359th Fighter Group

At East Wretham airfield, USAAF designation Station 133 in Norfolk, England, the 359th Fighter Group was under the command of the 67th Fighter Wing of the USAAF Eighth Air Force VIII Fighter Command. Men from the 824th Air Engineering Squadron, the 648th Air Material Squadron, the 3rd Gunnery and Tow-Target Flight, and the 448th Air Service Group provided ground and combat support to the 359th Fighter Group.

During its 17 months of operation, members of the 359th Fighter Group, comprised of the 368th Fighter Squadron, the 369th Fighter Squadron, and the 370th Fighter Squadron, excelled at escort missions and at the very hazardous jobs of “killing” trains and destroying aircraft on the ground.

P-47s at East Wretham                            P-51s at East Wretham
Photos Courtesy of Richard Fogg

The 359th Fighter Group was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation as well as numerous battle ribbons.

There were 13,455 sorties flown by the pilots of the 359th. In addition to guarding the “heavies” they shot down 241 enemy aircraft, with an additional 33 probables and 69 damaged. Another 122 were destroyed on the ground plus 107 damaged. Almost 500 locomotives and 1,400 railway cars were destroyed or damaged. Other ground attacks supported troop movements and targeted infrastructure. To do all of this 1,000,000 rounds of .50 calibre ammunition was expended along with nearly 900 bombs of varying poundage.

The Fighter Group lost 121 pilots.