Air Force

January 31, 2014

This Week in History

79-Gabreski

Jan. 29, 1944: Target — Frankfurt

Seventy years ago, the 8th Air Force Fighter Command had a very good day. After four days on the ground due to weather, the fighters were able to get back in the air. The day’s bomber target was Frankfurt, Germany.

For the first time in World War II, the mighty 8th had more than 700 bombers attack targets on one mission. Eighth Air Force sent up 675 Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses and 188 Consolidated B-24 Liberators. Seven hundred and sixty-three bombers hit their primary targets. Another 46 B-17s bombed Ludwigshafen, Germany, because of a deviation from their planned bomb route.

At that time, fighter command assigned areas along the bombers’ route to the various fighter groups. The Republic P-47 Thunderbolt groups got the close-to-home areas due to their short combat radius. The Lockheed P-38 Lightning and North American P-51 Mustang groups took those areas further out from home station. The fighters in one area handed off the bombers to the fighters in the next area instead of escorting them the entire way.

For that mission, fighter command sent up more than 600 fighter aircraft. Eighth Air Force sent the bulk, which were P-47s and P-38s. Ninth Air Force added its P-51s to the fighter shield. Altogether they claimed to have shot down 39 enemy aircraft. The 56th Fighter Group claimed seven enemy aircraft shot down, but unfortunately it lost one pilot.

For the 56th FG’s part of the mission, planners divided it into two groups, “A” and “B.” Lt. Col. David Schilling, 56th FG commander, led the “A” group. Schilling’s 37 P-47s took off from Halesworth, England, at 10:20 a.m.

Making landfall over Knokke, Belgium, the fighters rendezvoused with the first box of 1st Division bombers at 11:39 a.m. at 29,000 feet southwest of Koblenz, Germany. On the way to the rendezvous point, a pair of Focke-Wulf 190s attacked the “A” group of fighters. Lt. Kenneth Lewis was shot down. Schilling shot down one of the FW 190s. Group “A” landed at 1334 hours after handing off to the “B” group.

Group “B” was commanded by Lt. Col. Francis Gabreski, the 56th FG’s flying executive officer. Taking off at 10:29 a.m., they arrived at the rendezvous point at 11:52 a.m. The last three wings of the 1st Bomb Division arrived at the same time. While there, Gabreski’s pilots were attacked by a dozen German fighters, two of which Gabreski downed.

Second Lt. Anthony Cavallo of the 63rd Fighter Squadron shot down Messerschmitt Me 210 aircraft. The 61st FS received credit for the three other kills that day.

Capt. Joseph Bennett shot down one Messerschmitt Me 110 by himself and shared credit for a second with 2nd Lt. Praeger Neyland. That was Neyland’s first combat flight after being wounded by 20mm fire 15 days earlier. Second Lt. Melvin Wood also shot down an Me 110. Group “B” landed back at Halesworth at 1:35 p.m.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Pg-1-photo-150612-F-EC705-058

Emerald Knights go out with bang

Emerald Knights watch a burning piano during the 308th Fighter Squadron inactivation party June 12 at Luke Air Force Base. The 308th FS and aircraft maintenance unit have packed up and are transitioning to the 314th FS standing...
 
 
2_lemery_d2

Respect — want, earn, give, but don’t lose it

Lt. Col. David Lemery We all want it, some earn it, some are given it and some lose it. Respect can be defined as a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities or achievements. As ...
 
 

Solve problems at lowest level

Crucial in our Air Force environment today is having the proper tools and skillsets available to deal with problems. There is literally something new almost every single day that will invoke problem solving skills. When faced with a problem, an important mindset to have is to resolve the issue at the lowest possible level. Some...
 

 

News Briefs June 26, 2015

607th ACS change of command Lt. Col. Charles Jones will relinquish command of the 607th Air Control Squadron to Lt. Col. Jerald Canny in a ceremony at 8 a.m. Wednesday in Hangar 999.   CMS change of command Maj. Scott Hall will relinquish command of the 56th Component Maintenance Squadron to Maj. Anthony Sutton in...
 
 

Fighting Falcons arrive at Holloman

Courtesy photo Six F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 308th Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base arrive in formation June 16 at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. The 308th FS has inactivated and the soon to be activated 314th FS assumes the 308th FS mission of training F-16 pilots as a 56th Fighter Wing...
 
 
5_Courtesy-photo

Monsoon season blows in storms, rain, dust

Courtesy photo Arizona is known for being sunny with clear skies for the majority of the year, but every year “it” happens. As the clouds roll in, the sky darkens with thunderbolts streaming overhead, and the first drops of...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>