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Location: /Squadron Patches/Army Air Force Squadrons/AAF units #'d 300-399

WWII Patch, AAF, 303BG, 8AF Might In Flight - Hell's Angels

WWII Patch, AAF, 303BG, 8AF  Might In Flight - Hell's Angels

Product Information
WWII US Army Air Force Squadron Patch
US AAF
   303rd Bomb Group, 8 AFF
USAAF   303BG, 8AF
303rd Bombardment Group, Eighth AF
Might In Flight
Hell's Angels

4 5/8 x 5 3/8 inches
Bomb Bombing Bomber Bombardment Group


303rd Bombardment Group (H) "Hell's Angels".
The 303rd Bomb Group was an Eighth Air Force, B-17 Bomber Group stationed at Molesworth, England from 1942 to 1945. Their motto, Might in Flight, was earned on each of their record 364 combat missions.
During World War II, the group was one of the first VIII Bomber Command B-17 Flying Fortress units in England. The "Hell's Angels" were the first B-17 group to complete 25 combat missions in June 1943, going on to fly more than 300 combat missions, more than any other group. The 359th BS B-17F 41-24605 "Knock-out Dropper" was the first aircraft in Eighth Air Force to complete 50, then 75 missions. The 303d Bombardment Group is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was to the 303d Bombardment Wing, being stationed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona. It was inactivated on 16 June 1952. from wikipedia

History
The 303rd Bombardment Group (H) was constituted on 28 January 1942 at Savannah, Georgia, was activated at Pendleton Field, Pendleton, Oregon, on 3 February 1942, and received its initial staff and training at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho on 13 February 1942. Training for its combat missions took place at Alamogordo Air Base, New Mexico and Biggs Field, Texas. On 23 August 1942, the ground echelon moved to Fort Dix, New Jersey, to board the Queen Mary for overseas deployment. They arrived at Molesworth, England, on 9 September 1942. The air echelon arrived in late October and the stage was set for entrance into combat.

The 358th flew the first mission for the group on 17 November 1942. The group would become one of the legendary units of the Eighth Air Force. Initially missions were conducted against targets such as aerodromes, railways, and submarine pens in France until 1943, then flying missions into Germany itself.

The 303d took part in the first penetration into Germany by heavy bombers of Eighth Air Force by striking the U-boat yard at Wilhelmshaven on 27 January 1943 then attacked other targets such as the ball-bearing plants at Schweinfurt, shipbuilding yards at Bremen, a synthetic rubber plant at Huls, an aircraft engine factory at Hamburg, industrial areas of Frankfurt, an aerodrome at Villacoublay, and a marshalling yard at Le Mans.

The 303d received a Distinguished Unit Citation for an operation on 11 January 1944 when, in spite of continuous attacks by enemy fighters in weather that prevented effective fighter cover from reaching the group, it successfully struck an aircraft assembly plant at Oschersleben.

The group attacked gun emplacements and bridges in the Pas de Calais area during the invasion of Normandy in June 1944; bombed enemy troops to support the breakthrough at Saint-Lô in July 1944. It struck airfields, oil depots, and other targets during the Battle of the Bulge, and bombed military installations in the Wesel area to aid the Allied assault across the Rhine in March 1945.

The last mission for the 303d was flown on 25 April 1945 when it attacked an armament works in Pilsen. During its combat tour the group flew 364 missions comprising 10,271 sorties, dropped 26,346 tons of bombs and shot down 378 enemy aircraft with another 104 probables. The group also saw 817 of its men killed in action with another 754 becoming prisoners of war.

On 31 May 1945, the 303d Bomb Group left Molesworth, moving to Casablanca, French Morocco.


Thunderbird

B-17G Thunderbird #42-38050 (BN-U) and her original crew. Old reliable Thunderbird flew 112 bombing missions from Molesworth, England for the 303rd Bomb Group. The original Thunderbird Crew, piloted by Lt. Vern L. Moncur, was the first crew in the 303rd Bomb Group to complete their combat missions without anyone on board being injured. Lt Moncur's crew was the only crew ever assigned to Thunderbird as their primary aircraft. After Moncur's Crew finished their 28 mission combat tour, Thunderbird  became a "first mission ship," given to new crews to get them off to a good start--and a good start it was, as no regular crew member was ever injured on a Thunderbird mission.

Wulfe Hound
B-17F-27-BO 41-24585 8th AF / 303rd BG / 360th BS (PU-B / Wulfe Hound)
This B-17 was the first Flying Fortress to be studied by the Luftwaffe. she went MIA on the 12 December 1942 (303rd BG Mission #6) Target: Rouen / Sotteville, France - Railroad Marshalling yards (Pilot: 1Lt Paul F. Flickenger). Due to combat damage, Lt Flickenger mnade a wheels-up landing was made in a hayfield near Melun, France (60 miles S.E. of Paris) with the ball turret guns pointing downward - 8 of the crew were captured but 1Lt Gilbert T Showalter (Navigator) and 2Lt Jack E. Williams (co-pilot) were able to escape and evaded.

The Germans were able to transport the B-17 to the nearby Leeuwarden airfield in the Netherlands where repairs made and put in flyable condition. The damaged Ball Turret was never replaced. It was painted with German Insignia and side code DL+XC with yellow paint on the undersurfaces. It was carefully examined and tested at the Luftwaffe Test and Evaluation Center at Rechlin. Wulfe Hound was first flown by the Germans on 17 March 1943, followed by more testing and development of fighter tactics against B-17s. It was transferred to the Luftwaffe "Kampfgeschwader" KG200 Squadron at Rangesdforf, Germany on 11 September 1943. It then took part in training and highly secretive clandestine missions between May and June 1944.  On 20 April 1945 this aircraft was caught in an allied air-raid on Oranienburg Airfield and was partially destroyed.
In 2000, the Germany government started redeveloping this former airfield and part of Wulfe Hound were recovered and placed on display at Sachsenhausen Memorial Store
.

Lineage
    * Constituted as 303d Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 28 January 1942
    Activated on 3 February 1942
    Inactivated on 25 July 1945.


Assignments

    * II Bomber Command, 3 February 1942
    * 1st Bombardment Wing, 10 sep 1942
         Attached to: 102d Provisional Combat Bombardment Wing, February 1943
         Attached to: 103d Provisional Combat Bombardment Wing, May 1943
    * 41st Combat Bombardment Wing, 13 September 1943-11 June 1945
    * European Air Materiel Command, 11 June-25 July 1945


Components
    * 31st Reconnaissance Squadron, 3 February-16 March 1942
    * 358th Bombardment Squadron (VK), 3 February 1942-25 July 1945
    * 359th Bombardment Squadron (BN), 3 February 1942-25 July 1945
    * 360th Bombardment Squadron (PU), 3 February 1942-25 July 1945
    * 427th Bombardment Squadron (GN), 13 March 1942-25 July 1945


Stations
    * Pendleton Field, Oregon, 3 February 1942
    * Gowen Field, Idaho, 11 February 1942
    * Alamogordo Army Airfield, New Mexico, 17 June 1942
    * Biggs Field, Texas, 7-23 August 1942
    * RAF Molesworth (USAAF Station 107), England, 12 September 1942
    * Casablanca Airfield, French Morocco, C. 31 May-25 July 1945
    * Andrews Field, Maryland, 4 July 1947-6 September 1948


Aircraft assigned
    * B-17 Flying Fortress, 1942–1945
    * B-29 Superfortress, 1947–1948

Price: $145.00


Product Code: PatchAAF.0303.303BG
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