On Sunday 19 March 1944, a member of the 97 Sqdn, Flight Sergeant W G Davies, 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 19:40.
He flew with a Avro Lancaster (type III, serial JB300, code OF-B).
Campaign report of the USAAF:
19 March 1944
(Eighth Air Force): Mission 266: V-weapon sites in France are hit.
1. 117 of 129 B-17s hit sites at Wizernes and Watten; 1 B-17 is lost and 74 damaged; casualties are 1 WIA and 10 MIA.
2. 56 of 64 B-17s hit Marquise/Mimoyecques; 14 B-17s are damaged; 1 crewman is WIA.
Escort is provided by 82 P-47s; 1 is damaged and the pilot is WIA.
Mission 267: 6 of 6 B-17s drop 300 bundles of leaflets on The Hague, Rotterdam, Leeuwarden, Utrecht and Amsterdam, The Netherlands at 2114-2140 hours without loss.
Mission 268: 35 P-47s [25 with 500-pound (227 kg) bombs] are dispatched to Gilze-Rijen Airfield, The Netherlands; 20 of the 25 bomb without loss; 39 P-51s fly a supporting sweep.
(Ninth Air Force): In France, 152 B-26s and 65 A-20s attack NOBALL (V-weapon) targets in the Saint-Omer area during morning and afternoon missions; 16 P-47s dive-bomb the airfield between Boulogne-sur-Mer and Le Touquet; the morning raids precede an Eighth Air Force attack with B-17s on V-weapon sites.
20 March 1944 STRATEGIC OPERATIONS
(Eighth Air Force): Mission 269: 353 B-17s and 92 B-24s are dispatched to targets in Germany but high clouds and the malfunction of blind-bombing equipment cause nearly 300 bombers to abort the mission; 7 bombers and 8 fighters are lost; the bombers claim 2-0-0 Luftwaffe aircraft; the bombers also drop 900,000 leaflets; details are:
1. 54 B-17s hit Mannheim, 51 hit Frankfurt, 19 hit Bingen and 22 hit targets of opportunity; 5 B-17s are lost, 1 damaged beyond repair and 150 damaged; casualties are 1 KIA, 8 WIA and 40 MIA.
2. 1 of 92 B-24s hit Bretuit Airfield; 2 B-24s are lost and 15 damaged; casualties are 3 WIA and 21 MIA.
Escort is provided by 44 P-38s, 345 P-47s and 205 Eighth and Ninth Air Force P-51s; claims and losses are:
1. P-38s: no claims or losses
2. P-47s claim 1-0-1 Luftwaffe aircraft on the ground; 6 P-47s are lost and 9 damaged; 6 pilots are MIA.
3. P-51s claim 4-0-1 Luftwaffe aircraft; 2 P-51s are lost and 3 damaged; 2 pilots are MIA.
(Ninth Air Force): 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Group completes a series of 83 missions (begun on 23 Feb) during which photographs were made of 160 miles (256 km) of French coastline and 2 inshore strips, each 120 miles (192 km) long; 9,500 prints are produced and no aircraft are lost.
In France, 200+ B-26s and A-20s bomb 4 NOBALL (V-weapon) targets and Creil marshalling yard; and 85 P-47s dive-bomb airfields at Abbeville, Poix and Conches.
Campaign report of the RAF:
18/19 March 1944
846 aircraft - 620 Lancasters, 209 Halifaxes, 17 Mosquitos - to Frankfurt. The German fighter force was again split. One part was lured north by the Heligoland mining operation but the second part waited in Germany and met the bomber stream just before the target was reached, although cloud made it difficult for these fighters to achieve much success. 22 aircraft - 12 Halifaxes, 10 Lancasters - were lost, 2.6 per cent of the force. The Pathfinders marked the target accurately and this led to heavy bombing of eastern, central and western districts of Frankfurt. The later phases of the bombing were scattered but this was almost inevitable with such a large force; new crews were usually allocated to the final waves.
17 Mosquitos to airfields in Holland, Belgium and France, 98 aircraft on minelaying diversion in the Heligoland area, 11 Mosquitos on a diversion raid to Kassel, 4 RCM sorties, 13 Serrate patrols. No aircraft were lost and the Serrate Mosquitos claimed 3 Ju88s destroyed.
19 Lancasters of No 5 Group (including 13 aircraft from No 617 Squadron) on an accurate raid of an explosives factory at Bergerac in France, 12 Mosquitos to Aachen, Dortmund and Duisburg, 8 aircraft on Resistance operations, 18 OTU sorties. No aircraft lost.
Total effort for the night: 1,046 sorties, 22 aircraft (2.1 per cent) lost.
19/20 March 1944
21 Mosquitos - 9 to Berlin, 8 to Düsseldorf and 4 to Aachen, 4 RCM sorties, 3 Serrate patrols, 19 Stirlings minelaying off Dutch and French coasts, 6 OTU sorties. 1 RCM Wellington lost.
With thanks to the RAF and USAAF.net!
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