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8th Air Force 204 FIGHTER/BOMBER

31 January 1944

Official description

Not yet known


A combined force of 209 fighter aircraft are despatched to attack the German airfield at Gilze-Rijen, Holland. Mission summary as follows:

47 P-38s from 55FG provide a fighter sweep in the Eindehoven/Venlo/Arnhem area in advance of the attack. 6 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) - 5KIA 1EVD. 1 aircraft with battle damage crashes at Leiston, UK on return and is declared Damaged Beyond Repair (DBR) - 1RTD. The fighters in this element claim 7-0-1 of attacking German aircraft.

162 P-47s from 4FG; 78FG; and 355FG participate in the operation. 75 aircraft (21 aircraft from 4FG; 35 aircraft from 78FG; and 19 aircraft from 355FG) are assigned the mission of bombing the airfield. 70 of these aircraft are effective on the target. The balance in each fighter group provide escort and top cover. Just 2 aircraft sustain damage from ground fire. The fighter escort claim 6-1-1 of attacking German aircraft.

Mission details




Aircraft type

P-38 Lightning


Fighter sweep in support of raid on Gilze-Rijen Airfield


  • 55th Fighter Group

    55th Fighter 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

Tonnage dropped Not Applicable
Number of aircraft Sent 47
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 6
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 2
Number of people Killed In Action 5
Number of people Wounded in Action 1
Number of people Evaded 1
Number of people Returned To Duty 2




Aircraft type

P-47 Thunderbolt


Fighter bomber mission, 4th Fighter Group (21), 78th Fighter Group (35), 355th Fighter Group (19) drop 500 GP bombs, other aircraft in each group provide escort.


  • 355th Fighter Group

    355th Fighter 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...

  • 4th Fighter Group

    4th Fighter 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...

  • 78th Fighter Group

    78th Fighter 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

Tonnage dropped 18.75
Number of aircraft Sent 162
Number of aircraft Damaged 2
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 1



  • James Carter

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 466th Bomb Group

  • Robert Tompkins

    Military | Tail Gunner | 390th Bomb Group
    Served as a Tail Gunner ,Crew Number 14.


Date Contributor Update
17 January 2016 22:18:35 Lee8thbuff Changes to name and description

Lee Cunningham 17-Jan-2016. Added Mission Narrative per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:43:17 AAM AAM ingest

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'.