The 401st begin Bombing Missions
8th December 1943: The trials of a new USAAF Bomber Group in England
The USAAF airforce presence in Britain, the 8th Air Force, continued to go from strength to strength. They had endured some heavy casualties as they took their daylight raiding into the heart of Germany and occupied Europe, and tactics were continually developing. New Bomber Groups were still being established in eastern England, arriving just as fast as the airfields could be built for them.
When the briefing officer uncovered the route map, revealing a deep penetration, there was deep silence. Long faces. Then he announced fighter escort all the way in and out. Pandemonium broke loose.
Colonel Harold W. Bowman arrived with the 401st Bomber Group in England at the end of November and began operations in December. Things did not go smoothly at first, and it took a while for them to accustom themselves to new circumstances. It took some time just to get used to living on a base in England - on top of that was the business of flying combat missions.