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VIII Fighter Command FO 233 BOMBER ESCORT

3 February 1944

Official description

Not yet known

Description

A combined force of 632 fighter aircraft of types P-38, P-47 and P-51 are despatched to provide escort to heavy bombers attacking at Wilhelmshaven, Germany.

74 P-38s from: 20FG and 55FG provide top cover to and from the target. There are no losses or claims in this element.

508 P-47s from VIII Fignter Command: 4FG; 56FG; 78FG; 352FG; 353FG; 355FG; 356FG; 359FG; and 361FG. The force included P-47s from IX Fighter Command 358FG. 8 aircraft from VIII FC Failed to Return (FTR) - 8KIA. 2 VIII FC aircraft were Damaged Beyond Repair (DBR) in crashes upon return - 2RTD. 13 aircraft returned with battle damage. The fighters in this element calim 8-0-3 of attacking German aircraft.

50 P-51s from IX Fighter Command, 354FG join in the escort. 1 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR). There were no other aircraft lost or damaged, no other casualties and no clims on enemy aircraft.

Mission details

1. WILHELMSHAVEN/ EMDEN

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

2. WILHELMSHAVEN/ EMDEN

Description

FIGHTER ESCORT

Aircraft type

P-47 Thunderbolt

Notes

48 P-47s of 358th Fighter Group (IX Fighter Command) also participate.

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...

  • 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...

  • 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 508
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 8
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 2
Number of aircraft Damaged 13
Number of people Killed In Action 8
Number of people Returned To Duty 2
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Fighter Command 8
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 3

3. Wilhelmshaven, Germany

Description

BOMBER ESCORT

Aircraft type

P-51 Mustang

Notes

50 P-51s are despatched from IX Fighter Command, 354FG to assist VIII Fighter Command in the escort of bombers attacking at Wilhelmshaven, 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 50
Number of aircraft Effective 50
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 1
Number of people Returned To Duty 1

Service

People

  • Kenneth Chetwood

    Military | Captain | Fighter pilot | 353rd Fighter Group
    Assigned to 83FS, 78FG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred to 67FW, 8AF USAAF. Transferred to 350FS, 353FG, 8AF USAAF. Ended Tour of Duty (ETD). Awards: AM, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • John Gardner

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 95th Bomb Group

  • Robert Kinsey

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Left Waist Gunner | 401st Bomb Group
    Robert Sylvester Kinsey Born April 1 1924 in Oklahoma's Osage Indian Reservation in Hominy Oklahoma to Robert S. Kinsey and Olive Forsythe. His father worked for the Train Company in the Oil Fields. Later moved to Atchison Kansas were he married his...

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
26 January 2016 18:48:23 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 26-Jan-2016. Added despatch of IX FC P-47s to note and statistics per "The Mighty EIghth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman

Date Contributor Update
26 January 2016 18:45:18 Lee8thbuff Created event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 26-Jan-2016. Added New Mission event for IX FC P-51 element per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
26 January 2016 18:40:44 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 26-Jan-2016. Added fighter claims to P-47 element per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary" Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
26 January 2016 18:38:12 Lee8thbuff Changes to name and description
Sources

Lee Cuninngham 26-Jan-2016. Added Detailed 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'.

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