305th Air Division

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
305th Air Division
Continental Air Command.png
31fg-p51d.jpg
Active 1943–1945; 1947–1949
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Role Command of bombardment units
Part of Continental Air Command
Motto(s) Aquilia Non Capit Muscas Latin The Eagle Does Not Hunt Flies
Engagements Mediterranean Theater of Operations
Commanders
Lt Col Earl J. Nesbitt 2 January 1944
Lt Col Julian M. Bleyer 14 January 1944 – April 1944
Col William R. Morgan 13 June – 9 September 1945[note 1]
Insignia
Unofficial 305th Bombardment Wing emblem[1] 305bw-insignia.jpg

The 305th Air Division is an inactive United States Air Force organization. Its last assignment was with Continental Air Command, assigned to Fourth Air Force at McChord Air Force Base, Washington, where it was inactivated on 27 June 1949.

The division was first activated in December 1943 as the 305th Bombardment Wing, although it was used to man other organizations and had no combat units assigned until a month after VE Day when it absorbed the assets of a provisional fighter wing, and the units of another fighter wing, but no bombardment units. When the surrender of Japan occurred, the unit no longer anticipated a transfer to the Pacific and was inactivated in September 1945. It was activated in the reserves in 1947.

History[edit]

World War II[edit]

The division was first activated at Foggia, Italy in late December 1943 as the 305th Bombardment Wing, but does not appear to have been manned until early January.[note 2] The wing had no combat components assigned until after VE Day in May 1945, and the wing commanding officer was a Lieutenant Colonel.[2] Instead, its personnel was used to man Fifteenth Air Force headquarters, and a provisional fighter wing which was formed in the fall of 1944.[3]

305th Fighter Wing (Provisional)[edit]

Unlike most combat air forces during World War II, Fifteenth Air Force was not assigned a fighter command. Instead, all its fighter groups were assigned to its bombardment wings until February 1944, when they were transferred to the 306th Bombardment Wing, which became the 306th Fighter Wing in May.[4][note 3] On 3 September 1944, Fifteenth formed XV Fighter Command (Provisional) and attached the 306th Wing to it. At the same time, it also organized the 305th Fighter Wing (Provisional) at Salsola Airfield[5] and attached the three groups of the 306th Wing that were flying Lockheed P-38 Lightnings (the 1st, 14th and 82d Fighter Groups) to the provisional wing. At the time, the Lightnings were the only fighter aircraft in Fifteenth Air Force that could escort its heavy bombers on strategic bombing missions until the 306th Wing's remaining groups upgraded to newer North American P-51 Mustangs.[6] The 306th Wing retained control of the groups flying the Mustang.[7][note 4]

The wing initially focused on strategic missions, such as escorting bombers.[8] After March 1945, the wing moved to Lesina Airfield[9] and its groups focused on interdiction missions against German forces in Italy, Southern Germany, Austria and Yugoslavia.[10]

On 12 June 1945, the provisional wing moved from Lesina to Torremaggiore Airfield, where the 305th Bombardment Wing was already located. It was disbanded upon arrival and its personnel assigned to the bombardment wing.[11]

Assignment of fighter groups[edit]

In addition to absorbing the personnel and headquarters of the provisional wing, the Mustang groups of the 306th Fighter Wing were also assigned to the 305th in June 1945, and the wing instituted an extensive training program in anticipation that its groups would be transferred to the Pacific to participate in the war against Japan. The 305th emphasized instrument flying and navigation; and formation, high altitude, and transition flying. One of the wing's P-51 groups also conducted experimental work in dive bombing. Pilots practiced in the Link Trainer and attended classes in engineering, air discipline, intelligence, personal equipment, air sea rescue, chemical warfare and communications procedures. However, with the surrender of Japan in August the wing began to transfer its groups to the United States at the end of August and was inactivated in Italy in September.[2]

Air Force reserve[edit]

The wing was reactivated as a reserve unit under Air Defense Command (ADC) on 12 July 1947 at McChord Field, Washington. It was assigned the 445th and 456th Bombardment Groups. which were activated the same day at McChord[12] In October, the 454th Bombardment Group was activated at McChord and assigned to the wing.[13] The three groups were all designated as very heavy units, and nominally were Boeing B-29 Superfortress units. However, there is no indication that the groups were equipped with tactical aircraft.[14] Regular Air Force support for reserve training at McChord was provided by the 2345th Air Force Reserve Training Center.[15]

In 1948, Continental Air Command assumed responsibility from ADC for managing Air National Guard and reserve units.[16] When the regular Air Force implemented the wing base organization system, which placed operational and support units on a base under a single wing that same year, the 305th Wing, along with other reserve wings with more than one combat group assigned, was redesignated as an air division.[2]

The 305th participated in routine reserve training and supervised the training of its three assigned groups until all were inactivated, in part due to President Truman’s 1949 defense budget, which required reductions in the number of units in the Air Force,[17] Most of their equipment and personnel were used to form the 302d Troop Carrier Wing, which was simultaneously activated at McChord.[2][18]

Lineage[edit]

  • Established as the 305th Bombardment Wing (Heavy) on 7 December 1943
Activated on 29 December 1943
Redesignated 305th Bombardment Wing, Heavy c. 4 May 1945
Inactivated on 9 September 1945
  • Redesignated 305th Bombardment Wing, Very Heavy on 13 May 1947
Activated in the Reserve on 12 July 1947
Redesignated 305th Air Division, Bombardment on 16 April 1948
Inactivated on 27 June 1949[2]

Assignments[edit]

  • Fifteenth Air Force, 29 December 1943 – 9 September 1945
  • Fourth Air Force, 12 July 1947 – 27 June 1949[2]

Stations[edit]

  • Foggia, Italy, 29 December 1943
  • Spinazzola Airfield, Italy, 19 January 1944
  • Bari, Italy, 6 March 1944
  • Torremaggiore Airfield, Italy, c. December 1944-9 September 1945
  • McChord Field (later McChord Air Force Base), Washington, 12 July 1947 – 29 June 1949[2]

Components[edit]

Fighter Groups (1945)
Lesina Airfield, Italy[19]
Triolo Airfield, Italy to September 1945, Lesina Airfield, Italy [20]
Mondolfo Airfield, Italy to 15 July 1945, Triolo Airfield, Italy to August 1945[21]
Piagiolino Airfield, Italy to 8 July 1945, Lesina Airfield, Italy to 10 August 1945[22]
Vincenzo Airfield, Italy to x. 30 August 1945, Lesina Airfield, Italy[23]
Mondolfo Airfield, Italy to July 1945, Vincenzo Airfield, Italy[24]
Cattolica Airfield, Italy to c. 18 July 1945, Lucera Airfield, Italy[25][note 5]
Bombardment Groups (1947–1948)
  • 445th Bombardment Group: 12 July 1947 – 27 June 1949
  • 454th Bombardment Group: 17 October 1947 – 27 June 1949
  • 456th Bombardment Group: 12 July 1947 – 27 June 1949[2]

Aircraft[edit]

Campaigns[edit]

Campaign Streamer Campaign Dates Notes
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Naples-Foggia 29 December 1943 – 21 January 1944 305th Bombardment Wing[2]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Rome-Arno 22 January 1944 – 9 September 1944 305th Bombardment Wing[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Commanders during the years as a reserve unit are unknown. AFHRA Factsheet, 305 Air Division
  2. ^ No commanding officer was assigned until 2 January. AFHRA Factsheet,305th Air Division.
  3. ^ Despite the healthy number of fighter groups assigned in the spring of 1944, the groups were short of fighter aircraft and most of those on hand, including the early model Mustangs, were too short ranged to perform adequate escort duty. Simpson, Vol. III, p. 570
  4. ^ Fifteenth fighter units had been flying earlier, shorter-ranged models of the Mustang, but Eighth Air Force was given priority for the delivery of new Mustanges. Simpson, Vol. III, p. 570.
  5. ^ The 31st and 52d Groups left for United States while still assigned to the wing. The remaining groups were reassigned or inactivated when the wing was inactivated.

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ See Maurer, p. 417 (no emblem approved for unit)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Factsheet 305 Air Division, Bombardment". Air Force Historical Research Agency. 5 October 2007. Archived from the original on 29 November 2012. Retrieved 28 March 2014. 
  3. ^ Simpson, Vol. II, p. 336
  4. ^ See Maurer, pp. 417–418 (assignment of 1st, 14th, 31st, 52d, 82d, 325th and 332d Fighter Groups in 1944).
  5. ^ "Abstract, History 305 Fighter Wing (Provisional) Sep 1944". Air Force History Index. Retrieved March 29, 2016. 
  6. ^ Simpson, Vol. III, p. 570
  7. ^ Combat Chronology of the United States Army Air Force, September 1944
  8. ^ See "Abstract, History 305 Fighter Wing (Provisional) April 1945". Air Force History Index. Retrieved March 29, 2016.  (switch from strategic to tactical missions).
  9. ^ "Abstract, History 305 Fighter Wing (Provisional) March 1945". Air Force History Index. Retrieved March 29, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Abstract, History 305 Fighter Wing (Provisional) Dec 1944". Air Force History Index. Retrieved March 29, 2016. 
  11. ^ "Abstract, History 305 Fighter Wing (Provisional) Jun 1945". Air Force History Index. Retrieved March 29, 2016. 
  12. ^ Maurer, pp. 319–320, 331–332
  13. ^ Maurer, p. 330
  14. ^ See AFHRA Factsheet, 305 Air Division (no aircraft listed as assigned from 1947 to 1949).
  15. ^ "Abstract, History 2345 Air Force Reserve Training Center Jul–Dec 1948". Air Force History Index. Retrieved March 31, 2016. 
  16. ^ "Abstract, Mission Project Closeup, Continental Air Command". Air Force History Index. 27 December 1961. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  17. ^ Knaack, p. 25
  18. ^ Ravenstein, pp. 147–149
  19. ^ Maurer, p. 23
  20. ^ Maurer, p. 58
  21. ^ Maurer, p. 85
  22. ^ Maurer, p. 114
  23. ^ Maurer, p. 148
  24. ^ Maurer, p. 207
  25. ^ Maurer, p. 213

Bibliography[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.