To represent the 280 missions flown by the 445th Bomb Group between 13 Dec 43 and 25 Apr 45, the following Google Earth 'kmz' file has been created. Using a myriad of sources, each of the 280 missions has been plotted as accurately as possible. The first book about the 445th, written by the unit adjutant, Capt Rudy Birsic, listed the dates of the missions flown and the target cities. Records obtained from the Air Force Historical Research Agency located at Maxwell Air Force Base, AL helped to confirm or correct the mission list. Any deviation from the original list from Birsic's book has been confirmed by the Tactical Mission Reports generated by the 445th Bomb Group staff, 2nd Air Division Mission Summaries, and Roger Freeman's excellent book The Might Eighth War Diary.
To be able to view the current image of each target, you will first need to have a copy of Google Earth installed on your system. If you do not have a copy, the following link will take you to Google's website where you can download the free file. Google Earth Follow the procedure for installing the program on your computer.
Next, download the following 'kmz' file containing information about the missions. 445BG.kmz
Once you have downloaded the file, you should be able to click onth the file and Google Earth will automatically open the file. The following image will show you the opening page:
The folder in the leftmost pane labeled 'Target Data' contains each month's missions in numerical order. If you click on the box, all 280 targets will be selected. If you click on the arrowhead symbol next to the box, you will see the 17 months that the 445th flew missions.
You can expand each month out by selecting a particular month (say February, 1944) and clicking on the symbol next to 'Feb 1944'. This will show the 15 missions flown that month.
The mission flown on February 24, 1944 to Gotha, Germany was the one that earned the 445th their Distinguished Unit Citation, also known as a Presidential Unit Citation. By checking the box next to mission number 28 and then 'double clicking' on the image name "Mission #028...", you will 'fly' to the site and see the following image. The bomb marker points to the aiming point that day, lists the mission number, target city, and the name or type of target hit. If you look carefully just above the text, you can see the remanants of the apron where the planes were parked.