Nothing from Wayne today, but in England, Verne writes in his diary . . . .
Started on a two day training period during which we take aircraft recognition, gunnery, lots of Jam Handy and other seemingly useless training. No mail at all today, but I wrote a couple of letters for a change. Lots of rumors going around about the days of heavy bombardment being over for this war.1
Today, Verne’s brother-in-law, Kenneth E. Cline, completed his fifth mission, an attack on Swinemunde. He flew as the copilot on B-24H #118, Alfred V.2
The attack on Swinemunde was the 257th mission of the 392th Bombardment Group (H) and was described as follows in the Group’s history:
. . . . we were assigned a target at the request of the Russians. A group from each wing was chosen from each division to bomb the shipping in the waters of the Oder around Swinemunde. Our Group was selected from the 14th CW. Our secondary was H2X on the same area; our tertiary was the shipping in Rostock harbor. 31 crews were briefed between 0415 and 0530. General Johnson was present to adjure the crews to avoid bombing the Russians only 12 miles away. At 0740 our planes took off. 30 planes were over enemy territory, 28 went over the primary. As it was 10/10s undercast they had to bomb with H2X. Most crews believe that the target area was well covered, for huge volumes of black smoke billowed up through the clouds. No enemy aircraft were encountered; flak was meagre and inaccutate. All ships returned. 3
Notes & Commentary
1 The power of the Eight Air Force was such that it could regularly put well over a thousand aircraft over German-occupied territory on any given day. On March 12, 1945, the Eighth Air Force put two missions over Germany:
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:
(1) 220 of 227 B-24s and 441 of 450 B-17s attack the marshalling yard at Swinemunde; 1 other hit the marshalling yard at Husum, a target of opportunity; all attacks are made with H2X radar; 1 B-17 is lost, 6 B-17s are damaged; 1 airman is KIA and 10 MIA. Escorting are 412 of 452 P-51s; they claim 4-0-1 aircraft in the air; 4 P-51s are lost (3 pilots MIA).
(2) 154 B-24s are sent to hit the marshalling yards at Friedberg (75) and Wetzlar (74) using Gee-H; 2 airmen are WIA.
(3) 298 B-17s are dispatched to attack the marshalling yards at Siegen (141) and Marburg (113); 24 hit the secondary target, the marshalling yard at Frankfurt using Micro H; 4 B-17s are damaged.
(4) 226 B-17s are sent to bomb the marshalling yards at Betzdorf (116) and Dillenburg (110) using Gee-H without loss.
(5) The 2nd, 3rd and 4th forces above are escorted by 192 P-47s and P-51s without loss.
(6) 97 of 108 P-51s fly a sweep to support the bombers without loss.
(7) 10 P-51s escort 5 F-5s and 2 Spitfires on photo reconnaissance missions over Germany.
(8) 23 of 24 P-51s fly a scouting mission.
Mission 884: 11 of 12 B-24s drop leaflets during the night in the Netherlands and Germany and 4 of 10 B-24s fly a Carpetbagger mission.
“Mission Details, March 12, 1945.”Eighth Air Force Historical Society. (http://www.8thafhs.com/old/get_one_mission.php?mission_id=1894 : accessed 6 February 2015). For an explanation fo Carpetbagger missions, see Operation Carpetbagger (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhwrAAhGM-A.)
2 “Mission #257, Target: Swinemunde.” WWW.B24.NET (http://b24.net/missions/MM031245.htm : accessed 26 January 2015).
3 392th Bombardment Group (H) History, March 1945, Headquarters 392th Bombardment Group (H), 8 April 1945, microfilm B0445, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1973, frames 1819 – 1820.
Two months to go. God, keep them safe for a little bit longer!