8th Air Force 247

4 March 1944
A B-17 Flying Fortress of the 100th Bomb Group in flight.

Object Number - FRE 4114 - B-17 Flying Fortresses of the 100th Bomb Group fly in formation over water on the way to BIG B-BERLIN on March 4, 1944. This photo was taken by S/Sgt...

Description

The industrial areas in the suburbs of Berlin, Germany are the primary targets for this mission. All three Air Divisions despatch formations. However, the despatch from 2nd Air Division aborted the mission because of severe weather in the assembly area. 3 B-17 groups turned back at the French coast because weather prevented the proper assembly for the attack. Many of the formations turned back over the Ruhr valley and sought out Targets of Opportunity (TOs). The 3rd Air Division, 13 Combat Wing (95BG; 100BG and 390BG) carried on and bombed the primary targets at Berlin, the first American bombers to do so. 305BG/422BS also dropped 1,027,000 leaflets on Cologne, Germany. Mission Summary follows:

1st Air Division: A composite force of 264 B-17s from: 91BG; 303BG; 305BG; 306BG; 351BG; 379BG; 381BG; 384BG; 401BG; 457BG; and 482BG are despatched. These Groups were unable to reach the primary targets at Berlin because of severe weather and assembly problems and sought out Targets of Opportunity (TOs) in the industrial areas of the Ruhr valley. 100 were effective on Bonn, Germany; 44 were effective on Dusseldorf, Germany; 38 were effective on Cologne, Germany; and 7 others bombed at Frankfurt, Germany. 4 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) - 8 KIA, 26 POW (1 DIC), 5 EVD. 89 aircraft were damaged. 1 airman was KIA and 7 others WIA aboard returning aircraft. There were no other losses, casualties or claims in this element.

2nd Air Division: All Bomb Groups dispatched B-24s but the formations were forced to abort the mission because of severe weather during assembly. There are no losses, claims or casualties in this element.

3rd Air Division: 238 B-17s from: 94BG; 95BG; 96BG; 100BG; 385BG; 388BG; 390BG; 447BG; and 452BG are dispatched. 30 aircraft are effective on Berlin/Klein Machnow; 33 aircraft attack Targets of Opportunity. The 95BG is the first American Bomb Group to drop bombs on the Germany capital and the Group is awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC), its third and the only 8th Air Force Bomb group to earn 3 DUCs. 10 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) - 20 KIA, 66 POW, 15 EVD. Freeman reports 1 FTR from 385BG but no records or MACRS could be found to confirm that loss. 1 aircraft sustained an equipment malfunction and crash landed at Friston, UK, aircraft DBR - 1 KOM, 9 RTD. 1 aircraft is damaged. The bomber gunners of this element claim 6-2-3 of attacking German aircraft. There are no other losses, casualties or claims.

Mission Details

Description: BOMB TARGETS OF OPPORTUNITY

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: It has not been determined which 3rd Bomb Division Groups bombed these targets.

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 74.55
  • Aircraft sent: 33
  • Aircraft effective: 33

Bonn, Germany

Description: INDUSTRIAL AREA

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: This is the first successful bombing of Berlin made by the 8th Air Force. 95BG; 100BG and 390BG are the only groups that bomb at Berlin. Bad weather causes many to abort or seek targets of opportunity. 3 B-17 groups turn back at the French coast because they could not form up properly because of severe weather. All remaining formations except First Combat Wing turn back in the vicinity of the Ruhr and bomb Targets of Opportunity. Groups participating are those of the 1st 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: 0.00
  • People killed in action: 9
  • People wounded in action: 7
  • People evaded: 5
  • Prisoners of war: 16
  • People died in captivity: 1
  • Aircraft sent: 264
  • Aircraft effective: 100
  • Aircraft missing in action: 3
  • Aircraft damaged: 89

BERLIN (Primary)

Description: INDUSTRIAL AREA

Aircraft Type: B-24 Liberator

Notes: 2 BD B-24s were also despatched but were recalled due to the weather.

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

BERLIN/KLEIN MACHNOW (Primary)

Description: INDUSTRIAL AREA

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: The 95th Bomb Group becomes the first 8th Air Force Bomb Group to bomb Berlin and is awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation, its 3rd, and the only 8th Air Force Bomb Group to be awarded 3 DUCs. While bombing Berlin is a major psychological boost for the 8th Air Force, the real purpose, not divulged to the crews, is the beginning of a strategic effort to draw the Luftwaffe into the skies so that the fighters may begin to decimate it in preparation for the coming Invasion. Groups participating are those 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
The insignia of the 447th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 67.40
  • People killed in action: 23
  • People wounded in action: 4
  • People evaded: 15
  • Prisoners of war: 66
  • People returned to duty: 9
  • Enemy aircrafts destroyed by bomber: 6
  • Enemy aircrafts probably destroyed by bomber: 2
  • Enemy aircraft damaged by bomber: 3
  • Aircraft sent: 205
  • Aircraft effective: 30
  • Aircraft missing in action: 10
  • Aircraft damaged beyond repair: 1
  • Aircraft damaged: 31

BONN (Opportunistic)

Description: INDUSTRIAL AREA

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

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

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 230.30
  • People killed in action: 9
  • People wounded in action: 7
  • People evaded: 5
  • Prisoners of war: 16
  • People died in captivity: 1
  • Aircraft effective: 100
  • Aircraft missing in action: 3

COLOGNE (Opportunistic)

Description: INDUSTRIAL AREA

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

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

The insignia of the 381st Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Air base

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 80.61
  • Prisoners of war: 10
  • Aircraft effective: 35
  • Aircraft missing in action: 1

DUSSELDORF (Opportunistic)

Description: INDUSTRIAL AREA

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

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

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 101.32
  • Aircraft effective: 44

FRANKFURT (Opportunistic)

Description: INDUSTRIAL AREA

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

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

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 16.21
  • Aircraft effective: 7

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: 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: 94th Bomb Group 332nd Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 32567253 and O-688624
  • 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
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 96th Bomb Group 339th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 39311090
  • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Tail Gunner

Aircraft

  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Quarterback
  • Unit: 388th Bomb Group 562nd Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Mischief-Maker II
  • Unit: 96th Bomb Group 339th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Bonnie Donnie
  • Unit: 401st Bomb Group 612th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Unit: 94th Bomb Group 333rd Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Berlin Bessie, I Dood It
  • Unit: 95th Bomb Group 336th Bomb Squadron

Revisions

Date11 Mar 2021 20:44:00
Contributorjmoore43
Sources

Added punctuation to the "Mission Detailed description” to aid clarity.

Date17 Feb 2016 19:12:13
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 17-Feb-2016. Made connections to Unit that sustained the loss at Cologne per "Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces:, Stan Bishop & John A. Hey MBE.

Date17 Feb 2016 19:09:21
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 17-Feb-2016. Added bomber gunner claims to Berlin/Klein Machnow element statistics per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date17 Feb 2016 19:05:25
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 17-Feb-2016. Edited Location to Bonn, Germany and corrected statistics per MACRs and "Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces", Stan Bishop & John A. Hey MBE.

Date17 Feb 2016 18:54:07
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 17-Feb-2016. Removed note from 457BG and moved those comments to the mission of 3-Mar-43. The 457 DID NOT bomb at Berlin on 4-Mar-44 only 95BG; 100BG and 390BG managed to hit Berlin on 4-Mar-44 per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary:, ROger A. Freeman.

Date17 Feb 2016 18:48:38
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 17-Feb-2016. Edited title. This was the first SUCCESSFUL bombing of Berlin by units of the 8th Air Force per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman

Date17 Feb 2016 18:44:20
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 17-Feb-2016. Added Mission Narrative based on "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman, losses confirmed from MACRS and "Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces", Stan Bishop & John A. Hey MBE.

Date13 May 2015 13:25:40
Sources

Mission detail added courtesy of Diane Reese - http://www.457thbombgroup.org/Narratives/MA7.html

Date13 May 2015 13:24:45
Sources

Mission detail added courtesy of Diane Reese - http://www.457thbombgroup.org/Narratives/MA7.html

Date27 Sep 2014 18:43:11
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 247: Gallery (4 items)