22 APRIL, 1944
Track chart Hamm
The entire Eighth Air Force, consisting of eight hundred bombers, was sent aloft to bomb the Hamm marshalling yards, the largest in Germany, which had the capacity of handling 10,000 freight cars per day. It was one of the key centers for German rail traffic, handling everything between the Ruhr in the north and central Germany.The Group supplied twenty-four planes and led the 94th Combat Wing, with Col. Luper leading as Air Commander and with Lt. J. L. Smith as pilot.By the time the 45 7th reached the target, it was so blasted and smoke covered by the preceding units that the Group went to other yards in the city and bombed. Enemy fighters were in the area, but did not attack. Takeoff had been in late afternoon, and darkness was approaching as the aircraft returned to England. Landings were make in the dark. The lead ship (Luper) could not lower one of its landing wheels. After dropping its ball turret over the Wash and making several approaches, the craft finally came in for a successful belly landing in the darkness.The Germans attached about twenty Ju-88s and Me-410s to B-24 groups, which flew at the end of the bomber stream. They attacked while the B-24s were attempting to land in the darkness, and at least ten aircraft were shot down or crash landed, in addition to many planes being damaged.The 457th did not experience any intruder attacks. Track Chart Hamm