Wayne makes no entry in his journal today, but in England, Verne writes in his diary . . . .
03-07-45 – 14th Mission DATTELN
Almost took off, but a flat tire stopped us for a short time. Changed ships and really got a crummy one — 184. Bombed a benzoit plant in the Ruhr Valley. Plenty of flak. Moderate to intense — very inaccurate. Some came close, but God was with us. Praise him. Received package and two V-mails from Aileen. Box contained four packages film, some Vienna Sausages and quite a bit of fruit cake. She is a wonderful person. Much too perfect for roughneck like me. Gee. I love her and Allen.
Combat Crew 87’s new pilot, 2nd Lt. Roy R.Creasman, flew Douglas, Long Beach, California-built B-17G #107184 nicknamed Silver Meteor/The Walrus on this mission. The following day, March 8, the Silver Meteor/The Walrus caught fire.1
This was the 390th Bombardment Group’s 268th mission.
A new benzol producing plant at Datteln, capable of an annual output of 10,000 tons, was first attacked by 38 aircraft on 7 March.
Bombing was through scattered clouds by instrument method. No bursts could be plotted, but the navigators thought that their bombs landed in the target area. The mission was without incident.2
There was a 9/10 undercast in the target area and bombing was by H2X from 24,600’ Ground speed was 290 mph. There was very good fighter support enroute to the target but few friendly fighters were observed in the target area or after. No enemy aircraft were encountered.3
Notes & Commentary
1 B-17G #42-107184 caught fire during a taxiing accident on March 8, 1945.
“March 1945 USAAF Overseas Accident Reports,” Aviation Archaeological Investigation and Research. (http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/src/AARmonthly/Mar1945O.htm : accessed 6 February 2015).
2 United States and Albert E. Milliken. The story of the 390th Bombardment Group (H). [New York]: Priv. Print., 1947. p. 67.
3 “390th Group Intelligence Report – Datteln Mission of 7 March 1945”. 390th Bombardment Group (H) History, March 1945, Headquarters 390th Bombardment Group (H), 1 May 1945, microfilm B0426, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1973, frames 1549 – 1554.