351st Bomb Group

Polebrook, England

Group Mission #316

Credited Mission #307

DATE: 15 Apr. 1945
Target:  Gun Emplacements, Rochefort Area, France

  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 are:  Gun Emplacements, Rochefort Area [France]
    2. PFF Primary: ____
    3. Visual Secondary: ____
    4. PFF Secondary: ____
    5. Last Resort Target: ____

  4. S-2 [Intelligence] Information:

  5. Weather:

  6. Time Schedule:
    Zero Hour: - 0730Stations: - 0650
    Start Engines: - 0650Taxi: - 0705
    Take Off: - 0720Last Take Off: - ____
    Intercept Group at____at _____ Ft.
    Target Time: - ____ETR [Estimated Time
       of Return]:

    - 1600 Approx.
    Depart English Coast at: 0810at Hastings (Lead Only)

    Time on oxygen: 2 hours

    TIME TICK [Set your watches.]

  7. Loadings:
     Gasoline: 2,780 Gallons
     Bombs:6 x 1000 SAP [Semi Armor Piercing] 1/10 x 1/40 [Fuses]

  8. Intervalometer Settings: Salvo

  9. Chaff: Commence discharge of chaff at - 3 mins after IP [Initial Point of Bomb Run] - Continue for 15 minutes.
        Each A/C [Aircraft] will carry - 360 units.

  10. Disposition of Forces:

    3 Divisions will be dispatched.
    The 1st Air Division will depart England 3rd preceded by 2nd & 3rd Division 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:
    Force ALead41stAttackingGun Emplacement 17-32-19
    2nd1stAttackingGun Emplacement 18-24-29
    3rd40thAttackingGun Emplacement 26-27-28
    Force B4th94thAttackingTargets as Assigned by Longfellow
    2nd Division targets arein Same Area
    3rd Division targets arein Same Area)

  11. Fighter Cover: Balance 3 [Call Sign]
    Scouting Force -6 P-51's - Buckeye Blue [Call Sign]

  12. Assembly:
    Lead at9,000feet on A-58 BuncherRed-GreenFlares
    High at10,000feet onA-58BuncherGreen-GreenFlares
    Low at8,000feet onA-58BuncherRed-RedFlares
    401st at12,000feet onA-58BuncherRed-YellowFlares
    457th at6,000feet onA-58BuncherRed-YellowFlares
    Combat Wing Assembly Line: Over Buncher A-58
    Division Assembly Line: None
    2 minutes interval between Groups.
    Reference altitude: 15,000'
    Bombing altitude: 15,000'
    Point for instrument let-down Kings Cliffe magnetic heading of 30 degrees.

  13. Call Signs:
    351stWoodcraft Charlie
    401stWoodcraft Able
    457thWoodcraft Baker
    1st Div. Air CommanderLt. Col. Thacker - Cowboy Able
    94th CBW Air CommanderLt. Col. Voorhees - Woodcraft Able

  14. The following ships will monitor [Radio Channels]- "B" - G-954, R-156, D-694; "C" - 8th A.F. - P-258; "C" - 67th Fighter Wing - K-130.
    Other Communications information will be found on the flimsy.

  15. FLYING CONTROL: _____

     a. Type of Bombing Formation - 6 Ship Squadrons - Lead & High Flight - Section Lead & Low Flight
     b. Bombardier or Navigator of the #3 A/C of each sqdn. G-954 report to Photo Lab.
      The A/C are: ____
     c. Ball Turret Gunners of the following A/C report to Photo Lab: ____
     d. Camera A/C: H-412, T-666, B-610
      return at  ____
     e. Spares to turn back at Go in - Tight in Slot..
     f. PFF A/C fly as Lead & Section Lead Sqdn. of Lead. Lead of High & Low Sqdn.
     g. GH A/C fly as ____
     h. REMARKS: 
       94th CBW Scouting A/C [Aircraft] - Partnership S - Sugar will be flown by Gen. Lacey.
       Air Commander will give out winds before IP [Initial Point of Bomb Run].
       Attention Gunners!!! A stripped down black B-17 with a Superimposed "J" in White Triangle on tail will act as scouter A/C for 94th. Two other stripped down B-17's, one with "K" inside & Yellow Triangle on the tail, and one with "L" inside a Red Triangle, will be Scouting Route and Target Area. Gunners will please refrain from Shooting at these A/C.

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


Operational Narrative.
  1. Date of Mission - 15 April, 1945.
    1. Target Attacked:  The No. 1 priority target (No. 18) at Rochefort, France, was attacked visually by sections.
    2. Force: 94th “C” Group. Thirty-eight aircraft, including two H2X ships, two combination H2X - GH aircraft, and two flying spares, were dispatched. In addition, one aircraft was supplied as the 94th Combat Wing Scouting Ship.
    3. Position: The 94th "C" Group was briefed to fly as the last group in the First Division Formation. It is believed that this formation was the eleventh, rather than the twelfth group in the formation, until shortly before reaching the IP [Initial Point of Bomb Run]. The "C" Group of the 40th Combat Wing was seen approaching the formation from the right in that area, and had not earlier been heard checking its position in the formation with the Division Leader.
    4. Lead Teams
      Group Lead, Section #1
      Air Commander: Captain Lewis J. Maginn
      Pilot:Captain Frank H. Wilcox
      Navigator:2nd Lt. Rowland X. Madsen
      Bombardier:1st Lt. Jack P. Austin

      Lead Sqdn., Low Section #2
      Leader: 1st Lt. George A. Patterson
      Pilot:F/O Philip A. Frank
      Navigator:F/O Leon R. Phelps
      Bombardier:2nd Lt. Leonard L. Lesch

      Low Sqdn., Lead Section #3
      Leader: Captain Edwin L. Olson
      Pilot:2nd Lt. Howard B. Grigsby
      Navigator:2nd Lt. Joseph Gaestel
      Bombardier:2nd Lt. William F. Cravin
      Low Sqdn., Low Section #4
      Leader: 2nd Lt. John H. Hart
      Pilot:2nd Lt. Joseph Y. Cooley
      Navigator:F/O Harry C. Bleile
      Bombardier:1st Lt. Leonard L. Schuler

      High Sqdn., Lead Section #5
      Leader: 1st Lt. Frederick F. Horns
      Pilot:2nd Lt. Carl L. Blackford
      Navigator:1st Lt. Frank D. Fuller
      Bombardier:2nd Lt. Salvatore R. Cacace

      High Sqdn., Low Section #6
      Leader: 1st Lt. Morris G. Turner
      Pilot:2nd Lt. Boleslau Lipski
      Navigator:2nd Lt. John H. Brandon
      Bombardier:2nd Lt. Patrick J. Finnegan
  2. Narrative.
    1.  Flight to Assembly: The take-off was made as planned and the flight to the assembly area on the continent was made individually. The lead aircraft followed the briefed route without difficulty.
    2.  Squadron and Group Assembly: The assembly point, Buncher A-58, was reached without difficulty four minutes late (0911) at the briefed altitude of 9,000 feet. The assembly was carried out easily in good visibility. The group was formed before the briefed departure time. The only difficulty encountered was in avoiding a formation of B-24’s which passed over the assembly area.
    3.  Division Assembly Line and Flight to Target: The 94th “C” Group made its departure from the assembly area 30 seconds late (0954 ½) at the briefed height of 9,000 feet. No difficulty was encountered in getting into position behind the 94th “B” Group over Paris. It was necessary for the formation to ess slightly in order to keep the proper interval between itself and the preceding group. Control Point #1 was reached one minute early (1029) at an altitude of 9,000 feet, the briefed height. It is believed that the “C” Group of the 40th Combat Wing was behind the formation, thus putting the 94th “C” Group in eleventh position in the Division Column rather than twelfth, as briefed. The briefed route was closely followed in Division Column. The Orbit Point was reached seven minutes early (1122) at the briefed altitude of 15,000 feet. In accordance with instructions, the group circled in that area until Longfellow assessed the damage of the preceding groups; bombings and gave the 94th Combat Wing Leader the targets to be attacked. It was necessary for the lead ship to stay in the vicinity of the Orbit Point one hour and thirty –one minutes. Each section lead was contacted by the Combat Wing Leader and given bombing instructions. A change was made in the bombing order which made it necessary for the sections to attack in reverse order. The Group Leader dispatched each section in the proper sequence while circling the Orbit Point, and attacked the assigned target last. The lead ship reached the briefed IP at 1300 hours at the briefed altitude of 15,000 feet.
    4.  Description of Bombing Run: After receiving instructions from Longfellow, the Combat Wing Leader had assigned target No. 18 to the 94th “C” Group. Each section performed its own visual sighting operation. Visibility was good, and no difficulties were encountered on the bomb run. The C-1 Pilot [Autopilot] was reported as having functioned satisfactorily in all instances. Bombs were dropped from 1305 hours to 1314½ hours from altitudes ranging from 14,400 feet to 16,000 feet. Bombing results were good for two sections and poor for four sections.
    5.  Flight From Target: The aircraft returned home by sections. The lead aircraft led the last section over the target and followed the briefed route on the withdrawal. The 94th Combat Wing Scouting ship was contacted and informed that the entire “C” Group had bombed. The French coast was crossed at the briefed route at an altitude of 5,000 feet. The planned course was followed in the flight across the channel and to base. The lead aircraft crossed the English coast at an altitude of 3,000 feet and later let-down to 2,500 feet in order to get under clouds on the briefed route. Landings were carried out without difficulty.
    6.  Fighter Support: None scheduled.
    7.  Comments: No aircraft were lost. No enemy aircraft were encountered. The only flak throughout the mission appeared to be fired from Baleines Point on the Isle of Re. It came up in bursts of three, generally inaccurate for both height and deflection. The Weather Scouting Force furnished the proper weather information.
    8.  Aircraft Not Attacking: There were no failures to attack. The two flying spares remained with the formation.

  [Signed] Robert B. Stratton, Captain, Air Corps, Statistical Officer

351st Bombardment Group
Lead Sqdn.,
Lead Sect. #1
Lead Sqdn.,
Low Sect.
Low Sqdn.,
Lead Sect. #3
Low Sqdn.,
Low Sect.
High Sqdn.,
Lead Sect. #5
High Sqdn.,
Low Sect. #6
94th Combat Wing
Scouting A/C
Borrowed Aircraft00000000
No. of Aircraft Failing to Take Off00000000
No. of Aircraft Sorties667676139
No. of Aircraft Airborne Less Unused Spares667676139
No. of Aircraft Credit Sorties667676139
No. of Effective Sorties667676139
No. of Non-Effective Sorties00000000
Name of Primary Target - #1ROCHEFORT AREA, FRANCE - TARGET #18
(A) No. of A/C Attacking Primary Target667676139
(B) No., Size & Type Of Bombs  36 x 1000# SAP   36 x 1000# SAP   42 x 1000# SAP   36 x 1000# SAP   42 x 1000# SAP   36 x 1000# SAP   -   228 x 1000# SAP 
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 - Total00000000
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 Off0717071907210721½072007400746
Time of Attack1314½1314131113081306½1305-
Total Time for Mission51:3852:4857:3351:2060:0850:018:12331:40
Altitude of Release (Indicated)15,000’15,000’14,400’14,300’16,000’15,600’-
Visual, H2X, Gee-H, M-H, Eagle, or CombinationVISUAL
Enemy Resistance – AA Intensity & AccuracyMEAGER AND INACCURATE
Enemy Resistance – Fighter00000000
Enemy Resistance – Bombers00000000
U.S. A/C Engaged by Enemy Aircraft00000000
Number of Passes made by Enemy Aircraft00000000

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


Lead Bombardier’s Narrative:
Date - 15 April. 1945
Field Order # 688
Squadron or Group - Lead Sqdn., 94th "C" Group
Target -ROYAN #18 in FRANCE
  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. Slight Haze
  5. If Visual, when was MPI [Mean Point of Impact] identified? If not actually seen, how was it located? About 10 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] Jack P. Austin, 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, Section #1, 94th "C" Group
Bombardier - 1st Lt. Austin, Jack P.
Pilot - Capt. Wilcox, Frank H.
Navigator - 2nd Lt. Madsen, Rowland X.

Aircraft B-17G   V-079  Take-off - 7:20 Landed - 16:10
Objective - Royan #18 in France
Aiming Point (MPI) [Mean Point of Impact] - As Briefed
Initial Point - As Briefed
Method of Attack - Six A/C Section
No. of Attacking A/C in Group: - 6   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 - 6 x 1000 Lb. G.P.[General Purpose] & 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 - 55Magnetic Heading Ordered 290° Actual 280°
True Altitude Above Target - 15,538True Heading 271°
Indicated Altitude - 15,000Drift, Estimated 2° Left - Actual 2° Left
Pressure Altitude of Target -211True Track 269°
Altimeter Setting 29.92Actual Range 8,778.9'
Calculated Indicated Air Speed - 150KBomb Sight Type - M-9
True Air Speed - 191KTime of Release 13:14:30
Ground Speed Est. 191 Actual 191Length of Bombing Run - 15 min.
Wind Direction Metro - 300° Actual - 007°Intervalometer Setting - Salvo
Wind Velocity Metro 10K Actual 8K C-1 Pilot [Autopilot] - X [Used]
D.S. - 166.7  Trail - 32   ATF - 36.42A-5 Pilot _____
Tan. D.A, Est. .52 Actual .565 Manual Pilot ____

Preliminary Damage Assessment on Today’s Mission.
  1. The three squadrons of this Group bombed in sections of six aircraft each, and attacked the defense position (No. 18) in the Gironde estuary. Photo cover is complete for all six sections
    1. Section One – The bombs hit to the right of the gun position with no hits in the target area. The pattern is 740 feet by 518 feet. Percentages will be 34% for 500 feet and 100% for 1,000 feet.
    2. Section Two – Approximately 15% of the bombs hit in the target area and some damage to gun positions will be done. The pattern is 1396 feet by 588 feet, and percentages are 30% for 500 feet, 84% for 1,000 feet, and 100% for 2000 feet.
    3. Section Three – The main concentration of bombs hit on and around the target, and two positions are covered by bursts. The pattern is 1,102 feet by 612 feet, with percentages of 72% for 500 feet and 100% for 1,000 feet.
    4. Section Four – The bombs fell to the right of the target with no hits in the area. The pattern is 857 feet by 490 feet. Percentages are 44% for 500 feet and 100% for 1,000 feet.
    5. Section Five – The bombs fell to the right and over the target, with no hits in the area. The pattern is 808 feet by 588 feet. Percentages are 30% for 500 feet and 100% for 1000 feet.
    6. Section Six – The bombs fell to the right of the target and there are no hits in the area. The pattern is 1,064 feet by 577 feet. Percentages are 0% for 500 feet, 97% for 1000 feet, and 100% for 2000 feet.
  [Signed:] Thomas L. Cooper, Captain, Air Corps, Asst. Group S-2, P.I. [Photo Intelligence]

Narrative Teletype Report:
  1. No leaflets were carried by this Group.
  2. The 38 planes of this Group formed the94th “C” CBW [Combat Wing] group and bombed in six sections of six ships each, plus two spares. The target was target No. 18 in the Rochefort Area, France, and all bombing was done visually. Photos show bombing results to be generally fair. The bombs of one section hit directly on the target with very good results, and another section had some hits in the area, with fair to good results. The bombs of the other four sections hit outside of the target area with poor results.
  3. No E/A [Enemy Aircraft] were encountered and no claims [of enemy aircraft being shot down] are being submitted.
  4. The only flak throughout the mission appeared to be fired from Baleines Point on the Isle de Re; it came up in bursts of three, generally inaccurate for both height and deflection.
  5. There were 10/10ths clouds at low altitude in the area of southern England and the Channel, and this Group flew between layers of this cloud on leaving England. There were 1/10ths low clouds over northern France, but conditions were CAVU [Ceiling And Visibility Unlimited] at the target. Clouds generally were no hinderance [sic] to good formation flying, although the Group let down under 4-5/10ths clouds over the continent and England.
  6. There are no observations of military importance.
  7. The PFF equipment of the four ships employed by this Group worked well, and was used for navigational purposes only. Scouting Force furnished proper weather information. None of our A/C is missing.
  8. This mission generally was flown as briefed. This Group left the southern English coast approximately three minutes early, flying through and between layers of low clouds in that area. Assembly was made as briefed and the assembly buncher was left one-half minute late. From this point on the Group began to gain time and was seven minutes early at the orbit point. After circling in the orbit area for from one hour to an hour and one-half, the six sections of this Group bombed target No. 18 in the Rochefort Area on individual runs and sightings as per instructions of the 94th Combat Wing leader. The return route was followed and a standard let-down procedure was flown home to base.

Track Chart:
Click on Chart to Enlarge

Mission Summary Report:
  1. Abortives and Flying Spares:
    1. None
  [Signed:] Otto R. Vasak, Major, Air Corps, Station S-4 [Engineering] Officer

“J” Form:
  1. Last Four numbers and Call Letter of A/C in each Squadron:
    94th Combat Wing "C" Group
    1A - LEAD Squadron - 351st Group
     (A) Sqdn 508th A/C: C–8753, D–6082, G–8954, H–8412, K–8130, M–7957, P–7258, X–6579, Y–6108
     (B) Sqdn 509th A/C: A–8428
     (C) Sqdn 510th A/C: None
     (D) Sqdn 511th A/C: (V–8079 PFF), (D–8664 PFF)

    1B - LOW Squadron - 351st Group
     (A) Sqdn 508th A/C: B–7349
     (B) Sqdn 509th A/C: C–8640, D–7193, F–6566, G–8617, H–6952, O–8920, R–6156, T–8666, V–8070, Z–7696, (B–8592 Spare)
     (C) Sqdn 510th A/C: None
     (D) Sqdn 511th A/C: (P–8867 PFF)

    1C - HIGH Squadron - 351st Group
     (A) Sqdn 508th A/C: None
     (B) Sqdn 509th A/C: None
     (C) Sqdn 510th A/C: A–8465, B–6610, D–8694, G–7862, H–8280, M–9001, Q–6565, S–7512, T–9156, U–7216, (L–7515 Spare)
     (D) Sqdn 511th A/C: (F–8376 PFF), (G–8872 PFF)
  2. Target: Not Applicable
  3. W/T and R/T Operational Call Sign of each Squadron:
    Squadron508 [Call Sign]W/T WFH R/T CARLTONSquadron510 [Call Sign]W/T UMY R/T TIPSTAFF
    Squadron509 [Call Sign]W/T LPZ R/T HOTMINTSquadron511 [Call Sign]W/T WHX R/T PARTNERSHIP
  4. Taxi – 0705; Take-Off – 0720; E.T.D. Field – 0954
  5. Time:Height:Place of Crossing English Coast: (OUT)
    Not Applicable8,000 FtHastings
  6. Time:Height:Place of Crossing Enemy Coast: (IN)
    Not Applicable9,000 FtLe Treport [France]
  7. Time:Height:Place of Crossing Enemy Coast: (Out)
    Not Applicable5,000 Ft49°40'N-01°15'E [Beaumont-le-Hareng, France]
  8. Time:Height:Place of Crossing English Coast: (IN)
    Not Applicable5,000 FtAnvil Point
  9. E.T.R.(Estimated Time of Return) Base: Not Applicable Hours
  10. MF/DF [Medium Frequency/Direction Finder] Section: "N" & "H"
  11. Bomb load of Each A/C: "A" Lead Box
    Lead Squadron: 12 A/C - 6 x 1000 Lb. S.A.P. [Semi-Armor Piercing] - 1/10 x 1/40 [Fuses]
    Low Squadron: 13 A/C - 6 x 1000 Lb. S.A.P. [Semi-Armor Piercing] - 1/10 x 1/40 [Fuses]
    High Squadron: 13 A/C - 6 x 1000 Lb. S.A.P. [Semi-Armor Piercing] - 1/10 x 1/40 [Fuses]
    ___ Squadron:
  12. Fuel Load of each A/C: 2780 Gallons
  13. Leaders:
    Lead Sqdn: Rank & Name: Capt. Maginn A/C No & Sqdn. V-8079 PFF (511)
    Low Sqdn: Rank & Name: Lt Grigsby A/C No & Sqdn. P-8867 PFF (511)
    High Sqdn: Rank & Name: Lt Horns A/C No & Sqdn. F-8376 PFF (511)
  14. Passengers, if any: (Full Name, Rank, A/C and Squadron Passenger flying with)
    H.B. Chapman Maj. G-8872 511th E. Haldeman S/Sgt. G-8872 511th A. Robyn S/Sgt. G-8872 511th

Report Compiled By Rocky Civizzio, T/Sgt.

Formation Chart:
94th "A" Combat Bomb Group - Lead Squadron Formation at Take–Off and Over Target
Lead Squadron Section #1 -
A/C 44-8079 V PFF
A/C 43-38954 G
Hart, G.
A/C 44-6108 Y
A/C 43-38428 A
A/C 43-38130 K
A/C 43-37957 M
Lead Squadron Section #2
A/C 44-8664 D PFF
A/C 42-97258 P
A/C 43-38753 C
A/C 44-6579 X
A/C 42-37780 G
A/C 44-8412 H

94th "A" Combat Bomb Group - Low Squadron Formation at Take–Off and Over Target
Section #3 - 509th Squadron
A/C 44-8867 P PFF
A/C 42-97193 D
A/C 43-38640 C
A/C 44-6952 H
A/C 44-6156 R
A/C 44-6566 F
A/C 43-38592 B Spare
Section #4 Low Squadron
Hart, J.H.–Cooley
A/C 42-97349 B
A/C 43-37696 Z
A/C 43-38070 V
A/C 44-8617 G
A/C 43-38920 O
A/C 43-38666 T

94th "A" Combat Bomb Group - High Squadron Formation at Take–Off and Over Target
Section #5 510th Squadron
A/C 44-8376 F PFF
A/C 44-8280 H
A/C 42-97216 U
A/C 43-39001 M
A/C 43-38694 D
A/C 44-6565 Q
A/C 43-37515 L Spare
Section #6 High Squadron
A/C 43-38872 G PFF
A/C 43-37862 G
A/C 43-38465 A
A/C 43-39156 T
A/C 43-37512 S
A/C 44-6610 B

Time Schedule:
Zero Hour: 0730 DBST [Double British Standard Time]  Briefing: Enlisted Men 0400; Officers 0430 Stations: 0640 
Start Engines: 0650 Taxi:0705 Take-Off: 0720 [Breakfast: Enlisted Men 0300; Officers 0330]

[Wounded On Mission: 0]
The above records were obtained at the National Archives Records Administration and have been declassified by authority NND 745005
Please contact us with your comments and corrections.