Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description
VIII Bomber Command Mission 31: The Eighth Air Force makes its first raid on Germany.
The 1st and 2d Bombardment Wings dispatch 64 B-17s and 27 B-24s against the primary target, the Wilhelmshaven, Germany Naval Base; 53 B-17s hit the target between 1110 and 1113 hours local dropping 137.5 tons of bombs; two other B-17s attack the submarine base at Emden at 1135 hours as a target of opportunity; the B-24s are unable to locate the target due to bad weather and a navigational error and return to base.
Mission stats: we claim 22 enemy aircraft destroyed, 14 probably destroyed and 13 damaged; 1 B-17 and 2 B-24s are lost; 32 B-17s and 11 B-24s are damaged; casualties are 2 KIA, 3 WIA and 30 MIA.
Seven Spitfire Mk Vs of the 4th Fighter Group fly uneventful fighter patrols.
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: Wilhelmshaven Naval Base, Germany. Crews Length of Mission: 5 1/2 hours. Bomb Load: 4 x 1000 lbs H.E. Demolition bombs Bombing Altitude: 23,000 ft. Ammo Fired: 14,142 rounds. Enemy Aircraft Claims: 1 Destroyed, 1 Damaged. Germany, for the first time, was bombed with U.S. bombs, from U.S. airplanes, with U.S. crews. Maj. Green and Lt. Von Schmidt conducted the briefing at 0545 hours. Only eleven aircraft were available for the mission and they took off at 0930 hours led by Lt. Col. Marion flying as co-pilot for Capt. Lyle. Three aircraft aborted. The eight remaining 303rd BG(H) B-17s and 45 others from the 91st, 305th, and 306th Bomb Groups, bombed the secondary target at Wilhelmshaven. The primary target, a power house at Vegesack, Germany, was obscured by clouds. The 2BW B-24s failed to bomb when they were unable to locate the target because of cloud cover and poor navigation. Moderate, heavy and inaccurate anti-aircraft fire was observed in the target area while dropping 1,000-lb. bombs from 25,000 feet. Ten to fifteen ME-109s were observed by the crews and about 30 encounters ensued. There were many claims for aircraft destroyed, and gunners were credited with one destroyed that crashed into the sea and one damaged. All aircraft returned safely with only a few battle scars. Two crewmen suffered from frostbite. The VIII Bomber Command mission report indicates that the 306th BG(H) dropped their bombs at 11:10, making them the first 8th AF bomb group to bomb Germany. Controversy exists, however, over the accuracy of the 306th BG(H) reported bombing time and which group and aircraft held the honor of being the first to bomb German soil. More info on this mission at the 303BG website
source: 303rd Bomb Group web page http://www.303rdbg.com/
44th BG Crash Report - After bombing the harbor facilitiesa Lemmer, Holland, the formation was hit by both Me 109s and FW 190s, numbering about 35. A few minutes later at 1155 hours ' a 68th Squadron aircraft severely damaged an attacking FW 190 and apparently killed the pilot. This enemy aircraft then crashed into the left wing tip of Lt. Cargile's plane, #41-23690, tearing off the left wing as well as the tail assembly. #690 went into a flat spin and crashed into the rather shallow Wadden Sea, as did the FW. No one was able to parachute from either stricken plane, and there were no survivors. Despite a large-scale search by both the Germans and Dutch, only the bodies of three American airman were found and identified.
Aircraft #41-23690 O, 68 BS:
Entire crew KIA:
CARGILE, NOLAN B. Pilot 1st Lt. Tulsa, Oklahoma
MOORE, KENNETH H. Co-pilot 2nd Lt. Enid, Oklahoma
WILKENSON, OSCAR H. Navigator Capt. Jackson, Mississippi
KEILMAN, PAUL H. Bombardier 2nd Lt. Missoula, Montana
SUSKIND, SAUL Engineer T/Sgt. New York City, New York
GERIOK, MICHAEL Radio Oper. S/Sgt. Pittsburgh,Pennsylvania
STEWART, VERNE C. Asst. Radio S/Sgt. Delta, Colorado
CRANE, PAUL M. Asst. Eng. S/Sgt. Scranton, Pennsylvania
WISE, SOLOMON I. Asst. Radio S/Sgt. Chicago, Illinois
VAN CLEEF, ARTHUR A. Gunner S/Sgt. Roselle, New Jersey
source: Army Air Forces Online Forum http://forum.armyairforces.com/
44th BG Crash Report - 2Lt Duane E. Nelson was the CP on #41-23776, Spirit of 76 on 27 Jan 1943 when it failed to return due to German fighters and crashed at Terschelling Island, The Netherlands. The pilot was Lt Maxwell W. Sullivan with 9 KIA and 1 POW. MACR 15459. Nelson was from Deerfield, WI.
They attacked by fighters about 1205hrs causing fire in engine no 3. The plane left formation and 3 men were bailed out before the plane exploded. The tail section felt into Terschelling Harbour. The remaining wreckage was scattered over the Noordvaarders Shallows and Terschelling beach. The body of the tail gunner was never found.
source: Army Air Forces Online Forum http://forum.armyairforces.com/
44BG Mission Report - The target today was to have been the Submarine Building Yards at Wilhelmshaven, Germany - our first mission into Germany, to impede the Nazi Submarine effort on Allied shipping. The 67th put up seven aircraft along with 13 more by the other two squadrons. The weather conditions were extremely bad with clouds to very high altitudes. The formation traveled up over the North Sea and with no navigational aids became lost, never getting over Germany. Finally there was a break in the clouds allowing the navigators to get a "fix" and determining that they-were over Holland and too late to continue to the Primary behind the B-17's. The Command Pilot, Col. Johnson, decided to release the bombs on Lemmer, near the Zuider Zee (Ijsselmeer), on the Lead Bombardier, and bombs landed quite scattered on the town and in fields and marshes and bay. It appeared to be the only possible Target of Opportunity. Immediately after bombing, the formation was attacked by both ME 109's and FW 190's. There were about 35 enemy planes, several of whom hit the 68th plane #819. 2nd Lt. Reginald D. Grant was killed by an explosion of a 20 mm. shell which also seriously wounded Lt. Leroy Perlowin, navigator. About five minutes later a FW 190 broke off an attack on aircraft #800 and crashed out of control into the left wing of aircraft #690. Ship #690 went into a flat spin, out of formation. One crew member was observed to leave the ship through a waist window and his parachute opened. Almost immediately this ship started to disintegrate, the tail turret spun off, then rudder and stabilizer section and a large piece of the aft end of the fuselage. As the ship fell, both wings were seen to fall off. Ship #776, also from the 68th Squadron, was attacked by 3 FW 190's, attacking from ahead and above. The #3 engine broke into flames and the plane dropped out of formation. Shortly afterwards three men were seen to bail out, the plane exploded and came apart in mid-air. At 1155 hours. aircraft #800 (68th's) was attacked by a FW 190 from above at one o'clock, which went into a sitter position just off the right wing tip of #800 and was followed by machine gun fire from the right waist gunner. As a result of this action the enemy aircraft crashed into the left wing tip of A/C #690. (As stated above) At about this time a FW 190 made a 12 o'clock attack from above on A/C #819, inflicting considerable damage to the nose and fuselage. This damage caused aircraft #819 to lose altitude from the rest of the formation at a point about five miles off the coast of Holland. At about this time four attacks followed by FW 190's from 1 o'clock above on aircraft #816 as it was flying alone about 300 yards behind the leading element of the squadron. There were only 8 rounds of ammunition remaining in the right nose gun, and the bottom nose gun was inoperative. The navigator called to the pilot and told him the seriousness of the situation. After realizing that his own aircraft was in difficulty, as well as aircraft #819, Lt. Diehl, pilot of #816, decided to leave the rest of the formation and go to the assistance of #819 which apparently was in grave danger. Although A/C #819 was about 5000 feet below the formation and off to the left, Lt. Diehl jeopardized his aircraft in order to give protection to Capt. O'Brien's aircraft #819, which would have been a complete loss including the lives of the remaining crew members aboard. Captain O'Brien's aircraft had no protection from the nose or the tail guns, for both sections had been put but of commission by enemy action, and his aircraft was in grave danger of attacks from twin-engine bombers, which were hovering above, waiting for a possible attack on any straggler. Aircraft #816 took over lead position and both aircraft lost altitude to 8000 feet. Both planes returned to the home base as a result of excellent navigation on the part of Lt. Kelly who aided the pilots of these two lonely aircraft all the way across the North Sea.
source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
91st BG / 323nd BS Mission Report - Four ships of 323rd squadron, piloted by Capt. Dwyer, Lt. McCarty, Lt. Birdsong and Lt. Giauque participated in the first over Germany itself by American heavy bombers. Target was the Diesel engine factory at Wilhelmshaven. Bomb load was five one thousand pound general purpose. Both Wilhelmshaven and Emden were bombed with good results. A.A. fire was light and inaccurate, but gunners shot down ten of them. Sgt. Lehew accounted for two of them; S/Sgt. Farrer, T/Sgt. Remmell, S/Sgt. Byrd, Sgt. Petersen, S/Sgt. Sumergrad, S/Sgt. Mahan, S/Sgt. Taylor and Lt. Clinard accounted for one each. Though slightly damaged, all ships returned safely. Ship #24547, "Vertigo" piloted by Lt. Martin McCarty, landed with a crew member wounded.
91st BG / 322nd BS Mission Report - First raid on Germany by Americans. First Wing dispatched 25 A/C with bomb load of 5 x 1000 G. P. Group sent 17, of which 4 were 322nd. Capt. Campbell, #481; Lt. Felton, #511; Lt. Hardin, #453; Lt. Wm. Beasely, #362. Takeoff was 0830 led by Col. S.T. Wray. 10/10 cloud so naval yards at Wilhelmshaven was bombed with moderate success. Flack was intense over the whole peninsula but not accurate. The 91st had encounters with some 25 E/A which were ME-109s and claimed 20 destroyed. 322nd got six (6). A/C #511, Lt. Felton (3). S/Sgt. Robert M Paul 1 destroyed -ME-109. S/Sgt. Draden (') C. Griffin destroyed - ME-109. S/Sgt. Andrew H. Burnett destroyed - ME-109.