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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 Mexico for advanced flight training until 7-August-1942 when it moved to Biggs Field, Texas to prepare for deployment overseas. The ground echelon moved to Fort Dix, New Jersey on 24-August-1942 and sailed for the UK aboard the Queen Mary on 5-September-1942 arriving at Greenock, UK on 10-September-1942. The air echelon flew to Kellogg Field, Michigan and then on to Dow Field, Maine to begin deployment to England. The Group finally assembled at Molesworth and flew its first combat mission on 17-Nov-1942.

From 17-Nov-1942 until 25-April-1945 the Group flew 364 missions in 10,721 sorties and dropped 24,918 tons of bombs. The Group lost 165 aircraft MIA.
The "Hell's Angels" were named after the B-17 Flying Fortress 41-24577 of the same name, which was the first B-17 in the Eighth Air Force to complete 25 missions. The Group was based solely at Molesworth, Cambridgeshire, between 12 September 1942 and 11 June 1945, flying 364 missions in 10,721 sorties (more than any other B-17 Eighth Air Force Group) and dropped 24,918 tons of bombs (2nd highest in 8AF). Abundant information on this group may be researched at: http://www.303rdbg.com/ hosted by Mr. Gary Moncur. This is perhaps the most comprehensive website currently existing (11-Nov-2014) on any 8th AF Bomb Group.

CLAIMS TO FAME
B-17F 41-24577 'Hell's Angels' first B-17 aircraft to complete 25 missions
B-17F 41-24605 'Knock-Out Dropper' first B-17 aircraft to complete 50 and 75 missions
B-17G 42-38050 'Thunderbird' one of the few B-17s to fly more than 100 missions
First 8th Air Force Bomb Group to complete 300 missions
Flew more missions than any other 8th Air Force Bomb Group.

Commanding officers
  • Charles Marion

    Military | Colonel | Assistant Chief of Staff; Director of Operations; CO | 303rd Bomb Group
    303 Bomb Group records indicate that he was assigned as a Pilot with the 303BG/360BS on 1-May-42 at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho with the rank of Major. Records are not clear as to when he arrived at Molesworth, UK or on what aircraft. ...

  • James Wallace

    Military | Colonel | Commanding Officer | 303rd Bomb Group
    Commanding Officer, 303rd Bomb Group 13-Jul-42 to 12-Feb-43. Mission Participations (UNDER CONSTRUCTION) See Biography events.

  • Kermit Stevens

    Military | Colonel | Commanding Officer; Pilot | 303rd Bomb Group
    Stationed in Savannah when 8th AF formed; Commanding Officer 303rd BG from 19-Jul-43 to 1-Sep-44; led first daylight bombing mission over Norway SS/ DFC w/ Oak Leaf Cluster/ AM w/ 4 Oak Leaf Cluster

  • William Sipes

    Military | Colonel | Operations Officer; Commanding Officer | 303rd Bomb Group
    Commanding Officer 526th Bombardment Squadron,379th Bombardment Group from 29 May 1943 to April 1944. ...

  • William Raper

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Commanding Officer; Pilot | 303rd Bomb Group
    Commanding Officer 303rd Bomb Group from 29-Oct-44 to 19-Apr-45. SS/ DFC w/ Oak Leaf Cluster/ AM w/ 3 Oak Leaf Cluster

Structure

Part of
Encompassing
Previously was
Not yet known
Became
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Missions

  • VIII Bomber Command 20

    17 November 1942
    The U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France are the Primary (P) target for a combined force of 49 B-17s despatched from 91BG (20), 303BG (16) and 306BG (13). Another element of 14 B-24s despatched from 93BG also joins the bombing force on St. Nazaire. The...

  • VIII Bomber Command 21

    18 November 1942
    The U-Boat pens at Lorient and La Pallice, France are the Primary (P) targets for this mission. However, those at St. Nazaire, France are attacked by 21 B-17s of 303BG when they are mistaken for those of Lorient. The force attacking Lorient is composed...

  • VIII Bomber Command 22

    22 November 1942
    The U-Boat pens at Lorient, France are the Primary (P) target of this mission. A combined force of 68 B-17s despatched from 91BG (18), 303BG (18) 305BG (23) and 306BG (9) against the target but a 10/10 could cover prevents all but 11 from 303BG from...

  • VIII Bomber Command 23

    23 November 1942
    The U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France are the Primary (P) for this mission. A combined force of 50 B-17s despatched from 91BG (10), 303BG (12), 305BG (20) and 306BG (8) to attack this target. 91BG is not able to put any of their group on the target,...

  • VIII Bomber Command 24

    6 December 1942
    The German airfield of Drucat at Abbeville, France is the primary target for 19 B-24s despatched from 44th Bomb Group but are recalled. One squadron of 6 does not hear the recall and proceeds to the target, 1 B-24 MIA. ...

  • VIII Bomber Command 25

    12 December 1942
    This mission is composed of two elements. First element: The German air depot at Romilly-sur-Seine, France is the Primary (P) target for a force of 78 B-17s despatched from 91BG (19), 303BG (20), 305BG (21) and 306BG (18). However, the target is...

  • VIII Bomber Command 26

    20 December 1942
    The German Air Depot at Romilly-sur-Seine, France is the Primary (P) target for a combined force of 80 B-17s despatched by 91BG (17), 303BG (21); 305BG (23) and 306BG (19). 60 B-17 are effective on the target, but 7 are MIA and 1 is DBR. ...

  • VIII Bomber Command 27

    30 December 1942
    The U-Boat pens at Lorient, France are the target for this mission. A combined force of 77 B-17s are despatched by 91BG (19); 303BG (16); 305BG (13) and 306BG (18). Only 40 are effective on the target. All but 1 B-17 from the 18 despatched by 306BG is...

  • VIII Bomber Command 28

    3 January 1943
    The U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France are once again the target for this mission. This is proving to be a particularly difficult target to destroy due to its massive, reinforced concrete design. It consists of 14 individual pens connected together in...

  • VIII Bomber Command 29

    13 January 1943
    The primary target for this mission is the Atclier d'Hellemmes locomotive works, associated steel works and the railroad marshalling yards at Lille, France. The attacking force is composed of 72 B-17s from: 91BG (13); 303BG (19); 305BG (23) and 306BG ...

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Stations

Station Location Date
Based Molesworth 12 September 1942 – 11 June 1945

Connections

People

  • Donald Aageson

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 303rd Bomb Group
    Donald C Aageson served as a pilot with the 303rd Bomb Group. He flew 29 missions. ...

  • J Aaver

    Military | Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group

  • George Abbott

    Military | Private | 303rd Bomb Group

  • Robert Abbott

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 303rd Bomb Group

  • Wesley Abbott

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner, Waist Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    INT Damaged by flak and crashed in Switzerland on 7/13/44 in B-17 #4297905

  • Ralph Abercia

    Military | Corporal (Technician Fifth Grade) | 303rd Bomb Group

  • James Aberdeen

    Military | Corporal | 303rd Bomb Group

  • Fay Abernathy

    Military | Corporal | Left Waist Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Flew 30 Missions, most with Edwards Crew

  • Milton Abernathy

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 303rd Bomb Group
    Shot down by flak on a mission to Dyon, FR on 6 Feb 1944 in B-17G 42-97498 'Padded Cell'. Crew baled out and a/c crashed near Bricey. Prisoner of War (POW).

  • Paul Abernathy

    Military | Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner, Waist Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Shot down 19 August 1943 in B-17 #425392 'Stric Nine. ' Plane crashed into North Sea. Prisoner of War (POW). POW

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Aircraft

  • 41-24517 Kali

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F 41-24517 [GN-O] 'Kali' 303BG/427BS assigned with crew on 1-May-42 at Alamogordo Field, Almogordo, New Mexico. Sent with crew to Dow Field, Bangor, Maine for deployment 5-Oct-42. Arrived at Molesworth, UK 24-Oct-42 ...

  • 41-24526 Leapin' Liz

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F 41-24608 "Leapin' Liz". Assigned 358BS/303BG [VK-J] Bangor 19-Sep-42; Molesworth 16-Oct-42; Missing in Action St Nazaire 3-Jan-43, shot down by enemy aircraft, crashed off St Brevin, Bay of Biscay, France. 10KIA Missing Air Crew Report (MACR)...

  • 41-24541 Spook

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F 41-24541 "Spook" was assigned 358BS/303BG [VK-G] Kellogg Fd 14-Sep-42; Molesworth 16-Sep-42;The aircraft participated in 12 Operations - 4 Aborted (See Biography events) ...

  • 41-24558 Hunga Dunga

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F-25-BO 41-24558 [VK:F] "Hunga Dunga" was assigned to the 358BS/303BG [VK-F] at Bangor. Maine on 14-Oct-42; arrived at Molesworth, UK on 16-Oct-42; Missing in Action Vegasack 18-Mar-43 when it was attacked by enemy aircraft near Helgoland. Germany...

  • 41-24559 Ooold Soljer

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F 41-24559 'Ooold Soljer' was assigned 360BS/303BG [PU-C] Bangor 14-Oct-42; Molesworth 16-Oct-42. ...

  • 41-24561 The Duchess

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 359BS/303BG [BN-T] Bangor 10/9/42; Molesworth 16/10/42; 59m transferred 1 Base Air Depot, Burtonwood 7/7/44; Returned to the USA Altus 18/8/44; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Altus 14/8/45. Over Vegasack 18/3...

  • 41-24562 Sky Wolf

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 358BS/303BG [VK-A] Bangor 14/10/42; Molesworth 16/10/42; 60m Missing in Action Oschersleben 11/1/44 with Aubrey Emerson, Co-pilot: McDonald Riddick, Navigator: Lew Halliburton, Bombardier: Don Delaura, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Grover...

  • 41-24565

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 359BS/303BG [BN-P] Bangor 9/10/42; Molesworth 25/10/42; force landed RAF Chipping Warden 23/1/43 with Ross Bates, 10RTD; Missing in Action 28m Gelsenkirchen 5/11/43 with Ambrose Grant, Co-pilot: Frank Ball, Navigator: Jim Berger, Bombardier:...

  • 41-24566 Zombie

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F 41-24566 'Zombie' [BN-W] was assigned 303BG/359BS [BN-W] at Alamogordo Field, New Mexico on 23-Jun-42. Stationed at Kellogg Field, Battle Creek, Michigan until 3-Oct-42 when it went to Bangor, Maine for deployment to England.; Molesworth 25-Oct...

  • 41-24567 Beats Me

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F 41-24567 [PU:J] "Beats Me" was assigned 360BS/303BG [PU-J] Bangor 14-Oct-42; Molesworth 16-Oct-42. Participated in 7 Operations - 2 Aborted (See Biography events) ...

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Citations

Distinguished Unit Citation: 11-Jan-44 Oschersleben (All 1BD Groups)
Medal of Honor: 1Lt Jack W. Mathis 18-Mar-1943 Vegesack
Medal of Honor: TSgt Forrest L. Vossler 20-Dec-43 Bremen

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
08 December 2015 19:23:29 Lee8thbuff Changes to description and mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 8-Dec-2015. Correcting typo in date.

Date Contributor Update
08 December 2015 19:21:48 Lee8thbuff Changes to description and mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 8-Dec-2015. Corrected first combat mission date per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian: http://www.303rdbg.com/

Date Contributor Update
24 February 2015 03:12:57 glm303 Changes to mission associations
Sources

Gary L Moncur
303rdBG Historian
www.303rdBG.com

Date Contributor Update
23 February 2015 17:55:08 glm303 Changes to name and mission associations
Sources

Gary L. Moncur
303rd BG Historian
www.303rdBG.com

Date Contributor Update
23 February 2015 15:27:06 Lucy May Changes to name and mission associations
Sources

Changed the name of the Group from 'Hells Angels' to 'Hell's Angels'.

Date Contributor Update
25 November 2014 22:19:19 Lee8thbuff Changes to name, description and mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 25-Nov-2014. Added early history and statistics per: http://www.usaaf.com/8thaf/bomber/303bg.HTM

Date Contributor Update
11 November 2014 20:24:39 Lee8thbuff Changes to type, nicknames, motto, insignia, citations, description, aircraft types, commanding officers associations, mission associations and stations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 11-Nov-2014. http://www.usaaf.com/8thaf/bomber/303bg.HTM; http://www.303rdbg.com/index.html

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:42:44 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database / The Mighty Eighth. A History of the Units, Men and Machines of the US 8th Air Force.' by Roger A. Freeman (1989). 'Air Force Combat Units of World War II' compiled by the Department of the US Air Force, edited by Maurice Maurer (1983). / Units in the UK from ETOUSA Station List, as transcribed by Lt. Col. Philip Grinton (US Army, Retired) and extracted by IWM; air division data from L.D. Underwood, based on the 8th Air Force Strength Report of 6th August 1944, as published in 'The 8th Air Force Yearbook' by Lt. Col. John H Woolnough (1980)

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