Air Force

February 21, 2014

This week in history

BIG-Week
1944: Big Week – Operation Argument

Seventy years ago this week, Lt. Gen. Carl Spaatz launched Big Week, or Operation Argument. Even with the Allied successes in 1943, the German Air Force was still a very lethal force. Allied air superiority was a local and transient condition. While the Allies had some long-range fighters, many of the targets were deep in German territory.

Allied air planners picked targets to disrupt German aircraft manufacturing. The main targets were nearly finished German aircraft and components, but Europe’s winter weather held up the operation. Finally, Allied weathermen predicted good weather over both the takeoff/landing fields and the target areas.

On the night of Feb. 19, 1944, the Royal Air Force bombed targets around Leipzig, Germany. The next day, 8th Air Force hit targets in the same area plus three up north.

It was the largest Allied air force yet sent into battle — 16 U.S. bomber wings, 17 U.S. fighter wings and 16 RAF fighter squadrons.

Ten bomber wings hit targets in the Brunswick-Leipzig area and six wings flew over the North Sea to strike other targets. The main strike force’s path appeared to aim at Berlin. Throughout the week, the bomber groups broke off at the last minute to strike their assigned targets.

That night and on Feb. 21, the allies struck targets around Stuttgart, Germany. Regensburg and Schweinfurt, Germany, were the targets that night and on Feb. 22.

Unfortunately, weather and poor coordination caused 8th Air Force bombers to cancel their mission. But, 15th Air Force joined the fight and struck Steyr, Austria. German fighters jumped the bombers early. Weather kept the RAF and 8th Air Force on the ground the next day, but 15th Air Force went back to Steyr.

The weather broke on Feb. 24 and the Mighty Eighth primarily hit targets in Schweinfurt and Gotha, Germany, and four other target areas. That night, the RAF bombed Schweinfurt and the 8th Air Force hit three Bavarian cities and Stuttgart on Feb. 25. Fifteenth Air Force bombed Regensburg-Prüfening but was left bloody by German fighters. The next day the weather turned bad and ended Big Week.

Allied success showed in a number of ways. In six days, 8th Air Force dropped as much ordnance as it had in its entire first year. The RAF almost matched the Mighty Eighth in tonnage. Planners expected to lose 200 U.S. bombers a day. For the entire campaign, the U.S lost only 226 bombers. The RAF lost another 157 bombers.

However, it caused the German fighters to change their tactics. They began leaving the stronger bomber formations alone and targeted smaller, weaker ones. Most importantly, the German air force lost a significant number of planes at a critical point when they were badly needed. German aircraft production recovered to previous levels within a couple of months, but, both Germany’s aircraft production and air force went on the defensive from that point on. The Allies had taken the initiative and kept it through the end of the war.




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


 
 

 
NEW_1

Luke F-35s visit Columbus AFB

Airman 1st Class Daniel Lile A T-6 Texan II roars overhead as the pilots of two Luke Air Force Base F-35 Lightning IIs prepare to exit their aircraft July 23 at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. The pilots are Capt. Nichola...
 
 

Gillespie Loop: Honors Airman who made ultimate sacrifice

BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan — The men and women of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing came together for a road dedication ceremony to honor Master Sgt. Randy Gillespie, a fallen Airman who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Master Sgt. Randy Gillespie was a career fuels specialist who died July 9, 2007, from wounds sustained during small...
 
 

Who’s afraid of a little blood?

I have been in the Air Force for 22 years and have been a medical laboratory technician since the beginning of my career. The medical or clinical laboratory is where specimens are tested to provide information to medical providers who directly assist in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease in patients. After graduating basic...
 

 

Pursue education for career’s sake

Everyone knows education can be a good bullet on an enlisted performance report, but few know the true value of an education in regard to a military career. The pursuit of an education can be just as valuable as the degree acquired at the end. The knowledge acquired in the pursuit of an education can...
 
 
Pg-3--photo-illustration

Candid money talk improves relationship

There are many reasons why people divorce but at the top of the list are lack of communication and finances. That’s why it’s important to combine these two topics to make for a successful long-lasting relationship. “I bel...
 
 

News Briefs July 31, 2015

Total body conditioning class A new total body conditioning class is 6:30 and 9 a.m. Monday and Wednesday. The 6:30 a.m. class is broken into two half hour segments to accommodate squadron or individual physical training. The 9 a.m. class is one hour. The class consists of body weight movements and the use of equipment...
 




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>