351st Bomb Group

Polebrook, England

Group Mission #256

Credited Mission #249

DATE: 7 Jan. 1945
Target: Communications Center, Bitburg, Germany
Briefing Outline:

    1. TARGETS: 
    2. Visual Primary: Comm. [Communications] Center, Bitburg [Germany]
    3. PFF Primary: Koblenz - Marshalling Yds.
    4. Visual Secondary: 
    5. PFF Secondary: 
    6. Last Resort: Any military objective positively identified as being in Germany & not prohibited by existing regulations.

    Zero Hour: - 1000
    Stations: - 0750
    Start Engines: - 0800
    Taxi: - 0810
    Take Off: - 0825
    Target Time: - ____
    ETR [Estimated Time
       of Return]:
    - ____

    Last T/O [Take-Off] 0921

      Gasoline 2,780 Gallons

     Lead - 12 x 500# G.P. [General Purpose] 1/10 – 1/40 [Fuses]
     High - Same
     Low - Same
     Composite - ___

  3. Intervalometer Settings: Visual – Salvo.; 50 Ft. if P.F.F. or GH

  4. Chaff: Commence release 6 mins. after I.P. & continue for 24 mins. Each A/C will carry 576 units.

  5. Disposition of Forces [Bomb Group]TargetTime of Departure
    "A" Gp. in 94 CBW
    [Combat Bomb Wing]
    351st Bitburg 
    "B" Gp. in 94 CBW 457thBitburg
    "C" Gp. in 94 CBW401stBitburg
    1 Div. Lead351stBitburg
    2nd CBW41stBlankenheim, Kall
    Germund, Euskirchen
    3rd CBW40thBlankenheim, Kall
    Germund, Euskirchen
    4th CBW--
    2nd Div.300 A/CTactical Targets S.E. of 1st Div. Targets
    3rd Div.396 A/CBielefield, Ruthen, Cologne

    PFF A/C to fly as: Lead A/C is combined GH & PFF. PFF in Deputy Group Lead and Lead of High Squadron. Low Sqdn - Visual Lead.

    REMARKS: ____

  6. Fighter Cover: Six Gps. of P-51’s - 2 Groups of P51's Close Support. 1 Group of P-47's

  7. Other Forces: 4 - P-51's - [Call Sign] Buckeye Red in target area.

  8. Assembly:
    Lead at16,000'feet on Kings Cliffe Buncher
    High at17,000'feet onKings CliffeBuncher
    Low at15,000'feet onKings CliffeBuncher
    401st at16,000'feet onCottesmoreBuncher
    457th at16,000'feet onGlattonBuncher
    Composite at____feet on____Buncher
    Combat Wing Assembly Line: SPA. 6 to Colchester
    Division Assembly Line: Clacton to 51°13’N-02°53’E [2 miles W of Ostend, Belgium]

  9. Navigator - _____

  10. S-2 - _____

  11. Weather - _____

  12. Special Instructions:
     a. Type of Bombing Formation - If G-H, Group Bombing; If PFF, Sqdn.
      Bombing - Low Sqdn. Bombing on Lead.  b. Bombardier and Navigator of the #3 A/C of each sqdn. report to Photo Lab.
      They are: Lead - F-705, High - T-461, Low - M-900
     c. Camera A/C   C-640, K-252, A-410
      to return at   Belgian Coast Out[bound]
     d. Spares to turn back at Belgian Coast
     e. REMARKS: Division Leader be ready to pass out information to formation in event leaders VHF is inop. Leader will contact Deputy on Command if VHF fails.


    351stWoodcraft Able LeaderRG [Red Green]Lt. Col. Ball
    401stWoodcraft CharlieRYCapt. Lewis
    457thWoodcraft BakerRYCapt. Dozier
    1st Div. Air CommanderWoodcraft AbleGGLt. Col. Ball
    94th CBW Air CommanderWoodcraft AbleRYLt. Col. Ball

    FightersBalance 2Balance 2-1, 2-2 Close Support
    BombersVinegrove351st Vinegrove 2-1
    Grnd. ControlMohair - 741Colgate - 701

    Control Points:Fighter Reference Points:
    C.P. 1 - English CoastO - Lingen
    C.P. 2 - Enemy CoastY - Dummer Lake
    C.P. 3 - 49°55'N-05°20'ES - Paderborn
     [17 mi WSW of Bastogne, Belgium]T - Koblenz
    _____E - Koln
    _____R - Mannheim
    _____K - Strasbourg
    _____I - Munster
    _____N - Nancy
    _____G - Trier
    Remarks: Reference Altitude: 25,000’

  14. Ships To Monitor [Radio Channels A, B, C & D]
    1. Channel “A” - All except:
    2. Channel “B” - H-435, N-665, J-978
    3. Channel “C” - 67th F.W. [Fighter Wing] F-566
    4. Channel “C” - 8th A.F. [Air Force] A-428
    5. Channel “D” - All available except Z-8439; Z-376; Q-080; O-957 which have 8th A.F. Fighter Crystals.

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

Operational Narrative.
  1. Date of Mission - 7 January, 1945.
    1. Target Attacked:  The primary target at Bitburg, Germany was attacked by GH methods.
    2. Force: 94th "A" Group. Thirty-eight aircraft, including one GH aircraft borrowed from the 303rd Group, one PFF ship, two flying spares, were dispatched.
    3. Position: Briefed and flew as the Lead Group in the First Division formation.
    4. Lead Teams
      Group Lead
      Division Commander: Lt. Col. Clinton F. Ball
      Pilot:Captain Duane S. Anderson
      Navigator:Major Ralph W. Menees
      Bombardier:1st Lt. Jerald E. Traczewitz

      High Squadron
      Pilot: 1st Lt. Richard G. Dinning
      Copilot:2nd Lt. Richard B. Franz
      Navigator:2nd Lt. John W. Martin
      Bombardier:2nd Lt. Elmer J. Houser

      Low Squadron
      Pilot: 1st Lt. Winfield F. Muffett
      Copilot:1st Lt. J.W. Anderson
      Navigator:1st Lt. Charles H. Hubbell
      Bombardier:1st Lt. Frank H. Reising
  2. Narrative.
    1.  Squadron and Group Assembly: The lead crew took off from the 303rd Group's base [Molesworth] in the GH aircraft. The plan was for it to fly to the buncher and assemble the group. The GH ship broke through the overcast at 10,500 feet, and encountered some difficulty in getting to the briefed altitude of 16,000 feet. Icing conditions were a handicap. As a result of the weather, the assembly was carried out slowly. It was, however, completed at the briefed altitude of 16,000 feet at the King's Cliffe buncher. Some difficulty was offered by the wind at assembly. On the last turn, the 94th "A" flew west and made a 180° turn. The other groups did the same and departed from their respective bunchers together.
    2.  Route Over England: Departure from the assembly point was made on time (0946). The 94th "B" and "C" groups fell in behind the Division Leader. It was necessary to make a double drift to the left of course in order to lose time. Splasher six was reached at the briefed time. It then became apparent that the formation would be late at the departure point if the briefed route were closely followed. A direct route to Clacton, the departure point, was taken up. It was necessary to leave the coast north of Clacton in order to make the departure time good. The coast was departed on time (1021) at the briefed altitude of 20,000 feet.
    3.  Division Assembly Line: The 94th "A" Group gradually closed into the briefed Division Assembly Line and so reached the Belgian coast at the briefed point. This point was reached on time (1042) at an altitude of 23,000 feet, 1,000 feet below the briefed altitude. The 94th "A" Group flew its briefed position as Division Lead Group.
    4.  Flight to Target: The briefed route was followed with very slight divergency. The briefed IP [Initial Point of Bomb Run] was reached on time (1115) at the briefed altitude of 25,000 feet. The Weather Scouting Force could not be contacted and so the Division Air Commander asked the accompanying fighters to go ahead and scout the weather. They reported that it would be necessary to increase altitude by 1,000 feet. This was deemed impossible, however, as the drag caused by the open bomb bay doors was too great. Also it was possible to bomb the 94th primary at the briefed altitude.
    5.  Description of Bombing Run: A cloud layer, above the briefed altitude, could be seen to the right and parallel to the bomb run. The bombing was done in group formation, both the High and Low Squadrons dropping on the Lead. The briefed turn was made at the IP. GH equipment was used satisfactorily on the bomb run. The target was found to be completely overcast. There was no interference on the bomb run. C-1 Pilot [Autopilot] functioned satisfactorily.
    6.  Flight From Target: In order to avoid the cloud, southeast of the bomb run, a 180° turn to the right was made after bombing. The 94th "B" and "C" Groups were told on channel A to do the same. No difficulty was encountered in doubling back, and paralleling the briefed bomb run. The turn was made wide enough to avoid any following formations. The 2nd Division passed by to the south and was not in any way interfered with or by the 94th Combat Wing. The briefed route was intercepted shortly after completing the turn and the 94th "A" Group fell in behind at least two groups of the 41st Combat Wing. A let-down to 11,000 feet was made over Belgium. Weather made it necessary to increase altitude to 12,500 feet, however, when the Belgian coast was crossed. This point was reached at 1249, six minutes early, and 2,500 feet above the briefed altitude. The formation paralleled the briefed route in crossing the channel. It was necessary to climb above the weather before the English coast was reached. The 94th "A" Group was at an altitude of 16,500 feet when it crossed the English coast four miles north of Felixstowe. It was necessary to increase altitude to 17,000 feet over England. Upon going to the north of the briefed course inside of England, the formation found a large hole in the clouds at the Wash [A large coastal inlet 41 miles NE of Polebrook], became worse as base was approached. The High and Low Squadrons went to their respective stand-off areas before landing. Landings were carried out with difficulty in poor visibility. A normal let-down procedure had been followed.
    7.  Fighter Support: Good.
    8.  Comments: No aircraft were lost. No enemy aircraft were encountered. Two or three bursts of flak were observed behind the formation after it had turned away from the target. Meager and fairly accurate flak was reported over the battle lines. The target was found to be completely overcast. VHF channel "B" did not perform satisfactorily. Cycle [a radio relay station] could not be contacted on the return flight for weather information. Buckeye Red [P-51 fighters] also could not be contacted but it was always apparent that the target would not be visual.
    9.  Aircraft Not Attacking: One aircraft returned to base early. One aircraft flew with the 457th Group. The two flying spares remained with the formation.

  [Signed] Carl C. Hinkle, Jr., Major, Air Corps, Operations Officer

Statistical Summary:
351st Bombardment Group (H)
Lead BoxHigh BoxLow BoxTOTAL
No. of A/C Failing to Take Off0000
No. of A/C Airborne13*131238
No. of A/C Airborne Less Unused Spares13131238
No. of A/C Sorties13121237
No. of A/C Attacking13*121237
No. of A/C Not Attacking0101
Name of Primary TargetBITBURG, GERMANY
(A) No. of A/C Attacking Primary Target13121237
(B) No., Size & Type Of Bombs 153 x 500# GP  129 x 500# GP  155 x 500# GP  437 x 500# 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 Off082108260824
Time of Attack113011301130
Average Time of Flight6:195:585:56
Altitude of Release23,150’23,700’23,000’
Enemy Resistance – AA Intensity & AccuracyMEAGER AND ACCURATE
Enemy Resistance – Fighter0000
Enemy Resistance – Bombers0000
U.S. A/C Engaged by Enemy Aircraft0000

* - Includes one A/C that attacked with 457th Bomb Group and one GH aircraft borrowed from 303rd Bomb Group.

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

[44-]8439LEAD303rd Group
PFF Aircraft
44-8376DEPUTY LEAD351st Group

Lead Bombardier’s Narrative:
Date - 7 Jan. 1945
Field Order # 600
Squadron or Group - Lead Sqdn., 94th CBW "A" Group
Target - Bitburg, Germany
  1. Type of Bombing (Visual, PFF or Combined)?  G.H. Method
  2. Did Squadron perform own sighting operation, bomb on smoke marker, or was bombing done in Group Formation? Lead Sqdn made sighting operation with the High dropping on a mag. [magnetic] heading of 067° at 1130 hours. The Low dropped at 1131½ hours on a mag. heading of 069°.
  3. Was turn made at briefed I.P.? Yes
  4. Cloud coverage and visibility. 10/10
  5. If Visual, when was MPI identified? If not actually seen, how was it located? G.H. Method
  6. Any Interference on Bomb Run? None
  7. Did C-1 [Autopilot] function satisfactory? Yes
  8. Any other factors affecting accuracy? None
  [Signed] Jerald E. Traczewitz, 1st Lt., Air Corps, Lead Bombardier

Combat Bombing Flight Record:

Lead Squadron, 94th CBW "A" Group Bombardier - 1st Lt. Traczewitz, Jerald E.
Pilot - lt. Col. Ball, C.F. & Capt. Anderson, D.S.
Navigator - Maj. Menees, Ralph W.

Aircraft B-17G   Z-439  Take-off - 0812 Landed - 1432
Objective - Bitburg, Germany
Aiming Point (MPI) [Mean Point of Impact] - G.H.
Initial Point - As Briefed
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 - 12 x 500 G.P.[General Purpose] AN-M43, & Markers
Number of Bombs Loaded - As Above   Released - Same
Fusing, Nose - 1/10   Tail - 1/40
Synchronization - On GH

Information at Release Point:

Altitude of Target - 1,110'Magnetic Heading Ordered 078° Actual 077°
True Altitude Above Target - 23,150True Heading 070°
Indicated Altitude - 25,000Drift, Estimated 15° Right - Actual 4° Right
Pressure Altitude of Target +982True Track 074°
Altimeter Setting 29.92Actual Range 10,580'
Calculated Indicated Air Speed - 150KBomb Sight Type - M-9
True Air Speed - 212KTime of Release 1130 Hours
Ground Speed Est. 226 Actual 280Length of Bombing Run - 53 miles
Wind Direction Metro - 40° Actual - 40°Intervalometer Setting - 50 Feet
Wind Velocity Metro 340 Actual 269 C-1 Pilot [Autopilot] - X [Used]
D.S. - 132.3  Trail - 56   ATF - 40.40A-5 Pilot _____
Tan. D.A, Est. .51 Actual .466Manual Pilot - ____

Type of Release - Train 50'
Point of Impact If Seen - Unobserved
Mean Temp. Metro -19.5 Actual -19.5
Winds - Altitude - 26,000 Ft.  Direction - Metro 340°  Actual 269°  Velocity - Metro 58  Actual 58
Temp C. - Metro -44° C. Actual -43° C.

Narrative Teletype Report:
  1. No leaflets were carried on today's mission.
  2. The three squadrons of this group bombed by G*H methods the primary target at Bitburg, Germany. Bombing was done in group formation and the results are unknown.
  3. No E/A [Enemy Aircraft] were encountered and no claims [of enemy aircraft being shot down] are being submitted.
  4. Two or three bursts of flak were observed behind out formation after they had turned away from the target. Meager fairly accurate flak was reported over the battle lines on the way out at approximately 4938 N - 0627 E.
  5. There were 10/10 clouds over the target.
  6. There were no observations of military importance.
  7. PFF equipment was used as an aid to navigation. Fighter support was good. The Scouting Force could not be contacted. None of our A/C are missing.

Track Chart:
Click on Chart to Enlarge

Combat Crew Comments:

    508th Squadron:
A/C 900-M  Very good squadron lead. - Lt. Kale.

    510th Squadron:
A/C 610-B  There is a lot of stealing of socks, boots, and other equipment going on in the drying room. - F/O McIntosh.

    511th Squadron:
A/C 802-X  Why not give the control points over the V.H.F. to help the navigators? - Lt. Young.

  [Signed:] Arthur L. Rosenthal, 2nd Lt., Air Corps, Ass't. S-2 [Intelligence] Officer.

Mission Summary Report:
  1. Abortives and Flying Spares:
    1. Airplane No. 43-37696, 509th Squadron, returned early. Pilot stated pitot tube was inoperative. Investigation revealed that there was a loose connection within the circuit to the heating element.
  [Signed:] John W. Freeman, Captain, Air Corps, Group Engineering Officer

Abortive Report
Aircraft No. Z-37696 Squadron - 509 - Low  Date - 7 January 1945
    1. Reason for abortive Airspeed & Rate of Climb instruments out. Pitot Heat inoperative - wing Ice also.
    2. Place and altitude 13,000' - Lincoln, Eng.
    3. Time 0925
    4. Position in formation Lead - Low section - Low Sqdn.
    5. Disposition of bombs Returned
    6. Remarks 
      (Pilot's Signature) Carl L. Stahl
    1. Cause (if mechanical) Open electrical circuit.
    2. Responsibility Eng. [Engineering]
    3. Tyoe if abortive 
    4. Position in formation 
    5. Disposition of bombs 
    6. Remarks 
      (Eng. Officer's Signature)

“J” Form:
  1. Last Four numbers and Call Letter of A/C in each Squadron:
    a. 94th Combat Wing "A" Group   Lead Squadron - 351st Group
    Sqdn 508th A/C: (Z–8376 PFF),
    Sqdn 509th A/C: C–8640, F–6566, G–6078
    Sqdn 510th A/C: None
    Sqdn 511th A/C: A–8428, C–8694, F–7705, H–8435, J–6579, M–8650, Q–8080, (X–6802 Spare)
    Sqdn 360th A/C: (Z–8439 GH) From 303rd Bomb Group

    b. 94th Combat Wing "A" Group   Low Squadron - 351st Group
    Sqdn 508th A/C: A–8410, D–8405, F–7705, H–8435, J–6579, M–8650, P–7258, Q–8799
    Sqdn 509th A/C: M–7964, U–8591, Z–7696
    Sqdn 510th A/C: None
    Sqdn 511th A/C: B–8691

    c. 94th Combat Wing "A" Group   High Squadron - 351st Group
    Sqdn 508th A/C: None
    Sqdn 509th A/C: T–1384, (P–7843 Spare)
    Sqdn 510th A/C: B–6610, D–7957, G–7862, K–7252, L–7515, M–9001, N–7665, P–8038, S–7512, T–8461
    Sqdn 511th A/C: (Z–7687 PFF)
  2. Target: GSGS 4416
  3. W/T and R/T Operational Call Sign of each Squadron:
    Squadron508 [Call Sign]W/T NPC R/T CARLTONSquadron510 [Call Sign]W/T NFW R/T TIPSTAFF
    Squadron509 [Call Sign]W/T SPP R/T HOTMINTSquadron511 [Call Sign]W/T THG R/T PARTNERSHIP
  4. Taxi – 0810; Take-Off – 0825; E.T.D. Field – 0825
  5. Time:Height:  Place of Crossing English Coast: (OUT)
    102120,000 Ft Clacton
  6. Time:Height:  Place of Crossing Enemy Coast: (IN)
    104224,000 Ft 51°13'N-02°53'E [Ostend, Belgium]
  7. Time:Height:  Place of Crossing Enemy Coast: (Out)
    125510,000 Ft Ostend [Belgium]
  8. Time:Height:  Place of Crossing English Coast: (IN)
    13245,000 Ft Felixstowe
  9. E.T.R.(Estimated Time of Return) Base: 1407 Hours
  10. MF/DF [Medium Frequency/Direction Finder] Section: "H"
  11. Bomb load of Each A/C: "A" Lead Box
    Lead Squadron: 12 x 500 G.P. - 1/10 x 1/40
    Low Squadron: 12 x 500 G.P. - 1/10 x 1/40
    High Squadron: 12 x 500 G.P. - 1/10 x 1/40
    ___ Squadron:
  12. Fuel Load of each A/C: 2780 Gallons
  13. Leaders:
    Lead Sqdn: Rank & Name: Lt. Col. Ball A/C No & Sqdn. Z-8439 GH (360)
    Low Sqdn: Rank & Name: Lt. Muffett A/C No & Sqdn. D-8405 (508)
    High Sqdn: Rank & Name: Lt. Dinning A/C No & Sqdn. Z-7687 (511)
  14. Passengers, if any: (Full Name, Rank, A/C and Squadron Passenger flying with)

Report Compiled By Shepard, M/Sgt.

Formation Chart:
94th "A" Combat Bomb Group - Lead Squadron Formation at Take–Off
511th Squadron
Ball–D.S. Anderson
A/C 44-8439 Z GH
A/C 43-37705 F
A/C 44-8376 Z
A/C 43-38435 H
A/C 43-38080 Q
A/C 43-38694 C
A/C 43-38116 Q
A/C 44-6566 F
A/C 43-38650 M
A/C 43-38428 A
A/C 44-6802 X Spare
A/C 43-38640 C
A/C 44-6078 G

94th "A" Group - Lead Squadron Formation Over–Target
511th Squadron
Ball–D.S. Anderson
A/C 44-8439 Z GH
A/C 43-37705 F
A/C 44-8376 Z
A/C 43-83435 H
A/C 43-38080 Q
A/C 43-38694 C
A/C 44-6802 X
A/C 44-6566 F
A/C 43-38650 M
A/C 43-38428 A
A/C 43-38640 C
A/C 44-6078 G

[Lt. Sandel bombed with the 457th Bomb Group.
Lt. Patterson, the flying spare, filled in Lt. Sandel's position.]

94th "A" Combat Bomb Group - High Squadron Formation at Take–Off
510th Squadron
A/C 42-97687 Z PFF
A/C 43-38461 T
A/C 43-37957 D
A/C 43-37515 L
A/C 44-6610 B
A/C 43-39001 M
A/C 42-38038 P
A/C 43-37512 S
A/C 43-37862 G
A/C 42-31384 T
A/C 42-97843 P Spare
A/C 43-37665 N
A/C 42-97252 K

[Flying Spare A/C stayed with the formation.]

94th "A" Combat Bomb Group - Low Squadron Formation at Take–Off
508th Squadron
A/C 43-38405 D
A/C 43-37900 M
A/C 43-38691 B
A/C 43-37696 Z
A/C 43-37964 M
A/C 42-97258 P
A/C 43-31711 F
A/C 43-37954 G
A/C 43-37978 J
A/C 43-38799 Q
A/C 43-38591 U
A/C 44-8410 A

94th "A" Group Low Squadron Formation Over–Target
508th Squadron
A/C 43-38405 D
A/C 43-37900 M
A/C 43-38691 B
A/C 42-31711 F
A/C 43-37964 M
A/C 43-97258 P
A/C 43-37954 G
A/C 43-37978 J
A/C 43-38799 Q
A/C 43-38591 U
A/C 44-8410 A

[Lt Stahl aborted the mission and Lt Beringer filled in his position.]

Time Schedule:
Zero Hour: 1000 BST [British Standard Time]  Briefing: ____ Stations: 0750 Start Engines: 0800 Taxi: 0810 Take-Off: 0815  Leave Base: 0815 

[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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