40 B-24’s tppl pff at 0640 to 0715 hours to bomb St. Valentin Tank Works. 1 returned early. The primary target was not bombed due to a complete undercast in the target area which prohibited visual bombing and to the fact that pathfinder bombing was prevented by a malfunction of the PFF equipment of the lead ship so that it could not pick up the target. The Group then continued on to bomb visually the following targets of opportunity with 500 lb RDX bombs with .1 and .01 fuses:
TARGET TIME ALTITUDE NO. A/C TONS
St Vert M/Y (4646N-1422E) 1140/2 23,000/25,000 18 36
Klagenfurt M/Y (4637N-1419E) 1215 23,000 6 12
R/R Bridge 1 Mi S Klagenfurt 1147 21,600 1 2
R/R Bridge 4633N-1415E 1149 24,300 1 2
Jettisoned in Adriatic 8 16
In addition the following A/C dropped 100 lb clustered G.P. gombs with instantaneous nose and non delay fuses:
St. Vert M/Y (4646N-1422E) 1141 24,000/25,000 5 9
T-O-T-A-L 39 77
One box of 7 A/C made two runs over the St Vert M/Y but both times the lead ship’s bombs would not release, and then, because of scarcity of gasoline, had to jettison the bombs in the Adriatic Sea at 1241 hours from 15,600 feet at 4540N-1345E. The other A/C jettisoning dropped their bombs at 4750N-1400E at 1210 hours from 22,000 feet when it was forced to lose altitude because of low supply of gasoline and oxygen in the nose and return to base.
35 A/C returned to base at 1408 hours. None lost. None missing. 4 at friendly fields.
There were 31 effective sorties.
II. ROUTE AND ASSAULT
Rendezvoused with 450th at Manduria on course to San Vito at 8,000 feet at 0751 hours. From San Vito proceeded to keypoint Sansego (4430N-1418E), when a dog-leg was taken to the left to lose time and thence back to course to turnpoint Moschiena (4513N-1416E) to turnpoint Tarvisio (4630N-1335E). From this point a dog-leg was taken to the left to Stainach (4732N-1407E) and thence back to course at control point Mariazell (4747N-1407E) and thence back to course at control point Mariazeil (4747N-1519E), to turnpoint Frankenfels(4759N-1519E). the IP was completely overcast but picked up town of Marbach, 4 miles away on the east side of the deep river bend of the Danube at 4812N-1505E, and turned down the bomb run. But the whole area from IP to and including the target area was completely overcast. An attempt to complete the run by PFF failed when that equipment failed to pick up the target properly; so a 180 degree turn was made about 1 minute before the target. Observation of the Graz and Maribor areas revealed the same weather conditions as at the primary target so a direct course was taken to Klagenfurt on which a run was attempted from St. Lorenzen (4709N-1425E) 35 miles morth, as the IP. Cloud coverage was 10/10 here also, but about 2 minutes before bombs away, the lead bombardier saw a small M/Y visually, on courst, at St. Vert (4646N-1421E). The opening in the clouds disappeared before there was complete synchronization, but bombs were released there at 1140 hours. After passing over Ljubljana (4604N-1431E), a dog-leg was made to the west to avoid Fiume, and thence a direct course was taken to base.
Beginning with 4-5/10ths deck of low clouds with 10,000 feet top at north end of Adriatic, the clouds increased until there was 10/10ths coverage in the Danube Basin and over Steyr. On return was a complete coverage over the Alps and Klagenfurt areas also, which thinned gradually to Vis where it was clear.
35 to 45 P-38’s were met at 4749N-1519E at 1100 hours at 24,000 feet. They departed at 4246N-1530E at 1254 hours at 15,500 feet.
No radio jamming was reported.
Visual observations reported targets at St. Vert M/Y and Klagenfurt A/C factory to have been completely missed, while a good pattern and good results were claimed at Klagenfurt M/Y. Bombing results on the two bridges were unobserved.
Photo coverage showed the results were as claimed, except that those claiming to have bombed Klagenfurt A/C factory actually followed the lead in bombing St. Vert M/Y. 92 bomb bursts were scattered 1/2 to 1-1/2 miles south of St. Vert. There were 36 bursts in the immediate vicinity of the Klagenfurt M/Y with 11 hists mainly in the sheds on the south side of the yards with 3 possible hits on the tracks.
IV. ENEMY RESISTANCE
A. Fighters. None
B. Flak. Primary I-A-H; St. Vert None; Klagenfurt M-A-H; Ljubijana I-A-H
[Losses: None. Damage from flak: 8 (6 slight). Casualties: 1 wounded.]