On Wednesday 03 January 1945, a member of the 77 Sqdn, Flight Sergeant C E Foster, took off from Full Sutton in the United Kingdom. His mission is mentioned elsewhere on Back to Normandy. You can find the other details of this mission by searching here. Training and cargo flights are not seperately mentioned as a mission. The plane left at 15:04.
He flew with a Handley Page Halifax I (type II, serial MZ335, code KN-R).
Rod McPherson: Halifax MZ335 code KN-R (p20-Halifax losses) is wrong. From production records MZ335 was a B MkIII built by London Transport circa April 44 and not a B MkI series II as stated. These would not be flying with 77 Sqd. late in the war.
Campaign report of the USAAF:
3 January 1945
(Eighth Air Force):: Mission 778: 1,168 bombers and 589 fighters are dispatched to attack rail and communications targets in W Germany; all are PFF attacks using H2X, Gee-H and Micro H; they claim 4-0-0 Luftwaffe aircraft; 4 fighters are lost:
1. 417 B-17s are sent to hit marshalling yards at Fulda (141) and Aschaffenburg (124) and communications centers at Gemund (38) and Schleiden (36); the Mosel marshalling yard at Koblenz, a secondary target, is hit by 36 bombers; targets of opportunity are the Pforzheim marshalling yard (25) and other (3); 1 B-17 is damaged; 2 airmen are WIA.
Escort is provided by 219 of 227 P-51s; they claim 4-0-0 aircraft; 1 P-51 is lost (pilot MIA) and 4 damaged beyond repair.
2. 325 B-24s are dispatched to hit marshalling yards at Altstadt (31), Homburg (41), Zweibrucken (55), Neunkirchen (84), Landau (59) and the Pirmasens railhead (41); 2 B-24s are damaged beyond repair and 1 damaged.
Escorting are 143 of 148 P-51s.
3. 421 B-17s are sent to hit the Hermulheim W (72) and E (36) marshalling yards, a communications center at St Vith, Belgium (98), and rail junctions at Mondrath (36) and Horrem (1); 100 B-24s hit the secondary target, Cologne; targets of opportunity are Rheydt (10) and other (3); 11 B-17s are damaged.
The escort is 145 of 150 P-51s; 3 P-51s are lost (pilots MIA).
4. 32 of 32 P-51s fly a scouting mission.
5. 32 of 32 P-51s escort 5 F-5s on a photo reconnaissance over Germany.
(Ninth Air Force): All combat operations are cancelled because of weather.
4 January 1945
(Eighth Air Force):: 2 missions are flown.
Mission 779: 1 B-17 and 2 B-24s drop leaflets in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany during the night; 1 B-24 is lost.
Mission 780: 10 of 12 B-24s dispatched to hit the Coubre Point Coastal battery near Bordeaux, France hit the target using H2X radar.
The transfer of HQ VIII Fighter Command from Bushey Hall, England to Charleroi, Belgium begins; the HQ is to provide administrative and operational support for fighter groups operating with the Ninth AF on tactical support missions.
First Tactical Air Force (Provisional): HQ 324th Fighter Group moves from Tavaux to Luneville, France.
(Ninth Air Force): All combat operations, except a defensive patrol by 4 fighters, are cancelled because of bad weather.
The 161st Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, 363d Tactical Reconnaissance Group, ceases operating from Conflans, France and returns to base at Le Culot, Belgium with F-6s.
Campaign report of the RAF:
2/3 January 1945
Nuremberg: 514 Lancasters and 7 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 3, 6 and 8 Groups. 4 Lancasters were lost and 2 crashed in France. Nuremberg, scene of so many disappointments for Bomber Command, finally succumbed to this attack. The Pathfinders produced good ground-marking in conditions of clear visibility and with the help of a rising full moon. The centre of the city, particularly the eastern half, was destroyed. The castle, the Rathaus, almost all the churches and about 2,000 preserved medieval houses went up in flames. The area of destruction also extended into the more modern north-eastern and southern city areas.The industrial area in the south, containing the important MAN and Siemens factories, and the railway areas were also severely damaged. 415 separate industrial buildings were destroyed. It was a near-perfect example of area bombing.
Ludwigshafen: 389 aircraft - 351 Halifaxes, 22 Lancasters, 16 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups. 1 Halifax which crashed in France was the only loss. The aiming point for this raid was the area of the two IG Farben chemical factories. The bombing was accurate, with severe damage to the main IG Farben factory and to the same firm's factory at nearby Oppau. Estimated totals of 500 high-explosive bombs and 10,000 incendiaries fell inside the limits of the 2 factories, causing much damage. 10 large, 30 medium and 200 small fires were recorded at the main factory. Production failure at both plants was complete because of 'loss of power'. 13 other industrial firms and several railway installations were also hit; the train of a railway repair unit was destroyed.
53 Mosquitos to Berlin, 9 to Castrop-Rauxel and 7 to Hanau, 49 RCM sorties, 41 Mosquito patrols. 2 Mosquitos were lost, 1 each from the Berlin and Castrop-Rauxel raids.
Total effort for the night: 1,069 sorties, 9 aircraft (0.8 per cent) lost.
3 January 1945
99 Lancasters of No 3 Group made G-H attacks through cloud on the Benzol plants at Dortmund and Castrop-Rauxel. Bombing appeared to be accurate at both targets. 1 Lancaster lost from the Dortmund raid.
3/4 January 1945
3 Oboe Mosquitos each to the railway yards at Ludwigshafen and Neuss. No aircraft lost. With thanks to the RAF and USAAF.net!
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