Organized in January 1941, just as the United States was building up military forces for its inevitable entry into World War II, the 57th Fighter Group was the first USAAF fighter unit to go into action in North Africa. It went on to establish a number of other 'firsts' during its illustrious combat history in this theatre. Flying P-40 Warhawks, the pilots of the 57th entered combat in August 1942 and fought throughout the final Allied advance from El Alamein through the Axis surrender in Tunisia, the capture of Sicily and the invasion of Italy. Converting to the P-47D Thunderbolt in late 1943, the 57th continued pounding the retreating Axis forces in Italy until the end of the war in Europe. The 57th Fighter Group produced a number of aces during the war, and was also recognized for its pioneering achievements in the fighter-bomber role.
About the author
Carl Molesworth, a resident of Mount Vernon, Washington, USA, is a former newspaper and magazine editor now working as a freelance writer and editor. A graduate of the University of Maryland with a bachelor of arts degree in English, Molesworth served as an enlisted man in the United States Air Force in 1968–72. He has been researching and writing about fighter operations in World War II for nearly 30 years. His nine previous titles include three books in Osprey's Aircraft of the Aces series, two in the Aviation Elite Units series and one in the Duel series.
Jim Laurier is a native of New Hampshire. He graduated with honours from the Paiers School of Art, Connecticut, in 1978 and has worked as a freelance illustrator ever since, completing assignments in a wide variety of fields. Jim has a keen interest in military subjects, both aviation and armour, and is a Fellow member of the American Society of Aviation Artists, the New York Society of Illustrators and the American Fighter Aces Association.
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