Mission

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Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description

VIII Bomber Command Mission 97: 5 targets in France are hit:

1. 131 of 147 B-17s dispatched hit two targets in Nantes; 79 hit Nantes harbor installations at 1502-1512 hours and 52 hit Nantes/Chateau-Bougon Airfield at 1509-1512 hours; they claim 22-2-5 Luftwaffe aircraft; 7 B-17s are lost, 1 is damaged beyond repair and 47 are damaged; casualties are 9 WIA and 60 MIA. This mission is escorted by 79 P-47s; they claim 2-0-1 Luftwaffe aircraft and suffer no losses or casualties.

2. 93 of 148 B-17s hit La Pallice harbor installations at 1755-1758 hours, Larochelle/Laleau Airfield at 1755-1758 and Cognac/Chateaubernard Airfield at 1731 hours; they claim 22-3-8 Luftwaffe aircraft; 4 B-17s are lost, 5 damaged beyond repair and 17 damaged; casualties are 44 KIA, 9 WIA and 30 MIA.

VIII Bomber Command Mission 98: 5 B-17s of the 422d Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 305th Bombardment Group (Heavy), join the RAF in a night attack on the marshaling yard at Modane, France; there are no losses or casualties.

VIII Air Support Command Mission 59: 67 of 72 B-26s hit the Beaumont le Roger Airfield at 1735 hours and Tricoueville Airfield in France at 1735 hours; 2 B-26s are damaged.

HQ 40th and 41st Combat Bombardment Wings (Heavy) transfer from Brampton Grange to Thurleigh and Molesworth, England respectively.

Source: THE ARMY AIR FORCES IN WORLD WAR II: COMBAT CHRONOLOGY, 1941-1945 by Carter / Mueller, the Office of Air Force History,

Mission Reports

303BG Mission Report - Target: Supply Ship in Loire River at Nantes, France. Crews Dispatched: 19. Length of Mission: 6 hours, 55 minutes. Bomb Load: 12 x 500 lb M-43 G.P. bombs. Bombing Altitude: 20,000 ft. Ammo Fired: 37,875 rounds. Enemy Aircraft Claims: 6 Destroyed, 1 Probables, 1 Damaged.

No aircraft aborted the mission led by General Robert F. Travis. Weather over the target was good with six to nine miles visibility and 6/10 cloud cover. The Group dropped 223 500-lb. M-43 bombs from 25,000 feet. Bombing results were good and a smoke screen over the target was ineffective.

Crews reported that flak was moderate, and even though very accurate in the target area, not enough to spoil a good bombing run. Several aerial bombs were observed by two crews. They reported two clusters of four bombs each exploding near their aircraft 20 miles south of Rennes. They could not see the bombs falling nor the enemy aircraft dropping them but were sure they were aerial bombs because of the size and character of the explosions. Another crew saw two bombs drop and explode near them from an aircraft 5,000 feet above. The bombs appeared to be approximately 500-lb. bomb size.

Several crews reported that eight to ten FW-190s lined abreast and fired rockets. There were large time-fused bursts from the nose. Smoke and fire followed the projectile until it burst. Only 25 to 30 enemy fighters were encountered, but gunners say they were very persistent in their attacks for more than one-half hour. Most of the German fighter attacks were directed at the B-17's noses and tails, but the concentrated fire from the Group gunners resulted in the fighters backing off from their attacks.

P-47 fighters accompanied the Forts most of the way in to the target and aircrews were loud in their praise of the fighter support.

Photographs revealed that the Combat Wing scored direct hits on an Agile-class destroyer, a floating dock containing a tanker, a coastal type naval auxiliary, a speerbreacher, a small tug, two naval auxiliaries and two small vessels. Bombs also burst near other vessels causing damage. Concentrations of bombs fell among warehouses, marshalling yards, oil storage tanks and small buildings with many direct hits and fires.

Six Group B-17s landed at Exeter to refuel before returning to Molesworth. There were no casualties. Six aircraft sustained minor battle damage. It was a very successful mission.

More info on this mission at the 303BG website

source: 303rd Bomb Group web page http://www.303rdbg.com/
306BG Mission Reportsource: 306th Bombardment Group website www.306bg.org/
351BG Mission Report - 19 aircraft were sent on this mission. source: 351st Bomb Group web page http://www.351st.org/ken.harbour
384BG Mission Report - 384th BG Mission Number 24. The intended target, a ship loaded with munitions, was not found in the briefed area. The Group attacked the secondary target, port facilities and shipping, with good results. Primary Target: Blockade Runner Ship (in Loire River) - Nantes, France. Target Attacked : Secondary (Visual): Harbor Facilities - Nantes, France

21 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 11. Failed To Return - 1. Aborted - 5. Ditched - 1. Ground Spare, Unused - 3.
41-24560 Ingles, John Thomas - Aborted; unable to locate formation after passing through cloud layer.
42-3216 Lecates, Robert L - Group lead
42-3218 Van der Haeghen, Joseph Albert - Group deputy.
42-3429 Estes, Thomas J - Aborted; unable to locate formation after passing through cloud layer.
42-3459 Higdon, Philip E - Aborted; unable to locate formation after passing through cloud layer.
42-5404 Thompson, Siguard (NMI) - Aborted; unable to locate formation after passing through cloud layer.
42-5838 Frink, Horace E - Low squadron lead.
42-5849 Butler, Johnny A - Failed to Return - MIA; shot down by enemy aircraft; crashed near Rennes, France; MACR 722.
42-29651 Jacobs, Randolph George Edward - Aborted; unable to locate formation after passing through cloud layer.
42-29699 Price, William M - Failed to Return: Ditched in the English Channel after being damaged by enemy aircraft; crew rescued by a fishing boat; no MACR; all returned to duty.
42-29768 Willing, Mark S - Landed away at RAF St. Athan.
42-29828 Ashcraft, Archie B - Landed away at High Ercall.
42-30026 Algar, Philip M - Landed away at Colerne, Wiltshire.
42-30033 Kelly, James H - High squadron lead.
42-30043 Yelvington, Melton Albert - Landed away at Chivenor.

source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
388BG Mission Report - Twenty one planes were scheduled to takeoff but due to mechanical problems or ground crew unable to gas some of the planes, sixteen planes took-off at 1141 hours and with adverse weather conditions still made Wing formation. The 388th was lead Group of the 2nd Combat Wing with the 96th flying as low Group.

Three planes never did take-off, Lt. Bensel, Eccleston and Dennis. Lt. Felece took-off at 1221 hours but was unable to find our formation. He did tack on to another formation and after entering France a few burst of flak convinced him he was in the wrong Group and returned to base at 1656 hours. Lt. Todd took-off at 1225 hours and was unable to locate our formation and after heading out to sea for a ways, returned to base at 1820 hours.

The briefed course was followed to the Bordeaux area but cloud cover obscured the Primary and Secondary Targets so the Group turned north up the Coast of France to a Target of Opportunity, LaPallice. Our bombs formed an excellent pattern on the sub-pens and supply shops.

Fighter opposition was moderate with 20 to 25 e/a but most attacks were on the low Group. Our gunners claim one e/a destroyed. Flak was meager.

On the route back, severe rain squalls were encountered off the southwest coast of England and along with darkness the Group had to disperse somewhat. Three planes crash-landed in England as follows:
Lt. Cox, in A/C 42-5906 "Sandra Kay", crashed just south of the RAF station at Shobdon. All 10 crew members were killed.
Lt. Jarrendt, in A/C 42-5904 "Gremlin Gus", crashed into the side of a hill at North Moulton, Somerset, at 2115 hours. About three miles before the crash, the A/C scraped a hilltop and the Tail-gunner, James Jones, fell out of the plane when the tail position escape hatch came open. He was only slightly injured. At the crash site, T/Sgt. Baliff, cameraman, was killed. Lt. Dick, the bombardier, lost a leg and Lt. Staples, the navigator, was seriously injured. Sgts. Hovatter and Cunningham were slightly injured.
Lt. Nagorka in a/c 42-30030 "Old Ironsides", ditched just north of the Wash. Waist gunners, Whitehead and Christensen, were drowned and the tail-gunner, Jack Harris, lost a leg in the ditching.

Six of our planes returned to base by 2224 hours and six landed away as follows: Lt. Bohne landed at RAF Stratford Lt. Joho landed at RAF Shobdon Lt. Beeby landed at RAF Colerne. Lt. Rodgers landed at RAF Harrowbeer Lt. Bliss landed at RAF Dunkeswell Lt. Williams landed at RAF Dunkeswell

source: 388th Bomb Group web page http://www.388bg.info
91st BG / 323nd BS Mission Report - Six ships of 323rd squadron took off for Nantes, France on a mission to bomb a 450-foot submarine mother ship in the Port Maritime. Intense smoke forced bombing of a target of opportunity. All ships returned except #079, Lt. Smith (P), which left the formation under control south of Rennes. The plane is thought to have hit the ground three miles NW of Grand Fougeray. Three parachutes were reported out. source: 323rd Bomb Squadron / 91BG Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/
91st BG / 322nd BS Mission Report - Raid on the port at Nantes, France. Bomb Load: 12 x 500. Bombing Altitude: 20,000 feet. A. A. Fire: Moderate and accurate fire from Rennes. At Nantes the A/A fire was inaccurate but moderate. Enemy Opposition: Up to 45 E/A single engine fighters were encountered from 1440 hours to 1500 hours. source: 322rd Bomb Squadron / 91BG Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/
91BG / 401BS Mission Report - Nantes: Well concentrated hits on target of opportunity, a nearby airdrome. ENEMY OPPOSITION: 25-45 FW 190s and Me 109s were seen. Meager, accurate fire experienced from vicinity of Rennes. Meager, inaccurate fire from North of Redon. Moderate, inaccurate AA fire at target. T/Sgt. R. L. Repp, Radio Operator, flak injury in left foot.source: 91st BG / 401st BS Mission Report http://www.91stbombgroup.com/
96th Bomb Group Mission Report link source: Marshall Stelzreide Wartime Story http://www.stelzriede.com/warstory.htm

Non-Combat Accident Reports

Aircraft: B-17F (#42-29971).
Organization: 368BS / 306BG of Thurleigh, Bedfordshire.
Pilot: Carey, Daniel H.
Notes: taxiing accident.
Location: Thurleigh, Bedfordshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17F (#42-30120).
Organization: 334BS / 95BG of Horham, Suffolk.
Pilot: Reno, Louis G.
Notes: mid air collision.
Location: Abbots Hall England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 2
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17F (#42-30601).
Organization: 550BS / 385BG of Great Ashfield, Suffolk.
Pilot: Schley, John D Jr.
Notes: killed in mid air collision.
Location: Abbots Hall England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17F (#42-3411).
Organization: / of .
Pilot: Dustman, Peter D.
Notes: ground accident.
Location: Prestwick, Scotland Scotland.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17F (#42-37737).
Organization: / of .
Pilot: .
Notes: ground accident.
Location: Prestwick, Scotland Scotland.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17F (#42-37761).
Organization: / of .
Pilot: .
Notes: ground accident.
Location: Prestwick, Scotland Scotland.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: B-17F (#42-5906).
Organization: 562BS / 388BG of Knettishall, Suffolk.
Pilot: Cox, Henry O.
Notes: killed in a crash due to weather.
Location: Shobdon/ 25mi W England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
Aircraft: P-47D (#42-7973).
Organization: 1GTS / of .
Pilot: Hofer, Raplh K.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Warton, Lancashire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/

Mission Stats (Targets, Aircraft, Casualties, etc.)

Mission "8th AF Photo Reconnaissance"
Photo ReconnaissanceFrance and Belgium
September 16, 1943

Primary source for mission statistics: Mighty Eighth War Diary by Roger A. Freeman
 
Aircraft
Sent
Aircraft
Effective
Bomb TonnageEnemy
Aircraft
X-P-D
Enemy
Aircraft
(on gnd)
X-P-D
USAAF
Aircraft
X-E-D
USAAF
Personnel
KIA-WIA-MIA
Notes
11110.00-0-00-0-00-0-00-0-0
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Mission Targets

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BELGIUM / FRANCE
Reconnaissance
photo11 A/C
Aircraft Groups

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1ST BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
2ND BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
3RD BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)
7th Photographic Group (Recon)
Aircraft Losses

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1ST BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
2ND BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
3RD BOMBARDMENT DIVISION
OTHER (IX AF, HQ, etc)