303rd Bomb Group

Group
Official emblem of the 303rd Bomb Group approved 7 November 1942.

Object Number - FRE 5102 - Official emblem of the 303rd Bomb Group approved 7 November 1942.

The 303rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated on 3-Feb-1942 at Pendleton Field, Oregon. They assembled at Gowen Field, Idaho on 11-February 1942 where it conducted flight training until 12-Jun-1942. The Group then moved to Alamogordo Field, New Mexico for advanced flight training until 7-August-1942 when it moved to Biggs Field, Texas to prepare for deployment overseas. The ground echelon moved to Fort Dix, New Jersey on 24-August-1942 and sailed for the UK aboard the Queen Mary on 5-September-1942 arriving at Greenock, UK on 10-September-1942. The air echelon flew to Kellogg Field, Michigan and then on to Dow Field, Maine to begin deployment to England. The Group finally assembled at Molesworth and flew its first combat mission on 17-Nov-1942.

From 17-Nov-1942 until 25-April-1945 the Group flew 364 missions in 10,721 sorties and dropped 24,918 tons of bombs. The Group lost 165 aircraft MIA.
The "Hell's Angels" were named after the B-17 Flying Fortress 41-24577 of the same name, which was the first B-17 in the Eighth Air Force to complete 25 missions. The Group was based solely at Molesworth, Cambridgeshire, between 12 September 1942 and 11 June 1945, flying 364 missions in 10,721 sorties (more than any other B-17 Eighth Air Force Group) and dropped 24,918 tons of bombs (2nd highest in 8AF). Abundant information on this group may be researched at: http://www.303rdbg.com/ hosted by Mr. Gary Moncur. This is perhaps the most comprehensive website currently existing (11-Nov-2014) on any 8th AF Bomb Group.

CLAIMS TO FAME
B-17F 41-24577 'Hell's Angels' first B-17 aircraft to complete 25 missions
B-17F 41-24605 'Knock-Out Dropper' first B-17 aircraft to complete 50 and 75 missions
B-17G 42-38050 'Thunderbird' one of the few B-17s to fly more than 100 missions
First 8th Air Force Bomb Group to complete 300 missions
Flew more missions than any other 8th Air Force Bomb Group.

Commanding Officers

  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 1st Bomb Division 303rd Bomb Group
  • Service Numbers: O-021505
  • Highest Rank: Colonel
  • Role/Job: Assistant Chief of Staff; Director of Operations; CO
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 303rd Bomb Group 358th Bomb Squadron 360th Bomb Squadron 427th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: O-017490
  • Highest Rank: Colonel
  • Role/Job: Commanding Officer
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 303rd Bomb Group
  • Service Numbers: O-350379
  • Highest Rank: Colonel
  • Role/Job: Commanding Officer; Pilot
Colonel Maurice A. Preston talks to a bomber crew of the 379th Bomb Group, led by Major William C Sipes, after a mission in their B-17 Flying Fortress nicknamed "Ragin' Red", 1 Jan 1944. Passed for publication 1 Jan 1944. Printed caption on reverse: 'Photo Shows:- Colonel Maurice A. Preston, of Tulare, California, C.O. of the bomb group, on left, greeting the leader of the group, Major William C. Sipes, of Tuscan, Arizona (third from right) and other members of his crew after the mission. On right, Major
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 303rd Bomb Group 379th Bomb Group 526th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: O-661981
  • Highest Rank: Colonel
  • Role/Job: Operations Officer; Commanding Officer
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 303rd Bomb Group
  • Service Numbers: O-421658
  • Highest Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
  • Role/Job: Commanding Officer; Pilot

Connections

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Unit stations

Station Location Date

Based

Molesworth 1942-09-12 - 1945-06-11

Encompassing

People

  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 303rd Bomb Group 1681st Ordnance Supply & Maintenance Company
  • Service Numbers: 32333568
  • Highest Rank: Private
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 303rd Bomb Group 444th Sub-Depot
  • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 303rd Bomb Group 360th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 19004298
  • Highest Rank: Master Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Engineer
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 303rd Bomb Group 360th Bomb Squadron
  • Highest Rank: Second Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Pilot
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 303rd Bomb Group
  • Service Numbers: O224958
  • Highest Rank: Major
  • Role/Job: Flight Surgeon

Aircraft

A B-17 Flying Fortress (PY-N, serial number 41-9020) of the 92nd Bomb Group prepares for take off at Mount Farm. Image by Robert Astrella, 7th Photographic Reconnaissance Group. Written on slide casing: '92 BG, 19020 PY-B, Mount Farm.'
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Phyllis, Tugboat Annie
  • Unit: 303rd Bomb Group 92nd Bomb Group Fame's Favoured Few 97th Bomb Group 340th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Unit: 303rd Bomb Group 358th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Unit: 303rd Bomb Group 358th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Unit: 303rd Bomb Group 427th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Unit: 303rd Bomb Group 427th Bomb Squadron

Mission

Revisions

Date16 Oct 2019 10:10:45
Sources

Information taken from the 303rd Bomb Group Unit History.

Date8 Dec 2015 19:23:29
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 8-Dec-2015. Correcting typo in date.

Date8 Dec 2015 19:21:48
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 8-Dec-2015. Corrected first combat mission date per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian: http://www.303rdbg.com/

Date24 Feb 2015 03:12:57
Contributorglm303
Sources

Gary L Moncur
303rdBG Historian
www.303rdBG.com

Date23 Feb 2015 17:55:08
Contributorglm303
Sources

Gary L. Moncur
303rd BG Historian
www.303rdBG.com

Date23 Feb 2015 15:27:06
ContributorLucy May
Sources

Changed the name of the Group from 'Hells Angels' to 'Hell's Angels'.

Date25 Nov 2014 22:19:19
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 25-Nov-2014. Added early history and statistics per: http://www.usaaf.com/8thaf/bomber/303bg.HTM

Date11 Nov 2014 20:24:39
ContributorLee8thbuff
Date27 Sep 2014 18:42:44
ContributorAAM
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database / The Mighty Eighth. A History of the Units, Men and Machines of the US 8th Air Force.' by Roger A. Freeman (1989). 'Air Force Combat Units of World War II' compiled by the Department of the US Air Force, edited by Maurice Maurer (1983). / Units in the UK from ETOUSA Station List, as transcribed by Lt. Col. Philip Grinton (US Army, Retired) and extracted by IWM; air division data from L.D. Underwood, based on the 8th Air Force Strength Report of 6th August 1944, as published in 'The 8th Air Force Yearbook' by Lt. Col. John H Woolnough (1980)

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