This month, we publish the ninth of Olivier’s Newsletters, which chronicles the advance of the American 367th Fighter Group, across France in WWII. If you have read the previous Newsletters, you will have learned about their experiences leading up to D-Day in June 1944, flying from Stoney Cross in the New Forest, Hampshire, England and from the advanced landing grounds in Normandy. The huge dogfight on 25th August 1944 provides the main focus of this month’s Newsletter, originally distributed to the 367th Fighter Group’s members in January 2014. This is the first part of the story, which will be concluded in Issue No. 10, in two months’ time. The dogfight occurred at low level against the FW190s of II/JG6. There are modern photographs of Clastres, the target airfield of the 394th Fighter Squadron on that day. Ironically, this same airfield was soon to become the Group’s base, in September, the following month, as the Allied armies advanced across France.
In addition, there is a record of all the targets, which the Group attacked in October 1944, plus pilot tributes. The majority of these armed reconnaissance and bombing missions were directed against railway lines, locomotives and freight trains, most of which contained ammunition and supplies for the German Army and Luftwaffe. The confirmed accuracy of their attacks is evidence of their increasing experience and competence. For those of you who have never sat in the cockpit of a P-38 Lightning, check out the Youtube video link. You will learn a lot about the aircraft and the supreme skill of the Red Bull display pilots. Newsletter 367th Fighter Group issue 9