The 4th was activated at
on 15 January 1941 and trained under
Third Air Force
as a tactical fighter squadron. Moved to several U.S. bases before relocating to
in 1942. Equipped with the British
, was assigned to
Twelfth Air Force
North African Campaign
in late 1942. Moved across
flying ground support missions for American ground forces; taking part in the invasion of
in 1943. Participated in the liberation of
in 1943; then returning to Italy and being re-equipped with
in May 1944. Participated in Northern Italian Campaign, returning to the United States in August 1945 and inactivating.
“Can you please send a link to the USAAF's Spitfire exploits that you mention above as these are the only two I could find in the short five minute search. Plese include the numbers of EAC shot down in this time with the Spitfire AC in USAAF Servive! Can you please send links to the quotes of the statements above also?
In the book "Spitfire, the history" previously mentioned, I was able to find the quote that when equipped with the various changes required for desert use, there was little differance in preformance when compaired to the P-40? Pages 163-172, "Official reports on the Mk-V", also pages 181, 186, with pictures of the tropical variants and the performance figures from same. ( IE. 339 MPH TOP SPEED!)
I looked for American Spitfire Aces in N. Africa in Mike Spik's books but was again stymied. So some sort of refferance to your claims above would be nice?”
Here are the links showing that the 31
st and 52nd fighter groups arrived in Europe without aircraft as the P-39 and P-40 were both judged to be incapable of operating in that environment. They were equipped with Spitfire Mk-Vs and then operated in Northern Europe from early to mid 1942 escorting bombers. Then they were deployed on Operation Torch, where they constituted over 25% (by number of groups) of the USAAF fighter force for that operation. They continued to fight with the Spitfire until the end of 1943, when the Spits (by then Mk-VIIIs and IXs were replaced by P-51s. One of the links has that the 31st shot down nearly 200 enemy aircraft using the Spit out of 500 in total. It also has a list of aces, though many those would have most achieved victories in both the Spit and the Mustang.
The links also show that the 4
th Fighter Group that you mention was an ex RAF Eagle unit which transferred into the USAAF in mid-1942, taking its Spitfire Mk Vs with it. It transitioned to Thunderbolts in April 1943.
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