Mission Details for Merseburg (#142)



Number: 142
Date: 9/11/1944 12:00:00 AM
Commander: Maj. W.C. Garland
Crews Briefed: 39
Details: Synthetic oil refinery

Flying Control

Runway: 5
Engines: 1715 Thumbnail image for /Images/Takeoff/Plan05.jpg
Taxi: 0730
Take Off: 0745
Notes: Briefing took place at 0400 hours, and all operational aircraft were airborne by 0813 hours. One spare and two aborts returned early. At 1510 hours one aircraft approaching the airbase asked permission to make a crash landing, as rudder controls had been shot away. Permission having been granted, the ship made a safe landing. Another aircraft overhead reported that its hydraulics were out and was told to land last. It was also reported that one of the Group's aircraft had been seen in flames near Corby and that parachutes had come out. At 1550, Deenethorpe Flying Control was notified that one of our aircraft had crashed near Thorney, southeast of Peterborough. By 1510 hours all but two aircraft had returned.


Aircraft: 39
Lost Over Continent: 1
Lost Other: 1
Summary: The 401st provided three 12 ship Boxes, comprising the 94th Combat Wing "B" unit. The Lead and High Boxes bombed by PFF with unobserved results but the Low Box bombed the MPI of the 351st Bomb Group with great success, 100% of the bombs landing within 1,000 feet of the MPI.
The Group did not encounter any enemy air opposition, although a number of Luftwaffe fighters were seen in the area. However, the 401st ran into moderate but accurate flak in the vicinity of Koblenz and heavier bursts over the target. This resulted in the loss of one aircraft and severe damage to several others. The downed aircraft, which was hit by flak in the cockpit area, was flown by Lt. M. R. Wingard and his crew. Three crew members survived, but the others were killed in action.
"Shade Ruff" (No. 42-97478), piloted by Lt. G. A. Filemyr, was also badly damaged by flak over Merseburg and left the formation. On the way back it was jumped by four fighters and then ran into heavy flak at 8,000 feet over Saarbrucken. At this time the radio operator and waist gunner bailed out, thinking that the ship was going down. However, the pilot was able to bring the plane back to Deenthorpe, heavily damaged.
A third aircraft, "Fearless Fosdick" (No. 102957), piloted by Lt. Morris M. Mohler, which had also received major battle damage, made it back to Deenethorpe but, before it could be landed, an engine caught fire and could not be extinguished. All crew members parachuted out safely in the Corby and Peterborough area, and the ship crashed near Leicester.
In addition to the aircraft just mentioned, 22 other 401st ships received battle damage, and four other crewmen were wounded.

Mission Assignments

Squadron Participants