The second Schweinfurt raid was a World War II air battle that took place October 14, 1943, over Germany between forces of the United States 8th Air Force and German Luftwaffe's fighter arm (Jagdwaffe). The aim of the American-led mission was a strategic bombing raid on ball bearing factories in order to reduce production of these vital parts for all manner of war machines. This was the second mission attacking the factories at Schweinfurt. American wartime intelligence claimed the first Schweinfurt–Regensburg mission in August had reduced bearing production by 34% but had suffered heavy losses. A planned follow-up raid had to be postponed to rebuild American forces.

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dbo:abstract
  • The second Schweinfurt raid was a World War II air battle that took place October 14, 1943, over Germany between forces of the United States 8th Air Force and German Luftwaffe's fighter arm (Jagdwaffe). The aim of the American-led mission was a strategic bombing raid on ball bearing factories in order to reduce production of these vital parts for all manner of war machines. This was the second mission attacking the factories at Schweinfurt. American wartime intelligence claimed the first Schweinfurt–Regensburg mission in August had reduced bearing production by 34% but had suffered heavy losses. A planned follow-up raid had to be postponed to rebuild American forces. As the squadrons rebuilt, plans for the return mission were modified based on the lessons learned. Planners added additional fighter escorts to cover the outward and return legs of the operations, and sent the entire force against Schweinfurt alone, instead of splitting the force. Despite these tactical modifications, a series of minor mishaps combined with the ever-increasing efficiency of the German anti-aircraft efforts proved to be devastating. Of the 291 B-17 Flying Fortresses sent on the mission, 60 were lost outright, another 17 damaged so heavily that they had to be scrapped, and another 121 had varying degrees of battle damage. Outright losses represented over 26% of the attacking force. Losses in aircrew were equally heavy, with 650 men lost of 2,900, 22% of the bomber crews. The American Official History of the Army Air Forces in the Second World War acknowledged losses had been so heavy that the USAAF would not return to the target for four months; "The fact was that the Eighth Air Force had for the time being lost air superiority over Germany". The operation was a failure at all levels. At this time there were no Merlin engined P-51 Mustangs squadrons for long-range escort and the P-47 Thunderbolt was totally inadequate for the job so the bomber formations were left exposed to unrelenting attacks by German fighters; and the improper preparations for the creation of reserves in the summer of 1943 meant that current logistics could not sustain such costly operations. The intelligence of the Allied Air Forces were also flawed. Arthur Harris, Air Officer Commanding RAF Bomber Command questioned the intelligence that claimed ball bearings to be the critical node in the German war economy. Harris refused to cooperate with the Americans, believing ball bearing targets to be a false "panacea". Post-war analysis has shown Harris' objections to be correct. However, an escort of 24 squadrons of Spitfires equipped with drop tanks was provided on the first and last leg of the mission. The Germans had built up enormous reserves of ball bearings and were receiving supplies from all over Europe, particularly Italy, Sweden and Switzerland. The operation against these industries would, even if successful, have achieved little. By 1945 the Germans had assembled more reserves than ever before. (en)
dbo:causalties
  • 121 damaged
  • 1P-47
  • 77 B-17s lost
  • ~590 KIA,43 WIA, 65 POWs
dbo:combatant
  • Luftwaffe
  • Eighth Air Force
dbo:date
  • 1943-10-14 (xsd:date)
dbo:isPartOfMilitaryConflict
dbo:place
dbo:result
  • German victory
dbo:strength
  • 291 B-17 Flying Fortresses
  • 60B-24 Liberators (diverted)
dbo:wikiPageExternalLink
dbo:wikiPageID
  • 855563 (xsd:integer)
dbo:wikiPageRevisionID
  • 727259028 (xsd:integer)
dbp:align
  • center
dbp:casualties
  • 20 (xsd:integer)
  • 109.0
dbp:image
dbp:units
  • 1 (xsd:integer)
  • 3 (xsd:integer)
  • JGs 1, 3, 11, 25, 26, 27, 54
dbp:width
  • 20 (xsd:integer)
dct:subject
http://purl.org/linguistics/gold/hypernym
rdf:type
rdfs:comment
  • The second Schweinfurt raid was a World War II air battle that took place October 14, 1943, over Germany between forces of the United States 8th Air Force and German Luftwaffe's fighter arm (Jagdwaffe). The aim of the American-led mission was a strategic bombing raid on ball bearing factories in order to reduce production of these vital parts for all manner of war machines. This was the second mission attacking the factories at Schweinfurt. American wartime intelligence claimed the first Schweinfurt–Regensburg mission in August had reduced bearing production by 34% but had suffered heavy losses. A planned follow-up raid had to be postponed to rebuild American forces. (en)
rdfs:label
  • Second Raid on Schweinfurt (en)
owl:sameAs
prov:wasDerivedFrom
foaf:isPrimaryTopicOf
foaf:name
  • (Eighth Air ForceMission 115) (en)
  • Second Schweinfurt raid (en)
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