Mission Number: 15
Date: 24 Jan ’44
Target: Skopje, Yugo. M/Y
449th A/C Over Target: 29
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 52-1/4 GP
Enemy A/C Destroyed: 0
449th A/C Lost: 0
Thirty B-24-H’s took off at 1008 to 1027 hours to bomb the Sofia – Vrajaebna A/D, the alternate target being Skopje M/Y. One A/C returned early. Due to overcast along the route and over the target area, the primary target was not attacked. Out of seven A/C dropping their bombs from 16,000′ to 17,200′ at 1230 hours, six attacked the alternate target and the other the A/D at Skopje. Out of twenty-one A/C dropping their bombs from 20,600′ to 23,000′ at 1335 hours, twenty attacked the alternate target and the other the A/D at Skopje. One A/C jettisoned its bombs near Sofia.
None of our A/C is missing.
There were no attacks upon our formation by E/A. One of our A/C reports that at altitude of 20,000′ six S/E A/C believed to be ME-109’s came in for attack 40 miles W of Skopje at 1222 hours. They came within distance of 500 yards, and were fired upon by the BTG at distance of 4,000 yards. No hits were obtained as such A/C were out of range. These A/C were dark in color, possibly black.
One air transport was observed at 5,000′ near Skopje at 1225 hours.
Fourteen E/A were seen on ground at Skopje at 1250 hours from 17,000′, seven of these craft being on hangar line and seven dispersed. It appeared that additional craft were parked, at least one of these was a twin engine craft.
Six E/A, stated to be FW-190’s were seen to come in for attack on high flight. They were black with white stripe on tail. They were in echelons of 3 in trail and came in at 6 o’clock, peeled down and were attacked by P-38’s. Observation was at 4216N – 2042E, 1225 hours and 18,000′. Also 14 ME-109’s came in high at 11 o’clock, closed to about 1500 yds, passed formation and tangled in dogfight with P-38’s low at 7 o’clock. Observation was at 4216N – 2042E, 1225 hours and 18,000′.
Two A/C dove through formation in Skopje area. These craft were unidentified.
Four or five ME-109’s came into formation out of run at 2 o’clock high. P-38’s intercepted and drove off attackers before they crossed with the formation. ME-109’s turned toward 6 o’clock and dove into clouds. Action took place 1325 – 1340 at 4300N – 2340E.
A dogfight between P-38’s and ME-109’s was observed at 1225 at 4235N – 2135E at 17,600′. Two E/A were seen to go down in flames, one of which exploded in the air. One chute was seen to open.
One B-24 was seen leaving formation, not our own, at 4235N – 2155E at 17,600′. #3 engine was out.
Four E/A observed flying W at 1220 hours 23,000′ at 4210N – 2130E.
One B-24 came up through overcast over the Yugoslavian coast and flew between the two formations of 24’s. It maintained this position until attacks from E/A began on the one formation. It then took a heading roughly S at a point approximately 4220N – 2130E. No enemy fighters were seen to molest the lone B-24.
No flak was reported over alternate target. Heavy, slight, inaccurate flak was reported NW of Sofia in vicinity of Bejeurishte A/D, also immediately S of Sofia at Batevgrad.
The one A/C that returned early did so because of the failure of 2 oxygen regulators at 17,000′.
Weather over target and alternate: 9/10 to 10/10 overcast.