B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies Lille Fives

The attack on Lille-Fives on October 9th, 1942. 108 B-17 was send to this missions, a number which was reached for the first time the six months later again at an individual attack. The B-17s belonged mainly of 97th BG and 301st BG, which already had some fight experience, but also to the 92nd, 306th and 93rd BG. It primarily was B-17 but at this cause some B-24 Liberator also experienced her baptism of fire; these 24 machines belonged to 93rd BG and got fighter escorts of numerous RAFs fighters as well as of three P-38 squadrons of the 1st FG. Despite all effort, the mission not really a great success: The new bomber groups suffered from education defects, many bombs fell outside the target area to the districts thick built of Lille in which numerous civilian victims had to be lamented. Four bombers lost, two over France and two further over the Channel, under this one B-24.


Nevertheless the air raid was judged to be success on the allied side, what he hardly was. The exaggerated reports of success of the board gunners were a reason: They claimed to have shot down 56 German fighters, to this 26 presumed shootings and 20 enemy machines damaged. Since a German fighter squadron contained about 100 aircraft altogether, this would have meant the complete end deletion of the JG 26, pays for loss of only 4 own bombers with this! The experienced brits immediately recognized this as fantasies, too and made fun of her allies who a little then made the numbers go down for the official report, too of hearts: 21 shootings, 21 presumed shootings, 15 enemy fighters damaged. The German places indicated the losses with 2 German fighters!

It is still mentioned that the B-17 could put her ruggedness at a collision under proof via Dunkerque: The propeller of the machine of Lt. Wiley #41-9051 collided with the B-17 #41-9020 of Lt. Dempsy, the rudder and a part of the rudder assembly broke off in which two engines failed to Lt. Wiley’s machine at the same time. Despite the heavy damages both aircraft could make a forced landing in England.