8TH AIR FORCE
486TH BOMBARDMENT GROUP, (H)
HISTORY FOR MAY 1-31, 1944
SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS
The month of May 1944, will always be remembered by personnel of the 486th Bombardment Group as the month in which they "went operational." It was the thing for which they had traveled from Florida to Arizona and back to Florida, and from Florida to Nebraska and back to Arizona, and from Arizona to England. After arriving at the new Air Base near Sudbury, intensive preparations began for "going operational," an event which was set for May 1. An immense amount of work had to be performed before this time. The Group had to reorganize and undertake the running of the AAF station. The combat crews had intensive training including learning a new flying formation. Departments, which had formerly been broken up into squadrons, now had to learn to operate as one unit. This sometimes involved a good deal of stress and strain on personnel. When May 1 arrived without bringing a combat mission, the feeling of anticipation increased and grew each day until the evening of Saturday, May 6, when the order for a mission the next day was received.
The target for the first mission on May 7 was the Kinkenpois marshalling yards at Liege, Belgium. Not all the ships were loaded with bombs in time and those that did take off were recalled. The mission was run in the afternoon, however, with Colonel Huglin, Commanding Officer of the 92nd Combat Wing, as leader. Bombing was hindered by cloudy conditions over the target and results were considered poor. On May 8 the Group, led by Colonel Overing, attacked the Shoerbeck marshalling yards at Brussels with fair results. A tragic accident occurred on the return from this mission when Lt. Lawrence A. Schuengel, a bombardier, fell through the bomb bay of his plane when he was working with bombs that had not been dropped on the target. On May 11, the Group took part in a disastrous mission to the Chaumont marshalling yard. The 487th Group, which was leading the mission, was hit hard by flak, losing two planes including that of their commanding officer. This. Broke-up their formation and we were not able to reach the target.
A number of days elapsed before another mission. A second mission was sent against the Liege marshalling yard on May 20. Two of our planes crashed in a heavy fog on take off, with the loss of ten lives. The target was not bombed, because of clouds. The sixth mission was against the Etampes/Montdesir Airfield on May 23 with poor results, On May 24, the Group was divided into two parts one of which was sent against the St. Cyr Airfield. This was obscured by haze, so the secondary target, the Poix Airfield, was attacked with fair results. The other part flew with the 93rd Wing against the Guyancourt/Coudron Airfield, which could not be attacked because of haze. They were not able to attack their secondary target because a formation of Second Division Aircraft cut across their path. On May 25 in a mission against the Montignies Sur Sambre Marshalling yards (part of Chaleroi). The Group for the first time sent less than three squadrons. The results were fair. On May 27, there was a mission with the airplane factory at Woippy, near Metz, as target but with poor results.
On May 28 and 29, the Group had its largest mission, both against synthetic oil plants. The first was to Lutzekendorf, near Halle. The results were considered fair to good. On this mission the Group for the first time lost crews to enemy action, the crews of Lt. Hicks and Lt. Saunders failing to return. The second of these missions was to Politz, with good results. Nine Aircraft attacked Misdray as a target of opportunity.
On May 30 the mission was against the airfield at Handorf, with good results, and on May 31 a mission was sent against the Jemelle marshalling yard but met a front at the enemy coast and could not complete the mission.
Thus, in the first month of operations, the 486th Group flew thirteen combat missions. Six were against marshaling yards, four against airfields, and three against factories. 445 Sorties were launched with 251 attacking targets (240 primary, 11 secondary). 194 sorties failed to drop on target due to recalls, weather or abortions. A total of 675.3 tons of bombs were dropped for the loss of 4 aircraft. No enemy aircraft were shot down during this month.
|STATISTICAL SUMMARY OF MISSIONS
|07||24May44||St. Cyr A/F, France||39||?||11||?||?||33.0||0||0|
|08||25May44||Mongnies Sur Sambre, France||26||23||0||0||3||68.75||0||0|
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