In England, Verne writes in his diary . . . .
03-11-45 – 16th Mission HAMBURG
Made our second trip to Hamburg. Flak was intense, but since it was cloudy, they didn’t spot us. Mostly of a barrage type. Sure worried about returning. God is on our side and is taking care of us. Two letters from home.
For the Hamburg mission, Combat Crew 87 flew on Boeing-built B-17G #42-102505 Double in Brass/Odd Ball piloted by 2nd Lt. Roy R. Creasman.
This was mission 272 for the 390th Bombardment Group (H).
Hamburg was the assigned primary target 11 March if visual conditions existed, while, if heavy cloud was over the area, the Rhenania plant was to be bombed.
Total cloud covered Hamburg, so 38 planes in a force of 475 dropped by pathfinder. Crews reported a column of black smoke ten thousand feet high, visible for a hundred miles.
Flak was moderate, and for the most part low. No aircraft were lost.1
With Hamburg covered by a 10/10 undercast, bombing was done by H2X from 26,500′. Ground speed was 256 mph. Results were obscured; however at 1300, a large patch of black smoke was noted billowing through the undercast.2
The missions flown by RAF during the night and the USAAF during the day are all reported so clinically —- bombing was done by H2X from 26,500′. Ground speed was 256 mph. Results were obscured . . .. Sure, many books, poems, articles, newspaper accounts, etc. have been written about the bombing missions over German territory, but I don’t think any of them fully portray the experience and emotions felt by the flight crews. Not known to many is the fact that reporters, war correspondents, sometimes flew on these bombing missions. Edward R. Murrow flew on an RAF mission to Berlin and made the following broadcast — Orchestrated Hell: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FY0KFqmURM. Listen to it.
Notes & Commentary
1 United States and Albert E. Milliken. The story of the 390th Bombardment Group (H). [New York]: Priv. Print., 1947. p. 67.
2 “390th Group Intelligence Report – Hamburg Mission of 11 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 1583 – 1590.