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VIII Bomber Command 62

11 June 1943

Official description

Not yet known

Description

The harbour facilities, port areas and U-Boat pens at Wilhelmshaven and Cuxhaven, Germany are the primary targets for this mission. This is the largest number of heavy bombers yet despatched on a single mission - 252. This is the first mission flown since 29-May-43 due to a build up of heavy bomber forces in the UK in early June. There are now 17 heavy bomb groups and 3 medium bomb groups in the UK.

The first element of this formation is a combined force of 166 B-17s despatched from 1st Bomb Wing: 91BG (21); 92BG (14); 303BG (25); 305BG (24); 306BG (27); 351BG (24); and 379BG (31) to bomb the naval facilities at Wilhelmshaven, Germany. This is a "maximum effort" operation. The 303BG is the lead Group in the formation but the lead aircraft of the formation was hit by anti-aircraft fire while on the bomb run which knocked out two engines. As a result the formation became scattered and 20 aircraft ended up bombing targets of opportunity. Of the 166 despatched 139 were effective on a target. 7 B-17s are MIA (6 from the 379BG alone). Fighter and flak opposition in stiff but the bomber gunners claim 76-20-11 of the enemy fighters.

A second formation of 97 B-17s is dispatched from 4th Bomb Wing: 94BG (29); 95BG (29) and 96BG (28) to join in the attack on Wilhelmshaven with 30 directed to bomb the port area of Cuxhaven, Germany. Only 1 B-17 from this formation is MIA and the bomber gunners claim 9-0-13 of the enemy fighters.

All total 219 of the 252 B-17s despatched are effective on their targets and the Luftwaffe takes a big hit of 85-20-24.

NOTE: The Combined Chiefs of Staff (CCS) issues a directive through the Chief of Air Staff (C/AS), Royal Air Force (RAF), marking the official beginning of the Combined Bomber Offensive (CBO) of the USAAF and RAF against sources of German war power. The RAF is to bomb strategic city areas at night and the USAAF is to hit precise targets by daylight. The CCS sanctions the Combined Operational Planning Committee as the agency for coordinating the efforts of the CBO forces.

Mission details

1. Cuxhaven, Germany / Wilhelmshaven, Germany

Description

BOMB TARGETS OF OPPORTUNITY

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

20 B-17s of the 252 despatched attack targets of opportunity in and aroung Cuxhaven and Wilhelmshaven, Germany.

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 40.62
Number of aircraft Sent 20
Number of aircraft Effective 20

2. CUXHAVEN (Primary)

Description

PORT AREA

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

Not yet known

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 60.93
Number of aircraft Sent 30
Number of aircraft Effective 30
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 1
Number of people Killed In Action 10

3. WILHELMSHAVEN (Primary)

Description

U-BOAT PENS

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

This is the first mission flown since 29-May-43 due to the build-up of bomber resources in the UK in early June. There are now 17 Heavy Bomb Groups and 3 Medium Bomb Groups in the UK. Bombing results poor due to the fact that the lead aircraft from 303rd Bomb Group had two engines knocked out while on the bomb run and this caused the formation to scatter. No fighter escort for this 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...

  • 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...

  • 379th Bomb Group

    379th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 379th Bomb Group, based at Kimbolton, flew more sorties than any other Bomb Group in the Eighth Air Force and dropped a greater bomb tonnage than any other Group. The B-17 Flying Fortress Group was awarded two Distinguished Unit Citations, the...

  • 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 328.68
Number of aircraft Sent 202
Number of aircraft Effective 168
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 7
Number of aircraft Damaged 62
Number of people Killed In Action 69
Number of people Wounded in Action 20
Number of people Prisoners of War 24

Service

People

  • George Babich

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner ; Flight Engineer | 95th Bomb Group

  • Stanley Bennett

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 95th Bomb Group
    WIA. 19 May 1943. B-17F #42-29737. Shot down 11 June 1943 in B-17 #4229693. Plane crashed into North Sea. Killed in Action (KIA).

  • Leon Berger

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Radio Operator Gunner | 379th Bomb Group
    Radio Operator SSgt Leon Berger was Killed in Action flying his fourth and final mission to the synthetic rubber plant located at Hulls Germany on June 22, 1943. Enemy aircraft attacked the formation at approximately 09:15AM just prior to their...

  • Earl Boies

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 379th Bomb Group
    Top Turret Gunner/Engineer Technical Sgt Earl J Boies was Killed In Action flying his fourth and final mission to the synthetic rubber plant located at Hulls Germany on June 22, 1943. ...

  • Neil Brennan

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Air Gunner, Togglier/Bombardier | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    Shot down 26 November 1943 in B-17 #4230832. Prisoner of War (POW). He was a Prisoner of War (POW) from 26 Nov. 1943 to 04 May 1945. He was at Stalag 17B, Krems, Austria. Prisoner of War (POW) no. 100388. POW

  • 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. ...

  • John Davoren

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Left Waist Gunner, Waist Gunner | 95th Bomb Group

  • Erskine Dollarhide

    Military | Captain | Pilot | 379th Bomb Group
    Capt. Erskine Dollarhide Jr was Killed In Action flying his third and final mission to the synthetic rubber plant located at Huls Germany on June 22, 1943. As part of a composite strike force of the 525thBS/379th BG (H) & 303rd BG (H) Dollarhide led...

  • Lloyd Donelson

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Left Waist Gunner | 379th Bomb Group
    SSgt Lloyd Donelson (LT Waist) Survived his final mission to the synthetic rubber plant located at Hulls Germany on June 22, 1943. After enemy aircraft attacked his B17F 42-29946 with 20 mm cannon fire he was able to move from the waist to the nose of...

  • Nathan Egnor

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 379th Bomb Group
    2nd Lt Nathan Egnor Navigator was Killed In Action flying his fourth and final mission to the synthetic rubber plant located at Hulls Germany on June 22, 1943. Enemy aircraft attacked the formation at approximately 09:15AM just prior to their reaching...

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Aircraft

  • 42-29693 'Lonesone Polecat'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 4/2/43; Rapid City 20/2/43; Kearney 12/3/43; Assigned 412BS/95BG [QW-O] Alconbury 29/3/43; t/o Framlingham (6m), Missing in Action Cuxhaven 11/6/43 with Malcolm MacKinnon, Co-pilot: Gene Wood, Navigator: Dick Miller, Bombardier:...

  • 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...

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
05 January 2015 18:45:55 Lee8thbuff Changes to description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 5-Jan-2015. Overall mission description based on "The Mighty Eighth War Diary" Roger A. Freeman; Note extracted from "USAAF Combat Chronology" Jack McKillop.

Date Contributor Update
05 January 2015 18:09:13 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 5-Jan-2015. Targets of opportunity descritpion and map locations added 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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