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Daylight Bombing

Daylight bombing during World War II. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Daylight bombing during World War II. (U.S. Air Force photo)


Aerial operations from England, although greatly reduced because of the North African campaign, continued during the winter of 1942-1943. Nazi submarine pens on the French coast were the main targets, though little damage was done because of the heavily reinforced concrete construction. This was a period during which the Army Air Force learned by trial and error. The British favored saturation bombing at night and were using it effectively. The Americans preferred daytime precision bombing and were attempting to prove its value.

However, the AAF soon learned that B-17s and B-24s could not bomb from low and medium altitudes because of excessive losses to antiaircraft fire. As the AAF gained experience on the attack, the Luftwaffe gained experience on the defense. Anytime AAF bombers flew beyond the range of their Spitfire escort, they were descended upon by hordes of enemy interceptors. By Nov. 23, 1942, German pilots had deduced that AAF B-17s and B-24s were most lightly protected in the nose and they instituted the frontal attack. The AAF experienced mounting losses, which increased to 8.8 percent for the month of December 1942.

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North Africa
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