B-17 Missions

Missions

26 bombing missions flown by Uncle Eli, 91st Bomb Group, 401st Squadron, Bassingbourn, UK
No.DateTargetA/C No.A/C NameLLPos.Mission Notes
Saturday, December 16, 194444-8682Olson crew departs U.S. for ETO aboard new B-17.
Saturday, January 6, 194544-8682Olson crew arrives at RAF 121, Bassingbourn, UK.
1Wednesday, January 17, 1945Paderborn42-38144JezebelYLowOlson crew's first mission. 8th Air Force: "700 bombers and 362 fighters are dispatched to make... attacks on rail targets; 9 bombers and 7 fighters are lost: 458 B-17s are sent to hit the Paderborn marshalling yard... 1 B-17 is lost and 6 damaged; 9 airmen are MIA... 1 P-51 is lost... " An airman from the 379th BG, wrote, "The name of the town was not important to me at the time, but it would return to haunt me. The mission was what we called a milk run: no flak, no fighters. The target was a railroad repair shop. It was completely clouded over. We couldn’t tell whether we had hit the target or not. I was conscientious and didn’t want to drop the bombs indiscriminately, but I did anyway... Paderborn would be the target of seven attack waves, the last on March 28, 1945. In all, 1,154 tons of bombs were dropped on Paderborn, leaving it in ruins."
2Sunday, January 21, 1945Aschaffenburg43-37844Yankee GalYLead401st Dailies: "We dispatched 10 A/C and 13 crews to attack a factory making Royal Tiger Tanks, 3 miles SW of Ashaffenburg. The secondary target was the R. R. Marshalling Yards in Ashaffenburg. The Squadron furnished the Lead Squadron in the Group formation. AA fire was nil in the target area. Fighter support was excellent. All Squadron A/C and crews returned safely." Note: there was a mid-air collision in the 303rd BG on this mission, where both 17s went down, 17 men KIA. Their reports state this was a "milk run" otherwise. I don't know if the 91st could see this. 8th Air Force: "2 missions are flown. Mission 803: 912 bombers and 523 fighters are dispatched; 8 bombers are lost: 379 B-17s are sent to hit the marshalling yard (257) and oil plant (66) at Aschaffenburg; 2 B-17s are lost, 2 damaged beyond repair and 4 damaged; 18 airmen are KIA and 2 MIA. Escorting are 112 of 139 P-51s."
n/aMonday, January 22, 1945Sterkrade43-38843Unnamed a/cn/aLowOlson crew flying with Pilot Drake and Navigator Arkelian, subsitituting for Olson and Uncle Eli. Bad mission.
3Wednesday, January 24, 1945Cologne42-38144JezebelNLowCo-pilot Wylie Jones replaced by substitute on this mission. Jones aboard #44-6293 w/pilot Potters and Navigator Demeter. View related image
4Thursday, February 01, 1945Mannheim42-38144JezebelNLeadFlew with 398th Bomb Group, sounds like a milk run
5Saturday, February 03, 1945Berlin42-38144JezebelNHighA "principal air attack" with 937 a/c on the raid. 2 a/c from the 91st were lost, both crews MIA. This was the Olson crew's 4th and last time aboard Jezebel -- 11 days after this mission, Jezebel crash-landed (see Feb 14 sortie). This was a bad mission.
n/aTuesday, February 06, 1945Merseberg (intended)unknownMission scrubbed over Holland, planes returned due to weather. Conforms to UE's story of the morning meeting where everyone groaned when they heard the name of the infamous target.
Most planes turned back. Credit for mission was not awarded.
n/aWednesday, February 14, 1945Dresden42-38144Jezebeln/aOlson crew standing down, but, "'Jezebel' crash-landed at Marbais, Belgium (nr. Brussels). The crew included Lt. Drake (pilot) and F/O Arakelian (navigator)." Apparantely, there were no casualties. (Note: Wylie Jones flew w/Drake and Arkelian on January 22 mission, and Arakelian replaced Uncle Eli on the March 2 raid). Jezebel went to scrap March 13.
6Thursday, February 15, 1945Dresden42-97061General IkeNLead and LowThe 3rd and final day of the Dresden raids. UE said the plume of smoke rose almost to the level of their altitude.
7Friday, February 16, 1945Gelsenkirchen42-102504Time's A Wastin'NLow401st Dailies state, "The target was bombed visually with very good results." The dailies of the 324th Squadron tell a different story: "received 'major' damage," “flak was cause of battle damage,” “saw B-17 go down in target area,” “flak became worse after bombs away,” “fighter support inadequate,” “brought bombs back,” “couldn’t keep up with formation.” 8th Air Force records show 1,042 bombers on this run, 265 a/c damaged, 8 went down. 57 airmen MIA, and 15 WIA. Crew's first flight on TAW.
8Tuesday, February 20, 1945Nuremberg42-97959Rhapsody in RedNLeadMission was a "principal air attack." 1 a/c from the 323rd was lost. Crew went MIA. This was a bad story and was probably witnessed by all. Tim Driver: Dad's records show a/c was number "7959." This is probably "Rhapsody In Red" (42-97959) of the 324th. Or, it may be "Betty Lou's Buggy" (42-37938) which may account for the "793" and the postcard sent re: this plane.
9Wednesday, February 21, 1945Nuremberg43-38806Unnamed a/cNHigh401st Dailies: "AA fire in the target area was nil. Meager AA fire was experienced enroute to the target. Fighter support was good. All Squadron A/C and crews returned safely." Note: “... a maximum effort—its largest raid against a single target of the entire war—this “area” raid of 1,198 bombers drenched the city with 2,889 tons of bombs, including 1,169 tons of incendiaries.” 8th Air Force: "... 1,262 bombers and 792 fighters are dispatched... 7 fighters are lost: 830 B-17s hit the marshalling yard; 298 damaged; 1 airman is KIA and 6 WIA. Escorting are 373 P-51s; 2 P-51s are lost (pilots MIA). One month later, March 22, 1945, the plane failed to return. Later it was found and went to scrap.
10Thursday, February 22, 1945Stendal42-102504Time's A Wastin'NLowOpening day for Operation Clarion - a massive attack by 9,000 Allied aircraft on the German road and rail systems. 1,428 bombers and 862 fighters commence the operation with the objective of paralyzing the already decimated German rail and road system. Most attacks were made visually; bombing was conducted from an optimum 10,000 feet to achieve accuracy at targets without flak defenses. They claim many Luftwaffe aircraft kills on the ground and in air. 7 bombers and 13 fighters were lost overall. 73 B-17s were sent to hit Stendal, the 91st plus probably another BG. TAW 2.
11Monday, February 26, 1945Berlin42-102504Time's A Wastin'NLowAgain, a "principal air attack" with 1112 a/c. Biggest air raid of the war to date. TAW 3
n/aFriday, March 02, 1945Chemnitz and Jocketa42-102504Time's A Wastin'YHighUncle Eli was replaced by Arakelian another navigator on this raid. The rest of the Olson crew is present.
12Saturday, March 03, 1945Chemnitz43-38088RedwingYLowUnconfirmed a/c.
13Wednesday, March 07, 1945Dortmund and Giessen43-37887Old Battle AxeYLeadUncle Eli subbed for another navigator on this raid w/Pilot Borgeson. This is the Borgeson crew's usual plane, Conforms w/UE's Story about pilot weaving dangerously in and out of formation, thinking they were being "tracked."
14Thursday, March 08, 1945Huls42-37552The PeacemakerYHighNote: 4 weeks after this raid, this a/c crashed during a test flight Apr 12, 1945. All 6 onboard killed. This appears to be the one Uncle Eli was supposed to be on (see below).
15Friday, March 09, 1945Kassel43-37887Old Battle AxeYLow401st: "On the 9th of March we dispatched 8 A/C and 12 crews to attack the Marshalling Yards situated in the Northern suburb of Kassel. The target was bombed visually with excellent results. AA fire was fairly accurate, moderate, tracking (airmen report “heavy flak” over this target). Fighter support was good. All Squadron A/C and crews returned safely." 8th AF: "318 of 336 B-17s attack the marshalling yard and a large tank factory at Kassel visually; 6 other B-17s fly a screening mission; 3 B-17s are lost, 2 damaged beyond repair and 188 damaged; 4 airmen are WIA and 28 MIA. The escort is 97 of 99 P-51s; 1 is damaged beyond repair."
16Monday, March 12, 1945Dillenberg44-6151Shure ShotNLead401st Dailies: "On the 12th of March we dispatched 9 A/C and 12 crews to attack the RR Marshalling Yards at Dillenburg. The target was bombed by means of instruments with unobserved results. Our Squadron flew the Lead Squadron in the Group formation. A/C 959, 151 and 889 were furnished by the 324th Squadron. AA fire was nil. Fighter support was good. All Squadron A/C and crews returned safely." 8th Air Force: "2 missions are flown. Mission 883: 1,355 bombers and 797 fighters are dispatched to hit marshalling yards in Germany by PFF; they claim 4-0-1 Luftwaffe aircraft; 1 B-17 and 4 fighters are lost. 110 B-17s are sent to bomb the marshalling yards at Dillenburg (110) using Gee-H without loss."
17Sunday, March 18, 1945Berlin42-102504Time's A Wastin'YLead A "principal air attack" with 1221 a/c. TAW 4
18Monday, March 19, 1945Plauen42-31909Nine 'O NineYHighTim Driver has a picture of his tailgunner Dad holding a large piece of flak and the big hole in the nose of the plane!
19Wednesday, March 21, 1945Rheine/Salzbergen44-6884Unnamed a/cYLow401st Dailies: "We dispatched 8 A/C and 12 crews to attack the Rheine/Salzbergen Airfield. The target was bombed visually with excellent results. A/C 088, 901 and 591 were furnished by the 322nd Squadron. The Squadron flew the Low Squadron in the Group formation... AA fire was meager and inaccurate. Fighter support was good. All Squadron A/C and crews returned safely." 8th Air Force: "5 missions are flown... Preparatory air operations for the forthcoming (23 Mar) crossing of the lower Rhine River by Allied ground forces begin. 1,408 bombers and 806 fighters, in conjunction with Ninth Air Force and RAF aircraft, attack jet fighter bases; with one exception, all attacks are visual; they claim 58-3-49 Luftwaffe aircraft; 7 B-17s and 9 P-51s are lost. 180 B-17s are sent to hit airfields at Rheine; 1 B-17 is lost and 49 damaged; 1 airman is KIA, 3 WIA and 9 MIA. 97 of 102 P-51s escort; they claim 6-0-0 aircraft on the ground." Getz states this is a “Me (Messerschmitt) 262 jet fighter air field.” He calls this an "easy mission." (This plane “was the world's first operational jet-powered fighter aircraft”). He also says that “Four Me 163 'Comet' rocket fighter aircraft made a run at the formation over Rheine, but with no ill effects.” This matches Uncle Eli’s comments that toward the end of the war, he saw the new German jets which amazed them.
20Friday, March 23, 1945Goesfeld42-102504Time's A Wastin'YLeadFifth and final raid in TAW. This mission included the dropping of "paper," meaning leaflets. Two weeks later, this plane, flown by Pastras, exploded in midair 8 April 1945 over Stendhal (7 KIA, 2 POW)
21Wednesday, April 04, 1945Fassberg?forum.armyairforces.com says Uncle Eli was on this sortie, but Dailies for this mission don't list the crews and Olson not flying that day.
22Thursday, April 05, 1945Grafenwohr42-31678Little PatchesNLowNew info from Tim Driver: this was the ammo dump run, may have been the "Poland" run
23Monday, April 09, 1945Oberpfaffenhofen 43-37887Old Battle AxeNHighShould be target Munich per Tim Driver
n/aThursday, April 12, 1945(Training Flight)42-37552The Peacemakern/an/aThis plane was lost in a midair crash and appears to be the one Uncle Eli was supposed to be aboard. One crew diary states, "Lt. Forbes crew killed today when a P-51 collided with them on practice mission."
24Wednesday, April 18, 1945Rosenheim42-97061 General IkeNLead401st Dailies: "We dispatched 10 A/C and 12 crews to attack the Railway Center at Rosenheim. The target was bombed visually with excellent results. Our Squadron furnished the Lead Squadron in the Group formation... AA fire over the target was nil. Fighter support was good. All Squadron A/C and crews returned safely."
25Friday, April 20, 1945Brandenburg42-31678Little PatchesNHigh401st Dailies: "We dispatched 10 A/C and 13 crews to attack a Roundhouse and Locomotive Works. Bombing was done visually with GEE-H assistance. Results were excellent. The Squadron flew the High Squadron in the Group formation... AA fire at the target was nil. Fighter support was good. All Squadron A/C and crews returned safely." 8th Air Force: "Mission 962: 837 bombers and 890 fighters are dispatched to hit rail targets NNW to SSW of Berlin, Bavaria and Czechoslovakia; they claim 7-0-4 Luftwaffe aircraft; 137 B-17s are dispatched to attack marshalling yards at Brandenburg; 1 B-17 is lost and 10 damaged; 10 airmen are MIA. The escort is 227 of 241 P-51s."
26Saturday, April 21, 1945Munich42-97061General IkeNLowThe last mission of the war flown by the 401st Squadron. 401st Dailies: "We dispatched 12 A/C and crews to st attack the Furstenfeldbruck Airdrome west of Munich. Due to weather, the city of Munich was attacked by means of instruments with unobserved results. Our Squadron furnished the Low Squadron in the Group formation. Moderate barrage and meager tracking AA fire before bombs away was experienced in the target area. Fighter support was very good." 8th Air Force: "2 missions are flown. 532 bombers and 444 fighters attack jet fighter airfields and rail targets in SE Germany; 2 bombers and 2 fighters are lost. 111 of 113 B-17s hit the marshalling yard at Munich, a target of last resort, with H2X radar; 1 B-17 is damaged beyond repair and 5 damaged. Escorting are 90 P-51s; 1 is damaged beyond repair."
n/aTuesday, May 08, 1945Germans surrender.
n/aTuesday, May 15, 1945Substantiates Uncle Eli's story about witnessing the crash of a P-47 by some hotdogging pilot after the war was over. The pilot came in upside down which was a usual trick with the intention of flipping over at the last minute. Maj. James. L. Griffen died as everyone watched. Unlce Eli said the plane just "disintegrated."