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

December 1st    

December 1, 1942
8th AF: Major General Ira C. Eaker replaces Major General Carl Spaatz as Commanding General 8th AF. Spaatz flies to Algeria to serve as air adviser to Lieutenant General Eisenhower, Commanding General . Headquarters 78th Fighter Group and its 82nd, 83rd and 84th Fighter Squadrons is established at Goxhill England upon arrival from the US. The three squadrons are equipped with P-38Gs but begin transitioning to the P-47C in Jan 43 and enter combat with their P-47s on 13 Apr 43. Headquarters 315th Troop Carrier Group and its 34th and 43rd Troop Carrier Squadrons is established at Aldermaston, England upon arrival from the US. The air echelon is flying their C-47s across the North Atlantic with the first aircraft arriving on 12 Dec. Headquarters 322nd Bombardment Group (Medium) and its 449th, 450th, 451st and 452nd Bombardment Squadrons (Medium) is established at Rougham, England upon arrival from the US. The air echelon with B-26C-6s will not depart the US until Mar 43; they will fly their aircraft via the southern route with the last aircraft arriving until 29 May 43. The group will not fly its first combat mission until 14 May 43.

December 1, 1943
303rd BG (H) Combat Mission No. 85
Target: City area of Solingen, Germany (PFF Bombing)
Crews Dispatched: 20 plus one spare
Crews Lost: 2Lt. G.W. Luke, Jr., 1 KIA, 7 POW, 2 EVD;
1 crewman with very bad frostbite
Length of Mission: 6 hours, 25 minutes
Bombing Load: 8x500 lb G.P. & 20 M47A1 65 lb Incendiaries
Bombing Altitude: 26,700 ft
Ammo Fired: 1,445 rounds
View Mission Report

December 1, 1943
STRATEGIC OPERATIONS 8th AF: VIII Bomber Command Mission 145: The industrial area at Solingen, Germany is the target. 206 of 215 B-17's, 69 of 78 B-24's and 5 of 6 B-17 PFF aircraft hit the target at 1159-1212 hours; they claim 4-5-5 Luftwaffe aircraft; 19 B-17's and 5 B-24's are lost, 2 B-17's and 1 B-24 are damaged beyond repair and 85 bombers are damaged; casualties are 13 KIA, 23 WIA and 227 MIA. The mission is escorted by 42 P-38's and 374 P-47's; the P-47's claim 20-4-7 Luftwaffe aircraft; 2 P-38's and 5 P-47's are lost, 1 each are damaged beyond repair and 3 P-47's are damaged; casualties are 7 MIA. HQ VIII Air Support Command is disbanded at Sunninghill, England. HQ 448th Bombardment Group (Heavy) arrives at Seething, England from the US. The 362nd, 363rd and 364th Fighter Squadrons, 357th Fighter Group, arrive at Raydon, England from the US with P-51B's. They will fly their first mission on 11 Feb 44. The 708th, 709th, 710th and 711th Bombardment Squadrons (Heavy), 447th Bombardment Group (Heavy), arrive at Rattlesden, England from the US with B-17G's. They will fly their first mission on 24 Dec.

December 1, 1944
STRATEGIC OPERATIONS 8th AF: Mission 733: 7 B-17s and 7 B-24s drop leaflet in the Netherlands, France and Germany during the night.

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

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