351st Bomb Group

Polebrook, England

Group Mission #295

Credited Mission #288

DATE: 17 Mar. 1945
Target: Zeiss Optical Instrument Plant, Jena, 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: Molbis [Germany] Power Station
    2. PFF Primary: Molbis [Germany] Power Station
    3. Visual Secondary: Jena
    4. PFF Secondary: Jena
    5. Visual Secondary: Weimar
    6. PFF Secondary: Erfurt
    7. Last Resort Target: Area Shown

  4. S-2 [Intelligence] Information:

  5. Weather:

  6. Time Schedule:
    Zero Hour: - 0900Stations: - 0655
    Start Engines: - 0705Taxi: - 0725
    Take Off: - 0740Last Take Off: - 0910
    Intercept Group atDungenessat10,000 ft.
    Target Time: - 1241ETR [Estimated Time
       of Return]:

    - 1701
    Depart English Coast at: 0955at Dungeness

    Time on oxygen: 4 hours

    TIME TICK [Set your watches.]

  7. Loadings:
     Gasoline: Max. Gallons
     Bombs: 12 x 500# G.P. 1/10 x 1/40 [Fuses] Plus 2 x M-47 IB's [Incendiary Bomb]

  8. Intervalometer Settings: Visual - Salvo; PFF - 50'

  9. Chaff: Commence discharge of chaff at - IP [Initial Point of Bomb Run] - 18 minutes.
        Each A/C [Aircraft] will carry - 432 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 4 CBW's of 3 Groups each.
    The order of attack in the 1st Division will be:
    Lead94thAttackingRegis (94 "A") Molbis
    2nd Division targets areHannover & Munster
    3rd Division targets arePlaun, Muldenstein, Bitterfield & Ruhland

  11. Fighter Cover: 10 Gps. of P-51's - (Balance 2-3) [Call Sign]

  12. Assembly:
    Lead at6,000feet on Kings Cliffe BuncherRed-GreenFlares
    High at7,000feet onKings CliffeBuncherGreen-GreenFlares
    Low at5,000feet onKings CliffeBuncherRed-RedFlares
    401st at6,000feet onCottesmoreBuncherRed-YellowFlares
    457th at7,500feet onGlattonBuncherRed-YellowFlares
    Combat Wing Assembly Line: Lavenham - Redhill
    Division Assembly Line: Beachy Head - Dungeness
    1 minutes interval between Groups.
    Reference altitude: 25,000'
    Bombing altitude: 25,000'
    Point for instrument let-down Kings Cliffe magnetic heading of 30 degrees.

  13. Call Signs:
    351stWoodcraft Charlie
    401stWoodcraft Able
    457thWoodcraft Baker
    1st Div. Air CommanderCol. Silver
    94th CBW Air CommanderCol. Silver

  14. The following ships will monitor [Radio Channels]- "B" - N-665, D-082, L-955; "C" - 8th A.F. - T-156; "C" - 67th Fighter Wing - D-694.
    Other Communications information will be found on the flimsy.

  15. FLYING CONTROL: _____

     a. Type of Bombing Formation - Normal (Gnd. Haze expected)
     b. Bombardier and Navigator of the #3 A/C of each sqdn. report to Photo Lab.
      The A/C are: O-435, U-813, M-964
     c. Ball Turret Gunners of the following A/C report to Photo Lab: C-020, B-592, M-900
     d. Camera A/C: A-465, Q-799, F-566
      return at  ____
     e. Spares to turn back at ____
     f. PFF A/C fly as Lead of each Sqdn. & Deputy of Lead Sqdn.
     g. GH A/C fly as ____
     h. REMARKS: 
       Sqdn. deputies will take over after return
       Nav. drawing course, etc. in Club
       Russian recognition - 1st dip R wing 3-5 times - 2nd Green Flare
       Fighter opposition

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


Operational Narrative.
  1. Date of Mission - 17 March, 1945.
    1. Target Attacked:  The No. 4 target, the Zeiss factory at Jena, Germany, was attacked by PFF methods.
    2. Force: 94th “C” Group. Thirty-eight aircraft, including four PFF ships and two flying spares were dispatched.
    3. Position: The 94th "C" Group flew in its briefed position as the third group in the First Division Formation.
    4. Lead Teams
      Group Lead
      Air Commander: Captain Lee H. Dennis
      Pilot:Captain Evan A. Poston
      Navigator:1st Lt. Howard S. Love
      Bombardier:1st Lt. Malcolm S. Burr

      Low Squadron
      Leader: 1st Lt. Robert S. Parnell
      Pilot:1st Lt. Harry C. Olsen
      Navigator:F/O Lt. William L. Bateman
      Bombardier:1st Lt. William P. Hearn

      High Squadron
      Leader: Captain Jay H. Maish
      Pilot:2nd Lt. Paschel M. Huff
      Navigator:1st Lt. Melvin L. Ouder
      Bombardier:1st Lt. Mart G. Smith
  2. Narrative.
    1.  Squadron and Group Assembly: The assembly was carried out without difficulty at the Kings Cliffe buncher. The assembly area was departed on time (0843) at an altitude of 7,000 feet, 1,000 feet above the briefed height. This increase in altitude was necessary in order to keep the formation above the clouds.
    2.  Route Over England: The briefed route was followed after the departure from the assembly area. The 94th “C” got into position in the Combat Wing Formation without difficulty. The first divergency from the briefed route was made at Redhill, in following the preceding groups. Beachy Head was reached on time (0943) at the briefed height of 10,000 feet. The formation did not contact Dungeness, as it followed the preceding formations and so made its actual departure from the English coast at Beachy Head rather than from Dungeness, as planned.
    3.  Division Assembly Line: The briefed Division Assembly Line was not flown. However, the formation crossed the French coast at the briefed point at an altitude of 10,000 feet and on time (1004). The 94th “C” was in its briefed position as the third group in the First Division Formation.
    4.  Flight to Target: Inside of the coast, the formation followed the preceding formations in a variance to the right of the briefed course. The briefed course was soon contacted and followed with little variance to the front lines. The lead aircraft had previously experienced some difficulty with an erratic engine, and thus slowly fell behind the 94th “B” Group. It was necessary to fly to the right of the briefed course from the vicinity of the front lines to 10°40’E in order to keep in sight of the 94th “B”. Check points were reached on time, but as the preceding formations were a few minutes early, the interval was greater than briefed. Information received from the Weather Scouting Force indicated that the primary target was completely overcast. The decision was made to attack the target at Jena by PFF methods. The formation cut inside of the briefed turn before the planned IP [Initial Point of Bomb Run] and then turned to the left on a westerly heading in order to reach a new IP and attack the selected target. Some difficulty was encountered when the formation contacted a high cirrus fog in this area and also when a Third Division Formation passed through it and scattered it, leaving the Low Squadron in such a position that it could not make the bomb run with the Lead and Low [High] Squadrons. The formation reached its selected IP at an altitude of 26,700 feet. It had been necessary to climb above the previously mentioned cirrus fog that was encountered. The cirrus fog had been encountered from the French coast to the front lines. The formation climbed through it. It was again encountered in the target area, and the formation had to fly through it once more while trying to get above it.
    5.  Description of Bombing Run: The target at Jena (No. 4) was attacked by PFF methods. The Lead and High Squadrons made the bomb run together, while the Low squadron, after having become separated from the formation, made its run alone. No interference was encountered on the bomb run. The C-1 Pilot [Autopilot] was used and functioned satisfactorily. The target was found to be completely overcast.
    6.  Flight From Target: After attacking the target at Jena, the formation returned to the briefed course on a southwesterly heading. The 94th “B” had apparently flown ahead of the 94th “A”, which the 94th “C” followed on the withdrawal. It was necessary to let-down through the haze because of the impossibility of getting above it and the lack of gasoline. However, the formation stayed close to the briefed route in doing so. A wind shift was responsible for the formation flying to the left of the briefed course after the enemy lines were crossed. Another slight variance to the right of the briefed route was made before departing from the French coast at the briefed point at an altitude of 7,000 feet. The briefed route was followed in crossing the channel and from the English coast to the vicinity of London. The formation flew to the left of the briefed course from there to the Kings Cliffe buncher, which it circled for an SOP [Standard Operating Procedure] let-down.
    7.  Fighter Support: Excellent.
    8.  Comments: No aircraft were lost. No enemy aircraft were encountered. Flak encountered was meager and inaccurate. Weather in the target area consisted of ten-tenths clouds, which completely obscured any ground detail. A high layer of cirrus clouds in the IP area made formation flying extremely difficult, and almost caused a collision between the Low Squadron and another formation. One aircraft bombed with a Third Division Group, while another bombed with the 457th Group.
    9.  Aircraft Not Attacking: One aircraft was forced to jettison its bombs in the target area when it lost an engine. The two flying spares returned as planned.

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

351st Bombardment Group
Lead SquadronLow SquadronHigh 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 Sorties12121135
No. of Non-Effective Sorties0011
Name of Primary Target
(A) No. of A/C Attacking Primary Target
(B) No., Size & Type Of Bombs
Name of Secondary TargetJENA, GERMANY
(A) No. of A/C Attacking Secondary Target11121134
(B) No., Size & Type Of Bombs 129 x 500# GP 
22 x 100 IB
 143 x 500# GP 
22 x 100 IB
 131 x 500# GP 
21 x 100 IB
 403 x 500# GP 
65 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.)UNIDENTIFIED
(3rd Division Target)
(A) No. of A/C Attacking T.O.11
(B) No., Size & Type Of Bombs12 x 500# GP 
2 x 100 IB
12 x 500# GP 
2 x 100 IB
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 Off073407360735
Time of Attack130113031301
Total Time for Mission118:47114:23121:22354:32
Altitude of Release (Indicated)26,900’25,000’27,600’
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
Non-Effective Sorties
(A) Weather
(B) Personnel
(C) Enemy Action
(D) Other Non-Mechanical
(E) Mechanical and Equipment0011
Incidents of Mechanical & Equipment Failure:
(A) Engine0043-380701
(B) Oil System
(C) Fuel System
(D) Supercharger
(E) Propeller and Governor
(F) Communication System
(G) Guns and Turrets
(H) Bomb Release
(I) Bombay Doors
(J) Electric System
(K) Instruments
(L) Oxygen Equipment
(M) Bomb Sights
(N) A/C in General

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

Lead Bombardier’s Narrative:
Date - 17 March, 1945
Field Order # 659
Squadron or Group - Lead Sqdn., 94th "C" Group
Target - Jena, 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? Lead Squadron performed own PFF sighting operation. The High Sqdn. bombed on the lead at 1301 hours on a M.H. [Magnetic Compass Heading] of 294°.
  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? No
  [Signed] Malcolm S. Burr, 1st Lt., Air Corps, Lead Bombardier

Combat Bombing Flight Record:

Lead Squadron, 94th "C" Group
Bombardier - 1st Lt. Burr, Malcolm S.
Pilot - Capt. Poston, E.A. & Capt. Dennis, L.H.
Navigator - 1st Lt. Love, Howard S.

Aircraft B-17G   J-468  Take-off - 0735 Landed - 1725
Objective - Jena, Germany
Aiming Point (MPI) [Mean Point of Impact] - As Briefed - PFF
Initial Point - As Briefed
Method of Attack - Lead and High Squadron bombed in Group formation
No. of Attacking A/C in Group: - 24   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 Lb. G.P.[General Purpose] & 2 x M47 I.B.'s [Incendiary Bomb]
Number of Bombs Loaded - As Above   Released - Same
Fusing, Nose - 1/10   Tail - 1/100
Synchronization - On

Information at Release Point:  High's M.H. [Magnetic Compass Heading] was 294°

Altitude of Target - 500Magnetic Heading Ordered 278° Actual 290°
True Altitude Above Target - 26,200True Heading 286°
Indicated Altitude - 26,300Drift, Estimated 2° Right - Actual 14° Left
Pressure Altitude of Target +560True Track 272°
Altimeter Setting 29.92Actual Range 8,170'
Calculated Indicated Air Speed - 150KBomb Sight Type - M-9
True Air Speed - 222KTime of Release 1301
Ground Speed Est. 160 Actual 185Length of Bombing Run - 24 miles
Wind Direction Metro - 270° Actual - 340°Intervalometer Setting - 50 Feet
Wind Velocity Metro 64 Actual 53 C-1 Pilot [Autopilot] _____
D.S. - 129.  Trail - 57   ATF - 42A-5 Pilot _____
Tan. D.A, Est. .38 Actual .42 Manual Pilot - X [Used]

Type of Release - Train 50'
Point of Impact If Seen - Unobserved - PFF
Mean Temp. Metro -13 Actual -13
Winds - Altitude - 26,000 Ft.  Direction - Metro 270°  Actual 340°  Velocity - Metro 64  Actual 53
Temp C. - Metro -40° C. Actual -41° C.

Narrative Teletype Report:
  1. This Group carries no leaflets.
  2. The three squadrons of this Group bombed the No. 4 target, the Zeiss factory at Jens, Germany, by PFF methods through 10/10ths clouds. The lead and high squadrons bombed on the instruments of the lead aircraft, but the low squadron bombed on its lead aircraft when another formation, and mechanical difficulties of the lead aircraft forced it to fall behind the other two squadrons on the bomb run. Cloud cover prevented observations or the procurement of photographs of bombing results, but the Mickey [Radar] operators estimate that the bombfall is 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. There was meager and inaccurate flak at the target, mostly behind our formation after bombs away. The only other flak throughout the mission was in the Frankfurt area, where it was meager and accurate for height but some distance south of our formation.
  5. There were no observations of Military importance.
  6. PFF equipment was used for navigation and bombing, and all sets operated efficiently. Operators report that returns from Jena were good for synchronization, but that the target at Molbis, although it could be picked up on the scope, was probably too indefinite for effective PFF bombing. The Scouting Force furnished correct weather information. Fighter escort was excellent.
  7. Our A/C A-428 bombed with an unidentified Third Division group on an undetermined target. Our A/C Q-799 bombed with the 457th Group. None of our aircraft is missing.

Track Chart:
Click on Chart to Enlarge

Mission Summary Report:
  1. Abortives and Flying Spares:
    1. Airplane No. 43-38070, 509th Squadron, jettisoned bombs early due to the loss of turbo boost on #2 engine. Crew claimed that the amplifier did not correct this condition. However, on return to base, the second spare amplifier was installed and engine ran satisfactory. Two spare amplifiers were carried in this aircraft.
    2. Airplane No. 42-97193, 509th Squadron, returned early as planned.
    3. 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 - Lead Date - 17 Mar., 1945
    1. Reason for abortive Spare
    2. Place and altitude 50°40'N 03°00'E 11,000'
    3. Time 1025
    4. Position in formation F/S [Flying Spare]
    5. Disposition of bombs Returned
    6. Remarks Formation looked O.K.
    7. Time & Date dispatched ____
      (Pilot's Signature) Arlie E. Peterson

Abortive Report
Aircraft No. D-193 Squadron - 509 - High  Date - 17 Mar. 1945
    1. Reason for abortive Spare
    2. Place and altitude 03°E 12,500'
    3. Time 1025
    4. Position in formation High Sq. Diamond in high section
    5. Disposition of bombs Returned
    6. Remarks High squadron seemed rather rough. Not tight enough.
    7. Time & Date dispatched ____
      (Pilot's Signature) Darrell V. Cole

“J” Form:
  1. Last Four numbers and Call Letter of A/C in each Squadron:
    a. 94th Combat Wing "C" Group   Lead Squadron - 351st Group
    Sqdn 508th A/C: None
    Sqdn 509th A/C: None
    Sqdn 510th A/C: A–8465, C–9020, D–8694, H–8280, M–9001, N–7665, O–8435, S–7512, T–9156, V–7705, K–7252 Spare
    Sqdn 511th A/C: H–8780 PFF, J–8468 PFF

    b. 94th Combat Wing "C" Group   Low Squadron - 351st Group
    Sqdn 508th A/C: A–8410, C–8753, D–6082, G–8945, H–8412, J–7978, K–8130, M–7900, Q–8799, U–8813, X–6579
    Sqdn 509th A/C: None
    Sqdn 510th A/C: None
    Sqdn 511th A/C: B–7701 PFF

    c. 94th Combat Wing "C" Group   High Squadron - 351st Group
    Sqdn 508th A/C:
    Sqdn 509th A/C: B–8592, C–8640, F–6566, G–8617, L–2955, M–7964, O–8920, P–6907, R–6156, V–8070, Z–7696, D–7193 Spare
    Sqdn 510th A/C: None
    Sqdn 511th A/C: (Z–8774 PFF)
  2. Target: GO-1270
  3. W/T and R/T Operational Call Sign of each Squadron:
    Squadron508 [Call Sign]W/T TQD R/T CARLTONSquadron510 [Call Sign]W/T WQG R/T TIPSTAFF
    Squadron509 [Call Sign]W/T SOA R/T HOTMINTSquadron511 [Call Sign]W/T THV R/T PARTNERSHIP
  4. Taxi – 0725; Take-Off – 0740; E.T.D. Field – 0843
  5. Time:Height:  Place of Crossing English Coast: (OUT)
    095510,000 Ft Dungeness
  6. Time:Height:  Place of Crossing Enemy Coast: (IN)
    100410,000 Ft 50°52'N-01°35'E [Le Sodit, France]
  7. Time:Height:  Place of Crossing Enemy Coast: (Out)
    154910,000 Ft 50°52'N-01°35'E [Le Sodit, France]
  8. Time:Height:  Place of Crossing English Coast: (IN)
    160010,000 Ft Dungeness
  9. E.T.R.(Estimated Time of Return) Base: 1701 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 M47 IB
    Low Squadron: 12 x 500 G.P. - 1/10 x 1/40 Plus 2 M47 IB
    High Squadron: 12 x 500 G.P. - 1/10 x 1/40 Plus 2 M47 IB
  12. Fuel Load of each A/C: 2780 Gallons
  13. Leaders:
    Lead Sqdn: Rank & Name: Capt. Dennis A/C No & Sqdn. J-8468 PFF (511)
    Low Sqdn: Rank & Name: Lt Parnell A/C No & Sqdn. B-7701 PFF (511)
    High Sqdn: Rank & Name: Capt Maish A/C No & Sqdn. Z-8774 PFF (511)
  14. Passengers, if any: (Full Name, Rank, A/C and Squadron Passenger flying with)

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

Formation Chart:
94th "C" Combat Bomb Group - Lead Squadron Formation at Take–Off
510th Squadron
A/C 44-8468 J PFF
A/C 43-38435 O
A/C 44-8780 H PFF
A/C 43-39156 T
A/C 43-39001 M
A/C 43-37512 S
A/C 43-38428 A
A/C 43-38694 D
A/C 43-37665 N
A/C 43-39020 C
Peterson, A.E.
A/C 42-97252 K Spare
A/C 43-37705 V
A/C 43-38465 A

94th "C" Group Lead Squadron Formation Over–Target
510th Squadron
A/C 44-8468 J PFF
A/C 43-38435 O
A/C 44-8780 H PFF
A/C 43-39156 T
A/C 43-39001 M
A/C 43-37512 S
A/C 43-38694 D
A/C 43-37665 N
A/C 43-39020 C
A/C 43-37705 V
A/C 43-38465 A

[Lt Docimo flew with the 3rd Division. Lt Peterson, the flying spare, returned as planned.]

94th "C" Combat Bomb Group - High Squadron Formation at Take–Off and Over Target
509th Squadron
A/C 44-8774 Z PFF
A/C 43-37964 M
A/C 43-38920 O
A/C 44-6907 P
A/C 44-8617 G
A/C 43-37696 Z
A/C 44-6156 R
A/C 43-38640 C
A/C 42-102955 L
A/C 43-38592 B
A/C 42-97193 D Spare
A/C 43-38070 V
A/C 44-6566 F

[Lt Bird jettisoned his bombs in the target area when they lost an engine. Lt Cole, the flying spare returned as planned.]

94th "C" Combat Bomb Group - Low Squadron Formation at Take–Off and Over Target
508th Squadron
A/C 42-97701 B PFF
A/C 43-38813 U
A/C 44-6579 X
A/C 44-8410 A
A/C 43-37978 J
A/C 43-37900 M
A/C 44-6082 D
A/C 44-8412 H
A/C 43-38954 G
A/C 43-38753 C
A/C 43-38130 K
A/C 43-38799 Q

[Lt Barnard flew and bombed with 457th Group.]

Time Schedule:
Zero Hour: 0900 BST [British Standard Time]  Briefing: Enlisted Men 0415; Officers 0445 Stations: 0655 Start Engines: 0705 Taxi: 0725 Take-Off: 0740  Leave Base: 0843 [Breakfast: Enlisted Men 0315; Officers 0345]

[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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