16 MARCH 1944
Mission nr. 13 Lechfeld
Eighteen aircraft were dispatched to attack the airdrome at Lechfeld, Germany, an experimental field for Messerschmidts in southern Germany. Major Francis was Air Commander andLt. Mark R. Beicher was pilot. The Group comprised the highbox in the Wing formation. A heavy undercast prevented the bombing of the primary target; however the secondary target ofAugsburg, Germany, was bombed with unobserved results.Moderate flak encountered over the target area caused damageto three planes. Several crews reported observing ground rockets being used by the Germans.On the way back to England, German fighters began attacks northeast of Paris. The aircraft piloted by Lt. Lewis W.Lennartson was attacked by enemy fighters. The craft made it to the Channel where the crew was forced to ditch about seven miles off the French coast.The crew was rescued by the British Air-Sea RescueService, bringing the entire crew to safety. The tail gunner caught a piece of flak and was the only crew member to sustain injury.Lt. Lennartson and crew became the first of the 457th crews to ditch.The Eighth had dispatched 740 bombers to various targets. Twenty-three failed to return. scannen-amerika0012