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354th Fighter Group (Osprey Aviation Elite 7) Paperback – March 25, 2002

5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Looking at elite fighter and bomber units in action, these books draw on profile artworks, black and white photographs, fully detailed appendices and breathtaking first hand accounts.

About the Author

William Hess is the official historian for the American Fighter Aces Association, and is one of the most highly respected aviation writers of his generation. A B-17 crewman during World War 2, Hess has written over 40 books during his long and distinguished career. This is his first book for Osprey.
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Product Details

  • Series: Aviation Elite Units (Book 7)
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing; First Edition edition (March 25, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841763152
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841763156
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.3 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,948,130 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The definitive history of the 354th FG is Steve Blake's recently published PIONEER MUSTANG GROUP from Schiffer. A mammoth book with hundred of photos and dozens of combat reports/first-person reminiscences, Blake's book is worth every cent of its $69.95 price tag. IF you don't have that many coins to throw around, pick up a copy of Bill Hess' 354TH FIGHTER GROUP, published by Osprey in 2002. It's a good overview of the 354th in action and comes nicely illustrated with photos and profile artwork superior to that found in Blake's book. Last but not least, it sells for $22.95!

Hess' book describes the formation and combat history of this high-scoring 9th AF fighter group. With typical military logic, WWII's best long-range escort fighter was given to a group assigned to the tactical 9th AF. The 9th's big brother - the 8th AF - consequently used the 354th whenever possible as escorts for its B-17s and -24s. By war's end, the Pioneer Mustang Group had over 670 air kills, boasted the highest scoring squadron in the USAAF and the only fighter pilot to win an MoH in the ETO (Jim Howard).

354TH FIGHTER GROUP contains over 140 black and white photographs and 12 color pages of 354th P-51s and -47s done by Chris Davey and John Weal. The profiles found in Hess' book are far superior to those contained in Blake's book. The aircraft look right; ditto for the colors. (The aircraft profiles featured in Schiffer aviation titles have always been the weakest part of the books).

So, depending on budget, 354th FG fans and anyone interested in the P-51 in combat, have two good selections to choose from. Hess' book is a good summary with lots of combat reports, pix and top-notch artwork. And it is considerably easier on the pocketbook. Recommended.
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Format: Paperback
The 354th was called "The Mustang Group." It was one of the first all P-51 fighter groups used to escort bombers from England over Germany. It's primary mission shifted from air superiority to close air support during the autumn of 1944 when the group was refitted with P-47s. The group exchanged those P-47s for P-51s again before year's end when the group was reassigned to escort missions. The 354th remained in active service in Europe till the war's end.

The color plates are crisp and well defined, but some of the individual information on some pilots and planes has gaps in it and, as such, doesn't add enough to already available resources. Sadly, those gaps aren't filled by the group's website either. It's a good review of a major 9th AF fighter group that deserves to be covered.
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By crfranki on February 22, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book!
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By S. A. on October 9, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great!
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354th Fighter Group (Osprey Aviation Elite 7)
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