VIII Bomber Command 39

4 March 1943

Object Number - UPL 50799 - Navigator 2nd Lt. Rollin P. Ball, 324th BS, 91st BG, survived the ditching of his ship, B-17F 41-24464 "Excalibur" returning from the 4 MAR 1943...

Description

After several weather-caused aborted attempts in attacking the marshalling yards at Hamm, Germany, the 8th Air Force is finally successful in attacking this target. A total of 71 B-17s are despatched: 91BG (20); 303BG (18); 305BG (12) amd 306BG (21). The 91BG is selected to lead the attack, but the formation experiences heavy clouds and is forced to fly on instruments. The 91BG gets separated from the main attacking force, but finds clear air over the target. The 91BG becomes the only Group despatched to actually attack the target. This becomes the first heavy bomber mission to bomb a target in the Ruhr valley and for this they are awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation. 16 of the 20 despatched bomb the target, but 4 aircraft are MIA.

Because the 91BG became separated from the main force, the rest of the force attacks the harbour facilities at Rotterdam, Holland. 16 of 18 despatched by 303BG are effective on Rotterdam and 12 of 12 despatched by 305BG are effective on this target. 306BG is unable to drop on Rotterdam and heads back to England. This Group is attacked by German fighters and 1 aircraft from 306BG is downed into the North Sea.

As part of this operation 14 B-24s are despatched to fly a diversion for the Hamm/Rotterdam attack. During this diversion they look for enemy shipping but the record does not indicate that any enemy ships were attacked.

Mission Details

HAMM (Primary)

Description: MARSHALLING YARDS

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: The 91st Bomb Group was separated from the main force while on instruments and hit targets in the Ruhr valley. This is the first 8th Air Force attack on a Ruhr industrial target. The first Bomb Group to attack is the 91st Bomb Group and they are awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation. They are the first Bomb Group selected to test flak suits. None of the 21 B-17s despatched by 306th Bomb Group were able to bomb the target. There is no fighter escort for this mission.

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 40
  • People killed in action: 34
  • People wounded in action: 7
  • Prisoners of war: 6
  • People returned to duty: 5
  • Aircraft sent: 20
  • Aircraft effective: 16
  • Aircraft missing in action: 4
  • Aircraft damaged: 9

ROTTERDAM (Last resort)

Description: HARBOUR FACILITIES at Rotterdam, Holland are attacked as a target of Last Resort.

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: The attack is conducted by 16 of 18 B-17s despatched by 303BG and 12 of 12 B-17s despatched from 305BG. These formations had originally been slated to attack the marshalling yards at Hamm, Germany, but they became separated from the lead group on that target, 91BG, and were forced to hit Rotterdam instead. The 306BG was unable to bomb.

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: 70
  • People killed in action: 9
  • Aircraft sent: 51
  • Aircraft effective: 28
  • Aircraft missing in action: 1

Netherlands

Description: DIVERSION

Aircraft Type: B-24 Liberator

Notes: 14 of 14 B-24s fly a diversion for the Hamm/Rotterdam force They look for enemy shipping but the record does not contain any information that indicates any enemy shipping was actually attacked. There were no losses or claims

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

Mission Statistics

  • Aircraft sent: 14
  • Aircraft effective: 14

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 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: 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars 322nd Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 14049756 / O-437941
  • Highest Rank: Captain
  • Role/Job: Pilot
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars 323rd Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 727078
  • Highest Rank: First Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Bombardier
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars 323rd Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: O-388978
  • Highest Rank: First Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Navigator
  • 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

Date25 Dec 2014 19:04:09
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 25-Dec-2014. Description and statistics from "The Mighty Eighth War Diary" and "Losses of the 9th & 9th Air Forces" Stan Bishop & John A. Hey MBE.

Date25 Dec 2014 18:58:59
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 24-Dec-2014. Description and statistics from "The Mighty Eighth War Diary" Roger A. Freeman.

Date25 Dec 2014 18:51:40
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 25-Dec-2014. Description and statistics for Rotterdam from "The Mighty Eighth War Diary" Roger A. Freeman.

Date25 Dec 2014 18:28:32
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 25-Dec-2014. Description based on "USAAF Combat Chronology" Jack McKillop and "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'.

VIII Bomber Command 39: Gallery (8 items)