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VIII Fighter Command FO 216

11 January 1944

Official description

Not yet known

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

1. Brunswick

Description

FIGHTER ESCORT

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 49
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 1
Number of people Killed In Action 1
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 1

2. Brunswick

Description

FIGHTER ESCORT

Aircraft type

P-47 Thunderbolt

Notes

Not yet known

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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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

Number of aircraft Sent 322
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 2
Number of aircraft Damaged 1
Number of people Killed In Action 2
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Fighter Command 2
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Fighter Command 1
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 1

3. OSCHERSLEBEN/ HALBERSTADT

Description

FIGHTER ESCORT

Aircraft type

P-47 Thunderbolt

Notes

Not yet known

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...

  • 4th Fighter Group

    4th Fighter Group

    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...

  • 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...

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 177
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 2
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 3
Number of people Killed In Action 4
Number of people Returned To Duty 1
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Fighter Command 14
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Fighter Command 4
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 5

4. 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.

Units

  • 354th Fighter Group

    354th Fighter Group

    Group
    The Group moved to England in the autumn of 1943 and was assigned to the Ninth Air Force in December 1943. The Group were the first to fly P-51 Mustangs operationally and in their bomber escort missions pushed to find the long-range limits of the...

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 44
Number of aircraft Effective 44
Number of aircraft Damaged 1
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Fighter Command 15
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Fighter Command 7
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 9

Service

People

  • Paul Ellis

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Flight Engineer; Top Turret Gunner | 381st Bomb Group
    September 1, 1943, arrived in Prestwick with poor visibility. Landed in Atlantic at a beach near Troon, Scottland with no injuries to the crew in the B17#42-30801, piloted by Irving Moore. ...

  • James Howard

    Military | Brigadier General | Fighter Pilot 1055 single engine/Group Commander | 354th Fighter Group
    USN 1939-1941 flew F3Fs with VF-6 USS Enterprise CV-6 ...

  • John Lantz

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Left Waist Gunner | 381st Bomb Group
    November 1943 - January 1944. LWG, Nason crew. 381st BG, 533rd BS, 8th AF. Shot down by fighters on mission #59 to the aircraft factories at Oschersleben, Germany on 11 Jan 1944 in B-17F #42-37719 'Hellcat/Dinah Might'. MACR 1881. Plane crashed in...

Aircraft

  • 42-29651 Stella

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 26/1/43; Salina 9/2/43; Brookley 3/3/43; Morrison 9/3/43; Assigned Harris Prov. Gp, en route from Marrakech to St Eval, Cornwall, UK 7/4/43 force landed Lytchett Minster, near Poole, Dorset, low on gas with Talmadge Wilson, Co-pilot:...

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
07 January 2016 00:12:34 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
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.

Date Contributor Update
07 January 2016 00:10:07 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
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.

Date Contributor Update
07 January 2016 00:07:16 Lee8thbuff Created event
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.

Date Contributor Update
07 January 2016 00:01:04 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
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.

Date Contributor Update
06 January 2016 23:22:11 Lee8thbuff Changes to name and description
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.

Date Contributor Update
11 December 2014 09:45:04 Emily Changes to event
Sources

Moved pin from Brunswick, US to Braunschweig, Germany

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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