351st Bomb Group

Polebrook, England

Group Mission #283

Credited Mission #276

DATE: 28 Feb. 1945
Target: R.R. Marshalling Yard at Soest, Germany

  1. Ask 508th, 509th and 510th Operations representatives if their crews are all present.

  2. Read Special briefing poop.

    1. The Visual Primary for today is: Soest [Germany]
    2. PFF Primary: Hamm [Germany]
    3. Visual Secondary: ____
    4. PFF Secondary: ____
    5. Last Resort Target: Koblenz - Giessen

  4. S-2 [Intelligence] Information:

  5. Weather:

  6. Time Schedule:
    Zero Hour: - 1200Stations: - 1010
    Start Engines: - 1020Taxi: - 1040
    Take Off: - 1055Last Take Off: - 1210
    Intercept Group atNorth Forelandat14,000 ft.
    Target Time: - 1503ETR [Estimated Time
       of Return]:

    - 1821
    Depart English Coast at: 1245at Felixstowe

    Time on oxygen: 4 hours

    TIME TICK [Set your watches.]

  7. Loadings:
     Gasoline: 2,500 Gallons
     Bombs: 18 x 250 G.P. 1/10 x 1/40 [Fuses] Plus M-17 IB [Incendiary Bomb] Chart 7 - Lead & Low
    High Sqdn. 6 x 500 G.P.'s Plus 6 M-17 IB's

  8. Intervalometer Settings: 30 feet if Visual, PFF or GH

  9. Chaff: Commence discharge of chaff at - 8 mins before Target - Continue for 15 minutes.
      Each A/C [Aircraft] will carry - 360 Plus 288 units.

  10. Disposition of Forces:

    3 Divisions will be dispatched. The 1st Air Division will depart England 2nd preceded by 3rd Division and followed by the 2nd Division.
    1st Division will dispatch 10 CBW's of 36 Groups each.
    The order of attack in the 1st Division will be:
    Lead94th & 40th AAttackingSoest - Hamm
    2nd40th BAttackingHagen - Hamm
    3rd41stAttackingHagen - Hamm
    4th1stAttackingSchwerte - Hamm
    2nd Division targets areSiegen - Arnsberg - Bielefeld
    3rd Division targets areKassel (1st in of 8th A.F.)

  11. Fighter Cover: 3 Gps. of P-51's - Balance 3 [Call Sign]

  12. Assembly:
    Lead at9,000'feet on Kings Cliffe BuncherRed-GreenFlares
    High at10,000'feet onKings CliffeBuncherGreen-GreenFlares
    Low at8,000'feet onKings CliffeBuncherRed-RedFlares
    401st at9,000'feet onCottesmoreBuncherRed-YellowFlares
    457th at9,000'feet onGlattonBuncherRed-YellowFlares
    Combat Wing Assembly Line: Bodney - Felixstowe
    Division Assembly Line: Felixstowe to 51°15’N-02°55’E [Bredene, Belgium]
    2 minutes interval between Groups.
    Reference altitude: 22,000'
    Bombing altitude: 25,000'
    Point for instrument let-down Kings Cliffe magnetic heading of 30 degrees.

  13. Call Signs:
    351stWoodcraft A - Able
    401stWoodcraft B - Baker
    457thWoodcraft C - Charlie
    1st Div. Air CommanderLt. Col. Ball
    94th CBW Air CommanderLt. Col. Ball

  14. The following ships will monitor [Radio Channels]- "B" - S-512, F-566, U-831; "C" - 8th A.F. - D-082; "C" - 67th Fighter Wing - N-665.
    Other Communications information will be found on the flimsy.

  15. FLYING CONTROL: _____

     a. Type of Bombing Formation - Normal
     b. Bombardier and Navigator of the #3 A/C of each sqdn. report to Photo Lab.
      The A/C are: Lead - P-038, Low - Y-108, High - O-920
     c. Ball Turret Gunners of the following A/C report to Photo Lab: Z-198, C-020, G-862, B-349, B-610, T-666, C-640
     d. Camera A/C: Lead - U-216, Low Q-565, High A-465
      return at  Discretion of Air Commander
     e. Spares to turn back at 05° East.
     f. PFF A/C fly as deputy lead - Lead Sqdn., Lead of Low Sqdn.
     g. GH A/C fly as Lead of Lead and High Sqdns.
     h. REMARKS: 
       F-1667-D German Civilian Hospitals marked with Red Square on White Circle will not be bombed.
       In event Hamm is attacked right turn off target will be made.

  17. You are reminded not to discuss the target. EXERCISE ALL SECURITY MEASURES.


Operational Narrative.
  1. Date of Mission - 28 February, 1945.
    1. Target Attacked: The primary target at Seost, Germany, was attacked by Gee-H methods.
    2. Force: Thirty-eight aircraft, including two PFF ships and two GH aircraft and two flying spares were dispatched.
    3. Position: The 94th "A" Group flew in its briefed position as the lead group of the First Division Formation.
    4. Lead Teams
      Division Lead
      Air Commander: Lt Col Clinton F. Ball
      Pilot:Captain James M. Gibbons
      Navigator:1st Lt. Benton F. Love Jr
      Bombardier:1st Lt. Frederick S. Ralph

      High Squadron
      Leader: 1st Lt. Henry R. Rossen
      Pilot:2nd Lt. Morris G. Turner
      Navigator:2nd Lt. Allen G. McDonald
      Bombardier:F/O Lt. Paul A. Walker

      Low Squadron
      Leader: 1st Lt. Thomas G. Petersen
      Pilot:2nd Lt. Gustave A. Bochert
      Navigator:2nd Lt. Robert G. Craig
      Bombardier:2nd Lt. Robert L. Adams
  2. Narrative.
    1.  Squadron and Group Assembly: The assembly was carried out without difficulty at the briefed altitude of 9,000 feet over the Kings Cliffe buncher.
    2.  Route Over England: Departure from the assembly area was made on time (1207) from a point slightly east of the buncher. Before reaching Spaulding it became evident that that point would not be reached on time. The formation turned to the right inside of the briefed course and reached the next check point, Bodney, on time. It was necessary to cut inside of the leg between Bodney and Felixstowe in order to depart from the English coast on time. No difficulties were encountered in this slight deviation. This point was reached at an altitude of 12,400 feet, 400 feet above the briefed altitude.
    3.  Division Assembly Line: The turn to the south was made after leaving Felixstowe and the briefed route was followed with slight divergency in crossing the channel. The 94th “A” Group was in its briefed position as the lead group of the First Division. The Belgian coast was crossed to the left of the briefed point at an altitude of 17,000 feet, the briefed height, and on time (1318).
    4.  Flight to Target: Inside of the coast, the formation went to the left of the briefed course while over Belgium. The briefed route was contacted before reaching the front lines and was followed with very little variance for the remainder of the flight to the target. The IP [Initial Point of Bomb Run] used was slightly to the east of the briefed point. It was reached at an altitude of 25,000 feet, the briefed bombing altitude, at 1453, two minutes late. On the turn before the IP was reached, the lead aircraft reported that its Gee-H equipment was inoperative, and directed that the High Squadron take the lead in order to make a Gee-H run. The high Squadron flew directly to the Gee-H IP, the Lead Squadron filling in on the left, the Low Squadron, on the right.
    5.  Description of Bombing Run: The primary target at Soest, Germany, was attacked by Gee-H methods. Bombing was done in group formation. The briefed turn was made at the IP. The target was found to be completely overcast. No interference was encountered on the bomb run. The C-1 Pilot [Autopilot] was not used.
    6.  Flight From Target: After bombing, the Lead Squadron again resumed the lead of the formation. The briefed route was followed with minor divergencies until, in the vicinity of six degrees east, the 94th “A” was forced to the right of the briefed course by the 398th Group which was two minutes late at the Division rally. No difficulty was encountered as a result. The formation slowly returned to the briefed route, contacted it in the vicinity of Brussels, and then swung to the right of course once more. To avoid prop wash from the 1st Combat Wing, departure from the Belgian coast was made to the right of the briefed point at an altitude of 8,500 feet. The formation gradually closed into the briefed route while crossing the channel. The two GH aircraft left the formation before the English coast was reached and returned to Kimbolton.

      The deputy leaders took over the Group and High Squadron leads. The English coast was crossed at the briefed point, Felixstowe, at an altitude of 3,000 feet. The formation returned direct to base above the overcast, omitting the dog-leg in the briefed course between Cambridge and base due to shortage of gasoline. The High and Low Squadrons went to their respective stand-off areas before landing. An instrument let-down procedure was executed.
    7.  Fighter Support: Poor until 7°43’E. Fighters believed late.
    8.  Comments: No Aircraft were lost. No enemy aircraft were encountered. Flak at the target was meager and inaccurate, and trailed behind the formation. There were ten-tenths low clouds in the target area.

      The PFF-Gee-H equipment of the lead aircraft functioned poorly. The Gee-H equipment of the High Squadron Lead Aircraft functioned well enough for bombing purposes. The Weather Scouting Force furnished adequate weather information. The High Squadron Leader’s VHF transmitter was inoperative; all communication with him was relayed by his wing men and visual signals.
    9.  Aircraft Not Attacking: Nil. The two flying spares returned as planned.

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

351st Bombardment Group
Lead SquadronHigh SquadronLow SquadronTOTALS
Borrowed Aircraft0000
No. of Aircraft Failing to Take Off0000
No. of Aircraft Sorties13121338
No. of Aircraft Airborne Less Unused Spares12121236
No. of Aircraft Credit Sorties12121236
No. of Effective Sorties12121236
No. of Non-Effective Sorties0000
Name of Primary TargetSOEST, GERMANY
(A) No. of A/C Attacking Primary Target12121236
(B) No., Size & Type Of Bombs 210 x 250# GP 
24 x 500 M-17
 71 x 250# GP 
72 x 500 M-17
 214 x 250# GP 
24 x 500 M-17
 424 x 250# GP 
120 x 500 M-17
71 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 MIA - Total0000
No. of A/C MIA - Flak
No. of A/C MIA - Flak and E/A
No. of A/C MIA - Enemy Aircraft
No. of A/C MIA - Accident over Enemy Terr.
No. of A/C MIA - Other and Unknown
Time of Take Off105010511052
Time of Attack1504½1504½1504½
Total Time for Mission95:3692:4496:59285:19
Altitude of Release (Indicated)25,000’25,600’23,200’
Visual, H2X, Gee-H, M-H, Eagle, or CombinationGHGHGH
Enemy Resistance – AA Intensity & AccuracyMEAGER AND INACCURATE
Enemy Resistance – Fighter0000
Enemy Resistance – Bombers0000
U.S. A/C Engaged by Enemy Aircraft0000
Number of Passes made by Enemy Aircraft0000

2 A/C borrowed as follows: 2 GH Aircraft borrowed from 379th Group. 351st Group furnished crews.
____ A/C loaned as follows: ____

Lead Bombardier’s Narrative:
Date - 28 February, 1945
Field Order # 643
Squadron or Group - High Sqdn., 94th CBW "A" Group
Target - M/Y [R.R. Marshalling Yard] at Soest, Germany
  1. Type of Bombing (Visual, PFF or Combined)?  "G.H."
  2. Did Squadron perform own sighting operation, bomb on smoke marker, or was bombing done in Group Formation? Bombing was in Group Formation on the High Sqdn; M.H. [Magnetic Compass Heading] of the High, Lead, and Low Sqdn was 300° and Bombs were released at 15:04:30.
  3. Was turn made at briefed I.P.? As Briefed
  4. Cloud coverage and visibility. 10/10
  5. If Visual, when was MPI identified? If not actually seen, how was it located? MPI [Mean Point of Impact] was located by "G.H."
  6. Any Interference on Bomb Run? None
  7. Did C-1 [Autopilot] function satisfactory? The C-1 Pilot was not used.
  8. Any other factors affecting accuracy? None
  [Signed] Allen G. McDonald, 2nd Lt., Air Corps, Lead Bombardier

Combat Bombing Flight Record:

I certify that this 12E Form is complete and accurate.
[Signed] Warren C Steitz, Captain, Air Corps, Group Bombardier.

High Squadron, 94th CBW "A" Group Bombardier - 2nd Lt. McDonald, Allen G.
Pilot - 1st Lt. Rossen, Henry B.
Navigator - F/O Walker, Paul A.

Aircraft B-17G   Z-469  Take-off - 1050 Landed - 1820
Objective - Soest, Germany
Aiming Point (MPI) [Mean Point of Impact] - M/Y [R.R. Marshalling Yard] By "G.H."
Initial Point - As Briefed
Method of Attack - Bombing was in Group Formation on the Lead of High.
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 - 5 x 500 Lb. G.P.[General Purpose] & 6 x M17 I.B's & Markers
Number of Bombs Loaded - As Above   Released - Same
Fusing, Nose - 1/10   Tail - 1/40
Synchronization - On

Information at Release Point:  Lead's M.H. [Magnetic Compass Heading] was 300° and Low's was 300°

Altitude of Target - 330Magnetic Heading Ordered 318° Actual 300°
True Altitude Above Target - 25,900True Heading 294°
Indicated Altitude - 25,600Drift, Estimated 9° Right - Actual 2° Right
Pressure Altitude of Target -310True Track 296°
Altimeter Setting 29.92Actual Range 11,039'
Calculated Indicated Air Speed - 150KBomb Sight Type - M-9
True Air Speed - 194KTime of Release 15:04:30
Ground Speed Est. 190 Actual 200Length of Bombing Run - 12 miles
Wind Direction Metro - 270° Actual - 280°Intervalometer Setting - 30 Feet
Wind Velocity Metro 40 Actual 36 C-1 Pilot [Autopilot] _____
D.S. - 121  Trail - 91   ATF - 43.6A-5 Pilot _____
Tan. D.A, Est. .37 Actual .32 Manual Pilot - X [Used]

Type of Release - Train 30'
Point of Impact If Seen - Unobserved
Mean Temp. Metro -10.5 Actual -10
Winds - Altitude - 26,000 Ft.  Direction - Metro 270°  Actual 280°  Velocity - Metro 40  Actual 36
Temp C. - Metro -38° C. Actual -36° C.

Narrative Teletype Report:
  1. No leaflets were carried on today's mission.
  2. The three squadrons of this group bombed the M/Y [RR Marshalling Yard] at Soest, Germany, through 10/10 clouds by Gee-H methods. The Gee-H equipment of the lead A/C malfunctioned and bombing was done in Group formation on the lead A/C of the high squadron. Mickey [Radar] Operators estimate that bombs fell slightly to the right, North, of the briefed MPI [Mean Point of Impact]. Photographs show only 10/10 clouds and no ground detail.
  3. No E/A [Enemy Aircraft] were encountered and no claims [of enemy aircraft being shot down] are being submitted.
  4. Flak at the target was meager and inaccurate and trailed behind this formation. No other flak was encountered along the route.
  5. There were 10/10 clouds in the target area but weather in general did not hinder formation flying on the bomb run.
  6. There were no observations of military importance.
  7. The equipment of the four PFF A/C provided by this group worked well but that of the combination PFF-Gee H A/C from Kimbolton [379th Bomb Group] functioned poorly. The Gee H equipment of the high leader operated well enough for bombing purposes but both the PFF and Gee H of the lead A/C malfunctioned. The Scouting Force furnished adequate weather information. Fighter support was good. Because no flak was encountered at the front lines this group had no occasion to observe the effectiveness of the fire control relay A/C. None of our A/C are missing.

Track Chart:
Click on Chart to Enlarge

“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: D–6082
    Sqdn 509th A/C: G–8617, P–6907
    Sqdn 510th A/C: C–9020, G–7862, M–9001, N–7665, P–8038, S–7512, U–7216, (T–9156 Spare)
    Sqdn 511th A/C: (D–8664 PFF)
    Sqdn 524th A/C: (Z–8198 GH & PFF)

    b. 94th Combat Wing "A" Group   Low Squadron - 351st Group
    Sqdn 508th A/C: B–7349, C–8753, G–8954, H–8412, K–8130, L–7956, U–8813, Y–6108, (X–6579 Spare)
    Sqdn 509th A/C: None
    Sqdn 510th A/C: None
    Sqdn 511th A/C: (L–8045 PFF), C–6952, G–8872, Q–6565

    c. 94th Combat Wing "A" Group   High Squadron - 351st Group
    Sqdn 508th A/C: None
    Sqdn 509th A/C: C–8640, F–6565, L–2955, M–7964, O–8920, Q–8166, R–6156, T–8666, U–8591
    Sqdn 510th A/C: A–8465, B–6610
    Sqdn 511th A/C: None
    Sqdn 527th A/C: (GH & PFF Z-8469)
  2. Target: GH 444
  3. W/T and R/T Operational Call Sign of each Squadron:
    Squadron508 [Call Sign]W/T LOH R/T CARLTONSquadron510 [Call Sign]W/T UWM R/T TIPSTAFF
    Squadron509 [Call Sign]W/T PDM R/T HOTMINTSquadron511 [Call Sign]W/T TSQ R/T PARTNERSHIP
  4. Taxi – 1040; Take-Off – 1055; E.T.D. Field – 1055
  5. Time:Height:  Place of Crossing English Coast: (OUT)
    130014,000 Ft North Foreland
  6. Time:Height:  Place of Crossing Enemy Coast: (IN)
    141817,000 Ft 51°15'N-02°55'E [Bredene, Belgium]
  7. Time:Height:  Place of Crossing Enemy Coast: (Out)
    170910,000 Ft 51°15'N-02°55'E [Bredene, Belgium]
  8. Time:Height:  Place of Crossing English Coast: (IN)
    17405,000 Ft Felixstowe
  9. E.T.R.(Estimated Time of Return) Base: 1821 Hours
  10. MF/DF [Medium Frequency/Direction Finder] Section: "G"
  11. Bomb load of Each A/C: "A" Lead Box
    Lead Squadron: 18 x 250 G.P. - 1/10 x 1/40 Plus 2 M17 I.B's [Incendiary Bomb]
    Low Squadron: 18 x 250 G.P. - 1/10 x 1/40 Plus 2 M17 I.B's
    High Squadron: 6 x 500 G.P. - 1/10 x 1/40 Plus 6 M17 I.B's
    ___ Squadron:
  12. Fuel Load of each A/C: 2500 Gallons
  13. Leaders:
    Lead Sqdn: Rank & Name: Lt. Col. Ball A/C No & Sqdn. Z-8198 GH (524)
    Low Sqdn: Rank & Name: Lt Peterson A/C No & Sqdn. L-8045 PFF (511)
    High Sqdn: Rank & Name: Lt. Rossen A/C No & Sqdn. Z-8469 GH (527)
  14. Passengers, if any: (Full Name, Rank, A/C and Squadron Passenger flying with)

Report Compiled By Maksimik, John, S/Sgt.

Formation Chart:
94th "A" Group - Lead Squadron Formation at Take–Off and Over Target
510th Squadron
Lt Col Ball–Gibbons
A/C 44-8198 Z GH & PFF [379th BG]
A/C 42-38038 P
A/C 44-8664 D PFF
A/C 44-8617 G
A/C 43-39001 M
A/C 43-37512 S
A/C 44-6082 D
A/C 43-37665 N
Peterson, A.E.
A/C 43-39020 C
A/C 43-37862 G
A/C 43-39156 T Spare
A/C 44-6907 P
A/C 42-97216 U

[Lt Bone, the Flying Spare, returned as planned.]

94th "A" Group - High Squadron Formation at Take–Off and Over Target
509th Squadron
A/C 44-8469 Z GH & PFF [379th BG]
A/C 43-38920 O
A/C 42-102955 L
A/C 43-38116 Q
A/C 44-6610 B
A/C 43-38666 T
A/C 44-6566 F
A/C 43-38640 C
A/C 44-6156 R
A/C 43-38591 U
A/C 43-37964 M
A/C 43-38465 A

94th "A" Group - Low Squadron Formation at Take–Off and Over Target
508th Squadron
Bennett–Peterson, T.G.
A/C 44-8045 L PFF
A/C 44-6108 Y
A/C 43-38954 G
A/C 44-6952 C
A/C 43-97349 B
A/C 44-8412 H
A/C 43-38813 U
A/C 43-37956 L
A/C 43-38130 K
A/C 43-38753 C
A/C 44-6579 X Spare
A/C 43-38872 G
A/C 44-6565 Q

[Lt Dunn, the Flying Spare, returned as planned.]

Time Schedule:
Zero Hour: 1200 BST [British Standard Time]  Briefing: Enlisted Men 0730; Officers 0800 Stations: 1010 Start Engines: 1020 Taxi: 1040 Take-Off: 1055  Leave Base: 1055 [Breakfast: Enlisted Men 0630; Officers 0700]

[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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