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The attached graph shows the percent chance of not getting shot down during 35 consecutive missions with the 463rd in 1944. For missions 1 to 35 it is just the percent chance of making it through that number of missions. The numbers towards the end of 1944 are a bit misleading because on a number of missions only a small number of planes flew. The effect is to make it seem more likely a flier would make it through the 35 consecutive missions than is really the case.

Some of the more notable missions are labeled. I also noted the loss of a/c '841 on 24 May 1944 because it was not in the 1944 mission summary (and my father was in that plane). In worst part of 1944, there is only about a one in three chance of making it through 35 consecutive missions. Another thing of note, is that only a relatively small number missions with high losses make a big difference to the percentages, for example the 10 May 1944 mission to Wiener-Neustadt Austria where 7 of 34 aircraft (20.6%) are lost.

I'm working on a modified version to take into account the missions with only a few planes and then I'll post that and the percentages for 1945. If anyone has any questions about the details or sees a mistake or chance for improvement please let me know.  The idea was just to get a feel for the probabilities, there's plenty of room for improvement.

I've now added a chart for 1945. Also, I "binned" missions where only a few planes were sent out with nearby missions. I think that gives a more accurate estimate of the probabilities. If only six planes are sent on a mission and one plane is lost, the chance of making it through that mission is 5 in 6 but if there are 40 planes in the group, the chance of being on that mission is only 6 in 40. I'm happy to go through the details if anyone is interested.

The summary is, it was plenty dangerous to fly with the 463rd, even in 1945. Like 1944, just a few missions make a big difference. The mission to Berlin in March of 1945 brings the chances of not getting shot down all the way down to 4 in 10. (that's based on the mission summary posted on the 463rd website, 7 of 20 aircraft shot down. The unit citation indicates that 31 aircraft took off).

Attached Images
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Steve Fossey

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