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VIII Bomber Command 15

21 October 1942

Official description

Not yet known

Description

German U-Boat pens are Lorient, France are the Primary (P) targets for this mission along with the German airfield at Cherbourg, France. 93BG despatches 24-B-24s to Lorient, but cloud cover prevents them from bombing. The main attack force to Lorient is comprised of 64 B-17s despatched from 97BG (21), 301BG (25) and 306BG (20). 92BG despatches 17 B-17s to bomb the German airfield at Cherbourg, France.

Mission details

1. CHERBOURG (Primary)

Description

AIRFIELD

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

Weather frustrates bombing attempts.

Units

  • 92nd Bomb Group Fame's Favoured Few

    92nd Bomb Group Fame's Favoured Few

    Group
    The 92nd Group's 327th Bomb Squadron was the only Eighth Air Force squadron to fly YB-40s in combat. YB-40s were B-17s modified to fly as a heavily armed escort for other bombers. They were flown on missions between May and June 1943. Between May 1943...

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 8.05
Number of aircraft Sent 17
Number of aircraft Effective 8
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Bomber Command 10
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Bomber Command 4
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 3

2. LORIENT/ KEROMAN (Primary)

Description

U-BOAT PENS

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

The 301st Bomb Group and 306th Bomb Group were prevented from bombing because of clouds. This is the last combat mission for the 97th Bomb Group with the 8th Air Force. Of the 21 B-17s despatched by 97th Bomb Group only 15 were able to hit the target. The 97th Bomb Group have flown 14 missions in 247 sorties and dropped 395 tons of bombs. They reported 14 aircraft Missing in Action (MIA) while serving with 8th Air Force. The group is assigned to the 12th Air Force on 14-Sep-42 and flew with 12th Air Force for a year then was transferred to 15th Air Force in Nov-43 flying from bases in Italy.

Units

  • 301st Bomb Group

    301st Bomb Group

    Group
    Activated 3-February-1942 at Geiger Field, Washington and equipped with B-17s. On 27-May-1942 the ground unit moved to Alamogordo Army Air Field, New Mexico, and the aircraft went to Muroc Army Air Field (now Edwards Air Force Base), California for...

  • 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,...

  • 97th Bomb Group

    97th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 97th Bomb Group flew the Eighth Air Force's first heavy bomber mission from the UK when they bombed a marshalling yard at Rouen on 17 August 1942. Just a month later though the Group were reassigned to the Twelfth Air Force and left England for the...

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 30.00
Number of aircraft Sent 65
Number of aircraft Effective 15
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 3
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 1

3. LORIENT/ KEROMAN (Primary)

Description

U-BOAT PENS

Aircraft type

B-24 Liberator

Notes

36 Luftwaffe Fw 190s attack the bomber force. There is no fighter escort. 8th Air Force bombing missions are suspended by LT GEN Eisenhower until OPERATION TORCH (invasion of North Africa) is begun on 7 Nov 1942.

Units

  • 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 None
Number of aircraft Sent 24
Number of aircraft Damaged 6

Service

People

  • Ralph Adams

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Orginally assigned with the 92BG at Bovingdon, UK as an Aerial Gunner with the rank of Sergeant. He flew his first mission (and the only one with the 92BG) on 21-Oct-42. ...

  • William Adams

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Radio Operator | 97th Bomb Group
    Shot down 21 October 1942 in B-17 41-24443 while serving as Radio Operator. Prisoner of War (POW).

  • John Bennett

    Military | Captain | Pilot | 303rd Bomb Group
    Originally assigned to 303BG/359BS as a pilot at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho on 15-Apr-42. However, he was reassigned to 97BG prior to the 303BG's deployment to Molesworth in September 1942. Date of reassignment not determined. ...

  • Thomas Calhoun

    Military | Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 97th Bomb Group
    Shot down 21 October 1942 in B-17 41-24443 while serving as a Waist Gunner. Prisoner of War (POW).

  • Robert Carlberg

    Military | First Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 97th Bomb Group
    Robert Carlberg was assigned to the 97th Bomb Group/414th Bomb Squadron, and was sent to England. Shot down on 21 October 1942 in B-17 41-24443 while serving as Co-Pilot on a mission to bomb U-Boat pens at Lorient/Keroman, France. The Fortress was hit...

  • Jim Combs

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner, Waist Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Originally assigned to the 303BG/359BS as an Aerial Gunner at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho on 13-Feb-42. However, he was reassigned to the 97BG prior to the 303BG's deployment to Molesworth in September 1942. Date of reassignment not determined. ...

  • Harry Erickson

    Military | First Lieutenant | Bombardier | 97th Bomb Group
    Shot down 21 October 1942 in B-17F 41-24441 'Francis X' while serving as Bombardier. Prisoner of War (POW).

  • William Galey

    Military | Lieutenant | Communications Officer, Co-Pilot | 303rd Bomb Group
    Originally assigned to 303BG/359BS as Communications Officer 15-Apr-42 at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho. However he was reassigned to the 97BG prior to the 303BG's deployment to Molesworth in September 1942. Date of reassignment not determined. ...

  • Joe Gray

    Military | Captain | Navigator | 97th Bomb Group
    Shot down 21 October 1942 in B-17 41-24441 'Francis X' while serving as Navigator. Killed in Action (KIA).

  • McCleary Harper

    Military | Sergeant | Radio Operator, Radio Operator Gunner | 97th Bomb Group
    Shot down 21 October 1942 in B-17 41-24344 while serving as Radio Operator. Killed in Action (KIA).

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Aircraft

  • 41-24344

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 326BS/92BG Bovingdon 20-Aug-42; 414BS/97BG Polebrook 28-Aug-42; Missing in Action on mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at Lorient, France. This was 97th's first mission 21-Oct-42, shot down and crashed Plouescat, near Morlaix, France. 8KIA 2POW...

  • 41-24400 Little Bill

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 92BG Bangor 13/7/42; transferred 414BS/97BG Polebrook 24/8/42; Maison Blanche 13/11/42; Tafaraoui 22/11/42; damaged 21/10/42; Salvaged. LITTLE BILL. ...

  • 41-24411 Dottie

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 325BS/92BG Bangor 13/7/42; 97BG Polebrook 8/42; Salvaged NBD 21/10/42. DOTTIE. ...

  • 41-24441 Francis X

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 326BS/92BG Bangor 31-Jul-42; 326BS/97BG Polebrook 12-Aug-42. Missing in Action 21-Oct-42 while on a mission to bomb the U-Boat pens. 6KIA 4POW. FRANCIS X. No MACR issued. ...

  • 41-24443 Johnny Reb II (or Johnny Reb Jr)

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 326BS/92BG Bangor 1-August-1942; transferred to 414BS/97BG Polebrook 24-August-1942; Missing in Action 21-October-1942 on mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at Lorient/Keroman, France. The Navigator, 1Lt Harold Spire provided the following...

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
15 February 2015 18:57:05 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 15-Feb-2015. Added Bomber Gunner claims to statistics on Cherbourg per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary" Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
28 October 2014 18:54:16 Lee8thbuff Changes to aircraft associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 28-Oct-2014. MIA Aircraft associations.

Date Contributor Update
27 October 2014 17:56:56 Lee8thbuff Changes to description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 27-Oct-2014. Mission description based on "Mighty Eighth War Diary" Roger A. freeman and "USAAF Combat Chronology" Jack McKillop http://www.usaaf.net/chron/42/oct42.htm

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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