8th AF Mission #760; Dec 24th 1944 - Largest Bomber Mission In History

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by syscom3, Dec 19, 2009.

  1. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Dec 24th 1944 saw a change in the weather that had crippled allied missions over Western Europe, and aided the German Ardennes offensive. A ridge of high pressure now dominated and cleared the skies.

    The 8th AF dispatched a record 2046 B17's and B24's of which 1884 bombed their targets. Objectives were airfields, railyards and communications centers (usually small towns that had roads or rail lines going through them).

    1st BD dispatched 542 B17's and hit 5 primaries and 4 secondaries
    2nd BD dispatched 634 B24's and hit all 14 primaries.
    3rd BD dispatched 858 B17's and hit 6 primaries, 3 secondaries and a scattering of TO's

    Only 12 bombers were lost.

    The escorting fighters were also active; 853 (almost all P51's) dispatched with 813 effective. For the loss of 10, they claimed 74.

    When you consider the numbers of AC involved in this mission, PLUS what the AAF and RAF tactical commands put up; the German army must have had their worst fears materialize that day!
     
  2. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    the LW was pretty well screwed up by now but this operation was a combined assault on the LW fighters also included is the intercepts by RAF and the 9th AF P-47 units. Both of the latter lost fighters in the melee'

    IV.Sturm/JG 3 Fw's scored at least 5 B-17's and JG 301 was also in the air and it's "heavy" gruppe - III. with Fw 190A-8 and A-8/R2's scored at least 2 B-24's in a confusing struggle

    Interesting that II.Sturm/JG 300 claimed some 7 P-51's with their heavy Fw 'A's but got clobbed pretty good in the result with 17 fighters having 60-100% damage.

    the LW overall lost some 139 fighters and another 55 damaged in under 60 %, too many KIA of 75, 24 wounded, 10 captured
     
  3. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    #3 drgondog, Dec 19, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2009
    The only 47 group was the 56th. The 78th at Duxford was grounded by fog and did not fly. The 339th had the same problem so it was only Mustang group to not make this mission.

    As Syscom noted this was largest strength air attack of the war for USAAF - in addition to every single bomb group and 13 of 15 FG's in 8th AF, the 9th, the RAF and 15th AF also sent large forces into Germany that day and night.

    It was a crappy day weather wise over the UK but clear over Germany... a remarkable operation.

    This 8th AF bomber strike profile was all tactical ranging from Coblenz, Bonn, Fulda, Frankfurt, Giessen, Kassel marshalling yards and airfields in western Germany behind the Bulge. The RAF also bombed the same general profile and targets that night
     
  4. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    for me personally it was this one week dedicated to ripping apart the LW from the air that sealed the fate with the ending at Bodenplatte and the removal of nearly all the Day fighter gruppen to the Ost front, Germany was defenceless and the large components of JG 300 and JG 301 with portion of JG 53 and JG 27 knew it full well that they would sacrifice themselves and for what ? even with JG 7 262 beginnings in December of 44 this was not to add much in the way of over all protectiveness to Germany - population nor it's cities
     
  5. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    I noted in Wood's list that 8 Mustangs were claimed (awarded) to JG300 (5.-8./JG300) plus one for Stab./JG301 and five for JG3 .

    The actual total losses for 8th FC was 4 to Fw 190s, 2 to 109s, one to mechanical failure and two to non combat MAC. Don't know if RAF lost any Mustangs - if so the LW awards would be closer to actual - and the 354th FG was flying Jugs at this time so no 9th AF Mustang losses occurred.

    One more (357th FG)landed with battle damage in Belgium - not sure of the amount of damage. This could have easily been a claim/award in the above totals as the 357th scored a big bag of mixed 109s and 190s in the Koblenz, Kassel, Fulda area.
     
  6. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    This is the exact reason the air to air totals for 8th FC went down so dramatically after January 14. Dad started his second tour of ops on March 2 and never saw another German fighter in the air for the rest of the war. He missed all of the December-February battles while he and my mother were fooling around making me.
     
  7. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Off topic, but funny.

    :lol:
     
  8. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    it was actually not Stab./Jg 301 but 5./JG 301 pilot that scored a P-51 possibly flying a Dora 9, most likely in my opinion an A-9 though. II./JG 301 "high -altitude staffeln" equipped with Doras, well that would be the 6th only unless the a/c and it may well have been were dispersed uneavenly to the 5th, 7th and 8. staffels..............this is for another thread possibly ? 9./JG 301 claimed 3 B-17's, two of these via Will Reschke and confirmed by gun-camera

    I note 12 P-51's claimed and 11 P-47's, of these 5 are reported by II./JG 26, 2 by the Fw 190A-8's of IV./JG 54.

    JG 300 got it's guts ripped out as the US escorts were all over them ..... and then paid attention to JG 301 through who knows how did not lose a single Fw A.
     
  9. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Off topic once more - the 8th AF bomber command airman total over Germany that day was about the equivalent of ALL the USMC KIA/MIA for WWII... to put the magnitude of the effort in perspective.
     
  10. mhuxt

    mhuxt Active Member

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    LOL, heheheh, that's a damn good thing, drgondog! Make Love, Not War, as they say.














    I believe Operation Clarion saw a greater number of bomber / fighter/bomber sorties.
     
  11. paradoxguy

    paradoxguy Member

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    I hope your dad was a better marksman in the air....:)
     
  12. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Appears he scored pretty well in both environments
     
  13. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    hmmmmmmm where to go with that.

    ~ I've got to check to see if the boys took Christmas off or not, the data is not in front of me but would guess a big fat NO
     
  14. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Erich, whats impressive is the LW managed to hit the bombers even when there were thousands of allied fighters (8th, 9th and RAF) ooperating in the same area.
     
  15. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    there is alot of air up there, and the US/RAF fighters could not be everywhere at once, though to many young LW pilots they were.
     
  16. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    No Christmas Day off but there were more escorts than bombers headed for Comm Centers and M/Y.

    Apparently this was the 479th (Olds) biggest battle and score with 15-4-3 Fw190s and 109s near Bonn-Cologne-Malmedy axis for loss of 3 air, one FF (same battery that whacked Preddy). The FF loss was recovered by US GI's.
     
  17. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    FF = Friendly Fire?
     
  18. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Yes - the 479th pilot was hit by 40mm fire and I think Preddy was hit by a quad .50.
     
  19. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    The day after this bomber mission, the LW lost 46 (claimed) fighters. The 352nd and 479th FG's had 11 and 14 respectively. Only 5 Bombers were lost.

    On Dec 27th, 17 P47's and 168 P51's were on a fighter sweep and did some damage by claiming 29. The 352nd had 22 claims.

    On Dec 31st, a force of 1327 bombers hit targets throughout western and northwestern Germany. The 3rd Bomb Division targeted Hamburg and Misburg, and their escorts claimed 59 fighters. The 359th claimed 11 and the 364th claimed 25. But the 3rd BD lost 27 B17's with the hard luck 100th BG getting the worst of it, losing 12.
     
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