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VIII Bomber Command 91

6 September 1943

Official description

Not yet known

Description

This mission was planned as massive attack of 338 B-17s on the industrial areas of Stuttgart, Germany and would be supported by a formation of 69 B-24s flying a diversion. This would be the first action from the UK for the B-24 Groups that had recently returned from Temporary Duty (TDY) assignments to North Africa. The bomber formations would be escorted as far as possible by 176 P-47s. This was the first deep penetration of Germany since the fateful Schweinfurt/Regensburg mission of 17-Aug-43. The round trip distance from the East Anglia bases of the 8th Air Force to Stuttgart would be close to 1,300 miles. This was very close to the maximum range for those B-17s that had not been equipped with the long-range "Tokyo Tanks" and this fact would have disastrous consequences for this mission. It was a gamble.

The first element from 1st Bomb Wing was a formation of 181 B-17s from: 91BG (16); 92BG (21); 303BG (19); 305BG (20); 306BG (21); 351BG (23); 379BG (19); 381BG (21); and 384BG (21). The primary target was Stuttgart, Germany. Many of the B-17s in this formation would be "pushing" their maximum range. Everything would have been fine, except "Mother Nature" bought cloud cover over most of NW France and Germany that day. As a consequence the formation became disorganized and separated and the 151 that were effective from this formation bombed various Targets of Opportunity. This made them extremely vulnerable to fighter attack and difficult for the P-47s to cover. 27 aircraft were lost from this formation; 20 because they ran out of gas on the return and were forced to ditch in the English Channel or make forces landings in the fields of England; 3 others managed to make it to Switzerland and were interned with their crews - 16KIA 64POW 44EVD 116RTD (rescued by Air-Sea Rescue and magnificent accomplishment) 30INT; 13 airmen were Wounded in Action (WIA) and 47 aircraft were damaged.. Freeman cites 9 aircraft declared as Category E (Damaged Beyond Repair) losses but only 5 were actually documented for this raid -50RTD. The bomber gunners claimed 32-6-21 of attacking enemy aircraft (exaggerated).

The second element was a combined force of 157 B-17s from: 95BG (23); 100BG (21); 390BG (24); 94BG (21); 96BG (21); 385BG (23); and 388BG (24) dispatched to Stuttgart. This element had somewhat better success but took more punishment from enemy aircraft. 111 of these aircraft managed to bomb at either Stuttgart or other Targets of Opportunity (TO). 18 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) but three of these managed to make it to Switzerland and the aircraft and crews were interned - 39KIA 84POW 18EVD 10RTD (rescued by ASR) 29 interned; 1 aircraft was DBR-10RTD. In addition 2 airmen were KIA and 13 wounded in aircraft that returned to England. 69 aircraft were damaged. The bomber gunners in this element claimed 66-14-29 of attacking enemy aircraft (exaggerated).

The third element was a formation of 69 B-24s from: 44BG (18); 93BG (18); 399BG (15); and 392BG (18). 9 aircraft had to abort the mission due to mechanical failures. There are no losses or claims in this element.

Mission details

1.

Description

BOMB TARGETS OF OPPORTUNITY

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

Formations become separated because of heavy clouds. German defences take a heavy toll. Mission considered a fiasco. Of the 12 B-17s that ditched in the sea, all crews (116 men) were rescued.

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'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 348.90
Number of aircraft Sent 181
Number of aircraft Effective 151
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 27
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 9
Number of aircraft Damaged 47
Number of people Killed In Action 14
Number of people Wounded in Action 14
Number of people Evaded 42
Number of people Prisoners of War 66
Number of people Interned 41
Number of people Returned To Duty 193
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Bomber Command 32
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Bomber Command 6
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 21

2.

Description

DIVERSION

Aircraft type

B-24 Liberator

Notes

B-24s fly the diversion, 392nd Bomb Group flies its first mission. First mission for B-24s of 44th Bomb Group and 93rd Bomb Group since return from North Africa.

Units

  • 389th Bomb Group

    389th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 389th Bomb Group, known in more familiar terms as "the Sky Scorpions", flew strategic bombing missions in B-24 Liberators from Hethel, England. They also sent detachments to join bases in North Africa at Benghazi No. 10, Libya, between 3 July 1943...

  • 392nd Bomb Group

    392nd Bomb Group

    Group
    The 392nd Bomb Group flew B-24 Liberators out of Wendling, Norfolk from August 1943 until April 1945. They were the first Group to be given B-24H Liberators, the first B-24 model that was fitted with a nose turret on the production line, an adaptation...

  • 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs

    44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs

    Group
    The 44th Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated 15-January-1942 at McDill Field, Florida and equipped with B-24Cs. The Group moved to Barksdale Field, Louisiana and acted as a training unit for the 90th 93rd and 98th Bomb Groups and flew anti...

  • 93rd Bomb Group

    93rd Bomb Group

    Group
    93rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated 1-March-1942 at Barksdale Field, Louisiana. On 15-May-1942 the Group moved to Ft. Myers, Florida to continue advanced flight training and also to fly anti-submarine patrols over the Gulf of Mexico; they...

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 69
Number of aircraft Effective 60

3. STUTTGART (Primary)

Description

AIRCRAFT FACTORY/BALL BEARING PLANT

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

Primary obscured by heavy cloud cover. This hampers mission and many bomb targets of opportunity. Many of the aircraft in this group did not have long-range tanks and as a result ran out of gas and had to ditch or crash-land (reason for 11 Missing in Action (MIA) in 388th Bomb Group). Only one classed as a Damaged Beyond Repair (DBR) - Group designation not in source data.

The Stuttgart Mission on 6 September 1943 was disastrous. For the 388th BG this was the worst day and became known as Black Monday. 21 crews were sent and only 13 returned. All 6 aircraft of the 563rd BS were lost. This was Mission #19 (barely 2 months into the war for the 388th BG) and there were 287 more combat missions to go for the 388th BG.

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-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 391.50
Number of aircraft Sent 157
Number of aircraft Effective 111
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 18
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 1
Number of aircraft Damaged 69
Number of people Killed In Action 41
Number of people Wounded in Action 13
Number of people Evaded 18
Number of people Prisoners of War 84
Number of people Interned 29
Number of people Returned To Duty 10
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Bomber Command 66
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Bomber Command 14
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 29

Service

People

  • Allan Alford

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 381st Bomb Group
    Tail gunner, Loftin crew. 381st BG, 534th BS. Shot down 9 October 1943 in B-17 #42-29958 'Battlin' Bombsprayer'. Mission #37 to the Arado Aircraft components at Anklam, Germany. MACR 886. Killed in Action (KIA). Buried in the Ardennes AMC. ...

  • James Armstrong

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 384th Bomb Group
    Shot down 6 September 1943 in B-17 #4124507 'Yankee Raider'. Evaded. MACR 772 James E. Armstrong wrote a book, titled "Escape!", describing his wartime service, and his escape and evasion after being shot down.

  • Richard Bailey

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 388th Bomb Group
    Retired from the USAF with the rank of Major

  • Hyman Beckerman

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 381st Bomb Group
    Navigator, Loftin crew. 381st BG, 534th BS, 8th AF. Shot down 9 October 1943 in B-17 #42-29958 'Battlin' Bombsprayer'. Mission #37 to the Arado Aircraft components at Anklam, Germany. MACR 886. Prisoner of War at Stalag Luft III and Stalag XIIID. ...

  • 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

  • David Besbris

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 92nd Bomb Group Fame's Favoured Few
    David Bresbis was a Navigator in the 92nd Bomb Group/407th Bomb Squadron. He was serving in that function on B-17 #42-29965 when it ditched for lack of fuel in the English Channel on return from the 6 September 1943 to Stuttgart, Germany. All ten men...

  • James Blackburn

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 92nd Bomb Group Fame's Favoured Few
    James Blackburn was a Navigator in the 92nd Bomb Group / 407th Bomb Squadron Participating in many operations, he was shot down on the 6 September 1943 mission to Stuttgart, Germany in B-17 42-3428 (camera ship) with Pilot Lt Robert W. Carlson. The...

  • Charles Carlin

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 384th Bomb Group
    Shot down 6 September 1943 in B-17 #4124507 'Yankee Raider. ' Prisoner of War (POW).

  • Marcus Carr

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator | 384th Bomb Group
    Assigned to the 384th Bomb Group, 544th Bomb Squadron on AAF Station 106 Special Orders #68 dated 11 August 1943, James McMahon Crew, 2 combat missions. Shot down 6 September 1943 in B-17 42-3041. Prisoner of War (POW). MACR 773 POW

  • Fred Champion

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Bombardier; Togglier; Waist Gunner | 92nd Bomb Group Fame's Favoured Few
    Fred Champion was assigned to the 92nd Bomb Group/407th Bomb Squadron in England. He was serving as Waist Gunner on board B-17 #42-29996 on the 17 July 1943 mission to Stuttgart, with Pilot Captain Donald G. Parker. Badly damaged by enemy fighters, the...

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Aircraft

  • 41-24497 Possibly 'Mizpah II' on one side, 'Frisco Jinny' on the other

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered ? ?; with Jim Dale force landed Berry Fd, Nashville, TN 15/8/42; Assigned 322BS/91BG [LG-P] Westover 16/8/42; Bassingbourn 30/9/42; Missing in Action on the aircraft's 26th mission, to Stuttgart on 6 September 1943 with Pilot William R. Cox;...

  • 41-24507 Yankee Raider

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned to the 368BS/306BG [BO-G] Westover 25/8/42; Thurleigh 17/9/42; transferred SBA trainer 11/4/43; transferred to the 546th BS, squadron code BK-B, 384th BG, Station 106, Grafton Underwood 23/8/43; transferred to the 545th BS, squadron code JD-B;...

  • 42-29944 'Buzzing Bronco' aka 'Winning Run'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 17/3/43; Gore 28/3/43; Metropolitan 13/4/43; Presque Is 29/4/43; Assigned 427BS/303BG [GN-E] Molesworth 9/6/43; secret mission to North Africa 16/8/43 ret 23/8/43; battle damaged T/Ops 6/9/43 with Jake James, Co-pilot: Howard Ness,...

  • 42-29958 Battlin' Bombsprayer

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 17/3/43; Pueblo 8/4/43; Smoky Hill 7/5/43; Dow Fd 21/5/43; Assigned 534BS/381BG [GD-J] Ridgewell 24/5/43 with Alan Tucker, Earl Muchway, Dave Harris, Dick Rylands, Chas Raglin, Bill Savage, Jim Klingenberger, John Willdredge, Grover...

  • 42-29965 No known nickname

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 18 March 43; Gore 28 March 1943; Presque Isle 5 May 1943; Assigned 333BS/94BG Earls Colne 12 May 1943; Rougham 13 June 1943; transferred 407BS/92BG [PY-L] Alconbury 26 July 1943; Missing in Action Stuttgart 6 September 1943 with,...

  • 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:...

  • 42-30057 Raunchy

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 5/4/43; Kearney 15/4/43; Wendover 2/5/43; Hill 15/5/43; Wendover 21/5/43; Dow Fd 28/5/43; Assigned 351BS/100BG [EP-D] Thorpe Abbbotts 9/6/43; Missing in Action Stuttgart 6 September 1943 with Pilot Captain Sam R. TurnerWounded in...

  • 42-30193 Hard Luck

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 24/4/43; Sioux City 8/5/43; Smoky Hill 9/6/43; Dow Fd 14/6/43; Assigned 561BS/388BG Knettishall 15/6/43. ...

  • 42-30213 Lil' One

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 29/4/43; Gore 9/5/43; Sioux City 10/5/43; Smoky Hill 11/6/43; Dow Fd 15/6/43; Assigned 562BS/388BG Knettishall 1/6/43; crashed on take off for Bremen after encountering mechanical problems 13/11/43 with Bob Simons, Co-pilot: Alvin...

  • 42-3041

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered to Denver 23/1/43; Homestead 25/2/43; Assigned to the 303rd Bomb Group Molesworth, 9 April 1943; 369th Bomb Squadron/306th Bomb Group [WW-U] Thurleigh; 544th Bomb Squadron/384th Bomb Group [SU-H] Station 106, Grafton Underwood; Missing in...

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Revisions

Date Contributor Update
31 January 2018 17:38:14 william henry Changes to description
Sources

Correct typos

Date Contributor Update
31 May 2015 20:54:54 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 31-May-2015. Added bomber gunner claims to Stuttgart statistics per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
31 May 2015 20:53:33 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 31-May-2015. Added bomber gunner claims to 1BD TO statistics per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
31 May 2015 20:51:42 Lee8thbuff Changes to description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 31-May-2015. Added Mission Narrative based on "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
04 March 2015 16:38:49 general ira snapsorter Changes to event
Sources

Information sent by Dick Read relating to Arthur M. Read and the 388th Bomb Group.

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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