Mission Number: 5
Date: 14 Jan ’44
Target: Mostar, Yugo. Town
449th A/C Over Target: 32
ons of Bombs Dropped: 42-1/2 GP
Enemy A/C Destroyed: 0
449th A/C Lost: 1
Forty-one B-24-H’s took off to attack the town of Mostar, Yugoslavia on this date. Thirty-two were over the target in two flights. One flight bombed the target; the other jettisoned its bombs after failing to reach the objective. 42-1/4 tons of 500-lb GP .1 and .025 were dropped at 1050 hours. One aircraft was lost. One aircraft was down at Bari. Eleven men were killed. Five men are missing. There was good coverage of the target area. Bombs were seen to strike the town and much smoke was observed. Bomb strike photos disclose many hits. Results of the attack are considered good.
Two ME-109s attacked the formation over the target. They came in from five-thirty o’clock high and closed to 800 yards. They were engaged by P-38s and were not seen thereafter. One unidentified aircraft was seen on fire and trailing smoke at 4323N – 1745E. It was falling and disappeared behind a mountain.
Flak over the target was heavy and moderate. It was good as to altitude, but deflection was poor being off to one side. Locations were as previously plotted. Two crews reported a flak battery west of the town of Mostar. Two other crews reported heavy flak located about seventeen miles SW of Mostar.
Eight aircraft returned early for these reasons: gun cover exploded during test (one A/C), accidental release of bombs (one A/C), turret inoperative (one A/C), alternates (two A/C), engine throwing oil (one A/C), superchargers out (two A/C).
One of our aircraft was lost over the target. A/C Number 737 dropped its bomb load over the target at 1045. A/C number 606 was directly under 737 at the time. The first two bombs were observed to enter A/C 606 and there instantly followed a tremendous explosion and fire which completely destroyed aircraft 606. Eleven men were aboard aircraft 606. Aircraft 737 was damaged and thrown out of control by the explosion. It began to lose altitude rapidly. The pilot used the interphone to warn the crew the aircraft was out of control. He regained control of the ship at 20,000′ and called the crew to stay with the ship. Five men on the catwalk could not be contacted and bailed out over Mostar town. They are missing. A/C 741 did not reach the target but turned back at the Yugoslavian coast due to engine failure. Four crew members bailed out four miles from Bari. Six crew members crash-landed the aircraft. A/C 741 was damaged badly and probably will be salvaged.
Negligible damage was caused by flak. No aircraft were lost to enemy fighters.
Supplement Report: Mission No. 5
Ship 737 dropped bombs on target at 1045. Ship 606 was directly under 737 at the time. First two bombs were seen to strike ship 606 and there followed a tremendous explosion and fire which completely destroyed ship 606. Eleven men were aboard and killed. Ship 737 went out of control from the explosion, lost altitude and pilot warned crew plane was out of control. Regained control of ship and called crew to stay in position. Five men on catwalk could not be contacted and bailed out over Mostar. (MIA)
Ship 741 did not reach target. Electrical system went out. When engines cut off over Adriatic, pilot was able to goose ship intermittently with #2 and #3 sufficiently to see land. Pilot warned crew to be ready and gave sign to gunners who parachuted successfully. Six men stayed with ship and when Bari Airport was sighted pilot dove ship with no power and came in for landing. Landed plane wheels down, rolled about 2,000 feet when left gear gave way gradually. Ship turned on left wing and lower ball turret, which could not be retracted, dug into ground ripping fuselage. Bomb bay doors open ripped off. Ship recovered for salvage.