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428

21 June 1944

Official description

The Eighth begins shuttle bombing missions (FRANTIC) between UK and bases in USSR. P-47’s (2 groups) escort the Heavy Bombers from just off German coast to Stendal where a P-51 group continues escort to, and suppprt over, the target (synthetic oil plant at Ruhland). 123 B-17’s bomb primary target, 21 bomb Elsterwerda, and a lone B-17 bombs Riesa due to a bomb rack malfunction. After the attack, the supporting P-51 group is relieved 50 miles south east of Poznan by 65 other P-51’s which are to accompany the Heavy Bombers to USSR. 50 miles south east of Brest Litovsk 20 to 30 fighters attack the force. In the resulting battle 1 US and 6 German fightersare destroyed. A single B-17 is lost (to unknown causes) on the flight. 144 Heavy Bombers land in USSR, 73 at Poltava, and the rest at Mirgorod. The 64 remaining P-51’s land at Piryatin. The shuttle run is made in conjunction with a large-scale effort against targets in Berlin area.

935 Heavy Bombers attack city areas, motor industries, and targets of opportunity in and near Berlin, Genshagen, Basdorf, Rangsdorf, Trebbin, Belzig, Potsdam, Stendal, and surrounding areas. 19 Heavy Bombers are lost. Fighters fly 902 sorties in supprt of this mission, claiming 18 fighters destroyed, with a loss of 6.

During 21/22 June the 73 B-17’s which earlier landed at Poltava are attacked for 2 hours by an estimated 75 German bombers led by airplanes dropping flares. 47 Heavy Bombers are destroyed and most of the remainder severely damaged. Heavy damage is also suffered by stores of fuel and ammo.

Description

Ruhland, Germany - The target, south of Berlin, bombed by 114 fortresses with an escort of 70 Mustangs went off as planned but not before the Germans destroyed 43 B-17's and damaged 26. Landed in Russia.

Mission details

1.

Description

BOMB TARGETS OF OPPORTUNITY

Aircraft type

Not yet known

Notes

Not yet known

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 10 T

2.

Description

BOMB TARGETS OF OPPORTUNITY

Aircraft type

Not yet known

Notes

Not yet known

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 17 T

3.

Description

BOMB TARGETS OF OPPORTUNITY

Aircraft type

Not yet known

Notes

Not yet known

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 30 T

4. BASDORF (Primary)

Description

INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

Aircraft type

Not yet known

Notes

Not yet known

Units

  • 452nd Bomb Group

    452nd Bomb Group

    Group
    The 452nd Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses from Deopham Green, Norfolk, from January 1944. The air crews hit strategic sites in Germany but also supported the movement of ground forces across Europe after D-Day. On 6 June 1944 itself, the Group...

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 181 T

5. BEDEREKESA (Opportunistic)

Description

INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

Aircraft type

Not yet known

Notes

Not yet known

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 3 T

6. BERLIN (Primary)

Description

INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

1st Bomb Division was made up of 91st Bomb Group, 92nd Bomb Group, 303rd Bomb Group, 305th Bomb Group, 306th Bomb Group,351st Bomb Group, 379th Bomb Group, 381st Bomb Group, 384th Bomb Group, 389th Bomb Group, 401st Bomb Group, 457th Bomb Group.

457th BG - MISSION NO. 73 - BERLIN, GERMANY

21 JUNE, 1944

The plans called for the greatest aerial assault in history. Although the effort was reduced by more than half before take off, the operation as carried out remained the largest to date. One thousand bombers from Italy were scheduled to fly north, while 900 RAF Lancaster bombers were to follow the Eighth Air Force to the center of Berlin for their first daylight raid into Germany. These two operations were scrubbed and only the Eighth attacked.

In the first deep penetration of Germany since D Day, the 457th dispatched 42 planes for the mission, composing the entire 94th B Combat Wing except for twelve craft in the high box. In addition one squadron was supplied for a composite box. Major Leroy Watson was Air Commander of the lead B box, with Captain Russell M. Selwyn as pilot. Capt. Richard E. Hoelzer was Commander of the low B box, with Lt. Vinton H. Mays as pilot. Major Fred A. Spencer was Commander of the high composite box, with Lt. Harry Stafford as pilot.

Three ships aborted from the lead box reducing its strength to fifteen craft. Bombing was by PFF and results were described as fair. At least six distinct bomb patterns were made over a very large area of Berlin.

The aircraft piloted by Lt. Robert M. Krumm, a veteran of twenty-nine missions, developed engine trouble en route to the target, began lagging behind the formation, jettisoned its bombs and landed in Sweden.

Upon leaving the target, the plane piloted by Lt. Hershel Wilson received a direct hit from flak, which knocked out one engine. It caught fire and the ship exploded. Only four of the crew survived.

The craft piloted by Lt. Edward J. Reppa, flying his last mission, was hit just after bombs away by flak, which knocked out engines Number 2 and 3. He left the formation and started back to England alone. Over the North Sea all expendable equipment was thrown out to lighten the weight. Flying barely fast enough to maintain flying speed, he was able to land the craft, using all the runway before coming to a coasting stop at the end of the runway.

Twenty-four of the returning planes sustained damage. For the day the Eighth Air Force dispatched 1177 aircraft to Berlin and the Berlin area. In addition, 163 B-17s were dispatched to the Ruhland synthetic oil refinery, southeast of Berlin, and then continued on to Russia.

The following crews were lost on this date:
Lt Hershel Wilson
Lt Robert M. Krumm

Units

  • 1st Bomb Division

    1st Bomb Division

    Division
    The groups under the command of the 1st Bomb Wing came under the command of the 1st Bomb Division in August 1943. In December 1944, the Division was redesginated the 1st Air Division.

  • 303rd Bomb Group

    303rd Bomb Group

    Group
    The 303rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated on 3-Feb-1942 at Pendleton Field, Oregon. They assembled at Gowen Field, Idaho on 11-February 1942 where it conducted flight training until 12-Jun-1942. The Group then moved to Alamogordo Field, New...

  • 305th Bomb Group Can Do

    305th Bomb Group Can Do

    Group
    The 305th Bombardment Group (Heavy), nicknamed "Can Do" was activated 1-March-1942 at Salt Lake City Air Base, Utah which was their primary training base until 11-Jun-1942 when they relocated to Geiger Field, Washington until 29-Jun-1942, then on to...

  • 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers

    306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers

    Group
    Constituted as 306th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 28 Jan 1942. Activated on 1 Mar 1942. Trained for combat with B-17's. Moved to England, Aug-Sep 1942, and assigned to Eighth AF Eighth Air Force in September 1942 Station 111 Thurleigh. During combat,...

  • 351st Bomb Group

    351st Bomb Group

    Group
    The 351st Bomb Group flew strategic bombing missions from their base at Polebrook, Northamptonshire from April 1943 to June 1945. The Group's most famous member was Hollywood actor Clark Gable, who flew four/ five missions with them as an observer...

  • 379th Bomb Group

    379th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 379th Bomb Group (H) (heavy), based at Kimbolton, flew more sorties than any other Bomb Group in the Eighth Air Force and dropped a greater bomb tonnage than any other Group. The B-17 Flying Fortress Group was awarded two Distinguished Unit...

  • 381st Bomb Group

    381st Bomb Group

    Group
    The 381st Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses from Ridgewell, Essex between June 1943 and April 1945. The Group was awarded two Distinguished Unit Citations, the first for bombing shipyards at Bremen, whilst under heavy attack, on 8 October 1943 and...

  • 384th Bomb Group

    384th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 384th Bomb Group flew B-17s from Grafton Underwood, Northamptonshire, between May 1943 and June 1945. They were engaged in daylight bombing missions over Germany as part of the Allies' efforts to destroy the effectiveness of the Luftwaffe by...

  • 389th Bomb Group

    389th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 389th Bomb Group, known in more familiar terms as "the Sky Scorpions", flew strategic bombing missions in B-24 Liberators from Hethel, England. They also sent detachments to join bases in North Africa at Benghazi No. 10, Libya, between 3 July 1943...

  • 401st Bomb Group

    401st Bomb Group

    Group
    The 401st Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses from Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire, from November 1943 to June 1945. Starting their missions at that time meant the focus was very much on the coming invasion attempt of France planned for the following...

  • 457th Bomb Group

    457th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 457th Bomb Group began combat operations during the Big Week of 20-25 February when American bombers carried out concentrated raids against German aircraft bases, factories and assembly plants. The air crews' targets on that first mission were...

  • 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars

    91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars

    Group
    The 91st Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated at Harding Field, Louisiana on 15-April-1942 and went to MacDill Field, Florida for the first phase of training from 16-May-1942 to 25-June-1942. The Group was then assigned to 2nd Air Force at Walla...

  • 92nd Bomb Group Fame's Favoured Few

    92nd Bomb Group Fame's Favoured Few

    Group
    The 92nd Group sometime after arrivial in the UK converted to the role of in-theater combat crew indocrination and training. For this role, the Group traded its B-17F complement and obtained the B-17E, mostly from the 97th BG which was departing for...

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 1081 T

7. BERLIN (Primary)

Description

INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

Aircraft type

Not yet known

Notes

3rd Bomb Division was made up of B-17s is 94th Bomb Group, 385th Bomb Group, 390th Bomb Group, 447th Bomb Group, 452nd Bomb Group, 486th Bomb Group, 487th Bomb Group

Units

  • 3rd Bomb Division

    3rd Bomb Division

    Division
    The 3rd Bomb Division was Constituted in August 1943. In December 1944, the Division was redesginated the 3rd Air Division.

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 254 T

8. BERLIN (Secondary)

Description

INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

Aircraft type

Not yet known

Notes

Not yet known

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 115 T

9. ESTERIVEREDA (Opportunistic)

Description

INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

Aircraft type

Not yet known

Notes

Not yet known

Mission Statistics

10. GENSHAGEN (Opportunistic)

Description

INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

Aircraft type

Not yet known

Notes

Not yet known

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 56 T

11. GENSHAGEN (Primary)

Description

INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

Aircraft type

Not yet known

Notes

2nd Bomb Division was made up of 44th Bomb Group, 93rd Bomb Group, 389th Bomb Group, 392nd Bomb Group, 445th Bomb Group, 446th Bomb Group, 448th Bomb Group, 453rd Bomb Group, 458th Bomb Group, 466th Bomb Group, 467th Bomb Group, 491st Bomb Group, 492nd Bomb Group

Units

  • 2nd Bomb Division

    2nd Bomb Division

    Division
    The groups under the command of the 2nd Bomb Wing came under the command of the 2nd Bomb Division in August 1943. In December 1944, the Division was redesginated the 2nd Air Division.

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 171 T

12. MARIENFELDE (Primary)

Description

INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

Aircraft type

Not yet known

Notes

Not yet known

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 118 T

13. NIEDERSCHONWEIDE (Primary)

Description

INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

Aircraft type

Not yet known

Notes

Not yet known

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 71 T

14. POLTAVA

Description

ENEMY GROUND ATTACK

Aircraft type

Not yet known

Notes

During the night of 21/22 June 1944 the 73 B-17s that earlier landed at Poltava were attacked on the ground for 2 hours by an estimated 75 German bombers led by aircraft dropping flares. 47 B-17s are destroyed and most of the remainder severely damaged. Heavy damage is also suffered to stores of fuel and ammunition. These were Operation FRANTIC aircraft shuttled to Russia in conjunction with a large-scale effort against targets in the Berlin area. See next entry.

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped NA

15. POTSDAM (Opportunistic)

Description

INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

Aircraft type

Not yet known

Notes

Not yet known

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 103 T

16. RANGSDORF (Opportunistic)

Description

INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

Aircraft type

Not yet known

Notes

Not yet known

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 40 T

17. RIESA (Opportunistic)

Description

INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

Aircraft type

Not yet known

Notes

Not yet known

Mission Statistics

18. RUHLAND/SCHWARTZHEIDE (Primary)

Description

OIL REFINERY

Aircraft type

Not yet known

Notes

145 of 163 B-17s begin shuttle bombing missions. (Operation FRANTIC - shuttle bombing mission between bases in the UK and Russia). Bombers attack the oil refinery at Ruhland, Germany. 144 B-17s land in the USSR, 73 at Poltava and the rest at Mirgorod.

Units

  • 100th Bomb Group

    100th Bomb Group

    Group
    "The Bloody Hundredth", so-called because of a reputation for losing a high number aircraft and crews, flew B-17s from Thorpe Abbotts, Norfolk. Their losses were not the highest of any Eighth Air Force Group but on several occasions the Group lost many...

  • 388th Bomb Group

    388th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 388th Bomb Group flew strategic bombing mission from Knettishall, Suffolk from June 1943 to the end of the war. During this time, though, detachments were sent to Fersfield, Norfolk to conduct Aphrodite missions. In these Aphrodite missions veteran...

  • 390th Bomb Group

    390th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 390th Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses from Framlingham, Suffolk, between July 1943 and the end of the war in Europe. The Group was engaged in strategic missions until the invasion of Europe when its role became more of a tactical one. This...

  • 452nd Bomb Group

    452nd Bomb Group

    Group
    The 452nd Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses from Deopham Green, Norfolk, from January 1944. The air crews hit strategic sites in Germany but also supported the movement of ground forces across Europe after D-Day. On 6 June 1944 itself, the Group...

  • 95th Bomb Group

    95th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 95th Bomb Group was the only Eighth Air Force Group to be awarded three Distinguished Unit Citations. The first, shared by all four Bomb Wing Groups, was for the bombing of an aircraft factory under intense enemy fire at Regensburg on 17 August...

  • 96th Bomb Group

    96th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 96th Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses to targets across occupied Europe from May 1943 to April 1945. ...

Mission Statistics

19. SELVIG (Opportunistic)

Description

INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

Aircraft type

Not yet known

Notes

Not yet known

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 20 T

20. STENDAL (Opportunistic)

Description

INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

Aircraft type

Not yet known

Notes

Not yet known

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 20 T

21. TREBBIN (Opportunistic)

Description

INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

Aircraft type

Not yet known

Notes

Not yet known

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 25 T

Service

People

  • Donald Allen

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Crew Chief
    Assigned to 334FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. S/Sgt Allen was a talented artist, who was kept busy with nose art requests from pilots of the 334th Fighter Squadron. Awards: AM, WWII Victory, EAME (6 Battle stars), Good Conduct Medal.

  • Robert Allison

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 94th Bomb Group
    Flew 26 missions on 'Mission Bell', was wounded on 26th mission. Purple Heart, 4 Air Medals

  • John Anderson

    Military | Lieutenant | Pilot | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Joined squad 2 June 1944. Damaged by flak on 21 July 1944 (Oberpfaffenhofen) and landed in Switzerland. Plane was B-24 Mary Harriet #42110049. Interned Switzerland. Returned to base 15 February 1945. Returned to ZOI 15 March 1945.

  • Vincent Andra

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Crew Chief
    Assigned to 334FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. One-time crew chief for Colonel Louis 'Red Dog'Norley. Assigned to participate in Op FRANTIC II, the Russia Shuttle mission. The B-17 he was assigned to was involved in a taxi accident, heading to the runway and was...

  • Charles Armstrong

    Military | Captain | Bombardier | 303rd Bomb Group
    Assigned to 358BS, 303BG, 8AF USAAF. 33 x combat missions. ETD Awards: WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Leslie Babin

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Damaged by flak on 21 July 1944 (Oberpfaffenhofen) and landed in Switzerland. Pilot: Anderson, J. Plane was B-24 Mary Harriet #42110049. Interned Switzerland.

  • Thomas Barton

    Military | Captain | Pilot | 388th Bomb Group
    newly assigned May 1944

  • Charles Beckham

    Military | Sergeant | Ball turret gunner | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    Assigned to 384th Bomb Group on 16 May 1944, completed 16 Missions with 384th Bomb Group before transferring to 305th Bomb Group on 26 June 1944.

  • Darwin Berry

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot
    Assigned to 335FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. End Tour of Duty (ETD) 270 Hrs 6-12-44.

  • Charles Brock

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Fighter Pilot
    Assigned to 335FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. Awards:AM (6 OLC), WWII Victory. Post War: Retired from the USAF as a Lieutenant Colonel.

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Aircraft

  • 41-28591 'Archibald'

    B-24 Liberator
    Assigned to 735BS, 453BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) mission to Berlin attacked by E/A setting two engines alight, crashed at Mangelsdorf, crew baled out 21-Jun-44. 10 x POW. MACR 5933.

  • 42-102514

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 10/3/44; Gr Island 30/3/44; Dow Fd 8/4/44; Assigned 729BS/452BG [M3- ] Deopham Green 11/4/44; destroyed by enemy aircraft at Poltava, with Jim Nelson Rus 21/6/44; Salvaged 2/7/44.

  • 42-107049

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Tulsa 6/2/44; Dow Fd 18/4/44; Assigned 398BG Nuthampstead 1/5/44; no ops, transferred 728BS/452BG [9Z- ] Deopham Green 30/4/44; destroyed by enemy aircraft at Poltava with Larry Mills 21/6/44; Salvaged 2/7/44.

  • 42-107062 Worry Bird/Miss Bea Haven

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 9/2/44; Rapid City 2/3/44; Dow Fd 3/4/44; Assigned 398BG Nuthampstead 25/4/44; no ops, transferred 562BS/388BG Knettishall 29/4/44 WORRY BIRD; Returned to the USA Bradley 8/6/45; 4168 Base Unit, South Plains, Texas 29/11/45;...

  • 42-107086

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Tulsa 16/2/44; Rapid City 2/3/44; Grenier 14/4/44; Assigned 603BS/398BG [N7-L] Nuthampstead 24/4/44; no ops, transferred 369BS/306BG [WW-Q] Thurleigh 13/5/44; Gr/crew Sgt Bob Holthaus (ettg) was installing guns when fire broke out followed by...

  • 42-107093

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Tulsa 18/2/44; Rapid City 6/3/44; Dow Fd 18/4/44; Assigned 602BS/398BG [K8-C] Nuthampstead 1/5/44; no ops, transferred 452BG Deopham Green 3/5/44; destroyed by enemy aircraft at Poltava with Lt Reynolds 21/6/44; Salvaged 2/7/44.

  • 42-32037

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 15/1/44; Gr Island 20/1/44; Assigned 358BS/303BG [VK-F] Molesworth 28/2/44; mission to Hamm 23/3/44 with Ray Hoffman, Co-pilot: Calvin Brothers, Navigator: Herb Levy, Bombardier: Arnold Spatt, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Bill...

  • 42-97256 Big Time Operator

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 11/2/44; Kearney 4/3/44; Presque Is 10/3/44; Assigned 731BS/452BG [7D-N] Deopham Green 16/3/44; damaged on Crossbow mission 8/5/44 with Gene Lohman, Co-pilot: Maj Roland; Navigator: Jack Mann, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Ivan...

  • 42-97306 Lady Janet

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 17/2/44; Rapid City 5/3/44; Grenier 14/4/44; Assigned 398BG Nuthampstead 22/4/44; no ops, transferred 729BS/452BG Deopham Green 23/4/44; battle damaged at Poltava 21/6/44; repaired Russia; Salvaged 17/8/45. LADY JANET.

  • 42-97935

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 9/4/44; Kearney 3/5/44; Grenier 21/5/44; Assigned 447BG Rattlesden 23/5/44; transferred 731BS/452BG [M3- ] Deopham Green 24/5/44; destroyed by enemy aircraft at Poltava with Hugh Lane 21/6/44; Salvaged 2/7/44.

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Revisions

Date Contributor Update
29 July 2019 11:24:17 Emily Changes to official description
Sources

USAAF Combat Chronology

Date Contributor Update
21 September 2017 10:52:51 Lucy May Changes to event
Sources

https://www.fold3.com/image/1/28644052

Date Contributor Update
24 January 2017 02:25:20 cmckeever Changes to description and person associations
Sources

Daughter - Carol Rollinger McKeever

Date Contributor Update
27 May 2015 12:00:20 general ira snapsorter Changes to event
Sources

Mission details added courtesy of Diane Elizabeth Reese from 457th Bomb Group Mission Documents. http://www.457thbombgroup.org/

Date Contributor Update
18 March 2015 10:08:57 general ira snapsorter Changes to event
Sources

Associated Bomb Groups of 1st Bomb Division.

Date Contributor Update
18 March 2015 10:06:58 general ira snapsorter Changes to event
Sources

Removed erroneous associations.

Date Contributor Update
18 March 2015 10:03:28 general ira snapsorter Changes to event
Sources

Associated Bomb Groups of 1st Bomb Division.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:43:07 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Lee Cunningham, 8th Air Force missions research database / Stan Bishop's 'Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces', the Combat Chronology of the US Army Air Forces and the work of Roger Freeman including the 'Mighty Eighth War Diary'.

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