Skip to main content
Edit entry 

VIII Bomber Command 97

16 September 1943

Official description

Not yet known

Description

This mission is composed of two elements: Bomb Groups from 1st Bomb Division and Bomb groups from 3rd Bomb Division. The first element is a combined force of 147 B-17s from: 91BG (18); 303BG (19); 305BG (16); 351BG (19); 379BG (19); 381BG (20); and 384BG (18). The primary targets for this mission are: the port facilities and German airfield Chateau Bougon at Nantes, France. The attacks will be made at approximately 1500hrs. 79 aircraft are effective on the port area and 51 aircraft are effective on th airfield. 7 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) 24KIA, 20POW, 16EVD, and 10RTD (Rescued by ASR). 1 aircraft is declared a Category E loss (Damaged Beyond Repair (DBR); 47 aircraft are damaged and 9 airmen are Wounded in Action (WIA). The bomber gunners of this element claim 22-2-5 of attacking enemy aircraft.

The second element is a combined force of 148 B-17s from: 95BG (24); 96BG (20); 100BG (19); 388BG (18); 390BG (24); 94BG (21); and 385BG (22). The original target for this element was the aircraft factories at Bordeux, France, but cloud cover obscures the target and the formations seek out other targets: the port area of La Paillice; the German airfields of Larochelle/Laleau and Cognac/Chateaubernard, France. The Bomb Groups took off just before Noon and planned to attack at approximately 1530hrs, however weather problems and diversion to other targets delayed the attacks to 1730-1755hrs. This meant that the aircraft would be returning to their bases after dark. Neither 390BG or 385BG were able to find alternate targets and did not bomb. 93 aircraft were effective on the alternate targets. 4 aircraft are MIA; 12KIA 20POW 8RTD (Rescued by ASR). In addition, 3 other aircraft made crash landings in England 11KIA 5WIA also (1 B-17F 42-30601 "Mary Ellen II", 385BG/had a mid-air collision (10KIA) with B-17F 42-30201, 95BG (RTB)), another 4 airmen were Wounded in Action (WIA) in returning aircraft. The bomber gunners in this element claim 22-3-8 of attacking German fighters.

Mission details

1. COGNAC/ CHATEAUBERNARD (Primary)

Description

AIRFIELD

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

Despatch from 390th Bomb Group and 385th Bomb Group had no aircraft effective on the target.

Units

  • 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...

  • 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...

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 52.50
Number of aircraft Sent 21
Number of aircraft Effective 21
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 1
Number of aircraft Damaged 7
Number of people Killed In Action 20
Number of people Returned To Duty 10

2. LA PALLICE (Primary)

Description

HARBOUR INSTALLATION

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

The bomber gunner claims for the combined force of B-17s from 3rd Bomb Division has been included under this target.

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...

  • 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 179.25
Number of aircraft Sent 127
Number of aircraft Effective 72
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 1
Number of aircraft Damaged 10
Number of people Wounded in Action 1
Number of people Prisoners of War 10
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Bomber Command 22
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Bomber Command 3
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 8

3. LA ROCHELLE/ LALEAU (Primary)

Description

AIRFIELD

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...

  • 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...

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 151.00
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 2
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 2
Number of people Killed In Action 14
Number of people Wounded in Action 5
Number of people Prisoners of War 9
Number of people Returned To Duty 13

4. NANTES (Primary)

Description

HARBOUR INSTALLATION

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

1 B-17 drops 12 X500GP on a convoy - no hits. Two Missing in Action (MIA) aircraft from 379th Bomb Group were hit by aerial bombs dropped by enemy aircraft. Bomber gunner claims for both formations attacking targets at Nantes are included in the statisics for this target.

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,...

  • 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 233.96
Number of aircraft Sent 96
Number of aircraft Effective 79
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 7
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 1
Number of aircraft Damaged 47
Number of people Killed In Action 24
Number of people Wounded in Action 3
Number of people Evaded 16
Number of people Prisoners of War 19
Number of people Returned To Duty 10
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Bomber Command 22
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Bomber Command 2
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 5

5. NANTES/ CHATEAU BOUGON (Primary)

Description

AIRFIELD

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

Not yet known

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 151.04
Number of aircraft Sent 51
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. ...

  • Herman Ball

    Military | Technical Sergeant (2nd Grade) | Flight Engineer - Top Turret Gunner | 388th Bomb Group
    Killed on mission in returning from mission to Bordeaux and La Pallice on B-17 #42-5906 'Sondra Kay'. Rain squalls dispersed the 388th BG. AC crashed at Pembridge south of RAF Shobdon.

  • Roy Ballard

    Military | Staff Sergeant (Technician Third Grade) | Ball Turret Gunner | 95th Bomb Group

  • Clarence Barnes

    Military | Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 384th Bomb Group
    Shot down 16 September 1943 in B-17 #42-5849 'Hell's Belles II. Missing Air Crew Report #722. 'Prisoner of War (POW). Was in Stalag Luft 17B POW

  • 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. ...

  • John Beilstein

    Military | First Lieutenant | Bombardier | 379th Bomb Group
    Shot down 16 September 1943 in B-17 #42-29893. Evaded.

  • 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

  • Frank Broach

    Military | First Lieutenant | Bombardier | 388th Bomb Group
    1st Lt Broach was the son of Frank Norman Broach Sr., and Clara Elizabeth Wilson Broach. ...

  • John Burkot

    Military | Technical Sergeant (2nd Grade) | Tail Gunner | 95th Bomb Group

  • Joseph Burkowski

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 379th Bomb Group
    Shot down 16 September 1943 in B-17 #42-29893. Prisoner of War (POW).

Show more

Aircraft

  • 41-24605 Knock-out Dropper

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned to the 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...

  • 42-29876 BATTLIN' BOBBIE

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 28/2/43; Gore 4/3/43; Souix City 18/3/43; Kearney 9/4/43; Dow Fd 15/4/43; Assigned 525BS/379BG [FR-B] Kimbolton 23/4/43. Missing in Action Nantes 16 September 1943 with Pilot Elton Hoyt III, Co-pilot: Norman C. Schroeder, Navigator:...

  • 42-29893 El Diablo

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 4/3/43; Sioux City 16/3/43; Kearney 8/4/43; Dow Fd 22/4/43; Assigned 524BS/379BG [WA-Q] Kimbolton 24/4/43; Missing in Action Nantes 16/9/43 with Floyd H. Jamerson - Pilot, and Radio Operator -John F. Paznar both Killed in Action;...

  • 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...

  • 42-30030 Old Ironsides

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 2/4/43; Sioux City 13/4/43; Kearney 4/5/43; Bangor 23/5/43; Assigned 544BS/384BG [BK-F] Grafton Underwood 29/5/43; transferred 2 SAD Lt Staughton 31/7/43 then 560BS/388BG. ...

  • 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:...

  • 42-30212 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...

  • 42-30288 'Louise II'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 9-May-43; Smoky Hill 17-May-43; Dow Field, Bangor, Maine 30-May-43; Assigned 412BS/95BG [QW-T] at Horham, UK on 14-Jun-43; with R.E. Robinson force landed RAF Wheaton Ash, all crew OK, 16-Jun-43; 18m, battle damaged Marienberg 9-Oct...

  • 42-30601 Mary Ellen II

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 26/6/43; Kearney 12/7/43; Dow Field 16/7/43; Assigned 550BS/385BG [SG-K] Great Ashfield 21/7/43; detailed Bordeaux 16/9/43 with John Schley, Co-pilot: John Baum, Navigator: John Ellingsen, Bombardier: Earl Bates, Flight engineer/top...

Show more

Crash sites

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
26 June 2015 18:14:44 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 26-Jun-2015. Added bomber gunner claims for 3rd Bomb DIvision formations to the La Pallice statistics per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", ROger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
26 June 2015 18:08:36 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 26-Jun-2015. Added bomber gunner claims for the entire Nantes attack to the statistics per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
26 June 2015 18:04:30 Lee8thbuff Changes to description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 26-Jun-2015. Added Mission description basedon "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger 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'.

Share