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The first bombing mission of the 8th Air Force in Europe

On 4 July 1942, the 8AF started its bombing campaign in Europe.
Although B-17s were already present in Britain, their crews were not sufficiently trained.

Nevertheless, a decision was made to launch this first bombing mission on this special day using loaned RAF's A-20 Medium bombers called Havoc by the Americans and Bostons by the British.

A mixed crew of twelve Bostons: 6 from the RAF 226 Squadron and 6 from the USAAF 15th Bombardment Squadron commanded by Captain Charles C. Kegelman (see picture) was earmarked to bomb Luftwaffe airfields in Holland in what was expected to be a shallow "milk run".

The A-20s flew low to avoid radar, but close to the coast observers spotted them and sounded the alarm.
Two American Bostons were shot down by German Flak and one British A-20 by a German fighter.

Kegelman's bomber was seriously damaged but he was able to return to his base and was decorated later for the mission (which sustained 25% casualties).
Unteroffizier Johannes Rathenow from 10./JG 1 flying an Fw 190A-3 "white 12" filed a claim for a Boston at the time and location that matches the destruction of the British bomber.

Within weeks, the first B-17 heavy bombers would start the American strategic air offensive.

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