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VIII Bomber Command 156

16 December 1943

Official description

Not yet known

Description

This is a massive mission of 631 heavy bombers directed at the port area of Bremen, Germany. The force of 631 included 1 PFF-equipped B-17s from 482BG dispersed among the attacking formations. The mission is composed of three elements. The first element is a formation of 239 B-17s from 3rd Bomb Division that included: 94BG (39); 95BG (40); 96BG (36); 100BG (24); 385BG (21); 388BG (39); and 390BG (40). 219 aircraft are effective on the target. This element encounters the brunt of fighter attacks. 9 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) 71KIA 19POW. The 96BG loses 7 aircraft. 5 aircraft are lost to mid-air collisions. 1 aircraft returning with battle damaged is abandodned by the crew over Silver Fox Farm, Norfolk, UK 10RTD. 70 aircraft are damaged. 5 airmen in returning aircraft are Wounded in Action (WIA). The bomber gunners in this formation claim 17-11-11 of attacking German aircraft.

The second element is a force of 141 B-24s of 2nd Bomb Division that included: 44BG (22); 93BG (26); 389BG (28); 392BG (17); 445BG (24); and 446BG (24). This is the first combat mission for 446BG. 133 aircraft are effective on the target. There are NO combat losses in thie formation but 2 retuning aircraft are Damaged Beyond Repair (DBR) in crashlandings 6KOM in the crash 4POW and 10RTD. 22 aircraft are damaged. 3 airmen in returing aircraft are Wounded in Action (WIA). There are no claims on enemy aircraft from the bomber gunners of this element.

The third element is a force of 240 B-17s of 1st Bomb Division that included: 91BG (27); 92BG (20); 303BG (19); 305BG (23); 306BG (20); 351BG (35); 379BG (23); 381BG (31); 384BG (22); and 4O1BG (20). 173 aircraft are effective on the target. Only 1 aircraft of this element Failed to Return (FTR) 6KIA 2POW 2EVD. 1 aircraft sustained battle damage and crash landed at RAF Colitshall 10RTD but aircraft was declared Damaged Beyond Repair (DBR). 52 aircraft are damaged. There are no other casualties. The bomber gunners of this element claim 1-0-0 of attacking German aircraft.

This mission was supported by fighters including 39 P-51s. Fighter escort is beginning to make a big difference in heavy bomber losses as only 10 of the 631 Failed to return and 5 of these were due to mid-air collisions for a loss rate of 1.584%. The tide is turning and the Luftwaffe is being decimated, but there is still a significant fight ahead.

Mission details

1. Bremen, Germany

Description

SHIP YARDS

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 520.13
Number of aircraft Sent 238
Number of aircraft Effective 219
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 9
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 1
Number of aircraft Damaged 67
Number of people Killed In Action 72
Number of people Prisoners of War 19
Number of people Returned To Duty 10
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Bomber Command 17
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Bomber Command 11
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 11

2. Bremen, Germany

Description

SHIP YARDS

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

5 B-17s and two B-24s drop 56 X 500GP and 132 X 100 IB on Targets of Opportunity. (not included in totals). 351st Bomb Group and 401st Bomb Group do not have any aircraft effective on the target.

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...

  • 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 434.63
Number of aircraft Sent 251
Number of aircraft Effective 183
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 1
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 1
Number of aircraft Damaged 61
Number of people Killed In Action 6
Number of people Evaded 2
Number of people Prisoners of War 2
Number of people Returned To Duty 10
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Bomber Command 1

3. Bremen, Germany (2AD Primary Target)

Description

SHIP YARDS

Aircraft type

B-24 Liberator

Notes

446th Bomb Group flies its first mission.

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 to be given B-24H Liberators, the first B-24 model that was fitted with a nose turret on the production line, an adaptation...

  • 445th Bomb Group

    445th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 445th Bomb Group flew B-24 Liberators from Tibenham, Norfolk. The crews' first mission was bombing U-boat installations at Kiel on 13 December 1943. The Group continued to hit strategic targets in Germany, including the aircraft components factory...

  • 446th Bomb Group

    446th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 446th Bomb Group, who came to be known as "the Bungay Buckaroos" after the name of their Suffolk base, flew B-24 Liberators on strategic, support and interdictory missions over Europe. The Group led the Eighth Air Force and 2nd Bomb Division on the...

  • 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 367.5
Number of aircraft Sent 141
Number of aircraft Effective 131
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 1
Number of aircraft Damaged 21
Number of people Killed In Action 5
Number of people Wounded in Action 8

Service

People

  • George Ayers

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 381st Bomb Group
    BTG, Mickow crew. 381st BG, 534th BS, 8th AF. Shot down by fighters on mission #61 to Frankfurt, Germany on 29 Jan 1944 in B-17G #42-37884. MACR 2241. Killed in Action (KIA). Groves, TX

  • 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

  • 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

  • Raymond Born

    Military | Captain | Pilot | 94th Bomb Group
    Shot down 5 January 1944 in B-17 #42-30200 'Slo-Time Sally. ' Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • 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,...

  • 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

  • Edgar Burton

    Military | Lieutenant | Navigator | 446th Bomb Group
    Flew 25 missions, ending just before D-Day. Flew on D Day just to see it. According to him, he never saw a German fighter but did see lots of flak.

  • Julian Chandler

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Radio Operator | 381st Bomb Group
    Radio operator, Mickow crew. 381st BG, 534th BS, 8th AF. Shot down by fighters on mission #61 to Frankfurt, Germany on 29 Jan 1944 in B-17G #42-37884. MACR 2241. Prisoner of War at Stalag Luft I. Rockmart, GA

  • Cecil Clore

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 381st Bomb Group
    Pilot, Clore crew. "B" Flight Commander. 381st BG, 534th BS, 8th AF. Killed in Action (KIA). Crashed shortly after TO near Hedingham on mission #56 to Kiel, Germany in B-17G #42-31278 'Mix Master'. Originally buried with the entire crew at Cambridge...

  • Herbert Clough

    Military | Flight Officer | Navigator | 381st Bomb Group
    Navigator, Hollenkamp crew. 381st BG, 532nd BS, 8th AF. Shot down 20 December 1943 in B-17 #42-3563 'Great Profile'. Mission #51 to the submarine pens at Bremen, Germany. MACR 1721. Prisoner of War at Stalag Luft I. Rhode Island

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Aircraft

  • 42-29733 Louisiana Purchase

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 11/2/43; Pueblo 19/2/43; Salina 25/2/43; Gulfport 18/3/43; Brookley 28/3/43; Presque Is 8/4/43; Assigned 331BS/94BG [QE-P] Bassingbourn 17/4/43 HEAVY DATE; Earls Colne 12/5/43; involved in slight mid-air collision with 42-29711 and...

  • 42-30255 'Lonesome Polecat'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 4/5/43; Smoky Hill 14/5/43; Tinker 25/5/43; Smoky Hill 29/5/43; Dow Fd 31/5/43; Assigned 351BG Polebrook 10/6/43; transferred 412BS/95BG [QW-V] Horham 16/6/43; battle damage on 13/11/43 Ball turret gunner: E.J. Castona (wia),Tail...

  • 42-31083 Tenny Belle

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 15/9/43; ...

  • 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...

  • 42-31138 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...

  • 42-31222 Lazy Daisy

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 4/10/43; Gr Island 17/10/43; Memphis 24/10/43; Assigned 545BS/384BG [JD-D] Grafton Underwood 546 [BK-D] 23/11/43; Missing in Action Magdeburg (Berlin) 28/9/44 with Jim Brodie, Co-pilot: Lloyd Vevle, ng-Byron Atkins, Flight engineer/top...

  • 42-3249

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 12/4/43; Presque Is 25/5/43; Assigned 413BS/96BG Andrews Fd 31/5/43; Missing in Action Bremen 16/12/43 with Pilot Carl E. Greer; Co-pilot Carl R. Rano; Navigator: James D. Cumming; Bombardier: Arthur B. Fränkel; Flight engineer/top...

  • 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...

  • 42-37773 Full House

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 23/8/43; Assigned 410BS/94BG Rougham 10/10/43; transferred 563BS/388BG Knettishall 11/10/43; Missing in Action Munster 22/12/43 with Webster Bull, Co-pilot: Leavitt Hobbsbody recovered 11//2/44, Navigator: Albt Bendix, Bombardier:...

  • 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?);

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Revisions

Date Contributor Update
26 July 2015 22:02:43 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 25-Jul-2015. Added bomber gunner claims to 1BD statistics per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
26 July 2015 22:00:43 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 25-Jul-2015. Added bomber gunner claims to 3BD statistics per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman

Date Contributor Update
26 July 2015 21:22:37 Lee8thbuff Changes to description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 25-Jul-2015. Added Mission Narrative based on "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
28 March 2015 23:00:47 B24Mike Changes to event
Sources

Source document: Eighth Air Force Combat Chronology
Source document: 2nd Air Division Mission Report obtained from the Air Force Historical Research Agency, Maxwell AFB, AL.

Date Contributor Update
28 March 2015 22:00:18 B24Mike Changes to event
Sources

Source document: 2nd Air Division Mission Report obtained from the Air Force Historical Research Agency, Maxwell AFB, AL.

Date Contributor Update
26 February 2015 14:29:27 Changes to aircraft associations
Sources

Son

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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