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Luftwaffe Interceptors

The first AAF bombing mission against a target inside Germany was made on Jan. 27, 1943, when 53 planes attacked Wilhelmshaven. Opposing German fighter pilots were fairly cautious, but on Feb. 4, when the AAF attacked Emden, it "stirred up a hornet's nest." For the first time, the Luftwaffe engaged U.S. bombers with twin-engine Me-110s and Ju 88s in addition to the usual single-engine Me 109s and Fw 190s. During the next two months, it became apparent that AAF bomber formations would have to have escort fighters all the way to the target. Unfortunately, the British Spitfires did not have sufficient range to cover missions deep into Germany.

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