Action This Day

Eagle Day to Bombing of the Reich is a improved and enhanced edition of Talonsoft's older Battle of Britain and Bombing the Reich. This updated version represents the best simulation of the air war over Britain and the strategic bombing campaign over Europe that has ever been made.

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Re: Action This Day

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7-5-44
BOMBER COMMAND
NANTES
93 Lancasters and 6 Mosquitoes of 3 and 8 Groups to bomb the airfield. 1 Lancaster lost. Accurate bombing hit runways and hangars.

ST-VALÉRY
56 Halifaxes of 6 Group and 8 Pathfinder Mosquitoes attempted to bomb a coastal gun position but just missed the target. No aircraft lost.

SALBRIS
58 Lancasters and 4 Mosquitoes of 5 Group attacked an ammunition dump. The bombing was accurate and much damage was caused but 7 Lancasters were lost.

TOURS
53 Lancasters and 8 Mosquitoes of 5 Group bombed the airfield and caused much damage. 1 Lancaster and 1 Mosquito lost.

RENNES
55 Lancasters of 1 Group bombed the airfield and an ammunition dump. The force was not able to locate and mark the target adequately and most of the bombs fell on a nearby village, but no details are available. No aircraft lost.

Minor Operations: 28 Mosquitoes to Leverkusen and 4 to Châteaudun, 5 R.C.M. sorties, 12 Intruder patrols, 42 aircraft minelaying in the Frisians and in the River Gironde, 39 aircraft on Resistance operations. 2 Halifaxes lost dropping supplies to the Resistance.

Total effort for the night: 471 sorties, 12 aircraft (2.5 percent) lost.


USAAF
BELGIUM: An effort by 2d Bombardment Division B-24s to attack marshalling yards at Liege fails when the bombers are unable to assemble for the morning mission. A second attempt in the afternoon is somewhat more successful when 29 of 67 3d Bombardment Division B-24s dispatched locate the target through heavy cloud cover. Unfortunately, all bombs miss the target.

The 486th and 487th Heavy Bombardment groups, in B-24s, make their combat debuts during the 3d Bombardment Division afternoon mission.

FRANCE: The Ninth Air Force opens a bombing campaign by bombers and fighter-bombers against rail bridges serving the OVERLORD invasion area, especially those spanning the Meuse and Seine rivers. Throughout the day, Ninth Air Force fighter-bombers attack airfields and bridges within 130 miles of the invasion beaches in Normandy. Among other damage, eight P-47s armed with two 1,000-pound bombs apiece completely destroy a bridge at Vernon following a low-level bombing run.

GERMANY: Two hundred eighty-three 1st Bombardment Division B-17s and 231 3d Bombardment B-17s attack the city of Berlin with more than 1,250 tons of bombs; 39 B-17s attack various targets of opportunity; 147 2d Bombardment Division B-24s attack Munster; and 165 2d Bombardment Division B-24s attack Osnabruck. Eight B-17s are lost and 265 B-17s are damaged. One B-24 ditches and all but two crewmen are lost.

Seven hundred fifty-four USAAF fighters escort and support the heavy-bomber missions to Germany at a cost of four fighters and three pilots lost.

ITALY: Twelfth Air Force medium bombers are grounded by bad weather; XII TAC A-20s attack a dump; and XII TAC fighter-bombers attack targets on Elba Island, and road and rail targets, several harbors, and other targets throughout central Italy.

ROMANIA: Fifteenth Air Force B-17s and B-24s attack marshalling yards at Bucharest.

14th and 31st Fighter group escort pilots down nine Axis fighters over and around Bucharest between 1100 and 1210 hours. Capt Samuel J. Brown and 1stLt Richard D. Faxon, P-51 pilots with the 31st Fighter Group, achieve ace status when each downs a Romanian Air Force IAR.80 fighter over Bucharest at about noon.

YUGOSLAVIA: Fifteenth Air Force B-17s attack a rail bridge in Belgrade.
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Re: Action This Day

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8-5-44
BOMBER COMMAND
HAINE-ST-PIERRE
123 aircraft – 62 Halifaxes, 53 Lancasters, 8 Mosquitoes – of 6 and 8 Groups. 6 Halifaxes and 3 Lancasters lost. Severe damage was caused to half of the railway yards and to locomotive sheds.

BREST
58 Lancasters and 6 Mosquitoes of 5 Group attacked the airfield and seaplane base at Lanveoc-Poulmic with great accuracy. 1 Lancaster lost.

MORSALINES
31 Halifaxes of 4 Group and 8 Pathfinder Mosquitoes scored direct hits on a coastal gun position. 1 Halifax lost.

BERNEVAL
32 Halifaxes of 4 Group and 7 Pathfinder Mosquitoes attacked a gun position but only 1 aircraft hit the target. Most of the bombing was 600–700 yards from the gun position. No aircraft lost.

CAP GRIZ NEZ
30 Lancasters of 3 Group and 8 Pathfinder Mosquitoes located the gun position but no hits were scored. No aircraft lost.

Minor Operations: 28 Mosquitoes to Osnabrück and 2 to Oberhausen, 4 R.C.M. sorties, 10 Serrate patrols, 30 Halifaxes and 8 Stirlings minelaying off the Dutch and French coasts, 41 aircraft on Resistance operations, 26 O.T.U. sorties. 1 Stirling lost on Resistance supply work.

Total effort for the night: 452 sorties, 12 aircraft (2.7 percent) lost.


USAAF
BELGIUM: During the afternoon, 57 3d Bombardment Division B-17s attack a marshalling yard at Brussels.

ENGLAND: The Ninth Air Force’s 36th and 373d Fighter groups, both in P-47s, are declared operational.

ETO: Gen Dwight D. Eisenhower sets the Operation OVERLORD D day for June 5.

Approximately 450 IX Bomber Command B-26s and A-20s attack airdromes, V-weapons sites, and coastal-defense positions in northern France and Belgium.

FRANCE: During the afternoon, 92 1st and 3d Bombardment division B-17s attack V-weapons sites at Glacerie and Sottevast. Five B-17s are lost.

Throughout the day, approximately 450 IX Bomber Command B-26 and A-20 sorties, and numerous fighter-bomber missions are mounted against airfields and bridges spanning the Meuse River. In the first IX Bomber Command missions against specific rail bridges, B-26s attack a bridge spanning the Seine River at Oissel. (To help mask the intended OVERLORD invasion area, the Seine and Meuse bridges are to be attacked with equal intensity. Overall, despite the buildup of intense flak concentrations, the bombing campaign against such bridges prior to the invasion will be extremely successful. By D day, all rail bridges from Rouen to about 10 miles west of Paris will have been made impassable. And a similar effort against road bridges in the same region will be nearly as successful.)

GERMANY: Of 500 1st and 3d Bombardment division B-17s dispatched against Berlin, 386 attack the city, 17 attack the Brandenburg suburb, and 50 attack targets of last resort at Brunswick and Magdeburg. Also, 288 2d Bombardment Division B-24s attack the city of Brunswick, as planned. Twenty-five B-17s and 11 B-24s are lost, and seven B-24s are written off.

Escort for the Eighth Air Force heavy bombers is provided by 729 USAAF fighters, of which 13 are lost with their pilots in fierce air-to-air combat over Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

USAAF escort pilots down 56 GAF fighters along the bomber routes between 0930 and 1235 hours, and some USAAF fighter groups strafe targets of opportunity during their return legs. Capt Clayton E. Davis, a P-51 pilot with the 352d Fighter Group’s 487th Fighter Squadron, achieves ace status when he downs three Bf-109s and shares in the downing of an FW-190 near Brunswick between 0930 and 1010 hours; 1stLt Carl J. Luksic, a P-51 pilot with the 352d Fighter Group’s 487th Fighter Squadron, achieves ace status with a total of eight confirmed victories when he downs three FW-190s and two Bf-109s near Brunswick between 0935 and 1030 hours; LtCol John C. Meyer, the commanding officer of the 352d Fighter Group’s 487th Fighter Squadron, achieves ace status when he downs three Bf-109s near Bremen between 0935 and 1030 hours; Capt Robert S. Johnson, a P-47 pilot with the 56th Fighter Group’s 62d Fighter Squadron, brings his final personal tally to 27 confirmed victories when he downs an Bf-109 and an FW-190 near Hannover at 1000 hours; 1stLt Robert J. Booth, a P-51 pilot with the 359th Fighter Group’s 369th Fighter Squadron, achieves ace status when he downs an FW-190 and two Bf-109s near Drakenburg between 1000 and 1010 hours; Maj Stephen W. Andrew, the commanding officer of the 352d Fighter Group’s 486th Fighter Squadron, achieves ace status when he downs an FW-190 near Hannover at 1015 hours; and Capt Frank A. Cutler, a P-51 pilot with the 352d Fighter Group’s 486th Fighter Squadron, achieves ace status when he downs two Bf-109s near Gifhorn at 1030 hours.

ITALY: XII TAC fighter-bombers attack a supply dump near Anzio as well as numerous road and rail targets in central Italy.
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Re: Action This Day

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9-5-44
BOMBER COMMAND
COASTAL BATTERIES
414 aircraft – 206 Halifaxes, 180 Lancasters, 28 Mosquitoes – attacked 7 coastal gun batteries in the Pas de Calais area. Four of the positions were claimed to have been hit. 1 Lancaster lost while bombing the Mardyck position.

GENNEVILLIERS
56 Lancasters and 8 Mosquitoes of 5 Group attacked the Gnome & Rhône factory and another factory near by. A local report confirms the Bomber Command claim that both targets were hit, but 24 French people were killed and 107 injured. 5 Lancasters lost.

ANNECY
39 Lancasters and 4 Mosquitoes of 5 Group to a small ball-bearing factory. Weather en route was very bad and only 2 Mosquito marker aircraft reached the target, but the factory was accurately bombed. No aircraft lost.

Minor Operations: 30 Mosquitoes to Berlin and 6 to Châteaudun, 10 R.C.M. sorties, 11 Serrate and 24 Intruder patrols, 20 Halifaxes and 5 Stirlings minelaying off Dutch and French coasts, 43 aircraft on Resistance operations, 12 O.T.U. sorties. 2 Stirlings and 1 Halifax on Resistance operations and 1 O.T.U. Wellington were lost.

Total effort for the night: 682 sorties in 18 separate operations, 10 aircraft (1.5 percent) lost.

USAAF
BELGIUM: Ninety-six 2d Bombardment Division B-24s attack Florennes/Juzaine Airdrome; 101 2d Bombardment Division B-24s attack St.-Trond Airdrome; and 63 2d Bombardment Division B-24s attack a marshalling yard at Liege.

ENGLAND: The Ninth Air Force’s 367th and 406th Fighter groups, in P-38s and P-47s, respectively, are declared operational. These additions bring the IX Fighter Command to a final wartime strength of 18 combat groups.

ETO: The Allied Expeditionary Air Force, Eighth Air Force, and RAF Bomber Command open a full-scale bomber and fighter-bomber offensive against GAF bases in France and Belgium. The aim of the ongoing effort will be to drive the GAF from the OVERLORD invasion area by D day.

Escort for the USAAF heavy bombers attacking targets in France, Belgium, and Luxembourg is provided by 668 VIII Fighter Command and 202 IX Fighter Command fighters, of which seven are lost with their pilots. Five GAF fighters are downed over northern Europe during the morning.

FRANCE: Thirty-seven 1st Bombardment Division B-17s attack Thionville Airdrome; 37 1st Bombardment Division B-17s attack a marshalling yard at Thionville; 75 1st Bombardment Division B-17s attack St.-Dizier/Robinson Airdrome; a total of 16 2d Bombardment Division B-24s unable to attack their primary targets attack Hody and Nivelles airdromes; 71 3d Bombardment Division B-17s attack Juvincourt Airdrome; 113 3d Bombardment Division B-17s attack Laon/Athies Airdrome; 43 3d Bombardment Division B-17s attack Lille/Vendeville Airdrome; a total of 11 3d Bombardment Division B-17s unable to attack their primary targets attack Chievres (Belgium) and Lille/Vendeville airdromes; and 68 3d Bombardment Division B-24s attack Laon/Couvron Airdrome.

Forty IX Bomber Command B-26s attack bridges, V-weapons sites, and coastal-defense positions in northern France, and Ninth Air Force P-47s attack V-weapons sites.

The first successful B-24 mission overseen by groups of the 3d Bombardment Division is flown against Laon/Couvron Airdrome. In all, five B-24 groups will be added to the 3d Bombardment Division, but the logistics and maintenance problems inherent in mixing types of such complicated equipment as heavy bombers results in an early decision to reequip the five 3d Bombardment Division B-24 groups with B-17s. This program will not be completed until late in the year.

ITALY: Twelfth Air Force B-26s attack a rail bridge and viaduct; XII TAC A-20s attack several fuel dumps; and XII TAC fighter-bombers attack numerous road and rail targets in the region north of Rome.

LUXEMBOURG: Fifty-three 1st Bombardment Division B-17s attack a marshalling yard at Luxembourg City.
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Re: Action This Day

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10-5-44
BOMBER COMMAND
RAILWAY TARGETS
506 aircraft – 291 Lancasters, 187 Halifaxes, 28 Mosquitoes – to bomb railway yards at Courtrai, Dieppe, Ghent, Lens and Lille. No post-raid reconnaissance was carried out at Dieppe and results of the raid there are not known. All other raids were successful, although some bombs fell on nearby civilian housing. At Ghent, 48 Belgian civilians were killed and 58 were injured but no other details are available. 12 Lancasters lost from the 5 Group raid to Lille and 1 Lancaster lost from the Dieppe raid.

Minor Operations: 29 Mosquitoes to Ludwigshafen and 2 to Châteaudun, 5 R.C.M. sorties, 9 Intruder and 3 Serrate patrols, 26 aircraft minelaying off Brest and Heligoland, 28 aircraft on Resistance operations, 10 O.T.U. sorties. 1 Halifax minelayer lost.

Total effort for the night: 618 sorties, 14 aircraft (2.3 percent) lost.

USAAF
AUSTRIA: Despite bad weather along the bomber route that results in many aborts, 126 Fifteenth Air Force B-24s and 174 B-17s attack the Wiener-Neustadt Bf-109 plant with 795 tons of bombs, and 102 B-24s attack the Wiener-Neustadt/Nord Airdrome with 212 tons of bombs. Twenty-eight heavy bombers and three escort fighters are lost.

The 485th Heavy Bombardment Group, in B-24s, makes its combat debut as part of the 55th Heavy Bombardment Wing. It is the twenty-first and last heavy-bomber group to join the Fifteenth Air Force.

More than 200 Fifteenth Air Force fighters provide escort for the heavy bombers. P-38 pilots of the 1st, 14th, and 82d Fighter groups account for 13 GAF fighters on the way to or over the target. 2dLt Franklin C. Lathrope, a P-38 pilot with the 1st Fighter Group’s 94th Fighter Squadron, achieves ace status when he downs a pair of Bf-109s south of Wiener-Neustadt.

The 52d Fighter Group undertakes its first escort mission with the Fifteenth Air Force since transitioning to P-51s.

BELGIUM: Ninth Air Force B-26s, P-47s, and P-51s attack airdromes, marshalling yards, and V-weapons sites.

ENGLAND: The day’s planned Eighth Air Force mission to Germany is abandoned due to bad weather encountered over England during the early stages of the assembly. Many Ninth Air Force bomber and fighter-bomber missions are also canceled due to the bad weather.

FRANCE: Ninth Air Force B-26s, P-47s, and P-51s attack airdromes, marshalling yards, and V-weapons sites.

ITALY: Twelfth Air Force B-25s attack bridges at five locations; Twelfth Air Force B-26s attack bridges near Arezzo; and XII TAC fighter-bombers attack numerous road and rail targets.

NORTH SEA: The Eighth Air Force air-sea rescue squadron (officially designated the 65th Fighter Group Detachment “B”) mounts its first sorties of the war in support of the RAF Air-Sea Rescue Service. The new USAAF unit initially employs war-weary P-47s in a spotter role only, but modifications to the airplanes will soon allow the unit to drop inflatable dinghies to aviators whose planes have gone down in the sea. The unit is composed of pilots and aircraft drawn from 16 VIII Fighter Command P-47 groups and stations. (Several modified B-17s and six Consolidated OA-10 Catalina flying boats will reach the unit in early 1945.)

YUGOSLAVIA: Nineteen Fifteenth Air Force heavy bombers unable to join the main attack on Wiener-Neustadt drop their bombs on Knin.
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Re: Action This Day

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11-5-44
BOMBER COMMAND
BOURG-LÉOPOLD
190 Lancasters and 8 Mosquitoes of 5 Group, with 3 Mosquitoes of 8 Group, were dispatched to attack this large military camp in Belgium. Haze hampered the marking of the target and the Master Bomber ordered the raid to be abandoned, for fear of hitting the nearby civilian housing, after 94 Lancasters had bombed. 5 Lancasters lost.

BOULOGNE
135 aircraft – 80 Halifaxes, 47 Lancasters, 8 Mosquitoes – of 6 and 8 Groups. 2 Halifaxes lost.

Some bombs fell in the railway yards but the main weight of the raid missed the target and fell on nearby civilian housing. 128 civilians were killed.

HASSELT
126 Lancasters and 6 Mosquitoes of 1 and 8 Groups. The target was marked and 39 aircraft bombed, but all missed the railway yards because of thick haze and the Master Bomber ordered the bombing to stop. 5 Lancasters lost.

LOUVAIN
105 Lancasters and 5 Mosquitoes of 3 and 8 Groups attacked the railway yards but the main weight of the bombing hit the railway workshops and nearby storage buildings. 4 Lancasters lost. (See Louvain raid in next night for local details.)

TROUVILLE
53 Halifaxes of 4 Group and 6 Pathfinder Mosquitoes attacked railway yards. The bombing was accurate and a large explosion was seen. No aircraft lost.

COLLINE BEAUMONT
53 Halifaxes of 4 Group and 6 Pathfinder Mosquitoes attacked a gun position. The target proved difficult to mark and no results were established. No aircraft lost.

Minor Operations: 8 R.C.M. sorties, 6 Serrate patrols, 12 aircraft minelaying off French ports, 3 aircraft on Resistance operations. No aircraft lost.

Total effort for the night: 725 sorties, 16 aircraft (2.2 percent) lost.

USAAF
BELGIUM: During the morning, IX Bomber Command B-26s attack a marshalling yard at Aerschot. During the afternoon, 104 Eighth Air Force B-17s attack two marshalling yards in Brussels, 119 B-17s attack the marshalling yards at Liege, and 20 B-17s unable to attack their briefed targets attack the rail junction at Malines. Two B-17s are lost.

ENGLAND: Personnel and B-24 aircraft of the 467th Heavy Bombardment Group’s 788th Heavy Bombardment Squadron and the 490th Heavy Bombardment Group’s 850th Heavy Bombardment Squadron are transferred to the secret 801st Provisional Heavy Bombardment Group for eventual service parachuting agents and supplies to Occupied Europe.

ETO: More than 100 Ninth Air Force fighters abort or are recalled from planned fighter-bomber missions.

Escort for various Eighth Air Force afternoon B-17 missions against targets in France, Belgium, Germany, and Luxembourg is provided by a total of 471 VIII and IX Fighter command fighters, of which four are lost with their pilots.

FRANCE: Despite cloudy conditions, a total of 195 2d Bombardment Division B-24s attack the marshalling yards at Belfort, Epinal, and Mulhouse, as planned; 99 2d Bombardment Division B-24s attack various targets of opportunity; and 70 3d Bombardment Division B-17s dispatched against the marshalling yard at Chaumont fail to reach the target. Six B-24s are downed by flak, and two B-24s are interned in Switzerland.

The 492d Heavy Bombardment Group, in B-24s, makes its combat debut with the 2d Bombardment Division.

Escort and support for the 2d Bombardment Division are provided by 536 VIII Fighter Command fighters, of which five are lost with their pilots.

The Ninth Air Force turns the bulk of its attention against GAF bases within range of Caen by attacking airdromes at Beaumont-le-Roger and Cormeilles-en-Vexin, and IX Bomber Command B-26s also attack a marshalling yard at Mezieres.

During the afternoon, 12 Eighth Air Force B-17s unable to reach their briefed primary attack the marshalling yard at Thionville.

78th Fighter Group P-47 pilots down three GAF fighters over France between 1410 and 1445 hours.

GERMANY: During afternoon missions by Eighth Air Force B-17s, 19 attack a marshalling yard at Bettembourg, 60 attack a marshalling yard at Ehrgang, 55 attack a marshalling yard at Kons Karthaus, 58 attack a marshalling yard at Saarbrucken, and 16 attack a marshalling yard at Volkingen. Six B-17s are lost.

354th Fighter Group P-51 pilots down ten GAF fighters over Germany and Luxembourg between 1810 and 1900 hours. 1stLt Robert D. Welden, a P-51 pilot with the 354th Fighter Group’s 356th Fighter Squadron, achieves ace status when he downs an FW-190 near Saarbrucken at 1845 hours, and Capt Charles W. Lasko, a P-51 pilot with the 354th Fighter Group’s 355th Fighter Squadron, achieves ace status when he shares in the downing of a Bf-109 over Luxembourg at 1900 hours.

ITALY: Although many missions are canceled or redirected because of bad weather, Twelfth Air Force B-25s and B-26s attack a rail line, and bridges and viaducts at five locations; and XII TAC fighter-bombers attack Littoria Airdrome, rail targets throughout central Italy, and many German Army fighting positions along the front lines facing the U.S. Fifth and British Eighth armies.

LUXEMBOURG: During the afternoon, 53 Eighth Air Force B-17s attack a marshalling yard at Luxembourg City.

MTO: Operation STRANGLE, the aerial interdiction of the Germany Army’s supply distribution system in Italy is concluded for lack of viable targets. Since March 15, MAAF units have mounted 65,000 effective bomber, fighter-bomber, and fighter sorties that have sown 33,100 tons of bombs against transportation targets and supply dumps throughout central and northern Italy.

Upon the cancellation of Operation STRANGLE, Operation DIADEM is launched in support of Allied ground attacks aimed at breaching the German Army’s Gustav Line and driving through to Rome. Operation DIADEM is billed as an all-out aerial offensive against the German Army in Italy.
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Re: Action This Day

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12-5-44
BOMBER COMMAND
LOUVAIN
120 aircraft – 96 Halifaxes, 20 Lancasters, 4 Mosquitoes – of 6 and 8 Groups. 3 Halifaxes and 2 Lancasters lost.

The bombing was more accurate than on the previous night and considerable damage was caused in the railways yards. The local report, which consolidates the 2 raids, confirms that the railways were badly damaged and says that parts of the system were still being repaired 6 months later. But civilian casualties were also heavy, with 160 people being killed and 208 injured in Louvain and its suburbs of Herent and Wilsele. Building damage in Louvain included 5 blocks of the university, 8 factories, 4 convents and a church.

HASSELT
111 aircraft – 100 Halifaxes, 7 Lancasters, 4 Mosquitoes – of 4 and 8 Groups. 6 Halifaxes and 1 Lancaster lost. Most of the attack fell in open fields and only a few bombs hit the railway yards.

SPECIAL MINELAYING OPERATION
22 Mosquitoes of 8 Group attempted to block the Kiel Canal by laying mines from low level. Intelligence sources had said that the Flak defences on part of the canal had been removed. 20 Mosquitoes laid their mines in this stretch; 1 aircraft lost.

Minor Operations: 12 Mosquitoes to Brunsbüttel (as a diversion for the Kiel Canal mining operation) and 8 to Châteaudun, 10 R.C.M. sorties, 12 Serrate and 9 Intruder patrols, 43 aircraft minelaying off the French coast and in the Frisians. 8 O.T.U. sorties. 1 Intruder Mosquito lost.

Total effort for the night: 355 sorties, 14 aircraft (39 percent) lost.

USAAF
BELGIUM: Despite thick haze that results in many aborts, Ninth Air Force B-26s attack V-weapons sites, bridges, rail targets, railroad guns, coastal defenses, and airdromes.

ENGLAND: IX Troop Carrier Command transport aircraft and U.S. Army paratroopers conduct Operation EAGLE, a full-dress rehearsal for the D-day airborne component.

FRANCE: Despite thick haze that results in many aborts, Ninth Air Force B-26s attack V-weapons sites, bridges, rail targets, railroad guns, coastal defenses, and airdromes.

GERMANY: In the Eighth Air Force’s first mission of the war against oil-industry targets, 814 B-17s and B-24s escorted by an all-out USAAF and RAF fighter effort, drop nearly 1,700 tons of bombs on the German oil plants at Bohlen, Brux (Czechoslovakia), Lutzkendorf, Merseburg, Zeitz, and Zwickau, as well as several targets of opportunity. Many of the oil plants are severely damaged by the bombs, but of equal importance are the heavy losses sustained by the GAF interceptor force sent aloft to challenge the bombers. Nearly 200 German fighters are claimed as destroyed by escort fighter pilots and bomber gunners. However, GAF fighter opposition is especially violent against the leading 3d Bombardment Division formations, which lose 41 of 43 B-17s (and three B-24s).

Escort is provided by a record 735 VIII Fighter Command fighters and 245 IX Fighter Command fighters, of which ten are lost with their pilots. 1stLt John B. Carder, a seven-victory P-51 ace with the 357th Fighter Group’s 364th Fighter Squadron, is shot down and captured.

Sixty-seven GAF fighters are downed along the bomber routes between 1140 and 1500 hours. Capt James W. Wilkinson, a P-47 pilot with the 78th Fighter Group’s 82d Fighter Squadron, achieves ace status when he downs an FW-190 near Koblenz at 1220 hours; Capt Clarence E. Anderson, Jr., a P-51 pilot with the 357th Fighter Group’s 363d Fighter Squadron, achieves ace status when he downs a Bf-109 near Frankfurt am Main at 1230 hours; Capt Joe H. Powers, a P-47 ace with the 56th Fighter Group’s 61st Fighter Squadron, brings his final personal tally to 14.5 confirmed victories when he shares in the downing of a Bf-109 near Frankfurt am Main at 1230 hours; 1stLt Robert J. Rankin, a P-47 pilot with the 56th Fighter Group’s 61st Fighter Squadron, achieves ace status with a total of nine confirmed victories when he downs five Bf-109s between Marburg and Koblenz between 1230 and 1300 hours; and 1stLt William C. Reese, a P-51 pilot with the 357th Fighter Group’s 362d Fighter Squadron, achieves ace status when he downs a Bf-109 near Schweinfurt at 1250 hours.

The VIII Fighter Command’s 361st Fighter Group completes its first combat mission since transitioning to P-51s from P-47s.

ITALY: During the course of the day, the Fifteenth Air Force mounts 1,143 heavy-bomber sorties loaded with 1,912 tons of bombs against numerous targets in Italy as part of Operation DIADEM, the general Allied air offensive aimed at breaking the will of German Army forces facing Allied ground troops. Among the many targets attacked are the German Army headquarters at Massa d’Albe and Monte Soratte. Harbors and rail targets are also attacked. Escort is provided by more than 250 Fifteenth Air Force fighter sorties, and 25 Fifteenth Air Force P-38s strafe Piacenza Airdrome.

Twelfth Air Force B-26s and XII TAC A-20s attack German Army troop concentrations around Fondi in support of the U.S. Fifth Army’s advance toward Rome. Attacks by Twelfth Air Force medium bombers are also mounted against Pastena and Vallecorsa, as well as numerous tactical positions along the battle lines. XII TAC fighter-bombers attack numerous tactical targets and troop positions along the battle lines as well as rear-area troop concentrations and transportation targets.

324th Fighter Group P-40s are specially equipped with phosphorous and fragmentation cluster bombs and dispatched to attack Monte Cassino’s Monastery Hill at low level. Diving through an undercast and heavy flak, 24 P-40s release more than five tons of bombs precisely on the target, thus eliminating resistance and allowing pinned-down Allied ground units to move freely through the area. Immediately after the successful attack, 12 additional 324th Fighter Group P-40s attack German Army troops as they mass for a counterattack near Monastery Hill. This attack is broken up before it begins by the accurate delivery of 12 500-pound bombs and three separate strafing passes by each fighter. Allied troops hunkered down within 75 yards of the target area are not molested.

During the day, Twelfth and Fifteenth Air Force fighter pilots are credited with downing eight GAF fighters over Italy and an He-177 near Elba Island.
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Re: Action This Day

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13-5-44
USAAF
BELGIUM: IX Bomber Command B-26s and A-20s attack coastal defenses and V-weapons sites, and P-47 dive-bombers attack tactical targets.

FRANCE: IX Bomber Command B-26s and A-20s attack coastal defenses and V-weapons sites, and P-47 dive-bombers attack tactical targets.

GERMANY: Two hundred seventy-two 1st Bombardment Division B-17s dispatched against oil-industry targets in western Poland are diverted because of bad weather against the Baltic coastal cities of Stettin and Straslund, where they drop a total of 763 tons of bombs. Ten B-17s are lost.

Two hundred twenty-eight 2d Bombardment Division B-24s attack an aircraft factory at Tutow, as briefed, and 12 B-24s attack targets of opportunity. One B-24 is lost.

One hundred seventy-eight 3d Bombardment Division B-17s attack a marshalling yard at Osnabruck. One B-17 is lost.

Escort for the heavy bombers is provided by a record 737 VIII Fighter Command fighters and 370 IX Fighter Command fighters, of which nine are lost with their pilots. Capt Frank A. Cutler, a 352d Fighter Group P-51 pilot who achieved ace status on May 8, is shot down and killed shortly after downing a Bf-109 near Neubrandenburg at 1420 hours.

USAAF escort fighters down 54 GAF aircraft. Capt Wallace N. Emmer, a P-51 pilot with the 354th Fighter Group’s 353d Fighter Squadron, achieves ace status when he downs two Bf-109s over Germany during an afternoon mission; 1stLt Francis H. Horne, a P-51 pilot with the 352d Fighter Group’s 328th Fighter Squadron, achieves ace status when he downs two FW-190s near Demmin at 1315 hours; Col Joe L. Mason, the commanding officer of the 352d Fighter Group, in P-51s, achieves ace status when he downs two Bf-109s and an FW-190 near Demmin at 1420 hours; and Maj George E. Preddy, the commanding officer of the 352d Fighter Group’s 487th Fighter Squadron, achieves ace status when he downs two Bf-109s near Neubrandenburg at 1425 hours.

355th Fighter Group P-51s complete the deepest target penetration to date in the ETO, a 1,470-mile round trip to Posen (Poznan, Poland).

ITALY: The Fifteenth Air Force dispatches more than 670 heavy bombers on missions in support of the Allied ground offensive: B-24s attack marshalling yards at Bolgna, Piacenza, and Vicenza; and B-17s attack a rail bridge and the marshalling yard at Bolzano, and marshalling yards at Bronzola and Trento.

On a separate mission by the 301st Heavy Bombardment Group, four Azon-equipped B-17s lead a bombing run on a viaduct north of Trento. The guided bombs, and many others, blast a 70-foot gap in the viaduct and thus close down rail traffic from Brenner Pass.

The entire Twelfth Air Force devotes its energies to supporting the Allied ground attacks against the Gustav Line: Twelfth Air Force B-25s attack German-held towns directly behind the battle area; Twelfth Air Force B-26s attack several rail bridges; XII TAC A-20s attack a German Army command post; and XII TAC fighter-bombers attack an array of tactical targets in and around the battle area.
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Re: Action This Day

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14-5-44
BOMBER COMMAND
MINOR OPERATIONS
41 Mosquitoes – 29 to Cologne, 5 to Courtrai, 4 to Châteaudun and 3 to Leverkusen, 1 R.C.M. sortie, 10 Halifaxes and 2 Stirlings minelaying off Channel and Biscay ports, 10 O.T.U. sorties. No aircraft lost.

USAAF
ITALY: Fifteenth Air Force B-24s attack the Piacenza and Reggio Emilia airdromes, and a marshalling yard at Vicenza; Fifteenth Air Force B-17s attack marshalling yards at Ferrara and Mantua and the Piacenza Airdrome; 48 Fifteenth Air Force P-38s strafe the Aviano and Villaorba airdromes; Twelfth Air Force B-25s and B-26s attack bridges, bridge approaches, and viaducts north and northwest of Rome; XII TAC A-20s attack German Army command posts in the battle area; and XII TAC fighter-bombers attack road and rail targets, gun emplacements, bridges, and an array of tactical targets throughout the battle area.

P-40 pilots of the XII TAC’s 324th Fighter Group attack German Army ground forces in the enemy stronghold at Castellonorato, dropping fragmentation, demolition, and phosphorous bombs so accurately and with such force that the German garrison immediately surrenders to nearby Allied ground units.

SCOTLAND: The 479th Fighter Group, in P-38s, arrives from the United States aboard ship for service with the VIII Fighter Command’s 65th Fighter Wing.
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Re: Action This Day

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15-5-44
BOMBER COMMAND
MINOR OPERATIONS
43 Mosquitoes – 30 to Ludwigshafen, 10 to Carpiquet airfield near Caen and 3 to Leverkusen, 1 R.C.M. sortie, 2 Serrate patrols, 43 aircraft minelaying from Kiel to Biscay, 6 aircraft on Resistance operations, 24 O.T.U. sorties. 3 Lancaster minelayers and 1 O.T.U. Wellington lost.

USAAF
FRANCE: Thirty-eight 1st Bombardment Division B-17s attack V-weapons sites at Marquise/Mimoyecques, and 90 2d Bombardment Division B-24s attack V-weapons sites at Siracourt.

More than 300 IX Bomber Command B-26s and A-20s abort in the face of heavy clouds, but small groups amounting to 45 medium and light bombers attack a marshalling yard at Somain and the Creil and Evreux/Fauville airdromes.

The Ninth Air Force’s 10th Photographic Reconnaissance Group, in F-5s, opens an intensive final preinvasion effort to photographically monitor all GAF airfields within range of the OVERLORD invasion beaches; produce photo mosaics of all the airborne-invasion landing areas and drop zones; cover all the main roads in the invasion area; cover all the Seine River bridges between Paris and the sea, and all Loire River bridges between Orleans and Nantes; and produce photo mosaics for a study by the IX Bomber Command of the flak defenses around Liege, Belgium.

ITALY: The Fifteenth Air Force is grounded by bad weather; Twelfth Air Force B-25s and B-26s, and XII TAC A-20s, attack road and rail targets north and northwest of the battle area, and port facilities and vessels along both coasts; and XII TAC fighter-bombers provide close and direct support for Allied ground forces battling through the Gustav Line.
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Re: Action This Day

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16-5-44
BOMBER COMMAND
29 Mosquitoes attacked Berlin; none were lost.

USAAF
ITALY: Twelfth Air Force B-25s and B-26s attack rail bridges and a tunnel in central Italy; XII TAC A-20s attack gun emplacements; and XII TAC fighter- bombers sweep vehicles and roads to the immediate rear of the Allied battle lines, thus isolating the German Army ground forces from reinforcement and resupply.
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Re: Action This Day

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17-5-44
USAAF
ITALY: Fifteenth Air Force heavy bombers attack the port facilities at Piombino and San Stefano al Mare, a marshalling yard at Ancona, a causeway at Orbetello, and a steel factory; Fifteenth Air Force P-38s attack the Forli, Ghedi, Modena, Reggio Emilia, and Villafranca di Verona airdromes; Twelfth Air Force B-25s attack Viterbo Airdrome; Twelfth Air Force B-26s attack road bridges directly behind the battle area; XII TAC A-20s attack a German Army command post at Valmontone and drop supplies to Free French Army troops; and XII TAC fighter-bombers attack gun emplacements at Cassino and elsewhere, and numerous bridges and road and rail targets throughout the battle area.

YUGOSLAVIA: Fifteenth Air Force heavy bombers attack Bihac.
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Re: Action This Day

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18-5-44
BOMBER COMMAND
Oboe Tests
17 Mosquitoes on calibration tests to targets in France. 4 aircraft bombed Mondeville and 2 bombed Orly; others did not bomb. 7 R.C.M. aircraft also operated on this night. No aircraft lost.

USAAF
FRANCE: An attempt by the Ninth Air Force’s 404th Fighter Group to dive-bomb Beaumont-sur-Oise Airdrome is thwarted by bad weather.

ITALY: Twelfth Air Force B-25s and B-26s attack rail bridges throughout central and northern Italy; XII TAC A-20s attack supply dumps; and XII TAC fighter-bombers attack railroads, several defended towns, and scores of tactical positions in direct and close support of Allied ground forces.

ROMANIA: Approximately 700 Fifteenth Air Force heavy bombers are dispatched on the first authorized direct attack against the Ploesti oil-refining facilities, but most groups turn back because of extremely heavy cloud cover. Only 206 heavy bombers loaded with 493 tons of bombs complete their attacks, and 14 of these are downed by flak and fighters. While escorting the bombers, P-38 and P-51 pilots of the 1st, 14th, 31st, and 325th Fighter groups down 14 Axis fighters over Romania between 1025 hours and noon.

YUGOSLAVIA: A number of Fifteenth Air Force heavy bombers deterred from the day’s main attack against Ploesti attack marshalling yards at Belgrade and Nis. Also, Fifteenth Air Force escort fighters strafe the airdromes at Scutari (Abania) and Nis.
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Re: Action This Day

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19-5-44
BOMBER COMMAND
BOULOGNE
143 aircraft – 106 Halifaxes, 32 Lancasters, 5 Mosquitoes – of 4 and 8 Groups attacked the railway yards. Only 1 of the Oboe Mosquitoes was able to mark the target but the bombing was accurate. The local report says that the main station was badly damaged; 33 civilians were killed. No aircraft lost.

ORLÉANS
118 Lancasters and 4 Mosquitoes of 1 and 8 Groups carried out a particularly accurate attack on the railway yards. 1 Lancaster lost.

AMIENS
112 Lancasters and 9 Mosquitoes of 5 and 8 Groups found that their railway target was cloud-covered and the Master Bomber ordered the attack to stop after 37 Lancasters had bombed. 1 Lancaster lost.

TOURS
113 Lancasters and 4 Mosquitoes of 5 Group to attempt the difficult task of attacking the railway installations in the centre of Tours. A previous 5 Group raid had destroyed the yards on the outskirts of the town. Both the marking and the bombing force were ordered to carry out their tasks with particular care and to be prepared to wait until the Master Bomber was satisfied that the surrounding housing areas were not hit. The raid continued until well after the planned period but no fighters appeared and no aircraft were lost. Much damage was caused to the railways but some bombs did fall to the west of the target. No local report is available.

LE MANS
112 Lancasters and 4 Mosquitoes of 3 and 8 Groups. The majority of the bombs hit the railway yards and caused serious damage. The local report says that the locomotive sheds were destroyed, an ammunition train (or some ammunition wagons) blew up, 2 main lines were destroyed and all other lines blocked because overhead power lines were brought down across the tracks. Civilian casualties are recorded as only 9 people killed (of whom 2 were railwaymen) and 5 injured.

Unfortunately the Lancasters of the Master Bomber and his deputy collided over the target and crashed. The Master Bomber was a brilliant young New Zealander, Wing Commander J. F. Barron, D.S.O. and Bar, D.F.C., D.F.M., and the Deputy Master Bomber was Squadron Leader J. M. Dennis, D.S.O., D.F.C. They were both killed; both were from 7 Squadron. 1 other Lancaster was lost.

LE CLIPON
58 Halifaxes of 6 Group and 6 Pathfinder Mosquitoes attacked a coastal gun position but there was haze and the results are not known. No aircraft lost.

MERVILLE
63 aircraft – 42 Halifaxes, 15 Lancasters, 6 Mosquitoes – of 6 and 8 Groups bombed the gun position. Some bombs did fall in the battery position despite the presence of haze. No aircraft were lost.

MONT COUPLE
39 Lancasters and 5 Mosquitoes of 8 Group to attack a radar station. The Mosquitoes were not able to use their Oboe equipment but 31 Lancasters used their H2S sets to make a timed run from the coast and bomb the approximate position of the target. 1 Lancaster shot down by Flak.

Minor Operations: 29 Mosquitoes to Cologne, 10 R.C.M. sorties, 8 Serrate and 23 Intruder patrols, 24 Halifaxes and 4 Stirlings minelaying off the French coast, 12 O.T.U. sorties. 1 O.T.U. Wellington lost.

Total effort for the night: 900 sorties, 7 aircraft (0.8 percent) lost.

USAAF
FRANCE: Despite a thick haze over many targets that results in well over a hundred aborts, nearly 300 IX Bomber Command B-26s and A-20s, along with nearly 300 P-47 dive-bombers, attack coastal-defense positions, railroad guns, port facilities, and V-weapons sites. A P-47 pilot with the IX TAC’s 404th Fighter Group downs a Bf-109 (that unit’s first victory) near Rouen at 2040 hours.

GERMANY: Four hundred ninety-five 1st and 3d Bombardment division B-17s using H2X radar guidance attack the city of Berlin through very heavy cloud cover; 49 1st Division B-17s unable to locate the primary attack the port facilities at Kiel; and 272 2d Bombardment Division B-24s attack aircraft-industry targets at Brunswick. Sixteen B-17s and 12 B-24s are lost.

Escort for the heavy-bomber formation is provided by a total of 700 VIII Fighter Command fighters and 264 IX Fighter Command fighters, of which 19 aircraft and 17 pilots are lost.

USAAF escort pilots down a total of 71 GAF aircraft over Germany and the Baltic Sea between 1220 and 1615 hours. 1stLt Ray S. Wetmore, a P-51 pilot with the 359th Fighter Group’s 370th Fighter Squadron, achieves ace status when he downs two Bf-109s near Stendal at 1245 hours; Maj Leslie C. Smith, the commanding officer of the 56th Fighter Group’s 61st Fighter Squadron, in P-47s, achieves ace status when he downs two FW-190s near Oschersleben, between 1335 and 1350 hours; and two P-51 pilots with the 4th Fighter Group’s 334th Fighter Squadron achieve ace status: Capt Howard D. Hively, when he downs three Bf-109s near Schwerin between 1515 and 1530 hours; and 1stLt David W. Howe, when he downs a Bf-109 over Neustadt Bay at 1530 hours.

ITALY: Fifteenth Air Force B-24s attack port facilities at Leghorn and La Spezia; Fifteenth Air Force B-17s attack oil- industry targets at Porto Marghera and rail bridges at three locations; Twelfth Air Force B-25s and B-26s attack rail bridges in north-central Italy; XII TAC A-20s attack an ammunition dump; and XII TAC fighter-bombers provide direct and close support for Allied ground forces advancing in many areas of central Italy.
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Re: Action This Day

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20-5-44
BOMBER COMMAND
DÜSSELDORF
30 Mosquitoes. The target area was cloud-covered and the Oboe markers quickly disappeared into the cloud. Most aircraft bombed on dead reckoning but this must have been inaccurate; Wuppertal, 17 miles east of Düsseldorf, reports 71 people killed on this night. No Mosquitoes lost.

Minor Operations: 14 Mosquitoes to Reisholz, 5 Serrate and 4 Intruder patrols, 12 Halifaxes and 4 Stirlings minelaying off French Atlantic ports, 7 O.T.U. sorties. No aircraft lost.

USAAF
FRANCE: Ninety and 73 1st Bombardment Division B-17s, respectively, attack Paris/Orly Airport and Villacoublay Airdrome; 125 2d Bombardment Division B-24s attack Reims/Champagne Airdrome and marshalling yard; and 271 3d Bombardment Division B-17s abort in the face of heavy cloud cover. Losses to enemy action are two B-24s, but eight B-17s and three B-24s are lost in accidents during takeoffs and assembly in thick fog.

Escort for the heavy bombers is provided by 657 VIII Fighter Command fighters and 296 IX Fighter Command fighters, of which four aircraft and pilots are lost. Two GAF fighters are downed by 55th Fighter Group P-38 pilots near Sens at 1100 hours.

Although as many as 250 IX Bomber Command B-26s abort in the face of heavy clouds over many targets, approximately 200 B-26s attack airfields, V-weapons sites, and coastal defenses. Many Ninth Air Force P-47 fighter-bombers also attack the same types of targets.
ITALY: Twelfth Air Force bombers are grounded because of bad weather, but XII TAC fighter-bombers are extremely active against communications, transportation, and tactical targets.
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