Skip to main content
Edit entry 

VIII Fighter Command FO 215

7 January 1944

Official description

Not yet known

Description

A combined fighter force of 571 aircraft are despatched to provide escort for the bombers attacking at Ludwigshaven, Germany. Three elements of fighters are despatched.

The first element is a combined force of 71 P-38s despatched from: 20FG and 55FG. 1 aircraft Fails to Return (FTR) 1POW. None of the rest of the element are damaged and there are no other casualties. The fighters of the element claim 1-0-2 of attacking German fighters.

The second element is a combined force of 463 P-47s despatched from : 4FG; 56FG, 78FG; 352FG; 353FG; 355FG; 356FG; 358FG and 359FG. 5 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) 5KIA. 1 aircraft is damaged. There are no other casualties in this element. The fighters of this element claim 6-0-1 of attacking German fighters.

The third element is a force of 354 P-51s from IX Fighter Command. There are no losses or claims in this fighter element.

Mission details

1. LUDWIGSHAVEN

Description

FIGHTER ESCORT

Aircraft type

P-38 Lightning

Notes

These aircraft for 20FG and 55FG escort the bomber stream all the way to the target and back. They are also combind with 37 P-51s from IX Fighter Command.

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 71
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 1
Number of people Prisoners of War 1

2. LUDWIGSHAVEN

Description

FIGHTER ESCORT

Aircraft type

P-47 Thunderbolt

Notes

This is a large despatch of 463 P-47s that provide penetration and withdrawal support to the bomber stream attacking Ludwigshaven. Fuel capacity prevents them from escorting all the way to the target and back.

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...

  • 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. 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 463
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 5
Number of people Killed In Action 5

3. Ludwigshafen, Germany

Description

FIGHTER ESCORT

Aircraft type

P-51 Mustang

Notes

37 P-51s are despatched from 354FG of IX Fighter Command to assist 8th Air Force fighter units in escorting the bomber stream to and from Ludwigshaven, 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 37
Number of aircraft Effective 37

Service

People

  • Jesse Gonnam

    Military | Captain | Fighter Pilot | 353rd Fighter Group
    Jesse W Gonnam enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and graduated as a fighter pilot. ...

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
06 January 2016 19:24:42 Lee8thbuff Created event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 6-Jan-2016. Added Mission Event covering despatch of P-51 fighters from 354FG of IX Fighter Command based on "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman

Date Contributor Update
06 January 2016 19:19:36 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 6-Jan-2016. Added Note to P-47 element based on "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
06 January 2016 19:16:03 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 6-Jan-2016. Corrected note to P-38 element per "The Mighty Eight War Dairy", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
06 January 2016 19:11:36 Lee8thbuff Changes to name and description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 6-Jan-2016. Edited mission title and added mission description 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'.

Share