357th Fighter Group (Groups/Squadrons 6178)
By James Roeder
Publisher: Squadron/Signal Publications 2000 64 Pages
PDF 79 MB
The 357th Fighter Group (FG) downed 595 enemy aircraft during World War II, ranking this unit third in victories among US Army Air Forces (USAAF) fighter groups in the European Theater of Operations (ETO). The 9th Air Force's 354th FG - the first P-51 Mustang unit in the ETO - led in air victories over Europe with 701. The 56th FG led 8th Air Force fighter groups with 664.5 kills, followed by the 357th's 595, the 4th FG's 550, and the 352nd FG's 504.5. The 357th FG led the 8th Air Force in the number of fighter aces scoring most or all of their victories while flying with one group with 42. The 56th FG was second with 41 aces and the 4th FG was third with 39.
The 357th was in combat for just over one year - far less time than cither the 4th or the 56th Fighter Groups - yet their pilots shot down more enemy aircraft in one day (55.5 on 14 January 1945) than any other ETO fighter unit. The 18.5 Me 262s downed by the 357th were also the largest number of these German jet fighters shot down by fighter groups in the ETO. The 106.5 enemy aircraft destroyed on the ground brought the 357th's total score to 701.5 - fourth highest in the 8th Air Force.
Unless otherwise noted, the pilots' accounts of air-to-air combat are quoted from their individual Encounter Reports filed after their missions.