56th Fighter Group at Boxted
The 56th Fighter Group was constantly on the move.
It was stationed at three other bases, including Halesworth Airfield, before making its way to Boxted airfield near Colchester, Essex, in April 1944.
The 56th fought hard over Normandy and later participated in the airborne landings in Holland, as well as the Ardennes battle.
It flew protective patrols above the Remagen bridge over the Rhine while the US Army made its famous crossing into Germany.
The group flew P-47 Thunderbolts, one of the first to use this plane as the P-38 became obsolete.
The 56th was made up of 1,500 enlisted men and 250 officers at the height of their operations.
This included the famous fighter ace, Hubert Zemke, from whom the group derived their nickname Zemke’s Wolfpack.
Over the course of the war, the group completed 447 missions. This accounted for 19,217 sorties.
Nine of its men were killed in action, 12 wounded in action and 129 missing in action.
It was confirmed that 677 German aircraft were destroyed in the air and 110 on the ground by the fighters of the 56th.
Furthermore, 243 were damaged in the air and 300 on the ground.
By Armistice Day, 1,602 Axis planes had felt the wrath of the 56th Fighter Group.
If you want to view various records relating to the 56th Fighter Group, visit our digital archive.