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Heavy Bombers

In the summer of 1943, the U.S. began building up its heavy bomber forces in Europe at a more rapid rate, and greater numbers of B-17s and B-24s were dispatched against targets inside Germany. However, whenever they flew beyond the range of their P-47 escort, however, they risked being mauled by Luftwaffe fighters. 

On Aug. 17, the targets were Schweinfurt and Regensburg, deep inside Germany; 60 of the 376 bombers were shot down, the AAF's most disastrous air battle to date. On Sept. 6, the target was Stuttgart; 45 of the 262 attacking bombers were lost. Though P-47s had been equipped with jettisonable belly fuel tanks, which somewhat extended their range, they still were unable to provide escort protection much beyond the western border of Germany.

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Related Fact Sheets
Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress
Consolidated B-24D Liberator
Republic P-47D (Razorback Version)
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