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VIII Bomber Command 4

21 August 1942

Official description

Not yet known

Description

97BG despatches 12 B-17s on a mission to bomb the shipyards and harbour facilities at Rotterdam, Holland. The mission is aborted when attacked by approximately 25 Bf-109 and Fw-190 fighter aircraft. Spitfire aircraft were despatched by 31FG as escorts for the bombers, but aborted because the bombers were 16 minutes late for rendezvous. 8th Air Force sustains the first KIA of an airman in the ETO.

Mission details

1.

Description

AIR-SEA RESCUE

Aircraft type

Spitfire

Notes

Despatched on an Air Sea Rescue (ASR) mission.

Units

  • 31st Fighter Group

    31st Fighter Group

    Group
    The 31st Fighter Group only flew missions from England between June and September 1942 but during this period they supported the Dieppe raid, the assault on occupied Europe, predominantly by the Canadian army. The attack was forced into early retreat...

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 11

2.

Description

FIGHTER DIVERSION

Aircraft type

Spitfire

Notes

A diversion for the B-17s attacking Rotterdam.

Units

  • 31st Fighter Group

    31st Fighter Group

    Group
    The 31st Fighter Group only flew missions from England between June and September 1942 but during this period they supported the Dieppe raid, the assault on occupied Europe, predominantly by the Canadian army. The attack was forced into early retreat...

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 11

3. PATROL DUTCH COAST

Description

FIGHTER PATROL

Aircraft type

Spitfire

Notes

Patrol off the Dutch coast.

Units

  • 31st Fighter Group

    31st Fighter Group

    Group
    The 31st Fighter Group only flew missions from England between June and September 1942 but during this period they supported the Dieppe raid, the assault on occupied Europe, predominantly by the Canadian army. The attack was forced into early retreat...

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 11

4. ROTTERDAM

Description

SHIP YARD

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

Mission is aborted due to an attack by 25 Bf 109s and Fw-190s. Fighter escort was planned for this mission but coordination with Spitfire escorts didn't happen because bombers were 16 minutes late. 8th Air Force suffers its first loss of an airman in combat. The co-pilot two LT Donald A. Walter, O-437895 of 41-9089 JOHNNEY REB is killed by a Luftwaffe fighter attack. The pilot and bombardier are wounded.

Units

  • 97th Bomb Group

    97th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 97th Bomb Group flew the Eighth Air Force's first heavy bomber mission from the UK when they bombed a marshalling yard at Rouen on 17 August 1942. Just a month later though the Group were reassigned to the Twelfth Air Force and left England for the...

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped None
Number of aircraft Sent 12
Number of aircraft Damaged 1
Number of people Killed In Action 1
Number of people Wounded in Action 5
Number of people Returned To Duty 9
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 6

Service

People

  • Ewart Sconiers

    Military | First Lieutenant | Bombardier | 97th Bomb Group
    Lt Ewart Sconiers was Bombardier on B-17 41-9089 'Johnny Reb', one of the 12 B-17s participating in the first heavy bomber raid of the 8th Air Force on 17 August 1942. The target were the shipyards of Rouen/Sotteville, France. ...

  • Harold Spire

    Military | First Lieutenant | Navigator | 97th Bomb Group
    Note : In both the 1930 and 1940 Censuses, Harold and his parents are listed as Spires. All later documents, including his Enlistment records, his Escape & Evasion Report have him as Harold Spire... ...

  • Richard Starks

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 97th Bomb Group
    Richard Starks grew up in Woodford County, Kentucky. He attended the Midway High School and the University of Kentucky before enlisting in April 1941. After his enlistment, he was sent to Tulsa, Oklahoma for primary training, starting to fly the...

  • Donald Walter

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 97th Bomb Group
    Killed in Action (KIA) in fighter attack in B-17 41-9089. First Killed in Action (KIA) for VIII Bomber Command.

Aircraft

  • 41-9089 Johnny Reb

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Sarasota 15/4/42. Assigned 414BS/97BG Polebrook 4/42. Flew on first 8th Air Force heavy bomber mission 17 August 1942 with Pilot Lt. Richard S. Starks (WIA 21/8/42); Co-pilot: Donald A. Walter (KIA 21/8/42); Navigator: Harold Spire;...

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
15 February 2015 18:31:59 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

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

Date Contributor Update
25 October 2014 21:00:55 Lee8thbuff Changes to description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 25-Oct-2014. Mission description based on "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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