Mission Number: 34
Date: 24 Mar ’44
Target: Steyr, Austria Ball Bearing Factory
449th A/C Over Target: 0
Tons of Bombs Dropped: None
Enemy A/C Destroyed: 0
449th A/C Lost: 1
Thirty-nine B-24’s took off at 0725 to 0752 to bomb Steyr Walzergerwerk Ball Bearing Plant at Steyr, Austria. Four returned early. None of the remaining ships reached the target because of impossible weather conditions. All planes jettisoned their bombs. One plane is missing, none at friendly fields.
Rendezvoused with 376th at San Pancrazio at 0830 at 3,000′. Joined first and second wave on course at Monopoli. Course was held until 4500N – 1638E where lead turned back because of impossible weather.
All ships jettisoned in Adriatic.
Fighters: Only one E/A, unidentified, was seen. This plane appeared at turn-back point but did not attack. It followed the formation for about 20 miles, then disappeared.
Observations: Two B-24’s seen to collide at 4218N – 1704E at 0937. One ship broke in to at bomb bay and went down in flames. The other went into flat spin striking the water and exploding. No chutes seen. Ship #40 of this Group appeared to behave erratically but not out of control at point of turn back. This ship did not follow lead through 360° but turned off at tangent disappearing into overcast at approximately 4500N – 1638E at 1045.
Total Losses: One. Damage: None. Casualties: None.