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Target Berlin

Despite being on fire and surrounded by flak bursts, this B-17 stayed in formation to drop its bombs on Berlin.  The bombers were most vulnerable on the bomb run, when they had to fly straight and level for several minutes to ensure accuracy.

Despite being on fire and surrounded by flak bursts, this B-17 stayed in formation to drop its bombs on Berlin. The bombers were most vulnerable on the bomb run, when they had to fly straight and level for several minutes to ensure accuracy.


Berlin, Germany’s capital, was selected as a prime target for the USAAF, not only for its industrial importance, but because the Luftwaffe would be forced to defend it, suffering heavy losses in the process. 

The USAAF conducted its first major raid against Berlin on March 6, 1944—672 heavy bombers struck the city and 69 were shot down.  The USAAF returned two days later with 462 bombers escorted by 174 P-51s.

(Additional pictures coming soon)


This pilot was wounded so severely over Berlin that he was treated under his aircraft before being transported to a hospital.


Tragedy occurred when a lower formation drifted under a higher one on a bomb run over Berlin.  After losing part of its tail, this aircraft spun out of control—unable to bail out, the entire crew perished.


 

Bombs burst on the Brandenburg Arado aircraft plant in the Berlin area during an attack on August 4, 1944.


 

Pictured right after a Berlin mission, B-24 waist gunner SSgt Clarence Johnson shows the strain of combat.

 

Map used by Lt Col Allman Culbertson on the first major USAAF raid on Berlin on March 6, 1944.  The red line indicates the course of the bombers and the red circled areas indicated heavy concentrations of antiaircraft guns.

 

Goggles and RAF flying helmet worn by the Capt William H. Rector, a B-17 pilot in the 447th Bomb Group, on the USAAF’s first major raid against Berlin on March 6, 1944.

 


 

Related Fact Sheets

 

The Memphis Belle: American Icon and 25th Mission

Crippling the Nazi War Machine: USAAF Strategic Bombing in Europe

 

 

 

Return to the B-17F Memphis Belle Fact Sheet

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