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After the cool heights of Montesquieu, the men weren't too happy with the hot, dry plains of Massicault. This was a new field built by Army Engineers on a low flatland. The weather was sizzling and the blistering siroccos blew with incredible heat off the Sahara.

      The men quickly set up their tents and reestablished Squadron Departments and Sections. Group Headquarters prepared to resume operations at once.

      The 320th returned to action July 3rd. Formations of their B-26s continued hammering away at the Axis airfields on Sicily and Sardinia. For a few days after the invasion of Sicily on the 10th, the Group provided close support for the advancing infantry. Then their Marauders turned to targets in Italy: rail yards and ports on "the toe" from where the men and material needed by the hard pressed German and Italian troops defending Sicily came.

      On July 17th 320th aircraft were part of the first large daylight medium bomber raid on Naples. This was also the first time B-26s had been over the Continent in force. Group Marauders dropped 500-pounders "on target" within the city's important central rail yard.

      July 19th was another Red Letter Day as all three Marauder groups participated in the first bombing of Rome. It was the biggest daylight bombardment effort the war had seen, with over 500 planes attacking. The Group did an outstanding job of hitting Ciampino Airfield.

      July 24th was disastrous for the 320th. Target was the Marino di Paolo rail yards in Italy. On the run in, most of the formation dropped their 500-pounders--but missed. One flight of six Marauders of the 443rd Squadron elected to hold their bombs and came back unescorted for a second try. They scored hits but were jumped by 25 Me-109s. Four B-26s were downed.

      The 320th moved to a better airfield at El Bathan, a few miles west of Massicault, July 28th.[Go to the next base: El Bathan/Djedeida, Tunisia]

-Text authored by Victor C. Tannehill, Saga of the 320th


[Mac Dill/Drane, Florida][Tafaraoui, Algeria][Montesquieu, Algeria][Massicault, Tunisia][El Bathan/Djedeida, Tunisia][Decimomannu, Sardinia][Alto, Corsica][Dijon, France][Dole, France][Germany]

 

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