VIII Bomber Command 37

26 February 1943

Object Number - UPL 23266 - Lt. Frank Robert Spitznagel and crew. 364th Squadron, 305th BG. Assembled June 18, 1943 in front of their B-17 #42-29633, nicknamed...

Description

After 10 days of weather related delays of the bomber offensive, a mission is organised with the port facilities of Emden, Germany as the primary target. However, Emden is obscured by cloud cover and all formations divert to attack the port facilities at Wilhelmshaven, Germany. 76 B-17s are despatched: 91BG (20); 303BG (19); 305BG (20) and 306BG (17). 59 of this formation are effective on the target but 5 B-17s are MIA.

17 B-24s are also despatched with Emden as the primary, but they too divert to Wilhelmshaven. 44BG (11) and 93BG (6), of these only 6 are effective on the target and 2 from 44BG are MIA. The bomber gunners claim the following against German fighters: 21 destroyed; 9 probably destroyed; and 5 damaged. There is no fighter escort for this mission.

Mission Details

WILHELMSHAVEN (Opportunistic)

Description: NAVAL BASE

Aircraft Type: B-24 Liberator

The insignia of the 93rd Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 21.70
  • People killed in action: 12
  • Prisoners of war: 9
  • People returned to duty: 10
  • Aircraft sent: 17
  • Aircraft effective: 9
  • Aircraft missing in action: 2
  • Aircraft damaged beyond repair: 1

WILHELMSHAVEN (Opportunistic)

Description: PORT AREA

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: BREMEN was the primary target but was overcast by clouds. WILHELMSHAVEN chosen at target of opportunity. No fighter escort on this mission. Bomb tonnage includes one X 500GP dropped on a German convoy of ships.

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: 142.30
  • People killed in action: 35
  • People wounded in action: 14
  • Prisoners of war: 17
  • Aircraft sent: 76
  • Aircraft effective: 59
  • Aircraft missing in action: 5

Connections

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People

  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 305th Bomb Group Can Do 365th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 36227977
  • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Tail Gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 303rd Bomb Group 92nd Bomb Group Fame's Favoured Few 358th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: O-442766
  • Highest Rank: First 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: 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars 322nd Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 14049756 / O-437941
  • Highest Rank: Captain
  • Role/Job: Pilot
First Lieutenant Harold Beasley,of the 91st Bomb Group with his B-17 Flying Fortress. Press caption for image series: ‘EXCLUSIVE PICTURES AS CREWS RETURN FROM RAID. Night and Day air blitz of enemy continues. “Forts” smash Axis factories at Antwerp. Raid carried out by crews who took part in Paris raid previous day. The greatest air offensive in history is being carried out by the Anglo-American air forces. For 72 hours bombs have been crashing down on Hitler’s Europe in the West almost nonstop. A
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars 401st Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: O-379237
  • Highest Rank: Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Pilot

Aircraft

Revisions

Date25 Feb 2018 17:46:11
ContributorDespitz
Sources

DS 2/25/18

Date18 Feb 2015 23:57:36
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 18-Feb-2015. Corrected typo in Description

Date24 Dec 2014 17:52:45
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 24-Dec-2014. Description based on " The Mighty Eighth War Diary" Roger A. Freeman.

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'.

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