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8th Air Force 230 BIG WEEK - DAY 3

22 February 1944

Official description

Not yet known

Description

The German aircraft industry is again targeted in Day 3 of BIG WEEK. A combined total od 789 bombers (maximum effort) are despathed from 1st 2nd and 3rd Air Divisions. Fighter opposition is heavy and bomber losses in 1st Air Division are massive - 39 bombers Failed to Return (FTR). Severe weather and cloud cover frustrated the bombing attempts. Mission Summary follows:

1st Air Division: A combined force of 289 B-17s from: 91BG; 92BG; 303BG; 305BG; 306BG; 351BG; 379BG; 381BG; 384BG; 401BG; 457BG; and 482BG are despatched to bomb the aircraft industries of three primary targets: Aschersleben, Bernburg and Halberstadt, Germany. 92BG had been assigned to bomb the German airfield of Aalburg West in Denmark but clouds prevented the attack and the bombs were released over open country in Denmark to prevent killing civilians. 34 aircraft are effective on Aschersleben; 47 aircraft are effective on Bernburg; 18 aircraft are effective on Halberstadt. Weather and clouds forced other formations to bomb the industrial areas of other German cities as Targets of Opportunity (TOs): 32 bomb at Bunde; 19 bomb at Wernegerode; 15 bomb Magdeburg; 9 hit Marburg and 7 others bomb other Targets of Opportunity. Because weather was heavy the formations had difficulty in maintaing tight formations and because German fighter opposition was heavy 39 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) - 170KIA 186POW 13EVD 20RTD (rescued by ASR). 3 aircraft were declared Damaged Beyond Repair (DBR) 2 of these sustained a mid-air collision during assembly - 17KIA 3RTD; 1 crashlanded at Sheffield, UK but aircraft exploded and burned - 10KIA. 18 airmen were KIA and 30WIA in returning aircraft. 141 aircraft sustained battle damage. The bomber gunners claimed 32-18-17 (probably exaggerated) of attacking German aircraft. Not a very good exchange considering the bomber losses.

3rd Air Division: A combined total of 333 B-17s are sent aloft from 3AD Bomb Groups in the first mission to attempt to bomb the ball bearing plants at Schweinfurt, but severe weather prevented that Groups from assembling properly and the entire formation was recalled. 2 aircraft are damaged in landing mishaps. There are no other losses or claims in this element.

2nd Air Division: A combined total of 177 B-24s are despatched from 2nd Air Division bomb groups but weather forced as recall of most formations when they were 100 miles inland over the Continent. Thus, only the 93BG; 389BG; 392BG; 445BG; 446BG; 448BG; and 453BG were able to bomb. Strong winds made the formation drift over Holland and four targets were bomb unintentionally in Holland: Enschede A/F; Arnhem; Numegen and Deventer. SOme civilians were killed forcing the State Department to issue an apology to the Dutch government. 3 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) - 21KIA 9POW. 3 other aircraft were damaged. The bomber gunners of this element claimed 2-0-0 of attacking German aircraft. There were no other losses or casualties.

Mission details

1.

Description

BOMB TARGETS OF OPPORTUNITY

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

It has not been determined which Groups from 1st Bomb Division attacked this target.

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 17.75
Number of aircraft Sent 7
Number of aircraft Effective 7

2. ARNHEM O) / DEVENTER (Opportunistic) (RC) / GOTHA (Primary) ENSCHEDE (Opportunistic) / NIJMEGEN (Opportunistic)

Description

BOMB TARGETS OF OPPORTUNITY

Aircraft type

B-24 Liberator

Notes

Recalled due to weather 100 miles into the Continent. Strong winds drive the bombers over the Netherlands and they bomb targets of opportunity. Originally, the Gothaer Waggon Fabrik AG aircraft plants located at Gotha, Germany were the primary target.

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...

  • 445th Bomb Group

    445th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 445th Bomb Group flew B-24 Liberators from Tibenham, Norfolk. The crews' first mission was bombing U-boat installations at Kiel on 13 December 1943. The Group continued to hit strategic targets in Germany, including the aircraft components factory...

  • 446th Bomb Group

    446th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 446th Bomb Group, who came to be known as "the Bungay Buckaroos" after the name of their Suffolk base, flew B-24 Liberators on strategic, support and interdictory missions over Europe. The Group led the Eighth Air Force and 2nd Bomb Division on the...

  • 448th Bomb Group

    448th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 448th Bomb Group was a B-24 Liberator Group that flew out of Seething, Norfolk. The Group flew their first mission on the 22nd December 1943 and over the next eighteen months the air crews flew 262 missions over occupied Europe. These bombing...

  • 453rd Bomb Group

    453rd Bomb Group

    Group
    As well as strategic bombardment missions, the 453rd Bomb Group also ferried cargo on two occasions. They hauled petrol, blankets, and rations to France in September 1944 and dropped ammunition, food and medical supplies near Wesel during the airborne...

  • 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 208.00
Number of aircraft Sent 177
Number of aircraft Effective 74
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 3
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 0
Number of aircraft Damaged 3
Number of people Killed In Action 21
Number of people Prisoners of War 9
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Bomber Command 2

3. ASCHERSLEBEN (Primary)

Description

AIRCRAFT FACTORIES

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

This is the 3rd mission of "BIG WEEK" and losses are heavy with a total of 41 aircraft being lost. These targets were hit in a joint raid with 15th Air Force, statistics are only for the 8th Air Force. As of this date VIIII BC and VIII Fighter Command are officially designated as units of the 8th Air Force. Damage total of 141 bundled from all targets. 35 of the Killed in Action (KIA)s were aboard aircraft that returned to base. 20 WIA are bundled for all targets.

457th BG MISSION NO. 2 - OSCHERLEBEN, GERMANY
22 FEBRUARY 1944

The assigned target was the FW-190 assembly plant at Oscherleben. It was a deep penetration into central Germany. Col. Luper led the eighteen bombers on the mission, flying the l000th B-I 7 produced by the Douglas Aircraft Company in Long Beach, California. (Homer Briggs had spent time at Douglas as part of his training.) Lt. Edward M. Bender was pilot.

Solid clouds rising as high as 24,000 feet over East Anglia, England, disrupted assembly and thirteen planes returned to the Base. Other groups and wings were similarly disrupted. Col. Luper, unable to find and assemble with the 94th Combat Wing, took the lead position in a mixed group of a two box wing and led it towards the Continent. Col. Luper remained on course with the composite group and bombed what was believed to be the primary target. The Group encountered heavy flak and fighter attacks. Captain Jack Hotaling, the GroupÂ’s Gunnery Officer, flying as tail gunner in Col. LuperÂ’s bomber, was credited with destroying an FW-190.

Major Theodore C. Hoffman, Deputy Leader, attached to another wing and went to Merseburg. Captain Leroy Watson joined a formation that bombed Bernberg.

(Compiler's Note: In addition to the Boeing Aircraft Company, the Douglas Aircraft Company and the Lockheed Aircraft Company also manufactured B-17s during the war.)

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, 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...

  • 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...

  • 401st Bomb Group

    401st Bomb Group

    Group
    The 401st Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses from Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire, from November 1943 to June 1945. Starting their missions at that time meant the focus was very much on the coming invasion attempt of France planned for the following...

  • 457th Bomb Group

    457th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 457th Bomb Group began combat operations during the Big Week of 20-25 February when American bombers carried out concentrated raids against German aircraft bases, factories and assembly plants. The air crews' targets on that first mission were...

  • 482nd Bomb Group

    482nd Bomb Group

    Group
    The 482nd Bomb Group was a Pathfinder Group, which using radar-equipped aircraft to support bombing missions until March 1944. Aircraft from this Group went ahead of other Bombers and sent information back about the best routes to take and the extent...

  • 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 86.22
Number of aircraft Sent 142
Number of aircraft Effective 34
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 24
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 3
Number of aircraft Damaged 141
Number of people Killed In Action 156
Number of people Wounded in Action 20
Number of people Evaded 7
Number of people Prisoners of War 130
Number of people Returned To Duty 13
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Bomber Command 32
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Bomber Command 18
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 17

4. BERNBURG (Primary)

Description

AIRCRAFT FACTORIES

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

The 306th Bomb Group is awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation for its participation in the raid on Bernberg. (2nd of 2)

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 119.19
Number of aircraft Sent 47
Number of aircraft Effective 47
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 9
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 1
Number of people Killed In Action 55
Number of people Prisoners of War 35
Number of people Returned To Duty 10

5. HALBERSTADT (Primary)

Description

AIRCRAFT FACTORIES

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

It has not been determined which Groups from 1st Bomb Division attacked this target.

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 45.65
Number of aircraft Sent 18
Number of aircraft Effective 18
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 1
Number of people Killed In Action 5
Number of people Prisoners of War 5

6. MAGDEBURG (Opportunistic)

Description

INDUSTRIAL AREA

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

It has not been determined which Groups from 1st Bomb Division attacked this target.

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 38.04
Number of aircraft Sent 15
Number of aircraft Effective 15

7. MARBURG (Opportunistic)

Description

INDUSTRIAL AREA

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

It has not been determined which Groups from 1st Bomb Division attacked this target.

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 22.82
Number of aircraft Sent 9
Number of aircraft Effective 9

8. REGENSBURG/BUNDE (Opportunistic)

Description

INDUSTRIAL AREA

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

It has not been determined which Groups from 1st Bomb Division attacked this target.

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 81.15
Number of aircraft Sent 32
Number of aircraft Effective 32

9. SCHWEINFURT (Primary)

Description

INDUSTRIAL AREA

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

Severe weather prevents 3rd Bomb Division formation and mission is aborted prior to crossing the enemy coast.

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...

  • 446th Bomb Group

    446th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 446th Bomb Group, who came to be known as "the Bungay Buckaroos" after the name of their Suffolk base, flew B-24 Liberators on strategic, support and interdictory missions over Europe. The Group led the Eighth Air Force and 2nd Bomb Division on the...

  • 452nd Bomb Group

    452nd Bomb Group

    Group
    The 452nd Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses from Deopham Green, Norfolk, from January 1944. The air crews hit strategic sites in Germany but also supported the movement of ground forces across Europe after D-Day. On 6 June 1944 itself, the Group...

  • 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 0.00
Number of aircraft Sent 333
Number of aircraft Effective 0
Number of aircraft Damaged 2

10. WERNEGERODE (Opportunistic)

Description

INDUSTRIAL AREA

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

It has not been determined which Groups from 1st Bomb Division attacked this target.

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 48.18
Number of aircraft Sent 19
Number of aircraft Effective 19
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 4
Number of people Killed In Action 16
Number of people Evaded 6
Number of people Prisoners of War 18

Service

People

  • Edgar Burton

    Military | Lieutenant | Navigator | 446th Bomb Group
    Flew 25 missions, ending just before D-Day. Flew on D Day just to see it. According to him, he never saw a German fighter but did see lots of flak.

  • Charles Dodge

    Military | Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Badly damaged on a mission to Leipzig on 20 Feb 1944, B-17F 42-5859 crash landed near Bozeat, Northamptonshire. ...

  • Richard Donohue

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    A student at Baltimore’s Saint Paul’s, Richard Donohue proved to be an outstanding athlete, excelling as a quarterback in the school’s Crusaders football team. Dick enlisted in the Air Corps in January 1943 and started training at the USAAC Technical...

  • Francis Driscoll

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator Gunner | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    Francis Driscoll had a twin brother, William, an elder brother Gerald, 2 younger brothers, Arthur and Edwin, and a sister Constance. Francis attended 4 years of Mechanic Arts High School in Boston, Massachusetts and later held a job as a motion picture...

  • Harley Hallam

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner, Waist Gunner | 384th Bomb Group
    Assigned to the 384th Bomb Group, 547th Bomb Squadron on AAF Station 106 Special Orders #143, Extract, dated 17 November 1943, Norman Defrees Crew (as 'H A L L U M'). 13 combat missions. ...

  • Edward Harke

    Military | Staff Sergeant (3rd Grade) | 379th Bomb Group

  • William Hoover

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 303rd Bomb Group
    Assigned to 359BS, 303BG, 8AF USAAF. Signed up for second tour. 44 x missions. End Tour Duty (ETD). Awards: WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Rudolph Jenson

    Military | Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    Rudolph Jenson graduated from the Walsh County School and attended Park River High School before entering the North Dakota State University, Class of 1940-41. After his enlistment in the Air Corps in April 1942, he took his basic training near Garden...

  • Henry Levy

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    Henry Levy was a graduate of Penn State College and of the University of Scranton, Pennsylvania. Leaving school to enlist in the Air Corps in April 1942, Henry finished training as a Bombardier at Albuquerque, New Mexico in March 1943 where he was...

  • Donald Makins

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 379th Bomb Group
    Shot down and disintegrated in mid-air and crashed near Schlebusch, GR on a mission to Wernigorde, GR on 22 Feb 1944 in B-17G #42-97520. Killed in Action (KIA).

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Aircraft

  • 42-31377 Pot O' Gold

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 27/10/43; Gr Island 9/11/43; Nashville 17/11/43; ...

  • 42-31695

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 6/12/43; Kearney 17/12/43; New Castle 31/12/43; Presque Is 2/1/44; Assigned 369BS/306BG [WW-D] Thurleigh 29/1/44; Missing in Action Aschersleben/Bernburg 22 February 1944 with Pilot William C. Quaintance; Co-pilot: Rudolph L. Jenson;...

  • 42-31741 Thunderbolt/Hi Fever

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 12/12/43; Kearney 30/12/43; RAF Nutts Corner 14/1/44; Assigned 562BS/388BG Knettishall 17/1/44; Missing in Action Liege 25/5/44 with Capt Jim Zengerle, Co-pilot: Albt Millin, Navigator: Walt Travis, Bombardier: Capt Wayne Barnett,...

  • 42-37939 'Sugar Blues'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 21/10/43; Gr Island 9/11/43; Assigned 323BS/91BG Bassingbourn 20/12/43; 15m Missing in Action Oschersleben 22/2/44 with Roman Maziarz, Co-pilot: Peter DeloWounded in Action, Navigator: Mortimer Pudnos, Bombardier: Arthur Clay, Flight...

  • 42-97450

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered to Denver, Colorado for modification on 19 November 1943; Wendover 11 December 1943; Presque Isle, Maine on 28 January 1944. Ferried overseas and assigned to the 457th Bomb Group at Glatton on 11 February 1944; transferred to the 546th...

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
10 February 2016 20:20:11 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 10-Feb-2016. Added bomber gunner claims to B-17 Aschersleben element statistics per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
10 February 2016 20:17:25 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 10-Feb-2016. Added bomber gunner claims to B-24/ Arnhem element per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
10 February 2016 20:15:02 Lee8thbuff Changes to name and description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 10-Feb-2016. Added Mission Narrative based on "The Mighty Eighth Air Force", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
13 May 2015 13:01:10 general ira snapsorter Changes to event
Sources

Mission detail added courtesy of Diane Reese -http://www.457thbombgroup.org/Narratives/MA2.html

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:43:10 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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