350th
FIGHTER GROUP


(Version provisoire - en construction)
53 victoires

 

 

1st (Brasil) Fighter Squadron
(0 vict)

Nom Grade Unité Date Ennemi Avion d'arme TOP Nbr Vict
               

 

345 Fighter Squadron
(5 vict)

Nom Grade Unité Date Ennemi Avion d'arme TOP Nbr Vict
BLAKENEY HORACE W 1st Lt 345FTR 04-02-1945 - - Mediterranean 0.5
BROOKS DARWIN G 1st Lt 345FTR 04-02-1945 - - Mediterranean 0.5
MARSHALL MARLAND O 1st Lt 345FTR 12-06-1943 - - Mediterranean 1
NELSON LEONARD L 1st Lt 345FTR 12-06-1943 - - Mediterranean 1
WATERMAN JOHN S III 1st Lt 345FTR 10-21-1943 - - Mediterranean 1
WELLS LEE C 1st Lt 345FTR 02-15-1944 - - Mediterranean 1

 

346 Fighter Squadron
(24 vict)

Nom Grade Unité Date Ennemi Avion d'arme TOP Nbr Vict
BARTON HOWARD L 1st Lt 346FTR 04-02-1945 - - Mediterranean 1
BERGERON JOHN E 1st Lt 346FTR 03-14-1945 - - Mediterranean 1
DAILEY JAMES B JR 1st Lt 346FTR 10-31-1944 - - Mediterranean 1
DOUGHERTY LOWELL E 2nd Lt 346FTR 04-06-1944 - - Mediterranean 1
DOW HUGH D 1st Lt 346FTR 04-06-1944 - - Mediterranean 1
DOW HUGH D 2nd Lt 346FTR 02-15-1943 - - Mediterranean 1
EDDY CHARLES C 1st Lt 346FTR 04-02-1945 - - Mediterranean 1
FOWLES CHARLES V Captain 346FTR 06-13-1943 - - Mediterranean 1
GILBERT CHARLES E II Major 346FTR 04-02-1945 - - Mediterranean 2
HOOVER CHARLES F Captain 346FTR 02-15-1943 - - Mediterranean 1
HUNTER RICHARD E 2nd Lt 346FTR 06-13-1943 - - Mediterranean 1
JONES BENJAMIN W 2nd Lt 346FTR 08-08-1943 - - Mediterranean 1
MILLER WALTER R F/O 346FTR 03-14-1945 - - Mediterranean 1
RUDISILL PAUL B 2nd Lt 346FTR 04-06-1944 - - Mediterranean 1
SMITH KIRBY E F/O 346FTR 08-06-1943 - - Mediterranean 1
SULZBACH RICHARD P 2nd Lt 346FTR 04-02-1945 - - Mediterranean 2
TOMLINSON ROBERT C 1st Lt 346FTR 10-31-1944 - - Mediterranean 2
- - 346FTR 08-19-1942 - - European 1
URBAN JOHN A 1st Lt 346FTR 06-26-1943 - - Mediterranean 1
URBAN JOHN A 1st Lt 346FTR 07-08-1943 - - Mediterranean 1
VANREED CHARLES H 1st Lt 346FTR 06-28-1943 - - Mediterranean 1

 

347 Fighter Squadron
(24
vict)

Nom Grade Unité Date Ennemi Avion d'arme TOP Nbr Vict
BRANNON DALE D Major 347FTR 12-19-1942 - - Southwest Pacific 1
BURGESS CHARLES H 2nd Lt 347FTR 04-06-1944 - - Mediterranean 1
DUSARD LEO F JR Lt Colonel 347FTR 01-06-1944 - - Southwest Pacific 1
DUSARD LEO F JR Lt Colonel 347FTR 02-09-1944 - - Southwest Pacific 1
HAUSER SIGMUND E 1st Lt 347FTR 03-03-1945 - - Mediterranean 1
HECKENKAMP FRANK W Captain 347FTR 04-02-1945 - - Mediterranean 3
JURGENSEN ELMER V Captain 347FTR 02-10-1944 - - Southwest Pacific 2
LEVY JAMES K 2nd Lt 347FTR 04-06-1944 - - Mediterranean 1
MCGINN JOHN L Captain 347FTR 11-01-1943 - - Southwest Pacific 1
MCKENZIE WILLIAM H 2nd Lt 347FTR 03-10-1944 - - Mediterranean 1
MCMASTER KITT R JR 1st Lt 347FTR 06-19-1943 - - Mediterranean 1
MCMASTER KITT R JR Captain 347FTR 09-07-1943 - - Mediterranean 2
OLSON EDWARD M 2nd Lt 347FTR 04-02-1945 - - Mediterranean 1
WESTBROOK ROBERT B Lt Colonel 347FTR 09-25-1944 - - Southwest Pacific 1
WESTBROOK ROBERT B Lt Colonel 347FTR 09-30-1944 - - Southwest Pacific 1
WESTBROOK ROBERT B Lt Colonel 347FTR 10-23-1944 - - Southwest Pacific 3
WORLEY CHANDLER P Major 347FTR 10-23-1944 - - Southwest Pacific 1
YOUNG JAMES H 2nd Lt 347FTR 02-23-1945 - - Mediterranean 1

 

The decision to invade North Africa in November 1942 was not made until the middle of August, 1942. Forces available for this difficult operation were minimal—it becoming necessary for the USAAF Eighth Air Force to withdraw most of the combat groups that had reached England by that time from an embryonic bombing campaign over Europe to take part in the battle for control of Northwest Africa.

Export versions of the P-39 originally ordered for the French Air Force in early 1940 had, after the fall of France in May 1940, been sent in several shipments to the RAF beginning in early 1941 to augment the RAF’s fighter force after the Battle of Britain. However, after Hitler turned his attention to the East, the pressure was off the RAF and it had fielded only one P-39 unit (601Sq) in 1941. The other P-39s remained in storage in the crates in which they had arrived. At the same time, by the summer of 1942 the number of American pilot volunteers in the RAF serving in England had grown to a few hundred in number. In urgent need of additional fighters to support the forthcoming invasion, American planners decided to combine these two assets already in England and at the end of September 1942 the American pilots in the RAF were invited to transfer to the USAAF. On 1 October, a number of pilots from the USAAF 31st and 52nd Fighter Groups, who had flown P-39s in the US prior to there arrival in England in June of 42, were ordered to report to RAF Station Duxford England to help activate a new Group, designated as the 350th Fighter Group with three subordinate Squadrons, the 345th, 346th and 347th . (The American Eagle Squadrons were re-designated the 4th Fighter Group about this time but the 350th was the only Group activated from scratch in Europe,in WW II). At the same time, some of the American pilots who had just transferred from the RAF were ordered to the new Group to make up the other half of the original aircrew roster. Although the pilots were not advised of their mission at the time, for security reasons, the plan was for the Group to fly to North Africa six weeks after activation, which was one week after the scheduled invasion of North Africa on 8 November, 1942. The ex RAF pilots had been flying Hurricanes or Spitfires while the ex 31st and 52nd Group pilots had been flying RAF Spitfires with which they had been equipped on their arrival in England, 4 months earlier. As it turned out, the RAF Depot responsible for supporting the operation was completely over committed and could not uncrate and assemble the Group’s P-39 aircraft in time to meet the invasion plan. Airacobras did finally begin arriving in numbers, in mid December, and two weeks later the pilots began flying to North Africa. In the middle of the English winter, many of the ex RAF pilots managed to acquired only some 20 hours of flying time in the new aircraft type by the time they launched for Africa.

The Group’s 75 pilots flew their P-39Ls (346 Sq) and P-39-400 (345 Sq and 347 Sq) fighters from RAF Stations Portreath and Predannack, on Land-Ends, England, to Port Lyautey, French Morocco, during the period 3 Jan to 28 Feb 1943. Sixty one arrived at the destination airfield. Ten pilots that encountered head winds, instead of the forecast tail wind (the only fuel reserve on the 1200 mile, six to seven hour over water flight) were forced to land in Portugal where they were interned. One more landed in Portugal after losing all electrical systems. One flight that broke up in a severe line squall over the Bay of Biscay lost one pilot, (KIA)—he was flying alone, probably still on the deck, at max range cruise settings (165 to 175 MPH), when he was likely ambushed, and was shot down by a patrolling Ju-88 pilot of KG-40 who claimed the kill; one pilot, after closing on the French coast to determine his location, ended up short of fuel and crash landed in Spain , where he was interned; another pilot on that flight became lost and crash landed in Ireland while attempting to return to England.

The first elements of the Air Echelon , and the Ground Echelon, finally joined each other at Oujda, French Morocco, a few days after their arrival in North Africa on 3 January 1943. The Ground Echelon had arrived off North Africa in the first week of November 1942 from the USA with the Operation “Torch” invasion fleet.

The Group began air defense operations along the North African coast a few days after its ground and air elements came together. One month after its first flight arrived in Africa it began its first offensive combat missions, over Tunisia.

The Group flew air defense and fighter- bomber missions with its P-39s and primarily fighter bomber missions with its P-47s. Also, from June to Sept 1943 each Squadron was assigned two P-38s to intercept and destroy high flying Luftwaffe reconnaissance aircraft sent to photograph the allied invasion fleet gathering along the North African coast for the invasion of Sicily. The First Brazilian Fighter Squadron joined the 350th Group as a fourth Squadron in October 1944. The Group’s American Squadrons flew over 37,000 sorties during the war, some 16,600 defensive and more than 20,000 offensive sorties. The 1st Brazilian Fighter Squadron flew an additional 2,546 offensive sorties. Of the totals, most of the defensive sorties were flown in the P-39 Airacobras and P-38 Lightnings while most of its offensive sorties were flown in the P-47 Thunderbolts. However, some 3,850 offensive sorties , from strafing and bombing attacks to fighter sweeps and a few bomber escort missions were flown in the P-39s, while some 700 defensive sorties were flown in the Group’s P-47s.

The Group lost 95 pilots, KIA or killed in flying accidents, eight of these being Brazilian pilots. Twenty two pilots became POWs, 5 of whom were Brazilians. Another 25 pilots were downed on offensive missions but either evaded capture in enemy territory, or, bailed out over or crashed landed on, allied territory; five of these being Brazilian pilots. At least 16 pilots were wounded in action but managed to land at home base or on another allied airfield. Three of these were Brazilian pilots. Thirteen pilots were interned in ‘neutral’ countries. All were permitted to proceed (incognito, in civilian clothes) to Gibraltar, some three months later. Approximately one third of all the American pilots who served in the Group fell into one of the above categories. Approximately 44 percent of the Brazilian pilots who flew missions fell into one of the above categories. However, the Group’s pilots were able to return and land with flak damaged aircraft on almost seven hundred occasions. On the other side of the ledger, the Group’s pilots dropped over 7,000 tons of bombs and fired over 30 million rounds of ammunition in the destruction of enemy targets.

Air Forces Assigned To :

8th AF (Oct '42 - Jan'43)
12th AF (Jan '43 - – July 45 )
Sailed from Italy for Pacific Theater of War, 1 Aug 45, Enroute at End of WWII

Activated in England (Air Echelon):
Bushey Hall, England, 1 Oct 1942
And in USA (Ground Echelon) Harding Army Airfield, Baton Rouge Louisiana


Stations from which Squadrons of the
350th Group conducted fighter operations :

RAF Station Duxford, England, HQ. 350 Group and 345th Squadron, Oct 1942 - Jan '43

RAF Station Coltishall, England, 346th Squadron, Oct 1942 - Jan '43
(No combat Ops were flown in England) RAF Station Snailwell, England, 347th Squadron , Oct 1942 - Nov '43
RAF Station Kingscliffe, England, 347 Squadron, Dec 1942
RAF Station Bassingbourne, England, 347th Squadron, Jan-Feb 1943

Oujda, French Morocco, Jan 1943
Oran/La Senia, Algeria, Jan - Feb 1943
Feriana/Thelepte II landing ground, Tunisia, Feb 1943
Orleansville/Warnier field, Algeria, March - April 43
Le Sers, Tunisia, April-May 43
Maison Blanche, Algeria, May- July 1943
Djidjelli/Taher, Algeria, Algeria, May-Dec 1943
Monistir, Tunisia, June 43
Bone/Tingley, Algeria, July 43
Reghaia, Algeria, Jul 1943-Oct 1943
Cagliari/ Elmas, Sardinia, Nov 1943 – June 44
Alghero/Fertilla, Sardinia, Nov 43-Aug 44
Ghisonaccia, Corsica, Jan 44-May 44
Naples/Capodichino, Italy, Feb-Mar 44
Tunis/Sidi Amor, Tunisia, Feb-Jun 44
Aghione, Corsica, May- July44
Naples/Pomigliano, Italy, June-Aug 44
Anzio/Tre Concello, Italy, June 44
Ajaccio/Compo del Ora, Corsica, July-Sep44
Tarquinia, Italy, June –Dec 1944
Piombino, Italy, July-Aug 44
Livorno/Rosignano, Italy, Aug-Sep 44
Pisa, Italy, Dec 1944- Jul 1945

The Group moved to the Port of Embarkation at Naples, Italy on 14 July 45 and sailed for combat operations
in the Pacific Theater of War, on 1 August 1945. The Atom bombs were dropped on Japan while the
Group was en route and while provisioning in Panama City, on the Pacific ocean side of The Canal Zone,
V-J day was declared, signaling the end of hostilities in World War Two. The ship carrying the Group
was directed to return to the US and the 350th Fighter Group and its American Squadrons were
deactivated on 7 November, 1945, at Goldsboro, NC, after 3 years and one month of operations.

Campaigns Flown in :

Air Combat EAME Theatre
Tunisia
Sicily
Naples-Foggia
Rome-Arno
Southern France
North Apennines
Po Valley

Awards Won :

Distinguished Unit Citation: Italy, 6 Apr 1944

Victory Claims :

Destroyed : 50 + 108 Sol

Probable : 9 + 2 Sol

Damaged : 24 + 72 Sol

 



Source :

STARS & BARS - Frank Olynyk - Grub Street Editions
http://afhra.maxwell.af.mil/index.asp
http://www.web-birds.com/


 

 


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