Mission #11 - June 28, 1943
St. Nazaire, France
A combined force of the 1st and 4th BWs consisting of 158 B-17's left East Anglia in the late afternoon for the port city of St. Nazaire. The 1BW went over the target beween 1533 and 1700 while the 4BW attacked between 1711 and 1713. Some three hundred 2,000 pound GP bombs were dropped. The 96th dispatched 16 Fortresses and 11 bombed effectively. This was the first mission with the new long-range Tokyo tanks. In spite of the fact that Tokyo tanks provided the 4BW wih additional range, the transition to new planes caused a slight touch of sadness here and there. The 96th's older planes in which many crews had trained back in the States and then flown across were being transferred to the 1BW. And although aircrews watched their old birds leave in wistful silence, they quickly adopted these new aircraft and lost no time resurrecting old nose art to which they simply added "two" in Arabic or Roman numerals.
Although it was almost mid-summer, icing was still a problem at bombing altitudes and one group, although it flew over the target, failed to bomb because all their bomb-bays were frozen shut! The lead bombardier for the 96th today was Captain John Latham, 338th, who achieved excellent results. A direct hit was scored on a coffer dam and hits were made on the submarine pens and a small ship in the harbor. Several of our ships received flak damage and two crewmen were slightly wounded. No planes were lost.
British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden discusses tail gunner's position with General Cabell and Colonel Old (left to right).
Group Bombardier John Latham, left, congratulates John Sampson for excellent bombing.