Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description
VIII Bomber Command Mission 119. 539 of 566 B-17s and B-24s dispatched to the Wilhemshaven, Germany port area hit the target at 1307-1335 hours. They claim 21-3-24 Luftwaffe aircraft; 7 B-17s are lost, 2 damaged beyond repair, and 47 damaged; casualties are 12 WIA and 70 MIA. The mission includes 11 Pathfinders, 9 using new H2X blind-bombing device (first time on a US mission) and 2 using H2S.
This is the first Eighth Air Force blind-bombing mission in which the aiming point is completely destroyed and is also the Eighths first 500-plane mission.
333 P-47s and 45 P-38s escort the bombers with the P-38s escorting the heavy bombers almost the entire trip and see their first real ETO combat, claiming 3-5-5 Luftwaffe aircraft.
VIII Bomber Command Mission 120. During the night of 3/4 Nov, 2 B-17s drop 1.5+ million leaflets on Antwerp at 1915 hours and Rotterdam at 2008 hours.
The 612th and 613th Bombardment Squadrons (Heavy), 401st Bombardment Group (Heavy), arrive at Deenethorpe, England from the U.S. with B-17s. They will fly their first mission on 26 Nov.
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: Joiner Shop & Dock Yards at Wilhelmshaven, Germany. Crews Dispatched: 23 (358BS - 5, 359th - 8, 360th - 4, 427th - 6). Length of Mission: 6 hours, 10 minutes. Bomb Load: 42 x M47A1 Incendiaries; Group B, 10 x 500 lb G.P. Bombing Altitude: 22,000 ft. Ammo Fired: 9,100 rounds. Enemy Aircraft Claims: 2 Destroyed, 1 Probable.
Pathfinder aircraft of the 482nd BG(H) led each of the seven combat wings dispatched on this mission. The 812th BS(H) furnished nine Pathfinders with the newly US-developed H2X airborne radar. These new radar sets produced images with greater definition, using a newer and shorter microwave length, than did the British-developed H2S radar sets.
The 303rd BG(H) was assigned to fly as the lead Group of the 41st Combat Wing with the 379th BG(H) low and the 384th high. Lt. Col. Eugene Romig was the Wing Air Commander in the 482nd BG lead Pathfinder B-17F #42-5909, equipped with an H2S radar set. The Wing Pathfinder lead crew had 12 men--a regular 10-man crew, a second navigator and the Air Commander.
The Group dispatched 24 B-17s--an 18-ship normal Group formation plus another six as part of a composite 303/379/384 BG formation.
A solid overcast obscured the target, but bombs were dropped by the lead Pathfinder aircraft. The Group dropped 15 tons of 500-lb. bombs and 21 3/4 tons of M47A1 65-lb. incendiary bombs. Bombs were released from 22,000 ft. and only meager and inaccurate flak was encountered. Fifteen to twenty-five enemy fighters were seen, but only a few attacked 303rd BG(H) B-17s. P-38s and P-47s furnished excellent fighter support. Crew comments at interrogation contained several complimentary remarks about the effective P-38 coverage. There were no mission casualties or aircraft losses.
source: 306th Bombardment Group website www.306bg.org/
351BG Mission Report - 25 aircraft were sent on this mission.
42-29852 Lt. E. J. Nardi - Shot down by fighters. POW 6, KIA 4.
source: 351st Bomb Group web page http://www.351st.org/ken.harbour
384BG Mission Report - 384th BG Mission Number 34. The 384th Bombardment Group (H) flew as one entire group, and contributed an additional squadron to the composite group on today's mission. The target was completely obscured by a solid cloud cover. Bombs were dropped when the wing lead, a "Pathfinder" aircraft, dropped theirs. Primary Target: Port Area - Wilhelmshaven, Germany. Target Attacked : Primary (PFF)
25 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 24. Scrubbed - 1 41-24557 Sundlun, Bruce George - High squadron lead. 42-3440 Sprague, Alfred L - Low squadron lead. 42-29717 Carpenter, Walter Richard - Kennedy (CP) and Hedin (N) wounded by flak burst in nose of aircraft. 42-30026 Algar, Philip M - Group lead. 42-30033 Kelly, James H - Group deputy.
source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
388BG Mission Report - 30 A/C of this Group took-off by 1011 hours. 21 A/C formed the 388th Group while 9 A/C formed the high squadron in the 96th Group. 2 A/C in the composite Group aborted as follows Lt. Parker in a/c #395, aborted when his #4 engine failed and he could not feather the prop. He landed at 1320 hours. Lt. Penton in a/c #851, turned back when his #3 supercharger went out. He landed at 1410 hours.
The briefed course was followed throughout as nearly as was possible to ascertain, due to 10/10ths cloud coverage over enemy territory. The 388th flew as lead Group of the 2nd Group formation of the 45th Combat Wing. The composite Group flew as low Group in this formation. The 45th Combat Wing led the 3rd Air Division.
Bombing was from 23,000 feet at 1326 hours. No strike photos were taken due to the 10/10ths cloud coverage.
Neither group was attacked by enemy a/c due to the excellent fighter cover by our P-47's.
Flak encountered was meager, except over the Target area, where it was moderate. Over the Target the flak was accurate but low as to altitude. Different type of flak was seen in the Target area as to confuse our crews thinking it was Pathfinder flares.
All of our a/c returned to base by 1615 hours.
source: 388th Bomb Group web page http://www.388bg.info
source: 392nd Bomb Group web page http://www.b24.net/missions/
44BG Mission Report - The shipyards at Wilhelmshaven, Germany was the objective of the first mission of this month. 30 aircraft took off from our base with eight of them being 67th's, to participate in the first mission to utilize the new H2X radar by PFF (Pathfinder) aircraft. Only 22 of our group's planes dropped bombs through clouds on smoke markers from planes ahead, with unobserved results. With excellent fighter support, the formations meet with very weak attacks by the German fighters. There was also moderate inaccurate flak at the target, and no aircraft was lost - but one hit. This was the plane piloted by Lt. Richard O'Neill, the first mission for the crew, and Lt. George Carvour states that we came in at 25,000 feet with the plane feeling like we were mushing along through the air. At the point of bomb release (George was the Bombardier) an, anti-aircraft shell came up through the ammunition box, took the oxygen system,the pitot-static arm, and exploded, taking the Astro Dome, part of the hydraulic system and the electrical system. The plane lost altitude at this time as the bomb bay doors would not close and one 500 lb bomb was hung up in the right rear bomb bay. Lt..Carvour, as armament officer was "elected" to go back on that slick, oil covered narrow catwalk with a screw driver to see if he could release this balky bomb - and finally did so. Then the crippled ship made its way back to base alone. No planes were lost.
source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
91st BG / 322nd BS Mission Report - Raid on the port of Wilhelmshaven, Germany. Bomb load 10 x 500 plus 14 x 100 I.P.S. Altitude: 20,800 ft. Results: Unobserved. Dropped on PFF. Battle Damage: A/C #947 small caliber hole, right wing. A/C015 Right stabilizer and elevator damaged. A/C #476 10 mm right wing, flak holes in elevator. A/C #738 20mm in radio room, tire flat. Fighter Support: 4 groups of P-47s and 1 group of P-38s for cover. A/A fire: inaccurate at the target. Fighter Opposition: Up to 70 were reported, mostly
FW190s and Me109s, Me110s and JU87s.
91BG / 401BS Mission Report - Pathfinder job results could not be observed. ENEMY FIGHTERS: 10 to 70 E/A reported, including FW 190s, Me 109s, 3 FW 189s,2 Me 110s and 1 Ju 87. Moderate inaccurate flak at the target. Inaccurate fire experienced in vicinity of Schiermonnikoog Island on the way in, and some more inaccurate AA fire from Nordernay or Juist Islands on the way out. Lt. J. D. Pope - leg wound. S/Sgt. Leonard Gibbs wound in left thigh.
92BG Mission Report - Six B-17s of the 92nd Group flew as the high squadron and 3 flew as the second element of the low squadron of the 40th Combat Wing. The 40th Combat Wing led the First Division formations over the target of Wilhelmshaven, Ger. A composite combat wing followed the 40th over the target and 16 B-17s of the 92nd Group flew as the lead group of the composite wing with a PFF a/c in the lead position. The bombing altitude of the lead a/c of the composite wing was 22,475 true and 22,800 indicated. The heading was 37° mag over the target for the composite and 42° for the 40th Combat Wing formation. P-47 support was first observed at 5410N-0520E at about 1215 flying at about 28,000 feet. Thereafter the P-47s were seen to afford good air support to the target and to a point roughly 100 mi NW of Longeoog I. at about 1350. P-38 fighters were first seen at 5320N-0647E at about 1245 between 22,000 and 28,000 feet. Thereafter these P-38s afforded excellent close support to the target and until the formation left the enemy coast near the west tip of Longeoog I. at about 1330. Very few e/a were positively identified and a/c of this group experienced no attack by e/a. From 6-15 e/a are claimed identified as 190s and 109s. Only 109 colouring was observed and these a/c were believed to be gray. Crews believe they saw from 20-30 e/a in the distance of the s/e variety, but these could not be identified further. Several dogifghts were seen in the distance from the IP to the target. One particularly large one from the standpoint of numbers involved was reported just after the target in of a trailing combat wing. A B-17 lagging some distance behind near the enemy coast going out was seen to be shot down in flames by two e/a attacking from 5:00-7:00 high and level. The approaches were made in pairs, i.e, one from 5:00 and one from 7:00 simultaneously. One of these e/a was shot down in flames by what is believed to be the TG of the B-17 At 5340-0740E. Thereafter this B-17 broke in two and went down flaming. Of the few 190 e/a claimed identified several were said to be carrying belly tanks. It is felt that while a number of e/a were in the sky, the very excellent friendly fight support afforded definitely turned away virtually all would-be attackers. The P38 pilots particularly afforded good close support and was a great morale booster for all crews. There were no possible errors in identification and consequently close support could be given w/o danger to the P38 pilots..
source: 92nd Bomb Group web page http://92ndma.org/