|S-2 NARRATIVE REPORT|
|MISSION DATE: FEBRUARY 23, 1944|
MISSION NBR. 30
TARGET: Steyr, Austria - Aero Engine Works
Thirty-five B-24's took off at 0841 hours to bomb the Aero Engine Works, Steyr, Austria. Seven returned early. Sixteen dropped 47.75 tons of 500 lb G.P. bombs on target a 1200 hours from 21,000. Two jettisoned 3 tons of bombs due to malfunctions of release mechanisms and bomb bay doors. One dropped 3 tons on I.P. (Wels) when jumped by fighters while three returned 9 tons because of malfunctions of release mechanisms or freezing bomb bay doors.
II. ROUTE AND ASSAULT
Rendezvoused with the 376th Bomb Group at 0853 hours at 3,000 feet at Mesaque and continued on course. Course than was altered, due to heavy cloud cover, east of Lambach direct to I.P. (Wels) where right turn was made and course directed over target which was attacked on an axis of 110 degrees. Rallied right, rendezvoused with fighter escort five minutes from the target and proceeded to Vieste than to base.
There were some hits in the target area which was observed to be smoking. Bomb strike photos show the bursts outside the target area are mostly in the workers quarters NW of the target, in warehouse area across the river and west of the target and in buildings between the forks of the river. There was approximately 25 bursts in the labor camp area, some among the office buildings and some on the highway between the shops area.
IV. ENEMY RESISTANCE
A. Fighters: About fifteen to twenty minutes from the target and in normal formation a number estimated at 50 ME-109's, 25 ME-110's, 15 FW-190's and JU-88's jumped this group which was leading the third attack wave. The attack started and was continuous until five minutes after target had been passed. There was haze and the attack was in the nature of a surprise, seemingly coming initially from all sides. It was very aggressive all the way. The brunt of the attack coming from 12, 5, 6 and 8 o'clock. Head on joining was a little high at 12 o'clock while the others were a little low. Enemy tactics were to feint a close by two squadrons, one slightly higher than the other in flight. The lower to close to 800 yards at 2 o'clock low and without firing a shot, slid completely around our formation. Only one squadron seemed to be painted the blue and silver and they seemed to do most of the attacking which would tend to show a maximum of experience. The JU-88's attacked in pairs closing to never more than 600 yards, usually from 5 and 6 o'clock low then breaking off in a dive. All attacks were so coordinated as to follow in rapid succession and four of our bombers were destroyed with three missing.
B. Flak: Over the target and out Group encountered intense accurate heavy flak. The 5/10's cloud cover prevented any accurate ground observations and it was impossible to pin point locations. Flak was experienced at Rlagenfurt and at Graz but it was slight, fairly inaccurate, heavy of the barrage type. Six of our aircraft were holed.
At 1146 hours from 20,000 feet an airdrome was observed at Worschach with four twin engine aircraft seen to take off. Occupying the center position in one formation of ME-110's, was an aircraft, identified by members of one of our bomber crews, as a Spitfire painted blue and silver.
Four bombers were lost to fighters, 7 chutes seen to open. In addition 3 bombers are missing and are believed downed by fighters, Six aircraft received minor damage from flak and one, severe damage from fighters. One crew member was wounded slightly.
|1 FW-190||6 ME-109's||6|
|1 ME-110||4 FW-190's|
|2 ME-109's||1 ME-110|
VIII. FLIGHT LEADERS