VIII Bomber Command 56

14 May 1943

Object Number - UPL 21368 - B-24 41-24278 "Miss Delores".

Description

Today's operations will be the most extensive yet mounted by VIII Bomber Command. The operations call for a "maximum effort". Whereas in the past a single target or those close together have been chosen, today's effort is against widley separated targets. The main effort for today will be the shipyards, U-boat pens and harbour facilities at Kiel, Germany. This target is defended by a substantial configuration of anti-aircraft batteries and fighter aircraft. The experienced Bomb Groups of 1st Bomb Wing and 2 Bomb Wing are designated to attack this target. Because of the distance to the target, figther escort is not possible. In addition, 92BG which has been operating as the host organization of a Combat Crew Replacement Center has been re-designated as a full combat group.

The main force despatched against Kiel is a formation of 115 B-17s: 91BG (27); 92BG (7); 303BG (27); 305BG (28) and 306BG (26). Despite the heavy defenses 109 of the 115 depatched are effective on the target. Aircraft losses are light at 3 B-17s MIA. The bomber gunners put up a magnificent defense claiming 41-11-26 of the enemy. This force is joined by 21 B-24s despatched by 44BG. 17 of 21 are effective on the target. This force faces significant fighter attacks and 5 aircraft are MIA. The bomber gunners slug it out with the Luftwaffe and claim 21-13-1.The 44th BG is awarded the first Distinguished Unit Citation in the 8th Air Force for their actions on this date.

Meanwhile, the Ford and General Motors vehicle factories at Antwerp, Belgium are the primary target for 42 B-17s despatched from: 94BG (21) and 95BG (21). 38 of 42 are effective on the target. NOTE: Roger A. Freeman reports 2 aircraft MIA from this formation 1 from 94BG and 1 from 95BG but only 1 can be supported from MACR records. The bomber gunners claim 5-1-4 on enemy aircraft. This formation receives fighter support from 118 P-47s despatched from 4FG, 56FG and 78FG.

The German air depot Courtrai (now Kortrijk) Belgium is the primary target for 39 B-17s despatched from: 96BG (21) and 351BG (18), thus redeeming themselves from the turn-backs of yesterday and logging their first mission. 34 of 39 are effective on the target. 2 B-17s are MIA. The bomber gunners claim 0-0-1 on enemy aircraft.

A power station at Ijmuiden, Holland is the primary target the 322nd Bomb Group (Medium). This Bomb Group is equipped with the Martin B-26 Marauder. 12 B-26s are despatched and 11 are effective on the target. This is the first mission for the 322BG and the first use of the B-26 by the 8th Air Force in the ETO. In October 1943, they will be transferred to the 9th Air Force for use in tactical, rather than strategic, bombing missions. 1 B-26 crashes upon return, 1KIA 5RTD, aircraft is salvaged.

Mission Details

ANTWERP (Primary)

Description: FORD and GM PLANTS

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: Fighters escort this element only.

  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
The insignia of the 95th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 86.50
  • People killed in action: 10
  • People wounded in action: 3
  • Aircraft sent: 42
  • Aircraft effective: 38
  • Aircraft missing in action: 1
  • Aircraft damaged: 15

COURTRAI (Primary)

Description: AIRFIELD

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: The 96th Bomb Group and 351st Bomb Group fly their first missions where they actually bomb the target.

The insignia of the 351st Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
The insignia of the 96th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 75.40
  • People wounded in action: 2
  • Prisoners of war: 8
  • People returned to duty: 10
  • Aircraft sent: 39
  • Aircraft effective: 34
  • Aircraft missing in action: 2
  • Aircraft damaged: 10

IJMUIDEN/HAARLEM

Description: VELSEN POWER STATION

Aircraft Type: B-26 Marauder

Notes: The 322nd Bomb Group is awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for its operations from this date through 24-Jul-44. This is their first mission. The attack on Ijmuiden is made at low level. This is the first US medium bomb group to become operational in the UK

  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force Ninth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 10.75
  • People killed in action: 3
  • People returned to duty: 5
  • Aircraft sent: 12
  • Aircraft effective: 11
  • Aircraft damaged beyond repair: 1
  • Aircraft damaged: 9

KIEL (Primary)

Description: SHIP YARDS

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: This is the first mission for 92nd Bomb Group since 9-Oct-42. One -B-17 of 91st Bomb Group bombs Suderoog Island as target of last resort (included in bomb total). 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: 264.25
  • People killed in action: 20
  • People wounded in action: 5
  • Prisoners of war: 10
  • Aircraft sent: 115
  • Aircraft effective: 109
  • Aircraft missing in action: 3

KIEL (Primary)

Description: SHIP YARDS

Aircraft Type: B-24 Liberator

Notes: The 44th Bomb Group is awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for this mission, the first DUC to be awarded in the 8th Air Force. One of the B-24s is abandoned by the crew near their base (all RTD) and the aircraft crashes into the English Channel near Sheringham, England.

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 117.75
  • People killed in action: 26
  • People wounded in action: 12
  • Prisoners of war: 24
  • People returned to duty: 11
  • Aircraft sent: 21
  • Aircraft effective: 17
  • Aircraft missing in action: 5
  • Aircraft damaged beyond repair: 1
  • Aircraft damaged: 9

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: 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 322nd Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 36324682
  • Highest Rank: Technical Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Aerial Gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs 68th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: O-726990
  • Highest Rank: First Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Navigator
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers 364th Fighter Group 1st Scouting Force 369th Bomb Squadron 384th Fighter Squadron 857th Bomb Squadron Headquarters (1st Combat Bomb Wing)
  • Service Numbers: 18052358 / O-441827
  • Highest Rank: Colonel
  • Role/Job: Pilot

Aircraft

Revisions

Date1 Jan 2015 21:51:38
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 1-Jan-2015. Corrected statistics per "Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces" Stan Bishop & John A. Hey MBE.

Date1 Jan 2015 21:47:16
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 1-Jan-15. Revised statistics per "The Mighty Eighth War Dairy" Roger A. Freeman, MACRS 15498, 16055 and 15593.

Date1 Jan 2015 21:40:23
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 1-Jan-15. Description based on "USAAF Combat Chronology" Jack McKillop; "The Mighty Eighth War Diary" Roger A. Freeman; "Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces" Stan Bishop & John A. Hey MBE.

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 56: Gallery (3 items)