On Friday 21 January 1944, a member of the 97 Sqdn, Pilot Officer C A Wakley, took off from Bourn 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 17:50.
He flew with a Avro Lancaster (type III, serial ND367, code OF-K).
Campaign report of the USAAF:
(Eighth Air Force): Mission 187: 36 V-weapon sites in France, 34 in the Pas de Calais area and 2 in the Cherbourg area, are targetted; 24 are attacked by 302 of 597 B-17's and 68 of 198 B-24's; 15 B-17's and 9 B-24's hit targets of opportunity (2 V-weapon sites and 3 airfields); they claim 5-1-2 Luftwaffe aircraft; 5 B-24's and a B-17 are lost, 3 B-24's are damaged beyond repair, and 103 B-17's and 41 B-24's are damaged; casualties are 2 KIA, 31 WIA and 74 MIA.
This mission is escorted by 49 P-38's, 531 P-47's and 48 Ninth Air Force P-51's; they claim 6-0-4 Luftwaffe aircraft in the air and 2-2-0 on the ground; 1 P-47 is lost, 1 is damaged beyond repair and 1 damaged; casualties are 1 MIA. Mission 188: During the night, 5 of 5 B-17's drop 1.2 million leaflets on Reims, Nantes, Le Mans, Tours and Orleans, France without loss.
(Ninth Air Force): 119 B-26's bomb V-weapon sites in France.
Campaign report of the RAF:
20/21 January 1944
769 aircraft - 495 Lancasters, 264 Halifaxes, 10 Mosquitos - to Berlin. 35 aircraft - 22 Halifaxes, 13 Lancasters - lost, 4.6 per cent of the force. No 102 Squadron, from Pocklington, lost 5 of its 16 Halifaxes on this raid, 2 more crashed in England and the squadron would lose 4 more aircraft in the next night's raid. The bomber approach route took a wide swing to the north but, once again, the German controller managed to feed his fighters into the bomber stream early and the fighters scored steadily until the force was well on the way home. The diversions were not large enough to deceive the Germans. The Berlin area was, as so often, completely cloud-covered and what happened to the bombing is a mystery. The Pathfinder skymarking appeared to go according to plan and crews who were scanning the ground with their H2S sets believed that the attack fell on eastern districts of Berlin. No major navigational problems were experienced. No photographic reconnaissance was possible until after a further 4 raids on Berlin were carried out but the various sources from which the Berlin reports are normally drawn all show a complete blank for this night.
12 Mosquitos to Düsseldorf. 4 to Kiel and 3 to Hannover, 6 RCM sorties, 5 Serrate patrols, 29 aircraft minelaying in the Frisians and off French ports, 20 OTU sorties. No losses.Total effort for the night: 848 sorties, 35 aircraft (4.1 per cent) lost.
21/22 January 1944
648 aircraft - 421 Lancasters, 224 Halifaxes, 3 Mosquitos - on the first major raid to Magdeburg. The German controller again followed the progress of the bomber stream across the North Sea and many night fighters were in the stream before it crossed the German coast. The controller was very slow to identify Magdeburg as the target but this did not matter too much because most of the night fighters were able to stay in the bomber stream, a good example of the way the Tame Boar tactics were developing. 57 aircraft - 35 Halifaxes, 22 Lancasters - were lost, 8.8 per cent of the force; it is probable that three quarters of the losses were caused by German night fighters. The Halifax loss rate was 15.6 per cent! The heavy bomber casualties were not rewarded with a successful attack. Some of the Main Force aircraft now had H2S and winds which were stronger than forecast brought some of these into the target area before the Pathfinders' Zero Hour. The crews of 27 Main Force aircraft were anxious to bomb and did so before Zero Hour. The Pathfinders blamed the fires started by this early bombing, together with some very effective German decoy markers, for their failure to concentrate the marking.
22 Lancasters and 12 Mosquitos of 5 and 8 Groups carried out a diversionary raid to Berlin; 1 Lancaster lost.
111 aircraft - 89 Stirlings, 12 Lancasters, 1O Mosquitos - carried out raids on 6 flying bomb sites in France without loss.
8 Mosquitos to Oberhausen and 5 to Rheinhausen, 8 RCM sorties, 5 Serrate patrols, 8 Wellingtons minelaying off St Nazaire, 16 OTU sorties. No aircraft lost.
Total effort for the night: 843 sorties, 58 aircraft (6.9 per cent) were lost. The number of aircraft lost was the heaviest in any night of the war so far.
With thanks to the RAF and USAAF.net!
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