Mission Number: 46
Date: 16 Apr ’44
Target: Brasov, Romania M/Y
449th A/C Over Target: 28
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 69-3/4 GP
Enemy A/C Destroyed: 2 (Des)
449th A/C Lost: 3
Thirty-eight B-24 G, H & J’s took off at 0655 – 0726 hours to bomb Brasov M/Y. Six (6) returned early. Twenty-eight (28) dropped 69-3/4 tons 500-lb GP bombs with .1 and .025 fuses on the primary target at 1103 hours from 18,000 to 22,500 feet; one of said A/C jettisoning 3 ton. Three (3) A/C dropped 72 tons on targets of opportunity as follows: One (1) dropped 22 tons on Moldova-Veche (4443N – 2139E) 1049 hours at 21,500 feet, while on heading of 90° True with 376th Group; One (1) dropped 22 tons on MY and docks on Danube River (4417N – 2235E) at 1148 hours and 14,000 feet. Three (3) returned 72 tons to base. Four (4) jettisoned 10 tons. Twenty-nine (29) returned at 1414 hours. Three (3) lost, and none are at friendly fields.
Rendy with 450th at Manduria at 6,000 feet, 0759 hours on course to San Vito Di Normanni, continuing course with evasive action to the south of Kotor on Yugoslavian coast in order to avoid flak, on course to Seres, then with deviation of about 20 miles to south between there and target due to undercast completely covering the IP and from there to target, the attack being made on an axis of 122° T. The rally was right, and the course on return was substantially as briefed. Escort on route out was met as briefed at key point at 0925 hours, being last seen in the vicinity of the IP. Twelve (12) P-47’s were picked up in vicinity of Turnu-Severin on route back at 1155 hours.
The undercast opened up at the target, and visual observation was good. The target was well covered, with high flames and large clouds of black smoke issuing therefrom. Four explosions were noted, one being particularly large with smoke up to approximately 10,000 to 12,000 feet. Ten (10) to twelve (12) hits were actually observed on the target.
Fighters. From 75 – 100 enemy fighters were seen in the target area consisting of ME-109’s and FW-190’s, about 50 of which came from the south or direction of Bucharest were ME-109’s with belly tanks. They were bluish gray color and also without yellow wing tips and noses. Some were a silver color with a black cross. There were about 50 FW-190’s with inline engines. This group experienced approximately 25 encounters, although they appeared to concentrate their attacks most vigorously on two other groups. The attacks were coordinated and very aggressive, centering however on stragglers. The main direction of attack was from the rear, but varying all around the o’clock with the exception of the nose. They would come in line astern at 6 o’clock, high, firing cannon, machine guns and rockets. Large red flashes were seen. In some cases 3 would peel off to the right and 3 to the left, and then sweep in at 6 o’clock. Some would come in echelon of 8, then one would break away, coming in high, another taking its place, the attack being made at 4, 6 or 8 o’clock. They would close to from 200 to 75 yards and break away with belly turned up. They would attack through vapor trails with a resulting difficulty of discerning them until fairly close. The ME-109’s appeared to be well armored, it being reported that tracers would seem to bounce off of them. Some attacks were made at 9 o’clock with 6 in a row, and then peeling off one at a time and diving in. There were in addition a possible 20 twin engine A/C reported to be ME-110’s. One JU-88 passed to the rear of the formation at 4320N – 2120E, but did not attack. Enemy fighters would circle descending parachutes.
Flak. Over the target scant-to-moderate, inaccurate, heavy flak was encountered. Four guns were noted about 700 yards NNW of north corner of Brasov airfield, and also several guns just across the Timisul River about the center of the NE side of the airfield.
Observations. [The following air observations were made:]
1. (4440N – 2400E) about 50 miles west of Brasov, two (2) B-24’s went down, not believed to be of this Group, 10 chutes out of one, 4 out of other, 1128 hours.
2. (4440N – 2400E) One (1) B-24 went down, 6 chutes seen, reported as A/C #62 of 450th Group, 1142 hours.
3. Target area, A/C #36 of this Group went down, 10 chutes seen, 1125 hours.
4. (4400N – 2045E) One (1) B-24 peeled off alone still heading same general direction, 1235 hours. 5. (4500N – 2400E) One (1) B-24 A/C #25 seen dropping back and being attacked by fighters, 2 chutes out.
6. (4440N – 2145E) One (1) B-24 down over Danube River, covered by P-38’s, hit in mountainous country, on fire, under control, exploded.
7. (4440N – 2210E) One (1) unidentified A/C went down, 15,400 feet at 1007 hours.
8. Target area, 1 fighter went down, hit ground and burned, 1123 hours.
[Total losses: Three (3) from fighters. Damaged: One from flak and two from fighters. Victories: Two (2) destroyed, two (2) probably destroyed, and one (1) damaged – all ME-109’s.]