3rd Reconnaissance Group

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The 3rd Reconnaissance Group (USAAF) was a reconnaissance unit that served in the Mediterranean, supporting the campaigns in Tunisia, Sicily and mainland Italy.

The group was activated in the United States in June 1942 and after training moved to the Mediterranean via England (where it was based from September- to November) in November-December 1942. The group supported the campaign in Tunisia, and the invasions of Pantelleria, Sicily and Sardinia.

During the summer of 1943 the group was the only operational element of the Northwest African Photographic Reconnaissance Wing. The group was unusual in that it operated a mix of American, British, South African and French units. The USAAF provided the 5th, 12th, 15th and 23rd Reconnaissance Squadrons. The RAF provided No.682 Squadron and No.60 Squadron, SAAF and the French Groupe de Reconnaissance GR II/33. During the summer these seven squadrons flew over 1,100 sorties, mainly focusing on the two landings areas for the upcoming invasion of Italy, and in particular on the Salerno area.

The group supported the Allied campaign in Italy. It focused on the Anzio area early in 1944, then switched its attention to the South of France in advance of Operation Dragoon. The group was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for its performance on 28 August 1944 when its reconnaissance directly contributed to a rapid allied advance. After Operation Dragoon the group's focus returned to Italy, where it supported the remaining period of the campaign.

The group also carried out photographic mapping surveys of France and the Balkans. It was inactivated in Italy in September 1945.




Lockheed F-4 Lightning and Lockheed F-5 Lightning


9 June 1942 Constituted as 3rd Photographic Group
20 June 1942 Activated
Nov-Dec 1942 To Mediterranean and Twelfth Air Force
May 1943 Redesignated 3rd Photographic Reconnaissance and Mapping Group
Nov 1943 Redesignated 3rd Photographic Group (Reconnaissance)
May 1945 Redesignated 3rd Reconnaissance Group
12 September 1945 Inactivated
6 March 1947 Disbanded

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Capt George H Mc- Bride: 20 Jun 1942
Maj Harry T Eidson: 25 Jun 1942
Maj Elliott Roosevelt: 11 Jul 1942
Lt Col Furman H Limeburner: 13 Aug 1942
Col Elliott Roosevelt: 30 Sep 1942
Lt Col Frank L Dunn: c. Mar 1943
Lt Col James F Setchell: c. 4 Nov 1943
Maj Hal C Tunnell: 19 Jan 1944
Maj Thomas W Barfoot Jr: c. 29 May 1944
Col Duane L Kime: 17 Sep 1944
Lt Col Oscar M Blomquist: 29 May 1945
Lt Col James E Hill: 2 Aug-c. Sep 1945.

Main Bases

Colorado Springs, Colo: 20 Jun-13 Aug 1942
Membury, England: 8 Sep 1942
Steeple Morden, England: 26 Oct-22 Nov 1942
La Senia, Algeria: 10 Dec 1942
Algiers, Algeria: 25 Dec 1942
La Marsa, Tunisia: 13 Jun 1943
San Severo Italy: 8 Dec 1943
Pomigliano, Italy: 4 Jan 1944
Nettuno, Italy: 16 Jun 1944
Viterbo, Italy: 26 Jun 1944
Corsica: c. 14 Jul 1944
Rosia, Italy: c. Sep 1944
Florence, Italy: 17 Jan 1945
Pomigliano, Italy: 26 Aug-12 Sep 1945.

Component Units

5th Reconnaissance Squadron: 1942-1945
12th Reconnaissance Squadron: 1942-1945
13th Reconnaissance Squadron: 1942-1943
14th Reconnaissance Squadron: 1942- 1943
15th Reconnaissance Squadron: 1942-1944
23rd Reconnaissance Squadron: 1944-1945

Assigned To

1943-44: 90th Reconnaissance Wing; Twelfth Air Force; Mediterranean Theatre

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (23 October 2014), 3rd Reconnaissance Group , http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/3rd_Reconnaissance_Group.html

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