325th Fighter Group (USAAF)

History - Books - Aircraft - Time Line - Commanders - Main Bases - Component Units - Assigned To

History

The 325th Fighter Group fought in Tunisia, Pantelleria, Sicily and mainland Italy, then became a escort unit supporting the Italian based heavy bombers on their raids across Germany and occupied Europe.

The group was constituted as the 325th Fighter Group on 24 June 1942 and activated on 3 August 1943.It trained with the P-40, and then used that aircraft when it moved to North Africa in January-February 1943 where it joined the Twelfth Air Force. The original plan had been for the unit to join the Ninth, but a shortage of aircraft in Tunisia meant it had to be rushed into combat.

The group made its combat debut on 17 April 1943. It was used to escort medium bombers, on ground attack missions and for sweeps along the coasts of Algeria and Tunisia.

The group fought in the final stages of the Tunisian campaign. It then took part in the reduction of Pantelleria, a rare example of a battle won entirely from the air. The group then supported the invasion of Sicily.

The group was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for a raid on Sardinia on 30 July 1943 when it lured a larger formation of Axis aircraft into the air and destroyed half of them.

From late September to mid December 1943 the group converted to the P-47. It then moved to Italy to join the Fifteenth Air Force. Operations resumed on 14 December, this time as a long range fighter escort group supporting the Fifteenth's heavy bombers.

In this role the group took part in attacks on the Messerschmitt factory at Regensburg, the Daimler-Benz tank factory at Berlin, and a wide range of strategic targets across Italy, France, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Rumania and Yugoslavia.

The group received a second DUC for a 300 mile low level attack on 30 January 1944 that hit the Luftwaffe fighter forces defending the airfields around Villaorba. The group flew at a lower level than the rest of the raid. The Germans detected the incoming bombers and their fighters began to take off. The 325th then overtook the bombers and rose up to attack the enemy fighters while they were still vulnerable, claiming 36 victories. The success of this operation allowed the heavy bombers to carry out their own raid without running into heavy opposition.

The group ended combat operations in May 1945. It returned to the US in October and was inactivated on 28 October 1945.

Books

Pending

Aircraft

August 1942-late 1943: Curtiss P-40 Warhawk
Late 1943-May 1944: Republic P-47 Thunderbolt
May 1944-1945: North American P-51 Mustang

Timeline

24 June 1942 Constituted as 325th Fighter Group
3 August 1942 Activated
January-February 1943 To North Africa and Twelfth Air Force
December 1943 To Fifteenth Air Force
May 1945 End of combat
October 1945 To United States
28 October 1945 Inactivated

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Maj Leonard C Lydon: 3 Aug 1942
Lt Col Gordon H Austin: 10 Dec 1942
Lt Col Robert L Baseler: 5 Jul 1943
Col Chester L Sluder: 1 Apr 1944
Lt Col Ernest H Beverly: 11 Sep 1944
Col Felix L Vidal: 2 Mar 1945
Lt Col Wyatt P Exum: 6 Jun 1945
Lt Col Wilhelm C Freudenthal: c. 30 Aug 1945-unkn

Main Bases

Mitchel Field, NY: 3 Aug 1942
Hillsgrove, RI: c. 31 Aug 1942-23 Jan 1943
Tafaraoui, Algeria: 28 Feb 1943
Montesquieu, Algeria: 5 Apr 1943
Soukel- Khemis, Tunisia: 3 Jun 1943
Mateur, Tunisia: 19 Jun 1943
Soliman, Tunisia: 4 Nov 1943
Foggia, Italy: 11 Dec 1943
Lesina, Italy: 29 Mar 1944
Rimini, Italy: c. 5 Mar 1945
Mondolfo, Italy: Apr 1945
Vincenzo Airfield, Italy: July-9 Oct 1945

Component Units

317th: 1942-1945
318th: 1942-1945
319th: 1942-1945

Assigned To

August 1942-January 1943: Boston Fighter Wing; I Fighter Command; First Air Force
1943: 47th Bombardment Wing; XII Bomber Command; Twelfth Air Force
August 1943: 42nd Bombardment Wing; Northwest African Strategic Air Force
September 1943-October 1943: 42nd Bombardment Wing; XII Bomber Command; Twelfth Air Force
1943-44: 5th Bombardment Wing; Fifteenth Air Force
1944-45: 306th Fighter Wing; Fifteenth Air Force

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (31 July 2018), 325th Fighter Group (USAAF) , http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/325th_Fighter_Group.html

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