|More Than Perseverance and a Prayer|
|A B-24 Liberator with its aft section in flames, continues to roar ahead after it was hit by antiaircraft fire over Quakenbruck, Germany. A few moments later the whole plane exploded.||A damaged bomber of the Fifteenth Air Force falls away from its companion.|
During 1943, the Allies increased their air attacks on key points in Hitler's Fortress Europe. In July, British bombers turned Hamburg into an inferno. Dropping strips of tin foil to confuse the German radar system, the RAF dumped tons of incendiary and high-explosive bombs on the city. After ten days of sustained raids, over 70,000 people were dead and Hamburg, as a city, had almost ceased to exist.
The Luftwaffe however, was still able to inflict punishing losses on bombers that attacked strategic targets farther inland beyond the range of escorting fighters. Almost one third of the B-24s that made a low level raid on the oil refineries of Ploesti, Rumania in August were shot down. Sixty planes and their crews were lost on August 17th in raids against Schweinfurt and Regensburg. In October, 148 bombers were lost in six days. The combined bomber offensive was damaging Germany, but the cost was high.
©Larry Dwyer. The Aviation History On-Line Museum.
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Created October 6, 1998. Updated September 23, 2013.