Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description
VIII Bomber Command Mission Number 61: 169 B-17s are dispatched against the submarine pens and locks at Saint-Nazaire, France; 147 aircraft hit the target at 1706-1711 hours local; we claim 6-0-1 Luftwaffe aircraft; we lose 8 B-17s, 1 is damaged beyond repair and 58 are damaged; casualties are 10 WIA and 71 MIA. 7 YB-40s, heavily armored B-17s with increased firepower for escorting bombers, fly their first mission. YB-40s show an inability to keep up with B-17s and the need for modification of waist and tail gun feeds and ammunition supplies.
In two other raids, 72 B-17s are dispatched against the Rennes, France naval depot; 57 hit the target at 1601-1605 hours; we claim 19-5-14 Luftwaffe aircraft; we lose 6 B-17s, 1 is damaged beyond repair and 30 others are damaged; casualties are 1 KIA, 10 WIA and 64 MIA. In the third raid, 38 B-24s are dispatched against the U-boat yards at La Pallice, France; 34 hit the target without any casualties on either side.
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: Submarine Locks and Docks Area, St. Nazaire, France. Crews Dispatched: 30 (358BS - 6, 359th - 8, 360th - 6, 427th - 3). Crews Lost: Lt. Trojan & crew - 1 KIA, 9 POW. Length of Mission: 5 hours, 40 minutes. Bomb Load: 2 x 2,000 lb G.P. M-34 bombs. Bombing Altitudes: 24,900 ft & 26,000 ft. Ammo Fired: 69,075 rounds. Enemy Aircraft Claims: 2 Destroyed, 1 Possible, 1 Damaged.
Thirty Flying Fortresses left Molesworth to join in one of the largest VIII Air Force daylight bombing raids of the war. Maj. Glenn E. Hagenbuch, CO 427BS(H) commanded the Group formation.
Two aircraft aborted the mission. The 28 remaining aircraft flew in perfect weather, unescorted over land, to make a perfect bomb run. Little flak was encountered on the way into the target over the French coast, but the bursts were inaccurate with no damage until the target was reached. Over the target intense and very accurate flak was filling the air. Some crews reported hearing pieces of shrapnel banging against the skin of their planes. Bomb sighting was perfect and bombs landed well on the aiming point and target area. Some attempt was made to conceal the target with a smoke screen.
Considerable enemy aircraft opposition was reported with as many as 35 to 40 seen. There were five encounters with the Group claiming two destroyed , one possible and one damaged.
Yardbird, #42-41-24602, 360BS, was last seen leaving the target after having been disabled by flak. It was subsequently hit by attacking FW-190s and ME-109s which caused the aircraft to crash. Eight parachutes were seen leaving Yardbird, which exploded with a burst of fire when it hit the ground.
source: 303rd Bomb Group web page http://www.303rdbg.com/
306th Bomb Group Mission Report MISSION
VIII BC 61 St. Nazaire Uboat base
VIII BC 61 St. Nazaire Uboat base
INFORMATION IN DETAIL
Bombing: 1710, 25300 ft
RESULTS OF BOMBING
In target area; some in water
FLAK at Guernsey but not firing at this group
Heavy, intense and very accurate at target
ENCOUNTERS AND CLAIMS
4-5 E/A on ground near target
Saw few E/A crossing French Coast in and out; did not encounter
Paris saw 2 B-17s down after target - flak got both - 7 and 8 chutes respectively
source: 306th Bombardment Group website www.306bg.org/
351BG Mission Report - 16 aircraft were sent on this mission.
42-29838 (Lt. C. F. Russell) was shot down by flak. POW 7, KIA 3.
source: 351st Bomb Group web page http://www.351st.org/ken.harbour
44BG Mission Report - The target for today's mission was the docks and harbor installations at La Pallice, France. The 44th dispatched 21 aircraft with (apparently) five from the squadron. Bombing results were good, flak defenses were light and poor. No enemy aircraft was encountered. This was the last operational mission for the 44th prior to their departure for North Africa.
source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
91st BG / 323nd BS Mission Report - Five ships from 323rd squadron, piloted by Capt. Clancy, Capt. Giauque, Capt. Birdsong, Lt. Silvernail and Lt. Kethley took part in the mission on St. Nazaire. This was the largest U.S. heavy bombing effort to date with three combat wings of three groups each - a total of 169 ships taking part. Six were lost. Bombing results were good and our group encountered very little fighter opposition. At the same time Rennes was attacked by about seventy of our bombers and La Pallice by about fifty B 24s.
91st BG / 322nd BS Mission Report - Raid on the submarine base at St. Nazaire, France. Bomb load: 2 x 20 - Bombing altitude - 24,000 ft. - Bombing results - Good. Time Leave base 1355 - Target 1707 - Arrive Base 1916. AA Fire: Moderate and accurate. Enemy opposition: FW190s and Me109s were encountered from 1706 hrs. to 1740 hrs. E/A did not press home their attacks. 1/Lt. Norman Bryant (B) of A/C #453 suffered eye injury and face cuts from shattered nose glass.
91st BG / 324th BS Mission Report - Target: - West entrance to St. Nazaire basin. - Results of bombing were good and our A/C reported a heavy pattern of explosions right on aiming point. Several large fires reported in target area.
91BG / 401BS Mission Report - Very good, heavy pattern of explosions on aiming point and many fires observed in target area. Moderate accurate heavy flak in target area, slight flak reported from St. Milo, Guernsey Rennes on way in and Vanes Pontivy, Carhaix and Lannion on way out. E/ A: No attacks on this group. Me 109's and FW 190's attacked group behind before and after target.