351st Bomb Group

Polebrook, England

Group Mission #273

Credited Mission #265

DATE: 16 Feb. 1945
Target: Oil Refinery, Gelsenkirchen, Germany

    1. TARGETS: 
    2. Visual Primary and GH target for today is: Gelsenkirchen [Germany]
    3. PFF Primary: Munster [Germany] M/Y [RR Marshalling Yard]
    4. Visual Secondary: Munster [Germany] M/Y
    5. PFF Secondary: ____
    6. Last Resort: Rheine [Germany] M/Y

    Zero Hour: - 1200Stations: - 0955
    Start Engines: - 1005Taxi: - 1025
    Take Off: - 1040Last Take Off: - 1128
    Target Time: - ____ETR [Estimated Time
       of Return]:

    - ____
    Depart English Coast at: 1229at Felixstowe

     Gasoline: 2,500 Gallons
     Bombs:12 x 500# G.P. [General Purpose] 1/10 x 1/40 [Fuses]

  3. Intervalometer Settings: Visual – Salvo. P.F.F. – 75 FT.

  4. Chaff: Commence discharge of chaff at - 2" [Min.] Before I.P. [Initial Point of Bomb Run] & Continue for 18" [Minutes]
      Each A/C [Aircraft] will carry - 432 units.

  5. Disposition of Forces:

    3 Divisions will be dispatched. The 1st Air Division will depart England 2nd preceded by 1st Division and followed by the 3rd Division.
    1st Division will dispatch 4 CBW's Totaling 10 Groups.
    The order of attack in the 1st Division will be:
    3rd1stAttackingLangendreer & Gelsenkirchen
    2nd Division targets areRhein, Salzrereen & Osnabruck
    3rd Division targets areWesel & Hamm

  6. Fighter Cover: ____ Gps. of ____

  7. Assembly:
    Lead at10,000'feet on Kings Cliffe BuncherRed-GreenFlares
    High at11,000'feet onKings CliffeBuncherGreen-GreenFlares
    Low at9,000'feet onKings CliffeBuncherRed-RedFlares
    401st at10,000'feet onCottesmoreBuncherRed-YellowFlares
    457th at____feet on____Buncher____Flares
    Combat Wing Assembly Line: Fakenham to Felixstowe
    Division Assembly Line: Felixstowe to 52°44’N - 04°38’E [Camperduin, Netherlands]
    _2_ minutes interval between Groups.
    Reference altitude: 22,000'

  8. Call Signs:
    351stWoodcraft ____ (Maj. Roper)
    401stWoodcraft ____
    457thWoodcraft Able
    1st Div. Air CommanderLt. Col. Crank (Foxhole "A" Lead)
    94th CBW Air CommanderLt. Col. Frank

  9. Navigator - _____

  10. S-2 - _____

  11. Weather - _____

  12. Communications - _____

  13. Flying Control - _____

  14. Special Instructions:
     a. Type of Bombing Formation - Normal
     b. Bombardier and Navigator of the #3 A/C of each sqdn. report to Photo Lab.
     c. Camera A/C   Gonske A-465
      return at   03°00'E
     d. Spares to turn back at 04°00' East.
     e. PFF A/C fly as Lead (Comb), Deputy Lead, Lead High, Lead Low
     f. GH A/C fly as Group Lead
     g. REMARKS: 
       TGT [Target] Code - "W"
       GL [Group Lead] has comb. [Combination], GH - PFF Lead, PFF Deputy Lead, PFF Lead Low Sq.
       II Division will approach Zuider Zee at same time & Altitude as I Division, will give way to South.
       Test fire guns over channel - watch it.


Operational Narrative
  1. Date of Mission - 16 February, 1945.
    1. Target Attacked:  The primary target, Gelsenkirchen, Germany, was attacked.
    2. Force: The 351st Group furnished the High Squadron of the 94th "A" Group. Thirteen aircraft, including one PFF ship and one flying spare, were dispatched.
    3. Position: The High Squadron flew in its briefed position in the 94th "A" Group.
    4. Lead Team:
      High Squadron
      Leader: 1st Lt. Vincent R. Cramer
      Pilot:1st Lt. Henry R. Rossen
      Navigator:F/O Paul A. Walker
      Bombardier:2nd Lt. Allan G. MacDonald

  2. Narrative.
    1.  Squadron Assembly: No difficulty was experienced by the High Squadron in its assembly over the Glatton buncher.
    2.  Group Assembly: The High Squadron took its proper position in the 94th “A” Group, and maintained it for the remainder of the mission.
    3.  Route Over England: Any variance from the briefed route over England, as with the rest of the route, will be fully explained in the Operational Narrative of the 457th Group, as the High Squadron maintained its position in the 94th “A” Group.
    4.  Division Assembly Line: No difficulty was encountered by the High Squadron of the 94th “A” Group, which was in its briefed position for the Division Assembly.
    5.  Flight to Target: The route to the target was closely followed, with the 351st formation maintaining its position as the High Squadron of the 94th “A” Group. However, due to weather, it became necessary to increase the altitude on the flight to the target 1,500 feet over the briefed altitude of 26,000 feet.
    6.  Description of Bombing Run: As the Lead Crew has not yet returned to base, a detailed description of the bombing run is unavailable. Very close to time for bombs away, the lead aircraft was observed to have been hit by flak, losing one or possibly two engines. The ship lost approximately 100 feet of altitude, but leveled off and apparently proceeded to make its bomb run, with the rest of the squadron in formation. Immediately after bombs away, the lead ship left the formation and began to lag behind. It has since been reported to have landed on the continent.
    7.  Flight From Target: After bombing, the deputy leader took over the lead of the High Squadron, rejoined the 94th “A” Group, and proceeded on the withdrawal. The route flown was somewhat south of the briefed route because of bad weather which would have been encountered on the briefed course. Prior to reaching the English coast, the High Squadron received is diversion message. Over England, the High Squadron let down through the over-cast, becoming scattered. Five aircraft landed at the diversion base, Wellsbourne-Montford, three at Honeybourne, and one each at Pershore, Desford and base.
    8.  Fighter Support: As briefed.
    9.  Comments: No aircraft were lost. Flak encountered was very intense and accurate. No enemy aircraft were encountered. As the Lead aircraft was forced to land on the continent and the crew has not yet returned to base, the lead bombardier’s reports are unavailable, but will be forwarded separately.
    10.  Aircraft Not Attacking: There were no failures to attack. The flying spare returned as planned.

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

Supplement Operational Narrative:
  1. Date of Mission: 16 February, 1945
    1. Target Attacked: Due to the fact that the Lead aircraft was hit by flak on the bomb run and later landed on the continent, complete information on whether or not a sighting was made was not available until the crew returned to base. Further interrogation since the crew's return indicated that the aircraft was damaged before a sighting could be made. While attempting to get out of formation, the same battle damage was responsible for bombs being jettisoned. The other aircraft in the squadron, not knowing that the target had not yet been reached, dropped on the Leader. The bombs fell in open fields nine and one-half (9½) miles north of the briefed target at Gelsenkirchen, Germany.

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

High Sqdn.
No. of A/C Failing to Take Off0
No. of A/C Airborne13
No. of A/C Airborne Less Unused Spares12
No. of A/C Sorties12
No. of A/C Attacking0
No. of A/C Not Attacking12
Name of Primary TargetGelsenkirchen, Germany
(A) No. of A/C Attacking Primary0
(B) No., Size & Type Of Bombs
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 - Total0
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 Off1036
Time of Attack -
Average Time of Flight6:30
Altitude of Release -
Visual or PFFReleased due to Battle Damage - No Sighting
Enemy Resistance – AA Intensity & AccuracyIntense and Accurate
Enemy Resistance – Fighter0
Enemy Resistance – Bombers0
U.S. A/C Engaged by Enemy Aircraft0
Degree of SuccessNIL

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

351st Group PFF A/C[POSITION]
42-97687LEAD (AOC) [Aircraft on Continent]

Bombardier’s Report For The Mission Of 16 Feb. 1945

No Sighting made. Bombs were jettisoned due to battle damage before leader could let the Deputy take over and rest of group bombed with him.

Bombardier's office made reports to Division and Combat Wing.

Preliminary Damage Assessment on Today's Mission.
  1. This report is incomplete as the aircraft of this Group did not return to base. The lead A/C is still unaccounted for, and only one camera ship has returned. Method of attack is unknown.
  2. The photos show a pattern of bombs falling into open fields in the vicinity of Dorsten, Germany, nine and one-half miles north of the briefed target at Gelsenkirchen. The pattern is 3,645 feet by 2,160 feet. No damage is done.
  [Signed:] Thomas L. Cooper, Captain, Air Corps, Group P.I. [Photo Intelligence]

Narrative Teletype Report:
  1. No leaflets were carried by this Group.
  2. The ships of this Group were diverted upon return from the mission, and only one ship has returned to base. The lead ship is unaccounted for at this time and therefore the information is preliminary and incomplete. As far as can be determined the ships of this Group, flying as the high squadron of the 94th "A" Composite group, attacked the primary target which was the Gelsenkirchener Bergwerks A.G. at Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Method of bombing is unknown. The ship returning to this base had a camera and photos show a bomb pattern falling into open fields near Dorsten, Germany, nine and one-half miles due north of the target. No damage will be done.
  3. Nil [No Enemy Aircraft were encountered]
  4. Intense and accurate continuous following flak was encountered in the target area, starting three minutes before bombs away, and continuing for six minutes after.
  5. 3/10ths cloud cover and haze in the target area.
  6. Nil [No observations of Military importance were observed.]
  7. Two B-17's from the group ahead were seen to blow up as the formation made the turn away from the target. No chutes seen. One of our aircraft returned to base. Five of our aircraft are at Wellesbourne-Mountford, three are at Honeybourne, one is at Desford, and one is at Pershore. The lead A/C [Aircraft] is still unaccounted for. When last seen it was leaving the formation just after bombs away, with one engine out.
[Signed] Robert P. Ramsey, Major, Air Corps, Group S-2 [Intelligence]

Track Chart:
Click on Chart to Enlarge

Mission Summary Report:
  1. Abortives:
    1. Airplane No. 43-38954, 508th Squadron returned early as planned.
  [Signed:] John W. Freeman, Captain, Air Corps, Group Engineering Officer

Abortive Report
Aircraft No. G-8954 Squadron - 508 - High Date - 16 Feb. 1945
    1. Reason for abortive Flying Spare
    2. Place and altitude 5235N 0410E 25,000'
    3. Time 1306
    4. Position in formation F/S [Flying Spare]
    5. Disposition of bombs BB [Brought Back]
    6. Remarks ____
    7. Time & Date dispatched ____
      (Pilot's Signature) Arlie E. Peterson

“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: None
    Sqdn 509th A/C: None
    Sqdn 510th A/C: None
    Sqdn 511th A/C: None

    b. 94th Combat Wing "A" Group   Low Squadron - 351st Group
    Sqdn 508th A/C: None
    Sqdn 509th A/C: None
    Sqdn 510th A/C: None
    Sqdn 511th A/C: None

    c. 94th Combat Wing "A" Group   High Squadron - 351st Group
    Sqdn 508th A/C: M–7900, Q–8799, (G–8954 Spare)
    Sqdn 509th A/C: None
    Sqdn 510th A/C: A–8465, G–7862, H–8280, L–7515, N–7665, S–7512, T–8461
    Sqdn 511th A/C: (Z–7687 PFF), B–8691, F–7705
  2. Target: GQ-1509B
  3. W/T and R/T Operational Call Sign of each Squadron:
    Squadron508 [Call Sign]W/T KZD R/T CARLTONSquadron510 [Call Sign]W/T JCS R/T TIPSTAFF
    Squadron509 [Call Sign]W/T WWR R/T HOTMINTSquadron511 [Call Sign]W/T LTW R/T PARTNERSHIP
  4. Taxi – 1025; Take-Off – 1040; E.T.D. Field – 1040
  5. Time:Height:  Place of Crossing English Coast: (OUT)
    122917,000 Ft Felixstowe
  6. Time:Height:  Place of Crossing Enemy Coast: (IN)
    130925,000 Ft 52°44'N-04°38'E [Camperduin, Netherlands]
  7. Time:Height:  Place of Crossing Enemy Coast: (Out)
    144520,000 Ft 52°44'N-04°38'E [Camperduin, Netherlands]
  8. Time:Height:  Place of Crossing English Coast: (IN)
    15275,000 Ft Cromer
  9. E.T.R.(Estimated Time of Return) Base: 1559 Hours
  10. MF/DF [Medium Frequency/Direction Finder] Section: "H"
  11. Bomb load of Each A/C: "A" Lead Box
    Lead Squadron: None
    Low Squadron: None
    High Squadron: 12 x 500 G.P. - 1/10 x 1/40
    ___ Squadron:
  12. Fuel Load of each A/C: 2500 Gallons
  13. Leaders:
    Lead Sqdn: Rank & Name: None A/C No & Sqdn. ____
    Low Sqdn: Rank & Name: None A/C No & Sqdn. ____
    High Sqdn: Rank & Name: 1st Lt. Cramer A/C No & Sqdn. Z-7687 (511)
  14. Passengers, if any: (Full Name, Rank, A/C and Squadron Passenger flying with)

Report Compiled By ____

Formation Chart:
94th "A" Combat Bomb Group - High Squadron Formation at Take–Off
510th Squadron
A/C 42-97687 Z PFF
A/C 43-37515 L
A/C 43-38691 B
A/C 43-37900 M
A/C 43-37665 N
A/C 43-37512 S
A/C 43-38461 T
A/C 43-38799 Q
A/C 44-8280 H
A/C 43-37862 G
A/C 43-38954 G Spare
A/C 43-38465 A
A/C 43-37705 F

[Lt Peterson, the flying spare, returned as planned.]

Time Schedule:
Zero Hour: 1200 BST [British Standard Time]  Briefing: 0530 Stations: 0955 Start Engines: 1005 Taxi: 1025 Take-Off: 1040  Leave Base: 1040 [Breakfast: 0230]

[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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