This Day in . . .
303rd Bomb Group (H) History

July 26th    

July 26, 1942
ETO 8th AF: Lieutenant Colonel Albert P Clark, Executive Officer of the 31st Fighter Group, is shot down while flying an RAF fighter on a sweep over France, thus becoming the first 8th AF fighter pilot to be shot down in the ETO; he survives and is taken prisoner by the Germans.

July 26, 1943
303rd BG (H) Combat Mission No. 54
Target: Nuehof Power Station, Hamburg, Germany
Crews Dispatched: 20
Length of Mission: 6 hours, 10 minutes
Bomb Load: 10 x 500 lb H.E. M43 bombs
Bombing Altitude: 27,000 ft
Ammo Fired: 33,248 rounds
Enemy Aircraft Claims: 4 Destroyed
View Mission Report

July 26, 1943
303rd BG: Capt Eddie Rickenbacker, famed WWI fighter ace, and B/Gen Newton D. Longfellow, CG of the VIII Bomber Command, visited Molesworth. Rickenbacker related his experiences while adrift at sea and gave helpful suggestions to combat men, who may be in that situation.

July 26, 1943
8th AF VIII Bomber Command Mission Number 77: Two targets in Germany and a convoy are hit, i.e.: 1. 119 B-17's and 2 YB-40's are dispatched against rubber factories at Hannover; 96 hit the target at 1200-1243 hours; they claim 40-9-28 Luftwaffe aircraft; 16 B-17's are lost; casualties are 4 KIA, 22 WIA and 126 MIA. 2. 49 of 61 B-17's dispatched against Hannover hit a convoy and other targets of opportunity; they claim 15-1-7 Luftwaffe aircraft; 6 B-17's are lost; casualties are 1 KIA, 3 WIA and 51 MIA. 3. 54 of 121 B-17's dispatched against Hannover hit the U-boat yards at Hamburg at 1159-1200 hours; they claim 5-0-1 Luftwaffe aircraft; 2 B-17's are lost; casualties are 1 KIA, 3 WIA and 20 MIA. A total of 3 B-17's are damaged beyond repair and 86 are damaged on this mission. Mission results are good but costly; 24 aircraft are lost, mostly to enemy fighters. VIII Air Support Command Mission Number 4: 18 B-26B's are dispatched against the Saint-Omer/Longuenesse Airfield in France; 15 hit the target at 1112 hours; 4 aircraft are damaged. HQ 41st Bombardment Wing (Heavy) arrives at Brampton Grange, England from the US. This unit will be redesignated 41st Combat Bombardment Wing (Heavy) on 13 Sep 43. HQ 390th Bombardment Group (Heavy) and its 568th, 569th, 570th and 571st Bombardment Squadrons (Heavy) arrive at Framlingham, England from the US with B-17's. The group will fly its first mission on 12 Aug and remain at this station until Aug 45.

July 26, 1944
STRATEGIC OPERATIONS 8th AF: Mission 496: Of 192 P-47s, 93 attack the St. Just marshalling yards and 40 attack Givet fuel dump in France; 1 P-47 is lost (pilot is MIA) and 10 damaged. Mission 497: 7 of 7 B-17s drop leaflets in France during the night. 9 B-24s fly CARPETBAGGER missions.

July 26, 1946
The United States Air Force was created

8th AF history extracted from Jack McKillop's USAAF Combat Chronology

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