27th Bombardment/ 27th Fighter Group

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The 27th went through two different incarnations during the Second World War. As the 27th Bombardment Group it fought in the Philippines and Java in 1941-42. It was then reformed in the US and sent to North Africa, where it eventually became the 27th Fighter Group, serving in North Africa, Sicily and Italy.

The 27th Bombardment Group was formed in February 1940. It was equipped with the A-24, and on 1 November 1941 set sail for the Philippines, where it was to form part of the aerial garrison. The ground echelons arrived in the Philippines on 20 November, but the ship carrying their aircraft, the Meigs, couldn't be provided with a suitable escort for the stage from Hawaii until 24 November. The aircraft were thus nowhere near the Philippines when the Japanese attacked on 8 December, and it quickly became clear that it would be far to dangerous to try and sail to the islands. The convoy was diverted to Australia.

On 18 December the group's commander, Major John H Davies, with twenty of the pilots, were flown to Australia where they were to collect their aircraft. Instead the pilots were kept in Australia. On 21 December, still expecting their aircraft, the group's personnel were ordered to prepare three new airfields in the area around Manila. On 24 December this plan was abandoned, and the personnel were moved to Bataan, arriving on 25 December. There they served as infantry on Bataan and Corregidor.

Between 9-12 February the Group moved its A-24s from Australia to Java. On 19 February the Japanese made a heavy attack on Java, having just captured the island of Bali, cutting the ferry route from Australia. Two of the group's A-24s attacked and damaged two Japanese warships on the same day. Seven aircraft from the group took part in a larger attack on Bali on 19-20 February. Two aircraft were lost and the attack was a failure. Bali was lost, and Java soon had to be evacuated.

The remaining aircraft of the 27th Fighter Group were used to fly patrols in the Darwin area in March-April 1942, but the group itself was almost gone. The remaining aircraft and personnel were transferred to the newly arrived 3rd Bombardment Group, and in May 1942 the 27th was officially transferred back to the United States (this was a paper transfer as no men or equipment moved).

The 27th Fighter Group reformed in the US, where it was equipped with the A-20. It used these for training, and then in November 1942 began the move to North Africa. Once in Africa it converted to the A-36 Mustang and joined the Twelfth Air Force. The group served in the Mediterranean for the rest of the Second World War.

In June 1943 the group resumed operations, and took part in the campaign against the Italian islands of Pantelleria and Lampedusa, a massive aerial assault that forced the islands to surrender.

In the week before the invasion of Sicily (3-10 July 1943) the 27th attacked Axis supply centres in the south and centre of Sicily.

In August 1943 the group was redesignated as the 27th Fighter-Bomber Group.

In September it was used to cover the landings at Salerno (Operation Avalanche), which began on 9 September 1943. On 10 September the group was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for its part in preventing three armoured divisions from reaching the beachhead.

The group began to swap its Mustangs for P-40 Warhawks in January 1944, although it used its A-36s during the fighting at Anzio in January-February 1944.

In May 1944 the group became the 27th Fighter Group

In June 1944 the Warhawks were replaced with P-47 Thunderbolts. In the following month the group took its new aircraft to Corsica in preparation for the invasion of Southern France. The group also used its new location to attack German communications in northern Italy.

The group supported the invasion of Southern France. It moved from Corsica to France and supported the Seventh Army as it advanced up the Rhone Valley. The group briefly returned to Italy, but early in 1945 it transferred back to France, from where it attacked German communications in northern Italy and supported the Allied invasion of Germany. The group moved into Germany in April 1945, but didn't become part of the occupation force and in October-November 1945 it returned to the US. The group was inactivated on 7 November 1945.


To Follow


Douglas A-24 Banshee (SBD Dauntless ) : 1941
Douglas A-20 Boston/ Havoc: 1942
North American A-36 Mustang : 1943-44
Curtiss P-40 Warhawk: 1944
Republic P-47 Thunderbolt: 1944-45


22 December 1939 Constituted as 27th Bombardment Group (Light)

1 February 1940

1 November 1941 To Philippines
20 November 1941 Arrived Manila
Feb-May 1942 Combat in Java
May 1942 To United States
November 1942

To North Africa

June 1943 Begins operations with Twelfth Air Force
August 1943 Redesignated 27th Fighter-Bomber Group
May 1944 Redesignated 27th Fighter Group
Oct-Nov 1945 To United States
7 November 1945 Inactivated

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Col Clarence L Tinker: 1 Feb 1940
Lt Col W Wright: unkn
Col Guy L McNeil: Jul 1941
Col John H Davies, unkn-c. Apr 1942
Lt Col Harry F Van Leuven: 14 Jul 1942
Lt Col John D Stevenson: 11 Apr 1943
Col Dorr E Newton: Jr, 6 Aug 1943;

Col Dorr E Newton Jr: 6 Aug 1943
Col Stephen B Mack: 22 Apr 1944
Lt Col William R Nevitt: 10 Sep 1944-c. Nov 1945

Main Bases

Barksdale Field, La: 1 Feb 1940
Hunter Field, Ga: 7 Oct 1940-21 Oct 1941
Philippine Islands: 20 Nov 1941
Batchelor, Australia: Mar-4 May 1942
Hunter Field, Ga: 4 May 1942
Key Field, Miss: Jul 1942
Hattiesburg, Miss: 15 Aug 1942
Harding Field, La: 25 Oct- 21 Nov 1942
Ste-Barbe-du-Tlelat, Algeria: 26 Dec 1942
Nouvion, Algeria: Jan 1943
Ras el Ma, French Morocco: Apr 1943
Korba, Tunisia: Jun 1943
Sicily: Jul 1943
Italy: Sep 1943
Corsica: Jul 1944
Southern France: Aug 1944
Italy: c. Sep 1944
St-Dizier, France: 22 Feb 1945
Toul/ Ochey, France: Mar 1945
Biblis, Germany: Apr 1945
Sandhofen, Germany: Jun 1945
Echterdingen, Germany: 15 Sep-20 Oct 1945
Camp Shanks, NY: 6-7 Nov 1945

Component Units

15th Bombardment Squadron (Light): 1940-41 (A-18, A-20)
16th Bombardment Squadron (Light): 1940-43 (A-24, A-20, A-36)
17th Bombardment Squadron (Light): 1940-43 (B-18, A-24, A-20, A-36)
91st Bombardment Squadron (Light): 1940-43 (B-18, A-24, A-20, A-36)
465th Bombardment Squadron (Light): 1942 (DB-7, A-20)

The 91st Bombardment Squadron was formed as the 11th Reconnaissance Squadron (Light) in 1940 and became the 91st Bombardment Squadron on 14 August 1941

On 23 August 1943 the 16th, 17th and 91st Bombardment Squadrons became the 522nd, 523rd and 524th Fighter-Bomber Squadrons. On 30 May all three became Fighter Squadrons.

All three squadrons were Bombardment Squadrons (Light) until 23 August 1943 when they were renumbered and became Fighter-Bomber squadrons (16th to 522nd, 17th to 523rd and 91st to 524th). They became Fighter squadrons on 30 May.

522nd Fighter-Bomber/ Fighter Squadron: 1943-45; 1946-52
523rd Fighter-Bomber/ Fighter Squadron: 1943-45; 1946-52
524th Fighter-Bomber/ Fighter Squadron: 1943-45; 1946-52

Assigned To

1940-1941: 17th Bombardment Wing
1941-1942: V Bomber Command; Fifth Air Force
1943: 64th Fighter Wing; XII Fighter Command; Twelfth Air Force
1943: 64th Fighter Wing; XII Tactical Air Command; Twelfth Air Force
1946-47: 64th Fighter Wing

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (16 June 2014), 27th Fighter Group, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/27th_Fighter_Group.html

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