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8th Air Force 187

21 January 1944

Official description

Not yet known

Description

This mission is directed at 36 V-Weapon sites (34 in the Pas-de-Calaise area and 2 in the Chrebourg area of France) 24 of these are bombed successfully. All three Bomb Divisions participate in the attacks and the bomber gunners claimed 5-1-2 of attacking aircraft (statisitics included with 2BD element). 10 aircraft (B-17s) from 1BD, 9 aircraft (B-24s) from 2BD and 5 aircraft (B-17s) from 3BD attacked targets of opportunity which included 2 further V-Weapon sites and 3 airfields. Some of the B-24s of 2BD stayed in the target area too long and a a result their fighter escort was forced to abandon them because of low fuel. 1 target required 10 runs before it was succesfully attacked. 4 airmen aboard a B-24 from 448BG, the lead aircraft, baled out over the English Channel thinking the aircraft was on fire and these were lost in the sea. The despatch was as follows:

1st Bomb Division: A combined force of 306 B-17s were despatched from: 91BG; 92BG; 303BG; 305BG; 306BG; 351BG; 379BG; 381BG; 384BG and 401BG. Those from 401BG were forced to abort the mission due to weather. 156 aircraft were successful on a target. There were no aircraft losses in this element but 74 aircraft were damaged primarily by AA-fire. 8 airmen in returing aircraft were WIA.

2nd Bomb Division: A combined force of 198 B-24s were despatched from: 44BG; 93BG; 389BG; 392BG; 445BG, 446BG and 448BG. Weather and difficulty to locating sites frustrated bombing attempts with only 77 of this element successfully bombing a target. These groups tarried too long over the target area and their fighter escort was forced to abandon them. As a result 5 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) - 32KIA 10POW 11EVD. In addition 4 airmen were KIA when they baled out over the English Channel. 2 other airment in retuning aircraft were KIA along with 18WIA. 2 battle damaged aircraft made crash landings upon return 2KIA 17RTD, 3 airment in one of these aircraft baled out over France and were captured - 3POW.

3rd Bomb Division: A combined force of 291 B-17s were despatched from: 94BG; 95BG; 96BG; 100BG; 385BG; 388BG; 390BG and 447BG. 161 of these aircraft were effective on a target. 1 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) - 4KIA 6POW. 1 aircraft with battle damage made a crash landing near Detling, UK and was considered Damaged Beyond Repair (DBR) - 10RTD. 29 other aircraft in this element were damaged and 7 airment in returning aircraft were wounded.

Mission details

1.

Description

BOMB TARGETS OF OPPORTUNITY

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

10 aircraft from 1st Bomb Division and 5 aircraft from 3rd Bomb Division bomb targets of opportunity two V-Weapons sites and 3 airfields

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 43.44
Number of aircraft Sent 15
Number of aircraft Effective 15

2.

Description

BOMB TARGETS OF OPPORTUNITY

Aircraft type

B-24 Liberator

Notes

9 B-24s bomb targets of opportunity two V-Weapons sites and 3 airfields

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 26.06
Number of aircraft Sent 9
Number of aircraft Effective 9

3. Cherbourg, France

Description

V-1 MISSILE SITES

Aircraft type

B-24 Liberator

Notes

Four crewmen of the lead B-24 from 44th Bomb Group bailed out when a smoke marker ignited in the bay thinking that the aircraft was on fire. These 4 were lost in the English Channel. Two BD B-24s stayed too long in the target area and the escorting P-38s ran low on fuel and had to terminate their escort. This gave opportunity to the German fighters which downed 5 B-24s. All 2nd Bomb Division casualties bundled. Bomber gunner claims for all aircraft that participated in the operation are stated here.

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...

  • 448th Bomb Group

    448th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 448th Bomb Group was a B-24 Liberator Group that flew out of Seething, Norfolk. The Group flew their first mission on the 22nd December 1943 and over the next eighteen months the air crews flew 262 missions over occupied Europe. These bombing...

  • 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 196.23
Number of aircraft Sent 198
Number of aircraft Effective 68
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 5
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 2
Number of aircraft Damaged 41
Number of people Killed In Action 39
Number of people Wounded in Action 16
Number of people Evaded 11
Number of people Prisoners of War 14
Number of people Returned To Duty 17
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Bomber Command 5
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Bomber Command 1
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 2

4. PAS DE CALAIS (Primary)

Description

V-1 MISSILE SITES

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

Aircraft are all part of 3rd Bomb Division.

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...

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 451.78
Number of aircraft Sent 291
Number of aircraft Effective 156
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 1
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 1
Number of people Killed In Action 6
Number of people Prisoners of War 4
Number of people Returned To Duty 10

5. PAS DE CALAIS (Primary)

Description

V-1 MISSILE SITES

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

34 V-Weapon sites are targeted. 401st Bomb Group aborted the mission because of weather. Aircraft are all part of 1sr Bomb Division.

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...

  • 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 422.82
Number of aircraft Sent 306
Number of aircraft Effective 146
Number of aircraft Damaged 74

Service

People

  • Robert Ager

    Military | Captain | Pilot | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Joined Sqd 3-Aug-42. ETO/Flight Echelon 2-Oct-42. WIA 6-Dec-42 (Abbeyville). DS/Tunis 16-Sep-43. Trans/Group HQ. ...

  • William Anderson

    Military | Major | Command Pilot | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Assigned to 67BS, 44BG, 8AF USAAF. Flew on 1-Aug-43 raid on Ploesti earning his DSC for his actions. Flew as Command pilot on mission to V-1 sites at Agathe d' Aliermont, France 21-Jan-44; A/C hit by flak, Major Anderson was mortally wounded in the...

  • Arthur Aull

    Military | Captain | Pilot | 446th Bomb Group

  • 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

  • Herman Becker

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Assigned to 67BS, 44BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Agathe d' Aliermont V1 site mission in B-24J 42-99970 'Liberty Belle' 21-Jan-44; Hit by flak in legs. Wounded in Action (WIA) RTD. MACR 8174. Awards: PH, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Robert Berg

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner | 381st Bomb Group
    RWG, Mohnacky crew. 381st BG, 534th BS, 8th AF. Shot down by fighters on mission #61 to the industrial areas of Frankfurt, Germany on 29 Jan 1944 in B-17G #42-38045. MACR 2242. Prisoner of War at Stalag Luft IV. ...

  • 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

  • Walter Boyd

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Left Waist Gunner | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Assigned to 67BS, 44BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Agathe d' Aliermont V1 site mission in B-24J 42-99970 'Liberty Belle' 21-Jan-44; Suffered minor burns RTD. MACR 8174. Awards: PH, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • 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.

  • Franklin Campbell

    Military | First Lieutenant | Navigator | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Assigned to 67BS, 44BG, 8AF USAAF. Navigator on mission to Agathe d' Aliermont V1 site mission in B-24J 42-99970 'Liberty Belle' 21-Jan-44; became trapped in flight deck wreckage during belly landing, pinned for three hours before being released. WIA...

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Aircraft

  • 42-30207 Big Red

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 29/4/43; Sioux City 11/5/43; Smoky Hill 9/6/43; Dow Fd 12/6/43; Assigned 561BS/388BG [ -T] Knettishall 14/6/43; Missing in Action Bordeaux 27/3/44 with Julius Lederman, Co-pilot: Waite Law, Bombardier: John Luzell (3 Prisoner of War)...

  • 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:...

  • 42-31062 'Holy Terror II'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 14/9/43; Gr Island 28/9/43; Assigned 351BS/100BG [EP-D] Thorpe Abbotts 28/9/43; while on training mission on 29/12/43 with Lucius Lacy, Instr pilot-Capt Jack Swartout, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Hugh Smallwood, pass-Lt George...

  • 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...

  • 42-3291 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...

  • 42-37886 Blitzing Betsy

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 2/10/43; Gr Island 21/10/43; Assigned 562BS/388BG Knettishall 25/10/43; Missing in Action Berlin 6/3/44 with Lowell Watts captured by civilians, Co-pilot: Bob Kennedy, Navigator: Emmett Murphy, Bombardier: Ed Kelley, Flight engineer...

  • 42-99970 'Liberty Belle'

    B-24 Liberator
    Assigned to 67BS, 44BG, 8AF USAAF. Hit by flak on mission to V-1 sites at Agathe d' Aliermont, France on 21-Jan-44. Flak hit in bomb bay, nose turret, ball turret, starboard wing and taking out #1 & 2 engines leaving #3 on fire. 3 x crew baled out over...

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
10 January 2016 22:51:45 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 10-Jan-2016. Added Bomber gunner claims on enemy aircraft to the statistics of 2nd BD per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
10 January 2016 22:48:01 Lee8thbuff Changes to name and description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 10-Jan-2016. Added Mission Narrative per "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
29 May 2015 10:19:17 jdossetter Changes to event
Sources

updated location

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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