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Old 9th June 2011, 01:16
Gunther Gunther is offline
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Re: 15th AAF fighter escort tactics?

Obviously I came late to this thread but the 15th is of particular interest. Any examination of the air-air records of the 7 fighter groups clearly shows that the three top-scoring groups (325, 31 and 52) benefited from flying Mustangs. They seem to have been assigned penetration and target support more than anything else and thus were best positioned to engage Axis interceptors. The P-38 groups (1, 14, 82) generally drew withdrawal support, but also remember that they performed many dive bombing missions which seldom drew enemy aircraft.

The controversial claim of the 332nd was laid to rest around 2005 by researchers at Maxwell AFB who combed the mission reports. They found 25 heavies lost to e/a when escorted by the Red Tails. Obviously, without similar data on the other groups we don't know if 25 was good, bad or indifferent. Evidently the group flew several escorts without losing a bomber before the first losses occurred, and the initial record was interpreted to stand for the entire war.
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