Mission Number: 8
Date: 17 Jan ’44
Target: Arezzo, Italy M/Y
449th A/C Over Target: 30
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 70 GP
Enemy A/C Destroyed: 0
449th A/C Lost: 0
Thirty-three B-24-H’s took off to bomb the marshalling yards at Arezzo, Italy, and thirty of these planes flew over the target in two sections of seventeen and thirteen, respectively. All of the planes over the target reported the majority of the bombs fell in the marshalling yards with several hits on the railroad station and other buildings in the yards, causing several fires with smoke billowing up to a thousand feet. Several sticks of bombs were short of the target and some went over the target area and into the city. Two of the planes were unable to drop their bombs on the target due to mechanical difficulties, and instead attacked targets of opportunity. One of these claimed hits on the railroad tracks about three miles south of the target. 70 tons of 500-lb GP .1 and .025 bombs were dropped on the target between 0932 and 0950 from 19,000 to 22,400 ft. Five tons were dropped on targets of opportunity, and 7-1/2 tons were returned by the three early returning planes.
None of our aircraft were lost on this mission.
There were no attacks by enemy planes. The photographs, however, while confirming numerous hits on the yards, showed the crews to be somewhat over optimistic as to the total result, many of the bombs going short or into the city.
There was little flak over the target, only one of the bomber crews claiming to see 3 bursts of light flak at about 7,000 ft. No other flak was reported at any point.
Three aircraft returned early [for the following reasons:] (1) Leaks and failures of oxygen system (2 a/c); (2) Jamming of bomb bay doors (1 a/c).
The rendezvous was made with the 450th Group on schedule, but the latter gradually fell back about 15 to 20 minutes North of Lake Varno. Colonel Alkire started a 360-degree turn to allow the 450th Group to close. After this turn was completed the 450th Group began a turn of its own and was not seen thereafter by the 449th Group.