40 B-24’s took off to bomb the Avisio Viaduct and Rail Diversion Bridge. 1 returned early because of a gas leak, jettisoning 2 tons of bombs at 0740 hours at 4009N-1745E. 37 dropped 74 tons of 500 lb RDX bombs on target at 1150 to 1152 hours from 23,400 to 25,800 feet. 1 jettisoned 2 tons because of a rack malfunction at 1137 hours at 4630N-1036E. 38 returned to base at 1444 hours. None lost. None missing. 1 at a friendly field.
II. ROUTE AND ASSAULT
Rendezvoused behind the 450th Group as second group in Wing over Manduria at 0810 hours at 6,000 feet. From that point the formation departed on briefed course to the IP, San Valpurga (4633N-1100E) arriving at 1142 hours at 25,000 feet. After an attack on the target on the briefed azis of attack, the formation rallied right to Tione D. Trento (4603N-1043E) from which point the briefed course to base was flown.
The target area was virtually CAVU with just 1/10 middle clouds to 20,000 feet. Weather did not interfere on the route nor in the target area.
25 P-38’s as escort were sighted at 4458N-1003E at 1100 hours at 23,000 feet and remained with the formation until 1229 hours at 4400N-1054E. The escort was evaluated as excellent.
The target area was thoroughly covered by portions of a smoke screen and from a thick layer of smoke and dust from hits of the 450th Group. Sighting of AP’s in the target area was almost impossible. Bombardiers attempted displacement bombing. The results below are drawn from interpretation of strike photos:
718th Sq (A-1) Because of smoke from smoke screen and previous bomb bursts only ten of the bursts from this squadron can be plotted. These are at edge of smoke 1,000 feet west of north end of viaduct.
719th Sq (A-2) 56 bursts plotted 4,000 feet east of AP. There is some doubt that the plotted bursts are those of the 719th. These bursts may be of the 484th Sq which flew a collision course with the 719th. The 719th’s are possibly in the smoke over the target.
716th Sq (B-1) At least 6 hits on rail tracks and 1 hit on north approach
717th Sq (B-2) 46 bursts plotted 2,000 feet east of target at town of Lavis..
IV. ENEMY RESISTANCE
A. Fighters: None.
718 Squadron (A-1), Target time:1150; Axis of Attack: 173 degrees; Bomb Alt: 25,100 feet; Flak: S-I-H; One aircraft slightly damaged.
718 Squadron (A-2), Target time:1151; Axis of Attack: 188 degrees; Bomb Alt: 25,800 feet; Flak: M-A-H; 1 a/c severely damaged, 4 slightly damaged.
716 Squadron (B-1), Target time:1152; Axis of Attack: 181 degrees; Bomb Alt: 24,500 feet; Flak: M-I-H; One aircraft slightly damaged.
717 Squadron (B-2), Target time:1152; Axis of Attack: 174 degrees; Bomb Alt: 24,000 feet; Flak: S-I-H; One aircraft slightly damaged.
[Losses: None. Damage: From flak — 8(1 severe, 7 minor). Casualties: None.]