Mission Details for Berlin (#231)



Number: 231
Date: 3/18/1945 12:00:00 AM
Commander: Lt. Col. W.C. Garland
Crews Briefed: 38
Details: Railroad marshalling yards

Flying Control

Runway: 23
Engines: 0645 Thumbnail image for /Images/Takeoff/Plan23.jpg
Taxi: 0700
Take Off: 0715
E.T.R.: 1521
Notes: Briefing took place at 0315 hours. The ships were loaded with twelve 100 pound GP's and eight M17 IB's. Group assembly was ordered for Cottesmore Buncher at 10,500 feet.
All operational aircraft were airborne by 0747 hours. Two ships were forced to abort, and one spare also returned early. At 1605 hours it was reported that all but two operational aircraft had returned from the mission, one of which was missing and one which had landed at Woodbridge.


Aircraft: 38
Lost Over Continent: 1
Lost Other: 0
Summary: The 401st provided three squadrons making up the 94th Combat Wing "A" Group on this mission. The bomb run proved very difficult for the Lead Bombardiers due to 3/10's to 5/10's cloud cover and heavy smoke and contrails obscuring the target. For that reason the bomb run was made using PFF (radar) techniques until 20 to 30 seconds before bombs away. At that point the Lead Bombardiers took over and attempted visual sightings. The assigned targets could not be identified at that point, so the bombs were dropped at other aiming points, with hits observed in one marshalling yard and in the built up area of the city. Results were said to be excellent.
For the first time in a number of missions, the Group encountered enemy aircraft--this time jets! Six Me-262 jets flew through the formation, shooting down one 401st aircraft and damaging another. The Group also flew into accurate flak, which resulted in major battle damage to two aircraft and minor damage to fifteen others.
The downed 401st ship was B-17 No. 43-38607 ("Lady Jane II"), piloted by Lt. David E. Vermeer. After being hit by fire from an enemy jet aircraft, the B-17 continued over the target and then fell of on one wing out of the formation. However, the ship was able to make it most of the way out of Germany but was again attacked by Luftwaffe Me-262's after American fighter escort planes had left. Lt. Vermeer then gave the bailout signal and six of the nine crew members parachuted to safety--and captivity. The pilot, togglier and radio operator did not exit the ship and were killed in the crash.

Mission Assignments

Squadron Participants