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

January 21st    

January 21, 1943
303rd BG: Fifteen planes participated in a practice formation flight and three flew a practice bombing mission at the Ashton Bomb Range.

January 21, 1943
8th AF: At the Casablanca Conference between Prime Minister Churchill, President Roosevelt and the Combined Chiefs of Staff (CCS), the CCS issue the "Casablanca Directive." It broadly outlines the operations of the USAAF VIII Bomber Command and the RAF Bomber Command located in the UK as having the primary object of the destruction of the German military, economic and industrial systems and undermining of morale of the German people. Primary targets listed in order of priority are submarine construction yards, the aircraft industry, transportation, oil plants and other war industries. It largely relieves the VIII Bomber Command of supporting North African operations. Lieutenant General Ira C. Eaker, Commanding General 8th AF, completes a paper called "The Case For Day Bombing" which he presents to General Henry "Hap" Arnold, Commanding General Army Air Forces at the Casablanca Conference. Eaker then discusses these ideas on the merits of daylight bombing with Churchill in an attempt to convince him of its effectiveness. Churchill later concurs. This paper leads to development of the Combined Bomber Offensive (CBO) program. Spitfire Mk Vs of the 4th Fighter Group fly 49 sorties during the day. Early in the day, 26 escort RAF Venturas attacking Caen/Carpiquet, France. Later in the day, 23 support a Circus (heavy fighter escort of a small force of bombers in an attempt to provoke a Luftwaffe fighter response) to Caen, France. A 93rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) B-24 attempts a Moling mission, i.e., bad weather operation by single aircraft designed to alert the Luftwaffe.

January 21, 1944
303rd BG (H) Combat Mission No. 100
Target: Construction Sites:
A Group, Bois-Coquerel, France
B Group, Bealieu, France
Crews Dispatched: 29
Length of Mission: 3 hours, 45 minutes
Bomb Load: 12 x 500 lb G.P. bombs
Bombing Altitudes: A - 13,000 ft; B - 12,000 ft
Ammo Fired: 3,360 rounds
View Mission Report

January 21, 1944
STRATEGIC OPERATIONS 8th AF: Mission 187: 36 V-weapon sites in France, 34 in the Pas de Calais area and 2 in the Cherbourg area, are targetted; 24 are attacked by 302 of 597 B-17's and 68 of 198 B-24's; 15 B-17's and 9 B-24's hit targets of opportunity (2 V-weapon sites and 3 airfields); they claim 5-1-2 Luftwaffe aircraft; 5 B-24's and a B-17 are lost, 3 B-24's are damaged beyond repair, and 103 B-17's and 41 B-24's are damaged; casualties are 2 KIA, 31 WIA and 74 MIA. This mission is escorted by 49 P-38's, 531 P-47's and 48 Ninth Air Force P-51's; they claim 6-0-4 Luftwaffe aircraft in the air and 2-2-0 on the ground; 1 P-47 is lost, 1 is damaged beyond repair and 1 damaged; casualties are 1 MIA. Mission 188: During the night, 5 of 5 B-17's drop 1.2 million leaflets on Reims, Nantes, Le Mans, Tours and Orleans, France without loss.

January 21, 1945
303rd BG (H) Combat Mission No. 305
Target: Marshalling Yard at Aschaffenburg, Germany
Crews Dispatched: 13
Crews Lost: Lt. Duffield, 9 KIA, 1 POW; Lt. Tasker, 8 KIA, 1 POW
Length of Mission: 7 hours, 46 minutes
Bomb Load: 10 x 500 lb H.E. M43 & 8 x 500 M17 Incendiaries
Bombing Altitude: 21,300 ft
Ammo Fired: 100 rounds
View Mission Report

January 21, 1945
STRATEGIC OPERATIONS 8th AF: 2 missions are flown. Mission 803: 912 bombers and 523 fighters are dispatched to hit industrial and rail targets in C Germany using PFF methods with some visual bombing; they claim 8-0-1 Luftwaffe aircraft; 8 bombers are lost: 1. 379 B-17s are sent to hit the marshalling yard (257) and oil plant (66) at Aschaffenburg; targets of opportunity are the Pforzheim marshalling yard (24) and military vehicle plant at Mannheim (3); Gee-H and H2X are used; 2 B-17s are lost, 2 damaged beyond repair and 4 damaged; 18 airmen are KIA and 2 MIA. Escorting are 112 of 139 P-51s. 2. 382 B-17s are dispatched to hit the marshalling yard (254), Lanz military vehicle factory (21) and highway and rail bridges (16) at Mannheim; targets of opportunity are the Pforzheim marshalling yard (16), Speyer (4) and other (3); bombing is by Micro H and H2X; 6 B-17s are lost, 3 damaged beyond repair and 53 damaged; 3 airmen are KIA, 12 WIA and 55 MIA. The escort is 138 of 150 P-51s; they claim 2-0-0 aircraft on the ground. 3. 152 B-24s are sent to hit the marshalling yard at Heilbronn (68) using H2X; targets of opportunity bombed visually are the marshalling yard at Pforzheim (11), the communications centers at Arnbach (14) and Mannheim (1) and Reutlingen (1); 4 B-24s are damaged beyond repair and 2 damaged; 3 airmen are WIA. Escort is provided by 120 P-47s and P-51s; they claim 6-0-1 aircraft on the ground. 4. 26 of 26 P-51s fly a scouting mission. 5. 6 of 7 P-51s fly an armed photographic mission over Politz. 6. 22 of 23 P-51s escort 4 F-5s on a photo reconnaissance mission over Germany. Mission 804: 2 B-17s and 9 B-24s drop leaflets in the Netherlands, France and Germany during the night without loss.

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

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