8th AF raids on German airfields forced many units to scramble for alternate landing fields. Beaten, but not yet defeated, many units continued to fly combat missions to stem the allied tide. Intelligence reports indicated that a unit of German jet fighters (most likely JV 44 commanded by LTGEN Adolf Galland) was using the Autobahn as a landing strip. Their normal airfield near München-Riems had been bombed forcing the jets to the highways.

To prevent these jets from launching attacks against Patton's advancing army the 8th AF was tasked to take out the ad hoc airfield. The 486th was to provide 3 squadrons and would lead the 4th Combat Bombardment Wing on this mission, which would only involve 800 heavy bombers. The Wing would be in the second position in the 3rd Air Division bomber stream. Mission details and field orders were received at 0200 hours on April 21, 1945 and the targets were: Primary - Autobahn; Seconday - Marshall yards and airfields in the München area.

LTCOL Dick Uhle was the Air commander for the group and wing. CAPT McAnelly was assigned to lead the high Squadron and CAPT Hodges lead the low squadron. Twenty-nine aircraft from all 4 squadrons were prepared for the mission, but only the 832nd (hig), 833rd (low) and 835th (lead) squadrons flew the mission. Crew briefings were begun at 0330 hours by CAPT Whitney, LT Zabara, LT Sherman and MAJ Morriss (S-2).

Take off was scheduled for 0630 hours, with the last aircraft off the ground by 0715. A haze layer covered England, but would not affect assembly, which would be over the continent. The planes entered the Channel airspace over Felixstow and made landfall just North of Calais. The aircraft avoided the still operational FLAK batteries near Dunkirk and headed for Buncher A-73 near Paris where the bomber stream assembled. The assembly proceeded smoothly in spite of a non-functioning beacon.

The bomber stream arrived at checkpoint A-80 one minute early. The stream began a climb to 20,000 ft early because of the weather over the area. The clouds also forced the Air Leader to divert the stream from the pre-planned flight path. The weather prevented the 8th AF from reaching the assigned bombing altitude and the stream reached the IP at 19,000 ft.

The weather demanded the bombers to fan out and proceed to the targets in squadrons. The cloud cover prevented bombing of the primary target, which was to be bombed visually only. The bombers rallied and continued to the secondary on course, which was also obscured by clouds and not bombed. The Rally point (RP) became the IP for the tertiary targets.

The 486th made bombs away, but clouds prevented direct observation of the results. The 94th Bomb Group made their drop from a higher altitude near the 486th. No aircraft were endangered. The two bomb groups were able to manuever around each other and made the Rally Point for the return flight home.

The weather required the bombers to deviate from the planned route home. After 10 hours in the air, the group arrived over Sudbury and the last aircraft landed at 1635 hours. The mission was flown without fighter opposition nor FLAK. The group was commended for flying a good mission in adverse weather conditions.

(source: O&W N/L Spring 95)


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