Mission Number: 53

Date: 30 Apr ’44

Target: Alessandria, Italy M/Y

449th A/C Over Target: 32

Tons of Bombs Dropped: 80 GP

Flak: None

Enemy A/C Destroyed: 0

449th A/C Lost: 0

Results: Fair

Thirty-three (33) B-24’s took off at 0749 – 0820 to bomb Alessandria M/Y. One (1) returned early with 22 tons of bombs. Thirty-two (32) dropped 80 tons of 500-lb .1 and .025 GP bombs on target from 1229 – 1234 hours at 19,500 – 22,600 feet. One (1) is missing.

Route and Assault. From home base to Manduria to rendezvous with 450th, thence on course to San Vito Di Normanni to rendezvous line with 98th and 376th, thence to first turning point and rendezvous with P-38 escort, to key point, continuing on briefed course to IP and target. After rally left, route back to base was as briefed.

Results. From visual observations the target appeared well covered with hits, several explosions and black smoke issuing therefrom. There was one large explosion in center of tracks followed by two (2) large reddish-orange sheets of flame and smoke. Cars appeared to have been hit, with resulting oil fires which developed into mass of smoke.

Photo coverage was incomplete. Preliminary photographs did not disclose many hits on specific target, but later photograph and K-20 camera discloses numerous hits, explosions and smoke.

Fighters. No encounters were experienced. A few enemy A/C were seen by a few crews, including two (2) ME-109’s of a dark gray color in the target area about 3,000 yards distant, which dove down between B and C units. En route, a total of about six (6) unidentified E/A were seen, apparently on coastal patrol. Two of these were at 4340N – 1410E at 1038 hours, and four (4) more about 50 miles south of Ancona at 1048 hours. One near Ancona Point circled at 1058 hours.

Flak. No flak was experienced in the target area, except in the case of one crew which reported scant, inaccurate, heavy flak.

Smoke Screens. There were smoke screens all along Po River and route for 100 miles before reaching vicinity of Milan, consisting of white smoke at several points. They appeared to be in operation to cover RR bridges. There was no effective smoke screen at the target. …

Observations. Missing A/C #7 was seen with #1 engine feathered at 1214 hours, just SE of Milan and to drop back with another formation. Was last seen just after the target.

[Total losses: One (1) missing. No damage, no casualties and no victories.]

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