Nazi Jet Fighters Over Berlin: The Dangerous Last Mission Of the 351st Bomb Squadron

Messerschmitt Me 262 Werk-Nr. 111711, seen here post-war during a test flight in the USA. It was the first intact Me 262 to fall into Allied hands on March 31st 1945. U.S. Air Force.
August 14, 2020 Topic: History Region: Europe Blog Brand: The Reboot Tags: World War IINazi GermanyMe-262B-17Fighter Jet

Nazi Jet Fighters Over Berlin: The Dangerous Last Mission Of the 351st Bomb Squadron

The German Luftwaffe anticipated when and where strategic bombers would drop explosives and anxiously planned for their arrival. Odds were good that they would destroy at least a few B-17s.

The air war over Germany was incredibly costly. Casualties for the 100th Bomb Group are a perfect example. The “Bloody 100th,” so nicknamed because of the large number of losses it suffered, flew 306 missions during the war and lost 177 B-17 bombers to antiaircraft guns and Luftwaffe fighters; 765 airmen were killed while 903 were captured and interned at POW camps behind enemy lines or in neutral countries.

Figures differ, but one authoritative source says that the Eighth and Ninth U.S. Air Forces in Europe had a combined death toll of 24,963, including 510 who died of wounds and 537 declared dead. Inscribed on the Wall of the Missing at the American Military Cemetery, Cambridge, UK, are 5,127 names. More than 500 Eighth Air Force bombers and fighters were lost to antiaircraft fire, enemy aircraft, and “other causes.” It was a heavy price to pay for victory.

The author extends thanks to the 100th Bomb Group Foundation (100thbg.com) for its assistance with this article.

This article by Mark Mathosian first appeared in the Warfare History Network on March 1, 2019.

Image: