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324th Fighter Group (USAAF)

324th Fighter Group (USAAF)

324th Fighter Group (USAAF)

History - Books - Aircraft - Time Line - Commanders - Main Bases - Component Units - Assigned To


The 324th Fighter Group fought in Tunisia, Sicily, Italy, the south of France and the final advance into Germany, mainly operating as a close support unit.

The group was constituted as the 324th Fighter Group on 24 June 1942 and activated on 6 July 1942.

The group moved to the Middle East in October-December 1942 to join the Ninth Air Force. It was equipped with the P-40, and after a period of training entered the fighting in Tunisia (although the group HQ remained in Egypt). The group's squadrons worked alongside other groups, with one supporting the 57th Fighter Group and two the 79th Fighter Group. The group supported the Eighth Army during the battle of the Marath Line, on occasion running into strong German fighter forces. On 18 April the 314th Squadron from the group took part in the 'Palm Sunday Massacre', which saw a strong force of Allied fighters intercept and destroy a formation of German transport aircraft heading back from Tunisia to Italy.

The two halves of the unit came back together in June 1943. The group then spent the following month on escort and patrol missions between Tunisia and Sicily.

The group was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for its actions between March 1943 and the invasion of Sicily.

The group spent July-October 1943 preparing to join the Twelfth Air Force, although it would be under the operational control of the Northwest African Tactical Air Force (Air Vice Marshal Sir Arthur Coningham).

The group entered combat with the Twelfth Air Force on 30 October, soon after the invasion of mainland Italy. Between then and August 1944 it concentrated on the fighting in Italy, attacking transport links, gun positions and troop concentrations.

In January 1944 the group patrolled the beach and protected convoys during the landings at Anzio.

The group was awarded a second DUC for its part in the attack on Monastery Hill at Cassino from 12-14 May 1944, where it attacked German troops preparing for a counterattack and forced the surrender of a German garrison.

In July 1944 the group converted to the P-47.

In August it was used to support Operation Dragoon, the invasion of the south of France. It was used to dive bomb gun positions, radar and transport links and on patrols. After the initial invasion the group supported the troops advancing north through France, as part of an agreement on how the American units committed to the invasion would be used after the initial stages.

In January-February 1945 the group supported the attacks on the Colmar bridgehead.

In March 1945 it supported the Seventh Army attack on the Siegfried Line.

The group received the the Croix de Guerre with Palm for its support of French troops in Italy and France in 1944-45.

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




1942-July 1944: Curtiss P-40 Warhawk
July 1944-1945: Republic P-47 Thunderbolt


24 June 1942Constituted as 324th Fighter Group
6 July 1942Activated
October-December 1942To Middle East and Ninth Air Force
October 1943Combat debut with Twelfth Air Force
October-November 1945To United States
7 November 1945Inactivated

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Col William K McNown: c. Jul 1942
Col Leonard C Lydon:25 Dec 1943
Lt Col Franklin W Horton:23 May-Nov 1945

Main Bases

Mitchel Field, NY: 6 Jul1942
Baltimore Mun Aprt, Md: 6 Jul-28Oct 1942
El Amiriya, Egypt: Dec 1942
El Kabrit, Egypt: 2 Feb 1943
Kairouan,Tunisia: 2 Jun 1943
El Haouaria, Tunisia:c. 18 Jun 1943
Menzel Heurr, Tunisia: 3Oct 1943
Cercola, Italy: 25 Oct 1943
Pignataro Maggiore, Italy: 6 May 1944
Le Banca Airfield, Italy: 6 Jun 1944
Montalto Di Castro, Italy: 14 Jun 1944
Corsica: 19 Jul 1944
Le Luc, France: 25Aug 1944
Istres, France: 2 Sep 1944
Amberieu, France: 6 Sep 1944
Tavaux,France: Sep 1944
Luneville, France:4 Jan 1945
Stuttgart, Germany: 8 May-20 Oct 1945
Camp Shanks, NY: 6-7 Nov1945.

Component Units

314th: 1942-1945
315th: 1942-1945
316th: 1942-1945

Assigned To

July-October 1942: Philadelphia Fighter Wing; I Fighter Command; First Air Force
October 1942-June 1943: Ninth Air Force
1943: 64th Fighter Wing; XII Fighter Command; Twelfth Air Force
1943: 64th Fighter Wing; XII Tactical Air Command; Twelfth Air Force
1945: 64th Fighter Wing

Update for July 2018 at HistoryofWar.org: Italian Campaign, Peninsular War, Lockheed Aircraft, USAAF Fighter Groups, Clemson class destroyers, German railway artillery

This month we continue with our series on the Italian campaign, looking at three operations designed to support the fighting at Salerno and five of the many battles to break through German defensive lines that became typical of the campaign. We also return to the Peninsular War, looking at two more combats fought by the Spanish during the Vittoria campaign.

In the air we look at more Lockheed aircraft, this time focusing on fighter aircraft, including the F-80 Shooting Star. We also add another nine USAAF fighter groups.

On land we look at German railway guns of the Second World War, including the family of various 28cm guns that were amongst the most effective, and the massive 80cm guns that were the most pointless.

At sea we move onto the Clemson class destroyers, looking at the class itself and the first four ships.

Operation Giant I (Revised), 13-14 September 1943, was the first of two successful attempts to reinforce the Salerno beachhead from the air.

Operation Giant IV, 14-15 September 1943 was the second of two successful attempts to reinforce the Salerno beachhead from the air.

Operation Giant III, (14-15 September 1943) was an unsuccessful American airborne operation carried out to the north of the Salerno beachhead in an attempt to reduce the flow of German reinforcements from the north.

The battle of the Volturno Line (9-19 October 1943) saw the Germans under Kesselring delay the Allied advance north from Naples for over a week, winning crucial time for the construction of defences further to the north.

The battle of the Biferno (1-7 October 1943) saw the British Eighth Army break through the eastern flank of the first German defensive line in Italy, the Volturno Line.

The battle of the Barbara Line (31 October-4 November 1943) saw the Allies break through the outlining defences of the ‘Winter Line’, a hastily constructed line of outposts between the Volturno and the more strongly defended Bernhardt and Gustav Lines.

The battle of the Trigno (27 October-4 November 1943) saw the Eighth Army overcome the second of a series of German defensive positions on the Adriatic coast of Italy, in the aftermath of the initial landings in the south.

The battle of the Bernhardt Line (5 November-17 December 1943) saw the Allies capture the mountains that guarded the ‘Mignano Gap’, on the approaches to the main Gustav line positions behind the Garigliano and Rapido Rivers after a series of costly infantry assaults.

The combats of Guernica (2 and 5 April 1813) saw a French column force the Spanish guerrillas to abandon their HQ in Biscay, but the majority of the Spanish troops were able to escape, reducing the value of the success.

The combat of Bilbao (10 April 1813) was an unsuccessful Spanish attempt to capture the city while it was weakly defended, but failed after one of the key forces failed to arrive in time to support the initial attack.

The Lockheed XP-49 was a design for a more powerful fighter to be based on the P-38 Lightning, but it never got beyond the prototype stage, and by the time the prototype was ready, it was outclassed by existing P-38s.

The Lockheed XP-58 Chain Lighting was a two-man version of the P-38 that suffered from repeated changes of purpose, and that never entered production.

The Lockheed F-80 Shooting Star was the first jet fighter to enter US service, but despite an impressively quick development didn’t arrive in time for the Second World War. It saw extensive service early in the Korean War, before being replaced by the F-86 Sabre.

The Lockheed XF-90 was a design for a penetration fighter, capable of escorting bombers and carrying out ground attack missions, but never got beyond the prototype stage.

The Lockheed R3O was the designation for two versions of the Model 10 Electra used by the US Navy, one purchased for the Navy and one impressed during the Second World War

The Lockheed R5O was the US Navy’s designation for the Model 18 Lodestar transport, of which nearly 100 were used during the Second World War.

The 84th Fighter Group (USAAF) served as a training unit from 1942-1944.

The 85th Fighter Group was a training group that served with the Second and Third Air Forces in the United States in 1942-44.

The 86th Fighter Group was mainly used as a close support unit, and took part in the invasions of Sicily, mainland Italy and the south of France, before ending the war operating over Germany.

The 87th Fighter Group was a short lived replacement training unit for P-47s.

The 318th Fighter Group spent two and a half years based on Hawaii, before moving to the front in June 1944 to take part in the invasion of the Marianas and the air attack on Japan.

The 324th Fighter Group fought in Tunisia, Sicily, Italy, the south of France and the final advance into Germany, mainly operating as a close support unit.

The 325th Fighter Group fought in Tunisia, Pantelleria, Sicily and mainland Italy, then became a escort unit supporting the Italian based heavy bombers on their raids across Germany and occupied Europe.

The 407th Fighter Group (USAAF) was a home based training unit that also saw limited active service in Alaska.

The 408th Fighter Group (USAAF) was a home based training unit that was active from October 1943 to April 1944.

The 28cm Kanone 5 (Eisenbahn) (schlanke Bertha or slim Bertha), was one of the most effective railway guns ever produced, and was large enough to have a major impact on the fighting, without being so large that it became too cumbersome to be used effectively.

The 28cm kurze Bruno Kanone (Eisenbahn) was the first of four models of railway artillery loosely based on a First World War original, and carried a L/40 gun.

The 28cm lange Bruno Kanone (Eisenbahn) was the second of four models of railway gun loosely based on a First World War original, and carried a L/45 gun.

The 28cm ‘Schwere Bruno’ (Heavy Bruno) was the third of four models of railway gun loosely modelled on the First World War 28cm ‘Bruno’ railway guns.

The 28cm K(E) ‘neue Bruno’ was the last of four models of railway gun produced by mounting old naval guns on railway carriages. It was an attempt to produce a weapon that was more powerful than the ‘short’, ‘long’ and ‘heavy’ Brunos,

The 80cm Kanone (Eisenbahn) was the largest artillery gun ever built, and was a vanity project that consumed far more resources than its limited impact could possibly justify.

Clemson Class Destroyers

The Clemson Class Destroyers were the second class of standardized flushdecker deck destroyers produced for the US Navy during the First World War, but none of them were completed in time to see service. Instead they formed the backbone of the inter-war destroyer force, were used for a large number of specialised modifications, and performed valuable service during the Second World War

USS Clemson (DD-186/ AVP-17/ AVD-4/ APD-31) was the name ship of the Clemson class of destroyers. She entered service too late for the First World War, but had a varied career during the Second World War, serving as aircraft tender, a destroyer with an anti-submarine group and a fast transport.

USS Dalhgren (DD-187) was a Clemson class destroyer that was used on experimental and sonar training duties during the Second World War

USS Goldsborough (DD-188/ AVP-18/ AVD-5/ APD-32) was a Clemson class destroyer that spent much of the Second World War supporting amphibious aircraft, before being converted into a fast transport to take part in the invasions of Saipan, the Philippines, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

USS Semmes (DD-189) was a Clemson class destroyer that served with the US Coast Guard in the interwar period and carried out a mix of experimental, training and escort work during the Second World War.

Bomber Offensive, Sir Arthur Harris.
The autobiography of Bomber Harris, giving his view of the strategic bombing campaign in its immediate aftermath. Invaluable for the insights it provides into Harris’s approach to the war, what he was trying to achieve and the problems he faced. Harris perhaps overstates his case, not entirely surprisingly given how soon after the end of the war this book was written
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An unusual perspective on the Vietnam War, written by a Special Forces Medic serving at Loc Ninh, one of the more active Green Beret bases during his year in the country. As well as fighting alongside a Vietnamese Army force, he also had more contact with the locals that you find in many of these accounts. Nicely organised, largely by topics, the result is a valuable memoir looking at a less familiar part of the war
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The 1916 Battle of the Somme Reconsidered, Peter Liddle.
A modified version of a 1992 original that attempted to produce a new perspective of the battle of the Somme, seeing it as an essential step towards the eventual Allied victory, both for the damage it did to the German army and the improvements it forced on the British, as well as looking at the contemporary views of the soldiers involved in the fighting, suggesting that the average soldier wasn’t the disillusioned figure painted by the war poets or of the post-war period
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The Social History of English Seamen 1650-1815, ed. Cheryl A. Fury.
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I, Horatio, Donald A. Tortorice.
A novelised biography of Nelson, written from his point of view, and largely in the style of the period. Suffers from some historical errors, including minor matters of titles, and one major error about the status of Nelson’s ship at the battle of Cape St. Vincent, but the result is still a readable and fairly convincing life of Nelson, from an unusual point of view
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The Paper Caper, Tim Topps.
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A Soldier for Napoleon - The Campaigns of Lieutenant Franz Joseph Hausmann, 7th Bavarian Infantry, ed John H. Gill.
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Patricians and Emperors - the Last Rulers of the Western Roman Empire, Ian Hughes.
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War Birds - The Diary of a Great War Pilot, Elliot White Springs.
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324th Bomb Squadron

The insignia of the 324th Bomb Squadron, 91st Bomb Group.

Staff Sergeant Walter Dager, a tail gunner of the 91st Bomb Group with his B-17 Flying Fortress at Bassingbourn airbase. Image stamped on reverse: '246383' [Censor no]. Passed for Publication 1 Feb 1943 [stamp]. Printed Caption on reverse: 'Some of the airmen from America who are taking part in the daily raids on enemy occupied territory and Germany, in their giant high altitude aircraft the "Flying Fortress" capable of carrying a 11,000 [censor has amended figure to 10,000] pound bomb load. Photo shows - Staff Sgt. Walter Dager (Indiana) rear-gunner. who has shot down a F.W.190 during daylight raid on Germany. FOX 43. 2.'

Handwritten on reverse: '91st BG. 8th Air Force.' Actually, one of three B-17/PB-1 aircraft restored in the U.S. and flown to England for the filming of the motion picture, "The War Lover," in the early 1960s. Filmed predominantly at Manston.

Filmmaker Major William Wyler with his production team whilst filiming "Memphis Belle, A Story of a Flying Fortress" at Bassingbourn. The machine guns on a B-17 Flying Fortress (DF-B) of the 91st Bomb Group have been replaced with cameras in order to make the film. A censor has obscured the insignia on Wyler's jacket. Image stamped on reverse: 'Passed for Publication' [stamp]. '246350' [Censor no]. Printed caption on reverse is damaged, what remains reads : '"HOW A FLYING FORTRESS PROTECTS ITSELF". Major William Wyler, who directed the famous film 'Mrs Miniver', is now busy directing an instructional film for the U.S. Army Air Force, showing how a 'Flying Fortress' protects itself against attack by enemy fighters. The Fortress is loaded with cameras in place of the guns and Spitfires, piloted by U.S. Army Air Force Pilots, acting the part of enemy aircraft, are making the attacks, which are recorded by the cine-men and their cameras. Photo shows- Cameras installed on Fortress and [obscured- likely to say 'William Wyler'] (in centre) talking with the cine-men [obscured]. War Correspondant Cavo[. ] Chin (is on the left) the [obscured] camera men. [obscured] 23.' Handwritten caption on reverse: '1/2/43, crop insignia.'

A B-17 Flying Fortress (DF-B, serial number 42-37779) nicknamed "Pistl Packin' Mama", of the 91st Bomb Group in flight during a mission over France, 14 January 1944. 61036 AC - (A)- Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress" of the 91st Bomb Gp. 8th AF, enroute to bomb target at Croisette, France. 1/14/44. (Altitude 12,100 feet.)

B-17 Flying Fortresses of the 91st Bomb Group assemble a formation. Image by Dale J Darling, 91st Bomb Group. Written on slide casing: '324th assembly.'

Staff Sergeant Joseph Norton, of the 324th Bomb Squadron, 91st Bomb Group, with a B-17 Flying Fortress. Image via Lieutenant Colonel Paul Chryst, 91st Bomb Group Handwritten caption on reverse: 'S/Sgt Joseph Norton, 324th BS, 91st BG.'

A B-17 Flying Fortress (DF-B, serial number 41-24480) of the 324th Bomb Squadron, 91st Bomb Group flies above the clouds. Printed caption on reverse: 'Behind-Scenes pictures of U.S. Army Air Force Headquarters Wing in England (19 Pictures). Wide World Photo Shows: Fortress flying above clouds. Note starred wing tip of plane from which picture was taken.' Passed for publication 2 Feb 1943. Associated Press and US Army Press Censorship Bureau Stamps on reverse. Print No: 246573.

Capt James A Verinis with mascot Scottie 'Stuka' of the 91st Bomb Group in the waist gun position of his B-17 Flying Fortress (DF-A, serial number 41-24485) nicknamed "Memphis Belle" Passed for publication 10 Jun 1943. Printed caption on reverse: 'Not For Publication Before 00.30 June 10th. Flying Fortress Returns To U.S.A. After 25 Operations. June 1943. At an 8th Army Air Station somewhere in England, Lt.-Gen. Jacob L. Devers, and Major-General Ira. C. Eaker, bidded fare-well to the Flying Fortress "Memphis Belle" which is returning to the United States after completing 25 missions over enemy territory. The crew will instruct airmen back home, who will follow in their footsteps in the great Allied Air Offensives against the enemy. Picture shows - Capt James A Verinis Co-Pilot chatting with General Devers..' On reverse: US Army Press & Censorship Bureau [Stamp]. Print No: 268682

An airman of the 91st Bomb Group with a B-17 Flying Fortress nicknamed "The Bad Penny" Passed for publication 1 Feb 1943. Printed caption on reverse: 'Some of the airmen from America who are taking part in the daily raids on enemy occupied territory and Germany, in their giant high altitude aircraft, the "Flying Fortress", capable of carrying a 10,000 pound bomb load. Photo shows - 'The Bad Penny' one of the air crew looks up at the name of his Fortress.' On reverse: US Army Press & Censorship Bureau [Stamp]. Print No: 246371.

365th Fighter Group

Lieutenant Colonel Louis Houck of the 365th Fighter Group wearing a flying helmet with devil horns in the cockpit of his P-47 Thunderbolt nicknamed "Screamin' Weemie". Image stamped on reverse: 'Keystone Press.' [stamp]. Printed caption on reverse: 'AMERICAN FLYER WEARS "DEVIL'S HELMET" Lieutenant Colonel Louis Houck, 27, commander of a Ninth US Air Force fighter group, waves for contact after donning his "devil's helmet" for a mission against the Nazis. The flyer calls his plane "Screaming' Weemie". Keystone Photo no. 481512. War Pool Photo, not for use in Western Hemisphere or British Isles.'

Captain Zell Smith Jr. of the 365th Fighter Group in the cockpit of his P-47D Thunderbolt. Image via DK Beaumeister, via Zell Smith.

A P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft (UN-V, serial number 41-6325), named "Lucky Little Devil" of the 56th Fighter Group. This aircraft was piloted by First Lieutenant John W. Vogt Junior, in the 63rd Fighter Squadron. On 26th January the aircraft was transferred to the 365th Fighter Group, a Ninth Air Force unit. Handwritten on slide:"16 MM"

2nd Lt. Paul Van Cleef 365 Fighter Group 387 Fighter Squadron

An airman of the 365th Fighter Group inspects the wreck of his P-47 Thunderbolt (D5-H) after crash landing.

A P-47 Thunderbolt (serial number 44-33259) of the 365th Fighter Group. Handwritten caption on reverse: 'White or Yellow Rudder, TD had red rudder.'

Colonel John R Murphy of the 365th Fighter Group, examines a whistle he made and attached to his P-47 Thunderbolt. Image stamped on reverse: 'Passed for publication 22 Nov 1944.' [stamp] and 'Sacred.' [stamp]. Printed caption on reverse: 'Ger. Incend Shell on P. 47. Nov 22. NINTH AIR FORCE HEADQUARTERS SOMEWHERE IN FRANCE. Lieutenant Colonel John R Murphy, Minot N,D, a Ninth Air Force P-47 Thunderbolt fighter-bomber, examines the "screamer" whistle he devised from a German incendiary shell. When his unit moved onto a former Luftwaffe field, the colonel found a cluster of the shells and attacked one to the bomb shackle of his plane.'

Colonel Ray J Stecker of the 365th Fighter Group inspects a flak hole in his P-47 Thunderbolt. Image stamped on reverse: 'Keystone Press.' [stamp], 'Passed for publication 13 Jul 1944.' [stamp] and '338593.' [Censor no.] Printed caption on reverse: 'CO OF NINTH FIGHTER GROUP HAS NARROW ESCAPE. Col Ray J Stecker of Pennsylvania, the CO of a 9th Fighter Group was attacked by 32 ME 109s he dived down and was hit by flak which went through his machine, missing him by inches, However he landed safely. Photo shows: Col Ray Stecker with his damaged fighter after he landed.'

Colonel Ray J Stecker of the 365th Fighter Group with the damaged nose of his P-47 Thunderbolt. Image stamped on reverse: 'Keystone Press.' [stamp], 'Passed for publication 13 Jul 1944.' [stamp] and '338719.' [Censor no.] Printed caption on reverse: 'FIGHTER PILOT HAS NARROW ESCAPE. Col Ray J Stecker of Pennsylvania, the CO of a 9th Fighter Group was attacked by 32 ME 109s he dived down and was hit by flak which went through his machine, missing him by inches, However he landed safely. Photo shows: Col Stecker talking to a fellow pilot beside his damaged plane.'

A P-47 Thunderbolt (C4-Y, serial number 42-26407) of the 365th Fighter Group. Handwritten caption on reverse: '388th FS, 365th FG, 9th AF.'

The Group moved to England in December 1943 as part of the Ninth Air Force. Flying P-47s, the Group took part in missions over northern France designed to weaken Germany's ability to repulse the planned Allied invasion of summer 1944. After the successful beach landings, the Group supported the Allies as they fought to break out at St. Lo and push further westwards. They supported the airborne assault into Holland and during the autumn of 1944, flew to aid the seizure of Aachen. The Group received a DUC for taking out a large number of enemy aircraft over the Bonn-Dusseldorf area in Germany on 21 Oct 1944. The 365th was one of the Ninth Air Force fighter groups to win a DUC for action in southern Germany, knocking out airfields and aircraft to help speed the American advance.

The P-40F in Aces High II [ edit ]

Engine Power [ edit ]

The P-40Fs engine performance can be characterised as inferior to most mid years and late years war aircraft available in the Malee arena. Starting off at around 290mph on the deck, the P-40F's top speed increases to 360mph at 20k. The P-40F does have WEP, adding about 15mph to top speed. Unlike previous P-40 variants, the P-40F also has a two-staged supercharger which greatly increases this P-40's high altitude performance. Even with that, the P-40F is still greatly outclassed compared to other aircraft available in the Malee arena. The P-40F like the Spitfire V and Hurricane IIa do not have the type of acceleration that will get you clear of trouble in a running fight. Whereas the Merlin engine produces the minimum amount of performance to be combat effective in speed and climb, the P-40F cannot be considered a warhorse.

Aces High II Performance Charts [ edit ]

Firepower [ edit ]

The P-40Fs armaments is not so much the story of what the P-40 can do as much as it is about the Browning M2 50 caliber machine guns. The P-40F is well armed. The P-40F carries the same standard machine guns that most of the USAAF fighters carried throughout the war. There were three .50 cal machine guns are mounted in tight proximity in each wing, giving a total of six, but with only 281 rounds/gun. The P-40L variant also has the option to carry fewer 50 cals making the aircraft lighter. This allows the P-40F/L an increase in speed and climb performance in exchange for fewer bullets. This armament setup allows the P-40F to hit hard, especially in close slow turning fights. The total ammunition load is certainly lower due to the design of the wing, making you conserve your ammunition. Once you have someone in the cross-hairs they are going to quickly know you are there and be concerned. Set your convergence as with any other similar aircraft for consistency's sake but whether you set them all to a point, or whether you create a small zone convergence, is up to you. Consider that in most cases you may have to keep your guns on target a bit longer than if you have been flying a cannon armed bird for a while, the difference is noticeable, but if you are use to .50s then you can appreciate their ease of use. If you can, fire short bursts and short-medium ranges for best effect. As the stability of the P-40F/L increased due to the longer fuselage, the ability of the P-40F/L to be a great gun platforma and deflection shooter increased. Take advance of this ability in diving attacks and slow turn and burn fights. The only external armament is one 500lb bomb, which is good enough to take out a ground vehicle or building.

Maneuverability [ edit ]

The P-40F/L is a top down fighter. This meaning that you always want to be the highest fighter in the room. Whereas the P-40F is a good turn fighter, the power of other aircraft over the P-40F doesn't allow it to fight very long before being overwhelmed. The P-40F can perform tight loop back turns into a enemy rear attack. The P-40F performs all of the basic ACM maneuvers well, just not with the power that you would get from other aircraft with more powerful engines. In comparison to its contemporaries the Spitfire V, the Hurricane IIa, the BF109G-2 and the A6M3 Zero, you can expect the P-40F/L to be last in maneuverability in this crowd. Yet, to the pilot that is keen on the Warhawks maneuvering abilities, these aircraft and other later fighters can be defeated in a turn fight. Practice and a high number of Malee arena furball engagements will get you quickly acclimated to the P-40Fs maneuvering abilities.

Fighting in the P-40F [ edit ]

In order that you get the best out of the P-40F in combat, always be the HIGHEST airplane in the fight. The P-40F is a top down fighter. You want to start above your enemy if possible. The reason being is that the P-40F is not an "E" fighter. It will not recover altitude or run away from anything in a fight. A diving attack is where this aircraft lives. The six or four 50 caliber machine guns will pound your target, but you have to get in his six. Extend from a fight early and often to stay clear of trouble. You will spend much of your time climbing back to an altitude where you can begin to fight again. The P-40F/L is a great gun platform and a awesome deflection shooter. If you have mastered or are good at deflection shooting, it is best that you lure your opponent into a turn fight. If your opponent pushes you into an "E" fight start looking for the door. If your opponent is unskilled or just wants to have fun in a turn fight, the P-40F is a premier "Knife" fighter. Just know how to kill with this knife.

Fighting against the P-40F [ edit ]

The P-40F as most P-40s in general is an "Easy Kill" to the unskilled P-40 pilot. Keeping in mind that its climb performance is not good and its speed is nothing to write home about. Getting the P-40F into an "E" fight spells doom for this fighter. It just cannot compete in a vertical fight. Slashing high speed attacks on a P-40F will get this fighter turning and diving. It will soon bleed off its built up energy and soon be on the deck wishing it could climb or run away. If the P-40F is diving on you, you'd better be ready. It can dive fast and quickly slow itself for a turn fight. If the attacking pilot is good, he will be in your six in one turn. The P-40F can dive and maintain 450 mph with maneuverability in an attack. The Warhawk is as dangerous as a Mustang or Thunderbolt until it loses its speed. If the Warhawk cannot kill on the immediate engagement, it will seek to quickly climb back to a higher altitude with its remaining energy. In the hands of a better than good pilot the P-40F is a really good turn fighter and will surprise most thinking that "this is an easy kill". Be careful, you may find pilot wounds, oiled engined and missing control surfaces a result of your Warhawk experience.

“The Odyssey of the 324th Fighter Group” from Toby Soto

Background shows an image of a place in the foreground with a smoking volcano in the background. Transition page to the section on Italy.

Photo of the Coliseum in Rome

Photo taken in Italy. Caption reads, "A Warhawk rests uneasily in the face of Vesuvius' flaming wrath."

Page of photos. All taken in Italy. Includes scenes of daily life, such as cooking, socializing, and throwing each other into the ocean.

Photo taken in Italy. Caption reads, "Ruins of the San Chiara church in Naples. Just outside are the remains of German armored vehicles hit by our bombers."

Photo taken in Italy. Caption reads, "Main lounge in the Red Cross Club in Naples."

Photo taken in Italy. Caption reads, "The millionth pound of bombs which the 324th dropped in the war."

Photo taken in Italy. Caption reads, "A group of soldiers receive the Pope's blessing."

Photo taken in Italy. Caption reads, "Remember that beautiful piece of feminity, Louise Albritton? That's Harry Barris, on of the original Rhythm Boys."

Photo taken at Corsica. Caption reads, "A jeep of the 314th squadron is among the first off at Corsica."

Photos from The Odyssey of the 324th Fighter Group, edited by Frederick H. Ziervogel. 

History [ edit | edit source ]

Activated in mid-1942 under I Fighter Command. Trained in Virginia, deployed to Egypt with Ninth Air Force, being assigned to support the British Desert Air Force in the Western Desert Campaign. Engaged Nazi forces in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia supporting the British Eighth Army.

Transferred to Twelfth Air Force and reassigned to Italy in the fall of 1943, supporting the United States Fifth Army in the Italian Campaign. Moved to Corsica for staging then participated in the Invasion of southern France, August 1944. Supported United States Seventh Army in Rhone Valley Campaign and engaging Nazi Forces through Lyon and meeting with United States Third Army in Alsace-Lorraine during the late fall of 1944.

Participated in the Western Allied invasion of Germany, January–May 1944, later performing occupation duty at Stuttgart Airport. Returned to the United States and demobilized, fall 1945 and inactivated in November.

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325th Fighter Group

Colonel Herschel H. Green, of the 317th Fighter Squadron, 325th Fighter Group, 306th Fighter Wing, 15th Air Force stands by the cockpit of his P-51B Mustang. Handwritten caption on reverse: 'P-51B, Col. H.H. Green. J.C.' P-51C-1-NT #42-103324 Code: #11 325th FG - 317th FS - 15th AF

An airman of the 325th Fighter Group, 15th Air Force paints a "Kill" marker onto the fuselage of a P-51 Mustang (serial number 43-24856). P-51B-15-NA #43-24856

Major Hershcel H Green of the 325th Fighter Group, 15th Air Force in the cockpit of his P-47 Thunderbolt. Printed caption on reverse: 'Major Herschel H Green, 15th AAF Fighter pilot, is shown here getting ready to take off from his base in southern Italy. Major Green, the son of Mr Ted Green, [illegible]03 North 6th Street, Mayfield Kentucky, is a versatile fighter pilot, having shot down 14 enemy aircraft using three different types of planes: Thunderbolts, Warhawks and Mustangs. 317 Sqdn, 325th Fighter Group, US Air Force photo.'

P-47 Thunderbolts (95, serial number 42-75023), (82, serial number 42-74956), (serial number 42-74979) and (88) of the 325th Fighter Group, 15th Air Force fly in formation.

P-47D Razorback '27' 42-75971 'Ruthless Ruthie' mount of 8 kill ace Lt George P Novotny from the 317th FS/325th FG.

Lesina Airfield Home of the 325th FG - 15th AF

P-51D-20-NA #44-63165 "Double Nuthin" Code: #00 325th Fighter Group - 318th Fighter Squadron - 15th AF

1LT William E. Aron P-51D-15-NA s/n 44-15128 "Texas Jessie" Code: #46 325th Fighter Group - 318th Fighter Squadron - 15th AF

Captain Harry A. Parker P-51D-10-NA #14400 Code: #57 325th FG - 318th FS - 15th AF

Capt Walter K. "Lefty" Selenger 325th Fighter Group - 318th Fighter Squadron - 15th AF Selenger was KIA in a T-33A crash in Korea in 1951

Constituted as 325th Fighter Group on 9 Jun 1942. Activated on 3 Aug 1942. Trained with P-40’s. Moved to North Africa during Jan-Feb 1943.

Assigned to Twelfth AF. Entered combat on 17 Apr. Escorted medium bombers, flew strafing missions, and made sea sweeps from bases in Algeria and Tunisia. Participated in the defeat of Axis forces in Tunisia, the reduction of Pantelleria, and the conquest of Sicily. Received a DUC for action over Sardinia on 30 Jul 1943 when the group, using diversionary tactics, forced a superior number of enemy planes into the air and destroyed more than half of them. Flew no combat missions from the end of Sep to mid-Dec 1943, a period in which the group changed aircraft and moved to Italy.

Began operations with Fifteenth AF on 14 Dec, and afterward engaged primarily in escort operations, using P-47’s until they were replaced by P-51’s in May 1944. Escorted heavy bombers during long-range missions to attack the Messerschmitt factory at Regensburg, the Daimler-Benz tank factory at Berlin, oil refineries at Vienna, and other targets, such as airfields, marshalling yards, and communications in Italy, France, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Rumania, and Yugoslavia. Also covered operations of reconnaissance aircraft and strafed such targets as trains, vehicles, and airfields. Received second DUC for a mission on 30 Jan 1944 when the group flew more than 300 miles at very low altitude to surprise the enemy fighters that were defending German airdromes near Villaorba by severely damaging the enemy’s force, the 325th group enabled heavy bombers to strike vital targets in the area without encountering serious opposition. Continued combat operations until May 1945. Returned to the US in Oct. Inactivated on 28 Oct 1945

Robert Baseler

Military | Colonel | Fighter Pilot - Group Commander | 325th Fighter Group

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