10th Tactical Reconnaissance Group: Wikis


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10th Tactical Reconnaissance Group
Emblem of the 10th Tactical Reconnaissance Group
Active 1941–1949; 1952–1957
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force

The 10th Tactical Reconnaissance Group is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was to the 10th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, stationed at Spangdahlem Air Base, West Germany. It was inactivated on December 8, 1957.





  • Constituted as 73d Observation Group on August 21, 1941
Activated on September 1, 1941.
Redesignated: 73d Reconnaissance Group in April 1943
Redesignated: 73d Tactical Reconnaissance Group in August 1943
Redesignated: 10th Photographic Group (Reconnaissance) in December 1943
Redesignated: 10th Reconnaissance Group in June 1945*
Redesignated 10th Tactical Reconnaissance Group in June 1948
Inactivated on April 1, 1949.
  • Activated on July 10, 1952
Inactivated on December 8, 1957

* Note: Became subordinate unit of 10th Reconnaissance Wing on November 14, 1947



  • 33d Reconnaissance Squadron: May 1 – June 13, 1944
  • 34th Reconnaissance Squadron: July 11 – November 22, 1945
  • 36th (formerly 28th) Reconnaissance Squadron: July 12, 1942 – October 9, 1943
  • 37th Reconnaissance Squadron: June 27 – October 9, 1943
  • 38th Tactical Reconnaissance: July 10, 1952 – December 8, 1957
  • 39th Reconnaissance Squadron: February 28 – March 30, 1945
  • 42d Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron: July 10, 1952 – December 8, 1957
  • 91st Reconnaissance Squadron: September 1, 1941 – June 1943
  • 111th Reconnaissance Squadron: July 2 – December 15, 1945
  • 152d Observation Squadron: 1943
  • 155th (formerly 423d, later 45th) Reconnaissance Squadron: May 17, 1944 – February 18, 1945, November 24, 1945 – May 15, 1947
  • 160th Reconnaissance Squadron: November 15, 1945 – June 25, 1947
  • 162d Reconnaissance Squadron: April 22–25, 1945.


Operational History

North American P-51C-5-NT Mustang (F-6C) Serial 42-103368 of the 15th TRS at St. Dizler, France, Autumn 1944. This aircraft was flown by Captain John H. Hoefler, who used it to shoot down three enemy aircraft in June 1944. He became the 10th Group's most successful combatant with credits of 8 1/2 air victories.
Lockheed RF-80A-5-LO Shooting Star Serial 45-8330 of the 38th TRS at Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base, West Germany, 1952.
Martin RB-57A-MA Canberra 52-1472 of the 10th Reconnaissance Group, 1954
Republic RF-84F-25-RE Thunderflash 52-7294 of the 10th Reconnaissance Group, 1955
Douglas RB-66B-DL Destroyer 54-529 landing at Spangdahlem, 1956.

World War II

The 10th Tactical Reconnaissance Group's origins begin as the 73rd Observation Group, being Constituted on August 21, 1941. The 73d was activated on September 1, 1941 and assigned to First Air Force. Engaged in training activities, participating in the Tennessee Maneuvers at Camp Campbell, Kentucky in 1943. Underwent several redesignations as Reconnaissance group, then Tactical Reconnaissance Group. Equipped variously with A-20 Havocs; P-40 Warhawks; P-51 Mustangs as well as L-1 and L-4 light observation aircraft. After the end of the maneuvers, conducted movement to Key Field, Mississippi in preparation for overseas movement.

Reassigned to Third Air Force in December 1943 and redesignated as 10th Photographic Group (Reconnaissance) in December 1943.

The group deployed overseas to the European theater, January–February 1944, for duty with Ninth Air Force at RAF Chalgrove, England. At Chalgrove, the group consisted of six photographic squadrons flying a variety of reconnaissance aircraft. These were the photographic versions of the P-38 Lightning (F-5) and P-51 Mustang (F-6). In addition the unit also flew the Stinson L-1 Vigilant and L-5 Sentinel along with the Piper L-4 Grasshopper light observation aircraft. It photographed airfields, coastal defences, ports, and made bomb-damage assessment photographs of airfields, marshalling yards, bridges, and other targets in preparation for the Normandy invasion. The 10th received a Distinguished Unit Citation for flying at low altitude to photograph the English Channel coast from Blankenberge to Dunkirk and from Le Touquet to Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue prior to the D-Day invasion during May 6 – May 20, 1944.

In May 1944 the 30th PRS moved to RAF Middle Wallop and it was replaced by the 423rd Night Fighter Squadron with A-20 Havocs (F-3A) from RAF Charmy Down which was used for night photo reconnaissance.

The group supported the Normandy invasion in June by making visual and photographic reconnaissance of bridges, artillery, road and railway junctions, traffic centres, airfields, and other targets. A deployment re-appraisal in June 1944 led to the decision to assign a tactical recon squadron to support the needs of the ground forces on the continent. To this end, the group's 15th Tactical Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron (15th TPRS) was transferred in from RAF Middle Wallop on June 27 flying F-6/P-51B Mustangs. The mission of the 15th TPRS was to fly low level missions whereas the F-5 Lightnings would fly at higher altitudes.

After the invasion the 15th TPRS moved into France first, to the Advanced Landing Ground at Rennes - St-Jacques, France (ALG A-27) on July 10. The other squadrons of the 10th moved over the next few weeks, the last being the 155th which moved to France in mid-August.

On the continent, the 10th RG aided the US Third Army and other Allied organizations in the battle to breach the Siegfried Line, September–December 1944. The group participated in the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944 – January 1945, by flying reconnaissance missions in the combat zone. From February 1945 to V-E Day, the 10th RG assisted the advance of Third Army across the Rhine, to Czechoslovakia and into Austria, eventually being stationed at Fürth, Germany (ALG R-30) when hostilities ended.

Cold War

The 10th remained in Germany after the war as part of the army of occupation, being assigned to United States Air Forces in Europe. It was transferred without personnel or equipment back to the United States in June 1947, becoming part of Tactical Air Command at Langley AFB, Virginia.

The unit was remanned and assigned to Lawson Field in Georgia where it was assigned F-6 (P-51) Mustangs in September to its 1st and 15th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadrons. It was redesignated as the l0th Tactical Reconnaissance Group in June 1947 and reassigned to Pope Field, North Carolina in September.

The Air Force started a “wing-base” service test in 1947. Under this program the 10th Reconnaissance Wing was organized December 3, 1947, at Pope Field. The new wing was assigned the 10th Reconnaissance Group as its operational flying component. On August 25, 1948, the 10th Reconnaissance Wing was redesignated the 10th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing (10 TRW), with its component groups also being redesignated.

The 10th conducted training at Pope, primarily with army units at Fort Bragg until April 1, 1949 when, due to budget restrictions, the unit was inactivated.

On July 10, 1952 as a result of the United States Cold War military buildup in Europe, the 10 TRG was reactivated and assigned to NATO at Toul-Rosieres Air Base, France, absorbing the mission and equipment of the deactivating federalized Air National Guard 117th TRW.

However, the base was not yet ready for jet aircraft, so only the 10th TRW Wing Headquarters was sent to Toul. The 10th TRG's propeller-driven RB-26 Invaders of the former 112th TRS were absorbed by the 1st TRS at Toul (which was deemed acceptable for propeller-driven aircraft), while the two jet RF-80A squadrons assigned to the 32d and 38th TRS were located at Neubiberg and Fürstenfeldbruck Air Bases near Munich, West Germany. Group Headquarters was initially assigned to Furstenfeldbruck, then later moved to Toul in November.

Ongoing construction delays in France forced the 10th TRW's transfer on May 9, 1953 to the newly-completed Spangdahlem AB in West Germany where all the squadrons of the Wing and its component groups were finally united.

The Republic RF-84F Thunderflash began to arrive in the fall of 1955, and the RF-80As were returned to the United States for Air National Guard use. Martin RB-57A Canberras replaced the World War II vintage RB-26s in 1954 to perform night Reconnaissance missions. In 1956, the 10th TRG began to transition to the RB-66 and WB-66 Destroyers, and the RF-84Fs were transferred to the 66th TRG at Phalsbourg-Bourscheid Air Base, France.

On December 8, 1957 the 10th Tactical Reconnaissance Group was inactivated with its component squadrons, personnel and equipment being assigend direclty to the wing.


PD-icon.svg This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0892010924.
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947–1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0912799129.
  • Ivie, Tom. Patton's Eyes in the Sky: USAAF Combat Reconnaissance Missions North-West Europe 1944-45. Crowborough, UK: Classic Publications, 2003. ISBN 1-903223-26-1.
  • Ivie, Tom. Aerial Reconnaissance: 10th Photo Recon Group in World War II. Fallbrook, California: Aero Publishers, Inc., 1981. ISBN 0-816889-00-7.
  • Johnson, David C. (1988), U.S. Army Air Forces Continental Airfields (ETO), D-Day to V-E Day; Research Division, USAF Historical Research Center, Maxwell AFB, Alabama.

External links


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