8th Air Force 230 BIG WEEK - DAY 3

22 February 1944

Object Number - UPL 35205 - Wreckage of B-17 Flying Fortress (serial number 42-31322 ) nicknamed "Mi Amigo" of the 305th Bomb Group at Endcliffe Park, Sheffield.

Description

The German aircraft industry is again targeted in Day 3 of BIG WEEK. A combined total od 789 bombers (maximum effort) are dispatched from 1st 2nd and 3rd Air Divisions. Fighter opposition is heavy and bomber losses in 1st Air Division are massive - 39 bombers Failed to Return (FTR). Severe weather and cloud cover frustrated the bombing attempts. Mission Summary follows:

1st Air Division: A combined force of 289 B-17s from: 91BG; 92BG; 303BG; 305BG; 306BG; 351BG; 379BG; 381BG; 384BG; 401BG; 457BG; and 482BG are despatched to bomb the aircraft industries of three primary targets: Aschersleben, Bernburg and Halberstadt, Germany. 92BG had been assigned to bomb the German airfield of Aalburg West in Denmark but clouds prevented the attack and the bombs were released over open country in Denmark to prevent killing civilians. 34 aircraft are effective on Aschersleben; 47 aircraft are effective on Bernburg; 18 aircraft are effective on Halberstadt. Weather and clouds forced other formations to bomb the industrial areas of other German cities as Targets of Opportunity (TOs): 32 bomb at Bunde; 19 bomb at Wernegerode; 15 bomb Magdeburg; 9 hit Marburg and 7 others bomb other Targets of Opportunity. Because weather was heavy the formations had difficulty in maintaining tight formations and because German fighter opposition was heavy 39 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) - 170 KIA 186 POW 13 EVD 20 RTD (rescued by ASR). 3 aircraft were declared Damaged Beyond Repair (DBR) 2 of these sustained a mid-air collision during assembly - 17 KIA 3 RTD; 1 crash landed at Sheffield, UK but aircraft exploded and burned - 10 KIA. 18 airmen were KIA and 30 WIA in returning aircraft. 141 aircraft sustained battle damage. The bomber gunners claimed 32-18-17 (probably exaggerated) of attacking German aircraft. Not a very good exchange considering the bomber losses.

3rd Air Division: A combined total of 333 B-17s are sent aloft from 3AD Bomb Groups in the first mission to attempt to bomb the ball bearing plants at Schweinfurt, but severe weather prevented that Groups from assembling properly and the entire formation was recalled. 2 aircraft are damaged in landing mishaps. There are no other losses or claims in this element.

2nd Air Division: A combined total of 177 B-24s are despatched from 2nd Air Division bomb groups but weather forced as recall of most formations when they were 100 miles inland over the Continent. Thus, only the 93BG; 389BG; 392BG; 445BG; 446BG; 448BG; and 453BG were able to bomb. Strong winds made the formation drift over Holland and four targets were bomb unintentionally in Holland: Enschede A/F; Arnhem; Numegen and Deventer. Some civilians were killed forcing the State Department to issue an apology to the Dutch government. 3 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) - 21 KIA 9 POW. 3 other aircraft were damaged. The bomber gunners of this element claimed 2-0-0 of attacking German aircraft. There were no other losses or casualties.

Mission Details

Description: BOMB TARGETS OF OPPORTUNITY

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: It has not been determined which Groups from 1st Bomb Division attacked this target.

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 17.75
  • Aircraft sent: 7
  • Aircraft effective: 7

ARNHEM O) / DEVENTER (Opportunistic) (RC) / GOTHA (Primary) ENSCHEDE (Opportunistic) / NIJMEGEN (Opportunistic)

Description: BOMB TARGETS OF OPPORTUNITY

Aircraft Type: B-24 Liberator

Notes: Recalled due to weather 100 miles into the Continent. Strong winds drive the bombers over the Netherlands and they bomb targets of opportunity. Originally, the Gothaer Waggon Fabrik AG aircraft plants located at Gotha, Germany were the primary target.

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: 208.00
  • People killed in action: 21
  • Prisoners of war: 9
  • Enemy aircrafts destroyed by bomber: 2
  • Aircraft sent: 177
  • Aircraft effective: 74
  • Aircraft missing in action: 3
  • Aircraft damaged: 3

ASCHERSLEBEN (Primary)

Description: AIRCRAFT FACTORIES

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: This is the 3rd mission of "BIG WEEK" and losses are heavy with a total of 41 aircraft being lost. These targets were hit in a joint raid with 15th Air Force, statistics are only for the 8th Air Force. As of this date VIIII BC and VIII Fighter Command are officially designated as units of the 8th Air Force. Damage total of 141 bundled from all targets. 35 of the Killed in Action (KIA)s were aboard aircraft that returned to base. 20 WIA are bundled for all targets. 457th BG MISSION NO. 2 - OSCHERLEBEN, GERMANY 22 FEBRUARY 1944 The assigned target was the FW-190 assembly plant at Oscherleben. It was a deep penetration into central Germany. Col. Luper led the eighteen bombers on the mission, flying the l000th B-I 7 produced by the Douglas Aircraft Company in Long Beach, California. (Homer Briggs had spent time at Douglas as part of his training.) Lt. Edward M. Bender was pilot. Solid clouds rising as high as 24,000 feet over East Anglia, England, disrupted assembly and thirteen planes returned to the Base. Other groups and wings were similarly disrupted. Col. Luper, unable to find and assemble with the 94th Combat Wing, took the lead position in a mixed group of a two box wing and led it towards the Continent. Col. Luper remained on course with the composite group and bombed what was believed to be the primary target. The Group encountered heavy flak and fighter attacks. Captain Jack Hotaling, the GroupÂ’s Gunnery Officer, flying as tail gunner in Col. LuperÂ’s bomber, was credited with destroying an FW-190. Major Theodore C. Hoffman, Deputy Leader, attached to another wing and went to Merseburg. Captain Leroy Watson joined a formation that bombed Bernberg. (Compiler's Note: In addition to the Boeing Aircraft Company, the Douglas Aircraft Company and the Lockheed Aircraft Company also manufactured B-17s during the war.)

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: 86.22
  • People killed in action: 156
  • People wounded in action: 20
  • People evaded: 7
  • Prisoners of war: 130
  • People returned to duty: 13
  • Enemy aircrafts destroyed by bomber: 32
  • Enemy aircrafts probably destroyed by bomber: 18
  • Enemy aircraft damaged by bomber: 17
  • Aircraft sent: 142
  • Aircraft effective: 34
  • Aircraft missing in action: 24
  • Aircraft damaged beyond repair: 3
  • Aircraft damaged: 141

BERNBURG (Primary)

Description: AIRCRAFT FACTORIES

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: The 306th Bomb Group is awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation for its participation in the raid on Bernberg. (2nd of 2)

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 119.19
  • People killed in action: 55
  • Prisoners of war: 35
  • People returned to duty: 10
  • Aircraft sent: 47
  • Aircraft effective: 47
  • Aircraft missing in action: 9
  • Aircraft damaged beyond repair: 1

HALBERSTADT (Primary)

Description: AIRCRAFT FACTORIES

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: It has not been determined which Groups from 1st Bomb Division attacked this target.

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 45.65
  • People killed in action: 5
  • Prisoners of war: 5
  • Aircraft sent: 18
  • Aircraft effective: 18
  • Aircraft missing in action: 1

MAGDEBURG (Opportunistic)

Description: INDUSTRIAL AREA

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: It has not been determined which Groups from 1st Bomb Division attacked this target.

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 38.04
  • Aircraft sent: 15
  • Aircraft effective: 15

MARBURG (Opportunistic)

Description: INDUSTRIAL AREA

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: It has not been determined which Groups from 1st Bomb Division attacked this target.

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 22.82
  • Aircraft sent: 9
  • Aircraft effective: 9

REGENSBURG/BUNDE (Opportunistic)

Description: INDUSTRIAL AREA

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: It has not been determined which Groups from 1st Bomb Division attacked this target.

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 81.15
  • Aircraft sent: 32
  • Aircraft effective: 32

SCHWEINFURT (Primary)

Description: INDUSTRIAL AREA

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: Severe weather prevents 3rd Bomb Division formation and mission is aborted prior to crossing the enemy coast.

  • 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
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

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 0.00
  • Aircraft sent: 333
  • Aircraft damaged: 2

Description: INDUSTRIAL AREA

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: It has not been determined which Groups from 1st Bomb Division attacked this target.

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 48.18
  • People killed in action: 16
  • People evaded: 6
  • Prisoners of war: 18
  • Aircraft sent: 19
  • Aircraft effective: 19
  • Aircraft missing in action: 4

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: 6962724
  • Highest Rank: Technical Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Top Turret Gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 401st Bomb Group 615th Bomb Squadron
  • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Role/Job: waist gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 95th Bomb Group 336th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 32549894
  • Highest Rank: Technical Sergeant (2nd Grade)
  • Role/Job: Radio Operator
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 95th Bomb Group 336th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: O-809476
  • Highest Rank: Second Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Navigator
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers 423rd Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: O-679328
  • Highest Rank: First Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Bombardier

Aircraft

Ground crew work of the 303rd Bomb Group work on the engines of a B-17 Flying Fortress nicknamed "The Duchess". Passed for publication 20 Jan 1944. Printed caption on reverse: 'Famous Fortresses. Associated Press Photo Shows:- Ground crewmen at work on the Fortress "Duchess", which has already been on 50 missions over enemy territory. They are (left to right, lower): Sgt. Clyde L. Dewald, of 200 E Union St., Schnykill Haven, Penn.; and Sgt. James C. Hicks, of Rowtob, Henderson, K.Y.; (Upper) Cpl. Charles
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: The Duchess, Sure Stuff
  • Unit: 303rd Bomb Group 359th 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: Knock-out Dropper
  • Unit: 303rd Bomb Group 359th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Cased Ace
  • Unit: 384th Bomb Group 545th Bomb Squadron 305th Bomb Group Can Do 422nd 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

Date21 Apr 2022 03:17:42
Contributorjmoore43
Sources

Corrected a typo in the "Detailed description" - “dispatched” was misspelled.

Date10 Feb 2016 20:20:11
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 10-Feb-2016. Added bomber gunner claims to B-17 Aschersleben element statistics per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date10 Feb 2016 20:17:25
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 10-Feb-2016. Added bomber gunner claims to B-24/ Arnhem element per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date10 Feb 2016 20:15:02
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 10-Feb-2016. Added Mission Narrative based on "The Mighty Eighth Air Force", Roger A. Freeman.

Date13 May 2015 13:01:10
Sources

Mission detail added courtesy of Diane Reese -http://www.457thbombgroup.org/Narratives/MA2.html

Date27 Sep 2014 18:43:10
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'.

8th Air Force 230 BIG WEEK - DAY 3: Gallery (3 items)