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27th Fighter Group

Group

The 27th went through two different incarnations during the Second World War. As the 27th Bombardment Group it fought in the Philippines and Java in 1941-42. It was then reformed in the US and sent to North Africa, where it eventually became the 27th Fighter Group, serving in North Africa, Sicily and Italy.

The 27th Bombardment Group was formed in February 1940. It was equipped with the A-24, and on 1 November 1941 set sail for the Philippines, where it was to form part of the aerial garrison. The ground echelons arrived in the Philippines on 20 November, but the ship carrying their aircraft, the Meigs, couldn't be provided with a suitable escort for the stage from Hawaii until 24 November. The aircraft were thus nowhere near the Philippines when the Japanese attacked on 8 December, and it quickly became clear that it would be far to dangerous to try and sail to the islands. The convoy was diverted to Australia.

On 18 December the group's commander, Major John H Davies, with twenty of the pilots, were flown to Australia where they were to collect their aircraft. Instead the pilots were kept in Australia. On 21 December, still expecting their aircraft, the group's personnel were ordered to prepare three new airfields in the area around Manila. On 24 December this plan was abandoned, and the personnel were moved to Bataan, arriving on 25 December. There they served as infantry on Bataan and Corregidor.

Between 9-12 February the Group moved its A-24s from Australia to Java. On 19 February the Japanese made a heavy attack on Java, having just captured the island of Bali, cutting the ferry route from Australia. Two of the group's A-24s attacked and damaged two Japanese warships on the same day. Seven aircraft from the group took part in a larger attack on Bali on 19-20 February. Two aircraft were lost and the attack was a failure. Bali was lost, and Java soon had to be evacuated.

The remaining aircraft of the 27th Fighter Group were used to fly patrols in the Darwin area in March-April 1942, but the group itself was almost gone. The remaining aircraft and personnel were transferred to the newly arrived 3rd Bombardment Group, and in May 1942 the 27th was officially transferred back to the United States (this was a paper transfer as no men or equipment moved).

The 27th Fighter Group reformed in the US, where it was equipped with the A-20. It used these for training, and then in November 1942 began the move to North Africa. Once in Africa it converted to the A-36 Mustang and joined the Twelfth Air Force. The group served in the Mediterranean for the rest of the Second World War.

In June 1943 the group resumed operations, and took part in the campaign against the Italian islands of Pantelleria and Lampedusa, a massive aerial assault that forced the islands to surrender.

In the week before the invasion of Sicily (3-10 July 1943) the 27th attacked Axis supply centres in the south and centre of Sicily.

In August 1943 the group was redesignated as the 27th Fighter-Bomber Group.

In September it was used to cover the landings at Salerno (Operation Avalanche), which began on 9 September 1943. On 10 September the group was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for its part in preventing three armoured divisions from reaching the beachhead.

The group began to swap its Mustangs for P-40 Warhawks in January 1944, although it used its A-36s during the fighting at Anzio in January-February 1944.

In May 1944 the group became the 27th Fighter Group

In June 1944 the Warhawks were replaced with P-47 Thunderbolts. In the following month the group took its new aircraft to Corsica in preparation for the invasion of Southern France. The group also used its new location to attack German communications in northern Italy.

The group supported the invasion of Southern France. It moved from Corsica to France and supported the Seventh Army as it advanced up the Rhone Valley. The group briefly returned to Italy, but early in 1945 it transferred back to France, from where it attacked German communications in northern Italy and supported the Allied invasion of Germany. The group moved into Germany in April 1945, but didn't become part of the occupation force and in October-November 1945 it returned to the US. The group was inactivated on 7 November 1945.

US Air Force Combat Units of World War II Description

Constituted as 27th Bombardment Group (Light) on 22 Dec 1939. Activated on I Feb 1940. Sailed for the Philippine Islands on I Nov 1941 and arrived at Manila on 20 Nov. The group’s planes (A-24’s), which had not arrived by 7 Dec, were diverted to Australia after the Japanese attack on the Philippines. The group’s commander and 20 pilots who were flown from Luzon to Australia to get the aircraft did not return because of the deterioration of the situation in the Philippines; some of these pilots saw service in Java, Feb-May 1942, before they were assigned to another group. The men left on Luzon served as infantrymen in the battles of Bataan and Corregidor; though a few managed to escape, most were either killed or taken prisoners of war by the Japanese. The 27th group was transferred, without personnel and equip ment, from Australia to the US in May 1942. Re-manned and equipped with A-20’s. Trained in the US until Nov 1942. Moved to North Africa. Converted to A-36 aircraft. Began operations with Twelfth AF in Jun 1943 and served in the Mediterranean theater until the end of the war. Converted to P-40’s in Jan 1944 and to P-47’s in Jun 1944. Redesignated 27th Fighter-Bomber Group in Aug 1943, and 27th Fighter Group in May 1944. Participated in the reduction of Pantelleria and Lampedusa. Supported ground forces during the conquest of Sicily. Covered the landings at Salerno and received a DUC for preventing three German armored divisions from reaching the Salerno beachhead, 10 Sep 1943. Supported Fifth Army during the Allied drive toward Rome. Took part in the invasion of Southern France and assisted Seventh Army’s advance up the Rhone Valley, receiving a DUC for helping to disrupt the German retreat, 4 Sep 1944. Took part in the interdiction of the enemy’s communications in northern Italy, and assisted in the Allied drive from France into Germany during the last months of the war. Returned to the US, Oct-Nov 1945. Inactivated on 7 Nov 1945.

Commanding officers
  • Dorr Newton

    Military | Colonel | Fighter Pilot/Deputy Group Commander/Group Commander | 27th Fighter Group
    Retired from the USAF with the rank of Brigadier General

  • William Nevitt

    Military | Colonel | Fighter Pilot - Group Commander | 27th Fighter Group

Structure

Part of
Not yet known
Encompassing
  • 522nd Fighter Squadron
  • 523rd Fighter Squadron

    523rd Fighter Squadron

    Squadron
    Formed as a B-18 Bolo bombardment squadron under Third Air Force in Louisiana during 1940. Re-equipped with A-24 Dauntless Dive Bombers, then in late 1941, ordered to Seventh Air Force in the Philippines in response to the growing crisis in the Pacific...

  • 524th Fighter Squadron

    524th Fighter Squadron

    Squadron
    The squadron was re-manned and re-equipped at Hunter Field with the Douglas A-20 Havoc light bomber. After additional training in Mississippi and Louisiana, the group moved to Ste-Barbe-du-Tlelat Airfield, Algeria, arriving on 26 December[1] to enter...

  • 16th Bomb Squadron

    16th Bomb Squadron

    Squadron
    The 9 SOS was originally constituted in 1939 as the 16th Bombardment Squadron (Light) and activated on 1 February 1940.[2] It was stationed at Barksdale Field, LA, and later Hunter Field, GA, before being assigned to Luzon in the Philippines in 1941....

  • 17th Bomb Squadron

    17th Bomb Squadron

    Squadron
    The 523d Fighter Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with the 27th Operations Group stationed at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico. ...

  • 91st Bomb Squadron

    91st Bomb Squadron

    Squadron
    The 91st Bombardment Squadron was formed as the 11th Reconnaissance Squadron (Light) in 1940 and became the 91st Bombardment Squadron on 14 August 1941 ...

Previously was
Not yet known
Became
Not yet known

Stations

Station Location Date
Established Barksdale Army Air Field 1 February 1940
Based 1 April 1942 – 4 May 1942
Based Hunter Army Air Field 4 May 1942 – 1 July 1942
Based Nouvion January 1943 – 7 April 1943
Based Korba June 1943 – July 1943
Based Ponte Olivo July 1943 – September 1943
Based La Luc August 1944
Based Tarquinia October 1944 – December 1944
Based Pontedera, Italy December 1944 – February 1945
Based Saint-Dizier February 1945 – March 1945
Based Toul / Ochey March 1945 – 3 April 1945
Based Biblis April 1945 – June 1945

Connections

People

  • James Cooper

    Military | Major | Fighter pilot | 27th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 307FS, 31FG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred to 522FBS, 27FBG, 12AF.

  • Robert Fromm

    Military | Captain | Fighter Pilot | 27th Fighter Group

  • Winford Gaines

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 27th Fighter Group

  • Chreighton Houpt

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 27th Fighter Group
    Crashed into high ground at Mill Hill on 11 October 1944, while ferrying B-24 Liberator 42-52003 from BAD 2 at Burtonwood to Hardwick, after experiencing bad weather. Houpt was wounded in action, suffering a broken jaw. He managed to extract himself...

  • Ainsworth Jones

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 27th Fighter Group

  • William Nevitt

    Military | Colonel | Fighter Pilot - Group Commander | 27th Fighter Group

  • Dorr Newton

    Military | Colonel | Fighter Pilot/Deputy Group Commander/Group Commander | 27th Fighter Group
    Retired from the USAF with the rank of Brigadier General

  • Jerome Notowitz

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 27th Fighter Group
    Killed in Action (KIA) in Boston III AL 381 which hit high tension wires near Thrapston.

  • John Pearson

    Military | 27th Fighter Group

  • Arnol Sellars

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter pilot | 27th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 522FS, 27FG, 12AF USAAF. 56 x combat missions. Failed to Return (FTR) armed recce to Heilbronn A/D in P-47D 44-33066, hit by flak and baled out SW of Grombach. Awards: WWII Victory, EAME.

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Aircraft

  • AL677

    A-20 Havoc
    Aircraft was originally part of the complement of 226 Squadron RAF but given over to 15th Bombardment Squadron to be flown by an American crew. The aircraft was shot down by anti-aircraft fire and crashed on Texel Island, Holland while on a mission to...

  • 42-84081

    P-51 Mustang
    On strength 525th FS 86th FG 12th AF at time of crash landing.

  • 42-84067

    P-51 Mustang

  • 42-83901

    P-51 Mustang

  • 42-84057

    P-51 Mustang

  • 42-83970

    P-51 Mustang

  • 44-33044

    P-47 Thunderbolt

  • 44-33033

    P-47 Thunderbolt

  • 44-33478

    P-47 Thunderbolt

  • 42-83873

    P-51 Mustang

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Citations

Distinguished Unit Citations: Philippine Islands, 7 Dec 1941-10 May 1942
Philippine Islands, 8-22 Dec 1941
Philippine Islands, 6 Jan-8 Mar 1942
Italy, 10 Sep 1943
France, 4 Sep 1944;

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
09 July 2020 15:44:46 RobertM Changes to stations
Sources

https://forgottenairfields.com/airfield-pontedera-546.html AND book "Tailend Charley" by James E Brown

Date Contributor Update
09 July 2020 14:06:24 RobertM Changes to stations
Sources

Book Tailgunner Charley by James E Brown

Date Contributor Update
09 July 2020 05:30:28 RobertM Changes to stations
Sources

Book "Tailend Charley" by James E Brown

Date Contributor Update
09 July 2020 04:41:36 RobertM Changes to stations
Sources

Book "Tail-End Charley: Stories from American Fighter Pilot in WWII" by James E Brown contains details on 27th from just prior to move from Tarquinia in Dec 1944 to Pontedera, Italy. In Feb 1945 they moved to St Dizier, France. (Sorry, I don't see how to add a location yet)

Date Contributor Update
01 October 2019 11:21:29 Emily Changes to stations
Sources

USAAF Continental Airfields: ETO, D-Day to VE Day

Date Contributor Update
12 December 2018 14:42:09 general ira snapsorter Changes to name, us air force combat units of world war ii description and commanding officers associations
Sources

https://media.defense.gov/2010/Sep/21/2001330256/-1/-1/0/AFD-100921-044.pdf

Date Contributor Update
07 December 2016 02:29:23 466thHistorian Changes to aircraft associations
Sources

http://raf-112-squadron.org/27thfghonor_roll43-44.html

Date Contributor Update
06 December 2016 21:45:44 466thHistorian Changes to commanding officers associations
Sources

http://www.af.mil/AboutUs/Biographies/Display/tabid/225/Article/106011/b...

Date Contributor Update
06 December 2016 21:27:08 466thHistorian Changes to aircraft types
Sources

http://raf-112-squadron.org/27th_fg.html

Date Contributor Update
06 December 2016 04:21:55 466thHistorian Changes to stations
Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batchelor_Airfield

Date Contributor Update
05 December 2016 03:27:48 466thHistorian Changes to motto
Sources

http://raf-112-squadron.org/27th_fg.html

Date Contributor Update
05 December 2016 03:03:07 466thHistorian Changes to insignia and citations
Sources

http://www.armyaircorps.us/27th_Fighter_Group.cfm

Date Contributor Update
05 December 2016 02:51:36 466thHistorian Changes to type, name, description, air forces, aircraft types, unit part of associations and media associations
Sources

http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/27th_Fighter_Group.html

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:42:44 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia

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