In late May 2000, Bill "Razor" Ross decided to honor a specific WWII fighter group by forming a virtual group modeled after the real McCoy. After some research it was decided that the 352nd Fighter Group of the US 8th Army Air Force was the fighter group that was to be the model of one of the most successful virtual flight sim groups to ever fly on the web. The flight sim platform that "everyone" was flying at the time was the newest, Microsoft's Combat Flight Simulator. This fit very well into Razor's plan because the 352nd Fighter Group was stationed and headquartered at Bodney, England during WWII and Combat Flight Simulator, a.k.a. CFS, had Western Europe as it virtual world.
It didn't take long to compile a list of future ace members and the group became the glint of the cutting edge of third party add-on inventors. Soon after starting, the 352nd VFG had its own base at Bodney, England, its own blue-nosed P51-D Mustang, and the sweetest performing B-17 to ever hit the virtual world, the Bodney Belle. Other planes started rolling off the virtual assembly lines as every member started contributing in one way or another to the success of the group. Some members, who didn't have as their strength plane painting, started working on perfecting communication programs such as Roger Wilco and combat rules and procedures for starting and conducting practices. Norton bomb sites were added to their long range bombers, the B-17 and B-24 and radar was developed for use during long bomb runs (known as B-Runs in those days). It was getting to the point that every week something new was either discovered within the game or was being developed by the group. The current CO, Deacon, initiated and perfected the procedures for conducting the namesake of the 352nd, the long BRUN (bomb run), with all the planning and detail of coordination of bombers and escorts, communication, routes of access and egress, primary and secondary targets and the multitude of other details that go into staging a, sometimes 8 hour long, BRUN that could stretch over two days or evenings of flying. The 352nd as of yet has still not been beaten on any challenge of a BRUN in any flight sim platform when using these techniques perfected in the early history of the group.
As the group grew in numbers over the next year, with the larger number of members came the eventual problems associated with a multitude of opinions and attitudes and personalities. A few of the key members of the Command Staff had real life problems that had to be dealt with and their absence contributed to the situation that was developing within the 352nd. Unfortunately the 352nd VFG became splintered and broke into a few distinct groups, some of which fell by the wayside. The core group remained and 352nd Deacon was made CO by the retiring founder, 352nd_Razor.
With the remaining members, a group of stalwarts, the 352nd VFG continued, at first tentatively and slowly, not wanting to lose any other members. Once reorganization took place the group continued with what was familiar in conducting its FFA's and BRUNs. The smaller group took on all comers in challenges as it investigated and experimented with a new flight sim platform, Combat Flight Simulator 2 (CFS2). In this sim, the 352nd VFG was placed in the Pacific Theater of Operations. While members looked into the new sim, our hearts were still in Europe. Additionally CFS2 didn't lend itself as well to multiplay which was at the core of the 352nd's membership. It seemed that it was finally realized by the group that the reason they came together every Thursday and Sunday evening was not so much that they wanted to fly as that they wanted to fly with their trusted friends who were also members of the group. The realism that the 352nd strived for in the sim was becoming all too real in life as the core members counted on each other as comrades in arms do in real combat situations.
About this time, a new flight sim made its way on the scene. IL-2 from Ubisoft was being touted as the next great challenger to CFS as CFS2 started to go by the wayside due to its platform failures and multiplay problems. While the 352nd VFG knew about this, we hesitated making a change due to the fact there was no desire to further stress the membership and risk another confrontation. Also the new game, IL-2, needed upgrades in everyone's computer systems with its additional expense. Over a period of time, though, the members individually decided to invest in upgrades as this addiction to flying with their friends and comrades who shared their interests was worthwhile.
After a unanimous vote by the membership, the new platform of IL-2 was accepted and the gauge of all flight sims, CFS, was put on the shelf only to be taken out and re-flown occasionally when a direct challenge was issued by someone who THOUGHT they could take down the champ in a BRUN.
This brings us to the present which finds the 352nd VFG having developed its own squadron planes, the P-39, P-47, La5, the IL2 bomber, and the Bluenose trademark P-51 Mustang. The IL-2 platform in its original form did not allow as much third party development as CFS, but the later development of modding the game has been investigated and wherever possible, the 352nd has taken its place among those groups on the cutting edge in making and flying scenarios, bruns and missions.
The 352nd VFG turned its attention to developing a Cross Channel Map (see the Download links in the menu above) to attempt the capture the sense of immersion in a long bomb run from England to the Continent. The map has been an unqualified success and can be found as a core part of the UP and HSFX mod builds to the game.