U S Army Air Force/8th Air Force/2nd Air Division/14th Bomb Wing/492nd Bomb Group (Heavy)
 492ndBombGroup.com home
follow the 492nd
Back to Mission 1 Mission 2 Friday, 12 May 44 Zeitz Forward to Mission 3
Mission 2
The missions given to the Mighty 8th on 12 May 44 had two purposes. The first was to hit the the oil production facilities located deep into Germany and Czechoslovakia. The other was to draw Hitler's attention away from England as the Allies began Operation Eagle, their dress rehearsal for the Normandy landing.
The 492nd was ordered to attack the oil refineries near Zeitz, Germany. This was a Pathfinder led mission since the weather couldn't be counted on for good visibility. But all of the crews took their bombardiers along just in case the weather was clear. Major Turnbull, the Group's Operations Officer led the Group sitting in the Pathfinder plane from the 44th BG.
The Group dispatched 38 ships along with one PathFinder plane and assembled in 3 sections. For some of the participatng crews this would be their second mission. The rest of the crews were taking their maiden mission. In this way, Turnbull's group wouldn't be totally green.
Fighter Protection
Again, the 492nd had excellent fighter protection all the way to target. We haven't confirmed who their assigned fighters were, but we have read that they were escorted by P-38s, P-47s and P-51s.
Enemy Resistance
Just like the day before, the Group caught some flak as soon as they got past the Channel. Again, the damage was light and there were no casualties. They didn't see flak again until they got to their target, which was lighter in terms of accuracy. The new guys went through their realization process that they were in war. Just like the other guys yesterday did.
Occasionally crewmen did see enemy fighters off in the distance. But the Luftwaffe never came within their range because of the escorts.
The visibilty over the target was good. If we read the reports right, they did so well on their primary target that they held some of their bombs for a second refinery at Zeitz hitting it, too. They still had some payloads left over and hit another refinery at Meresburg on their way home. The reports didn't say why, but 3 of the credited sorties weren't able to attack a target.
Returning Home
The return trip was long but without any serious incident. However, many of the planes came back dangerously low on fuel. Perhaps there was a different reason why two of the planes ran out of gas yesterday. Maybe it was because they were flying using the gas hog techniques they had been taught and not because they spent too much time over target. See the "Gas Hogs" link to the right.
Arnett Crew 717 barely made it back across the Channel. They landed at the first base they saw. By the time they got refueled and returned to base, their personal GI stuff had already been taken by others. The men had no trouble in getting all of their things returned to them, but that was what happened when crews were thought to be goners.
After the Group got back, a message of commendation and encouragement was sent to all of the groups in the 2nd Air Division for such a fine mission. The men were feeling good that night. But what nobody told them was, "smooth missions are usually paid for by other groups." The Mighty 8th lost 46 heavy bombers and 7 fighters that day. See the "Bigger Picture."
Mission Data
Mission: 2
Date: 12 May 44
City: Zeitz, Germany
Target: Oil Refineries
Bomb Load
Tons: 81
Type: GPs and IBs
Result: Excellent
Enemy Action
Flak: Light
GAF: None
Counter Action
Kills: 0
492nd Casualties
More Info
for Mission 2
This mission's impact
on the overall war
Prytulak Crew 907
Graham/Powers Crew 614
Prytulak Crew 907
Why Some Ran Dry
A collection of quotes
Beard 603
Hamilton 604
Ogden 606
Hadden 608
Abbott 609
Curtis 610
Harris R 612
Kehoe 613
Graham 614
Velarde 615
Liggett 701
Skorupan 703
Davis 704
Heber 705
Haag G 706
Harris J 707
Murray 709
Scott 712
Arnett 717
Frantz 803
Mock 804
Fisher 805
Handwright 807
Miller D 810
Goodridge 812
Lewis 813
Pelkey 815
Platinsky 816
Earleywine 901
Johnson 903
Brantley 905
Smith 906
Prytulak 907
Jaques 909
Wolf 911
Haar 912
Bowman 914
Prewitte 916
492ndBombGroup.com — an Arnett Institute project
Page last modified Thursday, May 11, 2017.