Eagle Squadron (Americans in WW2 in Britain)
The Eagle Squadrons were three fighter squadrons of the Royal Air Force (RAF) formed with volunteer pilots from the United States during the early days of WW2 - prior to America's entry into the war in December 1941. Many had experience already in aerial combat having fought for Finland against the Soviet Union. Three Eagle Squadrons were formed between September 1940 and July 1941 but did NOT fly during the Battle of Britain. On 29 September 1942, they were turned over to the Eighth Air Force of the U.S. Army Air Forces and became the 4th Fighter Group.
The first Eagle Squadron, No. 71 Squadron, was formed in September 1940 and became operational on 5 February 1941. The second Eagle Squadron, No. 121 Squadron, was formed in May 1941, flying Hurricanes on coastal convoy escort duties. On 15 September 1941, it destroyed its first German aircraft. Their Hurricanes were replaced with Spitfires, and Spitfire Mk Vs arrived in November 1941.
The following month, the squadron moved to RAF North Weald, replacing 71 Squadron. The third and final Eagle Squadron, No. 133 Squadron, was formed in July 1941, flying the Hurricane Mk IIb. A move to RAF Duxford followed in August, and re-equipping with the Spitfire Mk V occurred early in 1942. In May, the squadron became part of the famed RAF Biggin Hill Wing. The Dieppe Raid was the only time all three Eagle Squadrons saw action operating together.