Eighth Air Force heavy bombers, ranging far over occupied Europe from the Baltic to the Bay of Biscay, struck heavily at German airfields at Bordeaux and Tours in France yesterday, and for the second time in two days droned the long 850-mile round trip to Kiel to hammer vital Nazi shipping.
Tougher Than Schweinfurt
The multi-pronged raids -- unidentified targets in western Germany also were attacked -- were the second day's operations in a row for the American four-motored bombers and their long-range fighter escorts. Kiel and Munster were attacked in Germany Tuesday in a day of aerial assault which saw some 3,000 Allied warplanes take part.
American fighters escorted the bombers on all of yesterday's missions except the long looping run over the Bay of Biscay to Bordeaux. Fortress crews who had to go in there without their usual P38 and P47 protection returned telling of fierce enemy interceptor attacks.
The Bordeaux raid was described by one pilot, Maj. Thomas Kenny, of Youngstown, O., skipper of the Fortress Fertile Myrtle, as more difficult than the costly attack on the Schweinfurt ball-bearing works in Germany last October.
"I've been on 19 missions, including Schweinfurt," Kenny said, "and this was the most difficult yet. We were attacked by 50 fighters all the way from the target to the coast."
Other crewmen reported heavy flak, but said that in spite of it the airfield was heavily bombed.
Besides the heavy-bomber operations, RAF and Allied medium bombers and RAF fighter-bombers, escorted by RAF and Allied fighters, attacked military objectives in northern France yesterday again without loss.
The target at Kiel was the vast network of shipping yards and construction ways from which most of the German Navy's tonnage has been launched.
One of the raiding Fortresses came down in a forced landing in Sweden, northwest of Trelleborg, in the southern part of the country. Dispatches from Stockholm said the ten members of her crew were uninjured.
It was the second American plane to land in Sweden in two days and brought the total of interned American airmen to 86.
Eighth Air Force, announcing the targets of yesterday's attacks, said that losses and claims would be announced "as soon as they are evaluated, probably Thursday morning."
The American heavies went out in daylight yesterday after RAF night forces had kept up the ceaseless hammering of military targets in northern France -- presumably rocket-gun emplacements along the French invasion coast.
The RAF's operations Tuesday night also included Mosquito attacks on Berlin, which started the sirens screaming in the German capital after a 24-hour let-up following the major assault early Monday. Not a single plane was reported missing from those and other night operations, which included sorties into western Germany and mine-laying in enemy waters.
The double-pronged attack on Kiel and Munster Tuesday, which was carried out while the mediums of both air forces were pounding the French rocket-gun coast, was supported by long-range American fighters in one of their deepest penetrations of German territory.
The fighters, one of which was lost, drove off Nazi interceptors to give the heavy bombers a clear run over Kiel with the new secret bombing technique. Eight enemy fighters were destroyed by the American fighters, four more by the bomber gunners. Eighteen heavies were reported missing, and two more fighters from other escort and diversionary forces.