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613th Tactical Fighter Squadron

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613th Tactical Fighter Squadron

613th Tactical Fighter Squadron

Emblem of the 613th Tactical Fighter Squadron
Active 1943-1991
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Tactical Fighter

The 613th Tactical Fighter Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last was assigned to the 401st Tactical Fighter Wing, stationed at Torrejon Air Base, Spain. It was inactivated on 28 June 1991.

History

World War II

Organization and training for combat

The 613th Bombardment Squadron was activated March 1943 at Ephrata Army Air Base Washington as one ov the original squadrons of the 401st Bombardment Group.[2][3] The initial cadre for the squadron was drawn from the 395th Bombardment Group at Ephrata and the 383d Bombardment Group at Rapid City Army Air Field, South Dakota. The cadre soon departed for Orlando Army Air Base, Florida, where they conducted simulated combat missions with the Army Air Forces School of Applied Tactics out of Brooksville Army Air Field.[4]

The ground echelon moved to Geiger Field, Washington in May 1943 and to Great Falls AAB, Mount in July. At Great Falls the first combat crews were assigned to the squadron.[5] In the final stage of training the squadrons dispersed with the 613th training at Cut Bank Army Air Field.[6]

After completing training the ground echelon left for overseas on 19 October 1943. After staging at Camp Shanks, New York they embarked on the RMS Queen Mary and sailed on 27 October disembarking at Greenock on the Firth of Clyde on 3 November 1943. The air echelon staged for deployment at Scott Field, Illinois then flew to England under the control of Air Transport Command via Newfoundland, Iceland and Scotland.[6]

Combat in the European Theater

On arrival in England, half of the 401st group's aircrews were immediately reassigned to the 351st Bombardment Group.[6] The rest of the squadron became part of Eighth Air Force at RAF Deenethorpe. The 613th became part of the 92d Combat Bombardment Wing of the 1st Bombardment Division. Its tail code was Triangle-S.

On 26 November the 613th flew its first combat mission against Bremen, Germany.[7] The 401st group did not suffer the combat loss of an airplane until its ninth mission on 30 December.[8] The squadron operated chiefly against strategic targets, bombing industries, submarine facilities, shipyards, missile sites, marshalling yards, and airfields.[3] On 11 January 1944 the squadron was in the lead group of the 1st Bombardment Division in an attack against aircraft manufacturing facilities at Ochsersleben, Germany. Although the bombers were able to attack, poor weather conditions prevented the division from receiving effective fighter cover. For over three hours the bomber formation suffered more than 400 attacks by Luftwaffe fighters, including air-to-air rocket attacks. Despite these attacks the unit continued its attack and struck a telling blow against German aircraft production for which the squadron was awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC).[3][9]

A little over a month later, on 20 February, the squadron earned its second DUC for an attack on the Erla Maschinenwerke aircraft manufacturing facilities in Leipzig, Germany. Despite fighter attacks and battle damage to the 613th's planes, 100% of the unit’s bombs fell within 1000 feet of the aiming point.[3][10] Beginning in October 1944, the unit concentrated its attacks on Axis oil reserves.[3]

In addition to strategic missions, squadron operations included attacks on transportation, airfields, and fortifications prior to the Normandy invasion. On D-Day the 613th attacked Normandy beachhead areas dropping bombs five minutes before troops landed.[11] The following month it provided close air support for the breakthrough at Saint-Lô, it also supported the siege of Brest in August and Operation Market Garden in September. During the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944 and January 1945, the unit attacked transportation and communications in the battle area. It supported airborne forces involved in Operation Varsity in March 1945.[3]

The squadron flew its last combat mission on 20 April 1945 against Brandenberg.[12] It had flown 254 combat missions from Deenethorpe airfield.[13] After V-E Day, the squadron flew missions to Linz, Austria to evacuate British and French prisoners of war. It also flew Trolley sightseeing missions at low level, flying ground support personnel over the Ruhr and Frankfurt am Main to see the damage that had been done as a result of their efforts.[14]

The unit was alerted for redeployment to the Pacific Theater and the last plane departed Deenethorpe in early June. The ground echelon sailed on the RMS Queen Elizabeth on the fifth.[15] Upon arrival in the US, personnel were granted thirty days leave, reassembling at Sioux Falls Army Air Field, South Dakota, but plans had changed and personnel were either transferred to Boeing B-29 Superfortress units or processed for discharge and the squadron was inactivated.[16]

Reserve Operations

Assigned to Air Force Reserve January 1947. Never equipped or manned, inactivated 1949.

Cold War

Allocated to Tactical Air Command, 1953 and reactivated as a fighter-bomber, later tactical sighter squadron. Performed routine deployments and exercises 1954-1966. Reassigned to NATO in 1966 as part of USAFE takeover of former SAC facilities in Spain. Performed routine deployments and exercises. Inactivated in 1991 as part of USAF drawdown of forces in Europe after the end of the Cold War.

Lineage

  • Constituted as the 613th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 20 March 1943
Activated on 1 April 1943
Redesignated 613th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy ca, 1 November 1943
Inactivated on 28 August 1945
  • Redesignated 613th Bombardment Squadron, Very Heavy on 27 December 1946
Activated in the reserve on 10 January 1947
Inactivated on 27 June 1949
  • Redesignated 613th Fighter-Bomber Squadron on 24 November 1953
Activated on 8 February 1954
Redesignated 613th Tactical Fighter Squadron on 1 July 1958
Inactivated on 28 June 1991

Assignments

  • 401st Bombardment Group, 1 April 1943 - 28 August 1945
  • Tenth Air Force, 10 January 1947
  • 401st Bombardment Group, 30 September 1947 - 27 June 1949.
  • 401st Fighter-Bomber Group, 8 February 1954
  • 401st Fighter-Bomber Wing (later Tactical Fighter Wing), 25 September 1957 - 28 June 1991

Stations

Aircraft

Awards and Campaigns

Campaign Streamer Campaign Dates Notes
Air Offensive, Europe 613th Bombardment Squadron[2]
Normandy 613th Bombardment Squadron[2]
Ardennes-Alsace 613th Bombardment Squadron[2]
Northern France 613th Bombardment Squadron[2]
Rhineland 613th Bombardment Squadron[2]
Central Europe 613th Bombardment Squadron[2]

References

Notes

Bibliography

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