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"Operation CHATTANOOGA CHOO CHOO"

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  • "Operation CHATTANOOGA CHOO CHOO"

    In May of 1944 the Army Air Force conducted "Operation CHATTANOOGA CHOO CHOO" by using 800 Allied fighters to attack and disrupt the French and German railway net. Does anyone have any info on the operation?

    http://www.airforcehistory.hq.af.mil...cs/chrono1.htm
    For the first time I have seen "History" at close quarters,and I know that its actual process is very different from what is presented to Posterity. - WWI General Max Hoffman

  • #2
    "The Transportation Plan and the Chattanooga Choo Choo

    The German plans for defense against an invasion called for stopping the landings on the beach, before the Allies could establish a permanent beachhead. This required rapid response by strong mobile German forces, as soon as the first Allied troops landed. To prevent such a response, the Allies developed the Transportation Plan, designed to destroy and disrupt German transportation and communications immediately prior to the invasion.

    Under the code name Chattanooga, the U.S. 9th AF targeted railway facilities, marshalling yards, bridges and rolling stock in western France in the weeks before D-Day. Hundreds of locomotives and trains were strafed and destroyed by P-47 Thunderbolt fighter bombers, while B-26 Marauders and A-20 Havocs bombed rail yards and vital bridges. Eighth AF fighters flew fighter-bomber missions.

    The Final Outcome

    The German High Command, lead by Hitler, believed the deceptions of Bodyguard and the Cover missions, and kept many of its best units awaiting the "real" invasion at the Pas de Calais until weeks after D-Day. In addition, the Noball strikes against V-1 sites delayed the first rocket attack on England until a week after the Normandy landings.

    German commanders trying to rally forces to Normandy were completely frustrated to find their telephone and telegraph communications cut, road and rail bridges destroyed and railway transport in chaos, due to the success of Chattanooga Choo Choo and French resistance forces, supplied by Carpetbagger missions."

    taken from operational dispatch journal
    "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

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    • #3
      Originally posted by JCFalkenbergIII View Post
      In May of 1944 the Army Air Force conducted "Operation CHATTANOOGA CHOO CHOO" by using 800 Allied fighters to attack and disrupt the French and German railway net. Does anyone have any info on the operation?

      http://www.airforcehistory.hq.af.mil...cs/chrono1.htm
      "To supplement the transportation plan, Leigh-Mallory authorized wide-scale fighter sweeps against moving trains on 20 May, when civilian passenger traffic was believed to have ceased.74 For some time fighters had been shooting up trains, to the nervousness of USSTAF headquarters, where it was feared that civilians were being killed indiscriminately.75 Now the practice would be carried on openly and on a large scale. In the next two weeks fighters damaged about 475 locomotives and cut railway lines at 150 different points. The most sensational attacks were the CHATTANOOGA CHOO-CHOO missions, the first of which took place on 21 May when 763 AEAF fighters swept over the northern half of France and 500 Eighth Air Force fighters ranged over Germany firing and bombing at trains.76 Another occurred on 25 May when three Ninth Air Force fighter groups operated over the Rhineland and northern France and more than 600 Eighth Air Force fighters shot up trains in Belgium and France. Other outstanding CHATTANOOGA missions were carried out by 571 Eighth Air Force fighters in eastern Germany and Poland on 29 May and by the Ninth Air Force in France on 2, 3, and 4 June.77 These operations furnished good practice for fighter pilots in attacking ground targets, a skill they were to develop to a high degree after the invasion, and they brought about enormous disruption to enemy traffic and ruin to equipment while producing important psychological effects on railroad personnel. French train crews deserted in large numbers, especially after fighters began to drop belly tanks on stalled trains and to set them afire by strafing. This situation caused the Germans to employ crews of their own nationality on the more hazardous runs, and after 26 May railway operations in daylight were sharply reduced even in cases where the lines were unbroken.78"
      http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/AAF/...II-6.html#cn76
      "It's like shooting rats in a barrel."
      "You'll be in a barrel if you don't watch out for the fighters!"

      "Talking about airplanes is a very pleasant mental disease."
      Sergei(son of Igor) Sikorsky, 'AOPA Pilot' magazine February 2003.

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      • #4
        Thanks guys! Robert
        For the first time I have seen "History" at close quarters,and I know that its actual process is very different from what is presented to Posterity. - WWI General Max Hoffman

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        • #5
          What we saw here, in Belgium (in fact, my parents...) on May 21st, were masses of US figthers sweeping around railway stations. Here, in Southern Belgium, 53 Squ' P47 attacked a freight train stationned in Marloie (between Namur and Bastogne) and blew it: it was containing 450 Tonnes of Amatol , mainly naval mines evacuated from Antwerp. The "historical records" said it was rocket fuel... The CO of 53 Squ lost his life in this attack. His tomb is in Margratten cemetary, in the Low Countries. If after raid aerial pictures were taken, how could one finds to buy a copy for our local historic association?

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          • #6
            We're night raids conducted on trains? Seems smart to move trains at night where possible.
            One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions - Admiral Grace Hopper

            "The eunuch should not take pride in his chastity."
            Wu Cheng'en Monkey

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Chukka View Post
              We're night raids conducted on trains? Seems smart to move trains at night where possible.
              Steam trains are very easy to spot from the air at night as the glow from the fire box is visible from quite a way away. Moreover steam plumes are very reflective of even small quantities of moonlight. It was increasing German practice to mount light FLak guns on trains (especially the four barrel whirlwind), these would loose most of their effectiveness at night. British night time train busting dates from WW1 when 100 sqn RFC used 1 pounder pom poms mounted in FE 2bs on train busting raids in 1917. This was continued in WW2 by night intruder Hurricane IIs, four 20mm cannon can significantly delay trains - far worse than leaves on the line!
              Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
              Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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              • #8
                I've read several accounts of Mossies doing night time intruder operations targeting the Jerry railway network.
                The long toll of the brave
                Is not lost in darkness
                Over the fruitful earth
                And athwart the seas
                Hath passed the light of noble deeds
                Unquenchable forever.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Chukka View Post
                  We're night raids conducted on trains? Seems smart to move trains at night where possible.
                  Here's a small "tit bit":

                  [.....]
                  Buildup for D-Day

                  Typhoon strength continued to build throughout 1943 with Typhoon squadrons regularly attacking enemy supply lines in France.Besides flying interdiction sorties, Typhoons also flew escort for Whirlwinds and Beaufighters on anti-shipping strikes. Night missions across the Channel also increased, since the Germans began to move more of their rail traffic at night. No 609 Squadron destroyed over 100 locomotives by April 1943, many of these at night.
                  [.....]
                  pp16

                  Typhoon/Tempest in action

                  Jerry Scutts

                  http://www.amazon.com/Typhoon-Tempes.../dp/0897472322

                  available in full as a free ebook here:

                  http://www.freebookspot.es/Comments....ment_ID=584957

                  (a "spam" ad will pop up in a new window - just kill it and move on to the download page - no harm done)

                  I also vaguely remember Pierre Clostermann and his Tempest outfit having a go at some trains at night over Germany, not occupied France, so they didn't spare the cannon shells.

                  To confirm, I will need to dig out my copy of "The Big Show", but any excuse is a good one to re read an enjoyable book.
                  Last edited by At ease; 13 Jan 16, 09:10.
                  "It's like shooting rats in a barrel."
                  "You'll be in a barrel if you don't watch out for the fighters!"

                  "Talking about airplanes is a very pleasant mental disease."
                  Sergei(son of Igor) Sikorsky, 'AOPA Pilot' magazine February 2003.

                  Comment

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