U.S. bases in Soviet Union open Nazi ‘blind spots’ to raids (6-3-44)

The Brooklyn Eagle (June 3, 1944)

U.S. bases in Soviet Union open Nazi ‘blind spots’ to raids

Flying Fortresses serviced for return missions after ripping Romania

Eastern Command USSTAF, USSR (UP) –
The first U.S. shuttle raid involving the use of bases in Russia opened up all Axis Europe – including previous “blind spots” – to aerial bombardment today on a virtually unlimited scale.

The initial such attack was completed yesterday when scores of Flying Fortresses, with an escort of U.S. Mustang and Soviet Yak fighters, landed at newly-completed bases “somewhere in Russia” after raiding Romanian targets selected by the Russian command.

The Moscow radio reported from “an airdrome in the Soviet Ukraine” that Flying Fortresses attacked targets in Romania on the shuttle raid, “leaving bases situated in Italy, England or North Africa or all of these places.” It said the mission was “quite successful,” that the U.S. airmen were welcomed warmly by the population and that a concert arranged for them was a “great success.”

Reds run interference

Red Air Force planes ran interference for the Fortresses and their American escort on the inward journey, attacking German airdromes along the route to keep enemy planes on the ground. Enemy opposition was slight. One bomber was lost and one fighter unaccounted for.

As soon as the big four-engined bombers rolled to a halt on Soviet soil, U.S. and Soviet ground crews began serving and rearming them for their return missions en route to bases in Britain, Italy and Africa.

Other sources suggested the potentialities opened up by the use of Soviet bases were staggering. British-based bombers have previously attacked east of Berlin only on rare occasions, while those from Italy have not penetrated north of Budapest and Vienna.

Among other effects, the new shuttle technique was expected to force the Germans to redistribute their already severely-strained fighter forces at a time when all possible strength was needed in the West.

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