"Keep in tight-Keep it together".
Here with an absolute instance of Shock and Awe!
The Kassel Raid!
DESTRUCTION OF THE 445TH BOMB GROUP!
An episode from the era of the Second World War that the Army Air Corps and the current United States Air Force would probably rather forget about.
Thanks in large measure to the article by George Collar.
"The 445th Bomb Group was almost wiped out . . . during the infamous Kassel raid of September 27, 1944."
"It started out uneventfully enough, with 39 planes scheduled to take off . . . 35 planes [with four aborts] dropped their bombs"
The 445th during a mission part of a much larger formation their mission to bomb the industrial complex of Kassel Germany.
For reasons never entirely understood [often thought to be navigational error] the 445th having become separated from the "main group".
The rest they say is history!
That American B-24 formation of thirty-five bombers off-course massed formation sans fighter protection having dropped their bomb loads in a totally 100 % ineffectual manner set upon by another massed formation of Focke-Wulf-190 [Fw] German interceptor warplanes. Those Fw-190 themselves having Me-109 flying cover and protection.
Fw-190 in this instance best described as interceptors and not air superiority or air supremacy fighter aircraft.
Interceptors carrying extra ammunition and fuel with armor protection. Heavily armed, A portion of the massed Fw formation equipped according to convention, two heavy machine-guns[13 mm] and four 20 mm autocannon. Some Fw also being equipped with two 30 mm autocannon [2 X 13 mm + 2 X 20 mm + 2 X 30 mm].
Two or three hits alone from the 30 autocannon sufficing to bring down a B-24 Liberator.
A SINGLE PASS OF THAT MASSED Fw FORMATION PASSING AT HIGH SPEED THROUGH THE MASSED AND PONDEROUS B-24 FORMATION THE RESULT SHOCK AND AWE.
The entire event taking about six minutes, TWENTY-NINE OF THE AMERICAN BOMBERS SHOT-DOWN. American aircraft blasted from the skies by the German combat pilots ALMOST WITH IMPUNITY!
Twenty-five bombers immediately falling to the ground over Germany proper. Four more B-24 the crews abandoning their heavily damaged aircraft and bailing out while en route to England.
Furthermore, of those six B-24 able to return to England, only two able to return to home base, the remainder landing at diversionary air fields!
And of those two warplanes returning to home base, ONLY ONE ABLE TO FLY A MISSION ON THE SUBSEQUENT DAY, AND THAT WITH A REPLACEMENT AIRCREW!!
SHOCK AND AWE and even apparent to the ground crews. Ground crews not along for the ride but witnessing the results nonetheless!! The mess hall having prepared meals for four-hundred American aviators you can imagine the response when only about twenty personnel left to "enjoy" the after-mission meal.
HEY! Whoever said war was easy?
[P.S. The Army Air Corps called the Army Air Force after 1942]