8th Air Force Timeline

Jan 28, 1942 The Eighth Air Force is activated.


July 2, 1942 Eighth Army Air Corps flies the first European mission of the USAAC (United States Army Air Corps). It is a low-level bombing run against a series of small air bases in the Netherlands. 


Aug 17, 1942 Eighth Army Air Corps launched a mission against German marshalling areas in the Rouen, France railyard using B-17s. 


Aug 1, 1943 Bombers from the Eighth (Army) Air Force join with the Ninth in Operation Tidal Wave, a second attempt to destroy the oil refineries at Ploesti. Considered to be a disaster (54 out of 177 planes lost), the mission did significantly reduce oil production at the facility for months.


Aug 17, 1943 In simultaneous attacks on Regensburg and Schweinfurt, the Eighth (Army) Air Force conducts raids on a Messerschmitt factory (Regensburg) and ball-bearing plants (Schweinfurt) from its secret base in England. Of 376 mission aircraft 60 are lost.


Sep 27, 1943 Using new "belly tanks" to dramatically extend the distance they can fly, P-47 bombers raid Emden, then return to the secret Eight Army Air Force in England.


Oct 14, 1943 In a second raid on the ball-bearing plants in Schweinfurt, Germany, the Eighth Air Force effectively destroys the target. 60 of 291 planes do not return.


Feb 20, 1944 Start of "Big Week", six days of missions designed to destroy German aircraft production. The Eighth Air Force (England) and the Ninth Air Force (Italy) participate.


Mar 4, 1944 Lt. Chuck Yeager shoots down his first German fighter while serving in the Eighth (Army) Air Force


Mar 6, 1944


May 21, 1944 Eighth Air Force begins Operation Chattanooga Choo-Choo, systematic raids in Germany and France designed to destroy the Nazi's ability to move munitions and supplies by railroad. It is specifically designed to soften up German lines in advance of D-Day


Jun 6, 1944 D-Day, Normandy, France. More than 15,000 sorties are flown over France and Germany, led by the Eighth Air Force.


Jun 9, 1944 Eighth Air Force establishes a base in Allied-occupied France


Aug 24, 1944 Eighth Air Force's 78th Fighter Group shoots down the experimental Me-262, a German jet-powered fighter. It is the first jet fighter to be shot down.


Jan 1, 1945 Fierce air battles over western front, with 188 out of 800 Luftwaffe planes reported shot down during their last major attack of the war.


Feb 3, 1945 Eighth Air Force participates in a massive B-17 raid against Berlin, Germany.


Feb 16, 1945 The US 8th Air Force launches a massive attack (675 bombers) against the HQ complex of the OKH at Zossen 20 miles south of Berlin.


Mar 19, 1945 The US 8th Air Force carries out another heavy attack (200 bombers and 700 fighters) against Berlin. 


Mar 21, 1945 The US 8th Air Force launches a major attack (650 bombers) against Hamburg.


Apr 4, 1945 The US 8th Air Force launches its heaviest raid to date (700 bombers) against Kiel on the Baltic.


May 4, 1945 The US 8th Air Force carries out another heavy attack (450 bombers) against Kiel.


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