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303rd Bomb Group (H) History

March 17th    

March 17, 1943
ST PATRICK'S DAY: 8th AF VIII Bomber Command Mission No. 44: 78 B-17's of the 1st Bombardment Wing are dispatched against the Rouen-Sotteville marshalling yard. Due to bad weather, the aircraft are recalled before they leave England. 28 B-24's of the 2nd Bombardment Wing are dispatched on a diversionary mission over the North Sea but are also recalled. The 506th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 44th Bombardment Group (Heavy) with B-24's arrives at Shipdham, England from the U.S.

March 17, 1944
ST PATRICK'S DAY: STRATEGIC OPERATIONS 8th AF: Mission 263: 135 P-47s are dispatched on low level strafing attacks against airfields in France; 25 attack Soesterburg Airfield, The Netherlands and 25 attack Chartres, France; they claim 3-2-8 Luftwaffe aircraft on the ground, 2 P-47s are lost, the pilots are MIA.

March 17, 1945
303rd BG (H) Combat Mission No. 338
Target: Synthetic Oil Plant at Bohlen, Germany
& Marshalling Yard and Rail Bridge at Erfurt, Germany
Crews Dispatched: 39
Length of Mission: 9 hours, 46 minutes
Bomb Load: 18 x 250 lb H.E. M57 & 2 x 100 lb M47 Incendiaries
Bombing Altitudes: 27,000, 26,500, & 27,500 ft
View Mission Report

March 17, 1945
STRATEGIC OPERATIONS 8th AF: 2 missions are flown. Mission 892: 1,328 bombers and 820 P-51s are dispatched to hit oil, industrial and rail targets in Germany; clouds extend from 1,000 to 15,000 feet (305 to 4,572 m) and over the targets there is 9/10 to 10/10 cloud cover necessitating PFF methods for bombing; 5 B-17s and 2 P-51s are lost: 1. 527 B-17s are sent to hit the oil refinery at Ruhland (214); 138 hit the secondary target, the Bittefeld oil refinery; targets of opportunity are the Vomag munitions factory at Plauen (125), Fulda (19), Cottbus (11) and other (3); H2X radar is used; 4 B-17s are lost, 1 damaged beyond repair and 46 damaged; 1 airman is KIA, 1 WIA and 35 MIA. Escorting are 252 of 280 P-51s; 1 is lost (pilot MIA). 2. 449 B-17s are dispatched to hit the oil refinery at Bohlen (152) and the oil refinery and power station at Molbis (127); secondary targets are the Zeiss works at Jena (71) and the marshalling yard at Erfurt (51); targets of opportunity are Altenburg (36) and other (3); bombing is by H2X radar; 1 B-17 is lost, 2 damaged beyond repair and 15 damaged; 9 airmen are MIA. 266 of 283 P-51s escort; 1 is lost (pilot MIA). 3. 346 B-24s are dispatched to hit the marshalling yard at Munster (170) and the Hanomag tank factory at Hannover (146); 9 other hit Herford, a target of opportunity; Gee-H and H2X are used to bomb; 3 B-24s are damaged. The escort is 122 of 128 P-51s. 4. 6 B-24s fly a screening mission. 5. 79 of 86 P-51s fly a freelance sweep without loss. 6. 28 of 32 P-51s fly a scouting mission without loss. 7. 9 of 11 P-51s escort 2 F-5s and 1 Spitfire on a photo reconnaissance mission over Germany. Mission 893: 9 B-24s drop leaflets in Germany, the Netherlands and France during the night.

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

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