JF Ptak Science Books Post 2580
The U.S. bombing raid on Schweinfurt--the location of a German ball bearings complex--on October 14, 1943, was the most devastating loss of life and aircraft suffered by the USAAF to that time. In the week prior to the Schweinfurt raid there were already enormous losses, more than 90 B-27s lost in three missions. Of the 351 B-17s that started the mission on the 14th only 228 actually made it to the target--some dropping out of formation and some being shot down--at the end of it all some 60 planes came down over Europe, 5 over England, and another 17 were damaged beyond repair. Bombs were delivered to the target, though without great success, the factory being up and running again after a few weeks. It was a disaster.
The Nazis working no doubt through the Vichy regime in France produced a quick little pamphlet on the raid, Les Cercueils Volants de l'Amerique, a play on words, working the "Flying Fortress" into the "Flying Coffins". In 1943 the Lutftwaffe was still formidable, though that would not last for much longer, the Allies gaining more-or-less uncontested control of the skies by Overlord, though with Schweinfurt (which translates to "Pig Crossing" or Pig Ford" or something along those lines) more than 300 were sent aloft. In any event the Nazis sought to make good use of the disaster for their French readers.
There are a number of pictures at the centerfold depicting dead and maimed U.S. fliers, and a lot of words about how much it will take to replace the aircraft, and the crews, and the bombs that were "wasted", and so on. And that the German resistance to Allied bombing raids were making inroads and will eventually save the day. They were wrong of course, what with the astonishing industrial base in the U.S., and the state of the dying Nazi war machine. (After everything was said and done, Schweinfurt was bombed 22 times during the war, receiving something like 590,000 bombs; there seems to have been no real effect on the important production of ball bearings, and for whatever reason the German military seems not to have been in desperate need of them at any point. The town of course was decimated, and a thousand or so civilians were killed, but ball bearing production seems to have not been affected, overly.) It is a nasty little pamphlet. [Evidently this is a rare work--only one copy is located in WorldCat, at the Bibliotheque de Documentation Internationale Contemporaine Nanterre. I should probably reproduce the whole thing right here, but some of the images are pretty disturbing...maybe I'll do it later.]
Also: the page at upper right claims different numbers of planes shot down (121) as well as aviators killed (1300) but that is the job of propaganda. That, or they just got it wrong. The reports from the gunners on the B-17s recorded many times the number of Luftwaffe planes shot down than actually were--this could be due to several/many gunners shooting the same plane, and so on.
Years ago on this blog I wrote a short piece on the bombing of Great Britain as reported in the Illustrirte Zeitung--it is worth a look. http://longstreet.typepad.com/thesciencebookstore/2008/03/bombing-england.html