January 29, 1945

Monday

In England, Verne participated in a mission against a tank manufacturing plant and his brother-in-law, Kenneth E. Cline, a B-24 pilot goes on his first mission . . . .

01-29-45 — 7th Mission KASSEL

Up again this morning and took part in a mission to Kassel, Germany where we bombed a tank manufacturing plant and got the target from all reports. Moderate flak, tracking and fairly accurate. Spent two very weary hours in enemy territory. No mail today. Felt sick all day and scared half to death. Thank God for bringing all of us back safely.

On this mission, Verne flew on The Deacon, Boeing-built B-17G #339032 piloted by Maj. Linn E. Wilde. This was mission 249 of the 390th Bombardment Group.

The mission was flown as briefed with bombing done by H2X. No enemy aircraft were encountered. Flak over the was moderate, inaccurate and continuously pointed. Friendly fighter support was reported very good. At 52⁰50’N 06⁰10’E, near Nijensleek in Holland, the highways were reported to be extremely congested with eastward traveling traffic.1

In a history published after the war, this mission would be described as follows:

During the height of the Rhine offensive, when the Germans were driving Tiger and Panther tanks directly from the assembly line to the battlefront, the Herschel works at Kassel was again singled out for attack.

Using pathfinder technique, 35 aircraft attacked. Aside from hits on some of the smaller buildings in the plant, the main weight fell on the nearby marshaling yard.

Flak from the target was meager, and no fighters opposed the operation.

A few months later when the Third Army overran Kassel they found that the constant bombardment on this target had paid dividends. Great quantities of tanks were found in various states of assembly, all incomplete because of the slowing down measures applied by heavy bombardment.2

Also in England, 1st Lt. Kenneth E. Cline of the 577th Bombardment Squadron (H), 392nd Bombardment Group (H), piloting B-24 #42-94898, Terri Ann flew his first mission. The mission’s primary target, the Altenbeken Viaduct near Paderborn, was obscured by clouds and the secondary target, the marshalling yards at Hamm were bombed. One hundred fifty eight 1,000 lb. bombs were released by the 27 aircraft reaching the marshalling yards. Flak was moderate and no enemy fighters were encountered during the mission. The was the 392nd Bombardment Group (H) mission 232.

Notes & Commentary

1 390th Group Intelligence Report, Kassel Mission of 29 January 1945< Headquarters 390th Bombardment Group (H),29 January 1945, microfilm B0426, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1973, frame 951.

2 United States and Albert E. Milliken. The story of the 390th Bombardment Group (H). [New York]: Priv. Print., 1947. p. 53.

3 “392nd Bomb Group Missions”, WWW.B24.NET (http://b24.net/missions/MM012945.htm : accessed 22 January 2015).

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7 Responses to January 29, 1945

  1. suchled says:

    When I started work as a law clerk in 1962 my senior was a man called Mr Cook. (I never knew his Christian name). He had the index finger of his right hand missing. He was a pathfinder pilot and had it blown off my a Messerschmidt. He flew an un-armed and un-armoured Spitfire. No guns and no armourplate meant it was faster and more maneuverable and they went in low and fast and dropped flare and smoke onto targets for the bombers. And apart from all that he was a most amazing and helpful man.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pierre Lagacé says:

      I know about Mosquitos been used on pathfinder missions, but I didn’t know Spitfires were used.

      Like

      • suchled says:

        You may be right. I was only young and didn’t pay as much attention as I should.

        Like

      • a gray says:

        According to Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerial_reconnaissance) Spitfires were used on photo reconnaissance missions and Mr. Cook could have been pilot on such missions:

        . . . use of Spitfires with their armament and radios removed and replaced with extra fuel and cameras. This led to the development of the Spitfire PR variants. These planes had a maximum speed of 396 mph at 30,000 feet with their armaments removed, and were used for photo-reconnaissance missions. The aircraft were fitted with five cameras which were heated to ensure good results (while the cockpit was not). Spitfires proved to be extremely successful in their reconnaissance role and there were many variants built specifically for that purpose. They served initially with what later became No. 1 Photographic Reconnaissance Unit (PRU).

        On the other hand, I would be reluctant to say, definitely, that Spitfires were never used in a pathfinder role. New information is being discovered as we move away from accounts published in books after the war and into the actual documents created by those engaged in the war. This, by the way, is not unique to World War II. It applies to all history.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. suchled says:

    But I want to know how Wayne is.

    Liked by 1 person

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