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368th Fighter Group

The 368thFighter Group was constituted on May 3, 1943 and activated on June 1, 1943. The group trained with P-47s and moved to England, arriving in January 1944. The group began operations with the Ninth Air Force on March 14 when the group flew a fighter sweep over the coast of France. It made strafing and bombing attacks on airfields, rail and highway bridges, trains, vehicles, flak positions, and V-weapon sites to help prepare for the invasion of France.

Lt. Col. Paul P. Douglas, Jr, 368th Fighter Group at Laon airfield (A-69), France. He scored three aerial victories while flying with the 395th Fighter Squadron, and another five with the 396th Fighter Squadron.

The group supported the landings in Normandy early in June 1944 and began operations from the Continent later the same month. The group aided in the taking of Cherbourg, participated in the air operations that prepared the way for the Allied breakthrough at Saint-Lo on July 25, and supported ground forces during their drive across France.

A row of P-47 fighter planes refuel after landing for the first time at their new base in France. The P-47 "You've Had It" was assigned to Lt. Col. John Haesler, commander of the 397th Fighter Squadron, 368th Fighter Group.
Major Richard E. Leary of the 397th Fighter Squadron, 368th Fighter Group is congratulated by Major General Elwood R. "Pete" Quesada on landing at one of the newly-won forward operating fields near the Normandy coast.

The group received a Distinguished Unit Citation for support operations in the vicinity of Mons on September 3, 1944 when the group, dispatching seven missions against the enemy on that day, not only destroyed large numbers of motor transports, horse-drawn vehicles, and troops, but also attacked enemy positions that obstructed the progress of ground forces. The group continued to support ground forces, participated in the assault against the Siegfried Line, and took part in the Battle of the Bulge (December 1944 - January 1945) by attacking rail lines and trains, marshalling yards, roads and vehicles, armored columns, and gun positions. The group operated with the Allied forces that pushed across the Rhine and into Germany. After V-E Day, the group served with the army of occupation, being assigned to United States Air Forces in Europe. The group was inactivated in Germany in August 1946.

In the center of this photo, 2nd Lt. Charles R. Earls, a P-47 pilot with the 368th Fighter Group, holds a map, as the group plans cooperative plane-tank tactics to take the Siegfried Line in France. Earls would lose his life November 19, 1944, shot down by a FW-190.
Lt. Charles R. Earls is pictured here speaking to P-47 Thunderbolt pilots via two-way radio as he rides in a tank approaching the Siegfried line.

Campaigns: Air Offensive, Europe; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe.

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