30 May 1944
Mission nr. 2 Oscherleben

Departure time Glatton: 07.30

Weather at target: clear 

Landing time at Glatton: 14.04

For this mission the 457th had to penetrate deep into Germany for the fourth successive day. The target was again the FW 190 aircraft assembly plant once in production again after a pounding on April 11th. The entire Eighth Air Force sent aircraft (928 bombers and 672 fighters; 186 P-38s, 184 P-47s and 302 P-51s) to similar type facilities at Halberstadt, Bernberg and Dessau to emphasize the determined effort to eliminate fighter plane production in Germany. B-24’s of the 2nd Division were assigned to fighter airfields at Rotenburg, Oldenburg, Zwischenahn, Diepholz and Handorf.

Track chart May 30th 1944

The target was also known as the AGO (Aktiengesellschaft Gustav Otto) Flugzeugwerke. The factory started in 1916 but had to close it’s doors in 1928. The factory opened it’s doors again, when Adolf Hitler came to power, and was then named AGO again but now it meant Apparatenbau GmbH Oschersleben. First training airplanes were build but from 1936 the factory started to produce other planes like the Heinkel He 51, Focke-Wulf 44 and 190 and the Messerschmidt Bf 109. Hundreds of Prisoners of War and forced laborers from occupied countries were put to work in the factory. The factory was situated just outside of the town of Oschersleben, had it’s own runways and even had a wind tunnel to experiment with aerodynamics.

The Group provided eighteen ships (loaded with incendiaries) for the high box of the 94th Combat Wing, fifth in the Division formation. Major William F. Smith was Air Commander, and Captain Clarence E. Schuchmann was pilot.

The route departed from the 5237 Egmont – Hanover track just west of Dummer Lake where it took the formation south east, below the great Harz Forest with a run up to the I.P. situated in a clearing in the eastern end of the forest over the village of Salzsberg.

Here the Wing leader was forced to attemmpt a bomb run on a different heading from the briefed one because of a concentration of Wings in the area, the three Wings going to Halberstadt and Bernberg, targets just to the left and right of the run to Oschersleben. On this run the 94th Wing shuffled the deck with another Combat Wing causing the lead and low boxes to turn right and left respectively. The 457th high box being higher and above the other Combat Wing was able to continue on the bomb run which put it ahead of the other two boxes instead of to the rear. The lead box however decided to make a run from it’s off course position on the right and passed under the 457th box near the B.R.L. Along the run and at this time the bombardier, Lt. Blachley was having touble in cranking drift out of his sight and at the B.R.L. the cross hair was still moving. He asked for a 360. It was decided to make one because of this and because the lead boxwas underneath. A turn to the right was made and a run started from the east instead of from the south. Again the cross hairs gave trouble but were on the target at bombs away. They fell 3,600 feet south of the assembly plant in aopen fields. Inspection revealed the gyro was not level probably caused by a short found in the electrical circuit and a precession of the gyro itself. However the lead and low boxes had laid their  lb G.P.’s squarely on the assembly plant area. Bomb results were poor for the lead box.
While the Wing was rallying, about thirty Me-109s attacked the lead and low boxes and shot down two craft from other groups. Only one pass was made by the enemy fighters on ‘ the high box.

The rest of the route home around Brunswick and Hanover was uneventful except for some moderate and inaccurate Flak in the Vechta region. The most pleasant surprise of the mission was the absence of flak over the target area. when the crews had been briefed on 18 guns there!

The airfield and factory just outside of Oschersleben

30 mei 1944 2

Dropping bombs on Oschersleben FW-190 factory

oschersleben-airfield-germany May 30
The FW-190 factory on May 30th 1944


Additional information:

Mission 380: 12 bombers and 9 fighters are lost:

1. 268 B-17s are dispatched to attack aviation industry targets at Dessau (83 bomb), Halberstadt (107 bomb) and Oschersleben (51 bomb); 5 other hit targets of opportunity; they claim 8-5-1 Luftwaffe aircraft; 9 B-17s are lost and 81 damaged; 2 airmen are WIA and 86 MIA.

2. 369 B-24s are dispatched to hit aviation depots at Oldenburg (135 bomb), Rotenburg (147 bomb) and Zwischenahn (71 bomb); 1 other hits a target of opportunity; 1 B-24 is lost, 2 damaged beyond repair and 36 damaged; 1 airman is KIA, 2 WIA and 9 MIA.

3. 46 of 91 B-24s hit Munster/Handorf Airfield and 36 others hit Diepholz Airfield; 2 B-24s are lost, 1 is damaged beyond repair and 36 damaged; 1 airman is KIA, 6 WIA and 9 MIA.

4. 122 of 126 B-17s hit French marshaling yards; 62 hit Reims and 60 hit Troyes; 24 B-17s are damaged.

5. 39 of 40 B-17s hit Brussels/Schaerbeck marshaling yard, Belgium; 12 B-17s are damaged.

6. 76 of 84 B-17s hit V-weapon sites in the Pas de Calais, France; 12 B-17s are damaged; 3 airmen are KIA, 2 WIA and 10 MIA.

100 P-47s are dispatched to bomb 4 rail bridges in NW France; 37 hit Longueil bridge, 26 hit Beaumont-sur-Oise bridge, 23 hit Canly-le-Jouque bridge and 12 hit the Creil bridge; 1 P-47 is lost (pilot is MIA).

Source: THE ARMY AIR FORCES IN WORLD WAR II: COMBAT CHRONOLOGY, 1941-1945 by Carter / Mueller, the Office of Air Force History