In a Now Forgotten Sky: The 31st Fighter Group in WW2 (Hardback)Dennis C. Kucera (author)
Hardback 426 Pages / Published: 15/01/2009
- Not available
The 31st Pursuit Group (Interceptor) on 22 December 1939 and was activated on 1 February 1940 with the 39th, 40th and 41st Pursuit squadrons. The group trained and participated in Army maneuvers. The unit was redesignated the 31st Fighter Group on 15 May 1942 and was deployed to the European Theater. Most of the group moved to RAF Atcham England where it was assigned to Eighth Air Force. The group arrived in the UK without its assigned aircraft as the Bell P-39 Airacobras they trained with in the United States were found unsuitable for long-distance formation ferry flights. In England, the group was provided with British Supermarine Spitfire VBs by the Royal Air Force and it entered combat on 19 August 1942, supporting an Allied raid at Dieppe, France. In August 1942, the 31st moved to RAF Westhampnett in Sussex until October before moving into Tafaraoui, Algeria on 8 November 1942 as part of Twelfth Air Force to take part in Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa. Once in North Africa, the group attacked motor transports, gun positions, and troop concentrations during the campaign for Algeria and French Morocco. It supported ground troops in Tunisia and provided cover for bomber and fighter aircraft. During May and June 1943, after being re-equipped with Spitfire Mk VIIIs, it escorted naval convoys in the Mediterranean Sea and bombers on raids to Pantelleria. It supported landings on Sicily in July, at Salerno in September, and at Anzio in January 1944. The group provided close air support of Allied ground forces in Italy and flew patrol and escort missions. In April 1944, after being assigned to Fifteenth Air Force, the group was equipped with North American P-51B, C and D"Mustangs" and engaged primarily in missions to escort heavy bombers to enemy targets in Italy, France, Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Yugoslavia, and Greece. The 31st earned a Distinguished Unit Citation for a 21 April 1944 mission to cover a raid on production centers in Romania. It escorted reconnaissance and cargo aircraft participating in the airborne invasion of southern France. The unit strafed airdromes and communications targets. As part of a Fifteenth Air Force task force, it attacked targets in Romania while flying to Russia on 22 July 1944. After escorting P-38 Lightning aircraft from a Russian base for a raid on an airdrome in Poland on 25 July, it attacked a German fighter-bomber force and a truck convoy, earning a second Distinguished Unit Citation. In April 1945, when Allied forces pursued their final offensive in northern Italy, the group strafed enemy rail and highway traffic.
Publisher: Flying Machines Press,US
Number of pages: 426
Weight: 1945 g
Dimensions: 280 x 216 x 36 mm
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