479th Fighter Group (USAAF)

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The 479th Fighter Group (USAAF) served with the Eighth Air Force, and operated as a ground attack and bomber escort unit from May 1944 to the end of the war in Europe.

The group was constituted as the 479th Fighter Group on 12 October 1943 and activated on 15 October. It trained with the P-38, and at the same time acted as an air defence group with the Los Angeles Fighter Wing.

The group moved to Britain in April-May 1944 and joined the Eighth Air Force. Although it carried out a wide range of missions between then and the end of the war, its core duty was as a bomber escort group, and it performed that role in support of the Eighth's heavy bombers from May 1944 until April 1945. During these missions the group's aircraft attacked targets of opportunity, and it also flew fighter-bomber and area patrol missions and took part in the attacks on the Luftwaffe.

Between May 1944 and D-Day the group flew a mix of bomber escort and fighter sweeps.

During the D-Day landings the group patrolled over the beachhead.

During the breakout from St. Lo in July 1944 the group flew area patrols over the battlefield.

After the Allied breakout from Normandy the group carried out a large number of ground attack missions to support the advance from Normandy towards the German border, hitting targets including troop concentrations, bridges, trains, railways, barges, airfield, guns and flak positions, ammo dumps, power stations and radar sites, often during escort missions.

In September the group flew area patrols to support Operation Market Garden.

The group was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for the destruction of a large number of German aircraft, some during attacks on airfields on 18 August and 5 September and others in an aerial battle near Munster on 26 September, during an escort mission.

The mix of escort and fighter-bomber missions continued in October to mid December 1944, while at the same time the group converted to the P-51 Mustang.

During the battle of the Bulge the group escorted bombers attacking the German armies and their vulnerable rear area, and at the same time attacked transport targets.

From February 1944 to the end of the war the group concentrated on escort duties, apart from a brief spell in March 1945 when it flew area patrols to support the crossing of the Rhine.

The group returned to the United States in November 1945 and was inactivated on 1 December 1945.




1943 to October-December 1944: Lockheed P-38 Lightning
October-December 1944 to 1945: North American P-51 Mustang


12 October 1943 Constituted as 479th Fighter Group
15 October 1943 Activated
April-May 1944 To Britain and Eighth Air Force
November 1945 To United States
1 December 1945 Inactivated

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Lt Col. Leo F Dusard Jr: c. 28 Oct 1943
Maj Francis J Pope: c. 14 Nov 1943
Lt Col Kyle L Riddle: c. 26 Dec 1943
Col Hubert Zemke: 12 Aug 1944
Col Kyle L Riddle: 1 Nov 1944-unkn

Main Bases

Grand Central Air Terminal, Calif: 15 Oct 1943
Lomita Flight Strip, Calif: c. 6 Feb 1944
Santa Maria AAFld, Calif: c. 8-c. 12 Apr 1944
Wattisham, England: c. 15 May 1944-c. 23 Nov 1945
Camp Kilmer, NJ: c. 29 Nov-1 Dec 1945

Component Units

434th: 1943-1945
435th: 1943-1945
436th: 1943-1945

Assigned To

1943-44: Los Angeles Fighter Wing; IV Fighter Command; Fourth Air Force
1944-September 1944: 65th Fighter Wing; VIII Fighter Command; Eighth Air Force
September 1944-1945: 65th Fighter Wing; 2nd Air Division; Eighth Air Force
1945: 66th Fighter Wing; 3rd Air Division; Eighth Air Force

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (26 September 2018), 479th Fighter Group (USAAF) , http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/479th_Fighter_Group.html

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