List of air operations during the Battle of Europe

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This World War II timeline of European Air Operations lists notable military events in the skies of the European Theater of Operations of World War II from the Invasion of Poland to Victory in Europe Day. The list includes combined arms operations, defensive anti-aircraft warfare, and encompasses areas within the territorial waters of belligerent European states.[note 1]

1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945

1939[edit]

Regulation WW II Underwing Balkenkreuz.png 1 September: At 4:40am the Luftwaffe starts World War II with the terror bombing of the Polish city of Wieluń. At 8:00am German ground forces cross the Polish border launching the invasion of Poland.

Regulation WW II Underwing Balkenkreuz.png 1 September: The Luftwaffe begins Operation Wasserkante as part of the invasion of Poland. The first air attacks against Warsaw start.

Roundel of Poland (1921-1993).svg 2 September: Single PZL.23B of the 21st Squadron of Polish Air Force bombs a factory in Ohlau. The attack represented the first Allied bombing raid to be conducted against a target in territory within the Third Reich.

RAF roundel.svg 3 September: Flying officer Andrew McPherson is the first Royal Air Force pilot to cross the German coast after the United Kingdom declared war on Nazi Germany. Flying a Bristol Blenheim from 139 Squadron, his mission is to identify German maritime targets around Wilhelmshaven.[4]

RAF roundel.svg 3 September: The RAF launches its first raid of the war over Germany territory. Eighteen Handley Page Hampdens and nine Vickers Wellingtons are sent to attack the German warships moored at the Wilhelmshaven naval base. However poor visibility prevents the bombers from finding any targets before nightfall so they return.[5]

RAF roundel.svg 4 September: The RAF launches another bombing operation against German shipping. Fourteen Wellingtons from 9 and 149 Squadrons attack Brunsbuttel and 15 Bristol Blenheims from 107 and 110 Squadrons raid Wilhelmshaven bay. Five Blenheims and three Vickers Wellingtons are shot down through a combination of Messerschmitt Bf 109s and flak. They become the first British aircraft casualties on the Western Front.[6]

RAF roundel.svg 4 September: The first British airman to be taken prisoner was Sergeant George Booth, a RAF Observer from 107 Squadron. He was captured after his Bristol Blenheim was shot down over the German coast.[7]

Regulation WW II Underwing Balkenkreuz.png 13 September: The Bombing of Frampol was the war's first area bombardment

RAF roundel.svg 20 September: The first recorded RAF "kill" of the Second World War is claimed by air observer Sergeant F Letchford aboard a Fairey Battle flown by Flying Officer LH Baker from 88 Squadron.[8]

Roundel of France.svg 20 September: The first recorded kill of the French Armee de l'Air is credited to Sergeant André-Armand Legrand, flying a Curtis H75A-1 in the Groupe de Chasse II/5 La Fayette, for downing a Messerschmitt Bf 109E of the Luftwaffe 3/JG 53 over Überherrn.[9]

Regulation WW II Underwing Balkenkreuz.png 27 September: The Luftwaffe ceases its bombing campaign against Warsaw after its Polish garrison surrenders to German forces. Approximately 1,150 sorties were flown by a wide variety of aircraft, including obsolete Junkers Ju 52/3m bombers.[10]

Red star.svg 30 November: The Winter War between Soviet Union and Finland starts. Three hours after the Red Army had crossed the border and started the Winter War, Helsinki is bombed. Throughout the war, the Soviet Air Force has the air superiority and several cities in Finland are targeted.

Regulation WW II Underwing Balkenkreuz.png 18 December: The first use of radar for defence (an "experimental Freya radar") gave warning of RAF bombers near the German Bight as they made an attack on Wilhelmshaven.[11]:20 However the German fighters were not permitted to intercept until visual confirmation was made - the bombers were attacked after they had dropped their bombs.

1940[edit]

Regulation WW II Underwing Balkenkreuz.png 21 April: A bombing raid on Norway kills the first American military officer killed in World War II.

Regulation WW II Underwing Balkenkreuz.png 13 May: Luftflotte 3 (supported by Luftflotte 2) in the Battle of France executed the heaviest air bombardment to date (300 sorties)--the most intense by World War II Luftwaffe.

People in London look at a map illustrating how the RAF is striking back at Germany during 1940

Regulation WW II Underwing Balkenkreuz.png 14 May: Under cover of Adolf Galland's air wing and after dummy paratroopers were airdropped (imitating battle noises after landing), Fort Eben-Emael was taken by glider troops during the Battle of Belgium.[11]:3

Regulation WW II Underwing Balkenkreuz.png 14 May: The Rotterdam Blitz ended the Battle of the Netherlands

RAF roundel.svg 15 May: A kill shared by French pilot Rene Mouchotte and Englishman Jack Charles becomes the 1,000th victim of RAF Biggin Hill fighters--Vickers threw a "fabulous party"

RAF roundel.svg 15 May: The RAF lost the 100th of its France-based bombers. In 72 hours, it had lost half of its offensive force.[12]

RAF roundel.svg 15/16 May: In the 1st large-scale World War II strategic bombing[13]:53 and the 1st attack on the German "backcountry", just 24 of 96 dispatched bombers found the Ruhr Area power stations and refineries.[14]

Roundel of France.svg 19 May: French fighters strafed advanced columns of Operation Abendsegen[11]:4

Regulation WW II Underwing Balkenkreuz.png 27 May 1940: Heinkels bombarded the Dunkirk perimeter followed by Stukas and Dorniers: RAF roundel.svg opposition included the "first major encounter" by Spitfires of No. 74 Squadron RAF.[15]:71

RAF roundel.svg 27/28 May: A No. 10 Squadron RAF Armstrong Whitworth Whitley tail gunner was the first in the RAF to down a German fighter.

RAF roundel.svg 2 June: Robert Stanford Tuck led a wing of Spitfires from RAF Martlesham Heath, the first "big formation" of the war, against eith Heinkel He IIIs and about 25 Messerschmitt Bf 109s over the Calais area.[16]:108

Regulation WW II Underwing Balkenkreuz.png 3 June: Operation Paula was Nazi Germany's "single attempt at strategic air warfare during the French campaign."[11]:7

Roundel of France.svg 7-8 June: French Air Force raid is the first air raid against Berlin.[citation needed]

Regulation WW II Underwing Balkenkreuz.png 9 June: Germany attains air supremacy in the Battle of France

RAF roundel.svg June 11/12: First British bombing of Italy with a raid on Turin.[2][specify]

RAF roundel.svg 26 June: The RAF Advanced Air Striking Force disbanded after beginning operations in France in May

Regulation WW II Underwing Balkenkreuz.png 24 July: Ferrying of Luftwaffe aircraft to the Channel Coast ended the first phase of the Battle of Britain[11]:15

RAF roundel.svg 9 August: The Birmingham Blitz began and (along with Hull Blitz) became the basis for the RAF dehousing bombing policy in 1942.

RAF roundel.svg 25 August: First RAF raid on Berlin

Regulation WW II Underwing Balkenkreuz.png 7 September: The Blitz bombing of Britain began with 57 nights of air raids

RAF roundel.svg 8 September: Three Dornier 17 bombers are downed by a single shot from a "Territorial gun crew" near Farnington.[17]:129

Italy-Royal-Airforce.svg 9 September: A bombing raid on Tel Aviv caused 137 deaths.[18]

Italy-Royal-Airforce.svg 19 October: Four SM.82 bombers attacked American-operated oil refineries in the British Protectorate of Bahrain, damaging the local refineries.[19] The raid also struck Dhahran in Saudi Arabia, but causing little damage.[19]

Regulation WW II Underwing Balkenkreuz.png 15 September: In a single day, the Luftwaffe loses 60 aircraft over England during the Battle of Britain[20]:68

Regulation WW II Underwing Balkenkreuz.png 14 November: In the Coventry Blitz Luftwaffe aircraft cause significant, and infamous, damage to Coventry, killing nearly 700 people and destroying Coventry Cathedral.

Regulation WW II Underwing Balkenkreuz.png 30 November: The second phase of The Blitz began against British industrial and port cities

1941[edit]

Regulation WW II Underwing Balkenkreuz.png 21 January: As revenge for the British raids on Berlin, Germany started the Baby Blitz (planned since 27 November).[17]:396

10 February : Operation Colossus, the first British paratrooper raid, blew up a strategic aqueduct in Calitri southern Italy.[specify]

RAF roundel.svg 31 March/1 April: A bombing raid on Emden is the first use of the 4,000 lb (1,800 kg) HC "cookie" blockbuster bomb

Regulation WW II Underwing Balkenkreuz.png 15 April: The Belfast Blitz kills 1000, the greatest loss of British lives outside London from a night raid.

10 May: The longest blitz air raid on london killing 2324 people and 11,000 houses.

Regulation WW II Underwing Balkenkreuz.png 22 June - 3 July: In the opening phase of Operation Barbarossa, the Luftwaffe achieved air superiority by destroying some 2,000 Soviet aircraft, at a loss of only 35 aircraft (of which 15 were non-combat-related).

RAF roundel.svg 8 July First use of the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress in Europe; against Wilhelmshaven

Red star.svg 8–9 August: The Red Army Air Force began a limited bombing offensive with a raid on Berlin.[21]

RAF roundel.svg 15 August: Robert Stanford Tuck led the first air mission by fighters based in eastern England against enemy-occupied territories in a "Rhubarb" sweep of the Netherlands for ground targets by two Hawker Hurricanes .[16]:215–219

RAF roundel.svg 18 August: A 18 Squadron Blenheim dropped an artificial leg over France for captured Wing Commander Douglas Bader.[2]

RAF roundel.svg 7/8 September: The heaviest RAF raid on Berlin to date, with 197 bombers, with 15 bombers lost.[22]

RAF roundel.svg 7 November: A large raid on Berlin lost 20 bombers and caused little damage. The head of Bomber Command, Richard Peirse, was subsequently replaced in February 1942 by Arthur Harris.

RAF roundel.svg 7/8 December: 251 bombers target Aachen and Brest—the Brest attack was the first operational use of the Oboe navigation system

RAF roundel.svg 18 December: Blenheim aircraft conducted the first night intruder attack, successfully striking Soesterberg airfield in the Netherlands with bombs and attacking two German bombers in the air with guns

1942[edit]

RAF roundel.svg 16 February: The first regular operations with the American Douglas Boston bomber were conducted.

RAF roundel.svg 8/9 March: The first city raid following 14 February Area bombing directive bombed Essen.

RAF roundel.svg 13/14 March: Gee radio navigation was first used during a bombing of Cologne.[23]

RAF roundel.svg 25/26 March: In the largest force (254 aircraft) sent to a single target to date, bombers of an Essen mission were drawn off by decoy fire from Rheinberg.[specify]

RAF roundel.svg 28/29 March: The Bombing of Lübeck was the 1st major success for RAF Bomber Command against a German city.

RAF roundel.svg 8/9 April: The largest force to date (272 aircraft) bomb Hamburg.

RAF roundel.svg 17 April: The Augsburg Raid is the first to attempt low-level daylight bombing for accuracy - in this case against the factory producing engines for U-boats. Half of the 12 bombers were shot down for little damage caused.

Roundel of Germany – Type 1 – Border.svg 23–29 April: The first period of the Baedeker Blitz bomb the provincial cities of Exeter, Bath, Norwich, and York.

RAF roundel.svg 23–27 April: Bombing of Rostock.[24]

RAF roundel.svg 30 May: The first use of the bomber stream and the first British large scale operation, as part of Operation Millennium the first "Thousand Bomber" raid is sent against Cologne, Germany. Of the 1,047 aircraft sent, nearly 900 bombed the target area - the whole raid passing over in 90 minutes.

US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg 11–12 June: First American daylight raid over European soil, against petroleum wells in Ploiești, Romania, along with objectives in Bulgaria, the first stages of American Bombing offensive.[25]

RAF roundel.svg 25/26 June: The third "Thousand bomber" raid bombs Bremen, a new record of RAF Bomber Command losses (48 of 1,067 aircraft).

US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg RAF roundel.svg4 July: The first American bombing mission over enemy-occupied territory in Europe used 20 Boston bombers (plus 6 RAF-crewed Bostons) to attack the Alkmaar, Hammsted, and Valkenburg airfields --[26]:106 only two reached the target area (two shot down, the others heavily damaged).[11]:111

US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg 14 August: First German warplane downed by the USAAF. A German Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor reconnaissance-bomber is shot down by two US fighter pilots, flying a Curtiss P-40 Warhawk and a Lockheed P-38 Lightning, off the coast of Reykjavík, Iceland. All six German airmen are killed as the plane explodes and goes into the sea.[27]

82 ABD SSI.svg 15 August: 82nd Airborne is the first US airborne division. (the first combat jumps were 8 November 1942 by the 509th Parachute Battalion in the North Africa Operation Torch).[26]:106,107

US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg 17 August: 12 B-17s of the 97 BG (including one with Eaker aboard) escorted by RAF Spitfires bombed the Sotteville railyard 3 miles (4.8 km) South of Rouen, France, in the "first combat action" of the Eighth Air Force and the first B-17 bombing of Europe.

US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg 19 August: 22 B-17's drop 34 tons of bombs on Abbeville/Drucat A/F in France causing extensive damage.

US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg 20 August: 11 of 12 B-17's bomb Amiens/Longeau Marshilling Yard, France at 1801 hours without loss.

US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg 21 August: 12 B-17's are dispatched to bomb the shipyards in Rotterdam, Netherlands but is aborted due to an attack by Bf 109s and Fw 190s; 1 bomber is damaged; lack of proper coordination with the Spitfire escorts is a major factor in the failure of the mission.

US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg 24 August: 12 B-17s bomb the Ateliers et Chantiers de France shipyard in Dunkirk.

Roundel of Germany – Type 1 – Border.svg August/September: Case Blue included area bombardment during the Battle of Stalingrad.

RAF roundel.svg 2/3 September:[specify] The first use of the 8,000 lb (3,600 kg) High Capacity bomb (Blockbuster bomb) was against Karlsruhe.[28]:1441

US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg 9 October: First Eighth Air Force B-24 Bombing raid, bombed Industrial Plants at Lille, France.

RAF roundel.svg 24 October: 88 aircraft use independent routes over France to rendezvous at Lake Annecy for a daylight raid on Milan.

US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg 12 December: B-17 303d Bombardment Group#Wulf Hound surrendered to the Luftwaffe and was assigned to Kampfgeschwader 200 in September 1943.

RAF roundel.svg 22 December: An unsuccessful Bombing of Frankfurt am Main in World War II was the first use of the Master Bomber tactic.[citation needed]

1943[edit]

US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg 27 January: The first World War II US mission flown against the German homeland bombs Kriegsmarine submarine pens in Wilhelmshaven.[26]:107

RAF roundel.svg 5/6 March: The first raid of the Battle of the Ruhr[2] flew RAF Bomber Command's 100,000th sortie of World War II, with 160 acres destroyed and 53 Krupps buildings bombed at Essen.

US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg 13 April: The Eighth Air Force's largest mission to date (115 B-17s) destroys half of the Focke-Wulf factory buildings in Bremen

RAF roundel.svg 16/17 April: A force of 327 Lancasters and Halifaxes set out to destroy the Skoda arms factory at Plzeň, in German occupied Czechoslovakia. 271 aircraft raided Mannheim as a diversion the same night. The force mistook the mental hospital near Dobřany to be the factory at Plzeň. The raid sustained the heaviest losses until that point in the air war.[29]

23 June 1943 RAF reconnaissance photo of Peenemünde Test Stand VII

RAF roundel.svg 3 May Ramrod 16 bombing of steelworks at IJmuiden

US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg 5 May: Republic P-47 Thunderbolts are first used for escorting bombers.

RAF roundel.svg 17 May: Operation Chastise bouncing bombs breached the Möhne and Eder Dams

RAF roundel.svg 11/12 June: The first two Operation Pointblank raids included a successful mass trial of H2S radar on Münster

Roundel of Germany – Type 1 – Border.svg 13 June: The heaviest fighter attacks to date against the Eighth Air Force claim 26 B-17s bombing Bremen and Kiel U-boat facilities.

US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg 26 June: A 100 BG B-17 surrendered and then escaped.

RAF roundel.svg 20/21 June: Operation Bellicose targets Würzburg radar production and is the first bombing of a V-2 rocket facility.

US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg 19 July: The first Allied World War II bombing of Rome drops 800 tons of bombs on Littoro and Clampino airports, causing immense damage and 2000 deaths[26]:110

US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg RAF roundel.svg 24 July: After the US developed an airborne radar immune to Window, the first use of the countermeasure (40 tonnes—92 million strips) were dropped during a Hamburg bombing mission.[30]:145

Roundel of Germany – Type 1 – Border.svg 29 July: First use of unguided air-to-air rockets against American combat box formations of heavy bombers by JG 1 Oesau and JG 11, attacking with Bf 109Gs and Fw 190As each armed with pairs of Werfer-Granate 21 rocket ordnance, developed from the 21 cm Nebelwerfer 42 ground barrage rocket system.

US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg 1 August: Flying from North Africa Operation Tidal Wave bombs the oil refineries at Ploiești. A large number of the bombers are lost for little strategic benefit. Five Medals of Honor are awarded to American aircrew.

US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg 13 August: The first Ninth Air Force raid on Austria bombed the Wiener Neustadt Bf 109 factory

US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg RAF roundel.svg 17 August: The double-strike USAAF Schweinfurt-Regensburg mission was the third shuttle bombing. British aircraft operate diversionary attacks.

RAF roundel.svg 17/18 August: The Operation Hydra bombing of V-2 facilities at Peenemünde began Operation Crossbow.

Roundel of Germany – Type 1 – Border.svg 18 August: The counterattack against Operation Hydra included the first operational use of Schräge Musik by German fighters[31]

Regulation WW II Underwing Balkenkreuz.png 25 August: The first use of a guided anti-ship missile in wartime occurs over the Bay of Biscay, as HMS Bideford and HMS Landguard are damaged by Luftwaffe-deployed Henschel Hs 293 rocket-boosted, MCLOS-guidance glide bombs.

RAF roundel.svg 27 August: The first mission against a "Heavy" Crossbow site bombed the Watten V-2 rocket bunker

Regulation WW II Underwing Balkenkreuz.png 9 September: The Luftwaffe's KG 100 bomber wing is involved with the world's first successful use of a precision-guided munition in modern military history, through their sinking of the Italian battleship Roma, using the Fritz X armored gravity-propulsion PGM munition.

US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg 10 October: As a result of the June "surrender/escape" of a 100 BG B-17, out of the 13 B-17s of 100 BG attacking a railyard in Münster, only the B-17F of Robert Rosenthal survives to return safely to RAF Thorpe Abbotts in England.

US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg RAF roundel.svg 14 October: The Second Raid on Schweinfurt (Black Thursday) resulted in 122 damaged bombers and 650 MIA/KIA.

US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg RAF roundel.svg 1 November: A Combined Bomber Offensive progress report estimates that 19/19/9 German towns & cities have been virtually destroyed/severely damaged/more effectively damaged – another report claims 10% of German war potential had been destroyed[3]

US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg 2 November: The USAAF 12th Air Force conducted the first large Allied aerial attack against Zadar, Italy

RAF roundel.svg 2 November: A raid targeting the Wiener Neustadt Messerschmitt plant damaged the nearby Raxwerke V-2 rocket facility.

US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg 3 November: A Wilhelmshaven raid is the first Eighth Air Force blind-bombing mission to completely destroy the aiming point, the Eighth's first 500-plane mission, and the first use by the US of H2X radar

RAF roundel.svg 18/19 November: The "Battle of Berlin" aerial campaign bombing began

RAF roundel.svg 22/23 November: The largest force sent to bomb Berlin to date (764 aircraft) conducted the most effective World War II raid on Berlin

Roundel of Germany – Type 1 – Border.svg 2 December: 100 Ju-88s bombed the port of Bari, sinking 28 ships including the American cargo ship SS John Harvey which was secretly carrying mustard gas. There were 83 military casualties from the poison. Autopsies indicated excess white blood cells, and the discovery led to the use of the gas to combat leukemia. Records were completely declassified in 1959.[30]:149

US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg 5 December: B-26s of the Ninth Air Force attacked three V-1 ski sites near Ligescourt, the first No-Ball missions.[32]:29

1944[edit]

Regulation WW II Underwing Balkenkreuz.png 21 January: The unsuccessful Operation Steinbock, the first mass bombing of London, began the Baby Blitz

US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg 30 January: The first U.S. Intruder operation was conducted by P-47s and accurately preceded the bombers to strike fighters at Villaorba airfield.

Red star.svg 6–27 February: The Soviet Air Force launched bombing raids against several Finnish cities. The greatest air raids once again targeted Helsinki. In this manner the USSR hoped to force Finland to break its ties with Germany and agree to a peace settlement.

RAF roundel.svg 19/20 February: After 14.9% of Halifaxes that crossed the coast were lost on a raid to Leipzig, Handley Page Halifax Merlin engined Mark IIs and Vs were permanently withdrawn from operations to Germany .[33]

US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg 20-25 February: The Argument plan was executed during Big Week and included 734 aircraft that had flown in the October 1943 Second Raid on Schweinfurt

US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg 6 March: The first large scale US attack on Berlin (some 600 bombers) dropped 1600 tons of bombs - 160-170 of 800-900 fighters are shot down[26]:113

RAF roundel.svg March: As Seversky predicted in 1942,[20] Bomber Command's 16 area bombardment raids of the Battle of Berlin (air) are unsuccessful at "substantially" reducing population and morale

US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg March–April: Bombing stopped aircraft production at Cantiere Navale Triestino

US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg 24 April: The APS-15 "Mickey" radar was first used on a Ploiești mission.[13]

RAF roundel.svg 2 June: The first US shuttle bombing mission, Operation Frantic Joe, bombed Debrecen
(Regulation WW II Underwing Balkenkreuz.png German fighters subsequently attack the bombers on Soviet airfields at Focşani)

US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg 2–5 June: In preparation for Operation Overlord, Operation Cover bombed transportation and airfield targets in Northern France and "coastal defenses, mainly located in the Pas de Calais coastal area, to deceive the enemy as to the sector to be invaded".

US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg 8 June: The first use of the Azon guided bomb targeted the Melun bridge

RAF roundel.svg 8/9 June: The first use of Tallboy bombs pierced the roof of the Saumur railway tunnel and blocked the expected movement of a German Panzer Division

Regulation WW II Underwing Balkenkreuz.png 12 June: 0418 hrs: The Robot Blitz[34] began with a V-1 flying bomb striking Swanscombe

RAF roundel.svg 14/15 June: The first V-1 was shot down by a fighter

Regulation WW II Underwing Balkenkreuz.png 3 July: 74 US military personnel died in (the most for one London event) when a V-1 flying bomb struck Sloane Court East / Turks Row.

Regulation WW II Underwing Balkenkreuz.png 7 July:[1] The first of 638 modified V-1 flying bombs that reached Britain (of about 1,200) were air-launched from Heinkel He 111s (RAF roundel.svg403 were downed)[35]

RAF roundel.svg 23/24 July: The first major raid (629 aircraft) on a German city for two months bombs Kiel

US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg 25 July: Mission 494 (1581/500 bombers/fighters) supporting Operation Cobra was the most effective saturation bombing/carpet bombing/area bombardment of the Normandy Campaign,[36] killing US General McNair.

Regulation WW II Underwing Balkenkreuz.png 26 July: The first aerial victory for a jet fighter in air combat history occurs as a Messerschmitt Me 262A-1a of Erprobungskommando 262 mortally damages a de Havilland Mosquito reconnaissance aircraft of No. 540 Squadron RAF.[37]

Regulation WW II Underwing Balkenkreuz.png 28 July: The first operational use of rocket-powered point-defense interceptors occurs as Me 163Bs of I. Gruppe/JG 400 take off from Brandis to defend against a USAAF strategic bombing raid on the Merseburg/Leuna synthetic fuel production complex.[38]

RAF roundel.svg 27 August: The RAF restarted daylight bombing of Germany (first since 12 August 1941) with an attack on the Homberg Fischer-Tropsch plant in Hamburg.[39]:149

US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg 13 & 17 August: Le Havre (Mission 549) and La Pallice (Mission 559) were the targets for the first uses of the BAT guided bomb[citation needed]

Regulation WW II Underwing Balkenkreuz.png 8 September: Operation Penguin began with the first V-2 rocket launches against Paris and London

US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg 17 September: The last UK-USSR-Italy-UK shuttle bombing was completed as 72 B-17s and 59 P-51s flew from Italy without bombs to the UK; 70 B-17s 57 P-51s land safely in the UK.

Red star.svg 18 September: Stalin finally gives permission for Allied planes to use Soviet airfields. The planes conducted air drops during the Warsaw Uprising and Operation Frantic.[40]

1945[edit]

Dortmund city center in April 1945.

Roundel of Germany – Type 1 – Border.svg 1 January: Operation Bodenplatte supported the last major German offensive, Operation Nordwind, with inconclusive results.

US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg 5 January: The first mission of Operation Cornflakes begins when a mail train to Linz was bombed. Fake mailbags containing anti-Nazi propaganda were then dropped on the wreckage in the hope the letters would be unwittingly delivered by the Reichspost. The OSS dropped two million Das Neue Deutschland (German: The New Germany) propaganda newspapers during this psychological warfare operation; which ended in February.[30]:104

US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg 3 February: The USAAF conducts its largest raid of the war against Berlin. The attack is led by Major Robert Rosenthal of the 100th Bombardment Group (Heavy).[41] Judge-President of the People's Court Roland Freisler is killed in the bombing.

RAF roundel.svg US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg 8-19 February: Allies begin attacks on 200 targets with 20,000 bombers and escort fighters to assist with Operation Veritable, Grenade, and Operation Clarion.[28]:2059

RAF roundel.svg US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg 13–15 February: The Allied Bombing of Dresden causes a firestorm that kills up to 25,000 people in the city.[42]

RAF roundel.svg 12 March: The RAF drop 4,851 tonnes of bombs on Dortmund using 1108 aircraft (748 Lancasters, 292 Halifaxes, 68 Mosquitos). Up to 98% of buildings in the city center are destroyed. It would be the heaviest raid on a single target in World War II.[43]

RAF roundel.svg 14 March: A railway viaduct at Bielefeld is destroyed by the first Grand Slam bomb to be dropped in combat by an Avro Lancaster. The attack by No. 617 Squadron RAF succeeds after 54 attacks using smaller bombs had failed.[44]

Balkenkreuz.svg 17 March: Adolf Hitler orders the SS to fire V-2 rockets at the Ludendorff Bridge during the Battle of Remagen. All 11 missiles miss; none land closer than 500 m (1,600 ft) from the bridge.[45]

Roundel of Germany – Type 1 – Border.svg 18 March: The largest number of Me 262s to date launch their most concentrated attacks against Allied bomber formation. Mission 894 attacking Berlin (1,329 bombers and 733 fighters) loses 13 bombers and 6 fighters. The AAF claim 25 Luftwaffe aircraft.[46]

USA - Army Field Artillery Insignia.png 22 March: Two hundred L-4 Grasshopper spotter planes each carrying one armed infantryman (instead of an observer) cross the Rhine to form a bridgehead for the US 3rd Army near Oppenheim.[28]:2068 (Light aviation became a major part of the US Army's Field Artillery fire detection center on 4 June 1942).[26]:104

Balkenkreuz.svg 29 March: At 9am, the last V-1 flying bomb to hit Britain struck a field near Datchworth a village in Hertfordshire, England.[47]

Balkenkreuz.svg 10 April: An Arado Ar 234, based in Nazi-occupied Denmark, conducts an unmolested reconnaissance mission over northern Scotland. It is the final Luftwaffe operation over the British Isles.[48]

RAF roundel.svg 19 April: The last RAF air operation using Grand Slam bombs in Europe takes place over Heligoland. Twenty aircraft from 617 Squadron, six with Grand Slams and the remainder with smaller Tallboy bombs, along with 16 aircraft from 9 Squadron attack the island's coastal gun-batteries. No aircraft were lost. A total of 42 Grand Slams were dropped in air operations over Germany.[49]

US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg 25 April: The last Eighth Air Force full-scale mission in the ETO hit the Škoda Works at Pilsen in Czechoslovakia (B-17s), while B-24s bombed rail complexes surrounding Hitler's Berchtesgaden.

RAF roundel.svg 2 May: A RAF mosquito from 608 squadron in Norfolk conducts the last British bombing raid of the war over Nazi Germany. It dropped a 4,000lb bomb on the naval port at Kiel.[50]

RAF roundel.svg 3 May: Typhoons of 83 Group from the 2nd Tactical Air Force attack the passenger liners Cap Arcona, Thielbek, Athen, and Deutschland moored in the Bay of Lübeck (Baltic Sea). Hundreds of concentration camp prisoners are killed on the sinking ships because intelligence they are on board is not passed on to the flight crews.[51]

USA - Army Field Artillery Insignia.png 7 May: The final European dogfight of World War II, between a small American L-4 Grasshopper liaison aircraft using personal .45 caliber pistols, and a small German liaison aircraft, a Fieseler Fi 156 Storch, forced the German aircrew to land and surrender.

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ Air offensive or defensive operations does not include cargo operations such as Operation Carpetbagger or reconnaissance from air.
Citations
  1. ^ a b Irving, David (1964). The Mare's Nest. London: William Kimber and Co. p. 223. ISBN 0-586-06368-4. NOTE: V-2 rocket air operations were conducted by various German Army units, but operational orders were issued by a Joint Services (OKW) command.
  2. ^ a b c d Bomber Command Campaign diary
  3. ^ a b McKillop, Jack. "Combat Chronology of the USAAF". Archived from the original on 10 June 2007. Retrieved 25 May 2007.
    1942: January Archived 2009-02-04 at the Wayback Machine, February Archived 2009-02-11 at the Wayback Machine, March Archived 2009-02-11 at the Wayback Machine, April Archived 2009-02-11 at the Wayback Machine, May Archived 2009-02-11 at the Wayback Machine, June Archived 2009-02-11 at the Wayback Machine, July Archived 2009-02-11 at the Wayback Machine, August Archived 2009-02-11 at the Wayback Machine, September Archived 2009-02-11 at the Wayback Machine, October Archived 2009-02-11 at the Wayback Machine, November Archived 2009-02-11 at the Wayback Machine, December Archived 2009-02-11 at the Wayback Machine
    1943: January Archived 2012-05-31 at the Wayback Machine, February Archived 2009-02-11 at the Wayback Machine, March Archived 2009-02-11 at the Wayback Machine, April Archived 2009-02-11 at the Wayback Machine, May Archived 2009-02-28 at the Wayback Machine, June Archived 2009-02-28 at the Wayback Machine, July Archived 2009-02-11 at the Wayback Machine, August Archived 2009-02-12 at the Wayback Machine, September Archived 2009-02-11 at the Wayback Machine, October Archived 2012-05-31 at the Wayback Machine, November Archived 2009-02-11 at the Wayback Machine, December Archived 2006-10-07 at the Wayback Machine
    1944: January Archived 2009-02-11 at the Wayback Machine, February Archived 2014-12-27 at the Wayback Machine, March Archived 2009-02-11 at the Wayback Machine, April Archived 2009-02-16 at the Wayback Machine, May Archived 2012-06-06 at the Wayback Machine, June Archived 2009-02-16 at the Wayback Machine, July Archived 2013-05-27 at the Wayback Machine, August Archived 2009-02-11 at the Wayback Machine, September Archived 2009-02-13 at the Wayback Machine, October Archived 2010-03-07 at the Wayback Machine, November Archived 2009-02-11 at the Wayback Machine, December Archived 2009-02-11 at the Wayback Machine
    1945: January Archived 2009-02-16 at the Wayback Machine, February Archived 2013-09-29 at the Wayback Machine, March Archived 2013-06-02 at the Wayback Machine, April Archived 2010-03-07 at the Wayback Machine, May Archived 2010-03-07 at the Wayback Machine, June Archived 2009-02-11 at the Wayback Machine, July Archived 2010-03-07 at the Wayback Machine, August Archived 2009-02-11 at the Wayback Machine, September Archived 2009-02-11 at the Wayback Machine
    NOTE: The Chronicles for August 13, 1944 inaccurately list the BATTY mission as an Aphrodite mission
  4. ^ Falconer, Jonathon (1998). The Bomber Command Handbook 1939-1945. Stroud: Sutton Publishing Limited. p. 47. ISBN 978-0-7509-1819-0.
  5. ^ "Sgt. (Pilot) Albert Stanley Prince - The First of the Ten Thousand". bombercommandmuseum.ca. Archived from the original on 3 July 2015. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  6. ^ Haarr, Geirr H. (2013). The Gathering Storm: The Naval War in Northern Europe September 1939 - April 1940. Seaforth Publishing. pp. 227–230. ISBN 9781473832732.
  7. ^ Northway, B.S. (ed) (1963). A History of 107 Squadron. Tuddenham, UK: No. 107 Squadron RAF. p. 22.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  8. ^ 88 Squadron history Archived 24 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine, Ministry of Defence
  9. ^ Brindley, John F. (1971). French Fighters of World War Two, p. 52. Hylton Lacy, London.
  10. ^ "Bombing of Warsaw". University of Richmond. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2015.
  11. ^ a b c d e f Galland, Adolf (1968) [1954]. The First and the Last: The Rise and Fall of the German Fighter Forces, 1938–1945. (translated by Mervyn Savill). New York: Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-553-11709-2.
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  14. ^ Overy, Richard (1997). Why the Allies Won. p. 108. ISBN 978-0-393-31619-3.
  15. ^ Jablonski, Edward (1971). Volume 1 (Tragic Victories), Book II (The Big League). Airpower. p. 71.
  16. ^ a b Forrester, Larry (1973) [1956]. Fly for Your Life: The Story of R. R. Stanford Tuck, D.S.O, D.F.C. and Two Bars. Sir Max Aitken (Foreword). Garden City, New York: Nelson Doubleday. ISBN 0-553-11642-8.
  17. ^ a b Jones, Reginald Victor (1978). Most Secret War. Hamish Hamilton Ltd. ISBN 0-2418-9746-7.
  18. ^ Michael Omer-Man (9 September 2011). "This Week in History: Italy bombs Tel Aviv". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 6 September 2011.
  19. ^ a b Air Raid! A Sequel Archived 29 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine Aramco World Magazine, Volume 27, Number 4, July/August 1976.
  20. ^ a b Seversky, Alexander P. de (1942). Victory Through Air Power. New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 145. "Destruction of enemy morale from the air can be accomplished only by precision bombing."
  21. ^ McBride, Gisela R.: Through my eyes: memoirs of Hitler's Berlin. Hamilton Books, 2006, page 209. ISBN 0-7618-3394-3
  22. ^ "RAF History - Bomber Command 60th Anniversary". 28 March 2006. Archived from the original on 28 March 2006. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  23. ^ "Whirlwind: Bombing Germany (September 1939 – April 1944)", The World at War, 1974
  24. ^ "April 1942: Bombenhagel auf Rostock". www.ndr.de.
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  27. ^ Hammel, Eric. Air War Europa: America's Air War against Germany in Europe and North Africa 1942-1945. Pacifica Press, 1994, p. 56.
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  29. ^ Cunliffe, Peter W. (2011). A Shaky Do: The Skoda Works Raid 16/17th April 1943. ISBN 978-0955795725.
  30. ^ a b c Russell, Francis; et al. (1981). The Secret War. World War II. Chicago: Time-Life Books Inc. p. 104, 145,149. ISBN 0-16-049376-5.
  31. ^ Middlebrook, Martin (1982). The Peenemünde Raid: The Night of 17–18 August 1943. New York: Bobs-Merrill. ISBN 0-672-52759-6.
  32. ^ Zaloga, Steven J. (2008) [2007]. German V-Weapon Sites 1943-45. Fortress (72). illustrated by Johnson, Hugh & Taylor, Chris. New York: Osprey Publishing Ltd. ISBN 978-1-84603-247-9.
  33. ^ Bomber Command diary Feb 1944
  34. ^ Hill, Roderic (19 October 1948). Air Operations by Air Defence of Great Britain and Fighter Command in Connection with the German Flying Bomb and Rocket Offensives, 1944–1945.
  35. ^ Collier, Basil (1976) [1964]. The Battle of the V-Weapons, 1944–1945. Yorkshire: The Emfield Press. p. 174. ISBN 0-7057-0070-4.
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  40. ^ Stalin's Private Airfields; The diplomacy surrounding the AAF mission to aid the Poles and the mission itself is extensively covered in Richard C. Lukas's The Strange Allies: The United States and Poland, 1941-1945, pp. 61-85. Warsaw Rising Museum
  41. ^ "LT COL Robert ROSENTHAL". 100thbg.com. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  42. ^ Dresden was a civilian town with no military significance. Why did we burn its people? Archived 21 April 2016 at the Wayback Machine By Dominic Selwood. The Telegraph, 13 February 2015
  43. ^ "1944 air raids". Historisches Centrum Hagen. historisches-centrum.de. Retrieved 24 June 2009. 1944, 1945
  44. ^ "Ten Tonner - video of a Grand Slam being dropped on the Bielefeld Viaduct". Movietone News/youtube.com. Retrieved 21 March 2010.
  45. ^ "V-2s on Remagen; Attacks on the Ludendorff Bridge". V2Rocket.com. Archived from the original on 14 November 2014. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
  46. ^ "Mission 894". www.8thafhs.com. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  47. ^ King, Benjamin; Timothy Kutta (2003). Impact: The History of Germany's V-Weapons in World War II. Da Capo Press. p. 309. ISBN 0-306-81292-4.
  48. ^ Smith, J. Richard & Eddie J. Creek (1997). Blitz!: Germany's Arado Ar 234 Jet Bomber. Merriam Press. p. 23. ISBN 9781576380079.
  49. ^ Flower, Stephen (2004). Barnes Wallis' Bombs. Researched from the original records and interviews with those involved with the development and use of the bombs. Stroud: Tempus. pp. 362–64. ISBN 0-7524-2987-6.
  50. ^ "Remembering the last raid on Nazi Germany". BBC News. 9 June 2015.
  51. ^ Till, Major Noel O (September 1945). Report on Investigations, WO 309/1592. No. 2 War Crimes Investigation Team. From the Till report of June 1945: "The Intelligence Officer with 83 Group RAF has admitted on two occasions; first to Lt H. F. Ansell of this Team (when it was confirmed by a Wing Commander present), and on a second occasion to the Investigating Officer when he was accompanied by Lt. H. F. Ansell, that a message was received on 2 May 1945 that these ships were loaded with KZ prisoners but that, although there was ample time to warn the pilots of the planes who attacked these ships on the following day, by some oversight the message was never passed on... From the facts and from the statement volunteered by the RAF Intelligence Officer, it appears that the primary responsibility for this great loss of life must fall on the British RAF personnel who failed to pass to the pilots the message they received concerning the presence of KZ prisoners on board these ships." See: Jacobs and Pool, 2004 and Till, 1945
Bibliography

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