351st Bomb Group

Polebrook, England

Group Mission #301

Credited Mission #294

DATE: 24 Mar. 1945
Target: Airfield, Vechta, Germany

Any Radio Operators & Spot Jamming Operators Report to Communications School Immediately.

  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: 1. Vechta [Germany] - A/F [Airfield]
    2. PFF Primary: 3. Oldenburg [Germany]
    3. Visual Secondary: 2. Zwischenahn; Varrelbush
    4. PFF Secondary: ____
    5. Last Resort Target: ____

  4. S-2 [Intelligence] Information:

  5. Weather:

  6. Time Schedule:

    Zero Hour: - 0730Stations: - 0455
    Start Engines: - 0505Taxi: - 0520
    Take Off: - 0535Last Take Off: - 0630
    Intercept Group atCromerat17,000 ft.at 0730
    Target Time: - 0857ETR [Estimated Time
       of Return]:

    - 1055
    Depart English Coast at: 0732at Cromerat 17,000'

    Time on oxygen: 4 hours - Length of Mission - 5½ Hrs.

    TIME TICK [Set your watches.]

  7. Loadings:
     Gasoline: 2,300 Gallons
     Bombs: 16 x 500 S.A.P. [Semi-Armor Piercing] 1/10 Nose 1/100 Tail [Fuses]

  8. Intervalometer Settings: 50 Feet

  9. Chaff: Commence discharge of chaff at - No Chaff will be released by any A/C [Aircraft]
      Each A/C [Aircraft] will carry - ____ units.

  10. Disposition of Forces:

    3 Divisions will be dispatched. The 1st Air Division will depart England ____ preceded by ____ Division and followed by the ____ Division.
    1st Division will dispatch 2 CBW's of ____ Groups each. Task Forces. We are the 3rd Group attacking in the First Task Force.
    The order of attack in the 1st Division will be:
    Lead Group40th AAttackingAll Groups in the 1st Task Force -
    2nd40th BAttackingWill Attack Targets in this Area -
    3rd94th AAttackingSecond Runs will be made on all Primaries -
    4th41st AAttackingIf it can be made without interfering with -
    5th1st AAttackingOther Groups
    2nd Division targets are
    3rd Division targets are

  11. Fighter Cover: 7 Gps. of P-51's, 1 Gp of P-47 - Target Support; 2 Gps of P-51's Free Lancing; 6 - P-51's will Scout Weather. Call Signs on Flimsy.

  12. Assembly:
    Lead at13,000feet on Kings Cliffe BuncherRed-GreenFlares
    High at14,000feet onKings CliffeBuncherGreen-GreenFlares
    Low at12,000feet onKings CliffeBuncherRed-RedFlares
    401st at6,000feet onCottesmoreBuncherRed-YellowFlares
    457th at6,000feet onGlattonBuncherRed-YellowFlares
    Combat Wing Assembly Line: 53°15’N-00°55’E - Cromer
    Division Assembly Line: Cromer to 52°45’N-04°38’E [Leihoek, Netherlands]
    2 minutes interval between Groups.
    Reference altitude: 20,000'
    Bombing altitude: 25,000'
    Point for instrument let-down Kings Cliffe magnetic heading of 30 degrees.

  13. Call Signs:
    351stWoodcraft Able
    401stWoodcraft Baker - 1st Gp of 2nd Task Force
    457thWoodcraft Charlie - 2nd Gp of 2nd Task Force
    1st Div. Air Commander____
    94th CBW Air CommanderMaj. Gorham

  14. The following ships will monitor [Radio Channels]- "B" - C-020, O-920, D-082; "C" - 8th A.F. - N-665; "C" - 67th Fighter Wing - B-610.
    Other Communications information will be found on the flimsy.

  15. FLYING CONTROL: _____

     a. Type of Bombing Formation - Bomb in Group Formation, if PFF; By Squadron if Visual.
     b. Bombardier and Navigator of the #3 A/C of each sqdn. report to Photo Lab.
      The A/C are: H-280, M-964, U-813
     c. Ball Turret Gunners of the following A/C report to Photo Lab: ____
     d. Camera A/C: B-610, U-591, Q-799
      return at  Continental Coast Out [Bound]
     e. Spares to turn back at ____
     f. PFF A/C fly as Lead of High & Low Sqdns. - Lead & Deputy Lead of Lead Sqdn.
     g. GH A/C fly as ____
     h. REMARKS: 
       Extreme Care will be taken not to bomb in occupied territory.

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


Operational Narrative.
  1. Date of Mission - 24 March, 1945.
    1. Target Attacked:  The No. 1 priority target, the airdrome at Vechta, Germany, was attacked visually by squadrons.
    2. Force: 94th “A” Group. Thirty-six aircraft, including four PFF ships, were dispatched.
    3. Position: The briefed position, third group in the 1st Task Force, was flown by the 94th "A" Group.
    4. Lead Teams
      Group Lead
      Air Commander: Major John D. Gorham Jr
      Pilot:Captain Norman A. Trapp
      Navigator:1st Lt. John C. Talbott
      Bombardier:1st Lt. Clarence L. Hunter Jr

      Low Squadron
      Leader: Captain Harvey W. Powell
      Pilot:F/O Phillip A. Frank
      Navigator:1st Lt. Harry U. Perry
      Bombardier:1st Lt. Donald H. Stump

      High Squadron
      Leader: 1st Lt. George A. Patterson
      Pilot:2nd Lt. Harold A. Schulte
      Navigator:F/O Leon R. Phelps
      Bombardier:F/O Leonard L. Lesch
  2. Narrative.
    1.  Squadron and Group Assembly: No difficulties were encountered in making the assembly over the Kings Cliffe buncher at the briefed altitude of 13,000 feet.
    2.  Route Over England: The briefed route over England was followed very closely, with no more than a one minute variation between briefed and actual times. As there was no planned combat wing assembly, the 94th “A” proceeded to the point of departure from the English coast, Cromer, to assembly with the 1st Task Force.
    3.  Division Assembly Line: The turn at Cromer was undershot in order for the 94th “A” Group to join the 1st Task Force in its briefed position (third) and at the proper interval in respect to the preceding groups. A gradual return to the briefed route was flown, and the enemy coast was crossed at the briefed point two minutes early (0812), and 2,000 feet below the briefed altitude of 25,000 feet.
    4.  Flight to Target: There were no deviations from the briefed course during the flight to the target. The 94th “A” remained in the Task Force column, and the briefed IP was reached at the briefed altitude of 25,000 feet, on course, and two minutes early (0844).
    5.  Description of Bombing Run: The briefed IP [Initial Point of Bomb Run] was used by each of the three squadrons, and each made its own visual sighting operations. The Lead and Low Squadrons identified the MPI [Mean Point of Impact] without difficulty, and very good results were reported in both instances with heavy concentrations of bombs on the runway and landing ground. The High Squadron was unable to identify the briefed aiming point, but dropped its bombs into the smoke of previous bombing. The C-1 Pilot [Autopilot] was used by all three squadrons, and no malfunctions were reported. No interference was encountered during the bomb run.
    6.  Flight From Target: The 94th “A” Group rallied without difficulty after the target, and cut inside the briefed turn in order to rejoin the 1st Task Force. In trailing the preceding formations, the group flew to the right of the briefed course, reaching the enemy coast just north of the briefed point at an altitude of 22,500 feet. The course flown in crossing the channel paralleled the briefed course to the north. This also was the result of remaining in the column of groups. Cromer, the briefed point of entry at the English coast, was reached at an altitude of 7,500 feet, and the briefed route to base was followed without exception. A normal let-down procedure was followed, and landings were made at base without difficulty.
    7.  Fighter Support: As briefed.
    8.  Comments: No aircraft were lost. Neither flak nor enemy aircraft were encountered. The Weather Scouting Force accurately reported the weather conditions (CAVU) [Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited] existed in the target area. PFF units were employed only as navigational aids.
    9.  Aircraft Not Attacking: The bombs of one Aircraft were released early because of an intervalometer malfunction, and another ship dropped on these bombs. There were no other non-effective sorties. No flying spares had been scheduled.

  [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 Sorties12121236
No. of Aircraft Airborne Less Unused Spares12121236
No. of Aircraft Credit Sorties12121236
No. of Effective Sorties10121234
No. of Non-Effective Sorties2002
Name of Primary TargetVECHTA, GERMANY
(A) No. of A/C Attacking Primary Target10121034
(B) No., Size & Type Of Bombs 156 x 500# SAP  191 x 500# SAP  191 x 500# SAP  538 x 500# SAP 
Name of Secondary TargetFigures include the following number of B-17G GH Aircraft
(A) No. of A/C Attacking Secondary Target2114
(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 Off053105330532
Time of Attack08:5408:5508:54:20
Total Time for Mission62:2463:1663:50189:30
Altitude of Release (Indicated)25,000’24,400’25,600’
Visual, H2X, Gee-H, M-H, Eagle, or CombinationVISUAL
Enemy Resistance – AA Intensity & AccuracyNONE
Enemy Resistance – Fighter0000
Enemy Resistance – Bombers0000
U.S. A/C Engaged by Enemy Aircraft0000
Number of Passes made by Enemy Aircraft0000
Degree of SuccessVERY GOOD RESULTS
Non-Effective Sorties1001
(A) Weather
(B) Personnel (43-39156)1001
(C) Enemy Action
(D) Other Non-Mechanical
(E) Mechanical and Equipment (43-37862)1001
Incidents of Mechanical & Equipment Failure:
(A) Engine
(B) Oil System
(C) Fuel System
(D) Supercharger
(E) Propeller and Governor
(F) Communication System
(G) Guns and Turrets
(H) Bomb Release1001
(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 - 24 March 1945
Field Order # 666
Squadron or Group - Lead Sqdn., 94th CBW "A" Group
Target - Vechta Airfield
  1. Type of Bombing (Visual, PFF or Combined)?  Visual
  2. Did Squadron perform own sighting operation, bomb on smoke marker, or was bombing done in Group Formation? Squadron performed own sighting operation
  3. Was turn made at briefed I.P.? Yes
  4. Cloud coverage and visibility. CAVU [Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited]
  5. If Visual, when was MPI identified? If not actually seen, how was it located? MPI [Mean Point of Impact] identified 15 miles from target
  6. Any Interference on Bomb Run? None
  7. Did C-1 [Autopilot] function satisfactory? Yes
  8. Any other factors affecting accuracy? None
  [Signed] Clarence L. Hunter, Jr., 1st Lt., Air Corps, Lead Bombardier

Combat Bombing Flight Record:

I certify that this 12E form is complete and correct.
Warren C. Steitz, Captain, Air Corps, Group Bombardier.
Lead Squadron, 94th CBW "A" Group
Bombardier - 1st Lt. Hunter, Clarence L., Jr.
Pilot - Maj. Gorham, J. D. Jr. & Capt. Trapp, N.A.
Navigator - 1st Lt. Talbott, John C.

Aircraft B-17G   J-468  Take-off - 05:35 Landed - 10:45
Objective - Vechta Airfield
Aiming Point (MPI) [Mean Point of Impact] - Runway Intersection - As Briefed
Initial Point - As Briefed
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 - 16 x 500 Lb. S.A.P.'s [Semi-Armor Piercing]
Number of Bombs Loaded - As Above   Released - Same
Fusing, Nose - 1/10   Tail - 1/100
Synchronization - On

Information at Release Point:  

Altitude of Target - 102Magnetic Heading Ordered 082° Actual 093°
True Altitude Above Target - 25,280True Heading 088°
Indicated Altitude - 25,000Drift, Estimated 5° Left - Actual 6° Left
Pressure Altitude of Target -138True Track 082°
Altimeter Setting 29.92Actual Range 12,640'
Calculated Indicated Air Speed - 150KBomb Sight Type - M-9
True Air Speed - 224KTime of Release 08:54
Ground Speed Est. 222 Actual 224Length of Bombing Run - 35 N.M. [Nautical Miles]
Wind Direction Metro - 160° Actual - 165°Intervalometer Setting - 50'
Wind Velocity Metro 16 Actual 24 C-1 Pilot [Autopilot] - X [Used]
D.S. - 127.4  Trail - 58   ATF - 41.90A-5 Pilot _____
Tan. D.A, Est. .485 Actual .50 Manual Pilot ____

Type of Release - Train 50'
Point of Impact If Seen - Good
Mean Temp. Metro -9 Actual -12
Winds - Altitude - 25,000 Ft.  Direction - Metro 160°  Actual 165°  Velocity - Metro 16  Actual 24
Temp C. - Metro -36° C. Actual -36° C.

Preliminary Damage Assessment:
  1. The three Squadrons of this Group attacked as a priority No. 1 Target, the Airfield at Vechta, Germany. Photo cover is complete for all Squadrons although the full pattern of the High Squadron cannot be plotted.
  2. The pattern of the Lead Squadron fell across the main runway with hits on the runway and landing ground. The pattern is 2760 feet by 1440 feet with the center of the concentration 840 feet left of the assigned MPI [Mean Point of Impact]. Percentage will be approximately 65% for 1,000’ and 97% for 2,000’.
  3. The main concentration of the Low Squadron fell on the MPI with damage to runway, runway intersection and landing ground. The pattern is loose and some bombs will post-hole the southern edge of the field. The pattern is 3,840 feet by 1,450 feet. Percentages will be 65% within 1,000’ and 70% within 2,000’.
  4. The pattern of the High Squadron fell into smoke that had drifted away from the target and only the start of the pattern can be seen. This area is 8,750 feet from the MPI and 3,700 feet from the target area. No damage will be 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 three squadrons from this group formed the 94th “A” CBW [Combat Bomb Wing]. Bombing was visual by individual squadrons on our No. 1 target, an A/F [airfield], at Vechta, Germany. Photo coverage shows the bombing pattern of the lead and low squadrons to be very good. Heavy concentrations fell on the runway and the L/G [Landing Ground]. The Southeastern part of the A/F will be well post-holed. Smoke partially obscured the target for the high squadron and their bombs were dropped into the middle of the smoked area. Estimates place these bombs approximately 1 mile West of the briefed MPI [Mean Point of Impact].
  3. No E/A [Enemy Aircraft] were encountered and no claims [of enemy aircraft being shot down] are being submitted.
  4. No flak was encountered throughout the mission.
  5. CAVU [Ceiling And Visibility Unlimited] weather prevailed along the entire route and over the target area; visibility, air to ground, was fifteen to twenty miles.
  6. A military installation of about twelve buildings was noted at about 5245 N – 0735 E. Three con-trails were observed in the vicinity of 5245 N – 0610 E.
  7. Four PFF A/C [Aircraft] were utilized by this group on today’s mission and proved very effective as a navigational aid. Operators report that their sets performed efficiently. Fighter support was good and it appeared as briefed. The Scouting Force was contacted by this Group and they accurately reported weather conditions existing in the target area. None of our A/C is missing.
  8. This Group arrived at the assembly point just as dawn was breaking, enabling the leaders to easily see the other A/C in their formation. We arrived at Control Point 1 three minutes early and made a 180 degree turn to the North in order to depart this point on time. The formation reached Control Point 2 three minutes early and this difference in time continued through bombs away. The course was uneventful until arrival at Texel Island, a location on the route out, where we were forced to jockey around to prevent flying over flak locations plotted on the southern tip of this island. From mid-channel on we followed a course six miles North of the prescribed route. Let-down was as per S.O.P. [Standard Operating Procedure]. This Group attacked visually by squadrons our No. 1 target, an A/F at Vechta, Germany. PFF [Pathfinder Force] was employed as a navigational aid and operated effectively.

Track Chart:
Click on Chart to Enlarge

Mission Summary Report:
  1. Abortives and Flying Spares:
    1. None
  [Signed:] John W. Freeman, Captain, Air Corps, Group Engineering Officer

Bomb Rack Malfunction - Aircraft 43-39156
  1. Aircraft 43-39156 released all bombs in train shortly after passing the I.P. on the first mission of 24 March, 1945.
  2. The bombing system of this aircraft ground checks perfectly.
  3. The Bomb Release Interval Control (Intervalometer) was removed and its mechanism checked. One broken wire was found which could have caused the malfunction had it touched the case of the unit.
  4. This office believes the malfunction should be classed as mechanical.
  [Signed:] Clemert E. Hayes, Captain, Air Corps, Group Armament Officer.

“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, G–7862, H–8280, M–9001, N–7665, O–8435, T–9156, U–7216
    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, D–6082, H–8412, K–8130, L–7956, M–7900, O–8277, P–7258, Q–8799, U–8813, Y–6108
    Sqdn 509th A/C: None
    Sqdn 510th A/C: None
    Sqdn 511th A/C: (L–8045 PFF)

    c. 94th Combat Wing "A" Group   High Squadron - 351st Group
    Sqdn 508th A/C: None
    Sqdn 509th A/C: A–8428, C–8640, G–8617, M–7964, O–8920, P–6904, R–6156, T–8666, U–8591, V–8070, Z–7696
    Sqdn 510th A/C: None
    Sqdn 511th A/C: (Y–7651 PFF)
  2. Target: ____
  3. W/T and R/T Operational Call Sign of each Squadron:
    Squadron508 [Call Sign]W/T USM R/T CARLTONSquadron510 [Call Sign]W/T RHK R/T TIPSTAFF
    Squadron509 [Call Sign]W/T JLA R/T HOTMINTSquadron511 [Call Sign]W/T SSQ R/T PARTNERSHIP
  4. Taxi – 0520; Take-Off – 0535; E.T.D. Field – 0657
  5. Time:Height:Place of Crossing English Coast: (OUT)
    073217,000 ftCromer
  6. Time:Height:Place of Crossing Enemy Coast: (IN)
    081425,000 ft52°45'N-04°38'E [Leihoek, Netherlands]
  7. Time:Height:Place of Crossing Enemy Coast: (Out)
    094122,000 ft53°11'N-04°50'E [North point of Texel Island, Netherlands]
  8. Time:Height:Place of Crossing English Coast: (IN)
    10265,000 ftCromer
  9. E.T.R.(Estimated Time of Return) Base: 1055 Hours
  10. MF/DF [Medium Frequency/Direction Finder] Section: "H"
  11. Bomb load of Each A/C: "A" Lead Box
    Lead Squadron: 16 x 500 Lb. S.A.P. - 1/10 x 1/100
    Low Squadron: 16 x 500 Lb. S.A.P. - 1/10 x 1/100
    High Squadron: 16 x 500 Lb. S.A.P. - 1/10 x 1/100
    ___ Squadron:
  12. Fuel Load of each A/C: 2300 Gallons
  13. Leaders:
    Lead Sqdn: Rank & Name: Major Gorham A/C No & Sqdn. J-8468 PFF (511)
    Low Sqdn: Rank & Name: Captain Powell A/C No & Sqdn. L-8045 PFF (511)
    High Sqdn: Rank & Name: Lt Patterson A/C No & Sqdn. Y-7651 PFF (511)
  14. Passengers, if any: (Full Name, Rank, A/C and Squadron Passenger flying with)

Report Compiled By ____

Formation Chart:
94th "A" Group - Lead Squadron Formation at Take–Off and Over Target
510th Squadron
Maj. Gorham–Trapp
A/C 44-8468 J PFF
A/C 44-8280 H
A/C 44-8664 D PFF
A/C 43-39156 T
A/C 43-39001 M
A/C 43-37862 G
A/C 43-37705 V
A/C 43-38465 A
A/C 43-38435 O
A/C 43-39020 C
A/C 43-37665 N
A/C 44-6610 B

94th "A" Group - High Squadron Formation at Take–Off and Over Target
509th Squadron
A/C 42-97651 Y PFF
A/C 43-37964 M
A/C 44-6156 R
A/C 43-38920 O
A/C 44-8617 G
A/C 43-38666 T
A/C 43-38592 B
A/C 43-38070 V
A/C 43-37696 Z
A/C 43-38640 C
A/C 43-38428 A
A/C 43-38591 U

94th "A" Group - Low Squadron Formation at Take–Off and Over Target
508th Squadron
A/C 44-8045 L PFF
A/C 43-38813 U
A/C 44-6082 D
A/C 44-6108 Y
A/C 44-8410 A
A/C 43-38130 K
A/C 43-38277 O
A/C 44-8412 H
A/C 43-37900 M
A/C 43-37956 L
A/C 43-38799 Q
A/C 42-97258 P

Time Schedule:
Zero Hour: 0730 BST [British Standard Time]  Briefing: ____ Stations: 0455 Start Engines: 0505 Taxi: 0520 Take-Off: 0535  Leave Base: ____ 

[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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