2nd Air Commando Group

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History

The 2nd Air Commando Group (USAAF) was one of a number of composite groups that were formed to support deep-penetration missions behind enemy lines in Burma. The original 1st Air Commando Group had originally been structured as a single unit with sections for each aircraft type, but was soon restructured to use standard squadrons. The 2nd Air Commando Group was formed with squadrons from the start, and was given two fighter squadrons equipped with the P-51 Mustang, three liaison groups equipped with the Stinson L-5 Sentinel and one transport unit equipped with the Douglas C-47 Skytrain.

The group moved to India in September-November 1944 and took part in the last battles in Burma. However one of its first missions was a response to a major Japanese offensive in China. In November 144 Chiang Kai-shek asked for the return of Chinese troops fighting in Burma. The result was Operation Grubworm - between 5 December 1944 and 5 January 1945 Allied transport aircraft flew the Chinese 14th and 22nd Divisions from Burma back to China. The 2nd Air Commando Group contributed the 317th Troop Carrier Squadron to this effort.

The group arrived just as the Allied re-conquest of Burma began - British troops crossed the Chindwin River in mid-November 1944 and began to advance south towards Mandalay and then Rangoon. The group was used to drop supplies to the Allied groups in the Chindwin Valley. In February 1945 its fighter squadrons supported the crossing of the Irrawaddy. On 27 February 1945 the first airfield at Meiktila was captured by the Allies and the 1st and 2nd Air Commando Groups flew in a brigade of the British 17th Division from Palel. The Japanese troops at Mandalay in the north were thus cut off from Rangoon in the south, and Mandalay fell in late March 1945.

The group supported the advance on Rangoon, dropping Gurkha paratroops during the final attack on the city, which fell on 3 May 1945. This ended the main part of the Burma campaign and the group's component units began to drift apart.

The fighters were first to go, spending the rest of the war in training. In June the transport unit was sent to Ledo to help move road-building equipment being used to construct and maintain the land route to China and in June-July 1945 the Liaison squadrons lost most of their L-5s to the Fourteenth Air Force.

The remnants of the group returned to the US in October-November 1945 and it was inactivated on 12 November 1945.

 

Books

Pending

Aircraft

1944-45: North American P-51 Mustang
1944-45: Douglas C-47 Skytrain
1944-45: Stinson L-5 Sentinel (previously O-61)

Timeline

11 April 1944 Constituted as 2nd Air Commando Group
22 April Activated
Sep-Nov 1944 To India
Oct-Nov 1945 To United States
12 November 1945 Inactivated
8 October 1948 Disbanded

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Capt L H Couch: 22 Apr 1944
Col Arthur R DeBolt: 1 May 1944
Col Alfred J Ball Jr: 15 May 1945-unkn.

Main Bases

Drew Field, Fla: 22 Apr-28 Sep 1944
Kalaikunda, India: 12 Nov 1944-4 Oct 1945
Camp Kilmer, NJ, 11-12 November 1945

Component Units

1st Fighter Squadron (Commando): 1944-45
2nd Fighter Squadron (Commando): 1944-45
127th Liaison Squadron: 1944-45
155th Liaison Squadron: 1944-45
156th Liaison Squadron: 1944-45
317th Troop Carrier Squadron: 1944-45

Assigned To

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (28 July 2014), 2nd Air Commando Group , http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/2nd_Air_Commando_Group.html

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