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VIII Bomber Command 87

27 August 1943

Official description

Not yet known

Description

This mission is the first attack by the USAAF on suspected V-Weapon sites. The German development of pilotless winged aircraft was first divulged to the British just shortly after the beginning of World War II in two letters sent to the British embassy in Oslo by a German mathematician and physicist Hans Ferdinand Mayer on 1 and 2 November 1939. This disclosure became known as the "Oslo Report". The information was passed on to the British Intelligence group known as MI-6. The report was largely dismissed as a German attempt at misdirection. However, subsequent photographic reconnaissance by the RAF in May 1942 through May 1943 confirmed that the Germans were indeed up to something at Peenemunde that seemed to validate the Oslo Report.

The mission of 27-Aug-43 was directed against the construction of a large blockhouse and surrounding works. In fact, these were actually German preparations for a launching site for the infamous V-2 rocket, but that exact use was not known at the time.

The mission was composed of two elements both aimed at the construction site in and around Watten, France. The first element consisted of a combined force of 159 B-17s from: 91BG (13); 92BG (19); 303BG (20); 305BG (18); 306BG (18); 351BG (22); 379BG (21); 381BG (10); and 384BG (18). Intense anti-aircraft fire was directed at this element as well as a German fighter force of 20-30 aircraft. 124 aircraft were effective on the target. 4 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) - 10KIA 18POW 2EVD 10RTD (rescued by ASR). 1 airman was KIA in a returning aircraft and 18 were wounded. 1 aircraft was crashlanded at Alconbury, UK upon return and was declared to be Damaged Beyond Repair (DBR) but the 10 crewmen were OK. The bomber gunners in this element claim 7-0-6 of the attacking German fighters.

The second element was a combined force of 65 B-17s from : 94BG (11); 95BG (7); 96BG (9); 100BG (7); 385BG (12); 388BG (12); and 390BG (7). 63 of these aircraft were effective on their targets. There are no losses of claims in this element but 15 aircraft are damaged.

Mission details

1. WATTEN

Description

V1 MISSILE SITES

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...

  • 385th Bomb Group

    385th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 385th Bomb Group, who took the nickname "Van's Valiants" after their first Commanding Officer Col. Elliot Vandevanter, flew B-17s from Great Ashfield, Suffolk. The Group led the famous attack on the Focke-Wolfe aircraft factory at Marienburg on 9...

  • 388th Bomb Group

    388th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 388th Bomb Group flew strategic bombing mission from Knettishall, Suffolk from June 1943 to the end of the war. During this time, though, detachments were sent to Fersfield, Norfolk to conduct Aphrodite missions. In these Aphrodite missions veteran...

  • 390th Bomb Group

    390th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 390th Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses from Framlingham, Suffolk, between July 1943 and the end of the war in Europe. The Group was engaged in strategic missions until the invasion of Europe when its role became more of a tactical one. This...

  • 94th Bomb Group

    94th Bomb Group

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

  • 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

Number of aircraft Sent 65
Number of aircraft Effective 63
Number of aircraft Damaged 15

2. WATTEN

Description

V1 MISSILE SITES

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

First 8th Air Force raid on missile sites. Designated "NOBALL" sites.

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...

  • 379th Bomb Group

    379th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 379th Bomb Group (H) (heavy), 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...

  • 381st Bomb Group

    381st Bomb Group

    Group
    The 381st Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses from Ridgewell, Essex between June 1943 and April 1945. The Group was awarded two Distinguished Unit Citations, the first for bombing shipyards at Bremen, whilst under heavy attack, on 8 October 1943 and...

  • 384th Bomb Group

    384th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 384th Bomb Group flew B-17s from Grafton Underwood, Northamptonshire, between May 1943 and June 1945. They were engaged in daylight bombing missions over Germany as part of the Allies' efforts to destroy the effectiveness of the Luftwaffe by...

  • 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 sometime after arrivial in the UK converted to the role of in-theater combat crew indocrination and training. For this role, the Group traded its B-17F complement and obtained the B-17E, mostly from the 97th BG which was departing for...

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 368.00
Number of aircraft Sent 159
Number of aircraft Effective 124
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 4
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 1
Number of aircraft Damaged 83
Number of people Killed In Action 11
Number of people Wounded in Action 18
Number of people Evaded 2
Number of people Prisoners of War 18
Number of people Returned To Duty 10
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Bomber Command 7
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 6

Service

People

  • Barclay Beeby

    Military | Captain | Pilot | 388th Bomb Group

  • Charles Bein

    Military | Sergeant (Technician Fourth Grade) | Waist Gunner | 388th Bomb Group
    Shot down 20 December 1943 in B-17 #4231084. Killed in Action (KIA). AM w/ 2 Oak Leaf Cluster

  • Richard Bragdon

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 92nd Bomb Group Fame's Favoured Few
    Assigned to 327BS, 92BG, 8AF USAAF. Shot down 27-Aug-43 in B-17 42-30617. Plane ditched in North Sea. Returned to duty (RTD). Awards: WWII Victory, EAME.

  • 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

  • Carl Carlson

    Military | Flight Officer | Co-Pilot | 92nd Bomb Group Fame's Favoured Few
    Assigned to 327BS, 92BG, 8AF USAAF. Shot down 27-Aug-43 in B-17 42-30617. Plane ditched in North Sea. Returned to Duty (RTD). Awards: WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Henry Cox

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 388th Bomb Group
    Henry Jr. was a graduate of the 1940 class of Cumberland County High School. Two classmates, and football team members, graduating from CCHS in 1938, Ben H. West Jr. and Cecil G. Buttram were killed in action. AMM 3rd Class Ben H. West Jr. enlisted Dec...

  • Cloe Crutchfield

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 92nd Bomb Group Fame's Favoured Few
    Assigned to 327BS, 92BG, 8AF USAAF. Shot down 27-Aug-43 in B-17 42-30617. Plane ditched in North Sea. Returned to duty (RTD). Shot down on 6-Sep-43 in B-17 42-30000. Evaded (EVD). Awards: WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Jack Fawcett

    Military | Captain | Bombardier | 303rd Bomb Group
    Assigned to 359BS, 303BG, 8AF USAAF. 32 x combat missions. ETD Awards: DFC, AM (OLC), WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Robert Gailey

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 92nd Bomb Group Fame's Favoured Few
    Assigned to 327BS, 92BG, 8AF USAAF. Shot down 27-Aug-43 in B-17 42-30617. Plane ditched in North Sea. Returned to duty (RTD). Awards: WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Warren Holland

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 384th Bomb Group
    Shot down 6 September 1943 in B-17 #423455 'Lucky Thirteen. ' Prisoner of War (POW). POW

Show more

Aircraft

  • 41-24560 'Little Audrey'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 368BS/306BG [BO-D] New Castle 4/10/42; Thurleigh 26/10/42; transferred 369BS [WW- ]; transferred 544BS/384BG [SU-A] Grafton Underwood 5/9/43; 1 Base Air Depot, Burtonwood 15/3/44; Returned to the USA Homestead 14/5/44; Reconstruction Finance...

  • 41-24605 Knock-out Dropper

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 359BS/303BG [BN-R] Bangor 22-Sep-42; Molesworth 22-Oct-42; First 8th Air Force aircraft to complete 50, then 75 missions- 27-Mar-44; with M/Sgt Buford Pafford as crew chief; 1 Base Air Depot, Burtonwood 5-Jun-44; Reconstruction Finance...

  • 42-29716 'Fast Woman'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 11/2/43; Rapid City 22/2/43; Assigned 334BS/95BG [BG- ] Alconbury 8/4/43; Framlingham 12/5/43; Horham 15/6/43; 1m, transferred 508BS/351BG [YB-A] Polebrook 12/7/43; 8m Missing in Action Watten 27/8/43 with Bill Suit, Co-pilot: Jim...

  • 42-29754 'Mason's Morons' 'Shangri-La Lil'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 12/2/43; Rapid City 22/2/43; Kearney 12/3/43. ...

  • 42-30033 "Little America"

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 2/4/43; Sioux City 13/4/43; Kearney 4/5/43; Bangor 20/5/43; Assigned to the 547BS/384BG [S0-G] Grafton Underwood 24/5/43, then the 546BS [BK-G]; Missing in Action Leverkusen 1/12/43 with Maj Maurice Stanley Dillingham, Co-pilot:...

  • 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...

  • 42-30595 'Gremlin Gus II' "Olin's 69'ers"

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 26/6/43; Smoky Hill 13/7/43; Kearney 16/7/43; Dow Fd 19/7/43; Assigned 560BS/388BG Knettishall 20/7/43; (34m) transferred Aphrodite project as OLIN'S 69'ERS; when War Weary, fuselage cut down and vehicle windshield fitted before open...

  • 42-30617 'Miss Billie'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 29/6/43; Gore 30/6/43; Gr Isle 16/7/43; Dalhart 20/7/43; Gr Isle 26/7/43; Presque Is 2/8/43; Assigned 327BS/92BG [UX- ] Alconbury 21/8/43; Missing in Action Watten 27/8/43 with Winston Tucker, Co-pilot: Carl Carlson, Navigator: Joe...

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
10 May 2017 19:25:30 ThomBear Changes to aircraft associations
Sources

Added a/c 41-24560 from post-mission report.

Date Contributor Update
27 May 2015 20:06:24 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 27-May-2015. Added bomber gunner claims per "The Mighty Eight War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
27 May 2015 20:04:15 Lee8thbuff Changes to description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 27-May-2015. Added Mission Narrative based on "The Mighty Eight War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
13 November 2014 11:35:05 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 18:43:18 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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