8th Air Force 233 BIG WEEK - DAY 5

24 February 1944
Doc Agnew, Staff Sergeant Joe Roundhill and personnel of the 379th Bomb Group transfer the body of Sergeant Noonan (killed by a flak) from a B-17 Flying Fortress to a field ambulance after a raid on Schweinfurt, 24 February 1944. Official caption on image: "(GPR-162-1-379)(24-2-44)." Handwritten caption on reverse: 'Doc Agnew. 24/2/44.'

Object Number - FRE 4752 - Doc Agnew, Staff Sergeant Joe Roundhill and personnel of the 379th Bomb Group transfer the body of Sergeant Noonan (killed by a flak) from a B-17...

Description

BIG WEEK resumes with full intensity against the German aircraft industry. Bomber tactics are changed slightly in that each Air Division will be directed at more widely dispersed primary targets which it is thought will frustrate concentration Luftwaffe fighter defenses. The aircraft industries at Rostoc in northern Germany will be one of the primary targets and because of their geographic location this formation will not receive fighter support all the way to the target and return. The ball bearing factories at Schweinfurt and the aircraft factories at Gotha are the other two primary targets which, hopefully, will draw away Luftwaffe fighter opposition from the force attacking at Rostock, Germany. Mission Summary follows:

3rd Air Division: 304 B-17s from: 94BG; 95BG; 96BG; 100BG; 385BG; 388BG; 390BG; 447BG; and 452BG are despatched to bomb the aircraft industries and other Targets of Opportunity (TOs) at Rostock, Germany. The primary targets were the aircraft industries at Tutow, Posen and Kreisling, but an accidental release by Pathfinder aircraft cause 61 aircraft to drop early before reaching the target. 295 aircraft are effective on targets in and around Rostock. 5 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) - 13 KIA 26 POW (1 DIC) 10 INT (in Sweden). 60 aircraft are damaged. The bomber gunners of this element claim 23-11-5 of attacking German aircraft. There are no other losses or casualties.

1st Air Division: A combined force of 266 B-17s from: 91BG; 92BG; 303BG; 305BG; 306BG; 351BG; 379BG; 318BG; 384BG; 401BG; 457BG; and 482BG are despatched to bomb the ball bearing factories at Schweinfurt, Germany. This element gets good P-51 fighter escort to and from the target and German fighter opposition is light. 238 aircraft are effective on the target. 11 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) - 36 KIA 68 POW. 160 aircraft are damaged. 2 airmen are KIA and 5 were WIA in Returning aircraft. The bomber gunners of this element claim 10-1-7 of attacking German aircraft .

2nd Air Division: 239 B-24s from: 44BG; 93BG; 389BG; 392BG; 445BG; 446BG; 448BG; and 453BG are despatched to bomb the primary target of the German aircraft industry at Gotha, Germany. Fighter opposition is heavy despite good escort from P-51 Fighter Groups and 8th Air Force takes another heavy loss of bomber crews. 169 aircraft are effective at Gotha; 44 others bomb Eisenach when the Lead Bombardier, suffering from anoxia, mistakes Eisenach for the primary. 33 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) - 126 KIA 194 POW (1 DIC) 1 EVD. 1 aircraft with battle damage is Damaged Beyond Repair (DBR) in a crash landing upon return - 1 KIA 9 RTD. 28 aircraft are damaged. 3 airmen are KIA and another 6 WIA in returning aircraft. The bomber gunners of this element claim 50-10-20 (probably exaggerated) of attacking German aircraft.

Mission Details

EISENACH (Opportunistic)

Description: AIRCRAFT FACTORIES

Notes: The lead bombardier from 2nd Bomb Division suffered from anoxia due to a faulty oxygen mask and mistook Eienach as the primary target and 43 other B-24s released on his mistake.

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 116.00
  • Aircraft sent: 44
  • Aircraft effective: 44

GOTHA (Primary)

Description: AIRCRAFT FACTORIES

Aircraft Type: B-24 Liberator

Notes: The 458th Bomb Group flies their first mission. The lead bombardier from 2nd Bomb Division suffered from anoxia due to a faulty oxygen mask and mistook Eienach as the primary target and 43 other B-24s released on his mistake.

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: 372.00
  • People killed in action: 130
  • People wounded in action: 6
  • People evaded: 1
  • Prisoners of war: 194
  • People died in captivity: 1
  • People returned to duty: 9
  • Enemy aircrafts destroyed by bomber: 50
  • Enemy aircrafts probably destroyed by bomber: 10
  • Enemy aircraft damaged by bomber: 20
  • Aircraft sent: 195
  • Aircraft effective: 169
  • Aircraft missing in action: 33
  • Aircraft damaged beyond repair: 1
  • Aircraft damaged: 28

Description: AIRCRAFT FACTORIES

Notes: It has not been determined which Groups from 3rd Bomb Division attacked this target.

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: Not determined

POZNAN (Primary)

Description: AIRCRAFT FACTORIES

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: There is no fighter support for this element. The 388th Bomb Group dispatches 35 aircraft to Poznan, two abort and one is lost, 32 strike the target using Pathfinder (PFF). The 390th Bomb Group also has Poznan as the primary target and dispatches 42 but 6 abort, when they reach Poznan, cloud cover prevents bombing and the Group hits the secondary of Rostock with 36. No losses.

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

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 74.30
  • Aircraft sent: 77
  • Aircraft effective: 32

ROSTOCK (Opportunistic)

Description: AIRCRAFT FACTORIES

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: There is no fighter support for this element. Most groups bomb Rostock as the primary target.

  • 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
The insignia of the 447th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 610.69
  • People killed in action: 13
  • People wounded in action: 8
  • Prisoners of war: 26
  • People died in captivity: 1
  • People interned: 10
  • Enemy aircrafts destroyed by bomber: 23
  • Enemy aircrafts probably destroyed by bomber: 11
  • Enemy aircraft damaged by bomber: 15
  • Aircraft sent: 227
  • Aircraft effective: 263
  • Aircraft missing in action: 5
  • Aircraft damaged: 60

SCHWEINFURT (Primary)

Description: BALL BEARING FACTORIES

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: This is a really a diversion to tie up Luftwaffe units from attacking 3rd Bomb Division element as the head for aircraft industry targets at Gotha, Poznan, Rostoc and Eisenach. They also drop 3,976,000 leaflets. 457th BG MISSION NO. 3 - SCHWEINFURT, GERMANY 24 FEBRUARY 1944 The Eighth Air Force spread its three Air Divisions to lessen the possibility of a massive air battle in a concentrated area. The ball bearing plants at Schweinfurt were the assigned targets forthe 1st AirDivision. Major Henty B. Wilson led the high box of the 94th Combat Wing and Lt. Albert L. Sikkenga was pilot. Schweinfurt and its Ball Bearing Works, having been the target of previous Eighth Air Force missions, had become a familiar name to bomber crews. The 457th dispatched eighteen aircraft on the mission. As the Group neared the target area, the town could be seen burning in the distance. When the Initial Point (IP) was reached, with the 457th last over the target, the bomb bay doors of the lead ship would not open. The signal was given to the Deputy Lead to take over the formation. Engine trouble then developed in the lead ship, which veered sharply to the left, temporarily out of control, and the aircraft was followed by the formation, unaware that the Deputy Lead had taken over. The Group Lead managed to make a run on another part ofthe target area using a different aiming point. The bombs hit a widely scattered area around the arbitrary aiming point. As would be expected, Schweinfurt lived up to its reputation and enimy resistance was fierce, both by flak and by fighters. The 457th lost one plane, piloted by Lt. Max , over the target. The craft took a flak hit that disabled engines No. 1 and 2, and No. 3 and 4 engines ran away and could not be feathered. The navigator, Lt. Darren McIntyre, was seriously injured and the right waist gunner, Sgt. Italo Stella, was killed at his station. The decision was made to crash land the craft in an attempt to better afford the navigator the opportunity to receive medical aid and survive. Lt. Morrow successfully crash landed the craft. In a matter of minutes the dead and wounded were removed from the airplane, and the crew completely surrounded by German civilians who had encircled the area. A short time later two German officers, presumably Gestapo, arrived, took charge, and transported the crew to an interrogation center. The survivors of the crew were prisoners of war until liberated in May 1945. Lt. McIntyre later succumbed to his wounds. Another plane returned with one dead crewman, Sgt. H. R. Pike, a victim of the enemy's fire power.

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: 573.00
  • People killed in action: 38
  • People wounded in action: 5
  • Prisoners of war: 68
  • Enemy aircrafts destroyed by bomber: 10
  • Enemy aircrafts probably destroyed by bomber: 1
  • Enemy aircraft damaged by bomber: 7
  • Aircraft sent: 266
  • Aircraft effective: 238
  • Aircraft missing in action: 11
  • Aircraft damaged beyond repair: 1
  • Aircraft damaged: 160

Description: AIRCRAFT FACTORIES

Notes: It has not been determined which Groups from 3rd Bomb Division attacked this target.

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: Not determined

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: 445th Bomb Group 703rd Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 39543116
  • Highest Rank: Technical Sergeant
  • Role/Job: 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
  • 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: 388th Bomb Group 562nd Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 15382852
  • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant (Technician Third Grade)
  • Role/Job: Tail Gunner

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-24 Liberator
  • Nicknames: Suitch's Bitch
  • Unit: 2nd Air Division 445th Bomb Group 700th 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 03:26:24
Contributorjmoore43
Sources

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

Date21 Feb 2017 03:50:34
Contributorgish1893
Sources

Glen Hartzell diary

Date10 Feb 2016 23:24:25
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 10-Feb-2016. Added Bomber gunner claims on enemy aircraft to Schweifurt element statistics per "The Mighty Eighth War Dairy", Roger A. Freeman.

Date10 Feb 2016 23:21:33
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 10-Feb-2016. Added bomber gunner claims on enemy aircraft to Rostoc element statistics per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date10 Feb 2016 23:19:32
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 10-Feb-2016. Added bomber gunner claims on emeny aircraft to Gotha element statistics per "The Mighty Eighth War Dairy", Roger A. Freeman.

Date10 Feb 2016 23:13:46
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

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

Date10 Feb 2016 23:08:16
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 10-Feb-2016. Added Mission Narrative per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman;

Date13 May 2015 13:05:17
Sources

Mission detail added courtesy of Diane Reese - http://www.457thbombgroup.org/Narratives/MA3.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 233 BIG WEEK - DAY 5: Gallery (5 items)