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Back to Mission 57 Mission 58 Saturday, 29 Jul 44 Oslebhausen Forward to Mission 59
Mission 58
The Group's original assignment was to attack an airfield in France, but bad weather over the region called for a change in assignment. They were ordered back to Germany to bomb an oil refinery at Oslebshausen near Bremmen (sometimes spelled Bremen).
The Group dispatched 29 crews under the command of Captain Byrne, the 857th Squadron Operations Officer. He flew on the Pathfinder plane furnished by another group. During assembly 3 of the planes had to abort due to engine problems.
Fighter Protection
The number of escorts assigned to protect the B-24 force to Germany was very small. However, the Luftwaffe wasn't able to challenge the armada, so things worked out well.
Enemy Resistance
Flak was reported as moderate to heavy, intense and accurate. A considerable number of B-24s were damaged and two of them were lost. The 492nd got through it without any severe damage.
All 26 ships in the Group dropped on the Pathfinder's mark. The cloudy undercast prevented the bombing results from being observed.
At one time, 8th Air Force had 21 groups of B-17s and 19 groups of B-24s. The 1st Air Division had 4 B-17 wings, the 2nd Air Division had 5 B-24 wings, and the 3rd Air Division had 3 B-17 wings and 2 B-24 wings. General Doolittle had begun converting the 3rd Air Division's B-24 groups into B-17 groups. This was no easy task.
As July drew to a close, his conversion project was over halfway done and would be completed in another month. Reorganizing the 3rd Air Division had caused Doolittle some problems. Each of his 2nd and 3rd Air Divisons were already a wing larger than authorized by Washington. By bringing in B-17s and crews to replace the B-24s in the 3rd Air Division and then moving those B-24s and crews into the 2nd Air Division, the 8th Air Force became even more oversized.
Another problem he had was that his Fighter Command was short on long range escort fighters, even if the bomber divisions had been at authorized strength. Washington had turned a blind eye as the 8th Air Force grew beyond its limits, because winning the war was more important than a budget. But with the success of Operation Cobra, the European war was considered as good as won. Washington was urging Doolittle to cut his strength back down to its authorized level. They wanted the excess redeployed to the Pacific Theater.
But the war in Europe was not over and the US Army wasn't ready to let any of the groups go. Doolittle needed to find ways to appear downsized without actually being downsized. This would require a realignment of some groups and squadrons, a lot of transfers and a bunch of creativity. On paper, portions of the 8th Air Force would have to look as if they had been axed. With some help, General Doolittle pulled it off without losing any of his groups or squadrons.
By mid-August, Washington could see that he had dissolved the 2nd Air Division's 95th Combat Wing, which he did after he had moved its groups into other wings. A few months later the paper performance was repeated when he cut the 92nd Combat Wing from the 3rd Air Division.
So politics was another factor that contributed to the 492nd's fate.
Mission Data
Mission: 58
Date: 29 Jul 44
City: Oslebhausen,
Target: Oil Refinery
Bomb Load
Tons: 78
Type: 250 lb GPs
500 lb GPs
Result: Unobserved
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
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