#41 - Fortress of Fire - Germany, Winter 1943
The summer and fall of 1943 saw the 8th Air Force enduring increasing losses in bombers. Steps were being taken to help provide longer range escort to the battered heavy bomber formations. The latest longer range P47D, returning P38 groups and untried mustang fighters were rushed into the ETO to help defeat the determined German fighter defenses. These defenses had now been centralized and focused on protecting German industry. Newly formed Jagdgeschwaders, heavier flak batteries and new destroyer aircraft like the Me410 were deployed to help bring USAAF bomber losses to unacceptable levels.
FOF is a strategic event representing the turning point for the airwar over Germany during the winter of 1943. German daylight fighters had inflicted severe losses on the 8th Air Force but not without a cost. The breaking point would be reached within the next few months for one side or the other. The Germans must down as many bombers as they can during the series while keeping their small fighter force as intact as possible. The USAAF must pound German industry and cause as much attrition to the Jadgwaffe as possible.