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Hot!American Spitfires

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Southron
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2012/03/30 15:36:25 (permalink)
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American Spitfires

I understand that during World War II the British provided some American fighter squadrons with "Reverse Lend Lease" Spitfires, so I have a few questions:
 
[1] In total, how many Spitfires were provided to American fighter units?
[2] Did these American units fly Spitfires all during the war, or were the re-equipped with American built fighters before the end of the war.
[3] Did American fighter pilots like Spitfires?
[4] Did the U.S. return the Spitfires to the British at the end of the war or did we scrap them?
[5] I have never seen a memoir written by an American fighter pilot that flew Spitfires during the war other than that bit in Bob Hoover's book, Forever Flying, about him flying a Spitfire when he got shot down by the Luftwaffe. Has there been any books written by ex American Spitfire pilots?
 
THANKS!!!
 
Ted51
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Re:American Spitfires 2012/03/30 17:03:28 (permalink)
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Southron:
I am not sure that I can accurately answer any of youir questions as this is an area that I have not studied to any degree. My guess is that the total number RLL Spitfires can only be determined by a study of the RAF "Movement Cards" for the Sptifire type. I do know that there have been several excellent studies done my members of the Air Britain research group. Here is what I can add:
1)There were a total of 244 Spitifres that showed up on the "Combined Losses List in the ETO.
2)Sptifires were returned to the RAF, several were transferred to the USN, and 96 were sent from former USAAF deployments to the French French AF in May 1945.
3)USAAF Units that were known to have flown Spitifres, other that the 4th FG, are:
several Squadron of the 7th Photo Recon Group, the 107th and 109th TRS of the 67th TRG, the 12th Photo Recon Squadron, as well as training Squadrons of the 495th and 496th Fighter Training Groups.
 
Sadly, I am not able to anwer your questions in any greater detail or with further information.  Ted51
Pyker
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Re:American Spitfires 2012/03/30 18:11:31 (permalink)
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The 31st and 52nd Fighter Groups flew Spitfires here in the UK and then in North Africa with the 12th Air Force. For an account of an American flying Spitfires, see "Spitfires, Thunderbolts and Warm Beer" for the story of Leroy Gover of 4th FG and ex 133 "Eagle" Squadron RAF. You might also like to find a copy of number 1 in the "American Eagles" series which is "American Volunteers in the RAF 1937-1943" by Tony Holmes. Okay, it deals with Hurricanes as well but enough Spifires to keep you happy.
Peter

US 8th Air Force Little Friends Site
http://www.littlefriends.co.uk
Also hosting the Official Site of the
Fighting Scouts of the 8th Air Force
billrunnels
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Re:American Spitfires 2012/03/30 18:30:55 (permalink)
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Sorry I can't answer your questions but a point of interest. The Base Commander of the 303rdBG(B-17) had one of the later model spitfires for his personal use while I was there in 1945. When he took off we just set down and watched. He was a great pilot flying a great airplane and the results were spectacular.

Bill Runnels
Bombardier(B-17)
8TH Air Force
HELL'S ANGELS
303RDBG, 360THBS
http://www.303rdbg.com/runnels-memories.html
buckeyeuk
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Re:American Spitfires 2012/03/31 04:32:34 (permalink)
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These are the known units ( Spitfire marks in brackets).
31FG ( V, VIII, IX). 7/42--3/44. Eighth-Twelfth AFs.
52FG (same) . 7/42--4/44. Same.
67RG ( V). 9/42--11/43).  Eighth-Ninth
7PG (PR XI). 10/43--5/45). Eighth. Few Vs for training.
496FTG ( V). 12/43--1944. Eighth.
4FG (V,IX). 9/42--3/43). Eighth.
350FG (V). 10/42--1/43. Twelfth ( in UK.)
US Navy ( VCS-7) (V). 5-6/44 only ( borrowed for spotting).
Spitfires allocated from depots and transferred from unit rather than from production. The Mk. VIIIs were only used in Italy and the Far East-Pacific ( latter by RAF--RAAF).
USAAF in UK received 350. Various communications and utility flights had a few as did HQs ( some "borrowed".
Nick
scott348
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Re:American Spitfires 2012/03/31 10:28:19 (permalink)
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 My father was in North Africa and Italy with the U.S. 1st Armored Division and he often mentioned how comforting it was to see the Spitfires fly over. One of his favorite discussion topics was the time he got a haircut at a forward fighter base in N. Africa and seeing U.S. Spitfires and a couple of P-38s on the field.
looserivet
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Re: American Spitfires 2013/04/19 11:41:15 (permalink)
buckeyeuk
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Re: American Spitfires 2013/10/21 14:40:31 (permalink)
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Southron      George G Loving flew Spits with the 31FG in Italy and wrote " Woodbine Red Leader" in 2003 published by Ballentine books . The Group's Spitfires were returned to the RAF in March 1944.
The ex-US Spits transferred to the French were flown post-war in Indo-China .
These are 7 I have found to be sent to the USA , plus 2 Seafires ( naval). All had standard wings except the HF.VII which had extended ones for high-altitude though most combat was at medium levels.
The "FE" designation was for foreign aircraft ( including captured types) evaluated in the US eg FW190 and Me262.
Nick

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surfly
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Re: American Spitfires 2014/08/24 10:02:12 (permalink)
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My father flew P-51's with the 109th TRS of the TRG, specifically his aircraft being "Oh Johnie" and once told me when I was very young that the Spit was the sweetest airplane that he ever flew not saying if he had flown one on a mission or just for fun. His mission records, which I have the original copies, do not mention flying the Spit in combat. When he died I inherited his only oil painting of those times and it is of three Spits flying painted by Ronald Wong.
surfly
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Re: American Spitfires 2014/09/08 15:28:02 (permalink)
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Southron,
            My father, Lt. S.F. Childers flew P-51's with the 109th trs, 67th trg. I have all of his mission records and none show any use of Spits during his 70+ missions. However he once told me that the Spit was the sweetest airplane that he ever flew and the only painting hanging in his pool room before he died is of three Spitfires flying over the England.
           I suspect that he had a few occassions to fly them not on a mission but just for fun.
                                                                                                                                      Surfly
 
lucky52
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Re: American Spitfires 2015/02/01 11:14:11 (permalink)
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How did American units end up flying spitfires?
RSwank
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Re: American Spitfires 2015/02/01 11:34:17 (permalink)
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Lucky,
Starting from post #5 which lists the units using Spitfires, one can do a little searching.  Here are two links concerning  the 31st FG.
This first gives a little history of the group but does not specifically state why they switched from the P-39s to Spitfires.
http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org/31st/31st.html
It is this second link that gives a reason:
http://spitfiresite.com/2010/04/uncle-sams-spitfires.html
 
"When the Eighth Air Force began arriving in England in 1942, it was initially planned that what fighter units would be assigned to it would utilize the Lockheed P-38 Lightning for high-altitude, long-range fighter escort, while the Bell P-39 Airacobra would provide escort for the medium bombers that were coming.
The first P-39 unit to arrive in England was the 31st Fighter Group – the first unit to have taken the Airacobra operational the previous year – though they arrived before their aircraft. In the interim, they were equipped with the Spitfire Mk. V. By the time the similarly-equipped 52nd Fighter Group arrived, the RAF had been able to convince the Americans of the unsuitability of the P-39 for aerial combat in western Europe. As a result, both groups were equipped with Spitfire Mk. Vs.
 
lucky52
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Re: American Spitfires 2015/02/01 11:47:50 (permalink)
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Thankyou.I didn't have a warm and fuzzy on why we were supplying aircraft to everybody else but had to use their spitfires.
RSwank
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Re: American Spitfires 2015/02/01 12:40:28 (permalink)
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I wonder if the 31st FG had stayed with the P-40s (which the British were flying as Tomahawks/Kittyhawks in North Africa) there would still have been the switch to Spitfires.  I don't know if  any P-40s were being used by the RAF in England  as the lack of a 2-stage supercharger hurt its performance at high altitudes, so probably.... the same outcome.
25Kingman49
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Re: American Spitfires 2015/02/01 15:38:25 (permalink)
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Larry, Rolland,
This subject is also covered to some degree in Army Air Forces in WW II, Vol. VI Men and planes http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/AAF/VI/AAF-VI-6.html search Spitfire
Unclear if this adds anything more than Rolland's links above.

Scott M
 
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Zoran Petek
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Re: American Spitfires 2015/02/01 21:03:34 (permalink)
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What if?s are interesting, but true is more interesting, as You can see in this little 31st FG reminder: P-40s (1. 31st PG CO) than P-39 (2. in the USA). Spitfires in the UK, Mk V, than MTO, coded FM-D, F-MD (CO F. M. Dean), Mk IX FA-H JF452 (CO F. A. Hill), same plane JF452 later CM-M (CO McCorkle). 3. 307th FS Mk IX coded MX with 'Torch' star (308th coded HL and 309th WZ).
Transition to Mustangs - 4. first olive drab, than 5. natural metal (see also www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSbha3-FfNk.
Compare with www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hi2KG-5sJoM (Doolittle at the controls of Spit V),
www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZs7NNsoOME (52nd FG Spitfire shot down).

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buckeyeuk
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Re: American Spitfires 2015/02/02 06:02:34 (permalink)
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Rolland      the only "P-40"s used by the RAF / RCAF in the UK were the Tomahawk Is and IIs, by 15 fighter-recce and Army Co-operation squadrons at various times; there were 2 P-40E-1s ( export P-40Es) here , 41-36028 with HQVIIIBC ( at Bovingdon) and 41-35934 with the Royal Aircraft Establishment.
The first Tomahawks were cash contracts, then ( after March 1941) Lend-Lease courtesy of Mr. Roosevelt.
Nick
tonyb
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Re: American Spitfires 2015/02/03 02:26:04 (permalink)
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Southron,
I suspect that you have found there is a lot of research to do to answer all your original queries  - and you will probably find further questions as you work through.
 
Harleyford's "Spitfire - The Story Of A Famous Fighter" (the original Spitfire source book published in 1961) has a short chapter on Spitfires flown by USAAF pilots: "Under Lease/Lend it was agreed that 600 Spitfires would be offset to the USAAF by the end of 1943."
 
There is nothing further to say whether this 600 were all taken up or whether additional offsets were agreed after 1943, but it is a reasonable general total to work with.  I have three different books on the Lend-Lease program but none detail the numbers or the individual aircraft transferred.
 
If you wish to contact me through the forums private message system I can forward you an Excel worksheet of the Spitfires lost in USAAF service (downloaded from the AAIR website).  There are 74 accidents recorded.  This would provide clues to some of the serial batches from which the USAAF Spitfires were transferred.
 
Some years ago there was a publication which I think detailed a brief known history of each Spitfire but I cannot now recall the title.  This book might provide your answers, perhaps someone else may recall it.
 
A further suggestion - the microfilm reels of USAAF individual aircraft records available from the AFHRA include two, numbered ACR-11 and ACR-12.  These contain the records of British aircraft which retained their RAF serial nos. in USAAF service.  I was first alerted to these two reels because they contained the records of a number of Fleet, Canada built PT-26A/B Cornells stored by the USAAF for the RAF.  I had to search the reels fairly carefully to find each record as the some of the record cards were not in a precise alphabetical serial number order.  I do recall coming across a large number of Spitfires in one or both of these reels.  This may be worth pursuing - Good Luck.
Tony Broadhurst

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buckeyeuk
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Re: American Spitfires 2015/02/03 03:13:39 (permalink)
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Tony   you are probably thinking of "Spitfire the History" by Morgan and Shacklady 1987, the best on Spitfires / Seafires; details of about 22,500 aircraft including serials of US Mk. Vs, VIIIs, IX, and XIs .
Also very useful " American Spitfire Camouflage and markings" parts 1 ( 31FG, 496 FTG, VCS-7 USN) and part 2 ( 4FG, 52FG, 67RG, 7PRG) by Laird and Ludwig ( Ventura Pubs.) Great colour artwork too.
Nick
 
tonyb
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Re: American Spitfires 2015/02/03 09:00:20 (permalink)
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Nick,
Yes, that is the book.  It is a long time since I had a copy to look at but I am sure Morgan and Shacklady were the names of the authors.
Cheers Tony

tonyb47uk
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