On Monday 15 January 1945, a member of the 431 Sqdn, Flight Sergeant D C Cockwell, took off from Croft 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 18:48.
He flew with a Avro Lancaster (type X, serial KB806, code SE-X).
Campaign report of the USAAF:
15 January 1945
(Eighth Air Force):: 2 missions are flown.
Mission 794: 640 bombers and 782 fighters are dispatched to hit marshalling yards in Germany; they claim 14-0-19 Luftwaffe aircraft; 2 fighters are lost.
1. 223 B-17s are sent to hit marshalling yards at Ingolstadt (111) and Freiburg (107); 1 hits the Reudenstadt marshalling yard as a target of opportunity; H2X radar is used to bomb; 5 B-17s are damaged.
Escorting are 183 P-47s and P-51s; 1 P-51 is damaged beyond repair.
2. 75 of 120 B-24 hit the secondary target, the Reutlingen marshalling yard; targets of opportunity are Tubingen (19), Urich (10), the Tubingen marshalling yard (7), Mahlberg (1) and other (1); all attacks are made visually; 1 B-24 is damaged beyond repair.
The escort consists of 109 of 117 P-51s; they claim 1-0-0 aircraft without loss.
3. 253 of 297 B-17s hit the secondary target, the marshalling yard at Augsburg using H2X radar; targets of opportunity are Bobingen (29) and other (5) bombed visually; 16 B-17s are damaged; 1 airman is KIA.
The escort is provided by 184 of 204 P-51s; 2 P-51s are lost (pilots MIA).
4. 156 of 167 P-51s fly a fighter sweep over Germany; they claim 13-0-19 aircraft without loss.
5. 62 of 63 P-51s fly a fighter bomber mission against the marshalling yard at Gensingen without loss.
6. 6 of 7 P-51s escort a Spitfire on a photo reconnaissance mission over Germany.
7 29 of 32 P-51s fly a scouting mission without loss.
Mission 795: 2 B-17s and 7 B-24s drop leaflet on the Netherlands and Germany during the night without loss.
HQ VIII Fighter Command moves from Bushey Hall, England to Charleroi, Belgium.
First Tactical Air Force (Provisional): HQ 64th Fighter Wing moves from Ludres to Nancy, France.
(Ninth Air Force): In Germany, 16 B-26s hit the Simmern bridge to help thwart movement in the Trier area; the XIX Tactical Air Command escorts the B-26s, flies armed reconnaissance and patrols, and supports the US III and VIII Corps in the Houffalize, Belgium-Bastogne, Belgium-Wiltz, Luxembourg areas.
16 January 1945
(Eighth Air Force):: 2 missions are flown.
Mission 796: A planned major strike at oil and industrial targets in Germany is cancelled by weather; 627 bombers and 693 fighters are dispatched to hit oil targets; 2 B-24s and 1 P-51 are lost; due to heavy fog a large percentage of the bombers are diverted to various landing fields in the UK and on the Continent:
1. 364 B-24s are sent to hit the Rothensee synthetic oil plant at Magdeburg (61) and the oil plant at Ruhland (67); secondary targets hit are the marshalling yard at Dresden (138) and a tank factory at Magdeburg (61); 5 others hit a target of opportunity; targets are bombed visually and using H2X radar; 2 B-24s are lost and 8 damaged beyond repair; 3 airmen are KIA, 20 WIA and 22 MIA.
Escorting are 368 of 392 P-51s; 1 P-51 is lost (pilot MIA) and 7 damaged beyond repair.
2. 263 B-17s dispatched hit secondary targets, the marshalling yard at Dessau (146) and 2 aircraft engine plants at Bitterfeld (96); 4 others hit targets of opportunity; all attacks are made using H2X radar; 2 B-17s are damaged beyond repair; 1 airman is KIA and 3 WIA.
The escort is 194 of 203 P-51s.
3. 68 P-47s and P-51s fly a sweep.
4. 19 of 20 P-51s fly a scouting mission.
5. 5 of 7 P-51s escort a Spitfire on a photo reconnaissance mission on Berlin and Misburg.
Mission 797: 1 B-24 drop leaflets on Belgium during the night.
(Ninth Air Force): 311 A-20s, A-26s, and B-26s hit road and rail bridges, communications centers, motor transport repair center, and other targets in Germany; fighters escort 9th Bombardment Division and Eighth AF bombers, fly armed reconnaissance and defensive patrols, and support US First Army elements along the battleline NE of Houffalize, Belgium, and the III Corps along the battleline SE of Houffalize.
Campaign report of the RAF:
14/15 January 1945
573 Lancasters and 14 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 5. 6 and 8 Groups carried out two attacks, 3 hours apart, on the synthetic oil plant at Leuna. The attacks caused severe damage throughout the plant. Albert Speer, in his post-war interrogations, stated that this was one of a group of most damaging raids on the synthetic-oil industry carried out during this period. 10 Lancasters lost.
151 aircraft - 136 Halifaxes, 12 Mosquitos, 3 Lancasters - of Nos 6 and 8 Groups attacked the railway yards at Grevenbroich. The raid was successful and no aircraft were lost.
115 aircraft - 100 Halifaxes, 12 Mosquitos, 3 Lancasters - of Nos 4 and 8 Groups attempted to bomb a Luftwaffe fuel-storage depot at Dülmen, near Münster, but most of the bombing fell in open country south and south-east of the target. Only slight damage was caused to the fuel dump. 1 Halifax lost.
Support and 126 training aircraft on a diversionary sweep over the North Sea, 83 Mosquitos to Berlin and 9 to Mannheim, 58 RCM sorties, 54 Mosquito patrols, 21 Halifaxes and 10 Lancasters minelaying off Oslo and in the Kattegat. 1 Lancaster from the diversionary sweep and 1 Mosquito of No 100 Group were lost; 3 Mosquitos from the Berlin raid crashed in Belgium and 1 RCM Liberator crashed in Holland. A further 7 aircraft from the sweep and 5 Mosquitos from the Berlin raid crashed in England because of bad weather.
Total effort for the night: 1,214 sorties, 17 aircraft (1.4 per cent) lost and 14 aircraft crashed in England.
15 January 1945
82 Lancasters of No 3 Group attacked a benzol plant at Recklinghausen. The bombing appeared to be excellent. No aircraft lost.
63 Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out a G-H raid through thick cloud on the Robert Muser benzol plant at Bochum. No results known. No aircraft lost.
1 Hudson on a Resistance operation. With thanks to the RAF and USAAF.net!
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