Please click on the links to the left for statistical categories.
(Note:  I'll be adding more detail to this page as it becomes available through research)

Aces
Aircraft
Awards
Call Signs
Campaigns
Casualties
Casualties by Squadron
Claims
Claims by Enemy Aircraft Type
Claims by Type
Claims to Fame
Combat Commanders
Group/Squadron Markings
Mottos and Nicknames
Stations
Statistical Record
Wing and Command Assignments

 

 

 

 

 


Aces

Name Air Ground Total Squadron

 

       
LtCol. John D. Landers 14.5 20 34.5* 38th
LtCol. Elwyn G. Righetti 7.5 27.5 34.5 338th & HdQts
Capt. Robert E. Welch 6 12 18 343rd
Maj. Darrell S. Cramer 7 2 9** 338th
Lt. John W. Cunnick III 2 7 9 38th
Maj. Samuel D. Gevorkian 2 7 9 338th
Maj. Edward B. Giller 3 6 9 343rd
Lt. Bernard H. Howes 6 2 8 343rd
Lt. Keith R. McGinnis 2 6 8 38th
LtCol. Joseph Myers, Jr. 4.5 3 7.5*** 38th & HdQts
Lt. Dudley M. Amoss 5.5 1.5 7 38th
Lt. Lloyd D. Boring 0.5 6.5 7 343rd
Capt. William H. Lewis 7 0 7 343rd
Lt. Howard Mahany, Jr. 0 7 7 343rd
Capt. Donald M. Cummings 6.5 0 6.5**** 38th
Capt. Carroll D. Henry 1.5 5 6.5 338th
Lt. Clifford C. Gould 1 5 6 38th
Capt. Robert L. Buttke 5.5 0 5.5 343rd
Capt. Frank E. Birtciel 0.5 5 5.5 343rd
Capt. Albert J. Ramm 0.5 5 5.5 338th
Lt. William H. Allen 5 0 5 343rd
Lt. Donald J. Best 0 5 5 38th
Capt. Hugh Bodiford 2 3 5 338th
Maj. Gerald Brown 5 0 5 38th
Capt. Merle M. Coons 5 0 5 38th
Capt. Earl R. Fryer 4 1 5 38th
Lt. Richard G. Gibbs 4 1 5 343rd
1/Lt. Russell C. Haworth 5 0 5 338th
1/Lt. Leedom K. John 0 5 5 338th
Lt. John T. Maloney 0 5 5 38th
LtCol. John L. McGinn 5 0 5***** 338th
1/Lt. Thomas D. Schank 5 0 5 338th
Col. Ben Rimerman 4.5 8 12.5****** HdQts

 

* Incl. 6 air victories with the 49th FG (PTO) and 4.5 air + 16 ground victories with the 78th FG and 357th FG
** Incl. 0.5 air victories with the 347th FG (PTO)
*** Incl. 1.5 air victories and 3 ground victories with the 78th FG
**** Incl. 1 air victory with the 27th FG (MTO)
***** Incl. 3 air victories with the 347th FG (PTO)
****** All victories with the 353rd FG

(Source - Kent D. Miller)

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Aircraft

Lockheed P-38H Lightning 20 September 1943 - End of December 1943
Lockheed P-38J Lightning Mid-December 1943 - 21 July 1944
Lockheed P-38 'Droop Snoot' Late-March 1944 - July 1944
North American P-51D Mustang (from blocks 5) (in combat from) 19 July 1944
North American P-51K Mustang From December 1944
Lockheed P-80A-1-LO From June 1946 (Initially with 38th FS)

(Reproduced from Roger Freeman's 'The Mighty Eighth', with the author's permission )

Nb. The 55th Fighter Group flew 184 missions with Lockheed P-38 Lightning aircraft.

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Awards

Distinguished Unit Citation: ETO, 3 - 13th Sept '44 (Destruction of 106 enemy aircraft)
Distinguished Unit Citation: Germany, 19 Feb '45 (Ground strafing achievements)

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Call Signs

Station Callsign: Rockcreek (Nuthampstead)
Fusspot (Wormingford)
   
Group Callsign: Smallboy to 22 April '44 then:
Windsor (A Group)
Graphic (B Group)
Kodak (C Group)
(No Squadron Callsigns in C Group)
   
38th Squadron Callsign: Swindle to 22 April '44 then:
Hellcat (A Group)
Program (B Group)
   
338th Squadron Callsign: Warcraft to 22 April '44 then:
Acorn (A Group)
Richard (B Group)
   
343rd Squadron Callsign: Careful to 22 April '44 then:
Tudor (A Group)
Saucy (B Group)

(Source - P. Randall  - http://www.littlefriends.co.uk)

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Campaigns

American Theater
Air Offensive, Europe
Normandy
Northern France
Rhineland
Central Europe
Ardennes-Alsace,

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Casualties by Squadron

 

Missing in Action (Combat)

Killed in Action - Crashed (Non-Combat)

  P-38 P-51 P-38 P-51
         
Group HeadQts 2 1 0 0
38th FS 29 30 3 0
338th FS 32 33 0 6
343rd FS 24 34 2 2
         
  87 98 5 8

(Source - Kent D. Miller)

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Claims

 

Air

Ground

  Destroyed Probable Damaged Destroyed Damaged
Group HeadQts 9 0 4 24 8
38th FS 111 9 29 68 45
338th FS 108 6 32 71 28
343rd FS 74.5 5 18 103 68
           
Totals 302.5 23 83 266 149

(Source - Kent D. Miller)

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Claims By Enemy Aircraft Type

 

Air

Ground

  Destroyed Probable Damaged Destroyed Damaged
Me-109 146.5 16 48 34 31
FW-190 85 2 19 52 29
Me-262 16 0 7 17 3
Trainer 15 0 0 0 0
Ju-88 11 2 1 40 14
Me-410 7 1 3 21 11
Me-210 4 1 2 2 4
Ar-196 4 0 0 0 0
Me-110 2 0 2 5 5
He-111 2 0 0 34 12
Hs-129 2 0 0 1 0
FW-58 2 0 0 0 0
Do-217 1 1 1 6 1
Fi-156 1 0 0 8 2
Ju-188 1 0 0 0 0
Hs-126 1 0 0 0 0
Me-108 1 0 0 0 0
DFS-230 1 0 0 0 0
unidentified aircraft 0 0 0 27 19
Ju-52 0 0 0 6 4
He-280 0 0 0 3 0
FW-200 0 0 0 3 0
He-177 0 0 0 2 3
Si-204 0 0 0 1 5
Ju-87 0 0 0 1 4
BV-140 0 0 0 1 1
FW-189 0 0 0 1 0
Ar-234 0 0 0 1 0
Glider 0 0 0 0 1

(Source - Kent D. Miller)

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Claims By Type

  Air Ground
  Destroyed Probable Damaged Destroyed Damaged
           
P-38 102 19 49 6 6
P-51 200.5 4 34 260 143

(Source - Kent D. Miller)

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Claims To Fame

First fully operational P-38 group, in combat with the 8th Air Force, on 15 October 1943.

First 8th Air Force aircraft over Berlin - 03 March 1944.

First Group to use the P-38 Droopsnoot in combat on 10 April 1944.

Destroyed more Locomotives, by strafing, than any other Group in the 8th AAF. Destroyed over 600 Locomotives in 1945 alone.  (Approximately 970 in total).

Destroyed the most Locomotives (89) on one mission by any 8th Air Force Group, on the 20th February 1945.

Shot down the highest number of Me-262's in one day, by an 8th Air Force Group, when on the 25th February 1945, 7 jets were shot down.

Col. Righetti was the leading 8th Air Force strafing ace with 27.5 confirmed claims.

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Combat Commanders

Col. Frank B. James 15 May 1943 to 3 February 1944
LtCol. Jack S. Jenkins 6 February 1944 to 10 April 1944
Col. George T. Crowell 10 April 1944 to 22 February 1945
LtCol. Elwyn G. Righetti 22 February 1945 to 17 April 1945
Col. Ben Rimmerman 22 April 1945 to 20 May 1945

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Group/Squadron Markings and Codes

P-38H/J Lightnings, August 1943-July 1944.

These aircraft carried the standard Dark Olive Drab and Neutral Gray camouflage. Squadron code letters applied in early October 1943 were CG for the 38th Fighter Squadron, CL for the 338th and CY for the 343rd, painted white in block capitals approximately 18in high and 9in wide. These codes were located aft of the radiator housing on each fuselage boom with the individual aircraft letter on the housing. Similar markings applied to P-38Js, which replaced the H models in December 1943.  Some early 55th FG P-38's also had the individual letter on the side of the nose.

Nb. As for other Eighth Air Force fighter units based in the UK, the Air Ministry still issued squadron code letter combinations.  When this system was first introduced, the letters C and I were not used for it was thought that they were liable to be confused with G or O in the case of C and L, or T in the case of I.
By the late summer of 1943 the two-letter combinations were practically all allotted, and it was decided to make use of C and I.  This accounts for the 55th receiving CG, CL and CY.

38th Squadron Code Letters 338th Squadron Code Letters 343rd Squadron Code Letters

Geometric devices were introduced during January 1944 for improved squadron-in-Group recognition, the 38th Fighter Squadron using a triangle, the 338th a circle and the 343rd a square. These were painted on the outward-facing sides of the vertical tail surfaces in white and the size was 30in at the widest point. The yellow tail numbers were painted over in most cases, with some repainted in either black or yellow. The individual aircraft letter was painted on the inward-facing sides of the vertical tail surfaces above the horizontal stabiliser, in white and approximately 30in high. In early March 1944 some aircraft, of the 338th Fighter Squadron were reported to have had some 40in of the fuselage pod nose section painted red. This was evidently a short-lived unofficial marking, removed when VIII , Fighter Command issued an instruction on Group colours in the middle of the month. (Nb. the 55th pilots that I have questioned on this matter, have no memory of red nose sections, or red spinners, which is the other marking often associated with 338th P-38's - Russell). The 55th Fighter Group was detailed to have yellow and white checkerboard, in line with the similar markings detailed for all Groups assigned to the 66th Fighter Wing. However, there is no evidence that these markings were ever used, probably because of the work their application would entail and the impending conversion to Mustangs.

The Group had no Group markings of any kind on its P-38s. When bare metal-finish P-38Js were received in February 1944 black in place of white was used for squadron markings. In April the 8in wide white Droopsnoot decoy band was added to the noses of all the Group's Lightnings and the nosepiece forward of this band was cleaned of all paint and polished. The Droopsnoot aircraft, used by the Group also had the white band aft of the transparent nosepiece. In May a few bare metal aircraft received 'in the field' dark green camouflage on the upper surfaces of wings, tailplane and fuselage booms. `D-day stripes' obscured boom code letters and the latter were not repainted.

P-51D/K Mustangs, July 1944-July 1945.

On the Group's first P-51Ds the fins and rudders were sprayed camouflage dark green and 30in diameter squadron symbols were painted thereon in white. Squadron and individual letters were positioned as standard for P-51s, 24in high. The standard black type identity nose markings were retained. On 15 July 1944 VIII Fighter Command devised a new Group marking for the 55th Group. The spinner was striped green/yellow/green of equal widths, backed by a 12in wide cowling band of 6in green and yellow squares. While the yellow used was either Identification Yellow or the British shade, the green was a camouflage shade, Medium Green 42 or a closely matching British colour, possibly Light Green. The result was that at just a few hundred yards the green appeared as a dark shade and was easily mistaken for black. Nevertheless, the 55th continued with this medium green throughout its use of Mustangs. With the introduction of the new Group nose colours the use of geometric symbols on tails was abandoned and those aircraft already so marked had these painted out with dark green.

Later in 1944 a few P-51Ds appeared in a camouflage scheme that was more a form of decoration. The fuselage aft of the wing and empennage was painted dark green, the fuselage paintwork being swept up to the anti-glare panel and the border between the green and bare metal marked with a 5-6in red line
(Note - Frank Birtciel has confirmed that his P-51 CY-D "Miss Velma" had a yellow line, not red.  There has been some debate over this, but Frank is adamant and I trust his memory! - See below to confirm Frank does have a great memory - Russell)

 
Rare and unique photographic proof that the 343rd had red and yellow line borders to the OD paintwork.
(F. Birtciel)

White type identity bands were painted on the upper surfaces of the tailplane, and code letters were also white. This uniform is known to have been applied to at least six of the Group's aircraft in the latter part of 1944. A 343rd Fighter Squadron embellishment, featured on about a dozen P-51s, was a rearing mustang silhouette on the rudder in red and on one aircraft in black on the fin. In mid November 1944 squadron rudder colours were applied-green for the 338th Fighter Squadron (the same green as used on the nose) and yellow for the 343rd. The 38th Fighter Squadron had no rudder colour at this time but in mid March 1945 painted this area red. During December 1944 the 338th Fighter Squadron started to back the nose checkerboard of all its Mustangs with a 6in green border. A red line, 4-6in wide and similar to that bordering the camouflage on the 343rd's aircraft, was applied along the anti-glare panel on some of the squadron's aircraft and in March 1945 this feature was added to all the Group's aircraft. In its final form it ran from the nose checkerboard, skirting the anti-glare olive drab and below and round the cockpit canopy.

OTU P-51Bs were distinguished by yellow and green checkerboard rudders of 6in squares. (Nb. On certain P-51's these were painted on the horizontal when the aircraft was resting on it's tailwheel, and not adjusted for the in-flight profile.  The effect in flight was for the checkerboards on the rudder to appear to be slanting downward and forward - Russell). Other markings were as combat aircraft except that numerals were used for individual aircraft identities; these were 24in high and were often also applied to the side of the nose above the wing root leading edge. The 3rd Scouting Force aircraft were distinguished by red and bare metal checkerboard markings and a red leading edge to the fin.

(reproduced with kind permission of the author, from Roger Freeman's 'The Mighty Eighth Warpaint and Heraldry' ISBN 1 85409 373 8)

Nb. Whilst researching photographs, it would also appear that both the 38th and 338th Squadrons painted 'kill' markings on the canopy of certain P-51's, showing the aircraft 'victories', and not the pilot's.   This seems to be the most likely explanation and conclusion, as other strafing claims, such as Locomotives, were too numerous to be represented in this way and the individual pilot scores were way below those represented.  The 'kills' were painted as black swastikas, in a white circle, on a red rectangle.

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Mottos and Nicknames

Group Motto
"Pursuit to Defend"

Group Nicknames
"The 55th Fightin' Group"
"The Berlin Buzz Boys"
"The Fightin' 55th"
"The Loco Busters"
"The Ole Five and Five"

Wormingford Recreation Field
"Crowell Field"

Football Team
"Crowell's Cowboys"

38th Nickname
"Choo Choo Chewers"

338th Nickname
"Righetti's Cinder Bulls"
"Boiler Blasters"

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Stations

Location Dates Station No. Army Post Office No. Telephone No.
McChord Field, WA 22 Jul 1942-23 Aug 1943      
Camp Kilmer, NJ 28 Aug 43-13 Sept 1943   APO 4833  
Nuthampstead, England 14 Sept 1943 F-131 APO 637 Buntingford 144
Wormingford, England 16 Apr 1944 F-159 APO 637 (& 559 from Sept. '44) Colchester 3982
Kaufbeuren, Germany 22 Jul 1945

R-70

APO 177

 
Giebelstadt, Germany 29 April 1946 -20 Aug 1946

Y-90

APO 277

 

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Statistical Record

Month

Air Score Ground Score Group Losses Killed in Action - Crashed
October 1943 0-0-0 0-0 1 0
November 23-11-18 0-0 14 0
December 4-0-1 0-0 7 1
January 1944 13-4-6 0-0 13 1
February 8-1-7 0-0 5 0
March 3-2-4 0-0 8 0
April 7-0-3 1-0 11 0
May 7-0-1 6-5 9 2
June 15-1-5 0-0 16 1
July 27-1-8 0-0 8 1
August 7-0-0 6-0 17 1
September 72-2-12 31-34 12 0
October 2-0-0 0-0 5 1
November 18.5-0-2 5-8 10 0
December 26-0-5 0-1 6 1
January 1945 14-0-4 24-4 6 0
February 25-1-0 23-9 14 1
March 11-0-4 12-25 12 1
April 20-0-3 158-63 12 0
May 0-0-0 0-0 0 0
         
  302.5-23-83 266-149 186 13

(Source - Kent D. Miller)
Nb. Air score breakdown from L-R is Destroyed, Probable and Damaged.  Ground score breakdown from L-R is Destroyed and Damaged.

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Wing and Command Assignments

Assigned to VIII Fighter Command 16 September 1943
VIII Fighter Command, 66th Fighter Wing 05 October 1943
3rd Bomb Division, 66th Fighter Wing 15 September 1944
3rd Air Division, 66th Fighter Wing 01 January 1945

(Source - Kent D. Miller)

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