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VIII Bomber Command 59

19 May 1943

Official description

Not yet known


The German naval bases at Kiel and Flensburg, Germany are the two primary targets for this mission. A force of 123 B-17s is despatched from: 91BG (19); 92BG (10); 303BG (27); 305BG (22); 306BG (24) and 351BG (21) to bomb the naval facilities at Kiel, Germany. Dense flak and fierce fighter opposition is encountered. This has the two-fold strategic objective of drawing up the Luftwaffe for destruction of their fighters and attaking the port facilities supporting the German U-Boat offensive. 101 of 103 of the B-17s despatched are effective on the primary at Kiel. One B-17 from 351st BG drops on the secondary target for this formation, the port facilities at Flensburg, Germany and another drops on a target of last resort the Kreigsmarinewerft dock yards. 6 B-17s are MIA. The bomber gunners claim 48-7-21 on the attacking fighters.

A second formation of 64 B-17s are depatched from: 94BG (26); 95BG (15) and 96BG (23) to bomb the naval yards at Flensburg, Germany. Anti-aircraft fire and fighter opposition is also stiff aginst this formation but NO B-17s are lost and 9 are damaged. The bomber gunners claim 12-4-14 on the enemy fighters.

The 379th Bomb Group despatches 24 B-17s on a diversion for the bombers attacking at Kiel and Felnsburg. This is their first operation. They will fly their first bombing operation on 29-May-43. This diversion is escorted by 117 P-47s despatched from 4FG, 56FG and 78FG. Therer are no losses or claims in the bomber formation or among the escorting fighters.

Mission details

1. FLENSBURG (Primary)



Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress


Not yet known


  • 94th Bomb Group

    94th Bomb 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

    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

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

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 134.00
Number of aircraft Sent 64
Number of aircraft Effective 55
Number of aircraft Damaged 9
Number of people Killed In Action 2
Number of people Wounded in Action 4

2. KIEL (Primary)



Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress


A British civilian news correspondent was killed on a 91st Bomb Group aircraft that was Missing in Action (MIA). One B-17 from 351st Bomb Group drops on Flensberg and another from 315th Bomb Group drops on Kriegmarinewerft docks. Each drop 10 X 500GP bombs (included in Kiel totals). No fighter escort on this mission.


  • 303rd Bomb Group

    303rd Bomb 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

    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

    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

    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

    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 236.95
Number of aircraft Sent 123
Number of aircraft Effective 103
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 6
Number of aircraft Damaged 28
Number of people Killed In Action 36
Number of people Wounded in Action 7
Number of people Evaded 1
Number of people Prisoners of War 26




Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress


24 B-17s despatched from 379BG fly a diversion for the attacks on Kiel and Flensburg, German as their first operation.

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 24



  • William Hatcher

    Military | Colonel | Co-Pilot; Pilot; Group Commanding Officer | 351st Bomb Group
    William Hatcher Jr was born in Grand Rapids, was brought up in Detroit’s north end and attended Northern High School. After his enlistment in the Air Corps, he followed pilot training courses and rose rapidly through the ranks. ...

  • Jack Kern

    Military | Colonel | Pilot | 351st Bomb Group

  • Robert McGuire

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Radio Operator | 303rd Bomb Group
    Robert McGuire served as a radio operator with the 358th Bomb Squadron of the 303rd Bomb Group, flying missions out of Molesworth, England.

  • Marc Pitts

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    in one month Marc flew six combat missions, his final mission he was killed when his aircraft took 3 direct hits from flak, which took out the control cables and put a hole in the tail. ...

  • Arthur Poston

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Bombardier | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Killed in Action (KIA) 19 May 1943 in B-17 # 4124483 'Spirit of Alcohol. ' He went to Bassingbourn from MacDill Field about November/December 1942. He was on his 16th mission. The pilot (Lt. Baxley) told his parents in a letter that they were...

  • Ralph Saltsman

    Military | Colonel | C/O 331st Bomb Squadron | 94th Bomb Group
    Shot down 14 July 1943 in B-17 #4230243 'Good Time Cholly II. ' Prisoner of War (POW).

  • James Shaw

    Military | Technical Sergeant (2nd Grade) | Radio Operator Gunner | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    Shot down 19 May 1943 in B-17 41-24573. Plane crashed into North Sea. Killed in Action (KIA). See detailed biography at

  • 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...

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  • 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....

  • 42-29737 'Louise'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 11/2/43; Rapid City 22/2/43; Salina 4/3/43; Kearney 12/3/43; Assigned 92BG Alconbury 9/4/43; transferred 412BS/95BG [QW-N] Framlingham 12/5/43; with R.E. Robinson force landed Framlingham afd 17/5/43; with Robinson 19/5/43, Navigator...


Date Contributor Update
15 January 2016 19:10:39 Mags Changes to aircraft associations

303rd BG Web Page

Date Contributor Update
04 January 2015 19:10:35 Lee8thbuff Changes to description

Lee Cunningham 4-Jan-2015. Corrected typo in description.

Date Contributor Update
04 January 2015 19:09:01 Lee8thbuff Changes to description

Lee Cunningham 4-Jan-2015. Added description based on "The Mighty Eighth War Diary" Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
04 January 2015 18:47:50 Lee8thbuff Created event

Lee Cunningham 4-Jan-2015. Added Diversion event and description per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary" Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:43:17 AAM AAM ingest

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'.