361st Fighter Group

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name= 361st Fighter Group


caption= 361st Fighter Group Insignia
dates= 1943 - 1945
country= United States
allegiance=
branch= United States Army Air Forces
type=
role= Fighter
size=
command_structure= Ninth Air Force
current_commander=
garrison= European Theatre of World War II
ceremonial_chief=
colonel_of_the_regiment=
nickname=
patron=
motto=
colors=
march=
mascot=
battles=
anniversaries=
The 361st Fighter Group was a World War II United States Army Air Forces combat organization. It served primarily in the European Theatre of World War II.

During the Cold War the unit was redesignated as the 127th Fighter Group, and allocated to the Michigan Air National Guard. Today, the 127th Wing is a vital part of our national defense, being part of the United States Air Force Air Combat Command's First Air Force.

History

Operational Units

* 374th Fighter Squadron (B7)
* 375th Fighter Squadron (E2)
* 376th Fighter Squadron (E9)

Aircraft Flown

* North American P-51 Mustang
* Republic P-47 Thunderbolt

Stations assigned

* Richmond AAB, Virginia, 10 Feb - 26 May 1943
* Langley Field, Virginia, 26 May - 20 Jul 1943
* Millville AAFld, New Jersey, 20 Jul - 28 Aug 1943
* Camp Springs AAFld, Maryland 28 Aug - 20 Sep 1943
* Richmond AAB, Virginia, 20 Sep - 11 Nov 1943
* RAF Bottisham, England 30 Nov 1943 374
* RAF Little Walden, England 26 Sep 1944 165
* Chievres Airdrome (A-84), Belgium 1 Feb-Apr 1945
* RAF Little Walden, England 9 Apr-3 Nov 1945 165
* Camp Kilmer, NJ 9-10 Nov 1945

Operational history

World War II

Constituted as 361st Fighter Group on 28 Jan 1943. Activated on 10 Feb 1943. Joined Eighth AF at RAF Bottisham, England in Nov 1943. The group was under the command of the 65th Fighter Wing of the VIII Fighter Command. Aircraft of the group were identified by yellow around their cowlings and tails.

The 361st FG entered combat with P-47 aircraft on 21 January 1944 and converted to P-51's in May 1944. The unit served primarily as an escort organization, covering the penetration, attack, and withdrawal of B-17/B-24 bomber formations that the USAAF sent against targets on the Continent.

The group also engaged in counter-air patrols, fighter sweeps, and strafing and dive-bombing missions. Attacked such targets as airdromes, marshalling yards, missile sites, industrial areas, ordnance depots, oil refineries, trains, and highways. During its operations, participated in the assault against the German Air Force and aircraft industry during Big Week, 20-25 February 1944; the Normandy invasion, June 1944 and the Saint-Lô breakthrough in July.

The weight of the heavy P-47 fighters soon began to tell on the wet surface making take-offs tricky. A team of American engineers were called in during January 1944 and, in three days, they constructed a 1,470-yard-long runway with pierced-steel planking. This feat was considered a record for laying this type of prefabricated surfacing. The runway, which was aligned NE-SW, became the main at Bottisham the other also being constructed of P5P.

In September 1944 the 361st FG moved to RAF Little Walden. At Little Walden, the 361st served primarily as a B-17/B-24 escort organization, covering the penetration, attack, and withdrawal of bomber formations that the USAAF sent against targets on the Continent. The group also engaged in counter-air patrols, fighter sweeps, and strafing and dive-bombing missions. Attacked such targets as airfields, marshalling yards, missile sites, industrial areas, ordnance depots, oil refineries, trains, and highways.

The group supported the airborne attack on Holland in September 1944 and deployed to Chievres Airdrome, {ALG A-84), Belgium between February and April 1945 flying tactical ground support missions during the airborne assault across the Rhine.

The unit returned to Little Walden and flew its last combat mission on 20 April 1945.

On 10 November the 361st Fighter Group returned to Camp Kilmer New Jersey and was deactivated.

Cold War

During the Cold War the unit was redesignated as the 127th Fighter Group, and allocated to the Michigan Air National Guard on 24 May 1946.

The group was ordered into active service on 1 February 1951 as a result of the Korean War and assigned to Air Training Command. In March 1951 it was redesignated as the 127th Pilot Training Group, being assigned F-51 Mustangs, F-80 Shooting Stars and F-84 Thunderjets while serving as a training organization.

The 127th was relieved from active duty in November 1952 and redesignated the 127th Fighter Group.

See also

* Eighth Air Force

References

* Freeman, Roger A. (1978) Airfields of the Eighth: Then and Now. After the Battle ISBN 0900913096
* Freeman, Roger A. (1991) The Mighty Eighth The Colour Record. Cassell & Co. ISBN 0-304-35708-1
* Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0892010924.

External links

* [http://www.361fg.com 361st Fighter Group Home Page]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • 107th Fighter Squadron — Infobox Military Unit unit name= 107th Fighter Squadron caption=107th FS Arm Patch dates= 1925; activated Oct 25, 1940 country= United States allegiance= branch= United States Air Force type= role= Fighter size= command structure= Air Combat… …   Wikipedia

  • 56th Fighter Wing — Infobox Military Unit unit name=56th Fighter Wing caption= 56th Wing Shield dates= 15 January 1941 country=United States allegiance= branch=Air Force type= role= size= command structure=Air Education and Training Command current… …   Wikipedia

  • New York Fighter Wing — Active 1942–1944 Country United States Branch United States Air Force Role Fighter Engagements …   Wikipedia

  • Orlando Fighter Wing — Active 1942 1944 Country United States Branch United States Army Air Force Role Fighter Engagements Wor …   Wikipedia

  • VIII Fighter Command — The VIII Fighter Command was the fighter arm of The Mighty Eighth Air Force and eventually consisted of 15 groups (each with three squadrons) organized in three wings based in southern England. Though the 8th began operating fighters in 1942,… …   Wikipedia

  • Norfolk Fighter Wing — Active 1942–1946 Country United States Branch United States Army Air Force Role Fighter Engagements Wor …   Wikipedia

  • RAF Little Walden — Infobox Military Structure name= Royal Air Force Station Little Walden USAAF Station 165 location= Located Near Saffron Walden, Essex, England coordinates=coord|52|04|22|N|000|15|37|E| caption= Little Walden Airfield 9 July 1946 type= Military… …   Wikipedia

  • RAF Bottisham — Infobox Military Structure name= Royal Air Force Station Bottisham USAAF Station 374 location= Located Near Bottisham, Cambridgeshire, England coordinates=coord|52|12|18|N|000|15|09|E| caption= Bottisham Airfield 7 May 1946 type= Military… …   Wikipedia

  • Eighth Air Force — emblem Part of Air …   Wikipedia

  • Operation Bodenplatte — Part of Battle of the Bulge, World War II Ove …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.