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8th Air Force FO 277 BOMBER ESCORT

22 March 1944

Official description

Not yet known

Description

A combined force of 540 fighters of types: P-38; P-47 and P-51 are despatched to escort heave bombers attacking ad Berlin and surrounding areas. 275 of these aircraft are contributed by IX Fighter Command units. Despatch summary follows:

A combined force of 125 P-38s from: 20FG; 55FG and 364FG are despatched. 3 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) - 1KIA 2POW. 7 aircraft are damaged. There are no other losses, casualties or claims.

A combined force of 496 P-47s are despatched. 8th Air Force: 56FG; 78FG; 352FG; 353FG; 356FG; 359FG; and 361FG. These are joined by IX Fighter Command: 358FG and 368FG. 5 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR), all in 8th Air Force units - 4 KIA 1 POW. 1 aircraft is Damaged Beyond Repair (DBR) in a crash on take off - 1 RTD. 9 aircraft are damaged. 1 airman in a returing aircraft is WIA. The fighters in this element claim 1-0-0 of German aircraft on the ground. There are no other losses, casualties or claims.

A combined force of 196 P-51s are despatched. 8th Air Force: 4FG; 355FG and 357FG. These are joined by IX Fighter Command: 354FG and 363FG. 4 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) - 1KIKA 3POW. 1 aircraft is Damaged Beyond Repair (DBR) in a crash landing upoin return - 1RTD. There are no other losses, casualties or claims.

Mission details

1. BERLIN

Description

FIGHTER ESCORT

Aircraft type

P-38 Lightning

Notes

Not yet known

Units

  • 20th Fighter Group

    20th Fighter Group

    Group
    In August 1943, the 20th Fighter Group arrived in Clyde, Scotland, before travelling to Kings Cliffe, Northamptonshire, which was to be their base for the rest of the war. The Group flew 312 missions before their last mission on 25 April 1945. The...

  • 364th Fighter Group

    364th Fighter Group

    Group
    The 364th Fighter Group flew 342 missions in P-38 Lightnings and P-51 Mustangs from Honington, Suffolk. The missions ranged from escorting bombers and dive-bombing and strafing targets to area patrol missions across a swathe of land that took in France...

  • 55th Fighter Group

    55th Fighter Group

    Group
    The 55th Fighter Group were the first P-38 Lightning Group to go fully operational from England. The pilots flew long-range escort missions for bombers flying over occupied Europe and racked up 'kills' of their own by destroying enemy aircraft in...

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 125
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 4
Number of people Killed In Action 1
Number of people Prisoners of War 2
Number of people Returned To Duty 1

2. BERLIN

Description

FIGHTER ESCORT

Aircraft type

P-47 Thunderbolt

Notes

358th Fighter Group, 362nd Fighter Group and 368Fighter Group from IX Fighter Command contribute and undetermined number of P-47s to the escort, number included in total despatched. Claims ar 1-0-0 of German aircraft on the ground.

Units

  • 352nd Fighter Group

    352nd Fighter Group

    Group
    The 352nd Fighter Group were based at Bodney, Norfolk from July 1943 until November 1945 but in the winter months of 1944/1945 detachments moved to bases in Belgium to provide extra air support to ground forces during the Battle of the Bulge and to...

  • 353rd Fighter Group

    353rd Fighter Group

    Group
    The 353rd Fighter Group was assigned to the Eighth Air Force on 7 June 1943. The group flew P-47 Thunderbolts, and from October 1944, P-51 Mustangs, as escorts for bombing missions across occupied Europe and to strafe targets on the ground. Tactical...

  • 356th Fighter Group

    356th Fighter Group

    Group
    The 356th Fighter Group flew 413 missions between 15 October 1943 and 7 May 1945 and suffered the highest ratio of losses to enemy aircraft claims of any Eighth Air Force Group. This gave the Group the reputation of being the 'hard luck' outfit. The...

  • 359th Fighter Group

    359th Fighter Group

    Group
    The 359th Fighter Group flew 346 missions from East Wretham between December 1943 and April 1945. In the main these missions were escorting bombers flying over occupied Europe. The Group, soon after converting from Thunderbolts to Mustangs, were...

  • 361st Fighter Group

    361st Fighter Group

    Group
    The 361st Fighter Group was the last P-47 Thunderbolt Group to join the Eighth Air Force. Between 21 January 1944 and 20 April 1945, the Group flew 441 missions, the majority in an escort role in support of bombers flying over occupied Europe. The...

  • 362nd Fighter Group

    362nd Fighter Group

    Group
    The Group trained in P-47s and moved to England in November 1943. Arriving earlier than many other Ninth Air Force fighter groups, the pilots main occupation was escort work for heavy bombers. The Group's first mission on 8 February 1944 was one...

  • 368th Fighter Group

    368th Fighter Group

    Group
    The 368th Fighter Group flew P-47s in combat from England from March 1944. In the days after D-Day the Group supported Allied ground troops fighting in the Cherbourg penisula and then around St. Lo. The Group received a DUC for flying seven missions in...

  • 56th Fighter Group

    56th Fighter Group

    Group
    Flying P-47 Thunderbolts throughout their time stationed in England, the Group, known as "the Wolfpack", had more ace pilots than any other Eighth Air Force Fighter Group. The 56th Fighter Group also destroyed more enemy aircraft in air combat than any...

  • 78th Fighter Group

    78th Fighter Group

    Group
    The 78th Fighter Group was initially based at Goxhill but moved to Duxford in April 1943 and stayed there until October 1945. The 78th FG flew each of the three US built principal fighters of the AAF in the ETO. In their Thundetbolts, the 78th FG ...

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 496
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 5
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 1
Number of aircraft Damaged 9
Number of people Killed In Action 4
Number of people Prisoners of War 1
Number of people Returned To Duty 1
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Fighter Command 1

3. BERLIN

Description

FIGHTER ESCORT

Aircraft type

P-51 Mustang

Notes

354th Fighter Group and 363rd Fighter Group from IX Fighter Command contribute an undetermined number of P-51s to the escort, number is included in total despatched.

Units

  • 354th Fighter Group

    354th Fighter Group

    Group
    The Group moved to England in the autumn of 1943 and was assigned to the Ninth Air Force in December 1943. The Group were the first to fly P-51 Mustangs operationally and in their bomber escort missions pushed to find the long-range limits of the...

  • 355th Fighter Group

    355th Fighter Group

    Group
    Where the 353rd Fighter Group had pioneered ground strafing techniques, it was the 355th Fighter Group who destroyed more enemy aircraft by ground strafing than any other Eighth Air Force Group. Based at Steeple Morden from July 1943 to July 1945, the...

  • 357th Fighter Group

    357th Fighter Group

    Group
    The 357th Fighter Group was the first P-51 Mustang Group in the Eighth Air Force, training with them from November 1943 at Raydon, England and entering combat with them in the February of the following year from their new base at Leiston. The Group was...

  • 363rd Fighter Group

    363rd Fighter Group

    Group
    Equipped with P-51s, the Group entered combat from England in February 1944, flying bomber escort and ground-strafing missions. They took part in the invasion of Normandy, protecting gliders and troop carriers on 6 and 7 June. In September 1944, now...

  • 4th Fighter Group

    4th Fighter Group

    Group
    Some of the pilots of the 4th Fighter Group had seen many hours of combat by the time they joined the 4th Fighter Group as they had volunteered with the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Air Force. The three 'Eagle Squadrons' of RAF Fighter...

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 196
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 4
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 1
Number of people Killed In Action 1
Number of people Prisoners of War 3

Service

People

  • James Bates

    Military | Staff Sergeant (3rd Grade) | Waist Gunner | 466th Bomb Group

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
03 March 2016 17:33:57 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 3-May-2016. Made connections to IX FC units and added statistics to P-51 element based on "the Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman and "Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces", Stan Bishop & John A. Hey MBE.

Date Contributor Update
03 March 2016 17:30:05 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 3-May-2016. Made connection to IX FC units and added claims on enemy aircraft to P-47 element statistics based on "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman and MACRS.

Date Contributor Update
03 March 2016 17:26:19 Lee8thbuff Changes to name and description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 3-May-2016. Added Mission Narrative based on "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman and "Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces", Stan Bishop & John A. Hey MBE.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:43:14 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Lee Cunningham, 8th Air Force missions research database / Stan Bishop's 'Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces', the Combat Chronology of the US Army Air Forces and the work of Roger Freeman including the 'Mighty Eighth War Diary'.

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