50th Fighter Group (USAAF)

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The 50th Fighter Group served with various training commands in the US, before moving to Britain to take part in the liberation of Europe in 1944-45.

The group was constituted as the 50th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) on 20 November 1940 and activated on 15 January 1941. It was used as a training unit, serving with the Fighter Command School and the AAF School of Applied Tactics, as well as testing equipment and training night fighter pilots and defensive tactics. The group used a variety of types of aircraft during this period.

In March-April 1944 the group moved to Britain to join the Ninth Air Force. It converted to the P-47 Thunderbolt, and made its combat debut on 1 May, taking part in a fighter sweep over France.

In the month before D-Day the group was used for escort duties and dive bombing missions. On D-Day and D+1 it covered the Normandy beaches, before moving into the beachhead later in June. During the fighting in Normandy the group attacked bridges, roads, rail links, trains, artillery positions and marshalling yards.

The group took part in the breakout at St. Lo in July, and the advance across France. On 10 August it knocked out six light guns and three anti-tank guns. In January 1945 it helped stop the German offensive in the Saar-Hardt region. In January-February 1945 it took part in the fighting in the Colmar bridgehead. It then took part in the battles to break the Siegfried Line and the advance into southern Germany in March-April 1945.

The group was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for cooperating with the Seventh Army in March 1945 and a second for attacking a Luftwaffe airfield south of Munich despite heavy AA fire on 25 April 1945.

The group returned to the US in August 1945 and was inactivated on 7 November 1945.




1941-1944: Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, Douglas DB-7, North American P-51 Mustang, Douglas P-70 Nighthawk
1944-1944: Republic P-47 Thunderbolt


20 November 1940 Activated as 50th Pursuit Group
15 January 1941 Activated
May 1942 Redesignated as 50th Fighter Group
March-April 1944 To Britain and Ninth Air Force
August 1945 To United States
7 November 1945 Inactivated

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Capt George McCoy Jr: 16 Jan 1941
Col Allen R Springer: 1 May 1941
Lt Col John C Crosthwaite: 1 Apr 1942
Lt Col Murray C Woodbury: 15 May 1942
Lt Col T Alan Bennett:, 23 Jul 1942
Lt Col Walter B Putnam: 29 Jan 1943
Lt Col Robert S Quinn: 9 Nov 1943
Col William D Greenfield: 1 Dec 1943
Col Harvey L Case Jr: Nov 1944-1945

Main Bases

Selfridge Field, Mich: 15 Jan 1941
Key Field, Miss@: 3 Oct 1941
Orlando AB, Fla: 22 Mar 1943
Alachua AAFld, Fla: 20 Nov 1943
Orlando AB, Fla: 1 Feb-13 Mar 1944
Lymington, England: 5 Apr 1944
Carentan, France: 25 Jun 1944
Meautis, France: 16 Aug 1944
Orly, France: 4 Sep 1944
Laon, France: 15 Sep 1944
Lyons/Bron, France: 28 Sep 1944
Toul/Ochey, France: 3 Nov 1944
Giebelstadt, Germany: 20 Apr 1945
Mannheim, Germany: 21 May-c. Jun 1945
La Junta AAFld, Colo: Aug-7 Nov 1945.

Component Units

10th: 1941-1945
11th: 1941-1945
12th: 1941-1945
81st: 1942-1945
313th: 1942-1945
445th: 1943-1944

Assigned To

April-September 1944: 84th Fighter Wing; IX Air Support Command*
29 September 1944-June 1945: 64th Fighter Wing; XII Tactical Air Command
4 August-7 November 1945: Second Air Force (after return to US)

*Later IX Tactical Air Command

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (8 May 2018), 50th Fighter Group (USAAF) , http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/50th_Fighter_Group.html

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