Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description
VIII Bomber Command Mission 87: 224 B-17s are dispatched to the German rocket-launching site construction at Watten, France; 187 hit the target at 1846-1941 hours; they claim 7-0-6 Luftwaffe aircraft; 4 B-17s are lost, 1 is damaged beyond repair and 98 damaged; casualties are 1 KIA, 18 WIA and 32 MIA. The mission escort consists of 173 P-47s; they claim 8-1-2 Luftwaffe aircraft; 1 P-47 is lost and the pilot is listed as MIA. This is the first of the Eighth Air Forces missions against V-weapon sites (later designated NOBALL targets). VIII Air Support Command Missions 36A & 36B: Two missions are scheduled to targets in France:
1. 36 B-26s are dispatched to the Poix Nord Airfield; 35 hit the target at 0826 hours; there are no losses or casualties.
2. 21 B-26s are dispatched to the Rouen Power Station but the mission is aborted because of bad weather and extremely heavy enemy fighter opposition.
HQ 356th Fighter Group and its 360th Fighter Squadron arrive at Goxhill, England from the US with P-47s. The squadron will fly its first combat mission on 15 Oct.
The 77th and 79th Fighter Squadrons, 20th Fighter Group, arrive at Kings Cliffe, England from the US with P-38s. The squadrons will fly their first mission on 28 Dec 43.
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: Special V-weapons Installation Site, Watten, France. Crews Dispatched: 20 (358BS - 4, 359th - 4, 360th - 7, 427th - 5). Crews Lost: 1 crew - Lt. Crockett (10 crewmen), 4 slightly wounded on other crews. Length of Mission: 3 hours, 40 minutes. Bomb Load: 2 x 2,000 lb H.E. M-34 bombs. Bombing Altitude: 16,000 ft. Ammo Fired: 29,309 rounds.
This was the first 8th Air Force attack on a German V-weapons site. Brigadier General Williams, Commanding General of the 1st Bomb Wing, flew as a passenger on Lt. A.C. Strickland's 427BS B-17 #42- 4341 Vicious Virgin (sometimes known as the Scarlet Harlot). Each aircraft carried 2,000- lb. G.P. bombs. There were no abortive aircraft.
Intense flak was encountered as the formation approached the target at 16,000 feet. Approximately three miles north of St. Omer, aircraft #42-29754 Shangrila Lil, flown by 2Lt. George W. Crockett, Jr., was hit in the vicinity of its bomb bay practically disintegrating the ship in midair. It was flying on the left wing of Maj. Calhoun's lead ship. Four to six parachutes were seen to open.
Nineteen aircraft bombed the target, with results reported from good to poor. The bomb run was again directly into the sun. There was a terrific haze which reduced visibility to less than five miles. The lead bombardier, 1Lt. Jack B. Fawcett, had the target in his bombsight for less than sixty seconds.
Enemy air opposition was slight with 20 to 30 fighters observed and only a few attacks on the Group. Fighter escort was a few minutes late but Spitfires provided excellent support.
source: 306th Bombardment Group website www.306bg.org/
351BG Mission Report - 22 aircraft were sent on this mission.
42-29716 Lt. W. J. Suit - Shot down by fighters. POW 5, KIA 3, EVD 1.
source: 351st Bomb Group web page http://www.351st.org/ken.harbour
384BG Mission Report - Lead bomber AFCE failure required bombs to be held (all except Aufmuth)
source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
384BG Mission Report - 384th BG Mission Number 18. Lead bomber AFCE failure required bombs to be held (all except Aufmuth). Primary Target: NOBALL (V-1 Launch Site) CROSSBOW (V-Weapons) - Watten, France. Target Attacked : No Target Attacked
18 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 17. Aborted - 1. 41-24507 Jacobs, Randolph George Edward - Minor flak damage; flak holes; upper turret out; no heater or safety belt in ball. 42-3218 Armstrong, Lloyd R - Minor flak damage; flak hole in elevator; 42-3440 Sprague, Alfred L - Major flak damage; 42-3441 Estes, Thomas J - minor flak damage; flak holes in fuselage, stabilizers, ball turret, and wing; Radio out in higher altitude; 42-3455 Faulkiner, Russel R - Minor flak damage; small flak hole between pilot's seat and navigator; solenoid on right BT gun out; Vickers unit needs tightening; cover unit on front nose gun rusted; ship heating unit needs check; 42-5051 McMahon, James J - Major flak damage (flak holes); TopT and BT guns need checking; 42-5404 Thompson, Siguard (NMI) - Major flak damage; flak hole in elevator; flaps were creeping down; 42-5444 Lecates, Robert L - Minor flak damage; a few flak holes; 42-5838 Frink, Horace E - Bomb bay doors would not retract; 42-5843 Pulcipher, Ralph R - bomb bay doors stuck; 42-5852 Willing, Mark S - Minor flak damage; flak holes in wings; co-pilot's window cracked; interphone weak; new catches needed on ball turret door; 42-29699 Goulder, Edmund Samuel - #3 and #4 propeller governors faulty. Note: three 'FG' assigned; one of them, Saunders, was entered as a togglier, based on analysis. 42-29703 Aufmuth, Lester H - Major flak damage; .30 cal, .20 mm, and flak holes in tails, wings, and fuselage; one half oxygen system out; tail guns out; defective ammo; one TopT gun out; radio gun would not feed; interphone in nose out; 522 radio out; 42-29914 Higdon, Philip E - Radio compass improperly aligned; 42-30026 Armstrong, James Edwin - Major flak damage (flak holes); bomb bay doors wouldn't close; 42-30033 Ogilvie, Donald Potter - minor flak damage; holes in #2 nacelle; Interphone out;
source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
source: 386th Bomb Group http://www.b26.com/historian/chester_klier
388BG Mission Report - Twelve planes of this Group took-off at 1739 hours and our planes flew as the high and low squadrons of the composite Group which was the low Group. The Wing had fighter escort during the entire mission and crew reports said only five enemy a/c were seen at a distance. Three planes suffered minor flak damage.
Our bomb load was 2 2,000 lb. bombs per plane and all bombs fell in the Target area from 14,000 feet. All planes returned to base by 2115 hours.
source: 388th Bomb Group web page http://www.388bg.info
91st BG / 323nd BS Mission Report - Three 323rd ships piloted by Lieutenants Rodman, Schaper and Smith took off on mission to Water, France, a suspicious German construction project. Bombing was not good. All ships returned.
91st BG / 322nd BS Mission Report - Raid on a new construction project located on the south side of Eperleoques Forest, one and one-half miles south of Natton, six and a half miles NNW of St. Caer and eleven miles south of Gravelines. Time: Left Base 1758. Arrive Target 1913. Arrive at Base 2031. Bomb Load: 2 x 2000. Bombing Altitude 16,000 ft. Bombing Results: Poor. A. A. Fire: Moderate and accurate from vicinities of St. Caer and target. Enemy opposition: 20 to 30 FW190s and Me109s, one Heinkel, and one ME210 attacked at 1850 hours and intermittently until 1916 hours, causing some damage to A/C from this group.
91BG / 401BS Mission Report - Watten: Very poor, bombs landed in wooded area to Northwest and Southeast of target area. Moderate accurate fire was experienced at St. Omer and at target. Meager inaccurate fire was seen coming from Calais. ENEMY AIRCRAFT: 20 to 30 enemy fighters were seen. In only a few instances did E/A press their attacks home. T/Sgt. James F. Osborne - Missing in Action - Sgt. Osborne bailed out of plane over St. Omer. For no apparent reason he left his post and ran through waist of ship hollering for crew to bail out, whereupon he himself left ship from door in waist. Remainder of crew did not follow. A/C 379 was not in any trouble at the time but the flak was bursting close to the aircraft.
92nd BG Mission Report -On August 27th the group was alerted for a mission to Wattan, France. Lt Col Brousseau flying with 1st Lt James B Foster, 326th BS led the 92nd.
Nineteen B-17s were loaded with 2x2000lb GP AN M34 bombs. Briefing was held at 14:30 hours and take-off was at 16:40 hours. The 102nd Combat Wing was joined at Banbury after climbing through the cloud deck. We were the high group and followed the Wing Leader to the target area.
On the first run over the target only the low squadron bombed from 16,900 feet at 19:27. The lead and second squadron made a second run and the high squadron dropped from 17,000 feet at 19:41 hours. Bad visibility was the reason for the three runs. The low squadron returned to base immediately after bombs dropped, arriving at 20:20 hours, the high at 20:30 hours, and the lead at 20:38 hours. There were 2 aborts.
The aircraft flown by 1st Lt Winston J Tucker, 327th was damaged by flak over the target. With #1 and #4 knocked out; serious damage to left wing; #2 and #3 hit but still running -- ditched 2 miles off shore. Aircraft floated for about 18 minutes as the crew was picked up in a launch 15 minutes after ditching.
Lt Fleming, 326th, aircraft badly damaged by flak -- radio, lights, oxygen, and landing gear out -- belly landed on base. Ball turret gunner, J.L. Currier, KIA; Sgt Schaff thigh wound; Sgt Turner facial; Sgt Antonacci left temple. Very few enemy fighters encountered due to superior support by Spitfires. No claims from gunners who used 2,479 rounds.
source: Army Air Forces Online Forum http://forum.armyairforces.com/
Notes: 8AF first attack on V-weapons sites
Non-Combat Accident Reports
Aircraft: B-24D (#42-7467). Organization: / of Burtonwood, Lancashire. Pilot: Hester, Richard L. Notes: crash landing. Location: Burtonwood, Lancashire England. Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5 source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/