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

October 1944

Mission #108

1 October 1944

Target: Steyr Daimler Puch Assembly Plant, Steyr Austria

Canceled


Mission #108

4 October 1944

Target: Munich West Marshalling Yard, Germany

The first mission of the month of October was also part of the first "double header" mission ever to be flown by this Group.  It was flown by "Force Able" and led by the Group Commander, Lt. Colonel Hawes.  It resulted in a superior bombing mission, but was marked by disastrous losses over the target.  The Group was second of sixteen Groups of the Fifteenth Air Force over West Marshalling Yard at Munich, Germany.  Two of the twenty-eight airplanes taking off were early returns, the remaining twenty-six were over the target at 1155 hours at an altitude of 23,700 feet.

Despite the loss of seven planes out of the formation during the bomb run, the bombing was superior. Seventy percent of the bombs dropped were plotted within 1,000 feet of the briefed aiming point.  The bomb pattern started on the south edge of the central portion of the western half of the Marshalling Yard and continued across the center of the Marshalling Yard.  Some hits were scored on the rail lines, other bombs fell on the Marshalling Yard tracks and goods wagons, while still others fell on the highway underpass through the center of the Marshalling Yard.

Sixteen of the nineteen planes which returned were damaged by flak, but there were no casualties.  A total of seventy-two officers and enlisted men were missing in action in the seven planes lost to the intense, accurate, and heavy flak over the target.  The losses over this target were the heaviest ever sustained by this Group from flak.

One of the officers missing in action was Major William H. Tallant, the Operations Officer of the 764th Squadron, whose promotion to Major was dated the same day as the mission.  He was flying co-pilot with 1st Lt. Douglas T. Herrin. The pilots of the other planes were: 1st Lt. Robert T. Chalmers; 2nd Lt. Walter J. Chester; 2nd Lt. Robert D. Falkner; 2nd Lt. William M. Powell; 2nd Lt. John L. Turner; and 2nd Lt. William W. Waggoner.

Mission bombing photo

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Mission #109

4 October 1944

Target: Pinzano RR Bridge, Italy

The second mission of the day, 4 October, which was flown by "Force Baker", was also a superior mission.  The target was the railroad bridge at Pinzano, Italy, across the Tegliamento River.  The formation, which was led by Major Donovan, was made up of twenty planes which flew in an A-C-A type of formation.  There were no early returns.  Finding the target partially obscured by seven-tenths cloud coverage, Major Donovan dropped to an altitude of 17,000 feet and made five bomb runs on the target.  On the fifth run the 1000 pound RDX bombs were dropped in a very compact pattern.  Because of the cloud coverage the mission was not scored by the Air Force, but it was rated by the Group Commanding Officer as the second superior mission of the day.  Two of the planes which became lost in the repeated turns over the primary target finally abandoned the target and bombed one of the alternate targets, the railroad bridge at Latisana, Italy.  Six others left the formation and bombed another alternate target, the railroad bridge at Casarsa, Italy.  There were no losses and no damage on this mission.

Mission bombing photo

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Mission #110

5 October 1944

Target: Vosendorf Oil Refinery, Vienna, Austria

Canceled


Mission #110

5 October 1944

Target: Komarom Marshalling Yard, Hungary

Canceled


Mission #110

7 October 1944

Target: Szombathely Marshalling Yard, Hungary

Mission No. 110, which was flown on 7 October, was part of another "double header" for the day.  The primary target was the Winterhafen Oil Storage at Vienna, Austria.  Due to bad weather in the assembly area, over the Adriatic, and over Yugoslavia, the formation which originally had had but twenty-four planes, was reduced to seventeen planes by the time the Alps had been crossed.  Due, also, to the bad weather the formation was one hour and fifteen minutes late in getting over the Alps.  Having lost his fighter escort and having been unable to rendezvous with the other Groups in the Wing or with any other Groups in the Air Force, Lt. Colonel Lawhon, who was leading the formation, debated the wisdom of facing the Vienna fighters and flak alone with his comparatively small formation.  He finally decided to attack a target of opportunity, the Marshalling Yard with hits on the center choke point, the railroad station and overpass across the center choke point, the turn table, and the locomotive shop.

Poop Sheet

Mission bombing photo

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Mission #111

7 October 1944

Target: Komarom Marshalling Yard, Hungary

Mission No. 111, which was flown by the "Blue Force" as part of the "double header" of 7 October, was led by Major Goree.  The target was the Marshalling Yard at Komaron, Hungary.  Of the seventeen planes which took off, eight became separated from the formation while attempting to climb through the solid deck of clouds, the tops of which were at 16,000 feet over Yugoslavia.  With only nine planes in the formation over the target, Major Goree, Lt. Garrett, Lt. Herold, and Lt. Little, with Lt. MacDiarmid flying in place of Captain DeWitt, almost equaled the record setting bombing score for the Group which they had made at Smederovo Ferry Slip in Yugoslavia on 3 September 1944.  The score on the Komaran Mission was 91 percent.

Mission bombing photo

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Mission #112

8 October 1944

Target: Vosendorf Oil Refinery, Vienna, Austria

Canceled


Mission #112

8 October 1944

Target: Blechhammer South Oil Refinery, Germany

Canceled

Poop Sheet


Mission #112

10 October 1944

Target: Castelfranco Veneto Railroad Junction, Italy

On 10 October Major Word led a formation of twenty-eight planes against the Castelfranco Veneto Railroad Junction in Italy.  After fighting their way up through a seven-tenths stratus layer which extended from 15,000 to 20,000 feet above the Adriatic, the planes arrived at the target to find it completely covered by a ten-tenths layer of stratus.  No bombs were dropped on the target; some were jettisoned in the Adriatic and others were returned to the base.


Mission #113

11 October 1944

Target: Vosendorf Oil Refinery, Vienna, Austria

The target for Mission 113 on 11 October was the Vosendorf Oil Refinery, Vienna, Austria.  Again bad weather was experienced over the Adriatic.  In the Trieste Area there were showers and thunderheads which towered to 30,000 feet.  Being unable to get through, around, or above the bank of clouds, Major Goree attempted to lead the formation in attacking the last resort target, the aircraft factory at Kranj, Yugoslavia.


Mission #114

12 October 1944

Target: Stores Depot, Bologna, Italy

Mission No. 114 on 12 October was a medium effort against a stores depot at Bologna, Italy.  Forty planes were airborne on this mission and there were no early returns.  Using 100 pound general purpose bombs and taking full advantage of CAVU weather at the target which was defended with but little flak, the large formation dropped their bombs with excellent results.

Mission bombing photo

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Mission #115

13 October 1944

Target: Vienna North Marshalling Yard, Austria

The target for the mission of 13 October was the North Marshalling Yard at Vienna, Austria.  Finding the target obscured by an almost solid undercast, the thirty-four planes over the target dropped their bombs by the pathfinder method.  The formation straggled back to base through adverse weather conditions where it was learned that sixteen of them had been hit by flak.  A few enemy airplanes were seen in the target area but none were encountered.

After the planes had gained 9,000 feet of altitude and had nearly completed their assembly, the planes flown by 1st Lt. Willard R. King and 1st Lt. Arthur H. Trier collided.  The plane flown by Lt. King was knocked to the ground and Sergeant Van V. Smith, Jr. was the only survivor.  Despite the fact that his plane had had an engine knocked off and had suffered severe damage to the empennage, Lt. Trier flew out over the Adriatic to jettison his bombs before returning to the base.  This marked the first time the 461st Group had ever lost an airplane in take off or assembly on a combat mission.

Poop Sheet

Mission bombing photo

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Mission #116

14 October 1944

Target: Bratislava Marshalling Yard and Bridge, Czechoslovakia

As had been the case when Lt. Colonel Lawhon had last led the Group on 7 October, extremely adverse weather conditions again compelled him to abandon the primary target and bomb a target of opportunity.  The primary target had been the Odertal Oil Refinery, in Germany, the target of opportunity was the Marshalling Yard at Bratislava, Czechoslovakia.  Despite a seven-tenths cloud coverage at the target, 61 percent of the bombs were dropped within 1,000 feet of the selected aiming point.

Mission bombing photo

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Mission #117

16 October 1944

Target: Herman Goering Benzol Plant, Linz, Austria

Mission No. 117, which was led by Major Donovan on 16 October, was an attack on the Herman Goering Benzol Plant at Linz, Austria.  This was the first time the Group had been back to Linz since its disastrous mission against the Herman Goering Tank Factory on 25 July 1944.  A ten-tenths cloud coverage compelled the Group to bomb by the pathfinder method but it was probably largely responsible for the fact that only four of the thirty-three planes over the target were hit by flak.  One of these four planes, which was flown by 2nd Lt. Roy F Kuhlman, failed to return from the mission.

Mission bombing photo

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Mission #118

17 October 1944

Target: Vosendorf Oil Refinery, Vienna, Austria

On its 118th mission on 17 October bad weather continued to nullify the efforts of the Group in prosecuting the policy of the Fifteenth Air Force to constantly keep pressure on the enemy's vital targets.  Because of a thick, solid layer of cirrus clouds over the primary target, which was the Vosendorf Oil Refinery at Vienna, Austria, the Fifteenth Air Force was compelled to abandon the target.  Weather conditions also made impossible the bombing of the alternate target in the Vienna area.  No bombs were dropped on an enemy target on this mission.


Mission #119

18 October 1944

Target: Hatvan Marshalling Yard, Hungary

Canceled


Mission #119

20 October 1944

Target: Isotta Fraschini Works, Milan, Italy

After having hammered away despite adverse weather conditions in Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Germany for three weeks in October, the Group was assigned on 20 October to attack the lightly defended Isotta Fraschini Works at Milan, Italy.  Weather conditions on this mission were extremely good, but the Group failed to completely take advantage of the light defenses and the good weather by dropping only 29 percent of its bombs within the prescribed area.

Mission bombing photo

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Mission #120

23 October 1944

Target: Locomotive Works, Milan, Italy

Canceled


Mission #120

23 October 1944

Target: Allach Bayerische Motoren Werke, Munich, Germany

The mission of 23 October was another Pathfinder assignment.  The target was the Allach Bayerische Motoren Werke at Munich, Germany.  Again there was ten-tenths undercast and again only four planes were hit by heavy flak which defends the Munich area.

Mission bombing photo

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Mission #121

28 October 1944

Target: Winterhafen Oil Storage, Regensberg, Germany

Canceled


Mission #121

29 October 1944

Target: Winterhafen Oil Storage, Regensberg, Germany

For Mission No. 121 on 29 October the assigned target was again the Winterhafen Oil Storage at Regensberg, Germany.  This was the first time a Regensberg target had ever been assigned to this Group.  Near the head of the Adriatic the formation ran into eight-tenths bank cirrus which extended upward from 22,000 to 26,000 feet.  After failing to find a hole in the clouds, Major Donovan did a 180 degree turn and returned the incendiary bombs to the base.  No sortie credit was allowed by the Air Force for this mission.


Mission #122

30 October 1944

Target: Herman Goering Benzol Plant, Linz, Austria

Canceled


Mission #122

31 October 1944

Target: Podgorica Troop Concentrations, Yugoslavia

On the last day of the month Major Donovan again failed to get this formation through the weather between the base and the target.  After successfully getting above an eight-tenths stratus layer with tops at 10,000 feet and eight-tenths alto stratus layer with tops at 12,500 feet, he ran into nine-tenths stratus undercast with tops at 15,000 feet at the initial point.  Above this stratus layer thunderheads towered up to 30,000 feet.  The assigned target had been German troop concentrations at Podorica, Yugoslavia.  Again the bombs were returned to the base and again no sortie credit was allowed.

Mission Bombing photo

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