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VIII Fighter Command FO 213 BOMBER ESCORT

5 January 1944

Official description

Not yet known

Description

This is a VIII Fighter Command operation of the despatch of fighter elements to escort bombers attacking targets in Germany and France. The operation consists of four elements. The first element is a despatch of 70 P-38s from 20FG and 55FG. These are also joined by a despatch of 41 P-51s from IX Fighter Command 354FG. This combined formation is assigned escort of bombers attacking at Kiel, Germany (Statistics for VIII FC and IX FC are detailed separately). 20FG sustains 3 aircraft MIA - 2KIA 1POW; 55FG sustains 4 aircraft MIA - 3KIA 1POW. The VIII FC fighters in this element claim 6-1-3 of attacking German fighters, those of IX FC claim 16-0-5 of attacking German fighters. The IX FC despatch has no losses or damage.

The second fighter element is a force of 76 P-47s from 78FG A & B despatched to escort bombers attacking the German airfield of Merignac at Bordeaux, France. 5 aircraft in this element are MIA - 3KIA 2POW and 1 aircraft with battle damage makes a crash landing at Ford Airfield, the aircraft is DBR but the pilot is OK - 1RTD. 1 other aircraft is damaged. This fighter element claims 2-0-1 of attcking German aircraft.

The third figther element is a combined force of 149 P-47s from 4FG and 352FG despatched to provide escort to bombers attacking the German airfield at Tours, France. This element sustaines no losses, but 1 aircraft despatched as a spare was ordered to RTB. Pilot got lost and attempted a landing at RAF Biggin Hill, but hit hard and blew a tire and damaged left landing gear. Took off and returned to Stepple Morden and made a belly-landing in the grass. 1RTD. 1 other aircrat is damaged. The fighters in this element claim 3-0-1 of attacking German fighters.

The fourth element is a combined force of 243 P-47s from 56FG; 353FG; 358FG; and 359FG despatched to provide escort to the bomber formations attacking at Elberfeld, Germany. The target is obscured by clouds, so thee bomber force attacks targets of opportunity. There are no losses in this element, but 1 aircraft is damaged. The fighters claim 6-1-0 of attacking German fighters.

Mission details

1. BORDEAUX

Description

FIGHTER ESCORT

Aircraft type

P-47 Thunderbolt

Notes

Fighter escort for raid on Bordeaux.

Units

  • 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 76
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 5
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 1
Number of people Killed In Action 3
Number of people Evaded 2
Number of people Returned To Duty 1
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Fighter Command 2
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 1

2. ELBERSFELD

Description

FIGHTER ESCORT

Aircraft type

P-47 Thunderbolt

Notes

Fighter escort for mission to Elberfeld, Germany, bombers bomb Targets of Opportunity

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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 243
Number of aircraft Damaged 1
Number of people Returned To Duty 1
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Fighter Command 6
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Fighter Command 1

3. KIEL

Description

FIGHTER ESCORT

Aircraft type

P-38 Lightning

Notes

VIII Fighter Command despatch of 70 P-38 fighters from 20FG & 55FG to escort bombers on mission to bomb the port facilities and industrial areas of Kiel, Germany.

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 70
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 7
Number of people Killed In Action 5
Number of people Prisoners of War 2
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Fighter Command 6
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Fighter Command 1
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 3

4. TOURS

Description

FIGHTER ESCORT

Aircraft type

P-47 Thunderbolt

Notes

Fighter escort for raid on Tours.

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...

  • 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 149
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 1
Number of aircraft Damaged 1
Number of people Returned To Duty 2
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Fighter Command 3
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 1

5. Kiel, Germany

Description

BOMBER ESCORT

Aircraft type

P-51 Mustang

Notes

IX Fighter Command contributes 41 P-51s from 354FG to fighter escort force to accompany bombers on their mission to Kiel, Germany

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 41
Number of aircraft Effective 41
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Fighter Command 16
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 5

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
02 December 2015 20:03:09 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 2-Dec-2015. Added fighter claims on enemy aircraft to Tours element per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
02 December 2015 20:00:20 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 2-Dec-2015. Added statistics to Elberfled emelent per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
02 December 2015 19:58:00 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 2-Dec-2015. Added statistics to Bordeaux element per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
02 December 2015 19:54:58 Lee8thbuff Changes to name and description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 2-Dec-2015. Added Mission Narrative based on "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman losses cross checked with MACRs.

Date Contributor Update
02 December 2015 19:13:01 Lee8thbuff Created event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 2-Dec-2015. Added Mission Event and statistics for IX Fighter Command 354FG P-51 fighter element as part of fighter escort for bombers attacking at Kiel, Germany per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
02 December 2015 19:04:37 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 2-Dec-2015. Edited event detail note, added fighter claims of VIII FC - 20FG & 55FG to statistics per "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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