Tuesday, February 5, 2008


In mid-June the Ground Echelon moved to Reghaia Airfield, Algeria, Africa, to set up the base in preparation for the arrival of the rest of the squadron. In the meantime the Air Echelon had completed its training in "Beau's", seen the sights of England, enjoyed the hospitality of the British airmen who trained them, and were getting ready to proceed to Reghaia.

At the tail-end of the Tunisian Campaign and just before the invasion of Sicily the 414th became operational in the early part of July 1943, being the first American N.F.S. to operate in this theatre. Most of their work consisted of long, tiring harbor patrols, or protecting shipping on the African Coast. However, in the latter part of July a detachment was sent to Protville, Tunisia, from whence aircraft of the squadron flew on offensive patrols for the period of about one week in an attempt to intercept enemy transports flying between Italy and the islands of Corsica and Sardinia. Two Italian transports were destroyed during these operations, in addition to an "assist" on another victory which was scored by 415 squadron.

Meanwhile, the routine work of protecting harbors and convoys was kept up, and after the opening of the Italian campaign in September, 1943, the squadron moved to Elmas, Sardinia, in the latter part of October, the island having been evacuated by the Germans a very short time before. The unit was then under the command of Major Earl T. Smith, who had replaced Major Cowgill in September.

By the time the Anzio beachhead was opened late in January, 1944, the squadron had four victories to its credit, all of them having been daylight encounters. With the new campaign under way, the job of protecting Anzio from attacks by aircraft based in Southern France was given to the squadron. This was carried out by detachments operating from advanced fields in Corsica, while normal operations were continued from the home base at Elmas, in addition to a considerable amount of Air-Sea-Rescue work. The success of the detachment in Corsica in stopping attacks on shipping at Anzio by the German Air Force in Southern France was the basis for the Presidential Citation which was later awarded the squadron.

----- to be continued -----

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