Mission Number: 37
Date: 30 Mar ’44
Target: Sofia, Bulgaria Industrial Area
449th A/C Over Target: 35
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 87-1/2 GP
Enemy A/C Destroyed: 3(Des)
449th A/C Lost: 0
Thirty-eight took off at 0717 – 0746 to bomb the Sofia Industrial area. There were two early returns, one because of inoperative flaps and the other for a gas leak in the bomb bay. Thirty-five dropped 87-1/2 tons on 500-lb (.1 and .025) GP bombs on target at 0948 – 0958 hours from 20,700 – 23,000 feet. One jettisoned 2-1/2 tons in Adriatic because of bomb rack malfunction. Thirty-six returned to base at 1205 to 1229 hours. None lost. None at friendly fields.
Rendezvoused with 98th, 376th, 450th, and 451st at San Pan at 0820 hours at 8,000 feet on course to San Vito Di Normanni. Continued on course to 4134N – 1930E to key point at 4213N – 2045E. Made right turn at IP and on to target, attacking on axis of 123°. Rallied right and continued to key point and back to base. Rendezvoused with fighter escort at 0857 at 4125N – 1915E.
Target obscured by smoke from bombings by other group. Bombs of this group fell mainly in residential and business district of city with the chief concentration from 4,000 to 9,000 feet SE of target. The axis of bombs roughly parallels that of the M/Y at aiming point. Target area observed completely covered by smoke with flames and several large explosions visible.
Fighters: Nine to fifteen S/E fighters, believed to be ME-109’s and FW-190’s were sighted in and around target, but no attacks were made until after bomb run. Attacks were made by approximately 9 to 12 E/A from 3 to 9 o’clock with the majority of the attacks coming from 6 o’clock. These attacks were made from high, level and low with no one level predominant. The attacks were made by two ship elements or by 6 E/A in train. Observers report ME-109’s with either fixed landing gear or belly tanks. Also reported were 3 new FW-190s with in-line engines. Our claims during this engagement are as follows: Destroyed – 3 ME-109’s; Damaged -1 ME-109.
Flak: Over target this group experienced moderate, accurate, heavy flak. Some aimed barrage type reported.
Total Losses: None. Damage: From flak, minor. Casualties: None. Victories: 3 ME-109’s destroyed and 1 ME-109 damaged.