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VIII Fighter Command FO-190 FIGHTER/BOMBER MISSION

25 November 1943

Official description

Not yet known

Description

This mission is the first time that P-47s have been used as purely fighther/bomber attacks on a ground target. 276 P-47s from 56FG; 78FG; 352FG; 353FG; and 356FG are used in the operation. Those from 56FG and 353FG actually attack the German airfield at St. Omer, France. The other P-47 units are used in fighter sweeps in the Lillie, France area. 1 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) 1POW. 16 aircraft are damaged. 1 pilot of a returning aircraft is Wounded in Action (WIA). There are no claims on enemy aircraft from this element, although it seems likely that some damage was done to German aircraft on the ground at St. Omer, France.

This attack is also supported by 55 P-38s of 55FG (this also included some P-38s from 20FG/77FS) which provide escort and top cover. 2 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) 2KIA and 1 aircraft was destroyed in a crashlanding at Duxford, UK. 1RTD. The fighters in this element claim 3-3-4 of attacking German aircraft.

Mission details

1. ST. OMER/LILLE

Description

FIGHTER MISSION

Aircraft type

P-38 Lightning

Notes

Not yet known

Units

  • 20th Fighter Group

    20th Fighter Group

    Group
    In August 1943, the 20th Fighter Group arrived in Clyde, Scotland, before travelling to Kings Cliffe, Northamptonshire, which was to be their base for the rest of the war. The Group flew 312 missions before their last mission on 25 April 1945. The...

  • 55th Fighter Group

    55th Fighter Group

    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

Number of aircraft Sent 55
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 1
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 2
Number of aircraft Damaged 7
Number of people Killed In Action 2
Number of people Returned To Duty 1
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Fighter Command 3
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Fighter Command 3
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 4

2. ST. OMER/LILLE

Description

FIGHTER MISSION

Aircraft type

P-47 Thunderbolt

Notes

Some of the P-47 make a dive-bomb attack on the German Airfield at St. Omer, France. The rest fly a sweep in the Lille, France area. This is the first use of the P-47 in that role. Bomb load not in available record. A B-24 was sent as a spotter aircraft for 56th Fighter Group and 353rd Fighter Group. 77th Fighter Squadron/20th Fighter Group flew with the 55th Fighter Group.

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...

  • 56th Fighter Group

    56th Fighter Group

    Group
    Flying P-47 Thunderbolts throughout their time stationed in England, the Group, known as "the Wolfpack", had more ace pilots than any other Eighth Air Force Fighter Group. The 56th Fighter Group also destroyed more enemy aircraft in air combat than any...

  • 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

Tonnage dropped Not determined
Number of aircraft Sent 276
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 1
Number of people Prisoners of War 1

Service

People

  • Manuel Aldecoa

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 55th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 343FS, 55FG, 8AF USAAF. Killed in Action (KIA) on 25-Nov-43 when his aircraft, P-38H 42-6706 sustained a mid-air collision with a Fw-190 over Cuinchy, France while on a mission to provide top cover for P-47s that were attacking the German...

  • Loren McCollom

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Commanding Officer, Pilot | 353rd Fighter Group
    Liutenant Colonel (LTC) Loren G. McCollom served as the Commanding Officer of the 353rd Fighter Squadron at Metifield UK from 18-Aug-43 to 25-Nov-43. ...

Aircraft

  • 42-67061

    P-38 Lightning
    P-38H-5-LO 42-67061 was assigned to the 55FS/343FS at Nuthampstead, UK. On 25-Nov-43, the aircraft, piloted by 2LT Manuel J. Aldecoa was despatched with other P-38s of the 55FG to provide top cover for the first P-47 fighter/bomber operation of the war...

  • 42-8395 Cookie

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    P-47D-2-RE #42-8395 [YJ-S] "Cookie" was asssigned to the 353FS/351FS at Metfield, UK. On 25 November 1943 the aircraft, piloted by LTC Loren G. McCollom (Commanding Officer 353FG), was despatched with other P-47s from the 353FG to attack the German...

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
15 July 2015 22:38:53 Lee8thbuff Changes to description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 15-Jul-2015. Correcting typo in Mission Narrative.

Date Contributor Update
13 July 2015 18:57:26 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 13-Jul-2015. Added fighter claims on enemy aircraft to statisitcs of P-38 element per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
13 July 2015 18:56:08 Lee8thbuff Changes to name and description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 13-Jul-2015. Added Mission Narrative based on "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman.

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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