MISSION NO. 8 BERLIN, GERMANY 6 MARCH 1944Eighteen aircraft returned to Erkner and the V.K.F. ball bearing works for the third time. Fourteen Combat Wings were dispatched to attack Berlin targets. The Group comprised the 94th Combat Wing’s high box. Captain Fred A. Spencer was Air Commander and Lt. J. L. Smith was pilot. Near Magdeburg the Group encountered heavy and vigorous enemy fighter opposition, principally by Me-210s, Me- 109s and Ju-88s. Two crews, those of Lt. Roy E. Graves and Lt. Eugene H. Whalen, were lost during the encounter. Lt. Whalen, flying in the high box, was a victim of a German Me-109 fighter; his aircraft exploded and fell into the low box, crashing into Lt. Graves. Only the tail gunner of the Graves crew survived.
On reaching the IP, the groups formed in trail. When the Wing Leader dropped bombs the 457th lead plane did not observe the lead group’s release. On withdrawal from the target a bomb run was made on the oil refinery at Verden, near Bremen. Results were poor.
Antiaircraft opposition was heavy in the Berlin area. In addition to the two planes lost, five aircraft sustained damage from flak and one other sustained fighter damage. Crews reported observing a total of thirteen bombers in the Division formation being shot down.
Sixty-nine bombers were lost in the day’s operation.