arriving at Control Point #1 on time instead of the first point of the 94th Combat Wing Assembly Line. Unbriefed winds were encountered which were responsible for this decision. The Air Commander and all lead teams have been notified of the error of this decision. The formation flew to the right of the briefed route after leaving the buncher in order to find its spot in the Division column. The briefed route was contacted at Thetford five minutes late (1051). On the leg between Thetford and Splasher #8, the 94th "B" Group became sandwiched between two other groups and so made a dog-leg to the left of the briefed course in order to get away from the interference caused by the other two groups and also to wait for the 94th "A" Group. As a result of this maneuver, the briefed course was not flown for the remainder of the time over England. Departure from the coast was made south of Dungeness four minutes early (1123) at the briefed altitude of 20,000 feet.
    3.  Division Assembly Line: A dog-leg to the right of course was flown while crossing the channel, in order to lose more time in waiting for the 94th "A" Group. The briefed route was not flown in crossing the channel. The French coast was crossed at the briefed point 1½ minutes late. The 94th "A" Group had still not caught up with the formation.
    4.  Flight to Target: The 94th "A" Group was heard over VHF reporting that it was on course and late. The 94th "B" Group followed the Division Column when it went to the south and right of course, finally getting behind the Chelveston formation [305 BG]. Shortly afterwards it was possible for the 94th "B" Group to drop out of formation and take its proper position behind the 94th "A" Group. The Division Column was followed in the variances to both the right and left of course in the flight to the IP [Initial Point of Bomb Run]. As a result, the briefed IP was not reached, but a point to the north of it was used. The actual IP was reached at 1251 - seven minutes later than the briefed time of the IP. The briefed altitude of 26,000 feet was flown.
    5.  Description of Bombing Run: Interference from two other groups attacking a target in the same area forced the 94th "A" Group to lose 600 feet. This caused some difficulty, as the 94th "B" Group had to make every effort to stay out of the prop wash. The target was attacked in group formation. The target was completely overcast. GH equipment was used. No interference other than that previously mentioned was encountered on the bomb run. The target was attacked at 1311 - five minutes late - from the briefed indicated altitude of 26,000 feet.
    6.  Flight From Target: In making the turns after the target, the 94th "A" Group flew on the outside of the 94th "B" Group. This resulted in the 94th "B" Group getting ahead of the 94th "A" Group. Divergencies from the briefed course were necessary in order to fly in the best weather. The Belgian coast was crossed at the briefed point 9½ minutes late (1451½). The briefed route was closely followed in the flight from the Belgian coast to base. The High and Low Squadrons went to their respective stand-off areas and landings were carried off without difficulty. A normal let-down procedure was followed.
    7.  Fighter Support: Excellent.
    8.  Comments: No aircraft were lost. No enemy aircraft were encountered. No opposition from flak was encountered. The Scouting Force was not heard.
    9.  Aircraft Not Attacking: One aircraft returned early. It was replaced by a flying spare. The second flying spare returned as planned.

  [Signed] Clinton F. Ball, Lt Col, Air Corps, Operations Officer

Statistical Summary:
Lead BoxHigh BoxLow BoxTOTAL
No. of A/C Failing to Take Off0000
No. of A/C Airborne13131238
No. of A/C Airborne Less Unused Spares13121237
No. of A/C Sorties12121236
No. of A/C Attacking12121236
No. of A/C Not Attacking1001
(A) No. of A/C Attacking Primary Target12121236
(B) No., Size & Type Of Bombs 72 x 1000# GP  72 x 1000# GP  72 x 1000# GP  216 x 1000# GP 
Name of Secondary Target
(A) No. of A/C Attacking Secondary Target
(B) No., Size & Type Of Bombs
Name of Last Resort Target (LRT)
(A) No. of A/C Attacking LRT
(B) No., Size & Type Of Bombs
Name of Target of Opportunity (T.O.)
(A) No. of A/C Attacking T.O.
(B) No., Size & Type Of Bombs
No. of A/C Lost - Total0000
No. of A/C Lost - Flak
No. of A/C Lost - Flak and E/A
No. of A/C Lost - Enemy Aircraft
No. of A/C Lost - Accident
No. of A/C Lost - Unknown
Time of Take Off092009220924
Time of Attack1303½13031303
Average Time of Flight6:447:007:13
Altitude of Release24,875’24,950’24,275’
Enemy Resistance – AA Intensity & AccuracyNONE
Enemy Resistance – Fighter0000
Enemy Resistance – Bombers0000
U.S. A/C Engaged by Enemy Aircraft0000
Degree of SuccessUNOBSERVED

PFF A/C were borrowed from Groups as follows: None
PFF A/C were loaned to Groups as follows: None

8495LEAD A/C303 Bomb Group
44-8358Deputy Lead
44-8455High Sqdn Lead

Lead Bombardier’s Narrative:
Date - 30 Dec. 1944
Field Order # 593
Squadron or Group - Lead Sqdn., 94th "B" Group
Target - Kaiserslautern, Germany
  1. Type of Bombing (Visual, PFF or Combined)?  GH
  2. Did Squadron perform own sighting operation, bomb on smoke marker, or was bombing done in Group Formation? Bombing was in Group Formation. High Sqdn Mag. [Magnetic Compass] heading was 153° at 1304 hours. Low Sqdn Mag. heading was 142° at 1304 hours.
  3. Was turn made at briefed I.P.? 50°10'N., 06°50'E.
  4. Cloud coverage and visibility. 10/10ths.
  5. If Visual, when was MPI identified? If not actually seen, how was it located? G.H.
  6. Any Interference on Bomb Run? None
  7. Did C-1 [Autopilot] function satisfactory? Yes
  8. Any other factors affecting accuracy? None
  [Signed] Robert E. McFarlane, 1st Lt., Air Corps, Lead Bombardier

Combat Bombing Flight Record:

Lead Squadron, 94th "A" Group Bombardier - 1st Lt. McFarlane, Robert E.
Pilot - Major Geiger, J.H. & Capt. Trapp, N.A.
Navigator - 1st Lt. Luich, Albert W.

Aircraft B-17G   Y-495  Take-off - 0850 Landed - 1613
Objective - Kaiserslautern, Germany
Aiming Point (MPI) [Mean Point of Impact] - G.H.
Initial Point - 50°10'N., 06°50'E.
Method of Attack - Group
No. of Attacking A/C in Group: - 36   Composite Group - ____
Number A/C Dropping Bombs by own Sighting Operation: ____
Deflection and Range Sighting, Group: One   Composite Group - ____
Range Sighting only, Group - __   Composite Group - ____
Bombs, Types and Sizes - 6 x 1000 Lb. AN-M44, G.P.[General Purpose] & Markers
Number of Bombs Loaded - As Above   Released - Same
Fusing, Nose - 1/10   Tail - 1/100
Synchronization - On

Information at Release Point:

Altitude of Target - 820'Magnetic Heading Ordered 127° Actual 148°
True Altitude Above Target - 24,875True Heading 142°
Indicated Altitude - 25,800Drift, Estimated 16° Right - Actual 14° Right
Pressure Altitude of Target +447True Track 156°
Altimeter Setting 29.92Actual Range 13,490'
Calculated Indicated Air Speed - 150KBomb Sight Type - M-9
True Air Speed - 225KTime of Release 1303½
Ground Speed Est. 244 Actual 245Length of Bombing Run - 15 nukes
Wind Direction Metro - 20° Actual - 16°Intervalometer Setting - 100 feet
Wind Velocity Metro 60 Actual 67 C-1 Pilot [Autopilot] - X [Used]
D.S. - 128  Trail - 44   ATF - 41.32A-5 Pilot _____
Tan. D.A, Est. .537 Actual .53 Manual Pilot ____

Type of Release - Train 100 feet
Point of Impact If Seen - Unobserved
Mean Temp. Metro -16 Actual -16
Winds - Altitude - 26,000 Ft.  Direction - Metro 20°  Actual 16°  Velocity - Metro 60  Actual 67
Temp C. - Metro -40° C. Actual -41° C.

Narrative Teletype Report:
  1. No leaflets were carried on today's mission.
  2. The M/Y [R.R. Marshalling Yard] at Kaiserslautern, primary target, was bombed by our A/C as a Group by GH methods on the lead plane, through 10/10ths clouds. Photographs do not reveal any ground detail.
  3. No enemy aircraft was encountered, and no claims [of enemy aircraft being shot down] are being submitted.
  4. The only flak seen throughout the mission was observed approximately ten miles away, in the vicinity of Kaiserslautern.
  5. 8-10/10ths cloud conditions were encountered enroute [sic], and 9/10ths clouds in the target area.
  6. Nil [No observations of military importance.]
  7. PFF units were used but only as navigational aids, since bombing was done by GH. Fighter support was excellent. Scouting Force was not heard. None of our A/C is missing.

Track Chart:
Click on Chart to Enlarge

Combat Crew Comments:

    508th Squadron:
A/C O-277: Don't like British rations. - Whole Crew.
A/C T-461: Formation was very good. - Crew.

    509th Squadron:
A/C M-964: Why can't we fly in our own airplane? We've been promised to have a plane assigned to us for two months, but it hasn't
      happened yet. - Lt. Hellman.
A/C Z-696: Suggest that we reverse the positions of the flights in the squadrons so that the high squadron is on the left of the #3
      man of the lead, and the low section fly off the #2 man of the lead. This will eliminate the whole low section looking
      into the sun on the route in. We could slide back into our regular positions at the I.P. - Lt. Hammond.

    511th Squadron:
A/C C-694: Had a hard time getting wind due to the constant zig-zagging on the route in. - Lt. Walker.
      Why don't we fly formation as called for in the SOP [Standard Operating Procedure], instead of flying the elements
      in trail. - Lt. Johnson.
      Suggest that the trucks which travel between the main site and the other site have signs on them telling of their
      destination. Especially would this be of a great advantage for after the show, as sometimes you board a truck thinking
      you are going to the main site and you end up in site 3. - Lt. Reznik.

  [Signed:] Robert P. Ramsey, Major, Air Corps, Group S-2 [Intelligence].

Mission Summary Report:
  1. Abortives and Flying Spares:
    1. Airplane No. 43-37900, 508th Squadron returned early. Pilot reported that #4 engine ran very rough and had to be feathered. Investigation revealed that defective piston rings had caused internal failure of #4 engine.
    2. Airplane No. 42-97843, 509th Squadron returned early as planned.
  2. No battle damage was received.
  [Signed:] John W. Freeman, Captain, Air Corps, Group Engineering Officer

Abortive Report
Aircraft No. M-37900 Squadron - 508 - Lead  Date - 30 Dec. 1944
    1. Reason for abortive #4 Engine Failure
    2. Place and altitude 22,500' - 50°10'N-03°20'E [4 miles E of Cambrai, France]
    3. Time 1205
    4. Position in formation Lead Low Element
    5. Disposition of bombs Brought Back
    6. Remarks 
      (Pilot's Signature) F.R. Glazier

“J” Form:
  1. Last Four numbers and Call Letter of A/C in each Squadron:
    a. 94th Combat Wing "B" Group   Lead Squadron - 351st Group
    Sqdn 508th A/C: A–8410, B–7349, C–8753, F–1711, L–7956, M–7900, O–8277, Q–8799, Y–6108
    Sqdn 509th A/C: (A–8358 PFF)
    Sqdn 510th A/C: A–8465, (T–8461 Spare)
    Sqdn 511th A/C: None
    Sqdn 427th A/C: (Y–8495 GH)

    b. 94th Combat Wing "B" Group   Low Squadron - 351st Group
    Sqdn 508th A/C: D–8405
    Sqdn 509th A/C: None
    Sqdn 510th A/C: D–7957
    Sqdn 511th A/C: A–8428, C–8694, F–7705, G–8070, H–8435, K–8585, M–8650, P–2676, U–7381, X–6802

    c. 94th Combat Wing "B" Group   High Squadron - 351st Group
    Sqdn 508th A/C: None
    Sqdn 509th A/C: C–8640, G–6078, L–7193, M–7964, N–7169, P–7843, R–6156, T–1384, V–7854, U–8591, Z–7696, (Q–8116 Spare)
    Sqdn 510th A/C: None
    Sqdn 511th A/C: (O–8455 PFF)
  2. Target: GSGS 4416 Sheet U-2
  3. W/T and R/T Operational Call Sign of each Squadron:
    Squadron508 [Call Sign]W/T WDM R/T CARLTONSquadron510 [Call Sign]W/T SYN R/T TIPSTAFF
    Squadron509 [Call Sign]W/T UXA R/T HOTMINTSquadron511 [Call Sign]W/T TNP R/T PARTNERSHIP
  4. Taxi – 0810 0910; Take-Off – 0825 0925; E.T.D. Field – 0825 0925
  5. Time:Height:  Place of Crossing English Coast: (OUT)
    112720,000 Ft Dungeness
  6. Time:Height:  Place of Crossing Enemy Coast: (IN)
    113520,000 Ft 52°42'N-01°34'E [This co-ordinate is near Great Yarmouth, England]
  7. Time:Height:  Place of Crossing Enemy Coast: (Out)
    144210,000 Ft 51°13'N-02°55'E [Ostend, Belgium]
  8. Time:Height:  Place of Crossing English Coast: (IN)
    15155,000 Ft Felixstowe
  9. E.T.R.(Estimated Time of Return) Base: 1557 Hours
  10. MF/DF [Medium Frequency/Direction Finder] Section: "H"
  11. Bomb load of Each A/C: "A" Lead Box
    Lead Squadron: 13 A/C - 6 x 1000 G.P. - 1/10 x 1/100
    Low Squadron: 12 A/C - 6 x 1000 G.P. - 1/10 x 1/100
    High Squadron: 13 A/C - 6 x 1000 G.P. - 1/10 x 1/100
    ___ Squadron:
  12. Fuel Load of each A/C: 2600 Gallons
  13. Leaders:
    Lead Sqdn: Rank & Name: Major Geiger A/C No & Sqdn. Y-8495 GH (427)
    Low Sqdn: Rank & Name: Lt. Popp A/C No & Sqdn. Q-8080 (511)
    High Sqdn: Rank & Name: Capt. Weatherman A/C No & Sqdn. O-8455 PFF (511)
  14. Passengers, if any: (Full Name, Rank, A/C and Squadron Passenger flying with)

Report Compiled By D.W. Grasmehr, Sgt.

Formation Chart:
94th "B" Combat Bomb Group - Lead Squadron Formation at Take–Off
508th Squadron
A/C 44-8495 Y GH
A/C 43-38753 C
A/C 44-8358 A PFF
A/C 44-8410 A
A/C 42-97349 B
A/C 43-38277 O
A/C 43-37956 L
A/C 44-6108 Y
A/C 43-38799 Q
A/C 43-37900 M
A/C 43-38461 T Spare
A/C 43-38465 A
A/C 42-31711 F

94th "B" Group Lead Squadron Formation Over–Target
508th Squadron
A/C 44-8495 Y GH
A/C 43-38753 C
A/C 44-8358 A
A/C 44-8410 A
A/C 42-97349 B
A/C 43-38277 O
A/C 43-37956 L
A/C 44-6108 Y
A/C 43-38799 Q
A/C 43-38465 A
A/C 43-38461 T
A/C 42-31711 F
[Lt Bullock, the Flying Spare, filled in Lt Molitor's position who aborted.]

94th "B" Combat Bomb Group - High Squadron Formation at Take–Off and Over Target
509th Squadron
A/C 44-8455 O PFF
A/C 44-6078 G
A/C 43-38116 Q
A/C 43-37696 Z
A/C 42-97169 N
A/C 43-38591 U
A/C 43-39001 M
A/C 42-31384 T
A/C 43-38640 C
A/C 43-37964 M
A/C 42-97843 C Spare*
Johnson, E.G.
A/C 42-97193 L
A/C 43-37854 V

* - Spare aircraft returned as planned.

94th "B" Combat Bomb Group - Low Squadron Formation at Take–Off and Over Target
511th Squadron
A/C 43-38405 D
A/C 43-38428 A
A/C 43-37957 D
Johnson, H.C.
A/C 43-38694 C
A/C 44-6802 X
A/C 42-97381 U
A/C 43-38650 M
A/C 43-37705 F
A/C 43-38435 H
A/C 43-38585 K
A/C 43-38070 G
A/C 42-102676 P

Time Schedule:
Zero Hour: 1030 BST [British Standard Time]  Briefing: Enlisted Men 0430; Officers 0500 Stations: 0850 Start Engines: 0900 Taxi: 0910 Take-Off: 0925  Leave Base: 0925 [Breakfast: Enlisted Men 0330; Officers 0400]

[Wounded On Mission: 0]
The above records were obtained at the National Archives Records Administration and have been declassified by authority NND 745005
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