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American Spitfires

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2012/03/30 15:36:25 (permalink)

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?
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Re:American Spitfires 2012/03/30 17:03:28 (permalink)
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
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Re:American Spitfires 2012/03/30 18:11:31 (permalink)
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.

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Re:American Spitfires 2012/03/30 18:30:55 (permalink)
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
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Re:American Spitfires 2012/03/31 04:32:34 (permalink)
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".
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Re:American Spitfires 2012/03/31 10:28:19 (permalink)
 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.
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Re: American Spitfires 2013/04/19 11:41:15 (permalink)
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Re: American Spitfires 2013/10/21 14:40:31 (permalink)
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.

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Re: American Spitfires 2014/08/24 10:02:12 (permalink)
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.
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