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VIII Fighter Command FO 240 BOMBER ESCORT

11 February 1944

Official description

Not yet known

Description

This fighter escort operation is conducted by two separate fighter elements in support of heavy bomber missions attacking at Siracourt, France and Frankfurt, Germany.

The first element is a combined force of 126 fighters of type P-47 and P-51. A combined force of 84 P-47s from: 356FG and IX Fighter Command 362FG provide the actual escort of the heavy bombers attacking the V-Veapon sites around Siracourt, France. These are supported by a force of 41 P-51s from 8th Air Force 357FG, the first P-51 operation by 8th Air Force, who perform a fighter sweep in the Rouen area. There are no losses or claims in this element.

The second element is a combined force of 606 fighters of types: P-38, P-47 and P-51 despatched to escort the heavy bombers attacking at Frankfurt, Germany. Mission summary follows:

A combined force of 82 P-38s from 20FG & 55FG are despatched. 8 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) - 2KIA 6POW. 2 other aircraft are damaged, The fighters of this force claim 2-2-4 of attacking German aircraft.
A combined force of 486 P-47s are despatched. Included in this despatch are P-47s from IX Fighter Command 358FG (number not stated in source data). 4 aircraft from VIII Fighter Command Failed to Return (FTR) - 3KIA 1POW. 3 aircraft are Damaged Beyond Repair (DBR) 2 of these were caused by pilot error on return and 1 was caused by pilot error on take off - 1KIA 2RTD. The fighters in this force claim 14-0-14 of attacking German aircraft in the air and 2-1-4 on the ground.
A force of 38 P-51s from IX Fighter Command 354FG are despatched. 2 Aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) - 2POW. 1 aircraft with battle damage was Damaged Beyond Repair (DBR) in a charsh landing upon return - 1RTD. The fighters in this force claim 14-0-10 of attacking German fighters.

Mission details

1. FRANKFURT

Description

FIGHTER ESCORT

Aircraft type

P-38 Lightning

Notes

IX Fighter Command contributes 38 P-51s to the escort.

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 82
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 8
Number of aircraft Damaged 2
Number of people Killed In Action 2
Number of people Prisoners of War 6
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Fighter Command 2
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Fighter Command 2
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 4

2. FRANKFURT

Description

FIGHTER ESCORT

Aircraft type

P-47 Thunderbolt

Notes

A mix of 486 P-47s from (VIII Fighter Command) and 358th Fighter Group (IX Fighter Command) provide escort (mix not detailed in available data). Two P-47 groups failed to locate the bombers on withdrawal. Claims on enemy aircraft include 2-1-4 on the ground.

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...

  • 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 486
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 4
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 3
Number of aircraft Damaged 4
Number of people Killed In Action 4
Number of people Evaded 1
Number of people Returned To Duty 2
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Fighter Command 16
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Fighter Command 1
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 18

3. ROUEN

Description

FIGHTER SWEEP

Aircraft type

P-51 Mustang

Notes

357th Fighter Group (P-51) (VIII Fighter Command) flies its first mission. This is the first use of the P-51 by a unit of the 8th Air Force, they carry out a fighter sweep in the Rouen, France area.

Units

  • 357th Fighter Group

    357th Fighter Group

    Group
    The 357th Fighter Group was the first P-51 Mustang Group in the Eighth Air Force, training with them from November 1943 at Raydon, England and entering combat with them in the February of the following year from their new base at Leiston. The Group was...

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 41

4. SIRACOURT

Description

FIGHTER ESCORT

Aircraft type

P-47 Thunderbolt

Notes

A mix of P-47s from 356th Fighter Group (VIII Fighter Command) and 362nd Fighter Group (IX Fighter Command) provide escort (mix not detailed in available data).

Units

  • 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...

Mission Statistics

Tonnage dropped 10.20
Number of aircraft Sent 85

5. Frankfurt, Germany

Description

BOMBER ESCORT

Aircraft type

P-51 Mustang

Notes

38 P-51 from IX Fighter Command 354FG join the escort of bombers attacking at Frankfurt.

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 38
Number of aircraft Effective 38
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 2
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 1
Number of people Prisoners of War 2
Number of people Returned To Duty 1
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Fighter Command 14
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 10

Service

People

  • 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
07 February 2016 18:45:09 Lee8thbuff Created event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 7-Feb-2016. Added New Mission event for P-51 element from IX Fighter Command per "Losses of the 8th & 9th AIr Forces", Stan Bishop & John A. Hey MBE.

Date Contributor Update
07 February 2016 18:39:55 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 7-Feb-2016. Added ground claims on enemy fighters to P-47 element statistics per "The Moghty Eighth War Dairy", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
07 February 2016 18:36:55 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cuningham 7-Feb-2016. Added claims on enemy aircraft to P-47 element statistics per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
07 February 2016 18:35:20 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cuningham 7-Feb-2016. Added claims on enemy aircraft to P-38 element statistics per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
07 February 2016 18:32:05 Lee8thbuff Changes to name and description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 7-Feb-2016. Added Mission Narrative per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman and "Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces", Stan Bishop & John A. Hey MBE.

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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