Constituted as 390th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 15 Jan 1943 and activated on 26 Jan. Prepared for combat with B-17's. Moved to England in Jul 1943 and assigned to Eighth AF. Operated chiefly against strategic objectives, flying many missions with the aid of pathfinders. Began combat on 12 Aug 1943. Five days later, attacked the Messerschmitt aircraft complex at Regensburg and received a DUC for the mission. Received another DUC for a mission on 14 Oct 1943 when the group braved unrelenting assaults by enemy fighters to bomb the antifriction-bearing plants at Schweinfurt. Participating in the intensive Allied assault on the German aircraft industry during Big Week, 20-25 Feb 1944, the organization bombed aircraft factories, instrument plants, and air parks. Other strategic missions included attacks on marshalling yards at Frankfurt, bridges at Cologne, oil facilities at Zeitz, factories at Mannheim, naval installations at Bremen, and synthetic oil refineries at Merseburg. Sometimes flew interdictory and support missions. Bombed the coast near Caen fifteen minutes before the landings in Normandy on 6 Jun 1944. Attacked enemy artillery in support of ground forces during the breakthrough at St Lo in Jul. Cut German supply lines during the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944-Jan 1945. Hit airfields in support of the airborne assault across the Rhine in Mar 1945. Flew last combat mission on 20 Apr 1945. Dropped food supplies to the Dutch during the week prior to V-E Day. Returned to the US in Aug. Inactivated on 28 Aug 1945.
Squadrons. 568th: 1943-1945. 569th: 1943-1945. 570th: 1943-1945. 571st: 1943-1945.
Stations. Geiger Field, Wash, 26 Jan 1943; Great Falls AAB, Mont, 6 Jun-4 Jul 1943; Framlingham, England, Jul 1943-4 Aug 1945; Sioux Falls AAFld, SD, 12-28 Aug 1945.
Commanders. Col Edgar M Whittan, 26 Jan 1943; Col Frederick W Ott, 21 Apr 1944; Col Joseph A Miller, 17 Sep 1944; Lt Col George W Von Arb Jr, 23 May 1945; Maj John A Angotti, 26 Jun-Aug 1945.
Campaigns. Air Offensive, Europe; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe.
Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citations: Germany, 17 Aug 1943; Germany, 14 Oct 1943.
Data from Air Force Combat Units of World War II By Maurer, Maurer, Published 1986