VALERIO J. INDRI|
World War II
History of Missions
November 29, 1944 - Briefing at 0600 on target at Altenbacken, Germany. Railroad viaduct, which was being used to supply northwestern Germany. Flak in area reported meager and inaccurate. Large fighter concentration in area. Were told that with present weather to expect from 300-400 fighters including jet propelled ME163 and ME262's. With improvement of weather up to 900 enemy ships.
Take off 0945 hours late. Bomb load eight 1,000-lb. demolition bombs. Fuel 2,550 gallons.
Assembly at 1,000 ft. Flight normal up to IP. Bomb run 18 min. Six minutes after IP No. 4 engine has runaway turbo causing us to drop 3,000 ft. below formation and two miles to rear. By the time turbo amplifier was changed, two other turbos went as the first. To keep ship in air, bombs were salvoed four minutes before target. Crew ready to abandon ship. Pilot managed to keep ship in air. Formation by this time was lost - radio man unable to contact our fighters. Every gunner on alert for bandits.
Twenty-five minutes later joined another formation on way back. Checked fuel after leaving Germany-Holland border. Fuel low - did not think we could make the English coast. At this time, flak was seen about two miles away. Left formation and headed due west.
Landed at 1610 with approximately 15 minutes of fuel left in tanks. Total time 4.25.
Bombing altitude 2,100 ft. through 10/10 clouds. Temp. -29 degrees C.
December 11, 1944. Briefing at 0530 on target at Karlsrube, Germany. Two rail track, one highway bridge spanning the Rhine River. At this present time, this bridge is being used to bring troops and supplies to the front some 30 miles away. Light flak reported and some chance of enemy fighters.
Bomb load three 2,000 lb. bombs, fuel 2,700 gallons. Bomb alt. 22,000 ft. Temp. -35 degrees C.
Take off 0905 heading due south to southern coast, then southeast through France. IP Strasbourg now in hands of 7th Army. Bomb run 15 min. Flak just before bombs dropped. After bombs away, flak (med) tracking at our altitude. Evasive action taken.
Target was not known to be hit, but tail gunner reports to have seen bombs drop in river. Haze made it impossible to see if bridge was hit. Clouds almost 10/10.
On way back over occupied France, we and two other ships lost formation. Took short cut back, landing ahead of rest of group.
Landing time 1605 - exactly seven hour mission. Trip was uneventful, but tiring. Total time 7 hours.
Note: Radio news reports 1600 heavies (B24-B17) of the 8th A.F. hit railroads and transportation, which has been the priority target this week. This was the greatest force ever sent out in A.F. history. 900 P51s and P47s escorted this force.
December 12, 1944. Target for today - the marshaling yards Aschaffenburg. Briefing at 0500. This yard located on north end of town was main rail line to Frankfurt about 20-25 minutes northwest. Was reported that yards were full of freight. Light flak report. Lighter concentration east of target.
Bomb load 44 100-lb. demo bombs - 2 M17. Gas load 2,700 gals. Bomb altitude 2,100 ft. Temp. -32 degrees C.
Take off 0900 headed southeast over Belgium past Coblenz between Mainge and Frankfurt two heavy flak areas. Flak thrown up from Mainge but formation just out of range.
Fourteen minute bomb run. Target already hit by another group and city in flames. Dropped bombs at 1203. Light inaccurate flak to right of formation. Target seen through 6/10 clouds seen in dense smoke.
Ten minutes later saw V-2 rocket bomb on its way to England. Return uneventful.
Field enveloped in fog. Pilot came in on instruments. Landed at 1517. Flight time six hours 17 minutes.
Three ships unaccounted for at 1800. One had been seen heading for landing on continent.
December 23, 1944. Target - rail junction on edge of town of Arhiveimet some 20 minutes northwest of Koblenz. Reinforcements being sent in on this route for German counter. Attack which has driven army back at Lupemburg-Belgium area. Nil to light flak reported at target. Marshaling yards northern section of Koblenz secondary.
Bomb load twelve 50-lb. G.P. Fuel 2,700. Bomb alt. 21,000.
Takeoff 0920 to east over Belgium past Brussels. Bomb run 27 minutes from IP in what was believed to be our territory. At 1217 flak guns opened up. They were fairly accurate again at our group damaging ships and causing some casualties. Two to seven gun batteries tracked us for some 25 minutes. Many bursts as close as 50 yards. Evasive action used all the time. Six minutes before target flak stopped. Target hit well. The flak encountered was from mobile units because it came from around railroads and roads captured the last few days by the German spearhead. Just before crossing lines again on return gun battery disrupted formation. Fighters gave areas support and with the clear weather were seen giving ground support to troops.
Landing time 1435. Heavy losses reported by other groups in same flak area. Flight time 5:15 minutes. Bombing excellent.
December 24, 1944. Target for today - tunnel under river at Treir, Germany. Briefing at 0515. Road used to transport troops and equipment to front. Light flak reported at target. Marshaling yards at Koblenz secondary.
Bomb load eight 1,000 lbs. Fuel 2,700 gallons. Bomb alt. 24,000. Temp. -10 degrees C.
Take off 1,000 leaving coast at "bunker 24" over Belgium past Brussels.
Bomb run 25 minutes. Flak encountered crossing front lines - light and not too accurate at this point. Just before target, five gun battery opened up and piece of flak came down through navigator's astrodome.
Bombing done visually and hits were reported at MPI. Returned by same route in.
Landing time 1645. Time 6:45 min.
Area support by several 51 and 47 groups. Bombing excellent.
Note: Over 2,000 heavies hit targets in western Germany. This force was by far the largest single mission ever made. 800 fighters gave close and area support.
December 29, 1944. Target railroad junction at Stadtgyle, Germany. Briefing 0545. Raid in conjunction with ground forces. Priority targets-transportation and communications. Meager flak at target, secondary anything to do with transportation or communications. Target of opportunity-marshaling yards at Koblenz.
Bomb load 24 250-lb. G.P. Fuel 2,700 gallons. Bomb alt. 22,000 ft.
Takeoff 0920 hours to west, leaving coast at bunker 21. Over Belgium south of Brussels. Meager but accurate flak bursts in center of formation. Engine No. 2 hit but undamaged to any extent. Target hit visually and hit.
Landing time 1440. Flight time 5:40 min. Excellent fighter support. Temp. -34 degrees C. Assembly Alt. 12,000 ft.
December 30, 1944. Target railroad bridge at Ahrweiler, Germany. Transportation and communication still priority target helping ground forces of 1st and 3rd army. Briefing 0545. Flak uncertain because of mobile units at front lines. Possible fighter opposition. Secondary target marshaling yards at Koblenz where flak was reported intense. Bomb load six 1,000 lb. G.P. Fuel 2,600 gallon. Bomb alt. 21,000.
Take off 0930 leaving English Coast at 1125. Assembly alt. 17,000 ft. Route over Belgium south of Brussels. Bombs dropped on target 1234. Results unobserved through 10/10 clouds. Meager and inaccurate flak at target. On return three superchargers lost.
Landing 1549 - field obscured in ground fog. Flight time 5:20. Temp. bomb alt. -34 degrees C.
January 2, 1945. Briefing 0445 on railroad bridge crossing the Moselle River at Koblenz, Germany. This was the second straight day the 44th hit the same target. Flak reported previous day as heavy. Secondary marshaling yards in city.
Bomb load three 2,000-lb. Fuel 2,700 gal. Bomb Alt. 22,000. Temp. bomb alt. -35 degrees C.
Pre-dawn takeoff 0815 leaving coast at 0955 over North Sea over Zidder Zee. East to Dommer Lake area where heavy fighter concentrations located. For motion headed south to target. Bombs dropped by "G.H." through ground haze. No flak at all was thrown up at our group, but some hit another group some five minutes behind us as they came on target.
Return over occupied France over Channel. Landing at 1535 through heavy ground mist. Flight time 6:20.
January 5, 1945. Briefing 0400. Target marshaling yards at Overstien, Germany. Transportation and communication priority targets helping ground force. Secondary Nuremkerchen itself. Meager to light flak reported.
Bomb load 44 100-lb. G.P. 2-M-17s. Fuel 2,700 gallon. Bomb alt. 21,000. Assembly alt. 18,000. Temp. bomb alt. -40 degrees C.
Takeoff 0815 down through Belgium-France. Because of contrails assembly altitude 24,300 ft. 10/10 clouds over Germany except over target. Primary and secondary passed so marshaling yards and factory at a small town were hit successfully. Six burst of flak in center of formation halting our ship and our right wingman.
Return 1500. Mist covering field. Flight time: 6:45.
January 7, 1945. Briefing 0500 on target at Landau, Germany. Railroad checkpoint MPI. Secondary, any target within Germany east of Rhine River. Flak moderate along lines and at target.
Bomb Load 2 M17's, 24-250 GP. Bomb alt. 22,000. Assault 12,000. Temp. bomb alt. -35 degrees C.
Takeoff 0830 southeast through France. As pilot was flying high right element lead 445 bomb squad ship cuts him out of lead. Five minutes before target top turret of 445th ship fires past our nose. Clouds 10/10. Bombing unobserved. No flak at our squadron. Flew back over channel 300 ft. above water. Landing 1545. Flight 7:15. 445th ship turned in to S-2 (intelligence).
January 16, 1945. Today's mission was the first D.P. pulled by the 44th in several months. Briefing 0415. Targets Plan A T.O. 0730. Synthetic oil plant. Rubland, Germany. Secondary marshaling yards at Dresden, Germany. Flak moderate to heavy. Plan B. Take off 0830. Largest gas plant in Berlin, Germany. Flak heavy to intense.
Bomb load 12 500-lb. Gas load 2,700 gallons. Assault alt. 12,500. Bomb alt. 22,500.
Plan A. Carried out T.O. 0730 crossing enemy coast at Zidder Zee, passing North Hanover down between Magdeburg and Berlin. Made bomb run on primary where flak was moderate to heavy and very accurate. Ship hit quite a few times by shrapnel. Biggest hole through side of ship hitting cable line bulkhead and out other side. Because lead ship heading out pilot took over squadron lead.
Return down to France up through Belgium. All but one ship in squadron landed in France and Belgium. Group lead seen going over Zidder Zee.
On return, field weathered in 0-0. Landed at Polish RAF base 100 miles northwest of base. Landing time 1645. Flight time 8:45.
Slept at RAF base all night after servicing plane. Took off, so landed here 1220. Total flight time 9:45 min.
Results: Secondary bombed. Primary hit by another squadron in 44th. Bombing good at sea. Excellent at primary.
February 3, 1945. Today was our first mission as lead. Lead high right squadron.
Target for today oil refinery at Magdeburg, Germany. Secondary government buildings and communications in the center of Berlin. Last resort marshaling yards at Magdeburg by H2X. Flak at both targets moderate to intense. Great possibility of fighters.
Bomb load six 500-lb. 12 500-lb. WS. Gas load 2,700 topped. Assault alt. 11,000. Bomb alt. 23,500.
Takeoff 0815 leaving coast of Great Yarmouth at 0958 breaking enemy coast above Amsterdam. Picked up 51's at 1054. IP at 11:00 coming in on target after 45 minute run at 11:40. Flak at target moderate hitting low left squadron. Bombed H2X through 10/10 clouds over target. On return, left enemy coast at Wesermunde at 1249. English Coast at 1450. Return to base 1520. Flight time 7:00 hours.
Found out being engineer on lead ship is hard work. Worked for two hours after take off on generators, turbos, fuel transfer and shooting flares. 2nd sec. Lead.
February 16-19, 1945. This mission was a hard one to put in. After six scrubs and one recall, we finally got into the air.
Briefing at 0745 on oil refinery at Salsezbergen. Secondary marshaling yards at Rhine, Germany. Flak light to moderate.
Bomb load 8-500 lb. and 14-500 lb. G.P. Gas load 2,600 gals. Assault Alt. 16,000 feet. Bomb alt. 22,000.
Take off 1145 leaving coast at Gt. Yarmouth and breaking enemy coast at point above Amsterdam. Bombed target on GH but when it went out, dropped bombs outside Rhine. Flak light and accurate. On way out passed Osnabrouck, which threw up moderate and accurate flak, several ships hit. Returned same route but on reaching England were diverted back to France.
Landed at A-72 a B-26 base at 1745. 6 hours flight time. After three days of sleeping, eating and drinking champagne, we took off for home at 1110 arriving at our base 1240. Flight time 1 ½ hours. Total 7 ½ hours. 2nd secondary lead.
February 22, 1945. Target for today, marshaling yards at Goettingen, Germany. Today an all out effort to paralyze Jerry communications and transportation was the goal of 8th, 9th, 15th, and RAF Air Forces. The second division had targets in central Germany. Bombing was to be done from low to medium altitude. Flak at target light to moderate.
Bomb load 8-500; 12-500. Gas load 2,600 gallons. Assault Alt. 11,000 feet. Bomb alt. 10,000 ft.
Take off 0830 leaving coast 1038, breaking enemy coast at 18,000 at 11:15. At 17,000 ft. No. 7 cylinder, No. 3 engine blew out. Feathered engine and caught up to group. Deputy position on let down. Let down to 7,000 ft. Hit target visually at approximately 1255. Bombing excellent, hitting center of marshaling yards. Box cars blown into air and fires started.
Rest of group returns to 18,000 as we continued at 7,000 feet with P51 protection. Returned to base 15 minutes behind group at 1600. Beautiful mission.
Flight time: 7:30 hours. Group Deputy Lead.
Note: March 19. Today, 8th AF "target victory" showing pictures of our bombing called this the best of that day. Bombing excellent.
February 26, 1945. Target Berlin. The RR station in the residential section of NW Berlin. This target was of a series hit by the whole 8th AF. This mission was to reinforcements from the eastern front. Flak heavy to intense with reports of 300 fighters and 40 jets in the area.
Bomb load 12 - 500; 6 500- lb. GP. Gas load 2,700 topped. Assault altitude 13,000 feet. Bomb altitude 22,500 feet.
Take off 0915 breaking coast Great Yarmouth entered enemy coast above Amsterdam. Picked up P51 at 6 degrees. Nothing happened until after 1 p.m. when flak started to track. Evasive action taken. Bombed through 10/10 clouds. Flak heavy in barrages but inaccurate. Three bandits seen but were pursued by escort.
On return home, all navigation equipment went out. Returned to base 1715. Dep. Ld. Flight time 08:00 hours.
This raid was made by the largest force ever sent to Berlin - over 1,200 bombers. This made Berlin the most heavily bombed city in Germany. A total of 18,000 tons.
March 2, 1945. Target for today - oil refinery at Magdeburg, Germany. Primary visual. Sec. H2X; parts factory at southern part of city.
Briefing 0315. Flak heavy to intense with fighters reported in area.
Bomb load 6 500 lb., 12 500 lb. GP. Gas load 2,700 topped. Assault altitude 13,000 feet. Bomb altitude 22,000 feet. Take off 0655 to west.
Left coast 0845 at enemy coast 0924 at 18,000 feet. Reached LP 1020. Took over group lead when lead ship's equipment went out. Started a run on point but could not bomb because of squadron under us. Continued onto secondary. Bombed H2X - results unobserved. Flak was heavy and fairly accurate. Returned to Dep. Ld. On same route back letting down from 20,000 feet after leaving Holland. Returned to base 1425. No damage. Flight time 07:30.
Note: Our group on next day were hit by jet jobs but were repulsed by escort.
No battle damage, but No. 3 engine out - pilot made best landing yet. Dep. Lead.
March 10, 1945. Today's target - rail viaduct at Bielefeld. This target is an old favorite for the 44th. This was one of the two railroads connecting the front line with Hanover, Hamburg, and Brunswick. Flak nil but a possibility of bandits.
Bomb load 4-2,000; 6-2,000. Gas load 2,700 gallons. Bomb altitude 21,500 feet. Assault altitude 11,000 feet. Take off 0740 to west.
Took long route down through France and around east of the Rohr Valley. Clouds 9/10; made GH run on target. Results unobserved but target believed hit. No flak. No fighters. Nice mission.
Return uneventful. ETR to base 1540. Flight time 0800 hours.
Note: Next day British Lancasters christened the viaduct with the new 22,000 lb. bomb. They claim to have destroyed it but recon. Photos by P-38 on our bombing showed the viaduct almost completely destroyed.
Led the low left of the 392 group.
March 12, 1945. Marshaling yards at Wetzler, Germany. This was in direct support of our ground forces. Today the eight was split up into two forces. While we bombed central Germany, another force went up and bombed near Stettin on request of the Red forces. Today we led high right of 491st Group.
Bomb load 8-500; 12-500. Gas load 2,600 gallons. Assault altitude 1,300; bomb altitude 21,000 feet.
Take off 0825 forming at bunker five. Broke near Antwerp. Made visual run on target. No flak.
Returned to base 1525. Flight time 0710. Easy mission.
March 19, 1945. Target ME262 assembly plant and training field near Ingolstsot in southern Germany. Because of the increasing threat of enemy planes, our bombers hit at the source of Nazi air strength.
Flak at target nil but probable fighter opposition.
Bomb load 8-500; 12-500 lb. Gas load 2,700 topped. Assault alt. 10,000 feet. Bomb altitude 20,000. Take off 1000 hours.
Forming in Belgium because of front moving into England. Broke enemy lines south of Strasburg over the Alps. Target just south of the Danube River. Bombing usual. Target hit - bombing excellent.
Route home north past Frankfurt over Aochen leaving coast 1641. Return base 1910.
Total flight time 0910. Longest mission crew ever pulled. Low left lead.
March 21, 1945. Today our group put up two missions. On return of the morning mission, we went on the afternoon one. Today airfields were in high priority. Our target was the Muheim air field just south of Easen, Germany in the heart of the Rohr Valley.
Bomb load 12 250 lb. traj. Gas load 2,500. Assault altitude 1,300 feet; bomb altitude 22,500.
Take off 1530 with 12 ships out of group. Skipped group assignment and started on wing assembly.
Started climb over Channel. Bomb run seventeen minutes. Came in on target from west as flak started exploding all around us. The lead ships sight was knocked out and he swung over Ersen. By that time, the sky was black and all that we could hear was explosions. Several so close that the ship was rocked violently. Pieces went flying through the wing and fuselage. One piece came in the bomb bay and went through a bulkhead, knocked out the mickey dome, ripped up a foot of floor and stopped in a bag of clothes just before reaching the waist gunner.
Flak heavy - very accurate. Fired on from front lines and at the mouth of the Rhine on way out.
Return to base 2,000. Flight time 0430 hours. Of twelve ships, four had wounded four had engineering trouble and three killed.
This was the roughest mission yet. Group Dep. Lead.
March 23, 1945. Marshaling yards in Rhine, Germany. These yards had been destroyed a few days previously but main lines repaired. They were serving the Germans against Montgomery's 2nd. Three groups were to hit the target the 491 on the north and 392 central and we the southern part.
Flak light to moderate. Possible bandits.
Bomb load 14-150 lb. Gas load 2,300 gallons. Assault altitude 12,000 ft. Bomb altitude 20,000 ft.
Take off 0715 to east. Entered enemy coast over Zidder Zee. Ran into light, but accurate flak from just before and after target. Bombing visual and excellent. Bandits in area made pass at one group. Four unidentified ships high three o'clock believed to be enemy because of actions.
Return to base 1230. Flight time 0515.
March 25, 1945. After hitting Germany's oil on top of the ground, we were out to paralyze all underground depots. Our MPI was a railway out of a dump at Hitzacken, Germany. This was high priority for the day. No flak was expected, but we were in the fighter belt.
Bomb load 8-500 lb. Gas load 2,600 gallons. Assault alt. 12,000 ft. Bomb altitude 18,000 ft.
Take off 0600 before our group. We led the high right 491st group.
On way in, saw Lanco leaving Hanover in flames and smoke. As we came back later, the smoke was up to 15,000 feet.
Made visual run and target was destroyed. As we left target, bandits were reported in area having shot down two B24 jet . Came up at 12 but did not attack.
On way out got light flak from Hamburg. Return home 1315. Flight time 0715 hrs.
April 14, 1945. Target for today - Fort De Royan, located on the Geronde estuary. This was one of the many pockets held by the Germans in France. The Geronde River leads to the part of Bordeaux. Our target was 3-75 mm guns on a part o the Fort jutting out into the estuary. We were to be proceeded by one group hitting the guns with frag. Bombs. Flak depending on accuracy of preceding bombers. No fighters expected for that reason no gunners were taken along and all guns and ammunition taken out.
Gas load 2,700 topped. Bomb load 4-2,000; 4-1,000 lbs. Assault in France 11,000 feet. Bomb altitude 15,000 feet.
Take off 0445 down through France south of Bordeaux coming up along the Atlantic Ocean. Lakes and oceans were beautiful scenery.
Flak was moderate and inaccurate until bombs started to drop. Out of six squadrons hitting target, we got six excellents.
Return to base 1310. Flight time 0825 hours.
April 16, 1945. Today we put our guns back in. Our targets were first, Rosenbreins, second, Traunstein and third 112X Landshuit, Germany. We were to hit the marshaling yards because with the German armies moving into the mountains, they needed them for transportation of troops, supplies, etc.
Bomb load 8-500; 4-500 lb. Gas load 27,000 topped; Assault altitude 9,000 feet; Bomb altitude 18,000 feet.
Take off 1,000 to east breaking coast at 1237 at southern England. We went past the eastern side of London and it's a pretty big place. Down through France past Strasburg. Bandits reported 15 minutes north of Munich. For some reason our bombs dropped out just as the bomb doors were opened. Lead ship did not drop their bombs until way after target, which was to be Landshuit. On withdrawal, we noticed heavy flak coming up far ahead. Instead of changing course, the lead continued on and next thing we knew there was very heavy flak all around coming from Augsburg. One ship went down. Return to base 1930 hours. Flight time 0930. Longest mission pulled by 44th.
April 18, 1945. Today we bombed Passou, Chek. Deep in the German "Redoubt" area. Our target was the marshaling yards in the town. The flak situation was nil and possible bandits.
Bomb load 6-500 lb. Gas load 2,700+. Assault altitude 5,000 feet. Bomb altitude 20,000 feet.
Take off to west.