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Mission #266

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Mission #266

MISSION NO. 266 (FO #542 8TH AF #698)



8th AF:      3 BD (460 B-17s)      1 BD (360 B-17s)    2 BD (354 B-24s)    1,174 A/C
1 BD:          Lead 40 CBW-AB      #2 94 CBW-AB
                #3 1 CBW-AB          #4 41 CBW-ABC
41 CBW:    "A" 303BG (4 Sq's)    "B" 379BG (3 Sq's)    "C" 384BS (3 Sq's)
303BG:    Scheduled: 49;          Dispatched: 49;      Attacked target: 49
          358BS: 12;  359BS: 12;  360BS: 12;  427BS: 13
          Take-off 0800-0830,  Landing 1345-1436
          Mission length: 5 hours, 50 minutes
41 CBW-B    Air Commander:      CAPT Robert W. Sheets (CO 427BS)

P  CAPT R.W. Sheets            BOM      lLt C.M. Webster
CP  lLt G.C. Newton          NAV      lLt H.V. Tollack
TG-O 2Lt J.R. Harris          M-NAV    F/O W.D. Caldwell
                              GH-NAV  1Lt R.L. Spooner

LEAD AIRCRAFT#41-97577 Mercy's Mad House 358BS-X (427BS Crew)

427BS (Lead)  CAPT R.W. Sheets      359BS (High) 1Lt  C.O. Mainwaring
360BS (Low)  1Lt N.B. O'Beirne        358BS #4    1Lt  H.B. Johnson

      CAPT Robert W. Sheets led his first mission as 427BS Commanding Officer. Sterkrade, always a tough target, responded with all of its anti-aircraft guns. The lead and high Squadrons faced intense flak that damaged 19 B-17s. Five aircraft of the low Squadron were damaged and the fourth Squadron escaped unscathed. Chaff appeared to have some benefit. No enemy aircraft were seen and 20 P-47s provided adequate escort.
      Weather over Sterkrade consisted of 10/10 low clouds with tops at 10,000 ft. that contained a few broken areas. There were no middle or high clouds. Forty-eight formation aircraft dropped 946 250-lb. HE. M57 bombs from 28,700, 27,800, 27,400, and 26,200 ft. One aircraft dropped 10 leaflet bundles. All GEE-H and PFF equipment operated satisfactorily, but the solid undercast made bomb hit observations impossible.

      The deputy lead Fortress, #42-97781, The '8' Ball MkII, 359BS-O, was lost over the target. One engine was hit and the aircraft fell out of formation. When last seen, it was still under control. Missing crew members were:

#42-97781 The '8' Ball MkII

P    1Lt  J.T Davis    POW      ENGS Sgt  D. Bloom              POW
CP    2Lt  D.L. Kohlstedt  POW      RAD    T/Sgt R.E. Lewnfleld    POW
NAV  1Lt  V.L. Hellesvig POW    BTG  Sgt R.A. Martin            POW
TOG  F/O N.L. Guiciardi POW      WG    Sgt E.G. Harris              POW
TG    Sgt  M.W. Brown  POW
  PASS T/Sgt A.G. Bader ##(HQ) KIA

    The '8' Ball MkII crew bailed out at about 500 ft. near Arnheim, the Netherlands, while the B-17 was on auto pilot. It crashed intact in the Netherlands without its crew.

##    Buried in Netherlands American Cemetery, Martgratten, Netherlands


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