Friday, 5 November 1943
Field Order 229

primary Gelsenkirchen
MPI: center of town
secondary any German city w/o disrupting fighter support
last resort none
Bomb Load 42 100-lb. M-47 incendiaries

Narrative Report

  1. The 92nd Bomb Group flew at 27,000 feet as the low group of the 40th Combat Wing, flying in the First Bomb Division formation. First fighter a/c seen were P-47s and they were observed in numbers of about 30-40 at about 31,000 ft. at 1304 hours, 10 miles SE of Dekooy. Thereafter, P-47s were seen in about that number until just before bombs were away at about 1346-47. For five minutes thereafter very few fighters were seen, but P-47s in number were again picked up five minutes later as the formation left the Ruhr area and continued 10-15 miles at sea on the route to base. A few P-38s were seen over the North Sea on the route home from enemy coast to English coast. The first enemy a/c were observed in the target area and then about five minutes after the target en route home for the succeeding next 15 minutes. From three to 50 e/a were reported. Almost all of these were of the single-engine variety. Most of these were identified as 190 a/c, but several were Me-109s. Three Me-210s were claimed identified, but these were quite some distance away. Most attacks on the 92nd were by 190 a/c and these occurred about ten minutes after leaving the target. Attacks were entirely individual attacks and somewhat scattered. Not more than 10-15 attacks were made on this group though up to 50 e/a were observed in the target area. Several observations were made to the effect that stragglers were again the center of great attention by e/a. One FW 190 attacking alone flew parallel and level with the formation at 1,000 yards for some time and then turned in level in a steep bank for an approach to 800 yards, firing 20ms all the way and turning back quickly at 800 yards to reach the 1,000-yard position. Approaches of this nature were made for 5-6 successive times when this e/a was shot down and the pilot bailed out. No reports of rocket or heavy gunfire were received today. The FW 190 a/c exhibited a number of yellow noses and loud, contrasting wing colors. A few 190s and 109s were dark gray on top and cream or white on the bottom. One 190 was all black. Fighter support on the whole was very good and much appreciated. Better close support rather than entirely area support is recommended by most crews. On the whole the enemy fighter defenses were considered weak. One B-17 too far away to identify further was observed by one crew to turn back into Germany at 5158-0226 at 14,000 ft and at 1443 hours. The observation was made at 15,000 ft. The B-17 appeared to be in no trouble.

  2. Flak
    Time Position Altitude Intensity Altitude
    Deflection Colour Type
    1306 5250-0450 27,000 meagre poor poor black predicted following
    1335 5145-0700 27,000 intense good good black & white concentrated predicted
    1340 5150-0706 26,500 meagre poor poor black several bursts
    1335 Recklinghausen 26,000 intense good good black concentrated predicted
    following and barrage
    to Herne 26,000 intense good good black and white,
    most of white high,
    some red
    1555 Bocham 26,000 intense good good white; some red barrage
    Wattan 26,000 intense good good most [sic]; some red barrage
    Weitmar 26,000 good good white; some red high
    Steele 26,000 good good some red
    Gelsenkirchen 26,000 good good some red
    Horst 26,000 good good some red
    Gladbeck 26,000 good good some red
    1405 5145-0510 27,000 meagre good poor white several bursts
    1407 Gilze-Rijn 24,000 meagre fair poor black predicted following

    Just after bombs away several single red bursts were observed at one-minute intervals to port. Some flak bursts over target seemed to burst laterally rather than usual round puffs.

  3. One B-17, number was seen apparently flying on AFCE as eight or nine chutes were seen to come out of it and was finally shot down by a 190 at 5140-0640. One B-17 number 30623 L was seen under control, but two chutes were seen to come out at 5145-0445 from a height of 15,000. One B-17 was seen to crash into the sea at 1443 at 5156-0142.

  4. None.

  5. [Damaged a/c] Not available.

  6. Smoke screens in ten-mile area around target were observed. 20-25 balloons were observed over target area at 12,000. 30 small boats seen at enemy coast at 5250-0440 at 1307 at 27,500 feet.

  7. Bombing was accomplished by dropping on lead pff a/c. Smoke screen at target. Observation difficult. Bombs are believed to have hit a town north to northwest of the target just north of the Dortmund Emms Canal. Some bombs were observed dropping into a wooded area joining town. Bomb flashes were seen where the bombs hit, but no smoke or fire. On approach to target area a column of heavy black smoke was seen to rise above the smoke screen in approximate area of the target and believed to be result of bombs. Bombing from previous air division.

  8. Safety wires on M47A1s are too difficult to remove and not strong enough. Need close fighter support as well as area support. Too sharp a right turn just before bomb run threw a/c out of 92nd formation into another group.

  9. 24 a/c took off between 1012 and 1031, crossing the English coast at 1221 at 5257-0114. Swung around in S back to Cromer, then on course, entering enemy coast at 1307 at 5250-0441. Followed briefed course to 5210-0630 and turned east of course to 5200-0657, then to 5247-0710, then circled right through Recklinghausen, Gerthe, Bochum and back over Gelsenkirchen on parallel to briefed course. Enemy coast at 1420 hours, 5145-0350, returning to English coast at 1447, 5205-0130, landed at base between 1514 and 1608. This group was over target at 1348, 330° mag and was low group in combat wing on bomb run. Four a/c did not drop. A/c 165 turned back west of Northampton at 1105. Engine oil line broke. Bombs were jettisoned in Wash. A/c 580 turned back at 1220 at 5300-0112 because pilot had trouble with eyes and could not see clearly. Bombs were jettisoned in Wash. A/c 461 turned back at 1233 5253-0149 because left waist gunner had bends. Bombs were jettisoned in North Sea. A/c near 513 turned back ten miles SSE of Coesfeld, Germany, because it could not keep up with formation as number three prop had run away and would not feather. Bombs were dropped in train at point of turnback.

  10. No nickels.

    Flash Report

    number attacking primary approx. 20
    unaccounted for 2
    results poor and unobserved
    weather 1/10 [report illegible; possibly ground haze]
    flak intense
    enemy opposition few fighters; no attacks
    friendly fighter support very good

    Briefed Formation

    The 92nd Bomb Group flew as the low group of the 40th Combat Wing.

    Abortive Aircraft
    Lost Aircraft
    Damaged Aircraft
    Turned Back before Target

    Lead Squadron
    327th Squadron

    831 L
    648 U
    408 Q
    638 N
    644 V
    109 M
    649 X

    High Squadron
    326th Squadron

    016 O
    623 L
    513 T
    799 J
    733 B
    423 P
    580 N

    Low Squadron
    407th Squadron

    821 S
    821 U
    849 F
    494 F
    711 H
    996 R
    165 T

    975 H - 326th Sq - Shannon - flew #7 position (third element) of low squadron of lead group
    677 K - 326th Sq - Makowski - flew "#1 second element of high squadron"

    755 A - 325th Sq - Griffith
    716 - 407th Sq


    A/C Pilot Damage
    408 Holland oil tank in #4 engine knocked out, hole in nose
    648 Stewart one engine shot out by AA
    638 Tucker ten holes in wing, fuselage
    109 Ward #3 engine push rod shot out; nose to be replaced; flak holes in wings, waist; vertical, horizontal stabilizers shot up
    644 Wilder hole in nose; plexiglass on pilot's, co-pilot's sides; AA hole in cowling of #1 engine
    649 Ogburn right elevator, both wings, bombardier's window, bomb bay
    016 Belongia slight flak holes
    623 Ahrenholz paint in spots knocked off stabilizer by AA
    799 Holden one small flak hole through right wing flap
    423 Wolfe flak hole in #3 engine; (also radio operator's heater boots burned out
    733 Rose oxygen system knocked out; upper turret u/s; holes in left stabilizer
    849 Bacher flak hole in wing
    821 Sewall very slight battle damage
    494 Lyng #4 engine knocked out by AA over target area
    996 Gold report illegible; hole behind co-pilot's seat; looks like right horizontal stabilizer, left something
    975 Shannon slight flak damage in wing
    677 Makowski oil cooler out; flak holes through #2 prop

    Composition of Force

    1. 1st CBW
    2. 40th CBW
    3. 41st CBW
    482nd Group will furnish 1 ea Oboe a/c to the lead group of ea combat wing

    combat wings will depart coast with maximum number of aircraft feasible

    Eighth Bomber Command Mission Details

      1. Fighter Support
        1 group P-47s from 5240-0610 to limit of range
        1 group P-47s from 5150-0650 to limit of range
        1 group P-47s from 5138-0610 to limit of range
        1 squadron Spits from 5145-0450 to coast

        3rd Division will rendezvous with fighter support of equal strength to that for 1st Division at same points 20 minutes ahead of 1st Division

      2. Friendly Activity
        3rd Division will attack same target 20 minutes ahead of 1st Division, following same route, departing Great Yarmouth.

        2nd Division will attack GH-472, departing Cromer, following North Sea Route, arriving 5400-0400 ten minutes behind 1st Division.

    1. Targets and MPI
      Target: GH-555
      MPI: 0250 37/3
      Secondary: Any German city which may be bombed without disrupting fighter support
      Last Resort: None

      1. Composition of Force
        3 combat wings
        • 1st CBW leading
        • 40th CBW 2nd
        • 41st CBW 3rd

        482nd group will furnish 1 each Oboe aircraft to the lead group of each combat wing

        combat wings will depart coast w/maximum number of aircraft feasible

      2. Route
        Approximate time schedule for lead a/c
        • Cromer: 0 minus 40 minutes, 20,000 feet
        • Control Point: 5240-0610
        • P-47 at Principe (?)
        • 0 + 20 minutes, 28,000 feet, 5150-0650 (P-47 0+36 mins, 28,000 feet)
        • target 0+42 mins, 28,000 feet, 5138-0610
        • P-47s 0+53 mins, 28,000 feet, 5145-0450 (Spits 0+67 mins, 28,000, 5150-0400)
        • 0+76 mins, 28,000 feet, start descent
        • Orfordness 0+103 minutes, 20,000 feet

        Total distance Cromer to Orfordness: 467 nautical miles

      3. one

        Special Instructions Regarding Routes and Speed

        Climb crews and bomb at 150 IAS
        assemble bomb wings as desired

        1. Division assembly line Ely to Cromer

        2. Interval between combat wings - 3 minutes

      4. Zero hour and date
        1300 BST
        5 Nov 1943

        x1. Bomb loadings and fusings
        All aircraft max load M-47-A1 IBs

        x2. Intervolometer settings: minimum

        3. Special Bombing Instructions

        1. PFF VHF cord for IP: Baker Dog
        2. following aircraft bomb on PFF flares
          if PFF bombs are not visible, bombardiers are warned not to release early
        3. Bombing will be on PFF regardless of whether target is visible

    2. Supplying: Normal

    3. Communications
      1. General
        1. Splasher beacon
          4D, 5E, 6F, 7G, 8H, 9I, 11J in operation during entire mission
        2. Gee information
          "Eastern Wyoming on Grave A" during entire mission
        3. No J beams

      2. First Division
        1. MF D/F section D

        2. VHF bomber fighter channel American bomber fighter (d)

        3. VHF bomber fighter call signs
          Bombers: Phone box
          4-1 1st Combat Wing
          4-2 40th Combat Wing
          4-3 41st Combat Wing
          Fighters: Haybank 4
          Ground Sector: Warm sun
          for comms with Spits 11 group Guard #1 (c)
          Bombers: Dye Peg
          4-1 1st Combat Wing
          4-2 40th Combat Wing
          4-3 41st Combat Wing
          Fighters: Garlic
          Ground Sector: Spice cake

          VHF code word for authentication: X-ray

          Air Commander call sign: Bo-peep
          Col Nazarro

    4. Special Instructions

      1st Combat Wing will designate division air commander

      Division air commander and combat wing air commanders and their navigators will report 0700 5 ? 43 for debriefing at Alconbury.

      Splasher beacons assigned as follows:
      1st Wing
      40th Wing
      41st Wing

40th Combat Wing Mission Details

  1. support - See 1st Division field order 229

  2. target See Field Order 229

    1. ...three combat boxes as follows

    2. Assemble
      1. 305 Bomb Group lead 40th CBW with 21 B-17s; take off as desired and climb on assigned course on reciprocal to assemble group on 40th Wing buncher at 13,000 ft. Depart Thurleigh 0 minus 91 minutes on 40th CBW assembly line. Thurleigh, Stony, Stratford, Daventree

      2. 306 Bomb Group high in 40th CBW with 21 B-17s; take off as desired and climb on assigned course on reciprocal to assemble group on 40th Wing buncher at 15,000 ft. Proceed to join 305 Bomb Group from south on 40th CBW assembly line

      3. 92 Bomb Group low in 40th CBW with 21 B-17s; take off as desired and climb on assigned course on reciprocal to assemble group on 40th Wing buncher at 11,000 ft. Proceed to join 305 Bomb Group from north on 40th CBW assembly line.

    3. Route Out
      Depart Thurleigh 0 minus 91 mins at 13,000 ft to Stony, Stratford
      0 minus 94 mins at 13,000 ft to Daventree
      0 minus 78 mins at 13,000 ft start climb
      to Kettering 0 minus 70 mins at 14,500 ft to Ely
      0 minus 55 mins 17,000 to Cromer
      0 minus 37 mins 20,000 ft

    4. Bombing Altitude
      lead aircraft 28,000 feet

    5. Operating Speed
      See 1.

    6. High Squadron on Right
      92 and 306 groups to furnish three extra aircraft to fill up portions of 40th Combat Wing formation. All aircraft over 21 per group to return to base at Cromer plus 15 mins.

    40th Wing assigned Splasher # 7 for let-down
    Heading 315° true

    40th Wing lead a/c 305th Bomb Group call sign: Bullpen Red

Advance Info on the Field Order includes these statements under Special Instructions:

Air Commanders and navigators will not find it necessary to go to Alconbury.
The pff crew will brief at L? stations [LB? illegible].

Briefing Notes

Primary: Gelsenkirchen
MPI: center of town

bomb on pff a/c regardless of visibility

position: low group in the high wing

Secondary: Any German city w/o disrupting fighter support

AA: heavy

Enemy Aircraft:
160 single-engine
155 twin-engine

1 group P-47s of Meppee [sic]
1 group P-47s near Borken
1 group P-47s at Weeze

Friendly activity:
3rd Division will bomb same target 20 minutes ahead of us
2nd Division, 10 miles behind, will bomb Münster

Last updated 8-1-01 2028 est (0028 z)

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