14 October 1943: “Black Thursday”

B-17 Flying Fortresses attack Schweinfurt, Germany, 1943. (U.S. Air Force)

14 October 1943: A large force of 8th Air Force heavy bombers and escorting fighters attack the ball bearing factories at Schweinfurt, Germany, for the second time. Five bombardment groups sent 291 B-17 Flying Fortress four-engine heavy bombers on the raid.

A B-17F Flying Fortress going down over Europe. The left outboard engine is on fire and the right wing has been shot off. There are ten men in this airplane. (U.S. Air Force)

60 B-17s were shot down by German fighters or anti-aircraft artillery (“flak”). Another 17 were so heavily damaged that they crashed on landing back at their bases, or were so severely damaged that they were beyond repair. 121 B-17s received lesser damage. 594 crewmen were listed as Missing In Action (presumably Killed In Action). 65 men were captured and held as Prisoners of War. Of the bombers that returned to England 5 crewmen were killed and 43 were wounded. B-17 gunners shot down 35 to 38 Messerschmitt Bf 109s and Focke-Wulk Fw 190s. Another 20 fighters were damaged.

A B-17G Flying Fortress with its bomb bay doors open. (U.S. Air Force)

© 2015, Bryan R. Swopes

Share this article:

6 thoughts on “14 October 1943: “Black Thursday”

  1. Bryan, reading your blog has become a regular part of my day!

    For an in depth account of this raid and life in the Mighty 8th, read “Black Thursday” by Martin Caiden. It’s quite a story.

    Thanks for the work you do on all your pieces.

  2. Another good source on this raid are the audiobooks Bomber Mafia and Masters of the Air.

  3. I agree with Joe – it’s “Black Thursday”, October 14, 1943. I was a member of their reunion organization in the i980’s and I’m looking at their pin which is a black cross
    with “Black Thursday” on it.
    You sir are reaching famed British Aviation Historian William Green in my humble
    Great work!

  4. I am writing a book called Angels of the Eighth and the October raid in 1943 I have found 68 planes that were lost and I will put how many were KIA-wounded-POWs- who survived I have all the names.

Comments are closed.