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20th Fighter Group

Group

In August 1943, the 20th Fighter Group arrived in Clyde, Scotland, before travelling to Kings Cliffe, Northamptonshire, which was to be their base for the rest of the war. The Group flew 312 missions before their last mission on 25 April 1945. The pilots escorted bombers and strafed ground targets as well as engaging enemy aircraft. The success with which the Group hit locomotive targets earned them the nickname of the "Loco Busters".

US Air Force Combat Units of World War II Description

Redesignated 20th Pursuit Group (Fighter) in 1939, 20th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) in 1941, and 20th Fighter Group in 1942. Equipped successively with P-12, P-26, and P-36 aircraft prior to World War 11; used P- 39’s and P-q’s during the early part of the war; converted to P-38’s in Jan 1943. Trained, participated in maneuvers and tactical exercises, and took part in aerial reviews and demonstrations during the period 1930-1939. Provided personnel for and helped to train new units during 1940-1941. Served as an air defense organization after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Began intensive training late in 1942 for combat duty overseas. Moved to England in Aug 1943 and became part of Eighth AF. Entered combat with P-38’s late in Dec 1943 and for several months was engaged primarily in escorting heavy and medium bombers to targets on the Continent. Frequently strafed targets of opportunity while on escort missions. Retained escort as its primary function until the end of the war, but in Mar 1944 began to fly fighter-bomber missions, which became almost as frequent as escort operations. Strafed and dive-bombed airfields, trains, vehicles, barges, tugs, bridges, flak positions, gun emplacements, barracks, radio stations, and other targets in France, Belgium, and Germany. Became known as the “Loco Group” because of its numerous and successful attacks on locomotives. Received a DUC for performance on 8 Apr 1g44 when the group struck airfields in central Germany and then, after breaking up an attack by enemy interceptors, proceeded to hit railroad equipment, oil facilities, power plants, factories, and other targets. Flew patrols over the Channel during the invasion of Normandy in Jun 1944. Supported the invasion force later that month by escorting bombers that struck interdictory targets in France, Belgium, and Holland, and by attacking troops, transportation targets, and airfields. Converted to P-51’s in Jul 1944 and continued to fly escort and fighter-bomber missions as the enemy retreated across France to the Siegfried Line. Participated in the airborne attack on Holland in Sep 1944. Escorted bombers to Germany and struck rail lines, trains, vehicles, barges, power stations, and other targets in and beyond the Siegfried Line during the period Oct-Dec 1944. Took part in the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1g44-Jan 1945, by escorting bombers to the battle area. Flew patrols to support the airborne attack across the Rhine, Mar 1945. Carried out escort and fighter bomber missions as enemy resistance collapsed in Apr 1945. Returned to the US in Oct. Inactivated on 18 Oct 1945.

Commanding officers
  • Barton Russell

    Military | Colonel | Fighter Pilot 1056 multi-engine. Group Commander | 20th Fighter Group
    20th FG Commanding Officer Jan 17, 143 to March 2, 1944. Served with the 20th FG from 1937 thru 1943. 11 Combat missions 1/2 FW-190 destroyed air. CO 51st FIW 1953-55 1/2 kill (ME109)

  • Cy Wilson

    Military | Colonel | Fighter Pilot Squadron/Group Commander | 20th Fighter Group
    Prisoner of War (POW) crashed into North Sea on 27 Aug 1944 in P-51 'Wrangler, Jr' #44-13951

  • Edward Anderson

    Military | Brigadier General | Commanding General
    Assigned to HQ Sqn, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. Commanding Officer, from 27 September 1942 to 20 August 1943. ...

  • Harold Rau

    Military | Colonel | Fighter Pilot 1056 multi-engine/Group Commander | 20th Fighter Group
    CO 356th FG Feb. 1943-Nov. 1943 ...

  • Herbert Johnson

    Military | Major | Fighter Pilot; Group Commander | 20th Fighter Group

  • Jack Price

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Fighter Pilot 1055 single engine | 20th Fighter Group
    Flew 104 Combat Missions in P-47 and P-51 Aircraft. Served as SQ Commander 84th FS. 1944-1945 Dep Grp Commander 20th FG 1945. Retired from USAF on Feburary 1968. ...

  • Jesse Auton

    Military | Brigadier General | Commanding General
    Deployed to ETO with 65th Fighter Wing, 8AF USAAF. 12 combat missions. Killed in a plane crash at Offutt AFB, Omaha, 20-Mar-52, while returning on a flight from California. ...

  • Mark Hubbard

    Military | Colonel | Fighter Pilot Twin Engine/Group Commander | 20th Fighter Group
    CO 59th FS flying P-40Fs North Africa 4 kills CO 20th FG flying P-38Js for 2 weeks scored 2.5 kills Shot down by flak P-38J s/n 42-67708 on 18 Mar 1944. Prisoner of War at Stalag Luft I.

  • Robert Montgomery

    Military | Colonel | Fighter Pilot 1055 single engine/Group Commander | 20th Fighter Group
    Attacked by fighters on a bomber escort mission to Frankfurt am Main, GR on 11 Feb 1944 in P-38J #42-68036. Pilot baled out and a/c crashed near Valenciennes, FR. Evaded (EVD).

Structure

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Missions

  • VIII Fighter Command FO-175 BOMBER ESCORT

    10 November 1943
    The mission is composed of two fighter elements. The first element is a force of 58 P-38s combined from 55FG and 20FG/79FS. These are despatched to provide escort to B-26 bombers of the 9th Air Force. There are no losses or claims. ...

  • VIII Fighter Command FO-177 BOMBER ESCORT

    11 November 1943
    This mission is composed of two fighter elements. The first element is a force of 59 P-38 combined from 55FG and 20FG/79FS despatched to provide escort for the bomber formations attacking at Munster. ...

  • VIII Fighter Command FO-190 FIGHTER/BOMBER MISSION

    25 November 1943
    This mission is the first time that P-47s have been used as purely fighther/bomber attacks on a ground target. 276 P-47s from 56FG; 78FG; 352FG; 353FG; and 356FG are used in the operation. Those from 56FG and 353FG actually attack the German airfield...

  • VIII Fighter Command FO-191 BOMBER ESCORT

    26 November 1943
    This mission is composed of two fighter elements. The first element is a combined force of 28 P-38s from 55FG and some of 20FG/73FS despatched to escort B-17 formations attacking Bremen, Germany. There are no losses of claims in this element. ...

  • VIII Fighter Command FO-192

    29 November 1943
    This mission is composed of two fighter elements despatached to escort B-17 formations attacking at Bremen, Germany. The first element is a force of 38 P-38s (includes some from 20FG/77FS) from 55FG. 7 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) 5KIA 2POW. The...

  • VIII Fighter Command FO-193

    30 November 1943
    This mission is composed of two fighter elements despatched to provide escort to B-17 bomber formations attackin at Bremen, Germany. The frist element is a combined force of 20 P38s from 55FG (including some from 20FG). 1 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR...

  • VIII Fighter Command FO-196 BOMBER ESCORT

    5 December 1943
    This is the FIRST use of the P-51 Mustang to escort bombers. 36 are despatched from 9th Air Force, 354th Fighter Group (under 8th AF control). There are no losses or claims in this element. ...

  • VIII Fighter Command FO-198 BOMBER ESCORT

    11 December 1943
    This fighter mission is composed of three elements despatched to provide escort to heavy bomber attacking at Bremen, Germany. The first element is a force of 31 P-38s from 55FG (included some from 20FG). There are no losses or claims in this element. ...

  • 67th Fighter Wing NO FO designation

    28 December 1943
    This is the first combat operation for the entire 20th Fighter Group. 36 P-38s are despatched to fly fighter sweeps along the Dutch coast. No enemy aircraft are encountered and there are No losses or claims.

  • VIII Fighter Command FO-211 BOMBER ESCORT

    31 December 1943
    This is the last fighter operation of 1943. It is composed of three elements despatched to escort bomber formations attacking German airfield in France. The first element is a forc of 74 P-38s from 20FG and 55FG. 2 aircraft Failed to Return (FTR)1POW...

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Stations

Station Location Date
Based Kings Cliffe 26 August 1943 – 11 October 1945

Connections

People

  • Hilliard Adams

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Finance Typist Clerk | 20th Fighter Group
    Finance corps, 8th AF. Also in 55th FG/97th SG Hq EAME Medal/ GC/ WW II VM

  • James Adams

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Ground Crew | 20th Fighter Group

  • Louis Adams

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 20th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 77FS, 20FG, 8AF USAAF. Credited with 7 victories, Bf109[3], Me410[1], D018[1], Ar196[1], Fw190[1]. End Tour of Duty (ETD). Awards: AM (6 OLC), DFC (OLC), Silver Star, WWII Victory.

  • Wilbur Adams

    Military | Corporal | Ground Crew | 20th Fighter Group

  • Bernard Adelman

    Military | Corporal | Group Medical Section | 20th Fighter Group

  • Frank Agostinucci

    Military | Corporal | Refueler | 20th Fighter Group

  • Joseph Aguiar

    Military | Private First Class | 20th Fighter Group

  • Robert Ahern

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 20th Fighter Group
    Robert was one of 5 children. Born in Duluth, Minnesota and grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. His last mission involved the bombing of a train. He flew over the train once as a warning for passengers to evacuate. On the second flyover, he was shot down and...

  • Dale Albaugh

    Military | 20th Fighter Group

  • Frederick Alexander

    Military | Captain | Fighter Pilot-Twin Engine | 20th Fighter Group
    77th FS 20th FG 2 air and 6 ground kills.

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Aircraft

  • 42-104067 Little Bug

    P-38 Lightning
    Assigned to 1Lt Irwin Fernandes 77th FS. When lost was flown by 2Lt Walter Perra 77th FS.

  • 42-104086 'Strictly Stella's Baby' ' Lucky Lady'

    P-38 Lightning
    Assigned to 79FS, 20FG, 8AF USAAF. Personal aircraft of Major Rufus C Franklin. Re-assigned to Lt Arthur W Heiden when 'R C' was moved to HQ. Transferred to 402FS, 370FG, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) armed recce to Malmedy, hit by flak whilst...

  • 42-104289

    P-38 Lightning

  • 42-104308

    P-38 Lightning

  • 42-104314

    P-38 Lightning

  • 42-104395

    P-38 Lightning

  • 42-106467

    P-51 Mustang
    Assigned to 77FS 20FG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred to 486FS, 352FG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) fighter sweep to Budapest, pulling clear of the target engine noted to be smoking, after which it quit. Lt Andrew belly landed and then sprinted clear...

  • 42-66723

    P-38 Lightning

  • 42-67016

    P-38 Lightning
    P-38H-5-LO 42-67016 was assigned to 20FG/77FS at Kings Cliffe, UK. On 29-Nov-43 the aircraft, piloted by 2LT John S. Hascall, was despatched as a spare with other P-38 from 73FG to escort bombers attacking at Bremen, Germany. The aircraft was attacked...

  • 42-67022

    P-38 Lightning
    P-38H-5-LO 42-67022 was assigned to the 20FG/79FS at Nuthampstead, UK. On 6-Nov-43 the aircraft, piloted by MAJ John C. Williams (20FG HQ), intended to join a group 7 other P-38s from 20FG that were aseembling with those of the 55FG on a mission to...

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Citations

The Group was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for its persistent attack of German ground targets on 8 April 1944.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
12 December 2018 13:01:22 general ira snapsorter Changes to us air force combat units of world war ii description
Sources

https://media.defense.gov/2010/Sep/21/2001330256/-1/-1/0/AFD-100921-044.pdf

Date Contributor Update
15 January 2016 20:10:43 Nomad20th Changes to motto and mission associations
Sources

Air Force Historical Research Agency, Maxwell AFB, AL

Date Contributor Update
30 June 2015 09:11:44 Emily Changes to mission associations
Sources

Changed Key Image

Date Contributor Update
19 March 2015 11:31:06 rossingtonj Changes to nicknames, citations, description, aircraft types and mission associations
Sources

Nicknames and aircraft type added. Nickname amended in description. Citations moved to citation section.
Sources:
http://www.littlefriends.co.uk/20thfg.php

Date Contributor Update
13 March 2015 15:11:54 rossingtonj Changes to type and mission associations
Sources

Type added.

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 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database / 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). / Units in the UK from ETOUSA Station List, as transcribed by Lt. Col. Philip Grinton (US Army, Retired) and extracted by IWM; air division data from L.D. Underwood, based on the 8th Air Force Strength Report of 6th August 1944, as published in 'The 8th Air Force Yearbook' by Lt. Col. John H Woolnough (1980)

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