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8th Air Force 280

26 March 1944

Official description

Not yet known

Description

9 V-Weapon sites in the Pas-de-Calaise, France area and 7 V-Weapon sites in the Cherbourg, France area are the targets of this mission. A combined force of 573 heavy bombers from all three Air Divisions are despatched. Mission Summary follows:

1st AIr Division: 243 B-17s from: 91BG; 303BG; 306BG; 351BG; 379BG; 381BG; 384BG; 401BG; and 457BG are despatched to bomb V-Weapon sites in the Pas-de-Calaise area of France. 234 aircraft are effective on targets. 4 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) - 9KIA 31POW. 3 aircraft are Damaged Beyond Repair (DBR) in crash landings upon return - 30RTD. 134 aircraft are damaged, 1 airman in a returning aircraft is KIA and 10 others are WIA. There are no other losses, casualties or claims.

2nd Air Division: A combined force of 185 B-24s from: 44BG; 389BG; 392BG; 445BG; 448BG; 453BG; and 458BG are despatched to bomb V-Weapon sites in the Pas-de-Calaise area of France. 138 are effective on a target. 1 Aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) - 10KIA. 38 aircraft are damaged. 1airman in a returning aircraft is KIA and 5 others are WIA. There are no other losses casulaties or claims.

3rd Air Division: A combined force of 145 B-17s from: 94BG; 95BG;96BG; 388BG; 390BG;447BG and 452BG are despatched to bomb 7 V-Weapon sites in the Cherbourg area of France. There are no losses. 64 aircraft are damaged. There are no other losses, casualties or claims.

Mission details

1. CHERBOURG (Primary)

Description

V-1 MISSILE SITES

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

No bomber gunner claims. Seven sites are hit in this raid. Groups participating are part of 3rd Bomb Division.

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...

  • 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 on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1943, their main focus was hitting sites that would weaken enemy forces...

  • 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 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...

  • 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 325.37
Number of aircraft Sent 145
Number of aircraft Effective 128
Number of aircraft Damaged 64

2. PAS DE CALAIS (Primary)

Description

V-1 MISSILE SITES

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

Nine sites are hit in this raid. No bomber gunner claims. All Groups from 1st Bomb Division participate except 92nd Bomb Group which stands down.

457th BG MISSION NO. 20 - WATTEN, FRANCE

26 MARCH 1944

The Group dispatched thirty-six aircraft to the No Ball anti-invasion fortification at Watton, France, a repeat of mission No. 15. Lt. Col. Wilson was Air Commander and Lt. J. L. Smith, pilot. The weather was clear; bombing results were poor.

No enemy fighters were sighted; however, there was intense flak over the target. The lead craft had an engine knocked out on the bomb run, causing it to lose both altitude and power. There were no personnel casualties and all planes returned safely, although many received flak damage. Crew members witnessed a B-17, from another group, explode after taking a direct flak hit.

The thirty-six craft put aloft by the Group represented a new high for one mission. The only other occasion to date was the first mission when the A and B Formations were flown. The post exchange announced the opening between hours of 1800 and 2200 daily, except Sunday, of the new beverage bar. One bottle of Coca-Cola per person per week could be purchased by submitting the ration card and paying the nominal sum of three pence for the product. (Same price as back home!)

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...

  • 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...

  • 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 594.83
Number of aircraft Sent 243
Number of aircraft Effective 234
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 4
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 3
Number of aircraft Damaged 134
Number of people Killed In Action 10
Number of people Wounded in Action 10
Number of people Prisoners of War 31
Number of people Returned To Duty 30

3. PAS DE CALAIS (Primary)

Description

V-1 MISSILE SITES

Aircraft type

B-24 Liberator

Notes

No bomber gunner claims. All Groups are part of 2nd Bomb Division.

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...

  • 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...

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 350.80
Number of aircraft Sent 185
Number of aircraft Effective 138
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 1
Number of people Killed In Action 10

Service

People

  • Stanley Bielawski

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 379th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 526BS, 379BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Pas de Calais in B-17 42-97485 26-Mar-44; Hit by flak, crashed St-Marie-Cappel, France; Prisoner of War (POW) MACR 3592 Awards: POW, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • James Braa

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Ball turret gunner | 389th Bomb Group
    James Braa served as a ball turret gunner with the 566th Bomb Squadron of the 389th Bomb Group, flying bombing missions out of Hethel, England. He completed his tour of 30 missions between March and June 1944, flying his final two missions on D-Day.

  • Bernard Conlin

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 379th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 526BS, 379BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Pas de Calais in B-17 42-97485 26-Mar-44; Hit by flak, crashed St-Marie-Cappel, Nth of Hazebrouck, 7 miles NE of St Omer, France; Prisoner of War (POW) MACR 3592 ...

  • Chester Cox

    Military | Colonel | Group Commanding Officer | 388th Bomb Group
    Retired from the USAF with the rank of Brigadier General

  • Wayne Danielson

    Military | Staff Sergeant (Technician Third Grade) | Tail Gunner/Airplane Armorer | 458th Bomb Group
    Killed in Action (KIA) in B24 AC-42-52404. Plane crashed shortly after takeoff.

  • Raymond Domergue

    Military | First Lieutenant | Bombardier | 379th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 526BS, 379BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Pas de Calais in B-17 42-97485 26-Mar-44; Hit by flak, crashed St-Marie-Cappel, Nth of Hazebrouck, 7 miles NE of St Omer, France; Prisoner of War (POW) MACR 3592. ...

  • Charles Dunlap

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Hit by flak just after bombs away on a mission to Wizernes, France on 26 Mar 1944, B-17G 42-31929 'Tennessee Hillbilly'. Crashed at Lederzeelle, North of St Omer after the crew baled out. Prisoner of War

  • Lester Fifield

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 379th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 526BS, 379BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Pas de Calais in B-17 42-97485 26-Mar-44; Hit by flak, crashed St-Marie-Cappel, Nth of Hazebrouck, 7 miles NE of St Omer, France; Prisoner of War (POW) MACR 3592 ...

  • Edwin Finance

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 379th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 526BS, 379BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Pas de Calais in B-17 42-97485 26-Mar-44; Hit by flak, crashed St-Marie-Cappel, Nth of Hazebrouck, 7 miles NE of St Omer, France; Prisoner of War (POW) MACR 3592 ...

  • George Frazier

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 379th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 526BS, 379BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Pas de Calais in B-17 42-97485 26-Mar-44; Hit by flak, crashed St-Marie-Cappel, Nth of Hazebrouck, 7 miles NE of St Omer, France; Prisoner of War (POW) MACR 3592 ...

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Aircraft

  • 42-107017

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 27/1/44; Kearney 1/2/44; Presque Is 5/3/44; Assigned 560BS/388BG Knettishall 6/3/44; Missing in Action Liege 25/5/44 with Bill Warren, Bombardier: Jerome Fontaine (2 Killed in Action); Navigator: Gene McClellan, Flight engineer/top...

  • 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)...

  • 42-30778 Old 66/Lady Margaret

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 28/7/43; Gore 6/8/43; Pendleton 12/8/43; Reno 14/8/43; Pierre 16/8/43; Assigned 561BS/388BG Knettishall 3/9/43; crashed on take off for France 13/8/44 with Leon Sutton, Co-pilot: Harlan Thompson, Navigator: George Healy, Bombardier:...

  • 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,...

  • 42-97192 Bottled In Bond

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 5/2/44; Gr Island 20/2/44; Grenier 10/3/44; Assigned 562BS/388BG Knettishall 12/3/44; Missing in Action Rostock 11/4/44 with Art Thomas, Co-pilot: John Harper, Navigator: Joe Tilley, Bombardier: Lew Clemens, Flight engineer/top...

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
06 March 2016 19:02:53 Lee8thbuff Changes to description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 6-Mar-2016. Added Mission Narrative per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman and "Losses of the 8ht & 9th Air Forces", Stan Bishop & John A Hey MBE.

Date Contributor Update
13 May 2015 14:21:37 general ira snapsorter Changes to event
Sources

Mission detail added courtesy of Diane Reese - http://www.457thbombgroup.org/Narratives/ma20.html

Date Contributor Update
13 November 2014 12:38:30 Emily Changes to media associations
Sources

Associated Media based on images associated with missions in Freeman, The Mighty Eighth War Diary.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:43:12 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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