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8th Air Force 247 - 1st at BERLIN

4 March 1944

Official description

Not yet known

Description

The industrial areas in the suburbs of Berlin, Germany are the primary targets for this mission. All three Air Divisions despatch formations. However, the despatch from 2nd Air Division aborted the mission because of severe weather in the assembly area. 3 B-17 groups turned back at the French coast because weather prevented the proper assembly for the attack. Many of the formations turned back over the Ruhr valley and sought out Targets of Opportunity (TOs). The 3rd Air Division, 13 Combat Wing (95BG; 100BG and 390BG) carried on and bombed the primary targets at Berlin, the first American bombers to do so. 305BG/422BS also dropped 1,027,000 leaflets on Cologne, Germany. Mission Summary follows:

1st Air Division: A composite force of 264 B-17s from: 91BG; 303BG; 305BG; 306BG; 351BG; 379BG; 381BG; 384BG; 401BG; 457BG; and 482BG are despatched. These Groups were unable to reach the primary targets at Berlin because of severe weather and assembly problems and sought out Targets of Opportunity (TOs) in the industrial areas of the Ruhr valley. 100 were effective on Bonn, Germany; 44 were effective on Dusseldorf, Germany; 38 were effective on Cologne, Germany; and 7 others bombed at Frankfurt, Germany. 4 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) - 8KIA 26POW(1 DIC) 5EVD. 89 aircraft were damaged. 1 airman was KIA and 7 others WIA aboard returning aircraft. There were no other losses, casualties or claims in this element.

2nd Air Division: All Bomb Groups despatched B-24s but the formations were forced to abort the mission because of severe weather during assembly. There are no losses, claims or casualties in this element.

3rd Air Division: 238 B-17s from: 94BG; 95BG; 96BG; 100BG; 385BG; 388BG; 390BG; 447BG; and 452BG are despatched. 30 aircraft are effective on Berlin/Klein Machnow; 33 aircraft attack Targets of Opportunity. The 95BG is the first American Bomb Group to drop bombs on the Germany capital and the Group is awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC), its third and the only 8th Air Force Bomb group to earn 3 DUCs. 10 aircraft Failed to Retrun (FTR) - 20KIA 66POW 15EVD. Freeman reports 1 FTR from 385BG but no records or MACRS could be found to confrim that loss. 1 aircraft sustained an equipment malfunction and crash landed at Friston, UK, aircraft DBR - 1KOM 9RTD. 1 aircraft is damaged. The bomber gunners of this element claim 6-2-3 of attacking German aircraft. There are no other losses, casualties or claims.

Mission details

1.

Description

BOMB TARGETS OF OPPORTUNITY

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

It has not been determined which 3rd Bomb Division Groups bombed these targets.

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 74.55
Number of aircraft Sent 33
Number of aircraft Effective 33

2. Bonn, Germany

Description

INDUSTRIAL AREA

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

This is the first successful bombing of Berlin made by the 8th Air Force. 95BG; 100BG and 390BG are the only groups that bomb at Berlin. Bad weather causes many to abort or seek targets of opportunity. 3 B-17 groups turn back at the French coast because they could not form up properly because of severe weather. All remaining formations except First Combat Wing turn back in the vicinity of the Ruhr and bomb Targets of Opportunity. Groups participating are those of the 1st Bomb Division.

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...

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 0.00
Number of aircraft Sent 264
Number of aircraft Effective 100
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 3
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 0
Number of aircraft Damaged 89
Number of people Killed In Action 9
Number of people Wounded in Action 7
Number of people Evaded 5
Number of people Prisoners of War 16
Number of people Died in Captivity 1

3. BERLIN (Primary)

Description

INDUSTRIAL AREA

Aircraft type

B-24 Liberator

Notes

2 BD B-24s were also despatched but were recalled due to the weather.

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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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

Number of aircraft Sent UNK
Number of aircraft Effective 0

4. BERLIN/KLEIN MACHNOW (Primary)

Description

INDUSTRIAL AREA

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

The 95th Bomb Group becomes the first 8th Air Force Bomb Group to bomb Berlin and is awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation, its 3rd, and the only 8th Air Force Bomb Group to be awarded 3 DUCs. While bombing Berlin is a major psychological boost for the 8th Air Force, the real purpose, not divulged to the crews, is the beginning of a strategic effort to draw the Luftwaffe into the skies so that the fighters may begin to decimate it in preparation for the coming Invasion. Groups participating are those of 3rd Bomb Division.

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...

  • 447th Bomb Group

    447th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 447th Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses on strategic bombardment missions out of Rattlesden, Suffolk. With their first mission coming near the close of 1943, their main focus was hitting sites that would weaken enemy forces connected with a...

  • 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 67.40
Number of aircraft Sent 205
Number of aircraft Effective 30
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 10
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 1
Number of aircraft Damaged 31
Number of people Killed In Action 23
Number of people Wounded in Action 4
Number of people Evaded 15
Number of people Prisoners of War 66
Number of people Returned To Duty 9
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Bomber Command 6
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Bomber Command 2
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 3

5. BONN (Opportunistic)

Description

INDUSTRIAL AREA

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

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

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 230.30
Number of aircraft Effective 100
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 3
Number of people Killed In Action 9
Number of people Wounded in Action 7
Number of people Evaded 5
Number of people Prisoners of War 16
Number of people Died in Captivity 1

6. COLOGNE (Opportunistic)

Description

INDUSTRIAL AREA

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

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

Units

  • 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...

  • 532nd Bomb Squadron

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 80.61
Number of aircraft Effective 35
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 1
Number of people Prisoners of War 10

7. DUSSELDORF (Opportunistic)

Description

INDUSTRIAL AREA

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

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

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 101.32
Number of aircraft Effective 44

8. FRANKFURT (Opportunistic)

Description

INDUSTRIAL AREA

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

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

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 16.21
Number of aircraft Effective 7

Service

People

  • Murray Altman

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 384th Bomb Group
    On a mission to Berlin on 4 Mar 1944, B-17G #42-39991 was crippled by ME109s and after the rest of the crew baled out, the 2 pilots and the radio operator made an emergency landing SW of St Pol, France. Killed in Action (KIA). Missing Air Crew Report ...

  • Julius Blake

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 94th Bomb Group
    Julius Blake enlisted in the Air Corps in April 1942 and followed heavy bomber pilot training. Sent overseas, he was assigned to the 94th Bomb Group / 332nd Bomb Squadron in England. He was Pilot of B-17G #42-31150 when it lost an engine on a mission...

  • James Branagan

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 94th Bomb Group
    James Branagan enlisted in the Air Corps in October 1942 and followed navigation training. Sent overseas, he was assigned to the 94th Bomb Group / 332nd Bomb Squadron in England as a Navigator. On his sixth mission, the 4 March 1944 one to Berlin, he...

  • Harold Brassfield

    Military | Staff Sergeant (Technician Third Grade) | Tail Gunner | 388th Bomb Group
    On the return from a mission to Klein Machnow, Berlin on 6 Mar 1944, B-17G #42-37886 'Blitzing' Betsy' was severely damaged by attacks from several FW190s causing it to collide with another 388th B-17, exploding in mid-air and crashing near Emmen,...

  • Glenn Brenneke

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 96th Bomb Group
    Attacked by fighters on a mission to Berlin and on the return flight with two engines out, B-17F #42-30412 'Mischief Maker II' crashed SSE of Brussels, Belgium on 4 Mar 1944. Evaded (EVD). Page about him at http://www.evasioncomete.org/fbrennege.html

  • Edwin Carmell

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 388th Bomb Group
    Edwin Carmell served as a co-pilot with the 563rd Bomb Squadron of the 388th Bomb Group, flying missions out of Knettishall, England.

  • Walter Carpenter

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 384th Bomb Group
    On a mission to Berlin on 4 March 1944, B-17G #42-39991 was crippled by ME109s and after the rest of the crew baled out, the 2 pilots and the radio operator made an emergency landing SW of St Pol, France. Walter Carpenter was severely injured and died...

  • Enrico Carpini

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Gunner | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    My dad, Enrico 'Rick' Carpini was from Linden, NJ and served as a radio gunner on a B-17G with the 305th Bomb Group/365th Bomb Squadron. He flew 30 missions from 1/4/44-5/22/44. The pilot was John F. Schleifer from Buffalo, NY. The majority of his...

  • David Chang

    Military | Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 94th Bomb Group
    David Chang had 4 years of High School behind him and, unlike older brothers and sisters, was still a Chinese citizen when he enlisted in the Air Corps in October 1942. After completing aerial gunnery training, he was sent overseas and was assigned to...

  • Richard Conant

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Airplane Mechanic Gunner 748 - Waist Gunner | 447th Bomb Group

Show more

Aircraft

  • 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...

  • 42-31565 Lassie Come Home

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 21/11/43; Gr Island 7/12/43; Selfridge 14/12/43; Presque Is 15/12/43; Assigned 335BS/95BG [OE-U] Horham 26/12/43; 13m, Missing in Action Berlin 4/3/44 with Pilot Rodney P. Roehm; Co-pilot: David F. Wolter; Bombardier: Donald R. Egan;...

  • 42-31734

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 10/12/43; Gr Island 29/12/43; Detroit 25/1/44; Grenier 2/2/44; Presque Is 4/2/44; Assigned 412BS/95BG [QW-H] Horham 15/2/44; 7m, Missing in Action Berlin 4/3/44 with Marvin Worthy, Co-pilot: Dave Ginsburg, Navigator: Frank Gaynor,...

  • 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,...

  • 42-37886 Blitzing Betsy

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 2/10/43; Gr Island 21/10/43; Assigned 562BS/388BG Knettishall 25/10/43; Missing in Action Berlin 6/3/44 with Lowell Watts captured by civilians, Co-pilot: Bob Kennedy, Navigator: Emmett Murphy, Bombardier: Ed Kelley, Flight engineer...

  • 42-39801 Double Trouble II, Northern Queen

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Long Beach 4 September 1943; Gr Island 22 September 1943; Assigned 332BS/94BG [XM-B] Rougham 27 September 1943. Missing in Action Berlin 4 March 1944 with Pilot Julius O. Blake; Co-Pilot George G. Wedd Jr; Bombardier William P. Calmes;...

  • 42-39991 LOOK HOMEWARD ANGEL

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Long Beach 28/10/43; Kearney 13/11/43; Assigned 544BS/384BG [SU-V] Grafton Underwood 8/1/44; then to the 546BS [BK-V]; Missing in Action Bonn (Cologne) on 4/3/44 with Walter Andrew Carpenter-died from injuries while in hospital, Bombardier:...

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
17 February 2016 19:12:13 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 17-Feb-2016. Made connections to Unit that sustained the loss at Cologne per "Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces:, Stan Bishop & John A. Hey MBE.

Date Contributor Update
17 February 2016 19:09:21 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 17-Feb-2016. Added bomber gunner claims to Berlin/Klein Machnow element statistics per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
17 February 2016 19:05:25 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 17-Feb-2016. Edited Location to Bonn, Germany and corrected statistics per MACRs and "Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces", Stan Bishop & John A. Hey MBE.

Date Contributor Update
17 February 2016 18:54:07 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 17-Feb-2016. Removed note from 457BG and moved those comments to the mission of 3-Mar-43. The 457 DID NOT bomb at Berlin on 4-Mar-44 only 95BG; 100BG and 390BG managed to hit Berlin on 4-Mar-44 per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary:, ROger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
17 February 2016 18:48:38 Lee8thbuff Changes to name
Sources

Lee Cunningham 17-Feb-2016. Edited title. This was the first SUCCESSFUL bombing of Berlin by units of the 8th Air Force per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman

Date Contributor Update
17 February 2016 18:44:20 Lee8thbuff Changes to description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 17-Feb-2016. Added Mission Narrative based on "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman, losses confirmed from MACRS and "Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces", Stan Bishop & John A. Hey MBE.

Date Contributor Update
13 May 2015 13:25:40 general ira snapsorter Changes to event
Sources

Mission detail added courtesy of Diane Reese - http://www.457thbombgroup.org/Narratives/MA7.html

Date Contributor Update
13 May 2015 13:24:45 general ira snapsorter Changes to event
Sources

Mission detail added courtesy of Diane Reese - http://www.457thbombgroup.org/Narratives/MA7.html

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:43:11 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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