Mission Number: 43
Date: 12 Apr ’44
Target: Wiener-Neustadt, Austria A/C Factory
449th A/C Over Target: 33
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 52 GP
Enemy A/C Destroyed: 6 (Des)
449th A/C Lost: 3
Thirty-six B-24 G, H, and J’s took off at 0757 to 0850 to bomb Werk I Aircraft Assembly Plant of Wiener-Neustadt, Austria. Three returned early, one being a non-effective sortie when flak over Mostar on the route out hit #1 gas cell of the left wing and severed the drain lines between #1 and #2 booster pumps forcing it to return 10 minutes after being hit. The second returned because #1 turbo went out and the plane couldn’t keep in formation. The third returned because one of the gunners became very ill. Thirty-three (33) planes flew over the target and dropped 52.05 tons of 100-lb GP bombs with .1 and non-delay fuses at 1207 hours from 22,000 to 24,600 feet. Of the early returns, two jettisoned their bombs, and one of the planes completing the sortie had to jettison 15 bombs which hung up over the target, the total of 3.95 tons being jettisoned in the Adriatic Sea. One of the early returns returned its 1.6 tons of bombs to base. Thirty (30) returned at 1437. Two (2) planes were lost and one (1) is missing. None is at friendly fields.
Rendezvoused with the 450th at Manduria on course to San Vito Di Normanni with the 450th in the lead. Proceeded to target as briefed except for getting off course near Mostar when the formation was subjected to flak, moderate to intense, accurate, and heavy. Target was bombed at 1207 hours and rally was made to the left. The return route was made as briefed. Escorts of P-38’s rendezvoused exactly as briefed at 1105 hours and P-47’s at the IP. Estimates of the number of P-38’s ran from 25 to 50 and of P-47’s from 15 to 25. The escort accompanied the formation back to the Yugoslavian coast. It was considered to be very good.
Visual observation reported fairly good coverage on the target area. Dense smoke covered the whole area with columns of it rising to 10,000 feet. Flames and at least one large explosion were observed. The hangars to the right of the target were also hit. Photographic interpretation confirmed the visual observations. Pictures were obtained from 2 of the 3 cameras sent up, the third camera being on one of the planes that did not return.
Fighters. The average estimate of enemy fighter planes seen was 25 to 30 ME-109’s and FW-190s, the number of the latter varying from 2 to 6 planes. Most of our A/C reported attacks by 6 to 10 fighters. Six of our A/C, however, reported attacks by 15 to as many as 30 fighters.
All but one of the ships reporting the larger number of attackers stated the attacks were en mass towards the nose, one reporting two waves of 12 to 15 each. Several reported that decoys drew off the P-38 escorts and then mass attacks abreast were made out of the sun from 12 to 2 o’clock. Those reporting the smaller number of planes likewise reported many of the attacks towards the nose from 10 to 1 o’clock with the attackers coming in abreast. Most of the other of these smaller attacks were at the tail from 6 o’clock level. Practically all of the attacks were very aggressive and were pressed right thru the formation. The formation was under attack for about 15 to 30 minutes from the time our A/C started their rally.
The FW-190’s were described as dark in color with the swastika on the fuselage. The ME-109’s were variously seen to be gray, silver, silver with red stripe around fuselage and wing tips, blue-gray with red spinner, mottled gray, and yellow. Some of the ME-109’s were seen to have belly tanks.
Flak. Generally, flak at the target area was held to be moderate to intense, accurate and heavy. Red bursts were noticed by some A/C just before the flak stopped. The regular black puffs were seen at the level of the formation and white puffs about 2,000 feet above. “Window” was acclaimed as being very effective. Ten (10) guns spotted as being west of the target. No other gun positions were spotted.
Heavy flak at Mostar was, on the whole, described as moderate to intense and accurate, although practically every combination of slight, moderate, intense, and accurate and inaccurate was used to describe it. It was here that our A/C #33 was hit by flak and was forced to return to base.
1. Ship #11 was seen to crash at 4730N – 1600E, time 1217 hours.
2. Ship #54 was seen to go into spin in flames near Grospetersdorf, time 1216 hours.
3. Ship #10 hit by flak was last seen making for clouds just beyond target, time 1207 hours. Still missing.
[Thirteen (13) aircraft received slight damage from the flak.]
Destroyed — 4 ME-109, 1 FW-190, 1 ME-210
Probably Destroyed — 3 ME-109, 1 ME-210
Damaged — 1 FW-190