The folks in Paris rang in the new year of 1944 with a bang (more like a series of loud booms) thanks to the US Eighth Air Force.

One of the more ironic facts of war is that sometimes you have to bomb something to liberate it. Such was the case with part of France in 1943.

The Denazification of Paris

During a pivotal World War II aerial operation, fleets of B-17 Flying Fortresses from the 390th Bomb Group, part of the 13th Bomb Wing, 8th Air Force, embarked on a critical bombardment mission. Their target was the key industrial sites in Bois Colombes, just outside Paris, specifically the Hispano-Suiza engine production facility and the Compagnie d’Applications Mécaniques (CAM), a significant ball bearing manufacturer. Concurrently, additional B-17 units focused their attack on the CAM site located in Ivry-Sur-Seine, Southeast of Paris. In a concentrated effort between 1207 and 1227 hours, 120 out of the 125 dispatched B-17s successfully pummeled the industrial zones with 500-pound (227-kilogram) bombs. The assault, while largely successful, resulted in one B-17 lost and another irreparably damaged, with 49 sustaining various degrees of damage. The human cost included two injuries and ten personnel missing in action.