By Thomas McKelvey Cleaver
Dubbed the 'Eagles of Duxford', the 78th Fighter workforce (FG) was once special in being the single fighter unit within the 'Mighty 8th' to fly the P-38 Lightning, P-47 Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustang operationally. Arriving within the ecu Theatre of Operations (ETO) in November 1942, and at last devoted to strive against 5 months later, the 78th, besides the 4th and 56th FGs, 'wrote the e-book' on long-range fighter escort by means of VIII Fighter Command within the ETO. This quantity charts the group's highs and lows in the course of its years in motion from Duxford, targeting the exploits of the fifty one pilots who accomplished ace prestige with the 78th in the course of global warfare 2. those males incorporated Capt Charles London, the first actual 8th Air strength ace, and Maj Quince Brown, who was once the 78th's such a lot profitable aerial ace ahead of being murdered via the SS after he used to be shot down over Germany. by means of VE Day, the 'Eagles of Duxford' had downed 316 plane and destroyed one other 320 machines at the flooring in the course of strafing attacks...
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Additional resources for Aces of the 78th Fighter Group
A short while later Flt Off Peter Pompetti, No 4 in the last flight of 83rd FS machines, spotted an Fw 190 below him. Failing to get a response from his flight leader after calling him several times, he split-essed onto the tail of the German fighter and gave it a burst, but missed. Upon returning to base Pompetti was called before the squadron commander by his flight leader. When the latter was asked by Pompetti if his calls had indeed been heard, the flight leader responded in the affirmative.
Bounced by two Fw 190s that shot out the right side of his cockpit and instrument panel and caused splinter wounds in both hands, ankles and his right knee, 2Lt August DeGenero of the 82nd FS thought he was going to die. Having shaken off his attackers, he then got ‘damned mad’ and dove into another swarm of Fw 190s, shooting down one from 100 yards, probably destroying a second and damaging a third, before ducking into low clouds and heading for the Channel. Three vengeful German pilots followed him virtually to the French coast, DeGenero having to fly without instruments and controlling the Thunderbolt with his forearms only.
Following President Franklin D Roosevelt’s agreement with Prime Minister Winston Churchill for an Allied invasion of North Africa, units that had been sent to the Eighth Air Force in the UK were diverted to the Twelfth Air Force. On 23 September, the 1st FG, which was close to flying its first operational mission, was transferred – the 14th FG followed a week later. The 82nd FG arrived in England in November and was also reassigned to the Twelfth Air Force. The Eighth Air Force had lost its long range fighter escort groups just as they were ready to fly missions beyond the range of Spitfire support.
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