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VIII Fighter Command FO 217 BOMBER ESCORT

14 January 1944

Official description

Not yet known

Description

This is a fighter operation to escort bombers attacking V-Weapon sites in the Pas-de-Calaise area of France. A total of 645 fighter aircraft are despatched in three element by fighter type:

A combined force of 98 P-38s are despatched from: 20FG and 55FG as bomber escorts. 1 aircraft Failed ot Return (FTR) - 1KIA. 1 aircraft is damaged in a crashlanding at Wittering on return, but may have been repaired - 1RTD. There were no other losses, casualties or claims in this fighter element.

A combined force of 504 P-47s were dispatched from: 4FG; 56FG; 78FG; 352FG; 353FG; 355FG; 356FG; 358FG and 359FG. 1 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) - 1POW. 2 others were damaged in crashlandings on return, but both pilots were OK -2 RTD. 9 other aircraft were damaged. The fighters in this element claim 13-1-0 of attacking German aircraft.

A force of 43 P-51s from 354FG, IX Fighter Command also contribute to the fighter force providing escort. 1 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) - 1KIA and 1 aircraft was damaged. The fighters of this element claim 1-0-0 of attacking Germany aircraft.

Mission details

1. PAS-DE-CALAISE

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 98
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 1
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 1
Number of people Killed In Action 1
Number of people Returned To Duty 1

2. PAS-DE-CALAISE

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...

  • 358th Fighter Group

    358th Fighter Group

    Group
    The 358th Fighter Group flew seventeen missions with the Eighth Air Force from Leiston air base. At the beginning of February 1944 the Group were transferred to the Ninth Air Force in exchange for the 357th Fighter Group. With the Ninth, the Group went...

  • 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...

  • 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 504
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 1
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 2
Number of aircraft Damaged 9
Number of people Prisoners of War 1
Number of people Returned To Duty 2
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Fighter Command 13
Enemy aircraft claimed as Probably Destroyed by Fighter Command 1

3. Pas-de-Calais, France

Description

43 P-51s from IX Fighter Command also participate in the escort operation.

Aircraft type

P-51 Mustang

Notes

Not yet known

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 43
Number of aircraft Effective 43
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 1
Number of aircraft Damaged 1
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Fighter Command 1

Service

People

  • Charles Dinse

    Military | First Lieutenant | 353rd Fighter Group

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
08 January 2016 20:48:28 Lee8thbuff Created event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 8-Jan-2016. Added Mission Event for IX Fighter Command participation per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary" ROger A. Freeman and "Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces" Stan Bishop & John A. Hey MBE.

Date Contributor Update
08 January 2016 20:44:24 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunninghm 8-Jan-2016. Added fighter claims to P-47 element per "The Mighty Eighth War Diary" Roger A. Freeman.

Date Contributor Update
08 January 2016 20:42:39 Lee8thbuff Changes to event
Sources

Lee Cunningham 8-Jan-2016. Note eliminated IX Fighter command participations covered in New event.

Date Contributor Update
08 January 2016 20:39:25 Lee8thbuff Changes to name and description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 8-Jan-2016. Edited Title and added Detailed Description based on "The Mighty Eighth War Diary", Roger A. Freeman. Losses confirmed from MACR records. IX Fighter Command losses from "Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces" Stan Bishop & John A. Hey MBE.

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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