324th Fighter Group
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (November 2012)|
|324th Fighter Group|
324th Fighter Group Insignia
|Branch||United States Army Air Forces|
|Part of||Twelfth Air Force|
|Motto||Audeo (Dare, Act Boldly, Go With Courage)|
The 324th Fighter Group is an inactive United States Army Air Forces unit. Its last assignment was with XII Air Support Command, stationed at Fliegerhorst Stuttgart-Echterdingen (R-50), Germany. It was inactivated on 7 November 1945. The group motto "AUDEO" is Latin for "I DARE".
During World War II, the group served in combat with Twelfth and Ninth Air Force, primarily in the Mediterranean, African, and The Middle East Theatres. It was a highly decorated organization, and the French Croix de Guerre with Palm for supporting French forces during the campaigns for Italy and France, 1944–1945.
The unit was constituted as the 324th Fighter Group on 24 June 1942 and activated on 6 July 1942. It moved to the Middle East between October and December of 1942 for operations with Ninth Air Force and trained for several weeks with P-40 aircraft. While headquarters remained in Egypt, the squadrons of the group began operating with other organizations against the enemy in Tunisia. Reunited in June 1943, the 324th group engaged primarily in escort and patrol missions between Tunisia and Sicily until July 1943. It received a Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for action against the enemy from March 1943 to the invasion of Sicily.
The unit trained from July to October of 1943 for operations with the Twelfth Air Force. It resumed combat on 30 October 1943 and directed most of its attacks against roads, bridges, motor transports, supply areas, rolling stock, gun positions, troop concentrations, and rail facilities in Italy until August 1944. During the assault on Anzio in January 1944, it patrolled the beaches and protected convoys. It aided the Allied offensive in Italy during May of 1944, receiving another DUC during the Battle of Monte Cassino for action from 12 to 14 May when the group bombed an enemy position on Monastery Hill, attacked troops massing on the hill for counterattack, and hit a nearby stronghold to force the surrender of an enemy garrison.
The 324th continued to give close support to ground forces until the fall of Rome in June 1944. Aircraft were converted to P-47's in July and supported the assault on southern France in August by dive-bombing gun position, bridges, and radar facilities, and by patrolling the combat zone. The unit attacked such targets as motor transports, rolling stock, rail lines, troops, bridges, gun emplacements, and supply depots after the invasion, giving tactical support to Allied forces advancing through France. The unit aided the reduction of the Colmar bridgehead in January and February of 1945, and supported Seventh Army's drive through the Siegfried defenses in March. It received the French Croix de Guerre with Palm for supporting French forces during the campaigns for Italy and France in 1944 and 1945.
The 324th Fighter Group returned to the United States between October and November of 1945 and was inactivated in November, 1945.
- Constituted as: 324th Fighter Group on 24 June 1942
- Activated on 6 July 1942
- Inactivated on 7 November 1945
- I Fighter Command, 6 July 1942
- Attached to: Philadelphia Fighter Wing, 6 July – 8 October 1942
- Ninth Air Force, December 1942
- Attached to: Royal Air Force Middle East Command, December 1942-25 October 1943
- Attached to:XII Air Support Command, 8 May – 20 October 1945
- 314th Fighter Squadron: 6 July 1942 – 7 November 1945
- 315th Fighter Squadron: 6 July 1942 – 7 November 1945
- 316th Fighter Squadron: 6 July 1942 – 7 November 1945
- Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
- Johnson, David C. (1988), U.S. Army Air Forces Continental Airfields (ETO), D-Day to V-E Day; Research Division, USAF Historical Research Center, Maxwell AFB, Alabama.