Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description
VIII Bomber Command Mission Number 75: Three targets in Norway are attacked. This is Eighths first mission to Norway and its longest (1,900 miles or 3,040 km round trip) to date.
1. 179 B-17s and 1 YB-40 are dispatched against the nitrate works at Heroya, Norway; 167 aircraft hit the target at 1317-1414 hours; they claim 9-2-0 Luftwaffe aircraft; 1 B-17 is lost and 53 are damaged; casualties are 3 WIA and 10 MIA. Work at the plant is disrupted for 3.5 months, and unfinished aluminum and magnesium plants are damaged and subsequently abandoned by the Germans.
2. 45 B-17s are dispatched against the port area at Trondheim; 41 hit the target; they claim 4-2-3 Luftwaffe aircraft; 1 B-17 is damaged beyond repair and 9 are damaged; casualties are 3 WIA.
3. 84 B-17s are dispatched against the port area at Bergen; they find 10/10 cloud cover and return to base with their bombs.
Crews successfully experiment with a new assembly procedure for occasions when bad weather conditions prevent ascent in formation. Aircraft take off individually on instruments, proceed to a designated splasher beacon for group formation, and then along line of 3 splasher beacons for force assembly. The method works well and makes possible many future missions which might otherwise have been abandoned.
Source: THE ARMY AIR FORCES IN WORLD WAR II: COMBAT CHRONOLOGY, 1941-1945 by Carter / Mueller, the Office of Air Force History,
The last week of July 1943 became known as “Blitz Week.” When General Eaker was informed that clear skies could be expected over Europe for a few days, he scheduled a series of six missions against German targets. Blitz Week began with Major Lewis E. Lyle flying in #42-29931 Satan's Workshop, leading twenty bombers on the longest trip to date to bomb Norway. LtCol. Kermit D. Stevens flew as co-pilot with 1Lt. Guy H. McClung in #41-24605 Knockout Dropper in the 359th BS High Squadron lead B-17.
Each aircraft carried ten 500-lb bombs. The formations flew across the North Sea at 2,500 feet to conserve fuel before climbing to their 15,000 feet bombing altitude. They flew with full cloud cover until just before they reached the target as the high group in the 103rd Provisional Bombardment Group (303rd, 379th and 384th BGs). Each Group decided to make separate bomb runs. A hole appeared in the clouds just before the 303rd BG(H) reached the target, which allowed a perfect bomb run. There was so much smoke from the formations which had previously bombed that Maj. Lyle led his formation over the target twice before the bombardier, Lt. Bernard Rice released the bombs. When he did release them, it was necessary to aim for the center of the rising smoke columns.
There were no fighters observed by any of the Group crews, but the anti-aircraft fire was intense and accurate. One aircraft sustained major damage and nine received minor damage. There were no personnel casualties.
The Heroya, Norway mission--over 2,000 miles round trip--was a classic "textbook" mission. It was one of the most successful missions of the war. The plant, considered essential to the German war effort had just been completed. The dedication ceremony was taking place as the bombs began to drop. Destruction was so complete that the plant never opened. Many top-ranking German and Norwegian collaborators attending the dedication ceremony were killed.
source: 303rd Bomb Group web page http://www.303rdbg.com/
351BG Mission Report - 21 aircraft were sent on this mission.
source: 351st Bomb Group web page http://www.351st.org/ken.harbour
388BG Mission Report - 21 a/c took-off by 0820 hours in the face of a low overcast. The 6 a/c of the low squadron returned to base by 1057 hours because of weather. Lt. Bobbitt in a/c 42-30208, because of problems with #2 and #4 engines landed at 1106 hours.
No bombs were dropped as cloud coverage was 10/10th at the target. These 14 a/c returned to base by 1617 hours.
source: 388th Bomb Group web page http://www.388bg.info
91st BG / 323nd BS Mission Report - Three ships 323rd squadron: Pilots - Lieutenants Silvernail, Miles, Von der Heyde, completed mission to Hersva, Norway, carrying out very effective bombing on a new aluminum plant. No E/F opposition was encountered.
91st BG / 324th BS Mission Report - Target: Kiel, Germany. (Construction of naval craft, merchant ships, tankers and subs) - Target was well covered with bombs. Direct hits observed at base of large slip. Building S.E. of target hit and also buildings West of dock. Billows of grayish-black smoke observed over target after hits, which could still be seen after formation left enemy coast. Leaflets were carried on this mission.
91BG / 401BS Mission Report - Excellent. Many hits observed in target area, as well as on the MPI. Immense, high column of yellowish-black smoke seen in the air long after leaving the target. Meager, inaccurate light AA fire at the target. This raid, the first ever carried to Norwegian soil by American bombers, was immensely successful. Major. C. G. Gillespie, Commanding Officer of this Squadron led the Group on this raid.