Berlin, the capital of Germany, was selected as a prime target for the AAF, not only for its industrial importance, but because it was believed the Luftwaffe would react in force to defend it, suffering heavy losses in the process. The first attack was made on March 4, 1944, but only 29 bombers reached target because of weather.
Two days later, 660 AAF heavy bombers reached Berlin in the face of tremendous opposition; 69 bombers and 11 escorting fighters were lost -- the AAF claimed 179 German planes destroyed. The AAF returned on March 8 and 462 bombers, escorted by 174 P-51s over the target, bombed the Erkner bearing factory; again, the Luftwaffe lost heavily.
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