10th Air Force, USAAF, 1942-1946

History - Commanders - Time Line - Component Units


The 10th Air Force was one of the smallest combat air forces in the USAAF. While other air forces were made up of divisions or wings, the 10th Air Force was made up of at most eight groups.

The first commander of the force, Colonel Harry A Halverson never even reached the theatre. His detachment, known as HALPRO, reached the Middle East during a period of crisis, and remained there to fight the Germans. His successor, Major-General Lewis H. Brereton arrived in March 1942 to find himself in command of eight heavy bombers which to carry out his ambitious tasks. These included support for the British in Burma, the defense of the supply lines to China, and even possible bombing attacks on the Japanese Home Islands! A small number of extra fighter aircraft appeared before Brereton was moved on to take over in the Middle East.

The 10th Air Force carried out its first combat mission, an attack on Japanese shipping near the Andaman Islands on 2 April 1942. Led by Brereton in person, this mission was flown by a grand total of two B-17s and one LB-30 Liberator!

The early history of the 10th Air Force was complicated by the seemingly endless disputes between the American theatre commander, General Stilwell, and just about everybody he came into contact with.

even tinier when Brereton took over

14th March 1943 for China - get two units from 10th (51st Fighter and 341st Bombardment) 1943 and two more in 1944 (33rd and 311th FG) 33rd later returned to 10th

China Air Task Force (CATF) formed 3 July 1942 under command of Chennault.

492-502 497 484-85 494 502-10 500-2 509-10 336 339-40 496 508 312-3 340 354 497-8 508 511-13

51st FG - Dinjan, India: 10 October 1942-Octobner 1943, defnding hump plus fights in 1943 Japanese offensive in northern Burma

33rd FG - September 1944 onwards - ground support Burma

341st BG - early 1943 to early 1944, attacking ground targets in Burma

311st FG - A-36/P-51 mixed fighter and fighter bomber duties from September 1943-August 1944

80th FG - ground attack Burma, India, autumn 1943 to end of war

7th bg - joins March 1942, not really effective until later in year, requippes with B-24, operating from bases in eastern India against the Japanese in Burma. It also hit targets further away, including oil refinaries in Thailand, power stations in China and enemy shipping. The unit was also used to ferry fuel across the hump to China.

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Colonel Harry A Halverson, 17 February 1942
Major General Lewis H Brereton, 5 March 1942
Brigadier General Earl L. Naiden, 26 June 1942
Brigadier General Clayton L. Bissell, 18 August 1942
Major-General Howard C Davidson, 19 August 1943
Major-General Albert F Hegenberger, 1 August 1945

Time Line

4 February 1942 Constituted
12 February 1942 Activiated
March-May 1942 Moved to India
May 1942-March 1943 Served in India, Burma and China
March 1943-July 1945 Served in India and Burma
July 1945-December 1945 Served in China
December 1945-January 1946 Returned to United States
6 January 1946 Inactivated

Component Units

10th Air Force, 1942-1946
Individual Groups
Group Dates Aircraft Used
3rd Combat Cargo Group 1944-1945C-47
7th Bombardment Group 1942-1945 B-17, LB-30, B-24
12th Bombardment Group 1944-1945 B-25
23rd Fighter Group 1942-1943  
33rd Fighter Group 1944-1945 P-38, P-47
51st Fighter Group 1942-1943 P-40
80th Fighter Group 1943-1945 P-38, P-40, P-47
311th Fighter Group 1943-1944 A-36, P-51
341st Bombardment Group 1942-1944 B-25
443rd Troop Carrier Group 1944-1945 C-47
How to cite this article: Rickard, J (14 December 2007), 10th Air Force, USAAF, 1942-1946, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/10th_Air_Force

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