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Thread: borrowed bombers

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    Default borrowed bombers

    Hello all, I’m looking for some help.

    Some early missions by the US Eighth AF used borrowed aircraft. Information about this arrangement would be welcome, such as did RAF squadrons ‘donate’ their aircraft, were British ground crews used for the US missions, what became of the aircraft, and so on.

    While reading the accounts of the Eighth AF Mission 13, October 2nd 1942, in the Public Records Office, I was intrigued to see that the decision to include a third target (a ship in dry-dock at Le Havre) was taken the day before the mission: it seems from the description and other documents that the DB-7s allocated to carry out this last minute strike were not included in the mission prior to that. The rapid nature of the inclusion of these British DB-7s raises the question of their source. It does seem safe to assume that the US crews were experienced on the type of aircraft, but it does not seem safe to assume that ground crews would have been able to get to a new airfield, take over thirteen new aircraft (even if they were already familiar with the type), and launch a mission in about twenty two hours. Does anyone know if the aircraft were already in US hands?

    Even information on the basics, such as ‘were all the planes from the RAF’ and ‘did they fly with American markings’, would be welcome.

    Thanks in advance,

    Bruce

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    Default Americans and the Boston

    G’day Bruce

    U.S.A.A.F. Chronology shows:
    EUROPEAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS (ETO, 8th Air Force): First USAAF air operation over W Europe. 15th Bombardment Squadron (Light) flying 6 American-built Bostons belonging to No. 226 Squadron Royal Air Force, join a RAF low-level attack on De Koog (2 aircraft), Bergen/Alkamaar, Haanstede and Valkenberg (2 aircraft) Airfields in the Netherlands; 2 aircraft are lost, 1 damaged beyond repair and 1 damaged; 6 airmen are MIA. Aircraft flown by Captain Charles C Kegelman, Squadron Commander, is severely damaged, but Kegelman succeeds in bringing it back to base at Swanton Morley.

    SUNDAY, 12 JULY 1942
    EUROPEAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS (ETO, 8th Air Force): 6 of 6 Bostons borrowed from the RAF hit Abbeville/Drucat Airfield, France; 2 aircraft are damaged; no casualties. The 15th Bombardment Squadron (Light) stands down after this mission to prepare their own Bostons which are ex-RAF machines.

    * Air Britain Publication Notes:
    56 (from batch 240 ordered) Douglas Boston III’s delivered between November 1941 and May 1942. Remaining aircraft diverted to U.S.A.A.C.

    A good account of the above can be found in Michael J. F. Bowyer’s 2 Group R.A.F., a Complete History, 1936-1945

    Cheers…Chris

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    Default

    hello,

    Capt Charles Kegelman and his crew were also the first USAAF crew to bomb occupied Europe, on 29th June 1942, flying one of 12 Bostons of No. 226 Squadron, RAF, against Hazebrouck marshalling yard.

    The raid mentioned by Dakota was carried out on 4th July 1942. Text and pictures of Kegelman and his crew in "The Mighty Eighth War Diary" page 7. This officer became the first in the 8th Air Force to received the DSC, his crewmembers being awarded the DFC, presentation was made on 11th July at Molesworth (future home of 303rd Bomb Group) by Generals Spaatz and Eaker.

    15th B.S. carried out another raid on 12th July, with 6 Bostons borrowed from the R.A.F.. Author Roger Freeman then added the following remark : "[unit] temporarily stood down after this raid to make ready their own aircraft, which were also ex RAF machines". I'd suggest Bostons in the W and AL serial blocks, maybe even in the BZ range, in the Air Britain registers, to find out which Bostons were transferred to the USAAF.

    I see that the next mission of 15th B.S. is on 5th September 1942, aircrafts are named DB-7s, and not Bostons, as stated in the earlier entries. 11 out of 12 bombed Le Havre port. Next mission was on 6th september, 12 DB-7s on Abbeville-Drucat airfield. There's a picture on page 15, showing "Boston AL445, recently repainted in USAAF olive drab, was one of the aircraft that took part in attack on Abbeville on the day of the photograph, 6 September".
    Next mission, if I read well, was on 2nd October 1942, 11 out of 12 DB-7s on Le Havre (ship in dock). This was the last mission of this independant Squadron of the 8th Air Force.

    There are more details in "The Mighty Eighth", page 264 about 15th B.S. and the planes they flew, with RAF serial numbers and codes.

    If you can access the latter book, you'll find some answers to your questions.

    cheers


    Joss

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    Default U.S.A.A.F. Boston Crews

    The following U.S. airmen carried out the first combat sortie against the Germans in the Second World War on the 29th of June 1942. They along with 12 other Bostons from No. 226 (B) Squadron flew a Circus (Circus 195) to the Hazebrouck marshalling yards.

    Captain Kegelman - Pilot
    Lieutenant Bell - Bombardier
    Technical Sergeant Robert Golay - Gunner
    Sergeant Cunningham - Wireless Operator / Air Gunner

    Aircraft - Boston Mk. III s/n AL743 "L-Love"


    The 'Independence Day' mission (Low-Level) on the 4th of July 1942 was comprised of the following aircraft and pilots:

    Captain Kegelman - AL750 MQ-Z

    Lieutenant Loehrl - AL677 MQ-P

    Lieutenant Lynn - AL741 MQ-V

    Captain O'Dell - AL746 MQ-M

    Captain Crabtree - AL760 MQ-D

    Lieutenant Hawel - Z2303 MQ-J


    Six American crews took part in another Circus (Circus 198) to the Luftwaffe airfield at Abbieville on the 12th of July 1942. This was the last trip they flew with the Brits.

    Cheers...Chris

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    Default

    So there were no Germans in Romania, around the Ploesti oilfield, on June 12th? I think you'll find that there were.

    The Boston misson was the first in Western Europe, not the first in Europe, and bombing Germans in France seems no more special than bombing their oil supplies in Romania.

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    Default 15th Bombardment (Light) Squadron

    G'day Joss

    "Next mission, if I read well, was on 2nd October 1942, 11 out of 12 DB-7s on Le Havre (ship in dock). This was the last mission of this independant Squadron of the 8th Air Force"

    The squadron relocated to Tebessa, Algeria on the 13th of November 1942. It was attached to Northwest African Training Command until the 18th of February 1943. In early 1943, they traded in their DB-7's for the North American A-36A-1-NA "Apache".

    Cheers...Chris

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    Default First U.S. E.T.O. ops

    G'day Graham

    I suppose I should have said European Theatre of Operations to clarify things.

    The B-24 Liberators were from the HALPRO (Halverson Provisional Group) Detachment under the command of Colone Harry A. Halverson. The attack against Polesti has been recognized as the first Army Air Force's first combat mission of the European-African-Middle East theater of the Second World War. For this mission the B-24's fell under operational control of the M.T.O. (Mediterranean Theater of Operations). They were actually transiting from the United States to China at the time.

    Cheers...Chris

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    Default

    Thanks to all that have responded so far. It is now clear that the DB-7s were already in US charge when Mission 13 (the one that interests me) was launched.

    I am researching the sinking of the German Armed Merchant Cruiser Komet. This mission was the first of seven attempted attacks directed at that ship in October and, in fact, the target was misidentified and wasn’t the Komet. The other airborne attacks (which were against the real Komet) were by 815, 841 and 330 Squadrons. Allied surface craft finally sank Komet on the night of 13/14th October of Cap de la Hague. Establishing all possible accounts of the various air units involved is the focus of my research at the moment, and the answers so far help greatly.

    Is there any information about colour schemes or individual markings for the DB-7s?

    I would be delighted to hear of any surviving veterans of the unit willing to correspond with me.

    Thanks,

    Bruce

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