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55th Fighter Group

Aircraft:P-38; P-51
Group Emblem:
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Wing:66th Combat Bombardment Wing
Division:3rd Bombardment Division
Airfield(s)
Squadrons:38th Fighter Squadron
338th Fighter Squadron
343th Fighter Squadron
Tail Marking:
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Details:Trained with P-43's. Redesignated 55th Fighter Group in May 1942. Converted to P-38's and prepared for combat. Moved to England, Aug-Sep 1943. Assigned to Eighth AF. Began operations with P-38's on 15 Oct 1943; converted to P-51's in Jul 1944. Engaged primarily in escorting bombers that attacked such targets as industries and marshalling yards in Germany, and airfields and V-weapon sites in France. Provided cover for B-17's and B-24's that bombed aircraft plants during Big Week in Feb 1944, gun emplacements during the St Lo breakthrough in Jul 1944, and transportation facilities during the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944-Jan 1945. Also patrolled the air over the Channel and bombed bridges in the Tours area during the invasion of the Continent in Jun 1944; patrolled the Arnhem sector to support the airborne invasion of Holland in Sep 1944; strafed trucks, locomotives, and oil depots near Wesel when the Allies crossed the Rhine in Mar 1945.

Received a DUC for eight missions to Germany between 3 and 13 Sep 1944 when the group not only destroyed enemy fighters in the air to protect the bombers it was escorting, but also descended to low levels, in spite of intense antiaircraft fire, to strafe airdromes and to destroy enemy aircraft on the ground. Received second DUC for operations on 19 Feb 1945 when the organization flew a sweep over Germany to hit railway tracks, locomotives, oil cars, goods wagons, troop cars, buildings, and military vehicles. Flew last combat mission on 21 Apr 1945. Moved to Germany in Jul 1945 as part of the occupation forces. Assigned to United States Air Forces in Europe. Trained with P-51 and P-80 aircraft. Inactivated in Germany on 20 Aug 1946.

    Commanders:
  • Capt Kenneth S Wade, 15 Jan 1941
  • Maj James W McCauley, 1 May 1941
  • Lt Col Karl K Bowen, 1 May 1942
  • Maj Jack S Jenkins, 1 Aug 1942
  • Maj Ernest W Keating, 13 Nov 1942
  • Lt Col Frank B James, 15 May 1943
  • Col Jack S Jenkins, 6 Feb 1944
  • Col George T Crowell, 10 Apr 1944
  • Lt Col Elwyn C Righetti, 22 Feb 1945
  • Col Ben Rimerman, 22 Apr 1945
  • Lt Col Jack W Hayes Jr, 21 May 1945

Air Force Combat Units of World War II, Maurer, Maurer: USAF, 1986

Accident Reports:Number of Non-Combat-Related Accident reports for this group: