Schweinfurt–Regensburg 1943

Eighth Air Force’s costly early daylight battles

Schweinfurt–Regensburg 1943 cover

Schweinfurt–Regensburg 1943

Eighth Air Force’s costly early daylight battles

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Description

This is a new history of the US Army Air Force's pioneering but costly raids on Germany's Messerschmitt and ball-bearing factories in World War II.

In 1943, the USAAF and RAF launched the Combined Bomber Offensive, designed to systematically destroy the industries that the German war machine relied on. At the top of the hit list were aircraft factories and plants making ball-bearings--a component thought to be a critical vulnerability. Schweinfurt in southern Germany was home to much of the ball-bearing industry and, together with the Messerschmitt factory in Regensburg, which built Bf 109 fighters, it was targeted in a huge and innovative strike.

Precision required that the targets were hit in daylight, but the raid was beyond the range of any existing escort fighter, so the B-17s would go in unprotected. The solution was to hit the two targets in a coordinated "double-strike," with the Regensburg strike hitting first, drawing off the defending Luftwaffe fighters, and leaving the way clear for the Schweinfurt bombers. The Regensburg force would carry on over the Alps to North Africa, the first example of US "shuttle bombing."

Although the attack on Regensburg was successful, the damage to Schweinfurt only temporarily stalled production, and the Eighth Air Force had suffered heavy losses. It would take a sustained campaign, not just a single raid, to cripple the Schweinfurt works. However, when a follow-up raid was finally launched two months later, the losses sustained were even greater. This title explains how the USAAF launched its daylight bombing campaign in 1943, the technology and tactics available for the Schweinfurt-Regensburg missions, and how these costly failures forced a change of tack.

Table of Contents

Introduction
Chronology
Attacker's Capabilities
Defender's Capabilities
Campaign Objectives
The Campaign
Analysis and Conclusions
Index

Product details

Published Jan 21 2020
Format Paperback
Edition 1st
Extent 96
ISBN 9781472838674
Imprint Osprey Publishing
Dimensions 248 x 184 mm
Series Air Campaign
Short code ACM 14
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

About the contributors

Author

Marshall L. Michel III

Marshall L. Michel III is a native of New Orleans…

Illustrator

Jim Laurier

Jim Laurier is a native of New England and lives i…

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