305th Bomb Group Can Do

Group
Unofficial emblem, 305th Bomb Group.

Object Number - FRE 5107 - Unofficial emblem, 305th Bomb Group.

The 305th Bombardment Group (Heavy), nicknamed "Can Do" was activated 1-March-1942 at Salt Lake City Air Base, Utah which was their primary training base until 11-Jun-1942 when they relocated to Geiger Field, Washington until 29-Jun-1942, then on to Muroc Lake Air Base in California for intensive flight training between 29-Jun-42 to 20-August-1942

In early September 1942 the ground unit traveled by train to Fort Dix, New Jersey then on 5-September-1942 the ground unit sailed on the Queen Mary and disembarked on at Greenock, Inverclyde, UK on 12-September-1942 and proceeded to their UK Station 106 at Grafton Underwood.

Meanwhile, the air unit proceeded to Syracuse, New York for six weeks of advanced flight training between late August 1942 until October 1942 when they received new B-17F bombers. The bombers flew via the Presque Isle, Maine-Gander, Newfoundland-Prestwick, UK route during October 1942 and assembled at Grafton Underwood. The Group flew its first mission on 17-November-1942 flying a diversion mission for other groups bombing the U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France. On 11-Dec-1942 the Group was relocated to Station 105, Chelveston where it remained for the remainder of the war. For a week in July 1945, the Group moved to St. Trond, Belgium, where it conducted photo-mapping flights over Europe and North Africa as part of Project "Casey Jones".

During their tour of duty the Group flew 337 missions in 9,321 sorties and dropped 22,363 tons of bombs. The Group lost 154 aircraft MIA; 13 of those losses occurred on the famous "2nd Schweinfurt" mission of 14-Oct-1943, the most losses of any Bomb Group participating in that action. Because of the losses the Group sustained on that mission, the Group was given the Nazi flag that flew above that city when it was captured by the US 42nd Infantry Division in April 1945.

CLAIMS TO FAME
Between June 1942 and May 1943, under Commanding Officer Col. Curtis LeMay, the "Can Do" Group pioneered formations and bombing procedures that later became standard procedure for the Eighth Air Force
The Group was part of the first raid over Germany, bombing the navy yards at Wilhelmshaven on 27 January 1943.
First night attack of 8AF by 422BS 8-Sep-43.
Distinguished Unit Citation 4-Apr-43 Paris.
Distinguished Unit Citation 11-Jan-44 Halberstadt.
Congressional Medal of Honor 1Lt William R. Lawley, Jr. 20-Feb-44 Leipzig
Congressional Medal of Honor 1Lt Edward S. Michael 11-Apr-44 Stettin

THE 305th BOMB GROUP on BLACK THURSDAY 14-10-1943
While looking for information on Donald Paul Breeden and his crew, I read some books about this ‘Back Thursday’ and the way in which the 305th Bomb Group was hurt on this raid - Mission 115 - into the well defended German heartland.

I did read a book about the Mighty Eight and the books with personal stories like by John Comer and Steve Snyder. While looking into the story of Grandpa Dassen his bomber boots I’ve read on the internet about the evaders like Stan Alukonis and Steve Krawczynski. Also from Mr. Roberts’ and Mr. Linrud’s stories I got a good idea of their adventures and feelings.

Mr. Caidin is mild in his book while Mr. Kuhl in his is very outspoken on the leadership of the 305th Bomb Group on that Black Thursday: Normand had to little experience on flying B-17‘s, on leading and was not recommended for more leading by his former CO. But on the 14th he was the leader.
Who ever is right, it does not change the big losses of men and machines from this group in which the 364 Bomb Squadron of Donald Paul Breeden and his fellow crew members was the one who was hit hardest.

Other things went wrong as well. The Germans were alerted by the message from Gen. Anderson that was sent ‘in the clear‘ instead as ‘secret’ on 13th of October just before midnight. So some 1,100 German planes were ready and on alert.

Due to gathering problems because of the bad weather over England the US fighter escort had to return earlier than planned. It is also said that they started to early so lost fuel on waiting for the combat boxes of B-17’s.

The escorting P-47’s left at 13.33 hours. Map reference 5102N-0555E is between Genk and Opglabbeek in Belgium. Crash time of the A/C #42-3436 was around 13.45 hours; 12 minutes later. Flying in the low group and fast still trying to get near their leader way after their ‘little friends’ had to turn home. Flying into a corridor of German airfields with about 1,100 fighters ready to attack and several cities surrounded with FLAK the 305th Bomb Group lost many planes - the second one crashed near Eygelshoven.

Of the 305th Bomb Group only 3 B-17’s reached Schweinfurt. And only 2 made it back home to Chelveston. The B-17 of Dienhart #42-30831 of the 364th squadron crash landed in Switzerland.
The 364th squadron was totally destroyed that day - within 13 minutes and before it even could cross the Rhine.

From the book by Mr. Kuhl, I got most of this information on the losses of the 305th Bomb Group:
13.40 hours - Murdock 364th/#42 -29952 in Limmel (NL)
13.45 hours - McDarby 364th/#42-3436 in Eygelshoven (NL) and Finkenrath (G)
13.45 hours - Eakle 364th/#42-30807 in Eisden (B)
13.45 hours - Willis 366th/#42-3549 in Horn (NL)
13.49 hours - Dienhart 364th/#42-30831 turns south
13.50 hours - Holt 364th/#42-29988 in Immendorf (G)
13.50 hours - Fisher 366th/#42-3195 in Waldenrath (G)
13.52 hours - Lang 366th/#42-37750 in Puffendorf (G)
13.53 hours - Kenyon 364th/#42-30242 crashed 4 miles W of Duren (G)
14.02 hours - Skerry 366th/#42-30814 in Adendorf near Bonn (G)
14.29 hours - Maxwell 365thth/#42-30804 exploded mid air - crashed near Glashofen (G), near Marktheidenfeldt, 15 miles NW of Würzburg (G)
14.32 hours - start bomb run over Schweinfurt by Kane/Normand - Bullock - Kincaid - Farrel
14.39 hours - Kincaid 365th/#42-3550 crashed near Werneck, 7 miles SW of Schweinfurt (G) before bombing
14.40 hours - bombs away by Kane/Normand - Bullock - Farrel
14.41 hours - Bullock 365th/#42-37740 NE of Schweinfurt (G)
15.40 hours - Dienhart 364th/#42-30831 crash-landed wheels up at Reinach Aesch (CH)

Returned safe in Chelveston after bombing
18.07 hours - Kane/Normand 365th/#42-3412
18.09 hours - Farrell 366th/#42-30678

From the mission report #115
291 B17’s started that day - 18 of 305 BG
37 aborted their flight - 3 of 305 BG
32 were lost en route - 11 of 305 BG
229 reached/bombarded Schweinfurt - 3 of 305 BG
28 were lost on return - 0 of 305 BG
201 came back home - 2 of 305 BG
138 B17’s were damaged
7 were damaged beyond repair - scrap ready

60 B17‘s were shot down
639 crew members were lost that day
Count on October 14 1943: 5 KIA, 40 WIA, 594 MIA

Commanding Officers

Bishop Adna Wright Leonard with Colonel Anthony Mustoe and Brigadier General Chauncey. Image stamped on reverse: 'Confidential.' [stamp],'Passed for publication 27 Apr 1943.' [stamp] and '26114.' [Censor no.] Printed caption on reverse: 'Bishop Adna Wright Leonard, Was DC, Chairman of the General Committee of Army and Navy Chaplains at a US Air force Headquarters in England. Greeting himis Col Anthony O Mustoe, weather office, Hot Springs VA, while Brig Gen Chauncey, Air Force Chief of Staff effects the i
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 1st Bomb Division 305th Bomb Group Can Do 18th Weather Squadron
  • Service Numbers: O-18000
  • Highest Rank: Colonel
  • Role/Job: Commanding Officer
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 3rd Air Division 305th Bomb Group Can Do
  • Service Numbers: O-17917
  • Highest Rank: General
  • Role/Job: Commanding General
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 305th Bomb Group Can Do
  • Service Numbers: O-330152
  • Highest Rank: Colonel
  • Role/Job: Commanding Officer
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 305th Bomb Group Can Do 366th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: O-16719
  • Highest Rank: Colonel
  • Role/Job: Pilot
Colonel Henry G. Macdonald, of the 305th Bomb Group, in flight gear in front of a B-17 Flying Fortress. Printed caption on reverse: 'Photo Officer, 8th Air Force - An 8th Air Force Photo. AN EIGHTH AIR FORCE BOMBER STATION, ENGLAND, Colonel Henry G. MacDonald of 111 Green Street, San Francisco, California, commanding officer of the 305th Bombardment Group, has just returned from landing the Flying Fortress of the First Air Division in the Eighth Air Force attack on German Army headquarters and training st
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 305th Bomb Group Can Do
  • Highest Rank: Colonel
  • Role/Job: Commanding Officer

Connections

See how this entry relates to other items in the archive by exploring the connections below.

Unit stations

Station Location Date

Based

Grafton Underwood 12 September 1942 - 11 December 1942

Based

Chelveston 11 December 1942 - 20 July 1945

Encompassing

People

  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 305th Bomb Group Can Do 365th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 32264844
  • Highest Rank: Technical Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Top Turret Gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 305th Bomb Group Can Do
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Civilian
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 305th Bomb Group Can Do
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 305th Bomb Group Can Do
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 305th Bomb Group Can Do 366th Bomb Squadron
  • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Ball Turret Gunner

Aircraft

  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Unit: 301st Bomb Group 305th Bomb Group Can Do 482nd Bomb Group 92nd Bomb Group Fame's Favoured Few 325th Bomb Squadron 813th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Cherry / Boom Town
  • Unit: 305th Bomb Group Can Do 365th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Cherry
  • Unit: 305th Bomb Group Can Do 422nd Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Patches (was originally named Cunningham's Coffin after the pilot, but no nose art carried)
  • Unit: 305th Bomb Group Can Do 365th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Unit: 305th Bomb Group Can Do 97th Bomb Group 364th Bomb Squadron 414th Bomb Squadron 99th Bomb Group 346th Bomb Squadron

Mission

Revisions

Date26 Dec 2020 19:37:58
Contributorjmoore43
Sources

Added a "-" to the A/C tail # in the "Unit history highlights" section to aid clarity & consistency.

Date4 Jan 2020 03:42:37
Contributormcopperwheat
Sources

motto is 'can do', can't find a way to upload logo.

Date27 Apr 2018 15:35:29
Contributorwimhm.slangen
Sources

Wim Slangen

Date26 Apr 2018 09:22:02
Contributorwimhm.slangen
Sources

Wim Slangen

Date26 Apr 2018 09:18:49
Contributorwimhm.slangen
Sources

Wim Slangen

Date13 Apr 2018 15:35:16
ContributorAl_Skiff
Sources

Correction MOH awardee Edward S Michael [ not Mitchell].

Date13 Apr 2018 15:33:23
ContributorAl_Skiff
Sources

Correction MOH awardee Edward S Michael [ not Mitchell].

Date10 Apr 2015 07:03:45
ContributorEMBLEMHUNTER
Sources

my photo

Date23 Nov 2014 20:56:22
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 23-Nov-2014. Added night attack to claims to fame. http://www.usaaf.com/8thaf/bomber/305bg.HTM

Date23 Nov 2014 20:51:38
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 23-Nov-2014. Added CO Henry G, MacDonald from new person entry created for him per http://www.usaaf.com/8thaf/bomber/305bg.HTM

Date23 Nov 2014 20:42:48
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 23-Nov-2014. Added Commanding Officer connections: http://www.usaaf.com/8thaf/bomber/305bg.HTM

Date23 Nov 2014 20:42:28
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 23-Nov-2014. Added Commanding Officer connections: http://www.usaaf.com/8thaf/bomber/305bg.HTM

Date23 Nov 2014 20:01:15
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 23-Nov-2014. History highlights, claims to fame: http://www.usaaf.com/8thaf/bomber/305bg.HTM

Date27 Sep 2014 18:42:45
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)

305th Bomb Group Can Do: Gallery (384 items)