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VIII Bomber Command 45

18 March 1943

Official description

Not yet known

Description

The U-Boat pens at Vegesack-Bremen are the primary target of this mission. 76 B-17s are despatched: 91BG (18); 303BG (20); 305BG (18) and 306BG (20). These are joined by 17 B-24's: 44BG (9) and 93BG (15). Of the 103 aircraft despatched 97 are effective on the target. 1 B-17 from 303BG is MIA (flown by a 92BG crew - Combat Crew Replacement Center- 5KIA 5POW) and 1 B-17 from 303BG is DBR. The single KIA casualty from 303BG was the Lead Bombardier, 1Lt Jack V. Mathis flying in B-17 41-24561 "The Dutchess". He is posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the first to be awarded to a member of the 8th Air Force. The citation may be viewed at: http://www.cmohs.org/recipient-detail/2864/mathis-jack-w.php 1 B-24 is MIA. Fighter opposition is heavy and the bomber gunners claim 52-20-23 on enemy aircraft (results probably exaggerated, but significant none the less).

Mission details

1. VEGESACK (Primary)

Description

U-BOAT PENS

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

First use of autopilot linked to bombsight. 1st Lt. Jack V. Mathis (Lead Bombardier) 359BS/303rd Bomb Group is awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor during this action. He was flying in B-17 , serial number 41-24561, "The Duchess". 1st CMOH awarded to a member of the 8th Air Force. 1st Lt. Mathis was the single Killed in Action (KIA) on this mission. No fighter escort. Seven U-Boat hulls reported damaged.

91st Bomb Group, 323rd Bomb Squadron - Five ships from our squadron, piloted by Capt. Dwyer and Clancy; Lt. Giauque, Rand and Walker took part in the extremely successful bombing of the submarine building yards at Vegasack, Germany. Approaching from a northeasterly direction and flying across the narrow direction of the target. The bombing was well directed and concentrated, securing praise from all high commands, including Winston Churchill. Seven nearly completed submarines on the ways are believed destroyed. This was the largest effort of US bombers so far, with ninety-seven ships over the target. Three tons of bombs were carried for the first time on a big 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...

  • 323rd Bomb Squadron

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 198.86
Number of aircraft Sent 76
Number of aircraft Effective 69
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 1
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 1
Number of aircraft Damaged 9
Number of people Killed In Action 6
Number of people Wounded in Action 8
Number of people Prisoners of War 5
Number of people Returned To Duty 10

2. VEGESACK (Primary)

Description

U-BOAT PENS

Aircraft type

B-24 Liberator

Notes

Not yet known

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 69.17
Number of aircraft Sent 27
Number of aircraft Effective 24
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 1
Number of aircraft Damaged 14
Number of people Killed In Action 9
Number of people Wounded in Action 8
Number of people Prisoners of War 1

Service

People

  • 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 and 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...

  • George Boyd

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 303rd Bomb Group
    22-Feb-43 Assigned to the 303BG/358BS at Molesworth, UK as Navigator of the 2LT James R. Dunn crew. ...

  • Paul Brown

    Military | Colonel | Squadron Commanding Officer | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Major Paul D. Brown, became the 1st C.O. May 16, 1942 at McDill Field, Tampa, Florida. ...

  • 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" ...

  • William Cassedy

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    William Cassedy first flew as Copilot on Capt. Raymond Check's crew. On the 26 June 1943 mission to Tricqueville airfield, Cassedy, the plane's regular Co-Pilot, had filled the post of one of the waist gunners on B-17 #42-3172, piloted by Lt. Col....

  • Eugene Clowe

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    22-Feb-43 Assigned to the 303BG/358BS at Molesworth, UK as Tail Gunner of the 2LT James R. Dunn crew. ...

  • Robert Coltrane

    Military | First Lieutenant | Bombardier | 303rd Bomb Group
    1LT Robert A. Coltrane was assigned as a Bombardier with 1LT Charles N. Austin's crew with the 92BG (aircraft assignment has not been determined). He arrived with the crew aborad a B-17 aircraft at Bovington, UK on 18-Aug-42. On 11-Jan-43 his aircraft,...

  • Herman Currie

    Military | First Lieutenant | Bombardier | 303rd Bomb Group
    18-Mar-43 First mission despatched on mission to Vegesack, Germany, a strongly fortified shipbuilding region as Bombardier of B-17F 42-5723, 303BG/360BS. The aircraft, piloted by 1LT Loyd D. Griffin, returned from mission with an excellent wheels up...

  • Kenneth Davey

    Military | Major | Pilot | 303rd Bomb Group
    303BG records do not indicate when he arrived at Molesworth, UK. He may have been transferred from another group. ...

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Aircraft

  • 41-23666 Hot Freight

    B-24 Liberator
    B-24D-1-CO 41-23666 [AG:s] was assigned to the 93BG/330BS at Hardwick, UK. on 18-Mar-43 the aircraft was despatched on a mission to bombe the port facilities at Vegesack, Germany. The aircraft sustained battle damage over the target and crashed near...

  • 41-24539 Jersey Bounce

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 358BS/303BG [VK-K] Kellogg Fd 15/9/42; Molesworth 16/10/42; CCRC Bovingdon 27/7/43; 384BG Grafton Underwood 22/9/43; Salvaged NBD 31/5/45. JERSEY BOUNCE.

  • 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...

  • 41-24561 The Duchess, "Sure Stuff"

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 359BS/303BG [BN-T] Bangor 10/9/42; Molesworth 16/10/42; 59m transferred 1 Base Air Depot (sic),* Burtonwood 7/7/44; Returned to the USA Altus 18/8/44; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Altus 14/8/45. Over...

  • 41-24605 Knock-out Dropper

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned to the 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...

  • 42-5177 'FAST WOMAN' aka 'FAST WORKER Mk II'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 6/10/42; New Castle 19/10/42; Assigned 359BS/303BG [BN-U] Molesworth 1/2/43; battle damaged Bremen 28/11/43 with Harry Bolsover, Co-pilot: Chas Rice, Navigator: Byron Clark, Bombardier: Chas McLain, Flight engineer/top turret gunner:...

  • 42-5264 Yankee Doodle Dandy

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 2/11/42; Saline 15/12/42; Assigned 358BS/303BG [VK-J] Molesworth 1/2/43; landing accident with Bob O’Connor 31/5/43; battle damaged over Oschersleben 11/1/44 with John Henderson, Co-pilot: Walter Ames, Navigator: Warren Wiggins,...

  • 42-5360 Old Faithful, War Bride

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Tulsa 20/11/42; New Castle 13/12/42; Assigned 358BS/303BG Molesworth [VK-N] 8/1/43; Missing in Action [35m] Oschersleben 11/1/44 with Harry Schwaebe, Co-pilot: Harry Dumse, Navigator: Paul Degnan, Bombardier: Wilburn Wiley, Flight engineer...

  • 42-5430 Pappy, Good Snuf

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 8/12/42 ...

  • 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...

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
14 July 2020 13:08:11 general ira snapsorter Changes to event
Sources

http://www.91stbombgroup.com/Dailies/323rd1-1to3-30-43.html

Date Contributor Update
31 December 2014 18:39:20 Lee8thbuff Changes to description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 31-Dec-2014. Added link to Mathis CMOH citation, Congressional Medal of Honor Society, http://www.cmohs.org/recipient-detail/2864/mathis-jack-w.php

Date Contributor Update
27 December 2014 19:26:23 Lee8thbuff Changes to description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 27-Dec-2014. Description based on "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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