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8th Air Force 176

5 January 1944

Official description

Not yet known

Description

This mission consists of five elements: The first element is a combined force of 131 B-17s are despatched by 1st Bomb Division: 92BG; 303BG; 305BG; 306BG; 379BG; 384BG; and 482BG to bomb the shipyards and industrial areas of Kiel, Germany. 119 are effective on the target. 5 aircraft are lost to enemy action - 17KIA 23POW 10INT. 1 B-17 from 303BG/360BS and 1 B-17 from 379BG/526BS sustain a mid-air collision during assembly - 20KIA. 3 other B-17s were involved in take-off crashes - 15KIA 15RTD. 61 aircraft were damaged; 5 airmen were WIA.

The second element is a combined force of 114 B-24s from 2nd Bomb Division: 44BG; 93BG; 389BG; 392BG; 445BG; 446BG and 448BG depatched to also attacked the shipyards and industrial areas at Kiel, Germany. 96 aircraft are effective on the target. 5 aircraft were lost to enemy action - 41KIA 9POW; 1 aircraft was abandoned over England shortly after take-off with mechanical failures of rudder cables and landing gear - 3KOM 7RTD; another aircraft aborted the mission and returned with a full bomb load to base;this aircraft landed too far down the runway and ran off the end - 10RTD. 15 aircraft were damaged.

The bomber gunners of the two elements that went to Kiel claim 41-6-13 of attacking enemy aircraft.

The third element is a combined force of 117 B-17s from 3rd Bomb Division: 94BG; 96BG; 385BG; 388BG; and 447BG despatched to bomb the German airfield of Merignac at Bordeaux, France. 112 aircraft are effective on the target. 11 aircraft are lost to enemy action - 37KIA 30POW 40EVD 3INT. 1 aircraft crashed on take-off - 10KOM; 1 aircraft with battle damage crashed on return at Badwell Ash, UK - 8KIA 1WIA. 49 aircraft were damaged and 20 additional airmen were WIA. The bomber gunners claim 50-10-9 of attacking German fighters.

The fourth element is a combined force of 79 B-17s from 1st Bomb Division; 91BG; 351BG; 381BG; and 401BG despatched to bomb the German airfield at Tours, France. 78 aircraft are effective on the target. 1 aircraft is lost to enemy action - 1KIA 6POW 3EVD. No other aircraft are damaged and no other airmen are wounded. The bomber gunners of this element claim 2-0-0 of attacking enemy aircraft.

The fifth, and last, element of this mission is a combined force of 78 B-17s from 3rd Bomb Division: 95BG; 100BG; and 390BG. The ball bearing plants at Elberfield, Germany were the primary target for this mission, but the target was obscured by clouds so the following military targets of opportunity were attacked: Neuss; Geilenkirchen; Dusseldorf and Wassenburg, Germany (number of aircraft attacking each target not determined from source data). 2 aircraft from 95BG are lost to enemy action - 1KIA 16POW (2DIC) 1EVD; 1 aircraft with battle damage crash landed at RAF Tarrent Rushton - 1 airman slightly injured 10RTD. 22 aircraft were damaged and 2 airmen were WIA. The bomber gunners of this element claim 2-5-2 of attacking enemy aircraft.

Mission details

1. BORDEAUX/MERIGNAC (Primary)

Description

MERGINAC AIRFIELD at Bodeaux, France

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

The lead bombardier was killed in action on the bomb run and the lead was handed over to the low group.

Units

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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 266.20
Number of aircraft Sent 117
Number of aircraft Effective 112
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 11
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 2
Number of aircraft Damaged 49
Number of people Killed In Action 55
Number of people Wounded in Action 21
Number of people Evaded 40
Number of people Prisoners of War 30
Number of people Interned 3
Number of people Returned To Duty 1
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Bomber Command 50
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Bomber Command 10
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 9

2. ELBERSFELD (Primary) / GEILENKIRCHEN (Opportunistic) / NEUSS (Opportunistic) / WASSENBURG (Opportunistic) / DUSSELDORF (Opportunistic)

Description

BOMB TARGETS OF OPPORTUNITY

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

Primary target was ball bearing plants at Elberfeld, target obscured.

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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 194.00
Number of aircraft Sent 78
Number of aircraft Effective 73
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 2
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 1
Number of aircraft Damaged 22
Number of people Killed In Action 1
Number of people Wounded in Action 2
Number of people Evaded 3
Number of people Prisoners of War 14
Number of people Died in Captivity 2
Number of people Returned To Duty 10
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Bomber Command 2
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Bomber Command 5
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 2

3. KIEL(Primary)

Description

SHIP YARD - INDUSTRIAL AREA

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

10 aircraft drop on Targets of Opportunity. Bomber gunner claims are the combined total of B-17 & B-24 groups attackin at Kiel.

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,...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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 215.8
Number of aircraft Sent 131
Number of aircraft Effective 119
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 5
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 5
Number of aircraft Damaged 61
Number of people Killed In Action 52
Number of people Wounded in Action 5
Number of people Prisoners of War 23
Number of people Returned To Duty 15
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Bomber Command 41
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Bomber Command 6
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 13

4. KIEL(Primary)

Description

SHIP YARD - INDUSTRIAL AREA

Aircraft type

B-24 Liberator

Notes

Bomber gunner claims are recorded under the B-17 element.

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 386.8
Number of aircraft Sent 114
Number of aircraft Effective 96
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 5
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 2
Number of aircraft Damaged 15
Number of people Killed In Action 44
Number of people Prisoners of War 9
Number of people Returned To Duty 17

5. TOURS

Description

AIRFIELDS

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

The 91st Bomb Group becomes the first 8th Air Force Bomb Group to complete 100 missions.

Units

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 176.80
Number of aircraft Sent 79
Number of aircraft Effective 78
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 1
Number of aircraft Damaged 10
Number of people Killed In Action 1
Number of people Evaded 3
Number of people Prisoners of War 6
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Bomber Command 2

Service

People

  • Richard Bailey

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

  • Clifford Barker

    Military | Sergeant (Technician Fourth Grade) | Left Waist Gunner | 401st Bomb Group
    Barker, a native of Yorktown, Ind., was a burly 6-foot-2 inch forward on the 1948 Kentucky team that finished the season with a 36-3 record, the national title and the nickname of the Fabulous Five. The other starters were Wallace (Wah Wah) Jones at...

  • 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

  • Arthur Berntzen

    Military | Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Killed in Action (KIA) in plane #42-31441. Mid-air collision after T/O.

  • Frank Bisagna

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 381st Bomb Group
    Navigator, Zeman crew. 381st BG, 532nd BS, 8th AF. Shot down 5 January 1944 in B-17 #42-30676 'Baby Dumpling'. Mission #57 to the airfield at Tours, France. Hit by an air to air rocket. MACR 1962. Prisoner of War at Stalag Luft I. New Hamburg, NY POW

  • Charles Blondell

    Military | Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 379th Bomb Group
    After the bomb run the aircraft was hit by ME109's and a fighter rammed it breaking the wing in half. The plane blew up and was disintegrated in midair with one survivor.

  • 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

  • James Bradley

    Military | Captain | Bombardier | 96th Bomb Group
    Joined 13 June 1942. Shot down 5 January 1944 in B-17 #42-30665 'Hunyak'. Evaded. Escape & Evasion Report E&E 882. Released from active duty 23 December 1945. ...

  • Lee Brown

    Military | Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Killed in Action (KIA) in plane #42-31441. Mid-air collision after T/O.

  • Delmar Broyles

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Flight Engineer/Top Turret Gunner | 94th Bomb Group
    Staff Sergeant Delmar C. Broyles was born October 9, 1921. His next of kin were his parents, Clarence and Grace Broyles. He was from West Los Angeles, California. ...

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Aircraft

  • 41-24605 Knock-out Dropper

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 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...

  • 42-30155

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 21/4/43; Tinker 27/4/43; Memphis 30/4/43; Presque Is 6/5/43; Assigned 366BS/305BG [KY-C/E] Chelveston 31/5/43; force landed RAF St Eval 4/7/43, ret 12/8/43; Missing in Action Kiel 5/1/44 with Percy Hoag, Co-pilot: Lonnie McGee,...

  • 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...

  • 42-30665 Hunyak

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Boeing 7/7/43; Gore 17/7/43; Dallas 8/8/43; Palm Springs 9/8/43; Geiger 10/8/43; Pendleton 12/8/43; Assigned 339BS/96BG [QJ-E] Snetterton 1/9/43; Missing in Action Bordeaux 5/1/44 with Capt Donald Charles Cole (Killed in Action); Co-pilot:...

  • 42-30676 Baby Dumpling, Danny Dumpling

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Dallas 9/7/43; Love 29/7/43; Kearney 1/8/43; Topeka 12/8/43; Assigned 482BG Alconbury 24/8/43; transferred 532BS/381BG [VE-E] Ridgewell 19/9/43; Missing in Action Tours 5/1/44 with Jack R. Zeman, Ball turret gunner: Herve A. Leroux, Waist...

  • 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:...

  • 42-31115 Hells Belles

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 21/9/43; Gr Island 6/10/43; Assigned 562BS/388BG Knettishall 25/10/43; Missing in Action Brunswick 10/2/44 with Jim Feeneynot found till 25/2/44, Radio Operator: Norman Kajut, Waist gunner: Marion Forbis,Tail gunner: Lou LeFevre (4...

  • 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...

  • 42-31441

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 3 November 1943. Kearney 16 November 1943. Assigned 360BS/303BG Molesworth 4 January 1944. Lost in collision with a B-17 from another group (42-37887 of the 379th Bomb Group) during the take-off climb to the Group formation area. The...

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Revisions

Date Contributor Update
01 December 2015 20:56:21 Lee8thbuff Changes to description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 1-Dec-2015 Correction to personnel dispositions in Tours element based on National Archives MACR 1962.

Date Contributor Update
01 December 2015 20:53:48 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 1-Dec-2015. Added statistics for Tours element based on "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman and "Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces", Stan Bishop & John A. Hey MBE.

Date Contributor Update
01 December 2015 20:49:25 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 1-Dec-2015. Added statistics to B-24 element attacking at Kiel based on "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman and "Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces", Stan Bishop & John A. Hey, MBE; casualties cross checked from MACR data.

Date Contributor Update
01 December 2015 20:44:23 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 1-Dec-2015. Added statictics to B-17 element attaking at Kiel based on "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman and "Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces", Stan Bisho & John A. Hey, MBE; casualties cross check with MACR data.

Date Contributor Update
01 December 2015 20:35:58 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 1-Dec-2015. Added statistics to Elberfeld element based on "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman and "Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces", Stan Bishop & John A. Hey; casualties cross checked with MACR data.

Date Contributor Update
01 December 2015 20:31:49 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 1-Dec-2015. Added and corrected statistics for Bordeaux/Merignac based on "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman and "Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces", Stan Bishop and John A. Hey, MBE and cross checked from MACR data.

Date Contributor Update
01 December 2015 20:22:46 Lee8thbuff Changes to name and description
Sources

Lee Cunningham -Dec-2015. Added Mission Narrative based on "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman and "Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces", Stan Bishop & John A. Hey, MBE.

Date Contributor Update
28 May 2015 09:43:36 jdossetter Changes to event
Sources

http://www.8thafhs.com/missions.php

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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