479th Antisubmarine Group - History - Operational History

Operational History

Group formed with existing squadrons reassigned from HQ Army Air Forces Antisubmarine Command or 25th Antisubmarine Wing at Langley Field, Virginia and deployed to RAF St Eval in Cornwall England. The group's mission was to fly killer hunts against German U-Boats in the Bay of Biscay off the western coast of France from Brest south to the Spanish border. Along this part of the occupied French coast were major Kriegsmarine U-Boat bases at Brest, Lorient, Saint-Nazaire, La Rochelle (La Pallice) and Bordeaux.

At RAF St Eval, the group operated under the control of No 19 Group RAF Coastal Command. It flew modified B-24 Liberators equipped with specialized aerial depth charges, RADAR and other antisubmarine detection equipment. The 479th began operations from England on 13 July 1943 and had some success when based in St Eval, sinking two U-boats and sharing another with an RAF Squadron. The 479th's most effective antisubmarine patrols were conducted from 18 July to 2 August 1943, the period in which the group made nearly all of its attacks on enemy U-boats. After that time the enemy avoided surfacing during daylight and adopted a policy of evasion, but the group continued its patrols, often engaging Luftwaffe fighter interceptor aircraft (Junkers Ju 88; Focke-Wulf Fw 200; Messerschmitt Bf 109; Messerschmitt Bf 110) in combat. The 479th ASG lost four Liberators and twenty nine men had been killed in action.

The 479th AG was moved to RAF Dunkeswell in Devon during early August 1943 and ended operations in October 1943 after the aerial antisubmarine mission was turned over to the United States Navy. B-24s reassigned to Navy Patrol Bomber Squadron VPB-103, Fleet Air Wing 7 at Dunkeswell and were redesignated as PB4Ys.

Read more about this topic:  479th Antisubmarine Group, History

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