This Day in Eighth History: 6 March 1944

This day in Eighth History: Today, 6 March 2019, is the 75th anniversary of the 8th Air Force’s first successful large scale mission to Berlin. On this date in 1944 a contingent of 730 B-17s and B-24s assembled in formation to begin the long flight to bomb Berlin’s industrial areas. Over 800 fighters accompanied the bombers. Shortly after entering German territory, Luftwaffe fighters attacked the bomber stream. In the ensuing aerial battles, the 8th AF lost 69 bombers and 11 fighters; the Luftwaffe lost 81 aircraft. The battle for air supremacy was costly, and inclement weather contributed to the poor bombing results that day. However, the 8th AF pressed onward, as groups began preparations for another massive raid on Berlin, less than 48 hours after this deadly ordeal. At war’s end, Hermann Göring noted that on the day 8th AF bombers came with fighter escorts over Berlin, he knew “the jig was up.”

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Photo Caption: 482nd Bomb Group Pathfinder B-17 Chopstick – G. George leading the 3rd Bomb Division goes down over Berlin on 6 March 1944. Only three crew members survived. One was 1LT John ‘Red’ Morgan, the Medal of Honor winner, who clipped on his parachute as he fell.