Constituted as 385th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 25 Nov 1942. Activated on 1 Dec 1942. Trained with B-17's. Moved to England in Jun 1943 and assigned to Eighth AF. Operated primarily as a strategic bombardment organization until the war ended, striking such targets as industrial areas, air bases, oil refineries, and communications centers in Germany, France, Poland, Belgium, Holland, and Norway. Received a DUC for bombing an aircraft factory at Regensburg on 17 Aug 1943 after a long hazardous flight over enemy territory. Led the 4th Wing a great distance through heavy and damaging opposition for the successful bombardment of an aircraft repair plant at Zwickau on 12 May 1944, being awarded another DUC for this performance. Other strategic targets included aircraft factories in Oschersleben and Marienburg, battery works in Stuttgart, airfields in Beauvais and Chartres, oil refineries in Ludwigshafen and Merseburg, and marshalling yards in Munich and Oranienburg. Sometimes supported ground forces and struck interdictory targets. Attacked coastline defenses in Jun 1944 in preparation for the Normandy invasion and hit marshalling yards and choke points during the landing on D-Day. Bombed enemy positions in support of ground forces at St Lo in Jul 1944. Attacked German communications and fortifications during the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944-Jan 1945. Bombed troop concentrations and communications centers in Germany and France, Mar-Apr 1945, to assist the final thrust into Germany. After V-E Day, hauled prisoners of war from Germany to Allied centers and flew food to Holland. Returned to the US in Aug. Inactivated on 28 Aug 1945.
Squadrons. 548th: 1942-1945. 549th: 1942-1945. 550th: 1942-1945. 551st: 1942-1945.
Stations. Davis-Monthan Field, Ariz, 1 Dec 1942; El Paso, Tex, 21 Dec 1942; Geiger Field, Wash, 1 Feb 1943; Great Falls AAB, Mont, 11 Apr-Jun 1943; Great Ashfield, England, Jun 1943-Aug 1945; Sioux Falls AAFld, SD, Aug-28 Aug 1945.
Commanders. Col Elliot Vandevanter Jr, 3 Feb 1943; Col George Y Jumper, 24 Aug 1944; Col William H Hanson, 2 Jun 1945; Maj Totton J Anderson, c. Jul 1945-unkn.
Campaigns. Air Offensive, Europe; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe.
Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citations: Germany, 17 Aug 1943; Zwickau, Germany, 12 May 1944.
Data from Air Force Combat Units of World War II By Maurer, Maurer, Published 1986