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303rd Bombardment Group (Heavy)

Group Emblem:
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Wing:41st Combat Bombardment Wing
Division:1st Bombardment Division
Squadrons:358th Bombardment Squadron
359th Bombardment Squadron
360th Bombardment Squadron
427th Bombardment Squadron
Tail Marking:
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Details:Prepared for combat with B-17's. Moved to England, Aug-Sep 1942, and assigned to Eighth AF. Entered combat in Nov 1942 and raided targets such as airdromes, railroads, and submarine pens in France until 1943. Began bombardment of industries, marshalling yards, cities, and other strategic objectives in Germany in Jan 1943, and engaged primarily in such operations until V-E Day.

Took part in the first penetration into Germany by heavy bombers of Eighth AF by striking the U-boat yard at Wilhelmshaven on 27 Jan 1943. Other targets included ball-bearing plants at Schweinfurt, shipbuilding yards at Bremen, a synthetic rubber plant at Huls, an aircraft engine factory at Hamburg, industrial areas of Frankfurt, an airdrome at Villacoublay, and a marshalling yard at Le Mans. Flying through intense antiaircraft fire during an attack on Vegesack on 18 Mar 1943, 1st Lt Jack W Mathis, the leading bombardier of his squadron, was knocked from his bombsight; although mortally wounded, he returned to his position and released the bombs; for this action, which ensured an accurate attack against the enemy, Lt Mathis was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

T/Sgt Forrest L Vosler, radio operator and gunner, received the Medal of Honor for a mission to Bremen on 20 Dec 1943: after bombing the target, Sgt Vosler's plane was hit by antiaircraft fire that knocked out two engines, damaged the radio equipment, seriously injured the tail gunner, and wounded Sgt Vosler in the legs and thighs; the burst of another 20-mm shell nearly blinded the sergeant; nevertheless, he maintained a steady stream of fire to protect the tail of the aircraft; when the pilot announced that the plane would ditch, Sgt Vosler, working entirely by touch, repaired the radio and sent out distress signals; after the plane went down in the Channel, the sergeant secured the tail gunner and himself on the wing; Sgt Vosler's radio signals brought help, and the entire crew was rescued.

The organization received a DUC for an operation on 11 Jan 1944 when, in spite of continuous attacks by enemy fighters in weather that prevented effective fighter cover from reaching the group, it successfully struck an aircraft assembly plant at Oschersleben. Sometimes the group engaged in support and interdictory missions. Attacked gun emplacements and bridges in the Pas de Calais area during the invasion of Normandy in Jun 1944. Bombed enemy troops to support the breakthrough at St Lo in Jul 1944. Struck airfields, oil depots, and other targets during the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944-Jan 1945. Bombed military installations in the Wesel area to aid the Allied assault across the Rhine in Mar 1945. Flew last combat mission, an attach on armament works in Pilsen, on 25 Apr 1945. Moved to French Morocco, May-Jun 1945. Inactivated on 25 Jul 1945.

  • Col Ford J Lauer, Feb 1942
  • Col Warren H Higgins, c. 29 May 1942
  • Col James H Wallace, c. 14 Jul 1942
  • Col Charles E Marion, c. 12 Feb 1943
  • Col Kermit D Stevens, Jul 1943
  • Col William S Raper, Oct 1944
  • Lt Col William C Sipes, 19 Apr 1945
  • Capt Bernard Thompson, Jun-25 Jul 1945

Air Force Combat Units of World War II, Maurer, Maurer: USAF, 1986

Accident Reports:Number of Non-Combat-Related Accident reports for this group: