On Wednesday 17 January 1945, a member of the 214 Sqdn, Flight Sergeant R J Knickle, took off from Oulton in the United Kingdom. His mission is mentioned elsewhere on Back to Normandy. You can find the other details of this mission by searching here. Training and cargo flights are not seperately mentioned as a mission. The plane left at 18:00.
He flew with a B-17 Flying Fortress (type III , serial KJ103 , code BU-M).
Campaign report of the USAAF:
17 January 1945
(Eighth Air Force):: Mission 798: 700 bombers and 362 fighters are dispatched to make visual attacks on oil refineries at Hamburg and Harburg and Gee-H and H2X attacks on rail targets; 9 bombers and 7 fighters are lost:
1. 158 B-17s are dispatched to hit the Rhenania (40) and Albrecht (34) oil refineries at Hamburg and the U-boat base at Hamburg (73); 1 other hits a target of opportunity; 4 B-17s are lost and 88 damaged; 1 airman is KIA and 39 MIA.
Escorting are 61 P-47s and P-51s; 3 P-51s are lost (pilots MIA) and 1 P-47 is damaged beyond repair.
2. 78 of 84 B-24s hit the Rhenania oil refinery at Harburg; 1 other hits Borkum Airfield as a target of opportunity; 4 B-24s are lost, 1 damaged beyond repair and 57 damaged; 7 airmen are WIA and 44 MIA.
Escort is provided by 46 of 55 P-51s; 2 P-51s are lost (pilots MIA).
3. 458 B-17s are sent to hit the Paderborn marshalling yard (397) and the Schildesche rail viaduct at Bielefeld (37); 4 others hit a target of opportunity; 1 B-17 is lost and 6 damaged; 9 airmen are MIA.
The escort is 108 of 118 P-51s; 1 P-51 is lost (pilot MIA).
4. 80 of 87 P-51s fly a fighter sweep against a rail target without loss.
5. 25 of 28 P-51s fly a scouting mission; 1 P-51 is lost (pilot MIA).
(Ninth Air Force): Weather cancels all bomber operations and limits the fighters; the XIX Tactical Air Command flies a night patrol while the IX Tactical Air Command flies a leaflet mission and patrols the XIX Corps area around the Hurtgen Forest, Germany.
18 January 1945
(Eighth Air Force):: Mission 799: Bad weather limits operations; 114 of 114 B-17s attack the marshalling yard at Kaiserslautern without loss; most are diverted to bases on the Continent after the raid because of heavy clouds; escort is provided by 105 of 113 P-51s with the loss of 3 aircraft and pilots.
6 of 6 B-17s fly a screening mission and 4 of 4 P-51s fly a scouting mission.
(Ninth Air Force): HQ IX Tactical Air Command returns to operational control of the Ninth AF (from the RAF Second Tactical AF) as the US First Army returns from the Twenty First Army Group to the Twelfth Army Group.
In Belgium, HQ IX Tactical Air Command (Rear) returns to Verviers from Charleroi.
Weather prevents all Ninth AF operations except for alert flights by 11 fighters of the IX and XXIX Tactical Air Commands.
The 153d Liaison Squadron, IX Tactical Air Command (attached to Twelfth Army Group), moves from Rutten to Spa, Belgium with L-5s.
Campaign report of the RAF:
16/17 January 1945
371 aircraft - 320 Halifaxes, 44 Lancasters, 7 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups dispatched to Magdeburg. 17 Halifaxes lost, 4.6 per cent of the total force, 5.3 per cent of the Halifax force. This was an area raid. Bomber Command claimed that it was successful, with 44 per cent of the built-up area being destroyed. No local report is available.
Zeitz: 328 Lancasters of Nos 1, 6 and 8 Groups. 10 Lancasters lost, 3.0 per cent of the force. The target was the Braunkohle-Benzin synthetic-oil plant near Leipzig. Much damage was caused to the northern half of the plant.
231 Lancasters and 6 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and No 5 Groups attacked a synthetic-oil plant at Brüx in Western Czechoslovakia. The raid was a complete success. Speer also mentioned this raid as causing a particularly severe setback to oil production. 1 Lancaster lost.
138 Lancasters of No 3 Group attacked the benzol plant at Wanne-Eickel. No results known. 1 Lancaster lost.
17 Mosquitos to Mannheim and 9 to Hamburg, 55 RCM sortie Mosquito patrols, 23 Halifaxes and 8 Lancasters minelaying off Oslo and in the Kattegat. 1 Mosquito of No 100 Group lost.
Total effort for the night: 1,238 sorties, 30 aircraft (2.4 per cent) lost.
17 January 1945
1 Hudson on a Resistance operation.
17/18 January 1945
72 Mosquitos to Magdeburg, 8 to Ruthen oil-storage depot and 3 each to Cologne, Frankfurt, Koblenz and Mannheim, 33 RCM sorties, 13 Mosquito patrols. No aircraft lost.
With thanks to the RAF and USAAF.net!
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