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417th Night Fighter Squadron

Squadron

The 417th Night Fighter Squadron was activated 20 February 1943. After organisation and training at Kissimmee Air Base near Orlando, Florida, the 417th departed for oversees duty on 5 May 1943 on the Queen Elizabeth, arriving in Scotland six days later on 11 May 1943.

The 417th Night Fighter Squadron was then sent stationed at RAF Twinwood, near Bedford, where the pilots experienced flying a new type aircraft, the Bristol Beaufighter. This aircraft was very unlike the P-70's which the pilots had trained in at Florida.

From Twinwood, the Squadron moved to Scorton, England where twelve new Beaufighters were received. On the morning of 7 August 1943, eleven Beaufighters of the 417th took off for their new station in Algeria where combat operations were started consisting of convoy patrols and fighter sweeps. In the latter part of April 1944 the 417th moved from Algeria to Corsica where operations were again resumed consisting of night patrols off the coasts of Corsica, Spain, and France. Also the first intruder missions were flown from Corsica against airdromes in southern France and northern Italy.

During the invasion of southern France, the squadron supplied cover for the invasion fleet. After the invasion was well under way, the squadron moved from Corsica to southern France where intruder and patrol missions were resumed. The squadron received the presidential citation for this combat work done in this section.

In March 1945 the squadron converted from the British Beaufighter to the new P-61 Black Widow. Three weeks were spent in training on this new aircraft. The 417th NFS moved from France to Germany flying intruder and patrol missions in the new P-61's, protecting the bridgeheads at Ulm, Dillingen, and Donauworth. Intruder and patrol missions were flown until the end of the war and then a training program was started.

The organisation was made an occupational unit in June 1945. The present station of the 417th Night Fighter Squadron is air drome R-12 at Kassel/Rothwesterm, Germany. The unit is under the 64th Fighter Wing, XII tactical air command, Ninth Air Force.'

US Air Force Combat Units of World War II Description

Constituted 417th Night Fighter Squadron on 17 Feb 1943. Activated on 20 Feb 1943. Inactivated on 9 Nov 1946.

Assigned to Air Defense Department, AAF School of Applied Tactics, 20 Feb 1943; VIII Fighter Command (attached to the RAF), 11 May 1943; Twelfth Air Force, 8 Aug 1943 (attached to 2689th Air Defense Region [Prov], Northwest African Coastal Air Force, 9 Aug 1943; 337 Wing, RAF, 3 Jan 1944); 63d Fighter Wing, 27 Apr 1944; XII Fighter Command, 27 Sep 1944; Twelfth Air Force, 1 Oct 1944 (attached to Mediterranean Allied Coastal Air Force, 3 Oct 1944-24 Mar 1945; air echelon attached to 422d Night Fighter Squadron, 6-22 Jan 1945); 64th Fighter Wing (attached to First Tactical Air Force [Prov]), 24 Mar 1945; XII Tactical Air Command, 17 May 1945; 64th Fighter Wing, 26 Jun 1945-9 Nov 1946 (attached to All Weather Group [Prov], 64th Fighter Wing, 15 Aug-g Nov 1946).

Structure

Part of
  • 12th Air Force

    12th Air Force


    The 12th Air Force was established in the USA during the Second World War to provide the Army Air Force component of Operation Torch (the invasion of French North Africa) in 1942. The Air Force initially moved to England for training before...

  • VIII Fighter Command

    VIII Fighter Command

    Command
    VIII Fighter Command was established as VIII Interceptor Command at Selfridge Field on 2 February 1942.

Encompassing
Not yet known
Previously was
Not yet known
Became
Not yet known

Stations

Station Location Date
Based Twinwood Farm May 1943 – 7 August 1943
Based Ayr 12 May 1943 – 10 June 1943
Based Uxbridge 14 May 1943 – 10 June 1943
Based Coltishall 14 May 1943 – 10 June 1943
Based Bristol 14 May 1943 – 10 June 1943
Based Scorton 23 May 1943 – 8 August 1943
Based Tafaraoui 8 August 1943 – 10 January 1944

Connections

People

  • Murrel Anderton

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Passenger
    Passenger of the Beaufighter BT287 "Sad Sack II" 417th NFS, 12th AF, took off from Dijon on a transport mission to Istres-le Vallon. However, a bad blizzard made them lose their bearings and crash into Mount Arpette at 21:00 2nd Nov 44. KIA. MACR 9942.

  • Jesse Berryhill

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot
    Pilot of the Beaufighter BT287 "Sad Sack II" 417th NFS, 12th AF, took off from Dijon on a transport mission to Istres-le Vallon. However, a bad blizzard made them lose their bearings and crash into Mount Arpette at 21:00 2nd Nov 44. KIA. MACR 9942.

  • Jack DeVore

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot
    Pilot Beaufighter F Mk VI KW197 417th NFS, 12th AF, 16th Nov 44, during E/A intercept, bailed out from A/C 21:10, reason unknown, despite their position [east of Nice] being known and patrolling A/C's being diverted to locate them, no trace was found....

  • Walter Dyer

    Military | Corporal | Mechanic | 50th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 417NFS, 50FG, 12AF USAAF. Killed in crash of Bristol Beaufighter V8812, at Westerdale, Yorkshire 22-Jun-43. Killed in Action (KIA) Awards: PH

  • William Grinnell

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Observer
    Observer Beaufighter F Mk VI KW197 417th NFS, 12th AF, 16th Nov 44, during E/A intercept, bailed out from A/C 21:10, reason unknown, despite their position [east of Nice] being known and patrolling A/C's being diverted to locate them, no trace was...

  • Theodore Hearne

    Military | Flight Officer | Observer / Radar Op
    Observer Beaufighter F Mk VI ND262 417th NFS, 63rd FW, 12th AF, lost on area patrol from Borgo aerodrome, 20th July 44, made contact with E/A aircraft, intercepted and shot down A/C into Mediterranean sea, pilot reported to have declared he was going...

  • Robert Inglis

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot
    Pilot Beaufighter F Mk VI ND262 417th NFS, 63rd FW, 12th AF, lost on area patrol from Borgo aerodrome, 20th July 44, made contact with E/A aircraft, intercepted and shot down A/C into Mediterranean sea, reported to have declared he was going down to...

  • Howard Kohrman

    Military | Flight Officer | Observer
    Observer Beaufighter Mk VI KV923 Failed To Return 27th Dec 43 lost over Sardinia, Pilot 1st Lt Robert C Swift, Obs F/O Howard A Kohrman KIA. MACR 1956.

  • Frank McLain

    Military | Flight Officer | Pilot | 50th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 417NFS, 50FG, 12AF USAAF. Killed in crash of Bristol Beaufighter V8812, at Westerdale, Yorkshire 22-Jun-43. Killed in Action (KIA) Awards: PH

  • Lady Mutt

    Military | Mascot
    Lady was a mutt who became the mascot of the 417th Night Fighter Squadron. She was with the group in Corsica, and moved with them to Dijon. ...

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Aircraft

  • BT287 'Sad Sack II'

    Beaufighter
    Beaufighter BT287 "Sad Sack II" 417th NFS, 12th AF, took off from Dijon on a transport mission to Istres-le Vallon. However, a bad blizzard made them lose their bearings and crash into Mount Arpette at 21:00 2nd Nov 44. 3 KIA. MACR 9942.

  • KW197

    Beaufighter
    Beaufighter F Mk VI KW197 417th NFS, 12th AF, 16th Nov 44, during E/A intercept, crew bailed out from A/C 21:10, reason unknown, despite their position [east of Nice] being known and patrolling A/C's being diverted to locate them, no trace was found. 2...

  • ND262

    Beaufighter
    Beaufighter F Mk VI ND262 417th NFS, 63rd FW, 12th AF, call sign 'Waste Not #77' lost on area patrol from Borgo aerodrome, 20th July 44, made contact with E/A aircraft, intercepted and shot down A/C into Mediterranean sea, pilot declared he was going...

  • LB595

    Hurricane
    Crashed Belly Landing La Senia Algeria, Cat 3 damage, pilot Lt William A Larson, 14-Feb-44. 417th NFS, 12AF.

  • V8812

    Beaufighter
    Issued to RAF, then assigned to 417NFS, 50FG via return lend/lease. Lost on return flight to Scorton base after air firing exercise, when the fuel tanks ran dry, due to fuel system mis-management. 1 x WIA, 2 x KIA.

Citations

Distinguished Unit Citation: Southern France, 28 Dec 1944.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
07 January 2021 20:58:03 466thHistorian Changes to stations
Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/417th_Weapons_Squadron

Date Contributor Update
17 December 2019 11:45:08 Emily Changes to person associations and aircraft associations
Sources

Brought together information from duplicate record drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia

Date Contributor Update
17 December 2019 11:37:08 Emily Changes to description
Sources

Brief Historical summary of the 417th Night Fighter Squadron, written by 1st Lt Ralph C Jauch, Intelligence Officer, c 1945

Date Contributor Update
17 December 2019 11:21:00 Emily Created entry with type, name, us air force combat units of world war ii description, citations, air forces, aircraft types and person associations
Sources

History of the 417th Night Fighter Squadron

Personnel Roster

Combat Squadrons of the Air Force

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