The 480th Antisubmarine Group (USAAF) was based in Morocco and flew anti-submarine patrols over the Atlantic approaches to the Mediterranean.
The group was activated in Morocco on 21 June 1943. It was given two squadrons. The 1st Antisubmarine Squadron came from 2037th Antisubmarine Wing, and had been engaged in anti-submarine work since November 1942. The 2nd Antisubmarine Squadron came from the same wing, and had entered combat in January 1943. Both groups had entered combat from bases in England (operating over the Bay of Biscay), and were already in Morocco when the 480th was formed.
The groups main task was to patrol the Atlantic approaches to the Mediterranean, including the areas west and north of Morocco. Its most successful period came in July 1943 when the U-boats concentrated off the coast of Portugal, partly to attack convoys heading into the Mediterranean and partly because they had been skirting the Spanish coast in an attempt to avoid the increasingly dangerous Bay of Biscay. The group normally sent three aircraft out per day, reaching as far as 1,050 nautical miles into the Atlantic. The group's liberators were significantly more effective than the Navy's PBY Catalinas which were operating from the same base at the same time, partly because their longer range took them into areas where the Germans didn't expect them and partly because of newer radar. Between 5-15 July the group attacked thirteen U-boats and probably sank three. This came during the period when the U-boats were staying on the surface to fight back. The number of attacks dropped once the Germans reverted to their original plan of diving at the first sight of enemy aircraft.
In August the number of German aircraft encountered increased, with both Ju-88s and Fw-200s encountered. The group lost three aircraft in battles with the Fw-200, but in return claimed five victories.
In September 1943 a detachment from the unit moved to Tunisia to support the invasion of Italy. Its role was to prove anti-submarine protection for the invasion fleets and later for the Italian fleet after its surrender.
The group was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for its performance in the Atlantic.
In November 1943 the group and its squadrons began to return to the United States after the US Navy and USAAF agreed that the Navy should take over all anti-submarine warfare. The group was disbanded in the United States on 29 January 1944.
1943: Consolidated B-24 Liberator
|19 June 1943||Constituted as 480th Antisubmarine Group|
|21 June 1943||Activated in North Africa|
|Nov-Dec 1943||To United States|
|29 Jan 1944||Disbanded|
Col Jack Roberts: 21 Jun 1943-unkn
Port Lyautey, French Morocco:
21 Jun-Nov 1943
Langley Field, Va: c. 18 Nov 1943
Clovis AAFld, NM: c. 1-29 Jan 1944.
1943: AAF Antisubmarine Command