97th Bomb Group

Group
Ground personnel of the 97th Bomb Group reservice a B-17 Flying Fortress (serial number 41-9023) nicknamed "Yankee Doodle", following the raid on Rouen. Image stamped on reverse: 'Associated Press.' [stamp], 'Passed for Publication 18 Aug 1942.' [stamp], 'Air=SER (Boeing).' [written annotation] and '216112.' [Censor no.] Printed caption on reverse: 'U.S FLYING FORTRESSES RAID ROUEN IN DAYLIGHT. Associated Press Photo Shows: No sooner had one of the huge Fortresses landed after the raid than ground crew im

Object Number - FRE 882 - Ground personnel of the 97th Bomb Group reservice a B-17 Flying Fortress (serial number 41-9023) nicknamed "Yankee Doodle", following the raid on...

The 97th Bomb Group flew the Eighth Air Force's first heavy bomber mission from the UK when they bombed a marshalling yard at Rouen on 17 August 1942. Just a month later though the Group were reassigned to the Twelfth Air Force and left England for the Mediterranean theater. Flying first with the Twelfth, and later with the Fifteenth, Air Force, the Group flew bombing missions in support of ground operations as well as bombing more strategic targets in Germany. The Group received a Distinguished Unit Citation for leading a strike against an aircraft factory at Steyr, Austria, on 24 February 1944 during Big Week, 20-25 February 1944.

Between 17-Aug-42 and 21-Oct-42, while they flew from Polebrook and Grafton Underwood with the 8th Air Force the Group flew 14 missions using 247 sorties and dropped 395 tons of bombs. The Group had 14 aircraft KIA during this period.

CLAIMS TO FAME (17-Aug-42 to 21-Oct-42)\
Flew the first heavy bombing mission of the war 17-Aug-42 Rouen.

Commanding Officers

  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: VIII Bomber Command 1st Bomb Division 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers 97th Bomb Group
  • Service Numbers: O-17459
  • Highest Rank: Lieutenant General
  • Role/Job: Commanding Officer; Pilot
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Highest Rank: Lieutenant General
  • Role/Job: Bombardment Group Commander
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 97th Bomb Group
  • 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

Polebrook 1942-06-13 - 1942-11-25

Based

Grafton Underwood 1942-07-06 - 1942-09-08

Based

Chateaudun-du-Rhumel 1943-02-08

Based

Amendola 1944-01-16 - 1945-10-01

Other

Assigned 8th Air Force

Other

Assigned 12th Air Force

Other

Assigned 15th Air Force

Encompassing

People

  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 97th Bomb Group 342nd Bomb Squadron
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 97th Bomb Group 340th Bomb Squadron
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 97th Bomb Group 414th Bomb Squadron
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 97th Bomb Group 340th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 774483
  • Highest Rank: First Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Pilot
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 97th Bomb Group Headquarters Squadron (97th Bomb Group)

Aircraft

  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Stinky Jr
  • Unit: 97th Bomb Group 414th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Unit: 97th Bomb Group 414th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: War Eagle
  • Unit: 97th Bomb Group
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Hell’s Kitchen
  • Unit: 97th Bomb Group 414th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Little Bill
  • Unit: 97th Bomb Group 414th Bomb Squadron

Mission

  • Date: 17 August 1942
  • Official Description: 12 B-17’s of 97th Bomb Group, escorted by Spitfires, launch first Army Air Force Heavy Bomber attack from UK against Western Europe. Target is Rouen-Sotteville Marshalling Yard. Sergeant Kent R West shoots down German fighter, thus becoming the first...
  • Date: 19 August 1942
  • Official Description: 22 B-17’s drop 34 tons of bombs on Abbeville/Drucat airfield causing extensive damage. This mission is flown to occupy enemy fighters and prevent them from opposing an invasion by over 5,000 Allied troops, mostly Canadians, who raid Dieppe.
  • Date: 20 August 1942
  • Official Description: Principle of coordinated day and night bombing receive its first formal definition in ‘Joint British/American Directive on Day Bomber Operations involving Fighter Cooperation.’ Emphasis is placed on achieving continuity in bombing offensive from UK...
  • Date: 21 August 1942
  • Official Description: At Gen Arnold’s request, Gen Eisenhower gives Gen Spaatz additional duties as Air Officer for ETOUSA and head of the air section of its staff, thus assuring active participation by Eighth AF in theater planning. 12 airplanes are dispatched to bomb...
  • Date: 24 August 1942
  • Official Description: 12 Heavy Bombers hit the shipyard of Ateliers et Chantiers Maritime de la Seine at Le Trait. General Spaatz reports RAF attitude towards US daylight precision bombing seems to be changing from one of skepticism to one of tentative approval.

Revisions

Date7 Jun 2021 13:51:59
ContributorEmily
Date5 Feb 2016 18:49:55
ContributorJB1
Sources

1943-44

Date15 Nov 2014 22:16:50
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 15-Nov-2014. Added claims to fame: http://www.usaaf.com/8thaf/bomber/97bg.HTM

Date15 Nov 2014 22:14:09
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 15-Nov-2014. Statistics for period in England: http://www.usaaf.com/8thaf/bomber/97bg.HTM

Date7 Nov 2014 17:23:02
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 7-Nov-2014. Adding Commanding Officer Cornelius W. Cousland.

Date20 Oct 2014 23:04:38
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 20-Oct-2014 Commanding Officer connections within site data.

Date20 Oct 2014 22:53:19
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 20-Oct-2014, Commanding Officers http://www.usaaf.com/8thaf/bomber/97bg.HTM; Biography of Joseph H. Atkinson http://www.af.mil/AboutUs/Biographies/Display/tabid/225/Article/107783/…

Date27 Sep 2014 18:42:46
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).

97th Bomb Group: Gallery (145 items)