365th Fighter Squadron in World WarII: In Action over Europe with the P-47

Title – 365th Fighter Squadron in World WarII: In Action over Europe with the P-47

Author – Kent Miller

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Tactical air support during WW2 was of vital importance to every Allied campaign and in the European theatre of war, one of these units was the 365th Fighter Squadron.

This book presents the 365th Fighter Squadron’s day-to-day operation during its busy and very dynamic combat operations in Europe from 1943-1945. It contains a mix of squadron records along with quotes from the personnel highlighting their war time experiences and insights to the conditions they operated in.

Kent explains how effective the unit was in the ground attack role. Like many USAAF tactical oriented units during WW2, the 365th squadron did not obtain a large air to air kill score – only 27 confirmed kills – against Luftwaffe aircraft but with the change to ground attack roles,  the squadron’s ground claims amassed quickly due to strafing and bombing of a large number of ground targets every month.

The 365th was part of the 358th Fighter Group and was activated in January 1943 at Richmond Army Air Base, Virginia.The squadron initially trained on the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk before later that same year transitioning Republic P-47 Thunderbolt. The Squadron then flew the mighty P-47 using a variety of models, until the end of combat operations.

The squadron left the United States in September 1943 and arrived in October 1943 in England where it was assigned to the  Eighth Air Force (8th AF) by late December 1943. It undertook combat missions engaged primarily in missions escorting bombers attacking targets on the continent of Europe until April 1944. The squadron then changed tactics and was assigned to dive bombing (tactical air operations) of marshalling yards, airfields and attacked enemy communications during April and May from its new station, an advanced landing ground at RAF High Halden, to help prepare for the invasion of Normandy.

The operational information shows how the squadron took part in many large scale and very critical WW2 operations. One the biggest was D-Day where they escorted troop carrier formations  on 6 June 1944 as they flew into France and the following day as the formations dropped paratroopers on the Cotentin Peninsula. For the remainder of June, the P-47 pilots attacked rail lines, troop concentrations, bridges and transport. The squadron moved to France in July 1944 and from its base at Cretteville, took part in operations that resulted in an Allied breakthrough at St Lo.

As the ground war expanded further outwards from Normandy and into France, the 365th continued flying tactical interdiction, close air support missions along with bomber escort missions. As the Germany military withdrew back into Germany, the 365th began operations over western Germany. As this part of the war evolved, the 365th was involved in destroying numerous Luftwaffe fighters in the Battle of the Bulge in late 1944. The Squadron was also part of Allied defences against the Luftwaffe’s

The Squadron was also part of the Allied defences against the Luftwaffe’s large scale Operation Bodenplatte which commenced on 1 January 1945. It was an attack concentrating on 16 Allied air bases in Belgium, the Netherlands and France, with a plan to obtain air superiority in the region.

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By March 1945 the squadron was frequently attacking German forces attempting to withdraw across the Rhine River. In conducting these ground attack missions the pilots were targeting vehicles and transports moving personnel and supplies. In April 1945 the 365th began targeting Luftwaffe airfields near Munich and Ingolstadt.

During April 1945 the 365th began targeting Luftwaffe airfields near Munich and Ingolstadt. At the same time the unit kept on providing close air support for the ground forces as they advanced across Germany, right up until Germany finally surrendered in May 1945.

The book also contains an extensive appendix with unit information.

Some of the bases the 365th operated from during WW2 included –

Richmond Army Air Base, Virginia, 1 January 1943
Baltimore Army Air Field, Maryland, 28 April 1943
Millville Army Air Field, New Jersey, 29 May 1943
Camp Springs Army Air Field, Maryland, 3 July 1943
Richmond Army Air Base, Virginiaa, 16 Aug – 26 September 1943
RAF Goxhill (AAF-345), England, 20 October 1943
RAF Leiston (AAF-373), England, 3 December 1943
RAF Raydon (AAF-157), England, 2 February 1944
RAF High Halden (AAF-411), England, 13 April 1944
Cretteville Airfield (A-14), France, 3 July 1944
Pontorson Airfield (A-28), France, 14 August 1944
Vitry-En-Artois Airfield (A-67),  France, 15 September 1944
Operated from St-Dizier Airfield (A-64), France, 12 – 17 October 1944
Mourmelon-le-Grand Airfield (A-80), France, 17 October 1944
Toul-Croix De Metz Airfield (A-90), France, 20 November 1944
Mannheim-Sandhofen Airfield (Y-79), Germany, 7 April 1945

Post war the 365th returned home to the US and in 1946 it became part of the Air National Guard. It was redesignated as the 163d Fighter Squadron and was allocated to the Indiana Air National Guard. It is still operational in 2016.

Book detail

ISBN13: 9780764324277

Size: 8 1/2″ x 11″

Pages: 240 pages / 190+ black white photos.

Binding: hard cover

Available direct from Schifferbooks at http://www.schifferbooks.com/365th-fighter-squadron-in-world-warii-in-action-over-europe-with-the-p-47-3128.html for $59.95 US plus postage.

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