Flight Routes

The research of recent years was based on the records of the 392nd Bomb Group Memorial Association. This Bomb Group was involved in the “Trolley Mission” from May 7 to May 12, 1945. In 2021, Markus Lenz received nearly 8,000 individual pages on microfilm recorded by the Air Force Historical Research Agency, which is located at Maxwell Air Force Base near Montgomery, Alabama. On these pages, all Eighth Air Force missions and military flights from April 1945 to June 1945 are recorded. After converting the first reports from microfilm to readable computer files, it has now become apparent that the first observation flight was made on April 30, 1945! After that, daily “sightseeing tours over Germany” followed until May 14, 1945. After a break - for reasons still unknown - the “Trolley Mission” was continued from May 22, 1945 until June 2, 1945.

According to research, however, it is undisputed that there were basically two flight routes in May 1945: The Northern flight route and the Southern flight route. Obviously, these two flight routes were depending on the weather conditions. Furthermore, the flight routes covered the targets of the industrial heart of Germany. The total target area would cover a map from Libya in North Africa to Oslo, Norway, and Czechoslovakia to the coast of France.

Flight plan on April 30, 1945

Flight plan on April 30, 1945 - Observation Flight over Germany

Northern flight route

During the Northern flight route the pilots crossed the Rhine river near Arnhem. Then they flow to the city of Münster, Osnabrück and Bremen. After that, they flew over the big city of Hamburg and its harbor and shipyards. Thereafter they were flying to Brunswick and Salzgitter, near the so-called “Hermann Göring Steel Works”. Later on they flew over the city of Hannover, Bielefeld, Hamm, Dortmund and Duisburg even on the northern flight route were no landings. And, on German territory the pilots were flying under visual flight rules.

Northern flight route - Trolley Mission 1945

Southern flight route

During the Southern flight route on German territory the pilots flew from Mannheim and Ludwigshafen to Aschaffenburg, Hanau and Frankfurt/Main. Then they flew along the Rhine river from Wiesbaden to Mainz, Koblenz and to the Remagen Bridge. After that, they flew over Bonn, Cologne, Dusseldorf and the Ruhr Area. There were no landings during the flights.

Southern flight route - Trolley Mission 1945

Trolley Mission

This website analyzes extraordinary sightseeing tours of Germany at the end of the European War (Second World War). In May 1945, there were non-stop observation flights over Germany - subsequently referred to as “Trolley Missions”. During these low-level flights across Europe and Germany aerial photos were taken showing the bomb damages of German cities.