351st Bomb Group

Polebrook, England

Group Mission #318

Credited Mission #309

DATE: 17 Apr. 1945
Target: R.R. Marshalling Yard, Dresden, Germany

  1. Ask 508th, 509th and 510th Operations representatives if their crews are all present.

  2. Read Special briefing poop.

    1. The Visual Primary Target for today is: #1 M/Y [Marshalling Yard] at Dresden [Germany]
    2. PFF Primary: #2 M/Y [Marshalling Yard] at Dresden [Germany]
    3. Visual Secondary: ____
    4. PFF Secondary: ____
    5. Last Resort Target: ____

  4. S-2 [Intelligence] Information:

  5. Weather:

  6. Time Schedule:
    Zero Hour: - 1100Stations: - 0835
    Start Engines: - 0845Taxi: - 0900
    Take Off: - 0915Last Take Off: - 1015
    Intercept Group atClactonat 5,000 ft.
    Target Time: - 1408ETR [Estimated Time
       of Return]:

    - 1828
    Depart English Coast at: 1102at Clacton at 5,000'

    Time on oxygen: 2½ hours
    Total Time of Mission - 9 hours

    TIME TICK [Set your watches.]

  7. Loadings:
     Gasoline: 2,780 Gallons
     Bombs:6 x 1000 Lb. Mark-13 1/100 Nose x 1/100 Tail [Fuses]

  8. Intervalometer Settings: Visual - Salvo; H2X - 100 Ft.

  9. Chaff: Commence discharge of chaff at - I.P. [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 1st followed 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:
    Lead1stAttackingDresden M/Y
    2nd94thAttackingDresden M/Y
    3rd41stAttackingDresden M/Y
    4th40thAttackingDresden M/Y
    2nd Division targets areKladno, Beroun, Ryrarf & Falknov
    3rd Division targets areDresden & Roudnice.

  11. Fighter Cover: 5 Gps. of P-51's of which, one Gp will give Close Support
    Screening Force - 5 Mosquitos preceding Lead Gp at Target & Discharge Chaff
    Scouting Force - 6 P-51's - Call Sign Buckeye Black will furnish target weather information to Swordfish Able Leader.
  12. Assembly:
    Lead at5,000feet on Kings Cliffe BuncherRed-GreenFlares
    High at6,000feet onKings CliffeBuncherGreen-GreenFlares
    Low at4,000feet onKings CliffeBuncherRed-RedFlares
    401st at5,000feet onCottesmoreBuncherRed-YellowFlares
    457th at5,000feet onGlattonBuncherRed-YellowFlares
    Combat Wing Assembly Line: Mendlesham to Clacton
    Division Assembly Line: Clacton to 50°17’N-07°00’E [Mannebach, Germany]
    2 minutes interval between Groups.
    Reference altitude: 20,000'
    Bombing altitude: All Gps. 25,000'
    Point for instrument let-down Kings Cliffe magnetic heading of 30 degrees.

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

  14. The following ships will monitor [Radio Channels]- "B" - B-610, D-082, L-955; "C" - 8th A.F. - S-512; "C" - 67th Fighter Wing - H-280.
    Other Communications information will be found on the flimsy.

  15. FLYING CONTROL: _____

     a. Type of Bombing Formation - Visual - By Squadron; H2X - By Group
     b. Bombardier and Navigator of the #3 A/C of Lead Sqdn. report to Photo Lab.
      The A/C is: V-705
     c. Ball Turret Gunners of the following A/C report to Photo Lab: Lead - B-610, Low - G-954, High - B-592
     d. Camera A/C: U-216, M-957, A-428
      return at  Continental Coast Out [Bound]
     e. Spares to turn back at Will Go In
     f. PFF A/C fly as Lead & Deputy of Lead Sqdn. & Lead of High & Low Sqdn.
     g. GH A/C fly as Lead of Lead and High Sqdns.
     h. REMARKS: 
       All targets are being attacked at the request of the ground forces.
       E/A [Enemy Aircraft] may be expected.
       Preliminary Fighter Claims 4/16 - 2 E/A Air; 639 E/A Ground.
       A stripped down B-17 will be in target area & will act as a command A/C for the Division.
       Russian Recognition Signals which are on Flimsy are: Basic - Rock Wings; Secondary - Fire Red Flare
       No Targets will be attacked other than those assigned.
       A/C will be bombing inside the Russian Bomb Line. It is therefore necessary that all crews be briefed to fire only at A/C that
       are positively identified as hostile or at those making a hostile commitment.

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


Operational Narrative.
  1. Date of Mission - 28 July, 1945.
    1. Target Attacked:  The No. 1 priority target, Dresden, Germany, was attacked in squadron formation. The method of bombing was H2X with a visual assist.
    2. Force: 94th “B” Group. Thirty-eight aircraft, including one H2X ship, three combination H2X-GH aircraft, and two flying spares, were dispatched.
    3. Position: The 94th “B” Group flew in its briefed position as the fifth group in the First Division Formation.
    4. Lead Teams
      Group Lead
      Air Commander: Major Jerome H. Geiger
      Pilot:Captain Norman A. Trapp
      Navigator:1st Lt. John C. Talbott
      Bombardier:1st Lt. Clarence L. Hunter

      Low Squadron
      Leader: 1st Lt. Vincent R. Cramer
      Pilot:2nd Lt. John M. Smith
      Navigator:F/O Richard E. Woodbury
      Bombardier:F/O Noel P. Sullivan

      High Squadron
      Leader: 1st Lt. Frederick F. Horns
      Pilot:2nd Lt. Carl L. Blackford
      Navigator:1st Lt. Frank D. Fuller
      Bombardier:2nd Lt. Salvatore L. Cacace
  2. Narrative.
    1.  Squadron and Group Assembly: The assembly was carried out without difficulty over the Kings Cliffe buncher at the briefed altitude of 5,000 feet.
    2.  Route Over England: Departure from the buncher was made on time (1019) at the briefed altitude of 5,000 feet. Point B was reached one minute early (1024) at an altitude of 5,000 feet. Shortly after leaving Point B, the formation made a double drift to the right in order to lose time. Before reaching Point D, it was necessary for the group to perform another double drift to the left of course in order to fall into formation behind the 94th “A” Group. The Combat Wing formation was joined without difficulty. The 94th “A” Group was followed on the flight to the English coast. Departure from the coast was made at an altitude of 5,000 feet, the briefed height, and three minutes early (1059).
    3.  Division Assembly Line: The briefed course was flown behind the 94th “A” Group. The coast was crossed at the briefed point at an altitude of 5,000 feet. The formation was seven minutes early (1127) at that point.
    4.  Flight to Target: A short distance inside of the coast, it was necessary to make a double drift in order to maintain the interval between the 94th “A” and “B” Groups. The Combat Wing Leader announced over VHF that he was going to start the climb five minutes late. The 94th “B” Group Leader had planned to delay his climb a few minutes in order to permit the 94th “A” Group to increase the interval, as some difficulty has been encountered in overrunning the 94th “A”. After the “A” Group started the climb, the 94th “B” delayed for a few minutes and let the interval increase. The climb was then begun, and no further difficulty in that respect was encountered. Considerable difficulty was experienced from haze at altitude. As both the “A” and “B” Groups had started climbing late, they approached the target area below the briefed bombing altitude of 25,000 feet. It would, however, have been impossible to attempt visual bombing through the haze at that altitude. The 94th “A” was at 23,000 feet when it announced that it would descend to 21,000 feet in order to bomb. The 94th “A” Group was then at 21,000 feet, and finding the visibility too poor for visual bombing, descended to 20,500 feet. The briefed IP [Initial Point of Bomb Run] was reached seven minutes early (1351) at an altitude of 20,400 feet, 4,600 feet below the briefed height.
    5.  Description of Bombing Run: The briefed No. 1 priority target, Dresden, Germany, was attacked in squadron formation. The Weather Scouting Force had indicated that the target could be attacked visually. However, due to the smoke and haze in the target area, it was necessary for the formation to bomb by H2X methods with a visual assist. Each squadron performed its own sighting operation. The bomb run was started on H2X and the lead bombardiers took over when they could identify the target area. The briefed turn was made at the IP. No difficulties other than poor visibility were encountered. Bombing results are believed to be fair.
    6.  Flight From Target: The rally was easily made. The formation started losing altitude immediately after leaving the target area in order to get out of the haze found at the bombing altitude. It was possible to get only occasional glimpses of the 94th “A” ahead. After passing Control Point #5 at an altitude of 18,500 feet, 6,500 feet below the briefed height, the formation was able to see the 94th “A” Group ahead. It was followed on the withdrawal and the let-down, which accounts for the slight deviation to the north of course prior to Control Point #6. Departure from the French coast was made at an altitude of 4,500 feet. The English coast was crossed at the same altitude to the right of the briefed point, and the formation flew a direct course to base. The High and Low Squadrons were sent 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. Meager and accurate flak was encountered. The Weather Scouting Force reported that visual conditions would exist in the target area, but upon arriving there, heavy haze was encountered.
    9.  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 SquadronLow SquadronHigh SquadronTOTALS
Borrowed Aircraft0000
No. of Aircraft Failing to Take Off0000
No. of Aircraft Sorties12131338
No. of Aircraft Airborne Less Unused Spares12131338
No. of Aircraft Credit Sorties12131338
No. of Effective Sorties12131338
No. of Non-Effective Sorties0000
Name of Primary Target #1DRESDEN, GERMANY
(A) No. of A/C Attacking Primary Target12131338
(B) No., Size & Type Of Bombs 72 x 1000# MK13  72 x 1000# MK13  78 x 1000# MK13  222 x 1000# MK13 
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 Off091009130912
Time of Attack14021403:301403
Total Time for Mission108:14118:06118:32344:52
Altitude of Release (Indicated)20,400’20,400’21,400’
Visual, H2X, Gee-H, M-H, Eagle, or CombinationH2X WITH VISUAL ASSIST
Enemy Resistance – AA Intensity & AccuracyMEAGER AND ACCURATE
Enemy Resistance – Fighter0000
Enemy Resistance – Bombers0000
U.S. A/C Engaged by Enemy Aircraft0000
Number of Passes made by Enemy Aircraft0000
Degree of SuccessFAIR RESULTS

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

Lead Bombardier’s Narrative:
Date - 17 April 1945
Field Order # 690
Squadron or Group - Lead Sqdn., 94th "B" Group
Target - Priority #1, M/Y [RR Marshalling Yard] and Railway Center at Dresden, Germany
  1. Type of Bombing (Visual, PFF or Combined)?  PFF with Visual Assist.
  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. Very Heavy Haze
  5. If Visual, when was MPI [Mean Point of Impact] identified? If not actually seen, how was it located? PFF with visual assist
  6. Any Interference on Bomb Run? Haze
  7. Did C-1 [Autopilot] function satisfactory? Good
  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 "B" Group
Bombardier - 1st Lt. Hunter, Clarence L., Jr.
Pilot - Maj. Geiger, J.H. & Capt. Trapp, N.A.
Navigator - 1st Lt. Talbott, John C.

Aircraft B-17G   J-468  Take-off - 0915 Landed - 1815
Objective - Priority #1, M/Y [RR Marshalling Yard] and Railway Center at Dresden, Germany
Aiming Point (MPI) [Mean Point of Impact] - As Briefed - PFF with Visual Assist.
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 - 6 x 1000 Lb. G.P.[General Purpose]
Number of Bombs Loaded - As Above   Released - Same
Fusing, Nose - 1/100   Tail - 1/100
Synchronization - On

Information at Release Point:  

Altitude of Target - +410Magnetic Heading Ordered 026° Actual 040°
True Altitude Above Target - 20,750True Heading 037°
Indicated Altitude - 20,400Drift, Estimated 8° Right - Actual 10° Right
Pressure Altitude of Target +10True Track 047°
Altimeter Setting 29.92Actual Range 10,790'
Calculated Indicated Air Speed - 150KBomb Sight Type - M-9
True Air Speed - 210KTime of Release 14:02
Ground Speed Est. 190 Actual 219Length of Bombing Run - 28 N.M. [Nautical Miles]
Wind Direction Metro - 350° Actual - 280°Intervalometer Setting - Salvo
Wind Velocity Metro 35 Actual 25 C-1 Pilot [Autopilot] - X [Used]
D.S. - 142.2  Trail - 44   ATF - 40.01A-5 Pilot _____
Tan. D.A, Est. .49 Actual .52 Manual Pilot ____

Preliminary Damage Assessment:
  1. The three squadrons of this group attacked the priority No. 1 target at Dresden, Germany. The target was the M/Y [Marshalling Yard] and railway centre and bombing was done by PFF [Pathfinder Force] with a visual assist.
  2. The lead squadron bombs fell into the target area with the main concentration slightly short (south) of the visual MPI [Mean Point of Impact]. Bursts are seen near the junction point of the M/Y and buildings on the east side of the yard are covered by bursts. The pattern is 2040 feet by 1734 feet with percentages of 49% for 1000 feet and 92% for 2000 feet.
  3. The bombs of the low squadron fell into the smoke and a definite plot cannot be made. Smoke markers indicate that these bombs fell into the same approximate area as the lead squadron.
  4. The high squadron bombs fell into the smoke. A few bursts can be plotted and these indicate that the bombs of the high squadron fell approximately 1000 feet short and slightly left of the visual MPI.
  [Signed:] Thomas L. Cooper, Captain, Air Corps, Group P.I. [Photo Intelligence] Officer

Narrative Teletype Report:
  1. No leaflets were carried by this Group.
  2. The three squadrons of this group formed the 94th “B” Group and bombed by squadrons the No. 2 target, the M/Y at Dresden, Germany. Bombing was by PFF methods with a visual assist. Photos show the bombing results to be fair. The target area is partially obscured by smoke of previous bombing and dense haze makes assessment difficult. The bombs of the lead squadron fell on the M/Y but slightly short (South) of the visual MPI. There are bombs on the M/Y and on built up sections on both sides of the yard. The low squadron bombs fell into smoke in the same approximate area as the lead. The high squadron bombs fell on the M/Y but to the left of the main yard and approximately one mile short of the visual MPI.
  3. No E/A [Enemy Aircraft] were encountered and no claims [of enemy aircraft being shot down] are being submitted.
  4. Meager accurate flak, described by some crews as moderate, was encountered at the target. Meager flak was observed at 5040 N – 1320 E and eight bursts were encountered at 5110 N – 1330 E.
  5. Just before Control Point Four dense cirrus haze was encountered and forced the group to descend to 20500 feet, an altitude which the leader considered to be the safest with regard to other formations in the vicinity and possible flak at the target. However, there was still haze below this altitude and necessitated our bombing by PFF methods with a visual assist.
  6. There were no observations of military importance.
  7. The equipment of the four PFF sets employed by this group worked efficiently and were used for bombing. Fighter support was good. The Scouting Force informed the groups that visual conditions would exist in the target area but upon reaching the target area heavy haze was encountered. None of our A/C are missing.
  8. Assembly was as per SOP [Standard Operating Procedure] but the 94th “A” group departed the Buncher two minutes early and it was necessary for this group to do likewise. The route in was flown as briefed except for the altitude, which was maintained at 20500 feet until bombs away because of the density of the haze in the target area. Bombing was done by PFF methods with a visual assist and all equipment worked well. On the route out the formation flew slightly south of the briefed course until it reached the English Coast. Let-down was as per SOP.

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

“J” Form:
  1. Last Four numbers and Call Letter of A/C in each Squadron:
    94th Combat Wing "A" Group
    1A - LEAD Squadron - 351st Group
     (A) Sqdn 508th A/C: None
     (B) Sqdn 509th A/C: None
     (C) Sqdn 510th A/C: A–8465, B–6610, C–9020, H–8280, M–9001, Q–6565, S–7512, T–9156, U–7216, V–7705
     (D) Sqdn 511th A/C: (J–8468 PFF), (P–8867 PFF)

    1B - LOW Squadron - 351st Group
     (A) Sqdn 508th A/C: B–7349, C–8753, D–6082, G–8954, H–8412, L–7956, M–7957, P–7258, Q–8799, U–8813, X–6579, (Y–6108 Spare)
     (B) Sqdn 509th A/C: None
     (C) Sqdn 510th A/C: None
     (D) Sqdn 511th A/C: (N–8842 PFF)

    1C - HIGH Squadron - 351st Group
     (A) Sqdn 508th A/C: None
     (B) Sqdn 509th A/C: A–8428, B–8592, C–8640, D–7193, F–6566, G–8617, L–2955, P–6907, V–8070, Z–7696, (O–8920 Spare)
     (C) Sqdn 510th A/C: None
     (D) Sqdn 511th A/C: (B–7701 PFF)
  2. Target: GH-5590
  3. W/T and R/T Operational Call Sign of each Squadron:
    Squadron508 [Call Sign]W/T MPD R/T CARLTONSquadron510 [Call Sign]W/T MBV R/T TIPSTAFF
    Squadron509 [Call Sign]W/T UUN R/T HOTMINTSquadron511 [Call Sign]W/T SHU R/T PARTNERSHIP
  4. Taxi – 0900; Take-Off – 0915; E.T.D. Field – 1019
  5. Time:Height:Place of Crossing English Coast: (OUT)
    11025,000 FtClacton
  6. Time:Height:Place of Crossing Enemy Coast: (IN)
    11345,000 Ft51°18'N-03°04'E [Molenhoek, Belgium]
  7. Time:Height:Place of Crossing Enemy Coast: (Out)
    17155,000 Ft50°43'N-01°37'E [Boulogne-sur-Mer, France]
  8. Time:Height:Place of Crossing English Coast: (IN)
    17285,000 FtDungeness
  9. E.T.R.(Estimated Time of Return) Base: 1828 Hours
  10. MF/DF [Medium Frequency/Direction Finder] Section: "G"
  11. Bomb load of Each A/C: "A" Lead Box
    Lead Squadron: 12 A/C - 6 x 1000 Mark 13 - 1/100 x 1/100 [Fuses]
    Low Squadron: 13 A/C - 6 x 1000 Mark 13 - 1/100 x 1/100
    High Squadron: 13 A/C - 6 x 1000 Mark 13 - 1/100 x 1/100
    ___ Squadron:
  12. Fuel Load of each A/C: 2780 Gallons
  13. Leaders:
    Lead Sqdn: Rank & Name: Major Geiger A/C No & Sqdn. J-8468 PFF (511)
    Low Sqdn: Rank & Name: Lt Smith A/C No & Sqdn. N-8842 PFF (511)
    High Sqdn: Rank & Name: Lt Horns A/C No & Sqdn. B-7701 PFF (511)
  14. Passengers, if any: (Full Name, Rank, A/C and Squadron Passenger flying with)
    Edwin L. Sterling Lt. Col. P-8867 PFF (511)

Report Compiled By Lopatin, Sol, T/Sgt.

Formation Chart:
94th "B" Combat Bomb Group - Lead Squadron Formation at Take–Off and Over Target
510th Squadron
Maj. Geiger–Capt. Trapp
A/C 44-8468 J PFF
A/C 43-37705 V
A/C 44-8867 P 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 44-6565 Q
A/C 42-97216 U

94th "B" Combat Bomb Group - Low Squadron Formation at Take–Off and Over Target
508th Squadron
A/C 44-8842 N PFF
A/C 43-38954 G
A/C 44-6579 X
A/C 43-38753 C
A/C 42-97349 B
A/C 42-97258 P
A/C 43-38813 U
A/C 44-8412 H
A/C 44-6082 D
A/C 43-37956 L
A/C 44-6108 Y Spare
A/C 43-38799 Q
A/C 43-37957 M

[The Spare A/C stayed with the formation.]

94th "B" Combat Bomb Group - High Squadron Formation at Take–Off and Over Target
509th Squadron
A/C 42-97701 B PFF
A/C 43-38640 C
A/C 44-8617 G
A/C 44-6907 P
A/C 44-6952 H
A/C 44-6566 F
A/C 42-97193 D
A/C 42-102955 L
A/C 43-38592 B
A/C 43-37696 Z
A/C 43-38920 O Spare
A/C 43-38070 V
A/C 43-38428 A

[The Spare A/C stayed with the formation.]

Time Schedule:
Zero Hour: 1100 DBST [Double British Standard Time]  Briefing: Enlisted Men 0545; Officers 0615 Stations: 0835 
Start Engines: 0845 Taxi:0900 Take-Off: 0915  [Breakfast: Enlisted Men 0445; Officers 0515]

[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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