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VIII Fighter Command FO-196 BOMBER ESCORT

5 December 1943

Official description

Not yet known

Description

This is the FIRST use of the P-51 Mustang to escort bombers. 36 are despatched from 9th Air Force, 354th Fighter Group (under 8th AF control). There are no losses or claims in this element.

A force of 34 P-38s from 55FG (included some from 20FG/55FS) are despatched to provide escort to bombers attacking German airfields near Paris,France. 1 aircraft of 56FG Failed to Return (FTR) 1POW. There are no claims on enemy fighters.

A combined force of 266 P-47s from 4FG; 56FG; 78FG; 352FG; 353FG; 355FG, and 356FG are despatched to provide escort for bombers attacking German airfields in France. There are no losses or claims in this element.

Mission details

1. COGNAC / LA ROCHELLE / BORDEAUX

Description

FIGHTER ESCORT

Aircraft type

P-38 Lightning

Notes

345th Fighter Group (IX Fighter Command) despatches 36 P-51s with the bomber escort. This is the first use of the P-51 as a bomber escort under VIII Fighter Command. (9th Air Force totals not included in totals).

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...

  • 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 34

2. BORDEAUX / COGNAC / LA ROCHELLE

Description

FIGHTER ESCORT

Aircraft type

P-47 Thunderbolt

Notes

Not yet known

Units

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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. 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 266
Number of aircraft Effective 1
Number of people Prisoners of War 1

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
23 July 2015 19:52:44 Lee8thbuff Changes to name and description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 23-Jun-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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