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303rd Bomb Group (H) History

April 17th    

April 17, 1943
303rd BG (H) Combat Mission No. 31
Target: Focke Wulf Factory, Bremen, Germany
Crews Dispatched: 29
Length of Mission: 6 hours, 20 minutes
Bomb Load: 5 x 1000 lb H.E. M44 bombs
Bombing Altitudes: 25,500 ft & 27,000 ft
Ammo Fired: 89,585 rounds
Enemy Aircraft Claims: 19 Destroyed, 4 Probables, 4 Damaged
View Mission Report

April 17, 1943
303rd BG: Capt Clark Gable, motion picture star and gunnery officer of the 351st BG, visited Molesworth. He headed a team of six former motion picture employees who were making a gunnery instruction film.

April 17, 1943
8th AF: VIII Bomber Command Mission Number 52: 115 B-17's are dispatched against the Focke-Wulf factory at Bremen, Germany the 8th AF's largest mission to date. A mass of fighters attacks during bomb run, shooting down 15 while flak claims another. We claim 63-15-17 Luftwaffe aircraft; 39 B-17's are damaged; casualties are 2 KIA, 4 WIA and 159 MIA. The Commanding General, VIII Fighter Command, expresses the need for 20 fighter groups to neutralize growing German fighter opposition to the Combined Bomber Offensive (CBO).

April 17, 1944
STRATEGIC OPERATIONS 8th AF: Mission 304: 14 of 15 B-24s bomb the V-weapon site at Wizernes, France without loss; escort is provided by 33 P-47s. Mission 305: 5 of 5 B-17s drop 1.48 million leaflets on Rennes, Brest, Nantes, Lorient and St Nazaire, France at 2248-2258 hours without loss. HQ 493rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) and 860th, 861st, 862nd and 863rd Bombardment Squadrons (Heavy) move from Elveden Hall to Debach, England with B-24s; first mission is 6 Jun.

April 17, 1945
303rd BG (H) Combat Mission No. 362
Target: Friedrichstadt Marshalling Yard at Dresden, Germany
Crews Dispatched: 42
Crews Lost: 1Lt. Kahler - 2 KIA, 6 POW;
2Lt. Thomas - 2 KIA, 6 POW
Length of Mission: 9 hours, 20 minutes
Bomb Load: 10 x 250 lb G.P. & 4 x 500 lb M-17 Incendiary bombs
Bombing Altitudes: 18,000, 20,500 & 20,000 feet
View Mission Report

April 17, 1945
STRATEGIC OPERATIONS 8th AF: 2 missions are flown. Mission 957: 1,054 bombers and 816 fighters are dispatched to hit rail targets in E Germany and W Czechoslovakia; 50 Luftwaffe fighters are encountered, mostly jets and the AAF claims a total of 300-0-119 aircraft destroyed on the ground and in the air (including 4 jets); 8 bombers and 17 fighters are lost. 1. 450 B-17s are dispatched to hit the rail center (152) and marshalling yard (276) at Dresden; they claim 1-0-1 aircraft; 6 B-17s are lost, 1 damaged beyond repair and 130 damaged; 6 airmen are WIA and 50 MIA. Escorting are 230 of 257 P-51s; they claim 2-0-3 aircraft in the air and 91-0-37 on the ground; 2 P-51s are lost (pilots MIA). 2. 410 B-17s are sent to the Dresden area (76), rail junction and station at Aussig (86), and oil depot and marshalling yard at Roundnice (115); 86 hit the secondary target, the marshalling yard at Dresden; 2 B-17s are lost and 47 damaged; 1 airman is WIA and 18 MIA. 265 of 276 P-51s escort claiming 11-0-2 aircraft in the air and 142-0-47 on the ground; 14 P-51s are lost; 2 pilots are WIA and 14 MIA. 3. 194 B-24s are sent to hit the rail center and junction at Fischern (55), the rail junction and industry at Kladno (36), rail junction and bridge at Falkenau (37) and railroad, rail industry and marshalling yard at Beroun (61) without loss. The escort is 228 P-47s and P-51s; they claim 53-0-29 aircraft on the ground; 1 P-51 is lost (pilot MIA). 4. 24 of 25 P-51s fly scouting missions. 5. 9 P-51s escort 10 F-5s on photo reconnaissance missions over Germany. Mission 958: During the night of 17/18 Apr, 10 B-24s drop leaflets in France, the Netherlands and Germany and 19 of 20 B-24s fly CARPETBAGGER missions.

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

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