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VIII Bomber Command 57

15 May 1943

Official description

Not yet known

Description

The missions of VIII Bomber Command are becoming more sophisticated. The primary stratgic target for today is the U-Boat pens, marshalling yards and Luftwaffe airfield at Emden, Germany. The resistance of Luftwaffe fighters is a primary concern for the planners, but they realise that the bombers are the only way to get the Luftwaffe to commit their resources.

The overall plan is to despatch 116 American P-47s from 4FG, 56FG and 78FG on a sweep of the Dutch coast in the Rotterdam/Amsterdam area well in front of the bomber streams as the first part of the coordinated attack (see VIII Fighter Command FO-19 for details).

The second element in the coordinated plan is the despatch of 113 B-17s from: 91BG (25); 92BG (10); 303BG (24); 305BG (30); and 306BG (19) to attack the naval facilities at Heligoland Island and the Luftwaffe airfields at Wangerooge and Dune Islands. 305BG and 306BG form together as a composite group. While the targets do have some strategic value, the idea is that his force will draw away the fighter defenses that would come against the Emden effort. As part of this deception 19 B-17s from 351BG will break off to attack the harbour faciliities at Wilhelmshaven. The plan works well even though only 76 of the 113 aircraft despatched are effective on their targets. Aircraft losses are moderate at 5 MIA. The bomber gunners in this formation claim 29-30-30 on enemy fighters

The first element helped the 351BG on their attack on Wilhelmshaven allowing 18 of the 19 despatched to bomb at Wilhelmshaven with 1 aircraft MIA. This Group claims 3-0-0 on German fighters.

61 B-17s are despatched against the main strategic target of Emden by the newer 8AF Bomb Groups: 94BG (26); 95BG (12); and 96BG (23). The lead bombardier of 94BG makes an error and that Group's bombs fall short. 41 of the 61 aircraft despatched are effective on the target, but there are NO B-17 losses in this formation. Fighter resistance is light-moderate and the bomber gunners claim 14-3-1.

Mission details

1. EMDEN (Primary)

Description

MARSHALLING YARDS

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

Error by a bombardier in 94th Bomb Group causes incendiary bombs of one B-17 to fall short.

Units

  • 94th Bomb Group

    94th Bomb Group

    Group
    Activated 15-Jun-1942 at MacDill Field, Florida. Initial organisation and training at Pendleton Field, Oregon on 29-Jun-1942; Primary flight training at Davis-Monthan Field in Arizona from 28-Aug-42 to 31-Oct-42 than at Biggs Field, El Paso, Texas from...

  • 95th Bomb Group

    95th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 95th Bomb Group was the only Eighth Air Force Group to be awarded three Distinguished Unit Citations. The first, shared by all four Bomb Wing Groups, was for the bombing of an aircraft factory under intense enemy fire at Regensburg on 17 August...

  • 96th Bomb Group

    96th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 96th Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses to targets across occupied Europe from May 1943 to April 1945. ...

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 122.50
Number of aircraft Sent 61
Number of aircraft Effective 41

2. Wilhelmshaven, Germany

Description

U-BOAT YARD

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

Primary target was the harbour facilities at Wilhelmshaven.

Units

  • 351st Bomb Group

    351st Bomb Group

    Group
    The 351st Bomb Group flew strategic bombing missions from their base at Polebrook, Northamptonshire from April 1943 to June 1945. The Group's most famous member was Hollywood actor Clark Gable, who flew four/ five missions with them as an observer...

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 14.50
Number of aircraft Sent 19
Number of aircraft Effective 18
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 1
Number of people Killed In Action 10

3. Wangerooge, Germany / Düne, 27498 Helgoland / Helgoland, Germany

Description

The German naval base at Heligoland Island; the Luftwaffe fighter airfield on Dune; and the Luftwaffe fighter airfield on Wangerooge Island are the targets for this formation. This is part of a coordinated strike to support the primary strategic mission of attacking Wilhelmashaven and Emden, Germany. It is believed that this large force of 113 B-17s, flying approximately 10 minutes ahead of the force sent to Wilhelmshaven/Emden, will draw fighters away from the stratgic force, as well as destroy two Luftwaffe airfields of fighters that may be scrambled.

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

The 305th Bomb Group and the 303rd Bomb Group formed a composite group on this raid.

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...

  • 92nd Bomb Group Fame's Favoured Few

    92nd Bomb Group Fame's Favoured Few

    Group
    The 92nd Group's 327th Bomb Squadron was the only Eighth Air Force squadron to fly YB-40s in combat. YB-40s were B-17s modified to fly as a heavily armed escort for other bombers. They were flown on missions between May and June 1943. Between May 1943...

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 186.00
Number of aircraft Sent 113
Number of aircraft Effective 76
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 5
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 1
Number of aircraft Damaged 26
Number of people Killed In Action 30
Number of people Wounded in Action 7
Number of people Prisoners of War 22
Number of people Returned To Duty 10

Service

People

  • 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. ...

  • Frank Clemons

    Military | Lieutenant | Pilot | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    Shot down 15 May 1943 in B-17 42-29744 'Battling Bee'. Plane crashed into North Sea between Neuwerk Island and Cuxhaven, in shallow water. Lt. Clemons was the last to bail out, low altitude and landed in North Sea. Body was recovered from the shore...

  • Roy Fries

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    Shot down 15 May 1943 in B-17F #42-29744. Served in Tail Gunner position. Plane crashed into North Sea between Neuwerk Island and Cuxhaven, Ger. Killed in Action (KIA). Remains not recovered. Memorialized on the "Tablets of the Missing" at Margraten,...

  • Oran Highley

    Military | First Lieutenant | Bombardier | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    Shot down 15 May 1943 in B-17F-70-BO [GY-O] #42-29744 "Battling Bee". Plane crashed into shallow water between Neuwerk Island and Cuxhaven, Ger. Captured at Altenwalde. Prisoner of War (POW) imprisoned at Stalag Luft 3 and moved to work camp Stalag...

  • Robert McGuire

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Radio Operator | 303rd Bomb Group

  • Emil Miller

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner, Waist Gunner | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    Shot down 15 May 1943 in B-17F #42-29744 ''Battling Bee' piloted by 1Lt. Frank Clemons. Plane crashed landed in shallow water between Neuwerk Island and Cuxhaven, Ger. Presumed drowned in North Sea. Body was not recovered when aircraft was salvaged by...

  • Frank Spitznagel

    Military | Major | Pilot | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    Born November 5, 1919 in Buffalo, NY. ...

  • Philip Spofford

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Gunner | 94th Bomb Group
    Philip Spofford was born in Arlington, MA. and graduated from Arlington High School in 1941. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps one month later completing his basic training at Fort Devens, MA. At a later date he completed Armament School at Lowery...

  • Charles Woodworth

    Military | First Lieutenant | Bombardier | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    Lt. Woodworth enlisted in the Army Air Corps in January 1942, and completed bombardier training 4 July 1942 at Victorville, California. Assigned to the 305th Bomb Group, he was with the group as they completed training at Muroc, California, then...

Aircraft

  • 42-29635 Augerhead

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 24/1/43; Salina 7/2/43; Assigned 358BS/303BG [VK-M] Molesworth 26/3/43. 18 missions. Missing in Action on the mission to bomb the airfield at Amiens-Glisy, France on 31 August 1943. Pilot: William J. Monahan; Co-pilot: Louis M....

  • 42-29744 Battling Bee

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 18/2/43; Salina 2/3/43; Assigned 367BS/306BG [GY-O] Thurleigh 20/4/43; Missing in Action Heligoland Airdome 15/5/43 with Frank Clemons, Radio Operator: John Mulherin, Ball turret gunner: Don Kind, Waist gunner: Reuben Carr, Waist...

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2016 19:06:24 Mags Changes to aircraft associations
Sources

303rd BG Web Page

Date Contributor Update
03 January 2015 21:05:46 Lee8thbuff Changes to description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 3-Jan-2015. Corrected statistics on Emden.

Date Contributor Update
03 January 2015 21:02:25 Lee8thbuff Changes to description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 3-Jan-2015. Descritpion based on "the Mighty Eighth War Diary" Roger A. Freeman and "USAAF Combat Chronology" Jack McKillop.

Date Contributor Update
03 January 2015 20:15:12 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 3-Jan-2015. Description based on "USAFF Combat Chronology" Jack McKillop.

Date Contributor Update
03 January 2015 19:56:53 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 3-Jan-2015. Description based on "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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