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405th Fighter Group

Group

The 405th Fighter Group was a fighter bomber unit of the United States Army Air Force in World War II. They group flew P-47 Thunderbolts in the European Theater of Operations (ETO) starting with the buildup to the Invasion of Normandy ("D-Day") through the end of the war in Europe. The 405th was a unit of the Ninth Air Force, IX Fighter Command, IX Tactical Air Command, 84th Fighter Wing.[1] The 405th was primarily assigned to support Patton's Third Army. The group consisted of the 509th, 510th, and 511th Fighter Squadrons, plus headquarters elements. The group consisted of 73 aircraft.

The 405th Bombardment Group (Dive) was organized on 4 February 1943,[2] at Drew Field near Tampa, Florida, and activated on 1 March 1943.[2] The group was initially equipped with a few Douglass Dauntless and Curtis Helldiver dive bombers. The group gained some P-39 Airacobras before they left Drew. The group was redisignated as the 405th Fighter Bomber Group on 15 August 1943.[3] In September 1943 the group moved to Walterboro, South Carolina. In Walterboro the group was outfitted with the original "razorback" design P-47 Thunderbolts. In February 1944 the group moved by train to a point of embarkation (POE) camp near New York City. The group soon embarked the RMS Mauritania for transport to England. After six days at sea, two of them in hurricane conditions, the group disembarked in Liverpool. The group traveled by train to Southampton then via lorrie to Christchurch, Dorset.[4]

From March to 29 June 1944, the 405th operated out of the RAF Christchurch.[5] After setting up camp and training over England, the group began combat operations over France. During this period their primary task was ground attack ahead of the coming Operation Overlord invasion of Normandy. The group disrupted German positions and transportation infrastructure. Train locomotives were a favorite target. The group destroyed the Seine River bridge at Mantes-Gassicourt, northeast of Paris, just before the invasion, to inhibit movement of German materiel.[6] The group was grounded during the 6 June invasion activities because Allied command was concerned that inexperienced anti-aircraft batteries would mistake P-47s for the German FW-190. The 405th resumed flying on 10 June, providing close air support to the beachhead. On 18 June 1944,[7] the group was redesignated to the 405th Fighter Group.[3] A few weeks after the invasion, the 405th packed up and moved to a POE near Southampton.[8]

While encamped at Christchurch, the Group officers bivouaced in Bure Homage, an English manor adjacent to the airfield that was requisitioned by the British Ministry of Defence for the war.[9]

The group's most notable action was the destruction of an entire German armored division near the town of Avaranches [sic], France on 29 July 1944. After immobilizing leading and trailing elements of the 3 mile (4.8 km) long column, the rest of the tanks and trucks were systematically destroyed with multiple sorties.

The 405th also accepted the surrender of the highly decorated Luftwaffe ace, Hans Rudel, and his officers at the end of the war

Structure

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Missions

Stations

Station Location Date
Based Christchurch 7 March 1944 – 30 July 1944
Based Picauville 30 July 1944 – 14 August 1944
Based Saint-Dizier 14 August 1944 – 9 February 1945
Based Ophoven 9 February 1945 – 30 April 1945

Connections

People

  • Clinton Albright

    Military | Flight Officer | Fighter Pilot | 405th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 511FS, 405FG, 9AF USAAF. Transferred to 62FS, 56FG, 8AF. End of War.

  • Dwight Alverson

    Military | Major | Pilot | 405th Fighter Group

  • Robert Blackburn

    Military | Major | 405th Fighter Group
    Radioed his wingman that he had to bail out. After that, not heard of any more.

  • Arlie Blood

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 405th Fighter Group

  • Louis Bowman

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Group Operations Officer | 405th Fighter Group

  • William Coleman

    Military | Major | Pilot, Commanding Officer | 405th Fighter Group
    On August 15th, 1944, as the end of the German occupation was impending, Major William Coleman, was killed in action when his P 47 crashed in Landisacq (Normandy, Orne), in a spot named Les Champs Masson. ...

  • Stanley Davis

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Crew Chief | 405th Fighter Group
    Crew Chief for Lt Leinweber and Lt Peletier

  • John Drummond

    Military | Captain | Pilot | 405th Fighter Group
    Lt Drummond flew 47 missions with the 510th Fighter Squadron. He was shot down, by flak, near Vive , France on July 26th 1944. He bailed out, his P-47 42-27181, was hit in the engine by flak and it crashed and burned in the village of Gieville, France....

  • Warren Edinborough

    Military | Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 356th Fighter Group
    Jan. -Sept. 1945, 18 missions, ex-405th FG

  • Malcolm Erickson

    Military | Captain | Pilot | 405th Fighter Group
    On 23 March, 1945, P47's of the 9th Air Force, including the 405th FG, were involved in attacks near Schermbeck, Dinslaken, Borken, Sudlohn Germ. Most likely, these attacks were in preparation of the Allied attack across the Rhine river that would...

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Aircraft

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Citations

None

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
01 February 2017 15:29:42 general ira snapsorter Changes to stations
Sources

Stations added with details from:
- "Battle Colors Volume III - Insignia and Tactical Markings of the Ninth Air Force in World War Two' by Robert A. Watkins;
- http://www.ixengineercommand.com/airfields/physical.php

Date Contributor Update
12 December 2014 00:54:05 466thHistorian Changes to type, aircraft types and mission associations
Sources

466th BG Historian

Date Contributor Update
12 December 2014 00:47:49 466thHistorian Changes to description and mission associations
Sources

466th BG HIstorian

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 / 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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