U S Army Air Force/8th Air Force/2nd Air Division/14th Bomb Wing/492nd Bomb Group (Heavy)
 492ndBombGroup.com home
«to Mission List
follow the 492nd
Back to Mission 50 Mission 51 Sunday, 16 Jul 44 Saarbrucken Forward to Mission 52
Mission 51
After two days off, the 492nd went back to Saarbrucken. This would be the Group's fourth time there. Again, marshalling yards were the primary targets.
The Group dispatched 22 planes, but 3 of them had to abort due to engine failure. Major Jack Turnbull led the Group while flying on a Pathfinder from the 44th BG. After they had crossed the Channel, another plane began havng engine trouble and had to abort. They got sortie credit.
Fighter Protection
There were more fighters today than in the recent past, but the ratio of fighters to bombers was still low. However, since the Luftwaffe was absent, just one fighter would have been plenty.
Enemy Resistance
Flak was just as moderate as with the last mission, except that this time it was very inaccurate. Perhaps the counter-measures were working better or at least fooling the ground gunners better. The 2nd Air Division was able to run in and out without losing a single bomber.
This was a Pathfinder-led mission, so its hard to say how well the bombing went. All 18 of the attacking planes were credited for hitting their target.
The Group was lucky today, as they again suffered no casualites. But yesterday evening, an event took place that would heavily influence the disbandment of the Group. Metfield Airfield blew up!
Metfield is about 30 miles southeast of Shipdham and was the home of the 491st Bomb Group. As they were unloading HE (high expolosive) bombs, one of them accidentally detonated. That set off a chain reaction of another 1200 tons of HE bombs. It destroyed 5 planes and damaged 6 others. It destroyed several buildings on the base. It damaged private property as far away as 5 miles. The hugh mushroom cloud was easily seen 30 miles away in Shipdham. The base was almost completely destroyed. Amazingly, only 5 men were killed.
Over the next few weeks the accident would become a major factor in the fates of the 492nd and 491st. On one hand, there was the problem of having a fully functional group operating on a crippled base. On the other hand, there was a crippled group operating from a fully functional base. The solution was obvious and logical. Put the fully functional group on the fully functional base and dismantle the crippled group and base. There were other factors involved, but this was a biggie.
Mission Data
Mission: 51
Date: 16 Jul 44
City: Saarbrucken, Germany
Target: Marshalling yard
Bomb Load
Tons: 54
Type: 500 lb GPs
Result: n/a
Enemy Action
Flak: Moderate
GAF: None
Counter Action
Kills: 0
492nd Casualties
More Info
This mission's impact
on the overall war
Prytulak Crew 907
Perry Crew R-21
O'Sullivan Crew 713
Prytulak Crew 907
492ndBombGroup.com — an Arnett Institute project
Page last modified Thursday, May 11, 2017.