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VIII Fighter Command FO-170 BOMBER ESCORT

5 November 1943

Official description

Not yet known

Description

THis mission is composed of two fighter elements. The forst element is a force of 47 P-38s from 55FG despatched to provide escort to the B-17 formations attacking at Gelsenkirchen. While not as nimble as the German fighters, the four .50cal nose-mounted machine guns (later supplemented with a 20mm nose-mounted cannon) and a speed of 413mph in level flight could cut up the fuselage of a German fighter like a "buzz saw." There wer no losses in the element and the fighters claim 5-2-2 of attacking German fighters.

The second element is a force of 336 P-47s from 4FG; 56FG; 78FG; 352FG; 353FG; 355FG and 356FG despatched to provide penetration and withdrawl exsot for B-17s attacking at Gelsenkirchen. 4 aircaft Failed to Return (FTR) 2KIA 2POW and 1 ran out of gas and belly landed at Bodney, UK. Originally reported as Damaged Beyond Repair (DBR) it WAS eventually repaiored and returned to service. 1RTD. This fighters in this element claim 13-4-1 of attacking German fighters.

Mission details

1. GELSENKIRCHEN

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 47
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Fighter Command 5
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Fighter Command 2
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 2

2. GELSENKIRCHEN

Description

FIGHTER ESCORT

Aircraft type

P-47 Thunderbolt

Notes

Fighter escorts for the B-17s only on the Gelsenkirchen raid.

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 366
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 4
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 1
Number of people Killed In Action 2
Number of people Prisoners of War 2
Number of people Returned To Duty 1
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Fighter Command 13
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Fighter Command 4
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 1

Service

People

  • Eugene Barnum

    Military | Captain | Fighter Pilot | 56th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 61FS, 56FG, 8AF USAAF. Completed one tour of duty, returning for a second tour. Credited with two aerial kills. Failed to Return (FTR) ramrod to Bingen in P-47 44-19739, positioning himself for a deflection shot on a Bf109, 2nd Lt Wyman A...

  • Clark Collins

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 355th Fighter Group
    Killed in Action (KIA) on 5-Nov-43 as the pilot of P-47D 42-8406 [OS:T] "Eager Eve", 355FG/357FS when his aircraft was attacked by German fighters while escorting B-17s on withdrawl from bombing at Gelsenkirchen, Germany. The aircraft crashed into the...

  • Orville Kincade

    Military | Captain | Pilot | 353rd Fighter Group
    On November 5, 1943 in P-47C 41-6583 [YJ:K], "Alyce", 353FG/351FS his aircraft was shot down by German fighters while escorting B-17s from 3rd BD that were attacking Gelsenkirchen, Germany. He baled out and was captured as a POW and spent months in...

  • Benedict Kraft

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 353rd Fighter Group
    On 5-Nov-43 as pilot of P-47D 42-8428 "Pat" 353FG/351FS 1LT Benedict E. Kraft was despatched with his fighter group to provide escort to B-17 bombers of 3rd Bomb Division attacking at Gelsenkirchen, Germany. On the withdrawl of those forces from the...

  • Robert Newman

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 353rd Fighter Group
    Killed in Action (KIA) on 5-Nov-43 as pilot of P-47D 42-7907, 353FG/350FS while on a mission to escort B-17 bombers attacking at Gelsenkirchen, Germany when his aircraft was shot down by German fighters and crashed at Wijer, Belgium. 1KIA MACR 1447.

Aircraft

  • 41-6583 Alyce

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    P47C-5-RE 41-6583 [YJ:K] "Alyce" was assigned to the 353FG/351FS at Metfield, UK. On 5-Nov-43 the aircraft, piloted by CPT Orville A. Kincade was despatched with others from the 353FG to provide escort to the B-17 formations of 3rd Bomb Division...

  • 42-7907

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    P-47D-1-RE 42-7907 was assigned to the 353FG/350FS at Metfield, UK. On 5-Nov-43 the aircraft, piloted by 1LT Robert Newman, was despatched with otheres from the 353FG to proivde escort to B-17 formations of 3rd Bomb Division that were attacking at...

  • 42-8406 Eager Eve

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    P-47D-5-RE 42-8406 [QS:T] "Eager Eve", was assigned to 355FG/357FS at Steeple Morden, UK. On 5-Nov-43 the aircraft, piloted by 1LT Clark Collins, was despatched with his fighter group to provide escort for B-17s attacking at Gelsenkirchen, Germany. On...

  • 42-8428 Pat

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    P-47D-5-RE 42-8428 [VJ:Q] "Pat" was assigned to 353FG/351FS at Metfield, UK. On 5-Nov-43 the aircraft, piloted by 1LT Benedict E. Kraft, was despatched with others from the 353FG to provide escort for B-17 formations of 3rd Bomb Division attacking at...

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
08 July 2015 23:02:15 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

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

Date Contributor Update
08 July 2015 23:01:28 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 8-Jul-2015. Added fighter claims on enemy aircraft to P-38element statistics per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
08 July 2015 23:00:00 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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