[This is a transcript from microfilm of the official report on the attack on the ordnance plant at Magdeburg, Germany by the 493rd Bomb Group on September 12th, 1944. The typescript was furnished by Truett Woodall, 493rd Unit Contact in England. He received the microfilm from A.C. Shaw (Col., U.S.A.F., retired). The report appears to be based on debriefings by Intelligence Officers immediately after the mission. The "we" and "I" of the report is probably the voice of Major George Nied, mission commander]
ROUTE OUT: 93rd "B" Wing was hampered on its climb, because we were briefed to climb directly to 25,000 feet and the "A" Wing was not so briefed. We strung out some in the climb but regained position after the 93rd "A" Wing reached 25,000 feet. The 93rd "A" Wing apparently missed landfall by about ten miles to the right.
TARGET AREA: Before the last turn prior to IP I notified 93rd "B" Wing that we would bomb visually, using the fan-out procedure after the turn. Our high group fanned out properly but our low group fell too far in trail. The lead and high group was jumped by about twenty enemy fighters just after bombs away. Seven ships were lost to this attack and several others were damaged. Later two ships of this group landed at Brussels due to gas shortage and one landed at Woodbridge due to battle damage.
ROUTE BACK AND DESCENT: The route back after the fighter attack was as briefed. We left the Wing formation over the Channel and returned to Base.
FLAK ENCOUNTERED: Flak over the target was moderate to intense and accurate, costing us two ships from the lead group.
FIGHTER SUPPORT: Friendly fighters were present all around the route except when the low group was attacked. Communication was good, but it is recommended that only the Group and Deputy Leaders call for support as "C" channel was very cluttered at the time of attack.
493rd "A" Lead was led by Major Nied.
493rd "B" High was led by Capt. Patching.
493rd "C" Low was led by Capt. Woodward, Lead Aircraft Pilot.
AIRCRAFT NOT ATTACKING:
493rd "A" Lead, 93rd "B" Wing
Twelve aircraft left this base, as shown in the attached Diagram "A". Of these, eleven aircraft passed over and bombed the primary target, MAGDEBURG, GERMANY. Aircraft number 43-38310 returned early before reaching the enemy lines due to the illness of the first pilot. [It] is therefore considered not attacking and is not credited with a sortie. Aircraft number 43-38308, a lost aircraft, is considered attacking and credited with a sortie as it went down after the aircraft had passed over and dropped its bombs on the target, MAGDEBURG, GERMANY. Aircraft number 43-38319, a lost aircraft, is considered attacking and credited with a sortie as it was lost after it had passed over and dropped its bombs on the primary target, MAGDEBURG, GERMANY. Thus, eleven aircraft are considered attacking and therefore are credited with sorties.
493rd "B" High, 93rd "B" Wing
Thirteen aircraft left this base in formation, as shown in Diagram "A. Of these thirteen aircraft, all passed over and bombed the primary target, MAGDEBURG, GERMANY. Thus, thirteen aircraft are considered as attacking and all are credited with sorties.
493rd "C" Low, 93rd "B" Wing
Thirteen aircraft left this base in formation as shown on Diagram "A", but only twelve aircraft passed over and bombed the primary target, MAGDEBURG, GERMANY. Aircraft number 43-38366 returned early before reaching the enemy lines due to an oxygen leak in the tail turret, which exhausted their oxygen supply before reaching altitude. [It] is therefore considered not attacking and is not credited with a sortie. The following seven aircraft, all lost aircraft, are credited with sorties, as they were lost after they had passed over and bombed the primary target, MAGDEBURG, GERMANY: 43-38352, 43-38295, 43-38098, 43-38261, 43-38355, 44-6277, 43-38214. Thus, twelve aircraft are considered attacking and are credited with sorties.
Seven aircraft: 43-38352, 43-38295, 43-38098, 43-38261, 43- 38355, 44-6277, 43-38214 from 493rd "C" Low group were destroyed by enemy fighters. Between 1109 hours and 1200 hours between target (52 07N-11 38E) and R.P. (52 10N-11 05 E) at an altitude [of] 23,000 feet. Four aircraft went down in flames and exploded. Two aircraft from 493rd "C" group, at the same time and same vicinity, were seen going down out of control but not on fire as a result of enemy fighter attack. Of the seven planes lost to enemy fighters, five or six chutes were seen, but it could not be determined from which aircraft. The only aircraft of 493rd "C" group that was seen in distress and identified was 43-38098, hit by enemy aircraft at the R.P. at 1109 hours. #3 engine was hit and on fire. Plane under control and kept formation for 2 minutes. The flames increased and spread until the whole left wing was a mass of flames. Very shortly after this, the plane banked sharply and fell into a spin.
COMMENTS BY G.W. WEIR: The transcribed report is retyped here for ease of reading, but the original wording and, as far as possible, the original format have been preserved. A few short words have been supplied in brackets, and spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have been standardized. "Diagram A" of the report is shows the formation after assembly over England. "Diagram B" shows the formation over Magdeburg. There are important discrepancies in the report or its transcription. For example, in "TARGET AREA" above it says the lead and high groups were attacked by fighters, but further into the report and in the appended "Narrative Report", it becomes obvious that it was the low group that was the focus of the attack. As to the low group being too far in trail, we could not turn until the high group had made its move out from over us and our swing put us into a stronger headwind slowing our relative groundspeed.
B. BOMBING RESULTS: SAV'S SHOW A AND B GROUPS BOMBS FELL INTO SMOKE AT TARGET AND WERE UNOBSERVED. C GROUP'S SAV'S SHOW FALLING APPROXIMATELY ONE MILE SHORT OF MPI.
C. TWENTY ME 109'S ATTACKED OUR LOW (C) GROUP. MOST E/A IN SINGLY FROM 8 O'CLOCK, LOW AND LEVEL. ATTACKS STARTED AT 1109 HRS BETWEEN TARGET AND RP AND LASTED ABOUT 10 MINUTES. SEVEN OF OUR A/C BELIEVED MISSING TO E/A AND FOUR E/A ARE REPORTED DESTROYED BY RETURNING C GROUP AIRCRAFT. THREE TO FOUR JET PROPELLED FIGHTERS WERE REPORTED SHORTLY BEFORE TARGET. CREWS BELIEVED THAT THEY WERE USED TO DRAW OFF FRIENDLY FIGHTERS SO THAT THE ME 109's COULD ATTACK THE GROUP.
D. FLAK: ACCURATE, INTENSE, TRACKING AND BARRAGE TYPE FLAK WAS OBSERVED AT THE TARGET.
E. WEATHER: TWO TO THREE TENTHS LOW CLOUDS IN TARGET AREA.
F. OBSERVATIONS: THE BREMEN SMOKE SCREEN APPEARED VERY EFFECTIVE, COVERING THE ENTIRE CITY. FROM AN ALTITUDE OF 19,500 FEET AT 1156 HOURS ABOUT TWENTY BARGES AND [AN] OIL TANKER WERE REPORTED MOVING SOUTH ON THE RHINE AT 50 13-07 37E.
COMMENTS BY G.W. WEIR: Although our tail-gunner, George Kenawell, shot down a Messerschmidt 109 that was firing 20-mm shells into us, Focke-Wulfe 190s were said by the crews to make up most of the attacking force. Co-pilot Bill Rawson identified the fighter flashing over our left wing as an Me-109; I misremembered it as a Fw-190. Bob "Lucky" Lawrence, bombardier on Cockerham's plane flying on our left, says Me-109s made up the second wave of attackers; he triggered the chin-turret twin-50s at a 109 coming in at 12 o'clock (head-on), whose 20-mm cannon shells set their plane afire.
This "Narrative Report" was probably the mission report sent to Wing headquarters.
SAVs = strike photos from cameras tripped by the bomb release. E/A = enemy aircraft. A/C = aircraft (here, our B-17s).
RP = rally point, where the lead, high, and low flights were to reassemble in the 493rd Group formation. Note that positions are designated by latitude and longitude.
Back to Into German Skies in a "Flying Fortress"—the B-17