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An Illustration of the Wilhelmshaven raid, 3 November 1943. Image stamped on reverse: '10 Nov 1943.' [stamp], '292478.'[Censor no.] Printed caption on reverse: 'THE BIGGEST EVER DAY RAID: By US Fortresses and Liberators on Wilhelmshaven- escorted all the way by fighters. Special Sphere drawings. THE SCENE OVER WILHELMSHAVEN JUST AS OUT BOMBERS WERE LEAVING THE TARGET ON WEDNESDAY, NOVEMVER 3RD. AFTER THE BIGGEST DAYLIGHT RAID EVER CARRIED OUT OVER GERMANY. IN THE TOP RIGHT HAND OF THIS DRAWING, LIGHTNING FIGHTERS ARE SEEN DIVING DOWN AND ATTACKING ENEMY FIGHTERS WHICH HAVE ATTEMPTED TO ATTACK THE BIG BOMBERS FROM THE REAR' IN THE TOP LEFT IS A GROUP OF THUNDERBOLTS; WHILST BELOW, GERMAN FW 190S ARE SEEN MAKING A HEAD-ON ATTACK. November 3rd is a date which will figure in aviation history, for on that day a great force of American Fortresses and Liberators made the "biggest ever" daylight raid on Germany, which the naval base shipbuilding centre of Wilhelmshaven as their chief target; furthermore the bombers were escorted by Thunderbolts and Lightning fighters all the way there and back. It has been estimated by some competent authorities that eight to nine hundred aircraft- fighters and bombers- took part. The total distance flown could not have been less than six hundred miles, yet only five bombers were lost- a great tribute to the work of the escort fighters. Of the enemy, eighteen aircraft were destroyed by the Fortresses and Liberators, and another sixteen were shot down by the Thunderbolts and Lightnings, for a loss of only two of the former. The moment depicted in the drawing above occurred just as the bombers were leaving the target. "We found about ten enemy aircraft as they were about to attack the bombers from the rear", said one of the American fighter pilots. "We came in on their tails and evidently surprised them. We got five, and the rest decided to play smart and went home". The method by which certain types of short-range fighters can now be converted into long-range fighters is by fitting extra tanks to the underside of the aircraft. These affect the speed but slightly; after the petrol has been consumed they are jettisoned, whereupon the fighter regains whatever manoeuvrability it had previously sacrificed. It is by this means that the Thunderbolts were able to fly out over Wilhelmshaven and back: the Lightnings, on the other hand, were designed from the start for long-range flights.'

IWM catalogue record

This contains information written on the back of the original print and some of it may be inaccurate.

An Illustration of the Wilhelmshaven raid, 3 November 1943. Image stamped on reverse: '10 Nov 1943.' [stamp], '292478.'[Censor no.] Printed caption on reverse: 'THE BIGGEST EVER DAY RAID: By US Fortresses and Liberators on Wilhelmshaven- escorted all the way by fighters. Special Sphere drawings. THE SCENE OVER WILHELMSHAVEN JUST AS OUT BOMBERS WERE LEAVING THE TARGET ON WEDNESDAY, NOVEMVER 3RD. AFTER THE BIGGEST DAYLIGHT RAID EVER CARRIED OUT OVER GERMANY. IN THE TOP RIGHT HAND OF THIS DRAWING, LIGHTNING FIGHTERS ARE SEEN DRIVING DOWN AND ATTACKING ENEMY FIGHTERS WHICH HAVE ATTEMPTED TO ATTACK THE BIG BOMBERS FROM THE REAR' IN THE TOP LEFT IS A GROUP OF THUNDERBOLTS; WHILST BELOW, GERMAN FW 190S ARE SEEN MAKING A HEAD-ON ATTACK. November 3rd is a date which will figure in aviation history, for on that day a great force of American Fortresses and Liberators made the "biggest ever" daylight raid on Germany, which the naval base shipbuilding centre of Wilhelmshaven as their chief target; furthermore the bombers were escorted by Thunderbolts and Lightning fighters all the way there and back. It has been estimated by some competent authorities that eight to nine hundred aircraft- fighters and bombers- took part. The total distance flown could not have been less than six hundred miles, yet only five bombers were lost- a great tribute to the work of the escort fighters. Of the enemy, eighteen aircraft were destroyed by the Fortresses and Liberators, and another sixteen were shot down by the Thunderbolts and Lightnings, for a loss of only two of the former. The moment depicted in the drawing above occurred just as the bombers were leaving the target. "We found about ten enemy aircraft as they were about to attack the bombers from the rear", said one of the American fighter pilots. "We came in on their tails and evidently surprised them. We got five, and the rest decided to play smart and went home". The method by which certain types of short-range fighters can now be converted into long-range fighters is by fitting extra tanks to the underside of the aircraft. These affect the speed but slightly; after the petrol has been consumed they are jettisoned, whereupon the fighter regains whatever manoeuvrability it had previously sacrificed. It is by this means that the Thunderbolts were able to fly out over Wilhelmshaven and back: the Lightnings, on the other hand, were designed from the start for long-range flights.'

Connections

Missions

  • VIII Bomber Command 119

    3 November 1943
    October 1943 turned out to be the worst loss rate for 8th Air Force for the entire war. 2,145 B-17s and 303 B-24s had been dispatched on missions. 163 B-17s had been lost (lost rate 7.5991%) and 9 B-24s were lost (loss rate 2.9703%). These loss rates...

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
01 November 2019 20:53:50 jmoore43 Changes to caption
Sources

Corrected a typo in the photo caption.

Date Contributor Update
03 March 2015 16:01:36 Tom Changes to mission associations
Sources

Associated mission '1943-11-3 VIII Bomber Command 119' from caption information.

Date Contributor Update
02 February 2015 10:00:04 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

IWM, Roger Freeman Collection

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