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Airfields of the United States Army Air Force
in Australia
5th usaaf.png 
Part of World War II
Aust-usaaf.jpg
Date 1942–1945
Location Australia
Result Allied victory over the Empire of Japan (1945)

During World War II, the United States Army Air Forces established a series of airfields in Australia for the collective defense of the country, as well as for conducting offensive operations against the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy. It was from these airports and airfields in Australia, that Fifth Air Force was able to regroup, re-equip and begin offensive operations against the Empire of Japan after the disasters in the Philippines and Dutch East Indies during 1942.

Contents

Overview

Following the Japanese conquest of the Philippines, the remnants of the USAAF Far East Air Force relocated southwest to bases in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia). After those islands also fell to Japanese forces early in 1942, FEAF headquarters moved to Australia and was reorganized and redesignated Fifth Air Force on February 5, 1942.

Headquarters Fifth Air Force was re-staffed at Brisbane, Australia on September 18, 1942 and placed under the command of Major General George Kenney. United States Army Air Forces units in Australia, including Fifth Air Force, were eventually reinforced and re-organized following their initial defeats in the Philippines and the East Indies.

In addition to the Air Force units, many United States Army forces embarked in Australia, using it as a base of operations prior to their deployment to New Guinea in 1942, and other islands in the Southwest Pacific, driving the Japanese forces north towards their home islands. As the ground forces moved forward, the tactical air units of the AAF moved with them, providing the necessary air support for the ground operations.

Throughout the Pacific War, Australia remained an important base of operations, but with the advance of the Allied Armies, the air bases in Australia were returned to the Royal Australian Air Force once the Allied forces deployed north during 1942 and 1943. Today, most of the airfields in the Northern Territory have returned to their natural state, being abandoned after the war. However most of the airfields in Queensland and the other Australian states and territories still exist as civilian airports or military bases.

Later, during the Cold War, the United States Air Force assigned a small number of personnel to Australia for communications duties and logistical support. Today, USAF units routinely visit Australia for joint exercises with the Australian Defence Force, with a few personnel assigned for military liaison duties.

Major units

The initial USAAF units assigned to Australia in late 1941 and 1942 were ones which withdrew from the Philippines, leaving their ground echelons in Bataan as part of 5th Interceptor Command to fight as infantry units. Later in 1942 and 1943, additional units arrived from the United States as replacement and argumentation to Fifth Air Force for offensive operations. Known units assigned were:

  • Bombardment
3d Bombardment Group (February 25, 1942 – January 28, 1943)
(A-20 Havoc, A-24 Dauntless, B-25 Mitchell)
7th Bombardment Group (December 22, 1941 – February 4, 1942)
(B-17 Flying Fortress)
19th Bombardment Group (December 24, 1941 – December 2, 1942)
(B-17 Flying Fortress)
22d Bombardment Group (March 1, 1942 – October 9, 1943)
(B-26 Marauder)
27th Bombardment Group (February–May 4, 1943)
(A-24 Dauntless)
38th Bombardment Group (February 25 – October 1942)
(B-25 Mitchell)
43d Bombardment Group (March 28 – September 14, 1942)
(B-17 Flying Fortress)
90th Bombardment Group (November 1942 – February 10, 1943)
(B-24 Liberator)
380th Bombardment Group (May 1943 – February 20, 1945)
(B-24 Liberator)
  • Fighter
8th Fighter Group (March 6, 1942 – May 16, 1943)
(P-39 Airacobra, P-38 Lightning)
35th Fighter Group (May 4 – July 22, 1942)
(P-39 Airacobra, P-38 Lightning)
49th Fighter Group (February 2 – October 9, 1942)
(Curtiss P-40)
58th Fighter Group (November 19 – December 28, 1943)
(P-47 Thunderbolt)
  • Other
6th Reconnaissance Group (October 10 – December 10, 1943
317th Troop Carrier Group (January 23 – September 30, 1943)
374th Troop Carrier Group (November 12, 1942 – September 1, 1944)

Major aircraft operated

A-20 aircraft of the 6th Bomb Group, 89th Bomb Squadron
Unidentified 1941 serial Douglas A-24-DE Dauntless Dive Bomber, ex 27th Bombardment Group (Light), reassigned to the 8th Squadron of the 3rd Bomb Group, Charters Towers Airfield, Queensland, Australia, 1942.
B-17E attacking Japanese positions on Gizo Island in the Solomons
B-24 Over Salamaua, August 13, 1943. Note smoke from bomb bursts.
Major Richard Bong in his P-38.
P-40E of the 7th Fighter Squadron - 49th Fighter Group - Australia - March 1942
  • A-20 Havoc. A-20s first arrived in Australia by way of the air echelon of the 3rd Bombardment Group (Light) and the first operational unit to fly the A-20 in actual battle was the 89th Bombardment Squadron of the 3rd Bombardment Group. Many A-20s were reassigned to the RAAF, being known as Bostons by the RAAF and had varied origins, some being ex-USAAF machines, some being acquired from the Netherlands Marine Luchtvaartdenst, and others being diverted from British contracts. These planes served with just one RAAF squadron, No. 22 Squadron which saw a lot of action in the Dutch East Indies.[1][2]
  • A-24 Dauntless. The first operational A-24 unit was the 27th Bombardment Group (Light). Three of the four squadrons of the 27th BG were equipped with the A-24, plus one squadron of the 3rd Bombardment Group. The remaining squadrons of these groups were equipped with A-20A twin-engined level bombers. The 27th BG was in-transit to the Philippines when the war in the Pacific broke out. The crews were in the Philippines, but their aircraft were on their way via ship from Hawaii. The shipment was diverted to Brisbane, where they arrived on December 22. Some of the 27th BG pilots were evacuated from the Philippines to join their aircraft in Australia. From Brisbane, eleven A-24s flew up to Java in February 1942, but this battle was already lost. The remainder began operations from Port Moresby, New Guinea with the 8th Bombardment Squadron on April 1, 1942. These units suffered heavy losses in the face of the Japanese advance. After five of seven A-24s were lost on their last mission, the A-24s were withdrawn from action as being too slow, too short-ranged, and too poorly armed. However, in all fairness to the A-24, their pilots had not been trained in dive-bombing operations and they often had to operate without adequate fighter escort. Following the New Guinea debacle, the A-24s were withdrawn from combat and the 27th was returned to the United States, where after being re-equipped with A-20s was sent to North Africa as part of Twelfth Air Force.[3]
  • B-17 Flying Fortress. By December 14, 1941, out of the original 35 B-17s assigned to the Philippines on December 8, only 14 remained. They were all stationed at Del Monte Field on Mindanao, hopefully out of range of Japanese aircraft. Beginning on December 17, the surviving B-17s based there began to be evacuated to Batchelor Airfield near Darwin. The first B-17s which arrived in Australia were the shark-tailed C and D models, and the first mission out of Australia took place on December 22, with 9 B-17s taking part. It was an attack on Japanese shipping at Davao. They landed at Del Monte, which was still in American hands. However, the small force of B-17s could do very little to stem the tide of the Japanese advance, launching valiant but futile attacks against the masses of Japanese shipping. The newer large-tailed B-17Es began to join the depleted force of earlier-model B-17s in the Pacific in mid-1942, with the tail gunner of the B-17E being unpleasant surprise for the Japanese, who had become accustomed to attacking the Fortress from the rear. The crews of pre-B-17E Fortresses often adopted the expediency of rigging sticks in the rear of their planes, hoping to convince the Japanese attackers that tail guns were actually fitted to these planes as well. However, by mid-1943, most Fortresses had been withdrawn from the Pacific in favor of the longer-ranged B-24 Liberator. The B-24 was better suited for operations in the Pacific, having a higher speed and a larger bombload at medium altitudes. In addition, the losses of Eighth Air Force in Europe were reaching such magnitudes that the entire B-17 production was urgently needed for replacements and training in that theatre. Shortly after the Battle of the Bismarck Sea, it was decided that no more B-17s would be sent to Australia.[4]
  • B-24 Liberator. Fifteen USAAF LB-30 (B-24A) bombers were deployed in Java in early 1942 to reinforce the B-17-equipped 19th Bombardment Group in a vain attempt to stem the Japanese advance. The Java-based LB-30s would be the first US-flown Liberators to see action and participated in numerous attacks against Japanese targets in the Sulawesi, in Sumatra, and against shipping during the Japanese invasion of Bali. By late February, the position of Allied forces in Java had become untenable, and the surviving LB-30s were evacuated to Australia. The early LB-30s were replaced by the first B-24Ds to reach the Pacific in late 1942. By 1943, the Liberator had almost entirely replaced the B-17 Fortress as the primary long-range heavy bomber in the theatre. The B-24 became the most numerous USAAF heavy bomber based in Australia and New Guinea in the most desperate phase of the Pacific war, and it was the first four-engine heavy bomber to serve with the Royal Australian Air Force home squadrons. It reigned supreme in the Pacific until the arrival of the B-29 Superfortress in mid-1944.[5]
  • B-26 Marauder/B-25 Mitchell. In February 1942, the 22d Bombardment Group was ordered to Australia, being assigned to bases around Townsville. The B-26 first entered combat on April 5, 1942, when the 22nd Group took off from their bases in Queensland, refuelled at Port Moresby, and then attacked Japanese facilities at Rabaul. Each B-26 had a 250-gallon bomb bay and carried a 2000- pound bombload. The Marauder was the only medium bomber available in the Pacific, and generally, no fighter escort was available leaving the Marauders were on their own if they encountered enemy fighters. There were two groups equipped with B-26s, the 22nd and 38th, with two squadrons of the 38th Bombardment Group (69th and 70th) equipped with B-26s. In this series of attacks on Japanese-held facilities in the Dutch East Indies, the B-26s gained a reputation for speed and ruggedness against strong opposition from Japanese Zero fighters. Attacks on Rabaul ended on May 24, after 80 sorties had flown. A series of unescorted raids were made on Japanese installations in the Lae area. These raids were vigorously opposed by Zero fighters. In the 84 sorties flown against Lae between April 24 and July 4, 1942, three Marauders were lost. As the Allies pushed northward in the South Pacific, temporary airfields had to be cut out of the jungle and these runways were generally fairly short. The North American B-25 Mitchell had a shorter takeoff run than the B-26, and it began to take over the medium bomber duties. Although it was admitted that the B-26 could take greater punishment, was defensively superior, and could fly faster with a heavier bomb load, the B-25 had better short-field characteristics, good sortie rate, and minimal maintenance requirements. In addition, the B-25 was considerably easier to manufacture and had suffered from fewer developmental problems. At this time, there were more B-25s available for South Pacific duty because it had been decided to send the B-26 Marauder to the Mediterranean theatre. Consequently, it was decided to adopt the B-25 as the standard medium bomber for the entire Pacific theatre, and to use the B-26 exclusively to Twelfth Air Force in the Mediterranean with some later being used by Ninth Air Force in the European theatres.[6]
  • P-38 Lightning. The first P-38s to reach Australia during 1942 were P-38Fs assigned to the 39th Fighter Squadron of the 35th Fighter Group. This unit traded in its Bell P-39 Airacobras for the Lightnings at RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland before returning to combat operations at Port Moresby in New Guinea. Its first success took place on December 27, 1942 when its pilots claimed eleven kills for the loss of only one P-38F. Two of these kills were claimed by Richard I. Bong, who was to go on to claim a total of 40 kills, all of them while flying the Lightning. The Lightning was ideally suited for the Pacific theatre. It possessed a performance markedly superior to that of its Japanese opponents. It possessed a range significantly better than that of the P-39s, P-40s and P-47s available in 1942 in the Southwest Pacific, and its twin engines offered an additional safety factory when operating over long stretches of water and jungle. However, the limited number of Lightnings available during late 1942 and early 1943 had to be used to make up attrition in the 39th Fighter Squadron and to equip only a single squadron in each of the 8th and 49th Fighter Groups.[7]
  • P-39 Airacobra. At the time of Pearl Harbor, the P-39 (along with the P-40 and a few P-38s) was virtually the only modern fighter available to the USAAF. Those P-39s already in service with the USAAF at the time of Pearl Harbor were deployed at home bases, but were quickly moved forward to overseas bases in the Pacific to try and stem the Japanese advance. They carried much of the load in the initial Allied efforts in 1942. However, many Allied pilots lacked adequate training, and equipment and maintenance of the planes were below average. The Airacobras operating from Australia were sometimes called upon to serve as interceptors, a role for which they were totally unsuited. They proved to be no match for the Japanese Zero in air-to-air combat and were withdrawn from combat by the end of 1942.[8]
  • Curtiss P-40. During 1941, a substantial number of P-40Bs and Cs were shipped to USAAF bases overseas, including the 20th Pursuit Squadron of the 24th Pursuit Group at Clark Field in the Philippines. Almost all were destroyed in the Battle of the Philippines (1941–42), and only a few reached Australia, although the RAAF operated a large number of P-40E-1 export models (Kittyhawk IA) and P-40Ks (Kittyhawk III) from the United States.[9]
  • P-47 Thunderbolt. The first P-47Ds to arrive in the Pacific theatre entered service with the 348th Fighter Group in June 1943. They were initially operated out of Queensland and were used on long-range missions to strike at Japanese targets in New Guinea. The 348th was followed by the 35th Group and at the beginning of 1944 by the 58th Group as well as the 35th Squadron of the 8th Group and the 9th FS of the 49th Group. However the Thunderbolt was used primarily by Seventh and Thirteenth Air Forces in the Central Pacific, with the long-range P-47N arriving in June 1944.[10]

Airfields and unit assignments

In cooperation with the Royal Australian Air Force, (RAAF), Fifth Air Force was able to use many existing Australian airports and airfields to carry on the war effort. In 1942, additional new military airfields were constructed by Australian and United States engineering units to accommodate the increasing number of USAAF groups and personnel being deployed. The Air Force groups and squadrons moved frequently from airfield to airfield, and often group headquarters was located away from the operational squadrons, as the squadrons were dispersed over several airfields for defensive purposes.

Known airfields of Fifth Air Force units and squadron assignments are as follows:

Note: Airfield locations shown on map above

Brisbane AAB (Non-flying facility)(1)
Headquarters, Fifth Air Force, (March 1942 – June 15, 1944)
24th Pursuit Group (May 1942 – June 15, 1944) (Not equipped or manned. See Historical Notes section)
Archerfield Airport (Main Brisbane airfield)(19)
27°34′13″S 153°00′29″E / 27.57028°S 153.00806°E / -27.57028; 153.00806 (Queensland - Archerfield Airport)
3d Bombardment Group, (February 25 – March 10, 1942)
8th Bombardment Squadron, (February 25 – March 7, 1942)
13th Bombardment Squadron, (March 10, 1942 – January 10, 1943)
Detachment operated from: Del Monte Field, Mindanao, April 12–14, 1942
90th Bombardment Squadron, (February 25 – March 8, 1942)
6th Reconnaissance Group, (November 27 – December 10, 1943)
8th Reconnaissance Squadron (April 24 – May 2, 1942)
7th Bombardment Group, (December 22, 1941 – February 4, 1942)
9th Bomb Squadron, (December 22, 1941 – February 4, 1942)
11th Bomb Squadron, (December 22, 1941 – January 19, 1942)
22d Bomb Squadron, (December 22, 1941 – January 19, 1942)
88 Reconnaissance, (December 22, 1941 – February 4, 1942) (Ground Echelon)
22d Bombardment Group, (February 25 – March 7, 1942)
18th Reconnaissance Squadron (February 25 – April 7, 1942)
19th Bombardment Squadron (February 25 – March 7, 1942)
33d Bombardment Squadron (February 25 – March 1, 1942)
38th Bombardment Group, (February 25 – March 8, 1942; June 10 – August 7, 1942)
43d Bombardment Group, (February 27 – March 28, 1942)
35th Fighter Group, (February 1, 1942 – March 1, 1942)
39th Fighter Squadron, (February 25 – March 8, 1942)
40th Fighter Squadron, (February 25 – March 9, 1942)
41st Fighter Squadron, (February 25 – March 8, 1942)
49th Fighter Group, (April 7–17, 1942)
58th Fighter Group, (November 21 – December 28, 1943)
69th Fighter Squadron, (November 21–9, 1943)
310th Fighter Squadron, (November 23–28, 1943)
311th Fighter Squadron, (November 21–28, 1943)
54th Troop Carrier Wing, (March 13 – May 3, 1943)
374th Troop Carrier Group, (November 12 – December 1942)
16th Bombardment Squadron (Light) (27th Bombardment Group (Light)), (December 24, 1941 – February 16, 1942)
17th Bombardment Squadron (Light) (27th Bombardment Group (Light)), (December 24, 1941 – February 20, 1942)
91st Bombardment Squadron (Light) (27th Bombardment Group (Light)), (December 24, 1941 – March 24, 1942)
21st Transport Squadron (Air Transport Command), April 3, 1942 – February 18, 1943; September 28, 1943 – August 26, 1944
Doomben Field (Eagle Farm Airport), Eagle Farm(6)(23)
27°25′30″S 153°05′03″E / 27.425°S 153.08417°E / -27.425; 153.08417 (Queensland - Doomben Field (Eagle Farm Airport))
38th Bombardment Group, (February 25 – March 8, 1942; June 30 – August 7, 1942)
69th Bombardment Squadron, (February 25 – March 8, 1942) (Ground echelon)
70th Bombardment Squadron, (February 25 – March 8, 1942) (Ground echelon)
71st Bombardment Squadron, (February 25 – March 8, 1942)
405th Bombardment Squadron, (February 25 – March 8, 1942)
8th Fighter Group, (March 6 – July 29, 1942)
35th Fighter Squadron, (March 6–26, 1942)
36th Fighter Squadron, (March 6–13, 1942)
80th Fighter Squadron, (March 6–28, 1942)
Donnington Airfield, Woodstock(5)
19°36′04″S 146°50′27″E / 19.60111°S 146.84083°E / -19.60111; 146.84083 (Queensland - Donnington Airfield)
22d Bombardment Group, (July 5, 1942 – September 29, 1942; February 4, 1943 – October 1943)
19th Bombardment Squadron (July 4 – September 15, 1942; February 4 – July 11, 1943)
33d Bombardment Squadron, (July 20 – September 29, 1942; February 4 – October 15, 1943)
35th Fighter Squadron, (8th Fighter Group) (June 29 – July 17, 1942)
39th Fighter Squadron (35th Fighter Group), (April 25 – June 2, 1942)
Petrie Airfield, Petrie (Brisbane)
27°17′S 153°0.1′E / 27.283°S 153.0017°E / -27.283; 153.0017 (Queensland - Petrie Airfield)
80th Fighter Squadron (8th Fighter Group), (May 10 – July 20, 1942)
Lowood Airfield, Lowood(24)
27°27′51″S 152°29′19″E / 27.46417°S 152.48861°E / -27.46417; 152.48861 (Queensland - Lowood Airfield)
80th Fighter Squadron (8th Fighter Group), (March 28 – May 10, 1942)
RAAF Base Amberly (Ipswich Airfield)(2)
27°38′24″S 152°42′42″E / 27.64°S 152.71167°E / -27.64; 152.71167 (Queensland - RAAF Base Amberly (Ipswich Airfield))
22d Bombardment Group, (March 7 – April 7, 1942)
19th Bombardment Squadron (March 7–29, 1942)
33d Bombardment Squadron (March 1 – 7 Ap 1942)
38th Bombardment Group, (April 30 – June 30, 1942)
69th Bombardment Squadron, (April 30 – May 20, 1942) (Ground echelon)
70th Bombardment Squadron, (April 20 – May 23, 1942) (Ground echelon)
475th Fighter Group, May 14 – August 14, 1943
431st Fighter Squadron, (July 1 – August 14, 1943)
432d Fighter Squadron, (June 11 – August 14, 1943)
433d Fighter Squadron (June 17 – August 14, 1943)
88th Reconnaissance Squadron (7th Bombardment Group)*, (February 17–20, 1942)
* Under control of the United States Navy
Cairns Airport, Cairns(20)
16°52′29″S 145°45′08″E / 16.87472°S 145.75222°E / -16.87472; 145.75222 (Queensland - Cairns Airfield)
33d Troop Carrier Squadron (374th Troop Carrier Group), (November 1 – December 10, 1942)
Iron Range Airfield,Iron Range National Park (7)
12°47′12″S 143°18′20″E / 12.78667°S 143.30556°E / -12.78667; 143.30556 (Queensland - Iron Range Airfield)
22d Bombardment Group, (September 29, 1942 – February 4, 1943)
19th Bombardment Squadron, (September 15, 1942 – February 4, 1943)
33d Bombardment Squadron, (September 29, 1942 – February 4, 1943)
90th Bombardment Group, (November 1942 – February 1943)
64th Bombardment Squadron (43d Bombardment Group), (October 12 – November 8, 1942)
65th Bombardment Squadron (43d Bombardment Group), (October 13 – November 7, 1942)
403d Bombardment Squadron (43d Bombardment Group), (October 17 – November 23, 1942)
Charters Towers Airfield, Charters Towers(4)
20°02′35″S 146°16′23″E / 20.04306°S 146.27306°E / -20.04306; 146.27306 (Queensland - Charters Towers Airfield)
3d Bombardment Group, (March 10, 1942 – January 28, 1943)
8th Bombardment Squadron, (March 17–31, 1942; May 9, 1942 – January 28, 1943)
90th Bombardment Squadron, (March 8, 1942 – January 28, 1943)
431st Fighter Squadron (475th Fighter Group), (May 14 – July 1, 1943)
432d Fighter Squadron, (475th Fighter Group), (May 14 – July 11, 1943)
433d Fighter Squadron (475th Fighter Group), (May 14 – June 17, 1943)
16th Bombardment Squadron (Light) (27th Bombardment Group (Light)), (April 1 – May 4, 1942)
17th Bombardment Squadron (Light) (27th Bombardment Group (Light)), (April 1 – May 4, 1942)
91st Bombardment Squadron (Light) (27th Bombardment Group (Light)), (March 24, 1942)
Breddan Airfield, Charters Towers(3)
19°56′34.21″S 146°14′21.44″E / 19.9428361°S 146.2392889°E / -19.9428361; 146.2392889 (Queensland - Breddan Airfield)
38th Bombardment Group, (August 7 – September 30, 1942)
71st Bombardment Squadron, (August 12 – October 1, 1942)
405th Bombardment Squadron, (August 7 – September 30, 1942)
Mareeba Airfield, Mareeba(9)
17°03′15″S 145°25.45′35″E / 17.05417°S 145.43389°E / -17.05417; 145.43389 (Queensland - Mareeba Airfield)
19th Bombardment Group, (July 24 – October 23, 1942)
28th Bombardment Squadron, (July 24 – c. November 18, 1942)
30th Bombardment Squadron, (July 24 – c. November 10, 1942)
93d Bombardment Squadron, (July 23 – c. October 25, 1942)
8th Fighter Group, (February–May 16, 1943)
35th Fighter Squadron, (February 24 – May 1943)
36th Fighter Squadron, (February 22 – May 22, 1943)
80th Fighter Squadron (February 6 – March 21, 1943)
63d Bombardment Squadron (43d Bombardment Group), (August 20, 1942 – January 23, 1943)
64th Bombardment Squadron (43d Bombardment Group), (November 8, 1942 – January 20, 1943)
65th Bombardment Squadron (43d Bombardment Group), (November 7, 1942 – January 20, 1943)
403d Bombardment Squadron (43d Bombardment Group), (January 21 – May 11, 1943)
Antil Plains Aerodrome, Townsville(18)
19°26′37.20″S 146°49′33.72″E / 19.443667°S 146.8260333°E / -19.443667; 146.8260333 (Queensland - Antil Plains Airfield)
33d Bombardment Squadron (22d Bombardment Group), (April 7 – July 20, 1942)
Reid River Airfield, Townsville(25)
19°45.25′30″S 146°50.35′03″E / 19.7625°S 146.84°E / -19.7625; 146.84 (Queensland - Reid River Airfield)
2d Bombardment Squadron (22d Bombardment Group), (April 9 – October 9, 1942)
18th Reconnaissance Squadron (22d Bombardment Group), (April 12 – October 15, 1942)
Redesigned 408th Bombardment Squadron (22d Bombardment Group), April 22, 1942
RAAF Base Garbutt (Townsville), Townsville(10)
19°15′12″S 146°45′54″E / 19.25333°S 146.765°E / -19.25333; 146.765 (Queensland - RAAF Base Garbutt (Townsville))
Headquarters, V Bomber Command, (September 5 – December 1942)
Headquarters, V Fighter Command, (September 5 – December 1942)
19th Bombardment Group, (April 18 – May 18, 1942)
40th Reconnaissance Group, {March 14 – November 15, 1942)
Redesignated 435th Bombardment Squadron, April 22, 1942
22d Bombardment Group, (April 7 – July 5, 1942)
18th Reconnaissance Squadron (April 7 – April 12, 1942)
19th Bombardment Squadron (March 29, 1942 – July 4, 1942)
2d Bombardment Squadron (March 2 – April 9, 1942)
38th Bombardment Group, (September 30 – October 1942)
71st Bombardment Squadron, (October 1–29, 1942)
405th Bombardment Squadron, (September 30 – October 25, 1942)
8th Fighter Group, (July 29 – September 18, 1942)
35th Fighter Squadron, (July 27 – September 18, 1942)
36th Fighter Squadron, (April 4–26, 1942; June 30 – September 18, 1942)
317th Troop Carrier Group, (January 23 – September 30, 1943)
374th Troop Carrier Group, (October 7, 1943 – September 1, 1944)
22d Bombardment Squadron (7th Bombardment Group)*, (February 20, 1942 – March 14, 1942)
88th Reconnaissance Squadron (7th Bombardment Group)*, (February 20, 1942 – March 14, 1942)
Redesignated: 436th Reconnaissance Squadron (7th Bombardment Group) (March 14 – April 22, 1942)
* Under operational control of United States Navy
39th Fighter Squadron (35th Fighter Group), (July 26 – October 18, 1942)
40th Fighter Squadron (35th Fighter Group), (April 1 – June 2, 1942; July 30 – November 25, 1942)
8th Reconnaissance Squadron (6th Reconnaissance Group) (May 2 – September 9, 1942)
Charleville Airfield, Charleville(21)
26°24′48″S 146°15′45″E / 26.41333°S 146.2625°E / -26.41333; 146.2625 (Queensland - Charleville Airfield)
63d Bombardment Squadron (43d Bombardment Group), (June 15 – August 3, 1942)
Cloncurry Airfield, Cloncurry(22)
20°40′00″S 140°30′28″E / 20.6666667°S 140.50778°E / -20.6666667; 140.50778 (Queensland - Cloncurry Airfield)
28th Bombardment Squadron (19th Bombardment Group), (March 28 – May 5, 1942)
Detachment operated from: Perth Airport, Perth, Western Australia, (March 28 – May 18, 1942)
30th Bombardment Squadron (19th Bombardment Group), (March 24 – May 13, 1942) (Air echelon only. Ground echelon fighting as infantry as part of 5th Interceptor Command, Bataan, Luzon, Philippines)
93d Bombardment Squadron (19th Bombardment Group), (March 29 – May 18, 1942) (Air echelon only. Ground echelon fighting as infantry as part of 5th Interceptor Command, Bataan, Luzon, Philippines)
Longreach (Torrens Creek) Airfield, Longreach(8)
23°26′03″S 144°16′49″E / 23.43417°S 144.28028°E / -23.43417; 144.28028 (Queensland - Longreach (Torrens Creek) Airfield)
19th Bombardment Group, (May 18 – July 24, 1942)
28th Bombardment Squadron, (May 5 – July 24, 1942)
30th Bombardment Squadron (19th Bombardment Group), (May 5 – July 24, 1942)
93d Bombardment Squadron, (May 18 – October 25, 1942)
43d Bombardment Group, (August 1 – September 14, 1942)
63d Bombardment Squadron, (August 3–20, 1942)
65th Bombardment Squadron, (August 15 – October 13, 1942)
403d Bombardment Squadron, (August 27 – October 17, 1942)
Daly Waters Airfield, Daly Waters(26)
16°15′42″S 133°22′50″E / 16.26167°S 133.38056°E / -16.26167; 133.38056 (Northern Territory - Daly Waters Airfield)
64th Bombardment Squadron (43d Bombardment Group), (May 16 – August 2, 1942)
RAAF Base Darwin, Darwin(13)
12°24′53″S 130°52′36″E / 12.41472°S 130.87667°E / -12.41472; 130.87667 (Northern Territory - RAAF Base Darwin)
Headquarters, Far East Air Force, (December 23, 1941 – January 18, 1942)
Headquarters, V Bomber Command, (December 1941)
49th Fighter Group, (April 17 – October 9, 1942)
8th Fighter Squadron, (April 17 – September 25, 1942)
9th Fighter Squadron, (March 17 – October 10, 1942)
380th Bombardment Group, (August 9, 1944 – February 20, 1945)
528th Bombardment Squadron, (August 20, 1944 – February 21, 1945)
529th Bombardment Squadron, (July 10, 1944 – February 21, 1945)
530th Bombardment Squadron, (August 9, 1944 – February 28, 1945)
531st Bombardment Squadron, (July 21, 1944 – March 1, 1945)
319th Bombardment Squadron (90th Bombardment Group), (February 2 – July 8, 1943)
Fenton Airfield, Tipperary Station, Hayes Creek(14)
13°37′23.46″S 131°20′19.60″E / 13.6231833°S 131.338778°E / -13.6231833; 131.338778 (Northern Territory - Fenton Airfield)
380th Bombardment Group, (May 1943 – August 9, 1944)
528th Bombardment Squadron, (April 28, 1943 – August 20, 1944)
530th Bombardment Squadron, (May 1, 1942 – August 9, 1944)
64th Bombardment Squadron (43d Bombardment Group), (August 2 – September 25, 1942)
Batchelor Airfield, Batchelor(15)
13°3′21.14″S 131°1′40.68″E / 13.0558722°S 131.0279667°E / -13.0558722; 131.0279667 (Northern Territory - Batchelor Airfield)
19th Bombardment Group, (December 24–30, 1941) (First B-17s arrived on December 17, 1941)
93d Bombardment Squadron, (December 19, 1941 – January 1, 1942)
30th Bombardment Squadron, (December 20 – December 31, 1941) (Air echelon only. Ground echelon fighting as infantry as part of 5th Interceptor Command, Bataan, Luzon, Philippines)
28th Bombardment Squadron, (December 24–30, 1941)
27th Bombardment Group (Light), (March–May 4, 1942)
16th Bombardment Squadron (Light) (February 16, 1942)
17th Bombardment Squadron (Light) (February 22, 1942)
7th Fighter Squadron (49th Fighter Group), (April 9 – September 19, 1942)
71st Bombardment Squadron, (38th Bombardment Group), (April 30 – August 12, 1942)
Long Airfield (Long Strip), Hayes Creek(27)
13°34′59.03″S 131°25′23.20″E / 13.5830639°S 131.423111°E / -13.5830639; 131.423111 (Northern Territory - Long Airfield)
529th Bombardment Squadron (380th Bombardment Group), (November 7, 1943 – July 10, 1944)
531st Bombardment Squadron (380th Bombardment Group), (December 5, 1943 – July 21, 1944)
Manbulloo Airfield, Manbulloo Station, near Katherine(28)
14°35′58.35″S 132°11′24.22″E / 14.5995417°S 132.1900611°E / -14.5995417; 132.1900611 (Northern Territory - Manbulloo Airfield)
529th Bombardment Squadron (380th Bombardment Group), (April 28 – November 7, 1943)
531st Bombardment Squadron (380th Bombardment Group), (April 28 – December 5, 1943)
RAAF Base Fairbairn (Canberra)
35°18′25″S 149°11′42″E / 35.30694°S 149.195°E / -35.30694; 149.195 (Australian Capital Territory - RAAF Base Fairbairn (Canberra))
8th Fighter Squadron (49th Fighter Group) (February 16 – April 17, 1942)
Mount Gambier Airfield, Mount Gambier(29)
37°44′42″S 140°47′06″E / 37.745°S 140.785°E / -37.745; 140.785 (South Australia - Mount Gambier Airfield)
39th Fighter Squadron (35th Fighter Group), (March 16 – April 3, 1942)
40th Fighter Squadron (35th Fighter Group), (March 16 – April 2, 1942)
41st Fighter Squadron (35th Fighter Group), (March 17 – April 7, 1942)
Bankstown Airfield, Bankstown(11)
33°55′28″S 150°59′18″E / 33.92444°S 150.98833°E / -33.92444; 150.98833 (New South Wales - Bankstown Airfield)
49th Fighter Group, (February 16 – April 7, 1942)
7th Fighter Squadron (February 16 – April 9, 1942)
41st Fighter Squadron (35th Fighter Group), (April 7 – July 20, 1942)
Sydney Airport, Sydney(12)
33°56′46″S 151°10′38″E / 33.94611°S 151.17722°E / -33.94611; 151.17722 (New South Wales - Sydney Airport)
6th Reconnaissance Group, (October 10 – November 27, 1943)
35th Fighter Group, (May 4 – July 22, 1942)
43d Bombardment Group, (March 28 – August 1, 1942)
63d Bombardment Squadron, (March 28 – June 15, 1942)
64th Bombardment Squadron, (March 16 – May 16, 1942)
65th Bombardment Squadron, (March 28 – June 23, 1942)
58th Fighter Group, (November 19 – November 21, 1943)
460th Fighter Squadron (85th Fighter Wing), (May 21 – June 20, 1943)
RAAF Base Williamtown, Newcastle(25)
32°47′42″S 151°50′04″E / 32.795°S 151.83444°E / -32.795; 151.83444 (New South Wales - RAAF Base Williamtown)
9th Fighter Squadron (49th Fighter Group), (February 14 – March 17, 1942)
39th Fighter Squadron (35th Fighter Group), (April 3 – April 30, 1942)
65th Bombardment Squadron (43d Bombardment Group), (June 23 – August 15, 1942)
Essendon Airport, Melbourne(16)
37°43′41″S 144°54′07″E / 37.72806°S 144.90194°E / -37.72806; 144.90194 (Victoria - Essendon Airport)
19th Bombardment Group, (March 2 – April 18, 1942)
14th Bombardment Squadron(March 4–14, 1942) (Air echelon only. Ground echelon fighting as infantry as part of 5th Interceptor Command, Bataan, Luzon, Philippines)
28th Bombardment Squadron(March 4–28, 1942)
30th Bombardment Squadron, (March 5–27, 1942) (Air echelon only. Ground echelon fighting as infantry as part of 5th Interceptor Command, Bataan, Luzon, Philippines)
93d Bombardment Squadron (March 1–29, 1942) (Air echelon only. Ground echelon fighting as infantry as part of 5th Interceptor Command, Bataan, Luzon, Philippines)
49th Fighter Group, (February 2–16, 1942)
7th Fighter Squadron (February 2–16, 1942)
8th Fighter Squadron (February 2–16, 1942)
9th Fighter Squadron (February 2–14, 1942)
22d Troop Carrier Group (Air Transport Command), (April 3 – October 11, 1942)
22d Transport Squadron (Air Transport Command), (April 1, 1942)
11th Bomb Squadron (7th Bombardment Group), (March 4 – April 6, 1942)
14th Bomb Squadron (7th Bombardment Group, attached to: 19th Bombardment Group), (March 4–14, 1942)
22d Bomb Squadron (7th Bombardment Group), March 4 – April 6, 1942
403d Bombardment Squadron (43d Bombardment Group), (February 27 – March 14, 1942)
7th Fighter Squadron (49th Fighter Group), (February 2–16, 1942)
8th Reconnaissance Squadron (6th Reconnaissance Group) (April 7 – April 24, 1942)
13th Reconnaissance Squadron]] (3d Bombardment Group), (February 27, 1942 – March 14, 1942)
Camp Darley (West of Melbourne)
49th Fighter Group, (February 2–16, 1942)
Ballarat Airport, Ballarat(17)
37°30′42″S 143°47′28″E / 37.51167°S 143.79111°E / -37.51167; 143.79111 (Victoria - Ballarat Airport)
38th Bombardment Group, (March 8 – April 20, 1942)
69th Bombardment Squadron, (March 8 – April 30, 1942) (Ground echelon)
70th Bombardment Squadron, (March 8 – April 20, 1942) (Ground echelon)
71st Bombardment Squadron, (March 8 – April 30, 1942)
405th Bombardment Squadron, (March 8 – August 7, 1942)
39th Fighter Squadron (35th Fighter Group), (March 8–16, 1942)
40th Fighter Squadron (35th Fighter Group), (March 9–16, 1942)
41st Fighter Squadron (35th Fighter Group), (March 8–17, 1942)
RAAF Base Laverton, Laverton(30)
37°55′54″S 144°45′12″E / 37.93167°S 144.75333°E / -37.93167; 144.75333 (Victoria - RAAF Base Laverton)
403d Bombardment Squadron (43d Bombardment Group), (March 14 – August 27, 1942)
13th Reconnaissance Squadron (3d Bombardment Group) (March 14 – April 22, 1942)

Historical Notes

  • Six of the 7th Bombardment Group 's B-17 Flying Fortresses left Hamilton Field, California on December 6, 1941, reaching Hickam Field, Hawaii during the Japanese attack but were able to land safely. Later in December the remainder of the air echelon flew B-17's from the United Staates to Java, with the unit establishing its headquarters in Australia. From January 14 to March 4, 1942, during the Japanese drive through the Philippines and Netherlands East Indies, the group operated from Java, being awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for its action against enemy aircraft, ground installations, warships, and transports.
  • On December 7, 1941 (December 8 in the Philippines), when the Japanese first attacked Clark Field, the 19th Bombardment Group suffered numerous casualties and lost many planes. Late in December the air echelon moved to Australia to transport medical and other supplies to the Philippine Islands and evacuate personnel from that area. The men in Australia moved to Java at the end of 1941 and, flying B-17 Flying Fortress, LB-30, and B-24 Liberator aircraft, earned a Distinguished Unit Citation for the group by attacking enemy aircraft, ground installations, warships, and transports during the Japanese drive through the Philippines and Netherlands Indies early in 1942. The men returned to Australia from Java early in March 1942, and later that month the group evacuated Gen Douglas MacArthur, his family, and key members of his staff from the Philippines to Australia. After a brief rest the group resumed combat operations, participating in the Battle of the Coral Sea and raiding Japanese transportation, communications, and ground forces during the enemy's invasion of Papua New Guinea. From August 7 to 12, 1942 the i9th bombed airdromes, ground installations, and shipping near Rabaul, New Britain, being awarded another DUC for these missions. Capt. Harl Pease, Jr. was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during August 6–7, 1942: when one engine of his bomber failed during a mission over New Britain, Capt Pease returned to Australia to obtain another plane; unable to find one fit for combat, he selected the most serviceable plane at the base and rejoined his squadron for an attack on a Japanese airdrome near Rabaul. By skillful flying he maintained his position in the formation and withstood enemy attacks until his bombs had been released on the objective; in the air battle that continued after the bombers left the target, Capt Pease's aircraft fell behind the formation and was lost. The group returned to the US late in 1942.
  • The 24th Pursuit Group was wiped out on Luzon in the spring of 1942 during the Japanese invasion of the Philippines. Some pilots escaped to Australia where they were assigned to other units. The unit was never remanned or reequipped, but remained on active status until April 2, 1946
See also: 5th Interceptor Command

See also

References

 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.
  • Mauer, Mauer (1969), Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II, Air Force Historical Studies Office, Maxwell AFB, Alabama. ISBN 0892010975
  • RAAF Museum, Point Cook - RAAF Bases
  1. ^ Mesko, Jim (1994), A-20 Havoc in Action, Aircraft Number 144, Squadron/Signal Publications
  2. ^ Wilson, Stewart (1992),Boston, Mitchell and Liberator In Australian Service, Aerospace Publications
  3. ^ Tillman, Barrett, The Dauntless Dive Bomber of World War II
  4. ^ Staecker, Gene E., (2001), Fortress Against the Sun, Da Capo Press
  5. ^ Freeman, Roger A. (1969), The Consolidated B-24J Liberator, Profile Publications
  6. ^ Tannehill, Victor C. (1997), The Martin Marauder B-26 Boomerang Publishers
  7. ^ Jeffrey L. Ethell, Joe Christy, 1978, P-38 Lightning At War
  8. ^ McDowell, Ernie, 1989, P-39 Airacobra At War
  9. ^ Ethell, Jerry, 1982, Warbirds, American Legends of World War II
  10. ^ Scotts, Jerry, 1995, P-47 Thunderbolt, The Operational Record

External links

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