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“Black Thursday” Schweinfurt Raid 78th Anniversary Remembrance


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In remembrance of the raid, I’ve post two of the lost airmen from that day.  In total, 590 Airmen were KIA, 43 WIA and 65 became POWs.  I’ve attached a short explanation of the air battle and information on both airmen.


2LT Toscha M. Massey was a Navigator in the 385BG, 545BS on B-17  42-3216 “The Joker” which was shot down enroute to Schweinfurt by Uffz Hans Ahrend of JG2/3, 30 KM South of Verdun. He is buried in Mountain Grove, Missouri.


S/SGT William Woodward was a Tail Gunner in the 92BF, 407BS on B-17 42-30726 which was shot down by Joachim Gutmann of JG26 near Wurburg, Germany.  (Dogtags belong to a relative in the pics)  He is buried in Lorraine American Cemetery, France  


RIP to those airmen lost. 


The formation of the 291 bombers that launched on Oct. 14 split into two groups to attack Schweinfurt’s ball bearing plants. Bad weather in England unraveled the Americans’ plan to mitigate German fighter resistance. After the American force entered Germany, it encountered the most intense German antiaircraft and aircraft resistance to date.  


Once the attack began, German defenses devastated the American bomber force. Most aircraft in the attacking force suffered some damage. Of the 291 B-17s in the attack force, 60 were lost, 17 were heavily damaged and most of the others incurred some damage, but were repairable. These losses amounted to 25 percent of the attacking force.

The attacking force suffered a 20 percent loss of aircrew, with 650 killed or taken prisoner, while many others were wounded.  Fittingly, the Americans named the day “Black Thursday.”


Furthermore, although the bomber crews reported heavy damage to the ball bearing plants, they were back in production within six weeks. The bombs had severally damaged the factory structures, but, in many cases, left the machine tools fairly untouched underneath the rubble. In addition, Germany made up the temporary decline in production with ball bearings from stockpiles and external sources. As a result, the German armaments industry suffered little disruption.

Massey PH engraving.jpg

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Massey Headstone.jpg

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Woodward PH info.JPG

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Excellent presentation and memorial.


I have a KIA group from the first Schweinfurt-Reggensburg raid so I appreciate what you’ve done here.


Who did the USMCR tags come from and how does it fit in?

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3 hours ago, kcmo said:

I haven't nailed down the relation to him and the tags yet.  Same last name so assuming a close relative. 

 Has to be someone from his fathers side if it is indeed part of the story at all.

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My cousin was on that mission in Brennan’s Circus. They lost an engine over the target to fighters and flew back at treetop level until fighters and flak took out two more engines. They ditched in the channel and all survived. Thanks for this presentation!

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