By Tom Ivie, Chris Davey
The 325th FG used to be activated less than normal Order quantity 50 on 30 July 1942 and organize education operations at Theodore F Greene box in windfall, Rhode Island. by way of mid-December 1942 the gang was once thought of prepared for strive against and the alert for abroad responsibility arrived on 2 January 1943. The pilots and their P-40s departed at the service USS Ranger on eight January and flew their airplane off the vessel into Cazes airfield, close to Casablanca, on 19 January 1943. After the rest of the team of workers arrived in overdue February, the gang ready for strive against, and at last flew its first undertaking on 17 April 1943 as a part of the 12th Air strength. through the subsequent 4 months it participated within the North African crusade, and operations opposed to enemy-held islands within the Mediterranean Sea. via the tip of the Sicilian crusade on 17 August the 325th FG had scored 128 aerial victories, been the 1st P-40 unit to carry 1,000-lb bombs opposed to enemy objectives and had escorted 1,100 bombers with no wasting a...
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Extra resources for Aces of the 325th Fighter Group
Indeed, by war’s end its pilots had downed 534 Axis aircraft in aerial combat, making the 325th the second highest scoring unit (behind the 82nd FG – see Osprey Aircraft of the Aces 108 – P-38 Lightning Aces of the 82nd Fighter Group for further details) in the Fifteenth Air Force. The 325th produced a total of 28 aces during its combat tour, which began in April 1943 in the skies over North Africa and ended in Italy two years later. General Order 50, dated 30 June 1942, issued by Headquarters First Air Force, Eastern Defense Command, activated the 325th FG.
Six of these were undertaken on the 10th, and during the last two on this date enemy aircraft were encountered. The fifth mission had taken off at 1400 hrs to escort B-26s of the 320th Bomb Group (BG) and dive-bomb assigned positions on Pantelleria. Over the island the B-26s were targeted by a mixed force of about 25 Italian and German fighters, and the 325th’s P-40s dived into the fray to break up the Axis attack. In the following dogfight three Bf 109s were shot down by Lts Herbert Andridge, Lawrence Ritter and Kenneth Rusher for the loss of Flt Off Jim Dunlap, who did not return to base.
In what was to become its final month of flying the P-40, the 325th flew numerous missions to Sardinia to help disrupt the Luftwaffe’s bombing of Allied seaports in North Africa, and to lessen its ability to launch air assaults against the upcoming landings at Salerno, in Italy. The 325th FG became so heavily involved in this aerial assault against Sardinia that the group gained the nickname of the ‘Sardinian Air Force’. During much of this period the 325th’s pilots bombed and strafed many targets throughout Sardinia without any opposition from the Luftwaffe.