VIII Bomber Command 62

11 June 1943

Object Number - UPL 17208 - Official USAAF photo caption : "A Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress of the 91st Bomb Group wings its way towards an enemy target somewhere in Europe. 10...

Description

The harbour facilities, port areas and U-Boat pens at Wilhelmshaven and Cuxhaven, Germany are the primary targets for this mission. This is the largest number of heavy bombers yet despatched on a single mission - 252. This is the first mission flown since 29-May-43 due to a build up of heavy bomber forces in the UK in early June. There are now 17 heavy bomb groups and 3 medium bomb groups in the UK.

The first element of this formation is a combined force of 166 B-17s despatched from 1st Bomb Wing: 91BG (21); 92BG (14); 303BG (25); 305BG (24); 306BG (27); 351BG (24); and 379BG (31) to bomb the naval facilities at Wilhelmshaven, Germany. This is a "maximum effort" operation. The 303BG is the lead Group in the formation but the lead aircraft of the formation was hit by anti-aircraft fire while on the bomb run which knocked out two engines. As a result the formation became scattered and 20 aircraft ended up bombing targets of opportunity. Of the 166 despatched 139 were effective on a target. 7 B-17s are MIA (6 from the 379BG alone). Fighter and flak opposition in stiff but the bomber gunners claim 76-20-11 of the enemy fighters.

A second formation of 97 B-17s is dispatched from 4th Bomb Wing: 94BG (29); 95BG (29) and 96BG (28) to join in the attack on Wilhelmshaven with 30 directed to bomb the port area of Cuxhaven, Germany. Only 1 B-17 from this formation is MIA and the bomber gunners claim 9-0-13 of the enemy fighters.

All total 219 of the 252 B-17s despatched are effective on their targets and the Luftwaffe takes a big hit of 85-20-24.

NOTE: The Combined Chiefs of Staff (CCS) issues a directive through the Chief of Air Staff (C/AS), Royal Air Force (RAF), marking the official beginning of the Combined Bomber Offensive (CBO) of the USAAF and RAF against sources of German war power. The RAF is to bomb strategic city areas at night and the USAAF is to hit precise targets by daylight. The CCS sanctions the Combined Operational Planning Committee as the agency for coordinating the efforts of the CBO forces.

Mission Details

Cuxhaven, Germany / Wilhelmshaven, Germany

Description: BOMB TARGETS OF OPPORTUNITY

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: 20 B-17s of the 252 despatched attack targets of opportunity in and aroung Cuxhaven and Wilhelmshaven, Germany.

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 40.62
  • Aircraft sent: 20
  • Aircraft effective: 20

CUXHAVEN (Primary)

Description: PORT AREA

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

  • 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: 60.93
  • People killed in action: 10
  • Aircraft sent: 30
  • Aircraft effective: 30
  • Aircraft missing in action: 1

WILHELMSHAVEN (Primary)

Description: U-BOAT PENS

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: This is the first mission flown since 29-May-43 due to the build-up of bomber resources in the UK in early June. There are now 17 Heavy Bomb Groups and 3 Medium Bomb Groups in the UK. Bombing results poor due to the fact that the lead aircraft from 303rd Bomb Group had two engines knocked out while on the bomb run and this caused the formation to scatter. 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
The insignia of the 351st Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
The insignia of the 379th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 328.68
  • People killed in action: 69
  • People wounded in action: 20
  • Prisoners of war: 24
  • Aircraft sent: 202
  • Aircraft effective: 168
  • Aircraft missing in action: 7
  • Aircraft damaged: 62

Connections

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People

  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 379th Bomb Group 524th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 19040467 / O-733509
  • Highest Rank: Second Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Bombardier
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 379th Bomb Group 524th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 31329927 / O-793258
  • Highest Rank: Second Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Navigator
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 95th Bomb Group 412th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 7022763
  • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Top Turret Gunner ; Flight Engineer
  • 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: 36324682
  • Highest Rank: Technical Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Aerial Gunner

Aircraft

Revisions

Date5 Jan 2015 18:45:55
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 5-Jan-2015. Overall mission description based on "The Mighty Eighth War Diary" Roger A. Freeman; Note extracted from "USAAF Combat Chronology" Jack McKillop.

Date5 Jan 2015 18:09:13
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 5-Jan-2015. Targets of opportunity descritpion and map locations added 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 62: Gallery (5 items)