Aces of the 325th Fighter Group by Tom Ivie, Chris Davey

By Tom Ivie, Chris Davey

The 325th FG was once activated less than basic Order quantity 50 on 30 July 1942 and organize education operations at Theodore F Greene box in windfall, Rhode Island. by means of mid-December 1942 the crowd used to be thought of prepared for wrestle and the alert for out of the country responsibility arrived on 2 January 1943. The pilots and their P-40s departed at the service USS Ranger on eight January and flew their plane off the vessel into Cazes airfield, close to Casablanca, on 19 January 1943. After the rest of the body of workers arrived in past due February, the gang ready for wrestle, and at last flew its first undertaking on 17 April 1943 as a part of the 12th Air strength. throughout the subsequent 4 months it participated within the North African crusade, and operations opposed to enemy-held islands within the Mediterranean Sea. through the tip of the Sicilian crusade on 17 August the 325th FG had scored 128 aerial victories, been the 1st P-40 unit to convey 1,000-lb bombs opposed to enemy objectives and had escorted 1,100 bombers with no wasting a...

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On this date Mateur airfield received a number of important visitors in the form of civilian technical representatives from Republic. With their arrival pilots and groundcrew commenced the intensive training that would be needed to allow the 325th to operate the P-47s effectively. The first appearance of the group’s new fighter was on 11 October 1943 when Lt Col Bob Baseler picked up a P-47 from the aircraft assembly area at Bizerte, in Tunisia, and flew it to Mateur. Shortly thereafter the rainy season hit the training area and the 325th moved to Soliman, also in Tunisia, on 4 November, where it resumed training from a better facility that boasted paved runways.

Sadly, the 325th lost a talented pilot and potential ace during the mission when Flt Off John Smallsreed, who had scored his third victory only the day before, was listed as missing in action (MIA) – no one had seen what had happened to him. On 29 and 31 May the 325th returned to Pantelleria to attack gun emplacements by dive-bombing with 500-lb bombs. On the second of these missions, while escorting B-26s and carrying 1000-lb bombs, the group targeted an oil dump and several gun emplacements. It should be mentioned here that the 325th FG was the first P-40 outfit in the MTO to deliver 1000 ‘pounders’ on enemy targets.

As I turned inside him he went past me, only to be attacked by another P-40. He avoided this attack by another climbing slow roll, but I was watching him and got on his tail. He dove as I followed, firing at about 200 yards. He pulled up, with me after him, and I fired again as he fell off to the left. We were then at about 2500 ft. He dove, and I expected him to come up beneath me. ’ Lt Brundydge’s victory involved much less dogfighting than Walker’s, but the end result was the same; ‘The Me 109 came down from the top, about 500 yards behind and to my left.

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