Skip to main content
Edit entry 

8th Air Force FO 265 BOMBER ESCORT

11 March 1944

Official description

Not yet known

Description

This fighter escort operation is composed of two separate elements. The first element is a combined force of 140 fighters of types: P-47 and P-51 are despatched to provide escort to heavy bombers attacking at Munster, Germany and vicinity. Mission Summary follows:

A combined force of 90 P-47s from: 356FG and 359FG are despatched. 2 aircraft are damaged. There are no losses, casualties or claims.

A combined force of 50 P-51s from 355FG are despatched. 2 aircraft Failed to Return - 2POW. There are no other losses, casualties or claims.

The second element is a combined force of 253 fighters of types: P-38 and P-47 are despatched to provide escort to B-24 heavy bombers attacking V-Weapon sites at Wizernes, France. The P-38s were orginally slated to provide direct escort to the B-24s but this was amended to the P-47s from 353FG. The escort was abandoned due to weather. Despatch details follow:

A combined force of 40 P-38s from 364FG are despatched. These provide high top cover for the attacking bombers. There are no losses, casualties or claims.

A combined force of 213 P-47s from 352FG and 353FG are despatched but the escort is abandoned due to weather so 352FG makes low level sweeps and attacks ground targets of opportunity. 2 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) - 2KIA. 1 aircraft is Damaged Beyond Repair (DBR) in a crash landing upon return - 1RTD. 2 aircraft are damaged. There are no losses, casualties or claims.

Mission details

1. MUNSTER

Description

FIGHTER ESCORT

Aircraft type

P-47 Thunderbolt

Notes

A mix of 90 P-47s and 50 P-51s from 8th Air Force perform the escort. No claims on enemy fighters.

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...

  • 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...

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 90
Number of aircraft Damaged 2
Number of people Killed In Action 2
Number of people Returned To Duty 1

2. MUNSTER

Description

FIGHTER ESCORT

Aircraft type

P-51 Mustang

Notes

A mix of 90 P-47s and 50 P-51s from 8th Air Force perform the escort. No claims on enemy fighters.

Units

  • 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...

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 50
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 2
Number of people Prisoners of War 2
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Fighter Command 0
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Fighter Command 0
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 0

3. WIZERNES

Description

FIGHTER ESCORT

Aircraft type

P-38 Lightning

Notes

P-38s from 364th Fighter Group were originally planned as escorts but at the last minute this was amended to P-47s from 353rd Fighter Group. No claims on enemy fighters.

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 40
Number of aircraft Effective 0

4. WIZERNES

Description

FIGHTER ESCORT

Aircraft type

P-47 Thunderbolt

Notes

All escort was abandoned due to weather. 352nd Fighter Group carried out low-level sweeps. No claims on enemy fighters.

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...

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 213
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 2
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 1
Number of aircraft Damaged 2
Number of people Killed In Action 2
Number of people Returned To Duty 1
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Fighter Command 0
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Fighter Command 0
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 0

Service

People

  • Harold Riley

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 352nd Fighter Group
    Lt Harold Riley’s P-47 Thunderbolt #42-22530 was hit by Flak while approaching the airfield of Montdidier in a low-level sweep in the Wizernes V-weapons area on 11 March 1944. His plane had been last sighted above Oisemont, 40km NW of Amiens, France....

Aircraft

  • 42-22530 The Kid

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    P-47D #42-22530 was hit by Flak on a low-level sweep in the Wizernes V-weapons area on 11 March 1944. Pilot Harold S. Riley Jr was Killed In Action (KIA). Missing Air Crew Report - MACR 5013.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
23 February 2016 17:16:08 Lee8thbuff Changes to name and description
Sources

Lee Cunningham -23-Feb-2016. Added Mission Narrative based on "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:43:14 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'.

Share