Operation Bodenplatte

This air battle was chronicled in a long out-of-print paperback entitled Aerial Dogfights of WWII.

The video includes several airmen who gave their recollections of that day; New Years Day, 1945.  I would dispute the stated number of Axis aircraft in this engagement, simply due to the loss of experienced pilots by 1945, though the numbers were large.  This was the last offensive engagement by the Luftwaffe.

Excerpt from The Legend of Y-29; copyright Tony White, Stardust Studios;

January 1, 1945, The German Luftwaffe launches Operation Bodenplatte, a last desperate attempt to break loose the Ardennes Offensive that had been halted at Bastogne.  Approximately 800 German fighters are sent to attack 15 allied forward air bases.  At some bases the Luftwaffe attack is devastating, destroying aircraft and rendering airstrips useless.  At other fields only a few fighters found their targets and damage was minimal.  But at Asch the result was unlike anything the Luftwaffe had imagined.  The attack on the Asch airbase, known as Y-29, was a total disaster.  When the 11th Jagdgeschwader reached Y-29 they found 8 Thunderbolts of the 390th Fighter Squad, 366 Fighter Group circling the field and 12 Mustangs of the 487th Fighter Squad, 352nd Fighter Group just taking off.  The ensuing battle came to be know as the “Legend of Y-29”.  This battle was only one of many battles that took place on new years day 1945.  But in no other battle did one unit distinguish itself so well from such a disadvantage.  For their courage and performance in the face of overwhelming odds, the 487th earned the only Distinguished Unit Citation given to a fighter squadron in the Northwestern European Theater of Operation.

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