MISSION NO. 6BERLIN, GERMANY3 MARCH 1944
The Eighth went to Berlin for the first U. S. daylight raid on the city, although weather conditions were far from favorable. The 457th dispatched twenty-one bombers to Erkner, the home of the V.K.F. ball bearing works, sixteen miles from the center of Berlin, which manufactured over 7% of the total enemy production of ball bearings. The Erkner facility had taken on major importance since the raids on Schweinfurt.
The 94th Combat Wing led the Eighth with the 457th flying the low box. Major Henry B. Wilson was Air Commander and Lt. Vinton H. Mays was pilot.
Heavy cloud formations extended as high as 29,000 feet and dense persistent contrails made formation flying practically impossible. The 457th failed to effect assembly with the 94th Combat Wing and attached itself in the low position of another two box wing. The Group continued with this position until a recall message was received. Lt. Eugene H. Whalen had failed to make assembly with the Group and attached his craft to the 92nd Bomb Group. His became the only 457th aircraft to bomb; he was able to see a section of the city through the broken undercast. Group members witnessed the collision of two B-17s from another group. An unknown group came out of a cumulus cloud on a collision course with the 457th. Two of the planes collided and exploded at an altitude of approximately 25,000 feet. The resulting concussion bounced the aircraft piloted by Lt. Robert L. Wetherald considerably, and burned the fabric off the elevators and left aileron. All aircraft returned to the base without further incident.