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Old 22nd September 2006, 16:22
John Beaman John Beaman is offline
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Re: 15th AAF fighter escort tactics?

Originally Posted by bioteror
Hi John,

I am not much familiar with history of escort tactics for 8AF, but can write how did it look like at 15AF, as far as I know.
With P-47s, escort was limited to Souther Hungary...and P-38s as well did not penetrate too deep...however, when first long range missions appeared, there were already Mustangs to do its job...
There were grops of fighters, that flew ahead of main force and cleared area...other units provided close support to big brothers....on the way back, straffing has been usually done by some flight of particular group, in terms to waste ammo on anything... But always some fighters stayed with bombers up to Jugoslavia...
As war proceeded, sweeps became more essepntial than escort and protection from less and less appearing Luftwaffe. That was also the case for (from my research) big successes of 6.dec 1944 and 17.dec 1944 actions, when in spite of huge losses, Luftwaffe fighters were able to attack unprotected formations of bombers...
No one expected them to be there and in such a numbers...

When eastern front was in Hungary and area, so in the flight route of US fighters, straffing was even more intense.

did it help? did it differ from 8af?

Thanks Peter

My interest was in how the tactics changed and when. The 8th started off "guarding" a particular group or several boxes all the way to the target and back, as possible. Obviously, they might get pulled off in combat with German fighters.

In the Spring of 1944, when the P-51 was becoming more available, Doolittle changed the tactics to have a FG "guard" an air section of the bomber stream. Once the stream had passed that point, if the FG had not engaged in combat, the FG was then released to do "free hunting". This was much more effective.

So, I wanted to know if these were the same tatics used by 15th AF fighter groups during 1944 and 1945 when the P-51 was more available? Your commentary sounds like it was.
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