Several days after the awful bloodletting over Schweinfurt/Regensburg, 8th Air Force brass, determined to show the Luftwaffe that the Mighty Eighth wasn't beaten, attacked airfields in Holland. The 19 August 1943 strike, which most thought would be a milk run, was dogged by mistakes, inept leadership and weather. Dutch historian Ivo De Jong chronicles this snake-bit strike in MISSION 85, a 2013 Stackpole Books release.
The potential for disaster was in the making even before a single Mission 85 B-17 launched on 19 August. Because of recent severe losses, the formations included inexperienced crews and composite groups cobbled together from different bomb groups. Assembly was a disaster, some units returning to base after failing to form up. Diversionary strikes and fighter sweeps designed to aid the B-17s were ineffective. Fighters and flak downed five B-17s. Not only was bombing very poor but a number of Dutch civilians were killed as well.
De Jong, author of the superlative MISSION 376, does his usual thorough job of detailing every aspect of the 19 August mission, describing the planning, the mission as flown by the escort, bomber and Luftwaffe units, the experiences of Dutch civilians, POW accounts, etc. The book is well illustrated with dozens of photographs of Allied and Axis aircraft and crewmen, bomb strike pix, crash scenes, etc.
All in all, MISSION 85 is a comprehensive account of a Mighty Eighth mission gone bad. Recommended.