- Saturday, December 4, 1943 - 386th Bomb Group Mission Number 49:
- Target, Airdrome located at Chievres, Belgium.
- Briefing was underway at 1100 hours. Field Order Number 152 from IX
Bomber Command orders the 386th Bomb Group to follow the 387th Bomb Group,
and attack Target ZB 50 - the airdrome located at Chievres, Belgium. RAF
II Group to supply escort and support. Zero Hour: 1330 hours. All aircraft
will carry 6 x 500 pound demolition type bombs. Emergency airdromes:
Manston and Bradwell Bay.
- Rendezvous with 387th Bomb Group at Herne Bay 11,500 feet at Zero Hour
plus 37 minutes. The 387th will lead. Formation will rendezvous with
fighter escort at Zero Hour plus 45 minutes, altitude 12,000 feet.
Location: 51 Degrees 20 Minutes North-01 Degree 50 Minutes East. Route
out: Base to Herne Bay to fighter rendezvous to Newport to five miles east
of Courtrai to Peruwelz (I.P.) to target. Our return route: Target, make
left turn to the rally point at Renaix, five miles east of Courtrai to
Newport to North Foreland to base. Altitudes: Bomb from 11,500 feet, cross
enemy coast out at 11,000 feet. Axis of attack from west-southwest to
- Communications: VHF bomber to fighter on Channel A, also same for
radio contact with 387th Bomb Group. VHF call sign for bombers: GAUDY TWO.
VHF call sign for the fighters: LURKING. Ground Sector Control call sign:
MARSBEAM. Air Sea Rescue on VHF Channel D. Splasher Beacons in use during
our mission: 4D, 5E, 6F, 7G, 8H, 9I and 16J. Synchronizing of watches
after a ten second count down, briefing ended at 1210 hours. After which
flight crews were dispatched out to their assigned aircraft, where they
arrived at 1215 hours to inspect their planes; and load on personal gear.
- The early afternoon quietness was disturbed by the thunderous roar of
756 cylinders of the mighty 2,000 horsepower Pratt and Whitney Engines
coming to life on twenty-one Marauders. The scheduled engine start up time
had commenced! The formation leader had completed his last minute engine
check. His plane rolled to the active end of the runway awaiting a green
light from the mobile control tower, which was parked just off to the left
side of the runway. Major Beaty advanced the throttles of, “SON OF SATAN”
131613 YA-Y, and the mission was underway at 1300 hours. His box of
eighteen ships plus two extras had cleared the runway; followed by second
box leader Major Thornton flying, “Crescendo” 131644 RG-C. He had eighteen
ships plus one extra.
- The formation had reached their briefed altitude of 12,000 feet over
Great Dunmow, then took up a heading of 129 degrees true at 1423 hours.
They flew to Herne Bay, with a slight dogleg to the right of course -
rendezvous was established with the 387th Bomb Group at 1438 hours. From
there a heading of 90 degrees true was followed to a point at 51 Degrees
20 Minutes North-01 Degree 50 Minutes East where rendezvous was made with
the fighter escort 1446 hours. From there a course of 104 degrees true was
taken to the enemy coast - which was obscured by cloud cover.
- A dogleg to the left was necessary here since the formation was five
miles south of the briefed point of entry. Enemy landfall was made between
Nieuport and Furnes at 1457 hours. The formation followed a heading of 120
degrees true to a point five miles east of Courtrai. A right turn to a
course of 151 degrees true was made here toward Peruwelz, the Initial
Point. They found a solid overcast, the formation turned around one minute
short of the estimated time of arrival for the I.P. The turn was made at
1511 hours. Their new course was 304 degrees true which took the formation
fifteen miles south of Ghent. A left turn was made there, and a course of
314 degrees true was taken up. Heavy type flak came up at them from the
Dunkirk area. It was moderate and inaccurate. They also encountered
intense but inaccurate light type flak from Furnes. The point of leaving
the enemy coast was Nieuport at 1523 hours.
- A course of 294 degrees true was followed across the channel to North
Foreland on the English Coast. The formation arrived there at 1535 hours,
and took up a heading of 312 degrees true which brought the Group over
base at 1549 hours. Upon landing the flight crews first stop was the
interrogation room. Crews reported seeing six enemy FW-190 fighter planes
- they did not attack. A large ship was observed in the Dunkirk Harbor.
Several Marauders did not make take off or aborted after take off. The
following listed planes did not make take off: 552nd Squadron, “SEDUCTIVE
SUSIE” 131738 RG-O. Also the 553rd Squadron: “DINAH MIGHT” 131576 AN-Z,
aborted mission: 552nd Squadron: “SHADRACK” 131586 RG-U. The 554th
Squadron had two planes drop out: “LADY LUCK” 134947 RU-K and “HONEY CHILE
III” 131812 RU-J. Thirty-seven aircraft returned a total of 222 bombs, 6 x
- A number of crews were not impressed with the execution of today’s
mission in regard to navigation! That included the Lieutenant Vincent crew
with whom the author was flying. This is what 555th Squadron Pilot,
Lieutenant Voorhees wrote in his diary concerning his nineteenth mission.
“Took a cook’s tour of Belgium today, and inevitably hit Dunkirk. Can’t go
to Belgium without going to Dunkirk! We could not find our target. It was
solid overcast, so there was not much to it. We caught heavy flak at
Dunkirk of course, and a little light flak too. There were some fighters
around, and Mick got in about 50 rounds at a FW-190. Our target was a
chateau where some Nazi flying officers are billeted, we’ll get 'em next
- Chester P. Klier
- Historian, 386th Bomb Group