November 2, 1943. A strike force of 139 American B-17 and B-24 heavy bombers with 1,390 aviators aboard set out from six base camps in
The November 2, 1943 mission was the fourth attempt to deliver a crushing blow to the plant and its supply of Me-109 single engine fighters to the German Luftwaffe. The plant had to be destroyed in order to weaken the German air defenses and gain air superiority over the German Luftwaffe in time for the Allied landings in
The mission was successful, but success came at a steep price. On this mission, 11 American planes were lost, 41 airmen were captured by the Germans and became POWs, and 68 airmen made the supreme sacrifice.