Northwest African Strategic Air Force

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The Northwest African Strategic Air Force (NASAF) was a sub-command of the Northwest African Air Forces (NAAF) which itself was a sub-command of the Mediterranean Air Command (MAC). These new Allied air force organizations were created at the Casablanca Conference in January 1943 to promote cooperation between the British Royal Air Force (RAF), the American United States Army Air Forces (USAAF), and their respective ground and naval forces in the North African and Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO). Effective February 18, 1943, the NASAF and other MAC commands existed until December 10, 1943 when MAC was disbanded and the Mediterranean Allied Air Forces (MAAF) were established. Major General Jimmy Doolittle was the commander of NASAF.[1] However, during at least one critical period of the Tunisian Campaign at the end of February, 1943, General Carl Spaatz, the commander of NAAF, placed most of the strategic bombers at the disposal of Air Marshal Sir Arthur Coningham, commander of the Northwest African Tactical Air Force.[2]

The components of NASAF at the time of the Allied invasion of Sicily (Operation Husky) on July 10, 1943 are illustrated below.[3][4][5]

Northwest African Strategic Air Force
Major General James H. Doolittle, data from[3][4][5]
5th Bomb Wing (USAAF)

Brigadier General Joseph Atkinson

47th Bomb Wing (USAAF)

Brigadier General Carlyle Ridenour

*2686th Bomb Wing(USAAF)

Brigadier General Robert M. Webster

No. 205 Group

Air Commodore John Simpson

2nd Bombardment Group (USAAF)
Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Thomas

340th Squadron, B-17 Fortress
341st Squadron, B-17 Fortress
342nd Squadron, B-17 Fortress
414th Squadron, B-17 Fortress

310th Bombardment Group (USAAF)
Colonel Anthony Hunter

379th Squadron, B-25 Mitchell
380th Squadron, B-25 Mitchell
381st Squadron, B-25 Mitchell
428th Squadron, B-25 Mitchell

17th Bombardment Group (USAAF)
Lieutenant Colonel Charles Greening

34th Squadron, B-26 Marauder
37th Squadron, B-26 Marauder
95th Squadron, B-26 Marauder
432nd Squadron, B-26 Marauder

No. 231 Wing (RAF)

No. 37 Squadron, Wellington
No. 40 Squadron, Wellington
No. 70 Squadron, Wellington

97th Bombardment Group (USAAF)
Colonel Leroy Rainey

20th Squadron, B-17 Fortress
49th Squadron, B-17 Fortress
96th Squadron, B-17 Fortress
429th Squadron, B-17 Fortress

321st Bombardment Group (USAAF)
Colonel Robert Knapp

445th Squadron, B-25 Mitchell
446th Squadron, B-25 Mitchell
447th Squadron, B-25 Mitchell
448th Squadron, B-25 Mitchell

319th Bombardment Group (USAAF)
Colonel Gordon Austin

437th Squadron, B-26 Marauder
438th Squadron, B-26 Marauder
439th Squadron, B-26 Marauder
440th Squadron, B-26 Marauder

No. 236 Wing (RAF)

No. 104 Squadron, Wellington
No. 462 Squadron, Halifax

99th Bombardment Group (USAAF)
Colonel Fay Upthegrove

346th Squadron, B-17 Fortress
347th Squadron, B-17 Fortress
348th Squadron, B-17 Fortress
416th Squadron, B-17 Fortress

82nd Fighter Group (USAAF)
Colonel John Weltman

95th Squadron, P-38 Lightning
96th Squadron, P-38 Lightning
97th Squadron, P-38 Lightning

320th Bombardment Group (USAAF)
Colonel Karl Baumeister

441st Squadron, B-26 Marauder
442nd Squadron, B-26 Marauder
443rd Squadron, B-26 Marauder
444th Squadron, B-26 Marauder

No. 330 Wing (RAF)

No. 142 Squadron, Wellington
No. 150 Squadron, Wellington

301st Bombardment Group (USAAF)
Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Gormly, Jr.

32nd Squadron, B-17 Fortress
352nd Squadron, B-17 Fortress
353rd Squadron, B-17 Fortress
419th Squadron, B-17 Fortress

325th Fighter Group (USAAF)
Lieutenant Colonel Robert Baseler

317th Squadron, P-40 Warhawk
318th Squadron, P-40 Warhawk
319th Squadron, P-40 Warhawk

No. 331 Wing (RCAF)

No. 420 Squadron, Wellington
No. 424 Squadron, Wellington
No. 425 Squadron, Wellington

1st Fighter Group (USAAF)
Major Joseph Peddie

27th Squadron, P-38 Lightning
71st Squadron, P-38 Lightning
94th Squadron, P-38 Lightning

14th Fighter Group (USAAF)
Colonel Oliver Taylor

37th Squadron, P-38 Lightning
48th Squadron, P-38 Lightning
49th Squadron, P-38 Lightning

  • The 2686th Medium Bombardment Wing (Provincial) was activated on June 6, 1943 at Sedrata, Algeria and disbanded on September 3, 1943 at Ariana, Tunisia. Although the 42nd Bombardment Wing (Medium) is sometimes used to refer to the wing during this period, the 42nd Wing was actually the successor of the 2686th Wing.[6]



  1. ^ Craven and Cate 1949, p. ?.
  2. ^ Richards and Saunders 1953, p. ?.
  3. ^ a b USAAF 1945, p. ?.
  4. ^ a b Maurer 1983, pp. 377–378, 390–393.
  5. ^ a b Howe 1991, p. ?.
  6. ^ The Reduction of Pantelleria and Adjacent Islands, 8 May-14 June 1943, by Edith C. Rogers (1947) p. 75, Air Force Historical Research Agency, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL


  • Craven, Wesley F. and James L. Cate. The Army Air Forces in World War II, Volume 2. Chicago, Illinois: Chicago University Press, 1949 (Reprinted 1983). ISBN 0-912799-03-X.
  • Howe, George F. Northwest Africa: Seizing the Initiative in the West. Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1991.
  • Maurer, Maurer. Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1983.
  • Richards, D. and H. Saunders. The Royal Air Force, 1939-1945, Volume 2. HMSO, 1953.
  • US Army AIr Force. Participation of the Ninth & Twelfth Air Forces in the Sicilian Campaign (Army Air Forces Historical Study No. 37). Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Army Air Forces Historical Office Headquarters, 1945.

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