Mission Number: 36
Date: 29 Mar ’44
Target: Bolzano, Italy M/Y
449th A/C Over Target: 36
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 87-1/2 GP
Enemy A/C Destroyed: 0
449th A/C Lost: 2
Thirty-nine B-24-H’s took off at 0740 – 0831 hours to bomb Bolzano M/Y. One returned early. Thirty-six dropped 87-1/2 tons of 500-lb (.1 & .01) GP bombs on target at 1210 – 1215 hours from 18,800 – 23,000 feet. One jettisoned 2-1/2 tons in sea because A/C took off late, did not join 449th Bomb Group, but joined formation of 451st Bomb Group, went on to 4500N – 1310E, where formation turned back on account of weather, returned at 1248 hours. One jettisoned just south of target area, bomb sight inoperative, bomb bay doors failed to open – when doors finally opened bombs would not release. One crashed on take off. Thirty-five returned at 1443 – 1550. One missing. None at friendly fields.
Rendezvoused with 98th, 376th, 450th, and 451st on course north of Vieste; with fighter escort at Vieste at 6,000 feet at 0915. Continued on course until 4647N – 1057E was reached, then made right turn to IP and on to target, attacking on axis varying from 120° to 240°. Rallied left, continued to 4452N – 1230E to base.
Target obscured by smoke from bombings by first wave. Approximately 270 bombs not accounted for by bomb strike photos. One hit on flumes of power stations – four hits on double track railroad 1,000 feet east of power station.
Fighters: Four T/E/F sighted just south of Lake Garda. Two S/E fighters sighted at Lake Garda. Did not attack. Four S/E fighters observed near Feresio, did not attack. Ten ME-109 seen in Venice area, did not attack. Four ME-109’s and two FW-190’s seen in target area, did not attack. Six Italian planes, S/E, observed at A/D at 4606N – 1106E, did not attack.
Flak: Over the target the group experienced moderate to intense heavy inaccurate flak. Some of aimed barrage type. Some white bursts 3,000 feet over bomber formation. Slight, heavy, inaccurate flak was observed in Venice area.
Total Losses: At take off – 1; Other reasons – 1. Damage From Flak – 16 (minor). Casualties: Two killed in crash on take off. Eight hospitalized as result of crash on take off.