VIII Fighter Command FO 216

11 January 1944

Description

This is a large fighter operation composed of a total of 592 aircraft. This operation is divided into two fighter elements with a combined force of 221 aircraft (P-47s and P-51s) providing escort for the Oshersleben - Halberstat B-17 bomber formations and 371 aircraft (P-38s and P-47s)providing escort for the the B-17 and B-24 bomber formations attacking at Burnswick, Germany.

First element: This element is charged with providing escort to the Oshersleben/Halberstat bomber formations. It consists of two fighter sub-elements. The first is a combined formation of 177 P-47s from VIII Fighter Command 4FG; 56FG; 356FG and 358FG. 2 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) 2KIA. 3 others were Damaged Beyond Repair (DBR) in crashes upon return 2KIA 1RTD. 4 other were damaged. The fighters in this element claimed 15-7-9 of attacking German aircraft.

The second sub-element of this fighter element was composed of 44 P-51s from XI Fighter Command. There wer no aircraft losses or casualties in this element, but 1 aircraft was damaged. Major James H Howard, a P-51 pilot of the 354th Fighter Group, shot down an Me 110 and then found himself the lone escort for a B-17 group being attacked by 30 Luftwaffe aircraft. For the next 30 minutes, he kept turning into the enemy fighters and firing until only one gun was firing; by this time, he was credited with 2-1-2 Luftwaffe aircraft and saved the B-17's. Major Howard was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Second fighter element: This is a combined fighter force of 371 aircraft in two sub-elements. The first sub-element is composed of 49 P-38s from: 20FG and 55FG. 1 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) 1KIA. No aircraft are damaged and there are no other casualties. This fighter element claims 0-0-1 of attacking German aircraft.

The second sub-element consists of 322 P-47s from 56FG; 78FG; 352FG; 353FG and 355FG. 2 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) 2KIA. One aircraft was damaged. There were no other losses or casualties in this element. The fighters of this element claim 2-1-1 of attacking German aircraft.

Mission Details

Brunswick

Description: FIGHTER ESCORT

Aircraft Type: P-38 Lightning

Mission Statistics

  • People killed in action: 1
  • Enemy aircraft damaged by fighter: 1
  • Aircraft sent: 49
  • Aircraft missing in action: 1

Brunswick

Description: FIGHTER ESCORT

Aircraft Type: P-47 Thunderbolt

Mission Statistics

  • People killed in action: 2
  • Enemy aircraft destroyed by fighter: 2
  • Enemy aircraft probably destroyed by fighter: 1
  • Enemy aircraft damaged by fighter: 1
  • Aircraft sent: 322
  • Aircraft missing in action: 2
  • Aircraft damaged: 1

OSCHERSLEBEN/ HALBERSTADT

Description: FIGHTER ESCORT

Aircraft Type: P-47 Thunderbolt

Mission Statistics

  • People killed in action: 4
  • People returned to duty: 1
  • Enemy aircraft destroyed by fighter: 14
  • Enemy aircraft probably destroyed by fighter: 4
  • Enemy aircraft damaged by fighter: 5
  • Aircraft sent: 177
  • Aircraft missing in action: 2
  • Aircraft damaged beyond repair: 3

Oschersleben, Germany

Description: FIGHTER ESCORT

Aircraft Type: P-51 Mustang

Notes: IX Fighter Command despatches 44 P-51s as escorts, they claim 15-7-9 enemy aircraft. Major James H. Howard, 354th Fighter Group, 9th Air Force flying a P-51 is awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions on this day.

Mission Statistics

  • Enemy aircraft destroyed by fighter: 15
  • Enemy aircraft probably destroyed by fighter: 7
  • Enemy aircraft damaged by fighter: 9
  • Aircraft sent: 44
  • Aircraft effective: 44
  • Aircraft damaged: 1

Connections

See how this entry relates to other items in the archive by exploring the connections below.

People

  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 381st Bomb Group 532nd Bomb Squadron
  • Highest Rank: Technical Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Flight Engineer; Top Turret Gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 354th Fighter Group 356th Fighter Squadron
  • Service Numbers: O-511937
  • Highest Rank: Brigadier General
  • Role/Job: Fighter Pilot/Group Commander
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 381st Bomb Group 533rd Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 17127681
  • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Role/Job: waist gunner

Aircraft

Revisions

Date7 Jan 2016 00:12:34
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 6-Jan-2016. Added fighter claims of enemy aircraft to P-47 element of the Brunswick bomber element per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date7 Jan 2016 00:10:07
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 6-Jan-2016. Added fighter claims on enemy aircraft to statistics of P-38 element per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date7 Jan 2016 00:07:16
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 6-Jan-2016 Added Mission Event to cover 354FG of XI Fighter Command to escort per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date7 Jan 2016 00:01:04
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 6-Jan-2016. Added fighter claims on enemy aircraft to statistics of the P-47 element providing escort to bombers attacking and Brunswick per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A, Freeman.

Date6 Jan 2016 23:22:11
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 6-Jan-2016. Added Mission Description based on "The Mghty Eighth War Diary", Roger a Freeman, MACR records and "Losses fof the 8th & 9th Air Forces", Stan Bishop & John A. Hey MBE.

Date11 Dec 2014 09:45:04
ContributorEmily
Sources

Moved pin from Brunswick, US to Braunschweig, Germany

Date27 Sep 2014 18:43:20
ContributorAAM
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'.