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20 March 1945 Mission #263 Target: Hemmingstedt

The oil refinery complex on the Danish Peninsula, which had been attacked successfully on 14 January and estimated then to be out for three months, was assigned to the Group as the target. And again, the Group’s efforts would be outstanding as (124) 500# bombs impacted with precision accuracy - (95) percent falling within 1000 feet of the MPI. The mission was called on a spur of the moment with the so-called ‘typical English weather’ changing at the last minute to permit favorable take-off conditions. Briefing for one squadron of (11) crews was conducted at 1000 hours with take-off commencing at 1215. The 578th put all ships over the target, bombing visually with the release of (124) 500 11 GPs going down in pin-point accuracy. The refinery was once again estimated to have been put out of operation for at least several months. There were no fighters up to intercept the Group and the only flak noted was that near the island of Heligoland as the formation passed by in the distance. All crews recovered safely about 1745 hours.

As the mission orders were coming in for the next day's raid, East Anglian bomber bases suffered their first heavy attack from intruding enemy aircraft which presumably had followed the bomber forces home. Around 2115 hours, the most concentrated attacks were experienced at Wendling when several twin-engine aircraft made three strafing passes which lasted for approximately twenty minutes. Time delay frag bombs were dropped in and around the parked B-24s along with 200-300 rounds of 20mm cannon fire. Fortunately, only one man was slightly injured in this raid but eight Group Liberators were damaged significantly along with 14 bomb bay fuel tanks destroyed and one refueling truck shot up. The 577th Squadron was the heaviest hit, with #151 seriously hit, #390 and #040 damaged nearly to Class 26 salvage, and #901 and #238 slightly hit. The 576th had one plane hit. The station fire crew, under Sergeant Turner, went with the Class 150 Cardox truck and two Foam vehicles to arrest the fire started in some auxiliary fuel tanks; all fires were extinguished within 15 minutes. For one of the very few times also, the air raid shelters were hastily used -- some found to be partially filled with water which failed to dismay their sudden occupants or the bullfrogs which cohabited them as well.


The strafing damaged #42-50390 almost to salvage status.


42-95040 Silver Streak strafing damage 20 Mar 45
The damage to #42-95040, Silver Streak, caused by the strafing attack is clearly evident.


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20 MARCH 1945

MISSION #263      Target: Hemmingstedt



20 Mar 1945 576th Sqdn.
Did not fly this mission.
20 Mar 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 697

P McKellar, C.C. 2nd Lt.
CP Owen, J.L. 2nd Lt.
N James, H.P. 2nd Lt.
B Yeary, B.J. Sgt.
R Bova, N.G. Sgt.
E Cole, E.W. Sgt.
RW Higbee, W.J. Sgt.
LW Hodge, T.H. Sgt.
TG Holler, J.G. Sgt.

20 Mar 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 875

P Dodson, G.H. 2nd Lt.
CP LeFevre, L.P. 2nd Lt.
N Fletcher, W.J. 2nd Lt.
B Hochard, H.H. S/Sgt.
R Green, J.M. S/Sgt.
E Herrera, D.R. S/Sgt.
RW Allendorf, V.G. S/Sgt.
LW Peterson, F.H. S/Sgt.
TG Jenkins, C.E. S/Sgt.

20 Mar 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 901

P Harding, W.A. 1st Lt.
CP Morrow, E.T. 2nd Lt.
N Parrish, J.D. 2nd Lt.
B Fisher, J.G. Sgt.
R Dollar, W.H. Sgt.
E Butler, C.E. Sgt.
RW Smith, R.L. Jr. Sgt.
LW Silliman, E. Sgt.
TG Neumann, H.J. Sgt.
RCM Slater, R.E. S/Sgt.

20 Mar 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 238

P Osojnicki, E.S. 2nd Lt.
CP Schoellerman, M.L. 2nd Lt.
N Flugel, R.R. F/O
B Thompson, W.H. Sgt.
R Reidy, H.J. Sgt.
E Sacher, P. Cpl.
RW Ortega, J. Sgt.
LW Weatherbie, L.K. Sgt.
TG McCormick, F.G. Sgt.

20 Mar 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 118

P Prater, W.K. 2nd Lt.
CP Rigney, J.A. 2nd Lt.
N Pilcher, W.L. 2nd Lt.
NG Venuti, L.C. Sgt.
R Killian, C.J. S/Sgt.
E Lawrence, L.J. S/Sgt.
RW Kegler, S.D. Sgt.
LW Healey, J. Sgt.
TG Deshantz, D. S/Sgt.
S-27 Belsky, M. S/Sgt.

20 Mar 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 772

P Vickers, R.E. 2nd Lt.
CP Schwarzer, D.E. 2nd Lt.
N Roberts, K.E. 2nd Lt.
B Henthorn, W.N. S/Sgt.
R Costanzo, N.T. S/Sgt.
E Krutys, E.V. T/Sgt.
RW Nock, W.H.E. Jr. S/Sgt.
LW Damuth, T.A. S/Sgt.
TG Leinweber, R.L. S/Sgt.

20 Mar 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 804

P Bilz, J.J. 1st Lt.
CP Slayter, D.W. 1st Lt.
N Barnes, J.M. 1st Lt.
B Overman, D.T. 1st Lt.
R Fahrenbruch, K.G. T/Sgt.
E Grout, A.G. T/Sgt.
RW Poepping, R.F. S/Sgt.
LW Alper, M.A. S/Sgt.
TG Ludwig, D.J. S/Sgt.
NG Beals, B.M. S/Sgt.
S-27 Steffen, N.W. T/Sgt.

20 Mar 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 511

P Case, W.D. 2nd Lt.
CP Griffin, R.E. 2nd Lt.
N Gullick, C.H. 2nd Lt.
B McCoy, F.W. S/Sgt.
R Black, C.B. T/Sgt.
E Kidd, J.L. T/Sgt.
RW Chanson, M.C. S/Sgt.
LW Johnson, R.L. S/Sgt.
TG Lutes, M.A. S/Sgt.

20 Mar 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 477

P Adsit, B.D. 2nd Lt.
CP Weber, M. F/O
N Wedgeworth, Q.R. 2nd Lt.
B Timmons, K.L. S/Sgt.
R McDonald, R.O. S/Sgt.
E Close, H.R. S/Sgt.
RW Ritty, P.M. S/Sgt.
LW Anderson, W.G. S/Sgt.
TG Taylor, H.T. S/Sgt.
RCM Robinson, L.D. S/Sgt.

20 Mar 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 313

P Rose, P.E. 1st Lt.
CP Pratt, D.M. 1st Lt.
N Rohde, C.R. 1st Lt.
B Harnden, R.G. 1st Lt.
R Croy, O.N. T/Sgt.
E Scott, W.A. T/Sgt.
RW Manelick, N.L. S/Sgt.
LW Davidson, S.A. S/Sgt.
TG Beane, H.E. S/Sgt.
RCM Frappier, H.A. T/Sgt.

20 Mar 1945 579th Sqdn.
A/C 670

P Kerr, D.R. 1st Lt.
CP Fabiani, H.L. 2nd Lt.
N Boettcher, R.E. 1st Lt.
B Copple, R.N. 1st Lt.
R Abraham, L.J. T/Sgt.
E Chelenyak, J.A. T/Sgt.
RW Johnson, E.W. S/Sgt.
LW Richardson, W.C. S/Sgt
TG Harmon, G.E. S/Sgt.
NN Mintz, H.B. 2nd Lt.
NV Slagle, R.B. 2nd Lt.




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