VIII Bomber Command 41

8 March 1943

Object Number - UPL 36982 - Wreck of the B-24D, Thar She Blows, 41-23658. 8 Mar 43. The plane was on loan. Crew : Pilot Maj. William Cowart - CoPilot Lt. John Kemp - ...

Description

The railroad marshalling yards at Rennes and Rouen, France are the primary targets for this mission. A formation comprised of 67 B-17s: 91BG (14); 303BG (19); 305BG (16) and 306BG (18) is despatched to bomb at Rennes. Conditions are good with no cloud cover or haze with visibility of ten miles. Flak over Rennes was slight and inaccurate, being generally reported as low. All bursts were black, but one crew reported three high grey bursts. Spitfires of the 4th Fighter Group, along with RAF Squadrons, furnished excellent
escort from Guernsey to the French coast and again from St. Lo to the English coast. Enemy air opposition was moderate to intense, with approximately 35 fighters reported.
FW-190s and some ME-109s were observed from the French coast to the target and back
about ten miles out to sea. During this time there were enemy aircraft attacks from all
directions, but mostly from 11 to 1 o'clock, level or slightly below. Crews reported varied
colors on the FW-190s with yellow noses and silver-grey undersurfaces predominating. @-B-17 are MIA. Bomber gunners claim 14-1-5 on the attacking fighters.

16 B-24s are despatched to bomb the marshalling yards at Rouen, France. 44BG (10) and 93BG (6). The lead aircraft is shot down which resulted in a scattering of bomb drops. Flak is light and fighter opposition is moderate. 2 B-24s are MIA. Bomber gunnerr claim 14-3-3 on the attacking fighters.

Mission Details

RENNES (Primary)

Description: MARSHALLING YARDS

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: This mission is escorted by 25 Spitfires from 4th Fighter Group and others provided by RAF squadrons. This is the first time since 2-Oct-42 that fighters have been used specifically as escort for the bombers. Even though GEN Eaker was advised by the War Department on 24-Feb-43 to make bomber escort the primary priority for fighter units, he is still not convinced the bombers actually need such support having lost only 79 bombers in 2,647 sorties - and not all lost to enemy aircraft.

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: 134.75
  • People killed in action: 11
  • People wounded in action: 8
  • People evaded: 1
  • Prisoners of war: 8
  • Enemy aircrafts destroyed by bomber: 14
  • Enemy aircrafts probably destroyed by bomber: 1
  • Enemy aircraft damaged by bomber: 5
  • Aircraft sent: 67
  • Aircraft effective: 54
  • Aircraft missing in action: 2
  • Aircraft damaged: 9

ROUEN (Primary)

Description: MARSHALLING YARDS

Aircraft Type: B-24 Liberator

Notes: The lead aircraft and one other is shot down by Luftwaffe fighters.

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

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 39.00
  • People killed in action: 15
  • People evaded: 1
  • People returned to duty: 10
  • Enemy aircrafts destroyed by bomber: 14
  • Enemy aircrafts probably destroyed by bomber: 3
  • Enemy aircraft damaged by bomber: 3
  • Aircraft sent: 16
  • Aircraft effective: 13
  • Aircraft missing in action: 2
  • Aircraft damaged beyond repair: 1
  • Aircraft damaged: 3

Connections

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People

  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs 67th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: O-789432
  • Highest Rank: Second Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Navigator
  • 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

Date26 Dec 2014 18:52:30
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 26-Dec-2014. Description based on: 303BG Mission Report; "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'.

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