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VIII Bomber Command 37

26 February 1943

Official description

Not yet known


After 10 days of weather related delays of the bomber offensive, a mission is organised with the port facilities of Emden, Germany as the primary target. However, Emden is obscured by cloud cover and all formations divert to attack the port facilities at Wilhelmshaven, Germany. 76 B-17s are despatched: 91BG (20); 303BG (19); 305BG (20) and 306BG (17). 59 of this formation are effective on the target but 5 B-17s are MIA.

17 B-24s are also despatched with Emden as the primary, but they too divert to Wilhelmshaven. 44BG (11) and 93BG (6), of these only 6 are effective on the target and 2 from 44BG are MIA. The bomber gunners claim the following against German fighters: 21 destroyed; 9 probably destroyed; and 5 damaged. There is no fighter escort for this mission.

Mission details

1. WILHELMSHAVEN (Opportunistic)



Aircraft type

B-24 Liberator


Not yet known


  • 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

    The 93rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated 1 Mar 42 at Barksdale Field, Louisiana. On 15 May 42. the Group moved to Ft. Myers, Florida, to continue advanced flight training and also to fly antisubmarine patrols over the Gulf of Mexico. They...

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 21.70
Number of aircraft Sent 17
Number of aircraft Effective 9
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 2
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 1
Number of people Killed In Action 12
Number of people Prisoners of War 9
Number of people Returned To Duty 10

2. WILHELMSHAVEN (Opportunistic)



Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress


BREMEN was the primary target but was overcast by clouds. WILHELMSHAVEN chosen at target of opportunity. No fighter escort on this mission. Bomb tonnage includes one X 500GP dropped on a German convoy of ships.


  • 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 142.30
Number of aircraft Sent 76
Number of aircraft Effective 59
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 5
Number of people Killed In Action 35
Number of people Wounded in Action 14
Number of people Prisoners of War 17



  • Howard Adams

    Military | Captain | Pilot | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Killed in Action 26-Feb-43 in B-24D 41-23777 'Maisey', 44BG/66BS while serving as Pilot. The aircraft came under almost constant fighter attack from Texel Island, Holland and finally exploded in mid-air near Willbroksmoor, Germany. Journalist Robert...

  • Floyd Ammerman

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    On 26-Feb-43 while serving as the Tail Gunner in B-17F 41-24623, 305BG/365BS the aircraft sustained damage from AA fire over the target at Wilhelmshaven, Germany. He was able to bail out and was captured as a Prisoner of War (POW). The aircraft was...

  • Thor Arnkil

    Military | Lieutenant | Navigator | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Killed in Action (KIA) on 26-Feb-43 in B-17F 42-5362 'Short Snorter II' [LL:F], 91BG/401BS while serving as Navigator. The aircraft was shot down by German fighters and crashed into the North Sea just west of the Frisian Islands while on a mission to...

  • Charles Austin

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 303rd Bomb Group
    1LT Charles N. Austin was originally assigned to the 92BG and arrived in England in August 1942. On 10-Feb-43 he and his crew were transferred from 92BG to 303BG/358BS as a replacement crew and assigned to B-17F #41-24558 "Hunga Dunga". He participated...

  • Frank Bartlett

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    12-Feb-42 Assigned to 303BG as an Aerial Gunner at Arrived at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho. 12-Jun-42 Trained at Alamogordo Field, Alamogordo New Mexico. 7-Aug-42 Finished Advanced training at Biggs Field, El Paso, Texas. 24-Aug-42 transferred with Ground...

  • 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...

  • Howard Beaman

    Military | Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Shot down 26 February 1943 in B-24D 41-23804 'Sad Sack', 44BG/66BS while serving as Waiat Gunner on a mission to bomb the port facilities as Wilhelmshaven, Germany. The aircraft was attacked by fighters near the Initial Point (IP) which caused the loss...

  • Harold Beasley

    Military | Lieutenant | Pilot | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Beasley's crew claimed to shoot down 4 German fighters on a mission over Paris on 4 April 1943, they then claimed a further fighter on a mission over Antwerp the following day. ...

  • Isaac Benson

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    Killed in Action (KIA) 26-Feb-43 in B-17F #42-5056 'Devil's Playmate' 305BG/364BS while serving as Pilot. The aircraft was shot down by German fighters and crashed into the North Sea between the Frisian Islands and Helgoland, Germany on a mission to...

  • Homer Bigart

    Civilian | War Correspondent | 303rd Bomb Group
    Journalist for the New York Herald Tribune, who in 1942 was invited to become a war correspondent, one of eight journalists known as The Writing 69th, sent to the UK to fly with the US Army Air Force on bombing missions over Europe. Bigart was...

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  • 41-23777 Maisie

    B-24 Liberator
    B-24D-5-CO 41-23777 was assigned to the 44th Bomb Group/66 Bomb Squadron at Shipdham, UK. On 26-Feb-43 the aircraft was despatched to bomb the shipyards at Bremen, Germany but the target was obscured by clouds so the aircraft diverted to the secondary...

  • 41-23804 Sad Sack

    B-24 Liberator
    B-24D-5-CO 41-23804 "Sad Sack" was assigned to the 44BG/66BS at Shipdham, UK. The aircraft was despatched on 26-Feb-43 to bomb the docks at Bremen. However, cloud cover obscured the target and the formation diverted to Wilhelmshaven as a target of...

  • 41-24447 Kickapoo

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 401BS/91BG [LL-H] Bangor 29-Aug-42; Bassingbourn 1-Oct-42; Missing in Action 11m Wilhelmshafen 26-Feb-44. Flak hit caused fire in #4, crashed North Sea. 10 Killed in Action, Missing Air Crew Report 4830. KICKAPOO. ...

  • 41-24539 Jersey Bounce

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 358BS/303BG [VK-K] Kellogg Fd 15/9/42; Molesworth 16/10/42; CCRC Bovingdon 27/7/43; 384BG Grafton Underwood 22/9/43; Salvaged NBD 31/5/45. JERSEY BOUNCE.

  • 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...

  • 41-24559 Ooold Soljer

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F 41-24559 'Ooold Soljer' was assigned 360BS/303BG [PU-C] Bangor 14-Oct-42; Molesworth 16-Oct-42. ...

  • 41-24561 The Duchess, "Sure Stuff"

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 359BS/303BG [BN-T] Bangor 10/9/42; Molesworth 16/10/42; 59m transferred 1 Base Air Depot (sic),* Burtonwood 7/7/44; Returned to the USA Altus 18/8/44; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Altus 14/8/45. Over...

  • 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...

  • 41-24604 Arkie

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F-27-BO 41-24604 "Arkie" was assigned 336BS/95BG Presque Isle 19-Oct-42; transferred 366BS/305BG [KY-D] Grafton Underwood 25-Oct-42;transferred with Group to Chelveston 11-Dec-42. Force landed at base with Sydney Smith 26-Jan-42; on 27-Jan-43...

  • 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...

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Date Contributor Update
25 February 2018 17:46:11 Despitz Changes to person associations and aircraft associations

DS 2/25/18

Date Contributor Update
18 February 2015 23:57:36 Lee8thbuff Changes to description

Lee Cunningham 18-Feb-2015. Corrected typo in Description

Date Contributor Update
24 December 2014 17:52:45 Lee8thbuff Changes to description

Lee Cunningham 24-Dec-2014. Description based on " The Mighty Eighth War Diary" Roger A. Freeman.

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'.