World War I American aviators and pilots

United States Air Service

USAS History
Summary 1917-1918
Lafayette Escadrille
N.124/Spa.124
1st Observation
1st, 12th, 50th, 88th
1st Pursuit Group
27th, 94th, 95th, 147th
1st Bombardment
96th, 11th, 20th
2nd Pursuit Group
13th, 22nd, 49th, 139th
3rd Pursuit Group
28th, 93rd, 103rd, 213th
4th Pursuit Group
17th, 148th, 25th, 141st
5th Pursuit Group
41st, 138th, 638th
3rd Air Park
255th
. List of Aces

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Aircraft

World War I fighter planes, bombers and observation planes Nieuport 28 Spad VII Spad XIII Fokker Dr.1 Albatros D.Va Fokker D.VII
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3rd Pursuit Group

The 3rd Pursuit Group had formed up exactly the way the 1st and 2nd Pursuit Groups had: four squadrons of fighter planes. In this case, like the 2nd Pursuit Group, the 3rd was operating Spad XIIIs. The four squadrons were the 28th aero squadron, 93rd aero squadron, 103rd aero squadron, 213th aero squadron. In early September, the unit was based in Vaucouleurs. Vaucouleurs is a pretty little town, still partially encircled by its 13th century ramparts. Its current population is approximately 2,400 and other than being home to the 3rd Pursuit Group, its claim to fame is that it was here that Joan of Arc came from her village of Domremy - 20 kilometers away to the south - to see the local governor Robert de Beaudricourt. She told Beaudricourt that she had been sent by God to drive out the English from France during the Hundred Years War. At first he had planned to send her back to Domremy, but she persuaded him that she was telling her the truth and so he gave her the help she needed to go see the French king.

The 103rd was already famous for it was the USAS version of Spa.124 - the Lafayette Escadrille.

The 103rd, after becoming a USAS unit, had already been to multiple bases all over the Western Front. The first base was at La Noblette on February 20, followed by La Bonne Maison just a kilometer away from the town of Fismes - a town of 5,500 on the road between Reims to Soissons. This move was done on April 1, 1918. From there, the 103rd moved in support of English operations and was based at Dunkirk/Flanders on May 1st. Later it moved to Toul on July 3 as part of 2nd Pursuit Group and then finally on to Vaucouleurs as the nucleus of 3rd Pursuit Group.



Spad XIII
USAS ace Raymond Brooks' Smith IV Spad XIII at National Air and Space Museum

Spad XIII
USAS ace Raymond Brooks' Smith IV Spad XIII at National Air and Space Museum

The 2nd and 3rd Pursuit Groups and some French units were aggregated into the 1st Pursuit Wing. All of the squadrons were around Toul in September and they all participated in the eradication of the St. Mihiel salient. During the bad weather days of September 12 to 14, the squadrons of the 3rd Pursuit Group got involved in ground attack operations - strafing enemy troops and shooting up vehicles and anything else that presented itself to the opportunistic tactics of the 3rd Pursuit Group. The 2nd Pursuit group flew cover for the 3rd.

The unit moved from Vaucouleurs to Lisle-en-Barrois at the same time as the 2nd Pursuit Group was moving during September 20-23.

As German fighter opposition decreased, the 2nd and 3rd Pursuit Groups were increasingly used for non-air superiority missions such as attacking ground targets. By November 1st, the all four 3rd Pursuit Group squadrons were engaged in bombing attacks. The same day, three of the four squadrons of the 2nd Pursuit Group were doing the same with the remaining squadron held aloft for air superiority.

The 3rd Pursuit Group ended the war at Foucaucourt. It had achieved a total of 87 victories versus 26 losses.

Learn more: 1st Observation Group, 1st Pursuit Group, 1st Bombardment Group, 2nd Pursuit Group, 3rd Pursuit Group, 4th Pursuit Group, 5th Pursuit Group and 3rd Air Park. See the really cool USAS Bases Google Map we've made just for you.

File under:

1st Observation Group - 1st aero squadron, 12th aero squadron, 50th aero squadron
1st Pursuit Group - 27th aero squadron, 94th aero squadron, 95th aero squadron, 147th aero squadron, 185th aero squadron
1st Bombardment Group - 96th aero squadron, 11th aero squadron, 20th aero squadron, 166th aero squadron
2nd Pursuit Group - 13th aero squadron, 22nd aero squadron, 49th aero squadron, 139th aero squadron
3rd Pursuit Group - 28th aero squadron, 93rd aero squadron, 103rd aero squadron, 213th aero squadron
4th Pursuit Group - 17th aero squadron, 25th aero squadron, 148th aero squadron, 141st aero squadron
5th Pursuit Group - 41st Aero Squadron, 138th Aero Squadron, 638th Aero Squadron
3rd Air Park - 255th Aero Squadron

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