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VIII Bomber Command 131

16 November 1943

Official description

Not yet known

Description

This mission was directed at targets in Norway. It was composed of three elements. The first element was a combined force of 189 B-17s from 1st Bomb Division that included: 384BG (21); 303BG (20); 379BG (22); 351BG (20); 91BG (20); 381BG (22); 305BG (23); 92BG (21); and 306BG (20) dispatched to bomb the molybdenum mine at Knaben, Norway. Neither the complement from 303BG or 91BG were able to find the target due to the nature of the terrain and the cover of snow and ice. 130 aircraft were effective on the target. 1 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) 9POW 1EVD; 7 aircraft were damaged; 1 airman in a returning aircraft was Wounded in Action (WIA). The bomber gunners claim 2-0-4 of attacking German fighters. B-17F 41-24605 "Knock-out Dropper", 303BG/359BS becomes the first heavy bomber to complete 50 missions.

The second element is a combined force of 160 B-17s from 3rd Bomb Division that included: 385BG (20); 94BG (20); 388BG (19); 96BG (40); 95BG (20); 100BG (21); and 390BG (20) dispatched to bomb the hydro-electric power plant at Rjukan, Norway that the Germans were using to produce heavy water. 147 aircraft were effective on the target. 1 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) 10KIA and 1 aircraft sustained an engine fire shortly after take-off, was abandoned and crashed at Tannington, UK 2KIA 8RTD. 2 other aircraft were dmaged. the bomber gunners of this element claim 2-0-0 of attacking German aircraft.

The third element was a combined force of 39 B-36s from 2nd Bomb Division that included: 93BG (14); 389BG (4); 44BG (3); 392BG (18) also dispatched to bomb the heavy water plant at Rjukan, Norway. 29 aircraft were effective on the target. There are no losses or claims.

Mission details

1. KNABEN (Primary)

Description

INDUSTRIAL AREA

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

2 B-17s dropped 24 X 500GP on Rjukan, Norway as a Target of Opportunity. B-17 serial number 41-24605 "Knock-out Dropper" logged its 50th mission, the first in 8th Air Force to do so. There is no fighter escort for this mission to Norway.

Units

  • 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...

  • 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 313.00
Number of aircraft Sent 189
Number of aircraft Effective 130
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 1
Number of aircraft Damaged 7
Number of people Wounded in Action 1
Number of people Evaded 1
Number of people Prisoners of War 9
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Bomber Command 2
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 4

2. RJUKAN

Description

INDUSTRIAL AREA

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

Not yet known

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...

  • 385th Bomb Group

    385th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 385th Bomb Group, who took the nickname "Van's Valiants" after their first Commanding Officer Col. Elliot Vandevanter, flew B-17s from Great Ashfield, Suffolk. The Group led the famous attack on the Focke-Wolfe aircraft factory at Marienburg on 9...

  • 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...

  • 94th Bomb Group

    94th Bomb Group

    Group
    Activated 15 June 1942 at MacDill Field, Florida. Initial organization and training at Pendleton Field, Oregon on 29 June 1942. Primary flight training at Davis-Monthan Field in Arizona from 28 Aug. 42 to 31 Oct. 42; then at Biggs Field, El Paso, Texas...

  • 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

Tonnage dropped 355.50
Number of aircraft Sent 160
Number of aircraft Effective 147
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 1
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 1
Number of people Killed In Action 12
Number of people Returned To Duty 8
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Bomber Command 2

3. RJUKAN

Description

INDUSTRIAL AREA

Aircraft type

B-24 Liberator

Notes

Not yet known

Units

  • 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...

  • 392nd Bomb Group

    392nd Bomb Group

    Group
    The 392nd Bomb Group flew B-24 Liberators out of Wendling, Norfolk from August 1943 until April 1945. They were the first Group allocated B-24H Liberators, the first B-24 series fitted with a nose turret on the production line. The adaptation increased...

  • 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs

    44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs

    Group
    The 44th Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated 15-January-1942 at McDill Field, Florida and equipped with B-24Cs. The Group moved to Barksdale Field, Louisiana and acted as a training unit for the 90th 93rd and 98th Bomb Groups and flew anti...

  • 93rd Bomb Group

    93rd Bomb Group

    Group
    93rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated 1-March-1942 at Barksdale Field, Louisiana. On 15-May-1942 the Group moved to Ft. Myers, Florida to continue advanced flight training and also to fly anti-submarine patrols over the Gulf of Mexico; they...

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 48.75
Number of aircraft Sent 39
Number of aircraft Effective 29

Service

People

  • Harry Allchin

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 381st Bomb Group
    Co-pilot, Duncan crew. 381st BG, 532nd BS. Shot down 1 December 1943 in B-17 #42-29506 'Full Boost!'. Mission #46 to the chemical plant at Leverkusen, Germany. Diverted to the steel works at Solinger, Germany. MACR 1578. Killed in Action (KIA)....

  • Richard Bailey

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 388th Bomb Group
    Retired from the USAF with the rank of Major

  • John Baudoin

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Left Waist Gunner, Waist Gunner | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    Shot down 5 January 1944 in B-17 #4230724. Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • David Besbris

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 92nd Bomb Group Fame's Favoured Few
    David Bresbis was a Navigator in the 92nd Bomb Group/407th Bomb Squadron. He was serving in that function on B-17 #42-29965 when it ditched for lack of fuel in the English Channel on return from the 6 September 1943 to Stuttgart, Germany. All ten men...

  • Whitney Bray

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 92nd Bomb Group Fame's Favoured Few
    Whitney Bray enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) in Canada before the United States' entry into the conflict. He trained as a Pilot at No.4 Service Flying Training School in Saskatoon, Canada before being sent to England. After a number of...

  • Neil Brennan

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Air Gunner, Togglier/Bombardier | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    Shot down 26 November 1943 in B-17 #4230832. Prisoner of War (POW). He was a Prisoner of War (POW) from 26 Nov. 1943 to 04 May 1945. He was at Stalag 17B, Krems, Austria. Prisoner of War (POW) no. 100388. POW

  • Webster Bull

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 388th Bomb Group
    Shot down 22 December 1943 in B-17 #4237773 'Full House. ' Plane crashed into North Sea. Killed in Action (KIA). The plane was ditched in the Ijsselmeer, The Netherlands. AM w/ 2 Oak Leaf Cluster / Purple Heart

  • Arthur Carmell

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 92nd Bomb Group Fame's Favoured Few
    Arthur Carmell enlisted in the Air Corps and followed Bombardier training as a Bombardier Cadet at the San Angelo Army Air Field, Texas, Class of 1942. After completing his training, he was sent overseas and assigned to the 92nd Bomb Group/407th Bomb...

  • Carl Christensen

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Bombardier / L,R Waist Gunner, Nose Gunner / Togglier | 379th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 525BS, 379BG, 8AF USAAF. 25 x combat missions. Failed to Return (FTR) in 42-31083; A/C exploded mid-air near Downham Market, England. Killed in Action (KIA). Awards: AM, PH.

  • Eugene Colburn

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner, Waist Gunner | 351st Bomb Group
    Damaged by fighters and flak enroute on a mission to Schweinfurt, GR and crashed on the return near Amiens, FR on 24 Feb 1944 in B-17F #42-3517 'Happy Warrior'. Evaded (EVD). ...

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Aircraft

  • 41-24561 The Duchess, "Sure Stuff"

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 359BS/303BG [BN-T] Bangor 10/9/42; Molesworth 16/10/42; 59m transferred 1 Base Air Depot (sic),* Burtonwood 7/7/44; Returned to the USA Altus 18/8/44; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Altus 14/8/45. Over...

  • 41-24587 Bad Check

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 427BS/303BG [GN-P] Bangor 5/10/42; Molesworth 25/10/42; Missing in Action 45m Oschersleben 11/1/44 with George McClellan, Co-pilot: Bill Fisherex B-26 pilot on his 1st mission, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Dave Tempesta, Radio Operator:...

  • 41-24605 Knock-out Dropper

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned to the 359BS/303BG [BN-R] Bangor 22-Sep-42; Molesworth 22-Oct-42; First 8th Air Force aircraft to complete 50, then 75 missions- 27-Mar-44; with M/Sgt Buford Pafford as crew chief; 1 Base Air Depot, Burtonwood 5-Jun-44; Reconstruction Finance...

  • 42-29996 FLAG SHIP

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 23 March 1943; Dow Field 10 April 1943; Assigned 407BS/92BG [PY-R] Alconbury 24 April 1943. Was flown by Captain Donald G. Parker on the 17 July 1943 mission to Hannover, Germany. Hit by Unteroffizier Ernst Breton of JG11, it was...

  • 42-30033 "Little America"

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 2/4/43; Sioux City 13/4/43; Kearney 4/5/43; Bangor 20/5/43; Assigned to the 547BS/384BG [S0-G] Grafton Underwood 24/5/43, then the 546BS [BK-G]; Missing in Action Leverkusen 1/12/43 with Maj Maurice Stanley Dillingham, Co-pilot:...

  • 42-30237 'Stump Jumper'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 1/5/43; Gore 13/5/43; Smoky Hill 14/5/43; Dow Fd 30/5/43; Assigned 524BS/379BG [WA-V] Kimbolton 1/6/43; transferred 1 Base Air Depot, Burtonwood 4/8/44; APH Knettishall, Crashed due to flak short of target [Oldenburg power station]...

  • 42-30595 'Gremlin Gus II' "Olin's 69'ers"

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 26/6/43; Smoky Hill 13/7/43; Kearney 16/7/43; Dow Fd 19/7/43; Assigned 560BS/388BG Knettishall 20/7/43; (34m) transferred Aphrodite project as OLIN'S 69'ERS; when War Weary, fuselage cut down and vehicle windshield fitted before open...

  • 42-31084

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 16/9/43; Assigned 561BS/388BG Knettishall 9/10/43; Missing in Action Bremen 20/12/43 with Ken Eccleston, Co-pilot: Pete Schou, Navigator: John Dorsett, Bombardier: Tom Tollin, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Joe Molinari, Radio...

  • 42-3131 Winnie The Pooh, Flak Wolf

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 20/2/43; 19/4/43; Assigned 427BS/303BG [GN-U] Molesworth 4/6/43; RWG Leon Kesky Killed in ActionSchweinfurt 17/8/43; 40m Missing in Action Oschersleben 11/1/44 with John Carothers, Co-pilot: Chas Frost, Radio Operator: George Rajcula...

  • 42-3291 Miss Mac

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 30/4/43; Dow Fd 13/6/43; Assigned 561BS/388BG Knettishall 14/6/43; on training mission 12/7/44 with Major Boardman Reed, Co-pilot: Major Melvin Buckner, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Paul Weathers, Radio Operator: Ora Kelsey, pass...

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Revisions

Date Contributor Update
31 January 2018 18:15:25 william henry Changes to description
Sources

Correct typos

Date Contributor Update
13 July 2015 17:57:24 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 13-Jul-2015. Added bomber gunner claims on enemy aircraft to the statistics of 3BD Rjukan element per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
13 July 2015 17:56:10 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 13-Jul-2015. Added bomber gunner claims on enemy aircraft to the statistics of 1BG Knaben element per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
13 July 2015 17:54:12 Lee8thbuff Changes to description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 13-Jul-2015. Added Mission Narrative based on "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
13 November 2014 12:11:17 Emily Changes to media associations
Sources

Associated Media based on images associated with missions in Freeman, The Mighty Eighth War Diary.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:43:16 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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