311th Fighter Group

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History

The 311st was one of only three groups to use the A-36 dive bomber version of the P-51 Mustang. It was created in 1942 as a light bombardment group, training with the Vultee Vengeance, before moving on to the A-36 (and the P-51) when it entered combat in India. The A-36 was a generally successful dive bomber, but was not built in large numbers.

The unit went through a number of changes of designation, but by the time it entered combat it had become the 311st Fighter-Bomber Group in recognition of the nature of the A-36.

The group moved to India via Australia between July and September 1943. It performed a mix of ground attack missions over northern Burma and fighter escort duties that took it further afield. It also helped to protect the Indian end of the Hump air route to China.

The group spent most of July and August 1944 operating from Tingkawk Sakan, Burma, helping to support Merrill's Marauders (amongst others). It was then transferred to China and to the Fourteenth Air Force, remaining there until the end of the war. In China it performed a similar mix of fighter and fighter-bomber missions.

At the end of the war the group was used to ferry P-51s to China to equip the Chinese Air Force, before returning to the United States in December 1945.

Aircraft

Vultee V-72 Vengeance: 1942
North American A-36 and P-51 Mustang: 1943-1945

Timeline

28 January 1942 Constituted as 311th Bombardment Group (Light)
2 March 1942 Activated
July 1942 Redesignated as 311th Bombardment Group (Dive)
September 1943 Redesignated as 311th Fighter-Bomber Group
September 1943-July 1944 Active with Tenth Air Force, from India
May 1944 Redesignated as 311th Fighter Group
July-August 1944 Based in Burma with Tenth Air Force
August 1944-December 1945 Transferred to Fourteenth Air Force, China

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Lt. Colonel Clinton U True: 1942
Lt. Colonel John R Kelly: 10 August 1942
Colonel Harry R Melton Jr: 26 November 1942
Colonel Charles G Chandler Jr: 25 November 1943
Colonel John S Chennault: 12 February 1945
Colonel Gabriel P Disosway: 24 May 1945
Colonel Allen R. Springer 5 August 1945

Main Bases

Will Rogers Field, Oklahoma: 2 March 1942
Hunter Field, Ga.: 4 July 1942
Waycross, Ga: 22 October 1942-18 July 1943
Nawadih, India: 14 September 1943
Dinjan, India: 11 October 1943
Tingkawk Sakan, Burma: 6 July 1943
Pungchacheng, China: 28 August 1944-14 December 1945

Component Units

385th Fighter Squadron: 1942-1943
528th Fighter Squadron: 1942-1945 (previously 382nd, later 132rd)
529th Fighter Squadron: 1942-1946 (previously 383rd, later 133rd)
530th Fighter Squadron: 1942-1946 (previously 384th, later 134th)

Assigned To

Tenth Air Force, India and Burma: July 1943-August 1944
312th Fighter Wing, Fourteenth Air Force, China: July 1944-December 1945

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (18 December 2007), 311th Fighter Group, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/311th_Fighter_Group.html

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