OPERATIONAL MISSION #173
24 Mar 1945

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787 NK 10
Chilton-McGruder
3
899 NT 12
von Platen
2
K-21
073 PF 48
Dibble-Cormier
1
Lead
041 NL 1
Lowrey
6
9163 NS 1
Center
5
952 NF 7
Riebau
4
K-20
Low 616 NA 5
Thomas
9
K-21 246 ND 14
McGuire
8
(SJ) High
006 TF 34
Vanderhoef
3
020 DT 22
Sauler
2
954 NC 3
Miller,J.N.
7
(SJ)                 K-21 008 DG 19
Bennett
3
(SJ) 510 NR 10
Genz
2
002 PA 44
Heuser-Koenig
1
Scope 453 PE 39
Rygiel-McAnelly
1
Scope
894 TH 34
Veal
6
926 TS 32
Webber
5
K-21 034 DV 16
Lilly
6
856 DR 19
Stang
5
178 TC 30
Moffett
4
(SJ)
K-20
963 DJ 21
Dacus
4
(SJ)
K-20
942 TJ 37
Dolan
9
K-20 009 TE 33
Thompson
8
(SJ)
K-21
311 DE 20
Brandstein
9
K-21 98001 DS 25
Bonogura
8
931 TH 32
Robison
7
970 TP 38
Ewen
3
059 TG 27
Vance
2
149 DM 17
West
7
477 TV 28
Bidell
10
025 PD 47
Martin-Dennis
1
580 DP 26
Schraeder
10
595 PM 48
Braun
6
859 NN 6
Borger
5
528 DL 21
Frawley
4
Spare PFF:
Spare Lead:
Spares:



Spares:
075 PL 49 K-21
846 NE 11 K-21
(crews)
Walkup 968 NV 6
Melahn 835 TB 35
Fadden 312 DC 18
(no crews)
958 DH 26
891 NJ 9
902 A 38
Dunbar
9
615 NG 5
Ward,D.M
8
Stations:
Start Eng.:
Taxi:
Take-off:
Last time TO:
0510
0525
0530
0545
0700
8163 PH 42
Mentzer
7
38001 NB 14
Corbett
10
 
Target F/O # Aircraft Abortions Battle Damage Ordnance Results Alt
(k ft)
Mission
Time
Position
in
Combat Wing
Airborne Dispatched Attacking Losses Mech B/D Weather Other Major Minor # Type Tons
A/F 619 39   38 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 514 500GP 128.5 VG 25.5   1st
Claims Casualties Remarks
De Da Pr K W M Primary bombed visually.
0 0 0 0 0 0

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8th AF Aided Paratroops

Having culminated its role in the Rhine crossing Saturday with blazing bomber and fighter sweeps up and down enemy territory, activities of the 8th Air Force fell off sharply yesterday as approximately 250 Liberators and some 250 Mustangs and Thunderbolts attacked three underground oil storage depots near Brunswick and Hamburg.

But on Saturday, the 8th put together a might procession of bombers and fighters which flew 3,000 sorties in cooperation with the troops streaming across the river. The bombers, which had been devastating enemy airfields east of the Rhine for three days, plastered 16 more and dropped weapons and supplies in a daring low-level operation to paratroops immediately after they had landed.

From dawn to dusk Thunderbolts and Mustangs patrolled the battle area, riddling troop concentrations, supply columns, rail yards and airfields. Only 66 NAZI fighters were met, an  indication of the results of the bombers' relentless attacks on Luftwaffe fields, and 53of these were shot down. The 8th lost 22 bombers and four fighters during the day.

Liberators, which dropped supplies to the airborne troops bore the brunt of the losses-20 out of approximately 240, which followed directly behind transports and gliders and dropped the sky-fighters some 600 tons of weapons and medical supplies from 100 feet. The Libs had to battle through an intense storm of 20-mm antiaircraft, machine-gun and small weapons fire.

The massive operation of the 8th was split three ways. Early in the morning, around 1,050 Forts and Libs hit 12 airfields east of the Rhine. This was followed by the mission supporting the airborne troops. Then late in the afternoon, 450 heavies struck four additional fields in the Reich, raising to 25 the total of airdromes hit by the 8th in its fierce attack on NAZI fighter bases.

At the day's end the German lines were a shambles, supply lines wrecked, rails torn and twisted, airfields gutted and cratered. Long clumns of enemy convoys werew set aflame and riddled by fighters. An entire motorized infantry battalion was battered and routed by Mustang pilots who caught the unit as it roared along a highway near Cologne. Fighter pilots reported shooting up 45 locomotives, 210 rail cars, 300 motor vehicles and 21 barges. Most of these transportation elements were loaded with personnel.

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