Friday, January 5, 2018
"The Mighty Eighth"-- Part 3: Early Missions in 1942
Soon after, on July 4, 1942, the first combat operation by members of the 8th AF Bomber Command occurred. Six USA crews borrowed RAF A-20 Havocs from the British, painted USA markings on them and flew a low-level mission to German airfields in Holland.
Then, on July 26th, the 31st Fighter Group flew six Spitfires with the RAF on a sortie over the French coastal areas. This was the first 8th AF fighter operation in World War II.
However, the First Official Mission of the 8th AF using their own planes, Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses, did not occur until August 17, 1942. The target was Rouen, France. Colonel Frank A. Armstrong was the air commander for the missions.
The lead pilot was Paul Tibbets (of "Enola Gay" fame -- he dropped the first atom bomb).