Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description
VIII Bomber Command Mission Number 58: 159 B-17s are dispatched to hit the port area and U-boat base at Lorient, France; 118 bomb the target at 1213-1217 hours local; we claim 47-8-29 Luftwaffe aircraft; we lose 6 B-17s, another is damaged beyond repair and 27 others are damaged; casualties are 1 KIA, 8 WIA and 57 MIA.
An additional 39 B-17s are dispatched to hit the docks and sub pens at Bordeaux, France; 34 bomb at 1238-1244 hours local; we claim 0-1-0 Luftwaffe aircraft; we lose 1 B-17 and another is damaged; casualties are 2 WIA and 11 MIA.
In a third mission 11 B-26s of the 322d Bombardment Group (Medium) are dispatched on a low-level mission to bomb power stations at Haarlem and Ijmuiden, The Netherlands; 1 B-26 aborts, the other 10 are all shot down before they reach the target; casualties are 58 MIA. This mission prompts the Eighth Air Force to abandon low-level medium bomber attacks.
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: Keranan Submarine Pens, Lorient, France. Crews Dispatched: 21 (358BS - 7, 359th - 7, 360th - 7, 427th - 0). Length of Mission: 5 hours, 10 minutes. Bomb Load: 5 x 1000 lb. G.P. bombs. Bombing Altitude: 26,300 ft. Ammo Fired: 32,572 rounds.
Three aircraft returned early from the mission. The near perfect flying weather of the past five days continued. Visibility over the target was excellent. Light flak was seen over the French coast, both in and out and over the target area. About 45 to 50 German FW-190s and ME-109s were in the area with 20 encounters, primarily tail attacks. Enemy losses were 7 destroyed, six probables, and six damaged. The Spitfire support was good. All 18 bombers completed the mission and returned home safely.
source: 303rd Bomb Group web page http://www.303rdbg.com/
306th Bomb Group Mission Report MISSION
VIII BC 58
VIII BC 58 Lorient, France Uboat base and port area
INFORMATION IN DETAIL
A/C: 24; 3 aborts: engine out (1), prop ran away (1), bomb bay doors failed to open (1)
Bombing: 1213, 23000 ft
RESULTS OF BOMBING
Saw bombs fall in turntable to right of sub pens
Bursts seen all around sub pens
Visibility good; clear at target
Moderate and ineffective flak was encountered at the French coast on the way to the target
Over target, very slight and inaccurate
ENCOUNTERS AND CLAIMS
40-50 E/A attacked but concentrated on the next group
E/A pilots appeared to be inexperienced - would not close range
Belser saw B-17 going down right after target; another B-17 with 2 engines on fire after target
Magoffin also saw 2 B-17s going down
Maresh saw 3 chutes out of B-17 over target - A/C way behind; also saw convoy with 15 ships with balloons at 1210, 49 55N, 3 5W
Magoffin reported that flak put ball turret out
Wheeler reported 2 B-17s going down out of control, one exploded.
Husband reported 3 B-17s: one going down after target 5-6 chutes, 2 on fire at target
B-17s in trouble sighted between 1211 and 1220
Ohara tried to radio B-17 in trouble 15 miles southeast of Stark Point
Smoke screens seen at target and Brest.
source: 306th Bombardment Group website www.306bg.org/
44BG Mission Report - The planes of the 44th BG, 21 in number and including five from the 67th, took off for this mission from Davidstowe Moor in the southern end of England, having flown down there on the previous day. The target was the submarine repair shops at Bordeaux, France as this port had been developed as the European terminal for blockade running between German Europe and the Far East. The raid was nearly perfectly executed and very successful. The only blot on the record was one 66th aircraft piloted by Lt. Hilliard (A/C #42-40130 H) found it necessary to divert to Spain, and was interned.
source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
91st BG / 323nd BS Mission Report - Four 323rd ships, piloted by Capt. Clancy, Lt. Silvernail, Lt. Retchin and Capt. Birdsong took part in the mission to Lorient, France. The weather and bombing were good and all ships returned safely.
91st BG / 324th BS Mission Report - Keroman - Platform for pulling U-Boats out of water. - Practically all bombs of this Group fell in target area, beginning short of target and stringing through M.P.I. Smoke and large fires visible long after leaving French coast.
91BG / 401BS Mission Report - Generally good. Many hits in target area. Some short of aiming point. Slight flak from St. Brieu and Morlaix. Moderate heavy flak in target area good for altitude, poor for deflection. About 25 FW 190 and Me 109 sighted at North Pontivy at 1200 hours remaining with formation until 1239 at French Coast. Attacks were low and behind. E/A opposition relatively light.