64th Troop Carrier Group (USAAF)

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History

The 64th Troop Carrier Group (USAAF) was a transport unit that operated in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, the south of France and briefly in Burma during the siege of Imphal. It was used to drop paratroops during major operations and as a regular transport unit between them.

The group was activated in the United States in December 1940 and trained with the C-47. It moved overseas in August 1942, as part of the first wave of American units to fly its aircraft across the Atlantic to Britain. Once there it carried out additional training in Britain in preparation for Operation Torch.

The group wasn't involved on the first day of the invasion (although it had originally been intended to use it to drop the British 3rd Paratroop Battalion), but came into action on 11 November, when it transported paratroops on the airfield at Maison Blanche (after flying from England to Gibraltar on 9 November). On 12 November it dropped 312 paratroops on Duzerville airfield near Bone, securing the location. On the following day the group flew in fuel and anti-aircraft guns, making the airfield more secure.

On 16 November the group dropped 384 British paratroops at Souk-el-Arba airfield, only ninety miles from Tunis. On 29 November it took part in a paratroop drop at Oudna, ten miles from Tunis. This was a period in which the Allies believed that they could easily capture Tunisia before the Germans built up significant forces, but they were mistaken. The paratroops found Oudna heavily held and had to fight their way back to Allied lines.

The group took part in the invasion of Sicily of July 1943, dropping paratroops at Gela and Catania.

During the invasion of Italy of September 1943 the group dropped paratroops at Avellino, on a mission to destroy a key bridge on the Axis supply lines leading to Salerno.

Between April and June 1944 a large part of the group was sent to serve in India, flying in support of operations over China and Burma. A small force remained in Sicily during this period. The group was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for its role in Burma, where it flew supplies into the besieged garrison at Imphal. The group arrived in the theatre on 8 April with all five of its squadrons. At first the group was meant to leave in early May, but the seriousness of the situation meant that it remained into June. The group played a major role in helping the garrison at Imphal hold out until the siege was lifted in late June.

In August 1944 the group took part in Operation Dragoon, the invasion of the South of France, this time carrying paratroops and towing gliders.

Early in 1945 the group operated in support of the Partisan groups fighting in Northern Italy, flying in supplies and paratroops. The first of these missions was flown on 11 January 1945 and by the time they ended on 7 May the group had flow over 1,000 supply sorties and dropped 1,800 tons of supplies. The group's 16th Troop Carrier Squadron performed a similar role in the Balkans from March 1945 to the end of the war.

For the rest of the time the group served as a normal transport unit.

The group moved to Trinidad and Air Transport Command in June 1945, but was inactivated in the following year.

Books

Pending

Aircraft

1940-45: Douglas C-47 Skytrain

Timeline

20 November 1940 Constituted as 64th Transport Group
4 December 1940 Activated
July 1942 Redesignated 64th Troop Transport Carrier Group
August 1942 To England and Twelfth Air Force
Nov-Dec 1942 To Mediterranean
11 November 1942 Combat debut
June 1945 To Trinidad and Air Transport Command
31 July 1945 Inactivated

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Col Malcolm S Lawton: c. Dec 1940
Col Tracey K Dorsett: unkn
Lt Col Claire B Collier: c. 1 Mar 1943
Col John Cerny: 16 May 1943-1945

Main Bases

Duncan Field, Tex: 4 Dec 1940
March Field, Calif:c. 13 Jul 1941
Hamilton Field, Calif: c. 1 Feb 1942
Westover Field, Mass: c. 8 Jun-31 Jul 1942
Ramsbury, England: Aug-Nov 1942
Blida, Algeria: Dec 1942
    Detached to India: April-June 1944
Kairouan, Tunisia: 28 Jun 1943
El Djem, Tunisia: 26 Jul 1943
Comiso, Sicily: 29 Aug 1943
Ciampino, Italy: 10 Jul 1944
Rosignano Airfield, Italy: 10 Jan-23 May 1945
Waller Field, Trinidad: 4 Jun-31 Jul 1945.

Component Units

16th: 1940-1945
17th: 1940-1945
18th: 1940-1945
35th: 1942-1945

Assigned To

1942-45: 51st Troop Carrier Wing; Twelfth Air Force

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (22 April 2015), 64th Troop Carrier Group (USAAF) , http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/64th_Troop_Carrier_Group.html

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