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MISSION NO. 183SCHMALKALDEN, GERMANY 6 FEBRUARY, 1945
The synthetic oil refinery at Lutzkendorf, near Merseburg, was the primary target with Dresden marshalling yards as secondary. The annual production at this plant furnished five percent of the entire German oil production. It had not been attacked by the Eighth Air Force since 3 November, and was now back in full production. The Group comprised the 94th C Combat Wing with Major Peresich as Air Commander.Division assembly line was flown to the left of the briefed course because another wing was flying a parallel course off to the right. The Group was still below briefed altitude because of clouds.At the enemy coast, the groups were still bunched, but succeeded in gaining interval and proper position over the Continent. As the formation approached the IF, the primary target was covered by ten tenths clouds. The Division Leader then turned off course to the left in search of a target of opportunity. The 457th followed in formation.A visual bomb run was attempted on Meiningen airfield, but it was covered by clouds and the run was turned over to the PFF Operator. To the right of the formation, the town of Schmalkalden was sighted and it was decided to attack this target, with a visual assist. Cloud coverage was four to five tenths. Bombing was done in Group formation, with the lead squadron performing the sighting operation and the high and low squadrons releasing on the lead smoke markers. Bomb results were observed to be only fair.Flak was light and no aircraft sustained damage.