|368th Fighter Group
A Brief History & Timeline of Major Events
1st – 368th Fighter Group activated at Westover Field, Massachusetts.
LTC Gilbert L. Meyers appointed as Commander.
3rd - Original cadre is sent to Orlando, FL for training.
6th – Cadre returns to Westover Field, Massachusetts.
23rd - 395th and 396th Fighter Squadrons move to Republic Field, Farmingdale, Long Island, New York. Republic field could only
accommodate 2 squadrons, the 397th Fighter Squadron moves to Mitchel Field, Garden City, Long Island, New York 12 miles away.
1st – Operational Training Program is initiated to prepare for overseas deployment.
Most of October 1943 is spent training for deployment, this included aerial gunnery training and practice.
6th – Capt Charles Rust is killed during a training mission due to a low speed stall.
24th – November 4th – 397th FS maintains a security alert for President Roosevelt during stay at his Hyde’s Park home.
Most of October 1943 is spent training for deployment, this included aerial gunnery training and practice. Inspections were
conducted by higher Headquarters to evaluate status for pending deployment.
3rd – Duke & Duchess of Windsor visits 1st Fighter Command HQ, the 368th FG flies a 48 plane formation in honor of the visit. The
Duke meets with 397th Pilots after the Air Show.
12th – Group completed required inspections in preparation for overseas deployment.
20th - Group moves to staging area at Camp Miles Standish, Massachusetts.
28th - Group boards SS Argentina at Boston Port of Embarkation.
29th – 1200 hrs - SS Argentina sails from Boston as part of one the largest convoys to cross the Atlantic.
7th – SS Argentina arrives in the Firth of Clyde, Scotland.
12th – 1300 hrs - group disembarks from the SS Argentina at Gurlock, Scotland.
13th – Group arrives at RAF Station 485, Greenham Common (near Newbury), England. 368th is assigned to the 71st Fighter Wing,
9th Tactical Air Command, 9th Air Force.
25th – Group receives their P-47 and begin “slow-timing” the aircraft to break them in. Training resumes.
31st – Meyers, DeMeo, and squadron commanders report for temporary duty (TDY) with the 56th Fighter Group to observe
13th – Pilots begin flying combat “introductory” missions with the 56th FG.
21st – Pilots and crews depart for the British School of Experimental Fighter-Bombing at Milfield, England.
Group continues training in preparation for combat mission as a group, several pilots have already logged combat time with other
units, primarily the 56th FG.
1st – Col. Meyers led a six plane flight on a fighter-bomber attack in practice maneuvers with the 3rd Armored Division. These two
unit would come to know each other well after the invasion.
3rd – Captains Henricks and Sparks depart on TDY with the 57th FG in Italy to fly dive-bombing missions.
8th – The group receives orders from 9th AF that the 368th FG was officially a combat unit and could receive missions
9th – 368th FG receives orders for their first mission, but the mission was “scrubbed”.
14th – First operational combat mission as a group, a fighter sweep of the French coastin support of Medium Bombers attacking the
Criel area .
15th – Group moves to new home at RAF Station 404, Chilbolton, England.
16th – Fighter Sweep to Lille, France. Six of the 48 planes to take off had to return due to faulty belly tanks.
17th – First escort mission carrying B-26’s to marshalling yards at Criel, France.
18th – Escort mission to Abbeville, France.
19th – Withdrawal support for Bombers.
20th – Escort B-26’s bombing V-1 “Noball” sites at Criel, France.
21st – No missions assigned.
22nd – Withdrawal escort of B-24’s returning from Germany.
23rd – Withdrawal escort of B-24’s from Nijmegen, Belgium.
24th – First dive bombing mission, Bernay St. Martin Airfield, France.
25th – Withdrawal support for B-26’s, first aerial combat with German aircraft, group returns with two damaged aircraft. Group
claims are: 3 FW-190's destroyed (2 by Cpt Thomas Montag & 1 by Lt Leon Myers) + 1 probable, and 5 damaged.
26th – Group dive-bombed a V-1 site NW of Saint-Saens, France.
27th – Escorted B-24’s to southern France, returned to base then escorted B-24’s on a withdrawal support mission.
13th – Bombing by the group of a V-1 “Buzz-bomb” rocket site near Calais, France.
14th – First ground staffing attack mission. Group destroys 9 locomotives and damages 4 others.
22nd – First mission into Germany with a fighter sweep reaching Duren-Bonn and Koblenz.
First pilot loss when Captain James Goodwin of the 395th FS did not return.
1st – Pre-invasion attacks against marshalling yards.
2nd – Bombed marshalling yards at Toucoing, France with commendation for good work.
3rd – 4th – Crews remained on ground alert but no missions flown.
5th – Dive bomb marshalling yards at Somain, France.
7th – Dive bomb German positions near Namur, Belgium.
8th – Group flies a 600 miles round trip mission to bomb a rail bridge west of Sudan, France.
9th – Dive bombed flak positions at Calais in preparation for bombers attacking V-1 sites.
Second mission that day took the group back to attack V-1 sites.
10th – Escort mission scheduled but scrubbed.
12th – 1st mission was an escort for C-47’s to Veurne, Belgium and back, ?purpose, maybe to make the Germans think it was a
practice flight for future paratrooper drop. 2nd mission destroyed railroad bridge at Namur.
13th – 14th – No missions flown.
15th – Chilbolton Field bombed by 2 German planes at 0210 destroying 2 planes damaging 11.
16th – 18th – No operational missions.
19th – Group attacks the Cambai-Epinoy Airdrome.
20th – Escort heavy bombers to target near Paris.
21st – Operation “Chatanooga Choo-Choo” begins – targeting rail traffic. Group destroys 10 locomotives
22nd – Escort B-26’s to French coast to bomb gun emplacements. Group receives 2 new P-47D-25’s bought buy war bond sales in
Sherman County, Nebraska & Henderson County, Kentucky.
23rd – Escort mission scrubbed.
24th – Escort heavy bombers back to Paris area. After escort group strafed 20 trains, destroying 15.
25th – Group destroys railway bridge at Hasselt, Belgium using a “glide bomb” technique.
26th – Attack on Saint-Ande-de-L’Eure Airdrome.
27th – Low level straffing missions ranging as far as Coblenz, 16 locomotives destroyed and
another 11 damaged by group.
27th - Experimental mission N.E. of Compeigne, France bombing with incendiary gas tank.
This would later be known as Napalm. This is the first documented use of Napalm.
29th –Escort heavy bombers to Hanover, Germany and back. Longest mission on record for group
30th –In one mission, group destroys 2 bridges across Seine River at Pont-de-L’Arche & Elbeuf, severely damages another Le Manoir.
3rd – Group attacks munitions dump at Domfront.
Lt Clarence “Stud” Staton, 395th, comes back with pieces of railroad ties in his cowling and engine.
4th – Two bridges over Seine River destroyed.
6th & 7th - Operation Overlord (D-Day)
– 365th, 366th, & 368th Fighter Groups are assigned Omaha Beach sector.
– 395th FS Planes took off at apx. 0430 headed for Normandy for the 1st of many missions that day.
- The 368th Fighter Group totals 289 individual sorties and 398 vehicles destroyed.
7th – Group flies armed reconnaissance missions from 0400 to midnight.
The group blasted enemy positions and any traffic on road or rail.
Commander of Panzer Lehr Division described the road from Vire to Beny Bocage as a
“Jabo Rennstrecke” or Fighter-Bomber racecourse.
8th– General Montgomery writes: “The rehabilitation of Omaha Beach was due almost entirely to the continuing close support
given by three fighter-bomber groups of the IX TAC, LTC Holt’s 366th, COL Meyer’s 368th, COL Call’s 365th. The fighter-bombers
maintained continuous armed reconnaissance over the beach…”
Commendation from LTG Brereton to MG Quesada: “Groups of your command furnished close and continuous support to the Omaha
Beachhead area. The situation there was critical. The excellent attacks and continuous support rendered restored a delicate
MG Quesada wrote back to LTG Brereton: ”It is possible, if not probable, that their efforts were in a large part responsible for the
attack on Omaha Beach continuing. History may show they saved the day.”
9th – 816th Engineer Aviation Battalion lands at Omaha Beach and proceeds to Cardonville to
to build Strip A-3, the future home of 368th FG.
12th – Air echelon leaves for Southhampton to cross the channel to Normandy.
12th - Cpt Randall Hendricks 397th FS gets 4 FW-190's destroyed + 1 probable + 1 damaged, later he is awarded the DSC for this
13th – Refueling on the continent – 1st group to land an operational mission in Normandy.
14th – Group begins setting up for ops at A-3 Cardonville.
368th FG begins using A-3 as a forward rearming / refueling base.
19th – 368th Planes move to Strip #3 (A-3) at Cardonville, Normandy, France.
The 368th is the first fighter group to be stationed and become operational on the continent.
20th – Operations against Cherbourg begin.
22nd – Group supports VII Corps assault on Cherbourg.
24th – Group dive bombs Mont Castre - La Mare es Canards Strong Point and scores 18 direct hits in the target area. Yank Magazine
writes about groups mission and help with infantry drive.
29th – Dive bombed fort in Cherbourg Harbor which surrendered immediatley after attack.
3rd- Push south from Cherbourg begins. 368th continues armed recon missions and attacks strong points.6th– 368th with other
groups attack elements of 2nd SS Panzer Division spoiling planned counter attacks.
15th – Rail Bridge at Mastes-Gassicourt destroyed.
18th – Operation Goodwood – support breakout at Caen.
25th – Operation Cobra - support breakout at St. Lo.
26th – Group commences armored column cover for 2nd & 3rd Armored Division.
Flights of four P-47’s sweep areas in front of advancing armor columns.
368th leads four groups from the IX Tac sending out 25 of the 72 dispatched missions this day.
26th – 27th – In these two days the group destroyed 107 tanks and 155 mechanized transports.
26th – 31st – The “Air-Tank Team” is developed and refined.
Like July August continues to be a very busy and fast paced month. Lines were moving rapidly.
1st – Group continues support of the 3rd Armors drive – Weather was very poor and hindered missions, group was able to claim 5
tanks destroyed and 3 damaged.
2nd – Poor weather delays mission take off until 1400. Elements of 3rd Armored Division code named “Poodle” was held up by AT
guns in buildings northwest of Mortain. The 368th responds to the call for help and scored direct hits allowing armor column to
continue drive forward.
4th – Lt. Col Henry Quimby, 395th FS Commander belly lands his damaged jug in a field near Caen.
5th – Poor weather continued but the 395th FS managed to destroy or damage several armored vehicles. Word arrives that Lt. Col
Quimby was found by friendly troops and taken to an allied hospital with a broken arm and a concussion, Capt. Montag is appointed
acting commander 395th FS.
6th - Poor weather allows only one mission.
7th – Weather clears around noon and the 368th responds to calls by the 1st & 3rd Infantry to help repel a German counterattack .
396th flight of 8 planes was bounced by 35 Me-109’s, Capt. Joe McLachlan on his 75th mission destroys one and Lt. Al Benton
strikes the tail of an Me-109 with his prop while attacking. The German planes crashes and Benton makes it back to base with his
8th – The 395th FS is directed to targets by one of their own, “Noodles” Nolen had left 2 days earlier to ride shotgun with the 3rd
Armored Division lead tanks.
9th – Armored column cover continues, Lt Kik has a field day and destroys 4 trucks, a jeep, & an oil truck.
10th – Capt. Richard Leary was seriously injured while riding with the 3rd Armor by a German 88mm shell, Leary was hospitalized in
England for 2 months before he was able to return to the group.
11th – The move was underway to encircle the German 7th Army near Argentan, the 368th FG supports the armor columns on the
12th – Group destroys two AT guns being towed by ambulances near town of Ger. Group bombs town of Ger at request of
advancing ground troops.
11th to 14th – Armored column cover continues, in the last few days the group destroys or damages 88 tanks, 392 motorized
transports, and 3 supply dumps. Group destroys 3 fuel dumps, 5 buildings, 10 gun positions, and 1 German HQ. Group attacks 6
German concentrations in wooded areas, and bombed 2 towns and 3 road junctions.
14th – None of this was without loss –
Cpt Thomas Montag, 395th FS & Lt Clarence “Big Olie” Olson, 396th FS are KIA.
16th & 17th - Falaise Pocket.
16th - Group destroys 16 tanks, damages 5 & destroys 53 other armored and motorized vehicles.
17th – Group destroys another 24 tanks, damages 6 more, destroys 37 trucks and damages 44 more.
20th– 395th FS hits a dock, ferry, & oil installation on the Lower Seine River, Lt Kik sinks 2 barges.
22nd – Group drops surrender leaflets as the Falaise Pocket is flattened.
24th – 28th– Great weather allows the group to fly dawn to dusk in support of the 3rd Armor, 368th claims 426 armored and
motorized vehicles destroyed and 125 others damaged in four days. In addition the group destroyed several artillery pieces, 2
bridges, and flak positions.
25th – 368th delivers a final blow at Oissel, a partly repaired emergency rail bridge over the Seine River was being used for
vehicular traffic at time of attack. This trapped the retreating German Army.
Group destroys or damages 252 vehicles including many tanks.
27th – Group moves to Chartres, France (A-40).
28th – German routing continues, 396th gets 130 motorized transports on one mission!
29th – 30th – lousy weather keeps aircraft on ground.
1st – passes to Paris begin. Group dispatches 83 planes to provide armored column cover for the 3rd Armored Division. Group
destroys 100 motor transports and 10 tanks.
3rd – While supporting 3rd Armored Division drive, group destroys 292 German vehicles in the vicinity of Mons & Maubeuge,
Belgium. For this day the 368th FG was later awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation, Designated the Presidential Unit Citation on
4th - 397th FS strafed marshaling yards at Louvain, Belgium.
6th – Armed Recce missions in Nancy area.
8th – Group attacks fortified position around Brest.
9th – Group supports 3rd Armor Division drive near Liege, Belgium towards Aachen, Germany destroying 111 trucks, 20 tanks, 3
locomotives, & 6 rail cars. 395th pilots Kik & Wayland on the attack knock out 19 vehicles.
10th – Group moves to Laon, France (A-69).
11th – 397th FS is attacked by 40 BF-109’s over Eupen, 397th claims 6. Tote Talbott attacks 20 Bf-109’s preparing to attack his
fellow pilots, shoots down 2 before he is shot down by 4 attacking planes, Talbott is later awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
12th - 368th Attacks German positions along the Siegfried Line, bombing tank traps, dragons’ teeth, observations posts, & flak guns
south of Aachen.
13th – several planes leave for Burtonwood, England to have rocket tubes installed.
15th – 395th attacks positions around Maastricht & Aachen, Lt Gamble’s flight destroys 5 tanks. Other claims were 5 locomotives,
45 freight cars, & a 4 story factory.
16th – Escort B-26’s to bomb area around Metz, France.
17th – Group supports 4th Infantry & 5th Armored Divisions in Cologne-Koblenz-Siegen area.
18th – 395th FS officially adopt the name “Panzer Dusters”, Sgt Robert Schink designed the logo. Passes to Reims begin,
Champagne was abundant.
20th – Dive bombed targets in the Cologne-Koblenz area
21st – Flying support for VII Corp in the Cologne-Koblenz are concentrating on railway traffic and concrete strong points.
22nd – Group assigned rail cut missions, 7 lines cut. Later group flies a fighter sweep over Germany.
24th – Cold, windy, & rainy.
26th – Group flying in support of troop near Aachen, later missions included bombing an airbase near Bonn and dropping surrender
26th – Group had prepared to move to Le Culot, Belgium with the 365th FG, move was cancelled by Col Meyers due to British
Fighter Unit still occupying base,
28th – 2 group strength armed recces to Koln area.
29th – 2 group strength dive bombing missions to Roetgen in support of VII Corps.
30th – Only mission was a 2 plane “weather recce” – results: weather was lousy.
2nd – Group moves to Chievres, Belgium (A-84).
3rd – Armed Recce to Dusseldorf supporting 3rd Armor.
4th – Rail cuts east of the Ruhr.
6th – 2 group strength fighter sweeps over Duren-Dusseldorf, 1st mission uneventful, 2nd mission 35 planes jump 50+German
fighters scoring the 22 destroyed, 9 probable, 4 damaged near Breitscheid Aerodrome near Aachen.
7th – Dive bombed targets for VII Corps marked by smoke Southeast of Aachen.
Commendation by VII Corps for support work.
8th – 10th Armed recce’s and dive bombing missions in support of VII Corps.
10th – Passes to Brussells begin.
11th – Bombing missions to Aachen, dive bombed road junctions & key buildings.
12th – German armor gathering for a counter attack on the 1st ID near Aachen attacked.
German strong points also bombed in Aachen area. Surrender leaflets dropped.
13th – Continued support of troops advancing in Aachen.
14th - V Corps receiving heavy artillery fire from Udenbreth. Group attacks town of Udenbreth on request of V Corps during drive
south of Huertgen Forrest. Intel reports nearly every building damaged or destroyed in the town.
15th – Attacked targets in support of 28th Infantry Div. southeast of Aachen.
16th – Group grounded due to heavy rain. News reports that Field Marshall Irwin Rommel had died of “injuries received in
Normandy from air attack”
17th – 18th – Continued rain keeps the group grounded for two more days.
19th – Group took off to attack rail yards in Hamm, returns due to bad weather.
20th – Group flies 6 missions in support of 9th Infantry Div of VII Corps.
21st – Armed recce’s to Heinsberg, Dusseldorf, Hitdorf, and Aachen.
22nd – 27th – Group ground for weather.
28th – Group back in the air dive bombing bridges and cutting rails.
29th – Group attacks targets in the Duren-Cologne area.
30th – 31st- Grounded again for weather, again.
1st – Col. Meyers is transferred to the IX TAC, Lt. Col Perego takes command of the 368th FG.
3rd – Group attack on fuel dump near Duren with good hits observed.
4th – 5 squadron missions supporting troops near the towns of Schmidt & Harscheidt.
5th – 2 group missions, 1st mission 71 planes sent to cut rail lines and rail bridges of the “Green System”, next mission 36 planes
attacked targets in the town of Hoff.
6th – 2 group missions attacking more rail lines of the” Green System”
7th – Group attacks supply and ammo dumps in area near Bruck.
8th – 1st snow of the year, group attacks marshalling yards at Nettersheim & Mechernich.
9th – 10th – Weather kept the group grounded.
11th – Primary target was overcast, group attacks targets of opportunity dropping bombs on railroad tracks near Euskirchen.
12th – 15th – Bad Weather keeps group on the ground.
16th – Operation Queen begins. 395th able to send out 16 planes despite terrible weather.
17th – More terrible weather.
18th – Six missions flown in support of 1st Infantry Division.
19th – Each Squadron flew 2 mission each in support of 1st Infantry drive. 395th FS downs 4 FW-190’s.
20th – Grounded again for lousy weather.
21st – Weather still lousy but 397th FS managed to get in one mission to Binsfeld.
23rd – Thanksgiving Day – No mission flown due to weather.
25th – Six missions flown in support of the 1st Infantry Division.
26th – More armed recce’s and dive bombing of smoke marked targets along the front.
27th – 28th – Continued support of the 1st Infantry Division.
29th – Escorted medium bombers to various targets.
30th – Back to supporting the 1st Infantry Division dive bombing and strafing targets.
1st- Attack road and rail targets in support of 1st Infantry Division.
2nd – Attack strong point on hill southwest of Duren prior to infantry assault. Other missions struck supply routes and a fuel dump
south of Duren.
3rd – Working with ground controllers group attacks targets marked by 1st Infantry Division.
4th – 396th & 397th FS flew 2 missions in support of the now familiar 1st Infantry, the 395th FS flew 2 armed recce missions
attacking rail traffic.
5th – 6 missions in support of 1st ID’s drive towards Duren, 395th FS hits bridge north of Echtz.
6th – Each squadron flew a radio vectored blind bombing missions from 10,000’
7th – Fog kept the group grounded.
8th – 397th FS flies only mission, bombing mission to Zulpich, then fighter sweep.
9th – Heavy rain mixed with snow ground the group.
10th – 11th – Group supports 3rd Armor and the 9th Infantry Divisions.
12th – Blind bombing mission to Euskirchen, bombing from 15,000’
13th – More high altitude bombing, from 10,000’ & 15,000’
14th – Missions supporting the 8th & 78th Infantry Divisions, 3 395th FS planes dropped leaflets.
15th – More support missions for the 8th & 78th Infantry dropping bombs on Konzen and east of Julich.
16th - German Ardennes Offensive begins, later known as the Battle of the Bulge, 25 German Divisions attack along a 60 mile front.
The extent of the offensive is not realized for a few days.
17th – Group dispatches 52 planes in support of the 106th Infantry and armed recces not knowing what the “big picture” really was.
The Germans had sent out the Luftwaffe in force to keep the Jabos at bay. The 368th claims 11 enemy aircraft destroyed this day,
Capt. William Kerr downs 4 & damages another, later Capt Kerr was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. On the last mission
of the day 16 planes of the 397th FS gets a call for urgent support of troops holding St. Vith. They find a strong enemy column about
a mile from St. Vith with numerous tanks and trucks. The 397th attacked decimating the advancing column and preventing the
capture of St. Vith. Major Dick Leary made eight solo strafing passes under heavy AA fire destroying several armored vehicles and
was awarded the Silver Star.
18th – Despite lousy weather the squadrons were dispatched on urgent missions to help stop the
German advance near Stavelot, 368th flies 7 “volunteer only” missions destroying 32 armored
vehicles and 56 trucks, with many others damaged. The 396th FS led by Maj Dennis Crisp was commended for destroying 14 tanks
and damaging 16 others at Stavelot. These tanks belonged to the Panzer Kampfgruppe Peiper slowing the advance of the German
19th – Terrible fog and rain ground the planes. IX TAC evacuates Verviers if the face of advancing German troops.
20th – 22nd – Continued fog and rain keeps the group grounded.
23rd – 368th Fighter Group transferred to XIX TAC to support Gen. Patton and the 3rd Army.
Germans sent out the Luftwaffe in force as weather clears, record day for the Group, 29 German aircraft shot down, 5 probable, and
4 damaged. Lt. William Garry downs 4 and damages another, adding to his previous victory was now an ace. Lt. Garry destroyed
one FW-190 by ramming the plane ripping the Germans wing apart with his bomb shackles.
24th – Armed Recce’s in the Ardennes with good results.
25th – Christmas Day - 397th FS bombs Birgel, 395th & 396th FS attack troops and vehicles around St. Vith.
26th – Group is grounded due to bad weather, the 4th Armored Division links with elements of 101st Airborne south of Bastogne.
27th – Group moves to Juvincourt, France and continues to support drive to besieged Bastogne.
28th – Bad weather again keeps the group on the ground.
29th – Armed recce’s to St. Vith & Wiltz.
30th – Armed Recce’s to Trier-Cochem-Koblenz areas.
31st – Back to Trier-Cochem-Koblenz with more recce missions. Group prepares to for another move, this time to Metz, France.
1st – Advance echelon arrived at Strip Y-34, Metz, France early on New Years Day. Germans launch “Operation Bodenplatte” an all
out air offensive against allied airfields. 30+ German fighters came in on the deck and attacked Metz. Several 395th FS aircraft are
destroyed or seriously damaged along with 20+ P-47’s belonging to the 365th FG.
2nd – Armed recce’s to Trier, Cochem, & Sinzig areas. Group downs another 5 enemy aircraft.
3rd – 4th - Bad weather grounds the group.
5th – After armed recce’s the group lands at Metz.
6th – Lousy weather
7th - Non-operational day because of the weather. It was marked chiefly by the worst accident the group
would see during their 29-month operational tour. A German mine exploded in the 395th FS area. T/Sgt.
Joseph Michel and T/Sgt. Paul F. Tyler, both of the 45th Ordinance Bomb Disposal Squadron, were killed instantly, flying fragments
injured several 395th FS men who were on duty in the area at the time. Cpl. Harold D. Farley lost an eye, and S/Sgt. William
Demchuk was seriously injured by pieces of shrapnel which entered his thigh and abdomen. Lesser shrapnel injuries were suffered
by 1st Lt. Ralph C. Huebert, Jr., who was hit in the shoulder, and Sgt's Joseph J. Hanson and Charles H. Richards, who were both
struck in the head by mine fragments."
8th – 9th - Heavy snow fall – no flying.
10th – Weather still bad but group managed some armed recce’s.
11th – 12th – Weather ground the group again.
13th – Armed recce’s to Bitburg, Saarbrucken, & Cochem.
14th – Dark day for 397th FS and 368th FG, 6 pilots reported MIA this day when 12 planes of the 397th FS were bounced by 60
15th – After turning for home due to fumes in his cockpit 395th FS pilot Capt. Caldwell decided to drop his bombs on a bridge over
the Moselle River NE of Trier. He scored direct hits and dropped the center span. His impromptu bombing of the bridge made the
Jan 21st edition of Stars & Stripes.
16th – Armed recce’s to Trier, Homburg, & Kaiserslautern.
17th – 18th – Group is grounded due to bad weather. Bastogne is officially considered secure – Germans begin retreating from area.
19th – Group supports the 4th ID with armed recce’s of St. Vith.
20th – 21st – Snow keeps the group grounded once again.
22nd – German vehicles clobbered while attempting to retreat from the Ardennes. 415 motorized vehicles destroyed with 177
damaged. 368th is again commended.
23rd – 24th Supporting the 4th ID the group destroys 102 motor transports, 6 tanks and several AA guns.
26th – Continued armed recce’s in support of the 4th ID advance.
27th – 28th – No missions flown due to poor weather.
29th – Armed recce’s over a wide area as far away as Frankfurt.
30th – 31st – Grounded again with poor weather.
1st – No missions flown due to poor weather.
2nd – Armed recce’s to Wittlich, Koblenz, & Frankfurt areas attacking marshalling yards.
3rd – 5th – grounded again with lousy weather.
6th – Finally back in the air, 33 planes attack the Giebelstadt Airfield with frag bombs.
7th – Group grounded due to weather yet again.
8th – Armed recce’s along the XII Corps front.
9th – More armed recce’s.
10th – 395th FS hits and destroys the Bullay Rail Bridge between Trier and Koblenz. The massive bridge had been a key target
attacked by bombers and fighter in the past without good result.
11th – Group attacks more bridges with good results.
12th – Grounded due to weather.
13th – Escort missions for C-47’s dropping supplies. Air drops were being used due to the destruction of roads and bridges.
14th – Group dispatched on several bombing missions along the front along with more escort missions for the C-47’s.
15th – Group attacks targets for XX Corps.
16th – Group attacks targets for VIII Corps. Group also flies “interference” missions into the Ruhr area attacking flak positions ahead
of medium bombers.
17th –18th - rain and fog keep the group grounded.
19th – Group flies support missions for the XII and VIII Corps.
20th – Each squadron dispatches 16 planes in support of VII Corps.
21st – A busy day with 28 missions totaling 140 sorties flown in support of the XII Corps & 5th ID and units of the VII Corps helping
complete 3rd Army’s breakthrough of the West Wall.
22nd – Group escorts medium bombers attacking targets in Western Germany. Participated in Operation Clarion, a theater wide air
assault on rail and water transportation.
23rd – Targets attacked near Mannheim. Continued support of advancing ground troops. Group flies 28 missions in Pruen-Bitburg
Pocket with excellent results:56 tanks destroyed with 54 tanks damaged, 58 Armored vehicles destroyed with 47 damaged,262
motorized transports destroyed with 69 damaged, 30 buildings destroyed and 9 damaged,7 gun emplacements destroyed and 5
damaged, and 6 locomotives destroyed or damaged.368th P-47’s are attacked by 15 FW-190D’s and 5 BF-109G’s with claims of 3
destroyed, 1 damaged,1 probable with the loss of one plane.
24th – 395th FS attacks and severely damages a rail bridge at Salmrohr.
25th – Group attacks targets in support of XII Corps. 397th FS finishes off the Salmrohr rail bridge. 45 tanks, 243 motorized
transports, and 148 freight cars were the score for this date.
26th – 27th – Bad weather grounds the group.
28th – Group finishes the month by attacking targets marked by VIII Corps.
March was an extremely busy month, each squadron normally flew 3 mission per day, taking off at 0500 and returning from the last
mission at 1900. A breakdown by day would take pages of writing.
Here are some highlights:
1st – 395th FS Dive-bombs a fuel dump near Frankfurt. 396th FS flew support missions for VII Corps and smashes an enemy armored
column preparing to counter attack at Sefferwich. 397th FS flew support missions for VIII Corps.
2nd – Group flew its 1000th combat mission since beginning combat operations in ETO.
3rd – Three commendations from General Patton for support of his 3rd Army drive.
4th – 6th – Continued support of ground troops with numerous missions across the front
7th – 8th – group ground due to poor weather.
9th – Column cover for the 4th Armored Division despite lousy weather.
11th – 12th - Grounded due to weather, again.
14th – Anniversary of one year of combat operations in ETO, 10 German planes shot down!
18th – 12 missions with 128 sorties - Congratulations from General Weyland for a good days work including 305 motorized
22nd – 9 mission for 122 sorties, including rail cuts.
24th – Record 23 missions and 184 sortie, the most flown by a fighter group in one day.
This was done while supporting the 3rd Army crossing of the Rhine.
27 th – In support of ground troops crossing the Rhine 368th destroys 1 tank, 3 locomotives, 30 rail cars, 2 gun positions and211
motorized transports with another 45 motorized transports damaged.
Group ends March 1945 flying 2,362 Sorties, dropping 676 tons of bombs, and firing 778,700 rounds of .50 caliber supporting
General Patton’s drive
5th – Longest trip airborne on a mission for the group, 397th FS, 5 hours 8 minutes.
15th – Group moves to Frankfurt-Rhein-Main Airfield (Y73).
16th – Another record for the group, 57 enemy aircraft destroyed or damaged on the ground.
17th – Yet another record, 91 Locomotives destroyed or damaged.
1st – No missions flown, advance echelon leaves for Station R-42 at Buchschwabach near Nuremburg.
2nd – Air patrols in Straubing area. Radio announces the suicide death of Adolph Hitler.
3rd – Armed Recces in Eastern Austria and Tabor-Pilsen area of Czechoslovakia.
4th – Armed Recces south of Salzburg, Austria.
5th –Ground due to poor weather.
6th – Unofficial news that the German Army had surrendered.
7th – Uneventful fighter sweep near Passau-Cham.
8th – Official news that Germany had surrendered.
9th – Air Patrol in the Pilsen-Ling-Flatouy area with orders not to fire.
13th – Group completes move to Nuremburg and begins to settle in to “peace time” operations.
1st – Group personnel are among 40,000 troops that enjoy a show with Bob Hope at the former Sportsplatz in Nuremburg.
14th – Group moves to what will be it’s last base, Straubing AB, Germany.
Aircraft in the 368th FG inventory brought to Straubing AB included not only the P-47 but a C-47, L-4, L-5, AT-16, UC-61, UC-78, BU-
181, AT-6, & a B-26 Medium Bomber the group had acquired in June 1944 at A-3.
16th – President Truman announces that the Japs had capitulated in unconditional surrender.
20th – Most of the original cadre Officer & Enlisted of the 368th FG receive word they are going home.
Lt. Col John Locke takes over as Commanding Officer with Maj John Baer remaining as Deputy CO and Executive Officer. Most of
November is spent doing routine duties, VII Tac orders new colors painted to aircraft, a red/yellow/red stripes painted around rear
20th - The 368th Fighter Group is officially deactivated, orders were cut transferring Lineage & Honors of the 368th FG to the newly
activated 136th Fighter Interceptor Group of the Texas Air National Guard. The 136th is still an active unit of the TXANG.
Sources of information for this time line include:
368th Fighter Group Association.
Department of the Army and Air Force documents.
German Air Force documents and official records.
Second to None, The History of the 368th Fighter Group, Dr. Timothy Grace.
368th Fighter Group personnel interviews, papers, and official records.
Overlord; A History of General Quesada’s Tactical Air Force, Thomas Alexander Hughes.
The 9th Air Force in World War II, Kenn C. Rust.
Air Power for Patton’s Army, David N. Spires.
The Brereton Diaries, LTG Lewis H. Brereton.