November 22, 2017

1942. American Pilots Look to Berlin After Successful Air Raids in France

Flying Fortresses May Soon Raid Berlin
"U.S. Army Air Force Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress bombers of the 381st Training Group from RAF Ridgewell, en route to a target over Nazi-occupied Europe," 1943-1944 (source)
U. S. Pilots Look to Raid on Berlin
Mystery of Why British Panned Flying Fortress Cleared Up
United Press Staff Correspondent

London — (UP) United States Flying Fortresses may soon make a daylight raid on Berlin as the result of their astonishing success in raids this week on enemy occupied territory, it was understood today.

There was every indication that, aside from the likelihood of a Berlin raid, the Fortresses would work increasingly with the Royal Air Force in a program of day and night bombing which would give German cities no rest.

A mystery British criticism of the Fortresses in British newspapers as less suitable than British-made bombers for bombing Germany was cleared up today.

The criticism was based on the first Flying Fortresses sent to Britain a year ago. The British found that for European combat purposes they were lightly protected, slow and carried an inefficiently light bomb load.

The United States Army Air Force Fortresses now in action are new types. They are fast, heavily armored, so heavily gunned that they are already the dread of enemy fighter pilots, so tough that they can come home shot full of holes, and expertly manned.

Further, unlike the first Fortresses which came to Britain, they have the secret bomb sight which has permitted them to bomb targets so accurately that Allied fighter pilots who accompany them are amazed.

In their first raid Monday, on Rouen, the Fortresses dropped their entire bomb load on selected railroad targets in an area of 300 yards from a high altitude. In their next raid, on Abbeville Wednesday, they apparently hit every building in the target area. In their third raid, on Amiens, they scored fifteen direct hits.

And Wednesday over the North Sea, eleven of them downed or damaged six Focke-Wulf-190 fighters, the best Germany has, in a 20-minute battle.

In these four operations not a Fortress was lost.

The intrepidity of the Fortresses against fighter challenge is partly due to new guns of a caliber even larger than those the British use, and the new power-rotated turret.

So far the Fortresses have penetrated only forty to fifty miles inside enemy territory under heavy fighter protection, but as the crews get fighting experience they are expected to range far over Germany itself by daylight.