9th to 8th question

Discussion in 'All Hands Club & Canteen Discussion Area' started by Alex Smart, Aug 6, 2017.

  1. Alex Smart

    Alex Smart Active Member

    Hello,
    When the 357 FG was with the 9th AAF did it actually receive aircraft OR was it transferred to the 8th AAF before the aircraft assigned actually arrived to the Squadrons ?
    Thanks
    Alex
     
  2. terveurn

    terveurn Active Member

    Mauer has the 357th FG assigned to the 8th right out of training

    357th fg.JPG
     
  3. Peter Randall

    Peter Randall New Member

    Well, Mauer is wrong. I'd rather take the word of the 357th FG Historian the late Merle Olmsted! To quote:
    "The Group obtained its first operational experience on 14th January 1944 when Col. Chickering, Maj. Graham (Executive Officer) and Maj. Egnes (362nd C.O.) flew a combat mission with the 354th Fighter Group.............
    ......... On 25th of January, Capt. Joe Giltner, C.O. of the 363rd, became the fiest operational loss. Along with four other 357th pilots, he was flying with the 354th Group on its 16th mission.........
    Late in January, there was a considerable upheaval at Raydon Wood when officers of the 358th Fighter Group (an 8th Air Force P-47 outfit) arrived and stated they were to take over the base. Since no official or confirming information had been received, no action was taken. Two days later, however, it was confirmed when verbal orders from General Quesada, Commander of IX Fighter Command indicated that t he 357th was to trade bases with the 358th."
    From "The Yoxford Boys" by Merle C Olmsted.
     
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  4. terveurn

    terveurn Active Member

    There is a big difference between when a group becomes operational and individual(s) in training being allowed to fly combat mission with another group to gain experience.

    The 354th FG was a part of the 8th AF (at this time) so that means on 14 January 44, Col. Chickering, Maj. Graham (Executive Officer) and Maj. Egnes (362nd C.O.) flew a combat mission with the 354th Fighter Group (with the 8th AF) - last 8th AF combat mission was on 11 May 1944.

    The 358th FG was also a 8th AF fighter group at this time

    from 8th AF Historical Site -- the 358th FG was trained with P-47's. Moved to England during Sep-Oct 1943.

    Began operations on 20 Dec 1943 and served in combat with Eighth (last combat missions with the 8th - 29 April 1944) and, later, Ninth AF until V-E Day. Engaged in escort work until Apr 1944 to cover the operations of bombers that the AAF sent against targets on the Continent. Dive-bombed marshalling yards and airfields during Apr to help prepare for the invasion of Normandy. Continued attacks on enemy communications and flew escort missions during May. Escorted troop carriers over the Cotentin Peninsula on 6 and 7 Jun, and attacked bridges, rail lines and trains, vehicles, and troop concentrations during the remainder of the month. Moved to the Continent in Jul and took part in operations that resulted in the Allied breakthrough at St Lo. Continued to fly escort, interdictory, and close-support missions during the allied drive across France and into Germany, earning four citations before the end of the war.

    Received first DUC for operations from 24 Dec 1944 to 2 Jan 1945 when the group not only supported Seventh Army by attacking rail lines and rolling stock, vehicles, buildings, and artillery, but also destroyed numerous fighter planes during a major assault by the German Air Force against Allied airfields.

    Received second DUC for 19-20 Mar 1945, a period in which the 358th destroyed and damaged large numbers of motor transports and thus hampered the evacuation of German forces that were withdrawing from the area west of the Rhine.

    Received third DUC for performance between 8 and 25 Apr 1945 when the group attacked enemy airfields in the region of Munich and Ingolstadt, engaged the enemy in aerial combat, and supported advancing ground forces by attacking such targets as motor transports, tanks, locomotives, guns, and buildings.

    Received fourth citation, the French Croix de Guerre with Palm, for assisting in the liberation of France. Returned to the US in Jul 1945. Inactivated on 7 Nov 1945.

    • Commanders:
    • Col Cecil L Wells, 1 Jan 1943
    • Col James B Tipton, 20 Sep 1944
    • Lt Col John M Thacker, 1945

    use for reference: http://www.8thafhs.com/old/index.php
     
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  5. Peter Randall

    Peter Randall New Member

    We, or at least I, am well aware that the 358th FG was originally with the 8th AF and swapped with the 357th. If I can refer you to Alex's original question, he was asking if the 357th actually received (P-51) aircraft whilst with the 9th AF, or not until they moved to the 8th. My quotation from Merle's book proves that they had P-51s (ex RAF in the main) when with the 9th. The question of senior officers gaining experience with another Group is therefore somewhat academic in response to the original question.
    For your information, and again quoting from original source, in this case Terry Fairfield's "The Pioneer Mustang Group", page 30, referring to their first morning in England, (4th/5th November) at Greenham Common:
    "Also on that day, they received a surprise visit from Brigadier General Elwood R "Pete" Quesada, CO of the new IX Fighter Command, to which the Group was now assigned."
    The 354th FG was never part of the 8th AF but certainly flew many escort missions with them, but on an "on loan" basis. They always remained under the control of 9th Fighter Command.
     
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  6. Peter Randall

    Peter Randall New Member

    Just to clarify the aircraft situation, again from Merle's book:
    "The status reports for the week ending Christmas Day (1943) showed 6 P-51Bs and the L-4 on hand. By New Year's Day, there were 15 P-51s and an Airspeed Oxford. The L-4 had gone by transfer."
     
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  7. terveurn

    terveurn Active Member

    From Freeman -- the 357th was the Pioneer P-51 Group, so that tells me they always had P-51's in combat.
     
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  8. Peter Randall

    Peter Randall New Member

    Hardly! The 354th was the Pioneer Mustang Group, hence the title of Fairfield's book. Nobody is disputing that the 357th always had P-51s in combat but they were not the first! Why else would the 357th have flown "experience" missions with the 354th if the 354th did not already have Mustangs? Freeman is correct about "Pioneer" for the 357th only as far as the 8th AF is concerned, but they brought those P-51s with them from their 9th AF assignment.
     
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  9. Alex Smart

    Alex Smart Active Member

    Hello,
    Thank you both for your replies.
    To sum up then the 357th Fighter Group did have Mustang's for the brief period the Group was with the 9thAAF.
    With up to 16 ex-RAF Mustang's and an Oxford around the time of transfers to the 8th AAF.

    Reason for my question was that the Group may have been in the UK and I thought that they may have had a/c assigned but not have them physically but only on paper as it were. Only actually getting aircraft when the transfere to the 8th AAF was completed.
    Thanks for the clarification that the y did actually have a/c when with the 9th AAF.
    I will now see if I can trace serial number's.
    Thank you both
    Alex
     
  10. Alex Smart

    Alex Smart Active Member

    Hello,
    Had a quick look in "Little Friends" 357FG Lists and there are 15 P51C a/c listed, perhaps these are the ex-RAF a/c, will check US serials against RAF ones later today.
    Alex
     
  11. Peter Randall

    Peter Randall New Member

    They were not ALL from RAF stocks Alex. Don't forget that the 357th FG records are pretty well non-existent, due to their loss when being returned to the US. Merle Olmsted did a wonderful job trying to put the history together with just an old typewriter and a card index system but even he was stumped over many areas just because of the lack of information.
     
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  12. Alex Smart

    Alex Smart Active Member

    Hello,
    I only found one in the 357FG little Friends list that had a previous RAF serial number, 42-103041 which was FB147.
    Alex
     

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