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VIII Bomber Command 60

21 May 1943

Official description

Not yet known

Description

The German naval and port facilities at Wilhelmshaven and Emden, Germany are the two primary targets for this mission. Once again, there is a two-fold strategic objective: entice the Luftwaffe to commit its fighter forces; and further degrade the naval and port facilites supporting the German U-Boat fleet. A combined force of 98 B-17s is despatched from: 91BG (21); 303BG (19); 305BG (18); 306BG (21); and 351BG (19) to attack the harbour facilities at Kiel, Germany. The Germans know this is a high priority objective for the Allies and have no choice but to vigorously defend it. 77 of the 98 B-17s are effective on the target. The cost is high, at about 7% of the attacking force. 7 B-17s MIA. However, the bomber gunners claim 47-5-17 on the attacking fighters.

A second combined force of 63 B-17s is despatched from: 92BG (6); 94BG (20); 95BG (15) and 96BG (22). 96BG abandoned the mission because of formation assembly problems so none of that group were able to bomb. 46 of the 63 B-17s are effective on the target. Once again the cost is high with nearly 8% of the force shot down. 5 B-17s are MIA, 3 from the 94BG, or 15%. The bomber gunners claim 31-6-6 of the attacking fighters.

While these attacks are achieveing moderate success on the naval facilities, they are taking a toll on the Luftwaffe. However, the 7-8% loss rate among the bomber crews is of great concern, especially on the morale of the bomber crews. Based on the cumulative losses on 8th Air Force bomber crews to this date, the chances of a crew completeing 25 missions has dropped to 41.97%

Mission details

1. EMDEN (Primary)

Description

U-BOAT PENS

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

94th Bomb Group one B-17 crash-landed at North Weald, UK, aircraft DBR. 96th Bomb Group one B-17 Damaged Beyond Repair (DBR) at base.

Units

  • 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...

  • 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 111.00
Number of aircraft Sent 63
Number of aircraft Effective 46
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 5
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 1
Number of aircraft Damaged 9
Number of people Killed In Action 39
Number of people Wounded in Action 5
Number of people Prisoners of War 13
Number of people Returned To Duty 10

2. WILHELMSHAVEN (Primary)

Description

NAVAL BASE

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

German fighters fire air-to-air rockets. There is no fighter escort on this mission. One 306th Bomb Group was down at sea, but crew of 10 rescued after spending 30 hours in a dinghy. Not included in Missing in Action (MIA) mission count. 306th had 4 aborts.

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,...

  • 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...

  • 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 193.00
Number of aircraft Sent 98
Number of aircraft Effective 77
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 7
Number of aircraft Damaged 24
Number of people Killed In Action 44
Number of people Wounded in Action 9
Number of people Prisoners of War 28
Number of people Returned To Duty 10

Service

People

  • Rollin Ball

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    2LT Rollin P. Ball was Navigator on two differentt B-17s that were lost. ...

  • Vern Iverson

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | pilot | 96th Bomb Group
    Story of "Mischief Maker" participation on 27 Aug 1943 Regensburg mission in Snetterton Falcons, pg 44.

  • Leland Kessler

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner ; Flight Engineer | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    On 6 September 1942 while serving as Ball Turret Gunner aboard B-17F 41-24516 'Meltin' Pot' the aircraft lost 2 engines off Londonderry after flight from Newfoundland and was ditched off of Magilligan Point, Northern Ireland. The aircraft came down in...

  • Robert McCallum

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot; Pilot | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    On May 1, 1943, in B-17F 42-29649 while serving as Co-Pilot the aircraft was assigned to bomb the U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire. A navigational error on return took the group over heavily defended Brest and the aircraft was attacked by fighters and caught...

  • Robert McGuire

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

Aircraft

  • 41-24515 Marie Jane, Jersey Bounce

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 324BS/91BG [DF-H] Bangor 2-Sep-42; Bassingbourn 26-Sep-42; Missing in Action (KIA) 24+m Wilhelmshaven, Germany 21-May-43. Aircraft sustained damage from flak & enemy aircraft, crashed into the North Sea, 10KIA Missing Air Crew Report 3458 ...

  • 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.

  • 42-29666 Dearly Beloved

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F 42-29666 'Dearly Beloved' was delivered at Cheyenne 30-Jan-43; Salina 14-Feb-43; Barksdale 22-Feb-43; Morrison 5-Mar-43; Assigned 423BS/306BG [RD-O] Thurleigh 25-Mar-43; 2 21-May-43 Aircraft sustained damage from flak over the target of the port...

  • 42-30412 Mischief-Maker II

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Plane Mischief Maker II entered combat approximately Jun43 under command of Capt V.L. Iverson after the original Mischief Maker was damaged beyond repair. After this crew completed 25 missions Maj. Iverson was retained for HQ USSTAF, the crew...

  • 42-3110

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 22/2/43; Morrison 24/3/43; Assigned 336BS/95BG [ET-D] Framlingham /43; transferred 335BS [OE-D], 412BS [QW-D]; 3m, Missing in Action Emden 21/5/43 with Dexter Schnebly, Co-pilot: George Miller, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Phil...

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2016 19:13:04 Mags Changes to aircraft associations
Sources

303RD BG Web Page

Date Contributor Update
04 January 2015 19:57:47 Lee8thbuff Changes to description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 4-Jan-2014. Added description based on "The Mighty Eighth War Diary" Roger A. Freeman; Chances of completing a 25-mission tour calculated by Mr. Cunningham based on the cumulative statistics of number of bombers despatched versus number MIA.

Date Contributor Update
04 January 2015 19:44:32 Lee8thbuff Changes to description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 4-Jan-2014. Added description based on "The Mighty Eighth War Diary" Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
13 November 2014 11:11:17 Emily Changes to media associations
Sources

Associated Media based on images associated with missions in Freeman, The Mighty Eighth War Diary.

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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