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VIII Bomber Command 71

4 July 1943

Official description

Not yet known

Description

The aircraft factories at Le Mans and Nantes, France and the lock gates and harbour facilities at La Pallice, France are the primary targets for this mission. The mission is comprised of three elements:

1st Element: 121 B-17s are despatched to Le Mans, France: 91BG (19); 303BG (24); 351BG (18); 379BG (20); 381BG (21) and 384BG (19). The 92BG compliment includes 2 YB-40 gunships. 103 of this formation are effective on the aircraft factories and 2 bomb the marshalling yards. Enemy fighter oppositions is strong and 4 B-17s are MIA but the bomber gunners claim 24-5-15 of the attacking fighters;

2nd Element: 71 B-17s are despatched to Nantes, France: 92BG (19); 305BG (25); and 306BG (27). 61 of this formation are effective on the target. Enemy fighter opposition is strong and 3 B-17s are MIA but the bomber gunners claim 28-9-7 of the attacking fighters;

3rd Element: 83 B-17s are despatched to La Pallice, France: 94BG (18); 95BG (23); 96BG (16); 100BG (26). Fighter and flak opposition are light with only 1 B-17 MIA and 1 damaged. The bomber gunners claim 0-1-0 on enemy fighters.

Mission details

1. LA PALLICE (Primary)

Description

PORT AREA

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

Not yet known

Units

  • 100th Bomb Group

    100th Bomb Group

    Group
    "The Bloody Hundredth", so-called because of a reputation for losing a high number aircraft and crews, flew B-17s from Thorpe Abbotts, Norfolk. Their losses were not the highest of any Eighth Air Force Group but on several occasions the Group lost many...

  • 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 137.50
Number of aircraft Sent 83
Number of aircraft Effective 71
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 1
Number of aircraft Damaged 1
Number of people Evaded 1
Number of people Prisoners of War 9
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Bomber Command 0
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Bomber Command 1
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 0

2. LE MANS (Primary)

Description

AIRCRAFT FACTORY

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

92nd Bomb Group's despatch included 3 YB-40s. Fighters were planned to cover the withdrawal from the target but were recalled due to weather.

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...

  • 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...

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 254.50
Number of aircraft Sent 119
Number of aircraft Effective 103
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 4
Number of aircraft Damaged 29
Number of people Killed In Action 31
Number of people Wounded in Action 9
Number of people Evaded 15
Number of people Prisoners of War 25
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Bomber Command 24
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Bomber Command 5
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 15

3. LE MANS (Primary)

Description

MARSHALLING YARDS

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

Two B-17s from 303rd Bomb Group drop their bomb loads on the marshalling yards at Le Mans.

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...

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 5.00
Number of aircraft Sent 2
Number of aircraft Effective 2

4. NANTES (Primary)

Description

AIRCRAFT FACTORY

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

Not yet known

Units

  • 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,...

  • 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 145.00
Number of aircraft Sent 71
Number of aircraft Effective 61
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 3
Number of aircraft Damaged 34
Number of people Killed In Action 16
Number of people Wounded in Action 4
Number of people Evaded 2
Number of people Prisoners of War 16
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Bomber Command 28
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Bomber Command 9
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 7

Service

People

  • George Ashworth

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 384th Bomb Group
    Shot down 4 July 1943 in B-17 42-29960 'Nymokymi'. Evaded capture, with aid of French Resistance.

  • Olof Ballinger

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 381st Bomb Group
    Pilot, Ballinger Crew. 381st BG, 533rd BS. Shot down July 4, 1943 on B-17 #42-29928. Mission #7 to the Gnome-Rhone engine factory in Le Mans, France. MACR 161. Evaded capture, EE 248. Evaded for months with S/Sgt Owens until Lt Ballinger dropped out...

  • Harry Bauscher

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner | 381st Bomb Group
    RWG, Ballinger Crew. 381st BG, 533rd BS. Shot down 4 July 1943 in B-17 #42-29928. Mission #7 to the Gnome-Rhone engine factory in Le Mans, France. MACR 161. Killed in Action (KIA). Unknown burial site. Cincinnati, OH

  • William Binnebose

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner | 95th Bomb Group
    Served 3 March 1942-1 January 1946. Flew 9 missions, not all on Our Bay-Bee. WIA 26 Jul 1943 B-17 #42-30274. Shot down 17 August 1943 in B-17 #4230274 'Our Bay-Bee. ' Prisoner of War (POW). Stalag 17B, Krems. Also wounded while POW, shot when 2 other...

  • 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

  • Thomas Brzoznowski

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 384th Bomb Group
    Thomas Brzoznowski was Bombardier on B-17 #42-3235 "Lakanuki" shot down 4 July 1943 over France. Killed in Action (KIA).

  • David Butcher

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 384th Bomb Group
    David Butcher was Tail Gunner on board B-17 #42-3235 "Lakanuki", shot down 4 July 1943 over France. Missing Air Crew Report MACR #3035. EVADED - Escape and Evasion Report #483.

  • John Carah

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Co-Pilot; Pilot | 381st Bomb Group
    Co-pilot, Ballinger Crew. 381st BG, 533rd BS. Shot down 4 July 1943 over Normandy while on bombing mission to Gnome-Rhone engine factory in LeMans, France in B-17 #42-29928. Evaded to Switzerland where he served as a military attache at the American...

  • James Carter

    Military | Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 384th Bomb Group
    James Carter was Ball Turret Gunner on B-17 #42-3235 "Lakanuki" shot down 4 July 1943 over France. Killed in Action (KIA).

  • Kenneth Christensen

    Military | Sergeant | Left Waist Gunner | 384th Bomb Group
    Kenneth Christensen was Left Waist Gunner on board B-17 #42-3235 "Lakanuki", shot down 4 July 1943 over France. Missing Air Crew Report MACR #3035. Killed in Action (KIA).

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Aircraft

  • 41-24575 Sunrise Serenader

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 365BS/305BG [XK-S] Presque Is 19/10/42; Grafton Underwood 25/10/42; transferred 544BS/384BG [SU-J] Grafton Underwood 19/9/43; detailed Bremen 13/11/43 but recalled with Ralph Connell, Co-pilot: Albt Doman, Navigator: Larry Angthius, Bombardier...

  • 42-29791 'Little Jimmie' 'Memphis Blues'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 21/2/43; Gore 7/3/43; Assigned 334BS/95BG [BG-Q] Alconbury 19/4/43 LITTLE JIMMIE; ...

  • 42-29928

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 12/3/43; Walla Walla 25/3/43; Metropolitan 13/4/43; Presque Is 29/4/43; Assigned 533BS/381BG [VP-W] Ridgewell 23/6/43; Missing in Action 2m Le Mans 4/7/43 with Olaf Ballinger, Navigator: Paul McConnell,Tail gunner: Bill Howell, Waist...

  • 42-29967

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 18/3/43; Gore 19/3/43; Walla Walla 30/3/43; Metropolitan 13/4/43; Assigned 412BS/95BG [QW-Q] Framlingham 12/5/43; Horham 15/6/43; 2m, transferred 407BS/92BG [PY-Q] Alconbury 17/6/43; Missing in Action Nantes/Le Mans 4/7/43 with John...

  • 42-30066 'Mugwump' aka 'Rum Boogie II'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 6/4/43; Gore 14/4/43; Kearney 16/4/43; Wendover 2/5/43; Hill 16/5/43; Kearney 22/5/43; Dow Fd 30/5/43; Assigned 413BS/96BG [MZ-X] Andrews Fd 2/6/43; RUM BOOGIE II; transferred 418BS/100BG [LD-U] Thorpe Abbotts 9/6/43; as war weary F...

  • 42-3235

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 7/4/43; Assigned 100BG Dow Fd 23/5/43; transferred 545BS/384BG [JD-T] Grafton Underwood 23/6/43; Missing in Action Le Mans 4 July 1943 with Pilot Lawrence W. Meyer.Co-pilot: Norman A. Gauntt, Navigator: James C. Crouch, Bombardier:...

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2016 19:33:01 Mags Changes to aircraft associations
Sources

303rd BG Web Page

Date Contributor Update
15 February 2015 17:54:36 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 15-Feb-2015. Added Personnel losses and bomber gunner claims to Nantes statistics per "the Mighty Eighth War Diary" Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
15 February 2015 17:41:01 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 15-Feb-2015. Added bomber gunner claims to Le Mans statistics.

Date Contributor Update
15 February 2015 17:38:58 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 15-Feb-2015. Added bomber gunner claims to La Palice statistics per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary" Roger A. Freeman

Date Contributor Update
15 February 2015 17:35:52 Lee8thbuff Changes to description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 15-Feb-2015. Edited Title and added 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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