Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description
VIII Bomber Command Mission 49: 97 B-17s of the 1st Bombardment Wing are dispatched against industrial installations in the Paris, France area including the Renault armament works and motor works. 85 aircraft drop 251 tons of bombs on the target between 1414 and 1417 local and cause severe damage. We claim 47-13-6 Luftwaffe aircraft; we lose 4 B-17s and 16 others are damaged by fierce fighter opposition. Casualties are 6 WIA and 39 MIA.
The 13th Photographic Squadron (Light) flew 3 F-5 sorties in Belgium and France; 1 F-5 is missing.
Source: THE ARMY AIR FORCES IN WORLD WAR II: COMBAT CHRONOLOGY, 1941-1945 by Carter / Mueller, the Office of Air Force History,
303BG Mission Report - Target: Billancourt Dist. Renault Motor Works, Paris, France. Crews Dispatched: 23 (358BS - 6, 359th - 6, 360th - 6, 427th - 4). Crews Lost: Lt. Ercil F. Eyster - 7 KIA, 3 POW. Length of Mission: 5 hours, 15 minutes. Bomb Load: 6 x 1000 lb H.E. M44 bombs. Bombing Altitude: 23,500 ft. Ammo Fired: 33,195 rounds. Enemy Aircraft Claims: 6 Destroyed, 2 Probables, 4 Damaged.
Capt. W.R. Calhoun, Jr., CO 359BS, flew in the Low Squadron lead B-17, #41-24635, 359BS-O, The '8' Ball MK II. Deputy Group Commander, Lt. Col. George L. Robinson, led the 303rd BG(H)'s 23 aircraft on a maximum effort mission. The secondary target was the Citroen Motor Works, Paris, and the last resort was the Scotteville Marshalling yards at Rouen. All aircraft were loaded with six 1,000-lb. bombs. The four 8th Air Force Groups dispatched 97 bombers. The plant, previously destroyed by the RAF, had been rebuilt and was producing over 1,500 trucks, tanks and armored cars per month.
Three aircraft aborted the mission. The remaining 20 B-17s bombed the primary target. There were no clouds and visibility was unlimited. Flak, at the 23,500 bombing altitude, was moderate, black, and inaccurate from the target area and the vicinity of Rouen. Crews observed 40 to 50 enemy fighters with 14 encounters. Holy Mackerel, 359BS, was shot down by enemy fighters and crashed near Rouen, France.
Battle damage to other aircraft was slight. A great deal of credit reportedly was due to excellent Spitfire fighter support. The remaining 19 B-17s returned to Molesworth between 1606 and 1632.
The 305th BG(H), which led the mission, hit the target with most of its bombs, lost three aircraft, bore the brunt of the fighter attack, and shot down 25 enemy aircraft with an additional six probables and five damaged. One crew shot down ten FW-190s. For their action the 305th received the first Distinguished Unit Citation awarded to an 8th Air Force Bomb Group.
source: 303rd Bomb Group web page http://www.303rdbg.com/
306th Bomb Group Mission Report MISSION
VIII BC 49
Paris, France Renault armament and motor works
INFORMATION IN DETAIL
A/C: 30; 3 return early: 1 with control cable difficulty; 2 with engine trouble
Bombing: 1414, 24000 ft
RESULTS OF BOMBING
Good; concentrated hit on Renault works. Some in river
Clear over target
Moderate and inaccurate over target; black, yellow and white bursts.
New kind flak encountered: red burst, then numerous smaller explosions in area surrounding original burst
Two FWs dropped flak bombs on A/C from above. Crews reported two tremendous bursts but no damage. One dropped from above, other from a dive-bombing E/a
ENCOUNTERS AND CLAIMS
25-30 E/A after target attacked until Spitfire cover was reached near Rouen; mostly tail attacks from below; E/A/ attacked in pairs
4 B-17s reported in distress (none from 306th):
1 B-17 near Rouen with tail broke off at 1434 (ed: this is a 303rd A/C) - 1-7 chutes seen
1 B-17 spinning down at 1442 - wing broke off - chutes tangled (ed: 305th A/C)
Spitfire cover was Good
Spitfires fired on by our formation
Gunner: should be more tracer bullets
source: 306th Bombardment Group website www.306bg.org/
44BG Mission Report - Once again it was a diversionary sweep along the Dutch coast by the very small 44th formation while the Fortresses were hitting Paris Renault Tank Works at Billancourt. All events went off according to plan and the flight was uneventful.
source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
91st BG / 323nd BS Mission Report - Seven ships of 323rd squadron, piloted by Captains. Dwyer and Clancy, Lieutenants Giauque, Biggs, Rand, Walker, Evins took part in the raid on the Renault Works in Paris. Bombing results were good.
91st BG / 322nd BS Mission Report - Target attacked today at 1417 hours was the Renault Motor Works at Paris, France, with 6 x 1000 bombs. 91st sent 20 A/C of which 5 A/C were from 322nd: Lt. W. D. Beasley #724, Lt. Don C. Bader #712, Capt. Bruce D. Barton #139, Capt. Robert W. Campbell #481, Lt. Edwin L. Baxley #483. Slight flak was encountered. After leaving the target, a large number of E/A attacked. 11 destroyed, 5 probables. Those from 322nd were as follows: Capt. Bruce D. Barton crew: S/Sgt. E. E. Stanczyk (TG) destroyed FW190. S/Sgt. Byron C. Srsen (UTG) destroyed FW190.
91BG / 401BS Mission Report - Good heavy pattern on aiming point, many fires started. Slight to moderate heavy inaccurate flak along route and target area. Sixty E/A attacked viciously from target area to ten miles off French Coast. Attacks were pressed home on tail of aircraft.