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

October 15th    

October 15, 1942
8th AF: Lieutenant General Dwight D Eisenhower issues a directive reflecting the immediate urgency of Operation TORCH (plan for the Allied landings in N and NW Africa in Nov 42) as the currently important item of Allied strategy and requiring the Eighth AF, as a matter of first priority, to protect the movement of men and supplies from the UK to N Africa by attacking German submarine bases on the W coast of France, with shipping docks on the French W coast as a secondary targets for these missions and with German aircraft factories and depots in France as second priority.

October 15, 1943
HQ U.S. Army Air Forces in United Kingdom (USAAFUK) is activated to exercise supervision over and provide coordination between the Eighth and Ninth Air Forces in the UK. Lieutenant General Ira C Eaker is appointed Commanding General in addition to his duties as Commanding General 8th AF.

STRATEGIC OPERATIONS 8th AF: The 55th Fighter Group (38th, 338th and 343rd Fighter Squadrons), a much needed P-38 group group, becomes operational in the UK.

October 15, 1944
303rd BG (H) Combat Mission No. 257
Target: Marshalling Yard at Cologne, Germany
Crews Dispatched: 13
Crews Lost: Lt. Gaines - 8 KIA, 1 POW
Length of Mission: 5 hours, 25 minutes
Bomb Load: 14 x 250 lb H.E. M57 & 4 x 500 lb M17 Incendiaries
Bombing Altitude: 25,200 ft
Ammo Fired: 180 rounds
View Mission Report

October 15, 1944
303rd BG: B-17G Thunderbird had an accident with 1Lt Patrick H. Brabant (P) and 2Lt Robert A. Marble (CP) at the controls. The CoPilot landed hard and short of the runway, jamming the right landing gear. 1Lt Brabant then took control, applied full power and took back off. They circled Molesworth for six hours burning off fuel. 1Lt Brabant then made an excellent one-wheel landing.

October 15, 1944
STRATEGIC OPERATIONS 8th AF: 3 missions are flown. Mission 677: 754 bombers and 464 fighters are dispatched to hit industrial, oil and rail targets in the Cologne, Germany area; all but 1 force bombs by PFF methods; 7 bombers and 3 fighters are lost: 1. 454 B-17s are dispatched to hit the Geron (141), Nippes (127) and Kalk (111) marshalling yards; 11 others hit the Koblenz/Lutzel marshalling yard; 4 B-17s are lost, 3 damaged beyond repair and 293 damaged; 14 airmen are KIA, 15 WIA and 40 MIA. Escort is provided by 146 of 151 P-51s; 1 P-51 is damaged beyond repair. 2. 385 B-17s are dispatched to hit the Eifeltor (148) and Imbert (24) marshalling yards; secondary targets are the Kalk (117) and Gereon (50) marshalling yards; other targets are Wester marshalling yard (11) and other (1); 2 B-17s are lost, 3 damaged beyond repair and 230 damaged; 10 airmen are KIA, 19 WIA and 18 MIA. Escort is provided by 150 of 154 P-51s; 2 P-51s are lost (pilots MIA) and 1 damaged beyond repair. 3. 369 B-24s are dispatched to hit oil facilities at Monheim/Rhenania (64) and Reisholz (61) visually; secondary targets are Cologne/Gereon marshalling yard (185) and Dormigeon (13); targets of opportunity are Worringen (12), Cologne Airfield (12) and Limburg marshalling yard (6); 1 B-24 is lost and 106 damaged; 3 B-24s are lost and 106 damaged; 3 airmen are KIA, 7 WIA and 10 MIA. Escort is provided by 131 of 141 P-51s; 1 P-51 is lost (pilot MIA) and 1 damaged beyond repair. Mission 678A: 2 of 9 B-17s make an APHRODITE attack on naval installations on Heligoland Island, Germany; 23 of 24 B-17s fly a cover mission to the same targets. Escort is provided by 15 of 16 P-51s and 2 P-38s without loss. Mission 679: 5 B-17s and 4 B-24s fly a night leaflet mission over the Netherlands, France and Germany without loss.

October 15, 1946
Hermann Goering commits suicide two hours before his scheduled execution.

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

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