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VIII Bomber Command 39

4 March 1943

Official description

Not yet known

Description

After several weather-caused aborted attempts in attacking the marshalling yards at Hamm, Germany, the 8th Air Force is finally successful in attacking this target. A total of 71 B-17s are despatched: 91BG (20); 303BG (18); 305BG (12) amd 306BG (21). The 91BG is selected to lead the attack, but the formation experiences heavy clouds and is forced to fly on instruments. The 91BG gets separated from the main attacking force, but finds clear air over the target. The 91BG becomes the only Group despatched to actually attack the target. This becomes the first heavy bomber mission to bomb a target in the Ruhr valley and for this they are awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation. 16 of the 20 despatched bomb the target, but 4 aircraft are MIA.

Because the 91BG became separated from the main force, the rest of the force attacks the harbour facilities at Rotterdam, Holland. 16 of 18 despatched by 303BG are effective on Rotterdam and 12 of 12 despatched by 305BG are effective on this target. 306BG is unable to drop on Rotterdam and heads back to England. This Group is attacked by German fighters and 1 aircraft from 306BG is downed into the North Sea.

As part of this operation 14 B-24s are despatched to fly a diversion for the Hamm/Rotterdam attack. During this diversion they look for enemy shipping but the record does not indicate that any enemy ships were attacked.

Mission details

1. HAMM (Primary)

Description

MARSHALLING YARDS

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

The 91st Bomb Group was separated from the main force while on instruments and hit targets in the Ruhr valley. This is the first 8th Air Force attack on a Ruhr industrial target. The first Bomb Group to attack is the 91st Bomb Group and they are awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation. They are the first Bomb Group selected to test flak suits. None of the 21 B-17s despatched by 306th Bomb Group were able to bomb the target. There is no fighter escort for this mission.

Units

  • 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 40
Number of aircraft Sent 20
Number of aircraft Effective 16
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 4
Number of aircraft Damaged 9
Number of people Killed In Action 34
Number of people Wounded in Action 7
Number of people Prisoners of War 6
Number of people Returned To Duty 5

2. ROTTERDAM (Last resort)

Description

HARBOUR FACILITIES at Rotterdam, Holland are attacked as a target of Last Resort.

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

The attack is conducted by 16 of 18 B-17s despatched by 303BG and 12 of 12 B-17s despatched from 305BG. These formations had originally been slated to attack the marshalling yards at Hamm, Germany, but they became separated from the lead group on that target, 91BG, and were forced to hit Rotterdam instead. The 306BG was unable to bomb.

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,...

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 70
Number of aircraft Sent 51
Number of aircraft Effective 28
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 1
Number of people Killed In Action 9

3. Netherlands

Description

DIVERSION

Aircraft type

B-24 Liberator

Notes

14 of 14 B-24s fly a diversion for the Hamm/Rotterdam force They look for enemy shipping but the record does not contain any information that indicates any enemy shipping was actually attacked. There were no losses or claims

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 14
Number of aircraft Effective 14

Service

People

  • 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...

  • Charles Austin

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 303rd Bomb Group
    1LT Charles N. Austin was originally assigned to the 92BG and arrived in England in August 1942. On 10-Feb-43 he and his crew were transferred from 92BG to 303BG/358BS as a replacement crew ans assigned to B-17F 41-24558 "Hunga Dunga". He participated...

  • 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" ...

  • Rollin Ball

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    2LT Rollin P. Ball was Navigator on two differentt B-17s that were lost. ...

  • John Bell

    Military | First Lieutenant | Bombardier | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    On 4-Mar-43 in B-17F 41-24549 'Stupen Takit', 91BG/323BS while serving as Bombardier, the aircraft sustained a direct hit from AA fire just after leaving the target of the railroad marshalling yards at Hamm, Germany. CPT McCarty ordered a bale out, but...

  • Byron Bennett

    Military | First Lieutenant | Navigator | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Killed in Action (KIA) on 4-Mar-43 in B-17F 41-24549 'Stupen Takit', 91BG/323BS while serving as Navigator. The aircraft sustained a direct hit from AA fire just after leaving the target of the railroad marshalling yards at Hamm, Germany. CPT McCarty...

  • Walter Bliven

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Killed in Action (KIA) on 4-Mar-43 in B-17F 41-24512 'Rose O' Day', 91BG/322BS while serving as Waist Gunner. The aircraft was repeadely attacked by German fighters and was seen to have the #2 engine on fire. The surviving crew were arderd to bale out...

  • 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." ...

  • Allen Brill

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Killed in Action (KIA) on 4-Mar-43 in B-17F 41-24464 'Excalibur', 91BG/324BS while serving as Pilot. Aircraft was ditched into North Sea 40 miles west of Texel Island, Holland after repeated fighter attacks. Plane broke in two. 7 crewmembers were...

  • Carroll Briscoe

    Military | Colonel | Pilot | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    He reported to group on 15 Jan 1943. He was the 35th Officer to complete 25 missions. Reported on 05 Feb 1945 with the 2AF weather scouts. Retired as a Colonel from the USAF in 1972. ...

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Aircraft

  • 41-24464 Excalibur

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 367BS/306BG Westover 17-Aug-42; Thurleigh 13-Oct-42; transferred 324BS/91BG [DF-J] Bassingbourn 20-Feb-43; Missing in Action (MIA) 2m Hamm 4-Mar-43. Shot down by Lt Kostler (IV/NJG1) in Me 110, KO’d #1 & #3,oil pouring away before #4 was...

  • 41-24512 Rose O'Day

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 322BS/91BG [LG-N] Bangor 1-Sep-42; Bassingbourn 29-Sep-42; Missing in Action (MIA) 7+m Hamm 4-Mar-43. Aircraft sustained repeated attacks by fighters and crashed into the North Sea just of the southern tip of Texel Island, Holland. The crew...

  • 41-24549 Stupen Takit

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F-25-BO 41-24549 'Stupen Takit was assigned 323BS/91BG [OR-Q] Bangor 10-Oct-42; Bassingbourn 11-Oct-42; Missing in Action (MIA) 14 missions over Hamm, Germany 4-Mar-43 The aircraft took a direct flak just after the target and exploded just minutes...

  • 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. ...

  • 42-5129

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 29-Sep-42; New Castle 16-October-42; Assigned 368BS/306BG [BO- ] Thurleigh 1-January-43; Missing in Action 4-Mar-43 on a mission to bomb the marshalling yards at Hamm, Germany. Shot down by Uffz Flecks and Hans Miessner (6/JG1) (9-man...

  • 42-5262

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 27-Oct-42; Bury 6-Dec-42; Assigned 360BS/303BG [PU-F] Molesworth 29-Jan-43; Missing in Action Lorient 6-Mar-43. Shot down by enemy aircraft, crashed into the Bay of Biscay, off Penmarch Point. 2KIA 8POW Missing Air Crew Report 15536. ...

  • 42-5370

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F-50-BO 91BG/324BS was delivered at Tulsa 24-Nov-42; Salina 2-Jan-43; Morrison 3_Feb-43; Assigned 324BS/91BG [DF-K] Bassingbourn 26-Feb-43; Missing in Action (MIA) Hamm 4-Mar-43. Shot down by Hptm Lutje (IV/NJG1), crashed off Texel Is, in...

  • 42-5826 JERAVAD "Une Petite Peu"

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Long Beach 2/3/43; Walla Walla 29/3/43; Lowry 10/4/43; Presque Is 24/4/43; Assigned 369BS/306BG [WW-W] Thurleigh 7/5/43; Missing in Action Kiel 29/7/43 with Keith Conley, Co-pilot: Vince DeVos, Bombardier: Bob Sanford, Radio Operator: Frank...

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
25 December 2014 19:04:09 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 25-Dec-2014. Description and statistics from "The Mighty Eighth War Diary" and "Losses of the 9th & 9th Air Forces" Stan Bishop & John A. Hey MBE.

Date Contributor Update
25 December 2014 18:58:59 Lee8thbuff Created event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 24-Dec-2014. Description and statistics from "The Mighty Eighth War Diary" Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
25 December 2014 18:51:40 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 25-Dec-2014. Description and statistics for Rotterdam from "The Mighty Eighth War Diary" Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
25 December 2014 18:28:32 Lee8thbuff Changes to description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 25-Dec-2014. Description based on "USAAF Combat Chronology" Jack McKillop and "The Mighty Eighth War Diary" Roger A. Freeman.

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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