Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description
VIII Bomber Command Mission 50: 104 B-17s of the 1st Bombardment Wing are dispatched against industrial targets in the Antwerp, Belgium area. The main force is directed at the Erla aircraft factory and Erla engine works. 82 B-17s drop 245.5 tons of bombs at 1530 hours local. We claim 23-8-4 Luftwaffe aircraft; we lose 4 to strong Luftwaffe fighter opposition; 13 aircraft are damaged. Casualties are 3 WIA and 40 MIA.
HQ 56th Fighter Group and its 61st, 62d and 63d Fighter Squadrons with P-47Cs transfer from Horsham St Faith, England to Halesworth, England.
Source: THE ARMY AIR FORCES IN WORLD WAR II: COMBAT CHRONOLOGY, 1941-1945 by Carter / Mueller, the Office of Air Force History,
Col. W.W. Dunlap (101 PBCW) flew as a passenger in the 358BS second flight with Capt. Baldwin in #41-24577, Hell's Angels. Low Squadron leader was Maj. Lyle and High Squadron Leader was Capt. Stouse.
Three aircraft aborted the mission. Battle damage forced a fourth to leave the formation before bombing. Seventeen aircraft bombed the primary target from 24,000 feet with 51 tons of 1,000-lb. H.E. M44 bombs. Slight, inaccurate, black flak was reported over Ostend, Ghent, Bruges, and Schouwen Island. Enemy air opposition was moderate with 30 to 50 aircraft reported. They attacked from the Belgian coast to mid-channel enroute back. FW-190s, ME-109s, ME-110s, and JU-88s were seen in twelve encounters. In at least five instances, fighters bombed the formation. The bombs were accurate as to altitude and bursts were four times the size of flak bursts.
All other aircraft returned safely to Molesworth. After the mission, the Belgian Ambassador to the U.S. protested about the inaccurate bombing that resulted in many civilian casualties.
source: 303rd Bomb Group web page http://www.303rdbg.com/
306th Bomb Group Mission Report MISSION
VIII BC 50
Erla Works - Antwerp
INFORMATION IN DETAIL
A/C: 20; 2 returned early (cylinder head broke; #4 engine went out, could not keep up); 4 did not return: 42-29660 (Ross), 42-5072 (Parker), 42-5431 (Fischer), 41-24465 (Seelos)
Bombing: 1631, 22900 ft
RESULTS OF BOMBING
Poor; A/C under attack and taking evasive action; bursts were observed in target area
1/10 to 6/10 at base; slight haze enroute; clear at target
Flaks at coast in and out and at target; accurate
ENCOUNTERS AND CLAIMS
40-60 E/A intercepted just after Belgian coast; attacks to target and back to coast; head-on attacks
Mostly yellow-nose FW 190s
6 E/A at a time
Came from all directions
1 B-17 at 1514 hit by E/A; turned out of formation and headed back toward England (ed: 41-24465 Seelos; cr nr Kalmthout, Belgium)
1 B-17 seen going down at 1535, 5 miles NW of Antwerp, after bomb run - 1 chute (ed: 42-29660 Ross; cr nr Niuew-Namen, Belgium)
1 B-17 going down under control with #2 and #3 engines on fire, 10 miles NW Antwerp - 4-5 chutes (ed: 42-5072 Parker)
1 B-17 seen going down between target and coast on way out - 7-8 chutes (ed: 42-5431 Fischer; cr nr Schelle, Belgium)
7 A/C seriously damaged
Lagging and erratic superchargers dominated equipment failures as usual
Pilot saw fighters drop three bombs
Johnson crew: nose guns needed very badly
Spitfire support good but did last long enough
source: 306th Bombardment Group website www.306bg.org/
44BG Mission Report - The target for today at Antwerp was the factory making spare parts for captured American vehicles. The Group put 14 planes in the air and 11 of them attacked the Primary, dropping bombs with good results. Sporadic attacks were made by enemy fighters and the Group claimed several victims without loss of any B-24s. Flak was light over the target and none thereafter. Official credits were: 7-3-0.
source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
91st BG / 323nd BS Mission Report - Three ships of 323rd squadron, piloted by Capt. Dwyer, Capt. Clancy and Lt. Lethers took part in the mission of the important enemy fighter repair shops, just south of Antwerp, which was carried out with good results.
91st BG / 322nd BS Mission Report - Sixteen A/C of 91st Group bombed the Eria Aero Engines Company at Antwerp, Belgium, with 6. 1000 bombs at 1415 hours. Three of these were 322nd - Lt. Edwin L. Baxley #739, Capt. K. K. Wallick #178, Lt. John T. Hardin #139. Heavily engaged with 75 E/A of which group got 6-3-1. Only one of these was by 322nd. S/Sgt. B. C. Stanczyk damaged a FW190. Flak was moderate and inaccurate. All our A/C returned safely.
91BG / 401BS Mission Report - Believed good -heavy smoke from area of pin point target. Slight inaccurate heavy flak in and out at target. 75 E/A hit formation near Lokeron, Holland carried it into target area and back to 15 miles off Dutch Coast. Attacks vicious on stragglers.