In England, Verne writes in his diary . . . .
02-22-45 – 10th Mission SCHWENNIGEN
Up at 3 a.m. and on a mission to Bamburg but were prevented because weather. Turned back and bombed marshaling yards at Schwennigen. Very good bombing. Flew around in fog, most of the time behind enemy lines. No flak at all over lines or target. Bombed from 17,000 feet. We were fair worried when we heard the briefing. No mail for three days.
On this mission, Verne flew as a crew member on Songoon, Boeing built B-17G #337565 flown by Maj. James O. Gross. This was mission number 259 for the 390th Bombardment Group (H).
On 22 February the Allied Air Forces sent out their greatest effort on German communications. The 1,428 aircraft from the Eighth Air Force, plus large numbers from the Fifteenth Air Force and the Royal Air Force, went all out to strike at secondary rail lines and bridges.
The assigned target for the 390th, Bamberg marshaling yard, was covered by 10/10ths cloud, so the air leader decided to retrace the route, and hit some target of opportunity where a visual run could be made.
About fifty miles southeast of Strasbourg, “A” and “B” Squadrons hit Schwenningen marshalling yard, while “C” Squadron hit the nearby Villingen yard. Results by all three Squadrons were “very good”.
There were twenty-five direct hits in the Schwenningen yard which extended into warehouses and part of the city.
“C” Squadron had a long pattern fourteen hundred feet wide and twenty-two hundred feet long which included eighteen direct hits in the Villengen yard.
With scores of targets bombed that day in all parts of the Reich, the best the Luftwaffe could put up was a jet plane near Berlin, and another at Mannheim.1
Notes & Commentary
1 United States and Albert E. Milliken. The story of the 390th Bombardment Group (H). [New York]: Priv. Print., 1947. p. 121