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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 Muroc Lake Air Base in California for intensive flight training between 29-Jun-42 to 20-August-1942

In early September 1942 the ground unit traveled by train to Fort Dix, New Jersey then on 5-September-1942 the ground unit sailed on the Queen Mary and disembarked on at Greenock, Inverclyde, UK on 12-September-1942 and proceeded to their UK Station 106 at Grafton Underwood.

Meanwhile, the air unit proceeded to Syracuse, New York for six weeks of advanced flight training between late August 1942 until October 1942 when they received new B-17F bombers. The bombers flew via the Presque Isle, Maine-Gander, Newfoundland-Prestwick, UK route during October 1942 and assembled at Grafton Underwood. The Group flew its first mission on 17-November-1942 flying a diversion mission for other groups bombing the U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France. On 11-Dec-1942 the Group was relocated to Station 105, Chelveston where it remained for the remainder of the war. For a week in July 1945, the Group moved to St. Trond, Belgium, where it conducted photo-mapping flights over Europe and North Africa as part of Project "Casey Jones".

During their tour of duty the Group flew 337 missions in 9,321 sorties and dropped 22,363 tons of bombs. The Group lost 154 aircraft MIA; 13 of those losses occurred on the famous "2nd Schweinfurt" mission of 14-Oct-1943, the most losses of any Bomb Group participating in that action. Because of the losses the Group sustained on that mission, the Group was given the Nazi flag that flew above that city when it was captured by the US 42nd Infantry Division in April 1945.

CLAIMS TO FAME
Between June 1942 and May 1943, under Commanding Officer Col. Curtis LeMay, the "Can Do" Group pioneered formations and bombing procedures that later became standard procedure for the Eighth Air Force
The Group was part of the first raid over Germany, bombing the navy yards at Wilhelmshaven on 27 January 1943.
First night attack of 8AF by 422BS 8-Sep-43.
Distinguished Unit Citation 4-Apr-43 Paris.
Distinguished Unit Citation 11-Jan-44 Halberstadt.
Congressional Medal of Honor 1Lt William R. Lawley, Jr. 20-Feb-44 Leipzig
Congressional Medal of Honor 1Lt Edward S. Michael 11-Apr-44 Stettin

THE 305th BOMB GROUP on BLACK THURSDAY 14-10-1943
While looking for information on Donald Paul Breeden and his crew, I read some books about this ‘Back Thursday’ and the way in which the 305th Bomb Group was hurt on this raid - Mission 115 - into the well defended German heartland.

I did read a book about the Mighty Eight and the books with personal stories like by John Comer and Steve Snyder. While looking into the story of Grandpa Dassen his bomber boots I’ve read on the internet about the evaders like Stan Alukonis and Steve Krawczynski. Also from Mr. Roberts’ and Mr. Linrud’s stories I got a good idea of their adventures and feelings.

Mr. Caidin is mild in his book while Mr. Kuhl in his is very outspoken on the leadership of the 305th Bomb Group on that Black Thursday: Normand had to little experience on flying B-17‘s, on leading and was not recommended for more leading by his former CO. But on the 14th he was the leader.
Who ever is right, it does not change the big losses of men and machines from this group in which the 364 Bomb Squadron of Donald Paul Breeden and his fellow crew members was the one who was hit hardest.

Other things went wrong as well. The Germans were alerted by the message from Gen. Anderson that was sent ‘in the clear‘ instead as ‘secret’ on 13th of October just before midnight. So some 1.100 German planes were ready and on alert.

Due to gathering problems because of the bad weather over England the US fighter escort had to return earlier than planned. It is also said that they started to early so lost fuel on waiting for the combat boxes of B-17’s.

The escorting P-47’s left at 13.33 hours. Map reference 5102N-0555E is between Genk and Opglabbeek in Belgium. Crash time of the A/C 42-3436 was around 13.45 hours; 12 minutes later. Flying in the low group and fast still trying to get near their leader way after their ‘little friends’ had to turn home. Flying into a corridor of German airfields with about 1.100 fighters ready to attack and several cities surrounded with FLAK the 305th Bomb Group lost many planes - the second one crashed near Eygelshoven.

Of the 305th Bomb Group only 3 B-17’s reached Schweinfurt. And only 2 made it back home to Chelveston. The B-17 of Dienhart/42-30831 of the 364th squadron crash landed in Switzerland.
The 364th squadron was totally destroyed that day - within 13 minutes and before it even could cross the Rhine.

From the book by Mr. Kuhl I got most of this information on the losses of the 305th Bomb Group:
13.40 hours - Murdock 364th/#42 -29952 in Limmel (NL)
13.45 hours - McDarby 364th/#42-3436 in Eygelshoven (NL) and Finkenrath (G)
13.45 hours - Eakle 364th/#42-30807 in Eisden (B)
13.45 hours - Willis 366th/#42-3549 in Horn (NL)
13.49 hours - Dienhart 364th/#42-30831 turns south
13.50 hours - Holt 364th/#42-29988 in Immendorf (G)
13.50 hours - Fisher 366th/#42-3195 in Waldenrath (G)
13.52 hours - Lang 366th/#4237750 in Puffendorf (G)
13.53 hours - Kenyon 364th/#42-30242 crashed 4 miles W of Duren (G)
14.02 hours - Skerry 366th/#42-30814 in Adendorf near Bonn (G)
14.29 hours - Maxwell 365thth/#42-30804 exploded mid air - crashed near Glashofen (G), near Marktheidenfeldt, 15 miles NW of Würzburg (G)
14.32 hours - start bomb run over Schweinfurt by Kane/Normand - Bullock - Kincaid - Farrel
14.39 hours - Kincaid 365th/#42-3550 crashed near Werneck, 7 miles SW of Schweinfurt (G) before bombing
14.40 hours - bombs away by Kane/Normand - Bullock - Farrel
14.41 hours - Bullock 365th/#42-37740 NE of Schweinfurt (G)
15.40 hours - Dienhart 364th/#42-30831 crash-landed wheels up at Reinach Aesch (CH)

Returned safe in Chelveston after bombing
18.07 hours - Kane/Normand 365th/#42-3412
18.09 hours - Farrell 366th/#42-30678

From the mission report #115
291 B17’s started that day - 18 of 305 BG
37 aborted their flight - 3 of 305 BG
32 were lost en route - 11 of 305 BG
229 reached/bombarded Schweinfurt - 3 of 305 BG
28 were lost on return - 0 of 305 BG
201 came back home - 2 of 305 BG
138 B17’s were damaged
7 were damaged beyond repair - scrap ready

60 B17‘s were shot down
639 crew members were lost that day
Count on October 14 1943: 5 KIA, 40 WIA, 594 MIA

Commanding officers
  • Anthony Mustoe

    Military | Colonel | Commanding Officer | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    Chief Weather Officer, 8th Air Force from April 1942 to December 1943. ...

  • Curtis LeMay

    Military | General | Commanding General | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    306th Temporary Deputy Commander at Wendover, then transferred as Group Commander of 305th BG 4-Jun-42 to 15-May-43. ...

  • Donald Fargo

    Military | Colonel | Commanding Officer | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    Commanding Officer 305th Bombardment Group 18-May-1943 to late October 1943.

  • Ernest Lawson

    Military | Colonel | Pilot | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    Commanding Officer 305th Bombardment Group November-1943 to 18-June-1944. Shot down at Hamburg by Flak on 18-Jun-44 in B-17 42-97647. Killed while leading the whole 8th AF in strike formation. His a/c was severed midship by antiaircraft gunfire. Killed...

  • Henry MacDonald

    Military | Colonel | Commanding Officer | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    Commanding Officer 305th Bombardment Group 23-Oct-44 to 22-Apr-46.

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 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 ...

  • VIII Bomber Command 30

    23 January 1943
    The port area and U-Boat pens at Lorient, France are the primary target for this mission. 305th Bombardment Group is selected as the lead group, but condensation on the bombsight of the lead aircraft in the Group prevents the 305BG from bombing Lorient...

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Stations

Station Location Date
Based Grafton Underwood 12 September 1942 – 11 December 1942
Based Chelveston 11 December 1942 – 20 July 1945

Connections

People

  • Marty Aaronson

    Military | 305th Bomb Group Can Do

  • Edward Abbey

    Military | First Lieutenant | Co-pilot | 305th Bomb Group Can Do

  • Benjamin Abelson

    Military | 305th Bomb Group Can Do

  • Earle Aber

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Commanding Officer | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    Flew B-17 42-37516 Dropped leaflets at night over enemy occupied territory. Col Aber's remains were found in May 2002 in the river Stout at Harwick. He was buried on 5/10/02 at Cambridge Amer Cemetery. The airplane was Tondelayo. 406th was night...

  • John Abernathy

    Military | 305th Bomb Group Can Do

  • Charles Abrams

    Military | 305th Bomb Group Can Do

  • Lou Abrams

    Military | 305th Bomb Group Can Do

  • Elmer Ackerman

    Military | 305th Bomb Group Can Do

  • James Acord

    Military | 305th Bomb Group Can Do

  • Stanley Adamcik

    Military | 305th Bomb Group Can Do

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Aircraft

  • 41-24359

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 301BG Westover 8/9/42; instead of assignment to 12AF, Italy transferred to Chelveston 16/9/42; 813BS/305BG Grafton Underwood/Chelveston 25/11/42, sent to pathfinder base RAF Wyton of installation of Oboe Mk I radar equipment; 325BS/92BG [NV-F]...

  • 41-24533 Boom Town

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    The ship was 'Boom Town', 41-24533 a B-17 which got its name back in the ...

  • 41-24553 Cherry

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F 41-24553 'Cherry' was assigned to Syracuse 16-Sep-42;Presque Isle 19-Oct-42; Grafton Underwood 25-Oct-42; Missing in Action, 6-Dec-42 on a mission to bomb the Atclier d'Hellemmes locomotive factory at Lille, France. Shot down by Uffz Schnell (3...

  • 41-24564 PATCHES

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 365BS/305BG [XK-W] Presque Is 19/10/42; Grafton Underwood 25/10/42; Missing in Action Schweinfurt 17/8/43 with Doug Mutschler, Co-pilot: Ed Carter, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Carlton Boberg (3 Killed in Action), Navigator: Bill Bagwell...

  • 41-24575 Sunrise Serenader

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 365BS/305BG [XK-S] Presque Is 19/10/42; Grafton Underwood 25/10/42; transferred 544BS/384BG [SU-J] Grafton Underwood 19/9/43; detailed Bremen 13/11/43 but recalled with Ralph Connell, Co-pilot: Albt Doman, Navigator: Larry Angthius, Bombardier...

  • 41-24588 Carter and His Little Pills

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F-27-BO 41-24588 [WF-A] "Carter and His Little Pills" was assigned to the 364BS/305BG at Presque Isle, Maine 19-Oct-42; Grafton Underwood 25-Oct-42; Missing in Action 8-Mar-43. Aircraft was on a mission to bomb the railroad marshalling yards at...

  • 41-24590

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 364BS/305BG [WF-B] Presque Is 19/10/43; Grafton Underwood 25/10/42; Missing in Action Kiel 19/5/43 with Harvey Kohler, Navigator: J. S. Vasil, Bombardier: Bill Jones (3 Prisoner of War); Co-pilot: Vic Plekavic, Flight engineer/top turret...

  • 41-24591 'Rigor Mortis'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 366BS/305BG [KY-B] Presque Is 20/10/42; Grafton Underwood 29/10/42; Missing in Action Stuttgart 6/9/43 with Ray Halliday, Co-pilot: Russ Brooke, Navigator: Bob Curtis, Bombardier: Clarry Veach, Radio Operator: Joe McKegney, Waist gunner: Alf...

  • 41-24592

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 366BS/305BG [KY-G] Presque Is 19/10/42; Grafton Underwood 25/10/42; Missing in Action Stuttgart 6/9/43 with Floyd MacSpadden, Co-pilot: Jack Noce, Navigator: Daniel Boone, Bombardier: Mo O’Connell, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Joe...

  • 41-24593 El Lobo

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F 41-24593 "El Lobo" was assigned 364BS/305BG [WF-G] Presque Is 19-Oct-42; Grafton Underwood 25-Oct-42; Missing in Action4-Feb-42. Primary target was the railroad marshalling yards at Hamm, Germany but the target was obscured by clouds and the port...

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Citations

Distinguished Unit Citation 4-Apr-43 Paris.
Distinguished Unit Citation 11-Jan-44 Halberstadt.
Congressional Medal of Honor 1Lt William R. Lawley, Jr. 20-Feb-44 Leipzig
Congressional Medal of Honor 1Lt Edward S. Michael 11-Apr-44 Stettin

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
27 April 2018 15:35:29 wimhm.slangen Changes to description
Sources

Wim Slangen

Date Contributor Update
26 April 2018 09:22:02 wimhm.slangen Changes to description
Sources

Wim Slangen

Date Contributor Update
26 April 2018 09:18:49 wimhm.slangen Changes to description
Sources

Wim Slangen

Date Contributor Update
13 April 2018 15:35:16 Al_Skiff Changes to description
Sources

Correction MOH awardee Edward S Michael [ not Mitchell].

Date Contributor Update
13 April 2018 15:33:23 Al_Skiff Changes to citations
Sources

Correction MOH awardee Edward S Michael [ not Mitchell].

Date Contributor Update
10 April 2015 07:03:45 EMBLEMHUNTER Changes to mission associations and media associations
Sources

my photo

Date Contributor Update
23 November 2014 20:56:22 Lee8thbuff Changes to description and mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 23-Nov-2014. Added night attack to claims to fame. http://www.usaaf.com/8thaf/bomber/305bg.HTM

Date Contributor Update
23 November 2014 20:51:38 Lee8thbuff Changes to commanding officers associations and mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 23-Nov-2014. Added CO Henry G, MacDonald from new person entry created for him per http://www.usaaf.com/8thaf/bomber/305bg.HTM

Date Contributor Update
23 November 2014 20:42:48 Lee8thbuff Changes to mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 23-Nov-2014. Added Commanding Officer connections: http://www.usaaf.com/8thaf/bomber/305bg.HTM

Date Contributor Update
23 November 2014 20:42:28 Lee8thbuff Changes to name, commanding officers associations and mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 23-Nov-2014. Added Commanding Officer connections: http://www.usaaf.com/8thaf/bomber/305bg.HTM

Date Contributor Update
23 November 2014 20:01:15 Lee8thbuff Changes to type, nicknames, citations, description, aircraft types, mission associations and stations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 23-Nov-2014. History highlights, claims to fame: http://www.usaaf.com/8thaf/bomber/305bg.HTM

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:42:45 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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