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350th Fighter Group

Group

The 350th Fighter Group was always intended to join the Twelfth Air Force in the North African campaign as a tactical fighter organisation, using P-39 Airacobras in ground attacks. The pilots flew practice missions from the UK before flying their aircraft to North Africa in January 1942. From there they were involved in the attacks on Tunisia, the defence of Algeria and the invasion of Sicily, Italy and southern Europe.

US Air Force Combat Units of World War II Description

Activated in England on 1 Oct 1942 by special authority granted to Eighth AF prior to constitution as 350th Fighter Group on 2 Oct 1942. The air echelon moved from England to North Africa, Jan-Feb 1943; the ground echelon, which had been formed in the US, arrived in North Africa about the same time.

The group operated with Twelfth AF from Jan 1943 until the end of the war, flying patrol and interception missions, protecting convoys, escorting aircraft, flying reconnaissance missions, engaging in interdictory operations, and providing close support for ground forces. Used P-39s, P-40s, and a few P-38s before converting to P-47s during Aug-Sep 1944. Operated against targets in Tunisia until the end of that campaign. Defended the coast of Algeria during the summer and fall of 1943. Afterward, operated primarily in support of Allied forces in Italy until the end of the war, bombing and strafing rail facilities, shipping docks, radar and transformer stations, power lines, bridges, motor transports, and military installations.

Received a DUC for action in western Italy on 6 Apr 1944 when, despite intense flak and attacks by numerous enemy interceptors, the group flew ten missions, hitting troops, bridges, vehicles, barracks, and air warning installations. Also covered Allied landings on Elba in Jun 1944 and supported the invasion of Southern France in Aug.

1st Lt Raymond L Knight was awarded the Medal of Honor for missions on 24 and 25 Apr 1945: voluntarily leading attacks, through intense antiaircraft fire, against enemy airdromes in northern Italy, Lt Knight was responsible for eliminating more than 20 German planes intended for assaults on Allied forces; attempting to return his shattered plane to base after an attack on 25 Apr, Lt Knight crashed in the Apennines.

The group moved to the US, Jul-Aug 1945. Inactivated on 7 Nov 1945.

Structure

Part of
Encompassing
Previously was
Not yet known
Became
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Stations

Station Location Date
Based Bushey Hall 1 October 1942 – 15 October 1942
Based Duxford 15 October 1942 – January 1943
Based Snailwell 16 October 1942 – 8 December 1942
Based Coltishall November 1942 – June 1943
Based Kings Cliffe December 1942
Assigned 12th Air Force January 1943

Connections

People

  • Harry Barr

    Military | Captain | Fighter Pilot/Squadron Operations Officer/Assistant Group Ops Officer | 31st Fighter Group
    Born in El Dorado, Kansas June 13, 1919. Commissioned as a 2nd Lt and awarded pilots wings on July 11, 1941. First active duty assignment was with the 31st Fighter Group, Selfridge Field Michigan flying P-39's. Participated in the Louisiana...

  • Donald Bush

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 350th Fighter Group
    Crashed at Kings Cliff, Northants in Master III W8929. Group later assigned to 12th AAF

  • Donald Cope

    Military | 350th Fighter Group

  • John Diffendal

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter pilot | 350th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 346FS, 350FG, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) bombing mission to Bologna 23-Dec-44 in P-47D 42-28827 fell victim to flak Killed in Action (KIA). MACR 14557. Awards: SS, AM (3OLC), PH.

  • Benjamin King

    Military | Major | Fighter Pilot | 350th Fighter Group
    Aug. -Dec. 1944, formerly 347th FG PTO, P-51C 42-103898 'Matilda IV'

  • Homer St. Onge

    Military | Major | Fighter Pilot | 350th Fighter Group

  • Roger Stearns

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 350th Fighter Group
    22 October 1944 the engine of the P-400 BX418 cut out while circling Snailwell airfield Suffolk. On landing, nose wheel collaspsed. Plane was salvaged and Lieutenant Stearn returned to action. assigned to 12th AAF

  • Henry Tatum

    Military | First Lieutenant | P-47 Pilot | 350th Fighter Group
    1st Lt. H. E. Tatum – P-47 6C6 “Sugar Tit” 1st Lt. Tatum was with the 346th for 9 months from May to the end of the war in February45. He served in the air campaigns over Tarquinia and Pisa, Italy.

  • James Thorsen

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Fighter Pilot/Squadron Commander | 31st Fighter Group
    CO 308th FS first and third combat tours HQ 350th FG second combat tour CO 79th FG post War Germany Spitfire Mk VIII HL+B "Nightshade" P-51D HL+B "Nightshade IV" 3 air kills plus 1 ME-262 damaged

  • Dean Tracy

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 350th Fighter Group

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Aircraft

  • 42-28827 'Jersey Jerk'

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    Assigned to 361FS, 356FG, 8AF USAAF. Personal aircraft of Major Donald J Strait. Re-assigned to Capt Edward L Faison. Transferred to 346FS, 350FG, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) bombing mission to Bologna 23-Dec-44 to flak pilot Lt John Diffendal...

  • LB640

    Hurricane
    Hurricane Mk I LB640, which was being operated as a target-tug with the P-39-equipped 346th Fighter Squadron, 350th Fighter Group, 12th AF USAAF in Sardinia in early 1944. ...

  • BP654

    Hurricane
    Hawker Hurricane Mk IIb BP654, delivery date from Hawkers between March - Nov 1942, after having served with RAF Sqns. 'Acquired' in Sardinia by the 350th FG, 12th AF, became a unit hack of the unit in Italy, converted to a 2 seater, and painted with a...

  • DL788

    Master
    Miles Master DL788, assigned to 347FS, 350FG, 8th AF USAAF.

  • EP176

    Spitfire
    Supermarine Spitfire EP176 Mk Vb, Built at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory. ...

  • 44-20978 Torrid Tessie

    P-47 Thunderbolt

  • 42-26840 Hellzapoppin

    P-47 Thunderbolt

  • 42-27260 Flak Happy

    P-47 Thunderbolt

Citations

Distinguished Unit Citation : Italy, 6 Apr 1944.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
04 June 2021 12:30:16 Emily Changes to motto, us air force combat units of world war ii description, citations and stations
Sources

Air Force Combat Units of World War II

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:42:45 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / The Mighty Eighth. A History of the Units, Men and Machines of the US 8th Air Force.' by Roger A. Freeman (1989). 'Air Force Combat Units of World War II' compiled by the Department of the US Air Force, edited by Maurice Maurer (1983).

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