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VIII Bomber Command 41

8 March 1943

Official description

Not yet known

Description

The railroad marshalling yards at Rennes and Rouen, France are the primary targets for this mission. A formation comprised of 67 B-17s: 91BG (14); 303BG (19); 305BG (16) and 306BG (18) is despatched to bomb at Rennes. Conditions are good with no cloud cover or haze with visibility of ten miles. Flak over Rennes was slight and inaccurate, being generally reported as low. All bursts were black, but one crew reported three high grey bursts. Spitfires of the 4th Fighter Group, along with RAF Squadrons, furnished excellent
escort from Guernsey to the French coast and again from St. Lo to the English coast. Enemy air opposition was moderate to intense, with approximately 35 fighters reported.
FW-190s and some ME-109s were observed from the French coast to the target and back
about ten miles out to sea. During this time there were enemy aircraft attacks from all
directions, but mostly from 11 to 1 o'clock, level or slightly below. Crews reported varied
colors on the FW-190s with yellow noses and silver-grey undersurfaces predominating. @-B-17 are MIA. Bomber gunners claim 14-1-5 on the attacking fighters.

16 B-24s are despatched to bomb the marshalling yards at Rouen, France. 44BG (10) and 93BG (6). The lead aircraft is shot down which resulted in a scattering of bomb drops. Flak is light and fighter opposition is moderate. 2 B-24s are MIA. Bomber gunnerr claim 14-3-3 on the attacking fighters.

Mission details

1. RENNES (Primary)

Description

MARSHALLING YARDS

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

This mission is escorted by 25 Spitfires from 4th Fighter Group and others provided by RAF squadrons. This is the first time since 2-Oct-42 that fighters have been used specifically as escort for the bombers. Even though GEN Eaker was advised by the War Department on 24-Feb-43 to make bomber escort the primary priority for fighter units, he is still not convinced the bombers actually need such support having lost only 79 bombers in 2,647 sorties - and not all lost to enemy aircraft.

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 134.75
Number of aircraft Sent 67
Number of aircraft Effective 54
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 2
Number of aircraft Damaged 9
Number of people Killed In Action 11
Number of people Wounded in Action 8
Number of people Evaded 1
Number of people Prisoners of War 8
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Bomber Command 14
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Bomber Command 1
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 5

2. ROUEN (Primary)

Description

MARSHALLING YARDS

Aircraft type

B-24 Liberator

Notes

The lead aircraft and one other is shot down by Luftwaffe fighters.

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

Tonnage dropped 39.00
Number of aircraft Sent 16
Number of aircraft Effective 13
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 2
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 1
Number of aircraft Damaged 3
Number of people Killed In Action 15
Number of people Evaded 1
Number of people Returned To Duty 10
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Bomber Command 14
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Bomber Command 3
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 3

Service

People

  • Jacob Augenstene

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Shot down 8 March 1943 in B-24D 41-23784 [NB:R] 'Miss Dianne', 44BG/67BS while serving as Navigator. The aircraft was attacked and shot down by German fighters near Villers-Ecalles, France while on a mission to bomb the railroad marshalling yards at...

  • 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...

  • Frank Bartlett

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    12-Feb-42 Assigned to 303BG as an Aerial Gunner at Arrived at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho. 12-Jun-42 Trained at Alamogordo Field, Alamogordo New Mexico. 7-Aug-42 Finished Advanced training at Biggs Field, El Paso, Texas. 24-Aug-42 transferred with Ground...

  • Wilton Biggs

    Military | First Lieutenant | Navigator | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    Shot down 8 March 1943 in B-17F 41-24514, 306BG/368BS while serving as Navigator. The aircraft was attacked by an FW-190 after Spitfire escort left while on a mission to bomb the railroad marshalling yards as Rennes, France. Aircraft was at the tail...

  • Robert Blaine

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Shot down 8 March 1943 in B-24D 41-23988 [NB:E]'Emmy Lou', 44BG/67BS while serving as Pilot. The aircraft was attacked by German fighters and shot down at Barentin, France while on a mission to bomb the railroad yards at Rouen, France. Killed in Action...

  • Norman Breniser

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner, Waist Gunner | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Shot down 8 March 1943 in B-24D 41-23988 [NB:E] 'Emmy Lou', 44BG/67BS while serving as Right Waist Gunner. Aircraft was attacked by German fighters and shot down at Barentin, France while on a mission to bomb the railroad marshalling yards at Rouen,...

  • Richard Browning

    Military | Lieutenant | Navigator | 303rd Bomb Group
    28-Feb-42 Assigned as Navigator of B-17F 41-24565 [BN-P] "Idaho Potato Peeler Kids", 303BG/359BS at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho. 25-Oct-42 Arrived at Molesworth, UK aboard "Idaho Potato Peeler Kids" ...

  • Otto Buddenbaum

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    Shot down 8 March 1943 in B-17F 41-24514, 306BG/368BS while serving as Pilot. Aircraft was shot down by FW-190 after Spitfire escort left while on a mission to attack the railroad marshalling yards at Renne, France. Aircraft was flying as the "Tail End...

  • Joseph Carter

    Military | Captain | Pilot | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    Shot down 8 March 1943 in B-17F 41-24588 [WF:A] 'Carter and His Little Pills', 305BG/364BS while serving as Pilot. Aircraft ditched into the English Channel on return from bombing the railroad marshalling yards at Rennes, France. The entire crew...

  • Harvie Collins

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner, Waist Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    23-Jun-42 Assigned as an Aerial Gunner on B-17F 41-24620 [PU-O],"Snap!, Crackle!" Pop!" 303BG/360BS at Alamogordo Field, Alamogordo, New Mexico but did not arrive at Molesworth with the rest of the crew. 303BG records do not indicate when he arrived at...

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Aircraft

  • 41-23784 Miss Dianne

    B-24 Liberator
    B-24D-5-CO 41-23784 [NB:R] "Miss Dianne" was assigned to the 44BG/47BS. On 8-Mar-1943 the aircraft was despatched on a mission to bomb the railroad marshalling yards at Rouen, France. The aircraft sustained significant damage from German fighters near...

  • 41-23988 Emmy Lou

    B-24 Liberator
    B-24D-15-CO 41-23998 [NB:E] "Emmy Lou" was assigned to the 44BG/47BS. On 8-Mar-1943 the aircraft was despatched on a mission to bomb the railroad marshalling yards at Rouen, France. The aircraft was shot down by German fighters near Barentin, France. ...

  • 41-24514

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F-20-BO 41-24514 was assigned to the 368BS/306BG [BO- ] AT Westover 24-Aug-42; Thurleigh 23-Sep-42; Missing in Action, Rennes 8-Mar-43. Aircraft was on a mission to bomb the railroad marshalling yards at Renne, France when it was attacked and shot...

  • 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...

  • 41-24588 Carter and His Little Pills

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F-27-BO 41-24588 [WF-A] "Carter and His Little Pills" was assigned to the 364BS/305BG at Presque Isle, Maine 19-Oct-42; Grafton Underwood 25-Oct-42; Missing in Action 8-Mar-43. Aircraft was on a mission to bomb the railroad marshalling yards at...

  • 42-5723

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F-5-VE 42-5723 [PU:D] was delivered Long Beach 30-Sep-42; Tulsa 4-Oct-42; Wayne 5-Nov-42; Salina 27-Nov-42; Assigned 360BS/303BG [PU-D] at Molesworth, UK 13-Feb-43; battle damaged over Vegasak on 18-Mar-43 crash landed with wheels up in field four...

  • 41-23658 Thar She Blows

    B-24 Liberator
    B-24D 42-23658 was assigned to the 93rd Bomb Group 329th Bomb Squadron ar Alconbury, UK. The aircraft, piloted by Maj William Cowert, sustained battle damage on a mission to Rouen, France on 8-Mar-43 and made a crash landing at Gibralter Farm,...

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
26 December 2014 18:52:30 Lee8thbuff Changes to description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 26-Dec-2014. Description based on: 303BG Mission Report; "The Mighty Eighth War Diary" Roger A. Freeman and "USAAF Combat Chronology" Jack McKillop.

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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