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303rd Bomb Group (H) History

February 22nd    

February 22, 1944
303rd BG (H) Combat Mission No. 111
Target: Junkers Aircraft Factory, Aschersleben, Germany
Crews Dispatched: 36
Crews Lost: Lt. J.W. Stuermer, Lt. J.R. Morrin,
Lt. G.E. Underwood, Lt. C.D. Crook and Lt. J. Moffatt
Crew Members Lost or Wounded: 50 total; 37 crew members
plus 1 passenger missing, 3 bodies recovered from sea from missing A/C
and 9 crewmen killed in mid-air collision
Length of Mission: 8 hours, 30 minutes
Bomb Load: 12 x 500 lb G.P. bombs
Bombing Altitude: 20,000 ft
Ammo Fired: 37,455 rounds
View Mission Report

February 22, 1944
303rd BG: S/Sgt William T.L. Werner, tail gunner on the 2Lt Estes Crew, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. Despite serious wounds, he stayed at his position and kept a steady stream of fire from his guns, destroying at least on enemy fighter.

February 22, 1944
STRATEGIC OPERATIONS 8th AF: HQ VIII Bomber Command is redesignated as HQ, 8th AF. Mission 230: "Big Week" continues with 799 aircraft dispatched against German aviation and Luftwaffe airfields; 41 bombers and 11 fighters are lost. 1. 289 B-17s are dispatched against aviation industry targets at Aschersleben (34 bomb), Bernburg (47 bomb) and Halberstadt (18 bomb) in conjunction with a Fifteenth Air Force raid on Regensburg, Germany; 32 hit Bunde, 19 hit Wernegerode, 15 hit Magdeburg, 9 hit Marburg and 7 hit other targets of opportunity; they claim 32-18-17 Luftwaffe aircraft; 38 B-17s are lost, 4 damaged beyond repair and 141 damaged; casualties are 35 KIA, 30 WIA and 367 MIA. 2. 333 B-17s are dispatched to Schweinfurt but severe weather prevents aircraft from forming properly and they are forced to abandon the mission prior to crossing the enemy coast; 2 B-17s are damaged. 3. 177 B-24s are dispatched but they are recalled when 100 miles (160 km) inland; since they were over Germany, they sought targets of opportunity but strong winds drove the bombers over The Netherlands and their bombs hit Enschede, Arnhem, Nijmegen and Deventer; they claim 2-0-0 Luftwaffe aircraft; 3 B-24s are lost and 3 damaged; casualties are 30 MIA. These missions are escorted by 67 P-38s, 535 Eighth and Ninth Air Force P-47s, and 57 Eighth and Ninth Air Force P-51s; the P-38s claim 1-0-0 Luftwaffe aircraft, 1 P-38 is damaged beyond repair and 6 are damaged; the P-47s claim 39-6-15 Luftwaffe aircraft, 8 P-47s are lost and 12 damaged, 8 pilots are MIA; the P-51s claim 19-1-10 Luftwaffe aircraft, 3 P-51s are lost and 3 damaged, 3 pilot are MIA.

February 22, 1945
303rd BG (H) Combat Mission No. 320
Target: Marshalling Yards at Uelzen (Ulzen), Germany
Crews Dispatched: 39
Length of Mission: 6 hours, 45 minutes
Bomb Load: 12 x 500 lb RDX bombs
Bombing Altitudes: 12,650, 11,340, & 12,900 ft
Ammo Fired: 595 rounds
View Mission Report

February 22, 1945
STRATEGIC OPERATIONS 8th AF: Mission 841: 1,428 bombers and 862 fighters commence Operation CLARION, a joint RAF, Eighth, Ninth and Fifteenth AF operation with the objective of paralyzing the already decimated German rail and road system; most attacks were made visually; bombing was conducted from an optimum 10,000 feet (3,048 m) to achieve accuracy at target without flak defenses; they claim 28-2-43 Luftwaffe aircraft; 7 bombers and 13 fighters are lost: 1. 522 B-17s are sent to hit marshalling yards at Bamberg (64), Zwickau (2) and Kitzingen (1); targets of opportunity are Ansbach (143), Donaueschingen (24), Reutlingen (25), Ulm (77), Freiburg (21), Hafingen (10), the marshalling yards at Aalen (24), Neustadt (26), Singen (8), Schwenningen (22), and Villgen (11) and other (42); some attacks are made with H2X radar; they claim 0-0-1 aircraft; 2 B-17s are lost and 29 damaged; 2 airmen are WIA and 19 MIA. Escorting are 163 of 168 P-51s; 3 are lost (pilots MIA). 2. 452 B-24s are dispatched to hit marshalling yards at Halberstadt (51), Sangerhausen (11), Nordhausen (30), Vienenburg (23), Peine (52), Hildesheim (55), Kreiensen (48), and Northeim (48); targets of opportunity are Nordhausen (11), Ottbergen (10), the rail and highway bridge at Lindern (1) and marshalling yards at Wallhausen (19), Oker (8), Eschwege (30), Gottingen (29) and Celle (8) and other (1); 4 B-24s are lost and 68 damaged; 2 airmen are WIA and 38 MIA. 246 P-47s and P-51s escort; they claim 19-0-16 aircraft on the ground; 4 P-51s are lost (pilots MIA). 3. 454 B-17s are sent to hit Wittenburg (72), Stendal (73), Salzwedel (59), Uelzen (73), Wittstock (11), Luneburg (39), and Ludwigslust (48); targets of opportunity are Grabow (13), Kobbelitz (24), Dannenberg (12) and Klotze (13). The escort is 268 of 280 P-51s; they claim 4-2-18 aircraft in the air and 3-0-5 on the ground; 5 P-51s are lost (pilots MIA). 4. 99 of 103 P-51s fly a freelance mission in support of the bombers; they claim 2-0-0 aircraft in the air; 1 P-51 is lost (pilot MIA). 5. 28 of 32 P-51s fly a scouting mission; they claim 2-0-3 aircraft on the ground. 6. 13 P-51s escort 10 F-5s and 5 Spitfires on photo reconnaissance missions over Germany.

February 22, 1945
The 8th Air Force conducted "Operation Rail Smash" against German railroad transportation from the 22nd through the 26th of February. Over 20,000 tons of bombs were dropped and 64 bombers were lost.

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

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