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For Missions of 23 December 1944

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The 387th Bombardment Group is cited for extraordinary heroism in armed conflict with the enemy on 23 December 1944, when the group was dispatched to attack a vital and strongly defended railway bridge at Mayen, Germany. While en route to the target the second box of B-26 airplanes, which was without fighter escort and was separated by several miles from the first box, was viciously attacked by from 15 to 25 Messerschmitt aircraft. Despite the determined defensive fire which took a large toll of the hostile fighters, the enemy pressed his attacks with such fury that the low flight was overpowered and four B-26 aircraft were forced down in flames. Although in the ensuing encounters every airplane in the remaining two flights sustained damage from the enemy attacks, the gallant airmen succeeded in driving four of the enemy airplanes to certain destruction and forcing four more to break away in flames. Meanwhile the first box pressed on to the target despite intermittent flank and the imminence of fighter attack. Although a pathfinder failure occurred 1 minute before bomb-release time, the bombardiers synchronized on the target with such accuracy that extensive damage was inflicted on the bridge. Notwithstanding the heavy losses incurred during the enemy attacks the second box returned for an additional run on the target, and as a result of their determined efforts the central portion of the bridge span was completely destroyed. Despite the severe damage inflicted on the group's aircraft during the morning mission, the officers and men of the 387th Bombardment Group displayed great determination in embarking on another mission only 2 hours after the bombers had returned to base. A withering hail of antiaircraft fire was encountered over the target area at Prum, Germany, which damaged 21 of the 26 airplanes dispatched. In the face of this sustained barrage of flak the courageous airmen released their bombs with a high degree of accuracy upon the communications installations. In carrying out this dual blow against the enemy's communication and transportation facilities on this date, the officers and men of the 387th Bombardment Group displayed aerial skill, resolution, and devotion to duty in keeping with the finest traditions of the Army Air Forces. (General Orders 140, Headquarters Ninth Air Force, 23 July 1945, as approved by the Commanding General, United States Forces, European Theater (Main).

By command of Major General Weyland

Awarded on August 14, 1945 at the Eiffel Tower, Paris, France by
Major General William E. Kepner, Commander of the Ninth Air Force.

 

 

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