This World War II timeline of European Air Operations lists notable military events in the skies of the European Theater of Operations of World War II from the Invasion of Poland to Victory in Europe Day. The list includes combined arms operations, defensive anti-aircraft warfare, and encompasses areas within the territorial waters of belligerent European states.[note 1]
1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945
21 January: As revenge for the British raids on Berlin, Germany started the Baby Blitz (planned since 27 November).: 396
10 February : Operation Colossus, the first British paratrooper raid, blew up a strategic aqueduct in Calitri southern Italy.
31 March/1 April: A bombing raid on Emden is the first use of the 4,000 lb (1,800 kg) HC "cookie" blockbuster bomb
15 April: The Belfast Blitz kills 1000, the greatest loss of British lives outside London from a night raid.
10 May: The longest blitz air raid on london killing 2324 people and 11,000 houses.
22 June - 3 July: In the opening phase of Operation Barbarossa, the Luftwaffe achieved air superiority by destroying some 2,000 Soviet aircraft, at a loss of only 35 aircraft (of which 15 were non-combat-related).
8 July First use of the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress in Europe; against Wilhelmshaven
8–9 August: The Red Army Air Force began a limited bombing offensive with a raid on Berlin.
15 August: Robert Stanford Tuck led the first air mission by fighters based in eastern England against enemy-occupied territories in a "Rhubarb" sweep of the Netherlands for ground targets by two Hawker Hurricanes .: 215–219
18 August: A 18 Squadron Blenheim dropped an artificial leg over France for captured Wing Commander Douglas Bader.
7/8 September: The heaviest RAF raid on Berlin to date, with 197 bombers, with 15 bombers lost.
7 November: A large raid on Berlin lost 20 bombers and caused little damage. The head of Bomber Command, Richard Peirse, was subsequently replaced in February 1942 by Arthur Harris.
7/8 December: 251 bombers target Aachen and Brest—the Brest attack was the first operational use of the Oboe navigation system
18 December: Blenheim aircraft conducted the first night intruder attack, successfully striking Soesterberg airfield in the Netherlands with bombs and attacking two German bombers in the air with guns
21 January: The unsuccessful Operation Steinbock, the first mass bombing of London, began the Baby Blitz
30 January: The first U.S. Intruder operation was conducted by P-47s and accurately preceded the bombers to strike fighters at Villaorba airfield.
6–27 February: The Soviet Air Force launched bombing raids against several Finnish cities. The greatest air raids once again targeted Helsinki. In this manner the USSR hoped to force Finland to break its ties with Germany and agree to a peace settlement.
19/20 February: After 14.9% of Halifaxes that crossed the coast were lost on a raid to Leipzig, Handley Page Halifax Merlin engintober 1943 Second Raid on Schweinfurt
6 March: The first large scale US attack on Berlin (some 600 bombers) dropped 1600 tons of bombs - 160-170 of 800-900 fighters are shot down: 113
24 April: The APS-15 "Mickey" radar was first used on a Ploiești mission.
2 June: The first US shuttle bombing mission, Operation Frantic Joe, bombed Debrecen
( German fighters subsequently attack the bombers on Soviet airfields at Focşani)
2–5 June: In preparation for Operation Overlord, Operation Cover bombed transportation and airfield targets in Northern France and "coastal deed V-1 flying bombs that reached Britain (of about 1,200) were air-launched from Heinkel He 111s (403 were downed)
23/24 July: The first major raid (629 aircraft) on a German city for two months bombs Kiel
25 July: Mission 494 (1581/500 bombers/fighters) supporting Operation Cobra was the most effective saturation bombing/carpet bombing/area bombardment of the Normandy Campaign, killing US General McNair.
26 July: The first aerial victory for a jet fighter in air combat history occurs as a Messerschmitt Me 262A-1a of Erprobungskommando 262 mortally damages a de Havilland Mosquito reconnaissance aircraft of No. 540 Squadron RAF.
28 July: The first operational use of rocket-powered point-defense interceptors occurs as Me 163Bs of I. Gruppe/JG 400 take off from Brandis to defend against a USAAF strategic bombing raid on the Merseburg/Leuna synthetic fuel production complex.
July: An air raid wipes out a factory making prototype Focke-Achgelis Fa 223 helicopters in Laupheim.
27 August: The RAF restarted daylight bombing of Germany (first since 12 August 1941) with an attack on the Homberg Fischer-Tropsch plant in Hamburg.: 149
13 & 17 August: Le Havre (Mission 549) and La Pallice (Mission 559) were the targets for the first uses of the BAT guided bomb
8 September: Operation Penguin began with the first V-2 rocket launches against Paris and London
17 September: The last UK-USSR-Italy-UK shuttle bombing was completed as 72 B-17s and 59 P-51s flew from Italy without bombs to the UK; 70 B-17s 57 P-51s land safely in the UK.
18 September: Stalin finally gives permission for Allied planes to use Soviet airfields. The planes conducted air drops during the Warsaw Uprising and Operation Frantic.