Large formations of Eighth Air Force heavy bombers, striking a new blow in the area of Hitler's heavy industry and shipbuilding, attacked targets in northwestern Germany yesterday in the newest raid of a growing offensive estimated to have dumped nearly 6,000 tons of bombs on Germany and France in the last three days.
Railway Yards Ablaze
The heavies' assault, their seventh operation of the month and the sixth directed at the Reich itself, came 48 hours after Eighth Bomber Command Fortresses and Liberators loosed approximately 1,200 tons of high explosives and incendiaries on Bremen.
Reconnaissance photographs made within an hour after the bombers attacked showed numerous large fires burning in two port areas, and later pictures showed them still burning, with high columns of smoke.
The pictures showed fires and smoke clearly visible in the railway yards and direct hits on workshops and other installations in and around Bremen's main ship repair yard. Several buildings were completely destroyed in a warehouse area.
In eastern Bremen, the industrial sector was heavily hit by high explosives and incendiaries. Two of three major factories of an armored vehicle works could be seen afire.
Unofficial recapitulation of air attacks from British bases since Monday indicated the Anglo-American forces were in the midst of one of the greatest combined air operations carried out against any country since the war began.
Monday's USAAF hammering of Bremen, Germany's most important seaport, involved large fleets of Fortresses and Liberators and a record fighter escort. Monday night's RAF raid was a 2,200-ton attack on chemical plants at Frankfurt. U.S. Marauders followed this up in daylight Tuesday with attacks on military targets in northern France -- possibly secret rocket guns. And RAF Mosquitoes ran the offensive into its third day with a new series of night raids on western Germany -- again without loss.
Capt. Walker Mahurin, leading ETO fighter ace, destroyed his 13th and 14th German planes in yesterday's operations.
"I wasn't superstitious after I got my 13th," he said. "There was only about two minutes between the 13th and 14th so there wasn't much time for any bad luck."
Mahurin got his first plane when his bullets hit an auxiliary gasoline tank, causing the enemy ship to blow up. The explosion threw debris and flames all over the sky, the P47 pilot said.
Mahurin veered to the right and found himself on the tail of a second Me109, but the German pulled into the sun. Mahurin fired blindly where he thought the Nazi was and a moment later the Messerschmitt came into view belching smoke and heading for the ground.