573d Bombardment Squadron

Summary

The 573d Tactical Air Support Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was formed by the consolidation of two earlier units bearing the number 573, but has not been active since the consolidation.

573d Bombardment Squadron
(Later 573d Tactical Air Support Squadron)
Match-391bg-b26-2.jpg
B-26 Marauders of the 391st Bombardment Group[note 1]
Active1943-1945; 1956
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
RoleLight bomber
EngagementsEuropean Theater of Operations
DecorationsDistinguished Unit Citation
Insignia
573d Bombardment Squadron emblem[1]573d Bombardment Squadron - Emblem.png
World War II fuselage code[1]T6

The first predecessor of the squadron is the 573d Bombardment Squadron, a World War II unit assigned to the 391st Bombardment Group. After training in the United States, the squadron moved to England, and participated in operations against Germany from there and the European Continent as part of IX Bomber Command. It earned a Distinguished Unit Citation for its combat actions. Following V-E Day, the squadron returned to the United States and was inactivated at the port of embarkation.

The squadron's second predecessor is the 573d Fighter-Day Squadron, which formed part of the 342d Fighter-Day Wing, when the Air Force reopened Myrtle Beach Air Force Base. A few months after it was activated, the squadron transferred its personnel and equipment to another squadron and was inactivated. The two squadrons were consolidated in 1985.

HistoryEdit

World War IIEdit

The first predecessor of the squadron, the 573d Bombardment Squadron, was activated at MacDill Field, Florida on 21 January 1943 as one of the four original squadrons of the 391st Bombardment Group. After training with Martin B-26 Marauder in the United States, it departed for the European Theater of Operations in December 1943.[2][3]

The squadron gathered at RAF Matching, its first combat station in theater, in late January 1944 and flew its first combat mission on 15 February. It initially concentrated on attacks to support Operation Overlord, the invasion of Normandy, by attacking airfields, bridges and marshalling yards. It attacked V-1 flying bomb and V-2 rocket launch sites as part of Operation Crossbow. On D-Day and the next day it struck German coastal defenses near the invasion beaches.[3]

Until September, the squadron continued attacks from its English base. It supported Operation Cobra, the breakout at Saint Lo in late July by attacking fuel dumps and troop concentrations, then hit transportation and communications targets to slow the German retreat eastward. In late September it moved to Roye-Amy Airfield, France to be closer to the advancing ground forces it was supporting and extending its targets into Germany. From its continental bases, it hit bridges, railroads, highways, ammunition dumps and other targets. The unit was also tasked on occasion to drop propaganda leaflets.[4]

During the Battle of the Bulge, it attacked heavily defended bridges and viaducts. Performing these attacks without fighter escort in the face of heavy flak and overwhelming attacks by enemy fighters earned the squadron a Distinguished Unit Citation for the period between 23 December and 26 December 1944.[3] On 23 December, it attacked a rail viaduct at Ahrweiler. Although its fighter escort failed to arrive due to adverse weather, the squadron continued its attack, despite the loss of both pathfinder planes leading the attack. More than 60 Luftwaffe fighters attacked the 391st Group's formations while it was on its bomb run. The 391st Group lost 16 of its Marauders on this attack. The following day, the squadron destroyed the railroad viaduct at Konz-Karthaus.[5]

The squadron continued its attacks, concentrating on German transportation and communications systems. It converted to the Douglas A-26 Invader in April and flew its last combat mission on 3 May 1945. The squadron left Europe in September 1945 and was inactivated on arrival at the port of embarkation, Camp Myles Standish, Massachusetts, on 13 October 1945.[2][3]

Training for tactical fighter operationsEdit

 
342d Fighter-Day Group F-80s and T-33s on Myrtle Beach AFB ramp

The squadron's second predecessor is the 573d Fighter-Day Squadron, which was activated in July 1956 as part of the 342d Fighter-Day Group when the Air Force re-opened Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, South Carolina. The squadron began training with Lockheed T-33 T-Bird advanced jet trainers in preparation for equipping with the North American F-100 Super Sabre. However, before the squadron could reach operational status, it was inactivated and its personnel and equipment were transferred to the 356th Fighter-Day Squadron.[6]

The 573d Fighter-Day Squadron and 573d Bombardment Squadron were consolidated as the 573d Tactical Air Support Squadron on 19 September 1985, but the consolidated unit has not been active.[7]

LineageEdit

573d Bombardment Squadron
  • Constituted as the 573d Bombardment Squadron (Medium) on 15 January 1943
Activated on 21 Jan 1943
Redesignated 573d Bombardment Squadron, Medium c. 9 October 1944
Redesignated 573d Bombardment Squadron, Light on 23 June 1945
Inactivated on 29 Oct 1945[2]
Consolidated with 573d Fighter-Day Squadron as the 573d Tactical Air Support Squadron on 19 September 1985[7]
573d Tactical Air Support Squadron
  • Constituted as the 573d Fighter-Day Squadron on 7 May 1956
Activated on 25 July 1956
Inactivated on 19 November 1956[8]
Consolidated with 573d Bombardment Squadron as the 573d Tactical Air Support Squadron on 19 September 1985[7]

AssignmentsEdit

  • 391st Bombardment Group, 21 January 1943 – 25 October 1945[2]
  • 342d Fighter-Day Group, 25 July–19 November 1956[8]

StationsEdit

AircraftEdit

  • Martin B-26 Marauder, 1943-1945
  • Douglas A-26 Invader, 1945[2]
  • Lockheed T-33 T-Bird, 1956[6]

Awards and campaignsEdit

Award streamer Award Dates Notes
  Distinguished Unit Citation 23-26 December 1944 573d Bombardment Squadron[2]
Campaign Streamer Campaign Dates Notes
  Air Offensive, Europe 26 January 1944 – 5 June 1944 573d Bombardment Squadron[2]
  Air Combat, EAME Theater 26 July 1943 – 11 May 1945 573d Bombardment Squadron[2]
  Normandy 6 June 1944 – 24 July 1944 573d Bombardment Squadron[2]
  Northern France 25 July 1944 – 14 September 1944 573d Bombardment Squadron[2]
  Rhineland 15 September 1944 – 21 March 1945 573d Bombardment Squadron[2]
  Ardennes-Alsace 16 December 1944 – 25 January 1945 573d Bombardment Squadron[2]
  Central Europe 22 March 1944 – 21 May 1945 573d Bombardment Squadron[2]

ReferencesEdit

NotesEdit

Explanatory notes
  1. ^ Aircraft in foreground is Martin B-26B-50-MA Marauder, serial 42-95835.
Citations
  1. ^ a b Watkins, pp.108-109
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 668
  3. ^ a b c d Maurer, Combat Units, pp. 278-279
  4. ^ Rust, p. 112
  5. ^ Rust, pp. 133-134
  6. ^ a b See, Ravenstein, p. 181
  7. ^ a b c Department of the Air Force/MPM Letter 662q, 19 September 1985, Subject: Reconstitution, Redesignation, and Consolidation of Selected Air Force Tactical Squadrons
  8. ^ a b c See, Ravenstein, p. 181 (342d Wing), Maurer, Combat Units, pp. 220-221 (342d Group).
  9. ^ Station number in Anderson, p. 22.
  10. ^ Station number in Johnson, p. 21.
  11. ^ Station number in Johnson, p. 28.
  12. ^ a b Station number in Johnson, p. 20.
  13. ^ Station information through 1945 in Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 667, except as noted.

BibliographyEdit

  This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

  • Anderson, Capt. Barry (1985). Army Air Forces Stations: A Guide to the Stations Where U.S. Army Air Forces Personnel Served in the United Kingdom During World War II (PDF). Maxwell AFB, AL: Research Division, USAF Historical Research Center. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 January 2016. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  • Johnson, 1st Lt. David C. (1988). U.S. Army Air Forces Continental Airfields (ETO) D-Day to V-E Day (PDF). Maxwell AFB, AL: Research Division, USAF Historical Research Center. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 September 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  • Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1983) [1961]. Air Force Combat Units of World War II (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-02-1. LCCN 61060979. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  • Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1982) [1969]. Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. LCCN 70605402. OCLC 72556.
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings, Lineage & Honors Histories 1947-1977 (PDF). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-12-9. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  • Rust, Kenn C. (1967). The 9th Air Force in World War II. Fallbrook, CA: Aero Publishers, Inc. LCCN 67-16454.
  • Watkins, Robert (2008). Battle Colors. Vol. III Insignia and Tactical Markings of the Ninth Air Force In World War II. Atglen, PA: Shiffer Publishing Ltd. ISBN 978-0-7643-2938-8.