Under the tenacious and inspiring leadership of Colonel Hubert “Hub” Zemke, the U.S. Eighth Air Force’s 56th Fighter Group (also known as “Zemke’s Wolfpack”) emerged as one of the most successful American fighter units during World War II.
Flying the rugged Republic P-47 Thunderbolt and employing innovative tactics devised by Zemke, the 56th flew bomber escort and counter-air missions, and supported ground troops during the invasion of France in Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge. Over roughly two years, 56th pilots totaled 665.5 aerial victories, about 100 more victories than the second highest fighter group in the Eighth Air Force. The 56th FG produced 39 aces, including the European theater’s two leading American aces, Francis “Gabby” Gabreski and Robert S. Johnson.
Aces of the 56th Fighter Group will feature material from the American Fighter Aces Association collection, particularly photos and artifacts from Maj. James C. Stewart. These will provide Museum visitors a glimpse into the life of a fighter pilot during WWII. Video will include rare color footage from the documentary Zemke’s Way about the 56th FG produced by New Jersey Public Television in 1999.
Exhibit closed 9/23.