Saturday, February 13, 1944 - 386th Bomb Group
Missions 100 and 101:
Briefing was called to order at 1215 hours. IX Bomber Command directs the
386th Bomb Group to attack two V-1 Rockets sites in France. The Group will
put up two boxes of eighteen aircraft each. Target 100 is located in St.
Pierre-des-Jonquieres. It is identified as Launching Site A-28. The 101
target is located at Preuseville, Launching Site A-29. The II Group RAF will
supply Spitfire escort for all IX Bomber activities in France today. Other
B-26’s operating with us will be from the 322nd Bomb Group.
The route out: From base to Assembly On Line, there we take up a heading to
Beachy Head where we will rendezvous with the 322nd Bomb Group. The 386th
will lead that Group. Then take up a heading for a navigation position point
out over the channel to Yvetot to Pavilly to the Initial Point (I.P) at
Serqueville. Route back: Target turn left to Tocquville, to Hastings to
All aircraft will carry 6 x 500 pound general purpose demolition type bombs.
Fusing is one-tenth nose and one-fourtith tail fuse. Intervalometer setting
is fifty feet. Aiming point is center of the target. Axis of attack is
generally from southwest to northeast. Maximum combat ammunition to be
carried by each aircraft. Emergency airfields are, West Malling and
Weather at take off: Seven to eight-tenths cumulus at 3,500 feet. Visibility
three miles, and cumulus increasing to nine-tenths. Route out: Visibility
three miles, lowering in the London area from one to two miles, and
increasing over the channel. Cloud cover will decrease over France to
two-tenths base of 3,500 feet, with tops from 5,000 to 6,000 feet.
Altocumulus six to eight-tenths decreasing en route to nil over the target
area. At the French Coast visibility will be six miles. On return route:
Similar to route out. At base, two to three-tenths cumulus at 3,500 feet
with visibility of five miles.
Communications: Air-Sea-Rescue on VHF Channel C. Emergency homing: To
Friston on VHF Channel B. Call sign is Shell Pink. To West Malling VHF on
Channel D. Call sign Birdcage. 386th bombers to fighters on VHF Channel B.
Bomber radio call sign is Dypeg One on target A-28 and Dypeg Two on target
A-29. Fighter call sign will be Garlic. Splasher Beacons in operation during
entire mission are: 5A, 6B, 7C, 8D, 9F, 11F, 14G, 15H, and 16I. Gee
Navigation information: Eastern Wyoming and Southern Carolina - Grade A
between 1430 and 1630 hours.
Colonel Kelly with lead the first box, Captain Howard leads the high flight,
and the low flight lead is Lieutenant Haber. Major Thornton will lead the
second box, Captain Tipton will be the high flight leader, and Captain James
Wilson will head up the low flight. The two boxes will fly as a thirty-six
plane formation to the general target area, then split off to make runs on
their assigned targets. Briefing ended at 1300 hours when all the flight
crews synchronized their watches.
Trucks transported the bomber crews out to their respective aircraft at
1305, engine start up commenced thirty minutes later. Formation leader,
Colonel Joe Kelly was airborne at 1350 hours with his plane called, “SON OF
SATAN” 131613 YA-Y. He was to be closely followed by the five remaining
ships in his flight. High flight leader was Captain George Howard flying his
plane named, “GAMBLER’S LUCK” 131639 RG-G led off the high flight. The
author flying in a plane named, “BUZZ-N-BITCH II 131953 RG-T was piloted by
Lieutenant Donald Vincent. We were in number two position, just off the
right wing of Captain Howard. It would be my thirty-fourth combat mission
with the 386th Group. The low flight lead ship was flown by Lieutenant
Leland Haber. His plane was called, “ELMER” 131577 AN-Y. The other five
planes in his flight followed suit.
The second box lead flight was Major Charles Thornton with his plane by the
named, CRESCENDO” 131644 RG-C with four more ships. Next in line was the
high flight leader Captain Edward Tipton in his plane called, “DINAH MIGHT”
131576 AN-Z. Following him into the air were his five other aircraft. The
low flight lead was Captain James Wilson, his plane was, “MAN-O-WAR, Jr.”
131852 YA-B. He had five additional planes in his flight.
A group of thirty-five aircraft left over base at 1453 hours on a course of
182 degrees true for Beachy Head. Rendezvous was accomplished with
thirty-six B-26’s from the 322nd Bomb Group at 1511 hours. A course of 170
degrees true was taken for the fighter escort rendezvous, which was made at
1520 hours at position: 50 degrees 10 Minutes North - 00 Degrees 25 Minutes
East over the English Channel. Then a course of 165 degrees true was taken
for enemy landfall at 49 Degrees 50 Minutes North - 00 Degrees 32 Minutes
East. It was reached at 1607 hours where evasive action was commenced. A new
course of 148 degrees true was flown to Yvetot, that location was reached at
1530 hours. A true course of 112 degrees was taken to Pavilly, arrival time
was 1532 hours.
At that point the formation swung around to a course of 80 degrees true,
that carried them on to the Initial Point at Serqueux, time 1539 hours. A
left turn was accomplished by both boxes onto their individually assigned
targets which were nearly side by side. The lead box found it was necessary
to make a second run, because the target was too far to the left for an
accurate bomb run. After they completed a 360 degree turn, they again turned
the formation inside Serqueux. After leaving the I.P. the formation was
flying due north on the bomb run with bomb bay doors open; they were
indicating an air speed of 190 m.p.h. altitude was 11,000 feet. It was bombs
away at 1554 hours. A left turn was made to a heading of 332 degrees true
was taken for Tocqueville, which was reached at 1558 hours. Then a course
was set for Hastings, England and return to base.
The second box headed by Major Thornton was successful on their first
bombing run at 10,500 feet, air speed a steady 190 m.p.h. at 1544 hours. At
that time the formation turned to a heading of 313 degrees true for the town
of Tocqueville, which they flew over at 1549 hours. At that time the
formation turned to a heading of 332 degrees true which put them on a
straight line to Hasting located on the English Coast. It was made at 1607
hours. The first box having been delayed at the target area reached Hastings
at 1616 hours. Major Thornton reached base at 1620, Colonel Kelly landed at
base at 1631 hours. All flight crews were picked up by trucks from the
aircraft parking hardstands, which were spaced at several locations around
the perimeter track of the airfield.
All flight crews had been delivered to the interrogation room. It was
learned that three aircraft failed to release their bomb loads over the
target. “CRESCENDO” 131644 RG-C flown by Major Thornton was a victim of a
faulty intervalometer. “CRIME DOCTOR” 131902 AN-R piloted by Lieutenant John
Meyers had a relay point fused, thus making it totally inoperative. A ship
called, “SMOKEY” 131667 RU-N had a ballast tube burnout. The pilot was
Captain Peter B. Green, Jr. All three aircraft salvoed their bomb loads into
the channel. Lieutenant Harry Michael was flying a plane by the name, “HARD
LUCK” 131610 AN-P. His plane was returned early because of a fuel leak.
Lieutenant Robert Hoffman flying 131945 RG-W could not complete the mission
due to a broken rudder trim tab. It happened while flying at 10,000 feet
during brief icing conditions.
Twenty-one tons of bombs were dropped on target A-28, and 24 tons were
released on target A-29. Good results in both cases. None of our aircraft
were damaged by enemy action. RAF Spitfire escort did a fine job of keeping
any potential enemy fighters at bay. Observations by flight crews during
today’s operations: A new flak battery was noted to be under construction
two miles southeast of Tocqueville. A long train was seen headed west out of
Neufchatel. Two long trains were heading southwest out of Oisemont. Much
rail activity was noted in the Serqueville marshalling yard. At 1534 an
unidentified plane was observed going down in flames between Oisemont and
Abbeville. About the same time another unidentified aircraft was seen flying
low over the water heading back in the direction of France. At 1534 a
Spitfire was observed circling above a B-26 from another bomb group. It had
dropped out of formation with both engines smoking. Its location was near
the town of Cleres, apparently under control, and was last seen was still
holding altitude near the town of Berck.
Chester P. Klier
Historian, 386th Bomb Group