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8th Air Force FO 261 BOMBER ESCORT

5 March 1944

Official description

Not yet known

Description

A combined force of 307 fighters of types: P-38; P-47 and P-51 are despatched to provide escort to heavy bombers attacking German airfields in France. Mission Summary follows:

A force of 34 P-38s from 364FG are despatched. 2 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) both ran out of petrol - 1EVD 1RTD (rescued by ASR). Freeman lists 1 aircraft DBR and 1KIA, but no records were found to confirm those citations. It is possible that Freeman's KIA was really the airman rescued by ASR. There are no other casualties or claims in this element.

A combined force of 185 P-47s are despatched from: 78FG; 356FG; and 361FG. 1 aircraft is Damaged Beyond Repair (DRB) in a crash on take off - 1KIA. There are no other casualties or claims in this element.

A combined force of 88 P-51s are despatched from 8th Air Force: 4FG and 357FG. These are joined by IX Fighter Command 363FG. 3 aircraft (all from 8th Air Force) Failed to Return (FTR) 1POW 2EVD. 1 aircraft sustains a mechanical malfunction and is Damaged Beyond Repair (DBR) in a crash landing uypon return - 1RTD. The fighters in this element claim 14-0-6 of attacking German aircraft and 0-0-6 on the ground. There are no other casualties.

Mission details

1. BERGERAC

Description

FIGHTER ESCORT

Aircraft type

P-38 Lightning

Notes

Not yet known

Units

  • 364th Fighter Group

    364th Fighter Group

    Group
    The 364th Fighter Group flew 342 missions in P-38 Lightnings and P-51 Mustangs from Honington, Suffolk. The missions ranged from escorting bombers and dive-bombing and strafing targets to area patrol missions across a swathe of land that took in France...

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 34
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 2
Number of people Evaded 1
Number of people Returned To Duty 1

2. BERGERAC

Description

FIGHTER ESCORT

Aircraft type

P-47 Thunderbolt

Notes

Not yet known

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...

  • 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...

  • 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 185
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 1
Number of people Killed In Action 1

3. BERGERAC

Description

FIGHTER ESCORT

Aircraft type

P-51 Mustang

Notes

363rd Fighter Group from IX Fighter Command contributes an undetermined number to P-51s to the escort, number included in those despatched. Credits include both 8th Air Force and IX Fighter Command. Losses are 8th Air Force only. Claims include 6 damaged on the ground.

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...

  • 363rd Fighter Group

    363rd Fighter Group

    Group
    Equipped with P-51s, the Group entered combat from England in February 1944, flying bomber escort and ground-strafing missions. They took part in the invasion of Normandy, protecting gliders and troop carriers on 6 and 7 June. In September 1944, now...

  • 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 88
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 3
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 2
Number of people Evaded 2
Number of people Prisoners of War 1
Number of people Returned To Duty 2
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Fighter Command 14
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 12

Service

People

  • Robert Blackwell

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 453rd Bomb Group
    Shot down 8 April 1944 in B-24 #4128650 'Rooster. ' Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • 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
18 February 2016 19:40:39 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 18-Feb-2016. Added connection to IX FC 363FG and claims on enemy aircraft to statistics of P-51 element per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
18 February 2016 19:37:54 Lee8thbuff Changes to name and description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 18-Feb-2016. Added Mission Narrative based on "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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