461st plaque

461st Bombardment Group (H)

April 1944 May 1944 June 1944 July 1944 August 1944 September 1944 October 1944 November 1944 December 1944 January 1945 February 1945 March 1945 April 1945 May 1945

January 1945

Mission No. 159

4 January 1945

Target: Trento North Marshalling Yard, Italy

The first mission of the month of January was a four flight formation which was led by Captain Veiluva on 4 January.  The target was the North Marshalling Yard at Trento, Italy, which is located on the railroad connecting Verona and the Brenner Pass.  The target was bombed visually for a score of 25 percent.  There were no enemy fighters and for some unexplainable reason not as much flak as had been anticipated.  The main pattern of the bombs fell on the east side of the marshalling yard with some hits in the partially filled yard and some on the south choke point.

Map of mission #159


Mission No. 160

5 January 1945

Target: Zagreb East Sidings, Yugoslavia

On 5 January the Group Air Inspector, Captain Trommershausser, got his first assignment as a Group formation leader.  The target was the East Sidings of the marshalling yard at Zagreb, Yugoslavia.  On take-off the planes in the four flight formation worked their way up individually through a solid stratocumulus cloud layer and assembled on top for the mission.  As had been the case for months, the crews had been briefed to bomb targets in Yugoslavia only by the visual method.  When the formation arrived at Zagreb they found their target covered by a nine-tenths layer of clouds.  After four unsuccessful bomb runs they abandoned the target and returned their bombs to the base.


Mission No. 161

8 January 1945

Target: Linz South Main Marshalling Yard, Linz, Austria

Mission No. 161, which was flown on the 8th of the month, was a briefed pathfinder four flight formation led by Lt. Colonel Lawhon with the South Main Marshalling Yard at Linz, Austria, as the primary target.  At the keypoint the formation was compelled to make a 360 degree circle to get above the high cirrus.  In the target area the solid deck of cirrus was so high that the formation could not get above it for a bomb run.  After abandoning the primary target, Lt. Colonel Lawhon attempted an attack on the first alternate target, the marshalling yard at Graz, Austria, but there, too, the high cirrus prevented close formation flying.  At Klagenfurt, Austria, the formation finally dropped its bombs on the marshalling yard through a solid undercast with unobserved results.  The plane flown by 2nd Lt. Thomas R. Wiley became separated from the formation and failed to return from this mission.

Mission bombing photo

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Mission No. 162

9 January 1945

Target: Vienna South Ordnance Depot, Austria

Canceled


Mission No. 162

10 January 1945

Target: Regensburg Oil Storage, Germany

Canceled


Mission No. 162

12 January 1945

Target: Regensburg Oil Storage, Germany

Canceled


Mission No. 162

13 January 1945

Target: Linz Main Marshalling Yard, Austria and Bolzano Main Marshalling Yard, Italy

Canceled


Mission No. 162

14 January 1945

Target: Vienna Southeast Railroad Targets, Austria

Canceled


Mission No. 162

15 January 1945

Target: Treviso Marshalling Yard, Italy

A whole week passed before the Group was able to fly Mission No. 162. Finally, on the 15th of the month, Major Poole led another four flight formation in a visual attack on the marshalling yard at Treviso, Italy.  Many of the bombs dropped short but others fell in the target area for a score of 32.1 percent.  There was not too much flak at the target but it was extremely accurate.  As a result eight of the twenty-three planes over the target were hit and one man was wounded.

Mission bombing photo

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Mission No. 163

16 January 1945

Target: Regensburg Oil Storage, Germany

Canceled


Mission No. 163

19 January 1945

Target: Brod Railroad Bridge, Yugoslavia

On the 19th of the month Major Mixson led a three flight formation on an attack on the railroad bridge across the Sava River at Brod, Yugoslavia.  Despite the fact that some of the bombs were over, there was a solid concentration and direct hits on the target.  The mission was scored at 43 percent, the highest average for visual bombing obtained during the month of January.  Again the enemy flak in Yugoslavia was extremely accurate though not too intense.  The flak caused a fire in the nose of the lead plane which compelled the 764th Squadron Navigator, 1st Lt. Robert A. MacDiarmid; the Squadron Bombardier, 1st Lt. Robert A Herold; and the nose turret navigator, 1st Lt. John F. Chaklos to abandon the plane near the target.  The fire was eventually extinguished and Major Mixson and his pilot, Lt. Parsonson, returned it to the base.  Nine other planes in the formation were damaged by flak and two men were wounded.

Mission bombing photo

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Map of mission #163


Mission No. 164

20 January 1945

Target: Linz North Main Marshalling Yard, Austria

For Mission No. 164 Captain Roberts drew the assignment of leading what turned out to be the roughest mission of the month of January.  The target was the North Main Marshalling Yard at Linz, Austria.  For purposes of destroying rolling stock in the yard, 100 pound general purpose bombs were used.  With only a four-tenths cloud coverage at the target the flak was extremely intense, accurate and heavy.  Twenty-one of the twenty-five airplanes over the target were hit.  Two of these were extremely hard hit and exploded before they could completely roll out of the formation on the bomb run.  These explosions spread the formation with the result that the bombs were scattered over a comparatively large area at the extreme northern end of the marshalling yard.  The two planes lost were flown by 2nd Lt. Joseph M. O'Neal and 2nd Lt. James R. Yancey.  Four other combat crew members were wounded on this mission.

Mission bombing photo

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Special Narrative Report


Mission No. 165

21 January 1945

Target: Vienna Railway Work Shops, Austria

Canceled

Poop Sheet


Mission No. 165

22 January 1945

Target: Moosbierbaum Oil Refinery, Austria and Fortezza Marshalling Yard, Italy

Canceled


Mission No. 165

23 January 1945

Target: Korneuburg Oil Refinery, Vienna, Austria and Fortezza Marshalling Yard, Italy

Canceled


Mission No. 165

25 January 1945

Target: Linz South Marshalling Yard, Austria

Canceled


Mission No. 165

26 January 1945

Target: Moosbierbaum Oil Refinery, Austria

Canceled


Mission No. 165

27 January 1945

Target: Linz South Main Marshalling Yard, Austria and Verona Porto Nuova Marshalling Yard, Italy

Canceled


Mission No. 165

28 January 1945

Target: Moosbierbaum Oil Refinery, Austria and Linz South Main Marshalling Yard, Austria

Canceled


Mission No. 165

29 January 1945

Target: Moosbierbaum Oil Refinery, Austria and Trento North Marshalling Yard, Italy

Canceled


Mission No. 165

30 January 1945

Target: Moosbierbaum Oil Refinery, Austria and Trento North Marshalling Yard, Italy

Canceled


Mission No. 165

31 January 1945

Target: Moosbierbaum Oil Refinery, Austria

Ten briefings were conducted during the last third of the month of January before Mission No. 165 was finally flown.  On the last day of the month, Lt. Colonel Hardy led the Red Force in a three flight formation on a pathfinder attack on the oil refinery at Moosbierbaum, Austria.  The mission went very well until the time of the bomb run.  On the bomb run Lt. Holmes, the mickey operator, had the target in his scope but lost it when the formation was forced off the heading of the bomb run by another Group.  He was unable to pick up the target again on a second attempted attack on the target.  Most of the bombs were returned to the base.

The plane flown by 2nd Lt. Edward K. Delano ran out of gas and was compelled to ditch not too far off the coast of Yugoslavia on the return route.

Those killed were the pilot and 2nd Lt. Frank P. Hower, 2nd Lt. John O. Ungethuem, S/Sgt. Raymond H. Steelman, Cpl. Richard J. Gomez, and Pfc. William M. Gross.  After having been soaked in the cold January waters of the Adriatic, the following members of the crew got aboard a life raft where they remained for twenty-two hours before being picked up: Cpl. Robert C. Neel, Cpl. William F. Nourse, Cpl. Wallace D. Olsen, and Cpl. Carl B. Peterson.  For nine members of this crew this was their third mission, but S/Sgt. Steelman would have completed his tour of duty on the mission had he lived.


Mission No. 166

31 January 1945

Target: Moosbierbaum Oil Refinery, Austria

Major Baker led the Blue Force in a second attack on the Moosbierbaum Oil Refinery on 31 January 1945.  His three flight formation dropped its bombs by the pathfinder method with unobserved results.  A graph showing the comparative standings in bombing accuracy of the 21 Groups in the Air Force is not available for January.  The Group, however, rated 10th, with an average score of 33.2.

Mission bombing photo

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