Skip to main content
Edit entry 

1st Fighter Group

Group

The 1st Fighter Group were initially deployed to Britain in the summer of 1942 as part of Operation Bolero. After shuttling through a number of different bases in the UK, the Group was reassigned to the Twelfth Air Force in September 1942 and supported the Allied invasion of North-West Africa as part of Operation Torch. After the fall of Tunis in May 1943, the Group escorted bombers in missions over Sicily and Italy and in the summer of 1944 supported the invasion of southern France (Operation Dragoon).

US Air Force Combat Units of World War II Description

Reconstituted in 1924 and consolidated with 1st Pursuit Group that had been organized in the US on 22 Aug 1919. Redesignated 1st Pursuit Group (Interceptor) in Dec 1939, and 1st Pursuit Group (Fighter) in Mar IWI. Trained, participated in exercises and maneuvers, put on demonstrations, took part in National Air Races, tested equipment, and experimented with tactics, using Spad, Nieuport, DeHavilland, SE-5, MB-3, PW-8, P-I, P-6, PT-3, P-16, P-26, P-35, P-36, P-38, P-41, P-43, and other aircraft during the period 1919-1941. Was the only pursuit group in the Army’s air arm for several years; later, furnished cadres for new units. Moved to the west coast immediately after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and flew patrols for several weeks. Redesignated 1st Fighter Group in May 1942. Moved to England, Tun-Jul 1942. Assigned to Eighth AF. Entered combat with P-38 aircraft on 28 Aug and flew a number of missions to France before being assigned to Twelfth AF for duty in the Mediterranean theater. Moved to North Africa, part of the ground echelon landing with the assault forces at Arzeu beach on 8 Nov 1942. The air echelon arrived a few days later and the group soon began operations, attacking enemy shipping, escorting bombers, flying strafing missions, and performing reconnaissance duties during the campaign for Tunisia. Participated in the reduction of Pantelleria. Escorted bombers to targets in Sicily and later aided ground forces during the conquest of that island by strafing and dive bombing roads, motor transports, gun emplacements, troop concentrations, bridges, and railways. Flew missions against the enemy in Italy and received a DUC for its performance on 25 Aug 1943 when the group carried out a strafing attack on Italian airdromes, destroying great numbers of enemy aircraft that presented a serious threat to the Allies’ plans for landing troops at Salerno. Also escorted bombers to Italy, receiving another DUC for a mission on 30 Aug 1943 when the group beat off enemy aircraft and thus enabled bombers to inflict serious damage on marshaling yards at Aversa. Supported the invasion at Salerno in Sep and continued operations with Twelfth AF until Nov 1943. Assigned to Fifteenth AF with the primary mission of escorting bombers that attacked targets in Italy, France, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, Rumania, Yugoslavia, and Greece. Received third DUC for covering the withdrawal of B-17’s after an attack on Ploesti on 18 May 1944. Also flew strafing and dive-bombing missions in an area from France to the Balkans. Supported the landings at Anzio in Jan 1944 and the invasion of Southern France in Aug 1944. Continued operations until May 1945. Inactivated in Italy on 16 Oct 1945. Activated in the US on 3 Jul 1946.

Commanding officers
  • John Stone

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Commanding Officer, 1st Fighter Group | 1st Fighter Group
    Commanding Officer of the 1st Fighter Group from 9 July 1942 to 7 December 1942.

  • Ralph Garman

    Military | Colonel | Commanding Officer, 1st Fighter Group | 1st Fighter Group
    Commanding Officer of the 1st Fighter Group from 7 December 1942 to 8 September 1943.

  • John Zahn

    Military | Major | Commanding Officer, 1st Fighter Group | 1st Fighter Group
    Commanding Officer of the 1st Fighter Group from 1 May 1942 to 9 July 1942.

Structure

Part of
Encompassing
Previously was
Not yet known
Became
Not yet known

Missions

  • VIII Fighter Command

    29 August 1942
    31FG despatches 36 Spitfires to patrol along the French coast; 1FG despatches 2 P-38s on a fighter intercept on enemy raiders. First use of P-38s by 8th AF in the ETO.

  • VIII Fighter Command FIGHTER SWEEPS

    1 September 1942
    1FG/71FS despatches 32-P-38s in a fighter sweep over the English Channel; 52FG despatches 12 Spitfires in a practice fighter sweep.

  • VIII Fighter Command PATROL & SCRAMBLE

    4 September 1942
    1FG scrambles 2 P-38s on patrol off Ibsley, UK; 31FG despatches 2 Spitfires on patrol off of Selsey Bill, UK.

  • VIII Fighter Command ESCORT

    5 September 1942
    31FG despatches 24 Spitfires to escort DB-7 A-20 Boston III bombers of 15BS in their attack on the port area of Le Harve, France

  • VIII Fighter Command ESCORT

    5 September 1942
    31FG despatches 24 Spitfires to escort DB-7 A-20 Boston III bombers of 15BS in their attack on the port area of Le Harve, France

  • VIII Fighter Command ESCORT & INTERCEPT

    6 September 1942
    1FG scrambles 2 P-38s to intercept enemy aircraft, but none are sighted.

  • VIII Fighter Command SWEEPS & INTERCEPT

    8 September 1942
    1FG despatches a total of 6 P-38s on practice sweeps with the RAF and 2 of these are scrambled to intercept enemy aircraft, but none are sighted.

  • VIII Fighter Command SWEEPS & INTERCEPT

    8 September 1942
    1FG despatches a total of 6 P-38s on practice sweeps with the RAF and 2 of these are scrambled to intercept enemy aircraft, but none are sighted.

  • VIII Fighter Command FIGHTER SWEEP

    16 September 1942
    1FG despatches 24 P-38s on a fighter sweep of the French coastline between Dieppe and Le Touquet, France.

  • VIII Fighter Command FIGHTER SWEEP

    17 September 1942
    1FG despatches 24 P-38s on a fighter sweep of the English Channel and French coast.

Show more

Stations

Station Location Date
HQ and 71st FS Based Goxhill 10 June 1942 – 24 August 1942
94th FS Based Kirton-in-Lindsey 10 June 1942 – 24 August 1942
HQ, 71st FS and 94th FS Based Ibsley 24 August 1942 – 14 November 1942
27th FS Based High Ercall 27 August 1942 – 15 September 1942
27th FS Based Colerne 15 September 1942 – 6 November 1942
Based Nouvion Airfield 20 November 1942 – 14 December 1942
Based Chateaudun-du-Rhumel Airfield February 1943 – 29 June 1943
Based Mateur Airfield 29 June 1943 – 31 October 1943
Based Gioia del Colle Airfield 8 December 1943 – 8 January 1944
Based Salsola Airfield 8 January 1944 – 8 January 1945
Based Vincenzo Airfield 8 January 1945 – 21 February 1945
Based Salsola Airfield 21 February 1945 – March 1945

Connections

People

  • Charley Brown

    Military | Captain | Fighter pilot | 1st Fighter Group
    Assigned to 84FS, 78FG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred to 27FS, 1FG, 12AF USAAF. Credited 3 x kills. ...

  • Ralph Garman

    Military | Colonel | Commanding Officer, 1st Fighter Group | 1st Fighter Group
    Commanding Officer of the 1st Fighter Group from 7 December 1942 to 8 September 1943.

  • James Hunt

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot-1056 Twin Engine | 1st Fighter Group
    Flight Leader 27th FS 1st FG 43 combat missions

  • Jack Ilfrey

    Military | Captain | Fighter Pilot 1056 multi-engine/Squadron Commander | 1st Fighter Group
    Captain Jack M Ilfrey from Houston, Texas first arrived in the UK in 1942 with the 1st Fighter Group initially based at Goxhill and Kirton-in-Lindsey in Lincolnshire as part of Operation Bolero, the build-up of an American strategic air force in...

  • Donald Kienholz

    Military | Major | Fighter Pilot/Bomber Pilot | 1st Fighter Group
    Kienholz was an ace with 6 victories. He went on to serve in the Korean war, and retired in October 1965 after 27 years of service.

  • Stanley Lau

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 1st Fighter Group
    LT. COL. STANLEY WILFRED LAU ...

  • Harold Lentz

    Military | Major | Fighter Pilot-Twin Engine | 1st Fighter Group
    Post war 123rd FIS OR ANG

  • Robert McCord

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 1st Fighter Group
    Engine problems with P-38F-1-LO 41-7617 forced McCord to land back at Goxhill with landing gear retracted 19 August 1942. No injuries.

  • Everett Miller

    Military | Captain | Fighter Pilot-1056 Twin Engine | 1st Fighter Group
    Flight leader 94th FS April 1944 - Jan 1945 5 air kills P-38J s/n 43-28773 #67 "Martha J" Sgt Everett Jacobson-crew chief

  • Newell Mills

    Military | Second Lieutenant | 1st Fighter Group

Show more

Aircraft

Show more

Citations

None

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
09 November 2018 11:46:00 general ira snapsorter Changes to motto, insignia and us air force combat units of world war ii description
Sources

AIR FORCE COMBAT UNITS OF WORLD WAR II

Date Contributor Update
06 December 2016 03:21:25 466thHistorian Changes to stations
Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nouvion_Airfield

Date Contributor Update
18 November 2016 02:23:12 466thHistorian Changes to unit encompassing associations
Sources

http://www.armyaircorpsmuseum.org/1st_Fighter_Group.cfm

Date Contributor Update
18 November 2016 02:10:30 466thHistorian Changes to motto, stations and media associations
Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1st_Operations_Group

Date Contributor Update
18 November 2016 01:57:39 466thHistorian Changes to stations
Sources

http://www.forgottenairfields.com/italy/apulia/foggia/salsola-s569.html

Date Contributor Update
03 August 2016 15:21:21 general ira snapsorter Changes to unit encompassing associations
Sources

Unit associations and unit ‘BASED’ locations and dates added from “The Mighty Eighth- A History of the U.S. Army Air Force”, Roger A. Freeman

Date Contributor Update
03 August 2016 15:18:55 general ira snapsorter Changes to unit part of associations
Sources

Unit ‘BASED’ locations and dates added from “The Mighty Eighth- A History of the U.S. Army Air Force”, Roger A. Freeman

Date Contributor Update
19 March 2015 11:26:27 rossingtonj Changes to type, air forces, aircraft types and mission associations
Sources

Airforce and aircraft types added: http://1stfg.org/

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:42:44 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / The Mighty Eighth. A History of the Units, Men and Machines of the US 8th Air Force.' by Roger A. Freeman (1989). 'Air Force Combat Units of World War II' compiled by the Department of the US Air Force, edited by Maurice Maurer (1983).

Share