B-17 heroes south pacific

October 9, 1942: Lille

On October 9, 1942, the 1st Bomb Wing of the United States’ Eighth Air Force conducted a bombing mission against the steel and engineering works at Lille, France.

Codenamed “Mission 18”, it set several precedents for future airborne campaigns and marked a vital turning point for the American Armed Forces.

The impetus for the mission was the strategic need to disrupt German logistics and manufacturing capabilities.

Lille, a major industrial city, was an optimal target with its steel and engineering works playing a vital role in supporting the German war machine.

Under the command of Brigadier General Newton Longfellow, 108 American B-17 Flying Fortress bombers were dispatched on this mission.

This marked the first occasion where over a hundred bombers were designated for a single mission, marking an escalation in the U.S. air strategy.

Internal issues, however, hampered the mission’s execution, as only 84 aircraft actually reached the target due to operational difficulties and poor weather. Despite this, a significant amount of damage was inflicted on the target.

A total of 24 planes from the 301st Bombardment Group and the 306th Bombardment Group unloads 60 tons of bombs in the area, hitting key installations and disrupting operations for an extended period at considerable cost.

However, the mission was not without its costs, as Luftwaffe fighters and anti-aircraft defenses were able to inflict casualties upon the American bomber formations. As a result of the mission, 2 bombers were lost, and a number of others received varying degrees of damage.

These losses underscored the need for long-range fighter escorts, a lesson which would resonate throughout the remainder of the war.


The mission demonstrated a commitment and determination by United States military forces and set the stage for more frequent and increasingly larger-scale bombing operations over the remainder of World War II.


It also underscored the cruel reality of the air war over Europe with heavy casualties on both sides and significant collateral damage.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts

B-17 heroes AI image

6 Years ago in Dayton…

  I remember quite vividly going into the National Museum of The US Air Force for the first time. A very special day, May 17th 2018. I was taken aback by the gigantic hangar. Since it was the grand opening of the restored Memphis Belle exhibit, there were a lot of people.   My first impression upon seeing the B-17

B-17 heroes ball turret

Everything you need to know about the Ball Turret

… And a controversy. The Sperry ball turret, was a key defensive feature of the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bomber during World War II. Here are some important aspects of the ball turret:   Location: The ball turret was positioned on the underside of the B-17’s fuselage, near the waist of the aircraft.   Design: It was a spherical,

B-17 heroes photos

Meet B-17 Navigator Bill Rosnyai. B-17 hero who flew 35 missions in Europe

This is a report by Cynthia Canty on Bill Rosnyai. Bill enrolled when he was 18 in Detroit.   Listen to this great American Hero who said he couldn’t imagine an 18-year-old today getting in a plane like the B-17 today.   He found Masters of The Air’s aerial combat realistic and painful.   Thank you for your service Bill

y1-b17 - b-17 heroes.com

January 11 1937 – The YB-17 36-149 is flown to Wright field, Dayton for testing

On December 2, 1936, the first Boeing YB-17 bomber, U.S. Army Air Corps serial number 36-149, made its maiden flight.   This followed the crash of the original Boeing Model 299 prototype on October 30, 1935. Despite this setback, the Army had ordered 13 YB-17s for service testing, designated Y1B-17 and serial numbers 36-149 through 36-161. Prior to first flight,

b-17 heroes memphis belle 2022 pic

December 6th 1942: Bombing Mission of El Aouina Airfield

On December 6th 1942, a significant B-17 bombing mission targeted El Aouina Airfield during World War II.   The mission involved B-17 Flying Fortress bombers escorted by P-38s.   The objective was to strike strategic targets and disrupt enemy operations. The mission aimed to degrade enemy facilities and hinder their military capabilities. El Aouina Airfield was a strategic target, and