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31st Fighter Group

Group

The 31st Fighter Group only flew missions from England between June and September 1942 but during this period they supported the Dieppe raid, the assault on occupied Europe, predominantly by the Canadian army. The attack was forced into early retreat by very high casualty rates. The Allies would not land on the north coast of France again until 6 June 1944. As part of the Twelfth Air Force, the 31st Fighter Group took part in the North African and Italian campaigns and flew P-51 Mustangs as escorts to the 15th AF from May 1944 until the war's end.

US Air Force Combat Units of World War II Description

Constituted as 31st Pursuit Group (Interceptor) on 22 Dec 1939. Activated on I Feb 1940. Trained with P-39’s and participated in maneuvers. Redesignated 31st Fighter Group in May 1942. Moved to England, May-Jun 1942. Assigned to Eighth AF and equipped with Spitfires. Entered combat in Aug 1942. Supported a raid made by Canadian, British, American, and French forces at Dieppe on 19 Aug. Escorted bombers and flew patrol and diversionary missions until Oct. Assigned to Twelfth AF for the invasion of North Africa, the pilots of the group flying Spitfires from Gibraltar to Algeria on 8 Nov 1942 and the ground echelon landing at Arzeu beach the same day. Attacked motor transports, gun positions, and troop concentrations during the three day campaign for Algeria and French Morocco. Helped to defeat Axis forces in Tunisia by supporting ground troops and providing cover for bomber and fighter aircraft. During May and Jun 1943, provided escort for bombers on raids to Pantelleria and cover for naval convoys in the Mediterranean. Supported the landings on Sicily in July and took part in the conquest of that island. Covered the landings at Salerno early in Sep 1943 and at Anzio in Jan 1944. Also operated in close support of Allied ground forces in Italy and flew patrol and escort missions. Assigned .to Fifteenth AF in Apr 1944, converted to P-5I’s,and thereafter engaged primarily in escort work. Received a DUC for a mission on 21 Apr 1944 when the group, despite the severe weather that was encountered, provided cover for a force of heavy bombers during a raid on production centers in Rumania. On numerous other occasions escorted bombers that attacked objectives in Italy, France, Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, Rumania, Yugoslavia, and Greece. In addition provided escort for reconnaissance aircraft and for C-47’s engaged in the airborne operation connected with the invasion of Southern France. Also flew strafing missions against airdromes and communications targets. Took part in an operation in which a task force from Fifteenth AF attacked targets in Rumania while flying to Russia on 22 Jul 1944 and while returning to Italy on 26 Jul; on 25 Jul, after escorting P-38’s from a base in Russia for a raid on an airdrome in Poland, the 31st group made attacks on a convoy of German trucks and on a force of German fighter-bombers, being awarded a DUC for its performance. Strafed rail and highway traffic in northern Italy in Apr 1945 when Allied forces were engaged in their final offensive in that area. Returned to the US in Aug. Inactivated on 7 Nov 1945.

Commanding officers
  • Fred Dean

    Military | Lieutenant General | Fighter Pilot | 31st Fighter Group
    Flew Spitfire and headed the 31st FG DSM/Silver Star/Legion of Merit, DFC; Air Medal w 9Oak Leaf Cluster/ and several foreign medals

  • Frank Hill

    Military | Colonel | Fighter pilot | 31st Fighter Group
    Hill taught himself to fly gliders as early as 1937. Began his career in 1939 in the Army Air Corps. He became a flight commander [308FS] and in May-42 went to England where the 31st Fighter Group was flying Spitfires. Hill participated in invasions...

Structure

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Missions

  • RAF Fighter Sweep

    26 July 1942
    6 Spitfire VB aircraft from 31FG join with 412 (Falcon) Squadron RCAF flying from Merston on a fighter sweep over Abbeville and St. Omer, France. Lt Col Albert P. Clark, O-020218, 31FG Executive Officer flying EN784 is shot down and captured becoming...

  • VIII Fighter Command

    5 August 1942
    11 Spitfire MK V from 31st Fighter Group are sent on a practice Rodeo.

  • VIII Fighter Command

    6 August 1942
    11 Spitfire Mk V of 31st Fighter Group are despatched on a practice Rodeo, a fighter sweep over enemy territory.

  • VIII Fighter Command

    9 August 1942
    2 Spitfire Mk V from 31st Fighter Group are despatched on a defensive fighter patrol. 11 Spitfire Mk V from 31st Fighter Group are despatched to fly top cover on a feint "Rodeo" to Dieppe, France, a fighter sweep over enemy territory.

  • VIII Fighter Command

    11 August 1942
    12 Spitfire Mk V from 31st Fighter Group are despatched on a practice Rodeo, a fighter sweep over enemy territory.

  • VIII Fighter Command

    12 August 1942
    13 Spitfire Mk V from 31st Fighter Group are despateched on a feint Rodeo, a fighter sweep over enemy territory, in a wide loop over Clacton/dunkirk/Calaise and Dover.

  • VIII Fighter Command

    15 August 1942
    2 Spitfire MK V from 31st Fighter Group are despatched on a convoy patrol. 12 Spitfire MK V are despatched on a feint sweep over the Dieppe/Etretat, France area.

  • VIII Fighter Command

    15 August 1942
    2 Spitfire MK V from 31st Fighter Group are despatched on a convoy patrol. 12 Spitfire MK V are despatched on a feint sweep over the Dieppe/Etretat, France area.

  • VIII Fighter Command

    18 August 1942
    Fighter operations conducted by 31st Fighter Group using Spitfire aircraft: 13 despatched on "Circus 9", a daylight bomber attack with fighter escorts; 12 despatched on a patrol of the French coast; and 11 despatched to make a fighter sweep over the...

  • VIII Fighter Command

    18 August 1942
    Fighter operations conducted by 31st Fighter Group using Spitfire aircraft: 13 despatched on "Circus 9", a daylight bomber attack with fighter escorts; 12 despatched on a patrol of the French coast; and 11 despatched to make a fighter sweep over the...

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Stations

Station Location Date
Based Atcham 11 June 1942 – 1 August 1942
Based High Ercall 11 June 1942 – 4 August 1842
Based Westhampnett 1 August 1942 – 21 October 1942
Based Merston 24 August 1942
Based Youks-les-Bains 21 February 1943 – 1 March 1943
Based Korba 15 May 1943 – 30 June 1943
Based Termini 2 August 1943 – 2 September 1943
Based San Severo 2 April 1944 – 3 March 1945

Connections

People

  • Donald Adams

    Military | Major | Fighter Pilot | 31st Fighter Group
    Assigned to 343FS, 55FG, 8AF USAAF. 2 x missions. Credited with 2 destroyed and 2 damaged (ground). ...

  • Monk Hunter Airedale Terrier

    Military | 31st Fighter Group

  • Wallace Anderson

    Military | Master Sergeant | Armament Non-Commissioned Officer | 31st Fighter Group
    Was NCOIC of squadron armament section for 308thFS. Was first fighter group to operate in the 8thAF from June to Oct '42

  • Gerhard Ausborn

    Military | 31st Fighter Group

  • Robert Bell

    Military | Private First Class | Radio Operator | 31st Fighter Group
    EAME/ DUC/ GC/ AM

  • Duane Blumenstock

    Military | First Lieutenant | pilot | 31st Fighter Group
    Thought to be bunk mate/ friend of Lt Neill S Walker.

  • Edward Borkowski

    Military | 31st Fighter Group

  • Lawrence Bos

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Airborne Radar | 31st Fighter Group
    Flew on B-29 and B-47 A/C (Post WWII)

  • Alvin Callender

    Military | Major | Pilot | 31st Fighter Group
    Alvin D. Callender flew the Spitfire Supermarine Mk Vbs in North Africa and Sicliy, as part of the 12th Air Force, 31st Pursuit Group, 308th Pursuit Squadron. After completing 127 missions he rotated back to the US and spent 18 months as a P-51 flight...

  • Winfred Chambers

    Military | Captain | Pilot | 31st Fighter Group
    Crashed near Westhampnett airfield in Spitfire VB EN909. Group was transferred to 12th AF on 14 September but was still operating under 8th control

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Aircraft

  • EN784

    Spitfire
    Supermarine Spitfire EN784 Mk Vb, Built at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory. ...

  • EN909

    Spitfire
    Supermarine Spitfire EN909 Mk Vb, Built at Chattis Hill. ...

  • 44-63237 'Tempus Fugit'

    P-51 Mustang
    A/C flown by Col William Allen Daniel CO 31st FG, 308th FS, 15th AF with the name "Tempus Fugit", Latin for time flies.

  • BM635

    Spitfire
    Supermarine Spitfire BM635 Mk Vb, Built at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory. ...

  • AB811

    Spitfire
    Supermarine Spitfire AB811 Mk Vb, Built at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory. ...

  • AD464

    Spitfire
    Supermarine Spitfire AD464 Mk Vb, Built at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory. ...

  • EP179 'Mary James'

    Spitfire
    Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vb EP179 Built at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory. ...

  • BL338

    Spitfire
    Supermarine Spitfire BL338 Mk Vb, Built at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory. Delivered to No 8 MU 15-11-41, assigned to 72S 21-11-41, FA Cat CB 14-3-42, to AST, assigned to 308th FS, 31st FG USAAF 5-42, FTR Dieppe raid 19-8-42. MACR 16481.

  • BM511

    Spitfire
    Supermarine Spitfire BM511 Mk Vb, Built at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory. ...

  • EN847

    Spitfire
    Supermarine Spitfire EN847 Mk Vb, Built at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory. ...

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Citations

Romania, 21 Apr 1944; Poland, 25 Jul 1944.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
12 December 2018 15:05:52 general ira snapsorter Changes to insignia, us air force combat units of world war ii description, citations and commanding officers associations
Sources

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

Date Contributor Update
06 December 2016 03:29:40 466thHistorian Changes to stations
Sources

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

Date Contributor Update
24 November 2016 00:03:36 466thHistorian Changes to stations
Sources

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

Date Contributor Update
23 November 2016 23:42:29 466thHistorian Changes to motto, air forces and stations
Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/31st_Operations_Group

Date Contributor Update
19 March 2015 11:07:53 rossingtonj Changes to aircraft types and mission associations
Sources

Aircraft associations indicate Spitfires were used

Date Contributor Update
19 March 2015 11:06:51 rossingtonj Changes to air forces, aircraft types and mission associations
Sources

Airforce and aircraft type added.

Date Contributor Update
13 March 2015 15:12:10 rossingtonj Changes to type and mission associations
Sources

Type added.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:42:45 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).

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