Nazi Rails Target For 1,400 Planes
20 Jan, 1945
After two days of operations limited by severe weather conditions heavy bombers of the Eighth Air Force swing back into large-scale action over the weekend as they dropped crushing loads on the NAZI lines of communications.
Over 900 Fortresses, and Liberators were out yesterday with an escort of 500 Thunderbolts and Mustangs, hammering rail yards at Aschaffenburg, Heilbronn and Mannheim, while fighters, in the absence of NAZI air opposition, tore down to shoot up airfields and rail yards.
The attacks on Heilbronn, 25 miles North of Stuttgart, and Mannheim, key Rhine port, completed a one-two punch for the 8th, Saturday's force of 750 Fortresses and Liberators having numbered among its targets the Heilbronn yards and a road and railbridge at Mannheim. Third announced target for Saturday was a rail center at Rheine, just north of Munster.
Harass Railyway Centers
Mustangs of the 4th, 55th, and 78th Fighter Groups garassed rail traffic centers yesterday and returned with high results.
The 355th Mustang Group, whic did the majority of Saturday's strafing, booked 32 locomotives and 15 freight cars on its destroyed or damaged report. There was some enemy air activity Saturday, when the 357th Mustang Group took on four jet-propelled planes and destroyed two with a loss of one.
Reports on bombers and fighters lost on weekend operations are incomplete.
While Fortresses of the Italy-based 15th Air Force were bombing oil targets in Vienna and Lightning fighter-bombers were raiding similar targets at Fiume in Northern Italy, an "International Association for Safeguarding Vienna" was formed in Rome. Posters in the Italian capital appealed to warring nations to spare Vienna, "the most Catholic European capital after Rome, and the cradle of art....and symbol of civilization."
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