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VIII Fighter Command FO 221 BOMBER ESCORT

21 January 1944

Official description

Not yet known

Description

This is a bomber escort fighter operation composed of a combination of three fighter types: P-38s, P-47s and P51s totalling 628 aircraft despatched to escort the heavy bombers attacking V-Weapon sites in the Pas-de-Calaise area and the Cherbourg area of France.

49 P-38s from: 20FG & 55FG provide escort for bombers attacking the in Cherbourg area. There are no losses or claims in this element.

531 P-47s from: 4FG; 56FG; 78FG; 352FG; 353FG; 355FG; 356FG; 358FG; 359FG and 361FG provide fighter escort and cover for B-17s and B-24s attacking in the Pas-de-Calaise area. This is the first mission for the 361 Fighter Group. 1 aircraft Failed to REturn (FTR) - 1 KIA and 1 aircraft is Damaged Beyond Repair (DBR) - 1 RTD. 5 other aircraft sustain battle damage. The fighters in this element claim 6-0-4 of German fighters in the air and 2-2-0 on the ground.

48 P-51s from IX Fighter Command, 354FG are also despatched to assist. There are no losses or claims in this element.

Mission details

1. CHERBOURG

Description

FIGHTER ESCORT

Aircraft type

P-38 Lightning

Notes

P-38S escort Cherbourg element only.

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

2. PAS-DE-CALAISE

Description

FIGHTER ESCORT

Aircraft type

P-47 Thunderbolt

Notes

The 361st Fighter Group flies its first mission. Claims include 2-2-0 on the ground made by 56th Fighter Group as the first strafing claims.

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...

  • 361st Fighter Group

    361st Fighter Group

    Group
    The 361st Fighter Group was the last P-47 Thunderbolt Group to join the Eighth Air Force. Between 21 January 1944 and 20 April 1945, the Group flew 441 missions, the majority in an escort role in support of bombers flying over occupied Europe. 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 531
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 1
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 1
Number of aircraft Damaged 5
Number of people Killed In Action 1
Number of people Returned To Duty 1
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Fighter Command 8
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Fighter Command 2
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 4

3. Pas-de-Calais, France

Description

BOMBER ESCORT

Aircraft type

P-51 Mustang

Notes

48 P-51s from IX Fighter Command also participate in the escort. These fly top cover.

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 48
Number of aircraft Effective 48

Service

People

  • Spiros Pisanos

    Military | Colonel | Pilot
    Steve was born in Athens, Greece, in November 1919. Although he desperately wanted to fly, at the age of 18 he discovered that he did not have the academic qualifications required to enter the Greek Air Force Academy. Undaunted, he decided to go to...

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
12 January 2016 21:16:56 Lee8thbuff Created event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 12-Jan-2016. Added Mission event for 354FG of IX FC per "the Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
12 January 2016 21:12:53 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 12-Jan-2016. Added fighter claims on enemy aircraft to P-47 despatch per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
12 January 2016 21:09:45 Lee8thbuff Changes to name and description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 12-Jan-2016. Added Mission Narrative 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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