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VIII Bomber Command 94 OPERATION STARKEY

9 September 1943

Official description

Not yet known

Description

This mission has been named OPERATION STARKEY. It is planned as a coordinated attack of multiple bomber elements upon multiple targets and incorporates fighter escort as a rehearsal of what may be required to support an invasion of the Continent. It is the largest operation of the war to date with 330 bombers and 215 fighters participating. It is composed of 7 bomber elements. It is hoped that smaller formations of bombers directed to multiple targets will frustrate the Luftwaffe defenses and reduce bomber losses.

The first element is a combined force of 87 B-17s from: 95BG (23); 96BG (20); 388BG (21); and 390BG (23) dispatched to bomb the industrial areas of Paris, France. Cloud cover frustrates bombing efforts at Paris and some formations attack the secondary target of the German airfield at Beaumont-sur-Oise, France. 20 aircraft are effective on the targets at Paris and 48 bomb the airfield at Beaumont. 1 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) at Paris - 2KIA 8POW and 1 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) at Beaumont - 6POW 5EVD. These 2 bomber losses are the ONLY sustained by the 330 bombers dispatched. 21 aircraft are damaged and 3 airmen are Wounded in Action. The bomber gunners in this element claim 16-2-9 of attacking German aircraft. This element is the only one that draws up any significant Luftwaffe defense. This element has some fighter escort but it is limited by the range of the P-47s.

The second element is a formation of 63 B-17s from: 94BG (21); 100BG (21); and 385BG (21) dispatched to bomb the German airfield at Beauvais/Tille, France. 59 aircraft are effective on this target. There are no losses or claims, but 6 aircraft are damaged.

The third element is a formation of 37 B-17s from: 351BG (19) and 381BG (18) dispatched to bomb the German airfield at Lille/Nord, France. All 37 are effective on the target. There are no losses or claims, but 10 aircraft are damaged and 2 airmen are wounded.

The fourth element is a formation of 56 B-17s from: 92BG (19); 305BG (19); and 306BG (18) dispatched to bomb the German airfield at Lille/Vendeville, France. 52 aircraft are effective on the target. There are no losses or claims, but 7 aircraft are damaged.

The fifth element is a formation of 56 B-17s from: 303BG (18); 379BG (20); and 384BG (18) dispatched to bomb the German airfield at Vitre-en-Artois, France. 51 aircraft are effective on the target. There are no losses or claims.

The sixth element is a formation of 38 B-24s from: 93BG (20) and 389BG (18) dispatched to bomb the two German airfields as St. Omer, France: Ft. Rouge and Longuenesse. 28 aircraft are effective on the targets. There are no losses or claims, but 3 aircraft are damaged and one airmen is Wounded in Action (WIA).

The seventh element is a formation of 40 B-24s from: 44BG (19) and 392BG (21) dispatched to bomb the German airfield of Abbeville/Drucat, France. This is the first combat mission for the 392BG. 35 aircraft are effective on the target. This is the only element that does not get fighter escort, but there are no losses or claims.

The mission is declared a large success even though the Luftwaffe does not commit any significant numbers of fighters against the various elements.

Mission details

1. ABBEVILLE/ DRUCAT (Primary)

Description

AIRFIELD

Aircraft type

B-24 Liberator

Notes

392nd Bomb Group first mission. Operation "STARKEY".

Units

  • 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...

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 63.00
Number of aircraft Sent 40
Number of aircraft Effective 35

2. BEAUMONT-SUR-OISE (Secondary)

Description

AIRFIELD

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

Operation "STARKEY".

Units

  • 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...

  • 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 139.25
Number of aircraft Sent 64
Number of aircraft Effective 48
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 1
Number of aircraft Damaged 15
Number of people Killed In Action 2
Number of people Wounded in Action 3
Number of people Evaded 5
Number of people Prisoners of War 14
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Bomber Command 10
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Bomber Command 2
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 1

3. BEAUVAIS/TILLE (Primary)

Description

AIRFIELD

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

Operation "STARKEY".

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...

  • 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...

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 84.20
Number of aircraft Sent 63
Number of aircraft Effective 59
Number of aircraft Damaged 6

4. LILLE/NORD (Primary)

Description

AIRFIELD

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

Operation "STARKEY".

Units

  • 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...

  • 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...

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 53.45
Number of aircraft Sent 37
Number of aircraft Effective 37
Number of aircraft Damaged 10
Number of people Wounded in Action 2

5. LILLE/VENDEVILLE (Primary)

Description

AIRFIELD

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

Operation "STARKEY".

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 74.52
Number of aircraft Sent 56
Number of aircraft Effective 52
Number of aircraft Damaged 7

6. PARIS (Primary)

Description

INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

Operation "STARKEY", D-Day Rehearsal. 330 B-17s participate. Largest raid to date. Luftwaffe fails to commit any large force.

Units

  • 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...

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 58.00
Number of aircraft Sent 23
Number of aircraft Effective 20
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 1
Number of aircraft Damaged 6
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Bomber Command 6
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 2

7. SAINT OMER/ FORT ROUGE / SAINT OMER/ LONGEUNESSE (Primary)

Description

AIRFIELD

Aircraft type

B-24 Liberator

Notes

Operation "STARKEY".

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...

  • 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

Tonnage dropped 65.40
Number of aircraft Sent 38
Number of aircraft Effective 28
Number of aircraft Damaged 3
Number of people Wounded in Action 1

8. VITRY-EN-ARTOIS (Primary)

Description

AIRFIELD

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

Operation "STARKEY".

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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 75.18
Number of aircraft Sent 56
Number of aircraft Effective 51

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. ...

  • 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. ...

  • 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

  • Charles Bliss

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 388th Bomb Group
    Retired from the USAF with the rank of Colonel

  • 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

  • Chester Cornell

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot ; Pilot | 381st Bomb Group
    Co-pilot, 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. ...

  • Henry Cox

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 388th Bomb Group
    Killed in Action (KIA) 16 September 1943 AM w/ Oak Leaf Cluster

  • John Crawbuck

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner, Left Waist Gunner | 381st Bomb Group
    LWG, Larson crew. Original member of the Tucker crew. Member of the Hagarty crew. 381st BG, 534th BS, 8th AF. Shot down 11 January 1944 in B-17 #42-3118 'The Green Hornet'. Mission #59 to the aircraft factories at Oschersleben, Germany. Struck by an...

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Aircraft

  • 42-29524 'Meathound'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 31/12/42; Salina 7/1/43; Morrison 2/12/43; Homestead 14/2/43; Assigned 423BS/306BG [RD-D] Thurleigh 2/3/43; transferred 358BS/303BG [VK-K] Molesworth 30/7/43; 25m Missing in Action Oschersleben 26/1/44 with Jack Watson (RTD-alone),...

  • 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:...

  • 42-30193 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. ...

  • 42-30207 Big Red

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 29/4/43; Sioux City 11/5/43; Smoky Hill 9/6/43; Dow Fd 12/6/43; Assigned 561BS/388BG [ -T] Knettishall 14/6/43; Missing in Action Bordeaux 27/3/44 with Julius Lederman, Co-pilot: Waite Law, Bombardier: John Luzell (3 Prisoner of War)...

  • 42-30212 Quarterback

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 29/4/43; Sioux City 14/5/43; Smoky Hill 11/6/43; Dow Fd 16/6/43; Assigned 562BS/388BG Knettishall 17/6/43; transferred Aphrodite project, Missing in Action V-sites, Watten 6/8/44 with Lt Joeseph P Andrecheck & T/Sgt Raymond Healy (2...

  • 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...

  • 42-30595 '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...

  • 42-5905 Just Ag

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Long Beach 26/4/43; Sioux City 7/5/43; Smoky Hill 9/6/43; Dow Fd 30/6/43; Assigned 561BS/388BG Knettishall 3/7/43; detailed Solignen, 30/11/43 with Paul Kelly, Co-pilot: John Corzette, Navigator: John Wiley, Bombardier: Marion Wiles, Flight...

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
31 January 2018 17:42:19 william henry Changes to description
Sources

Correct typos

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2016 19:43:53 Mags Changes to aircraft associations
Sources

303rd BG Web Page

Date Contributor Update
05 June 2015 20:52:50 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 5-Jun-2015. Added bomber gunner claims to Paris statistics per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman

Date Contributor Update
05 June 2015 20:51:13 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 5-Jun-2015. Added bomber gunner claims to Beaumont statistics per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary" Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
05 June 2015 20:47:19 Lee8thbuff Changes to name and description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 5-Jun-2015. Added Mission Narrative based on "The Mighty Eighth War Diary" Roger A. Freeman.

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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