Forty B-24’s took off at 0646 hours to bomb Budapest/Vesces A/D. Two early returns (plus 3 clusters on one of the A/C that went over the target) brought 3.75 tons of bombs back to the base; two early returns (plus 72 clusters from two A/C that went over the target and 18 from a third A/C) jettisoned 8.45 tons. One A/C that went over the target dropped 33 clusters or 1.65 tons on a target of opportunity at Kiskunhalas (4630N – 1928E). Thirty-six A/C went over the target of which thirty-three dropped 58.15 tons of clusters of five 20-lb frag bombs on the target at 1042 to 1047 hours from 20,200 to 24,000 feet. Clouds and vapor trails forced the formation to drop below the briefed bombing altitude. Thirty-four returned to base at 1325 hours. One landed at a friendly field and one crashed about 4 miles south of the base killing 3 of the occupants and injuring 4 others. One lost. None missing. One at friendly fields.
Rendezvoused with other Groups of Wing over San Vito at 0755 hours at 6,000 feet. Thence to point about 3 miles to right of the key point (4250N – 1742E) the formation being forced to the right by other Groups approaching Ston. Then to a point (4330N – 1857E) about 15 miles east of the turn point at Podgrab (4347N – 1842E), this departure from course being due to weather. Thence to turn point Czegled (4710N – 1948E), to IP Nagytaka (4725N – 1945E) to target, attacking on a heading of 310°. Formation out a little inside the IP because of weather. Rallied sharp left after target and continued on briefed route to turn point Szekszard (4621N – 1841E), to Podgrab to key point (Ston) to base.
Escort of P-38’s rendezvoused on schedule at 0938 hours at 4515N – 1910E at 20,000 feet, 15 to 25 being sighted. These P-38’s stayed with the formation on course from about 45 minutes after the target. About 25 to 30 P-51’s were seen over the target. The fighter cover was evaluated by the crew members of this Group as being excellent.
No radio interference was experienced.
On the bomb run 3 T/E enemy A/C, type unknown, criss-crossed in front of ‘C’ section emitting brownish white smoke, which formed a large dark cloud, from what appeared to be a scoop underneath and to the rear of each of the A/C. This forced ‘C’ Section to drop below the resulting smoke cloud to drop their bomb load.
Visual observation claimed very good coverage of the briefed target area, with about 9 A/C on fire, and a great deal of black smoke. Photo coverage confirmed the claims in regard to area coverage, and showed 13 A/C damaged or destroyed; though it did not confirm the burning of the 9 A/C, of which the visual observer was quite certain.
Only about 6 enemy A/C were sighted of which 3 were ME-109’s seen above the target area. The other 3 were unidentified A/C which threw out a smoke screen in front of ‘C’ Section. There were no encounters, the formation being well protected by its escort.
Moderate, inaccurate to accurate, heavy flak was experienced over the target, and the formation flew through this flak for a period of 2 to 5 minutes.
[Total Losses: From flak – 0; From Fighters – 0; From other Reasons – l (crashed 4 miles from base). Damage from flak – 13 (12 very minor). Casualties: From flak – 2 wounded; Other causes (crash) – 3 killed and 4 wounded.]