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    To join the 352nd VFG Teamspeak server contact the XO or CO at the email link on the bottom of the Home page of this site.
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    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.

    Blue Skies!!

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    Maj. George Preddy


    CHRISTMAS DAY 1944

    The 9th Air Force, already operating from the continent for months providing close ground support for Allied armor and infantry, found itself much in demand and greatly overworked. The 9th sent an urgent request to the 8th Fighter Command requesting two additional fighter units to come to its aid. On the 23rd of December, Major George Preddy led his 328th Fighter Squadron along with the 487th and 486th to a small remote 9th Air Force field located at Asch, Belgium, designated Y-29. The field was so close to the German lines that aircraft in the landing pattern were occasionally fired upon by enemy antiaircraft units.

    The 352nd was not accustomed to the tough living conditions it now faced. Living in tents was a far cry from the Nissen huts the pilots occupied at Bodney. Most of the troops thought they would freeze to death the first night. The next day was spent getting the unit settled down and assembled. The ground crews who were transported in C-47s became lost and arrived a day late. The first mission from Y-29 was a milk run, no action. Christmas Day found flyable ceilings and two missions were scheduled that day. Preddy led his unit on the second, a support mission into Germany with the bombers from the 8th Air Force. Lt. Gordon Cartee was Preddy's wing man. Cartee recalls, "After stooling around for a while, due to no action, we were vectored to an area close to Koblenz, Germany, where enemy aircraft had been encountered. Maj. Preddy receiving the call said, "They've started without us, let's join them." Preddy immediately turned in that direction. Just as Ray Mitchell was about to peel off, he looked up and spotted two 109s coming down on him and Lambright. He called to Preddy for assistance, but there was so much chatter on the radio that Preddy never heard him. Mitchell believes to this day that, had Preddy heard his cry for help, he would never have placed himself into the series of events that were to follow.

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    Cartee continues, "Preddy spotted two 109s and got into a Lufberry with the first one. Neither were gaining much advantage when all of a sudden another 109 cut in front of him. He eased up on his controls just enough, gave it a short burst, blazed it and then resumed his pursuit of the first one. The 109 lost his concentration seeing his buddy flamed and Preddy nailed him. Preddy's score now totaled 27.5 aerial and five ground victories. Moments later, Preddy and Cartee were vectored to an area southeast of Liege where it was reported that enemy aircraft were strafing Allied ground troops.

    Cartee reported later that they were joined by a white-nosed Mustang from the 479th Fighter Group. This was Lt. Jim Bouchier, who had become detached from his own unit. It did not take Preddy long to pick out a long-nosed FW-190 at treetop level in the distance. In trail, the flight of three pushed over and began descending towards the deck in hopes of using their superior height and increasing speed to close on the enemy aircraft. Leveling off at about 500 feet, they were closing rapidly when they approached the small village of Langerwehe (approximately 15 miles inside the German border).

    There is a very large church in Langerwehe. In its steeple that day, as had been the case on several other occasions, was Sgt. Harold M. Kennedy and his buddy Elmer L. Dye (both from the 104th Inf. Division). While the Battle of the Bulge raged just a few miles away, it was relatively static in their sector where the Division had dug in on the chance that the Germans might veer in their direction. Division headquarters had been set up in large steel foundry just north of Langerwehe. Dye and Kennedy had spent quite a few hours killing time by posting themselves in the church tower with binoculars and watching the considerable air activity along the front. Both witnessed what happened to the flight of Mustangs.

    Cartee recalled that just as the pursuing three Mustangs passed over a wooded area, they started receiving heavy ground fire. Kennedy added that as the flight passed over the church, firing became continuous and heavy. Lt. Mitchell, some distance away, recollects seeing multiple tracer rounds that appeared to be "a whole field of golf balls", so intense was this antiaircraft barrage. Preddy, apparently noticing the intense ground fire, attempted to break off the attack with a chandelle to the left. Cartee noted that about half way through the maneuver, at approximately 700 feet altitude, Preddy's canopy came off. After that, Preddy’s aircraft just went on in, cartwheeling and ultimately disintegrating upon impact. No parachute was seen. As flak and tracers were still thick, Cartee, “Went balls out until over it.”

    Lt. Bouchier, who also took hits, began smoking heavily and was able to climb to about 1000 feet. He rolled his Mustang over and bailed out, landing safely in the British sector north of the Langerwehe area in the direction of Frenz.

    Back at Y-29, Art Snyder, Preddy’s crew chief, waited patiently for his ship to return. Aircraft were landing and taxied by his hard stand. He noticed that as different pilots went by, they would give an accounting of how many victories they had gotten with their fingers. Shortly, a pilot came by him and when their eyes met, he gave him a thumbs down. Art knew then that his friend and commanding officer had been killed.

    Lt. Mitchell, having successfully disposed of his attacker, returned to Y-29 and landed. After parking , he went to his tent, contemplating the loss of his leader. A fellow pilot asked him if he would join him for Christmas dinner in the mess tent later in the day? Mitchell replied "Christmas dinner?" In his effort to survive, he had completely forgotten what day it was, "It had been that kind of a day," said Ray Mitchell.

    To top off their Christmas meal, a keg of beer had been delivered to the group. In tribute to their fallen comrade, its spigot was “opened but 'nary a cup was drawn.”

    George E. Preddy, Jr. has been labeled by many as the fighter pilot's pilot. The late Gen. John C. Meyer said of him that he "was just the greatest fighter pilot who ever squinted through a gunsight; he was the complete fighter pilot." Other historians have speculated that had he lived he could have become the highest-scoring ace in the European Theater of Operations. Had he been a part of the New Year's Day battle over Y-29, it is likely he would have topped Gabreski's WW II score of 28 aerial victories.


    From "The Blue Nosed Bastards of Bodney", 2000, by Bob "Punchy" Powell, Thomas Ivie, and Samuel L. Sox, Jr.







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    The Squadron lined up after a successful training sortie


    The 352nd Virtual Fighter Group flies IL-2 Sturmovik 1946 version 4.11.1 augmented by the latest version of HSFX (at the time of writing is now 6.0.17).

    When not engaged in on-line war campaigns, the 352nd Virtual Fighter Group flies regularly every Thursday and Sunday evening at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time (GMT -5), 5:30 Pacific Time (GMT - 7), for approximately 2 hours. Occasionally a session may last for three hours, but generally shortly after the two-hour mark the squadron calls it quits.

    The first half-hour to hour is spent in warm ups and dogfights, the remainder of the evenings are spent in scenario or mission flying. The squad's emphasis is on "fun", although we try and design the "fun" to be "historically based". Periodically we turn our focus to training, emphasizing teamwork, wingman tactics, situational awareness, and general aviation skills. We always try and maintain a stress on the "fun" aspect of the "sim experience".

    The squadron uses a variety of game difficulty settings, depending upon what the whims of the members may be on any given night. Originally the squad used relaxed difficulty settings, permitting the cockpit to be turned off, leaving outside views on, leaving the map icon on, displaying icons at a restricted range, and setting the balance of the difficulty settings "full real". Recently the squadron has begun to tighten up its settings and has become very close to a "full switch" squad. The group is capable of flying full switch when a particular mission or scenario requires it, and often will fly with a "full switch" relaxed only with outside views on.

    The 352nd Virtual Fighter Group maintains a 24/7 Teamspeak 3 server which serves as a unified meeting ground. The Squad also maintains a forum, reachable by the menu selection at the top of this page. Easy and rapid communication between squad members is a hallmark of the 352nd, as is good-natured ribbing and the generous sharing of knowledge and information.

    On a non-regular evening it is not uncommon to find squad members on the TeamSpeak server, in HyperLobby, or in a private IP game. As the squadron has grown in size the private IP game has become more commonplace and our presence on Hyperlobby more limited.

    The 352nd Virtual Fighter Squadron was invited to participate in the Clash of Titans ongoing war and many of our squadron members flew in the CoT scenarios. With the demise of CoT several members participated in Forgotten Skies, a similar arena. We are also a beta tester and developer of the Scorched Earth Online War (SEOW) campaign and try to keep up with the many improvements frequently made to the SEOW software. We often schedule SEOW battles with other squadrons, including with the Danger Dogz. Most recently we participate in on-line battles with the AKA and FA squadrons and are currently (January, 2012) heavily engaged in a Mediterranean battle circa 1944.

    While we welcome inter-squad competition, our main focus is on entertainment, camaraderie, sportsmanship, and skill development while maintaining a strong sense of fairness and fun. Each squad member is encouraged by all the others to contribute but all understand the rigors and demands of real life.

    We welcome guest fliers in our midst, whether prospective members or simply those who want to share some flying time with us. Because we are often on a private IP, if you would like to join in one of our sessions, drop either the CO, the XO, or any member an email message and someone will get back to you promptly with an invitation and instructions on joining our TeamSpeak server. If you don't have TeamSpeak, you are really missing a wonderful adjunct to the game. TeamSpeak is a low-resource claiming, high-quality voice communication program that adds immeasurably to the Forgotten Battles experience and can be quickly obtained and installed; visit TeamSpeak to download a free copy.









    On November 5, 2003 this 352nd Virtual Fighter Group, flying in CFS, CFS2, and the IL2 series, was officially recognized by the 352nd Fighter Group Association as an affiliated group. The 352nd Fighter Group Association is made up of veterans of the "real" 352nd Fighter Group; pilots, ground crew, support staff, and their families and friends. To be recognized by the Association and given "affiliated" status is a high honor which this Virtual Fighter Group strives hard to merit.

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    The Association had earlier recognized the 352nd Virtual Fighter Group flying in Warbirds and TargetWare. We proudly share experiences and the honor of representing the veterans who braved the odds in World War II with the Warbirds group. Links to the 352nd Fighter Group Association and the Warbirds 352nd VFG can be found on the upper left column.