5th Reconnaissance Group (USAAF)

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The 5th Reconnaissance Group (USAAF) arrived in the Mediterranean Theatre at the start of the long Italian campaign and carried out operations across most of southern Europe and in support of D-Day.

The group was formed in the US in July 1942 and moved to the Mediterranean in July-September 1943, officially taking up residence in Tunisia at the start of September, arriving a few days after the first landings on the Italian mainland. The group was assigned to the Twelfth Air FOrce in support of the troops fighting in Italy, moving forward to the Italian mainland at the start of December 1943.

The 15th Combat Mapping Squadron began operating in support of the Fifteenth Air Force's strategic bombing campaign on 28 December 1943 and was assigned to that Air Force in January 1944. The rest of the group moved to the Fifteenth Air Force in October 1944. Even after moving to the Fifteenth Air Force the group continued to carry out some missions in support of the campaign in Italy, but its main focus was to support the heavy bombers.

During 1944 the group helped support the Anzio landings in January 1944. It also photographed targets in the north-west of France in support of the D-Day invasion, surveying rail targets.

The group's aircraft ranged across France, Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland and the Balkans. It was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for a mission on 6 September 1944 when it mapped the Luftwaffe bases in the Balkans, allowing Allied fighters to destroy large numbers of German aircraft on the ground.

The group returned to the United States in October 1945 and was inactivated on 28 October 1945.




Main: Lockheed F-5 Lightning
Limited night-time use: Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, North American B-25 Mitchell


14 July 1942 Constituted as 5th Photographic Group
23 July 1942 Activated
May 1943 Redesignated as 5th Photographic Reconnaissance and Mapping Group
August 1943 Redesignated as 5th Photographic Reconnaissance Group
Jul-Sep 1943 To Mediterranean and Twelfth Air Force
Oct 1944 To Fifteenth Air Force
May 1945 Redesignated 5th Reconnaissance Group
Oct 1945 To US
28 Oct 1945 Inactivated
6 Mar 1947 Disbanded

Commanders (with date of appointment)

2d Lt Frederick A Williams: 23 Jul 1942
Maj J D Russell: 1942
Maj James F Setchell: 12 Jan 1943
Lt Col Waymond A Davis: 27 Feb 1943
Maj Leon W Gray: 23 Oct 1943
Maj Lloyd R Nuttall: 4 Feb 1944
Col Wilbur H Stratton: 21 Sep 1944
Lt Col Bernard S Hendler: 9 Aug 1945-unkn.

Main Bases

Colorado Springs, Colo: 23 Jul 1942-8 Aug 1943
La Marsa, Tunisia: 8 Sep 1943
San Severo, Italy: 8 Dec 1943
Bari, Italy: 11 Oct 1944-Oct 1945
Camp Kilmer, NJ: 26-28 Oct 1945

Component Units

15th Reconnaissance Squadron: 1944-1945
21st Reconnaissance Squadron: 1942-1943
22rd Reconnaissance Squadron: 1942-1943
23rd Reconnaissance Squadron: 1942- 1944
24th Reconnaissance Squadron: 1942-1943
32rd Reconnaissance Squadron: 1944-1945
37th Reconnaissance Squadron: 1944-1945.

Assigned To

1943-Oct 44: 90th Reconnaissance Wing; Twelfth Air Force
Oct 1944 onwards: Fifteenth Air Force

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (12 November 2014), 5th Reconnaissance Group , http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/5th_Reconnaissance_Group.html

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