VIII Bomber Command 52

17 April 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

The largest mission to date, 117 B-17s, are despatched to bomb the primary target of the Focke-Wulf Aircraft factory at Bremen, Germany: 91BG (32); 303BG (29); 305BG (28) and 306BG (26). The German Luftwaffe is learning fast and mounts a fierce and effective attack on the formation with well-coordinated attacks by waves of FW-190 fighters. The lead formation of 306BG has 10 B-17s MIA and the 91BG has 6 B-17s MIA. These losses are the greatest to date for a single mission (13.9%). Even so, 107 of the 115 despatched are effective on the target, and the bomber gunners fight back valiantly claiming 65-15-17 on the attacking fighters. The losses are an eye-opener to those VIII Bomber Command Officers that still believe that the "Flying Fortress", alone but attacking in formation, is more than a match for fighter opposition. The loss of 16 crews has a definite impact on the morale of the "Mighty Eighth" and heavy bombing operations are suspended until 1-May-43.

Mission Details

BREMEN (Primary)

Description: FOCHE-WULF AIRCRAFT FACTORY

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: Largest mission to date. Strong opposition from fighters. Largest one mission loss to date. One aircraft bombs a target of opportunity. 306th Bomb Group loses 10 of 26 aircraft. The Commanding general, VIII Fighter Command, expresses the need to have 20 fighter groups to neutralize growing German fighter opposition to the Combined Bomber Offensive (CBO).

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: 265.50
  • People killed in action: 64
  • People wounded in action: 4
  • Prisoners of war: 101
  • Enemy aircrafts destroyed by bomber: 63
  • Enemy aircrafts probably destroyed by bomber: 15
  • Enemy aircraft damaged by bomber: 17
  • Aircraft sent: 115
  • Aircraft effective: 107
  • Aircraft missing in action: 16
  • Aircraft damaged: 39

Connections

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People

  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars 401st Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 33105382
  • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Tail Gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars 401st Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 10364904
  • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Role/Job: waist gunner
  • 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: 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 401st Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 728159
  • Highest Rank: Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Navigator

Aircraft

Revisions

Date15 Jan 2016 19:03:45
ContributorMags
Sources

303rd BG Web Page

Date30 Dec 2014 20:04:15
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 30-Dec-2014. Correction of typo in description.

Date30 Dec 2014 20:02:21
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 30-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'.

VIII Bomber Command 52: Gallery (2 items)