Date of Mission - 18 October, 1944.
- Target Attacked: Primary Target at Cologne, Germany by GH methods.
- 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.
- Force – Low Low Squadron of the 41st “B” Group. Twelve aircraft, including one GH aircraft from the 384th Group, took off.
|Leader: ||Captain James M. Gibbons|
|Pilot:||Major John D. Gorham, Jr.|
|Navigator:||2nd Lt. Benton F. Love, Jr.|
|Bombardier:||1st Lt. Frederick S. Ralph|
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
Fighter Support – Adequate.
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.
Aircraft Not Attacking – There were no failures to attack. No flying spares were scheduled.
[Signed] Clinton F. Ball, Lt. Colonel, Air Corps, Operations Officer
|High High Sqdn 41st “B” Group|
|No. of A/C Failing to Take Off||0|
|No. of A/C Airborne||12|
|No. of A/C Airborne Less Unused Spares||12|
|No. of A/C Sorties||12|
|No. of A/C Attacking||12|
|No. of A/C Not Attacking||0|
|Name of Primary Target||Cologne, Germany|
|(A) No. of A/C Attacking Primary||12|
|(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 - Total||0|
|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 Off||0725|
|Time of Attack||1052|
|Average Time of Flight||6:53|
|Altitude of Release||24,600’|
|Visual or PFF||GH|
|Enemy Resistance – AA Intensity & Accuracy||Meager and Accurate|
|Enemy Resistance – Fighter||0|
|Enemy Resistance – Bombers||0|
|U.S. A/C Engaged by Enemy Aircraft||0|
|Degree of Success||Unobserved|
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)
Type of Bombing (Visual, PFF or Combined)? “GH”
Did Squadron perform own sighting operation, bomb on smoke marker, or was bombing done in Group Formation? Squadron performed own “GH” sighting operation.
Was turn made at briefed I.P.? Yes
Cloud coverage and visibility. 10/10 cloud cover
If Visual, when was MPI identified? If not actually seen, how was it located? “GH Fix”
Any Interference on Bomb Run? None
Did C-1 [Autopilot] function satisfactory? Yes
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 +624||True Track 114°|
|Altimeter Setting 29.92||Actual Range 19,137'|
|Calculated Indicated Air Speed - 150K||B.S. Type - M-9|
|True Air Speed - 236K||Time of Release 1052|
|Ground Speed Est. 328 Actual 300||Length 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 - 41.35||A-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:
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.
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:
- No leaflets were carried on today's mission.
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.
No enemy aircraft were encountered and no claims [of enemy A/C being shot down] are being submitted.
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.
- 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).
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.
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.
Click on Chart to Enlarge
Mission Summary Report:
Abortives and Flying Spares:
[Signed:] John W. Freeman, Captain, Air Corps, Group Engineering Officer
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|
- Target: __
W/T and R/T Operational Call Sign of each Squadron:
|Squadron||508 [Call Sign]||W/T ___ R/T CARLTON||Squadron||510 [Call Sign]||W/T KDB R/T TIPSTAFF|
|Squadron||509 [Call Sign]||W/T ___ R/T HOTMINT||Squadron||511 [Call Sign]||W/T ___ R/T PARTNERSHIP|
a. High Box: Taxi – 0715; Take-Off – 0725; E.T.D. Field – 0725
b. ____ Box: Taxi – ____; Take-Off – ____; E.T.D. Field – ____
|Time:||Height: ||Place of Crossing English Coast: (OUT)|
|0947||25,000 Ft ||Orfordness|
|Time:||Height: ||Place of Crossing Enemy Coast: (IN)|
|1004||27,000 Ft ||51°13'N-02°55'E [Ostend, Belgium]|
|Time:||Height: ||Place of Crossing Enemy Coast: (Out)|
|1250||10,000 Ft ||51°13'N-02°55'E [Ostend, Belgium]|
|Time:||Height: ||Place of Crossing English Coast: (IN)|
|1325||5,000 Ft ||Orfordness|
- E.T.R.(Estimated Time of Return) Base: 1407 Hours
- MF/DF [Medium Frequency/Direction Finder] Section: "G"
Bomb load of Each A/C: High Box
510 Squadron: 6 x 500 GP [General Purpose] 1/10 x 1/100 [Fuses] plus 6 - M17 I.B's [Incendiary Bombs]
Fuel Load of each A/C: 2400 Gallons
a. High Squadron: Name: Gibbons, James M. Rank: Capt. A/C: R-2449 Sqdn. 547th
Passengers, if any: (Full Name, Rank, A/C and Squadron Passenger flying with)
Report Compiled By Rocky Civizzio, T/Sgt.
|94th "A" CBW Lead Box Formation at Take–Off and Over Target|
GibbonsA/C 42-102449-R GH
RedmanA/C 42-38038 R
PercellA/C 42-97651 Y PFF
WhittenA/C 42-102576 C
MarseyA/C 43-37957 D
CarleA/C 43-37862 G
MillerA/C 43-37515 L
McGeeA/C 42-97252 K
CookA/C 43-37665 N
McFarlandA/C 43-38465 A
DinningA/C 43-37512 S
WhittakerA/C 43-38461 T
GH A/C furnished by 384th Bomb Group
[Gee-H was a radio navigation system.]
0900 BST [British Standard Time] Briefing:
0655 Start Engines:
[Wounded On Mission:
The above records were obtained at the National Archives Records Administration and have been
declassified by authority NND 745005