VIII Bomber Command 28

3 January 1943

Description

The U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France are once again the target for this mission. This is proving to be a particularly difficult target to destroy due to its massive, reinforced concrete design. It consists of 14 individual pens connected together in a structure 300 meters long, 130 meters wide and 18 meters high composed of 480,000 cubic meters of concrete. The roof of the structure alone is 8 meters thick built with four layers: (top to bottom) 3.5 meters reinforced concrete; 35cm of granite/concrete; 1.7 meter thick reinforced concrete; and the "Fangrost" layer of steel beams 1.4 meters thick. The roof bristles with anti-aircraft weapons.

The mission is comprised of two elements: 72 B-17s are despatched by 91BG (16); 303BG (17); 305BG (22) and 306BG (17). The element is organised in the 'stagger' formation designed by Colonel Curtis LeMay, CO 305BG which will become adopted by all 8AF heavy bomber units and become the standard formation for the remainder of the war. This is the first such use of the formation. 60 aircraft of this formation are effective on the target; 7 are MIA and 44 are damaged.

The second element of the mission is comprised of 13 B-24s despatched by 44th Bomb Group. 8 are effective on the target; 3 are DBR and 3 are damaged. Both formations are carrying bomb loads of 1000 lb. General Purpose bombs.

Mission Details

SAINT-NAZAIRE

Description: U-BOAT PENS

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: 305th Bomb Group uses stagger formation during bomb run. This is the first use of formation bombing by 8th Air Force. There is no fighter escort for this mission.

Official emblem of the 303rd Bomb Group approved 7 November 1942.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 147.50
  • People killed in action: 58
  • People wounded in action: 12
  • People evaded: 1
  • Prisoners of war: 11
  • Enemy aircrafts destroyed by bomber: 14
  • Enemy aircrafts probably destroyed by bomber: 18
  • Enemy aircraft damaged by bomber: 4
  • Aircraft sent: 72
  • Aircraft effective: 60
  • Aircraft missing in action: 7
  • Aircraft damaged: 44

SAINT-NAZAIRE

Description: U-BOAT PENS

Aircraft Type: B-24 Liberator

Notes: 44th Bomb Group suffered casualties in 3 aircraft which crash landed due to fuel shortage on their return at Dale and Talbenny airfields

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 11.75
  • People killed in action: 3
  • People wounded in action: 17
  • Aircraft sent: 13
  • Aircraft effective: 8
  • Aircraft damaged beyond repair: 3
  • Aircraft damaged: 3

Connections

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People

  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 303rd Bomb Group 360th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: O-435845
  • Highest Rank: Captain
  • Role/Job: Pilot
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 303rd Bomb Group 360th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: O-726967
  • Highest Rank: Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Navigator
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars 322nd Bomb Squadron
  • Highest Rank: Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Pilot
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 303rd Bomb Group 360th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 15068650
  • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Waist Gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 303rd Bomb Group 360th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 13049248
  • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Role/Job: waist gunner

Aircraft

Revisions

Date15 Feb 2015 19:50:13
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 15-Feb-2015. Added Bomber Gunner claims to statistics on 91BG-306BG on St Nazaire per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary" Roger A. Freeman.

Date10 Dec 2014 09:49:38
ContributorEmily
Sources

Freeman, The Mighty Eighth War Diary, p. 32

Date8 Dec 2014 22:21:29
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 8-Dec-2014. Edited map location.

Date8 Dec 2014 22:18:59
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 8-Dec-2014. Edited map location.

Date8 Dec 2014 22:13:14
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 8-Dc-2014. U-Boat pen construction details per Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint-Nazaire_submarine_base; Aircraft participation based on "The Mighty Eighth War Diary" Roger A. Freeman and "USAAF Combat Chronology" Jack McKillop.

Date27 Sep 2014 18:43:17
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'.