Checkertail Clan: The 325th Fighter Group In North Africa And Italy
Aero Publishers | 1969 | ISBN: 0816897506 | English | 93 pages | PDF | 57.71 MB
The Checkertail Clan! Twenty seven aces, one of them the second highest scoring ace in their theater, 534 enemy aircraft downed in aerial combat, 52 more listed as probables, and an additional 88 damaged. The 325th Fighter Group`s final mission total stood at 567. That was almost one air victory a mission, and had it been policy to count aircraft destroyed on the ground, their final victory count would have been 815 kills.
As a group the Clan earned two Distinguished Unit Citations, while as individuals the men were awarded four Distinguished Service Crosses, nine Legions of Merit, 28 Silver Stars, 67 Bronze Stars, 38 Purple Hearts and several thousand Air Medals or Oak Leaf Clusters in lieu of additional medals.
Among other accomplishments, the 325th was the first group in the North African theater to sling a thousand pound bomb under the belly of a P-40 and stagger into the air with it, despite the fact that tech manuals said it could not be done. Its experiments with fuses on belly tanks may have played a part in the development of the napalm bomb. The Group was the first allowed to carry a distinctive group marking on its aircraft during World War II, and it was one of only a few groups to fly three different types of fighter aircraft in combat. In North Africa the Group ran up a string of 59 bomber escort missions without losing, to enemy fighters, a single bomber entrusted to its care, marking the Clan as one of the most expert groups so far as escort work was concerned. Their reputation in this respect resulted in their being selected as the group to provide protection for President Roosevelt`s party enroute to a high level conference.