370th Fighter Group (USAAF)

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History

The 370th Fighter Group served with the Ninth Air Force and took part in the D-Day landings, the advance across France, Operation Market Garden, the Battle of the Bulge and the invasion of Germany.

The 370th was activated on 1 July 1943 and moved to Britain in January-February 1944.

The 370th was one of seventeen fighter groups that joined the Ninth Air Force during the first half of 1944, making its combat debut on 1 May.

Before the D-Day invasion the group was used to dive-bomb anti-aircraft positions and radar installations and provide bomber escorts.

On D-Day the group provided cover for the Allied fleet as it crossed the Channel. For the rest of June it was used to fly armed reconnaissance missions over the Cotentin Peninsula, on the right of the Allied beach head.

In July 1944 the group moved to the Continent and for most of the rest of the war it provided close support for the advancing Allied armies.

In July it was used to hit gun emplacements, troop concentrations and supply dumps around St Lo. In August it spent much of its time attacking similar targets in the Falaise area.

On 17 August the group dropped napalm on the Ile de Cezembre off St Malo, an early use of the new weapon.

On 25 August the 365th, 367th and 370th Groups, using information provided by the 'Y' service (listening in on Luftwaffe radio transmissions), hit airfields around Cognac and Dijon, destroying 33 aircraft on the ground.

The group was Cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army for its efforts between 6 June 1944 and 30 September 1944, covering the period from D-Day to the start of the liberation of Belgian, and again for the period starting on 1 October.

In September 1944 the group sent a force of aircraft back to England, from where it provided fighter escort for the airborne forces during Operation Market Garden.

On 2 October the 370th and 478th Groups helped the 30th Infantry Division by destroying pillboxes in a wooded area using fire bombs, during the attack on Aachen

The group was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for its efforts in the Hurtgen Forest on 2 December 1944, when it hit a heavily defended German position at Bergstein with napalm.

During the Battle of the Bulge the group flew armed reconnaissance missions over the battlefield, hitting transport links and supply dumps.

The group was Cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army for its efforts between 16 December 1944 and 25 January 1945.

In March 1945 the group attacked bridges and docks around Wesel in preparation for the Allied crossing of the Rhine, and then flew patrols to protect the paratroops as they dropped on 24 March.

In April the group supported the 2nd ARmoured Division as it fought in the Ruhr Valley.

Its last mission was a sweep over Dessau and Wittenberg on 4 May 1945.

The group returned to the United States in September-November 1945 and was inactivated on 7 November 1945.

Books

Pending

Aircraft

1943-February 1944: Republic P-47 Thunderbolt
February 1944-Feb-March 1945: Lockheed P-38 Lightning
Feb-March 1945 onwards: North American P-51 Mustang

Timeline

25 May 1943 Constituted as 370th Fighter Group
1 July 1943 Activated
Jan-Feb 1944 To Britain and Ninth Air Force
July 1944 To Continent
4 May 1945 Last combat mission
Sept-Nov 1945 To United States
7 November 1945 Inactivated

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Col Howard F Nichols: 1 Jul 1943
Lt Col Seth J McKee: 6 Nov 1944
Lt Col Morgan A Gifin: 22 Feb 1945
Col Seth J McKee: 10 May 1945- unkn.

Main Bases

Westover Field, Mass: 1 July 1943
Groton AAFld, Conn: 19 Oct 1943
Bradley Field, Conn: 5-20 Jan 1944
Aldermaston, England: 12 Feb 1944
Andover, England: 29 Feb-19 Jul 1944
Cardonville, France: 24 Jul 1944
La Vielle, France: 15 Aug 1944
Lonray, France: 6 Sep 1944
Roye/Amy, France: 11 Sep 1944
Florennes/ Juxaine, Belgium: 26 Sep 1944
Zwartberg, Belgium: 27 Jan 1945
Gutersloh, Germany: 20 Apr 1945
Sandhofen, Germany: 27 Jun 1945
Fritzlar, Germany: 6 Aug-Sep 1945
Camp Myles Standish, Mass: c. Nov 1945

Component Units

401st: 1943-1945
402nd: 1943-1945
485th: 1943-1945

Assigned To

July-Late 1943: New York Fighter Wing; I Fighter Command; First Air Force
March-August 1944: 71st Fighter Wing; IX Tactical Air Command; Ninth Air Force
-24 November 1944-: IX Tactical Air Command; Ninth Air Force
-8 May 1945-: XXIX Tactical Air Command; Ninth Air Force
1945: 64th Fighter Wing

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (25 July 2016), 370th Fighter Group (USAAF) , http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/370th_Fighter_Group.html

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