373rd Fighter Group (USAAF)

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The 373rd 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 group was activated on 15 August 1943 and moved to Britain in March-April 1944. The 373rd was one of the last groups to become operational in the Ninth Air Force before D-Day, flying its first combat mission on 8 May (the 36th entered combat on the same day, the 367th and 406th on the following day). Its first mission was a fighter sweep over Normandy.

In the period before the D-Day invasion the group was used to escort B-26 bombers to targets across France.

On D-Day the group was used to patrol the beachhead area.

For the rest of June 1944 it was used as a ground attack unit, hitting German troops, armour and transport links in the invasion area.

In July 1944 the group moved to the Continent. In the same month it was used to attack transport links as part of the campaign to prevent German reinforcements moving to the western part of the battlefield before the planned American breakthrough at St Lo (25 July 1944).

During August the group attacked German troop concentrations during the fighting in the Falaise-Argentan area.

On 12 October the group helped break up a German counterattack launched against the XIX Corps during the battle of Aachen.

On 23 December the 48th and 373rd Groups hit the Bonn-Hangelar and Wahn airfields, inflicting heavy damage. On 24 December the group returned to Bonn-Hangelar, and also flew armed reconnaissance missions around St-Vith - Stavelot and Euskirchen-Ahrweiler.

FOr most of the battle of the Bulge the group was used to attack transport links, preventing the Germans from getting reinforcements or supplies into the battle zone.

On 23 February the group supported XIX Corps and hit communications targets in western Germany.

In March 1944 the group attacked airfields and transport links on the Rhine, in preparation for the upcoming crossing of the river. On 20 March it successfully attacked a series of airfields east of the Rhine without loss and was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for its efforts.

The group continued to attack transport targets and troop concentrations until 4 May 1945.

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




1943-1945: Republic P-47 Thunderbolt


25 May 1943 Constituted as 373rd Fighter Group
15 August 1943 Activated
March-April 1944 To Britain and Ninth Air Force
8 May 1944 Combat Debut
July 1944 To Continent
July-August 1945 To United States
7 November 1945 Inactivated

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Maj Ansel J Wheeler: 23 Aug 1943
Col William H Schwartz Jr: 25 Aug 1943
Col James C McGehee: 17 Nov 1944
Lt Col James F McCarthy: May 1945-unkn.

Main Bases

Westover Field, Mass: 15 Aug 1943
Norfolk, Va: 23 Oct 1943
Richmond AAB, Va: 15 Feb-15 Mar 1944
Woodchurch, England: 4 Apr-4 Jul 1944
Touren- Bassin, France: 19 Jul 1944
St-James, France: 19 Aug 1944
Reims, France: 19 Sep 1944
Le Culot, Belgium: 22 Oct 1944
Venlo, Holland: 11 Mar 1945
Lippstadt, Germany: 20 Apr 1945
Illesheim, Germany: 20 May-Jul 1945
Sioux Falls AAFM, SD: 4 Aug 1945
Seymour Johnson Field, NC: 20 Aug 1945
Mitchel Field, NY: 28 Sep-7 Nov 1945.

Component Units

410th: 1943-1945
411th: 1943-1945
412th: 1943-1945

Assigned To

August-October 1943: New York Fighter Wing; I Fighter Command; First Air Force
October 1943-February 1944: Norfolk Fighter Wing; I Fighter Command; First Air Force (probably)
29 August-1 October 1944: 100th Fighter Wing; XIX Tactical Air Command; Ninth Air Force
-24 November 1944-: XXIX Tactical Air Force; Ninth Air Force
-8 May 1945-: XXIX Tactical Air Force; Ninth Air Force

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (2 September 2016), 373rd Fighter Group (USAAF) , http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/373rd_Fighter_Group.html

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