Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description
Mission 21: 65 bombers are dispatched to hit targets against U-boat bases in France; 1 bomber is lost: 1. 13 of 13 B-24s hit Lorient; 1 B-24 is damaged beyond repair and 3 are damaged; 5 airmen are KIA and 8 WIA. 2. 19 of 21 B-17s hit St Nazaire; 15 B-17s are damaged and 3 airmen are WIA. 3. 21 of 34 B-17s hit La Pallice; 1 B-17s is lost and 9 damaged; 1 airman is KIA and 3 WIA. 4. 20 B-17s and 6 B-24s fly diversions for the above missions.
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 - Crews Dispatched: 21 (358BS - 2, 359th - 7, 360th - 6, 427th - 6). Length of Mission: 6 hours, 36 minutes. Bomb Load: 10 x 500 lbs H.E. M43 bombs. Enemy Aircraft Claims: 1 Destroyed, 4 Probables, 3 Damaged Ammo Fired: 12,138 rounds. Bombing Altitude: 19,400 feet. Col. Wallace would lead this mission, flying with Lt. Ruppe. The 359th BS was led by Maj. Romig and Lt. Stouse. Capt. Lyle and Maj. Callaway were lead aircraft for the 360th BS, but it had one 358th BS aircraft and crew under its command. Maj. Sheridan and Lt. Stockton took the lead for the 427th BS. Twenty-one B-17s took off at 1025, went to the start point, and then direct to the target. The return trip was made around the Brest peninsula. Two planes had returned early due to mechanical difficulties. Following another Bomb Group to the target, the 303rd BG(H) attacked the secondary target, St. Nazaire, France at 1222 by mistake, at an altitude of 19,400 feet. The group had veered over 100 miles off course. Intense heavy flak was encountered over the target area. The flak was mostly inaccurate for the height. Aircraft #41-24558, Hunga Dunga, experienced slight damage. A formation of 18-20 FW-190s attacked the 303rd BG 18 miles off Cape Frehel, France. The attack continued for 20 minutes. Three men were slightly wounded by flak. Many hits were made on the dock installations at St. Nazaire, although it took a considerable amount of time to convince an unbelieving Col. Wallace that the Group had bombed the wrong target. Three planes landed at Chelveston, all others returned to Molesworth. Following the mission, sixteen of the Group's B-17s were out of commission due to flak and mechanical difficulties. More info on this mission at the 303BG website
source: 303rd Bomb Group web page http://www.303rdbg.com/
306th Bomb Group Mission Report INFORMATION IN DETAIL
1 A/C abortive with broken oil line preventing top turret from feeding ammunition.
12 A/C return: 9 land at Davidstow and 3 at Exeter.
RESULTS OF BOMBING
Bombing between 1253 and 1300 from 16400 to 17000
Crews reported not seeing their own bombs drop.
Crews saw other bomb hit water; fire, smoke and explosions in target area.
One A/C reported bomb rack failure: bombs dropped too soon, two did not drop at all.
Weather solid overcast until middle of French peninsula.
Clouds in target area but target was clear at time.
Scattered clouds over Channel on way back
Due to navigational errors induced by overcast, formation strayed over St Nazaire flak zone on way to target.
Heavy flak reported at St. Nazaire and over the target.
8 - 10 Flak boats were seen at the target.
Heavy flak with black bursts reported at Guernsey, and La Pallice
ENCOUNTERS AND CLAIMS
8-10 FW190s attacked singly from underneath (first time)
Our E/A claims: 2-2-1
Barrage balloons in Loire river reported at target
KIA: Navigator killed (flak)
WIA: Co-Pilot compound fracture of wrist, cut on face, passed out (flak)
WIA: Co-pilot wound in hip and leg (flak).
WIA: Waist gunner wound in leg (flak).
150 holes reported in one a/c.
source: 306th Bombardment Group website www.306bg.org/
44BG Mission Report - Six planes of the 67th and 68th took part in another diversion over the North Sea. The diversion started from Start Point to Lizard Point - again without incident. (Cornwall area) * - Target: St. Nazaire, France
source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
91st BG / 323nd BS Mission Report - Bombing mission was carried out against Submarine Pens and Docks at La Pallice, in occupied France. Very little enemy action was encountered. Due to bad weather conditions over the target area, some bombs were dropped on alternative and last resort targets at St. Nazaire and Lorient, in occupied France. 323rd Squadron had four (4) ships taking part in the raid with the following named officers as pilots: Lieutenants Clancy, Yuravich, Dwyer and Birdsong.
91st BG / 322nd BS Mission Report - Target was submarine pens at La Pallice, France. Bomb load 10 x 500 GP. Altitude 18000 feet, group took off 17 A/C of which 11 were abortive. Squadron furnished 6 ships of which 4 attacked target at 1255 hours. Group was led by Major Victor S. Zienowicz. Several enemy A/A batteries were destroyed and target was hit. No E/A attacked. On return, just over English coast, Major Zienowicz and Lt. Hardin collided in mid-air in cloud, Lt. Hardin made forced landing. Maj. Zienowicz landed at Turweston. The later ship was salvaged. Other ships returned to base. No casualties.