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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

On D-day for Operation STARKEY (a rehearsal for the invasion of France), the Eighth Air Force dispatches a record number of 330 heavy bombers against various targets in France:

1. 87 B-17s are dispatched to the industrial area at Paris; 20 hit the primary target at 0903 hours and 48 hit the secondary target, the Beaumont Suroise Airfield; they claim 16-2-9 Luftwaffe aircraft; 2 B-17s are lost and 21 damaged; casualties are 3 WIA and 21 MIA.

2. 63 B-17s are dispatched to Beauvais/Tille Airfield; 59 hit the target at 0816-0819 hours; 6 B-17s are damaged.

3. 37 B-17s are dispatched to Lille/Nord Airfield; all hit the target at 0830-0833 hours; 10 B-17s are damaged; casualties are 2 WIA.

4. 56 B-17s are dispatched to Lille/Vendeville Airfield; 52 hit the target at 0830-0840 hours; 7 B-17s are damaged.

5. 56 B-17s are dispatched to Vitry-en-Artois Airfield; 51 hit the target at 0837-0840; no losses or casualties.

6. 38 B-24s are dispatched to St Omer/Ft Rouge and St Omer/Longuenesse Airfield; 28 hit the target; 3 B-24s are damaged; casualties are 1 WIA.

7. 40 B-24s are dispatched to Abbeville/Drucat Airfield; 35 hit the target; no losses or casualties. All missions except 7 above are escorted by 215 P-47s. They claim 1-0-0 Luftwaffe aircraft; 2 P-47s are lost; casualties are 1 MIA.

Operation STARKEY is a disappointment as the Luftwaffe refuses to commit fighter defenses on a large scale, thus preventing possible destruction of many of their aircraft, which Allied air forces hoped to accomplish.

VIII Air Support Command Mission 55: 217 B-26s are dispatched to the coastal defenses around Boulogne, France; 202 hit the targets at 0745-0915 hours; 3 B-26s are lost, 2 are damaged beyond repair and 24 damaged; casualties are 11 KIA, 8 WIA and 19 MIA.

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