VIII Bomber Command 87

27 August 1943
B-17 Flying Fortresses of the 303rd Bomb Group line up for take off. A B-17 (VK-I, serial number 42-3064) nicknamed "Yankee Doodle Dandy" is bringing up the rear. First handwritten caption on reverse of print: '27/8/43.' Second handwritten caption on reverse: 'VK-I. 8/9/43.' On reverse: 'Confidential Until Re-Classified By Censor' [Stamp].

Object Number - FRE 4251 - B-17 Flying Fortresses of the 303rd Bomb Group line up for take off. A B-17 (VK-I, serial number 42-3064) nicknamed "Yankee Doodle Dandy" is bringing...

Description

This mission is the first attack by the USAAF on suspected V-Weapon sites. The German development of pilotless winged aircraft was first divulged to the British just shortly after the beginning of World War II in two letters sent to the British embassy in Oslo by a German mathematician and physicist Hans Ferdinand Mayer on 1 and 2 November 1939. This disclosure became known as the "Oslo Report". The information was passed on to the British Intelligence group known as MI-6. The report was largely dismissed as a German attempt at misdirection. However, subsequent photographic reconnaissance by the RAF in May 1942 through May 1943 confirmed that the Germans were indeed up to something at Peenemunde that seemed to validate the Oslo Report.

The mission of 27-Aug-43 was directed against the construction of a large blockhouse and surrounding works. In fact, these were actually German preparations for a launching site for the infamous V-2 rocket, but that exact use was not known at the time.

The mission was composed of two elements both aimed at the construction site in and around Watten, France. The first element consisted of a combined force of 159 B-17s from: 91BG (13); 92BG (19); 303BG (20); 305BG (18); 306BG (18); 351BG (22); 379BG (21); 381BG (10); and 384BG (18). Intense anti-aircraft fire was directed at this element as well as a German fighter force of 20-30 aircraft. 124 aircraft were effective on the target. 4 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) - 10KIA 18POW 2EVD 10RTD (rescued by ASR). 1 airman was KIA in a returning aircraft and 18 were wounded. 1 aircraft was crashlanded at Alconbury, UK upon return and was declared to be Damaged Beyond Repair (DBR) but the 10 crewmen were OK. The bomber gunners in this element claim 7-0-6 of the attacking German fighters.

The second element was a combined force of 65 B-17s from : 94BG (11); 95BG (7); 96BG (9); 100BG (7); 385BG (12); 388BG (12); and 390BG (7). 63 of these aircraft were effective on their targets. There are no losses of claims in this element but 15 aircraft are damaged.

Mission Details

WATTEN

Description: V1 MISSILE SITES

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

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
The insignia of the 385th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
The insignia of the 388th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
The insignia of the 390th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

Mission Statistics

  • Aircraft sent: 65
  • Aircraft effective: 63
  • Aircraft damaged: 15

WATTEN

Description: V1 MISSILE SITES

Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes: First 8th Air Force raid on missile sites. Designated "NOBALL" sites.

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: 368.00
  • People killed in action: 11
  • People wounded in action: 18
  • People evaded: 2
  • Prisoners of war: 18
  • People returned to duty: 10
  • Enemy aircrafts destroyed by bomber: 7
  • Enemy aircraft damaged by bomber: 6
  • Aircraft sent: 159
  • Aircraft effective: 124
  • Aircraft missing in action: 4
  • Aircraft damaged beyond repair: 1
  • Aircraft damaged: 83

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: 303rd Bomb Group 360th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 19097344 / O-742829
  • Highest Rank: Second Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Co-Pilot
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 388th Bomb Group 560th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 16066310 / O-735023
  • Highest Rank: Captain
  • Role/Job: Pilot
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 388th Bomb Group 561st Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 37111609
  • Highest Rank: Sergeant (Technician Fourth Grade)
  • Role/Job: Waist Gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 92nd Bomb Group Fame's Favoured Few 327th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 12054598
  • Highest Rank: Technical Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Top Turret Gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers 368th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 36408642
  • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Air Gunner, Togglier/Bombardier

Aircraft

Revisions

Date10 May 2017 19:25:30
ContributorThomBear
Sources

Added a/c 41-24560 from post-mission report.

Date27 May 2015 20:06:24
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 27-May-2015. Added bomber gunner claims per "The Mighty Eight War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date27 May 2015 20:04:15
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 27-May-2015. Added Mission Narrative based on "The Mighty Eight War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date13 Nov 2014 11:35:05
ContributorEmily
Sources

Associated Media based on images associated with missions in Freeman, The Mighty Eighth War Diary.

Date27 Sep 2014 18:43:18
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 87: Gallery (6 items)