351st Bomb Group

Polebrook, England

Group Mission #288

Credited Mission #281

DATE: 8 Mar. 1945
Target: RR Marshalling Yard, Essen, 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: Bottropp [Germany] Oil
    2. PFF Primary: Essen [Germany] M/Y [R.R. Marshalling Yard]
    3. Visual Secondary: Essen [Germany] M/Y [R.R. Marshalling Yard]/li>
    4. PFF Secondary: ____
    5. Last Resort Target: ____

  4. S-2 [Intelligence] Information: Primary target is central coking plant for all the collieries in this area. Estimated annual output 20.000 tons of Benzol which places it 4th among German coking plants for benzol, Ammonia, tar, sulphur and sulphur gas.
    Secondary target M/Y has a capacity of 26,000 cars per 24 hours. The target is not only one of the key centers for re-sorting and directing traffic in Essen district, but all military traffic for the West.

  5. Weather:

  6. Time Schedule:
    Zero Hour: - 1200Stations: - 1015
    Start Engines: - 1025Taxi: - 1045
    Take Off: - 1100Last Take Off: - 1210
    Intercept Group atCromerat18,000 ft.
    Target Time: - 1423ETR [Estimated Time
       of Return]:

    - 1728
    Depart English Coast at: 1312at Cromer

    Time on oxygen: 3½ hours

    TIME TICK [Set your watches.]

  7. Loadings:
     Gasoline: 2,500 Gallons
     Bombs: 12 x 500# G.P. 1/10 x 1/40 [Fuses] Plus 2 M-17 IB [Incendiary Bomb]

  8. Intervalometer Settings: GH 50', H2X 75', Visual Salvo

  9. Chaff: Commence discharge of chaff at - 6° E to I.P. [Initial Point of Bomb Run] & 5 mins before Target for 8 minutes.
      Each A/C [Aircraft] will carry - 360 units.
      No chaff after crossing battle line.

  10. Disposition of Forces:

    3 Divisions will be dispatched. The 1st Air Division will depart England last preceded by 2nd Division and it preceded by the 1st Division.
    1st Division will dispatch 4 CBW's of 3 Groups each.
    The order of attack in the 1st Division will be:
    2nd Division targets areBatzdorf, Dillenburg & Siegen
    3rd Division targets areFrankfurt (Main), Langendreet & Dortmund

  11. Fighter Cover: 4 Gps. of P-51's - two groups close support, two groups area cover.

  12. Assembly:
    Lead at15,000feet on Kings Cliffe BuncherRed-GreenFlares
    High at16,000feet onKings CliffeBuncherGreen-GreenFlares
    Low at14,000feet onKings CliffeBuncherRed-RedFlares
    401st at15,000feet onCottesmoreBuncherRed-YellowFlares
    457th at15,000feet onGlattonBuncherRed-YellowFlares
    Combat Wing Assembly Line: Doningham to Deopham Green.
    Division Assembly Line: Cromer to Dutch Coast.
    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 Able
    401stWoodcraft Charlie
    457thWoodcraft Baker
    1st Div. Air CommanderCol. Roper - Cowboy Able Lead
    94th CBW Air CommanderCapt. Gaylord

  14. The following ships will monitor [Radio Channels]- "B" - S-696, U-216, C-753; "C" - 8th A.F. - P-907; "C" - 67th Fighter Wing - G-617.
    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: Quinn 0920, Kirkland A-465, Drought U-813
     c. Ball Turret Gunners of the following A/C report to Photo Lab: B-592, A-428, B-610, C-020, M-900, B-349
     d. Camera A/C: A-428, O-435, D-082
      return at  French Coast Out [bound]
     e. Spares to turn back at 03° East.
     f. PFF A/C fly as Deputy lead - Lead Sqdn., Leads of High & Sqdn.
     g. GH A/C fly as Lead and Lead of High Sqdn.
      h. REMARKS: 
       Bomb bay doors closed immediately after bombs away.
       If any bomb hung up, drop in channel.
       Leon Couvron [France] (A-70) may be used.
       Buckeye Red Early returns avoid Drnis area.
       No carpet [Radar jamming equipment] will be turned on at T.O. [Take Off]. Box leaders will be called on channels A & B by
        special ships by Carlfan Y.
       Code word for lead to turn on carpet is Blockstone One
       Code word for low to turn on carpet is Blockstone two
       Code word for High to turn on carpet is Blockstone three
       If not notified before English coast out [bound], turn them on anyhow.
  17. You are reminded not to discuss the target. EXERCISE ALL SECURITY MEASURES.


Operational Narrative.
  1. Date of Mission - 8 March, 1945.
    1. Target Attacked:  The secondary target, the marshalling yards at Essen, Germany, was attacked by PFF methods.
    2. Force: 94th “A” Group. Thirty-eight aircraft, including twp GH ships borrowed from the 91st Group, two PFF ships, and two flying spares, were dispatched.
    3. Position: The 94th "A" Group flew in its briefed position in the 1st Division Formation (fourth).
    4. Lead Teams
      Wing Lead
      Air Commander: Captain Donald A. Gaylord
      Pilot:Captain Clifford T. Pryor
      Navigator:1st Lt. Norman L. Gootee
      Bombardier:Captain John J. Schadegg

      Low Squadron
      Leader: 1st Lt. Robert S. Parnell
      Pilot:1st Lt. J.W. Anderson
      Navigator:F/O William L. Bateman
      Bombardier:1st Lt. William P. Hearn

      High Squadron
      Leader: 1st Lt. Raleigh G. Knight
      Pilot:1st Lt. James J. Cronin
      Navigator:1st Lt. Howard S. Love
      Bombardier:1st Lt. Edward H. Anderson
  2. Narrative.
    1.  Squadron and Group Assembly: The assembly was carried out satisfactorily at the King's Cliffe buncher at an altitude of 15,000 feet.
    2.  Route Over England: Departure from the assembly area was mode on time (1237) and on course. The 94th “B” and “C” Groups soon got into position behind the 94th “A”. Before reaching Deephem Green, the formation cut inside of the briefed turn to Control Point #1 in order to get into proper position behind the 41st “C” Group. This was done without difficulty. Departure from the English coast was made at Cromer, the briefed point one minute late (1313) at the briefed altitude of 18,000 feet.
    3.  Division Assembly Line: The departure from the English coast was made on course. However, in following the Division Column, the formation went slightly to the right of the briefed course and did not cross the Dutch coast at the briefed point because of this divergency and also because of flak installations observed at the briefed point of entry. The 94th “A” was in its proper position as the fourth group in the First Division Formation.
    4.  Flight to Target: After crossing the Dutch coast, the formation crossed to the left of the briefed course in order to avoid flak observed to the south of course. The turn to the IP [Initial Point of Bomb Run] was made before the briefed turn, but no difficulty was encountered as a result. The formation gradually closed into the briefed course after passing the briefed IP. The actual IP was slightly to the right of the briefed point. It was reached seven minutes late (1416) at the briefed altitude of 25,000 feet.
    5.  Description of Bombing Run: Due to the fact that the GH equipment in the lead aircraft of both the Lead and High squadrons was found to be inoperative at the assembly point, the decision to bomb by PFF had been made as soon as it was found that the target could not be attacked visually.
      The target was attacked in group formation by PFF methods. The IP used was slightly to the right of the briefed point, but the formation gradually closed into the briefed route before reaching the target. The target was found to be completely overcast. No interference was encountered on the bomb run. The C-1 Pilot [Autopilot] functioned satisfactorily.
    6.  Flight From Target: After bombing, the formation did not make the turn to the right as sharp as briefed, but swung wide. This caused some confusion, for the Low Squadron, expecting a sharp turn, had turned too soon and thus became separated from the formation. Conversation with the Group Leader, however, soon made it possible for it to get back into position. The formation paralleled the briefed route at first, flying in echelon on another wing. It was, however, possible for it to slowly close into the briefed point and depart from the French coast at the briefed point at an altitude of 10,000 feet also. The formation stayed above the undercast in the flight to base and made an instrument let-down over King’s Cliffe buncher. No difficulty was encountered and landings were carried out satisfactorily.
    7.  Fighter Support: Good. Appeared as briefed.
    8.  Comments: No aircraft were lost. No enemy aircraft were encountered. Flak was observed in the target area, but none was close to the formation. Ten-tenths clouds prevailed enroute [sic] and over the target area. The Weather Scouting Force was contacted and reported accurately the weather conditions existing at the target.
    9.  Aircraft Not Attacking: One aircraft returned to base early. One aircraft jettisoned its bombs just after the IP due to a rack malfunction. The two flying spares remained with the formation.

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

[Message to Crews]

  It has been determined by this headquarters and concurred in by War, that the following briefing instructions on the subject of action by air crews in forced to ground in Germany should be immediately brought to the attention of all P/W [Prisoner of War] Officers for transmittal to air crews:
  1. In the event you come down in a portion of Germany which you believe to be more than 20 miles distant from the front lines, you can attempt to avoid capture until you can locate either Wehrmacht [German Army] or Luftwaffe [German Air Force] personnel. You will surrender and insist on being taken immediately so far as the nearest prison camp. You will avoid all civilians, Hitler Youth, SS, and Gestapo. The surrender portion of this instruction is permissive and not directive.
  2. If you are forced to ground in Germany in a position where you believe that you are within 20 miles of either the Easter or Western front lines, you will attempt to avoid capture, will remain in hiding and attempt to pass through the lines to friendly territory.
  3. In so far as organization supplies permit you will carry sidearms [sic] but only when in uniform. For civilian clothes you will get rid of your side arms.
  4. Escaping from a prison camp is no longer considered a duty, but it is not forbidden if it is authorized by the SAOS RPT SAOS.
  5. Prisoners of war are considered to be under military discipline and are strictly subject to the orders of the senior officer of the chosen camp leader.

351st Bombardment Group
Lead SquadronHigh SquadronLow SquadronTOTALS
Borrowed Aircraft0000
No. of Aircraft Failing to Take Off0000
No. of Aircraft Sorties13131238
No. of Aircraft Airborne Less Unused Spares13131238
No. of Aircraft Credit Sorties12131237
No. of Effective Sorties12131136
No. of Non-Effective Sorties1012
Name of Primary TargetBOTTROPP, GERMANY
(A) No. of A/C Attacking Primary Target
(B) No., Size & Type Of Bombs
Name of Secondary TargetESSEN, GERMANY
(A) No. of A/C Attacking Secondary Target12131136
(B) No., Size & Type Of Bombs 135 x 500# GP 
23 x 100# IB
 155 x 500# GP 
26 x 100# IB
 126 x 500# GP 
21 x 100# IB
 416 x 500# GP 
70 x 100# IB
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 Off105510571057
Time of Attack14271427½1427
Total Time for Mission79:0977:1880:54237:21
Altitude of Release (Indicated)25,000’25,600’24,700’
Visual, H2X, Gee-H, M-H, Eagle, or CombinationH2XH2XH2X
Enemy Resistance – AA Intensity & Accuracy0000
Enemy Resistance – Fighter0000
Enemy Resistance – Bombers0000
U.S. A/C Engaged by Enemy Aircraft0000
Number of Passes made by Enemy Aircraft0000
Non-Effective Sorties1012
(A) Weather
(B) Personnel
(C) Enemy Action
(D) Other Non-Mechanical
(E) Mechanical and Equipment1012
Incidents of Mechanical & Equipment Failure:
(A) Engine1001
(B) Oil System
(C) Fuel System
(D) Supercharger
(E) Propeller and Governor
(F) Communication System
(G) Guns and Turrets
(H) Bomb Release0011
(I) Bombay Doors
(J) Electric System
(K) Instruments
(L) Oxygen Equipment
(M) Bomb Sights
(N) A/C in General
2 A/C borrowed as follows: Two GH aircraft (44-8145 and 44-8478) were borrowed from the 91st Bomb Group. The 351st Group furnished the crews.
0 A/C loaned as follows: ____

Lead Bombardier’s Narrative:
Date - 8 March. 1945
Field Order # 651
Squadron or Group - Lead Sqdn., 94th CBW "A" Group
Target - M/Y [RR Marshalling Yard] at Essen, Germany
  1. Type of Bombing (Visual, PFF or Combined)?  PFF
  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 Lead; Low's M.H. [Magnetic Compass Heading] was 174°, High's was 170°. Time of release was 1427 hours.
  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? PFF
  6. Any Interference on Bomb Run? None
  7. Did C-1 [Autopilot] function satisfactory? Yes
  8. Any other factors affecting accuracy? None
  [Signed] John J. Schadegg, Captain, Air Corps, Lead Bombardier

Combat Bombing Flight Record:

I certify that this 12E Form is complete and accurate.
[Signed] William B. Lyttle, Captain, Air Corps, Group Bombardier.

Lead Squadron, 94th "A" Group
Bombardier - Capt. Schadegg, John J.
Pilot - Capt. Pryor, C.T. & Capt. Gaylord, D.A.
Navigator - 1st Lt. Gootee, Norman L.

Aircraft B-17G   C-145  Take-off - 1100 Landed - 1723
Objective - M/Y at Essen, Germany
Aiming Point (MPI) [Mean Point of Impact] - PFF
Initial Point - As Briefed
Method of Attack - Bombing was in Group Formation on the Lead.
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] & 2 x M47 I.B.'s [Incendiary Bomb] & Markers
Number of Bombs Loaded - As Above   Released - Same
Fusing, Nose - 1/10   Tail - 1/40
Synchronization - On

Information at Release Point:  Low's M.H. was 174°; High's was 170°.

Altitude of Target - 260'Magnetic Heading Ordered 162° Actual 163°
True Altitude Above Target - 24,940True Heading 156°
Indicated Altitude - 25,000Drift, Estimated 1° Right - Actual 6° Right
Pressure Altitude of Target -213True Track 162°
Altimeter Setting 29.92Actual Range 16,401.5'
Calculated Indicated Air Speed - 150KBomb Sight Type - M-9
True Air Speed - 223KTime of Release 1427
Ground Speed Est. 290 Actual 340Length of Bombing Run - 54 Miles
Wind Direction Metro - 340° Actual - 356°Intervalometer Setting - 75 feet
Wind Velocity Metro 60 Actual 100K C-1 Pilot [Autopilot] - X [Used]
D.S. - 127  Trail - 58   ATF - 41.72A-5 Pilot _____
Tan. D.A, Est. .65 Actual .77 Manual Pilot - ____

Type of Release - Train 75'
Point of Impact If Seen - Unobserved
Mean Temp. Metro -13 Actual -12.5
Winds - Altitude - 26,000 Ft.  Direction - Metro 340°  Actual 356°  Velocity - Metro 60  Actual 100K
Temp C. - Metro -38° C. Actual -36° C.

Narrative Teletype Report:
  1. No leaflets were carried by this Group.
  2. The three squadrons of this Group formed the 94th “A” Combat Bomb Wing and attacked by PFF methods our secondary target, the M/Y [RR Marshalling Yard] at Essen, Germany. Good scope returns on the Mickey sets were reported by all operators, who estimate the bomb impact to be within the target area.
  3. No E/A [Enemy Aircraft] were encountered and no claims [of enemy aircraft being shot down] are being submitted.
  4. About five bursts of flak were observed in the target area approximately six minutes before our formation arrived there, and about 25 bursts were observed behind our planes after they left the target.
  5. 10/10ths cloud coverage prevailed enroute [sic] and over the target area.
  6. There are no observations of military importance to report.
  7. PFF equipment was employed in the lead and deputy lead aircraft of the lead squadron; also in the lead aircraft of the high and low squadrons. All sets were reported to have performed efficiently. Fighter support was good and appeared as briefed. The Scouting Force was contacted and reported accurately weather conditions existing in the target area. None of our aircraft is missing.

Track Chart:
Click on Chart to Enlarge

Combat Crew Comments:

    508th Squadron:
A/C L-956:  Lead of high was on C-1 [Autopilot] and when he made turns he made them too sharp. On climb he was climbing at 135-140 [knots], and did not keep his altitude on climb. After he had reached altitude he climbed above. – Lt. Russell.

    509th Squadron:
A/C Z-696:  We were told that we were going to bomb #4, but what did it mean? – Lt. Wafel.
A/C L-955:  Should have a strip of wood on navigator’s table just below G-box to keep equipment from sliding off. – Lt. Dohun.
A/C O-920:  No position or wind repeated by lead ship. – Lt. Quinn.
A/C B-592:  Good lead, especially element lead. Good formation.

    510th Squadron:
A/C F-566:  Element lead was very poor today; he stalled us out a couple of times, and air speed was too slow the whole trip. – Lt. Docimo.
A/C K-252: Target #4 was called over VHF [Radio], but it had never been explained to us what #4 was. – Lt. Thomas.
A/C L-515: Radio men’s briefing was late this morning; it held us up 45 minutes. – F/O Morrow.

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

Abortive Report
Aircraft No. M-37964 Squadron - 509 Lead  Date - 8 March, 1945
    1. Reason for abortive No. 2 Prop ran away.
    2. Place and altitude 52°50' 02°10' 18,000'
    3. Time 1325
    4. Position in formation Lead Sqdn. Hi Flt No. 3
    5. Disposition of bombs Brought Back
    6. Remarks Formation Full and OK
    7. Time & Date dispatched ____
      (Pilot's Signature) Howard F. Smith

“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: A–8428, B–8592, G–8617, L–2955, M–7964, O–8920, P–6907, T–8666, U–8591, Z–7696, (R–6156 Spare)
    Sqdn 510th A/C: None
    Sqdn 511th A/C: (H–8780 PFF),
    Sqdn 324th A/C: (C–8145 GH) From 91st Group

    b. 94th Combat Wing "A" Group   Low Squadron - 351st Group
    Sqdn 508th A/C: None
    Sqdn 509th A/C: V–8070
    Sqdn 510th A/C: A–8465, B–6610, C–9020, H–8280, K–7252, L–7515, O–8435, P–8038, T–9156, U–7216
    Sqdn 511th A/C: (V–8079 PFF)

    c. 94th Combat Wing "A" Group   High Squadron - 351st Group
    Sqdn 508th A/C: A–8410, B–7349, C–8753, D–6082, G–8954, H–8412, K–8130, L–7956, M–7900, P–5258, U–8813, (Q–8799 Spare)
    Sqdn 509th A/C: None
    Sqdn 510th A/C: None
    Sqdn 511th A/C: (Z–8376 PFF)
    Sqdn 323th A/C: (G–8478 GH) From 91st Group
  2. Target: GQ-1536
  3. W/T and R/T Operational Call Sign of each Squadron:
    Squadron508 [Call Sign]W/T NMM R/T CARLTONSquadron510 [Call Sign]W/T ULW R/T TIPSTAFF
    Squadron509 [Call Sign]W/T KGH R/T HOTMINTSquadron511 [Call Sign]W/T LHR R/T PARTNERSHIP
  4. Taxi – 1015 [1045]; Take-Off – 1100; E.T.D. Field – 1100
  5. Time:Height:  Place of Crossing English Coast: (OUT)
    131218,000 Ft Cromer
  6. Time:Height:  Place of Crossing Enemy Coast: (IN)
    134625,000 Ft 52°44'N-04°38'E [Camperduin, Netherlands]
  7. Time:Height:  Place of Crossing Enemy Coast: (Out)
    160010,000 Ft 50°48'N-01°37'E [Ambleteuse, France]
  8. Time:Height:  Place of Crossing English Coast: (IN)
    161410,000 Ft Dungeness
  9. E.T.R.(Estimated Time of Return) Base: 1728 Hours
  10. MF/DF [Medium Frequency/Direction Finder] Section: "G"
  11. Bomb load of Each A/C: "A" Lead Box
    Lead Squadron: 12 x 500 G.P. - 1/10 x 1/40 Plus 2 x M47 IB's
    Low Squadron: 12 x 500 G.P. - 1/10 x 1/40 Plus 2 x M47 IB's
    High Squadron: 12 x 500 G.P. - 1/10 x 1/40 Plus 2 x M47 IB's
    ___ Squadron:
  12. Fuel Load of each A/C: 2500 Gallons
  13. Leaders:
    Lead Sqdn: Rank & Name: Capt. Gaylord A/C No & Sqdn. C-8145 GH (324) 91st Group
    Low Sqdn: Rank & Name: Lt. Parnell A/C No & Sqdn. V-8079 PFF (511)
    High Sqdn: Rank & Name: Lt. Knight A/C No & Sqdn. G-8478 GH (324) 91st Group
  14. Passengers, if any: (Full Name, Rank, A/C and Squadron Passenger flying with)

Report Compiled By _____

Formation Chart:
94th "A" Combat Bomb Group - Lead Squadron Formation at Take–Off
509th Squadron
A/C 44-8145 C GH
A/C 43-38920 O
A/C 44-8780 H PFF
A/C 44-6907 P
A/C 44-8617 G
A/C 43-38592 B
A/C 43-38666 T
A/C 43-37964 M
A/C 42-102955 L
A/C 43-37696 Z
A/C 44-6156 R Spare
A/C 43-38591 U
A/C 43-38428 A

94th "A" Group Lead Squadron Formation Over–Target
509th Squadron
A/C 44-8145 C GH
A/C 43-38920 O
A/C 44-8780 H PFF
A/C 44-6907 P
A/C 44-8617 G
A/C 43-38592 B
A/C 43-38666 T
A/C 42-102955 L
A/C 43-37696 T
A/C 44-6156 R
A/C 43-38591 U
A/C 43-38428 A

[Lt Smith Aborted. His position was filled by Lt Thomson, the flying spare.]

94th "A" Combat Bomb Group - High Squadron Formation at Take–Off and Over Target
508th Squadron
A/C 44-8478 G GH
A/C 43-38813 U
A/C 43-37956 L
A/C 44-8410 A
A/C 42-97349 B
A/C 42-97258 P
A/C 43-38130 K
A/C 43-38954 G
A/C 43-37900 M
A/C 43-38753 C
A/C 43-38799 Q Spare
A/C 44-6082 D
A/C 44-8412 H

[Lt Sprecher & Bennett, the flying spare, stayed with the formation.]

94th "A" Combat Bomb Group - Low Squadron Formation at Take–Off and Over Target
510th Squadron
Parnell–Anderson, J
A/C 44-8079 V PFF
A/C 43-38465 A
A/C 42-38038 P
A/C 43-39020 C
A/C 44-6610 B
A/C 42-97252 K
A/C 44-8280 H
A/C 43-37515 L
A/C 42-97216 U
A/C 43-39156 T
A/C 43-38435 O
A/C 43-38070 V

Time Schedule:
Zero Hour: 1200 BST [British Standard Time]  Briefing: ____ Stations: 1015 Start Engines: 1025 Taxi: 1045 Take-Off: 1100  Leave Base: 1100 

[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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