US Army Air Forces Combat Groups 1940-1945

0
114

1st Air Commando Group
Constituted as 1st Air Commando Group on March 25 1944 and activated in India on March 29, the group, which began operations immediately, was organized to provide fighter cover, bombardment striking power, and air transportation services for Wingate’s Raiders, who were operating behind enemy lines in Burma. The organization consisted of a headquarters plus the following sections :

bomber (equipped with B-25’s)
fighter (P-51’s)
light-plane (L-I’S, L-5’s, and helicopters)
transport (C-47’s)
glider (CG-4A’s and TG5’s)
light-cargo (UG64’s).

The group supported operations in Burma by landing and dropping troops, food, and equipment; evacuating casualties; and attacking airfields and transportation facilities. Received a DUC for operations against the enemy, Mar-May 1944. Withdrew from the front late in May 1944 and, with the bomber section eliminated and the P-51’s replaced by P-47’s, began a training program. Reorganized later, with the sections being eliminated and with fighter, liaison, and troop carrier squadrons being assigned. Transported Chinese troops and supplies from Burma to China in Dec 1944, and carried out supply, evacuation, and liaison operations for Allied troops in Burma until the end of the war. Attacked bridges, railroads, barges, troop positions, oil wells, and airfields in Burma and escorted bombers to Rangoon and other targets during the early months of 1945. Changed from P-47’s to P-51’s in May 1945, the fighter squadrons being engaged in training from then until the end of the war. Moved to the US in Oct 1945. Inactivated on 3 Nov 1945.


Squadrons

5th Fighter : 1944-1945
6th Fighter : 1944-1945
164th Liaison : 1944-1945
165th Liaison : 1944-1945
166th Liaison : 1944-1945
319th Troop Carrier : 1944-1945

Stations

Hailakandi, India, 29 Mar 1944
Asansol, India, 20 May 1944 – 6 Oct 1945
Camp Kilmer, NJ, 1-3 Nov 1945

Commanders

Col Philip G Cochran, 29 Mar 1944
Col Clinton B Gaty, 20 May 1944
Col Robert W Hall, 7 Apr 1945

Campaigns

India – Burma
Central Burma

Decorations
Distinguished Unit Citation : Burma and India

1st Combat Cargo Group
Constituted as 1st Combat Cargo Group on April 11 1944 and activated on April 15. Equipped with C-47’s. Moved to the CBI theater in August 1944. Began operations in September 1944 by transporting supplies and reinforcements to and evacuating casualties from Imphal, Burma. Continued to support Allied operations in Burma, flying in men and supplies from India, moving equipment required to construct and operate airstrips, dropping dummy cargoes to lead the enemy away from Allied offensives, dropping paratroops for the assault on Rangoon (May 1945), and evacuating prisoners of war who were freed by Allied advances. Meanwhile, part of the group had been sent’ to China, and for a short time (December 1944 – January 1945) the group’s headquarters was located there. Operations in China included helping to evacuate the air base at Kweilin during a Japanese drive in September 1944, moving Chinese troops, and flying many supply missions, some of which involved ferrying gasoline and material over the Hump from India. The group, partially re-equipped with C-46’s in June 1945, engaged primarily in transporting men, food, arms, and ammunition until the end of the war. Re-designated 512th Troop Carrier Group in September 1945. Returned to the US in December 1945. Inactivated on December 24 1945.

Squadrons

1st : 1944-1945
2nd : 1944-1945
3rd : 1944-1945

Stations

Bowman Field, Ky, 15 Apr-5 Aug 1944
Sylhet, India, 21 Aug 1944
Tulihal, India, 30 Nov 194
Tsuyung, China, 20 Dec 1944
Dohazari, India, 30 Jan 1945
Hathazari, India, 15 May 1945
Myitkyina, Burma, Jun 1945
Liuchow, China, 30 Aug 1945
Kiangwan, China, 9 Oct-3 Dec 1945
Camp Anza, Calif, 23-24 Dec 1945

Commanders

Lt Col Robert J Rentz, 21 Apr 1944
Lt Col Walter P Briggs, 28 Apr 1945
Maj Samuel B Ward, 18 Aug 1945
Maj Maurice D Watson, 9 Sep 1945
Maj Wilbur B Sprague, 18 Sep 1945
Col J H Snyder, 9 Nov 1945
Capt Dixon M Jordan, 29 Nov 1945 – 24 Dec 1945

Campaigns

India – Burma
China Defensive
Central Burma
China Offensive

1st Fighter Group
Organized as 1st Pursuit Group in France on May 5 1918. Began operations immediately and served at the front until the end of the war, using Nieuport-28, Spad, and Sopwith Camel aircraft. Protected friendly observation balloons and planes, and made strafing attacks on enemy ground forces, but engaged primarily in counter-air patrols in which the group’s pilots gained many victories over enemy aircraft and destroyed numerous observation balloons. Two of the group’s pilots were awarded the Medal of Honor : 1/Lt (later Capt) Edward V Rickenbacker America’s World War I ‘Ace of Aces’ who served as commander of the 94th (Hat-in-the-Ring) Squadron received the medal for action near Billy, France, on September 25 1918 when, disregarding the heavy odds, he attacked a flight of seven enemy planes and shot down two of them; 2/Lt Frank Luke Jr – the ‘Balloon Buster’ was awarded the medal for attacking and shooting down three German balloons on September 29 1918 before his plane was hit and forced to land near Murvaux, France, where he died while defending himself against capture by enemy ground troops. Demobilized in France on December 1918. Reconstituted in 1924 and consolidated with 1st Pursuit Group that had been organized in the US on August 22 1919. Re-designated 1st Pursuit Group (Interceptor) in December 1939, and 1st Pursuit Group (Fighter) in March 1941. Trained, participated in exercises and maneuvers, put on demonstrations, took part in National Air Races, tested equipment, and experimented with tactics, using :

Spad
Nieuport
DeHavilland
SE-5
MB-3
PW-8
P-I
P-6
PT-3
P-16
P-26
P-35
P-36
P-38
P-41
P-43 and other aircraft during the period 1919-1941.

The 1st Fighter Groug, was the only pursuit group in the Army’s air arm for several years; later, furnished cadres for new units. Moved to the west coast immediately after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and flew patrols for several weeks. Re-designated 1st Fighter Group in May 1942. Moved to England, Jun-Jul 1942. Assigned to Eighth AF. Entered combat with P-38 aircraft on 28 Aug and flew a number of missions to France before being assigned to Twelfth AF for duty in the Mediterranean theater. Moved to North Africa, part of the ground echelon landing with the assault forces at Arzeu beach on 8 Nov 1942. The air echelon arrived a few days later and the group soon began operations, attacking enemy shipping, escorting bombers, flying strafing missions, and performing reconnaissance duties during the campaign for Tunisia. Participated in the reduction of Pantelleria. Escorted bombers to targets in Sicily and later aided ground forces during the conquest of that island by strafing and dive bombing roads, motor transports, gun emplacements, troop concentrations, bridges, and railways. Flew missions against the enemy in Italy and received a DUC for its performance on 25 Aug 1943 when the group carried out a strafing attack on Italian airdromes, destroying great numbers of enemy aircraft that presented a serious threat to the Allies’ plans for landing troops at Salerno. Also escorted bombers to Italy, receiving another DUC for a mission on 30 Aug 1943 when the group beat off enemy aircraft and thus enabled bombers to inflict serious damage on marshalling yards at Aversa. Supported the invasion at Salerno in Sep and continued operations with Twelfth AF until Nov 1943. Assigned to Fifteenth AF with the primary mission of escorting bombers that attacked targets in :

Italy
France
Germany
Czechoslovakia
Austria
Hungary
Bulgaria
Rumania
Yugoslavia
Greece

Received third DUC for covering the withdrawal of B-17’s after an attack on Ploesti on May 18 1944. Also flew strafing and dive-bombing missions in an area from France to the Balkans. Supported the landings at Anzio in Jan 1944 and the invasion of Southern France in Aug 1944. Continued operations until May 1945. Inactivated in Italy on 16 Oct 1945.

Squadrons

7th (formerly 147th) : 1918; 1919-1940
27th : 1918; 1919-1945
71St : 1941-1945
94th : 1918; 1919-1945
95th : 1918; 1919-1927
185th : 1918

Stations

Toul, France, 5 May 1918
Touquin, France, 28 Jun 1918
Saints, France, 9 Jul 1918
Rembercourt, France, 1 Sep 1918
Colombey-les-Belles, France, 24 Dec 1918
Selfridge Field, Mich, 22 Aug 1919
Kelly Field, Tex, 31 Aug 1919
Ellington Field, Tex, 1 Jul 1921
Selfridge Field, Mich, 1 Jul 1922
San Diego NAS, Calif, 9 Dec 1941
Los Angeles, Calif, 1 Feb-May 1942
Goxhill, England, 10 Jun 1942
Ibsley, England, 24 Aug 1942
Tafaraoui, Algeria, 13 Nov 1942
Nouvion, Algeria, 20 Nov 1942
Biskra, Algeria, 14 Dec 1942
Chateaudun du Rhumel, Algeria, Feb 1943
Mateur, Tunisia, 29 Jun 1943
Sardinia, 31 Oct 1943
Gioia del Colle, Italy, 8 Dec 1943
Salsola Airfield, Italy, 8 Jan 1944
Vincenzo Airfield, Italy, 8 Jan 1945
Salsola Airfield, Italy, 21 Feb 1945
Lesina, Italy, Mar-16 Oct 1945

Commanders

Maj Bert M Atkinson, 5 May 1918
Maj Harold E Hitney, 21 Aug – 24 Dec 1918
Lt Col Davenport Johnson, 22 – 29 Aug 1919
Capt Arthur R Brooks
Maj Carl Spaatz, Nov 1921 – Sep 1924
Maj Thomas G Lanphier
Maj Ralph Royce, 1928
Lt Col Charles H Danforth, 1930
Maj George H Brett
Lt Col Frank M Andrews, Jul 1933
Lt Col Ralph Royce, 1934
Maj Edwin J House, 30 Apr 1937
Col Henry B Clagett, 1938
Col Lawrence P Hickey, 1939
Lt Col Robert S Israel, Jul 1941
Maj John O Zahn, 1 May 1942
Col John N Stone, 9 Jul 1942
Col Ralph S Garman, 7 Dec 1942
Maj Joseph S Peddie, 8 Sep 1943
Col Robert B Richard, 19 Sep 1943
Col Arthur C Agan Jr, 15 Nov 1944
Lt Col Milton H Ashkins, 31 Mar 1945
Lt Col Charles W Thaxton, 11 Apr 1945

Campaigns

WW 1 : Lorraine; Champagne; Champagne-Marne; Aisne-Marne; Oise-Aisne; St Mihiel; Meuse-Argonne.
WW 2 : Air Combat EAME Theater; Air Offensive, Europe; Algeria-French Morocco; Tunisia; Sicily; Naples-Foggia; Anzio; Rome-Arno; Normandy; Northern France; Southern France; North Apennines; Rhineland; Central Europe; Po Valley.

Decorations

Distinguished Unit Citations : Italy, 25 Aug 1943; Italy, 30 Aug 1943; Ploesti, Rumania, 18 May 1944.

1st Photographic Group

Constituted as 1st Photographic Group on 15 May 1941. Activated on 10 Jun 1941. Re-designated 1st Mapping Group in Jan 1942, and 1st Photographic Charting Group in Aug 1943. Charted and mapped areas of the US and sent detachments to perform similar functions in Alaska, Canada, Africa, the Middle East, India, the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America, and the Kurils. Used a variety of aircraft, including

F-2
F-3
F-7
A-29
B-17
B-24
B-25

Disbanded on 5 Oct 1944.

Squadrons

1st : 1941-1943
2nd : 1941-1944
3rd : 1941-1943
4th : 1941-1944
6th : 1943-1944
19th : 1943
91st : 1943-1944

Stations

Bolling Field, DC, 10 Jun 1941
Peterson Field, Colo, Dec 1943
Buckley Field, Colo, Jul-5 Oct 1944

Commanders

Col Minton W Kaye, 10 Tun 1941
Lt Col George G Northrup, 1 Feb 1942
Col Paul T Cullen, 8 Jul 1942
Col Minton W Kaye, 1 Jul 1943
Col George G Northrup, 18 Nov 1943
Lt Col Frank N Graves, 1Dec 1943

Campaigns

American Theater

Decoration

– none

1st Search Attack Group
Constituted as 1st Sea-Search Attack Group (Medium) on 8 Jun 1942 and activated on 17 Jun. Re-designated 1st Sea-Search Attack Group (Heavy) in Jun 1943, 1st Sea-Search Attack Unit in Sep 1943, and 1st Search Attack Group in Nov 1943. Assigned directly to AAF in Jun 1942; assigned to First AF in Nov 1943. Tested equipment and developed techniques and tactics for use against submarines and surface craft; also flew patrol missions and searched for enemy submarines. Late in 1943 became concerned primarily with radar training for combat crews. Used :

B-17
B-18
B-24

Disbanded on 10 Apr 1944.

Squadrons

2nd : 1942-1944
3rd : 1942-1944
4th (formerly 18th Antisubmarine) : 1943-1944

Stations

    Langley Field, Va, 17 Jun 1942 – 10 Apr 1944

    Commanders

    Col William C Dolan, 17 Jun 1942-10 Apr 1944

    Campaigns

    Antisubmarine, American Theater.

    Decoration

    – none

    2nd Air Commando Group
    Constituted as 2nd Air Commando Group on 11 Apr 1944 and activated on 22 Apr. Trained for operations with P-51, C-47, and L-5 aircraft. Moved to India, Sep-Nov 1944. Between Nov 1944 and May 1945 the group dropped supplies to Allied troops who were fighting the Japanese in the Chindwin Valley in Burma; moved Chinese troops from Burma to China; transported men, food, ammunition, and construction equipments to Burma; dropped Gurka paratroops during the assault on Rangoon; provided fighter support for Allied forces crossing the Irrawaddy River in Feb 1945; struck enemy airfields and transportation facilities; escorted bombers to targets in the vicinity of Rangoon; bombed targets in Thailand; and flew reconnaissance missions. After May 1945 the fighter squadrons were in training; in Jun the group’s C-47’s were sent to Ledo to move road-building equipment; during Jun-Jul most of its L-5’s were turned over to Fourteenth AF. The group returned to the US during Oct-Nov 1945. Inactivated on 12 Nov 1945.

    Squadrons

    1st Fighter : 1944-1945
    2d Fighter : 1944-1945
    127th Liaison : 1944-1945
    255th Liaison : 1944-1945
    156th Liaison : 1944-1945
    317th Troop Carrier : 1944-1945

    Stations

    Drew Field, Fla, 22 Apr – 28 Sep 1944
    Kalaikunda, India, 12 Nov 1944 – 4 Oct 1945
    Camp Kilmer, NJ, 11-12 Now 1945

    Commanders

    Capt L H Couch, 22 Apr 1944
    Col Arthur R DeBolt, 1 May 1944
    Col Alfred J Ball Jr, 15 May 1945

    Campaigns

    India-Burma; Central Burma

    Decoration

    none

    2nd Bombardment Group
    Organized as 1st Day Bombardment Group in France on 10 Sep 1918. Equipped with DH-4 and Breguet aircraft and entered combat on 12 Sep. Attacked troop concentrations and communications to interfere with the enemy’s movement of reinforcements and supplies to the front during the Allied offensive at St Mihiel. Also took part in the Meuse-Argonne campaign, attacking the enemy behind the line, and conducting bombing operations that helped to protect Allied ground forces by diverting German pursuit planes from the battle zone. Participated in one of the great bombing raids of the war on 9 Oct when 353 Allied planes (including 200 bombers) under the command of William Mitchell struck a concentration point where German troops were preparing for a counterattack against the Allied offensive in the Meuse-Argonne area. Demobilized in France in Nov 1918, soon after the armistice. Reconstituted (in 1924) and consolidated with a group that was organized in the US as 1st Day Bombardment Group on 18 Sep 1919 and re-designated 2d Bombardment Group in 1921. Used LB-5A, B-10, B-17, B-15 and other aircraft during the 1920’s and 1930’s. Engaged in routine training; tested and experimented with equipment and tactics; participated in maneuvers; took part in Mitchell’s demonstrations of the effectiveness of aerial bombardment on battleships; flew mercy missions to aid victims of a flood in Pennsylvania in 1936 and victims of an earthquake in Chile in 1939; and made good-will flights to South America in the late 1930’s. Redesignated 2d Bombardment Group (Heavy) in 1939. Trained with B-17’s. Served on antisubmarine duty for several months after the US entered World War 11. Moved to North Africa, Mar – May 1943, and remained in the theater until after V-E Day, being assigned first to Twelfth and later (Dec 1943) to Fifteenth AF. Flew many support and interdictory missions, bombing such targets as marshalling yards, airdromes, troop concentrations, bridges, docks, and shipping. Participated in the defeat of Axis forces in Tunisia, Apr-May 1943; the reduction of Pantelleria and the preparations for the invasion of Sicily, May-Jul 1943; the invasion of Italy, Sep 1943; the drive toward Rome, Jan-Jun 194; the invasion of Southern France, Aug 1944; and the campaigns against German forces in northern Italy, Jun Iw-May 1945. Engaged primarily in long-range bombardment of strategic targets after Oct 1943, attacking oil refineries, aircraft factories, steel plants, and other objectives in Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Rumania, and Greece. En route to bomb a vital aircraft factory at Steyr on q Feb 1944, the group was greatly outnumbered by enemy interceptors, but it maintained its formation and bombed the target, receiving a DUC for the performance. On the following day, while on a mission to attack aircraft factories at Regensburg, it met similar opposition equally well and was awarded a second DUC. Served as part of the occupation force in Italy after V-E Day.

    Squadrons

    11th : 1918; 1919-1927
    20th : 1918; 1919-1946
    49th (formerly 166th) : 1918; 1919-1946
    96th : 1918; 1919-1946

    Stations

    Amanty, France, 10 Sep 1918
    Maulan, France, 23 Sep – Nov 1918
    Ellington Field, Tex, 18 Sep 1919
    Kelly Field, Tex, 25 Sep 1919
    Langley Field, Va, 1 Jul 1922
    Ephrata, Wash, 29 Oct 1942
    Great Falls AAB, Mont, 27 Nov 1942 – 13 Mar 1943
    Navarin, Algeria, Apr 1943
    Chateaudun du Rhumel, Algeria, 27 Apr 1943
    Ain M’lila, Algeria, 17 Jun 1943
    Massicault, Tunisia, 31 Jul 1943
    Bizerte, Tunisia, 2 Dec 1943
    Amendola, Italy, 9 Dec 1943
    Foggia, Italy, 19 Nov 1945 – 28 Feb 1946

    Commanders

    Maj Thomas J Hanley Jr, May – Sep 1921
    Maj Lewis H Brereton, Jun 1925
    Maj Hugh Knerr, Jul 1927 – Sep 1930
    Capt Eugene L Eubank, 26 Dec 1933
    Maj Willis H Hale, 1 Jul 1934
    Lt Col Charles B Oldfield, 1935
    Lt Col Robert C Olds, 1937
    Lt Col Harold L George, Feb 1940
    Lt Col Darr H Alkire, 6 Jan 1942
    Col Dale O Smith, Sep 1942
    Col Ford J Lauer, 29 Oct 1942
    Lt Col Joseph A Thomas, 20 Apr 1943
    Col Herbert E Rice, 5 Sep 1943
    Col John D Ryan, 8 Jul 1944
    Col Paul T Cullen, 25 Sep 1944
    Col Robert K Martin, 23 May 1945

    Campaigns

    World War 1 : St Mihiel; Lorraine; Meuse-Argonne
    World War 2 : Antisubmarine, American Theater; Air Combat, EAME Theater; Air Offensive, Europe; Tunisia; Sicily; Naples-Foggia; Anzio; Rome-Arno; Normandy; Northern France; Southern France; North
    Apennines; Rhineland ; Central Europe; Po Valley.

    Decorations

    – Distinguished Unit Citations : Steyr, Austria, 24 Feb 1944; Germany, 25 Feb 1944.

    For all purposes :
    European Center of Military History
    Gunter ‘Doc Snafu’ Gillot
    rue des Thiers 8
    Francorchamps 4970
    Belgium
    Email : gunter [at] eucmh.be





    Thank You for your support !




    (NB : Published for Good – March 2019)

     

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.