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VIII Fighter Command FO-211 BOMBER ESCORT

31 December 1943

Official description

Not yet known

Description

This is the last fighter operation of 1943. It is composed of three elements despatched to escort bomber formations attacking German airfield in France. The first element is a forc of 74 P-38s from 20FG and 55FG. 2 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR)1POW 1RTD (rescued by ASR). 1 aircraft caught fire over Woonewton, UK and crashed killing the pilot 1KOM. 1 aircraft was damaged. This fighter element calimed 3-0-1 of attacking German aircraft.

The second element was a froce of 441 P-47s from 4GH; 56FG; 78FG; 352FG; 353FG; 355FG; 358FG; and 359FG. 2 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) 1KIA 1RTD (baled out over Isle of Wight) 1 aircraft ditched into the English Channel 1RTD (rescued by ASR). 2 airfcraft crashed upon return in England, pilots OK 2RTD. 4 aircraft were forced to ditch in the English Channel when their aircrafts ran our of fuel 4RTD (rescued by ASR). 3 airmen in returning aircraft were WIA. The fighters of this element claim 6-1-0 of attacking German fighters.

The third element is a force of 33 P-51s from 354FG (9th Air Force). Roger A. Freeman shows one aircraft MIA, but this loss could not be confirmed. The fighters in this element claim 2-0-0 of attacking German aircraft.

Mission details

1. BORDEUX-PARIS

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...

  • 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 74
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 1
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 2
Number of people Killed In Action 1
Number of people Prisoners of War 1
Number of people Returned To Duty 1
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Fighter Command 3
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 1

2. BORDEUX-PARIS

Description

FIGHTER ESCORT

Aircraft type

P-47 Thunderbolt

Notes

Fighter escort for raids on Bordeaux through Paris above. 358th Fighter Group despatch runs low on fuel on return and has 6 aircraft crash-land at various stations in England, 3WIA. 354th Fighter Group IX Fighter Command contributes 33 P-51s to the escort. (Statistics not included in totals).

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...

  • 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...

  • 358th Fighter Group

    358th Fighter Group

    Group
    The 358th Fighter Group flew seventeen missions with the Eighth Air Force from Leiston air base. At the beginning of February 1944 the Group were transferred to the Ninth Air Force in exchange for the 357th Fighter Group. With the Ninth, the Group went...

  • 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...

  • 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 441
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 2
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 6
Number of people Killed In Action 1
Number of people Wounded in Action 3
Number of people Returned To Duty 7
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Fighter Command 4
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Fighter Command 1

3. Paris, France

Description

Escorting bombers to Paris. 354FG (9th Air Force) operating under VIII Fighter Command control

Aircraft type

P-51 Mustang

Notes

Not yet known

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...

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 33
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Fighter Command 2

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...

  • Robert Fautt

    Military | Captain | Fighter Pilot | 358th Fighter Group
    Bobby Fautt was born in Bryson, Tennessee, on October 29, 1917, the son of Linda Stevenson and Robert H. Fautt, Sr. Early recognized as an outstanding boy in the community, Bob made legions of friends and served his community well as a Boy Scout,...

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
28 July 2015 21:19:52 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 28-Jul-2015. Added fighter claims on enemy aircraft to P-38 element per "The Mighty Eight War Diary", Roger A, Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
28 July 2015 21:18:37 Lee8thbuff Created event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 28-Jul-2015. Added NEW mission event from 354FG (9th AF) per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
28 July 2015 21:14:05 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 28-Jul-2015. Added fighter claims to P-47 element statistics per "The Mighty Eight War Diary", Roger A, Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
28 July 2015 21:13:08 Lee8thbuff Changes to name and description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 28-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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