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VIII Bomber Command 159

20 December 1943

Official description

Not yet known

Description

The port area of Bremen is the target for 546 heavy bombers. The total includes 12 PFF-equipped B-17s from 482BG. All 12 of these are effective on the target and 11 are damaged. The bomber gunners of this element claim 1-1-0 (this total included with claims of 1BD) of attacking German aircraft. The mission is composed of three elements which attack between 1141-1214hrs. The first element is a combined force of 225 B-17s from 1st Bomb Division that includes: 91BG (27); 92BG (19); 303BG (20); 305BG (22); 306BG (18); 351BG (33); 379BG (17); 381BG (28); 384BG (22); and 401BG (19). 197 aircraft are effective on the target. 13 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) 60KIA 60POW 10RTD (rescued by ASR - This is aircraft 42-29664 "Jersey Bounce, Jr.", 303BG/358BS RO Forrest L. Vosler is awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions aboard this aircraft). 1 aircraft RTB with 9 of the crew but the RWG baled out and was captured as a POW. 7 airmen were KIA and 19 were Wounded in Action (WIA) in returning aircraft. 1 aircraft with battle damage crashlanded at Cambridge Airfield, 9RTD, and was later salvaged. 122 are damaged. The bomber gunners in this element claimed 7-5-6 of attacking German fighters.

The second element was a force of 182 B-17s from 3rd Bomb Division that included: 94BG (19); 95BG (27); 96BG (31); 100BG (22); 385BG (18); 390BG (35); and 388BG (30). 160 aircraft are effective on the target. 7 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) 36KIA 34POW. 80 aircraft are damaged. 13 airmen in returing aircraft are Wounded in Action (WIA). The bomber gunners claim 13-8-15 of attacking German fighters.

The third element is a force of 127 B-24s from 2nd Bomb Division that included: 44BG (28); 93BG (27); 389BG (24); 392BG (22); 445BG (25) and 446BG (1 - this aircraft did not drop). 103 aircraft are effective on the target. 7 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) 37KIA 33POW. 2 aircraft make crash landings on return and the aircraft are declared to be Damaged Beyond Repair (DBR) 1KIA 20RTD. The bomber gunners claim 1-1-2 of attacking German aircraft.

Window-metal foil strips which, when dropped from an airplane, provide an echo which confuses radar locating equipment is used for the first time on an Eighth Air Force mission.

Mission details

1. Bremen, Germany

Description

SHIP YARDS

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

5 B-17s and two B-24s drop 48 X 500GP and 116 X 100 incendiary bombs (IB) on Targets of Opportunity.

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...

  • 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...

  • 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 372.80
Number of aircraft Sent 182
Number of aircraft Effective 160
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 7
Number of aircraft Damaged 80
Number of people Killed In Action 36
Number of people Wounded in Action 13
Number of people Prisoners of War 34
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Bomber Command 13
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Bomber Command 8
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 15

2. Bremen, Germany

Description

SHIP YARDS

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

Totals do not include 12 of 12 Pathfinder (PFF)-equipped aircraft that make the target, apportionment not possible from available data. First use of chaff against radar. 47 P-51s from 9th Air Force are included in the bomber escort. The Luftwaffe uses twin-engine, rocket-equipped ME-110s escorted by single-seat fighters to attack the bomber formations. T/Sgt. Forrest L. "Woody" Vosler, 358th Bomb Squadron/303rd Bomb Group (Radio Operator on B-17 42-29664 "Jersey Bounce, Jr."), is awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor during this action. This is the 7th CMOH awarded to a member of the 8th Air Force.

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 449.69
Number of aircraft Sent 225
Number of aircraft Effective 197
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 13
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 1
Number of aircraft Damaged 122
Number of people Killed In Action 68
Number of people Wounded in Action 19
Number of people Prisoners of War 60
Number of people Returned To Duty 19
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Bomber Command 6
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Bomber Command 5
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 6

3. Bremen, Germany

Description

SHIP YARDS

Aircraft type

B-24 Liberator

Notes

First time "window" (metal foil strips designed to disrupt German radar-controlled flak guns) is used on an Eighth Air Force mission.

The one aircraft despatched by 482nd Bomb Group is not effective on the target. One of the B-24s lost was the result of a collision with a P-47 from 356th Fighter Group.

445th Bomb Group suffers its first crew loss when 42-7534 is hit by flak on the bomb run ( MACR #6343). The aircraft was piloted by 2nd Lt. Milton A. 'Buck' Patterson. The entire crew were killed when the aircraft exploded in flight.

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 282.60
Number of aircraft Sent 123
Number of aircraft Effective 100
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 7
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 2
Number of aircraft Damaged 66
Number of people Killed In Action 39
Number of people Prisoners of War 33
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Bomber Command 1
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Bomber Command 1
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 2

Service

People

  • John Allen

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner; Flight Engineer | 381st Bomb Group
    ETTG, Crosson crew. 381st BG, 535th BS, 8th AF. Shot down 20 December 1943 in B-17 #42-31075 'The Rebel'. Mission #51 to Bremen, Germany. MACR 1722. Taken to an unknown hospital by the Germans with S/Sgt Eloe. Prisoner of War at Stalag XVIIB. ...

  • Everett Anderson

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 381st Bomb Group
    Navigator, Lane crew. 381st BG, 535th BS. B-17 #42-5846 'Tinker Toy' collided with enemy aircraft on 20 December 1943. 2 ME-109's rammed the rear of the aircraft taking off most of the tail. Mission #51 to Bremen, Germany. MACR 1723. Killed in Action ...

  • John Avrett

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 381st Bomb Group
    BTG, Canelake crew. 381st BG, 534th BS. Shot down 20 December 1943 in B-17 #42-5845 'Whale Tail II'. Mission #51 to the submarine pens at Bremen, Germany. MACR 1724. Killed in Action. Tablets of the Missing at Cambridge AMC. Thompson, GA

  • 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

  • Francis Belgrasch

    Military | Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 381st Bomb Group
    TG, Canelake crew. 381st BG, 534th BS. Shot down 20 December 1943 in B-17 #42-5845 'Whale Tail'. Mission #51 to the submarine pens at Bremen, Germany. MACR 1724. Plane crashed into North Sea. Killed in Action (KIA). Tablets of the Missing at Cambridge...

  • Kenneth Betts

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 388th Bomb Group
    Shot down in a frontal attack by fighters on the return from a mission to Klein Machnow, Berlin on 6 Mar 1944, B-17G #42-31135 'Suzy Sagtitz' crashed near Schoonebekerveld, Holland. Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • 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

  • Jesse Boston

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 381st Bomb Group
    Navigator, Canelake crew. 381st BG, 534th BS. Shot down 20 December 1943 in B-17 #425845 'Whale Tail'. Mission #51 to submarine pens at Bremen, Germany. MACR 1724. Plane crashed into North Sea. Killed in Action (KIA). Tablets of the Missing at...

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Aircraft

  • 41-24562 Sky Wolf

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 358BS/303BG [VK-A] Bangor 14/10/42; Molesworth 16/10/42; 60m Missing in Action Oschersleben 11/1/44 with Aubrey Emerson, Co-pilot: McDonald Riddick, Navigator: Lew Halliburton, Bombardier: Don Delaura, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Grover...

  • 42-29935 THE CAT'S SASS, PULMADIQUE

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered to Cheyenne, Wyoming on 15 March 1943; Smoky Hill 26 March 1943; Dow Field, Maine on 10 April 1943; Andrews Field on 13 April 1943; Assigned to the 413th BS, 96th BG Grafton Underwood, Station 106 on 13 May 1943; Snetterton Heath, Station...

  • 42-30212 Quarterback

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 29/4/43; Sioux City 14/5/43; Smoky Hill 11/6/43; Dow Fd 16/6/43; Assigned 562BS/388BG Knettishall 17/6/43; transferred Aphrodite project, Missing in Action V-sites, Watten 6/8/44 with Lt Joeseph P Andrecheck & T/Sgt Raymond Healy (2...

  • 42-30778 Old 66/Lady Margaret

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 28/7/43; Gore 6/8/43; Pendleton 12/8/43; Reno 14/8/43; Pierre 16/8/43; Assigned 561BS/388BG Knettishall 3/9/43; crashed on take off for France 13/8/44 with Leon Sutton, Co-pilot: Harlan Thompson, Navigator: George Healy, Bombardier:...

  • 42-31075 The Rebel

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 15/9/43; Scott 4/10/43; Assigned 535BS/381BG [MS-S] Ridgewell 19/10/43; Missing in Action Bremen 20/12/43 with Waldo Crosson, Navigator: Ed Burke, Bombardier: John Curran, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: John Allen, Radio Operator...

  • 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...

  • 42-31189 Paragon

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    (GH) Delivered Cheyenne 29/9/43; Gr Island 22/10/43; Memphis 4/11/43; Assigned 525BS/379BG [FR-X] Kimbolton 22/11/43; Missing in Action Leipzig 7/7/44 with Bob Harrah, Co-pilot: Bob Giles, Bombardier: Joe Ashbrook, Ball turret gunner: Ken Mays (4...

  • 42-31305

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 19/10/43; Gr Island 1/11/43; Wilmington 5/11/43; Assigned 335BS/95BG [OE-M] Horham 11/11/43; (4m), Missing in Action Bremen 20/12/43 with Bill Kelly, Co-pilot: Neil Compa, Navigator: Tom Vollbrecht, Bombardier: Ed McGonagle, Flight...

  • 42-3563 Great Profile

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 10/8/43; Redmond 15/8/43; Assigned 535BS/381BG [MS-N] Ridgewell 10/43; 'Great Profile'. Missing in Action 1m Bremen 20/12/43 with Bernard Hollenkamp, Ball turret gunner: Elmo Schulz, Waist gunner: Ira Walker, Waist gunner: Homer...

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Revisions

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2019 18:27:41 Dieterle Changes to aircraft associations
Sources

Larry Smith, Trouble (New York: Page Publishing, Inc., 2018).

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2019 18:20:55 Dieterle Changes to person associations
Sources

Larry Smith, "Trouble" (New York: Page Publishing, Inc., 2018) Appendix for 20 December 1943.

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2016 20:13:04 Mags Changes to aircraft associations
Sources

303rd BG Web Page

Date Contributor Update
27 July 2015 19:00:37 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 27-Jul-2015. Added KIA and POW numbers and bomber gunner claims to 3rd BD statistics per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
27 July 2015 18:57:23 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 27-Jul-2015. Added bomber gunner claims to 1st BD statistics per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
27 July 2015 18:56:19 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 27-Jul-2015. Added bomber gunner claims to 3rd BD statistics per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
27 July 2015 18:54:21 Lee8thbuff Changes to description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 27-Jul-2015. Added Mission Narrative for 3BD and 2BD based on "The Mighty Eighth War Diary" Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
27 July 2015 17:38:56 Lee8thbuff Changes to description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 27-Jul-2015. Added Mission Narrative for 1st Bomb Division based on "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
28 March 2015 23:40:33 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 23:21:33 B24Mike Changes to description
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 23:19:51 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 23:12:57 B24Mike Changes to description
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
26 February 2015 14:24:40 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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