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  #1  
Old 15th June 2018, 00:18
Cees Steijger Cees Steijger is offline
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Coevorden - 21 feb 1944

Would anybody know which was the Bombardment Group that attacked Coevorden (target of opportunity) on 21 feb 1944 as part of Mission 228 (2nd day Big Week)?

--Cees
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Old 15th June 2018, 14:11
RSwank RSwank is offline
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Re: Coevorden - 21 feb 1944

Here is a start.

This is from the Air Force Chronology for 21 February.

1st Bomb Division: A combined force of 336 B-17s from: 91BG; 92BG; 303BG; 305BG; 306BG; 351BG; 379BG; 381BG; 384BG; 401BG; 457BG and 482BG are detached to the primary German airfield targets at Guttersloh; Lippstadt and Werl, Germany but cloud cover obscures these targets and the formations seek out Targets of Opportunity (TOs). 285 aircraft are effective on the following airfields as Targets of Opportunity (TOs): Achmer, Hopstein, Rheine, Diepholz, Quackenbruck and Bramsche. In addition, the railroad marshalling yards at Coevorden and Lingen, Germany are bombed as Targets of Opportunity (TOs). This is the first combat mission for 457BG. 9 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) - 24KIA 60POW(1DIC) 5RTD (rescued by ASR). 63 aircraft are damaged. 4 airmen are KIA and another 14WIA in returning aircraft. The bomber gunners of this element claim 12-5-8 of attacking German aircraft. It is not known how many German aircraft were destroyed or damaged on the ground in these strikes, but damage to facilities runways and flak batteries was extensive.

Groups on that mission that lost planes that day were the 91st, 92nd, 351st, 457th, and 482nd, most lost over Germany.

91st BG bombed Achmer:
http://www.91stbombgroup.com/Dailies/322nd1944.html
http://www.91stbombgroup.com/Dailies/323rd1944.html
http://www.91stbombgroup.com/Dailies/324th1944.html as least one plane bombed Loningen.
http://www.91stbombgroup.com/Dailies/401st1944.html

For the 92bd BG: primary was Lippstadt, they bombed Hopstein, Germany http://92ndma.org/missions.html

Here is the mission report for the 303rd: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/110.pdf

The 303rd BG sent two groups, A and B. Group A bombed an alternate target (Diepholz, Germany) but Group B brought their bombs back. The leader of that group was threatened with court-martial for not bombing something in Germany.

The 306th BG bombed Rheine-Hopstein.
The 351st BG bombed Achmer: http://www.351st.org/351stMissions/M...Mission82.html
The 379th BG bombed Quakenbruck / Bramsche : http://www.379thbga.org/pdfs/missionreports.pdf
The 381st BG bombed Achmer: http://www.381stbg.org/missions.php
The 384th BG bombed Lingen. Sortie reports: http://www.384thbombgroup.com/_conte...?MissionKey=65
The 401st BG was assigned Lippstadt: http://401bg.org/Main/People/Maslen/401stBG(H).pdf
but they bombed an alternate target they identified as "Emlichein" (Emlichheim): http://401bg.org/Main/People/Maslen/613th.pdf

Now Emlichheim is right next to Coevorden. They share a border. It is interesting to note that the Air Force Chronology given above does not list Emlichein/Emlichheim as a target of opportunity, even though the 401st claimed they bombed it. So it is "possible" they attacked Coevorden in error. The Air Force Chronology may have "correctly" given the actual target bombed by the 401st.

Here are a couple of another 401st squadron reports:
http://401bg.org/Main/People/Maslen/614th.pdf Note the "odd" wording: "A target of opportunity was quickly selected and bombed and was later identified as Emlichein, Germany."


http://401bg.org/Main/People/Maslen/615th.pdf Again a slightly odd wording. "The target of the lead Group on this raid was identified
as Emlichheim, near the Netherlands border."

The 457th flew two groups A & B. The A group bombed an airfield near Hamm and the B group did not bomb. http://www.457thbombgroup.org/Narratives/MA1.html

The 482nd was a pathfinder group, with planes typically leading other groups.

Here is a Dutch website about the attack. http://www.drentheindeoorlog.nl/?aid=361

Here is a Google translation of the site: https://translate.google.com/transla...61&prev=search

The first photo on the website appears to be a strike attack vertical photo. The bombs are falling at about this location. 52.654423, 6.733882 The strike photo has North to the lower right corner. If the website has the original entire strike photo, there should be notations on the edges which would indicated which BG and plane that took the photo.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/52...423!4d6.733882

Update on the photo. The photo is an RAF photo, taken during an Operation Clarion attack by RAF B-25s of the No. 139 Wing, No. 2 Group, on the rail-canal crossing at Coevorden on the Dutch-German border: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/i...ject/205023578
It also appears there are some old bomb craters in the photo from a previous attack. Note that Operation Clarion occurred on Feb 22 -23, so this photo is after the US operations of February 21.

Last edited by RSwank; 16th June 2018 at 22:40.
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Old 16th June 2018, 17:26
Cees Steijger Cees Steijger is offline
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Re: Coevorden - 21 feb 1944

Many thanks! This is very helpful! I focus my research on Emlichheim now. A quick research shows that the little town was actually NOT bombed that day. I've filled a request to the local government to clarify this. Keep you posted. --Cees
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Old 26th June 2018, 20:51
Cees Steijger Cees Steijger is offline
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Re: Coevorden - 21 feb 1944

I think I solved this issue:
In 'Fortresses of the Big Triangle First' by Cliff T. Bishop on page 113 it reads "....the 94th (Combat Wing, cs) 'A' Box bombed an airfield at Rheine, while the 'B' bombed the railroad and some warehouses at Coevorden'.
From the 94th 351 BG was 'A' Group and bombed target of opportunity Achmer.
From the 94th 457 BG the A-formation failed to join with the 94th and joined the 41 CBW with Hamm as target.
The rest of 457 BG failed to bomb the primary target (Lippstadt) and could not find a target of opportunity thus jettisoned their bombs in the North Sea.
The A-formation of 457 BG bombed Quakenbrück with 41 CBW (this also solved the issue with B-17G 457BG/750BS 42-31596 'Tail End Charlie'!
what is left is 401 BG...which claims to have bombed Emlichheim - which the the local governement can't confirm, so I conclude it never happened - but according to Bishop was actually Coevorden. Right? Or am I missing something?

--Cees
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Old 27th June 2018, 13:24
RSwank RSwank is offline
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Re: Coevorden - 21 feb 1944

Cees, I agree that the 401st bombed most likely bombed Coevorden.

As to the fate of "Tail End Charlie", given the information that we have the explanation is certainly possibly. The exact flight paths flown by any of the groups or planes may be difficult to reconstruct after they all failed to bomb their primary targets. Not only could they apparently not see the ground most of the time, but the formations were weaving between high clouds. (Once a group was in a tight formation they could not fly "through" clouds either. The pilots had to be able to see each other.) Perhaps at some point some more German documentation will turn up which will pinpoint capture locations. These often fall in a line and trace the final flight path.

One thing I am curious about is the RAF bombing of Coevorden on succeeding days. Is that attack talked about in Coevorden or has the memory of the events all "merged" into a single attack on the 21st.
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Old 29th June 2018, 10:33
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is offline
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Re: Coevorden - 21 feb 1944

Operation Clarion was in February 1945, one year after the 1944 bombing.
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