371st Fighter Group (USAAF)

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History

The 371st Fighter Group served with the Ninth Air Force and took part in the D-Day invasion, the advance across France, the battle of the Bulge and the invasion of Germany.

The 371st was activated in the United States on 15 July 1943, and moved to Britain in February-March 1944.

The 371st was one of seventeen fighter groups that joined the Ninth Air Force during the first half of 1944, making its combat debut on 12 April during a fighter sweep over France.

Between then and D-Day the group flew a mix of bomber escort missions, dive bomber attacks on targets in Northern France and the Low Countries and fighter sweeps.

On D-Day the group attacked rail and road targets and gun emplacements. For the rest of the Normandy campaign it flew a mix of patrols over the beachhead and ground attack missions.

In late July the group took part in the air campaign to support the breakthrough at St Lo. It then supported the advance across northern France.

On 19 August the group was called to help an American column that was under attack by eighteen German dive bombers. The group shot down two aircraft and drove off the attack.

The group was Cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army for its efforts between 6 June and 30 September 1944.

The group took part in the advance into western Germany in the autumn of 1944. It supported the ground troops during the battle of the Bulge of December 1944-January 1944.

Between 15-21 March 1945 the group attacked German transport links, factories, armour and gun emplacements in the south of Germany. It was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for these actions.

The group remained in action until May 1945. It returned to the US in October-November 1945 and was inactivated on 10 November 1945.

Books

Pending

Aircraft

1943-1945: Republic P-47 Thunderbolt

Timeline

25 May 1943 Constituted as 25 May 1943
15 July 1943 Activated
Feb-March 1944 To Britain and Ninth Air Force
April 1944 Combat Debut
May 1945 Combat ends
Oct-Nov 1945 To United States
10 November 1945 Inactivated

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Col Bingham T Kleine,
27 Jul 1943; Lt Col William P McBride, c.
Sep 1g45-unkn.

Main Bases

Richmond AAB, Va: 15 Jul 1943
Camp Springs AAFld, Md: 30 Sep 1943
Richmond AAB, Va: 18 Jan-14 Feb 1944
Bisterne, England: Mar 1944
Beuzeville, France: Jun 1944
Perthes, France: 18 Sep 1944
Dole/Tavaux, France: 1 Oct 1944
Tantonville, France: 20 Dec 1944
Metz, France: 15 Feb 1945
Frankfurt/ Eschborn, Germany: 7 Apr 1945
Furth, Germany: 5 May 1945
Horsching, Austria: 16 Aug 1945
Stuttgart, Germany: Sep-Oct 1945
Camp Shanks: NY, 9-10 Nov 1945.

Component Units

404th: 1943-1945
405th: 1943-1945
406th: 1943-1945

Assigned To

1943: Philadelphia Fighter Wing; I Fighter Command; First Air Force
12 March-15 April 1944: 100th Fighter Wing; IX Fighter Command; Ninth Air Force
attached 15-21 February 1945: 100th Fighter Wing;
22 Feb-May 1945: 100th Fighter Wing; XIX Tactical Air Command; Ninth Air Force

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (25 July 2016), 371st Fighter Group (USAAF) , http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/371st_Fighter_Group.html

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