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VF-74 "Wolfhounds" | perhaps rarest of WWII VF patches | Navy in the European theater


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Flying Wolfhounds

Established 25 March 1944, the squadron deployed on Kasaan Bay (CVE-69) June-September 1944 with F6F-5 aircraft. Its combat record included two victories and losing five pilots on deployment. It was disestablished 1 October 1944. VF-74 was one of just three Navy fighter squadrons to fly combat in Europe, the wolfhounds were formed at NAS Norfolk in March 1944. They boarded Kasaann Bay in June, bound for the Mediterranean to support the Anglo-American invasion of southern France. Teamed with VOS-one in Tulagi, fighting 74 also had a small night- fighter detachment on Corsica.



Embroidered on wool. 4-5/8" round. I was fortunate to acquire this patch ten years ago and it remains the only one I have ever seen. Since the squadron, smaller than many, existed for just seven months and suffered heavy losses, it is understandable why few patches exist. It may be the rarest of the WWII VF squadron patches.




"D-Day South" was 15 August, the aerial opposition was nonexistent. No lift while the fighters were encountered, though VF-74 shot down JU-88 and Do-217 on the 19th. The CO was killed the next day, however, as was another pilot. German flak, always formidable, took a toll of carrier planes as well as Allied Air Force aircraft. Upon return to the U.S., VF 74 was disestablished 1 October. [U.S. Navy Fighter Squadrons in World War II. Barrett Tillman. 1997. Page 88.]

USS Kasaan Bay (CVE-69) was a Casablanca class escort carrier of the United States Navy. She was classified ACV-69 on 20 August 1942, launched as CVE-69 on 24 October 1943.



The escort carrier departed Quonset Point, Rhode Island on 30 June and arrived Oran on 10 July. Throughout July, she engaged in ASW patrol and flight operations in the Mediterranean before rehearsing for the assault on Southern France. Kasaan Bay departed Malta on 12 August, and 3 days later arrived in the invasion area off the French Riviera. In one of the few instances in which F6Fs operated in combat from a CVE, F6F-5s and -5Ns assigned to the 24-plane squadrons VF-74 aboard Kasaan Bay and VOF-1 aboard Tulagi carried out a variety of missions in support of the landings and fighting inland. The CVEs conducted operations in concert with British escort carriers. Limited opportunities for air-to-air combat presented themselves but Kasaan Bay pilots shot down two German aircraft. She completed her assignment on 30 August and departed Oran, Algeria on 6 September, arriving Norfolk 12 days later.

Following a cruise carrying planes to Casablanca in late October, Kasaan Bay was assigned to the Pacific Fleet and arrived San Diego on 2 January 1945.



F6F-5 on cat of USS Kasaan Bay (CVE-69) off France, 1944




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  • 3 weeks later...


Thank you for sharing your great patch.


Here's some more information about VF-74 and their role in Operation Dragoon. It's a two-part article. Be sure to turn on your computer's speakers. There is a play button inside the caption box on page one of part one. Viewing is optimized in "full screen" mode if your browser supports it.







Regards, Paul







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