USAAF fighters go all the way
13th November 1943: Extending the range of the escort fighters is crucial to protecting the heavy bombers of the 8th Air Force
Daylight bombing attacks on Germany continued to grow. The 8th Air Force had endured heavy losses during their 'black fortnight' in October, beginning with the Marienburg Raid. They were hitting the targets but the accompanying losses were unsustainable, especially on the second Schweinfurt raid on 14th October when they lost 26 per cent of the bombing aircraft.
On the 13th November they introduced a new tactic when they were accompanied on the 750 mile round trip to Bremen by P-38 Lightning and P-47 Thunderbolt fighters, the range of the fighters now augmented by ‘drop tanks’. This was to be the key development in providing the protection that the bombers needed over targets in Germany, so far fighters had only accompanied bombers part way out or met them on the return journey.
I observed 2 Me109’s preparing to deliver an attack so I waited until they were almost within range and then turned into them.
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