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VIII Fighter Command FO-168 BOMBER ESCORT

3 November 1943

Official description

Not yet known

Description

This mission is composed of two fighter elements. The first element is a force of 45 P-38s from 55FG despatched to provide escort, to and from the target, of B-17 bomber formations attacking at Wilhelmshaven, Germany. There are NO losses and the fighters claim 3-5-5 of attacking German fighters.

The second element is a combined force of 333 P-47s from 4FG; 56FG; 78FG; 352FG; 353FG; 355FG; and 356FG despatched to provide penetration and withdrawal escort to B-17 formations attacking at Wilhelmshaven, Germany. 2 airfcraft Failed to Return (FTR) 2KIA and 1 is Damaged Beyond Repair (DBR) after crashing shortly after take-off 1RTD. This force claims 11-0-2 of attacking German aircraft.

Mission details

1. WILHELMSHAVEN

Description

FIGHTER ESCORT

Aircraft type

P-38 Lightning

Notes

Not yet known

Units

  • 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 45
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Fighter Command 3
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Fighter Command 5
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 5

2. WILHELMSHAVEN

Description

FIGHTER ESCORT

Aircraft type

P-47 Thunderbolt

Notes

A despatch of 378 fighters, with 45 P-38 providing longer range makes a real difference in heavy bomber casualties, with only 7 Missing in Action (MIA) bombers out of 566 despatched. Perhaps the remainder of 1943 will not be such a blood bath for the bomber crews.

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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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. It flew all three of the USAAF's principal fighters. On D-Day every available Thunderbolt provided air cover to the Allied...

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 333
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 2
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 1
Number of aircraft Damaged 5
Number of people Killed In Action 2
Number of people Wounded in Action 1
Number of people Returned To Duty 1
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Fighter Command 11
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 2

Service

People

  • Frank Gallion

    Military | Flight Officer | Fighter Pilot | 4th Fighter Group
    On 17-Sept-43 he was involved in an accident in P-47 41-6329. ...

  • Ivan Moon

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 4th Fighter Group
    Killed in Action (KIA) on 3-Nov-43 as pilot of P-47C 41-6587 [QP:M], 4FG/334FS when his aircraft was attacked and shot down by German fighters over Holland while on a mission to escort B-17 bomber attacking at Wilhelmshaven, Germany. The flight took...

Aircraft

  • 41-6587

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    P-47C-5-RE 41-6587 was assigned to the 4FG/334FS at Debden UK. On 3-Nov-43 the aircraft, piloted by 1LT Ivan R. Moon, took off from Halesworth as a more forward location and was despatched with other fighters from 4FG to provide escort to B-17s...

  • 42-7924

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    P-47D-1-RE 42-7984 was assigned to the 4FG/334FS at Debden, UK. On 3-Nov-43 the aircraft, piloted by F/O Frank D. Gallion, had been relocated to Halesworth, UK as a more forward base for despatch on this mission to escort B-17 bombers attacking at...

  • 42-8471 'Squint'

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    Assigned to 82FS, 78FG, 8AF USAAF. Personal aircraft of 1st Lt Robert L Baker. Transferred to 359FS, 356FG, 8AF USAAF. Personal aircraft of Lt James A Wyatt. Re-assigned to Lt John H Cline.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
08 July 2015 20:13:27 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 8-Jul-2015. Added fighter claims against enemy aircraft to statistics of 333 P-47s per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
08 July 2015 20:10:53 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 8-Jul-2015. Added fighter claims to statistics of 45 P-38s from 55FG per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman

Date Contributor Update
08 July 2015 20:08:47 Lee8thbuff Changes to name and description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 8-Jul-2015. Added Mission Narrative based on "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:43:20 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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