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57th Fighter Group - First in the Blue

57th Fighter Group - First in the Blue Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review March 2011 Title 57th Fighter Group - First in the Blue
Author Carl Molesworth Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2011 ISBN 978-1-84908-337-9
Format 128 pages, softcover MSRP (USD) $25.95


The 57th Fighter Group was one of the longest serving USAAF fighter units in World War Two with its entry into combat operations over North Africa in August 1942 and continuing through Italy to the end of the war. The 57th FG was activated in early 1941 as the clouds of war were being felt in the US and this unit operated the P-40 Warhawk though 1942 and most of 1943 before transitioning into the P-47 Thunderbolt.

The 57th conducted many air combat operations and a number of aces emerged from the experience. In addition, the P-40 and P-47 leant themselves well to fighter-bomber missions and the 57th was one of the first to push into that combat arena, conducting sweeps throughout the 9th Air Force theater from El Alamein through Sicily and into Italy.

This title compiles the combat history of this famous fighter group complete with first-hand accounts drawn from the archives to provide a timeline and detail of early combat against the Luftwaffe and axis air powers and building up through the push of German forces out of North Africa, Sicily and Italy. The title is well-illustrated with period black & white photography as well as some period color photos.

Coverage of this title includes:

  • Growing Pains
  • First in the Blue
  • Invasion Force
  • Operation Strangle

The title has a nice cross section of color profiles illustrating the colors and markings of 31 P-40 and P-47 aircraft as well as one SM.79 squadron hack.

Given that the 57th Fighter Group is one of the most popular/most modeled USAAF units in World War II, this title will provide a useful resource for modelers as well as aviation historians looking into air operations in and around the Mediterranean.

My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!