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Industry Crippled

Flight crews at a mission briefing. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Flight crews at a mission briefing. (U.S. Air Force photo)


In January 1944 the AAF was ready to begin its onslaught to destroy the German aircraft industry, thereby paving the way for later bombings of other strategic targets without suffering heavy losses to Luftwaffe interceptors.

Poor weather in England prevented concentrated operations until Feb. 20, when more than 1,000 heavy bombers, escorted by hundreds of fighters, struck at 12 airplane plants across Germany. For the next week the AAF bombed during the day from bases in England and Italy while the RAF carried out similar attacks at night. By this time, AAF heavy bombers were equipped with radar for bombing through clouds, and poor weather over the target seldom forced the AAF to change to a secondary target.

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Feb. 20-25, 1944: "The Big Week"
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