Title Banner: The Army Air Forces in World War II

Chapter 17: Operations to the End of the Year

THE creation of the Fifteenth Air Force had no immediate effect upon NAAF's operations. Nor did other factors affect in any readily perceptible way the pattern of operations established during October. If the interruptions of weather and the demands of a difficult ground campaign postponed the hope for a more active participation in the Combined Bomber Offensive, the successful defense by the Germans of a line running south of Rome upset Allied plans for locating air units in central Italy and forced NAAF to crowd its fighters, fighter-bombers, and tactical bombers into such fields around Naples and Foggia as the engineers had been able to make ready. The prior claims on shipping given in the circumstances to ground and tactical air units contributed further to a delay in the forward movement of Strategic's groups to Italy. The prospect for an early break in the situation became no brighter when one surveyed the equipment of Allied tactical air units. Not only did NAAF lack the number of fighters, fighter-bombers, Beaufighters, and reconnaissance planes it deemed necessary but a theater which had been deprived of its long-enjoyed priority faced now the fear even of losing some of its units to other theaters.1

Fortunately, NAAF was not called upon to face a strong and aggressive air force in Italy. But an easily maintained superiority in the air over the battle area had little observable effect on the ground battle itself. A hopeful-attempt to drive the German ground forces out of southern Italy, an attempt geared to a basic plan envisaging a breakthrough toward Rome, tended increasingly to become an effort looking primarily to the maintenance of steady pressure on a strongly entrenched


enemy. The Germans had taken up strong positions extending across the narrowest part of the peninsula, from the Garigliano River on the west to the mouth of the Sangro River on the east, positions destined to be known as the Winter Line. Running for the most part through mountainous terrain, this line confronted the troops of the Fifth and Eighth Armies with the necessity of fighting from hill to hill--fighting which for the remainder of the year seemed to the troops engaged to accomplish little, for beyond each hard-won hill was another, and if the enemy surrendered possession of one line of defense, he had merely to build another on some conveniently situated range.

The German infantryman put up a stout resistance. Rain and mud became his allies; skillfully placed demolitions and road-blocks aided his defense. Except for the capture of Venafro and Sessa Aurunca, the Fifth Army made little progress during the first half of November and failed in its attempt to take the hill mass between Mignano and the Garigliano River. For the rest of the month the Fifth's line scarcely moved; the weather was so bad that even patrol activity was curtailed and much of the Army's energies were absorbed in reorganization for a major attack scheduled for the end of the month. That effort, however, also failed. In December the Fifth Army took Mignano, San Pietro, and a number of important hills, but could neither cross the Liri Valley nor force its way over the Garigliano River. Meanwhile, the Eighth Army crossed the Sangro River and in December moved up the coast to above Ortona, but inland it was unable to pass Orsogna and found its way west along Highway 5 toward Rome blocked.

In these circumstances, the story of air operations tends to assume the aspect of a repetitious and monotonous routine. Perhaps what would be otherwise a wholly artificial breakdown into set periods of time will serve here as well as any other device for a quick summary of air force activity.


Along the western half of the front from the 1st through the 15th, Tactical steadily attacked gun positions, road and rail bridges, vehicles, and bivouac areas along and close to the battle line.2 These operations were handled by fighters and fighter-bombers, with some help from B-25's in the first week, U. S. P-40's flew 500 sorties and U. S. and RAF Spitfires 700. Other B-25's, A-20's, and fighter-bombers went somewhat farther afield, striking at lines of communication and transport in


areas north of Rome and along the west coast road. Key roads around half a dozen towns were blocked. Wellingtons and A-36's hit airfields near Rome. Night-flying Mosquitoes bombed rail lines and strafed trains as far north as Genoa, Padua, Spezia, and Venice, attacked airfields at Tarquinia and Cerveteri, and shot up road transport around Rome, Spezia, and Terracina.

Near the end of the period the GAF was using around 100 fighter-bombers (Me-109's and Fw-190's) from the Rome and Viterbo areas in attacks against Allied positions and against communications immediately behind the front. The scale of effort was usually low, but on two days it rose to between 80 and 100 sorties. The GAF accomplished little, its formations being met in almost all cases by Allied fighters and the enemy losing an estimated seventeen planes without shooting down a single Allied fighter. Tactical played safe, however, by sending its fighter-bombers on the 13th against the enemy's forward landing grounds at Aquino, Marcigliana, and Frosinone.

In the last two weeks of November the weather worsened. Tactical's operations in western Italy from the 15th through the 25th were the smallest to date, the 19th being the only day when the number of sorties was normal. On the 26th, 27th, and 28th the weather was better, and Tactical bombed enemy positions and mountain towns around Mignano, below Cassino, and south of Cerveteri and Valmontone and raided battlefield roads in preparation for the Fifth Army's drive against Mount Camino. Tactical also hit the Civitavecchia docks and Anzio harbor and struck hard at the bridges southeast of Minturno (immediately ahead of Allied troops) and at the west coast railway and bridges below Rome. For the three days, TAF fighters and fighter-bombers flew around 250 unmolested bombing missions and an equal number of defensive patrols and fighter sweeps, the latter usually culminating in strafing attacks on vehicles. On the last two days of the month the weather kept almost all planes on the ground.

It was a similar story, by and large, in the Eighth Army sector. But the weather there was slightly better and, because of a special effort made on behalf of the Eighth's drive against the Sangro River line, Tactical was more active in eastern Italy. Fighter and fighter-bomber operations were handled jointly by Desert Air Force and XII Air Support Command. The latter, originally scheduled for bases in the Naples area, now was spread all across the peninsula, behind both the Fifth and Eighth Armies.


Air cooperation with the Eighth Army was especially strong during the first three days of the month. Fighters flew over 900 sorties, USAAF light bombers around 300, and TAF mediums some 70. One major set of attacks was against concentrations, guns, infantry positions, and vehicles around Carpione on behalf of the Eighth's left flank, which was driving toward the important German supply base of Isernia; the second major set was against the enemy opposing the right flank's push across the Trigno River. In addition, fighters bombed landing grounds near Ancona and strafed lines of communication along the Sulmona-Avezzano route, while light bombers attacked roads and rails in the enemy's rear and B-25's bombed the yards and railway at Aquila. On the 3d, eleven requests for direct air support were received and acted on by fighter-bombers and mediums.

From the 4th through the 15th the weather was generally unfavorable, but fighter-bombers maintained a moderate effort along the coast and in the central mountains, attacking tanks, AA positions, trains and road transport, military billets, shipping in east coast harbors, and forward landing grounds, and light bombers attacked gun positions, railways, and troops. Light bomber operations around Palena were particularly heavy and successful.

In the third week of the month, in spite of discouraging weather, DAF's fighter-bombers were able to give some close support to the ground troops, and Spitfires got in a fair number of bomb-line and defensive patrols. Most of the offensive missions were over the British left flank for the purpose of softening resistance to the advance of the 8 Indian Division: gun positions at Arce and Perano and strongpoints at Rivisondoli and Barrea were the principal targets.

On the 21st, Tactical shifted the bulk of its operations to the right flank around Santa Maria, Poggiofiorito, and Fossacesia where the Eighth on the night of 19/20 had started a drive across the lower Sangro. The Eighth hoped to realize two immediate objectives: one, to pull German troops away from the Fifth Army front as a preliminary to an attack soon to be launched by the Fifth; two, to drive through the eastern end of the enemy's winter line. In the event of a breakthrough into the Ortona area it was planned to swing the Eighth west on Highway 5 in an effort to compel the enemy to withdraw north of Rome.3

On the 22d, Tactical strongly supported the Eighth's crossing of the river, sending B-25's, Baltimores, and P-40's to attack positions and concentrations adjacent to the coast. On the 23d all planes were


weathered in, but the next day B-25's bombed the enemy around Santa Maria and Fossacesia in an attack described by the ground troops as "magnificent, "and more than 120 light bombers and P-40's gave close cooperation to troops which had crossed the Sangro. While the Eighth was consolidating its positions along the left bank, Tactical gave excellent support, medium and light bombers flying more than 450 sorties and P-40's almost 400 against defensive positions. Ground troops confirmed the fine results achieved. Meanwhile, B-25's of Tactical hit the Ancona yards and harbor, and night-flying Bostons attacked vehicles below Pescara.

On the night of 27/28 the Eighth launched an assault along the eastern half of its Sangro bridgehead, driving hard against the enemy's line on the high ground overlooking the valley. In spite of fierce German counterattacks the Eighth by the end of the 30th had taken Fossacesia, Santa Maria, Mozzagrogna, Romagnoli, and the entire ridge. In this drive the ground troops received tremendous help from Tactical's planes. The German lines already had been worked over by TAF, but from the 28th through the 30th its bombers and fighter-bombers continued to pound key points in the German defenses. Bombers flew around 400 sorties and fighter-bombers almost 800. A German ground officer declared that because of the air assault "counter attacks were impossible"; another remarked that "nothing can move"; and a third reported that his men, "at the mercy of the enemy air force, "could no longer hold their positions "in the face of the bomb-carpet."4 So severe were the air attacks that the enemy could never mass enough troops for heavy counterattacks, and the way was paved for the Eighth to drive through.

The advancing troops were given full cover from enemy air attacks. DAF's fighters claimed eight planes shot down, one probably destroyed, and eight damaged for the loss of two. Meanwhile, outside of the battle zone, sixty-three B-25's effectively bombed the road and rail bridges at Giulianova and thirty-six more hit the yards at Civitanova. A-20's continued their night attacks on rail and road movements and targets of opportunity to the north, seriously interfering with the movement of enemy reserves.5

Throughout November, Tactical, in addition to its principal task of working with the ground forces, engaged in a number of other activities. Its planes escorted bombers and protected Allied shipping in the Adriatic. They attacked enemy vessels, mostly in east-coast harbors.6


At night Bostons and Mosquitoes went as far as the Po Valley on intruder missions against transport and lines of supply. Tactical aided Allied naval operations along both coasts by diversions which included bombings and the dropping of flares and regularly flew Rhubarbs, escorts, patrols, and photo, tactical, and weather reconnaissance missions. Some missions went across the Adriatic, usually when adverse weather over Italy limited operations over and north of the battle zone. The harbor and shipping at Split were bombed and strafed by B-25's, A-20's, P-40's, and Baltimores. Metkovic, a center for vehicle concentrations, was attacked a number of times, one of the raids (on 6 November) destroying forty vehicles and damaging fifty. Other targets were the docks at Durazzo, Albania, the harbor and shipping at Zara, and the harbor and yards at Sibenik.7

During November, Strategic's operations were on a smaller scale than at any time since the Tunisian campaign. Its tonnage of bombs dropped was less than one-third the total dropped in September.8 The reorganization attendant upon the creation of the Fifteenth Air Force and the move of units to Italy and the islands interfered with combat operations. Maintenance was so poor that up to 40 per cent of the bombers were returning without having reached the target. But still more serious in its effect on operations was the weather.9 Strategic had to shift many of its missions from CEO targets to lines of communication in Italy; regardless of the weather some transportation target usually could be found.10 These missions supplemented the work of Tactical on behalf of the ground campaign; they were in fact distinctly tactical operations, for their impact was on the battle front, where the tough going made welcome to both armies this enforced diversion from Strategic's proper program.

Strategic's attacks on communications were directed largely against railways in central and northern Italy. Seven main lines were particularly important to the maintenance of the German forces: Rome-Florence Directissima Line; Rome-Pisa; Florence-Pisa; Genoa-Pisa; Marseille-Genoa; Bologna-Rimini-Ancona; Arezzo-Foligno-Terni-Orte. During the month each of these lines, with the exception of the Marseille/Genoa, was hit. Targets included both yards and bridges;11 thus the assault represented a combination of the tactics of September and of October.

The first phase of the attack ran from 1 through 6 November. The targets were in the north central sector, mostly along the coast and on


the Arezzo-Orte line. Results ranged from outright failure to extreme damage, the average being good. From the 6th to the 10th, Strategic passed up the railways for industrial targets, but for the next five days it again worked on lines of communication. The heaviest attack was on the 10th when 75 B-17's (another 25 were turned back by weather) dropped 218 tons of 500-pound bombs on the Bolzano yards, which were rendered largely inoperative. Lines to Innsbruck and Callendo were cut, and direct hits were registered on a road bridge12 Wellingtons, less restricted by weather than the day bombers, made uniformly successful attacks on bridges along the coast road. Twice Strategic went outside Italy: B-17's missed the Antheor viaduct near Cannes but cut the tracks and highway to the north, and Wellingtons attacked the viaduct and a railway bridge over the Var River north of Nice. The assault on Italian communications forced the Germans to an increased use of coastal shipping, to which Tactical soon gave special attention.13

From 15 November through the 22d, Strategic encountered unusually bad weather and having certain commitments in the Aegean was able only on the 18th and 21st to attack the Italian rail system. On the 18th, half of a force of forty-eight B-26's bombed the Grosseto yards where they inflicted considerable damage on sheds, sidings, freight yards, and warehouses. On the 21st the Marauders hit the Chiusi yards. The mission saw the GAF offer one of its few challenges to Strategic's operations during November, about a dozen fighters coming up. On the same day Strategic made one of its rare attacks on enemy communications along the east coast when twenty-five Marauders scored direct hits on a railway bridge at Fano, between Ancona and Rimini.

On the 22d the final phase of November operations against rail lines opened. Attacks were made intermittently to the end of the month and were directed against the Genoa-Spezia-Rome, Bologna-FlorenceRome, and east-coast routes. Around 160 sorties were flown by heavies and over 225 by mediums. The attacks, almost unopposed by enemy fighters, caused widespread damage on each of the three lines.

By the end of November the offensive had been sufficiently productive for General Eisenhower to feel that once the Allies were north of Rome it would be possible for NAAF to keep the Germans from bringing in any kind of supplies and that, with good weather for even as little as 50 per cent of the time, the rail lines could be completely and permanently severed.14

Between these attacks on communications lines, Strategic was able to


fly several POINTBLANK missions, more nearly consonant with the primary responsibility of the new Fifteenth Air Force-" the attainment of air supremacy through counter air force operations and the destruction of the enemy's aircraft production."15 These missions included attacks on ball-bearing plants (supplementing those of the Eighth Air Force), an aircraft production plant, and airfields (the last being of immediate tactical, as well as of long-term strategic, importance). By the fall of 1943 it was becoming evident that the German aircraft industry posed a growing threat not only to the achievement of other CBO objectives but to OVERLORD itself.* Much of this threat was attributed to three Me-109 complexes at Wiener Neustadt, Regensburg, and Leipzig.16 The first of these was within range of NAAF's Tunisia-based heavies, and against that target the Fifteenth on 2 November struck its first blow on behalf of the Combined Bomber Offensive. The seventy-four B-17's and thirty-eight B-24's which flew the 1,600-mile round-trip flight dropped 327 tons of bombs which were credited with destroying a large aircraft assembly shop in the Messerschmitt factory and two flight hangars, with damage to a second assembly shop and a third hangar, as well as machine and assembly shops in the Henschel and Sohn and the Steyr-Daimler-Puch works.17

On the mission the Allies got a good idea of the importance which the enemy attached to his fighter-production facilities and of his willingness to employ large forces of fighters in the defense of key installations. An estimated 120 to 160 Me-109's and 110s, Fw-190's, and Ju-88's attacked before, during, and after the bomb run. But the Americans claimed fifty-six planes destroyed, twenty-seven probably destroyed, and eight damaged. Losses were five B-17's and five B-24's destroyed and one B-17 missing, some of these being victims of flak, which was heavy and accurate over the target.18

The Wiener Neustadt mission was considered by the Fifteenth as the "outstanding event" of its first four months of operations.19 It was estimated that the destruction laid upon the aircraft assembly units not only had eliminated 30 per cent of the total enemy production of single engine fighters but would deprive the GAF of a future output of 250 fighters per month for several months--the plant was considered as having no further target value for four months--which would impair German defenses against subsequent attacks by the Eighth and Fifteenth.20 General Arnold expressed the opinion to Spaatz that the

* See below, pp. 714-16.


effects of this attack would "cost the enemy hundreds of fighter aircraft" with a saving of many lives "in our continued air war."21

As a part of the Combined Bomber Offensive the Fifteenth in November also made six attacks against factories producing ball bearings--two against Turin, two against near-by Villa Perosa, and one each against the Ansaldo steel works at Genoa and a ball-bearing factory at Annecy in southern France. The heaviest of the blows was against Turin on the 8th, the primary target being the Fiat works. This factory produced a majority of Italian bearings, and its output, together with that of Villa Perosa, was estimated to be almost 20 per cent of the antifriction bearings available to Germany.22 The attack was made by eighty-one B-17's, whose 183 tons of bombs were considered to have accomplished such damage to the factory buildings as to have eliminated two months of output. In addition hits were scored on the nearby motor and aero-engine works and the Lingotto yards. The other five raids were on a much smaller scale and were interfered with by weather. None of the primary targets was hit, although there was some damage to adjacent buildings and yards. Even so, Air Chief Marshal Portal reported at the end of the month that even the comparatively light attacks made by NAAF on industrial areas had led the enemy immediately to transfer perhaps 200 planes to their defense.23

In attacking airfields, NAAF went for one or more of four main types: (1) those containing concentrations of operational aircraft; (2) those containing important installations suitable for major repair, assembly, or experimental work; (3) those presenting a combination of operational aircraft and important installations; (4) airdromes defending key target areas.24 By way of illustration, the fighter bases around Viterbo and the bomber bases in the Po Valley were examples of type No.1; Guidonia, the most important experimental station in Italy, was an example of No. 2; the Istres complex in France was typical of No. 3; and the fields around Rome, Pisa, and other vital industrial and transportation centers were examples of No. 4.

In the first two weeks of November, Strategic hit only three airfields, one each in Italy, Greece, and Albania. On the 16th, however, it launched the first of several heavy counter-air force operations by striking at fields in southern France from which enemy bombers had recently launched raids against Mediterranean shipping. Targets were the Istres complex, which was severely damaged by B-17's, and the field at Salon, hit effectively by B-26's from Sardinia in the first daylight


attack by mediums on southern France.25 Enemy opposition to both missions was strong, but the destruction of thirteen fighters was claimed for the loss of two B-17's. Another Fortress was lost to flak and a B-26 had to crash-land in Sardinia.26 On the 28th and 29th, Strategic flew two missions, against fields at Salon and Fiano-Romana, which were rendered abortive by solid clouds over the targets, but two others were carried out: Wellingtons attacked the Rome/Ciampino fighter base with poor results, and B-17's hit Grosseto with excellent results. The remaining counter-air operations were against fields in Greece and the Aegean, in a strong but futile effort to help the British who were being driven from Leros and Samos by German air and ground forces. The attacks, scattered over the period from 12 to 22 November, were coordinated with raids by planes of the Middle East. It was estimated that at least fifty planes had been destroyed or damaged on the ground.

In addition to its diverse operations against lines of communication, industrial plants, and the factories and fields of the Luftwaffe, Strategic flew a number of missions against other types of objectives. Perhaps the most important were two raids on Sofia. Designed to interfere with the movement of German transport into the lower Balkans, these missions also had political significance and were intended as an assault on the morale of the Bulgarian people. The impetus for the attacks came late in October from the CCS, who cabled General Eisenhower that, if possible, his air forces should administer "a sharp lesson" to Bulgaria.27 The two attacks, carried out on the 14th and 24th, were directed against the marshalling yards which handled traffic on the Berlin-Istanbul line. The first was flown by ninety-one B-25's with P-38 escort; the bombs covered the yards at Sofia and caused fires and explosions there and at near-by Vrajedna airfield. The second, by B-24's, was largely unsuccessful. Only seventeen of the Liberators could locate the target, and they had to bomb through heavy clouds.28 On the 24th, the Fifteenth struck at Toulon, home port of the Vichy fleet and an important submarine base. In spite of low visibility 103 B-17's reached the target and dropped 315 tons of bombs. A cruiser, a torpedo boat, a submarine, four smaller vessels, and several barges were reported sunk, five E-or R-boats probably sunk, and several other vessels, a submarine station, and dry docks damaged. One unit of Fortresses, unable to locate Toulon, unloaded on the Antheor viaduct.

Other operations by Strategic's planes included escort by P-38's for


mediums of Tactical operating along the coast of Yugoslavia and for IAF planes engaged in supply-dropping to the Partisans and in fighter strafing missions.29 The Fifteenth also conducted three extensive nickeling operations, one of them for the purpose of encouraging passive types of sabotage by Italian laborers in German-held territory.30

Although air operations in November were smaller than they had been in the previous months of the Italian campaign, they were sizable.*31 In fact, the decline was principally in tonnage of bombs dropped, for the number of sorties--thanks to increased operations by Coastal--was almost as great as in October. CAF flew more than 7,000 sorties, over one-half of which were on convoy escort. Its operations included more than 200 air-sea rescue missions, 32 involving 62 searches and the rescue of 134 survivors, and 282 offensive sorties against gun emplacements, bridges, transport, airfields, grounded aircraft, harbors, and radar stations. Coastal even took on a new type of offensive operation by twice flying escort for B-25's. It also initiated a new system of antisubmarine operations known as the "Swamp Hunt, "in which the planes after a sighting maintained a constant hunt, searching in increasing numbers and over widening areas until the was forced to surface.

The Allied air forces in the Mediterranean had completed during November their first year of operations since the landings in North Africa on 8 November 1942. A summary prepared for the twelve months may be of some interest for its indication of the scale of air force operations. The figures, which include those for NAAF, RAF Middle

* NAAF planes flew close to 24,500 sorties. Tactical was far ahead of the other air forces, flying 13,000 sorties to Coastal's 7,400, Strategic's 3,200, and PRW's 750. Tabulation reveals that USAAF units flew around 13,000 sorties (54 per cent of the total); of these, 7,700 were flown for Tactical Air Force, 2,800 for Strategic, 2,300 for Coastal, and 200 for PRW. Tonnage of bombs dropped was slightly more than 8,500, of which planes of the USAAF dropped almost 80 per cent. Tactical's constant fighter-bomber operations on behalf of the ground forces, plus the limiting effect of the weather on Strategic's operations, permitted Tactical to 1ead the field in bomb tonnage with 4,500. In types of targets the final standing was: gun positions and camps, 1,678 tons; rail lines, 1,347; marshalling yards, 1,247; airfields, 1,074; industrial establishments, 828; port facilities, 814. The remaining tonnage was distributed among highways, cities and towns, transport, shipping, supply dumps, and miscellaneous targets. NAAF's losses came to 150 planes destroyed and missing and 277 damaged; many of the former and most of the latter were victims of flak. The USAAF lost 80 planes and had 216 damaged. In addition to these operations, Troop Carrier flew close to 18,000 hours, hauled over 4,200 tons of freight, carried 25,500 passengers, evacuated around 9,200 patients, and transported some 6,200 troops. In the process it lost 4 planes and I glider and had 19 planes and 32 gliders damaged.


East, Ninth Air Force, and RAF Malta, showed the following grand totals:33

Sorties: 350,147 (USAAF, 150,202; RAF, 199,945)
Bomb tonnage: 113,870 (USAAF, 81,306; RAF, 32,564)
Enemy a/c claimed destroyed in combat: 4,626 (USAAF, 2,952; RAF, 1,674)
Enemy a/c claimed destroyed on ground: 2,731
Total enemy a/c claimed destroyed: 7,357
Enemy a/c claimed probably destroyed: 1,074; damaged, 2,690; found abandoned, 4,634
Allied a/c lost to enemy action: 2,246 (USAAF, 1,248; RAF, 998)

In contrast to the reduced operations of Strategic's planes in November, German long-range bombers, now well established in northern Italy and southern France, were more active than they had been since the beginning of the Italian campaign. The principal raids were against Naples, which with its satellites (notably Bagnoli and Torre Annunziata) currently was handling around 9,000 tons of shipping per day. The enemy attacked on the 1st, 5th, 10th, and 26th but did little damage, although he used as many, perhaps, as 110 planes. On the 10th a small night bomber effort against La Maddalena harbor in Sardinia accomplished nothing. But on the 11th about twenty bombers from southern France raided a convoy off Oran and, although Coastal's fighters drove off all of the Do-217s, the He-111s and Ju-88's sank four ships by use of torpedoes and the FX radio-controlled glide bombs which had been used successfully against shipping at Salerno.*

This outburst of activity was stopped by the Fifteenth's attack on the Istres complex on the 16th and by ten days of bad weather. But the GAF renewed the offensive on the 24th with an unimportant raid on La Maddalena; and on the 26th more than thirty bombers heavily attacked a convoy off Bougie. One troop ship was sunk, but Coastal's fighters claimed 8/2/8 of the enemy's planes. The raid witnessed the first use in the Mediterranean of the enemy's He 111, a twin-engine monoplane with a wing span of over 103 feet. The GAF's activities for the month ended with two raids on shipping, one near Naples and the other off Bengasi, neither of which did appreciable damage.34

The sudden increase in the enemy's bomber operations, the number of different targets attacked, and the new habit of raiding more than one target on the same night indicated that the enemy had abandoned

* NAAF countered the glide bombs by using long-range AA on the "parent" plane, short-range AA on the glide bombs, fighter umbrellas during daylight hours, and the usual passive defenses. Attempts to jam the radio frequency which controlled the FX bomb were as yet unsuccessful.


the "Pelz doctrine" of concentrating all available bombers on a single target at long intervals (which had governed GAF practice in the Mediterranean during recent months) in favor of simultaneous or closely succeeding attacks by smaller formations.35 One might also have inferred that the enemy was preparing to launch a real air assault on the Allies, especially against ports and convoys.

As if to lend weight to this inference, the GAF carried out on the night of 2/3 December its most successful raid of the year, at Bari. Around thirty aircraft made the attack, coming in behind planes which dropped Window. Normally, a thirty-plane night attack by the Luftwaffe would have produced only limited damage, but this time the enemy enjoyed a freak success. His bombs hit two ammunition ships which blew up in the ship-crammed harbor; the resulting explosions and fires destroyed seventeen ships totaling 62,000 tons and carrying 38,000 tons of cargo (mostly hospital supplies and 10,000 tons of steel plank), caused many casualties, and so damaged the port facilities that Bari's capacity was not back to normal for three weeks. The success of the raid owed much to the enemy's good luck in hitting the ammunition ships and to his skillful use of Window; but the extraordinarily heavy damage occurred because the Allies had unwisely crowded their ships in the harbor. The weakness of fighter and AA defense reflected poor--and perhaps inadequate-communications, incomplete liaison among the several defensive elements, and insufficient guns and searchlights.36

The Bari raid caused renewed concern for the safety of Allied bases and installations in eastern Italy.37 It indicated that the Germans were in a position to launch sudden and even heavy attacks anywhere in the central Mediterranean because of the large number of air bases which were available to them in Italy and the Balkans. This conclusion appeared to be confirmed on the night of 13/14 December when the GAF again visited Bari. Although the attacking planes did little damage, the raid was significant because the planes came from Greece--the first time that bombers from that area had attacked an Italian target. The Allies drew some comfort from the deduction that the attack had come from Greece probably because the enemy was withdrawing most of his longrange bombers from Italy to Germany. Subsequently, this was confirmed by photographic evidence. Captured GAF records revealed after VE-day that at the end of December the enemy's bomber force in the Mediterranean was down to 29 serviceable planes as against 214 on 30 November--which explains why the Luftwaffe, except for its two


raids on Bari, seldom bothered the Allies in December.38 Intelligence credited the withdrawal to the GAF's difficulty in operating from fields in the Po Valley during winter fogs and to its reluctance to match its dwindling bomber force against NAAF's defensive fighters. The latter assumption seemed borne out when a similar withdrawal by long-range bombers from the eastern Mediterranean soon became evident.39

The GAF's offensive fighter and fighter-bomber effort in December was as variable as it had been in November, going up or down in terms of the weather and the extent of Allied ground activity. The maximum number of sorties for anyone day was around 130, but with a daily average of not more than 50 there was no real threat to the Allied forces.40

The GAF did but little better defensively, although apparently it should have. By the end of November it had in northern Italy a well-established system of fighter defenses and good warning and interception systems. It had changed its tactics: instead of concentrating on Allied bombers, it now was going for the fighter escort alone whenever possible. These developments, however, did not seem to help the GAF, for its fighters continued to attack only in spots, and whether over Italy, the Balkans, or Greece, their efforts were not sufficient for the defense of the area.41 The truth of the matter was that the deterioration of the fighter force, a decline which had become rapid in the Sicilian campaign, had continued apace since the Allied invasion of Italy; contributing factors were losses in the air, NAAF's attacks on airfields, and the GAF's lowering of the previous high priority which the Mediterranean had enjoyed on replacement fighter aircraft. The last-named factor is illustrated by the fact that Me-109's allotted to the Mediterranean totaled 220 in July but only about 100 in October. The enemy's fighter strength promised to recover somewhat as a result of his policy of conservation and because he was beginning to use many of the better Italian planes (notably the Macchi-205's). But it was felt that so long as NAAF kept up its counter-air offensive and thus forced the Germans to disperse their air forces to meet attacks from both England and Italy, the enemy's fighter situation would continue to deteriorate.42

As for the enemy's bombers, his unwillingness to press his attacks with determination, the poor standards of his crews, and the production priority held by fighters indicated that the GAF bomber force was not likely to be a major factor in future operations in the Mediterranean. The steadily growing weakness of the enemy's air arm, as well as his increasing


dependence on ground troops, was evidenced by the fact that at the end of November there were 26,806 German Air Force troops either fighting, or working, alongside army troops.43


During December the Fifth and Eighth Armies, whose advance had been progressively slower since the beginning of October, made very little progress against the obstacles provided by terrain, weather, and a stubborn German defense.44 Bad weather continued to limit the activities of the Allied air forces. The month opened with great promise, at any rate with respect to air operations.45 On the 1st and 2d, NAAF'S planes flew more total sorties than on any two consecutive days since the middle of September. On the 2d, Tactical alone flew more than 1,200, all except 70 in coordination with the ground forces. Around 340 of the sorties were over the Eighth Army where fighters and fighter-bombers attacked enemy positions, guns, and vehicles all along the front (especially around Lanciano) and raided traffic in the rear of the enemy's lines. Another 70 sorties were flown over the Yugoslavian coast in fighter sweeps. The main part of the day's activities, however, was over the Fifth Army front, in a softening-up program for the full-scale ground attack which was to be launched during the night against the enemy's key stronghold at Mignano. From dawn to dusk medium, light, and fighter-bombers pounded gun positions around Mignano and southeast of Cassino. The 450 tons of bombs dropped by 260 bombers and 273 fighter-bombers thoroughly covered many targets and inflicted heavy damage. In addition, USAAF and RAF Spitfires flew more than 100 offensive and defensive patrols during the day. But 2 December proved to be Tactical's peak day of the month. Thereafter, weather and the status of ground operations never permitted the force to come close to its effort of that day. Throughout the month, however, TAF continued its program of bombing, strafing, and patrolling over the Italian front and in the enemy's rear and over the Yugoslavian coast.

From the 3d through the 7th weather forbade all but a few missions in support of the armies. In the west, operations were almost wholly against rails, roads, and bridges from the battle line to above Rome, although fifty-six B-25's got in a hard smash on the 7th against the port of Civitavecchia. In the eastern sector, USAAF and RAF fighterbombers helped the Eighth to take Lanciano, penetrate Orsogna, and hold on at Guardiagrele. Better weather from the 8th through the 10th


allowed Tactical to fly a large number of sorties for the Eighth Army. Light and fighter-bombers strongly aided the New Zealanders as they battled for Orsogna and the Canadians as they crossed the Moro River below Ortona; and attacks on transport from Orsogna to the coast were so successful that on the 10th alone the destruction of 53 vehicles and the damaging of 128 were claimed. In the Fifth Army area, on the 8th and 9th, over 400 P-40 and A-36 sorties and 60 A-20 sorties were flown against communications, troop concentrations, gun positions, and bivouac areas. By the end of the 9th, Fifth Army had driven the enemy from practically the entire Monte Camino feature. For all the bad weather, the attacks of XII Air Support Command undoubtedly contributed to the general weakness of German artillery during the Allied advance.

On 10 December the weather disintegrated over the western sector, and on the 11th and 12th it was so bad all over the peninsula that only a few sorties were flown. By that time, Tactical's B-25's had added some 220 sorties to the air force total for the month in attacks on railways north of a line from Rome to the Adriatic, bombing Pescara, bridges at Giulianova, the junction at Terni, and the station at Aquila.

During the last three weeks of the month, the principal activities in western Italy were in cooperation with II Corps' slow and bitter drive against the enemy's strong positions on the high ground above Mignano and with VI Corps' equally difficult offensive east of Acquafondata. From the 13th through the 17th good weather over both battle fronts permitted more than 1,100 sorties by A-36's and P-40's, 215 by A-20's, and 24 by B-25's, while USAAF and RAF Spitfires averaged over 100 patrol sorties per day. Fighter-bomber sorties were all by AAF units; most of them were against lines of communication entering the Cassino sector (including the reinforcement port of Civitavecchia); the remainder were against guns and troops in order to reduce resistance to the Fifth's push toward the Cassino line in the San Vittore (II Corps) and Acquafondata (VI Corps) areas. The U. S. A-20's divided their effort between the enemy's base at Frosinone and gun positions along the front. A small B-25 effort was directed against bridges around Pontecorvo.

From the 18th through the 31st, flying and bombing conditions were so unfavorable that normal tactical operations were possible over the Fifth Army only on three days and over the Eighth Army only on five. To rain and clouds was added a strong crosswind, especially in eastern


Italy, which frequently made operations impossible. During the two-week period only about 1,000 fighter-bomber sorties were flown on behalf of the Fifth Army, most of them against positions and guns around Cervaro, supply routes, dumps, and bases in the Sora-Arce and Arguani-Frosinone areas, roads, bridges, and bases around Cassino, Santa Elia, and Atina, and the ever-popular docks and yards at Civittvecchia. About 180 A-20 sorties were flown, the targets being generally in the same zones covered by the fighter-bombers. B-25's made a few attacks on road bridges northwest of Aquino and hit a base at Terracina. Coastal Air Force complemented Tactical's operations by strikes on shipping and raids on ports, rail lines, transport, and installations along the Tyrrhenian coast. The missions were flown by planes of the 63d Wing, currently based on Corsica.

Enemy planes were encountered in strength only on the 14th, 15th, and 19th, and on these days the Allies claimed thirteen planes while losing six. Claims of XII ASC against vehicles totaled 54 destroyed and 91 damaged; against rail movement, 59 engines and cars destroyed and 111 damaged; against vessels, 3 sunk and 15 damaged.

In eastern Italy air activity was only slightly greater than in the west. Desert Air Force flew most of its sorties in cooperation with the Eighth Army's drives in the Ortona and Orsogna areas; the remainder were across the Adriatic. Particularly important days were the 13th, 16th, 18th, 22d, 30th, and 31st. On the last two days unusually good weather allowed Tactical's planes to fly almost 550 fighter-bomber sorties against infantry positions and artillery concentrations along the entire coastal sector with excellent results. There were few encounters with the Luftwaffe. Perhaps it was just as well, for DAF lost 44 planes to enemy aircraft, flak, and ground fire, while claiming only 22 enemy planes destroyed, 4 probables, and 16 damaged. Its record against transport was as good as usual, however: 51 road vehicles destroyed and 335 damaged; 20 locomotives and cars destroyed and 104 damaged; and 7 vessels sunk and 22 damaged.

Many of DAF's claims were registered in the course of attacks on Yugoslavian airfields, the Dalmatian ports of Split, Sibenik, and Zara, and rail and road lines which supplied the enemy for his operations against Tito's Partisans. In all, Tactical flew 346 fighter-bomber and 327 medium bomber sorties against Balkan targets, but many of them were rendered ineffective by weather. Coastal also was active across the Adriatic, its RAF 242 Group, which had moved to eastern Italy in


October, attacking ports, railways, transports, shipping, and military installations. For the month, NAAF's operations over Yugoslavia were much greater than they had been in any like period.

In December--as in November--the weather interfered more frequently with Strategic's operations than with those of Tactical. Strategic ended December with only a slightly higher total of effort than it had recorded for the previous month. A majority of its squadrons had completed their moves from Tunisia to the mainland or the islands by the middle of December, and by the end of the month all of the units had been moved, but some were not able to operate until January or February because of poor conditions at their fields.46

Targets fell into the same general pattern as in November: rail lines and yards, aircraft production and other industries, counter-air force and miscellaneous targets. However, because of bad weather there was an increase in operations against rail lines and yards at the expense of the Combined Bomber Offensive. The program against lines of communication again was shifted to marshalling yards, which took twice as heavy a pounding as did bridges and lines.

Two days of extensive attacks opened the month. On the 1st, seventy B-26's bombed bridges on the Genoa-Rome line. That night Wellingtons hit the Pontassieve yards east of Florence, damaging the station and industrial sheds but missing the 700-foot railway bridge. The big mission of the day was against the Fiat ball-bearing works at Turin, which now was considered to be more important than ever to the Germans as a result of the Eighth Air Force's hard blow against Schweinfurt on 14 October. The 118 B-17's, with P-38 escort, which reached the target unloaded 354 tons of bombs. Damage to the works, near-by industrial buildings, and yards and rail lines was severe.

On the 2d the Bolzano and Arezzo yards and the bridge ten miles south of Orvieto were bombed with good results. The day's major operation was carried out by 118 B-17's against U-boat pens which were under construction at Marseille. Workshops, railway tracks, and rolling stock were hit hard, the entire target area being covered. The P-38 escort scrapped with twelve to fifteen enemy planes, claiming two, and the B-17's took on another fifteen or twenty and claimed 9/4/2.

In the next ten days the weather was so bad that the Italian railway system suffered fewer attacks than in any comparable period since 1 September. The hardest blow was Tactical's B-25 attack against railways


along a line from Rome to Pescara, as noted above. Strategic's efforts were limited to missions by B-26's against the Spoleto viaduct, the Orte yards, and the Ventimiglia bridges. The only important attack by heavies on communications was a raid by thirty-one B-24's on the Sofia yards. Around thirty enemy planes which attempted to intercept the formation took a licking, eleven being shot down to the loss of two P-38's. Five missions were flown against airfields, but only one of the fields, Guidonia, was in Italy. The other four missions were against three fields in Greece, where the enemy's air force, having helped to knock the British out of the Aegean, now constituted a threat to Allied shipping in the eastern Mediterranean. Eleusis, Kalamaki, and Tatoi, all near Athens, were the targets and all three were well covered.

During the last half of December, Strategic intensified its offensive against rail lines; in fact, almost the entire effort of the Fifteenth was against such targets. Despite bad weather which canceled many missions and rendered others abortive, heavies flew 812 effective sorties and B-26's carried out 737; together they dropped 3,206 tons of bombs. The main targets were on the Brenner Pass route, the Tarvisio route (through northeastern Italy to Villach, Austria, and southern Germany), and the west-coast and east-coast lines. The heavies went generally for the more northerly targets and the mediums for those in central Italy and up the west coast.

On the Brenner Pass route the yards at Innsbruck and Bolzano and the viaduct over the Avisio River between Trento and Bolzano were bombed with a total of 450 tons. On the Tarvisio route the Padua yards and the bridge and tunnels at Dogna (northeast of Venice) were hit with 430 tons. Traffic along both routes was sharply curtailed. The offensive against the west-coast line was heavy; it included attacks on five yards, three viaducts, two bridges, and the Civitavecchia harbor and yards. Disruption to the lines was considerable, especially at Civitavecchia where the combined attacks of Strategic and Tactical completely isolated the town. The interdiction of the Pisa-Rome route was complemented by assaults on bypass lines in the central and west-central part of the peninsula. The heaviest blows were against the yards at Poggibonsi, Foligno, Perugia, Castiglione, Prato, Empoli, Pistoia, and Borgo San Lorenzo and against the railroad bridges at Orvieto and Certaldo. In all, some 550 tons of bombs were expended against the west-coast line and more than 600 tons against bypass lines.

The most successful of the anti-railway operations, however, was


against the east-coast route. The Rimini and Ferrara yards, together with bridges and tracks in the vicinity, and the railway and canal junction at Ravenna were pounded by heavies with around 750 tons; B-26's of TAF added 98 tons in attacks on the Falconara yards. The disruption of traffic was more nearly complete than on any of the other Italian lines.

As a result of the November and December attacks there was a heavy reduction in Italian rail traffic; personnel and equipment were delayed in reaching the front, and much time and effort were lost by the enemy in effecting repairs and in transshipping.47 However, the interdiction was far from complete, and the Mediterranean Allied Air Forces (which in December replaced NAAF and MAC)* noted that "a comparison of rail capacities with enemy military requirements emphasizes the need for complete, simultaneous and continuous interdiction of rail traffic supplying the enemy forces in central Italy."48 Looking into the future, MAAF recommended that the Spezia-Rimini line be attacked immediately and that the long-range program include the lines Genoa-Spezia, Aulla-Parma, Bologna-Pistoia, Bologna-Prato, FaenzaSan Lorenzo, and Rimini-Ancona.49

After its attacks on lines of supply, Strategic's principal operations during the last two weeks of the year were against the enemy's air force, but the effort was a small one. The only attack on aircraft production came on the 19th when the Messerschmitt plant at Augsburg, site of research and experiment and final point of assembly for the Me-110, was hit by fifty B-24's which dropped eighty-six tons through 10/10 clouds. The mission met tough opposition from between fifty and sixty enemy fighters; of these, thirteen were shot down and eight probably destroyed at a cost of three bombers shot down and one missing.

Strategic flew missions against airfields only on two days. On the 14th, 126 B-17 s and B-24's seriously damaged airfields in Greece. On the 25th the fields at Vicenza and Pontedera took limited attacks as secondary targets. Tactical aided the counter-air force offensive with a moderate blow against Mostar in Yugoslavia and a very heavy attack on the two Ciampino fields near Rome. Against the latter, B-25's dropped 52 x 250 pounds of high explosives and 3,743 x 20 pounds of frags, causing extensive damage to administrative buildings, hangars,

* See below, pp. 744-47.


workshops, and aircraft on the ground; thirty-six A-36's added to the damage in a follow-up sweep which destroyed six planes on the ground.

The Allied air effort for the month was greater than it had been in November.50 More than 27,500 effective sorties were flown, and 10,500 tons of bombs dropped.* In types of targets bombed the picture was very different in December from what it had been in November when gun positions and concentrations had headed the list, followed (in order) by railways, yards, airfields, industrial establishments, and port facilities, with no one of the types receiving an outstanding percentage of the bombs dropped. In December, on the contrary, marshalling yards were far ahead of all other targets, taking some thirty per cent of the total. The yards were followed by gun positions and camps, rail lines, airfields, port facilities, and highways. A more static battle line and an increase in Strategic's operations accounted for the changes in emphasis.

Unquestionably, the enemy's combined air and ground defenses against Allied planes were more effective than they had been in November and, in some respects, more effective than at any time since the beginning of the Italian campaign. Not only were Allied plane losses greater but the percentage of combat crewmen killed, wounded, and missing in action per 1,000 sorties was higher than it had been in November and generally above the average for the period from 1 September to 31 December.†51 And, lest the casualty rate for the air arm be minimized, it should be noted that from D-day of AVALANCHE to the end of November the ground forces' casualty rate (killed,

* The USAAF flew 62 per cent of the more than 27,500 sorties. Tactical flew around 15,000 sorties, Coastal 7,500, Strategic 4,500, and PRW 530. In Strategic's operations lay the greatest difference between the operations of the USAAF and the RAF, for the latter's Wellingtons flew fewer than 100 sorties.while the USAAF's heavies and mediums recorded close to 2,700 and its escort fighters around 1,700. As usual, the RAF predominated in Coastal's operations, but American elements accounted for 40 per cent of the total sorties as against 32 per cent in November. The 10,500 tons of bombs dropped represented an increase of 2,000 tons over November; the USAAF dropped 93 per cent of the total. Strategic pushed Tactical out of first place. The greatest increase in activity was by the B-26's, which flew almost three times as many sorties and dropped nearly twice as many bombs as in November. In the matter of victories and losses the Allied record for the month showed an increase in both departments. Claims totaled 259/53/65, not including some 25 planes destroyed on the ground; the USAAF accounted for 86 per cent of the victories. Losses came to 209, of which the USAAF lost 61 per cent. The Allies also had 544 planes damaged, 85 per cent of them USAAF. Most of the damaged aircraft were victims of flak and ground fire.

Month B-17 B-24 B-25 A-20 P-38
  November 6.15 18.68 3.02 3.06 8.63
  December 7.57 22.90 3.19 3.30 10.10
  1 Sept.--31 Dec. avg. 5.78 19.08 3.37 2.94 10.02


wounded, missing in action; combat and non-combat) averaged 6.33 per month per 1,000 men, whereas the air forces' rate was 7.69.52

Despite evidences of enemy strength and the limited number of attacks against the GAF accomplished during November and December, it was the feeling at MAAF at the end of the year that the German fighter industry was "staggering" from the blows which it had received. But MAAF also felt that the counter-air offensive had reached a critical stage and unless the earlier attacks were followed up with further blows the substantial results achieved thus far would be considerably dissipated. It would be necessary to reattack Regensburg and Wiener Neustadt, to destroy the Erla plant at Leipzig, and to smash a small number of specialized component plants in Poland, southern Germany, and southeastern Europe. The program appeared to the theater air leaders to be well within the capabilities of Allied air power.53 General Arnold at AAF Headquarters in a "year's-end" message to the Fifteenth emphasized especially the urgency of the counter-air program and his concern over previous diversions from the main task.54 Assurances were given that the means for its accomplishment would be made available.55 At the same time he sought advance information on planned operations and periodic notification of proposed changes in the hope of effecting a better coordination of effort among all participants in the Combined Bomber Offensive.56

If the emphasis in plans for 1944 thus tended to fall upon Strategic's role in the CBO, it was at the same time evident that much work remained to be done in the areas of tactical cooperation with ground and sea forces in which for so long now the Mediterranean had been the proving ground. To carry out its varied tasks Allied air forces had some 315,000 personnel and 7,000 effective aircraft in the theater.57 Most of the men and planes were American or British, but the French had been playing an active part in combat since the beginning of the Italian campaign and Italian units had begun to operate under NAAF on a small scale late in October.58 Still more recently, four ten-men crews of Yugoslavians, trained in the United States to fly B-24's, had joined the 376th Bombardment Group.59 With its units based largely by the end of December in Italy, Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica, rather than North Africa, MAAF enjoyed new advantages of position. The reorganization under MAAF, well on the way to completion by the end of December,* promised additional strength for the tasks which lay ahead.

* See below, pp. 747-50.


Table of Contents
Previous Chapter (16) * Next Chapter (18)

Notes to Chapter 17:

1. Air Comd. Post, Review of MAC Target Force, 2 Oct. 1943; D/CAS/E/18B, Organization and Expansion of the USAAF in the Mediterranean, 12 Jan. 1944; notes on La Marsa Conference, 24 Sept. 1943; 1910/40/G (Ed.), 15th Army Gp., 25 Sept. 1943, Col. Foster, S.D. and T.; numerous ltrs. to and from Coningham, Oct. and Nov. 1943. All documents in files of BAM (AHB).

2. Basic data for the operations of Tactical and Strategic during November come from RAF Med. Review No. 5; NAAF Air Intel. Weekly Sums. 51-55; NAAF Opnl. and Intel. Sums. 254-84; NATAF Int/Opsums 205-34; History, 15th AF, Volume II. Additional data from files of BAM (AHB). Other sources are noted in footnotes.

3. MC-OUT-1l59, Eisenhower to AGWAR for CCS, 4 Nov. 1943; British Hist. Sec., Central Med., Operations of British, Indian and Dominion Forces in Italy, Pt. I, Sec. F.

4. Canadian Hist. Sec., Rpt. 18, The Campaign in Southern Italy, pp. 45-49 (citing captured German war diaries and transcripts of tel. conversations), in files of BAM (AHB).

5. Ibid.

6. See No. 242 Gp. Opnl. Instruction 19, 31 Oct. 1943.

7. See also Enemy Merchant Vessels Sunk in the Mediterranean by Allied Aircraft, prep. by BAM (AHB).

8. History, 15th AF, Volume III.

9. To give a single example of the effect of adverse weather: in November, the 319th Bomb. Group (M) planned eighteen missions; ten of them were canceled and three more rendered abortive by the weather. (See History, 319th Bomb. Group [M], Oct. 1943. For the percentage of early returns, see History, 15th AF [Rev.], I, 179-80.)

10. History, 15th AF, Volume II, especially interviews with Col. C. A. Young, AC/S, A-2, 15th AF, 27 May 1944, and Brig. Gen. C. F. Born, AC/S, A-3, 15th AF, 2 June 1944; History, 15th AF (Rev.), I, 402.

11. History, 15th AF, Volume II.

12. See also memo for Gen. Arnold from Maj. Gen. B. M. Giles, C/AS.

13. AFSHO, Special File 77(ltrs.).

14. JCS, 130th Mtg., 25 Nov. 1943.

15. Hq. MAAF, Air Power in the Med., App. C, pp. 2-3.

16. Ibid.

17. See also CM-IN-po5, 12th AF to WAR, 5 N?v. 1943; History, 15th AF, Volume IV; History, 2d Bomb. Gp. (H) Nov. 1943; History, 15th AF (Rev.), I: 321.

18. See n. 17, 19.

19. Born interview.

20. RAF Med. Review No. 5.

21. CM-OUT-2322, Arnold to Spaatz, 6 Nov. 1943.

22. Memo for Gen. Arnold from Maj. Gen. B. M. Giles, C/AS, 15 Nov. 1943.

23. Military Conference Between the USA, Great Britain, and the USSR, Teheran, 29 Nov. 1943. It also was noted that the strategic air attacks from the United Kingdom and MTO were containing about a million men in Germany for defense and repair.

24. See especially History, 15th AF, Volume II.

25. History, 319th Bomb. Gp. (M), Nov. 1943.

26. Planes flying from Tunisia, Italy, and southern Sardinia to southern France and northern Italy frequently made the return-trip with engines out, gasoline low, or with severe battle damage. On such occasions Corsica and Sardinia frequently were invaluable as emergency landing areas. (See, for example, History, 2d Bomb. Gp. [H], Nov. and Dec. 1943.)

27. CM-OUT-10388, CCS to Eisenhower, 23 Oct. 1943; FAN 256, AGWAR to ETOUSA, 24 Oct. 1943; CM-IN-6136, Spaatz sgd. Eisenhower to AGWAR for Arnold, 10 Nov. 1943; CM-IN-7993, Eisenhower to AGWAR for CCS, 13 Nov. 1943; msg., MAC to Air CP, 6 Nov. 1943, in MAC ORB, App. 119; files of BAM (AHB).

28. See also CM-OUT-5998, Sexton to Lt. Col. McCarthy for Arnold, 15 Nov. 1943; Air Ministry Weekly Intel. Sums. 211-12.

29. History, 82d Fighter Gp., Nov. 1943.

30. History, 15th AF, Volume II. For details of nickeling operations, see AAFRH 21, Special Operations: AAF Aid to European Resistance Movements, 1943-45.

31. Statistics for November are based on NAAF Monthly Oprt. Bulletin 8; NAAF Monthly Stat. Sum. I; Air Ministry Weekly Intel. Sums. 219-23; History, 15th AF, Volume III; History, XII Ftr. Comd., 1 June 1943--1 Jan. 1944.

32. The increase in air-sea rescue operations--owing to NAAF's widespread activities which now included the Adriatic, the Aegean, and the northwestern Mediterranean--caused the AAF to send Coastal a new rescue squadron of nine PBY-5's. (See CM-OUT-10425, Arnold to Spaatz, 26 Nov. 1943.)

33. CM-IN-10616, 12th AF to AGWAR, 17 Nov. 1943. Data supplied by the British Air Ministry indicate that these claims probably were too high.

34. MACAF, Mare Nostrum, pp. 8-9, 26; Air Ministry Weekly Intel. Sums. 219-23; History, XII Ftr. Comd., 1 June 1943--1 Jan. 1944. See also Preliminary Report on the "Dunnock" Attack, 11 Nov. 1943; A.C.A.S. (1), Rise and Fall of the Luftwaffe;
captured German docs.; all in files of BAM (AHB).

35. NAAF Air Intel. Weekly Sum. 52. See also captured German docs. and A.C.A.S. (x), Rise and Fall of the Luftwaffe.

36. In addition to the various NAAF intel. sums., see CM-IN-S976, NAAF to AGWAR et al., 9 Dec. 1943; Mare Nostrum, pp. 27-28; and the following (from the files of BAM): captured German docs.; report, Attack on Bari Harbor; msg. A262, Air CP to Air Ministry, 5Dec. 1943; msg. 251, AOC 242 Gp. to Air CP, n.d.; msg. 9797, C.O.S. AFHQ, 5 Dec. 1943; WIT, AOC NACAF to Air CP, 4 Dec. 1943; Air Staff MACAF Form 540, Dec. 1943, App. D; War Room Monthly Sum. of MAC Operations, Dec. 1943. In addition to the Allied faults noted in the text there is some reason to believe that the defense elements around Bari had grown complacent and did not believe the Germans could mount a major raid. (See Investigation of Bari Raid file, in BAM [AHBJ.)

37. Ltr., Arnold to Spaatz, n.d., but definitely 3 Dec. 1943.

38. See also Mare Nostrum, p. 28; History, XII Ftr. Comd., 1 June 1943-1 Jan. 1944.

39. CM-OUT-2132, book msg., 6 Dec. 1943; Mare Nostrum, p. 28; Air Ministry Weekly Intel. Sums. 223-27; NAAF Air Intel. Weekly Sums. 55-59; data from captured German records supplied by BAM, through Mr. J. C. Nerney.

40. RAF Med. Review No.6; NAAF Air Intel. Weekly Sums. 55-59.

41. CM-OUT-2132, NAAF to AGWAR et al., bk. msg., 6 Dec. 1943; NAAF Air Intel. Weekly Sums. 55-58; data from BAM, through Mr. J. C. Nerney.

42. Based principally upon ltr., Col. G. C. McDonald, A-2, 12th AF to Maj. Gen. Clayton Bissell, AC/AS, Intel., 16 Nov. 1943, and upon estimates in NAAF Air Intel. Weekly Sums. 51-54.

43. Order of Battle, German 10th Army, in Canadian Hist. Sec. Rpt. 18, p. 54.

44. History, Fifth Army, III, 20-47; RAF Med. Review No.6.

45. The story of tactical and strategic operations during December is based on RAF Med. Review No.6; NAAF Air Intel. Weekly Sums. 56-59; NATAF Int/Opsums 223-66; History, 15th AF, Volume II; MACAF, Mare Nostrum.

46. History, 15th AF (Rev.), I, 47-51; History, AAFEC/MTO (Prov.).

47. History, 15th AF, Volume II.

48. MAAF, A-2 Sec. Special Intel. Rpt. 64, cited in History, MAAF; Railroad Situation from January 1944 up to the Beginning of the May Offensive (Italy), report by Klaus Stange, General in Charge of Transportation, Italy, 20 Apr. 1947, trans. by WDSS-HD, Capt. F. C. Mahin and D. H. Finke.

49. MAAF Special Intel. Rpt. 64.

50. Figures for December sorties, bomb tonnage, and victories and losses are from MAAF Monthly Opns. Bulletin 9; MAAF Monthly Stat. Sum. 2; Air Ministry Week1y Intel. Sums. 224-27; History, 15th AF, Vols. II, III; RAF Med. Review No. 6; Operations of Twelfth AF, 8 Nov. 1942-8 May 1945; History, XII Ftr. Comd., 1 June 1943-1 Jan. 1944. It should be noted that NAAF's claims of enemy aircraft destroyed are so far out of line with the figures found in GAF records-which admit to only eighty planes lost to Allied action--that the difference cannot be resolved.

51. MAAF, Air Power in the Med., App. G, pp. 1-4.

52. Ibid.

53. MAAF, A-2 Sec. Special Intel. Rpt. 65, 26 Dec. 1943, quoted in History, MAAF.

54. Arnold to CG 15th AF, Priority POINTBLANK, 27 Dec. 1943. See also ltr., Maj. Gen. B. M. Giles, C/AS to Gen. Spaatz, 27 Dec. 1943.

55. Ltr., Giles to Spaatz, 27 Dec. 1943.

56. AFAEP Division Digest, 2 I Dec. 1943.

57. History, MAAF, Volume I; CM-IN6253, Spaatz sgd. Eisenhower to Arnold, 9 Dec. 1943; data from Stat. Control, Hq. AAF; Administrative History, 12th AF, Pt. I, App. A; History, 15th AF (Rev.), 1, 63.

58. For the training, operations, and strength of the FAF, see The French Air Force in MAAF, A Preliminary History; WP-JII-F-12 (North Africa No. 2), passim, in AFAEP, European Br., FAF file; Weekly Report of Status of Aircraft and COMBAT Crews, NAAF, 23 Nov. 1943, prep. by 23d SCORU; CM-OUT-7258, Arnold to Spaatz, 18 Aug. 1943.

59. CM-OUT-6755, Arnold to Spaatz, 17 Aug. 1943; CM-IN-9007, Spaatz sgd. Eisenhower to Arnold, 11 Sept. 1943; ltr., Maj. Gen. B. M. Giles, C/AS to CG 12th AF, 8 Oct. 1943; AFAEP Div. Digest, 13 Sept. 1943; Young interview; unit histories, 376th Bomb. Gp. (H) and 512th Bomb. Sq., Nov. and Dec. 1943; AAFHS-64, Training of Foreign Nationals by the AAF, 1939-45, pp. 40-42, 196.

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