The 7th Reconnaissance Group (USAAF) was allocated to the Eighth Air Force and operated from bases in England from the summer of 1943 to the end of the Second World War.
The group was formed in the United States in the spring of 1943 with three squadrons, but in July 1943 the group transferred to England without personnel, equipment or with the initial three squadrons. The group was given new squadrons once in England, and operated a mix of Spitfires and L-5 Lightnings.
The group carried out reconnaissance in support of the bombing campaign, photographic mapping both for bomber and for ground units, monitored German units and even carried out some meteorological work.
In the period before the D-Day landings the group was used to survey airfields, industries and ports. During June 1944 it was used to cover German transport links including bridges, canals, roads, railways and key marshalling yards, and was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for its performance between 31 May and 30 June.
In July 1944 the group was used to search for German missile sites. In August it provided mapping services for the Allied armies as they advanced across France. In September it was used to support Operation Market Garden. Between December 1944 and January it took part in the Battle of the Bulge.
During 1945 the group supported the crossing of the Rhine and the advance into Germany, and was given a number of P-51 Mustangs so it could escort its own reconnaissance aircraft. After the war the group took part in the analysis of the damage inflicted by the bombing campaign before being inactivated on 21 November 1945.
Lockheed F-5 Lightning;
North American P-51 Mustang
|5 Feb 1943||Constituted as 7th Photographic Group|
|1 May 1943||Activated|
|May 1943||Redesignated 7th Photographic Reconnaissance and Mapping Group|
|July 1943||To England and Eighth Air Force|
|Nov 1943||Redesignated 7th Photographic Group (Reconnaissance)|
|June 1945||Redesignated 7th Reconnaissance Group|
|21 Nov 1945||Inactivated|
|6 Mar 1947||Disbanded|
Col James G Hall: 7 Jul
Col Homer L Saunders: Sep 1943
Col Paul T Cullen: 1 Jan 1944
Lt Col George A Lawson: 17 Feb 1944
Lt Col Norris E Hartwell: 7 May 1944
Lt Col Clarence A Shoop: 9 Aug 1944
Col George W Humbrecht: Oct 1944
Maj Hubert M Childress: 18 Jun 1945-unkn
Peterson Field, Colo: 1 May-
7 Jul 1943
Mount Farm, England: 7 Jul 1943
Chalgrove, England: Mar 1945
Hitcham, England: Oct-21 Nov 1945
13th Reconnaissance Squadron: 1943-1945
14th Reconnaissance Squadron: 1943-1945
22nd Reconnaissance Squadron: 1943-1945
27th Reconnaissance Squadron: 1943-1945
28th Reconnaissance Squadron: 1943
29th Reconnaissance Squadron: 1943
30th Reconnaissance Squadron: 1943
1944-1945: 325th Reconnaissance Wing; Eighth Air Force