351st Bomb Group

Polebrook, England

Group Mission #220

Credited Mission #214

DATE: 18 Oct. 1944
Target: Ford Motor Plant, Cologne, Germany
Briefing Outline:
  1. Airplane and Crew Assignment Check.

  2. Time Schedule:
     ___ Box
    Stations   –0655
    Start Engines –0705
    Taxi     –0715
    Take Off   –0725
    Last Take Off –____

  3. Targets:
    Primary: Koln [Cologne, Germany]
    Secondary: Koln [Cologne, Germany]
    Last Resort: None

  4. Loading:
    351 “A”: 6 x 500 GP’s [General Purpose] 1/10 x 1/100 [Fuses] and 6 x M-17 IB [Incendiary Bomb] Fusing 40.8.
    351 “B”:
    Nickels [Propaganda Leaflets] in Ship # - None
    Chaff: All A/C [Aircraft] will commence release at I.P. [Initial Point of Bomb Run] and continue for 12 minutes. Each A/C will carry 288 units.

  5. Gasoline Loading: 2,400 gallons

  6. Wing Formation:
     Wing Formation  94th (A) CBW  94th (B) CBW  41st "B" CBW  Comp. CBW 

  7. Division Formation:
    PositionCBW [Combat Wing]TargetDeparture Time
    at Coast
    Lead41st "A"
    2nd41st "B"
    3rd41st "C"
    2nd Division
    3rd Division
    RAF [Royal Air Force]

    351 Group supply 4th Squadron in 41st "B" Group.
    The 351st Squadron assembled as desired to make assembly with "B" Group on the line Grafton to Northampton at 16,000 feet.
    Interval between CBW’s – 2 minutes.
    Base Reference Altitude – 22,000 feet.
    Zero hour – 0900 hours.

  8. Fighter Cover:
    • [Force][Latitude & Longitude][Call Sign][Type]
      P-47's 5108-0600  Balance 3-1 Close

  9. Group Assembly:
    351st 16,000'  Kings Cliffe 

  10. Navigator - _____
  11. S-2 - _____
  12. Weather - _____
  13. Special Instructions to Gunners, Bombardiers, and Radio Operators:
    A. Type of Bombing Formation - ____
    Intervalometer settings – 140 feet.

  14. Squadron Leaders and Group Deputy report to Target Room. All but Pilots Dismissed.

  15. (A) Code Words –
    PFF Bombing –Clear
    Visual Bombing –Clear
    Authenticator –Hard Liquor
    Recall –Play Over Tackle
    Weather Code –IABVT
    Release "CHAFF" –____

    (B) Call Signs:
    Call SignFlaresRemarks
    351st ACowboy Baker 4GG-RY [Green Green - Red Yellow]
    351st B
    401st A
    401st B
    457th A
    457th B
    1st C.B.W.
    40th C.B.W.
    41st C.B.W.
    Composite C.B.W.

    U.S. FightersBalance 3-1
    R.A.F. Fighters
    BombersVinegrove 3-2
    U.S. Grnd. ControlColgate
    R.A.F. Grnd. Control

    Control Points:Fighter Reference Points:
    C.P. 1 - OrfordnessS - Koln [Cologne]
    C.P. 2 - 5113-0255M - Koblenz
    _____O - Wiesbaden
    _____K - Marburg
    _____E - Kassel

    Remarks: ____

    Colors of the Day
    0100 – 0700
    0700 – 1300YYNF
    1300 – 1900GYSY

    (E) Ships To Monitor [Radio Channels A, B, C & D]
    1. - All except:
    2. - R-038
    3. - K-252
    4. - All available

  16. Let-Down on Kings Cliffe, if overcast.
    351st A   030° Mag. [Magnetic Compass Heading]
    351st B   ___° Mag.
    401st A   ___° Mag.
    457th A   ___° Mag.

  17. Flying Control. –
    1. Taxi Plan.
    2. Emergency Fields.
    3. Landing Aids.

  18. Special Instructions:
     Camera A/C to Return - T-461

Operational Narrative:
  1. Date of Mission - 18 October, 1944.
    1. Target Attacked: Primary Target at Cologne, Germany by GH methods.
    2. Position – Briefed to fly at the High High Squadron of the 41st “B” Group. Actually flew as the Low Low Squadron of the same group. The briefed position in the Division formation was flown.
    3. Force – Low Low Squadron of the 41st “B” Group. Twelve aircraft, including one GH aircraft from the 384th Group, took off.
    4. Lead Teams
      Squadron Lead
      Leader: Captain James M. Gibbons
      Pilot:Major John D. Gorham, Jr.
      Navigator:2nd Lt. Benton F. Love, Jr.
      Bombardier:1st Lt. Frederick S. Ralph

  2. Narrative.
    1.  Squadron Assembly: The briefed assembly altitude was 16,000 feet. However upon reaching this altitude, it was evident that cloud cover and contrails would make assembly difficult. As a result, the assembly was made at 20,000 feet at the Kings Cliffe buncher. The leader of the 41st “B” Group could not be contacted on VHF but the weather ship informed the squadron leader that it thought the assembly took place at 12,000 feet. This did not seem likely to the squadron leader and so he did not descend to that altitude. It was later discovered that the 41st “B” Group had assembled at 22,000 feet.
    2.  Route Over England – Due to the fact that some time had been lost in the assembly at the higher altitude, a direct course was flown from the assembly area to Kings Lynn. Departure from the assembly point was made at 1414 (seven minutes late). Kings Lynn was reached at 0905 (thirteen minutes early). As the 41st “B” Group could not be contacted, the squadron proceeded directly to the departure point from the English coast. This point was reached at 0925 – seventeen minutes early. In order to waste time, three 360° turns were made at this point while waiting for the 41st “B” Group to arrive. Departure from the coast with the 41st “B” Group was made at 0955 at an altitude of 25,000 feet.
    3.  Division Assembly Line: The briefed Division Assembly Line was followed. The squadron was too low to reach its briefed position of High High Squadron. The leader of the 41st “B” Group suggested that it attempt to fly under the lead squadron and above the low squadron. Prop wash would not permit this to be done, however. By the time the Belgian coast was reached, it was decided that lack of time between that point and the target would not permit the squadron to reach its briefed position of High High Squadron. As a result, it stayed in the position of Low Low Squadron. The Belgian coast was crossed at 1004 – fourteen minutes late at 25,000 feet.
    4.  Flight to Target – The briefed route was closely followed to the target. The IP [Initial Point of Bomb Run] was reached at 1042 – thirteen minutes late.
    5.  Description of Bombing Run – The squadron performed its own sighting operation. The briefed turn was made at the IP. The target was completely obscured by cloud. The target was located by a “GH” fix [Gee-H was a radio navigation system.]. No interference was encountered on the bomb run. The C-1 Pilot functioned satisfactorily.
    6.  Flight From Target – The briefed route was followed after leaving the target, which had been attacked at 1052 – fourteen minutes late. At a point southwest of Cologne, however, a dog-leg to the north was flown by the squadron in order to avoid flak which was observed ahead from installations on the Moselle River. The Belgian coast was reached at the briefed point at 1300 – ten minutes late at an altitude of 2,500 feet. A normal let-down procedure was followed. The English coast was reached slightly north of Orford Ness at 1325 – twelve minutes late at 2,500 feet. Return to base was flown without further incident.
    7.  Fighter Support – Adequate.
    8.  Comments – No aircraft were lost. No enemy aircraft were encountered. Flak at the target was meager but fairly accurate. There was also meager, fairly accurate flak at the Moselle River at 50°11’N - 07°15’E [Kail, Germany], and meager flak was observed over Koblenz. One PFF aircraft flew as deputy lead of the squadron, but was not used for bombing. The Scouting Force furnished the proper weather information in good time and was generally helpful. The GH aircraft was furnished by the 384th Bomb Group.
    9.  Aircraft Not Attacking – There were no failures to attack. No flying spares were scheduled.

  [Signed] Clinton F. Ball, Lt. Colonel, Air Corps, Operations Officer

Statistical Summary:
High High Sqdn 41st “B” Group
No. of A/C Failing to Take Off0
No. of A/C Airborne12
No. of A/C Airborne Less Unused Spares12
No. of A/C Sorties12
No. of A/C Attacking12
No. of A/C Not Attacking0
Name of Primary TargetCologne, Germany
(A) No. of A/C Attacking Primary12
(B) No., Size & Type Of Bombs 72 x 500 GP 
 72 x 500 Incendiary 
Name of Secondary Target
(A) No. of A/C Attacking Secondary Target
(B) No., Size & Type Of Bombs
Name of Last Resort Target (LRT)
(A) No. of A/C Attacking LRT
(B) No., Size & Type Of Bombs
Name of Target of Opportunity (T.O.)
(A) No. of A/C Attacking T.O.
(B) No., Size & Type Of Bombs
No. of A/C Lost - Total0
No. of A/C Lost - Flak
No. of A/C Lost - Flak and E/A
No. of A/C Lost - Enemy Aircraft
No. of A/C Lost - Accident
No. of A/C Lost - Unknown
Time of Take Off0725
Time of Attack1052
Average Time of Flight6:53
Altitude of Release24,600’
Visual or PFFGH
Enemy Resistance – AA Intensity & AccuracyMeager and Accurate
Enemy Resistance – Fighter0
Enemy Resistance – Bombers0
U.S. A/C Engaged by Enemy Aircraft0
Degree of SuccessUnobserved

PFF A/C were borrowed from Groups as follows: ____
PFF A/C were loaned to Groups as follows: ____

GH A/C 42-102499 lead this Squadron. It was furnished by the 384th Bomb Group. PFF A/C 42-97651 flew as deputy lead, but was not used for bombing. Both of these A/C attacked. The GH A/C is included in the above figures.

Bombardier’s Narrative – High High Squadron of the 41st “B” CBW: Target: Ford plant at Cologne, Germany (“GH” target)
  1. Type of Bombing (Visual, PFF or Combined)?  “GH”
  2. Did Squadron perform own sighting operation, bomb on smoke marker, or was bombing done in Group Formation? Squadron performed own “GH” sighting operation.
  3. Was turn made at briefed I.P.? Yes
  4. Cloud coverage and visibility. 10/10 cloud cover
  5. If Visual, when was MPI identified? If not actually seen, how was it located? “GH Fix”
  6. Any Interference on Bomb Run? None
  7. Did C-1 [Autopilot] function satisfactory? Yes
  8. Any other factors affecting accuracy? None
  [Signed] Frederick S. Ralph, 1st Lt., Air Corps, Lead Bombardier

Combat Bombing Flight Record – High High Squadron of the 41st CBW:

Bombardier - 1st Lt. Ralph, Frederick S.
Pilot - Major Gorham, J.D. Jr. & Captain Gibbons, J.M.
Navigator - 2nd Lt. Love, Benton F., Jr.

Aircraft B-17G   R-449  Take-off - 0725 Landed - 1420
Objective - Ford plant at Cologne, Germany (G.H. Target)
Aiming Point (MPI) [Mean Point of Impact] - G.H. Fix
Initial Point - 51°09’N-05°55’E [Just NE of Brachterbeek, Germany]
Method of Attack - Squadron
No. of Attacking A/C in Group: - 12   Composite Group - ____
Number A/C Dropping Bombs by own Sighting Operation: ____
Deflection and Range Sighting, Group: Lead A/C   Composite Group - ____
Range Sighting only, Group - __   Composite Group - ____
Bombs, Types and Sizes - 6 – AN M43 500 LB. G.P’s & 6 – M17 I.B.’s.
Number of Bombs Loaded - As Above   Released - Same
Fusing, Nose - 1/10   Tail - 1/100
Synchronization - On

Information at Release Point:

Altitude of Target - 150'Magnetic Heading Ordered 126° Actual 132°
True Altitude Above Target - 24,600'True Heading 125°
Indicated Altitude - 25,200'Drift, Estimated 15° Left - Actual 11° Left
Pressure Altitude of Target +624True Track 114°
Altimeter Setting 29.92Actual Range 19,137'
Calculated Indicated Air Speed - 150KB.S. Type - M-9
True Air Speed - 236KTime of Release 1052
Ground Speed Est. 328 Actual 300Length of Bombing Run - 8 min.
Wind Direction Metro - 250° Actual - 253°Intervalometer Setting - 140'
Wind Velocity Metro 115 Actual 70 C-1 Pilot [Autopilot] - X [Used]
D.S. - 128  Trail - 60   ATF - 41.35A-5 Pilot _____
Tan. D.A, Est. .72 Actual GH Manual Pilot ____

Type of Release - ___
Point of Impact If Seen - ___
Mean Temp. Metro ___ Actual ___
Winds - Altitude - ____ Ft.  Direction - Metro __°  Actual __°  Velocity - Metro __  Actual __
Temp C. - Metro -__° C. Actual -__° C.

Preliminary Damage Assessment:
  1. One squadron from this group was dispatched to bomb the Ford motor transport factory at Cologne, Germany. Bombing was by Gee H method and all ships dropped on the lead ship. This squadron flew as high-high with the 41st CBW “B” force.
  2. A concentration of bombs is seen hitting 7,140 feet NW of the target area. Bursts are in open fields and no damage will be done.
  [Signed:] Thomas L. Cooper, Captain, Air Corps, Group P.I. [Photo Intelligence]

Narrative Teletype Report:
  1. No leaflets were carried on today's mission.
  2. Bombing of the primary target, Ford M.T. plant at Cologne, Germany was done through 9-10/10ths clouds by GH methods. Photographs from planes well back in the formation show the bomb pattern to be 1½ miles NW of the MPI [Mean Point of Impact]. Although the target was obscured by clouds at the time of the bomb run, the clouds rapidly broke up, enabling the taking of photographs through breaks in the clouds. GH equipment was not working too well.
  3. No enemy aircraft were encountered and no claims [of enemy A/C being shot down] are being submitted.
  4. Flak at the target was meager but fairly accurate. There was also meager, fairly accurate flak at the Moselle River at 50°11’N - 07°15’E [At Kail, Germany.], and meager flak was observed over Koblenz.
  5. Weather was 9-10/10ths at the time of bombs away, but it did not interfere with the formation on the bomb run. (See paragraph No. 2 above).
  6. A great deal of railroad and trucking activity was observed in and near Koblenz. A B-17, No. 338018, marked “plus G” and with a red tip on the top of the fin and rudder, joined this formation at the IP [Initial Point of Bomb Run], dropped its bombs with the aircraft of this Group, and flew with us to the coast of Belgium where it turned away.
  7. One PFF aircraft flew as deputy lead of the squadron, but was not used for bombing. The Scouting Force furnished proper weather information in good time and was generally helpful. Fighter support was adequate. None of our aircraft is missing.

Track Chart:
Click on Chart to Enlarge

Combat Crew Comments:

    510th Squadron:
A/C 665-N: Why don’t they have a spare on the ground; we had to change everything to other ship. - F/O Burr.
A/C 651-Y: We were short a flak apron; why do they have to be short when we only put up one squadron? - Lt. Purcell.
A/C 465-A: Lots of prop wash. – Lt. McFarland.

  [Signed:] Robert P. Ramsey, Major, Air Corps, Group S-2 [Intelligence].

Mission Summary Report:
  1. Abortives and Flying Spares:
    1. None
  2. Battle Damage:
    1. None
  [Signed:] John W. Freeman, Captain, Air Corps, Group Engineering Officer

“J” Form:
  1. Last Four numbers and Call Letter of A/C in each Squadron:
    a. 41st "B" Combat Wing   High High Squadron
    Sqdn 508th A/C:
    Sqdn 509th A/C:
    Sqdn 510th A/C: R–8038, C–2576, D–7957, G–7862, L–7515, K–7252, H–8280, A–8465, S–7512, T–8461, N–7665, (Y–7651 PFF)
    Sqdn 511th A/C:
    P.F.F. Sqdn 547, 384th Group A/C: R–2449

  2. Target: __
  3. W/T and R/T Operational Call Sign of each Squadron:
    Squadron508 [Call Sign]W/T ___ R/T CARLTONSquadron510 [Call Sign]W/T KDB R/T TIPSTAFF
    Squadron509 [Call Sign]W/T ___ R/T HOTMINTSquadron511 [Call Sign]W/T ___ R/T PARTNERSHIP
  4. a. High Box: Taxi – 0715; Take-Off – 0725; E.T.D. Field – 0725
    b. ____ Box: Taxi – ____; Take-Off – ____; E.T.D. Field – ____
  5. Time:Height:  Place of Crossing English Coast: (OUT)
    094725,000 Ft Orfordness
  6. Time:Height:  Place of Crossing Enemy Coast: (IN)
    100427,000 Ft 51°13'N-02°55'E [Ostend, Belgium]
  7. Time:Height:  Place of Crossing Enemy Coast: (Out)
    125010,000 Ft 51°13'N-02°55'E [Ostend, Belgium]
  8. Time:Height:  Place of Crossing English Coast: (IN)
    13255,000 Ft Orfordness
  9. E.T.R.(Estimated Time of Return) Base: 1407 Hours
  10. MF/DF [Medium Frequency/Direction Finder] Section: "G"
  11. Bomb load of Each A/C: High Box
    508 Squadron:
    509 Squadron:
    510 Squadron: 6 x 500 GP [General Purpose] 1/10 x 1/100 [Fuses] plus 6 - M17 I.B's [Incendiary Bombs]
    511 Squadron:

  12. Fuel Load of each A/C: 2400 Gallons
  13. Group Leader:
    a. High Squadron: Name: Gibbons, James M. Rank: Capt. A/C: R-2449  Sqdn. 547th
  14. Passengers, if any: (Full Name, Rank, A/C and Squadron Passenger flying with)

Report Compiled By Rocky Civizzio, T/Sgt.

Formation Chart:
94th "A" CBW Lead Box Formation at Take–Off and Over Target
510th Squadron
A/C 42-102449-R GH
A/C 42-38038 R
A/C 42-97651 Y PFF
A/C 42-102576 C
A/C 43-37957 D
A/C 43-37862 G
A/C 43-37515 L
A/C 42-97252 K
A/C 43-37665 N
A/C 43-38465 A
A/C 43-37512 S
A/C 43-38461 T

 GH A/C furnished by 384th Bomb Group
 [Gee-H was a radio navigation system.]

Time Schedule:
Zero Hour: 0900 BST [British Standard Time]  Briefing: 0415 Stations: 0655 Start Engines: 0705 Taxi: 0715 
Take-Off: 0725  Leave Base: 0725 [Breakfast: 0315]

[Wounded On Mission: 0]

The above records were obtained at the National Archives Records Administration and have been declassified by authority NND 745005
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