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4th Fighter Group

Group

Some of the pilots of the 4th Fighter Group had seen many hours of combat by the time they joined the 4th Fighter Group as they had volunteered with the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Air Force. The three 'Eagle Squadrons' of RAF Fighter Command, Squadrons No. 71, 121 and 133 became the 334th, 335th and 335th Fighter Squadrons of the 4th Fighter Group on 29 September 1942. The Group's combined air (583.3) and ground (469) claims of enemy aircraft was the highest of any USAAF Group.

The 4th Fighter Group was activated on 12 September 1942. Based in Debden, England, it was made up of the three Eagle Squadrons of the Royal Air Force (No. 71, No. 121, and No. 133). As they were transferred from the Royal Air Force to the United States Army Air Force, in the Eighth Air Force they became designated as the 334th, 335th, and 336th Squadrons.

They flew their first combat mission under American colours on 2 October 1942, still flying British Spitfires. Upon receipt of an adequate number of P-47 Thunderbolts and crews skilled in their maintenance, the group converted to P-47s in March 1943. In February 1944 the group switched to P-51 Mustangs, which they continued to fly until the end of the war in Europe. They flew their last combat mission on 25 April 1945. They had become the top scoring Allied Fighter Group in the war, having destroyed 1016 enemy aircraft for a loss of 241 of their own planes.

It is of note that their losses were disproportionately high due to the fact that their combat was always over enemy territory and many of their losses were suffered as the result of flak (anti-aircraft fire).

Notable achievements of the group are as follows:

The first fighter to penetrate German airspace;
the first selected to escort bombers on the first shuttle bombing run to land in Russia;
the first to escort bombers over Berlin.

The Association of the 4th Fighter Group

The Association of the 4th Fighter Group (A4FG) is an active group dedicated to preserving the memory of this famous unit. Originally established by 4th FG veterans themselves, it still holds reunions yearly and publishes a newsletter quarterly. The Association has a website which regularly publishes the results of research undertaken by its members, and is an invaluable resource for understanding more about the men who served with the 4th FG.

Visit The Association of the 4th Fighter Group website to find out more about their work.

Structure

Part of
Encompassing
  • 334th Fighter Squadron

    334th Fighter Squadron

    Squadron
    The 334th Fighter Squadron was the successor to No. 71 Eagle squadron of the Royal Air Force when the 4th Fighter Group was activated on 12 September 1942. They were based at Debden Field, Essex. The "Fighting Eagles" as they were called, flew...

  • 335th Fighter Squadron

    335th Fighter Squadron

    Squadron
    The 335th Fighter Squadron was the offspring of No. 121 (Eagle) Squadron RAF. Formed on 21 May 1941, No. 121 was the second of the three Eagle Squadrons composed of American volunteers flying out of England. They were known as the "Chiefs" and were...

  • 336th Fighter Squadron

    336th Fighter Squadron

    Squadron
    The 336th Fighter Squadron was constituted by the War Department on 22 august 1942, and was activated at Bushey Hall, England, on 12 September. It had been designated as No. 133 (Eagle) Squadron, and was made up of American volunteers to the Royal Air...

  • Headquarters (4th Fighter Group)

    Headquarters (4th Fighter Group)

    Headquarters
    The Headquarters Squadron was made up of true leaders. Most had flown Hurricanes, Spitfires, Thunderbolts and Mustangs. ...

  • 2119th Engineer Fire Fighting Platoon
Previously was
Not yet known
Became
Not yet known

Missions

  • VIII Fighter Command DIEPPE SUPPORT

    19 August 1942
    31st Fighter Group despatches 123 Spitfires in support of the landings at Dieppe, France. 8 are lost. These are the first operations of VIII Fighter Command units under VIII Fighter Command control. ...

  • VIII Fighter Command ESCORT & SWEEPS

    2 October 1942
    1FG despatches 31 P-38s to escort bombers attacking the aircraft factory at Meaulte, France, sustaining one loss. 1FG also despatches 34 Spitfires on a sweep over the English Channel; 52FG despatches 7 Spitfires on a sweep over the English Channel; 4FG...

  • VIII Fighter Command ESCORT & SWEEPS

    2 October 1942
    1FG despatches 31 P-38s to escort bombers attacking the aircraft factory at Meaulte, France, sustaining one loss. 1FG also despatches 34 Spitfires on a sweep over the English Channel; 52FG despatches 7 Spitfires on a sweep over the English Channel; 4FG...

  • VIII Fighter Command ESCORT & DIVERSION

    9 October 1942
    1FG despatches 36 P-38s to escort RAF "Circus" 224; 4FG despatches 36 Spitfires as a diversion for the bombers attacking at Lille, France.

  • VIII Fighter Command SHIPPING ATTACK

    14 October 1942
    4FG despatches 11 Spitfires to attack enemy shipping off the Holland coast.

  • VIII Fighter Command ESCORT & SWEEP

    15 October 1942
    4FG despatches 36 Spitfires to escort an RAF mission of A-20 Bostons and 24 P-38s to join the RAF in "Circus" 227 over the Le Havre, France area.

  • VIII Fighter Command ESCORT & SWEEP

    15 October 1942
    4FG despatches 36 Spitfires to escort an RAF mission of A-20 Bostons and 24 P-38s to join the RAF in "Circus" 227 over the Le Havre, France area.

  • VIII Fighter Command ESCORT

    20 October 1942
    4FG despatches 10 Spitfires on defensive sorties in support of 2 aircraft on convoy patrol. 1 is lost. First 8th AF MIA of a fighter pilot.

  • VIII Fighter Command WEATHER RECON

    22 October 1942
    2 Spitfires from 4th Fighter Group are despatched on a weather reconnaissance mission.

  • VIII Fighter Command DEFENSIVE SORTIES

    23 October 1942
    14 Spitfires from 4th Fighter Group are despatched on defensive sorties.

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Stations

Station Location Date
336 FS Satellite BASE Great Sampford 23 August 1942 – 30 October 1942
Based Debden 29 September 1942 – 27 July 1945
Based Steeple Morden 27 July 1945 – 4 November 1945

Connections

People

  • Charles Abbott

    Military | GP | 4th Fighter Group

  • Richard Abbott

    Military | Sergeant | 4th Fighter Group

  • Anthony Abiuso

    Military | Corporal (Technician Fifth Grade) | Fire Fighter | 438th Air Service Group
    Transferred to 2119th EAFFP, 8 April 1944

  • Norman Achen

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 4th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 334FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. Hit by Flak whilst strafing a ground target in P-51 43-6882, performed a belly landing in the vicinity of Lake Zwischenahner. Last contacted by radio. POW. 15-Aug-44. MACR 8147.

  • George Acker

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Ground Personnel | 4th Fighter Group

  • Robert Ackerly

    Military | Major | Fighter Pilot | 4th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 334FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. ...

  • George Adams

    Military | First Lieutenant | 4th Fighter Group

  • James Adams

    Military | GP | 4th Fighter Group

  • James Adams

    Military | Corporal | 4th Fighter Group

  • John Adams

    Military | Sergeant | 4th Fighter Group

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Aircraft

  • 41-6194 'Death Takes a Holiday'

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    Assigned to 336FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred 53FS, 36FG, 9AF USAAF.

  • 41-6587

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    P-47C-5-RE 41-6587 was assigned to the 4FG/334FS at Debden UK. On 3-Nov-43 the aircraft, piloted by 1LT Ivan R. Moon, took off from Halesworth as a more forward location and was despatched with other fighters from 4FG to provide escort to B-17s...

  • 42-103287

    P-51 Mustang
    Assigned to 336FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) strafing mission to Rouen area, made 3 passes to strafe a truck convoy over a grass airfield and was shot down by flak on 6-Jun-44. Pilot Lt Harold H Fredericks evaded capture and was returned...

  • 42-103292

    P-51 Mustang
    Assigned to 334FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. Struck ground during strafing run, regained a little altitude, pouring black smoke from the engine before exploding, pilot Lt Leon J Cole Jr KIA. MACR 5572.

  • 42-103332

    P-51 Mustang
    Assigned to 336FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) bombing mission to Rouen area. A/C hit by flak in engine attempting to bomb train in ravine, engine oil spilling from nose to tail. A/C abandoned Lyons area. Pilot 1st Lt Oscar Lajeunesse baled...

  • 42-103561

    P-51 Mustang
    Assigned to 335FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. A/C hit by Flak at 26,000ft over Aachen. Turned for home, forced to bailout 12 miles SW of Antwerp. Pilot Lt Lester B Godwin evaded capture, EVD. 20-Jul-44. MACR 6849.

  • 42-103609

    P-51 Mustang
    Assigned to 335FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. Signalled flight his intention to RTB, turned for home, not seen after. Shot down in Ostend area. Pilot Lt Carroll McElroy POW. 31-May-44. MACR 5670.

  • 42-103791

    P-51 Mustang
    Assigned to 334FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. Whilst on mission to provide top cover for 335FS, section were bounced by Bf109's. A/C received multiple hits and caught fire, forcing pilot to bail out. Pilot 2nd Lt Dean Lange wounded in left arm by cannon fire,...

  • 42-103796

    P-51 Mustang
    Assigned to 336FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) strafing mission to Strausberg 28-Aug-44. Pilot 1st Lt Ferris Harris KIA. MACR 8301.

  • 42-106429 'Judy IV'

    P-51 Mustang
    Assigned to 335FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to return, shot down in combat with Bf109, crashed near Hamburg 24-May-44. Pilot 2nd Lt Harry E Jennings KIA MACR 5287.

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Citations

The 4th Fighter Group was awarded a Unit Citation for destroying 189 enemy aircraft for the period 5 March to 24 April 1944.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
13 May 2017 16:47:02 tmccann Changes to insignia
Sources

The boxing eagle was the group's insignia, and it was a blue eagle. The red eagle is used by the Association of the 4th Fighter Group today.

Date Contributor Update
02 December 2016 20:01:12 WD-C Mustang Changes to insignia
Sources

http://www.4thfightergroupassociation.org/

Date Contributor Update
03 August 2016 15:39:30 general ira snapsorter Changes to stations
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
23 July 2016 20:06:20 LUCKY PARTNERS Changes to person associations
Sources

remove person incorrectly associated

Date Contributor Update
22 April 2016 13:43:06 Lucy May Changes to motto and mission associations
Sources

The motto of the 4th Fighter Group was: "Fourth but First". Meaning of course that the Group was in WWII First - as Eagle Squadrons in the RAF - and only later in 1942 did they become the US Army Air Force 4th FG. Russ Brengelman

Date Contributor Update
19 March 2015 11:00:50 rossingtonj Changes to nicknames and mission associations
Sources

http://www.littlefriends.co.uk/4thfg.php?action=list_records&recs=50&sor...

Date Contributor Update
13 March 2015 15:28:41 rossingtonj Changes to type and mission associations
Sources

Type added.

Date Contributor Update
01 March 2015 11:21:17 apollo11 Changes to citations, description and mission associations
Sources

All information correct as far as I am aware.

Date Contributor Update
27 October 2014 16:11:57 Lee8thbuff Changes to description, aircraft types, mission associations and stations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 27-Oct-2014. 4FG association "USAAF Combat Chronology" Jack McKillop; Station dates; http://www.usaaf.com/8thaf/fighter/4fg.HTM

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:42:46 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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