May 1, 1944
|In the afternoon of May 1, 1944, the 44th
Bomb Group dispatched 15 aircraft, there were no aborts. Our target was
the Marshaling Yards at Liege. We were part of the second wave of heavies
to proceed over the continent that day. A total of 40 planes of the 2nd
Bomb Division were effective over the target. All told 157 tons of bombs
were dropped, our load was 8 1000 pound bombs. Flak was moderate and no
enemy planes were encountered by the 44th Bomb Group.
The bombing accuracy was fair to good. All aircraft returned safely at 18:45 hours (6:45 p.m.) after 5 hours in the air. The 8th Air Force sent out 328 heavy bombers for the day to seven different targets of which 3 were M.I.A. along with the loss of 3 of our escort fighters.
This was the 17th straight day of the pre-invasion aerial offensive. General Doolittle announced that more than 24,000 tons of bombs were dropped on German targets by U. S. heavies in April.
There was considerable debate of using heavy bombers on rail targets. One school of thought said light bombers and fighter bombers should be used in order to save the B-24's and B-17's for more strategic objectives. Also there were concerns for the civilian population in the occupied countries. In the light of 20/20 hindsight, we now know we followed the correct course. One change was made in the bomber formation, however, instead of large groups, a six plane formation was used. Raids such as on my 2nd mission to Chalon-Sur-Marne, large numbers of planes were required but later such as my 28th mission to a road junction near Rouen it would have been utter folly to have used more than six planes in any one formation.