Aces of the 325th Fighter Group

Published on
Published on
Published on
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Thomas Ivie
ISBN
9781780963013
Other Publication Information
96 pages, soft cover, black and white pictures, 24 color profiles.
MSRP
$22.95
Product / Stock #
ACE 117
Company: Osprey Publishing - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Osprey Publishing - Website: Visit Site
Cover

Review

The 325th Fighter Group, also known as the “Checker Tail Clan” is one of the most well known units of the Mediterranean Theater of Operations. They flew P-40s, P-47s and P-51, making them a very interesting unit for modelers. They flew over North Africa, France, Italy, Eastern Europe and even the former Soviet Unit. Their distinctive tail markings helped aerial recognition and likely worried their counterparts when encountered in combat.

The book has the following chapters

  • Dedication
  • Activation, training and into combat
  • Thunderbolt and the Fifteenth Air Force
  • Mustang era
  • Where is the Luftwaffe?
  • Swansong of the Luftwaffe
  • Appendices

It covers chronologically the deployment of the unit from North Africa and their P-40s in a fighter-bomber role, to Italy with their P-47s and P-51s into a new role of high altitude escort and interdiction operations into Austria, Romania, Hungary, and the USSR.

Most of the book is devoted to the P-51 era, with only one chapter to the P-47 and P-40 era. I was a bit surprised about that, but then the 325th FG only flew the P-40 and P-47 airplanes for about 6-months each compared to almost two years in the Mustang.

The book is well researched and includes information from official reports as well as interviews with the pilots. This makes its read very well balanced between facts and first person narratives describing the details –and sometimes confusion- of aerial combat.

I found riveting the step-by-step description of an ‘ambush’ mission flown into Italy at wave top level to be undetected by radar, climbing to altitude (into areas not monitored by radar) behind enemy lines to ambush the Luftwaffe, then rising to intercept a bomber stream sent out as bait.

There are many unknown images in the book, most of them coming from the collection of the official archivist of the 325th Fighter Group making this book of high historical value. The B&W pictures of the airplanes and the color profiles are inspiring, to say the least, for the modeler.

Highly recommended to historians and modelers alike.

I would like to thank Osprey Publishing and IPMS/USA for the review sample.

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