The 332nd Fighter Group (USAAF) served in Italy in 1944-45, and spent most of that time escorting the heavy bombers of the Fifteenth Air Force.
The group was constituted on 4 July 1942 and activated on 13 October 1942. After training with the P-39 Lightning and P-40 Warhawk, the group moved to Italy in February 1944.
The group was equipped with the P-39, and joined the Twelfth Air Force. It became operational on 5 February 1944, and was used for a mix of convoy escort, harbour defence and armed reconnaissance.
The group converted to the P-47 Thunderbolt in April-May 1944. In May 1944 it transferred to the Fifteenth Air Force, and spent the rest of the war escorting its heavy bombers as they ranged across occupied Europe and Germany. The group converted to the P-51 Mustang in June 1944 and used that aircraft for the rest of the war.
The group's escort missions took it to France, Italy, Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece. The group was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for escorting a B-17 raid on a tank factory in Berlin in 24 March 1945, where it fought off German fighters during the attack and then attacked transport targets on the way back.
In May 1944 the group gained the 99th Fighter Squadron, one of the famous squadrons manned by the 'Tuskegee Airmen'. The squadron had been the first African American fighter squadron in US service, and despite some early controversies had proved itself in action in North Africa and Sicily.
In the summer of 1944 the group was used to escort the heavy bombers as they bombarded targets in the south of France in the build-up to Operation Dragoon. It gained three DUCs during the war, including the 332nd's Berlin mission.
The group was also used to attack a wide range of ground targets in its own right, including transport links, airfields, troop concentrations, radar bases and power stations.
The group returned to the United States in October 1945 and was inactivated on 19 October 1945.
1942-early 1944: Bell P-39 Airacobra and Curtiss P-40 Warhawk
Early 1944-April-May 1944: Bell P-39 Airacobra
April-May 1944 to June 1944: Republic P-47 Thunderbolt
June 1944-1945: North American P-51 Mustang
|4 July 1942||Constituted as 332nd Fighter Group|
|13 October 1942||Activated|
|February 1944||To Italy and Twelfth Air Force|
|May 1944||To Fifteenth Air Force|
|October 1945||To United States|
|19 October 1945||Inactivated|
Lt Col Robert R Selway
Jr: 16 May 1943
Col Benjamin 0 Davis Jr: 8 Oct 1943
Maj George S Roberts: 3 Nov 1944
Col Benjamin 0 Davis Jr: 24 Dec 1944
Maj George S Roberts: 9 Jun 1945-unkn.
Tuskegee, Ala: 13 Oct 1942
Selfridge Field, Mich: 29 Mar 1943
Oscoda, Mich: 12 Apr- 1943
Selfridge Field, Mich: 9 Jul-22 Dec 1943
Montecorvino, Italy: 3 Feb 1944
Capodichino, Italy: 15 Apr 1944
Ramitelli Airfield, Italy: 28 May 1944
Cattolica, Italy: c. 4 May 1945
Lucera, Italy: c. 18 Jul-Sep 1945
Camp Kilmer, NJ: 17-19 Oct 1945
1944: 62nd Fighter Wing; XII Fighter Command; Twelfth Air Force
1944-45: 306th Fighter Wing; Fifteenth Air Force