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VIII Bomber Command 145

1 December 1943

Official description

Not yet known

Description

This mission was directed at the industrial areas of Leverkusen and Solingen, Germany. The mission is composed of two elements. The first element is a combined force of 221 B-17s from 1st Bomb Division that included: 91BG (27); 92BG (18); 303BG (17); 305BG (16); 306BG (22); 351BG (36); 379BG (20); 381BG (25); 384BG (19); 401BG (15); and 482BG (6) PFF equipped. The primary target for this element was Leverkusen, Germany but clouds obscured the target so the whol element diverted to the secodary target at Solingen, Germany. 201 aircraft were effective on the secondary. 19 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) 67KIA 88POW 1DIC 11EVD 23RTD (rescued by ASR); 2 aircraft crashlanded on return and were declared Dmaged Beyond Repair (DBR) 1KIA 2WIA 16RTD; 4 airmen were KIA and 17 Wounded in Action (WIA) in returning aircraft. The bomber gunners claim 3-0-3 of attacking German aircraft.

The second element is a combined force of 78 B-24s from 2nd Bomb Division that included: 44BG (18); 93BG (21); 389BG (24); 392BG (15) despatched to bomb the industrial areas of Solingen, Germany. 69 aircraft are effective on the target. 5 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) 17KIA 31POW 2EVD. 1 battle damage aircraft crashlanded on return 9 KIA; 6 airmen in returning aircraft were Wounded in Action (WIA). The bomber gunners in this element claimed 1-5-2 of attacking German aircraft.

Mission details

1. SOLINGEN (Primary)

Description

INDUSTRIAL AREA

Aircraft type

B-24 Liberator

Notes

Not yet known

Units

  • 389th Bomb Group

    389th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 389th Bomb Group, known in more familiar terms as "the Sky Scorpions", flew strategic bombing missions in B-24 Liberators from Hethel, England. They also sent detachments to join bases in North Africa at Benghazi No. 10, Libya, between 3 July 1943...

  • 392nd Bomb Group

    392nd Bomb Group

    Group
    The 392nd Bomb Group flew B-24 Liberators out of Wendling, Norfolk from August 1943 until April 1945. They were the first Group allocated B-24H Liberators, the first B-24 series fitted with a nose turret on the production line. The adaptation increased...

  • 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs

    44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs

    Group
    The 44th Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated 15-January-1942 at McDill Field, Florida and equipped with B-24Cs. The Group moved to Barksdale Field, Louisiana and acted as a training unit for the 90th 93rd and 98th Bomb Groups and flew anti...

  • 93rd Bomb Group

    93rd Bomb Group

    Group
    93rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated 1-March-1942 at Barksdale Field, Louisiana. On 15-May-1942 the Group moved to Ft. Myers, Florida to continue advanced flight training and also to fly anti-submarine patrols over the Gulf of Mexico; they...

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 172.49
Number of people Killed In Action 36
Number of people Wounded in Action 6
Number of people Prisoners of War 31
Number of people Returned To Duty 1
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Bomber Command 1
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Bomber Command 5
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 2

2. SOLINGEN/LEVERKUSEN (Primary)

Description

INDUSTRIAL AREA

Aircraft type

B-17 Flying Fortress

Notes

Weather is extremely cold. 7 Bomb Groups from 3rd Bomb Division abandon the mission. 1st Bomb Division (listed here) were briefed for Leverkusen as their primary, but hit Solingen as the Pathfinder (PFF) secondary. B-17G, 42-39850, 306th Bomb Group/423BS returned to base safely, but waist gunner SSGT Guy J. Aubrey, SN 38130380 apparently had bailed out and was captured a MACR was issued but never numbered. He was held at Stalag Luft IV, Gross-Tychow, Prussia and Returned to Military Control (RMC) on 14-Jun-45.

Units

  • 303rd Bomb Group

    303rd Bomb Group

    Group
    The 303rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated on 3-Feb-1942 at Pendleton Field, Oregon. They assembled at Gowen Field, Idaho on 11-February 1942 where it conducted flight training until 12-Jun-1942. The Group then moved to Alamogordo Field, New...

  • 305th Bomb Group Can Do

    305th Bomb Group Can Do

    Group
    The 305th Bombardment Group (Heavy), nicknamed "Can Do" was activated 1-March-1942 at Salt Lake City Air Base, Utah which was their primary training base until 11-Jun-1942 when they relocated to Geiger Field, Washington until 29-Jun-1942, then on to...

  • 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers

    306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers

    Group
    Constituted as 306th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 28 Jan 1942. Activated on 1 Mar 1942. Trained for combat with B-17's. Moved to England, Aug-Sep 1942, and assigned to Eighth AF Eighth Air Force in September 1942 Station 111 Thurleigh. During combat,...

  • 351st Bomb Group

    351st Bomb Group

    Group
    The 351st Bomb Group flew strategic bombing missions from their base at Polebrook, Northamptonshire from April 1943 to June 1945. The Group's most famous member was Hollywood actor Clark Gable, who flew four/ five missions with them as an observer...

  • 379th Bomb Group

    379th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 379th Bomb Group (H) (heavy), based at Kimbolton, flew more sorties than any other Bomb Group in the Eighth Air Force and dropped a greater bomb tonnage than any other Group. The B-17 Flying Fortress Group was awarded two Distinguished Unit...

  • 381st Bomb Group

    381st Bomb Group

    Group
    The 381st Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses from Ridgewell, Essex between June 1943 and April 1945. The Group was awarded two Distinguished Unit Citations, the first for bombing shipyards at Bremen, whilst under heavy attack, on 8 October 1943 and...

  • 384th Bomb Group

    384th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 384th Bomb Group flew B-17s from Grafton Underwood, Northamptonshire, between May 1943 and June 1945. They were engaged in daylight bombing missions over Germany as part of the Allies' efforts to destroy the effectiveness of the Luftwaffe by...

  • 401st Bomb Group

    401st Bomb Group

    Group
    The 401st Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses from Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire, from November 1943 to June 1945. Starting their missions at that time meant the focus was very much on the coming invasion attempt of France planned for the following...

  • 482nd Bomb Group

    482nd Bomb Group

    Group
    The 482nd Bomb Group was a Pathfinder Group, which using radar-equipped aircraft to support bombing missions until March 1944. Aircraft from this Group went ahead of other Bombers and sent information back about the best routes to take and the extent...

  • 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars

    91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars

    Group
    The 91st Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated at Harding Field, Louisiana on 15-April-1942 and went to MacDill Field, Florida for the first phase of training from 16-May-1942 to 25-June-1942. The Group was then assigned to 2nd Air Force at Walla...

  • 92nd Bomb Group Fame's Favoured Few

    92nd Bomb Group Fame's Favoured Few

    Group
    The 92nd Group sometime after arrivial in the UK converted to the role of in-theater combat crew indocrination and training. For this role, the Group traded its B-17F complement and obtained the B-17E, mostly from the 97th BG which was departing for...

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 529.96
Number of aircraft Sent 221
Number of aircraft Effective 212
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 19
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 2
Number of people Killed In Action 71
Number of people Wounded in Action 17
Number of people Evaded 11
Number of people Prisoners of War 89
Number of people Returned To Duty 42
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Bomber Command 3
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 3

Service

People

  • James Akins

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    James Akins was Co-Pilot of B-24 # 42-7544 of 44th Bomb Group / 67th Bomber Squadron when it was shot down by Flak and went low on fuel on return from the 1 December 1943 mission to Solingen. Missing Air Crew Report - MACR 1382. Akins initially managed...

  • Harry Allchin

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 381st Bomb Group
    Co-pilot, Duncan crew. 381st BG, 532nd BS. Shot down 1 December 1943 in B-17 #42-29506 'Full Boost!'. Mission #46 to the chemical plant at Leverkusen, Germany. Diverted to the steel works at Solinger, Germany. MACR 1578. Killed in Action (KIA)....

  • Gordon Ballagh

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 303rd Bomb Group
    Shot down 1 December 1943 in B-17 #42-39781. Prisoner of War (POW). An interview of Gordon Ballagh can be heard at http://memory.loc.gov/diglib/vhp/story/loc.natlib.afc2001001.19979/sr0001001.stream

  • Millard Boren

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Shot down 1 December 1943 in B-17 #42-39781. Prisoner of War (POW).

  • Phillip Burke

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner | 381st Bomb Group
    RWG, Hess crew. 381st BG, 535th BS. Shot down 1 December 1943 in B-17 #42-3540 'Bacta-th'-Sac'. Mission #46 to Solinger, Germany. MACR 1660. Prisoner of War at Stalag Luft I, Luft III and Luft VIg (?). POW

  • Joseph Burns

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Engineer/Top Turret Gunner | 401st Bomb Group
    Joseph Burns was Engineer on board B-17 42-39840 on the 1 December 1943 mission to Solingen and Leverkusen, Germany. Severely damaged by Flak and thinking the plane was lost, Burns and five other crew members bailed out and landed near Alken, Belgium....

  • Claudio Carano

    Military | Sergeant | Radio Operator / Gunner | 381st Bomb Group
    Radio operator, Sunde crew. 381st BG, 535th BS, 8th AF. Shot down 1 December 1943 in B-17 #42-31097 'Mission Belle'. Mission #46 to the chemical factory at Leverkusen, Germany. MACR 1661. Prisoner of War at Stalag Luft III and Stalag XIIID. Brooklyn, NY

  • John Channell

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 381st Bomb Group
    Tail gunner, Noxon crew. 381st BG, 535th BS. Shot down 1 December 1943 in B-17 #42-31111 'Four Aces-Pat Hand'. MACR 1659. Killed in Action (KIA). The aircraft left formation shortly after the bomb run and was thought to be lost over the sea. Tablets of...

  • Roger Christensen

    Military | First Lieutenant | Navigator | 381st Bomb Group
    Navigator, Sunde crew. 381st BG, 535th BS. Shot down 1 December 1943 in B-17 #42-31097 'Mission Belle'. Mission #46 to the chemical factory at Leverkusen, Germany. MACR 1661. Prisoner of War at Stalag Luft 1. Marne, Iowa

  • Waldo Crosson

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 381st Bomb Group
    September - December 1943. Pilot, Crosson crew. 381st BG, 535th BS, 8th AF. Shot down 20 December 1943 in B-17 #42-31075 'The Rebel'. Mission #51 to Bremen, Germany. MACR 1722. Prisoner of War (POW). Stalag Luft III and Stalag VIIA. California

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Aircraft

  • 41-24561 The Duchess, "Sure Stuff"

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 359BS/303BG [BN-T] Bangor 10/9/42; Molesworth 16/10/42; 59m transferred 1 Base Air Depot (sic),* Burtonwood 7/7/44; Returned to the USA Altus 18/8/44; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Altus 14/8/45. Over...

  • 41-24605 Knock-out Dropper

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned to the 359BS/303BG [BN-R] Bangor 22-Sep-42; Molesworth 22-Oct-42; First 8th Air Force aircraft to complete 50, then 75 missions- 27-Mar-44; with M/Sgt Buford Pafford as crew chief; 1 Base Air Depot, Burtonwood 5-Jun-44; Reconstruction Finance...

  • 42-29506 Full Boost!

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 28/12/42; Salina 9/1/43; Morrison 12/2/43; Homestead 18/2/43; Assigned 365BS/305BG [XK-V] Chelveston 2/3/43 YE WHITE SWAN; transferred 532BS/381BG [VE-A] Ridgewell 22/8/43; Missing in Action Leverkusen 1/12/43 with Jason Duncan,...

  • 42-2973 IZA VAILABLE

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 360BS/303BG [PU-G] Presque Is 27/11/42; Molesworth 13/12/42; Returned to the USA 2/7/44; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Arledge 22/11/44. IZA VAILABLE.

  • 42-29768 'Winsome Winn II'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 17/2/43; Walker 27/2/43; Salina 5/3/43; Gulfport 31/3/43; Assigned 334BS/95BG [BG-G] Alconbury 9/4/43 WINSOME WINN; Framlingham 12/5/43; 4m, battle damaged Lorient 17/5/43 with W. Thomas; crash landed Southern UK, (10 Returned to...

  • 42-30033 "Little America"

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 2/4/43; Sioux City 13/4/43; Kearney 4/5/43; Bangor 20/5/43; Assigned to the 547BS/384BG [S0-G] Grafton Underwood 24/5/43, then the 546BS [BK-G]; Missing in Action Leverkusen 1/12/43 with Maj Maurice Stanley Dillingham, Co-pilot:...

  • 42-31083 Tenny Belle

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 15/9/43; ...

  • 42-31097 Mission Belle

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 20/9/43; Gt Falls 12/10/43; Scott 18/11/43; assigned 401BG Deenethorpe 19/11/43; transferred 535BS/381BG Ridgewell 21/11/43; ...

  • 42-31111 Four Aces, Pat Hand

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Dallas 20/9/43; Scott 4/10/43; Wilmington 7/10/43; Assigned 535BS/381BG [MS-R] Ridgewell 19/10/43; Missing in Action Leverkusen 1/12/43 with Don Noxon, Co-pilot: George Giovannini, Navigator: Edison Eichhorn, Bombardier: Walt Utley, Flight...

  • 42-3448

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 13/6/43; Scott Fd 9/8/43; force landed base with Ray Irby 11/8/43; Assigned 359BS/303BG Molesworth 18/10/43; 13m Missing in Action Oschersleben 11/1/44 with Henry Eich, Co-pilot: Bill Woodside, Navigator: Jim Carroll, Bombardier:...

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Revisions

Date Contributor Update
21 July 2015 23:29:52 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 21-Jul-2015. Added bobmber gunner claims to 1nd BD statistics per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman

Date Contributor Update
21 July 2015 23:28:55 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 21-Jul-2015. Added bobmber gunner claims to 2nd BD statistics per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman

Date Contributor Update
21 July 2015 23:27:29 Lee8thbuff Changes to description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 21-Jul-2015. Added Mission Narrative based on "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:43:16 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Lee Cunningham, 8th Air Force missions research database / Stan Bishop's 'Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces', the Combat Chronology of the US Army Air Forces and the work of Roger Freeman including the 'Mighty Eighth War Diary'.

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