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VIII Bomber Command 33

4 February 1943

Official description

Not yet known


The marshalling yards at Hamm, Germany are again designated as the primary target for this mission follwing the abortive attempt of 2-Feb-43. However, weather and extreme cold frustrate this operation also. The main attacking force consists of 65 B-17s despatched from: 91BG (17); 303BG (13) 305BG (18) and 306BG (16). Cloud cover prevents bombing of the primary target at Hamm, Germany and the formation diverts to the target of last resort, the industrial area of Emden, Germany. Only 39 of the 65 despatched are effective on the target. Of the 18 despatched by 305BG, none are able to bomb. 5 B-17s are lost, one of these due to a mid-air collision with a German FW190. One B-17 from 91BG joins one B-24 from 44BG (both aborts) in dropping their bomb loads on a German ship convoy in the North Sea (results not determined).

Another formation of 21 B-24s is also despatched to attack the marshalling yards at Hamm, Germany: 44BG (15) and 93BG (6), but extreme cold (-40C) causes the formation to abort and turn back near the Dutch coast. There are no losses in this formation.

Mission details

1. EMDEN (Last resort)



Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress


Not yet known


  • 303rd Bomb Group

    303rd Bomb Group

    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...

  • 305th Bomb Group Can Do

    305th Bomb Group Can Do

    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...

  • 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers

    306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers

    Constituted as 306th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 28 Jan 1942. Activated on 1 Mar 1942. Trained for combat with B-17's. Moved to England, Aug-Sep 1942, and assigned to Eighth AF Eighth Air Force in September 1942 Station 111 Thurleigh. During combat,...

  • 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars

    91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars

    The 91st Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated at Harding Field, Louisiana on 15-April-1942 and went to MacDill Field, Florida for the first phase of training from 16-May-1942 to 25-June-1942. The Group was then assigned to 2nd Air Force at Walla...

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 95.25
Number of aircraft Sent 65
Number of aircraft Effective 39
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 4
Number of people Killed In Action 25
Number of people Wounded in Action 17
Number of people Prisoners of War 15
Number of people Died in Captivity 1
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Bomber Command 25
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Bomber Command 8
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 6

2. HAMM (Primary)



Aircraft type

B-24 Liberator


Both the 44th Bomb Group and the 93rd Bomb Group turned back before reaching the Dutch coast due to extreme cold below -40C (limit of thermometers). But one B-24 from 44th Bomb Group and one B-17 from 91st Bomb Group managed to unload 22 X 500Gp on a German ship convoy. No fighter escort for any elements in this mission. None of the 18 B-17s of 305th Bomb Group were effective against the target. One B-17 from 305th Bomb Group serial number 42-5060 suffered a mid-air collision with an enemy Fw 190 - 10 Killed in Action (KIA). Heavy cloud cover at primary HAMM caused diversion to EMDEN at target of last resort. The is the first time the Germans have used twin engine fighters (Ju-88 and Me-110) against 8th Air Force bomber formations.


  • 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs

    44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs

    The 44th Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated 15-January-1942 at McDill Field, Florida and equipped with B-24Cs. The Group moved to Barksdale Field, Louisiana and acted as a training unit for the 90th 93rd and 98th Bomb Groups and flew anti...

  • 93rd Bomb Group

    93rd Bomb Group

    93rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated 1-March-1942 at Barksdale Field, Louisiana. On 15-May-1942 the Group moved to Ft. Myers, Florida to continue advanced flight training and also to fly anti-submarine patrols over the Gulf of Mexico; they...

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 21



  • Ralph Adams

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Orginally assigned with the 92BG at Bovingdon, UK as an Aerial Gunner with the rank of Sergeant. He flew his first mission (and the only one with the 92BG) on 21-Oct-42. ...

  • Norman Andrews

    Military | Lieutenant | Bombardier | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Shot down 4 February 1943 in B-17F41-24544 'Pennsylvania Polka' while serving as Bombardier. Killed in Action (KIA). Air Medal, Purple Heart

  • Clayton Balcombe

    Military | Technical Sergeant (2nd Grade) | Radio Operator | 303rd Bomb Group
    06-Mar-42 Assigned as Radio Operator on B-17F 41-24559 [PU-C] "Ooold Soljer", 303BG/360BS at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho. 16-Oct-42 Arrived at Molesworth, UK aboard "Ooold Soljer" ...

  • Keith Bartlett

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 303rd Bomb Group
    12-Mar-42 Assigned to 303BG/360BS in B-17F #41-24559 "Ooold Soldier" as 2LT and Co-Pilot. Gowen Field (Boise), Idaho. ...

  • Bruce Barton

    Military | Captain | Pilot | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Assigned to 322BS, 91BG, 8AF USAAF. Crash landed in B-17 41-24439 'Chief Sly’ while serving as pilot on return from target Romilly-sur-Seine, France 20-Dec-42. Co-pilot was 2nd Lt. Arthur J. Reynolds. Aircraft was DBR and salvaged. No injuries reported...

  • Paul Bass

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Engineer/Top Turret Gunner | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Shot down 4 February 1943 in B-17F 41-24544 'Pennsylvania Polka' while serving as Engineer/Top Turret Gunner Killed in Action (KIA). Air Medal, Purple Heart

  • Marvin Beiseker

    Military | First Lieutenant | Bombardier | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Killed in Action (KIA) in B-17F 41-24589 'Texas Bronco' while serving as Bombardier. Aircraft was damaged by flak on a mission to bomb the port area of Emden, Germany (last resort) then attacked by German fighters. ME 110s and JU88s. Beiseker was...

  • Jack Belk

    Military | Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    1-May-42 Assigned as an Aerial Gunner to 303BG/427BS at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho, with the rank of Sergeant. 303BG personnel record does not indicate that he was assigned to any particular crew at that time and does not indicate when he arrived at...

  • Charles Blackburn

    Military | Sergeant | Left Waist Gunner, Waist Gunner | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Shot down 4 February 1943 in B-17F 41-24544 'Pennsylvania Polka' while serving as Waist Gunner. Killed in Action (KIA). Air Medal, Purple Heart

  • Alan Bobrow

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Assigned to 323BS, 91BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Hamm, Germany in B-17 41-24544 'Pennsylvania Polka' 4-Feb-43; attacked by fighters, crashed in North Sea near Terschelling Island. Killed in Action (KIA). MACR 3557 & 4635 Awards: AM, PH.

Show more


  • 41-24544 Pennsylvania Polka

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F 41-24544 "Pennsylvania Polka" was assigned 323BS/91BG [OR-O] Bangor 10-Sep-42; Bassingbourn 26-Oct-42; Shot down 4-Feb-43 by fighters 12 miles NW of the tip of Terschelling Island, Holland while on a mission to bomb the railroad marshalling yards...

  • 41-24558 Hunga Dunga

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F-25-BO 41-24558 [VK:F] "Hunga Dunga" was assigned to the 358BS/303BG [VK-F] at Bangor. Maine on 14-Oct-42; arrived at Molesworth, UK on 16-Oct-42; Missing in Action Vegasack 18-Mar-43 when it was attacked by enemy aircraft near Helgoland. Germany...

  • 41-24569 Memphis Tot

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F 41-24569 "Memphis Tot: [GN:V] was assigned 427BS/303BG [GN-W] Bangor 5-Oct-42; Molesworth 22-Oct-42. ...

  • 41-24587 Bad Check

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 427BS/303BG [GN-P] Bangor 5/10/42; Molesworth 25/10/42; Missing in Action 45m Oschersleben 11/1/44 with George McClellan, Co-pilot: Bill Fisher, ex B-26 pilot on his 1st mission, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Dave Tempesta, Radio Operator...

  • 41-24589 Texas Bronco

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F 41-24589 "Texas Bronco" was assigned 323BS/91BG [OR-R] Dow Field, Bangor 15-Sep-42; with Gene Ellis, wrecked, while turning plane into takeoff position, tail wheel ran off runway causing tail section severed from rear bulkhead, 5-Oct-42, repaired...

  • 41-24593 El Lobo

    B-17 Flying Fortress

  • 41-24605 Knock-out Dropper

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned to the 359BS/303BG [BN-R] Bangor 22-Sep-42; Molesworth 22-Oct-42; First 8th Air Force aircraft to complete 50, then 75 missions- 27-Mar-44; with M/Sgt Buford Pafford as crew chief; 1 Base Air Depot, Burtonwood 5-Jun-44; Reconstruction Finance...

  • 42-5060

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F 42-5060 was delivered Cheyenne 13-Sep-42; Houlton 22-Oct-42; Assigned 422BS/305BG [JJ-Q] Chelveston 12-Nov-42; Missing in Action 4-Feb-43. Mission was to bomb the railroad marshalling yards at Hamm, Germany but the target was obscured by clouds,...

  • 42-5360 Old Faithful, War Bride

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Tulsa 20/11/42; New Castle 13/12/42; Assigned 358BS/303BG Molesworth [VK-N] 8/1/43; Missing in Action [35m] Oschersleben 11/1/44 with Harry Schwaebe, Co-pilot: Harry Dumse, Navigator: Paul Degnan, Bombardier: Wilburn Wiley, Flight engineer...


Date Contributor Update
16 February 2015 17:32:51 Lee8thbuff Changes to event

Lee Cunningham 16-Feb-2015. Added Bomber Gunner claims on enemy aircraft to statistics on Emden per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary" Roger A. Freeman

Date Contributor Update
22 December 2014 19:34:38 Lee8thbuff Changes to description

Lee Cunningham 22-Dec-2014. Correction of typo in description.

Date Contributor Update
22 December 2014 18:55:17 Lee8thbuff Changes to description

Lee Cunningham 22-Dec-2014. Description based on "The Mighty Eighth War Diary" Roger A. Freeman and "Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces" Stan Bishop and John A. Hey MBE.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:43:17 AAM AAM ingest

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'.