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4th Fighter Group 'Debden Eagles'

4th Fighter Group 'Debden Eagles' Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review January 2009 Title 4th Fighter Group 'Debden Eagles'
Author Chris Bucholtz Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2008 ISBN 978-1-84603-321-6
Format 128 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $25.95


The 4th Fighter Group was highest scoring unit in the Eighth Air Force. It also had the distinction of being the oldest USAAF combat unit as it was assembled in-theater around US 'Eagle Squadron' veterans that changed back out of their RAF uniforms and into Army Air Corps issue. Established in Debden in September 1942, the logistics of the US Army Air Corps was still ramping up to support operations in Europe, the Pacific, and North Africa. The 4th started operations with the Spitfire Mk.V and operated these until the following April, when P-47 Thunderbolts arrived in theater. The P-47 was effective, but not favored by the pilots of the 4th and they were traded in for the P-51 Mustang as these arrived in-theater in February 1944.

The author of this new title is also the current editor for the IPMS/USA Journal. He added new life to the IPMS/USA Journal and he has taken the same enthusiam with this title as well. Coverage of the 4th's history is as follows:

  • Eagles to the Army Air Force
  • Spitfires to Thunderbolts
  • Blakeslee Takes the Reins
  • Mustangs Over Berlin
  • War of Attrition
  • Running Up the Score
  • Top Cover for D-Day
  • Shuttle Mission
  • Air, Land and Sea
  • Breaking the Luftwaffe's Back
  • Slaughter by Strafing

4th Fighter Group 'Debden Eagles'

The title is crammed full of excellent photos of the men and machines of the 4th Fighter Group in addition to the stories and combat summaries that tell the story of this deadly combat unit. In addition, the title has numerous color profiles of many of the aircraft flown by an interesting cross-section of the groups pilots across all three squadrons - 334th, 335th, and 336th Fighter Squadrons.

Osprey's titles cram alot of history into its monographs and this is an excellent read for those that want a top-level look at the combat history of this fighter group. The details behind these summaries will fill volumes, and this will also serve as a good starting point from which to drill down into the details for aviation historians. This is another one of Osprey's great historical monographs and is definitely worth reading and keeping on the shelf for future reference.

My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!