SPECIAL NARATIVE REPORT No. 226
MISSION: ST. VALENTIN Tank Works
DATE: 20 March 1945
40 B-24’s took off at 1005 hours to attack ST. VALENTIN Tank Works. One early return jettisoned 2 tons at 4725 N – 1518 E because of mechanical trouble. 9 A/C dropped 18 tons of 1,000 lb GP bombs on primary target at 1417 hours from 20,000 feet. 10 A/C dropped 20 tons on AMSTETTEN M/Y at 1409 hours from 20,000 feet. 19 A/C dropped 38 tons on ST. POLTEN M/Y at 1419 hours from 21,500 feet. One A/C dropped 2 tons on target of opportunity at JUDENBURG (4710 N – 1440 E) at1418 hours from 20,000 feet. 39 A/C returned to base at 1657 hours. None lost, missing or at friendly fields.
II. ROUTE AND ASSAULT
Rendezvoused over SAN VITO at 1106 hours at 3,000 feet as the lead group of the Wing. The course was as briefed until the IP was reached. Because the primary target was cloud covered, formration proceeded to AMSTETTEN (4807 N 1453 E) where the 719th squadron (A-1) bombed and then proceeded to ST. POLTEN (4812 N 1537 E) where the 718th squadron (A-2) and 716th squadron (B-2) bombed. Rallied right to MURZZUSCHLAG (4736 N 1540 E) and followed briefed course to base.
The weather showed scattered low cumulus over Southern Italy, becoming clear over the Adriatic and Dalmatian Coast. Over Northern Yugoslavia, scattered high clouds at 20,000 feet started and continued on remainder of route northward. At the target there was 4/10 thin high clouds from 20,000 feet to about 23,000 feet with no clouds below. The same route weather was experienced on the route back with the Adriatic and Southern Italy clear.
Rendezvous was made with approximately 20 P-38’s at 1345 hours at 4700 N 1440 E. Escort provided cover to targets and withdrawal until departure at 1414 hours at 4809 N – 1429 E.
Because of a layer of high clouds over the primary, the 719th squadron (A-1), the 718th squadron (A-2) and the 716th squadron (B-2) elected not to attack the primary but proceeded to alternate targets. The 717th squadron (B-1), being the low squadron, elected to drop below the cloud layer and bombed the primary from 20,000 feet by a combination of PFF and visual methods. The first alternate, AMSTETTEN M/Y, opened up in time for the 719th squadron A-1 to attack visually from 20,000 feet. The other two squadrons were unable to pick up this target in time and proceeded to the second alternate, ST. POLTEN M/Y, attacking from 20,000 to 21,500 feet. Bomb strike photos show the followings:
ST. VALENTIN Tank Works
717th squadron (B-1) – pattern of 30 bursts plotted in open fields from feet SE of target with 3 additional bursts in target area.
719th Squadron (A-1) – 29 bursts plotted fron 800 to 1,000 feet E of aiming point with at least 7 hits on R/R tracks. Building immediately N of M/Y exploded after hit by burst.
ST. POLTEN M/Y
718th squadron (A-2) – bombs hit M/Y E of aiming point with a good concentration of 31 bursts in and around M/Y. At least 12 bursts are on R/R tracks. Photos obtained from following squadron over this target show extensive damage to trackage.
716th. squadron (B-2) – very food concentration of 32 bursts on and around aiming point. At least 16 of these bursts are in M/Y. Stores building 1,000 feet W of aiming point exploded.
One A/C aimed at a factory N of town but visual reports stat that bombs fell about 200 yards short.
IV. ENEMY RESISTANCE
A. Fighters: None.
B. Flak – Flak at the primary target was reported as M/I – A – H and of 3 to 6 minutes duration. Its accuracy at 20,000 feet is evidenced by serious damage to 2 A/C and minor damage to 5 A/C of the 9 A/C over this target.
None lost, 12 damaged (4 serious), no casualties, no victories.