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VIII Bomber Command 143

30 November 1943

Official description

Not yet known

Description

This mission is directed at a single target - the industrial areas of Solingen, Germany. The mission consists of three elements. The first element is a force of 221 B-17s from 1st Bomb Division that included: 91BG (24); 92BG (20); 303BG (20); 305BG (16); 306BG (22); 351BG (34); 379BG (22); 381BG (22); 384BG (20); and 401BG (21). Only 1 aircraft from 303BG is effective on the target because of thick could formations, the rest are recalled. 1 aircraft explodes over Heldon, UK on return. 10KIA. 3 aircraft are damaged. There are no bomber gunner claims from this element.

The second element is a combined force of 128 B-17s from 3rd Bomb Division that included 94BG (32); 95BG (20); 96BG (14); 100BG (18); 385BG (13); 388BG (12); and 390BG (19). 78 aircraft are effective on the target. 3 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) 7KIA 13POW 6RTD (rescued by ASR). 2 airmen are KIA and 10 are WIA in returning aircraft. 6 aircraft are damaged. The bomber gunners in this element claim 1-0-0 of attacking German fighters.

NOTE: the above formations were supported by 3 PFF equipped B-17s from 482BG. Only 1 was effective the other two were recalled.

The third element is a small force of 29 B-24s from 2nd Bomb Division that included: 44BG (24) and 389BG (5). Heavy cloud cover over the target prevented any bombing. Ther were no losses or claims in this element although 10 airmen were WIA in returning aircraft.

Mission details

1. SOLINGEN (Primary)

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 221.55
Number of aircraft Sent 128
Number of aircraft Effective 78
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 2
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 1
Number of aircraft Damaged 6
Number of people Killed In Action 16
Number of people Wounded in Action 6
Number of people Prisoners of War 13
Number of people Returned To Duty 6
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Bomber Command 1

2. SOLINGEN (Primary)

Description

INDUSTRIAL AREA

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

Includes 3 Pathfinder (PFF) B-17s. 270 B-17s and all the B-24s abort due to cloudiness that prevents assembly. One B-17 hits Welmerskirchen with 8 X 500Gp and 20 X 100 IB. Only 303rd Bomb Group hits the target with one aircraft.

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...

  • 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...

  • 482nd Bomb Group

    482nd Bomb Group

    Group
    The 482nd Bomb Group was a Pathfinder Group, which using radar-equipped aircraft to support bombing missions until March 1944. Aircraft from this Group went ahead of other Bombers and sent information back about the best routes to take and the extent...

  • 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...

  • 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...

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 2.80
Number of aircraft Sent 224
Number of aircraft Effective 2
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 1
Number of aircraft Damaged 3
Number of people Killed In Action 10

3. SOLINGEN (Primary)

Description

INDUSTRIAL AREA

Aircraft type

B-24 Liberator

Notes

Unable to assemble properly, mission scrubbed.

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...

  • 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...

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 0.00
Number of aircraft Sent 29

Service

People

  • Charles Bein

    Military | Sergeant (Technician Fourth Grade) | Waist Gunner | 388th Bomb Group
    Shot down 20 December 1943 in B-17 #4231084. Killed in Action (KIA). AM w/ 2 Oak Leaf Cluster

  • Harold Brassfield

    Military | Staff Sergeant (Technician Third Grade) | Tail Gunner | 388th Bomb Group
    On the return from a mission to Klein Machnow, Berlin on 6 Mar 1944, B-17G #42-37886 'Blitzing' Betsy' was severely damaged by attacks from several FW190s causing it to collide with another 388th B-17, exploding in mid-air and crashing near Emmen,...

  • John Gardner

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 95th Bomb Group

  • Mario George

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

  • Arthur Gibbons

    Military | First Lieutenant | Navigator | 100th Bomb Group

  • Lawrence Goldstein

    Military | Technical Sergeant (2nd Grade) | Radio Operator | 388th Bomb Group
    Flew 25 missions--first day raid on Berlin--crew name 'Worry Wart'--on 25th mission, returned to base, last plane to land, chased to channel by Fw 190--shooting continously until we escaped. As RO was able to obtain position report from rescue not...

  • Paul Gregory

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 95th Bomb Group
    Paul Gregory was a graduate of St Aloysius Academy and Niagara University in New York. After graduation he worked for the Bethlehem Steel Company in Baltimore, Maryland, before he enlisted in July 1941. He trained in the US Army Air Forces as a...

  • Thomas Hearn

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 95th Bomb Group
    Shot down 30 December 1943 in B-17 #4230674 'Kathy Jane III. ' Prisoner of War (POW). ...

  • Wendell Hulcher

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 388th Bomb Group

  • Belford Keirsted

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 388th Bomb Group

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Aircraft

  • 42-31138 Winged Fury

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 24/9/43; Gr Island 7/10/43; Romulus 10/10/43; Assigned 560BS/388BG Knettishall 15/10/43; Missing in Action Augsburg 13/4/44 with Art Nelson, Co-pilot: Art Livermore, Navigator: Maurice White, Bombardier: Bill Matuszewski, Flight...

  • 42-3317 "The Spirit of '76"

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 6 May 1943; Dow Field 30 May 1943; assigned 384th BG Grafton Underwood 10 June 1943; transferred to 412th BS/95th BG [QW-Y/V] Horham 28 June 1943; 23missions. Missing in Action Solingen 30 November 1943 with Pilot Arthur C. Hensler Jr;...

  • 42-37810

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Long Beach 5/9/43; Gr Island 12/10/43; Assigned 560BS/388BG Knettishall 15/10/43; sal 1SAD 18/4/44; (?Ret US, force landed Newfoundland with Dave Schmidt 27/6/44?);

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
20 September 2016 23:33:08 hermanns Changes to media associations
Sources

Liberty Belle (42-30096) crashed while returning from this mission

Date Contributor Update
14 July 2015 21:52:29 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 14-Jul-2015. Added bomber gunner claims to 3BD element statistics per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
14 July 2015 21:51:00 Lee8thbuff Changes to description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 14-Jul-2015. Added Mission Narrative based on "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

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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