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VIII Bomber Command 31

27 January 1943

Official description

Not yet known

Description

First successful attack by 8th Air Force into Germany. The 306th Bomb Group gets the distinction of being the first American Bomb Group to drop bombs on Germany. O Original target was Vegesack but clouded over. Col. Frank Armstrong lead the group. Two 91st Bomb Group B-17s attacked Emden as a target of opportunity (included in Strike and Bomb Tonnage totals). Sgt. Maynard S. "Snuffy" Smith 423BS/306th Bomb Group (Waist Gunner on B-17 42-29649) is awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for this action. This is the 2nd CMOH awarded to a member of the 8th Air Force but the first to an AF enlisted man. No fighter escort on this mission.

Mission details

1. WILHELMSHAVEN (Last resort)

Description

NAVAL BASE

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

First successful attack by 8th Air Force into Germany. The 306th Bomb Group gets the distinction of being the first American Bomb Group to drop bombs on Germany. O Original target was Vegesack but clouded over. Col. Frank Armstrong lead the group. Two 91st Bomb Group B-17s attacked Emden as a target of opportunity (included in Strike and Bomb Tonnage totals). Sgt. Maynard S. "Snuffy" Smith 423BS/306th Bomb Group (Waist Gunner on B-17 42-29649) is awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for this action. This is the 2nd CMOH awarded to a member of the 8th Air Force but the first to an AF enlisted man. No fighter escort on this mission.

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,...

  • 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 132.50
Number of aircraft Sent 64
Number of aircraft Effective 53
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 1
Number of aircraft Damaged 32
Number of people Killed In Action 5
Number of people Wounded in Action 1
Number of people Prisoners of War 5
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Bomber Command 10
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Bomber Command 6
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 7

2. WILHELMSHAVEN (Primary)

Description

NAVAL BASE

Aircraft type

B-24 Liberator

Notes

B-24s unable to locate target due to weather and poor navigation.

Units

  • 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

Number of aircraft Sent 27
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 2
Number of aircraft Damaged 11
Number of people Killed In Action 21
Number of people Wounded in Action 2
Number of people Prisoners of War 1
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Bomber Command 12
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Bomber Command 8
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 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. ...

  • Robert Ames

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    Shot down 27 January 1943 in B-17F 41-24637 while serving as Tail Gunner. The aircraft was attacked by fighters on approach to the target Wilhelmshaven, Germany. the aircraft crashed at Tossens, Germany. Killed in Action (KIA). Purple Heart, Air Medal

  • Samuel Anderson

    Military | Captain | Lead Navigator | 303rd Bomb Group
    17-Feb-42 Assigned as Navigator of B-17F 41-24579 [PU-F] at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho. 16-Oct-42 Arrived at Molesworth UK. He was despatched on 26 Operations - 25 credited. Served as a Lead Navigator on 23 of those missions. Completed a 25-Mission tour...

  • Clayton Balcombe

    Military | Technical Sergeant (2nd Grade) | Radio Operator | 303rd Bomb Group
    06-Mar-42 Assigned as Radio Operator on B-17F 41-24559 [PU-C] "Ooold Soljer", 303BG/360BS at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho. 16-Oct-42 Arrived at Molesworth, UK aboard "Ooold Soljer" ...

  • Keith Bartlett

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 303rd Bomb Group
    12-Mar-42 Assigned to 303BG/360BS in B-17F 41-24559 "Ooold Soldier" as 2LT and Co-Pilot. Gowen Field (Boise), Idaho. ...

  • Vance Beckham

    Military | Captain | Pilot | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    Shot down 27 January 1943 in B-17F 41-24637 while serving as Pilot. The aircraft was attacked by fighters on approach to the target of Wilhelmshaven, Germany. Aircraft crashed near Tossens, Germany. He was able to bale out of the stricken aircraft and...

  • Jack Belk

    Military | Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    1-May-42 Assigned as an Aerial Gunner to 303BG/427BS at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho, with the rank of Sergeant. 303BG personnel record does not indicate that he was assigned to any particular crew at that time and does not indicate when he arrived at...

  • Edward Bradford

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Left Waist Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    6-Mar-42 Assigned as an Aerial Gunner on B-17F 41-24559 [PU-C], "Ooold Soljer:, 303BG 360BS at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho. 16-Oct-42 Arrived at Molesworth, UK aboard "Ooold Soljer." ...

  • Nolan Cargile

    Military | Lieutenant | Pilot | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Joined squad 14 October 1942. Shot down 27 January 1943 in B-24D 41-23690 while serving as Pilot. Killed in Action (KIA). MACR and Losses report a collision with an enemy aircraft FW 190 (yellow 3 serial 5604) of JG/1 3 Staffel piloted by Fw Fritz Koch...

  • Paul Crane

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner, Waist Gunner | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Joined squad 14 October 1942. Shot down 27 January 1943 in B-24D 412-3690 while serving as Right Waist Gunner. Killed in Action (KIA). MACR and Losses report a collision with an enemy aircraft FW 190 (yellow 3 serial 5604) of JG/1 3 Staffel piloted by...

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Aircraft

  • 41-23690

    B-24 Liberator
    On 27-Jan-43 B-24D 41-23690, 44BG/68BS was on a mission to bomb the naval installation at Wilhelmshaven, Germany. The pilot was unable to find the target because of weather and navigation problems. The aircraft sustained a mid-air collision with and...

  • 41-23776 Spirit of 76

    B-24 Liberator
    On 27-Jan-43 B-24D 41-23776 "Spirit of 76" was on a mission to bomb the naval installation at Wilhelmshaven, Germany. The pilot was unable to located the target due to weather and navigation problems. The aircraft was attacked by fighters and shot down...

  • 41-24541 Spook

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F 41-24541 "Spook" was assigned 358BS/303BG [VK-G] Kellogg Fd 14-Sep-42; Molesworth 16-Sep-42;The aircraft participated in 12 Operations - 4 Aborted (See Biography events) ...

  • 41-24558 Hunga Dunga

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F-25-BO 41-24558 [VK:F] "Hunga Dunga" was assigned to the 358BS/303BG [VK-F] at Bangor. Maine on 14-Oct-42; arrived at Molesworth, UK on 16-Oct-42; Missing in Action Vegasack 18-Mar-43 when it was attacked by enemy aircraft near Helgoland. Germany...

  • 41-24559 Ooold Soljer

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F 41-24559 'Ooold Soljer' was assigned 360BS/303BG [PU-C] Bangor 14-Oct-42; Molesworth 16-Oct-42. ...

  • 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...

  • 41-24637

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 366BS/305BG [KY-F] New Castle 11-Oct-42; Grafton Underwood 24-Oct-42; Missing in Action 27-Jan-43 while on a mission to bomb the naval installations at Wilhelmshaven, Germany. 5KIA 5POW MACR 15501. ...

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
15 February 2015 20:04:44 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 15-Feb-2015. Added Bomber Gunner claims to statistics on 44BG 93BG Wilhelmshaven per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary" Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
15 February 2015 20:02:34 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 15-Feb-2015. Added Bomber Gunner claims to statistics on 91BG-306BG Wilhelmshaven per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary" Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
21 October 2014 09:45:30 Lucy May Changes to person associations
Sources

Associated James Howard O'Cain based on information in his Biography from the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:43:17 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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