IX Troop Carrier Command

Summary

IX Troop Carrier Command
47th Troop Carrier Squadron Curtiss C-46D-10-CU Commando 44-77541.jpg
Active1943-1946
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
RoleCommand of troop carrier units
Size14 groups, 1400 aircraft
EngagementsOperation Neptune
Operation Market
Operation Varsity
Insignia
IX Troop Carrier Command patch[note 2]IXTCC-Emblem.jpg

The IX Troop Carrier Command was a United States Army Air Forces unit. Its last assignment was with the Ninth Air Force, based at Greenville Army Air Base, South Carolina. It was inactivated on 31 March 1946. As a component command of the Ninth Air Force, based in the United Kingdom.

Overview

The mission of IX Troop Carrier Command was air transport for the Allied airborne divisions in the European Theater of Operations.

The primary aircraft of command were the Douglas C-47 Skytrain and its variant, the Douglas C-53 Skytrooper, but in 1945 the command equipped one group with 117 Curtiss C-46 Commando aircraft to determine their viability in the European Theater of Operations. As a result of a 28% loss ratio during Operation Varsity resulting from the C-46's high inflammability, The command did not convert to the Commando, even though its cargo-carrying capacity was twice that of the C-47. The command also had 1,922 CG-4A Waco and 20 Waco CG-13 gliders just prior to its last major operation in March 1945.

IX Troop Carrier Command consisted of three troop carrier wings, 14 troop carrier groups, and one pathfinder group, totaling approximately 1380 operational aircraft including spares, and 2,000 gliders at its maximum strength in March 1945.

IX Troop Carrier Command conducted three multi-divisional combat air assaults:

It also conducted relief operations for isolated units during the German counter-offensive in the Ardennes in December 1944.

History

Background

All U.S. tactical air support units in Great Britain were consolidated into Ninth Air Force on 16 October 1943, under the command of Maj. Gen. Lewis H. Brereton. At the same time the IX Troop Carrier Command was activated, having been constituted by USAAF Headquarters five days before its headquarters transferred to Grantham Lodge where it remained until 20 September 1944, when it transferred to Ascot, Berkshire, its final location in Europe. Its first headquarters was located at RAF Cottesmore, where it took control of a provisional headquarters established by the Eighth Air Force in September.

C-47 Skytrain of the 74th Troop Carrier Squadron, 434th Troop Carrier Group
Waco CG-4A Glider

The command's original cadre came from Headquarters, 1st Troop Carrier Command (Provisional) established as a provisional headquarters by the Eighth Air Force in September with six officers and three aircraft of the 315th Troop Carrier Group (the remainder of the group's aircraft and squadrons were on detached service in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations). On 1 October 1943 the 434th Troop Carrier Group became part of the provisional command and was the only group assigned. Twelve airfields were designated for the new command, each to house 40 C-47s and a like number of gliders: RAF Fulbeck, RAF Langar, RAF Bottesford, RAF Wakerley, RAF Balderton, RAF North Witham, RAF Barkston Heath, RAF Cottesmore, RAF North Luffenham, RAF Saltby, RAF Folkingham, and RAF Woolfox Lodge. In October, 1943, Brigadier General Benjamin F. Giles became commanding officer.[1]

In November the 435th Troop Carrier Group at RAF Welford was assigned, and command headquarters were moved to Grantham Lodge. RAF Ramsbury, RAF Aldermaston, and RAF Greenham Common also became available as landing areas for tactical training with the 101st Airborne Division and later became troop carrier bases.

Combat operations

Its first wing, the 50th Troop Carrier Wing, became operational on 17 October 1943. A second wing, the 52d Troop Carrier Wing, arrived from Sicily on 17 February 1944. Its five groups had participated in the large airborne assault during Operation Husky, the Allied invasion of Sicily and had flown combat jumps on a smaller scale in Italy. On 11 March 1944 the final troop carrier wing assigned to the command, the 53rd Troop Carrier Wing, arrived from the United States along with five groups that had just completed their operational training. The wings were realigned to provide the 53rd, tasked as the primary unit for glider operations, with the four groups already operational in February 1944 (434th through 437th), while the least experienced groups were assigned to the 50th Wing. The command grew to a total of 14 groups in April 1944 when the 315th was taken off transport duties in the Mediterranean and assigned two additional squadrons to bring it up to full table of organization and equipment strength, and when the newly created 442d Troop Carrier Group arrived from the United States.

These groups went into training for Operation Overlord, the invasion of France, as they arrived in Britain. The groups of the 50th and 52nd Wings began intensive night formation training that included practice jumps with the airborne divisions assigned to them, which continued through April, when the division commanders decided to stop further unit jump training. The 53rd Wing began training at the beginning of March but had virtually no troop experience until mid-May, when they began a series of mock night operations to raise their level of training. Both the 315th and 442nd groups continued formation training until the end of May. Five groups also conducted training in night glider assaults during both April and May. By 1 June the command had approximately 1,200 C-47s and 1,400 gliders assigned, and 950 crews for each.

At the end of February 1944, using equipment and personnel from the 52nd Wing, the command established a training unit for airborne division pathfinders and the aircrews that would deliver them. The Command Pathfinder School was redesignated the 1st Pathfinder Group (Provisional) in August 1944.

IX Troop Carrier Commaand delivered both the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions in the American airborne landings in Normandy on 6–7 June 1944. In August the command was attached to the First Allied Airborne Army, which from 17–25 September 1944, landed both American divisions, the British 1st Airborne Division, and the Polish 1st Independent Parachute Brigade in the Netherlands during Operation Market Garden. The 50th Wing moved to bases in France in September as well.

In February and March 1945 the 52d and 53rd wings also deployed to bases in France, except for two groups of the 52nd assigned to support British airborne operations. The command carried out extensive formation training for Operation Varsity, an airborne assault across the Rhine River, and executed it on 24 March 1945, delivering the 17th Airborne Division. The groups of the 52nd Wing based in France returned to England to carry the British 6th Airborne Division in the assault.

Return to the United States

IX Troop Carrier Command transferred from the United Kingdom to the United States without equipment or personnel on 5 September 1945 to Stout Field, Indiana, where it took over the personnel and equipment of I Troop Carrier Command along with the command of troop carrier units in the United stares. On 1 February 1946 command headquarters moved to Greenville Army Air Base, South Carolina, in preparation for inactivation, which took place 31 March 1946,when the command transferred its personnel and equipment to Third Air Force, which assumed responsibility for troop carrier operations for Tactical Air Command. On 8 October 1948 the United States Air Force, now a separate military service, disbanded the command.

Notable Members

Major Vincent F. Harrington, former U.S. Representative from Iowa briefly served as a security officer.

Lineage

  • Constituted as the IX Troop Carrier Command on 11 October 1943
Activated on 16 October 1943.
Inactivated on 31 March 1946
Disbanded on 8 October 1948[2]

Assignments

Stations

  • RAF Cottesmore (AAF-489),[4] England, 16 October 1943
  • Grantham Lodge (AAF-480),[5] England, 1 December 1943
  • Ascot (AAF-472),[6] England, 20 September 1944 – 5 September 1945
  • Stout Field, Indiana, 5 September 1945
  • Greenville Army Air Base, South Carolina, 1 February – 31 March 1946[7]

Components

Wings
  • 50th Troop Carrier Wing, 16 October 1943 – 29 September 1945; 4 November 1945 – 31 March 1946[8]
  • 52d Troop Carrier Wing, 17 February 1944 - July 1945[9]
  • 53d Troop Carrier Wing, 11 March 1944 – 12 August 1945[9]
Groups
Squadrons

Support units

  • 1st Tactical Air Deport/IX Troop Carrier Service Wing (Provisional)
Located at: RAF North Witham (AAF-479),[10]

References

Notes

Explanatory notes
  1. ^ Aircraft is Curtiss C-46D-10-CU Commando, serial 44-77541 of the 47th Troop Carrier Squadron, 313th Troop Carrier Group.
  2. ^ Unofficial. See Maurer, Combat Units, p. 449 (no approved insigne).
  3. ^ Robertson says the group was assigned to I Troop Carrier Command until c. December 1945, but I Troop Carrier Command was disbanded on 4 November 1945. Maurer, Combat Units, p. 438.
Citations
  1. ^ "Major General Benjamin F. Giles".
  2. ^ Maurer, Combat Units, pp. 448-449
  3. ^ Ream, Margaret (October 5, 2020). "Factsheet Ninth Air Force (Air Forces Central) (ACC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved December 20, 2021.
  4. ^ Station number in Anderson, p. 33.
  5. ^ Station number in Anderson, p. 51.
  6. ^ Station number in Anderson, p. 41.
  7. ^ Station information in Maurer, pp. 448-449, except as noted.
  8. ^ "Factsheet 50 Air Division". Air Force Historical Research Agency. 5 October 2007. Archived from the original on 24 October 2012. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  9. ^ a b Maurer, pp. 448-449 (years only)
  10. ^ a b Station number in Anderson, p. 61.
  11. ^ Robertson, Patsy (December 2009). "Factsheet 437 Operations Group (AMC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved January 16, 2022.
  12. ^ Robertson, Patsy (24 September 2012). "Factsheet 439 Operations Group (AFRC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved January 16, 2022.
  13. ^ Robertson, Patsy (April 18, 2018). "Factsheet 440 Operations Group (AFRC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved January 16, 2022.
  14. ^ Robertson, Patsy (23 October 2012). "Factsheet 442 Operations Group (AFRC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved January 16, 2022.
  15. ^ Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 274
  16. ^ Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 278

Bibliography

  • 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. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  • 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 2015-09-29.
  • 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.
  • 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. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
  • Warren, John C. (September 1956). "Airborne Operations in World War II, European Theater, USAF Historical Study No. 97" (PDF). Research Studies Institute, USAF Historical Division, Air University. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 13, 2013. Retrieved October 10, 2016..

External links

  • IX Troop Carrier Command Order of Battle