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365th Fighter Group

Activated on May 15, 1943 and equipped with P-47 Thunderbolts, the 386th, 387th, and 388thFighter Squadrons of the 365thFighter Group moved to England in December. Combat operations with the Ninth Air Force began in February 1944. The 365thescorted bombers and dive-bombed bridges, airdromes, rail facilities, gun positions and V-weapon sites prior to the invasion of Normandy. During the invasion the group attacked rail targets and gun emplacements in France. It moved to France late in June, and continued dive-bombing, to include targets near St. Lo to assist the American breakout. It supported the subsequent drive across France during August and September. 

A P-47 Thunderbolt of the 365th FG ready for a mission against German strong points c. 1944-45.
Mechanics pipe heat into the engine of a fighter-bomber of the 365th Fighter Group to get it started at a base in France.

In September the 365thflew patrols to support airborne operations in Holland. The Belgian government cited the group for outstanding support from the invasion of Normandy through the liberation of Belgium. During the fall of 1944 the 365thsupported the seizure of Aachen and the advance to the Rhine. It received a Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for destroying numerous enemy fighters over the Bonn-Dusseldorf area on October 21, and received a second Belgian award during the Battle of the Bulge for daring attacks on rolling stock, marshalling yards, gun positions, and industrial facilities. 

P-47s of the 386th Fighter Squadron, 365th Fighter Group undergoing maintenance in Germany, May 1945.

The 365thcovered airborne operations across the Rhine in March 1945, and supported the subsequent drive into Germany. On April 20, it earned a second DUC when attacking airfields, motor transport, and ammunition dumps in support of the Allied advance through southern Germany. The group ended combat in May and took part in the disarmament program until June. The 365thFighter Group moved to the United States in September and inactivated on September 22.

P-47D of the 387th FS, 365th FG "Hell Hawks" crash-landed in Belgium. The pilot escaped unhurt. 1944-45

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