VIII Bomber Command 159

20 December 1943

Object Number - UPL 19376 - "Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses of the 91st Bomb Group, 8th AF, enroute to Bremen, Germany, fly high above heavy cloud banks at 27,000 feet altitude....

Description

The port area of Bremen is the target for 546 heavy bombers. The total includes 12 PFF-equipped B-17s from 482BG. All 12 of these are effective on the target and 11 are damaged. The bomber gunners of this element claim 1-1-0 (this total included with claims of 1BD) of attacking German aircraft. The mission is composed of three elements which attack between 1141-1214hrs. The first element is a combined force of 225 B-17s from 1st Bomb Division that includes: 91BG (27); 92BG (19); 303BG (20); 305BG (22); 306BG (18); 351BG (33); 379BG (17); 381BG (28); 384BG (22); and 401BG (19). 197 aircraft are effective on the target. 13 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) 60 KIA, 60 POW, 10 RTD (rescued by ASR - This is aircraft 42-29664 "Jersey Bounce, Jr.", 303BG/358BS RO Forrest L. Vosler is awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions aboard this aircraft). 1 aircraft RTB with 9 of the crew but the RWG baled out and was captured as a POW. 7 airmen were KIA and 19 were Wounded in Action (WIA) in returning aircraft. 1 aircraft with battle damage crash landed at Cambridge Airfield, 9 RTD, and was later salvaged. 122 are damaged. The bomber gunners in this element claimed 7-5-6 of attacking German fighters.

The second element was a force of 182 B-17s from 3rd Bomb Division that included: 94BG (19); 95BG (27); 96BG (31); 100BG (22); 385BG (18); 390BG (35); and 388BG (30). 160 aircraft are effective on the target. 7 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) 36 KIA, 34 POW. 80 aircraft are damaged. 13 airmen in returning aircraft are Wounded in Action (WIA). The bomber gunners claim 13-8-15 of attacking German fighters.

The third element is a force of 127 B-24s from 2nd Bomb Division that included: 44BG (28); 93BG (27); 389BG (24); 392BG (22); 445BG (25) and 446BG (1 - this aircraft did not drop). 103 aircraft are effective on the target. 7 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) 37 KIA 33, POW. 2 aircraft make crash landings on return and the aircraft are declared to be Damaged Beyond Repair (DBR) 1 KIA, 20 RTD. The bomber gunners claim 1-1-2 of attacking German aircraft.

Window-metal foil strips which, when dropped from an airplane, provide an echo which confuses radar locating equipment is used for the first time on an Eighth Air Force mission.

Mission Details

Bremen, Germany

Description: SHIP YARDS

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: 5 B-17s and two B-24s drop 48 X 500GP and 116 X 100 incendiary bombs (IB) on Targets of Opportunity.

Official emblem of the 100th Bomb Group, approved 30 March 1944 and replaced 1957
  • 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: 372.80
  • People killed in action: 36
  • People wounded in action: 13
  • Prisoners of war: 34
  • Enemy aircrafts destroyed by bomber: 13
  • Enemy aircrafts probably destroyed by bomber: 8
  • Enemy aircraft damaged by bomber: 15
  • Aircraft sent: 182
  • Aircraft effective: 160
  • Aircraft missing in action: 7
  • Aircraft damaged: 80

Bremen, Germany

Description: SHIP YARDS

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: Totals do not include 12 of 12 Pathfinder (PFF)-equipped aircraft that make the target, apportionment not possible from available data. First use of chaff against radar. 47 P-51s from 9th Air Force are included in the bomber escort. The Luftwaffe uses twin-engine, rocket-equipped ME-110s escorted by single-seat fighters to attack the bomber formations. T/Sgt. Forrest L. "Woody" Vosler, 358th Bomb Squadron/303rd Bomb Group (Radio Operator on B-17 42-29664 "Jersey Bounce, Jr."), is awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor during this action. This is the 7th CMOH awarded to a member of the 8th Air Force.

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: 449.69
  • People killed in action: 68
  • People wounded in action: 19
  • Prisoners of war: 60
  • People returned to duty: 19
  • Enemy aircrafts destroyed by bomber: 6
  • Enemy aircrafts probably destroyed by bomber: 5
  • Enemy aircraft damaged by bomber: 6
  • Aircraft sent: 225
  • Aircraft effective: 197
  • Aircraft missing in action: 13
  • Aircraft damaged beyond repair: 1
  • Aircraft damaged: 122

Bremen, Germany

Description: SHIP YARDS

Aircraft Type: B-24 Liberator

Notes: First time "window" (metal foil strips designed to disrupt German radar-controlled flak guns) is used on an Eighth Air Force mission. The one aircraft despatched by 482nd Bomb Group is not effective on the target. One of the B-24s lost was the result of a collision with a P-47 from 356th Fighter Group. 445th Bomb Group suffers its first crew loss when 42-7534 is hit by flak on the bomb run ( MACR #6343). The aircraft was piloted by 2nd Lt. Milton A. 'Buck' Patterson. The entire crew were killed when the aircraft exploded in flight.

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

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 282.60
  • People killed in action: 39
  • Prisoners of war: 33
  • Enemy aircrafts destroyed by bomber: 1
  • Enemy aircrafts probably destroyed by bomber: 1
  • Enemy aircraft damaged by bomber: 2
  • Aircraft sent: 123
  • Aircraft effective: 100
  • Aircraft missing in action: 7
  • Aircraft damaged beyond repair: 2
  • Aircraft damaged: 66

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: 303rd Bomb Group 427th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: O-801721
  • Highest Rank: Second Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Pilot
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 381st Bomb Group 535th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: O-809493
  • Highest Rank: Second Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Navigator
  • 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: 388th Bomb Group 561st Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 37111609
  • Highest Rank: Sergeant (Technician Fourth Grade)
  • Role/Job: Waist Gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 381st Bomb Group 534th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 13045574
  • Highest Rank: Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Tail Gunner

Aircraft

Revisions

Date3 Dec 2020 22:46:43
Contributorjmoore43
Sources

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

Date15 Jan 2019 18:27:41
ContributorDieterle
Sources

Larry Smith, Trouble (New York: Page Publishing, Inc., 2018).

Date15 Jan 2019 18:20:55
ContributorDieterle
Sources

Larry Smith, "Trouble" (New York: Page Publishing, Inc., 2018) Appendix for 20 December 1943.

Date15 Jan 2016 20:13:04
ContributorMags
Sources

303rd BG Web Page

Date27 Jul 2015 19:00:37
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 27-Jul-2015. Added KIA and POW numbers and bomber gunner claims to 3rd BD statistics per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date27 Jul 2015 18:57:23
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 27-Jul-2015. Added bomber gunner claims to 1st BD statistics per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date27 Jul 2015 18:56:19
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 27-Jul-2015. Added bomber gunner claims to 3rd BD statistics per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date27 Jul 2015 18:54:21
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 27-Jul-2015. Added Mission Narrative for 3BD and 2BD based on "The Mighty Eighth War Diary" Roger A. Freeman.

Date27 Jul 2015 17:38:56
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 27-Jul-2015. Added Mission Narrative for 1st Bomb Division based on "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date28 Mar 2015 23:40:33
ContributorB24Mike
Sources

Source document: Eighth Air Force Combat Chronology
Source document: 2nd Air Division Mission Report obtained from the Air Force Historical Research Agency, Maxwell AFB, AL.

Date28 Mar 2015 23:21:33
ContributorB24Mike
Sources

Source document: Eighth Air Force Combat Chronology
Source document: 2nd Air Division Mission Report obtained from the Air Force Historical Research Agency, Maxwell AFB, AL.

Date28 Mar 2015 23:19:51
ContributorB24Mike
Sources

Source document: Eighth Air Force Combat Chronology
Source document: 2nd Air Division Mission Report obtained from the Air Force Historical Research Agency, Maxwell AFB, AL.

Date28 Mar 2015 23:12:57
ContributorB24Mike
Sources

Source document: Eighth Air Force Combat Chronology
Source document: 2nd Air Division Mission Report obtained from the Air Force Historical Research Agency, Maxwell AFB, AL.

Date26 Feb 2015 14:24:40
ContributorAnonymous
Sources

Son

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'.

VIII Bomber Command 159: Gallery (3 items)