9th AF Patch

416th Bombardment Group (L)

Mission # 178 -- December 27, 1944, Wednesday AM

Eller, Germany

Railroad Bridge



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Summary of Operations

Field Order        : 108-686
OpRep #            : 268
Nature of Mission  : Bombing
Mission Status     : Attacked
Bombing Altitude   : 11,500 - 12,000 feet
Take-off Time      : 0955
Time Over Target   : 1134
Landing Time       : 1308
Duration (Hrs:Min) : 3:13

Place of Take-Off  : A-55 Melun/Villaroche, France
A/C Dispatched     : 29 Total -- 7 A-20's, 22 A-26's
Target Number      : 5007E/B/6
Illustration       : 5007E/8/1
Illustration Ref   : 035039
Secondary Target   : No Alternate Targets Authorized
Summary of Results : Three Superior, two Excellent scores.

Primary Target Latitude/Longitude: 50.10094,7.13762 (50° 6' 3" N, 7° 8' 15" E)
(Latitude/Longitude based on Google Maps, Visual match to Strike Photo)
(See Latitude/Longitude Coordinates and Target Identifiers for more information.)

Scanned original Mission 178 documents (multipage PDF files)

Mission Folder       Reports Folder       OpRep # 268       Fuel Use

If nothing happens on Click, check to see if the PDF file was automatically saved to your computer. Depending on Internet speed, the display or download may be slow.
These Public Domain, Declassified Mission documents were graciously provided to the 416th BG Archive by the dedicated staff of the Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA).
An on-line index of records held by AFHRA up to 2001 is available at Air Force History Index.org.
Most of these PDF files are unaltered originals provided by the AFHRA, a few have been re-organized.
Pages may be out of sequence; files may contain scanned blank pages and/or pages scanned upside-down; some pages may be included in more than one file.
The "Mission Folder" usually contains the majority of documents for a Mission, including Field Orders, Status Reports, Pilot Interrogations, Photos (if available), etc.

Loading List 1

Loading List 1, Box I
(Note:  Brig. Gen. Backus Flew on This Mission)

Loading List 2

Loading List 2, Box II

Bomb Run Photo

(photo courtesy of Ralph Conte)

Mission Loading Lists Transcription

Mission # 178 -- December 27, 1944, Wednesday AM
Eller, Germany -- Railroad Bridge

Included are Box, Flight and Position; Bomb Squadron; Aircraft Serial Number, Fuselage Code and Model; and Crew Members
transcribed from individual mission Loading List documents by Chris and Mary Adams and Carl Sgamboti.
Some information, such as Squadron, Serial Number, etc. has been expanded from other documents.

Box I -- Flight I
  1  669th                   
  44-178  2A-L  A-20K
  Capt Hulse, D.A.
  Lt Conte, R.
  S/Sgt Burland, A.J.
  S/Sgt Heath, K.
  2  669th                   
  41-39252  2A-D  A-26B
  Lt DuBose, M.W.
  S/Sgt Walters, J.H.
  Brig Gen Backus, E.N.
  3  669th                   
  41-39244  2A-I  A-26B
  Lt Allen, J.F., Jr.
  S/Sgt Carstens, R.W.
  Lt Johnson, R.K.
  4  669th                   
  41-39229  2A-B  A-26B
  Lt Behlmer, R.L.
  Lt Britt, J.W.
  S/Sgt Donnelly, W.W.
  5  669th                   
  43-22300  2A-P  A-26B
  Lt Smith, D.E.
  Cpl DeStefano, R.
  6  669th                   
  43-22301  2A-O  A-26B
  Lt Willard, J.A.
  Cpl Hinker, C.V.

Box I -- Flight II
  1  671st                   
  44-185  5C-G  A-20K
  Lt Brown, C.J.
  Lt Kerns, J.E.
  S/Sgt Sunderland, H.E.
  S/Sgt Mahoney, R.J.
  2  671st                   
  43-22313  5C-B  A-26B
  Lt Remiszewski, A.
  S/Sgt Miguez, J.H.
  3  671st                   
  41-39250  5C-A  A-26B
  Capt Sears, A.C.
  M/Sgt Wells, J.J.
  4  671st                   
  44-106  5C-E  A-20K
  Lt Lackovich, J.J.
  Lt Muir, R.C.
  S/Sgt Connery, T.
  S/Sgt McElhattan, L.D.
  5  671st                   
  41-39237  5C-D  A-26B
  Lt Spires, J.W.
  Sgt Davis, L.E.
  6  671st                   
  41-39210  5C-J  A-26B
  Capt Nielsen, L.C.
  Cpl Schmidt, K.W.

Box I -- Flight III
  1  670th                   
  44-073  F6-J  A-20K
  Capt Monroe, H.A.
  Lt Kirk, R.L.
  S/Sgt Kidd, W.L.
  Cpl Willever, E.J.
  2  670th                   
  43-21467  F6-W  A-20J
  Capt Jackson, C.R.
  Lt McNutt, M.C.
  S/Sgt Burns, D.E.
  Sgt Harris, M.C.
  3  670th                   
  43-22315  F6-L  A-26B
  Maj Conant, H.F.
  Cpl Kubjalko, A.
  4  670th                   
  43-22334  F6-G  A-26B
  Lt Rooney, R.J.
  Sgt Caudell, S.R.
  5  670th                   
  43-22337  F6-O  A-26B
  Lt Popeney, H.
  S/Sgt Arnett, W.E.
  6  668th                   
  41-39269  5H-K  A-26B
  Lt Brown, N.G.
  S/Sgt Ottaviano, J.O.

Box II -- Flight I
  1  669th                   
  43-22024  2A-E  A-20J
  Capt Stebbins, B.D.
  Lt Calloway, A.S.
  S/Sgt McGuire, J.J.
  S/Sgt Brown, W.J.
  2  671st                   
  41-39265  5C-V  A-26B
  Lt Clark, H.B.
  S/Sgt Sabadosh, J.W.
  [Not Airborne Engine Cutting Out. Losing 250 RPM]
  3  671st                   
  41-39208  5C-L  A-26B
  Lt Street, M.S.
  S/Sgt Sharp, R.P.
  4  671st                   
  41-39234  5C-P  A-26B
  Lt Sorrels, D.W.
  S/Sgt Triber, H.I.
  5  668th                   
  41-39264  5H-I  A-26B
  Lt Martin, E.C.
  Cpl Draft, L.B.
  6  668th                   
  41-39218  5H-C  A-26B
  Lt Hackley, R.H.
  Cpl Koons, H.A.

Box II -- Flight II
  1  670th                   
  43-9439  F6-J  A-20J
  Lt Mish, C.C.
  Lt Shaft, R.E.
  S/Sgt Clark, C.J.
  S/Sgt Roberts, J.H.
  2  668th                   
  41-39219  5H-E  A-26B
  Lt Harris, F.W.
  S/Sgt Felkel, J.W.
  3  668th                   
  43-22290  5H-L  A-26B
  Lt Roberts, W.H.
  Sgt Hood, A.R.
  4  668th                   
  41-39214  5H-B  A-26B
  Lt Jacobsen, O.F.
  Sgt Gooch, H.I.
  5  668th                   
  41-39233  5H-F  A-26B
  Lt Carver, J.H.
  Sgt Graham, N.M.
  6  668th                   
  41-39269  5H-K  A-26B
  Lt Annin, W.W.
  Sgt Hicks, C.M.

Group and Unit Histories

Mission # 178 -- December 27, 1944, Wednesday AM
Eller, Germany -- Railroad Bridge

"416th Bombardment Group (L) - Group History 1944"
Transcribed from USAF Archives

Weather prevented a mission on the 26th. On the 27th, however, five flights took off to bomb the Eller railroad bridge over the Moselle River. The crews reported that the bridge was swallowed up in the smoke from the 1000-pounders. Out of the five flights, three scored superior ratings and two, excellents. However, even with such superior bombing, photo reconnaissance showed the bridge still standing. The approaches had been hit heavily and a 34-car train was caught at the entrance to a tunnel just off the bridge. The bombing could not have been more accurate; it was just one of those cases where the bombs fell through the framework of the high span and exploded in the water without causing any visible damage to the structure. Captain Hulse, Lt Conte, B-N, and Captain Stebbins, Lt Calloway, B-N, (who scored his second successive superior) led the two boxes. There was no flak.

"Attack Bombers, We Need You! A History of the 416th Bomb Group"
Ralph Conte
Page 183

Mission #178 - 27 December - Eller Bridge. General Backus, Commander of the IX Bomber Command elected to lead this mission with Lt. Conte, as BN. Flight leaders were Lts. Brown and Kerns, BN, - Lt. Lackovich and Lt. Muir, BN. With 29 aircraft loaded with 1000 pound bombs, we were after a main bridge and tunnel used extensively by German Forces. The bombing scored three superior, and two excellents. This pleased General Backus tremendously. Aerial reconnaissance showed the bridge intact but the approaching tunnel was rendered unserviceable. No enemy fighters or flak was encountered. Enemy troop trains were stalled and damaged in the tunnel entrance.

"669th Bombardment Squadron (L) History"
Transcription from USAF Archives

The vitally important Eller railroad bridge was attacked on the 27th. Captian Hulse, Lieutenant Conte, B-N, led the formation and scored excellent results. Captain Stebbins, Lieutenant Calloway, B-N, leading the second box, scored superior results. Yet with all of this superb bombing, photo reconnaissance later showed the bridge still standing. The bombs had straddled the structure. Oddly enough on such an important target, there was no flak.

"670th Bombardment Squadron (L) History"
Transcription from USAF Archives

The 27th brought a mission of five flights to bomb the Eller railway bridge over the Moselle River. Six of our crews took part and bombed with 1,000 pound bombs to achieve a superior rating. However, in spite of the fact that the bombs hit right in the middle of the target area and reports were that they had knocked it out, photo reconnaissance showed the bridge to be standing.

The long silent Luftwaffe burst into activity with the German breakthrough. Air raid alerts were sounded every evening around chow time and usually a couple of times during the night. Enemy reconnaissance planes were reported over the field on two occasions. TWX's began to pour in from higher headquarters on recognition of enemy agents, plans for destruction of equipment, and warnings to properly barricade all vital installations.

About 0200 hours on the 27th an enemy raider circled the field once and then came in for a strafing job with its twenty millimeter cannons. Several men who had gotten out of bed when they first heard the aircraft saw it coming in and thought it may have been a JU-88. No damage was done to equipment and no one was injured.

The enemy break-through progressed to a point where it became advisable to draft plans for a six-hour emergency evacuation plan which could be put into effect if needed. The group was put on this alert and was ready to move out if necessary.

"671st Bomb Squadron (L) Unit History"
Gordon Russell and Jim Kerns

December 27th, 1944

The "Bridge Busting 416 th" put all their thousand pound eggs within a radius of one thousand feet of their target, the railroad bridge at Eller which spans the Moselle River 25 miles southwest of Koblenz, at mid-day on the 26th of December. Five flights bombed the bridge with three superior and two excellent ratings. The structure was completely blanketed with the bombs, and although the bridge still stands, it was rendered unserviceable by the accurate job of bombing. General Anderson again commended the Group for the superior bombing results and said it is a mystery how the bridge still stands after the severe pasting it took. He further said that there was no doubt in his mind that the bridge was and would be unserviceable for a long time.

Lt.Brown and Lt.Kerns represented the 671st . Bombs of their flight fell on a hill and covered the approach to the railroad tunnel with possible damage to the tunnel. Flak or enemy fighters were not encountered.

[December 27, 1944], HQ Twelfth Army Group situation map

Map showing Western Allies and Axis troop position details in Western Europe
as of approximately 1200 hours, December 27, 1944
World War II Military Situation Maps Collection
Library of Congress

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