1944 in aviation

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This is a list of aviation-related events from 1944:

Events[edit]

January[edit]

  • United States Coast Guard pilot Lieutenant, junior grade, Stewart Graham makes the first helicopter flight from a merchant ship in convoy in the North Atlantic Ocean. It is part of the United States Department of the Navy's development of the helicopter as an antisubmarine warfare platform.[1]
  • During the month, land-based American aircraft drop about 200 tons (181,438 kg) of bombs each on Mili Atoll, Maloelap, Wotje, and Roi-Namur. Mili is attacked almost every day, and Maloelap and Wotje are bombed the most heavily.[2]
  • In an attempt to lead the Germans to believe that the next Allied amphibious would be in the area rather than at Anzio, Allied fighters attack targets around Civitavecchia, Italy, and Allied bombers attack targets in northern Italy right up to the Italian border with France.[3]
  • January 1 – The United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) establish the United States Strategic Air Forces in Europe (USSAFE). USSAFE is to exercise operational control of the USAAF's Eighth and Fifteenth Air Forces.[4]
  • January 1–2 (overnight) – 421 British Avro Lancaster bombers attack Berlin, Germany. German night fighters intercept them, and 28 Lancasters (6.7 percent of the force) do not return.[5]
  • January 2–3 (overnight) – 383 British bombers raid Berlin. German night fighters mostly intercept them over the target, and 27 British bombers, all Lancasters, are lost.[5]
  • January 2 – Japanese antiaircraft guns shoot down three United States Army Air Forces B-24 Liberators over Maloelap during a daylight raid, forcing B-24s to switch to night raids in which their bombing is much less accurate.[2]
  • January 2–13—Allied aircraft systematically attack rail communications in central Italy in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent Germany from supplying and reinforcing its forces fighting in southern Italy.[3]
  • January 3
  • January 4
    • A strike by American aircraft based at Tarawa Atoll lays mines in the channel at Jaluit, forcing Japanese shipping to cease use of the atoll's lagoon and the withdrawal of most Japanese seaplanes there.[2]
    • 539 bombers of the U.S. Army Air Forces' Eighth Air Force raid Kiel and Münster, Germany, escorted by 155 fighters. Nineteen bombers and two fighters are lost. The bombers and fighters combined claim 12 German aircraft shot down, 13 probably shot down, and 10 damaged.[4]
  • January 4–5 (overnight) – 80 British bombers successfully raid two German V-1 flying bomb launch sites in the Pas de Calais and at Bristillerie without loss.[5]
  • January 5
    • 235 Eighth Air Force bombers escorted by 111 fighters raid the shipyard and industrial areas in Kiel with the loss of 10 bombers and seven fighters. The bombers and fighters combined claim 63 German aircraft shot down, seven probably shot down, and 21 damaged. Another 78 bombers raid Neuss, Geilenkirchen, Düsseldorf, and Wassenburg, Germany, losing two aircraft and claiming two German aircraft shot down, five probably shot down, and two damaged.[4]
    • 196 Eighth Air Force B-17 Flying Fortress bombers escorted by 225 P-47 Thunderbolt fighters attack two German airfields in France with the loss of 12 B-17s and five P-47s. The bombers and fighters combined claim 55 German aircraft shot down, 10 probably shot down, and 10 damaged.[4]
  • January 5–6 (overnight) – 358 British bombers make the first large raid on Stettin, Germany, since September 1941. Most of the German night fighters sent aloft fail to intercept them, but 16 bombers (4.5 percent of the force) are lost.[5]
  • January 7 – 502 Eighth Air Force bombers escorted by 571 fighters bomb the IG Farben plant at Ludwigshafen, Germany, with the loss of 19 bombers and six fighters. The bombers and fighters combined claim 37 German aircraft shot down, six probably shot down, and 20 damaged.[4]
  • January 11
    • Ten United States Navy PB4Y-1 Liberators bomb Roi and attack shipping in Kwajalein Atoll's lagoon, sinking a Japanese gunboat.[2]
    • In one of the largest U.S. Army Air Forces raids to date, 663 Eighth Air Force bombers escorted by 592 fighters strike aviation industry targets at Braunschweig, Halberstadt, Oschersleben, and Osnabruck, Germany, encountering heavy opposition in the form of an estimated 500 German fighters and losing 60 bombers and five fighters. The bombers and fighters combined claim 258 German aircraft shot down, 72 probably shot down, and 114 damaged. Flying a P-51 Mustang, Major James H. Howard finds himself alone in defending a B-17 group from 30 German fighters and claims two German aircraft shot down, one probably shot down, and two damaged without loss to the B-17s; he receives the Medal of Honor for his actions.[4]
  • January 13–19 – Allied air forces attack targets in Italy to seal off the beachhead for the upcoming invasion at Anzio, focusing on airfields around Rome and throughout central Italy.[8]
  • January 14 – 552 Eighth Air Force bombers escorted by 645 fighters strike 20 V-1 flying bomb sites in the Pas-de-Calais area of France, with the loss of three bombers and three fighters. The bombers and fighters combined claim 22 German aircraft shot down, one probably shot down, and one damaged.[4]
  • January 14–15 (overnight)
    • 458 British bombers carry out the first major raid on Braunschweig, Germany, of World War II. German night fighters intercept them when they cross the Germand border on the inbound flight and continue to attack them until they cross the coast of the Netherlands on their way home, and 38 bombers (7.6 percent of the force), all Lancasters, are lost. Most of the bombs land in small towns and open countryside, and Braunschweig itself suffers only 10 houses destroyed and 14 people killed.[5]
    • 82 British bombers strike German V-1 flying bomb sites at Ailly, Bonneton, and Bristillerie, France, without loss.[5]
  • January 19 – Allied heavy and medium bombers strike Viterbo, Rieti, and Perugia, Italy. The Allied air forces claim that their air campaign has cut all communications between northern Italy and the Rome area, although this does not turn out to be true.[3]
  • January 20–21 (overnight) – 769 British bombers raid Berlin. German night fighters intercept them early and 35 bombers (4.6 percent of the force) are lost. Berlin is completely cloud-covered and results of the raid are unknown.[5]
  • January 21 – 795 Eighth Air Force bombers escorted by 628 fighters strike 24 V-weapon sites in the Pas-de-Calais and Cherbourg areas of France, with the loss of six bombers and one fighter. The bombers and fighters combined claim 11 German aircraft shot down, one probably shot down, and six damaged.[4]
  • January 21–22 (overnight) – 648 British bombers make the first major raid on Magdeburg, Germany, of World War II. German night fighters intercept them over the North Sea before they cross the German coastline, and 57 bombers (8.8 percent of the force) are lost, with three-quarters of them probably falling victim to night fighters. The raid is unsuccessful because of the bombs are scattered.[5] German ace Hauptmann Manfred Meurer is killed when his Heinkel He 219 night fighter collides with a British Lancaster bomber over Magdeburg late on the 21st; he has 65 kills at the time of his death.[9] Another 34 bombers make a diversionary raid on Berlin with the loss of one aircraft, a Lancaster.[5]
    • 111 British bombers attack German V-1 flying bomb launching sites in France without loss.[5]
  • January 22 – In Operation Shingle, Allied forces land at Anzio and Nettuno, Italy. Allied air forces fly 1,200 sorties in support of the landings.[10]
  • January 23 – Off the Anzio beachhead, a raid by 55 German aircraft sinks the British destroyer HMS Janus with a torpedo and damages the destroyer HMS Jervis with a Fritz X radio-guided bomb.[11]
  • January 24
    • German raids of 15, 43, and 52 aircraft strike Allied ships off Anzio, damaging an American destroyer and minesweeper and sinking a British hospital ship.[12]
    • The U.S. Army Air Forces Eighth Air Force attempts a raid by 857 bombers escorted by 678 fighters against industrial and transportation targets in Germany, but all the bombers are grounded or recalled due to bad weather except for 58 which hit a power station near Eschweiler. Two bombers and nine fighters are lost. The bombers and fighters combined claim 20 German aircraft shot down, four probably shot down, and twelve damaged.[4]
    • The U.S. Army Air Forces in the United Kingdom and the Royal Air Force agree to place most available P-51 Mustang fighters in the USAAF Eighth Air Force for long-range bomber escort duty; American P-51s in the United Kingdom previously had operated in the Ninth Air Force. The Eighth Air Force's fighter squadrons eventually will be equipped almost exclusively with P-51s.[4]
  • January 25–26 (overnight) – 76 British bombers attack German V-1 flying bomb launching sites in the Pas de Calais and near Cherbourg, France, without loss.[5]
  • January 26
  • January 27 – The Japanese have 150 operational aircraft in the Marshall Islands.[13]
  • January 27–28 (overnight) - 530 British bombers raid Berlin. German night fighters are sent as far as 75 miles (121 km) out over the North Sea to intercept them, but many are misdirected due to British diversionary tactics and losses are kept to 33 Lancasters (6.4 percent of the heavy bomber force). The raid's bombs are scattered due to cloud cover.[5]
  • January 28 – 54 Eighth Air Force bombers escorted by 122 fighters strike the V-weapon site at Bonnières, France, without loss.[4]
  • January 28–29 (overnight)
    • 677 British bombers attack Berlin. German night fighters intercept them over the target, and 46 bombers (6.8 percent of the force) are lost. Bombs strike western and southern Berlin but also scatter enough to strike 77 other lcoations.[5]
    • For the first time, Pathfinder aircraft support RAF Bomber Command aircraft engaged in minelaying operations as four Pathfinder aircraft assist 63 Short Stirlings dropping naval mines at Kiel, Germany.[5]
  • January 29
    • The 12 aircraft carriers of Task Force 58—the Fast Carrier Forces, United States Pacific Fleet—begin operations to destroy Japanese airpower in the Marshall Islands prior to the American invasion of the islands; it is the first time that the American Fast Carrier Forces are used in this way. During the day, U.S. Navy carrier aircraft in a single strike put the 100-aircraft-strong base at Roi permanently out of action; they also attack Kwajalein Island and Maloelap and Wotje atolls. A Japanese fighter shot down over Roi-Namur at 0800 hours is the last Japanese aircraft encountered in the air during the Marshall Islands campaign. Eight American aircraft are lost.[15]
    • Two squadrons of U.S. Navy PB2Y Coronados bomb Wake Island, the tenth American strike of the war against Wake and the first since October 1943.[16]
    • German raids of 30 and 47 fighter-bombers attack Allied ships off Anzio with guided bombs, sinking the British light cruiser HMS Spartan and a Liberty ship and badly damaging a salvage tug.[17]
    • 863 Eighth Air Force bombers escorted by 632 fighters raid industrial targets in Frankfurt-am-Main and Ludwigshafen, Germany, with the loss of 29 bombers and 15 fighters. It is the first Eighth Air Force strike in which 700 or more bombers succeed in bombing their targets. The bombers and fighters combined claim 122 German aircraft shot down, 33 probably shot down, and 62 damaged.[4]
  • January 30
    • Task Force 58 aircraft attack a Japanese convoy off Kwajalein Atoll and bomb Kwajalein Island, Roi-Namur, Maloelap, and Wotje.[18] They also make the first airstrike against Eniwetok, destroying 15 Japanese Mitsubishi G4M (Allied reporting name "Betty") bombers on the ground. American carrier aircraft will continue to strike Eniwetok daily through February 7.[19]
    • 777 Eighth Air Force bombers escorted by 635 fighters raid aviation industry targets in Branschweig, Germany, although heavy cloud cover over the target forces some to bomb Hanover instead; 20 bombers and 4 fighters are lost. The bombers and fighters combined claim 96 German aircraft shot down, 22 probably shot down, and 58 damaged.[4]
  • January 30–31 (overnight) – 534 British bombers raid Berlin with the loss of 33 of their number (6.2 percent of the force).[5] After the raid, Bomber Command begins a rest period of over two weeks for its regular bomber squadrons during which it will launch no major raids.[20]
  • January 31

February[edit]

  • February 1 – The U.S. Navy orders two Piasecki XHRP-1 helicopters. They are the first American helicopters to be developed under a military contract.[22]
  • February 2
  • February 3
    • U.S. Navy Task Force 58 completes its support of ground operations on Kwajalein Island and Roi-Namur.[16]
    • 864 Eighth Air Force bombers raid the port area of Wilhelmshaven, Germany, and targets in Emden, Germany, escorted by 632 fighters. Four bombers and nine fighters are lost. The bombers and fighters combined claim eight German aircraft shot down, one probably shot down, and three damaged.[4]
  • February 4
  • February 5 – 509 Eighth Air Force bombers escorted by 634 fighters attack various airfields in France. Two bombers and two fighters are lost. In aerial combat, the bombers and fighters combined claim 11 German aircraft shot down and nine damaged.[4]
  • February 6
    • American forces complete the conquest and occupation of Kwajalein Atoll.[24]
    • 642 Eighth Air Force bombers escorted by 638 fighters attack various airfields in France; weather forces over 400 bombers to abort their missions. Four bombers and four fighters are lost. The bombers and fighters combined claim 14 German aircraft shot down, five probably shot down, and three damaged in aerial combat and the fighters claim another two German aircraft destroyed and seven damaged on the ground.[4]
  • February 7 – American carrier aircraft of Task Force 58 conduct the last of nine consecutive days of strikes against Eniwetok.[19]
  • February 8
    • 127 Eighth Air Force B-24 Liberators escorted by 89 P-47 Thunderbolts of the Eight and Ninth Air Forces attack the V-weapon site at Siracourt and the V-2 ballistic missile launching site at Watten, France.[4]
    • 236 Eighth Air Force B-17 Flying Fortresses escorted by 77 P-38 Lightning, 435 P-47, and 41 P-51 Mustang fighters attack the railroad marshalling yards at Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, with the loss of 13 B-17s, two P-38s, three P-47s, and four P-51s. The bombers and fighters combined claim 17 German aircraft shot down, four probably shot down, and eight damaged in aerial combat.[4]
  • February 8–9 (overnight) – RAF Bomber Command's No. 617 Squadron pioneers low-level target marking in a raid by 12 Lancasters on the Gnome et Rhône aircraft engine factory at Limoges, France. After making three low-level runs over the factory to warn French workers to flee, the squadron's commanding officer, Wing Commander Leonard Cheshire, drops incendiary bombs from an altitude of 50 to 100 feet (15 to 30 meters) to mark the target and the other 11 bombers each drop one 12,000-pound (5,443-kg) bomb on the factory, 10 of which hit it. The RAF Pathfinder force never adopts the low-level marking tachnique.[20]
  • February 10
    • 169 Eighth Air Force B-17 Flying Fortresses escorted by 64 P-38, 357 P-47, and 45 P-51 fighters attack the industrial area of Braunschweig, Germany, with the loss of 29 B-17s, five P-38s, and four P-47s. The bombers and fighters combined claim 98 German aircraft shot down, 31 probably shot down, and 101 damaged in aerial combat.[4]
    • A Douglas DC-3 airliner operating as American Airlines Flight 2 crashes into the Mississippi River southwest of Memphis, Tennessee, killing all 24 people on board.
  • February 11
    • Carrier aircraft of U.S. Navy Task Force 58 strike Eniwetok.[19]
    • Supporting American operations in the Marshall Islands, carrier aircraft of U.S. Navy Task Force 58 since January 29 have flown 6,232 sorties and dropped 1,156.6 tons (1,049,261 kg) of bombs, losing 22 aircraft in combat and 27 to other causes.[25]
    • 223 Eighth Air Force B-17 Flying Fortresses escorted by 82 P-38, 436 P-47, and 38 P-51 fighters attack the railroad marshalling yard at Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, as well as alternate targets in Ludwigshafen and Saarbrücken, with the loss of five B-17s, eight P-38s, four P-47s, and two P-51s. The bombers and fighters combined claim 32 German aircraft shot down, two probably shot down, and 30 damaged in aerial combat, and the fighters also claim two German aircraft destroyed, one probably destroyed, and two damaged on the ground.[4]
    • 201 Eighth Air Force B-24 Liberators escorted by 85 P-47 and 41 P-51 fighters attack the V-weapon site at Siracourt, France, and other targets, losing one B-24.[4]
  • February 12 – 99 Eighth Air Force B-24 Liberators escorted by 84 P-47 and 41 P-51 fighters attack the V-weapon site at Saint-Pol-sur-Ternoise/Siracourt, France, without loss.[4]
  • February 13
    • Carrier aircraft of U.S. Navy Task Force 58 strike Eniwetok.[19]
    • 469 Eighth Air Force bombers – 277 B-17s and 192 B-24s – escorted by 189 P-47 and 41 P-51 fighters hit V-weapon sites in the Pas de Calais region of France, losing four B-17s and one P-51. The bombers and fighters combined claim six German aircraft shot down, two probably shot down, and four damaged in aerial combat, and the fighters also claim four German aircraft damaged on the ground.[4]
  • February 15 – Very heavy Allied air raids demolish the Benedictine monastery at Monte Cassino in Italy, but fail to dislodge its German defenders.[26] Off Anzio, a German guided bomb destroys a Liberty ship unloading ammunition and a tank landing craft alongside her.[27]
  • February 15–16 (overnight) – A rest of over two weeks for RAF Bomber Command's regular bomber squadrons comes to an end with a raid by 891 bombers on Berlin, the largest force ever sent to Berlin and the largest to date except for the three "thousand-bomber" raids of 1942, as well as the first to use over 500 Lancasters or over 300 Halifaxes. It is the last raid of Bomber Command's "Battle of Berlin" and, despite cloud cover, succeeds in hitting some of the city's most important war industries. Forty-three bombers (6.7 percent of the force) do not return.[20]
  • February 17
  • February 18
  • February 19–20 – In support of a U.S. Army offensive at the Anzio beachhead, Allied tactical aircraft drop 972 tons (881, 793 kg) of bombs, and Allied strategic bombers attack Grottaferrata, Albano Laziale, Genzano di Roma, and Velletri, Italy.[31]
  • February 19–20 (overnight) – 823 British bombers attack Leipzig, Germany. Night fighters intercept them over the coast of the Netherlands and attack them all the way to the target, where four bombers are lost in collisions and 20 more are shot down by antiaircraft guns. Leipzig is cloud-covered and most of the bombs are scattered. Seventy-eight bombers (9.5 percent of the force) fail to return – Bomber Command's highest losses on a single raid thus far in World War II – and the high loss rate among Halifaxes (34 aircraft, or 13.3 percent of the Halifaxes dispatched and 14.9 of those which do not turn back early) prompts Bomber Command to withdraw Halifax IIs and Halifax Vs permanently from further operations over Germany.[20]
  • February 20 – The U.S. Army Air Force's Eighth Air Force begins Operation Argument, a six-day campaign to defeat the Luftwaffe by staging major attacks on the German aircraft industry while luring Luftwaffe aircraft into aerial combat; the operation later becomes known informally as "Big Week." On the first day, 1,003 Eighth Air Force bombers escorted by 835 fighters strike targets in Germany, including Leipzig-Mockau Airfield, Tutow Airfield, Abnaundorf, Bernburg, Braunschweig, Gotha, Heiterblick, Neupetritor, Oschersleben, Rostock, and Wilhelmstor. The force suffers the loss of 21 bombers and four fighters, and claims 126 German aircraft shot down, 40 probably shot down, and 66 damaged in aerial combat.[4]
  • February 20–21 (overnight) – 598 British bombers strike Stuttgart, Germany, suffering the loss of only nine aircraft (1.5 percent of the force) thanks to the diversion of German night fighters, although five more bombers crash upon returning to England.[20]
  • February 21 – The British aircraft carrier HMS Chaser joins the escort of the Arctic convoy JW 57 bound from Loch Ewe, Scotland, to the Kola Inlet in the Soviet Union. It is the first time an aircraft carrier has escorted an Arctic convoy since February 1943. By the time Chaser returns to Scapa Flow on March 9 after escorting the returning Convoy RA 57, her aircraft have sunk or assisted in the sinking of three German submarines, with only one merchant ship lost.[32]
  • February 22
  • February 22–23 (overnight)—Japanese aircraft conduct four raids against ships of U.S. Navy Task Force 58 as they approach Truk Atoll, inflicting no damage.[35]
  • February 23 – Aircraft from six aircraft carriers of Task Force 58 make the first Allied strike against Japanese forces in the Mariana Islands, attacking Guam, Rota, and Tinian, discovering the location of Japanese airfields in the islands for the first time, destroying 168 Japanese aircraft, sinking two cargo ships and several smaller craft, and conducting the first Allied photographic reconnaissance missions ever flown over the Marianas.[36]
  • February 23–24 (overnight) – During a raid on Düsseldorf, Germany, an RAF Bomber Command de Havilland Mosquito of No. 692 Squadron becomes the first Mosquito to drop a 4,000-pound (1,219-kg) bomb. Mosquitos will carry 4,000-pounders regularly for the remainder of World War II, using them against targets as distant as Berlin.[20]
  • February 24 – 266 B-17 Flying Fortresses of the U.S. Army Air Force's Eighth Air Force make a daylight attack on the ball bearing factory at Schweinfurt, Germany.[20]
  • February 24–25 (overnight) – 734 British bombers make the first RAF Bomber Command raid on Schweinfurt. For the first time, they attack in two waves, of 392 and 342 aircraft, inducing German night fighters to rise to meet the first wave (which loses 22 bombers, 5.6 percent of the force) but be unprepared to meet the second wave, which loses only 11 bombers (3.2 percent). the total British losses are 33 bombers (4.5 percent).[20]
  • February 25 – German guided bombs sink the British destroyer HMS Inglefield off Anzio with heavy loss of life.[37]
  • February 25–26 (overnight) – 594 British bombers make the first large raid on Augsburg, Germany. In clear weather and facing minimal German defences, the raid is extrenmely successful, destroying much of the city's center and starting 246 large or medium and 820 small fires. Germany condemns the raid as an extreme example of "terror bombing."[20]
  • February 29 – During February, aircraft of the U.S. Army Air Forces' Seventh Air Force have flown about 1,000 sorties against Japanese forces on Jaluit, Maloelap, Wotje, and Nauru. No Japanese aircraft have intercepted them, but Japanese antiaircraft guns have shot down seven bombers and two fighters.[38]

March[edit]

  • March 1–2 (overnight) – 557 British bombers attack Stuttgart, Germany. Thanks to heavy cloud cover that interferes with interceptions by German night fighters, only four bombers (0.7 percent) fail to return.[39]
  • March 2 – The Allied air forces make their largest attacks of the Anzio campaign, with 241 B-24 Liberators and 100 B-17 Flying Fortresses escorted by 113 P-38 Lightnings and 63 P-47 Thunderbolts dropping thousands of fragmentation bombs around Castello di Cisterna, Velletri, and Carroceto, Italy. Almost the same number of Allied medium and light bombers and fighter-bombers strike German tanks, artillery positions, and assembly areas around the Anzio beachhead, especially along the Castello di Cisterna-Campoleone highway.[37]
  • March 2–3 (overnight)
  • March 3 – England-based P-38 Lightning fighters of the U.S. Army Air Forces' 55th Fighter Group become the first Allied fighters to escort bombers all the way to Berlin.[40]
  • March 6–7 (overnight) – RAF Bomber Command begins a series of raids against railways in France and Belgium in preparation for the upcoming invasion of Normandy with an attack by 267 bombers.[39]
  • March 7–8 (overnight) – 304 British bombers attack railway yards at Le Mans, France. Despite cloud cover, 300 bombs hit the yards, destroying 250 railroad cars, hitting six locomotives, and cutting tracks and damaging a turntable.[39]
  • March 9–10 (overnight) – 44 British Lancasters accurately strike an aircraft factory at Marignane, France.[39]
  • March 10 – The Icelandic airline Loftleidir is formed.
  • March 10–11 (overnight) – 102 British Lancasters bomb four factories in France, losing one aircraft.[39]
  • March 13–14 (overnight) – 222 British bombers attack the railway yards at Le Mans, with the loss of one Halifax. The raid badly damages a railroad station and two nearby factories and destroys 15 locomotives and 800 railroad cars.[39]
  • March 15–16 (overnight)
  • March 16–17 (overnight)
  • March 18 – U.S. Navy aircraft from the aircraft carrier USS Lexington (CV-16) strike Mili Atoll.[42]
  • March 18–19 (overnight)
    • 846 British bombers attack Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, heavily damaging the central, eastern, and western parts of the city. Twenty-two bombers (2.6 percent) are lost.[39]
    • 19 Lancasters (13 from No. 617 Squadron) make a successful precision raid on the explosives factory at Bergerac, France.[39]
  • March 20–21 (overnight) –20 Lancasters (14 from No. 617 Squadron) make a successful precision raid on the explosives factory at Angoulême, France.[39]
  • March 22–23 (overnight) – 816 British bombers raid Frankfurt-am-Main. Few German night fighters intercept them, although 33 bombers (4 percent of the force) are lost. The raid is even more successful than that of March 18–19, badly damages much of the city, leaving half of the city without water, electricity, or natural gas, and inflicting much destruction on industrial areas.[39]
  • March 23–24 (overnight) – 143 British bombers attack the railway yards at Laon, France, placing about half their bombs on the target and cutting rail lines but scattering the rest, hitting 83 houses and killing seven and injuring nine French civilians.[39]
  • March 24
    • A U.S. Army Air Forces B-17G Flying Fortress of the 422nd Bomb Squadron, 305th Bombardment Group (Heavy), crashes at Yielden, England, on takeoff from RAF Chelveston, killing all 10 men aboard the bomber and 11 people on the ground.
    • Unable to reach their primary target, Schweinfurt, 162 B-17 Flying Fortresses of the U.S. Army Air Forces' Eighth Air Force instead bomb Frankfurt-am-Main. The Frankfurt-am-Main diary states, "The three air raids of 18th, 22nd, and 24th March were carried out by a combined plan of the British and American air forces and their combined effect was to deal the worst and most fateful blow of the war to Frankfurt, a blow which simply ended the existence of the Frankfurt which had been built up since the Middle Ages."[39]
  • March 24–25 (overnight) – 811 bombers carry out the last major British raid on Berlin of World War II. Strong winds carry them off course and most of their bombs are scattered. Many unintentionally fly over the air defenses of the Ruhr on their way home and are shot down there. Seventy-two are lost (8.9 percent of the force), about 50 falling to antiaircraft guns and remainder to night fighters.[39]
  • March 25 – A British twin-engined aircraft lands on an aircraft carrier for the first time when Lieutenant Commander E. M. Brown lands a navalized de Havilland Mosquito VI on the British carrier HMS Indefatigable.[43][44]
  • March 25–26 (overnight)
    • 192 British bombers attack the railway yards at Aulnoye, France, without loss.[39]
    • 22 British Lancaster strike an aircraft engine factory at Lyon, France, without loss.[39]
  • March 26 – During a U.S. air strike on Ponape, the Japanese get fighters aloft for the first time in the Central Pacific Area in six weeks, but almost all of them are shot down.[41]
  • March 26–27 (overnight)
    • 705 British bombers attack Essen, Germany, and make a successful attack through clouds. Surprised by the sudden Bomber Command shift to a target in the Ruhr, the German night fighter response is minimal, and only nine British bombers (1.3 percent) are lost.[39]
    • 109 British bombers attack railway yards at Courtrai, France, without loss.[39]
  • March 27
  • March 28 – Japanese torpedo bombers attack U.S. Navy Task Force 58 as it approaches the Palau Islands, doing no damage.[47]
  • March 29–30 – Bougainville-based Air Solomons (AirSols) aircraft make daylight raids against Japanese bases at Truk Atoll.[41]
  • March 29–30 (overnight) – 84 British bombers make an accurate attack on the railway yards at Vaires, France, causing two ammunition trains to explode. One bomber fails to return.[39]
  • March 29–30 (overnight) through April 1–2 (overnight)—U.S. Kwajalein-based bombers make night attacks on Truk Atoll on four consecutive evenings.[41]
  • March 30–31
  • March 30–31 (overnight) – 795 British bombers attack Nuremberg, Germany, in bright moonlight, counting for protection on predicted high cloud cover which does not materialize. German night fighters intercept them over Belgium before they cross the German border and continue to attack them for the next hour, shooting down 82 bombers as they fly to Nuremberg and over the target. Another 13 bombers are lost on the return flight, and the total of 95 bombers lost (11.9 percent of the force) is the highest Bomber Command loss on a single raid during World War II. The raid inflicts little damage on Nuremberg due to cloud cover, wind, and poor target marking which cause most of the bombs to land in open countryside, and 120 aircraft mistakenly bomb Schweinfurt, where they scatter their bombs widely, also hitting mostly open countryside and killing two people. Pilot Officer Cyril Joe Barton, the pilot of a Halifax, pushes through to Nuremberg despite heavy damage to his bomber by a night fighter attack, then brings the aircraft home and dies in crash landing with only minor injuries to his crew. He posthumously receives the Victoria Cross.[39]
  • March 31

April[edit]

  • The United States Coast Guard begins to experiment with dipping sonar as it leads the United States Department of the Navy's effort to develop the helicopter as an antisubmarine warfare platform.[1]
  • Although the German Luftwaffe continues to use radio-guided bombs against Allied ships operating off the Anzio beachhead, they become less effective as the defense against them put up by Allied destroyers improves.[50]
  • April 1 – U.S. Navy Task Force 58 carrier aircraft strike Woleai. During the March 30-April 1 raids on the Palau Islands, Yap, and Woleai, Task Force 58 aircraft have sunk or badly damaged 36 Japanese ships totaling 130,000 tons, trapped 32 more in harbors with naval mining, and destroyed many Japanese aircraft in exchange for the loss of 25 U.S. planes.[51]
  • April 2 – The first United States Army Air Forces B-29 Superfortress arrives at Calcutta, India, after an 11,530-mile (18,567-km) trip from Kansas, which includes stops at Presque Isle, Maine; Gander, Newfoundland; Marrakech, Morocco; Cairo, Egypt; and Karachi, and a 2,700-mile (4,348-km) non-stop transatlantic flight between Gander and Marrakech.[52]
  • April 3
  • April 4 – The U.S. Army Air Forces activate the Twentieth Air Force, which will conduct a strategic bombing campaign against Japan.
  • April 5 – Fifth Air Force aircraft again attack Japanese airfields around Hollandia.[53]
  • April 5–6 (overnight) – 145 British bombers attack an aircraft factory at Toulouse, France. One bomber, a Lancaster, is lost when it explodes over the target.[56]
  • April 9–10 (overnight)
    • 239 British bombers attack railway yards at Lille, France, losing one aircraft, a Lancaster.[56]
    • 225 British bombers attack railroad facilities at Villeneuve St. George, France, without loss to themselves.[56]
  • April 10–11 (overnight) – 789 British bombers strike railway targets at Tours, Tergnier, Laon, and Aulnoye, France, and Ghent, Belgium. The Laon raid fails, but the other targets are heavily damaged. Nineteen of the bombers do not return.[56]
  • April 11–12 (overnight) – 352 British bombers raid Aachen, Germany, losing nine aircraft (2.6 percent of the force). The most destructive attack on Aachen of World War II, the raid causes widespread damage and starts fires in central and southern Aachen and in the suburb of Burtscheid.[56]
  • April 12 – Fifth Air Force aircraft again attack Japanese airfields around Hollandia.[53]
  • April 16 – Fifth Air Force aircraft stage their final attack against Japanese airfields around Hollandia. They have essentially destroyed the Japanese force of 351 aircraft that had been on the airfields at the end of March.[49]
  • April 17 – Howard Hughes sets a new U.S. transcontinental speed record, flying a Lockheed Constellation.
  • April 18 – Air Solomons (AirSols) begins a very successful series of photographic reconnaissance flights over the Mariana Islands. The missions continue into June.[57]
  • April 18–19 (overnight) – 847 British bombers attack railway yards at Rouen, Juvisy, Noisy-Le-Sec, and Tergnier, France, losing 11 aircraft. Much destruction occurs at Rouen and the attack at Juvisy also is successful. The railway yards at Noisy-Le-Sec are so badly damaged that they will not be fully repaired until 1951, and bombs also destroy 750 and damage 2,000 houses, killing 464 French civilians and injuring 370; at Tergnier 50 rail lines are blocked, but most of the bombs fall on houses.[56]
  • April 19 – The British Eastern Fleet makes the first British air strike against Japanese-held territory as Barracudas and Corsairs from the British aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious and SBD Dauntlesses and F6F Hellcats from the U.S. carrier USS Saratoga (CV-3) raid Sabang, Sumatra, damaging harbor facilities and destroying a radar station and Japanese aircraft on nearby airfields. One Hellcat is lost.[58]
  • April 20–21 (overnight)
    • 379 British bombers attack Cologne, Germany, with the loss of four aircraft, all Lancasters. The raid damages 192 industrial buildings, 725 commercial buildings with attached dwellings, and seven railway stations and yards.[56]
    • 654 British bombers raid railway yards at Ottignies, Belgium, and Chambly, La Chapelle, and Lens, France, mostly with success. Eight bombers are lost.[56]
  • April 21–24 – Task Force 58 aircraft strike Wakde, Sawar, Sarmi, and the Hollandia area, losing 21 aircraft. Since late March, U.S. air attacks against Hollandia have destroyed 340 Japanese aircraft on the ground in the area and shot down an estimated 50 more, with the Fifth Air Force strikes of late March and April certainly accounting for almost all of the Japanese losses.[59]
  • April 22–23 – Aircraft from eight U.S. Navy escort aircraft carriers support U.S. amphibious landings at Hollandia.[60]
  • April 22–23 (overnight)
    • 596 British bombers attack Düsseldorf, Germany, dropping 2,150 long tons (2,408 short tons; 2,185 metric tons) of bombs and inflicting much damage on the northern part of the city. German night fighters intercept them, and 29 bombers (4.9 percent of the force) are lost.[56]
    • 265 British bombers attack Braunschweig, Germany. For the first time, low-level target marking is used against a major German city, but the raid is unsiccessful because low clouds block the target markers from view and only some bombers hit the city center. Few German night fighters intercept the raid and only four bombers (1.5 percent of the force) are lost.[56]
    • 181 British bombers attack railway yards at Laon, France, inflicting severe damage. Nine bombers (5 percent of the force) are lost.[56]
  • April 23 – Air Transport Squadron 3 (VR-3) initiates the U.S. Navy Naval Air Transport Service's first scheduled hospital flight across the continental United States, between Washington, D.C., and March Field, California.[61]
  • April 24 – The first B-29 Superfortress arrives in China, beginning the build-up by the U.S. Army Air Forces' Twentieth Air Force for a strategic bombing offensive against Japan.[62]
  • April 24–25 (overnight)
    • 637 British bombers attack Karlsruhe, Germany, with the loss of 19 aircraft (3 percent of the force). Cloud cover over the target and winds pushing many aircraft north cause many bombs to fall outside of the city, and only its northern portions are damaged. One hundred of the bombers mistakenly bomb Mannheim 30 miles (48 km) to the north, and misdirected bombs also land in Darmstadt, Ludwigshafen, and Heidelberg.[56]
    • 260 British bombers strike Munich, Germany, hitting the city center and doing much damage. Nine bombers are lost.[56]
  • April 26–27 (overnight)
    • 493 British bombers make an accurate attack on Essen, Germany, losing seven of the their number (1.4 percent of the force).[56]
    • 226 British bombers raid Schweinfurt, Germany. Wind causes many of their bombs to fall outside the city, and German night fighters attack the bombers heavily; 21 bombers (9.3 percent of the force) are lost. Held in place by other crew members by his parachute shroudsSergeant Norman Jackson climbs out of a hatch with a fire extinguisher to try to put out a fire in a wing fuel tank of his Lancaster, but is blown off the wing and parachutes safely, as does the rest of the crew; he is awarded the Victoria Cross.[56]
    • 227 British bombers attack the railway yards at Villeneuve St. Georges, France, losing one aircraft.[56]
  • April 27 – The only Japanese air reaction to the U.S. Hollandia landings—a night raid by three planes—torpedoes and damages a cargo ship.[63]
  • April 27–28 (overnight)
    • 323 British bombers strike Friederichshafen, Germany, in bright moonlight to improve their chances of hitting factories in the city, and various diversions prevent German night fighters from intercepting them until they arrive over the target. They drop 1,234 long tons (1,382 short tons; 1,254 metric tons) of bombs and destroy 99 acres (40 hectares) of the city (two-thirds of its area), badly damaging several factories. After the World War II, the Germans say it was the most damaging raid on their tank production of the war. Eighteen bombers (5.6 percent of the force) do not return.[56]
    • 223 British bombers attack the railway yards at Aulnoye, France, inflicting much damage. One bomber is lost.[56]
    • 144 British bombers attack the railway yards at Montzen, Belgium, only damaging a portion of the yards. German night fighters intercept them, and 15 bombers are lost.[56]
  • April 28–29 – U.S. Army Air Forces Fifth Air Force bombers conduct large strikes against Japanese forces at Biak, Wakde, Sarmi, and Sawar.[64]
  • April 28-May 6 – Arctic Convoy RA 59 steams from the Kola Inlet in the Soviet Union to Loch Ewe, Scotland. Aircraft from the escorting British aircraft carriers HMS Activity and HMS Fencer sink three German submarines, attack eight more, and shoot down a German Bv 138C flying boat during the voyage.[46]
  • April 28–29 (overnight)
    • 92 British bombers raid an explosives factory at St. Médard En Jalles, France, without loss, but are unsuccessful due to smoke and haze over the target.[56]
    • 55 British bombers make an accurate attack an airframe factory at Oslo, Norway, without loss to themselves.[56]
  • April 29–30 – Task Force 58 aircraft attack Truk Atoll, shooting down 59 Japanese aircraft, destroying 34 on the ground, sinking over 20 small ships and craft in the harbor, and contributing to the sinking of a submarine, in exchange for the loss of 35 aircraft, 26 of them in combat. With only 12 serviceable aircraft left, Truk never again poses a threat to Allied forces.[59]
  • April 29–30 – 132 British bombers make accurate attacks on the explosives factory at St. Médard En Jalles, France, and the Michelin tire factory at Clermont-Ferrand, France, without loss to themselves.[56]
  • April 30 – Flying an OS2U-3 Kingfisher from the battleship USS North Carolina (BB-55), U.S. Navy Lieutenant John A. Burns rescues 10 downed airmen in Truk Lagoon in one day by loading them onto the wings of his floatplane and taxiing to the submarine USS Tang (SS-306), which takes them aboard.[65]
  • April 30-May 1 (overnight) – 399 British bombers strike railway yards at Somain and Achères, France, and a Luftwaffe ammunition dump at Maintenon, France, with the loss of only one aircraft. The Somain raid misses the target, but the other two strikes are successful.[56]

May[edit]

  • American aircraft have conducted four months of intensive bombing raids against Japanese forces on Mili Atoll, losing 26 aircraft.[42]
  • May 1–2 (overnight) – 653 British bombers attack railway facilities at Mailines and Saint-Ghislain, Belgium, and Chambly, France, and industrial targets at Lyon, Toulouse, and Tours, France, with the loss of eight aircraft. The bombs are scattered at Malines, but the other strikes are accurate, and after 500 bomb hits the railway depot at Chambly is out of service for 10 days.[66]
  • May 3–4 (overnight)
    • 360 British bombers attack a German military camp outside Mailly, France. German night fighters intercept them and 42 bombers (11.6 percent of the force) are shot down. The bombers drop 1,500 long tons (1,689 short tons; 1,524 metric tons) of bombs very accurately, hitting 114 barracks buildings, 47 transport sheds, and some ammunition buildings and destroying 37 tanks and 65 other vehicles.[66]
    • 92 British bombers strike the Luftwaffe airfield at Montdidier, France, with the loss of four aircraft, causing much damage in the northern part of the airfield.[66]
  • May 6–7 (overnight) – 269 British bombers raid railway facilities at Mantes-la-Jolie, France, and ammunition dumps at Sablé-sur-Sarthe and Aubigné, France. The latter two raids are successful, but at Mantes-la-Jolie most bombs hit towns and residential area rather than the railway yard. Air Commodore Ronald Ivelaw-Chapman is the second pilot aboard the only bomber lost on the Aubigné raid; he is captured by the Germans, who never realize his seniority and what intelligence they could have gathered from him.[66]
  • May 7–8 (overnight) – 341 British bombers attack five targets in France with the loss of 10 aircraft. They damage airfields at Nantes and Tours and a German ammunition dump at Salbris, but scatter their bombs onto a nearby village when attacking the airfield and an ammunition dump at Rennes and narrowly miss a coastal artillery position at St. Valery.[66]
  • May 8–9 (overnight) – 303 British bombers strike five targets in France with the loss of 11 aircraft. They damage railway yards and locomotive sheds at Haine St. Pierre, an airfield and seaplane base at Lanveoc Poulmic, and a coastal artillery position at Morsalines, but score only one hit on a coastal gun position at Berneval and miss another coastal gun position at Cap Gris Nez entirely.[66]
  • May 9–10 (overnight) – 521 British bombers raid targets in France with the loss of six aircraft. They hit four out of seven targeted coastal gun positions at Cap Gris Nez and a ball bearing factory at Annecy and attack factories at Gennevilliers.[66]
  • May 10–11 (overnight) – 506 British bombers raid railway yards at Courtrai, Dieppe, Lens, and Lille, France, and Ghent, Belgium, with the loss of 12 aircraft. Results of the Dieppe raids are unknown, but the other strikes are successful.[66]
  • May 11–12 (overnight) – 693 British bombers strike a German military camp at Bourg Léopold, Belgium; railway yards at Hasselt, Belgium, and Boulogne, Louvain, and Trouville, France; and a gun position at Colline Beaumont, France. The Bourg Léopold and Hasselt raids fail due to haze over the target, most of the Boulogne bombs hit housing and kill 128 French civilians, and the Colline Beaumont strike produces unclear results, but the Trouville attack is successful and the one at Louvain partially so.[66]
  • May 13–17 – U.S. Army Air Forces Fifth Air Force bombers carry out heavy strikes against Japanese forces at Wakde and Sawar.[64]
  • May 14 – The German Luftwaffe employs circling torpedoes in a predawn attack on Allied ships at Naples, Italy, but scores no hits.[67]
  • May 15
  • May 17
  • May 20—American aircraft raid Marcus Island.[70]
  • May 24—American aircraft raid Wake Island.[70]
  • May 27—The Japanese launch only minor air attacks against U.S. forces landing at Biak, damaging a submarine chaser.[71]
  • May 29—The escort aircraft carrier USS Block Island (CVE-21) is torpedoed and sunk near the Azores by a German submarine. She is the only United States Navy aircraft carrier lost in the Atlantic Ocean.

June[edit]

  • Flying in the Pacific and to Africa, Europe, South America, and parts of Asia, the U.S. Navy's Naval Air Transportation Service operates more than 200 planes and transports 22,500 passengers and 8.3 million pounds (3,764,855 kg) of cargo per month.[72]
  • June 1 – Two U.S. Navy K-class blimps of Airship Patrol Squadron 14 (ZP-14), K-123 and K-130, arrive at Craw Field in Port Lyautey, French Morocco, to complete the first transatlantic flight by non-rigid airships. Departing South Weymouth, Massachusetts, on 28 May 1944, they have made the crossing via Naval Station Argentia in the Dominion of Newfoundland and Lagens Field in the Azores.[73]
  • June 1–2 (overnight) – 167 British bombers raid German targets in France, striking the radio-listening station at Ferme d'Urville and the railway junction at Saumur without loss. The Ferme d'Urville attack is unsuccessful, but the Saumur raid inflicts severe damage.[66]
  • June 2 – 54 Japanese planes attack U.S. landing forces off Biak, losing 12 of their number and inflicting almost no damage.[74]
  • June 2–3 (overnight)
    • 235 British bombers attack the railway yards at Trappes, France, and the German radar-jamming station at Berneval-le-Grand, France. The Trappes raid is only partly successful and loses 16 bombers (12.5 percent of the force sent there, while the Berneval-le-Grand strike is very accurate and returns without loss.[66]
    • To divert German attention from the coast of Normandy, where the upcoming invasion will take place, 271 British bombers attack four German coastal artillery sites in the Pas-de-Calais, with one of the raids hitting its target accurately. One bomber does not return.[66]
  • June 3
  • June 3–4 (overnight)
    • 100 British bombers destroy the German radio-listening station at Ferme d'Urville, France, with the loss of no aircraft.[66]
    • 135 British bombers make accurate diversionary attacks on German coastal artillery sites in the Pas-de-Calais and at Wimereux without loss to themselves.[66]
  • June 4 – 34 Japanese aircraft attack an Allied task force of cruisers and destroyers as it approaches Biak, but inflict only slight damage. Four more make a torpedo strike overnight, but miss.[77]
  • June 4–5 (overnight) – 259 British bombers raid three German coastal gun positions in the Pas-de-Calais as a diversion and one at Maisy in Normandy in direct support of the imminent invasion. The Maisy raid and two of those in the Pas-de-Calais are hampered by cloud cover, but the attack on the gun position at Calais is accurate. All bombers return safely.[66]
  • June 5
    • Two Japanese bombers make a destructive strike against about a hundred Allied aircraft palred wingtip-to-wingtip at Wakde, putting the base out of action for several days.[78]
    • The B-29 Superfortress flies its first combat mission; 98 B-29s take off from bases in India and attack railroad shops in Bangkok, Thailand. Five are lost, none to enemy action.[79]
  • June 5–6 (overnight) – Bomber Command dispatches 1,012 British bombers to strike numerous German coastal artillery positions in France in direct support of the Normandy invasion scheduled for the morning of June 6. Of these, 946 carry out their bombing missions, dropping 5,000 long tons (5,600 short tons; 5,080 metric tons) of bombs, the largest tonnage of bombs Bomber Command aircraft has dropped in a single night thus far in World War II. The aircraft have to bomb through clouds at all but two of the gun sites. Another 168 bombers conduct various diversionary and support missions. Total Bomber Command losses for the night are eight aircraft.[66]
  • June 6 – "D-Day"—The Allied invasion of France is spearheaded by paratrooper drops and assault glider landings. The Luftwaffe offers almost no resistance to the invasion.
  • June 6–7 (overnight) – 1,067 British aircraft of Bomber Command attack German lines of communication behind the area of the Normandy invasion, losing 11 bombers. The bombers raid several French towns, and much damage is done to railways and town centers, where roads are blocked by rubble.[66]
  • June 7–8 (overnight)
    • 337 British bombers accurately strike French railway yards at Achères, Juvisy, Massy-Palaiseau, and Versailles. German night fighters intercept them and 28 bombers (8.3 percent of the force) are lost.[66]
    • 122 British bombers raid a six-way road junction in Normandy with the lost of two aircraft. The raid is accurate.[66]
  • June 8
    • Ten U.S. Army Air Forces B-25 Mitchells escorted by P-38 Lightnings attack a force of six Japanese destroyers northwest of Manokwari, New Guinea, sinking one and damaging three.[80]
    • Off Normandy, a German Heinkel He 177 badly damages the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Meredith (DD-726), which breaks in half and sinks the next day.[81]
    • June 8–9 (overnight)
    • 483 British bombers successfully raid French railway yards at Alençon, Fougères, Mayenne, Pontabault, and Rennes to stop German ground reinforcements from approaching the invasion area in Normandy; losing four aircraft.[66]
    • The Royal Air Force uses its 12,000-pound (5,443-kg) "Tallboy" bomb in combat for the first time in a hastily organized attack by 25 Lancasters of Bomber Command's No. 617 Squadron – supported by seven other bombers – on a railroad tunnel near Saumur, France, to block a German panzer unit from using it. One penetrates the roof of the tunnel, which is blocked for a considerable time.[66] The Tallboy differs from the earlier RAF 12,000-pound (5,443-kg) bomb introduced in 1943 in having a much stronger casing that allows it to penetrate the earth before exploding.
  • June 9 – Allied land-based aircraft strike Japanese airfields on Peleliu, Woleai, and Yap.[75]
  • June 9–10 (overnight) – 410 British bombers make accurate strikes on German airfields at Flers, Le Mans, Laval, and Rennes, France, losing two aircraft. Another 112 bombers raid the railway junction at Étampes, France, but are unsuccessful because their bombs creep back from the railroad into town. Six bombers are lost on the Étampes raid.[66]
  • June 10 – Flying from Italy carrying one 1,000-lb (454-kg) bomb each, 46 P-38 Lightning fighters of the U.S. Army Air Forces 82nd Fighter Group make a very-long-range fighter-bomber attack on the Romanian-American Oil Refinery at Ploesti, Romania. They destroy 23 German aircraft in exchange for the loss of 22 P-38s.[40]
  • June 10–11 – 432 British bombers attack French railway facilities at Achères, Dreux, Orléans, and Versailles, France, losing 18 aircraft.[66]
  • June 11 – 216 aircraft from the 15 aircraft carriers of U.S. Navy Task Force 58 attack Japanese bases on Guam, Saipan, and Tinian, destroying 36 Japanese aircraft.[75] Tinian will remain under almost daily U.S. air attack for the next six weeks.[82]
  • June 11–12 (overnight) – 329 British bombers attack French railway facilities at Évreux, Massy-Palaiseau, Nantes, and Tours, France, losing four aircraft.[66]
  • June 12
  • June 12–13 – Task Force 58 aircraft attack Guam, Saipan, and Tinian, destroying almost all Japanese aircraft there, sinking a naval auxiliary and an entire flotilla of sampans, and damaging a cargo ship.[83]
  • June 12–13 (overnight)
    • 671 British bombers raid lines of communication at Amiens, Arras, Caen, Cambrai, and Poitiers, France, with the loss of 23 aircraft. The Amiens, Arras, and especially the Poitiers raids are accurate, the Cambrai raid mistakenly hits the town in addition to the target, and the Caen raid scatters its bombs. On the Cambrai raid, Canadian Pilot Officer Andrew Mynarski suffers fatal burns while trying to free his Lancaster's trapped tail gunner after a German night fighter attack and is posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.[66]
    • Royal Air Force Bomber Command makes its first raid of a new Allied strategic bombing campaign against the German oil industry when 303 bombers strike the Nordstern synthetic oil plant at Gelsenkirchen, Germany, causing production at the plant to cease for several weeks. Seventeen bombers (6.1 percent of the force) are lost.[66]
  • June 14 – As an experiment, RAF Bomber Command tries its first daylight raid since May 1943, with 234 bombers making an evening attack on the harbor at Le Havre, France, with 1,230 long tons (1,378 short tons, 1,250 metric tons) – including 22 12,000-pound (5,443-kg) Tallboy bombs dropped by No. 617 Squadron targeting the S-boat pens – to disrupt attacks on the Normandy invasion force by small German naval craft. The raid sinks the German torpedo boats Falke, Jaguar, and Möwe, 10 S-boats, 15 R-boats, several patrol and harbor vessels, and 11 other small craft and badly damages other vessels. Spitfire fighters escort the bombers, and only one bomber is shot down.[66][85]
  • June 14–15 – Task Force 58 carrier aircraft strike the Volcano Islands, Guam, Saipan, and Tinian.[86]
  • June 14–15 (overnight)
    • Flying a Mosquito of No. 605 Squadron, Royal Air Force Flight Lieutenant J. G. Musgrave becomes the first pilot to shoot down a V-1 flying bomb.
    • 337 British bombers attack French railway yards at Cambrai, Douai, and St. Pol, losing four aircraft, and another 330 conduct a hastily prepared strike against German troop concentrations and vehicle at Aunay-sur-Odon and Évrecy in Normandy without loss. Cloud cover and haze interferes with the railway attacks, but the attacks against German troops are successful.[66]
  • June 15
  • June 15–16 (overnight) 451 British bombers attack German supply dumps at Fouillard and Châtellerault, France, and railway yards at Lens and Valenciennes, France, losing 11 aircraft. The raids strike all or part of their targets, and the two railway raids are particularly successful.[66]
  • June 16
    • 54 carrier aircraft of Task Groups 58.1 and 58.4 strike Iwo Jima, claiming 63 Japanese aircraft destroyed on the ground for the loss of one U.S. aircraft. Aircraft of other Task Force 58 task groups strike Japanese airfields on Guam and Tinian in an effort to neutralize them, but are unsuccessful in the face of strong antiaircraft defenses.[91]
    • The incomplete Italian aircraft carrier Aquila is damaged in an Allied air raid on Genoa.[92]
  • June 16–17 (overnight)
    • 405 British bombers begin an RAF Bomber Command campaign against German V-1 flying bomb launching sites with successful attacks on four sites in the Pas-de-Calais, losing no aircraft. Another 321 bombers continue the bombing campaign against the German oil industry, attacking the synthetic oil plant at Oberhausen, Germany, but scatter their bombs and suffer the loss of 21 bombers shot down by German night fighters and 10 by antiaircraft guns.[66]
  • June 17
  • June 19–23—Kwajalein-based U.S. Army Air Forces B-24 Liberators fly daily high-altitude bombing raids against Truk Atoll.[95]
  • June 19—The largest aircraft carrier battle in history and the first since October 1942, the Battle of the Philippine Sea, begins in the Philippine Sea west of Guam, pitting 15 American aircraft carriers of Task Force 58 with 891 aircraft and 65 battleship- and cruiser-based floatplanes against nine Japanese carriers with 430 aircraft and 43 battleship- and cruiser-based floatplanes, supported by Japanese land-based aircraft in the Mariana Islands and at more distant bases. During ineffective Japanese air strikes against the American carrier force during the day, in U.S. air attacks on Japanese bases in the Marianas, and in losses due to other causes, the Japanese lose about 315 aircraft in what American pilots name the "Great Marianas Turkey Shoot;" Japanese carrier aviation never recovers from the disaster. The Americans lose only 29 aircraft. Also during the day, the U.S. submarine USS Albacore (SS-218) sinks the Japanese aircraft carrier Taiyō, and the submarine USS Cavalla (SS-244) sinks the carrier Sho-kaku.[96]
  • June 17–18 (overnight) –317 British bonbers attack French railway yards at Aulnoye, Montdidier, and St. Martin l'Hortier with the loss of one aircraft, and another 114 strike Oisemont. Cloud cover makes the raids unsuccessful. Bad weather and cloud cover makes successful raids impossible for the next three days.[66]
  • June 20
    • On the second and final day of the Battle of the Philippine Sea, 216 Task Force 58 aircraft make the only raid of the battle against the Japanese fleet at extremely long range at sunset, sinking the aircraft carrier Hiyo- and damaging the aircraft carriers Zuikaku and Chiyoda, battleship Haruna, and heavy cruiser Maya. In addition to 20 aircraft missing and presumed shot down, Task Force 58 loses 80 planes, which ditch due to fuel exhaustion or crash while attempting night landings on U.S. carriers. During the day, the Japanese lose another 65 carrier aircraft, leaving them with only 35;[97] during the two days of battle, they have lost 476 carrier- and land-based aircraft and battleship- and cruiser-based floatplanes.[98]
    • Los Negros-based U.S. Army Air Forces B-24 Liberators of the Thirteenth Air Force bomb Woleai.[95]
    • Allied aircraft begin concentrated attacks on Japanese forces on Noemfoor. By July 1, they will have dropped about 800 tons (725,755 kg) of bombs on the island.[99]
    • Transcontinental and Western Airways Flight 277, a C-54 Skymaster, crashes into Fort Mountain in Piscataquis County, Maine, killing all seven people on board.
  • June 21 – 322 British bombers attempt to attack three German V-1 flying bomb launching sites in France, but fail due to heavy cloud cover.[66]
  • June 21–22 (overnight) – 271 British bombers raid German synthetic oil plants at Wesseling and Gelsenkirchen, Germany. German night fighters interecept them, and 45 bombers are lost. The raids have limited success due to complete low cloud cover over the targets.[66]
  • June 22
  • June 23–27—Los Negros-based U.S. Army Air Forces B-24 Liberators of the Thirteenth Air Force fly an average of 21 daily bombing sorties against Yap. Two are shot down and 21 damaged.[95]
  • June 23–24 (overnight) through July 6–7 (overnight)—Japanese aircraft in small numbers conduct night raids against U.S. Navy forces off Saipan, damaging several amphibious warfare and auxiliary ships.[102]
  • June 24—Attempting to strike Iwo Jima, F6F Hellcats of U.S. Navy Task Group 58.1 are intercepted by Japanese aircraft, shooting down 29 of them in exchange for six Hellcats. Iwo Jima-based Japanese aircraft fly three ineffective raids against the task group during the day, losing another 37 planes.[103]
  • June 24–25—The Luftwaffe makes its first operational use of the "Mistel" composite aircraft, against Allied shipping in Seine Bay.

July[edit]

  • Eniwetok-based U.S. Army Air Forces B-24 Liberators bomb Truk almost daily. Southwest Pacific-based bombers raid Woleai and Yap.[104]
  • July 1 – 228 bombers of Royal Air Force Bomber Command bomb two German V-1 flying bomb launch sites and a stores site, losing one bomber, a Handley Page Halifax. Due to cloud cover, results of the bombing are not observed.[105]
  • July 2 – 384 British bombers attack three German V-weapon sites. Due to cloud cover, results of the bombing are not observed, but bombs appear to have been concentrated on the targets. All bombers return safely.[105]
  • July 4 – 328 British bombers attack three German V-1 sites. Despite some cloud cover, at least two of the sites are believed to have been bombed accurately. All bombers return safely.[105]
  • July 4–5 (overnight)
    • 246 British bombers attack the underground V-1 site at Saint-Leu-d'Esserent, France, using 1,000-pound (454-kg) bombs in an attempt to cut all German communications with the site. The attack is accurate, but German fighters intercept and shoot down 13 bombers.[105]
    • 287 British bombers attack railway yards at Orleans and Villeneuve, France. Fourteen bombers are lost.[105]
  • July 5 – After a P-38 Lightning tows it into the air, the MX-324 becomes the first American rocket-powered aircraft to fly under its own power.[106]
  • July 5–6 (overnight)
    • 542 British bombers attack two V-1 flying bomb launch sites and two storage sites, hitting all targets on a clear, moonlit night. Four bombers, all Avro Lancasters, are lost.[105]
    • 154 British Lancasters heavily bomb the main railway yards at Dijon, France, heavily. All bombers return safely.[105]
  • July 6 – 550 British bombers and one Royal Air Force Mustang attack five V-weapon sites, with at least four of them bombed accurately. One aircraft, a Halifax, is lost. After the raid, four officers of No. 617 SquadronWing Commander Leonard Cheshire and Flight Lieutenants J. C. McCarthy, K. L. Munro, and Dave Shannon – are ordered to leave the squadron and rest. Cheshire, who has completed four tours and 100 operations, will never fly in combat again, but will receive the Victoria Cross two months later for his courage and work in developing low-level target marking during his Bomber Command service.[105]
  • July 7 – 467 British Bomber Command aircraft accurately drop 2,267 long tons (2,303 metric tons) of bombs on northern Caen, France, and nearby open ground in an evening raid in an effort to assist British and Canadian ground forces in breaking through German defenses in Normandy. The attack kills few Germans and destroys Caen's northern suburbs, but nearby German forces are badly shaken. German anti-aircraft artillery shoots down one Lancaster, and two other Lancasters and a Mosquito crash in Normandy behind Allied lines.[105]
  • July 7–8 (overnight)
    • 221 British bombers attack an underground V-1 flying bomb storage dump at Saint-Leu-d'Esserent, France, blocking access to the stored bombs by targeting the mouths of tunnels and the roads to them. German night fighters intercept the bombers, and 31 bombers (14 percent of the attacking force) are lost.[105]
    • 128 British bombers accurately bomb the railway yards at Vaires-sur-Marne, France, without loss.[105]
  • July 8
  • July 9 – 347 British bombers attack six V-weapon launch sites. Most of the bombs are scattered due to cloud cover. One Lancaster and one Halifax do not return.[105]
  • July 10 – 233 British bombers attack a V-1 flying bomb storage dump at Nucourt, France, but their bombs are scattered due to cloud cover. All of the bombers return safely.[105]
  • July 11 – In a raid on a V-1 flying bomb site at Grapennes, France, 26 British Lancasters make the first "heavy Oboe" raid of World War II. In this new technique, a Lancaster fitted with Oboe rather than a Mosquito leads the heavy bombers to the target, with other bombers in its formation dropping their bombs when it does, allowing a greater tonnage of bombs to be dropped directly on Oboe signals. The new tactic becomes Bomber Command's most accurate, allowing effective bombing of small targets like V-1 sites even through clouds. All of the Lancasters and all six Mosquitos which attack the same target separately return without loss.[105]
  • July 12
    • 222 British bombers attack a storage dump at Thiverny, France, through cloud cover with unknown results. No aircraft are lost.[105]
    • 159 British bombers attempt an attack on railway yards at Vaires-sur-Marne, France, but the Master Bomber calls off the attack after only 12 Lancasters have dropped their bombs due to cloud cover over the target. No aircraft are lost.[105]
  • July 12–13 (overnight)
    • 385 aircraft of British Bomber Command attack railway targets at Culmont, Tours, and Revigny, France, with the first two bombed accurately but half the bombers sent to Revigny unable to attack due to cloud cover over the target. Twelve bombers are lost.[105]
    • 230 British bombers strike four V-1 flying bomb launch sites accurately, losing no aircraft.[105]
  • July 13 – Because of an error in navigation by a 7 Staffel/NJG 2 Junkers Ju 88G-1 night fighter, the Lichtenstein SN-2 VHF-band AI radar-equipped night fighter is captured after it lands at RAF Woodbridge by mistake, the first such example of the previously unknown German night fighter radar system to fall into Allied hands.[108]
  • July 14 – United States Army Air Forces Chief of Staff General Henry H. "Hap" Arnold recommends to joint planners that the United States capture the island of Iwo Jima to provide an emergency landing strip for B-29 Superfortress heavy bombers and a base for P-51 Mustang fighters for the strategic bombing campaign against Japan.[109]
  • July 14–15 – Saipan-based U.S. Navy PB4Y-1 Liberators of Bomber Squadron 109 (VB-109) raid Iwo Jima, Chichi Jima, and Haha Jima.[104]
  • July 14–15 (overnight)
    • 253 British Bomber Command aircraft attempt an attack on railway targets at Revigny and Villeneuve, France. Some bombs hit the railways at Villeneuve, but many of the bombs are dropped east of the target, and the raid at Revigny is abandoned completely when the railway yards there could not be identified. Seven Lanasters are lost, all on the Revigny raid.[105]
    • 115 British bombers attack V-1 weapon sites at Anderbelck and Les Lands. The Anderbelck raid is successful in clear weather, but Les Land is bombed through total cloud cover with unknown results.[105]
  • July 15–16 (overnight)
    • 234 British bombers make an accurate attack on the V-1 flying bomb launch site at Bois des Jardins, France, and the supply dump at Nucourt, losing one Halifax.[105]
    • 229 British bombers successfully attack railway yards at Châlons-sur-Marne and Nevers, France. Three Lancasters are lost.[105]
  • July 17
  • July 18
    • The British Army's Operation Goodwood offensive in Normandy begins with an intense bombing raid by 1,728 heavy bombers and 412 medium bombers of Royal Air Force Bomber Command and the U.S. Army Air Forces' Eighth Air Force dropping 7,000 short tons (6,350 metric tons) of explosives on a 25-square-mile (65-square-kilometer) area of German defenses, with six British bombers shot down, followed up by attacks by 796 Allied fighter-bombers on any German ground forces found to have survived the bombing. The German defenders are able to recover far more quickly than the Allies had hoped, and Goodwood comes to a halt three days later after British and Commonwealth forces gain little ground and suffer large casualties.[105][112]
    • 110 British bombers attack the railway yards at Vaires-sur-Marne, losing two Halifaxes.[105]
  • July 18–19 (overnight)
    • 194 Bomber Command aircraft strike the synthetic oil plant at Weßling, Germany, dropping about a thousand high-explosive bombs into the plant area over a period of 20 minutes, destroying 20 percent of the facilities as well as 151 nearby houses and killing 11 Germans, 20 foreign workers, and nine prisoners-of-war.[105]
    • 170 Bomber Command aircraft attack the Scholven/Buer synthetic oil plant at Buer, Germany, dropping 550 bombs into the plant area – of which 233 fail to explode – and halting all production for a lengthy period. Four Lancasters are lost.[105]
    • 263 aircraft of Bomber Command strike railway junctions at Aulnoye-Aymeries and Revigny, France, cutting rail lines leading to the front in Normandy at both targets. Two Lancasters are lost on the Aulnoye-Aymeries raid. German night fighters intercept the bombers raiding Revigny, and 24 Lancasters are lost there, nearly 22 percent of the force.[105]
    • 62 British bombers make an unsuccessful attack on the V-1 launch site at Acquet, losing two Halifaxes.[105]
  • July 19 – 132 British bombers attack two V-1 launch sites and a supply dump without loss.[105]
  • July 20
    • Saipan-based U.S. Navy PB4Y-1 Liberators of Bomber Squadron 109 (VB-109) again strike Iwo Jima, Chichi Jima, and Haha Jima. During the strikes of July 14, 15, and 20, they claim between 10 and 30 Japanese aircraft destroyed on the ground.[104]
    • 369 British bombers attack seven V-weapon sites, hitting six of them and losing one Lancaster.[105]
  • July 20–21 (overnight)
    • 317 Bomber Command aircraft devastate the railway yards and a railroad junction at Courtrai, Belgium, losing nine Lancasters.[105]
    • 166 British bombers strike the synthetic oil plant at Bottrop, Germany, badly damaging the northern part of the plant in exchange for the loss of eight aircraft.[105]
    • 158 British bombers severely damage the oil plant at Homberg, Germany. German night fighters intercept the raid, and 20 bombers are shot down.[105]
    • 87 Bomber Command aircraft attempt to hit V-weapon sites at Ardouval and Wizernes, France, but only 23 bomb the former and none attack the latter. All aircraft return safely.[105]
  • July 21 – U.S. forces land on Guam.[113]
  • July 22 – 60 British bombers attack four V-weapon sites through total cloud cover using the "heavy Oboe" tactic, with all aircraft returning safely.[105]
  • July 23
  • July 23–24 (overnight)
    • Royal Air Force Bomber Command makes its first major raid on a German city in two months, dispatching 629 bombers to attack Kiel. The first attack on Kiel since April 1943, the raid bombs all parts of the city and particularly the port area, where bombs strike all important submarine and other naval facilities. Effective deception measures prevented a successful interception by German nightfighters, and only four bombers are lost, a 0.6 percent of the force. Kiel has no water for three days, no train or bus service for eight days, and no natural gas for three weeks.[105]
    • Bomber Command begins a new campaign against oil facilities in German-occupied countries, sending 119 aircraft to hit an oil refinery and storage depot at Donges, France. Bomg in good visibility, they badly damage the facility and capsize an oil tanker, losing no aircraft.[105]
    • 116 British bombers attack two V-1 flying bomb sites accurately, losing one Halifax.[105]
  • July 24 – U.S. forces land on Tinian.[114]
  • July 24–25 (overnight)
    • 614 British Command aircraft raid Stuttgart, Germany, the first of three heavy raids on the city in five days, losing 21 bombers (4.6 percent of the force).[105]
    • 113 British bombers attack the oil facility at Donges again, devastating it. Three Lancasters do not return.[105]
    • 112 British bombers attack a V-1 flying bomb site at Ferfay, France. The Master Bomber allows only 73 of them to bomb th target, and one Halifax is lost.[105]
  • July 25
    • Aircraft from the British aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious strike Sabang, Sumatra.[58]
    • 100 British bombers attack an airfield at signals depot at Saint-Cyr, France, losing one Lancaster.[105]
    • 93 British bombers successfully bomb two V-weapon launch sites and a storage site, losing no aircraft.[105]
  • July 25–26 (overnight)
    • 550 British bombers strike Stuttgart, losing 12 bombers (2.2 percent of the force). The raid is the most successful of the three carried out against Stuttgart in this period,[105]
    • 135 British bombers attack the Krupp oil refinery at Wanne-Eickel, Germany, losing no aircraft. Only a few bombs strike the refinery, but bombs landing in Eickel destroy 14 houses, kill 29 German civilians, four foreign workers, and three prisoners-of-war, and force the Hannibal coal mine to cease production.[105]
    • 100 British bombers attack an airfield at signals depot at Saint-Cyr, France, losing one Lancaster.[105]
    • 51 British bombers hit three V-1 launch sites, destroying the launch ramp at Bois de Jardins, France. All of the bombers return safely.[105]
  • July 26 – The first aerial victory for a jet fighter occurs as a Messerschmitt Me 262A, flown by Luftwaffe Leutnant Alfred Schreiber, attacks and damages a de Havilland Mosquito over southern Germany.[115]
  • July 26–27 (overnight)
    • 187 British bombers accurately attack the railway yards at Givors, France, losing four Lancasters and two Mosquitos.[105]
  • July 27
    • Gloster Meteors of the Royal Air Force's No. 616 fly their first V-1 interception mission. It is the first combat action by Allied jets.[116]
    • 72 British bombers strike V-weapon sites, losing no aircraft. Some Short Stirlings on the raids have had the Gee-H blind bombing device fitted, the first time heavy bombers equipped with Gee-H have led an attack using the "Gee-H leader" tactic.[105]
  • July 28 – 199 British bombers hit four V-weapon sites through cloud cover, losing one Halifax.[105]
  • July 28–29 (overnight)
    • 496 British bombers carry out the final attack on Stuttgart of the three-raid series. German night fighters intercept them over France in bright moonlight while they are inbound, and 30 Lancasters (19 percent of the force) are shot down. The three raids have allowed Bomber Command to achieve success against Stuttgart's central district, which is devastated, for the first time, with many of the city's public and cultural buildings destroyed.[105]
    • 307 British bombers make the first heavy raid on Hamburg, Germany, since the Battle of Hamburg a year previously, but the bombs are not concentrated and the attack is not successful. German night fighters intercept the bombers on their homeward flight, and 22 bombers are lost (12 percent of the force).[105]
    • 119 Bomber Command aircraft strike the V-1 flying bomb storage site at Forêt De Nieppe, losing no aircraft.[105]
  • July 29 – 76 British bombers attack the V-weapon stores site at Forêt De Nieppe without loss.[105]
  • July 30 – 692 Bomber Command aircraft bomb six German Army positions in front of United States Army forces in the Villers Bocage-Caumont area of Normandy, losing four Lancasters. Due to cloud cover, only 377 aircraft drop their bombs and only two of the German positions are hit.[105]
  • July 31
    • The French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is killed while flying an operational sortie over southern France in a Lockheed F-5, the photographic reconnaissance variant of the P-38 Lightning.[117]
    • 131 British bombers make an accurate raid against the railway yards at Joigny-la-Roche, France, in clear conditions, losing one Lancaster.[105]
    • 103 Bomber Command aircraft strike both ends of a railway tunnel at Rilly-la-Montagne that the Germans are using to store V-1 flying bombs. No. 617 Squadron uses 12,000-pound (5,443-kg) Tallboy bombs to collapse both ends of the tunnel, while the other bombers focus on cratering the approaches to the tunnel. Two Lancasters are shot down, including the No. 617 Squadron aircraft of Flight Lieutenant William Reid, who had received the Victoria Cross in 1943. He survives.[105]
    • 57 British bombers raid the port area at Le Havre, France, and claim to have hit one German submarine. One Lancaster is lost.[105]
  • July 31-August 1 (overnight) – 202 Bomber Command aircraft raid four V-weapon sites, damaging one of them. One Halifax and one Lancaster do not return.[105]

August[edit]

  • A United States Army Air Forces Republic XP-47J Thunderbolt reaches 505 mph (813 km/hr) in level flight, becoming the first piston-engined fighter to exceed 500 mph (805 km/hr).[118]
  • August 1 – RAF Bomber Command dispatches 777 aircraft to attack various German V-weapon sites, but only 79 bomb targets, probably because of bad weather. All bombers return safely.[119]
  • August 2 – 393 British bombers and one Royal Air Force Lightning attack a V-1 flying bomb launch site and three supply sites in clear weather, achieving accurate bombing results. Two Lancasters are lost.[119]
  • August 3 – 1,114 British bombers successfully strike V-1 flying bomb stores sites at Bois de Cassan, Forêt de Nieppe, and Trossy St. Maxim, France, in clear weather. Six Lancasters do not return.[119]
  • August 4
    • 291 British bombers attack the Bois de Cassan and Trossy St. Martin V-1 stores sites in clear weather, with two Halifaxes lost on the Bois de Cassan raid and two Lancasters shot down on the Trossy St. Martin raid. One of the lost Lancasters, piloted by Canadian Squadron Leader Ian W. Bazalgette, is hit by antiaircraft guns and catches fire, but Bazalgette manages to drop his bombs. After his aircraft goes out of control ad enters a steep dive. he manages to recover and keep the bomber level long enough for four of his crewmen to bail out. With two wounded crewmen still aboard and unable to bail out, he crash-lands his Lancaster in an effort to save them, but the bomber explodes before they can get out, killing all three men. Bazalgette will receive a posthumous Victoria Cross for his actions.[119]
    • 288 Bomber Command Lancasters raid oil stores facilities at Bec-d'Ambes and Pauillac, France, in clear weather, suffering no losses. Twenty-seven Serrate-equipped Mosquito night fighters escort them but encounter no German night fighters.[119]
    • 27 Lancasters of Bomber Command's No. 617 Squadron strike a railway bridge at Étaples, France, with 1,000-pound (454-kg) bombs, scoring several hits but failing to destroy it. No bombers are lost.[119]
  • August 5
    • 742 British bombers attack the V-1 storage sites at Forêt de Nieppe and St. Leu d'Esserent, France, in good conditions, losing one Halifax.[119]
    • 306 British Lancasters very successfully bomb French oil storage facilities along the Gironde River at Blaye, Bordeaux, and Pauillac, escorted by 30 Serrate-equipped Mosquito night fighters. One Lancaster is lost.[119]
    • 15 Lancasters of Bomber Command's No. 617 Squadron strike the German submarine pens at Brest, France, with 12,000-pound (5,443-kg) Tallboy bombs, scoring six direct hits and losing one bomber to German antiaircraft fire.[119]
    • 14 British Lancasters attack the railway bridge at Étaples, but smoke obscures the bridge and results are unknown.[119]
  • August 6
    • 222 British bombers strike the Bois de Cassan and Forêt de Nieppe V-weapon sites, losing three Lancasters. The bombs are scattered, and at Bois de Cassan half the bombers fail to drop their bombs because of confusion over the orders given by the Master Bomber.[119]
    • 62 British bombers raid the railway center at Hazebrouck, France, losing one Halifax. Smoke obscures the target.[119]
  • August 7–8 (overnight) – 1,019 Bomber Command aircraft are dispatched to attack German Army positions at five points along the front in Normandy, although only 660 of them drop bombs. Ten Lancasters are lost, with seven shot down by German fighters, two shot down by antiaircraft fire, and one lost to unknown causes.[119]
  • August 8
    • Bomber Command dispatches 202 aircraft to bomb an oil storage dump in France's Forêt De Chantilly, setting it on fire. One Halifax is lost in the sea.[119]
    • 78 Bomber Command aircraft strike four V-weapon launch sites, all accurately, losing one Halifax.[119]
  • August 8–9 (overnight) – 180 British bombers hit storage depots and dumps in France at Aire-sur-la-Lys and in the Forêt de Lucheux.[119]
  • August 9
    • 172 Bomber Command aircraft strike seven V-weapon launching sites oin clear weather, successfully hitting all of them and losing three Halifaxes.[119]
    • 178 Bomber Command aircraft raid a fuel-storage dump at Forêt De Mormal and an oil depot at La Pallice, France. All bombers returned safely.[119]
    • 12 Lancasters of No 617 Squadron and a Mosquito attack the German submarine pens at La Pallice without loss.[119]
  • August 9–10 (overnight)
    • 311 British bombers attack five V-weapon sites, bombing them accurately and losing no aircraft.[119]
    • 190 Bomber Command aircraft make a successful attack on an oil-storage dump at Forêt De Chatellerault, France, losing two Lancasters.[119]
  • August 10
  • August 15
  • August 16 –The Messerschmitt Me 163 rocket-powered interceptor is used against Allied bombers for the first time, flown by the dedicated Jagdgeschwader 400 rocket fighter wing.
  • August 18 – The U.S. Navy submarine USS Rasher (SS-269) torpedoes and sinks the Japanese aircraft carrier Taiyō off Cape Bolinao, Luzon, with the loss of 747 lives. There are over 400 survivors.[123]
  • August 18 – The Soviet Union informs the Western Allies that it will not object to their aircraft droppng supplies to the Polish Home Army in Warsaw during the ongoing Warsaw Uprising as long as they do not land in Soviet-occupied territory. Allied bombers soon begin flights from Brindisi, Italy, of over 1,600 miles (2,576 km) round-trip to drop supplies into Warsaw.[124]
  • August 19 – 110 Seafire and Hellcat fighters from seven British and two American escort aircraft carriers supporting Operation Dragoon fly an armed reconnaissance toward Toulouse, France, where they destroy locomotives and rolling stock. They encounter German aircraft—one Junkers Ju 88, three Heinkel He 111s, and one Dornier Do 217—for the first time during the operation and shoot all of them down.[125]
  • August 20 – Aircraft of a U.S. Navy antisubmarine hunter-killer group score their final kill of an enemy submarine in the Atlantic during World War II, when FM Wildcats and TBM Avengers of Composite Squadron 42 (VC-42) from the escort aircraft carrier USS Bogue (CVE-9) sink the German submarine U-1229 300 nautical miles (560 km) south of Cape Race, Newfoundland. Aircraft of U.S. hunter-killer groups have sunk—or cooperated with surface warships in sinking—32 German and two Japanese submarines in the Atlantic.[126]
  • August 22 – Operation Goodwood (not to be confused with the tank battle of the same name in Normandy), a series of Royal Navy air strikes by the aircraft carriers HMS Formidable, HMS Furious, HMS Indefatigable, HMS Nabob, and HMS Trumpeter against the German battleship Tirpitz at her anchorage in Norway, begins with a day strike designated Goodwood I, which is foiled by heavy cloud cover over the target area. An evening strike, Goodwood II, also is unsuccessful, and Nabob is so badly damaged by a torpedo from the German submarine U-354 that she never again sees action.[127]
  • August 23
  • August 24
    • Aircraft from the British aircraft carriers HMS Indomitable and HMS Victorious raid Sumatra, striking the cement works at Indaroeng and the harbor facilities and shipping at Emmahaven.[129]
    • Goodwood III, the third airstrike of Operation Goodwood, is the most successful Goodwood raid. Thirty-three Fairey Barracudas attack Tirpitz, hitting her with a 500-lb (227-kg) bomb and a 1,600-lb (726-kg) bomb. The latter penetrates the armored deck and could have caused extensive damage or sunk the ship, but fails to explode.[127]
  • August 29 – The final airstrike of Operation Goodwood, Goodwood IV, is unsuccessful because a German smoke screen over Tirpitz makes her impossible to hit.[127]

September[edit]

October[edit]

November[edit]

  • Japan begins a rapid and haphazard initial dispersal of its aircraft factories, which it will complete in December.[156]
  • The United States establishes a nationwide air-sea rescue organization to coordinate air-sea rescue operations by the U.S. armed forces along the U.S. coast. The United States Coast Guard is the control agency for the organization.[157]
  • The U.S. Navy conducts the first combined air-and-sea naval mine clearance operation in its history, when over a seven-day period a U.S. Navy blimp uses an M2 Browning .50-caliber machine gun to destroy 22 mines that minesweepers bring to the surface off Key West, Florida.[158]
  • November 1
  • November 3 – The first Japanese Fu-Go balloon bombs are launched against the United States.
  • November 5 – U.S. Army Air Forces Twentieth Air Force B-29s based at Calcutta, India, begin occasional attacks on drydock and ship repair facilities at Singapore.[162]
  • November 5–6 – U.S. Navy Task Force 38 carrier aircraft raid Japanese bases on Luzon. On the first day, SB2C Helldiver dive bombers and TBM Avenger torpedo bombers from the aircraft carrier USS Lexington (CV-16) sink the Japanese heavy cruiser Nachi in Manila Bay, and U.S. Navy planes claim the destruction of 58 Japanese fighters over Clark and Mabalacat airfields. On the second day, a kamikaze damages Lexington. During the two days, U.S. Navy aircraft claim 439 Japanese aircraft destroyed, losing 25 U.S. aircraft in combat and 11 due to non-combat causes. The strikes cause a sharp reduction in Japanese air attacks on U.S. ships in Leyte Gulf.[163]
  • November 11 – 347 carrier aircraft of Task Force 38 attack a convoy of five or six Japanese transports in the Camotes Sea approaching Ormoc, sinking all of them and all four of their escorting destroyers, as well as two more destroyers in Ormoc Bay, and shooting down 16 Japanese aircraft. Almost all of the 10,000 Japanese troops embarked on the transports are killed.[164]
  • November 12 – 29 Royal Air Force Avro Lancaster bombers employing 12,000-pound (5,443 kg) Tallboy bombs score two hits on the German battleship Tirpitz at Altenfjord, Norway, sinking her with heavy loss of life.[165]
  • November 13 – Civil air services to London are restored, with the first flights carried out by Railway Air Services.
  • November 13–14 – Task Force 38 carrier aircraft raid Luzon, sinking the Japanese light cruiser Kiso, four destroyers, and seven merchant ships and destroying 84 Japanese aircraft in exchange for the loss of 25 U.S. planes.[166]
  • November 14 – Avro York MW126 crashes in the French Alps killing all 10 people aboard. Among the dead are RAF Air Chief Marshall Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory, who was traveling to Burma to become Air Commander-in-Chief of South East Asia Command, and his wife. Leigh-Mallory is the highest-ranking RAF officer to be killed during World War II.
  • November 17 – The U.S. submarine USS Spadefish (SS-411) torpedoes and sinks the Japanese aircraft carrier Shinyo with the loss of 1,130 lives. There are 70 survivors.[167]
  • November 19 – U.S. Navy Task Force 38 carrier aircraft strike Luzon, destroying more than 100 Japanese aircraft in exchange for the loss of 13 U.S. planes in combat.[168]
  • November 22
  • November 24 – 111 United States Army Air Forces B-29 Superfortresses attack Tokyo, targeting the Musashino aircraft plant. Although they do not damage the plant, it is the first strategic bombing raid against Japan from the Twentieth Air Force's new bases in the Mariana Islands, and the first American air attack of any kind on Tokyo since the April 1942 Doolittle Raid.[170][171]
  • November 25 – Aircraft from seven aircraft carriers of Task Force 38 carry out the task force's last raids in support of the Leyte campaign, raiding Japanese bases on Luzon, attacking a coastal convoy, and destroying 26 Japanese aircraft in the air and 29 on the ground. Aircraft from USS Ticonderoga (CV-14) sink the Japanese heavy cruiser Kumano in Dasol Bay. Kamikazes respond by damaging the aircraft carriers USS Intrepid (CV-11), USS Essex (CV-9), and USS Cabot (CVL-28); damage to the carriers forces cancellation of strikes against Japanese shipping in the Visayas the next day.[172]
  • November 27
    • Three Japanese transport aircraft carrying demolition troops attempt to land troops at Buri airfield on Leyte and on the Leyte invasion beachhead via crash landings, but many of the troops are killed in the crashes and the survivors do little damage.[173]
    • Japanese aircraft staging through Iwo Jima make their first successful strikes against U.S. B-29s on Saipan. An early raid by two twin-engined bombers destroys a B-29 and damages 11 others, while later in the day 10 to 15 single-engined fighters attack, destroying three B-29s and damaging two.[174]
    • Japanese kamikazes damage the battleship USS Colorado (BB-45) and light cruiser USS St. Louis (CL-49) in Leyte Gulf.[175]
    • 81 B-29s attempt a second attack on the Musashino aircraft plant in Tokyo. Heavy cloud cover forces them to bomb secondary targets instead.[176]
  • November 29
  • November 29–30 (overnight) – 29 B-29s conduct the first night incendiary raid against Japan, attacking industrial areas in Tokyo and destroying an estimated 0.1 square mile (0.15 square kilometer) of the city.[176]
  • November 30 – During November, B-29s raiding Japan have carried an average bombload of 2.6 tons (2,359 kg) per plane. This will almost triple by July 1945.[179]

December[edit]

  • December 3—A single U.S. Navy PBY Catalina picks up 56 survivors of the destroyer USS Cooper (DD-695) in Ormoc Bay and another rescues 48. Both loads break all previous records.[180]
  • December 6—During the evening, the Japanese mount a paratrooper attack on U.S. airfields on Leyte, employing 39 or 40 aircraft to drop 15 to 20 paratroopers each. The aircraft targeting Tacloban airfield are shot down or driven off by U.S. antiaircraft fire, while the troops targeting Dulag Airfield are killed in crash landings, but troops dropped from 35 aircraft at Burauen airfield resist for two days and three nights until killed by U.S. Army Air Forces ground personnel.[181]
  • December 7
  • December 8—In an attempt to stop Japanese air attacks on Saipan from staging through Iwo Jima, the U.S. Army Air Forces and U.S. Navy conduct a joint attack against Iwo Jima. After a morning fighter sweep by 28 P-38 Lightnings, 62 B-29s and 102 B-24s bomb the island, dropping 814 tons (738,456 kg) of bombs, after which U.S. Navy surface ships bombard Iwo Jima. All Iwo Jima airfields are operational by December 11, but Japanese attacks on Saipan come to a halt for 2½ weeks. Seventh Air Force B-24s will continue to raid Iwo Jima at least once a day through February 15, 1945.[185]
  • December 13—As the U.S. Navy Mindoro Attack Force is about to round the southern cape of Negros to enter the Sulu Sea, a Japanese Aichi D3A (Allied reporting name "Val") dive bomber operating as a kamikaze hits the light cruiser USS Nashville (CL-43), flagship for the Mindoro invasion, badly damaging her, wounding ground forces commander Brigadier General William C. Dunckel, and killing and wounding members of his staff. Another kamikaze badly damages a destroyer.[186]
  • December 13–17—Six U.S. Navy escort carriers provide direct support for the U.S. invasion of Mindoro. They fly 864 sorties, losing nine planes, none to enemy action.[187]
  • December 14–16—Task Force 38 carrier aircraft attack Japanese airfields on Luzon, employing for the first time the "Big Blue Blanket" tactic of keeping aircraft over the airfields day and night to prevent Japanese air attacks on the beachhead at Mindoro. Flying 1,671 sorties, they drop 336 tons (304,817 kg) of bombs, claiming 62 Japanese aircraft destroyed in the air and 208 on the ground, for a loss of 27 U.S. aircraft in combat and 38 due to non-combat causes.[188]
  • December 15
  • December 17—U.S. Army Air Forces Major Richard I. Bong scores his 40th and final aerial victory, enough to make him the top-scoring American ace of World War II. He has made all of his kills flying the Lockheed P-38 Lightning.[40]
  • December 18—Typhoon Cobra strikes Task Force 38 as it operates in the Philippine Sea east of Luzon. In addition to the sinking of three destroyers, the loss of over 800 men, and damage to many ships, the task force loses 146 carrier aircraft and battleship and cruiser floatplanes. Plans for strikes on Luzon from December 19 to 21 are cancelled.[190]
  • December 19—The U.S. Navy submarine USS Redfish (SS-395) torpedoes and sinks the Japanese aircraft carrier Unryū in the East China Sea with the loss of 1,239 lives. There are 147 survivors.[191]
  • December 20—With an abundance of male pilots now available to ferry military aircraft from factories to airfields, the U.S. Army Air Forces Air Transport Command's Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) organization is disbanded.
  • December 24—A U.S. Army Air Forces strike by Seventh Air Force B-24s on Iwo Jima is combined with a bombardment by U.S. Navy surface ships, but Japanese air raids on Saipan resume later in the day as 25 Japanese aircraft destroy one B-29 and damage three more beyond repair.[192]

First flights[edit]

January[edit]

February[edit]

March[edit]

April[edit]

May[edit]

June[edit]

July[edit]

August[edit]

September[edit]

October[edit]

November[edit]

December[edit]

Entered service[edit]

March[edit]

April[edit]

July[edit]

August[edit]

December[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b A History of Coast Guard Aviation: The Growth Years (1939–1956)
  2. ^ a b c d Morison, Samuel Eliot, History of U.S. Naval Operations in World War II, Volume VII: Aleutians, Gilberts, and Marshalls, June 1942-April 1944, Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1984, p. 214.
  3. ^ a b c Morison, Samuel Eliot, History of U.S. Naval Operations in World War II, Volume IX: Sicily-Salerno-Anzio, January 1943-June 1944, Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1990, p. 331.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac Eighth Air Force Historical Society WWII 8thAAF COMBAT CHRONOLOGY JANUARY 1944 THROUGH JUNE 1944
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Royal Air Force Bomber Command 60th Anniversary Campaign Diary January 1944
  6. ^ Guttman, John, "Pappy's Pacific Exploits", Aviation History, January 2011, p. 29.
  7. ^ von Wodtke, Carl, "Miracle of Saint-Nazaire," Aviation History, May 2014, p. 21.
  8. ^ Morison, Samuel Eliot, History of U.S. Naval Operations in World War II, Volume IX: Sicily-Salerno-Anzio, January 1943-June 1944, Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1990, pp. 233, 250–251, 393.
  9. ^ Hinchcliffe, Peter, The Other Battle: Luftwaffe Night Aces vs. Bomber Command, Edison, New Jersey: Castle Books, 1996, ISBN 978-0-7858-1418-4, p. 126.
  10. ^ Morison, Samuel Eliot, History of U.S. Naval Operations in World War II, Volume IX: Sicily-Salerno-Anzio, January 1943-June 1944, Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1990, pp. 331, 335.
  11. ^ Morison, Samuel Eliot, History of U.S. Naval Operations in World War II, Volume IX: Sicily-Salerno-Anzio, January 1943-June 1944, Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1990, p. 344.
  12. ^ Morison, Samuel Eliot, History of U.S. Naval Operations in World War II, Volume IX: Sicily-Salerno-Anzio, January 1943-June 1944, Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1990, pp. 345–346.
  13. ^ a b Morison, Samuel Eliot, History of U.S. Naval Operations in World War II, Volume VII: Aleutians, Gilberts, and Marshalls, June 1942-April 1944, Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1984, p. 215.
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