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Mission

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Missions

The Eighth Air Force Historical Society

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Missions

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Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description

VIII Bomber Command Mission Number 56: A maximum force is put in the air as part of a combined offensive against the Wehrmacht. 154 B-17s, 21 B-24s and 12 B-26s are dispatched against 4 targets. The principal attack is against submarine yards and naval installations at Kiel, Germany; 136 B-17s and 21 B-24s are dispatched with 126 B-17s and 17 B-24s hitting the target at 1200-1203 hours local. We claim 62-24-27 Luftwaffe aircraft; we lose 5 B-24s and 3 B-17s with 1 B-24 damaged beyond repair and 9 B-24s and 27 B-17s damaged. Casualties are 3 KIA, 17 WIA and 81 MIA.

42 B-17s are dispatched against the former Ford and General Motors plants at Antwerp, Belgium; 38 hit the target at 1320 hours local; we claim 5-1-4 Luftwaffe aircraft; we lose 1 and 15 others and damaged; casualties are 3 WIA and 10 MIA.

39 B-17s are dispatched against Courtrai Airfield, France; 34 hit the target; we claim 0-0-1 Luftwaffe aircraft; we lose 2 B-17s and 10 others are damaged; casualties are 20 MIA.

12 B-26s are dispatched against the Velsen power station at Ijmuiden, The Netherlands; 11 hit the target at 1100 hours; 1 B-26 is damaged beyond repair when it crashes upon returning to base and 9 others are damaged; casualties are 1 KIA and 7 MIA. This is first time more than 200 US bombers are dispatched. The attack at Ijmuiden is made at low level by the 322d Bombardment Group (Medium), the first US medium bomber group to become operational in the UK.

The Antwerp mission is escorted by 118 P-47s; they claim 4-6-11 Luftwaffe aircraft; we lose 3 P-47s and 1 is damaged; casualties are 3 MIA.

A detachment of the 416th Night Fighter Squadron, VIII Fighter Command is sent to Bristol, England for training with the RAF. The 417th Night Fighter Squadron, VIII Fighter Command transfers from Ayr, Scotland to Cranfield, England. The squadron is training on Beaufighters with the RAF and has detachments at Ayr, Uxbridge, Coltishall and Bristol, England.

Source: THE ARMY AIR FORCES IN WORLD WAR II: COMBAT CHRONOLOGY, 1941-1945 by Carter / Mueller, the Office of Air Force History,