Mission Details for Merseburg (#143)



Number: 143
Date: 9/13/1944 12:00:00 AM
Commander: Maj. J. Maupin
Crews Briefed: 39
Details: I.G. Farbenindustrie synthetic oil facilities

Flying Control

Runway: 5
Engines: 0615 Thumbnail image for /Images/Takeoff/Plan05.jpg
Taxi: 0630
Take Off: 0645
E.T.R.: 1415
Notes: The Group was briefed at 0345. Col. Bowman advised pilots that early returns must circle the field until the formation returns. One aircraft could not take off but the other 38 were airborne by 0717, and one spare returned at 1136 hours. By 1504 all but two aircraft had returned from the mission. One of the missing made it back at 1611 with heavy battle damage. At 1940 hours, seven members of the crew of the other missing aircraft were ferried in by a C-47, having landed in Belgium.


Aircraft: 39
Lost Over Continent: 1
Lost Other: 0
Summary: The 401st provided the three Boxes comprising the 94th Combat Wing "B" unit. Because of a navigational error and malfunction of the PFF equipment, the Lead Box picked up the wrong target and bombed the town of Gera. The High and Low Boxes were able to find the briefed target and release their bombs visually, the Low Box with good results and the High Box with only fair results.
The Group was hit by accurate tracking flak at the target, resulting in major damage to three aircraft and minor damage to 17 others. Two crew members of one of the badly damaged aircraft, thinking it was going down, bailed out over Saarbrucken. Another aircraft, piloted by Lt. John W. Kovach, with two engines out and losing altitude steadily, managed to cross over into Allied-held territory and landed at an airfield in Belgium. Seven of the crew were flown back to Deenethorpe in a C-47 that night and the others returned the next day. The aircraft was sent to salvage.
As a result of the heavy battle damage from the recent missions, the Group was placed on "stand down" until enough ships could be repaired or replaced to make up the necessary formation.

Mission Assignments

Squadron Participants