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Researching US Army Air Force combat missions 

Many records are only available online, sometimes on more than one site. We have listed the main sources but there may be others. Some records are free to view but others may entail a fee for access (£/$). 

Getting started 

Summaries of all combat missions flown by the United States Army Air Forces during the Second World War can be found in the USAAF Combat Chronology. More detailed narratives of some of these missions can be found in The Army Air Forces in World War II series, which can be downloaded from the Air Force Historical Support Division and is searchable at Hyper War  

Orders and reports for many operations can be found online at the Combined Arms Research Library  

The Army Air Forces Statistical Digest provides a statistical outline of the disposition of the USAAF throughout the Second World War 

Official documents 

Information on USAAF missions including narratives, summaries, loading lists and intelligence are recorded in Combat Operations Reports (also known as Mission Reports) available at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).  

You may be able to find information taken from these sources on many of the individual Bomb Group and Fighter Group websites.  


Eighth Air Force 

A summary of all Eighth Air Force combat missions can be found in The Mighty Eighth War Diary by Roger Freeman (1981) 

The Eighth Air Force Historical Society also provides information on Eighth Air Force missions and targets. 


Ninth Air Force 

Overviews of Ninth Air Force missions can be found in operational documents at the Combined Arms Research Library 

A detailed overview of IX Troop Carrier Command on Operation Overlord can be found on 6 Juin 1944 


Twelfth Air Force 

Monthly operations bulletins for the Mediterranean Allied Tactical Air Force- the integrated command which oversaw the Twelfth Air Force and the RAF Desert Air Force are available at the Combined Arms Research Library 


Fifteenth Air Force 

Fifteenth Air Force against the Axis by Kevin Mahoney (2013) provides a month-by-month narrative of most missions from November 1943- May 1945