Mission No. One – July 29, 1944
Target: Merseberg – Synthetic Gas & Oil Plant
Bomb Load: 20-250# G.P.
Gas Load: 2700 gallons
Plane: L4024 – Swampfire
Position: #3, #1 Element, High Sqdn., 41st “A” Gp.
T.O.: 0546 Land: 1400 Time: 8 hours, 14 minutes
Left Base: 0714 @ 14000′
Bombs Away: 1019; 25000′; -28 degrees C.
Distance: 1592 SM
Remarks: Intense & very accurate flak over target. Received severe damage, including direct hit on left stabilizer – hole 6″x2′. Groups ahead and behind us attacked by fighters, including new jet propelled type. Saw four B-17’s and two fighters go down in flames. Horrible sight. Counted only 12 parachutes. Ran low on gas coming back. Pilot had trouble keeping plane under control because of battle damage. Left formation and came back alone. Landed with enough gas for 10 minutes. Very rough mission. They can’t be much worse. Very glad to be alive.
[Note: This was the 379th Bomb Group’s 176th mission.]