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Военная историяThe 356th Fighter Group in World War II: In Action Over Europe with the P-47 and P-51

The 356th Fighter Group in World War II: In Action Over Europe with the P-47 and P-51
The 356th Fighter Group in World War II: In Action Over Europe with the P-47 and P-51
By Kent D. Miller

Publisher: Schiffer Publishing Ltd 2003 334 Pages
ISBN: 0764317687

The 356th Fighter Group was formally constituted on December 8, 1942, pursuant to War Department Letter AG 320.2. Four days later, the 356th was officially activated at Westover Field, Massachusetts, and placed under the control of the First Air Force. Initial commander was Lt. Joseph Mor­ris, Jr., who took charge on December 28. His duration was but one day, as Capt. Harold J. Lister took command the following day.
The 356th began to take shape in early January of 1943, as the 359th, 360th, and 361st Fighter Squadrons were acti­vated on the 7th. Then on February 9, 1943, Maj. Harold J. Rau took command of the 356th and the next few weeks were spent procuring supplies, equipment, and most importantly, pilots. The initial cadre of fliers came from the 326th Fighter Group (a 1st Air Force Replacement Training Group) and by the end of February the squadrons were almost at full strength.
Beginning on March 9, Headquarters and the 359th and 360th moved to Trumbull Field, Connecticut, while the 361st flew out of New Haven Army Air Base, Connecticut. P-47B Thunderbolts were assigned to the group and both flight and ground echelons attended various schools. Topics of lectures included high altitude flying, aircraft identification, intelligence reports, first aid, and subjects relating to the various depart­ments within each squadron.
May 30 saw the group move to Mitchel Field, New York. With Headquarters at Mitchel, the squadrons rotated out of West Haven Municipal Airport and Bradley Field, Connecticut. Here, P-47D's were taken on and training consisted of transition fly­ing, gunnery and gun camera practice, aerobatics, formation, navigation, high altitude and night flying, instrument training and Link trainer time. On the 8th of June, the 361st moved once more, this time to Suffolk County Airfield, New York.

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