8th Air Force 187

21 January 1944

Description

This mission is directed at 36 V-Weapon sites (34 in the Pas-de-Calaise area and 2 in the Chrebourg area of France) 24 of these are bombed successfully. All three Bomb Divisions participate in the attacks and the bomber gunners claimed 5-1-2 of attacking aircraft (statisitics included with 2BD element). 10 aircraft (B-17s) from 1BD, 9 aircraft (B-24s) from 2BD and 5 aircraft (B-17s) from 3BD attacked targets of opportunity which included 2 further V-Weapon sites and 3 airfields. Some of the B-24s of 2BD stayed in the target area too long and a a result their fighter escort was forced to abandon them because of low fuel. 1 target required 10 runs before it was succesfully attacked. 4 airmen aboard a B-24 from 448BG, the lead aircraft, baled out over the English Channel thinking the aircraft was on fire and these were lost in the sea. The despatch was as follows:

1st Bomb Division: A combined force of 306 B-17s were despatched from: 91BG; 92BG; 303BG; 305BG; 306BG; 351BG; 379BG; 381BG; 384BG and 401BG. Those from 401BG were forced to abort the mission due to weather. 156 aircraft were successful on a target. There were no aircraft losses in this element but 74 aircraft were damaged primarily by AA-fire. 8 airmen in returing aircraft were WIA.

2nd Bomb Division: A combined force of 198 B-24s were despatched from: 44BG; 93BG; 389BG; 392BG; 445BG, 446BG and 448BG. Weather and difficulty to locating sites frustrated bombing attempts with only 77 of this element successfully bombing a target. These groups tarried too long over the target area and their fighter escort was forced to abandon them. As a result 5 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) - 32KIA 10POW 11EVD. In addition 4 airmen were KIA when they baled out over the English Channel. 2 other airment in retuning aircraft were KIA along with 18WIA. 2 battle damaged aircraft made crash landings upon return 2KIA 17RTD, 3 airment in one of these aircraft baled out over France and were captured - 3POW.

3rd Bomb Division: A combined force of 291 B-17s were despatched from: 94BG; 95BG; 96BG; 100BG; 385BG; 388BG; 390BG and 447BG. 161 of these aircraft were effective on a target. 1 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) - 4KIA 6POW. 1 aircraft with battle damage made a crash landing near Detling, UK and was considered Damaged Beyond Repair (DBR) - 10RTD. 29 other aircraft in this element were damaged and 7 airment in returning aircraft were wounded.

Mission Details

Description: BOMB TARGETS OF OPPORTUNITY

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: 10 aircraft from 1st Bomb Division and 5 aircraft from 3rd Bomb Division bomb targets of opportunity two V-Weapons sites and 3 airfields

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 43.44
  • Aircraft sent: 15
  • Aircraft effective: 15

Description: BOMB TARGETS OF OPPORTUNITY

Aircraft Type: B-24 Liberator

Notes: 9 B-24s bomb targets of opportunity two V-Weapons sites and 3 airfields

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 26.06
  • Aircraft sent: 9
  • Aircraft effective: 9

Cherbourg, France

Description: V-1 MISSILE SITES

Aircraft Type: B-24 Liberator

Notes: Four crewmen of the lead B-24 from 44th Bomb Group bailed out when a smoke marker ignited in the bay thinking that the aircraft was on fire. These 4 were lost in the English Channel. Two BD B-24s stayed too long in the target area and the escorting P-38s ran low on fuel and had to terminate their escort. This gave opportunity to the German fighters which downed 5 B-24s. All 2nd Bomb Division casualties bundled. Bomber gunner claims for all aircraft that participated in the operation are stated here.

The insignia of the 389th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
The insignia of the 392nd Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
A pathfinder B-24 Liberator (serial number 42-51681) of the 453rd Bomb Group flies in formation with a fellow Liberator of the 453rd and and a pathfinder Liberator of the 445th Bomb Group. Image via Alan Rowsell.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
A flight of B-24 Liberators of the 446th Bomb Group fly in formation above the clouds.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
The insignia of the 448th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 196.23
  • People killed in action: 39
  • People wounded in action: 16
  • People evaded: 11
  • Prisoners of war: 14
  • People returned to duty: 17
  • Enemy aircrafts destroyed by bomber: 5
  • Enemy aircrafts probably destroyed by bomber: 1
  • Enemy aircraft damaged by bomber: 2
  • Aircraft sent: 198
  • Aircraft effective: 68
  • Aircraft missing in action: 5
  • Aircraft damaged beyond repair: 2
  • Aircraft damaged: 41

PAS DE CALAIS (Primary)

Description: V-1 MISSILE SITES

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: Aircraft are all part of 3rd Bomb Division.

  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
The insignia of the 385th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
The insignia of the 388th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
The insignia of the 390th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 451.78
  • People killed in action: 6
  • Prisoners of war: 4
  • People returned to duty: 10
  • Aircraft sent: 291
  • Aircraft effective: 156
  • Aircraft missing in action: 1
  • Aircraft damaged beyond repair: 1

PAS DE CALAIS (Primary)

Description: V-1 MISSILE SITES

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: 34 V-Weapon sites are targeted. 401st Bomb Group aborted the mission because of weather. Aircraft are all part of 1sr Bomb Division.

Official emblem of the 303rd Bomb Group approved 7 November 1942.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
The insignia of the 351st Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
The insignia of the 379th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 422.82
  • Aircraft sent: 306
  • Aircraft effective: 146
  • Aircraft damaged: 74

Connections

See how this entry relates to other items in the archive by exploring the connections below.

People

  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 401st Bomb Group 615th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 31037975 / O-681515
  • Highest Rank: Major
  • Role/Job: Bombardier
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 446th Bomb Group 93rd Bomb Group
  • Service Numbers: O-434690
  • Highest Rank: Captain
  • Role/Job: Pilot / Operations Officer
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 381st Bomb Group 534th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 18042331
  • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Ball Turret Gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs 68th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 14151313
  • Highest Rank: Technical Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Engineer/Top Turret Gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 95th Bomb Group 412th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 18193418
  • Highest Rank: Technical Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Radio Operator

Aircraft

  • Aircraft Type: B-24 Liberator
  • Nicknames: Victory Ship
  • Unit: 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs 68th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Little Audrey
  • Unit: 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers 384th Bomb Group Base Air Depot 1 368th Bomb Squadron 369th Bomb Squadron 544th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Problem Child | Old Reliable
  • Unit: 547th Bomb Squadron 384th Bomb Group 305th Bomb Group Can Do
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Stella
  • Unit: 384th Bomb Group 544th Bomb Squadron
Two airmen of the 303rd Bomb Group admire the nose art of a B-17 Flying Fortress nicknamed "Iza Vailable". Printed caption removed from reverse. On reverse: Keystone Press Agency, 'Sacred' and U.S. Official Photograph O.W.I. [Stamps].
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Iza vailable
  • Unit: 303rd Bomb Group 360th Bomb Squadron

Revisions

Date10 Jan 2016 22:51:45
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 10-Jan-2016. Added Bomber gunner claims on enemy aircraft to the statistics of 2nd BD per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date10 Jan 2016 22:48:01
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 10-Jan-2016. Added Mission Narrative per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman and "Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces", Stan Bishop & John A. Hey MBE.

Date29 May 2015 10:19:17
Contributorjdossetter
Sources

updated location

Date27 Sep 2014 18:43:16
ContributorAAM
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'.