351st Bomb Group

Polebrook, England

Group Mission #292

Credited Mission #285

DATE: 12 Mar. 1945
Target: Naval Installations at Swinemunde, 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: Swinemunde [Germany]
    2. PFF Primary: ____
    3. Visual Secondary: Rostock [Germany]
    4. PFF Secondary: ____
    5. Last Resort Target: Grossenbrode [Germany] A/F [Airfield]

    Remarks: This target is crowded with shipping, latest PRU coverage showing a heavy concentration of both merchant vessels and war ships. It is reported that it is being used as an evacuation port from Russia and Norway and that heavy traffic is being handled. A pocket battleship, probably the Admiral Scheer, is located in the main channel near our MPI [Mean Point of Impact].

  4. S-2 [Intelligence] Information:

  5. Weather:

  6. Time Schedule:
    Zero Hour: - 0900Stations: - 0655
    Start Engines: - 0705Taxi: - 0725
    Take Off: - 0740Last Take Off: - 0845
    Intercept Group atCromerat7,000 ft.
    Target Time: - 1239ETR [Estimated Time
       of Return]:

    - 1633
    Depart English Coast at: 0926at Cromer

    Time on oxygen: 3½ hours

    TIME TICK [Set your watches.]

  7. Loadings:
     Gasoline: 2,780 Gallons
     Bombs: 5 x 1000 G.P. 1/10 x 1/40 [Fuses]
    (High Sqdn. Nose Fuse - Instantaneous)

  8. Intervalometer Settings: PFF - Minimum; Visual - Salvo

  9. Chaff: Commence discharge of chaff at - 6 mins after IP [Initial Point of Bomb Run] - Continue for 12 minutes.
        Each A/C [Aircraft] will carry - 288 units.

  10. Disposition of Forces:

    3 Divisions will be dispatched. The 1st Air Division will depart England 3rd preceded by 2nd & 3rd Division and followed by the ____ Division.
    1st Division will dispatch 4 CBW's of 3 Groups each.
    The order of attack in the 1st Division will be:
    Lead94th AAttackingSwinemunde - Transportation
    2nd94th BAttackingSwinemunde - Transportation
    3rd94th CAttackingSwinemunde - Transportation
    4th40th AAttackingSwinemunde - Transportation
    5th40th BAttackingSwinemunde - Transportation
    2nd Division targets areSwinemunde - Wetzlar
    3rd Division targets areSwinemunde - Siegen

  11. Fighter Cover: 6 Gps. of P-51's - Close Support

  12. Assembly:
    Lead at7,000feet on Kings Cliffe BuncherRed-GreenFlares
    High at8,000feet onKings CliffeBuncherGreen-GreenFlares
    Low at6,000feet onKings CliffeBuncherRed-RedFlares
    401st at7,000feet onCottesmoreBuncherRed-YellowFlares
    457th at8,500feet onGlattonBuncherRed-YellowFlares
    Combat Wing Assembly Line: Kings Lynn - Cromer
    Division Assembly Line: Kings Lynn - Cromer - 54°00’N-06°00’E [47 miles North of Dokkum, Netherlands]
    2 minutes interval between Groups.
    Reference altitude: 22,000'
    Bombing altitude: 22,000'
    Point for instrument let-down Kings Cliffe magnetic heading of 30 degrees.

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

  14. The following ships will monitor [Radio Channels]- "B" - S-512, M-964, D-082; "C" - 8th A.F. - A-465; "C" - 67th Fighter Wing - H-280.
    Other Communications information will be found on the flimsy.

  15. FLYING CONTROL: _____
    a. Type of Bombing Formation - Individual Sqdn. Runs
    b. Bombardier and Navigator of the #3 A/C of each sqdn. report to Photo Lab.
     The A/C are: Lead - O-435, Low - G-954, High - P-907
    c. Ball Turret Gunners of the following A/C report to Photo Lab: Lead - C-020, M-001; High - C-640, B-592; Low - G-954, M-900
    d. Camera A/C: Lead - N-665, High P-907, Low G-954
     return at  ____
    e. Spares to turn back at ____
    f. PFF A/C fly as Lead & Deputy Lead of Lead Sqdn., Lead of High & Low Sqdn.
    g. GH A/C fly as - None
    h. REMARKS: 
      Read Paragraph F-5 [on Field Order]
      Scouting Force - 6 P-51's - Buckeye Red [Call Sign]

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


Operational Narrative.
  1. Date of Mission - 12 March, 1945.
    1. Target Attacked: The No. 2 Target at Swinemunde, Germany, was attacked by PFF methods.
    2. Force: 94th “A” Group. Thirty-eight aircraft, including four PFF ships and two aircraft scheduled as 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: Brigadier General Julius K. Lacey
      Pilot:Captain James M. Purcell
      Navigator:Major Nelson E. Matthews
      Bombardier:Captain Warren c. Steitz

      Low Squadron
      Leader: 1st Lt. Joseph C. Robinson
      Pilot:2nd Lt. Gustave A. Bochert
      Navigator:1st Lt. Albert W. Allen
      Bombardier:1st Lt. Raymond E. Hall

      High Squadron
      Leader: Captain Frank H. Wilcox
      Pilot:2nd Lt. Arthur R. Leibrock
      Navigator:2nd Lt. Roland X. Madsen
      Bombardier:1st Lt. Jack P. Austin
  2. Narrative.
    1.  Squadron and Group Assembly: The assembly was carried out without difficulty over the Kings Cliffe buncher at the briefed altitude of 7,000 feet. The group formed quickly and was in formation twenty-five minutes before the briefed departure time.
    2.  Route Over England: Departure from the assembly area was made on time (0851). The formation overshot the turn at Donington in order to lose time. The briefed course was followed to the left of the briefed course between Donington and Kings Lynn. By the time Point D (Kings Lynn) was reached, the 94th Combat Wing had formed completely.
    3.  Division Assembly Line: The formation gradually returned to the briefed route while flying the last leg of the route over England. Cromer was reached at an altitude of 7,000 feet, the briefed height, and 1½ minutes early (0924½). The formation followed the briefed route for the first part of the flight across the channel. Shortly after passing 04°00’E, groups of the Third Division were observed ahead of the First Division flying at such a low airspeed that it was evident that it would be necessary to deviate from the briefed route in order to avoid overrunning them. As a result, the formation performed a large double drift to the north between that point and the Danish coast. Because of this maneuver, the last portion of the Division Assembly Line (from 04°26’E to 06°00’E) was not flown as briefed.
    4.  Flight to Target: After passing 06°00’E (the end of the Division Assembly Line) the formation gradually closed into the briefed route and crossed the coast of Denmark slightly to the left of the briefed point at an altitude of 17,000 feet, 2,000 feet above the briefed height, and three minutes early (1120). It was thought that sufficient time had been killed to permit the preceding groups to get out of the way, but they were encountered again and another double drift was necessary before reaching the east coast of Denmark. This was completed and the formation returned to the briefed route at approximately 11°00’E. The preceding formations were then observed going to the north of the briefed course. The Division Leader did not consider it advisable to attempt to cut inside of the preceding groups and follow the briefed route because of fear of being cut off on the bomb run. As a result, the preceding Third Division groups were followed to the north. A double drift was again performed with the hope that sufficient interval between the First Division and the lagging groups ahead could be made. But once again the preceding formation went to the north and the Division Leader was forced to do likewise. The result of these necessary maneuvers put the Division Lead Group about twenty miles to the north of the briefed route. A new IP [Initial Point of Bomb Run] was set up north of the briefed point at 54°54’N - 14°28’E. This point was reached at an altitude of 22,000 feet, the briefed height, and four minutes early (1223) for the briefed time of the briefed IP.
    5.  Description of Bombing Run: The new IP was from 60 to 65 miles to the north of the target. Slight corrections were necessary in order to take up the proper heading. The bomb bay doors were opened when the formation was about 40 miles from the target.

      The squadrons took interval without difficulty. The secondary target (Swinemunde, Germany) was attacked by PFF methods. Each squadron made its own sighting operation. The briefed turn was not made at the briefed IP. The target was found to be completely overcast, with tops at approximately 5,000 feet. In all cases the C-1 Pilot [Autopilot] was used and was reported as having performed satisfactorily. No other factors affecting bombing accuracy were encountered.

      After bombing, the smoke markers of the three squadrons were observed to have fallen close together, as did the smoke markers of the following groups. Results are believed to have been good, for smoke was seen pushing through the cloud cover over the target.
    6.  Flight From Target: After bombing, the formation rallied [returned to formation] quickly and departed from the target on the briefed course. The straggling groups of the Third Division which had caused so much difficulty before the IP had apparently increased their airspeed, for no further trouble was received from them. Some evasive action was carried out after bombing. While crossing the Danish coast, the formation flew to the north of the briefed course in order to avoid flak from the vicinity of Kiel. Departure from the Danish coast was made at an altitude of 18,000 feet from the briefed point. In flying across the North Sea, the formation flew a gradually increasing divergency to the north of the briefed route to 05°00’E because of a wind shift. Adjustment in the heading was made and the formation gradually returned to the planned course, crossing the English coast at the briefed point of entry (Cromer) at an altitude of 8,000 feet. The briefed route was followed from Cromer to base. The High and Low Squadrons went to their respective stand-off areas before landing. A normal let-down procedure had been followed.
    7.  Fighter Support: Good.
    8.  Comments: No aircraft were lost. No enemy aircraft were encountered. Meager, inaccurate continuous following flak was encountered at the target. Weather en route was clear of clouds over the North Sea, but clouds of eight to ten-tenths were encountered inland. PFF units were employed for navigational aid and bombing. All sets worked well. The Weather Scouting Force was contacted and furnished accurate weather information.
    9.  Aircraft Not Attacking: There were no failures to attack. One flying spare returned early 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 Spares12121337
No. of Aircraft Credit Sorties12121337
No. of Effective Sorties12121337
No. of Non-Effective Sorties0000
Name of Primary TargetSWINEMUNDE, GERMANY
(A) No. of A/C Attacking Primary Target12121337
(B) No., Size & Type Of Bombs 60 x 1000# GP  60 x 1000# GP  65 x 1000# GP  185 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 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 Off073507380737
Time of Attack12401240:201240:30
Total Time for Mission111:21106:54114:11332:26
Altitude of Release (Indicated)22,000’21,000’22,600’
Visual, H2X, Gee-H, M-H, Eagle, or CombinationH2XH2XH2X
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

____ A/C borrowed as follows: None
____ A/C loaned as follows: None

Narrative Teletype Report:
  1. No leaflets were carried by this Group.
  2. The three squadrons of this Group bombed by squadron formation the No. 2 (PFF) target which was Swinemunde dock area. Photos show no ground detail because of the 10/10 cloud cover over the target; however, they do show a mushroom of black oily smoke rising about 1,000 feet above the cloud. All Mickey [Radar] Operators (4) believe the bomb run to be very good and returns from the target were as briefed.
  3. No E/A [Enemy Aircraft] were encountered and no claims [of enemy aircraft being shot down] are being submitted.
  4. Meager, inaccurate continuous following flak was encountered at the target. On the way to the target, a few bursts of flak were observed in the distance over Heligoland [an island 38 miles NW of Cuxhaven, Germany] and in the vicinity of Lutjenholm [Germany].
  5. Weather en route was clear of clouds over the North Sea but clouds of 8-10/10 were encountered inland; over the target clouds were 10/10ths.
  6. Much shipping activity was seen at Kiel Bay and the Fehnarn Belt. At 55 11N 11 00E saw two convoys of four large vessels and five small ones on a heading of 310 degrees. At 5433 N 1133 E there appeared to be a convoy forming with about 20 transports. At 5440N 1010 E seven transports and what appeared to be a cruiser heading in a southeasterly direction. At 5430N 1020 E at 1335 hours saw a convoy of about 15 ships and what is believed to have been an aircraft carrier, one submarine and the rest made up of tankers and freighters.
  7. PFF units were employed for navigational aid and bombing. All sets worked well. Fighter support was good. The Scouting Force was contacted and was effective. None of our a/c is missing.

Lead Bombardier’s Narrative:
Date - 12 March, 1945
Field Order # 655
Squadron or Group - Lead Sqdn., 94th CBW "A" Group
Target - Naval installations at Swinemunde, 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? Squadron made own PFF sighting operation.
  3. Was turn made at briefed I.P.? No - 54°54'N 14°28'E
  4. Cloud coverage and visibility. 10/10
  5. If Visual, when was MPI identified? If not actually seen, how was it located? ____
  6. Any Interference on Bomb Run? Two groups kept "S-ing" in front of us which made us miss the briefed I.P.
  7. Did C-1 [Autopilot] function satisfactory? Yes
  8. Any other factors affecting accuracy? None
  [Signed] Warren C. Steitz, Captain, Air Corps, Lead Bombardier

Combat Bombing Flight Record:

Lead Squadron, 94th CBW "A" Group
Bombardier - Capt. Steitz, Warren C.
Pilot - B. Gen. Lacey, J.W. & Capt. Purcell. J.H.
Navigator - Maj. Matthews, Nelson E.

Aircraft B-17G   D-468  Take-off - 0735 Landed - 1627
Objective - Swinemunde, Germany
Aiming Point (MPI) [Mean Point of Impact] - Naval Installations - PFF
Initial Point - 54°54'N 14°28'E
Method of Attack - Squadron
No. of Attacking A/C in Group: - 12   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 1000 Lb. G.P.[General Purpose] AN-M44 & Markers
Number of Bombs Loaded - As Above   Released - Same
Fusing, Nose - 1/10   Tail - 1/40
Synchronization - On

Information at Release Point:  

Altitude of Target - 0Magnetic Heading Ordered 188° Actual 209°
True Altitude Above Target - 22,189True Heading 206°
Indicated Altitude - 22,000Drift, Estimated 2° Left - Actual 4° Left
Pressure Altitude of Target -400True Track 211°
Altimeter Setting 29.92Actual Range 12,214.2'
Calculated Indicated Air Speed - 150KBomb Sight Type - Mercury-Agld
True Air Speed - 212KTime of Release 1240
Ground Speed Est. 260 Actual 232Length of Bombing Run - 59 miles
Wind Direction Metro - 355° Actual - 316°Intervalometer Setting - Minimum
Wind Velocity Metro 48 Actual 22 C-1 Pilot [Autopilot] - X [Used]
D.S. - 137.5  Trail - 38.6   ATF - 38.61A-5 Pilot _____
Tan. D.A, Est. .62 Actual .57 Manual Pilot ____

Type of Release - Train
Point of Impact If Seen - Unobserved - PFF
Mean Temp. Metro -9.5 Actual -9.8
Winds - Altitude - 20,000 Ft.  Direction - Metro 355°  Actual 316°  Velocity - Metro 48  Actual 22
Temp C. - Metro -28° C. Actual -24° C.

Track Chart:
Click on Chart to Enlarge

Mission Summary Report:
  1. Abortives and Flying Spares:
    1. Airplane No. 42-97252, 510th Squadron, returned early as planned.
  [Signed:] John W. Freeman, Captain, Air Corps, Group Engineering Officer

Abortive Report
Aircraft No. K-252 Squadron - 510  Date - 12 Mar. 1945
    1. Reason for abortive Flying Spare
    2. Place and altitude Coast Denmark - 54°30'N 08°25'E at 15,000 Ft.
    3. Time 1110
    4. Position in formation #4 in Hi element of Lead [Squadron]
    5. Disposition of bombs returned to base
    6. Remarks Flak encountered at Denmark coast - V2 bomb observed 53°55'N 05°08'E - Formation perfect till started climb near Danish coast.
    7. Time & Date dispatched ____
      (Pilot's Signature) George W. Stamps

“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: A–8465, B–6610, C–9020, D–8694, H–8280, M–9001, N–7665, O–8435, S–7512, T–9156, (F–7252 Spare)
    Sqdn 511th A/C: D–8664 PFF), (J–8468 PFF)

    b. 94th Combat Wing "A" Group   Low Squadron - 351st Group
    Sqdn 508th A/C: A–8410, B–7349, C–8753, D–6082, G–8954, H–8412, K–8130, M–7900, P–7258, U–8813, Y–6108
    Sqdn 509th A/C: None
    Sqdn 510th A/C: None
    Sqdn 511th A/C: (V–8079 PFF)

    c. 94th Combat Wing "A" Group   High Squadron - 351st Group
    Sqdn 508th A/C: None
    Sqdn 509th A/C: A–8428, B–8592, C–8640, G–8617, M–7964, O–8920, P–6907, R–6156, U–8591, V–8070, Z–7696, (L–2955 Spare)
    Sqdn 510th A/C: None
    Sqdn 511th A/C: (L–8045 PFF)
  2. Target: GH-5485
  3. W/T and R/T Operational Call Sign of each Squadron:
    Squadron508 [Call Sign]W/T UXF R/T CARLTONSquadron510 [Call Sign]W/T TUM R/T TIPSTAFF
    Squadron509 [Call Sign]W/T PPX R/T HOTMINTSquadron511 [Call Sign]W/T WVD R/T PARTNERSHIP
  4. Taxi – 0725; Take-Off – 0740; E.T.D. Field – 0740
  5. Time:Height:Place of Crossing English Coast: (OUT)
    09267,000 ftCromer
  6. Time:Height:Place of Crossing Enemy Coast: (IN)
    112315,000 ft54°30'N-09°00'E [Schobull, Germany]
  7. Time:Height:Place of Crossing Enemy Coast: (Out)
    140214,000 ft54°30'N-09°00'E [Schobull, Germany]
  8. Time:Height:Place of Crossing English Coast: (IN)
    16045,000 ftCromer
  9. E.T.R.(Estimated Time of Return) Base: 1633 Hours
  10. MF/DF [Medium Frequency/Direction Finder] Section: "G"
  11. Bomb load of Each A/C: "A" Lead Box
    Lead Squadron: 5 x 1000 G.P. - 1/10 x 1/40
    Low Squadron: 5 x 1000 G.P. - 1/10 x 1/40
    High Squadron: 5 x 1000 G.P. - Inst. Nose x 1/40
    ___ Squadron:
  12. Fuel Load of each A/C: 2780 Gallons
  13. Leaders:
    Lead Sqdn: Rank & Name: Brig. Gen. Lacey A/C No & Sqdn. D-8664 PFF (511)
    Low Sqdn: Rank & Name: Lt. Robinson A/C No & Sqdn. V-8079 (511)
    High Sqdn: Rank & Name: Capt. Wilcox A/C No & Sqdn. L-8045 (511)
  14. Passengers, if any: (Full Name, Rank, A/C and Squadron Passenger flying with)
    Joseph F. Capicotto S/Sgt M-9001 510th Sqdn.
    Walter S. Lipinski S/Sgt G-8617 509th Sqdn.

Report Compiled By I.C. Muesing, S/Sgt.

Formation Chart:
94th "A" Combat Bomb Group - Lead Squadron Formation at Take–Off and Over Target
510th Squadron
Gen. Lacey–Purcell
A/C 44-8664 D PFF
A/C 43-38435 O
Maj. Gorham–Maish
A/C 44-8468 J PFF
A/C 43-39020 C
A/C 43-39001 M
A/C 44-6610 B
A/C 44-8280 H
A/C 43-37512 S
A/C 43-38465 A
A/C 43-39156 T
A/C 42-97252 K Spare
A/C 43-38694 D
A/C 43-37665 N

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

94th "A" Combat Bomb Group - High Squadron Formation at Take–Off and Over Target
509th Squadron
A/C 44-8045 L PFF
A/C 43-38920 O
A/C 43-37696 Z
A/C 44-6907 P
A/C 44-8617 G
A/C 43-38070 V
A/C 43-38640 C
A/C 44-6156 R
A/C 43-37964 M
A/C 43-38592 B
A/C 42-102955 L Spare
A/C 43-38428 A
A/C 42-97193 D

[Lt Sexton, the flying spare, stayed with the formation.]

94th "A" Combat Bomb Group - Low Squadron Formation at Take–Off and Over Target
508th Squadron
A/C 44-8079 V PFF
A/C 43-38954 G
A/C 42-38038 P
A/C 44-8410 A
A/C 42-97349 B
A/C 43-38130 K
A/C 42-97258 P
A/C 43-38813 U
A/C 44-6082 D
A/C 44-6108 Y
A/C 44-8412 H
A/C 43-38753 C

Time Schedule:
Zero Hour: 0900 BST [British Standard Time]  Briefing: ____ Stations: 0655 Start Engines: 0705 Taxi: 0725 Take-Off: 0740  Leave Base: 0740 

[Killed in Action: 1]
[Wounded On Mission: 0]

Killed in Action:
  • S/Sgt. Harry Charm, the Waist Gunner on Lt. Mahnke's crew, was killed on Mission 292, 12 March 1945
    Buried: Long Island National Cemetery, East Farmingdale, Suffolk County, New York, Plot: H, 8003

Click on Photo to Enlarge
The above records were obtained at the National Archives Records Administration and have been declassified by authority NND 745005
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