VIII Bomber Command 57

15 May 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 missions of VIII Bomber Command are becoming more sophisticated. The primary stratgic target for today is the U-Boat pens, marshalling yards and Luftwaffe airfield at Emden, Germany. The resistance of Luftwaffe fighters is a primary concern for the planners, but they realise that the bombers are the only way to get the Luftwaffe to commit their resources.

The overall plan is to despatch 116 American P-47s from 4FG, 56FG and 78FG on a sweep of the Dutch coast in the Rotterdam/Amsterdam area well in front of the bomber streams as the first part of the coordinated attack (see VIII Fighter Command FO-19 for details).

The second element in the coordinated plan is the despatch of 113 B-17s from: 91BG (25); 92BG (10); 303BG (24); 305BG (30); and 306BG (19) to attack the naval facilities at Heligoland Island and the Luftwaffe airfields at Wangerooge and Dune Islands. 305BG and 306BG form together as a composite group. While the targets do have some strategic value, the idea is that his force will draw away the fighter defenses that would come against the Emden effort. As part of this deception 19 B-17s from 351BG will break off to attack the harbour faciliities at Wilhelmshaven. The plan works well even though only 76 of the 113 aircraft despatched are effective on their targets. Aircraft losses are moderate at 5 MIA. The bomber gunners in this formation claim 29-30-30 on enemy fighters

The first element helped the 351BG on their attack on Wilhelmshaven allowing 18 of the 19 despatched to bomb at Wilhelmshaven with 1 aircraft MIA. This Group claims 3-0-0 on German fighters.

61 B-17s are despatched against the main strategic target of Emden by the newer 8AF Bomb Groups: 94BG (26); 95BG (12); and 96BG (23). The lead bombardier of 94BG makes an error and that Group's bombs fall short. 41 of the 61 aircraft despatched are effective on the target, but there are NO B-17 losses in this formation. Fighter resistance is light-moderate and the bomber gunners claim 14-3-1.

Mission Details

EMDEN (Primary)

Description: MARSHALLING YARDS

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: Error by a bombardier in 94th Bomb Group causes incendiary bombs of one B-17 to fall short.

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

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 122.50
  • Aircraft sent: 61
  • Aircraft effective: 41

Wilhelmshaven, Germany

Description: U-BOAT YARD

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: Primary target was the harbour facilities at Wilhelmshaven.

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

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 14.50
  • People killed in action: 10
  • Aircraft sent: 19
  • Aircraft effective: 18
  • Aircraft missing in action: 1

Wangerooge, Germany / Düne, 27498 Helgoland / Helgoland, Germany

Description: The German naval base at Heligoland Island; the Luftwaffe fighter airfield on Dune; and the Luftwaffe fighter airfield on Wangerooge Island are the targets for this formation. This is part of a coordinated strike to support the primary strategic mission of attacking Wilhelmashaven and Emden, Germany. It is believed that this large force of 113 B-17s, flying approximately 10 minutes ahead of the force sent to Wilhelmshaven/Emden, will draw fighters away from the stratgic force, as well as destroy two Luftwaffe airfields of fighters that may be scrambled.

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: The 305th Bomb Group and the 303rd Bomb Group formed a composite group on this raid.

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: 186.00
  • People killed in action: 30
  • People wounded in action: 7
  • Prisoners of war: 22
  • People returned to duty: 10
  • Aircraft sent: 113
  • Aircraft effective: 76
  • Aircraft missing in action: 5
  • Aircraft damaged beyond repair: 1
  • Aircraft damaged: 26

Connections

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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: 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
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers 367th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 07002327
  • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Role/Job: waist gunner

Aircraft

Revisions

Date15 Jan 2016 19:06:24
ContributorMags
Sources

303rd BG Web Page

Date3 Jan 2015 21:05:46
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 3-Jan-2015. Corrected statistics on Emden.

Date3 Jan 2015 21:02:25
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 3-Jan-2015. Descritpion based on "the Mighty Eighth War Diary" Roger A. Freeman and "USAAF Combat Chronology" Jack McKillop.

Date3 Jan 2015 20:15:12
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 3-Jan-2015. Description based on "USAFF Combat Chronology" Jack McKillop.

Date3 Jan 2015 19:56:53
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 3-Jan-2015. Description based on "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'.

VIII Bomber Command 57: Gallery (2 items)