The Northwest African Tactical Air Force (NATAF) was a component of the Northwest African Air Forces which itself reported to the Mediterranean Air Command (MAC). These new Allied air force organizations were created at the Casablanca Conference in January 1943 to promote cooperation between the British Royal Air Force (RAF), the American United States Army Air Force (USAAF), and their respective ground and naval forces in the North African and Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO). Effective February 18, 1943, the NATAF and other MAC commands existed until December 10, 1943, when MAC was disbanded and the Mediterranean Allied Air Forces (MAAF) were established. Acting Air Marshal Sir Arthur Coningham was the commander of NATAF.
Northwest African Tactical Air Force
Air Marshal Sir Arthur Coningham
|Desert Air Force
Air Vice Marshal Harry Broadhurst
|XII Air Support Command
Major General Edwin House
|Tactical Bomber Force
Air Commodore Laurence Sinclair
|No. 7 Wing (SAAF)
||27th Fighter-Bomber Group (USAAF)
Lieutenant Colonel John Stevenson
|No. 3 Wing (SAAF)
|No. 239 Wing
||86th Fighter-Bomber Group (USAAF)
Major Clinton True
|No. 232 Wing (RAF)
|No. 244 Wing
Ian Gleed (RAF) KIA April 16, 1943
W. G. G. Duncan Smith (RAF)
Brian Kingcome (RAF)
|33d Fighter Group (USAAF)
Colonel William Momyer
|No. 326 Wing (RAF)
|No. 322 Wing (RAF)
Colin Falkland Gray (RNZAF)
|324th Fighter Group (USAAF)
Colonel William McNown
|47th Bombardment Group (USAAF)|
Colonel Malcolm Green, Jr.
|No. 324 Wing (RAF)
Daniel Le Roy du Vivier (Belgian)
|31st Fighter Group (USAAF)
Lieutenant Colonel Frank Hill
|12th Bombardment Group (USAAF)|
Colonel Edward Backus
|57th Fighter Group (USAAF)
Colonel Arthur Salisbury
|111th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Mustang||340th Bombardment Group (USAAF)|
Lieutenant Colonel Adolph Tokaz
|79th Fighter Group (USAAF)
Colonel Earl Bates
|Information in table taken from:
1) Participation of the Ninth &
|No. 225 Squadron (RAF), Spitfire|
|No. 285 Wing (Reconnaissance)
|| 2) Maurer, Maurer, Air Force
Combat Units Of World War II,
|No. 241 Squadron (RAF), Hurricane|
|No. 6 Squadron (RAF), Hurricane|
For Operation Husky, No. 242 Group, originally a component of NATAF in February 1943, was assigned to the Northwest African Coastal Air Force (NACAF). At the same time, Air Headquarters, Western Desert became known as Desert Air Force. All of the fighter units of Desert Air Force formed No. 211 (Offensive Fighter) Group commanded by Air Commodore Richard Atcherley on April 11, 1943, in Tripoli. The 99th Fighter Squadron was assigned to the XII Air Support Command on May 28, 1943, and subsequently attached to the 33rd Fighter Group. The actual squadron assignments and detachments varied throughout the war depending on the specific needs of the air force. The table above illustrates the squadron assignments and commanders for the important period of World War II when the Allies prepared to invade Italy (Operation Husky), having just won the war in North Africa (Tunisia Campaign). In recognition of XII Air Support Command's operations in Sicily, Supreme Allied Commander General Dwight D. Eisenhower presented Major General Edwin House with the Legion of Merit and stated the following:
"...for the first time established the application of a tactical air force operating in support of an American Army."
- Craven, Wesley F. and James L. Cate. The Army Air Forces in World War II, Volume 2, Chicago, Illinois: Chicago University Press, 1949 (Reprinted 1983, ISBN 0-912799-03-X).
- Richards, D. and H. Saunders, The Royal Air Force 1939-1945 (Volume 2, HMSO, 1953).
- Howe, George F., Northwest Africa: Seizing the Initiative in the West, Center of Military History, Washington, DC., 1991.
- Thomas, Andrew (2013). Spitfire Aces of North Africa and Italy. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 47. ISBN 9781849083447. Retrieved 15 March 2018.