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14th Fighter Group


The 14th Fighter Group (USAAF) was a P-38 Lightning Group that fought in Tunisia and the Italian campaign, as well as providing bomber escorts for attacks across southern Europe.

The group was formed in the United States in January 1941 and trained with the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk and Republic P-43 Lancer before converting to the P-38 Lightning. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor the group used its P-38s to fly patrols along the US West Coast, where there was a real fear of a Japanese attack.

In late July 1942 the ground echelon set sail for Britain. The air echelon, with its P-38s, moved to the north-eastern United States, then to Presque Isle. The first twenty-eight P-38s, escorted by six B-17s, flew from Presque to Goose Bay on the Canadian Coast on 22 July, end the from there to Greenland, Iceland and finally Prestwick in Scotland. The group then moved to the south-east, where it moved onto existing RAF fighter bases in order to operate alongside their more experienced allies.

The 14th Fighter Group didn't see combat with German fighters during its short period in Britain (it did carry out some escort missions but they were unopposed). It was soon allocated to the new Twelfth Air Force, which was to support Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa. The group was able to fly into Algeria directly from Britain within 11 days of the invasion. Initially the group was based in the west of Algeria, but within a few days it moved east to take part in the battles in Tunisia. Before the move the group escorted a force of B-17s in an attack on Tunis on 19 November, but German attacks soon forced the American heavy bombers to move to less vulnerable bases further west.

The first squadron moved to Youks on 21 November and was immediately thrown into combat against a German column advancing towards Gafsa. Six aircraft were lost in landing accidents after they returned to their new base after dark. The group was mainly concerned with the fighting in central Tunisia, although also reached the Tunisian east coast (destroying a number of Axis transport aircraft at Gabes on 24 November) and was sometimes dragging into the fighting further north. The move east did cause some problems, as the group had not been expected to need much transport and had many of its vehicles when space had to be saved in the invasion fleets.

By the start of 1943 the USAAF began to run short of P-38s in North Africa. The 14th was kept up to strength by taking aircraft from the 1st Fighter Group, and then from the 82nd Fighter Group. Even so the group was being worn down, and by mid January had to be withdrawn from Youks to rest and recover. They were still operational, and on 20 January took part in the first successful air attack on the Axis convoys bringing supplies over from Sicily. Twelve P-38s from the group escorted six B-25s that sank the 5,000 ton tanker Saturno. This phase lasted until 28 January when the group handed its remaining P-38s over to the 82nd Fighter Group and prepared for a move to the rear.

The group was rested and recovered by the end of April, in time to take part in the final battle for Tunisia.

Between 8 May and 11 June the group took part in the massive aerial bombardment of Pantelleria, an attack that broke the morale of the defenders and led to the surrender of the island.

During the invasion of Sicily the long range P-38s were used on attacks against targets on the Italian mainland. They also attacked the Axis evacuation route in mid-August 1943, badly damaging their transport routes.

From November 1943 the group's main task was to escort the Italian based strategic bombers as they raided targets across much of southern Europe. At the same time it continued to carry out attacks on German transport links, attacking targets across much of the same area.

During the battle for Anzio the Luftwaffe made a major effort, assembling a much larger bomber force than at any time since the battle of Sicily. The Allies responded with a series of major attacks on Luftwaffe airfields. The 14th Fighter Group took part in one unusual raid on 30 January 1944. The target was the series of airfields around Udine in Austria. Five bomber groups and three fighter groups (including the 14th) attacked in the normal way to attract German attention. At the same time the 325th Fighter Group followed the main raid, then got ahead of it and hit the German fighter bases just as their aircraft were taking off. The result was a devastating defeat for the Luftwaffe forces in Austria.

The group was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for defeating a series of German fighter attacks during a raid on a ball-bearing factory in Austria on 2 April 1944

The group took part in Operation Dragoon - the invasion of the South of France - carrying out a heavy attack on German airfields on 17 August 1944 (D+2).

The group was inactivated in Italy on 9 September 1945.

US Air Force Combat Units of World War II Description

Constituted as 14th Pursuit Group (Fighter) on 20 Nov 1940. Activated on 15 Jan 1941. Trained with P-40's and P-43's. Converted to P-38's, which were used in flying patrols on the west coast of the US after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Redesignated 14th Fighter Group in May 1942. Moved to England, Jul-Aug 1942. Began operations with Eighth AF in Oct 1942, escorting bombers to targets in France. Arrived in North Africa shortly after the campaign for Algeria and French Morocco (8-11 Nov 1942) had ended, and remained in the Mediterranean theater until the end of the war, being assigned first to Twelfth AF and later (Nov 1943) to Fifteenth. Flew escort, strafing, and reconnaissance missions from the middle of Nov 1942 to late in Jan 1943 and then withdrew from combat, some of the men and planes being reassigned. Resumed operations in May. Flew dive-bombing missions during the Allied assault on Pantelleria. Helped prepare for and support the invasions of Sicily and Italy. Engaged primarily in escort work after Nov 1943, flying many missions to cover bombers engaged in long-range operations against strategic objectives in Italy, France, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Rumania, and Bulgaria. Received a DUC for a mission on 2 Apr 1944 when the group, by beating off attacks by enemy fighters, enabled bombers to strike important ball-bearing works in Austria. Also provided escort for reconnaissance operations, supported the invasion of Southern France in Aug 1944, and on numerous occasions flew long-range missions to strafe and dive-bomb motor vehicles, trains, bridges, supply areas, airdromes, and troop concentrations in an area extending from France to the Balkans. Inactivated in Italy on 9 Sep 1945.


Part of
  • 305th Bombardment Wing
  • 306th Fighter Wing
  • 5th Bomb Wing

    5th Bomb Wing

    The 5th Air Division (5th AD) originated on 19 October 1940 at McChord Field, Washington. Its initial mission was air defense of the northwest United States with three bombardment groups (12th, 17th and 39th) flying early B-17 Flying Fortresses (B-17C...

  • 6th Fighter Wing
Previously was
Not yet known
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  • VIII Fighter Command ESCORT

    25 October 1942
    35 Spitfires from 4th Fighter Group are despatched to escort RAF "Circus" 232. 14th Fighter Group despatches 24 P-38s to provide rear support for the Circus. This is the last mission for 14rh Fighter Group with the 8th AF in the ETO prior to their...


Station Location Date
Assigned 8th Air Force June 1942
Based Atcham 18 August 1942 – 6 November 1942
Assigned 12th Air Force November 1942
Based Youks-les-Bains 15 November 1942 – 9 January 1943
Based Bertreaux 9 January 1943 – 5 March 1943
Based Telerghma 5 May 1943 – 3 June 1943
Based Sainte Marie-du-Zit 25 July 1943 – 12 December 1943
Assigned 15th Air Force November 1943
Based Triolo 12 December 1943 – 9 September 1945



  • Harry Adams

    Military | Private First Class | Radio operator | 14th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 49FS, 14FG. Passenger aboard C-47 41-7803 crashed at Moel y Gaer mountain 23-Aug-42. Died of Wounds (DOW) 26-Aug-42. Awards: PH.

  • Jonathan Akers

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 14th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 49FS, 14FG. Passenger aboard C-47 41-7803 crashed at Moel y Gaer mountain 23-Aug-42. Died Non Battle (DNB). Awards: PH.

  • Robert Anderson

    Military | Technical Sergeant | 14th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 49FS, 14FG, 8AF USAAF. Passenger aboard C-47 41-7803 crashed at Moel y Gaer mountain 23-Aug-42. Died Non Battle (DNB). Awards: PH.

  • Richard Atckison

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 14th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 37FS, 14FG, 12AF USAAF. Transferred to 338FS, 55FG, 8AF USAAF. ...

  • George Baird

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 14th Fighter Group

  • Edwin Baquet

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 14th Fighter Group
    Ed Baquet was born on May 5, 1922, in Unionville, Missouri. He enlisted in the Oregon National Guard on June 12, 1939, serving until February 27, 1940. Baquet later enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve on August 28, 1942, and entered the Aviation Cadet...

  • Andrew Bing

    Military | Colonel | Fighter pilot | 14th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 48FS, 14FG, 12AF USAAF. Credited 1 x kill. Transferred to HQ Sqn, 364FG, 8AF USAAF. Completed Tour of Duty (ETD). Awards: DFC, AM (4 OLC), WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Frederick Bitter

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Fighter pilot | 14th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 84FS, 78FG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred to 14FG, 5FW, 12AF USAAF. 50 combat missions. Credited 1 x probable[Me109], 1 x damaged[Me109]. Completed Tour Duty (ETD). Awards: AM (7 OLC), WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Wallace Bland

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter pilot | 14th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 83FS, 78FG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred to 49FS, 14FG, 12AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) strafing/bombing mission to Sicily, Italy in P-38G 43-2389 hit by flak with port engine smoking and losing power, lost control of A/C and baled out, chute...

  • Michael Brezas

    Military | Major | Fighter Pilot 1056 twin engine | 14th Fighter Group
    Flight leader 48th FS 14th FG 1944-45 ...

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    P-38 Lightning

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    P-38 Lightning

  • 41-7654 Tangerine

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  • 42-104107 Jewboy

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  • 44-25786

    P-38 Lightning
    Assigned to 48th FS 14th FG 15th FG. Flown by Capt Mike Brezas 12 kill ace. Force landed due to flak damage on April 2, 1945. Remains of a/c in Yugoslavian Aviation Museum, Belgrade, Yugoslavia,

  • 41-7677

    P-38 Lightning
    Flown by 2nd Lt Robert F. Elliott on a gunnery practice training flight 27 September 1942. Made forced landing on North Wales beach in surf off Llanbedr Sep 13, 1942 due to fuel exhaustion. Walked away unhurt. Plane was disarmed and only partially...


Distinguished Unit Citation: For beating off attacks from enemy fighters while bombers were attacking a ball-bearing factory in Austria, 2 Apr 1944.


Date Contributor Update
31 October 2018 10:07:41 Emily Changes to insignia, us air force combat units of world war ii description and citations


Date Contributor Update
23 November 2016 01:42:54 466thHistorian Changes to stations

Date Contributor Update
22 November 2016 22:29:12 466thHistorian Changes to motto

Date Contributor Update
22 November 2016 22:08:16 466thHistorian Changes to type, description, air forces, aircraft types, unit encompassing associations and media associations

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:42:44 AAM AAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / 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).