VIII Bomber Command 69

28 June 1943
A bomber crew led by Ralph E. Pulcipher of the 547th Bomb Squadron, 384th Bomb Group with their B-17F Flying Fortress (SO-S, serial number 42-5843) nicknamed "Black Ghost". Handwritten caption on reverse: 'Ralph E. Pulcipher crew, 547BS, 384BG. Lost on Sept. 6, 1943 aboard B-17F-25-VE "Black Ghost" 42-5843, SO*S. 7 POW, 3 EVD (their 14th mission).' On reverse: From Tim Bivens Collection [Stamp]. Caption from Tim Bivens: 'I recently obtained the enclosed pix from Mr. William McLain who flew in the 384th BG

Object Number - FRE 4886 - A bomber crew led by Ralph E. Pulcipher of the 547th Bomb Squadron, 384th Bomb Group with their B-17F Flying Fortress (SO-S, serial number 42-5843)...

Description

The primary specific target for this mission are the lock gates at St. Nazaire, France to be attacked by two separate formations and also another force is despatched to bomb the German airfield at Beaumon Le Roger, France. A formation of 120 B-17s of 1st Bomb Wing from: 91BG (20); 92BG (16); 305BG (21); 306BG (21); 351BG (20); and 381BG (22) is despatched to St. Nazaire, France. Of the 13 aircraft despatched by 92BG 6 are YB-40 gunships. This force gets a figher escort part way along the route. German fighter opposition is moderate and flak is moderate. 104 of the 120 B-17s despatched are effective on the target. 5 B-17s are MIA (4 from 351BG). The bomber gunners claim 28-6-8 of the enemy aircraft.

A second formation of 71 B-17s of 4th Bomb Wing from: 94BG (13); 95BG (21); 96BG (16); and 100BG (21) is despatched to St. Nazaire to attack approximately 15 minutes later that the the first formation. Because of the time lag, fighter resistance is light. 54 of the 71 B-17s despatched are effective on the target. 3 B-17 are MIA, all three sustaining damage from AA fire which punctures the fuel tanks and all three run out of gas and are forced to ditch into the English Channel. All three crews are rescued by ASR. There are no claims on enemy aircraft by this formation.

A force of 50B-17s from: 303BG (18); 379BG (14); and 382BG (18) is despathed to bomb the German airfield at Beaumont Le Roger, France. This formation gets a fighter escort by Spitfires from the RAF. 43 of the 50 B017s despatched are effective on the target. There are no losses or claims in this formation.

Mission Details

BEAUMONT-LE-ROGER

Description: AIRFIELD

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: This 1st Bomb Wing element had no fighter support, but suffered no losses or casualties.

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 379th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
The insignia of the 384th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 103.20
  • Aircraft sent: 50
  • Aircraft effective: 43
  • Aircraft damaged: 6

SAINT-NAZAIRE

Description: LOCKS and GATES PORT

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: This 4th Bomb Wing element receives RAF Spitfire escort part way to the target. Some of the B-17s in this element were equipped with the new long range "Tokyo Tanks" , the first time they were used. All 3 95th Bomb Group Missing in Action (MIA) aircraft crews were saved by ASR.

Official emblem of the 100th Bomb Group, approved 30 March 1944 and replaced 1957
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
  • 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: 102.53
  • People wounded in action: 7
  • People returned to duty: 30
  • Aircraft sent: 71
  • Aircraft effective: 54
  • Aircraft missing in action: 3

SAINT-NAZAIRE

Description: LOCKS and GATES PORT

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: This 1st Bomb Wing element receives P-47 fighter escort part way to the target.

The insignia of the 351st Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
The insignia of the 381st Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Air base

Mission Statistics

  • Tonnage Dropped: 197.47
  • People killed in action: 31
  • People wounded in action: 9
  • People evaded: 2
  • Prisoners of war: 19
  • Aircraft sent: 120
  • Aircraft effective: 104
  • Aircraft missing in action: 5
  • Aircraft damaged: 57

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: 95th Bomb Group 334th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 18124489
  • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant (Technician Third Grade)
  • Role/Job: Ball Turret Gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 95th Bomb Group 335th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 13057861
  • Highest Rank: Master Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Flight Engineer/Waist Gunner
  • 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: 100th Bomb Group 418th Bomb Squadron
  • Highest Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
  • Role/Job: Pilot; Commanding Officer

Aircraft

Revisions

Date15 Jan 2016 19:26:49
ContributorMags
Sources

303rd BG Web Page

Date8 Jan 2015 19:40:11
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 7-Jan-2015. 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 69: Gallery (6 items)