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57th Fighter Group

Group

The group was first activated as the 57th Pursuit Group in January 1941, flying P-40 Warhawks as part of the Army Air Corps Northeast Defense Sector (later assigned to the I Fighter Command) at Mitchel Field, New York.[3] It trained in New England and provided air defense of the northeast after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. It was redesignated as the 57th Fighter Group (FG) in May 1942.[3]

The 57th FG was reassigned to the U.S. Army Middle East Force in Egypt. In June 1942 the pilots and 72 new P-40Fs loaded aboard the aircraft carrier Ranger at Quonset Point, Rhode Island, sailing July 1. On July 19, off the Gold Coast, they launched in four sections of 18 aircraft and flew to Accra, thence across Equatorial Africa to Palestine, officially becoming part of IX Fighter Command. However, prior to the group officially commencing operations, individual 57th FG pilots were attached to, and flew combat sorties with, P-40 squadrons of the Royal Air Force (RAF), South African Air Force (SAAF) and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), belonging to No. 211 Group, Desert Air Force.[3]

In October 1942, the 57th FG officially began combat operations as a formation. The group took part in the Battle of El Alamein and, as part of Ninth Air Force, supported the Commonwealth Eighth Army's drive across Egypt and Libya, escorting bombers and flying strafing and dive-bombing missions against airfields, communications, and troop concentrations until Axis defeat in Tunisia in May 1943. The unit participated in the reduction of Pantelleria (May–June 1943) and the conquest of Sicily (July–August 1943). For front-line operations in direct support of the Eighth Army from the Battle of El Alamein to the capitulation of enemy forces in Sicily, the group received a Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC).[3]

In an aerial battle over the Gulf of Tunis at Cape Bon in April 1943, the group destroyed approximately 74 of the enemy's transport and fighter aircraft[3]while sending an equal number down to the sea and beaches to escape by crash landing. The 57th lost just six aircraft in this melee. Forever known by the 57th as the 18 April 1943 Goose Shoot – "The Palm Sunday Massacre," it received another DUC[3] and it added four newly created aces. This action broke the German's aerial supply line and they surrendered Tunisia thirty days later.

The 57th supported the British Eighth Army's landing at Termoli and subsequent operations in Italy, being reassigned to Twelfth Air Force in August 1943.[3] It flew dive-bombing, strafing, patrol, and escort missions.

Early in 1944, the group converted to P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft and flew interdiction operations in Italy.[3] The group moved to Corsica on 30 March 1944 to operate as a separate task force. It flew interdiction missions against railroads, communication targets, and motor vehicles behind enemy lines, providing a minimum of 48 fighter-bomber sorties per day. During 9 days of combat operations during early April 1944, the 57th exceeded 50 sorties per day. While the group was stationed on Corsica, director William Wyler made a 45 minute long Technicolor documentary film, Thunderbolt!. filming combat missions of the 57th. The film concentrated on Operation Strangle. The film was released for the military in 1945 and for general release in 1947.[4]

The group earned a third DUC c. 14 April 1944 for attacks in the Florence-Arezzo area. The group participated in the French campaign against Elba in June 1944 and in the invasion of Southern France in August.[3] It engaged in interdiction and support operations in northern Italy from September 1944 to May 1945. For its operations in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations, the 57th earned the French Croix de Guerre (Cross of War) with Palm (awarded in late 1967).[1] It was inactivated on 13 April 1953.[3]

The group remained in northern Italy after the end of the European War, demobilizing throughout the summer of 1945. It was reassigned to the United States in August 1945 and was inactivated at the end of August.[3]

Commanding officers
  • Frank Mears

    Military | Colonel | Fighter Pilot - Group Commander | 57th Fighter Group
    "If we are to look at firsts, the 57th Fighter Group is one, the first American Fighter Group to be used in the role of tactical air operations. With the activation of the 9th Air Force, the 57th F.G. was its first assigned fighter group. In turn it...

Structure

Part of
  • US Army Middle East Air Force

    US Army Middle East Air Force


    US Army Middle East Air Force (USAMEAF) was activated on 28 June 1942 in Cairo, Egypt. It brought together several units which had been operating the area including the HALPRO Detachment, and Lewis Brereton's 9th Bomb Squadron. ...

Encompassing
  • 64th Fighter Squadron

    64th Fighter Squadron

    Squadron
    Formed as a P-40 Warhawk pursuit squadron in January 1941 as part of the Army Air Corps Northeast Defense Sector (later I Fighter Command) at Mitchel Field, New York. Trained in New England and provided air defense of the northeast after the Japanese...

  • 65th Fighter Squadron

    65th Fighter Squadron

    Squadron
    Formed as a P-40 Warhawk pursuit squadron in January 1941 as part of the Army Air Corps Northeast Defense Sector (later I Fighter Command) at Mitchel Field, New York. Trained in New England and provided air defense of the northeast after the Japanese...

  • 66th Fighter Squadron

    66th Fighter Squadron

    Squadron
    Formed as a P-40 Warhawk pursuit squadron in January 1941 as part of the Army Air Corps Northeast Defense Sector (later I Fighter Command) at Mitchel Field, New York. Trained in New England and provided air defense of the northeast after the Japanese...

Previously was
Not yet known
Became
Not yet known

Missions

Stations

Station Location Date
Based Muqeible 20 July 1942 – 16 September 1942
Based Landing Ground 174 16 September 1942 – 5 November 1942
Based Belandah 3 December 1942 – 3 January 1942
Based Darragh 19 January 1943 – 9 March 1943
Based Hani 21 April 1943 – May 1943
Based Hal Far 27 June 1943 – 19 July 1943
Based Scordia August 1943 – 12 September 1943
Based Gioia del Colle 25 September 1943 – 30 September 1943
Based Amendola 27 October 1943 – 1 March 1944
Based Alto 30 March 1944 – 9 September 1944
Based Grossetto 24 September 1944 – 29 April 1945

Connections

People

  • Joseph Angelone

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 57th Fighter Group

  • William Bateman

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 57th Fighter Group

  • Paul Carll

    Military | Captain | Fighter Pilot | 57th Fighter Group

  • Marshall Cordell

    Military | Sergeant (Technician Fourth Grade) | Ground Crew Mechanic | 57th Fighter Group

  • Ralph Crommett

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 57th Fighter Group

  • James Curl

    Military | Major | fighter pilot-1055 single engine/squadron commander | 52nd Fighter Group
    CO 66th FS 57th FG and 2nd FS 52nd FG Awarded British DSO by Air Marshal Sir William Sholto Douglas KIA March 18, 1945 MACR 13066

  • Edward Ellington

    Military | Captain | Fighter Pilot - Squadron Commander | 57th Fighter Group

  • Arthur Exon

    Military | Major | Fighter Pilot - Squadron Commander | 57th Fighter Group
    Retired May 1, 1969. ...

  • Louis Frank

    Military | Major | Fighter Pilot - Squadron Commander | 57th Fighter Group

  • Victor Glickman

    Military | Sergeant (Technician Fourth Grade) | Ground Crew Chief | 57th Fighter Group

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Aircraft

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Citations

Distinguished Unit Citation[3]
North Africa and Sicily, 24 October 1942 – 17 August 1943
Tunis and Cape Bon Area, 18 April 1943
Italy, 14 April 1944

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
19 December 2016 03:59:45 466thHistorian Changes to stations
Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landing_Ground_174

Date Contributor Update
14 December 2016 00:52:36 466thHistorian Changes to commanding officers associations
Sources

http://57thfightergroup.org/pictures/mears/4.html

Date Contributor Update
14 December 2016 00:03:04 466thHistorian Changes to stations
Sources

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

Date Contributor Update
13 December 2016 23:59:32 466thHistorian Changes to stations
Sources

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

Date Contributor Update
13 December 2016 15:22:26 466thHistorian Changes to stations
Sources

http://www.forgottenairfields.com/france/corsica/alto-s1279.html

Date Contributor Update
13 December 2016 15:10:38 466thHistorian Changes to stations
Sources

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

Date Contributor Update
13 December 2016 05:32:11 466thHistorian Changes to stations
Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/57th_Operations_Group

Date Contributor Update
13 December 2016 04:58:02 466thHistorian Changes to stations
Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/57th_Operations_Group

Date Contributor Update
13 December 2016 04:46:25 466thHistorian Created entry with type, category, name, motto, citations, description, air forces, aircraft types and media associations
Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/57th_Operations_Group

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